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My Strange Addiction

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Hyunjin

 

Hyunjin has never shied away from new experiences or new endeavours, within a sense of reason. He isn’t scared of change in the slightest, even if he can find himself overthinking it to the point of getting anxious. College, though? He hasn’t been this excited for something since his first audition at 1Million Dance Studio, which was already a long time ago, when he was much, much younger. 

It’s early morning, but the campus is already crawling with people. They’re like ants, swarming towards crumbs! Crumbs of... knowledge… Something like that. Hyunjin really hopes his Creative Writing classes will improve his metaphors…

The ants (people) is part of why he’s so excited, though. He has friends from the Dance Studio (if Minho would ever admit to such a thing, that is), but college is about big friend groups and parties and clubs, right? That’s what the movies perpetuate, and like every stereotype, there is probably some foundation of truth in it. Hyunjin isn’t sure whether the people in his Psychology class will be ‘party animals’, exactly, but there’s always hope. Not that Hyunjin himself is a party animal, but maybe his few years living in Las Vegas as a teenager rubbed off on him in some internalized way.

He takes a long, slurpy sip of his iced Americano as he looks around at the people and the buildings and tries to find his first classroom. All the new students toured around during orientation, but Hyunjin barely registered anything with how big the place is; all he really remembers was where to buy this cup of coffee. He is really, really trying to think back to orientation, and he thinks he does recognise the building he heads towards, but all that is coherently bouncing around in his head is the song he danced to a few hours ago. Which is definitely not something we talked about during orientation, is it? Most of his dance classes are early as heck in the mornings, but it’s the best way to wake up and warm up for the day, and Hyunjin has been doing it for so long that it is just part of his routine now. So, Kehlani, ‘Water’, that’s what his neurons are jamming to.

The classroom isn’t full to the brim, but there are definitely more people than Hyunjin expected for such an early class. He sits himself down (with his beloved Americano) at the tables at the back, trying to peek over the shoulder of the person in front of him. Is that the book we need? It looks like it… Unsure, Hyunjin puts the coffee down and pokes the girl’s shoulder to have her look around. 

“Just making sure,” he says once she looks around, and Hyunjin pulls down his mask so she can at least see that he’s smiling. “This is Applied Mathematics & Statistics, right..?”

The girl nods. “Y--Yeah,” she replies, and then quickly lifts the small book for Hyunjin to see.

“Phew, thanks,” Hyunjin huffs, sitting back as the girl looks back around. Better to make sure than miss class and sit through something like… coding or whatever . He lets himself relax after getting out his books and stationary, and waits for the class to begin, trying not to hum ‘Water’ too loudly.

As time passes, more people come in. Some of them seem to already know each other, but most people look like cats the moment they walk into an unknown room; big eyes, careful movements, quiet demeanor… Hyunjin is so distracted by the girl with pink hair that walks to the front of the class to sit down at a table all by her lonesome that he barely notices when someone takes the available seat next to him. 

It’s a guy, right? Right. No girl would smell so much like… ‘Just woke up’. He’s wearing a black beanie that covers all of his hair, which in turn is half covered by the hood of his yellow hoodie, eyes somehow the only thing peeking out from in between the black mask and the beanie. He looks so very sleepy, eyes all squinty, moves languid and lazy as he pulls his backpack over the table with a sigh and stares at it for about three minutes before finally deciding to pull open the zip. Hyunjin just watches him while loudly sipping up the last of his Americano.

It’s… literally the first day of class. Day no. 1. And this dude is already ready to fall asleep mid-class? Aish...

The guy pulls out his book, a pencil and then a notebook. He puts his backpack down and piles his notebook on top of the book before crossing his arms over the pile and plopping his head down. Hyunjin rolls his eyes and looks away to the front of the class. And here Hyunjin was wondering whether he would instantly make friends with the first person he sat with; that happens all the time, right? But no. He had to get someone who probably won’t even be conscious for the next hour.

The teacher walks in and introduces herself. She hands one of the students an attendance sheet for him to pass around, and while that’s happening in the background of the class, the teacher begins to explain this year’s program as well as asking a couple of questions about statistics. Which… I have no idea what variance and standard deviation is supposed to be… What? Why is college so hard on day one, already?!

The girl in front of Hyunjin eventually turns around to pass him the attendance sheet. She glances at the guy sleeping over his things and gives a small giggle before turning back to the front. Hyunjin signs his name before glancing over, as well, seriously considering just… passing the sheet back to the girl in front of him. Attendance means being awake , but… That would be an asshole thing to do. Stupid moral compass .

“Yah,” Hyunjin whispers over, poking the guy on his side, probably hitting a rib under all that hoodie. The guy jolts and lifts his head to squint ahead before looking at Hyunjin in utter confusion. So, Hyunjin wiggles the Attendance paper in his hand, and points to the front of the class at the teacher. “Wake up, idiot.”

The guy looks down at the sheet and then squints up at Hyunjin, before reaching over and snatching it. Ooooh, movement. Impressive . He stares at it for a moment before he realizes he needs a pen and not a pencil, so he digs for one inside his backpack and then finally signs the damn thing.

“So what would you say,” the teacher goes, then, “We’d need to do first when looking at this problem? We have the samples, four, six, eight, four again, and ten.” She looks at the class and smiles. “Any ideas?”

The guy next to Hyunjin slides the attendance sheet back to him, but he’s so stupid that he makes the paper sheet slide over the table like it’s on ice and then the thing just flies up and falls to the floor. “Well, fuck…” the guy mumbles.

“Yes?” the teacher goes, perking up to look towards the back of the classroom, “You there? What’s your name?” she asks, and the guy perks up like a soldier standing to attention, eyes suddenly wide. Hyunjin has to put in serious effort not to laugh at his face, then. “Any tips?” the teacher keeps going, gesturing towards the problem on the white board.

“Uh--I, uhm--” the guy tries, clearing his throat to buy himself more time. “Well, you gotta, uh, find the mean, first.”

“Precisely! Thank you, and your name is?”

“Han!” the guy says a little louder. “Han Jisung.”

“Very well, Mr. Han, and how do we find the mean?”

Mr. Han leans forward and pulls his mask down to his chin before he starts writing in the air with his finger as he says, “It’s an X with a line on top, and the equation is a sum of all the values, so, er, the sleepy M, and then, yeah, divided by the sample size.”

Hyunjin stares a little. What? Does this guy’s smarts only come out when his cheeks are within view?!

“Exactly!” the teacher goes as she turns to scribble on the board. “So, four, plus six, plus eight, plus four, plus ten, divided by five!” She keeps on talking as she solves the rest of the problem, that Hyunjin realises he needs to write down. Not everyone is taking notes but some are, and those are probably the smart ones so better follow their example. Hyunjin is going to need to read up on this shit so he doesn’t look stupid in front of the sleepy not-so idiot next to him.

“Aren’t ya gonna pick that up?” someone whispers nearby, then. When Hyunjin looks, he finds himself staring at Mr. Han , who’s watching him rather unimpressed despite how much his eyes are shifting all over Hyunjin’s face.

“I wasn’t the one who dropped it,” Hyunjin mumbles, frowning between his notebook and what the teacher is writing.

“It’s closer to you than it is to me, s’common sense that you pick it up.”

“Can you stop talking?” Hyunjin whispers with a soft ‘tsk’. “I’m trying to concentrate.”

Jisung keeps watching him for a moment longer, before scoffing his own ‘tsk’ and crossing his arms over his books to rest his chin on them and stare at the front of the class. “Rude…” he huffs, then.

Hyunjin tongues at his cheek, talking without looking over. “Ruder to fall asleep during class and then drop the attendance sheet on the floor…”

“Whatever,” Jisung mumbles, frowning at the white board. Hyunjin wants to roll his eyes but he doesn’t, because that would be just as childish as saying ‘whatever’.

The rest of the class goes by just fine. Jisung ends up dozing off a couple more times but nothing too serious. And, once the teacher dismisses them, he does stand up and picks up the attendance sheet ( hah, I win) to take it to her, who smiles a lot while she chirpily says something to him which in turn seems to make Jisung fluster. 

Hyunjin pouts a little to himself, packing away his things without paying much mind to it. He’s quite used to getting praise, but this is something way out of his comfort zone, and now this idiot who apparently knows more about statistics than he does, is getting praise. Is it a petty thing to pout about? Yes. In any case, he’ll go over his notes, do some research, and return for his next class more than ready to raise his hand and answer the teacher’s questions.

 


 

Jisung

 

College. Ew. Jisung didn’t choose this, his parents did. And all because they firmly believe that ‘rapping underground won’t pay the bills’. There’s a lot more to that, of course; drugs, bad people, bad influences, night clubs, somehow bad dieting was mentioned and nobody really knows why… But the top bit, the most important bit, the tip of the iceberg is that Jisung’s dream is a waste of time. Somehow, Jisung feels exactly the same way about college, but what can he do when he’s not the one paying the bills, right? Haha, cyclic bullshit.

The truth is that Jisung completely forgot that college started today, of all days. It was around 2AM and a few Eyes of Ender later that he realized he had to be awake in a couple of hours. He’d been playing Minecraft all night and he barely noticed the passing time. It’s not entirely his fault, obviously, given that Changbin, who was with him on Discord the entire time, didn’t remember to tell him-- BECAUSE THE RICH FUCKER DOESN’T GO TO SCHOOL! And then in came Bang Christopher Chan! With his fancy Australian accent! Ready to stream something with Changbin on Twitch! And he went, “What are you doing here, mate?” and then it hit Jisung… with a very loud, oh, fuck, and it was at this moment he knew… he fucked up.

It's worth nothing that they live together. Sometimes, they barely see each other, given that they're all very independent. Then again, Jisung always feels like he's leeching off his two friends. And he has a feeling they sort of feel the same way about him, even though his father still gives him the money to help with rent. 

As it is, it’s nearly 3PM and Jisung’s mind is swimming in numbers and hormone imbalance, because that’s what maths does to a person. Honestly, who in their right mind would agree to a Bachelor in Applied Mathematics and Statistics? Nobody! Which is why their class is so small, which means they literally have to share Statistics with those weirdos from Psychology!--Jisung has heard a few rumors… Psychology students get to their second semester and they’re already psychoanalyzing people like the nervous Creepers that they are… Scary…

Sleepy minds beg for food, though, so Jisung agrees to meet with Chan and Changbin for an afternoon lunch slash breakfast because the idiots probably slept until 1PM. I’m just filled with pettiness at this point… That and an incredible craving for jjamppong. Which is exactly what he beams at an hour later, a big bowl of jjamppong just for him.

“I’m starving,” he announces, immediately picking up his chopsticks and twirling some of the noodles around them so he can slurp as loudly as humanly possible. “Might ash’well enter food coma after this--” Munch, munch, munch, sluuuuuurp.

It’s a nice little restaurant that is open practically all day from 12PM to 11PM. Jisung, Changbin and Chan come here a lot. It’s been a thing ever since they were kids and it never stopped being their thing. Not even when Chan graduated, or when he went to spend an entire year abroad once again. It’s actually nice to know that they can always come back to this while also going out there and living out their lives. Eugh, now I’m getting sentimental with noodles hanging from my mouth… Sluuuuuuuurp.

“You’re inhaling that,” Chan says as matter of fact. Jisung just points his chopsticks at him as if to agree. Point, point, point, yes, yes, yes I am. “Eat slower, you’re going to give yourself a stomach ache.” 

“Here,” Jisung says, picking up the empty mussel shell and placing it over Chan’s still untouched jjajangmyeon. “A gift.”

“Speech, speech,” Changbin chants, mouth stuffed with noodles.

“Ooooh!” Jisung exclaims as he smacks his lips. “Shit’s spicy…”

“Oh, lemme try,” Chan goes, leaning forward when Jisung picks up one single noodle. “Please give me some more, that’s just sad…”

“Eat it,” Jisung says very seriously.

“Gimme more!” Chan whines, and Jisung grins a little before lowering his chopsticks to grab a couple more noodles at once. “Thankshhhh--” Slorp. “Nice.”

“H’wah’ass,” Changbin says, if you can call it that, mouth still full of noodles.

“Hwasa’s ass?” Jisung says in English as he blinks over.

“Shash!” Changbin defends in a whine, before swallowing with obvious effort, eyes going a little wide before he hits himself on the chest. “Oh, god, I just almost died. How was class ? Is what I meant.”

“Ah--” Jisung frowns and looks down at the red broth in his bowl. “Boring? Terrible. A waste of time. Can’t believe I’ll have to do another four years of this.”

Changbin nods. “That’s what I said,” he says, looking to Chan. “Isn’t that exactly what I said he’d say?”

“Mhm,” Chan agrees mid slurping some black bean noodles. “Yesh.”

“We missed you,” Changbin pouts.

“I was gone for six hours!” Jisung whines. “Well… a couple more than six hours, considering I had to sleep at a normal person’s schedule.”

“Sex hours,” Changbin nods before giggling like a school kid.

Jisung rolls his eyes. “Ugh…” He shivers, then. “Speaking of which--I hate Biostatistics. Basically, all we did today was get an introduction to most of our subjects and… ew, ew, ew! Thankfully I only have a semester of that.”

“Biostatistics?” Changbin asks as he quirks an eyebrow. “Like… statistics about Biology…?”

“Yeah, medicine and shit…” Jisung mumbles. Sluuuuurp, wah, so spicy...

“I thought you were studying math?”

“I am!” Jisung says and then chokes. Choking on spicy food is terrible to say the least. Wheeze… 

“Sad, that he spent his last day alive in Biostatistics,” Changbin sighs, scooting over a glass of water, which Jisung picks up and drinks in one go. 

“Ugh,” he goes, putting the glass down. “Look--” He places his chopsticks over the table and reaches for his backpack to search for his notebook. “I’ll show you. We did some mock problems and… Ugh--” I’m too sleepy to have any other type of vocabulary, ‘ugh’ will have to do. “It was like--” Jisung pulls out his notebook and glances at it for a second before doing a double take. “Wait.”

Chan glances up, both eyebrows raised. “What…?”

Jisung just… gapes at his notebook. Which… isn’t his notebook. “Fucking--HELL!”

 


 

Hyunjin

 

On one knee, head down, Hyunjin trails his fingers in a crescent in front of him. He grabs his own wrist, pushing up his shirt to his elbow in one quick movement, before unravelling himself smoothly onto the floor. He stays there and stares at the ceiling while ‘when the party’s over’ keeps playing on the speakers, softly and on repeat, as it has for a while now. He loves how it feels when he dances; he loves how it feels to project his feelings into movements and he even loves the slight, gratifying ache in his muscles afterwards.

He wishes everything came to him as naturally as dancing does… He wishes he didn’t have to stress about studying, didn’t have to waste time wrapping his head around concepts that he doesn’t want to dedicate himself to. He wishes he wasn’t so petty about it, either. After all, upon realising that he packed the wrong notebook yesterday, his first reaction was to blame the full-cheeked sleepy idiot who had distracted him enough to make that mistake. Still, Hyunjin has the notebook in his bag, just in case he passes that idiot in the hallways and has the opportunity to use it as a projectile weapon.

Seungmin asked to meet up on campus, so Hyunjin peels himself off the floor to get himself moving in that general direction. So far? College is oddly fun. It’s different, and everyone seems so much weirder now that they’re out of school and can dress and say basically whatever they want. Hyunjin had been a little worried that his long-ish blonde hair would get him stared at and judged, but all it took was that first girl from his first class to show up with bright pink hair to set Hyunjin at ease. Besides, if his hair didn’t look good, it would have come up in one of Hyunjin’s photoshoots.

He puts on his shoes, a headband and ties up half his hair before he gets on his way to the cafeteria on campus where Seungmin had asked to meet. He takes the same bus he takes every morning, scrolling through his Spotify recommendations as he melts on the seat. He wants new music, but he always struggles so much to find it! Why is it so hard to find new music?! Ugh… 

Once Hyunjin is off the bus and walking to the cafeteria, he glances around at all the food; sandwiches and ramens, and wonders if he’ll eventually try all of it. So far, he just keeps going back to that goddamn coffee shop with the heavenly Americanos, but familiarity is a big thing, apparently, so maybe that’s why; knowing that what he is going to get is worth what he’s paying is easier on the nerves.

Familiarity VS new experiences. Honestly, Hyunjin isn’t always sure where to draw the line. Especially because he was so on edge yesterday that he held a stranger to an unfair standard, acted in a way he later regretted a little. Does he know Han Jisung? No, but apparently he remembers his name, which is low key annoying… He doesn’t know Jisung, so it’s very easy to imagine that he was tired for valid reasons that Hyunjin can’t exactly judge. Should I say sorry to the dude when I see him again..? Eh… He doesn’t want to go into his university career knowing there’s someone out there who dislikes him, so maybe he will apologize.

Although, maybe some people just exist to be disliked… And if it’s no longer a matter of someone disliking Hyunjin, it’s a matter of Hyunjin disliking someone.

“YAH!” someone shouts. And when Hyunjin turns around after getting soul-shattering startled, he sees no one other than Han Jisung stomping towards him. He looks different today. For one, Hyunjin can actually see his fluffy dark brown hair, which has been styled away from his face. And then there’s the fact that his sweatpants are really cool, black and with zippers and pockets added to them like patchwork. And why is his black button up so… unbuttoned? This is a school! Nevermind, it’s just a low cut--stop looking, Hwang Hyunjin, Jesus Christ . “You stole my notebook!”

Hyunjin blinks, still recovering from his startle and now high-key aware that everyone in the cafeteria is looking at either of them. He immediately frowns, though, because what the hell is your problem?! “You stole mine!”

“What?!” Jisung sort of pipes, taking a step back and raising an eyebrow. Is that an eyebrow piercing? “No, nonono,” he lifts a hand to wave it dismissively. “You packed up before I did! You were the one who stole my notebook and I just took yours because it was on the table and I thought it was mine!”

“It’s because you were being distracting!” What? 

Jisung makes a face and then shakes his head. “What?!”

“Ugh, here,” Hyunjin grumbles, bringing his backpack forward to search for the damn notebook. He walks closer to do so and when he looks up, he snorts a small laugh. Oh, he’s tiny .

“I feel like you just thought something really condescending, like, just about now,” Jisung hisses, taking the notebook off of Hyunjin’s hands the moment he pulls it out.

“You’re not allowed to judge my thoughts,” Hyunjin says, wiggling his fingers a little once the notebook gets yanked away. Ow…?

“Huh,” Jisung scoffs, turning away just a little and away from Hyunjin just to flip through his notebook. Does he think I drew things on it or something… What?

“Dude, you barely took notes, what do you think I did? Drew a dick in the margins?”

Jisung smacks his notebook closed and then shrugs off one of the straps of his backpack to pull it closer. “Is that even something you can do?” He peeks over. “You look like… I don’t know. Nevermind.”

“See, now you just thought something condescending,” Hyunjin points out. Jisung doesn’t reply to that despite the obvious frown and grumbly pout he’s wearing as he forcefully shoves his notebook into his bag. But Hyunjin notes how red Jisung’s ears get by the second. And Hyunjin’s ears go a little red, too, when he remembers what his own notebook looks like. Which is exactly what he finds himself staring at once Jisung brings out the damn thing; hardcover black with Blackpink’s signatures in pink at the front.

“There…” Jisung says rather softly, Hyunjin quickly reaching out to take the notebook before Jisung can comment on it.

“Anything else?” Hyunjin asks, out of… courtesy? Maybe. All he knows is he’s hugging his notebook, for some reason.

“Huh?” Jisung blinks up and down. “No…?” he says, suddenly looking confused as he shoves his hands into the pockets of his sweatpants. “Not at all…”

Why is the same idiot who yelled ‘YAH’ so loudly in the middle of a cafeteria suddenly acting so shy, what the hell? “See you in class,” Hyunjin grumbles with all the politeness his parents worked into him, turning on his heel to walk away. There are still people looking at them, aaah

And before he manages to turn out of sight, he glances back just for a moment and sees that Jisung is still just… standing there, looking dejected.

Nobody won in that interaction, did they?

 


 

Jisung

 

“I’m not rapping ‘girl’,” Changbin says, eyes on Chan’s lyrics. “It’s the dumbest filler word in the history of lyrics.”

“It’s devushka,” Jisung scoffs, pushing the half eaten cheesecake away from them so it won’t distract them again. They only ordered the thing because they needed a table and the coffee shop was empty. If they’re going to work on a song in broad daylight and in public, Jisung requires the nearest vicinity to be empty of people. “What’s wrong with rapping ‘girl’?”

Gorl ,” Changbin mocks, grinning a little as he adjusts the earphone Jisung can’t even see under that hoodie.

“Devushka is a lot easier to say than molodoy chelovek, dude,” Jisung laughs.

“God, I love rapping Russian words, though. Those consonants go so damn hard . Matrrrrr--” he starts ‘grrrr’ing for some reason. It makes Jisung shiver. “Yosh ka . Good shit.”

“I’m still mad that Chan can’t go,” Jisung mumbles.

“Hm,” Changbin agrees, before looking up at Jisung with a full cheeked smile. “We work great off each other, though. And with only the two of us, we can make the raps a lot tighter. Don’t be maaaad , Sungiiiiie~”

Jisung narrows his eyes. “I’ll tell Chan you’re being a snake behind his back.”

“I’m a Leo,” Changbin says like that’s the rational response.

“Whatever that means,” Jisung scoffs. “Lion cub.”

“Roar,” Changbin deadpans. “Now are you going to help me or not?”

“Yes, yes, yeees,” Jisung ends up singing. He brings out his notebook and flips it open on a blank page. “Alright, let’s split this and make it cool.”

Changbin nods, and they work. It’s always a little chaotic, while also being weirdly methodical. Changbin raps under his breath before simply pointing at Jisung to continue his rap without even a breath between their words. Hopefully, Chan will be a sweetheart and edit the song for them. Nothing much, just a few tweeks. 

“Okay, so I’m thinking you should start it off,” Changbin says, making tons of little scribbles on the notebook covered in lyrics. “Your ad libs are great, too, so don’t hold back. Throw a high note in there if you really wanna screw with them,” he laughs softly. “Don’t look at me like that, I know you can do it.”

Jisung just makes a funny face and looks back down to the notebook. When they turn the page, though, they come across a bunch of scribbles for something else, and Jisung nearly loses his mind. “Ooooooh! Hellevator! Remember?!”

Changbin blinks over, mouth in an ‘o’. “Ooooh, shit, yeah. What ever happened to producing this properly?”

“Dunno, ask Christopher.”

Christopher kept trying to choreograph the damn thing,” Changbin laughs, leaning in to look at the page properly.

“Heh, yeah, I’m no Kpop star,” Jisung scoffs, frowning when he remembers that stupid black notebook with Blackpink’s signatures in pink on it. So, he’s a Blink, huh? Cute.

“I think he wanted to put it on Youtube and choreos always get more attention than just plain audios or recordings or whatever,” Changbin mumbles, before rapping one of Hellevator’s verses under his breath, nodding along.

Jisung shrugs. “Just record my face rapping, I’m sure that’ll get us the numbers.”

Changbin laughs. “Or maybe I’ll just grrrr --” he starts, leaning obnoxiously closer to Jisung’s ear.

“Oh--Oh, no,” Jisung dramatizes as he shivers, “No, no, no, that’s too much.” Seriously, why does this give me so many chills…? Is Changbin that good?!

Changbin giggles and leans away, attention back to the notebook as someone walks into the coffee shop. Jisung scratches at the back of his neck as he tries to focus once again. It’s a rap battle. They have to do well. Well enough to win something, although that will depend on the amount of votes they get. Maybe if I start doing well enough at this, I won’t have to stay in college…

When Changbin asks Jisung to bounce off of him after mumbling a couple of lines to himself, though, Jisung’s instincts kick in and he feels himself become a little smaller where he sits. He glances at the counter where he can see someone ordering something, and then does a double take when he realizes who it is. No way… IS HE FOLLOWING ME?!

Jisung immediately leans back in his chair to frown at his long haired blonde classmate, which seems to get Changbin’s attention because now Jisung isn’t focusing at all.

“Earth to Jisung?” Changbin asks, before following his line of sight. “Ooooh, who’s that ?”

“IRL Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan,” Jisung grumbles. 

Changbin makes a face. “ What?

“He’s the dude who stole my notebook,” Jisung mumbles, glaring a little and looking away the moment the guy turns away from the counter with a smile on his face.

“Did he write his number in it?”

“What?” 

“He’s like--” Changbin gestures, unabashedly, like the extrovert he is. “Hot.”

Jisung sticks out his tongue but still glances over at the guy as he passes by. Hot, huh? Well, he’s definitely pretty, which is a waste on someone like him. “He acts like the world owes him something just ‘cause he’s pretty,” Jisung mumbles, looking back to his notebook. What is he even doing here?! I hate coincidences, universe!

“Aw,” Changbin pouts, looking honestly disappointed. “Now I’m just sad.”

Jisung sighs and rolls his eyes as he leans forward and over the table. “Come on. Let’s finish this so we can go home and bother Chan to play some Minecraft with us.”

 


 

Hyunjin

 

Hyunjin is one of the last students to arrive for the class, and it’s to his own mild horror that he realises everyone has, unanimously and nonverbally, agreed to keep the seats they claimed on their first day. There is a sort of… angry kitten energy oozing off the table he’s supposed to sit at, and Jisung isn’t even looking at him yet. Hyunjin takes a small breath and pinches at the bridge of his nose ( be calm, be civil, be nice ) before walking closer and sitting down. 

Firstly, the dude doesn’t smell like ‘sleep’, the way he did on their first day. Secondly, he’s still wearing what looks like a piercing, and thirdly, there’s a random tuft of hair poking up from his head. It’s frustrating. Ugh, why am I like this?! 

“Hey,” he greets, because that’s what people do, that’s how they interact . They don’t greet each other with loud ‘YAHS’ yelled across cafeterias.

Jisung shifts, crossing his arms under his chin a little tighter and leaning further against the table. “Hey…” he greets back rather curtly. 

I fucking TRIED .

Hyunjin takes out his textbook and his notebook, quickly opening the notebook to a blank page and tapping it with his pen. He smiles a little at a stray thought, then, glancing over to the guy next to him, before pulling the notebook closer and drawing a crude, taught-in-elementary school dick. He even adds some hair to the balls, although that makes the dick look like a cactus, and then a slit and a smiley face. Beautiful . He leans back, nods as he accepts his art for what it is, and then moves the notebook to the middle of the table. Look at it. Behold my peen .

Jisung doesn’t budge. Not for a couple of seconds, at least. But then curiosity seems to take the better of him and he glances over, snorting before he manages to control himself. He looks away, but Hyunjin notes the little smile that doesn’t go away. And, once the teacher walks in, Jisung simply picks up his own pencil and tugs the notebook closer to draw something on it; it’s a dick, too, but it looks like it’s sitting, the way a cat does. So of course Hyunjin steals the notebook once Jisung is done drawing and turns the dick drawing into a cat. Jisung actually seems rather impressed, what with the way his eyebrows arch.

Is this what a truce feels like? 

They spend the rest of the class in silence. Hyunjin takes his notes, Jisung just keeps his arms crossed and listens to the teacher talk. Once it’s time to pack up and leave, though, Jisung stands up first and picks up his things to leave like he’s in a hurry. But he doesn’t go without dropping a piece of paper over Hyunjin’s back. It’s the drawing of a Llama that looks rather penile but is overall cute, next to the single letter ‘U’.

And of course, because Hyunjin is oddly sentimental like that, he keeps the drawing and shows it to his very unimpressed friend, Minho, later on when they meet at the dance studio.

“It looks like you’re flirting,” he says very seriously as he stretches.

Hyunjin pouts and puts the drawing away, safely between the pages of his notebook, before settling down to stretch as well. “He hates my guts and drew me as a penis llama, how is that flirting?”

“Maybe he’s the pulling pigtails type?”

Hyunjin glances at the mirror and sees his ponytail. Ironic . “That’s just you, Minho. By your logic, you flirt with me every day.”

Minho shrugs and looks down as he stretches onto his other side. “Maybe I do. But it’s not like I mean any of it. What was this guy’s name, anyway?”

“You’re assuming I even remember,” Hyunjin says, but pauses and sighs. “Han Jisung.”

“You usually only memorize the names of two types of people; the ones you love and the ones you hate. I’m assuming he falls weirdly in-between…?”

Hyunjin reaches down to stretch, cheek to his knee as he gives Minho his most unimpressed expression. “It’s a good name, alright.” You don’t meet many Hans .

“I agree,” Minho says as he lifts his arms to stretch and then lets himself fall back on the floor like he just lost all his energy. “Is he hot?”

“No, he’s stupid,” Hyunjin says without thinking about it. Thinking about it could change his mind and that’s just not acceptable. “He has like… big cheeks and a lot of hair and he’s, like, tiny.” Not that ‘tiny’ is a bad thing, but if it gets Minho off his back...

“Sounds like big dick energy to me,” Minho sighs before sitting up again. “Anyway… Keep me updated. I ship it already,” he mumbles with the most uninterested expression ever.

Hyunjin rolls his eyes, relaxing in the stretch. Just Minho saying that makes him want to hypothetically reject the guy, no matter how hot he might be, out of spite .

 


 

Jisung

 

Another week, another stupid morning class, two more hours of sitting through Statistics with a pretty boy Jisung now realizes he doesn’t know the name of. In a way, he doesn’t really care enough to ask, but it’s getting difficult and a little old to address the dude as ‘that guy’ or ‘that idiot’ or ‘that asshole’ inside his head whenever he wants to grumble to himself.

“What’s your name?” Jisung asks, then, about forty five minutes into a lecture about numbers. This is just revision, isn’t it? Probability definitions and properties, that’s… last year. And the year before. And the one before that one... Wait. I’m onto something here...

The guy stops tapping at his lips with his pen to look over and blink. “Hwang Hyunjin,” he says, raising his hand before looking at it funny and putting it back down. Was he going for a handshake…?

“I’m Han Jisung.”

“I know.”

Jisung blinks at the teacher at the front. Nice shirt--Wait. Why am I distracting myself from the fact that-- “You know, huh?” he questions, glancing over. I can’t tell if I’m happy or angry about that.

Hyunjin raises an amused eyebrow and points at the front with his pen. “Professor Kim asked you on your first day. It’s a good name, so I remembered it.”

Jisung straightens up just a bit. A good name…? Huh. “Thanks.”

“Yeah, yeah, don’t get smug,” Hyunjin smiles, looking away to the front. Jisung lowers his chin to his arms but keeps his eyes on the guy. He doesn’t think too much about the fact that he's suddenly just… watching this person take notes. It’s not creepy, it’s just… curiosity.

Eventually, when the teacher is explaining something about Exhaustive Outcomes ( mood ), the girl at the table in front of them turns around to ask Hyunjin for a rubber. Jisung watches the entire interaction and registers how the girl gives Hyunjin lowkey double takes. Is this something that happens a lot to conventionally beautiful people? Wait. What?!

A couple of minutes later, the girl turns around again, probably to ask for Hyunjin’s rubber, but Jisung hands over his own and smiles politely at her when she gives him a look. What? Not good enough for you?

“I think she hates me now,” Jisung whispers when the girl turns to the front again.

“Rubbed her the wrong way,” Hyunjin whispers back with a nod. And Jisung snorts and lowers his head into his arms. Goddamn it.

“I guess I just don’t have ‘pretty’ benefits,” he mumbles.

“What was that?”

“I said that probability is defined by range, sure thing and sigma additivity.”

“Uh huh,” Hyunjin goes, apparently not entirely convinced.

When the class ends, the girl gives Jisung back his rubber and everyone packs to leave. Hyunjin’s Blackpink notebook with all of Blackpink’s signatures in pink catches Jisung’s eye, so he reaches over mid pulling his backpack over his shoulder and pokes Lisa’s name. Hyunjin looks over, clearly a bit confused, before pulling the notebook closer to his chest like Jisung is about to snatch it and run. It’s kind of cute. ‘ No .’

Jisung laughs softly and says, “Lalisa,” as he turns around to walk away. “She’s cool!” Jisung doesn’t hear Hyunjin reply, but when he glances back, the guy is still looking at him, now with a small pout.

 


 

Hyunjin

 

“It’s chocolate chip,” Felix chirps, shaking a container full of cookies at Hyunjin’s face. It smells like if heaven was a bakery. So of course, Minho and Hyunjin descend upon it like starved vultures.

“You’re going to open the world’s first Dance Studio Bakery,” Hyunjin says, hand over his mouth so none of the cookies can escape while he eats it. This is literally the best thing he’s ever eaten, what the hell .

“Why not?” Minho says, not caring to close his mouth while he eats. “People dance, waste energy and then get cookies as replenishment.”

“Or just constantly ask for your hand in marriage,” Hyunjin nods, brain still processing the pure flavour .

“Over cookies?” Minho asks, seemingly genuine.

“There have been marriages done for less,” Hyunjin scoffs, as Felix just stands there and blushes. Minho is just looking more and more amused the more he looks between them.

“They’d have to ask really, really nicely,” Felix smiles, stuffing another cookie into Minho’s hand. “But thanks, compliment taken.”

“Can I get a cookie, too?” Sua asks as she peeks over Felix’s shoulder. Felix smiles brightly like the prospect of feeding the entire dance studio is his reason for living. “Ooooh! They look nice!”

“Your first suitor,” Hyunjin jokes, winking over. Felix offers Sua the tupperware and she takes a handful, and if Felix minds, he doesn’t show it. 

“Of many,” Felix smiles, patting at Sua’s head. “Are you busy this Friday?”

Sua blinks. “Wait, you’re actually asking me out on a date? ” she gapes and Felix laughs.

“A party, and all of you--” Felix gestures from Sua past Minho to Hyunjin. “Are my dates!”

Minho raises an eyebrow. “Well, that took a turn. I’m oddly touched. What party? Where are we going?”

“A friend of mine’s house,” Felix nods. “Chan. I must have mentioned him before.”

“Oh, the fellow Australian?” Hyunjin asks and Felix nods. “Sure, I’ll be there,” he smiles, trying to hide his giddy excitement at being invited to a party by a friend I only made recently, eeeep!

“Will there be cookies?” Sua asks with a pout, hanging off of Felix like he’s furniture. They’re both so tiny, Hyunjin is surprised they don’t both sink to the floor.

“Yeah, I can make cookies,” Felix nods.

Special cookies?” Sua grins, and Hyunjin makes a slight face. What’s… special cookies?

“You’re a greedy woman?” Minho says like he’s offended in Felix’s stead. “Aren’t normal cookies enough for you?”

“Well, you’ve clearly never had special cookies,” Sua laughs, letting go of Felix with a loud kiss to his cheek. “Send me the address, mate , I’ll bring my own. Plus booze, obviously.”

Minho gives Hyunjin a look. “Let’s just hope we don’t get arrested for this. Some people are still very much underaged,” he says.

Hyunjin stops chewing to pale a little. “She was… joking, right? She had to be joking.” I can’t get arrested! My parents would lose their minds! --Wait. I'm of age, aren't I? “Felix is Australian , they can drink once they’re eighteen.”

“Unfortunately, this isn’t Australia,” Minho scoffs.

“Let’s hope the Australians remember that, then.”

 


 

Jisung

 

“But is it, like, spooky?” Jisung asks as he looks over Changbin’s shoulder to peek at what the group is watching on his phone. Chan will be away for two months so he organized a party at their place and invited a bunch of people (most of which Jisung has never even heard of). So far, there’s Felix (which Jisung was already acquainted with), Changbin, Minho (a strange, unknown fella), Sua and Siyeon ( no idea who they are, but they seem cool) and Seungmin ( vibes wise, probably the nicest person present in this flat) . Not everyone has arrived yet, though, so they haven’t really started binging the series that Minho suggested they should watch. “Oh, that looks spooky…” Jisung mumbles, shrinking a little at the noises he hears coming from Changbin’s phone. Yeah, not looking anymore.

“I hate dolls ,” Chan says with a little shiver. “It’s that uncanny valley shit, you know? When something looks human but it isn’t.”

“Ever think about how the Uncanny Valley response is such a big part in our evolution that there must have been something human but not human that we had to learn to recognise to survive?” Changbin asks, grinning over at a now horrified looking Chan.

“What are you people even talking about…” Jisung mutters in discomfort. 

“The things that go bump in the night,” Changbin cackles, sinking down with his phone close to his nose, even as the noises continue.

“Wish I was going bump in the night,” Chan grumbles, glancing at the front door. The place is nicely decorated for the party; little lights and tables filled to the brim with drinks (non-alcoholic, because they are law-abiding good boys and girls) and snacks.

“Kids always make horror shows more wacky, somehow,” Sua offers as she leans away and then twirls until she drops onto the couch. “If they’re good actors.”

“It’s the juxtaposition of their innocence with the horrors of… horror,” Chan says. “That sentence started well.”

“Woah, wait--” Changbin points at his phone. “She fucking shushed the ghost!”

“Great, innit?” Minho grins over.

“Should have known you’d like spooky shit,” Changbin laughs, and then nearly jumps out of his own shoes when the doorbell rings, Chan barking a laugh at him while Minho just watches Changbin in even more amusement. Chan needs to go open the damn door, but he’s nearly on the floor with his laughter, pointing at Changbin’s face before cracking again.

“I’ll get it!” Siyeon says as she lifts her hand and turns away from the group to walk up to the front door. Jisung is looking at her for some reason, (it probably has something to do with how mesmerizing her bobbed blue haircut is) so he totally sees the two people she opens the door to, one of which he definitely, definitely knows. 

Hwang Hyunjin.

The other guy quickly introduces himself as Jeongin.

Well, now the universe is definitely mocking Jisung. Why? Well, he can’t really tell. But… it’s unsettling in a way he can’t quite pin down. It’s twisting his mood and making him angry. Again…

Ugh, I need therapy, don’t I…?

“Hello!” Hyunjin greets brightly, looking dressed up despite just being in a white t-shirt, jeans and a bucket hat. It’s the brands… Brands make everything look fancier… “I brought food,” he says, holding out the two plastic bags filled with white containers. “Sorry if that’s… wrong.”

“Nope, definitely not wrong,” Siyeon chirps, taking a couple of bags and turning around with them in both hands. “Come in, come in. It’s not my house but we can pretend it is!”

Jisung immediately stiffens, looking away and holding tighter at his can of Chilsung Cider. He feels like a lamppost in the middle of a cold night, just sort of… standing there and frowning at a wall. He lowers his head when the others walk closer and everyone begins shaking hands and bowing heads. Jisung doesn’t know what’s with the sudden drop in energy but… well, at least his hair is covering the way he’s glaring at the floor.

When it’s his turn to greet the new arrivals, Jisung lifts his head just to purse his lips in a thin smile and wave small with his free hand. He kind of has to ignore the look of surprise on Hyunjin’s face when their eyes finally meet. One coincidence? Fine. Two? Eh. But three? No.

Wait. Three?

“Oh, hey,” Hyunjin smiles, blinking around for a second. “You should... dress like this more often,” he seems to decide to say, then, with a nod. “Looks nice.”

Jisung blinks at the whiplash he suddenly feels. Is he angry? Is he flustered? WHAT IS THIS?! “Thanks…” he says, mostly just to himself. Thankfully, Hyunjin is close enough to hear him. “I’d… offer you the same compliment but you look nice in literally everything--” Shut the fuck up.

Hyunjin laughs softly in amused confusion, reaching back to palm at his neck. “Uhm. Thanks? I didn’t, uhm, know you knew Minho and Felix…”

Whatever.  “I only met Minho today,” Jisung mumbles, looking to the side when Siyeon passes by and he has to make way for her. “I knew Felix through--” Jisung points at Chan with the hand holding the can of Chilsung Cider, “Bang Chan. We’re in the same--” If he makes fun of me or looks at me in any way sort of condescending, he will be my sworn enemy for life. “Rap group.”

Wah, you rap?” Hyunjin asks in a slight gape, with… absolutely no judgement or any sort of condescending. Ugh, why can’t you make this easy for me?! 

“Yes,” Jisung says as he straightens up just a little and tries to shove his free hand into the nonexistent pocket of his denim jacket. Fuck. My. Life. That was so uncool. He wiggles his hand as he tries to make it all seem very, very planned. “Yeah.”

Hyunjin laughs-- oh, he totally noticed that, the ass-- and smiles teasingly. “You any good?”

Jisung scoffs and glances over. “Come see us next week and make your own judgements.”

Hyunjin raises a single eyebrow, like a challenge. “Oh. Sure. If you come to my dance showcase the week after that.”

Jisung raises both eyebrows and looks Hyunjin up and down. “You dance?”

“It’s where I know Felix from, yeah.”

“Didn’t take you for a dancer. You any good?”

Hyunjin laughs, shrugging as he puts his hands in the pockets he clearly actually has . “Better than good.”

“Why does it sound like the two of you just put out your dicks and rulers for measurements?” Minho asks all of a sudden, making Jisung screech like he’s in a horror movie. WAS HE HERE ALL ALONG?!

“That’s what they’ll be judging for themselves in three weeks,” Changbin grins.

“Yah,” Jisung warns, ignoring the way his ears are burning and giving Changbin a look.

“I’ll go, er,” Hyunjin says, pointing backwards. “Help. Kitchen. Yeah,” he says, smoothly turning himself around on the heel and practically running to the kitchen. Minho gives Jisung an amused look and then turns to follow after Hyunjin while Changbin watches them go with a low whistle.

“What?” Jisung asks, taking a sip of the Chilsung Cider that he hasn’t miraculously spilled all over the place.

“What what?” Changbin asks back, smiling innocently. Jisung frowns at him and then just opts to ignore him. Idiot.

 


 

Hyunjin

 

“I don’t get paid well enough for this but,” Minho huffs as he leans against the counter, tilting himself over it to peek at Hyunjin’s face. “Notebook guy?”

Hyunjin feels the need to glare up a little, before he looks down to keep moving small kimbaps onto a big plate. “Yeah, what about it.”

Minho glances back towards the door and then looks at Hyunjin again. “Tiny, huh?” he suggests. And then scoffs. “Then again… There’s Changbin…”

“You are barely taller than either of them,” Hyunjin says.

“Still counts.”

“Sure it does,” Hyunjin says and then sighs a little, scratching at his forehead. I didn’t know he’d be heeeere, ugh… Why does that even bother me?!

“Does he…” Minho trails off, carefully glancing over and then turning towards the counter to cross his arms over it and look up. “I mean…”

Hyunjin frowns up. “Huh? Does he what?”

“Nevermind,” Minho huffs, leaning away and looking at the small kimbaps. “Oh.” He reaches for one and shoves it whole in his mouth. “Nishee,” he nods, giving Hyunjin a thumbs up. Hyunjin smiles and shakes his head.

“Don’t worry, I won’t let--” Hyunjin gestures vaguely. “Whatever… This is, get in the way of a nice party.

Minho blinks up and waits for a second or two before asking, “Why would it get in the way?”

“No idea, but getting into a screaming match would certainly damper the mood, no?”

“He’s that volatile, is he…?” Minho scoffs.

“No…?” Hyunjin groans. “I don’t know! Maybe I’m the volatile one. But I swear, the one moment we’re joking around and the next he’s looking at me like I’m about to step on a landmine.”

“That sounds entertaining…”

“Ha ha,” Hyunjin goes, picking up another kimbap and stuffing it into Minho’s mouth. He doesn’t complain in the slightest. “He’s… cute, though, I’ll admit that,” Hyunjin mumbles while Minho can’t talk back. 

“Oh!” a girl suddenly says. Hyunjin startles and Minho just looks around very slowly like he expected her to be there all along. “Those look cute!” Sua chirps, reaching over to take the plate and then quickly turning around to take it into the living room. “Thanks for the help, Hyunjin!”

“You’re welcome,” Hyunjin blinks, quickly looking over at Minho to glare. “Say nothing.”

In the living room, people have already accommodated to their specific places. Some are on the floor, others squished like canned sardines on the couch. The small coffee table is full of snacks and drinks and… Well, much to Hyunjin’s displeasure, his eyes lock onto the only person, besides him and Minho, who’s still standing up, busy grinning at Changbin while poking him with his socked foot.

“You’re gonna scream like a little girl,” Jisung teases, quickly crouching when Changbin slaps his foot away. “Like a little girl,” Jisung whispers aggressively over Changbin’s shoulder, making the guy shrug like an ominous wind just tickled his neck. Hyunjin smiles to himself and finds a place to sit on the floor by the coffee table.

STOP IT! ” Changbin screams (like a little girl), and Hyunjin can’t help but laugh along with the group.

Jisung sits nearby, but closer to the TV than the rest of them. Everything is fine at first, and they keep rewinding whenever someone screams ‘GHOST!’ after apparently having spotted one in the background of a scene. Minho mostly laughs and eats, and seems particularly amused by Changbin’s whiny reactions. As for Jisung, the more Changbin whines next to him, the more vocal and loud he gets. Hyunjin is just… trying really hard not to startle too badly.

They go through episodes pretty easily. There are a few jumpscares that make Changbin yell like he’s about to start crying but Jisung just holds onto him and laughs the way people do when they’re scared or nervous. ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’, that’s the show’s name. It’s really good, even if it has Hyunjin so nervous he has to take his hat off so he won’t sweat himself a helmet. Hopefully, they’ll be able to gather, all of them, once more in the near future, to finish the show.

“Has anyone here watched the other one?” Felix asks between an episode and then next. “‘The Haunting of Hillhouse’...? ‘Cause if not then we should do this again sometime and watch that one.”

“There’s another one?!” Changbin squeaks, smiling in the most scared way a person can smile.

“Yeah, it has a lot more jumpscares, though,” Chan grins. “Up for it?”

Changbin shakes his head but Jisung clings to him and pats his head. “It’s okay,” Jisung says, “I’ll hold him.”

Hyunjin smiles over softly, before he hears himself scream and feels himself jump as a door in the house slams shut. 

“SUA!” Siyeon screams in an accusatory tone, and Hyunjin has his hand pressed to his chest, feeling the way his heart wants to beat itself out of it. Sua cackles from the hallway, and Hyunjin stares with wide eyes at the floor. Oh, god, this is how I die.

“Do you need to be held, too, dude?” Changbin asks from where he’s completely leaning into Jisung’s hold. “There’s some space here, I think.”

“What?” Jisung asks, looking down at Changbin and seeing only hair, most likely. Hyunjin tries to not be entirely offended, even as he shakes his head and laughs softly.

“No, no, no, I’m fine, just--” he plops to the side and laughs. “Dead. Bee ar bee.”

“Oh, he dead,” Changbin jokes. “Jisung, poke him with your foot. The smell will revive him instantly.”

“What the hell is wrong with you!” Jisung laughs, shoving Changbin away. Hyunjin ‘ oofs’ when the weight falls on him instead.

“Oh, hey there,” Changbin grins and Hyunjin squeaks, ears going red. There are too many! Boys! Here!  

“Changbin, please,” Chan laughs. “Not everyone can match your gay energy.”

His what energy?! 

Hyunjin covers his face with his hands and lies there, waiting for actual death.

“His what?” Minho asks like he just got pulled into the conversation like a magnet attracted to the word ‘gay’.

Hyunjin peeks to see Changbin getting off of him and raising a hand. “One gay, ready and accounted for. If that bothers you, the door is there,” he says, pointing at said door.

“This is my house,” Chan laughs. “But yes, what he said.”

“It’s my house, too,” Jisung scoffs.

“And mine,” Changbin nods. “I bought the coffee machine.”

“I’m not bothered, just suddenly interested,” Minho says.

“In men?” Sua laughs.

“I wouldn’t say that’s sudden but…” Minho mumbles, looking up.

Hyunjin doesn’t know what to do with himself, so he just lies there in his shame. I should… say something, right? This is a safe space, right? 

And yet, no words come out, and neither does he. 

… Coward.

Anygay, ” Felix goes. “Another episode or do we need to give Jinnie a minute?”

“I’m ga-- Fine! I’m fine,” Hyunjin squeaks. 

“That you are,” Sua jokes. “A fine, fine man-- Ow!” She laughs when Siyeon hits her.

“Do I need to give everyone a minute for that , now?” Felix asks. “Just go around in a circle and flirt with my attractive friend, is that what you want?”

“Jealous?” Minho asks as he glances up at Felix, leaning back against his legs.

“It’s okay,” Seungmin says softly, reaching over to pat Felix’s shoulder. “You’re very handsome, too. Very attractive.”

“It’s the voice,” Chan nods.

“Oh, the voice,” Jeongin laughs.

“And the mullet, obviously ,” Seungmin nods, and Hyunjin smiles a little from the floor as he watches Felix blush.

“Crikey, can we just go back to the show, now?” Felix flusters, and Hyunjin frowns a little when he sits up and looks at Jisung. How is it that sometimes he’s the loudest in the group, and other times he just… doesn’t say anything? It’s happened before, where Jisung has just been seemingly uncharacteristically quiet. Then again, Hyunjin doesn’t know his character. Maybe being loud is uncharacteristic for him? Huh…

Right now, Jisung is just looking between the group as the conversation bounces around. There is no expression of judgement on his face but he looks rather serious as he just… watches everyone talk. And apparently Hyunjin is just watching him watch them. Like an idiot.

“If Hyunjin or Changbin faints, we can do something else,” Chan supplies. “I have Uno. And we can always use energy drinks for drinking games. See who starts vibrating first.”

“Move,” Changbin says, quite easily scooting Hyunjin closer to Jisung as he takes a seat on the opposite side. “I don’t need him clinging to me again, but you might.”

“Heh?” Hyunjin goes, ears suddenly feeling very hot. Jisung just blinks very fast like he’s finally catching up with the conversation.

“You can totally cling to me if you get scared,” Minho says to Changbin.

Changbin looks over in amused surprise, ears probably matching Hyunjin’s by how bright red they suddenly are. “Thanks..?”

“You’re welcome. But I might scare you, too, just fair warning.”

“Yeah, when you actually get to know him, it’s terrifying,” Hyunjin says.

“I meant jumpscare him, but thanks,” Minho deadpans.

“Just fair warning,” Hyunjin smiles innocently, brushing away a stray strand of his blonde hair before it gets in his eye.

Sua raises her hand. “You can totally hold me if you’re scared--”

Sua ,” Siyeon laughs, elbowing the girl again.

“Look, I’m just saying ,” Sua hisses at Siyeon, rubbing at her ‘wound’. “ You haven’t seen him dance.”

“I am pressing play!” Felix practically screeches.

“Thank you,” Jisung offers with a small chuckle. 

Hyunjin brings his shoulders in a little so he isn’t touching either of the boys next to him, suddenly hyper aware of it. But, eventually, as the show progresses, everyone forgets who they are or not supposed to cling to. Jisung, especially, being so close to the TV, practically catapults himself over Hyunjin and Changbin when one of the characters turns around and nearly faceplants into a ghost. Hyunjin’s heart is hammering away so he just clings to whatever is closest, face pressed against someone’s back. Why did I agree to this?! My nerves are shot! Am I shaking?! Ugh!

“Oh! Oh! Oh!” Jisung exclaims, then, hitting Hyunjin’s shoulder but reaching back to grip at Changbin’s shirt. His voice is so close that, rationally, Hyunjin is aware that Jisung is the person he’s currently clinging to, but even as he tells his arms to let go, they seem entirely locked in place and refuse the command. “Look, look! Over there! Is that--”

“It’s a pole , you idiot,” Chan says as Changbin whimpers.

Jisung doesn’t seem to be aware of the fact that he’s practically sitting over Hyunjin’s lap. And even less aware of the fact that Hyunjin has his arms wrapped around his waist like a car’s middle seat seatbelt. Hyunjin pleads innocence by reason of mild insanity, and just hides his face in the man’s denim jacket, ignoring how nice it smells.

“A purposefully human shaped pole, I swear,” Siyeon scoffs.

“If the main character doesn’t go insane by the end of this, I’ll build her a shrine,” Seungmin offers.

“If the main character doesn’t kiss the gardener by the end of this, I’ll give this show one star,” Minho says.

“It’s my Netflix account,” Chan laughs.

“Exactly,” Minho agrees.

“Do you think they--” Sua whispers and Hyunjin hears Siyeon go, “ Shhhhh .”

The episode ends on a more somber note instead of a jumpscare, thankfully, but Hyunjin’s arms are still locked around Jisung’s waist and he can’t… move. Why do things like this affect him so much? How are Chan and Minho just sitting there, completely unaffected?! And Hyunjin is so lame, suddenly, that he can’t even let go of someone who does nothing but confuse him and piss him off.

“Ah, this is giving me a rush,” Jisung says, fanning himself a little. Hyunjin can practically feel his voice much deeper against his own chest. Hyunjin’s tiny gay soul quivers just a little, without his permission.

Changbin scoffs. “ What is? Specifically.”

“The show?” Jisung scoffs, glancing over and dropping his hands. One of them falls over Hyunjin’s arm, and that seems to be the exact moment when Jisung realizes that, well, they’re… attached. Hyunjin literally feels Jisung’s entire body pause. He even stops breathing for a second there. “Wha…” Jisung twists around just enough to look at Hyunjin with confused, wide eyes and for a moment Hyunjin expects him to complain, yeet, get rude or loud or do something hurtful that isn’t entirely Jisung’s fault. Instead, though, Jisung just blinks and then looks away again, reaching for one of the leftover kimbaps and shoving it into his mouth like he’s just planning to pretend this isn’t happening at all. It’s… nice, because it gives Hyunjin time to actually calm down a little and slowly let go. “I wonder if that guy is her brother,” Jisung idly comments as he shifts from Hyunjin’s lap to the spot in front of him.

“Bet you an Americano it’s her boyfriend,” Hyunjin mumbles.

“Ew, why is he haunting her, though?” Jisung asks, turning around to look over, one cheek puffed as he munches. Hyunjin can’t help but look at it. Hamster… Squirrel… Cheek pockets.

“It ended badly…?” he laughs, a little nervously. “I don’t know! In these shows, it’s always the boyfriends…”

“I’d also haunt my partner,” Minho offers.

“That gender neutral ‘partner’, though,” Sua scoffs with a smile. “Subtle.”

“Thanks,” Minho chirps with a proud smile.

 


 

Jisung

 

Another day, another bunch of useless classes. Jisung sits down at his usual table for another Statistics class, earphones still pounding ‘SMOKY’ by Jooheoney into his ears. He pulls his backpack over the table and faceplants into it, closing his eyes for a moment and taking a deep, quiet breath. Tired… need sleep… And I need… What does he need, other than sleep? Who knows. Ugh, he thinks when ‘DIA’ begins right after ‘SMOKY’ ends. Gooooo, Jooheyoney One Honey...

The table jostles lightly and Jisung lifts his head and turns it to squint at Hyunjin, who just sat down and is adjusting the little ponytail at the back of his head. A tanktop, huh? You can’t be that hot. And Jisung means that in the literal sense of the word ‘hot’, as in… here he is, wearing a hoodie, and there Hyunjin is, in black sweatpants and a random white tanktop.

“Good morning,” Jisung mumbles, pressing his cheek against his backpack. Why am I still looking at this guy? Ugh. Hyunjin says something, tapping at his own ear with a small smile and Jisung realises he can’t hear him , because Jooheon is going off , etc. So, Jisung pulls at the cable of one of his earphones and raises a questioning eyebrow. “What?”

“What are you listening to?” Hyunjin asks, still with that stupid smile.

“Jooheoney,” Jisung mumbles. “Know of him?”

“Duh,” he scoffs, moving closer and stealing the earphone. “Gimme.”

Jisung straightens up and crosses his arms over the table, pouting a little while ‘DIA’ finishes and then ‘PSYCHE’ starts. He glances down when Hyunjin’s arm brushes against his hoodie, and then looks away with a frown when something sparks inside his chest and he starts feeling angry. Again. Why does this keep happening?! Why do I hate this guy?!

“Their choreos are fun to do,” Hyunjin says, then, conversationally. “Monsta X, I mean.”

“Hm…” Jisung half-heartedly agrees. But then he frowns some more and glances over. “Are you saying that because it’s true or because you’re a noob at dancing?”

Hyunjin makes a bit of a face. “What..?”

“Well, y’know, I’ve never seen you dance.” Oh, no, we’re fighting again.

“Well, yeah, but their dances are difficult, which makes it fun for me to master it, is what I meant,” he mumbles, handing Jisung back his earphone and sitting back. 

Jisung looks at the earphone in his palm and then closes his hand around it, looking at the white board and pouting at it. Ugh… “How was… The rest of your weekend?”

“I had to sleep with my light on,” Hyunjin says, quite matter of factly. “You?”

Jisung snorts but immediately quiets down. “Ah… just fine.” Obviously, he’s not about to tell this guy, of all people, that he’s been having trouble sleeping. Especially because it has nothing to do with the stupid horror series they watched--which, by the way, was amazing. It’s just… Jisung keeps himself busy most of the time. And when he doesn’t have anything to keep busy with, his brain gets busy for him. 

Overthinking, the Queen curse of all curses.

Hyunjin narrows his eyes and looks over. “I hope you’re not judging me in that head of yours. I trusted you,” he seems to joke. “We bonded and everything.”

Jisung tongues at his lower lip to find dry bits of skin to bite at. “Mhm…” he agrees, because… Well, it’s true. They did, sort of, bond. Right? Right. But why does that make me feel all weird?

“Alright,” Hyunjin sort of sighs, just as the teacher walks in and immediately addresses the class.

“Are yoush--” Jisung bites his lip too harshly and slams a fist down as he lowers his head. Fuuuuuuuck! THAT HURT!

“Mr. Han...?” the teacher questions.

“Yes!” Jisung chirps, immediately standing up like he’s a soldier and this is the Academy. “Yes! Present! Sorry!”

“Calm down, yes?” the teacher says, eyes a little wide. “Otherwise, I advise you to go outside and walk around for a bit… Maybe that’ll help.”

“I’m fine!” Jisung says but his voice breaks at ‘fine’ and he blushes bright red. There are a couple of girls giggling at the front, which doesn’t help, so he just plops down onto his chair and sighs the moment the teacher turns around with a roll of her eyes.

“Are you okay..?” Hyunjin asks in a very soft whisper, like the teacher will turn around at the slightest sound.

Jisung reaches up to touch his throbbing lip and then looks at his bloodied finger. “Yeah… fine.” He sucks his lip in and glances over-- Ah, the taste of iron. “I was going to ask--” His eyebrow twitches when he hears the girls still giggling at the front of the class, so he turns to glare at them. “Yah, come on! It’s over!” he complains. And when they stick their tongues out at him, he makes a face at them. 

“Jisung,” Hyunjin laughs softly, apparently incredibly amused by his little display. 

“What?” Jisung asks, looking back at him.

“You look like a vampire, dude…”

“I’ll take that as a compliment. Now. I wanted to ask you if you’re still bent on coming to the rap battle to watch me and Changbin kick some ass.”

“I look forward to it,” Hyunjin smiles, shaking his head as he looks away and starts taking his things out of his bag; notebook, pen, tissues? “Here, have one.”

“You can bring Minho with you,” Jisung says as he takes the tissue.

“He already invited himself. He thinks your friend is cute.”

“He’s not wrong,” Jisung admits with a tilt of his head and a shrug. “I mean… Our Netflix account has four profiles: Chan, Han, Felix and Changbaby . So…”

“Han,” Hyunjin grins, holding up a single finger. Yes, Han means one, congratulations. “Are you nervous..?”

Jisung shrugs again but then nods a bit. “Yeah…? Slightly. But I think we’ll be fine.”

“Have you done it before?”

“Yeah, once…”

“Just remember that I’m watching and you’ll do great ,” Hyunjin teases. “Need something to be smug about, no?”

“Hah,” Jisung scoffs, leaning back in his chair looking down as he unfolds the tissue. “Do you… also think that my friend is cute?”

Hyunjin purses his lips and moves them from side to side as he seems to think. “I like… Kihyun more than Changkyun. Aesthetically. If that answers your question.”

Jisung frowns and looks up to squint at the ceiling. Kihyun… Ah, from Monsta X. “Yeah, I guess. I don’t get it but it probably answers my question…” Hm… “I meant like… Y’know. There are varying ways to find someone cute. I think that our teacher is cute and I think that my mother is cute but I’m sure it’s not the same type of cute Minho thinks about when he’s looking at Changbin.”

“Ah, I,” Hyunjin shifts a little and looks away. “He’s… definitely cute, but no, not like--like that…”

Jisung nods. “Hm… I see, okay.”

The teacher takes them through Set Theory and Jisung finds himself a little distracted by how Hyunjin’s muscles do things when he’s writing. That’s normal. Muscles do stuff. That’s the point of muscles. Jisung’s muscles do things, too. He’s sure. He tries not to look but that turns the remaining class into an inner battle of sorts. Which… WHY?!

Once it’s time to pack up to leave, Jisung stands up but leans over Hyunjin’s notebook before he closes it to write his phone number on one of the pages with one of Hyunjin’s pens. “There… So we can text when the time comes,” he says, leaning back and throwing the pen over the table.

“Oh,” Hyunjin goes, apparently genuinely surprised. “Okay, thanks,” he smiles, then, before he finishes packing up and stands up. “Do you have an Insta? Twitter? You strike me as a Twitter person, for some reason. Shit posts and cat pics.”

Jisung feels mildly offended. “I do have an Instagram account. I just don’t post often… And yes, I have a Twitter account but mostly for Minecraft funsies.”

“Oh, I’ve never played Minecraft, but it looks fun.”

“You--” Jisung leans back to make a double chin or two pop. “You’ve never played Minecraft…”

“Uhm, no…?” Hyunjin says, pouting a little. “Don’t judge me, I didn’t used to have a lot of free time, okay? And the little time I had, I used to practise, so… No, no Minecraft.”

“Fine,” Jisung sighs and then lifts his chin and a finger to poke at Hyunjin’s nose with. “If I impress you real good at the rap battle, you’ll accept to come over to play Minecraft together.”

Hyunjin leans back like Jisung’s poke was super effective. “Wait, really?”

“Yes, really,” Jisung says and then grins. “Which means you’re coming anyway, ‘cause there’s no way I won’t rock your shoes off.”

Hyunjin laughs and nods, looking away-- Am I blushing? --as he takes a step backwards. “Like I said, I look forward to it. Bye bye ,” he waves, then, in smol English.

“Byyyyeee,” Jisung says, waving back. He stops once Hyunjin exits the classroom and is out of view and then looks at his hand before grabbing his own wrist and glaring at it. WHAT AM I DOING?! I’M SUPPOSED TO DISLIKE THIS GUY WITH A BURNING PASSION! “AHHHHHH--”

“Mr. Han, are you alright?” the teacher asks from her desk.

“Yeeees!” Jisung whines.

 


 

Hyunjin

 

Hyunjin is immediately met with an electric and incredibly exciting atmosphere, somewhere between anticipation and rebellion. He’s never been to a rap battle or anything even remotely like it, and he’s been vibrating in his Converse for what feels like days. Felix offered to show him around the place, which Hyunjin knows just means ‘babysitting’ but he doesn’t mind; this is a whole new world and he is a baby in this setting, at least.

Apparently, there will be two circuits, pre-written and freestyle. Jisung and Changbin signed up for the pre-written battle, although, according to Felix, Jisung really, really wants to get good enough to sign up for both. Hyunjin has attempted rapping, but unfortunately, he’s never been the type of person who builds off of criticism very well if it isn’t constructive, and he was always completely alone in his attempts, unlike Felix, who has three whole rappers to teach him.

“I’m expecting them to either be really good or really bad,” Minho says as he looks around. “I mean, have you looked at Changbin? He dresses all in black but I bet he still sleeps with his ten plushies.”

“Oddly specific number,” Hyunjin grins over. “Has he been telling you about his plushies?”

“No, but I took a wild guess.”

Hyunjin laughs and gets on his tippy toes, bouncing a little up and down as he keeps looking around. Is he actually going to be good…? Probably. Hyunjin knows people don’t just sign up for these things for the hell of it; they’d get laughed at. There are steps to getting here and passing those steps requires talent, so… “Yeah, they’ll probably be great,” Hyunjin decides.

They hang around for a while. Lots of people keep gathering and Hyunjin notes that there seems to be a theme going on with everyone’s clothing. A theme he didn’t exactly stick to but then again neither did Minho or Felix. Minho, specifically, looks like he’s about to go pick up his date, tucked button up, coat and all-- Oh, he thinks Changbin is cute, cute, doesn’t he? And yeah, maybe Hyunjin dressed up a little within the ‘badass’ theme, with his most expensive brand hoodie and a few small braids in his hair, falling over his headband, hair loose, but at least he isn’t wearing something with buttons .

Hyunjin keeps bouncing, getting impatient with how excited he is, and heart jumping out of his chest when loud music starts blaring from the closest speaker. Jesus fucking Christ--

“Wooooh,” he hears Minho go, voice muffled by the loud bass that is making the floor quake. Hyunjin reaches out to take Minho’s arm, eyes wide on the stage now lit up as the rest of the lights turn off to draw everyone’s attention to it without question. This is so coooooooooooool…  

The crowd is suddenly a bunch of shadows and whistles. There’s a cold breeze running by despite the amount of people that keep amounting together and pushing closer to the stage, and Hyunjin finds himself getting closer and closer while Minho single handedly makes way for them and for Felix, who’s following right behind.

People Hyunjin doesn’t know walk onto the stage with incredibly hype inducing music that immediately makes the crowd buzz, and Hyunjin watches them, lips kissing at their microphones, spitting out rhymes and rhythms and burns with incredible passion. Hyunjin can’t even see the face of one of the guys, given that his bucket hat is covering him all the way down to his nose, but it’s like he doesn’t need to see his face; his voice and his words and his body language are enough.

This has to take so much confidence , Hyunjin thinks, which is a funny thought when it comes to Han Jisung. Because while the man is certainly confident and can be loud when he needs to be, Hyunjin keeps sensing a shyness from him. But maybe that’s just because he doesn’t want to talk to me

A couple more people go on stage and perform. They all have stage names but Hyunjin has never heard of them before. Is this what they mean when they talk about underground rapping? He also doesn’t recognize the names SPEARB and J.ONE when those get announced which is why he gets a little whiplash when he sees Changbin and Jisung walk onto the stage as a cracking sound comes out of the speakers.

“What?!” Hyunjin goes, but it gets completely drowned out by the music as it starts.

Jisung looks… Like he’s flipped a switch. He moves freely around the stage as he spits words onto the microphone. And while there’s nothing exactly scratchy about his voice, while it’s not exactly like the ones who came before, he makes it sound clean and yet far too interesting. It helps that he’s so expressive, too. And what’s with that vein popping out of his neck?!

Is that even Jisung? Is J.ONE another person who just looks slightly like Jisung but is… Really, really hot?! Oh, no… He’s so good… He’s so good. He doesn’t miss a beat or a syllable and he plays around with his voice in a way that makes Hyunjin think he could probably outsing everyone in this room.

Changbin doesn’t fall too far behind--Actually, nevermind, he’s really good, too. The way he makes that first ‘matryoshka’ roll in his throat literally sends whistles up in the air from the audience and has Minho’s eyebrows come up in pleasant surprise.

They do two songs. The first, ‘Matryoshka’, and the second ‘ZONE’, both completely different and yet… not really. Very on brand in a way that Hyunjin can’t quite pinpoint. And Chan is supposed to be part of this? The three of them together are most likely just… monsters on stage.

Hyunjin is gaping as their last song ends, and he realises he’s been openly gaping this entire time. A great look on you, Hyunjin, really. But how--How am I supposed to talk to Jisung after this?! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LOOK HIM IN THE EYE!?

“Okay, I did not expect that,” Minho offers once everything goes silent.

 


 

Jisung

 

It could have been better, but Jisung is quite satisfied with their performance. Still, he’s trying to keep his leg from bouncing too much while he sits and waits for the results, Changbin quietly sitting next to him and watching YouTube videos on his phone like he’s not worried at all. Alright, two can play at this game. I can pretend I’m not worried either!

“Whatcha watching?” Jisung asks, leaning closer to take a peek.

“Married couple playing Minecraft,” Changbin scoffs.

“Oh Dreeeeeeaaaaam ~” Jisung teases. Ah, love them Minecraft YouTuber references.  

“They just--” Changbin laughs, shaking his head. “They just keep exploding, I love them . I want these mods, Jisung, we need to try and play this game while constantly exploding everything we look at.”

“Chan will hate it,” Jisung chuckles, looking up when another one of the rappers passes by.

“Even better!”

“He will get so mad, though!” Jisung laughs, peeking at the phone again and then looking up once more when someone taps him on the knee. “Hm?”

“Les’go up,” another guy tells him.

“Oh, hey--” Jisung elbows Changbin, who whines. “Put that away, let’s go.”

It’s difficult to spot faces among the crowd. Jisung finds himself wondering at some point if their friends made it, if anyone at all made it. He wishes he could share this with his parents, too, but they wouldn’t understand. So, friends is all Jisung can count on. Because otherwise? Well, it sucks not having anyone to share accomplishments or disappointments with. Ugh, Chan, I miss you and your pep talks already…

Of all things, though, Jisung didn’t expect to win. He does a double take at the MC when his name and Changbin’s get mentioned like he can’t quite believe it and he gapes while blindly reaching for Changbin’s arm. Changbin looks ecstatic, turning to Jisung to gape and beam.

“We did it!” he yells and then the two of them proceed to scream at each other in incoherent babble, which makes a couple of people laugh at them and some others laugh with them.

Jisung is suddenly really happy! He achieved something! And yet… it doesn’t really matter, does it? He knows he won’t be able to do much more than this; attend an occasional rap battle or hope that one day someone picks up 3Racha’s stuff on YouTube and gives it a go. All because his parents won’t approve. Hell, maybe even if they picked up 3Racha’s stuff, only Chan and Changbin would be able to keep at it.

Changbin gets a call from Felix the moment they’re outside and Jisung excuses himself to go sit alone by a wall nearby. He keeps staring at his phone, at his father’s contact on the screen, but the more he stares at it the sadder he gets. And the problem with Jisung and getting any sort of emotional whiplash is that… Well, he just turns it all into anger, because that’s easier to deal with. So, if he cries a little, it’s out of frustration for not being able to hit a pillow.

Jisung lowers his head and softly hits his phone against his forehead a couple of times, hoping that makes the tears stop. Unfortunately, it just makes it worse. He hates self-pitying himself. He really, really needs Chan to kick his ass. So, that’s who he calls.

It takes a bit, but the call connects.

“Jisung!” Chan greets excitedly. “Wait, shouldn’t you be rapping right now?”

“We won…” Jisung says, annoyed when his voice breaks a little and he has to sniffle.

“Oh! That… That’s great, right? Jisung…?”

“You should have been here.”

“I’ll be there next time, Sungie.”

“You better be. I wanna win with you, too. The three of us…”

“We will, we will, don’t worry… Is that why you’re crying..? And yes, I can tell.”

Jisung keeps his eyes down and reaches up to scratch into his hair. It’s soft to the touch. Somehow, that makes him feel better. “I don’t know. I just… It’s fine. We’ll talk when you’re back. Just wanted you to kick my ass ‘cause I’m being an idiot.”

“You are being an idiot,” Chan chuckles. “You and Changbin just won a rap battle. Go celebrate! Be happy!”

Jisung sniffles hard and lifts his head. “Yeah… Look at us, carrying you on our backs,” he teases. “Next time you tell that cousin of yours she can get married on her own.”

“I’ll make sure she knows how much faith you have in her marriage.”

“Aish, whatever,” Jisung whines. “Byyyyyye.” And, with that, he hangs up. He stays very still, eyes on the road ahead, occasionally bringing a hand up to wipe at his cheeks. It’s only once he’s absolutely sure he’s not going to start crying again that he gets up to go look for his friends.

 


 

Hyunjin

 

Hyunjin knows he needs to… congratulate this dude. Tell him he did a great job and is definitely a fantastic rapper. What he doesn’t know is whether he can say any of that without blushing. How dumb is that? A straight guy looks hot and Hyunjin melts; it’s a damn curse at this point. Still, Han Jisung is just some easily pissed off dude from his Stats class, he’s not a dragon Hyunjin needs to fight with a pointy stick, so he’s sure he can handle it.

“Hey,” Hyunjin says once he spots Jisung, coming back from wherever he was hiding after the win. He should probably have waited for Jisung to meet up with the rest of the people who came here, his actual friends, but then they might see how red Hyunjin’s ears are and he’ll never recover from the embarrassment of it all.

Jisung actually seems a little pleased to see him. What’s with the red eyes, though? “Hey! You actually made it!” Jisung chirps, jumping a little where he stands, hands in the pockets of his black jacket.

Wait, is he actually happy to see me… What? Hyunjin swallows back a slight warmth in his chest ( Why?! What is your obsession with feeling wanted, Hyunjin?! ) and smiles. “Of course I made it; I had to see if your bark matched your bite.” 

“Well?” Jisung says with a grin, wiggling his eyebrows rather obnoxiously.

Don’t… Do that… Ugh! Hyunjin opens his mouth to reply but has to close it again to summon some saliva back into his very dry mouth, looking down as he feels himself flush. Dammit, dammit, dammit . “You were amazing,” he mumbles.

Jisung frowns a bit and leans back. “Sure doesn’t sound like it… But thanks!”

“No, you were!” Hyunjin immediately feels the need to defend, even if it makes him blush even more. “Seriously, it’s no wonder you won, you were the best of the night,” he laughs nervously. “You--You and Changbin, obviously, but because I came here to see you--” he gestures at Jisung. “I was w--watching you, so--” Just… Shhh… Quiet...

Jisung blinks and then raises an eyebrow in amusement. “Ah…” He grins and scootches closer to elbow Hyunjin. “Charmed your shoes off, huh? Nice. Saturday afternoon at my place, then!” Jisung chirps as he turns to walk towards the building. “Come on.”

It takes Hyunjin’s brain a second to remember what ‘Saturday afternoon’ entails, and he almost smacks himself for his mind thinking anything other than Minecraft. We will be playing the blocky game. With the… pixels, and the… exploding green things. Yep .

“Coming,” Hyunjin says in a small voice, following after Jisung. “Have you, er--” Question, think of a question. “Been rapping for a long time…?”

“Not to this extent,” Jisung says. “I used to sing before I turned to rap… about… two to three years ago? Yeah.”

Knew it . “Maybe one day I can hear that, too,” Hyunjin teases, to cope

“You wanna hear me sing?” Jisung asks with a laugh.

“Yeah?” Hyunjin blinks over innocently. “What, you’re just going to tease me with ‘oh I used to sing’? Aish,” he laughs, looking away.

“There’s a song we’ve been working on for quite some time but that just sort of fell apart. I can sing that to you on Saturday. It’s called Hellevator. Pretty cool.”

“Saturday’s just getting better and better,” Hyunjin jokes, smiling over. Aren’t we supposed to hate each other? “Promise you won’t get mad if I… I don’t know, get us disqualified at Minecraft or whatever.”

“PAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” Jisung cackles, throwing his head back, Hyunjin looking over with wide, amused eyes and a smile.

“What did I say?!” he laughs. 

“Don’t worry,” Jisung keeps laughing, “Minecraft doesn’t work like that. It’s a sandbox game. The best sandbox game.”

“Can I set the sandbox on fire by accident?” Hyunjin smiles.

“Yes,” Jisung chuckles.

“Nice, I’ll try my best.”

 


 

Jisung

 

“Are these Chan’s or yours?” Jisung asks from the door to Changbin’s bedroom, damp One Piece boxers stretched from hip to hip as he looks down at them. I kinda want One Piece boxers, too… They’re cool.

“Chan’s, obviously. How dare you insinuate that I’m a weeb,” Changbin says once he looks over, PS4 controller in his hands as he scoffs small. “Aw, they’re kinda cute, though~.”

“I know right?” Jisung says in a pout. He sighs and flaps the boxers before turning around to walk back towards the kitchen. He’s been doing the laundry for the past hour but he keeps getting distracted by the things Felix will occasionally send him. There are so many cute videos on Instagram… To think that Jisung is out here doing Chan’s laundry, too, though… You’re in Australia! Why am I washing your underwear?! Jisung should be in bed, occupying his pea brain with chunky animal videos while he waits for Hyunjin to show up.

It’s with that thought in his head that, as he turns to the kitchen, he hears the doorbell ring. His brain shuts down all laundry related windows and makes him turn around towards the intercom. He has to squint at the preview but yes, that is definitely Hyunjin.

“Yah, Changbin! Hyunjin is here!” Jisung exclaims back over his shoulder as he clicks on the key button of the intercom.

“Good thing you got those One Piece boxers!” Changbin calls back with a cackle.

Jisung frowns and then looks down at his hand. Oh. Shit! he thinks, and immediately runs into the kitchen to dunk the boxers into the washing machine again. I’ll deal with this later.

When Hyunjin finally walks in, Jisung gives him a few peeks mid process of closing the front door like he expects the guy to explode at any given point. It’s like fight or flight mode, and Jisung doesn’t really know why he has the need to feel like this whenever he’s near this person. Still, he knows it’ll pass. It always does, once they get talking.

“Oooooh, it’s bigger than I remember, maybe the daylight makes a difference,” Hyunjin says as he gapes a little and looks around. “And nice ,” he says as he spins around to squint at Jisung playfully. “Are you rich or something?”

Jisung huffs a laugh and turns around to lean back against the door. “Haha, no… Changbinie, though… Yeah. I, uhm--You were literally here not even a month ago,” Jisung lifts a finger and twirls it around. “But yeah. Nice place, huh? Thanks, Changbaby.”

“Yeeeeah, Changbin had rich boy vibes,” Hyunjin agrees.

“Hey!” Changbin whines from his bedroom.

“See,” Hyunjin smiles.

Jisung huffs a laugh and tilts his head as he pushes away from the door and walks towards the bedroom hall. “Yeah, he’s here to annoy us. No funny business, I guess,” he jokes, frowning when he can’t find a reason why he’d joke about something like that.

“Yah, keep your door open at all times, young man,” Changbin scolds with a laugh as Hyunjin rolls his eyes and looks away.

“He acts like this,” Jisung whispers as he walks into his bedroom and holds the door for Hyunjin, “But he’s actually a baby. He can’t even grill his own meat.”

“That sounds like a euphemism,” Hyunjin whispers back, walking backwards into Jisung’s room. “So! This is where you craft?”

“Yes!” Jisung chirps, suddenly in a good mood. He closes the door, muffling Changbin’s protests against it in the background. “This is where I craft!” Jisung says, spinning around the room with his arms open. It’s a small room, but there’s enough space for a bed that is covered in plain white sheets, a desk with a good gaming laptop on it, an open wardrobe and a guitar that is leaning against the wall by the foot of the bed. 

Thankfully, Jisung cleaned up. Otherwise, it would be looking like a small, little dumpster room.

Hyunjin scratches at the back of his head, loosening a few strands from his ponytail in the process. “I watched some Minecraft YouTube things last night so I wouldn’t come off as a total noob, but that will still happen, I’m sure...”

“Well,” Jisung grins, leaning over his chair to pull it away. “Sit down. You’re in charge today.”

Hyunjin’s eyes go a little wide. “I--This is your house!”

“Yes, and I’m telling you to sit down, you idiot!” Jisung laughs.

Hyunjin pouts and plops down on the chair, looking up at Jisung like he’s awaiting further instruction. Jisung is probably displaying about two double chins right now but that doesn’t bother him as much as the random flutters inside his chest. What. Why?! So, before he can get angry, he moves away and kneels beside the chair arms over the table before reaching forward to turn on the laptop.

“So, technically, there are loose objectives within the game, yeah?” he explains. “But you can just ignore that and go about it however you can.”

“I wanna build a house,” Hyunjin nods, scooting closer. “A tall one, like a tower, on a mountain or something,” he nods some more, apparently very determined.

“Ooooh, building, huh?” Jisung grins, lifting himself up just a bit to type in his password. “And do you wanna do that on Survival Mode or Creative Mode? Basically, the difference is that in Creative you can make it passive and you have all the blocks available in the game so you can do whatever you want. Survival… well, you gotta search for things and mobs attack you.”

Hyunjin frowns. “What’s the challenge if you’re playing in Creative? That sounds dumb.”

“Ah!” Jisung winks and finger guns at Hyunjin, “A man after my own heart!”

Hyunjin scoffs and reaches over to apparently try and steal the laptop. “Gimme, gimme, gimme--”

“Waaait--” Jisung laughs, pushing him away with his shoulder as he tries to reach for the Minecraft icon on his laptop’s taskbar. “There. We. Goooo!” he chirps, then, pulling the computer closer and turning it to Hyunjin.

“Do you need to hear what’s going on?” Hyunjin asks, blinking at the laptop and wiggling his fingers.

“No. Although it’s interesting and safer if you’re playing Survival, ‘cause of mobs.”

Hyunjin makes a funny face and laughs. “There’s mafia in this game?”

“Ah--” Jisung laughs, “Mob is like… Mobile, computer, non-player character, or NPC.”

“Not the Mob, gotcha,” Hyunjin smiles, eyes now seemingly glued to the screen. “Bonus chest? Duh, gimme,” he mumbles. “Easy, obviously.”

“Noob,” Jisung teases, shifting a little to squish his cheek against his fist.

“Fine, normal , but you’ll have to do more to make me go Hard,” Hyunjin laughs--more like ‘giggles’.

“Oh boy, don’t say that too loud or Changbin will be barging in through that door,” Jisung scoffs, locking his eyes with the screen so he can concentrate on that and not on his burning ears. Chill. We can joke.

Hyunjin takes a deep breath and throws his head back as if he’s about to scream his lungs out but just bursts into more giggles. Jisung gives him an amused look. Why does he keep getting angry at someone so… happy? Sure, Hyunjin was a bit of an asshole when they met but other than that he’s just a dude who’s vibing and gets pretty excited about things.

“Sorry, sorry,” Hyunjin giggles and starts the game, eyes going wide in wonder as he spawns on top of a mountain, the view rendering in front of his eyes. “Waaaah. This is all mine?!”

“The entire world, baby!” Jisung laughs.

“What do I do?!” Hyunjin laughs, too.

“Punch the tree!”

What?

“Trust me,” Jisung laughs, and sits back to watch Hyunjin do his thing. Minecraft is a pretty intuitive game, so all Jisung has to do is give tips to recipes among other things while Hyunjin tries his best. Nothing out of this world. And once Hyunjin has learned how to deal with most mobs, Jisung plugs his phone to the speakers and puts on some music as background noise. “Have fun,” he says, patting Hyunjin’s shoulder. “I’ll be over there,” he adds, pointing to the bed.

Hyunjin nods but pouts over a few moments later. “You’re not bored..?”

“Nope!” Jisung chirps without taking his eyes off his phone. “Just chilling. Also, procrastinating. I’m on laundry duty today but I’m using you as an excuse to leave it for later.”

“Ah, ‘kay, because I wouldn’t wanna imp-- AAH! ” Hyunjin shrieks, hands to his mouth a moment later as he looks in horror at his screen.

“What, what?!” Jisung goes, sitting up on the bed, eyes wide.

“I was mining ,” he says, in the smallest voice Jisung has heard, probably ever, as Hyunjin’s little Minecraft character burns to death in a pool of lava. Oh, no...

“Yeah… You have to be careful. Never mine down! Always ahead. And watch out if you’re mining up, lava will drip through the blocks like a warning.”

“My things ,” Hyunjin whines.

“It’s okay, you’ll respawn back at your bed. So… just get new things and be careful.”

“I’m mourning ,” he whines but laughs, hanging his head in shame.

Jisung huffs a laugh. “Yeah, man. Once Changbinie and I were doing a run and I kinda threw myself into a pool of lava by mistake… I had full diamond armor… diamond tools already enchanted… All gone.”

Hyunjin looks over like Jisung just told him his dog died. This guy is expressive , what the hell. He huffs, though, melting back with the laptop and pouting as he respawns and starts running back to the mine. “Fine, I’ll be careful. Tell me something about yourself, I need a distraction before I throw myself into the lava just because.”

“I, er,” Jisung laughs softly, suddenly taken aback. He frowns and looks down to his phone, blindly reaching up to tap at his eyebrow piercing. “Uhm…”

“Weren’t you going to sing for me?” Hyunjin asks, smiling over playfully.

“Oh… Uhm, yeah. Sure. What do you want me to sing?”

“Hellevator.”

Jisung blinks. “Oh, you remembered that, did you…”

Hyunjin shrugs. “It was a cool title. Like an elevator going up from Hell, right?”

“Okay,” Jisung nods, putting his phone aside and reaching for the guitar as he clears his voice. “Don’t expect much, alright? Also… Please, pass me the notebook by your left. I often forget the lyrics to things…”

Hyunjin reaches for the notebook and sits up properly to pass it over, exiting the game (after looking away for a few minutes and getting exploded by a Creeper, the guy apparently learned his lesson) and turning to look at Jisung properly.

“Ah,” Jisung huffs with a laugh, looking down a little flustered. “Why are you paying attention to me, go back to your game. Now I’m nervous.”

“Alright, alright,” Hyunjin teases, pulling the laptop back and keeping his eyes on the screen. 

Jisung clears his throat and peeks up before strumming softly as he changes the chords and tries to remember what was what. He stops once he thinks he’s sure and takes a deep breath, turning his notebook open on the right page before he positions his fingers on the strings and sings; 

“My life’s at a rock bottom’s cliff, I’m walking down a dark tunnel; I’m holding up this cruel dreadful day alone…” And then, Changbin’s killer rap, which Jisung is definitely more comfortable with; “ My school hallway is fading away, in this unfamiliar way; I’m so unlucky, I don’t have any map to tell whether this road is right; There’s no way to go up, what I’ve been through is a maze I never want to go back to; I’m comforting myself, shedding bloody sweat instead of bloody tears; They--Tell me such hill are just passing showers; If you want success, put snares that are called failures; So yes, I bite the baits that are called pain; I’m wandering around, with my exhausted wings of passion temporarily folded--” And then back to singing. “My life’s at a rock bottom’s cliff, I’m walking down a dark tunnel; I’m holding up this cruel dreadful day alone… Though I reach out my hand, there’s nobody there to hold it; They’re going up, riding on my pain and my tears; I’m on a Hellevator! My Hellevator!”

It’s an old song. Jisung remembers writing it together with Changbin after Chan showed them a little sample of what he’d been cooking all night inside his bedroom. It was… emotional. Jisung got chills. He likes songs that have just a little desperation to them and this was the perfect one. A shame that they never got to finish it.

“I’m praying for myself to hold on,” Jisung raps. He remembers writing this bit. “To save myself from their unkind stares; They’re arguing if I’m crazy or not, I’ll be somebody’s clown even if I make it through; ‘That’s what you’re going to be, stop trying to be a singer’; I push myself through more hearing them talk--” and that’s where it ends. That’s all they ever managed to write. He puffs a breath and peeks up. “So…?”

Hyunjin is pouting like he’s going to cry, game apparently completely forgotten. “That’s… You’re… That’s so good , what…”

“Aish…” Jisung huffs, reaching back to scratch at his head. “Thanks… Changbin and Chan also wrote their bits. It’s not just me. But yeah.”

“No, but like--” Hyunjin laughs, shaking his head a little and looking down with a small frown. “When you were rapping on stage, I remember thinking how much passion you put into it? I just wasn’t expecting for you to sing like that, too. And those lyrics , aish, my heart ,” Hyunjin groans, melting against the back of the chair.

Jisung smiles a little at a small feeling and then wiggles his eyebrows because he can’t help it. “Taken?” he asks.

“Cupid just got a promotion,” Hyunjin laughs, before smiling sheepishly and turning the laptop around to show Jisung the loading screen. This asshole--

Jisung just cackles, falling over the bed and clinging to his guitar. “Ah--Aish!”

 


 

Hyunjin

 

“Ugh, my head hurts,” Hyunjin whines after what turns out to be three hours straight of playing the stupid, blocky, pixellated game that hates him. “But I need to finish this roof or I won’t know peace.” He lies back on the bed he’s since moved to, then, staring at the screen. Is his character holding a cooked salmon? Has he been hitting things with a cooked salmon?! 

“You’ve made progress,” Jisung offers. He’s right next to Hyunjin, notebook open while he apparently practices some of the things he’s been learning in class. Hyunjin didn’t take Jisung to be the studious type. Maybe, to him, whatever he’s doing isn’t even what he’d consider studying. He appears to have a knack for maths so maybe he just thinks of it like a game.

“So have you,” Hyunjin smiles over, before peeking at the game again. “Think I can come by again and finish this some other time..?”

“Sure! Any time!”

Hyunjin tongues a little at the corner of his lips when he looks over. “Are we friends now?” he teases, like the mere notion will have Jisung go up in flames. And hey, it might.

“Ew, of course not,” Jisung laughs. He pauses, then, and sighs before glancing over. “But since you’re so eager to be my friend, I’ll accept you into my life.”

“You can still fight me, though, it’s okay,” Hyunjin laughs, exiting the game and closing the laptop as he sits up properly.

Jisung raises an eyebrow. “I don’t wanna fight you. Unless you’re asking for it.”

“You just know I’d win, is all,” Hyunjin sighs, running a hand through his hair nonchalantly. 

“Depends on what you define as ‘winning’. You mean, like, argumentatively?”

“Why, do you wanna get physical?” See? The trick is not caring

“I feel like I could bend you over like a spoon and you’d break,” Jisung scoffs, Hyunjin blinking to look at him in pure amusement. It takes them both a moment to realize what Jisung just said and how he said it.

“Wooooow,” Hyunjin goes.

“Can we just…” Jisung laughs. “Pretend I never said that?”

“Sure,” Hyunjin scoffs, ears going red as he falls back onto the bed. Doesn’t mean I won’t stop thinking about it… Goddammit. “So. You’re actually a really deep person, huh?” That should distract you from my flaming ears .

“Uh… I guess? Do I seem shallow to you?”

“Eh, most people are,” Hyunjin huffs, eyes on the ceiling. “You don’t, though.”

“Hm…” Jisung looks up. “I don’t think I’m that deep, although… maybe I am? I just don’t think about things much. But when I do, I guess I get pretty deep.”

“Your lyrics are deep, though,” Hyunjin says, looking over. How is this guy’s hair always so floffy? 

“I just write about how I feel. I figure that’s relatable because… in a way,” Jisung shrugs, “We all go through the same things, one way or another. So I guess that even if you don’t really get it to the same extent, you can relate to certain feelings… hopelessness and sadness, specifically, are pretty straightforward.”

Hyunjin pouts a little, eyes scanning up and down on him. “ Are you hopeless and sad…?”

Jisung huffs a laugh and crosses his legs over the bed as he starts rocking himself back and forward just slightly. “Yeah…? A bit. Sometimes. Not all the time, obviously. But… Sometimes.”

“For a reason or just because?”

Jisung glances up and then looks away. “Thankfully, there’s a reason…” He shrugs. “Just… Let’s just say that college wasn’t exactly in my list of plans I had after graduating high school. But… My parents kind of clowned me when I said I didn’t want to study anymore.”

Hyunjin pulls his hoodie’s sleeves over his hands as he watches Jisung. Huh… “You wanted to be a rapper?”

“I wanted to sign up for a company recruitment. But mom and dad didn’t let me. Thankfully, I met Changbin and Chan along the way and we… started doing what I kinda wanted to do, as a hobby, though. It’s kept me going so far but… I don’t know. I kinda wanted to expand on it. Maybe go on YouTube, start a platform. Something. I’m sure I could've tried at least. I know it’s a matter of luck with these things. But… I explained this to my parents to no avail. They’re stubborn. I suppose I take after them...”

Hyunjin smiles and fiddles with his sleeve. “I wanted to sign up, too,” he admits. “I got kind of scouted? While I was in America, but my parents also didn’t let me. See, we’ve got stuff in common,” he huffs.

Jisung glances up, eyes big and sympathetic. “Eh, no wonder, though. You’re like a model.”

Hyunjin raises an amused eyebrow, even as he feels himself flush. “I am a model.”

Jisung blinks. “Oh… Of… Of course you are. I mean, look at you.”

“Thanks,” Hyunjin laughs, looking away when his face feels hot. “They let me do that, at least. Said it wouldn’t interfere too much and it would pay for my college and the dance classes I still insisted on taking. But nah, I get it…”

Jisung smiles small and pulls the hood of his hoodie over his head. “Right… The dance classes…” He grins and then gestures towards the middle of the small bedroom. “Well, go at it! Show me yo’ moves!”

Hyunjin looks over with wide eyes. “Heh?! No, you need to come to my showcase!” he laughs.

“I’ll go to the showcase if you show me a bit of your dancing!” Jisung enthuses as he bounces over the bed.

Hyunjin whines but (because he’s a show off) rolls himself up to stand in a practised move that always makes his abs hurt. Jisung actually wolf whistles at him, and claps like that’s needed at all. God , Hyunjin thinks as he blushes, shaking his hands.

“Alright, play something and I’ll just--” he gestures with his hands. “ Adapt . Freestyle, whatever.”

“Mmmkay,” Jisung laughs, bouncing some more as he takes his phone. “D’you like Billie? You look like someone who jams to Billie Eye-lash.”

“Literally dancing to one of her songs for the showcase,” Hyunjin laughs.

“That’s hot,” Jisung says for no reason and it makes Hyunjin blush for, apparently, many reasons. 

“Just pick a song, idiot,” Hyunjin mumbles, scratching at his neck.

“I’m trying, I’m trying!” Jisung whines. “Okay--Okay! A basic one; ‘bad guy’, let’s go!” he enthuses as he hits play. 

Hyunjin grins a little to himself as he rolls his shoulders. He’s freestyled to this song before, quite a few times actually. Is it still freestyle if it’s slightly choreographed? Whatever. He shakes his hands then, glances around to make sure he won’t hurt himself on a desk or something, before he closes his eyes and just… moves.

Maybe this is how Jisung feels when he raps; entirely free, unburdened and entirely himself. Hyunjin just lets himself feel the beat and move to it, moving slow and then fast, sharply and then smoothly. He isn’t warmed up at all so he’s probably not as good as he’d like to be, but he feels the need to show off, so he certainly tries.

“Woah, okay, that’s really cool,” Jisung gapes.

“Don’t distract me,” Hyunjin laughs.

“THAT’S SO COOL!” Jisung yells.

Hyunjin leans forward to tug Jisung’s hoodie down over his head but that doesn’t stop Jisung from bouncing to the beat of the song, especially not when he starts singing along and clapping at the same time he twists and turns.

“So you’re a tough guy, like it really rough guy, just can’t get enough guy--”

Hyunjin lets himself go silly in his dancing, and does the woah so hard his beanie falls off. He collapses into a crouch as he laughs, hands over his head. WHY AM I SUDDENLY SO SHY?!

“We should go clubbing when we’re of age, that’ll be fun,” Jisung laughs.

Hyunjin peeks up, bouncing a little to the beat of the song in his crouch. “My birthday was only a few weeks ago, you know. Yours?”

“Still a couple of months away,” Jisung says as he leans forward and stretches like a cat over the bed, butt up and back arched, fingers wiggling. “I’m a September baby.”

“Let’s stay friends until we can get drunk together, then,” Hyunjin huffs, watching Jisung in amusement. “I really want to see that, for some reason, since you’re already kind of crazy.”

“Shouldn’t be long ~” Jisung grins.

Hyunjin huffs and stays in his crouch, chin on his arms folded over his legs. Why is this actually fun..? “So, what, you can’t dance at all, then?” he teases with a grin.

“I’ll let you teach me,” Jisung says as he wiggles his eyebrows, piercing bouncing up and down. Hyunjin looks away because... Ugh .

“Sure, if you teach me how to rap.”

“Oh, I can definitely do that. I’m a great teacher.”

“God, stop trying to sound so hot,” Hyunjin jokes in a scoff, standing himself up and putting his hands on his hips.

Jisung straightens up and sits back on his haunches. “What? Trying?! You mean to say I’m not hot?”

“Is it hot if you have to try ?” Hyunjin asks, tilting his head with a teasing smile.

“Damn,” Jisung goes dramatically, “I hope you’re not like this with the ladies or you’re never gonna get any.”

“A shame,” Hyunjin deadpans. Whoops . “Do you know how tired I am of women stealing my erasers and pens?”

Jisung scoffs a laugh. “Aish, don’t sound so ungrateful. Maybe send some my way?”

“What, you need an eraser, too?”

“Wouldn’t mind lending one,” Jisung shrugs, looking up.

Hyunjin smiles and walks back to the bed to plop down, curious now. “Have you had a girlfriend before or..?”

“Pfft, obviously…” Jisung goes, masking whatever he’s trying to mask with enough bravado to feed two souls. “I mean, have you seen me? The ladies beg!”

Hyunjin rolls his eyes. “And then you ask me why I might perceive you as shallow .”

Jisung chuckles and bounces closer over the bed, reaching up to his chest and pretending to remove his beating heart from in between his ribs. “I pass them by and they come to me like, oppa-- ” Jisung dramatizes, fingers moving as if they’re clutching onto a live heart. “Please take it!” Jisung’s voice breaks like it’s on purpose.

Hyunjin giggles-- this guy is so extra, what the hell --and quickly reaches forward to snatch the ‘heart’ Jisung is holding, holding it up and out of reach. “Whoops~”

“Yah!” Jisung complains half-heartedly. “Stop stealing all the ladies, you!”

“Aw, this isn’t yours?” Hyunjin pouts and frowns like he’s disappointed. “Nevermind, then,” he jokes, throwing the ‘heart’ like it’s a basketball and he’s trying to score.

Jisung actually gasps. “How cruel!”

Hyunjin cups his face and smiles innocently, scrunching his face up cutely like he would never hurt a single soul. “ Oppaaaaa ~”

“Oh, wow,” Jisung places a hand over his chest. “I’m actually--My heart. Good looks really are that powerful, huh…?”

Hyunjin drops his hands and rolls his eyes in a smile. “Yeah, yeah, put me in a wig and call me Noona, I’m gorgeous , I know.” What am I, bait for straights?

“Ah, I don’t need to call you that,” Jisung laughs, reaching over to poke Hyunjin’s forehead. “What about you, though? You probably have a very long list of ex-girlfriends--I mean, you look really good but then they get to know you and drop you in disappointment.”

Hyunjin sighs longingly. “ Every time.”

“Ever got your heart broken? If you’ve got a heart,” Jisung teases.

Hyunjin scoffs and ignores the way his heart tightens a little. “See, I had one, and then it got broken and I had to throw the whole heart away.”

Jisung actually pouts at that. “Like, actually?” he questions as ‘everything i wanted’ by Billie Eilish starts in the background.

Hyunjin chews on his lip and glances up before he sighs. “Actually. It’s… complicated.”

“Hm… Well.” Jisung straightens up and slams a fist against his chest. “Don’t worry. You can tell me where the pieces are and I’ll go find them and put them back together. But I won’t give you the whole thing until you’re sure you can give it to the next girl you fall for.”

So… Never .

“Thanks,” Hyunjin smiles, scratching at his cheek. “I’ll send you the quest details and map locations later.”

“Thanks!”

“Yours still in one piece, then?”

“Ah--” Jisung huffs a laugh and shrugs, gaze dropping. “I’ve… Actually never been in love…?”

Hyunjin’s heart tightens a little again as he says, “Lucky.”

“Meh,” Jisung chuckles. “Not really… The whole thing actually sounds pretty cool and exciting and happy and hopeful. I could use a bit of that, to be honest. Not that I can’t get it on my own--been doing it my whole life, but y’know. Sometimes it gets tiring… Sometimes you just wanna give the chore of loving yourself to someone else and relax for a moment. And I guess that--” Jisung glances up. “It must be quite the feeling to know that someone loves you , huh? For the person that you are. Like, wow, someone actually loves you! That’s so cool. I don’t know--” He shrugs and looks down again, and Hyunjin finds himself staring at this boy who just… keeps surprising him. “I just… It’s never happened to me. And I’ve never felt like that towards someone else. I suppose I’m just picky…”

Hyunjin smiles softly, enjoying the way the tightness of his heart eases up. “Better than giving your heart to every idiot you run into…”

“Ah, definitely,” Jisung chuckles, eyes on the wrinkles his finger is leaving on the bed every time he pokes it. “Hearts are fragile. If you gotta hand it over to someone you shouldn’t just put it in their hands. You gotta let them keep it next to theirs. Inside their chests. That’s the only way they’ll be safe.”

Hyunjin huffs softly. “Because if the one gets hurt, they both do..?”

“Because--Have you ever tried punching a chest?” Jisung laughs.

Hyunjin barks a laugh. “No, you violent squirrel!”

“Sturdy stuff, man! You can’t get in there that easily.”

“Knife.”

“That takes intent.”

“What, and punching someone’s chest doesn’t?!”

“Yeah, but you can’t hurt their hearts if you punch them, unless you’re One Punch Man!”

“ONE PUUUUUUNCH!” Hyunjin yells, fist up with a laugh.

“Good show, good show,” Jisung agrees.

“Knew you were deep,” Hyunjin scoffs.

“You keep saying that,” Jisung laughs.

“I like deep people, so consider me pleasantly surprised.”

“Oh, all my brain caught is that you like me ~”

“Well, you did already offer to keep my heart safe until I needed it ~”

“You like me ~”

“Less and less by the second,” Hyunjin scoffs, but he can feel himself smiling. 

“Aw, but--” Jisung puckers his lips and leans closer as he tries to reach for Hyunjin. “I’m so looooovableeeee ~” 

Hyunjin leans back, sporting quite a few chins and looking at Jisung like he’s an alien. Which honestly, at this point, he must be. “Must be tiring being so lovable. Is there an off switch somewhere?” Hyunjin jokes, reaching forward and poking at whatever part of Jisung’s face he can find.

Jisung collapses over the bed, face down. “Critical hit…”

“Idiot,” Hyunjin says, and he notes he sounds fond when he does. Ugh… The last thing I need is to crush on another straight guy...