“Lift your face up, please.”
Serious and methodical as ever while on the job. Chanyeol obediently tilts his head up as his make-up is touched up and the lip balm is smeared precisely over his lips with a careful, steady brush.
Kyungsoo is silent while he works and it gives Chanyeol too much time to think about the tendrils of fire and electricity Kyungsoo’s fingers leave along his skin every time he touches his face.
He stays quietly though, sitting through the tingles and butterflies brewing up a hurricane in the pit of his stomach, heart swooping in his chest when Kyungsoo cups his cheek to tilt his head up for him to see better.
It's not the most conventional friendship Chanyeol has ever made; though really, as an idol, 'conventional' goes out the window more often than not. He had met Kyungsoo for the first time almost a year before, when he’d just made his debut. They hadn't hit it off right off the bat, what with Chanyeol being rushed from one schedule to another before he could even find any time to breathe. Besides, the anxiety of being a rookie in this make it or break it game meant he'd hardly had enough energy to pay much attention to anything but making sure his performances were as perfect as they could be.
Eventually though, he notices the silent, comforting presence beside him; a constant that he'd never really noticed until things had calmed down considerably. And when he finally acknowledges the presence, it becomes the only thing he ever notices.
He remembers every fleeting touch like it's burned in his memory; when Kyungsoo settles his hand on the crook of his elbow as they’re walking through crowded spaces, keeping a hand on his back to guide him, pressing himself lightly into his side to shield him even though he’s almost half Chanyeol’s size. There's the absent hand on Chanyeol's knee in the van when they drive from one venue to another and the rarer but much appreciated hugs when Kyungsoo is particularly cheerful. Chanyeol catalogues every moment to come back to later, when he has a moment to himself to decide how he feels about the way his heart races because of them.
Friendship then comes easily, of course. Chanyeol persistently insists that the stylist ride with him in the van so they can discuss old music classics together some more. He falls into step with Kyungsoo when they walk through airports and venues so he can hear more about Kyungsoo's stories about his high school friends. He treats Kyungsoo to lunch as often as he can, and Kyungsoo in turn treats him with an assortment of snacks and warm beverages throughout the day to keep him going.
Sometimes Chanyeol dozes off in his seat while they wait for the next schedule to begin; when he's so worn out his bones feel too heavy for his body. When he wakes up, it's to the heady scent of pine shampoo and something musky that's distinctly Kyungsoo and he realizes that Kyungsoo had let him lean on him, with his cheek in Kyungsoo's hair while he slept.
It’s the little things that make the biggest mark, he finds. There are no obnoxious declarations of affection and friendship; just Kyungsoo indulging him more than anyone else would and Chanyeol counting a victory with Kyungoo’s every smile and laugh on his account.
He tests the waters sometimes. When Kyungsoo leans up to hug him, Chanyeol holds him a beat longer than he usually would, half torn between wanting his thundering heart to give him away and hiding it. He’s pleased when Kyungsoo doesn’t push him away, even if it’s still not much to go on. He tells himself it doesn’t matter because he’s happy with the way they are now anyway.
The airport is particularly crowded this time. Chanyeol grits his teeth silently as he gets pushed around like a ragdoll. It won’t help anything to lose his temper with the fans, words of caution falling on deaf ears. His manager is a step in front of him, struggling to wade through the sea of screaming girls and simultaneously keep Chanyeol unscathed. Chanyeol’s height at least gives him a slight advantage, towering a good foot over most of the throng to at least breathe and see where he's going.
A loud exclamation behind him snaps him to attention and he twists around to see what was happening. Kyungsoo isn’t having any more luck than he is with getting through the crowd, especially with his small frame and having to fend for himself while security struggles to get to them. Chanyeol frowns when someone shoves Kyungsoo to side, calling out indignantly when he’s pushed more roughly, enough to nearly send him sprawling on the ground. He can see the way Kyungsoo's face twists in discomfort as he gets jabbed in the back with careless elbows, visibly wincing but saying nothing. Growling low in his throat, Chanyeol squares his shoulders and pushes through the wall of people between them, forceful enough to break through but careful not to hurt anyone or topple them over himself.
"Please be careful!" he grits out when the wave of people closes in again and squashes Kyungsoo.
He finally reaches him, immediately rounding him to barricade himself between Kyungsoo and the fans. Kyungsoo twists his neck up, blinking at him in surprise before instinctively reaching up to hold on to his elbow. Turning around Chanyeol only just catches sight of the ripple swaying the crowd; like a domino effect of people tripping and shoving in their direction and he angles himself around Kyungsoo to bear the brunt. He doesn't see it coming but then there’s pain exploding in the lower half of his face and he tastes blood on his tongue. He doesn’t need much explanation to know that he got whacked in the mouth with one of the large DSLRs being brandished carelessly in the air.
Moaning low in his throat, Chanyeol clutches at his mouth, tears gathering in his eyes as his jaw throbs painfully. Kyungsoo stares up at him worriedly but Chanyeol keeps his hand over his mouth to hide the damage and protect the injured area as he turns away, still using his body to shield Kyungsoo anyway. He pushes forward through the crowd again, finally breaking through the wall of fans when they eventually get to the exit doors.
His manager bundles him into the front seat of the van quickly, hurrying Kyungsoo into the back before sliding the door shut, muting the screams and shrieks from outside. The silence that falls over them inside is almost jarring but Chanyeol is too busy inspecting his face in the mirror, grimacing as he tries to assess the damage. It feels worse than it looks, he thinks, but it's hard to miss the bleeding cut splitting across his lower lip and the dark mark blooming just below his mouth. He’s cut the inside of his lip too, the cut grazing against his teeth. Groaning in pain, he presses his face to the van window, trying to absorb the coolness of the glass; a weak attempt at slowing down the swelling. He sighs, knowing it's going to bruise badly later on but he keeps his face to the glass and instead focuses on Kyungsoo's voice as he relays what happened to the frantic manager.
They pull up at the venue for Chanyeol's next appearance in less than fifteen minutes and Chanyeol's being ushered out of the van quickly and led backstage where he's sat down on a chair by the make up tables. His manager anxious eyes over Chanyeol's face in despair before turning to Kyungsoo desperately.
"Do what you can," he says resignedly, and walks away to handle the rest of the preparations with the backstage crew.
Kyungsoo tsks as he looks down at Chanyeol's face, taking in the damage himself and bites the nail of his thumb as he tries to figure out how to cover up his busted lip. Finally, he shifts and moves his hand to palm Chanyeol's face gently, holding him steady. Chanyeol can't help the sigh that escapes through his lips, his eyelids fluttering shut as he pushes the throbbing ache in his temples aside and anchors himself to the warmth of Kyungsoo's palm instead. The sudden finger that touches the painful swell of his lip, however, takes Chanyeol by surprise, hissing through his teeth when it sends a shock of pain ricocheting through his skull. His eyes fly open in shock, staring up at Kyungsoo incredulously.
His eyebrows furrow when Kyungsoo makes no move to pull away, his hand still on Chanyeol’s face as he stares at the wound pensively, a far off look in his eyes. He has no time to question it because in the next second, Kyungsoo bends down to press his lips to the corner of Chanyeol's mouth very gently, away from the side that hurts. His lips linger, soft and warm against his skin and Chanyeol swears his heart is beating so fast, it’s just about ready to burst through his chest.
Kyungsoo pulls away for too soon, but his lips still brush Chanyeol's faintly as he breathes a quiet 'thank you' before stepping away completely.
He reaches back to rummage through the make-up case, pulling out the concealer without a word. Kyungsoo works on covering up the bruised marks as carefully and gently as he can, a task which proves to be difficult when Chanyeol's grinning so widely even as he winces in pain.
He can see Kyungsoo struggling to bite his own smile away, even as he shuffles in closer to stand between Chanyeol's knees. Kyungsoo’s hands are gentle, his fingers lingering on Chanyeol's skin longer than they actually need to.
He halts his ministrations for a moment to trail his hand up along the side of Chanyeol's face, brushing his hair out of his eyes. It feels easy, almost natural when Chanyeol's hands come up to settle on his hips lightly, and he watches happily as Kyungsoo loses the fight against the smile that finally blooms across his lips.
Kyungsoo reaches back again into the make-up bag, biting his lip as he rifles through the tubes and brushes, in search of something. He pulls out a little tub of Vaseline this time, unscrewing the cap and scooping up a good dollop on his index finger.
“This might hurt a bit,” he murmurs, “but you need to keep it hydrated or it’ll crack again”
Chanyeol instinctively shrinks away but Kyungsoo cups his face gently, eyes softer than Chanyeol has ever seen them. He leans in to press his lips against Chanyeol’s jaw just as he slides his fingertip along Chanyeol’s lip. Wincing, Chanyeol swallows down a groan and tears his mind away from the ache in his mouth, focusing instead on the way Kyungsoo trails his lips up to his cheek, brushing along his cheekbone, ghosting over his closed eyelids and pressing into the spot right between his eyes, warm and soft.
“All done,” he whispers and Chanyeol wants to kiss him so badly but he doesn’t get the chance before the door to the room bursts open and a handful of the backstage crew pour in. They surround him immediately, fixing the mike into the back of his pants and set up his earpiece before whisking him out of the room.
He throws one last look at Kyungsoo, his eyes still soft, before he’s being ushered up the stairs and onto the stage in front of hundreds of screaming fans. He swallows, ripping his thoughts away from the feeling of Kyungsoo’s lips on his skin and tries to focus instead on his performance and charming the crowd.
Chanyeol’s drenched in sweat and completely exhausted when the show finally ends and he stumbles down the stairs backstage on wobbly legs. He makes his way through the narrow corridors back to the private room and wrenches the door open to find Kyungsoo still there, waiting for him with a fluffy white towel clutched in his hands. His shoulders look tense and his cheeks are flushed red, looking almost nervous even if his eyes betray nothing but warmth.
Dropping his jacket, Chanyeol strides right up to him and pushes Kyungsoo back against the make-up table behind him, cupping his warm cheeks in his hands and finally kissing him properly. His lip hurts like hell, but it’s worth the way Kyungsoo half laughs into the kiss, hands a little shaky as they come up to settle on his biceps before he melts into him and kisses back eagerly. Chanyeol curls an arm around Kyungsoo’s waist, pushing a thigh between his legs as he crushes him closer into his chest and angles his head. He sighs into Kyungsoo’s mouth when he feels fingers sliding into his hair, shivering when Kyungsoo drags his nails lightly down his scalp.
Chanyeol finally pulls away, gasping for air even when it feels like it’s robbed from his lungs again when Kyungsoo leans in to brush a chaste kiss against the swell where it hurts. The tips of their noses are still touching when Kyungsoo looks up at him, looking so terribly fond it makes Chanyeol’s heart squeeze and stutter against his ribs. Smiling hurts but he beams at Kyungsoo anyway.
Later when they pull up in front of his dorm building, Chanyeol takes Kyungsoo’s hand in his own and pulls him into his dorm with him.
Kyungsoo’s been in here before but never to be pushed up against the door with Chanyeol’s mouth on his own. He grumbles something about the doorknob digging into his back flips them over seconds later, pinning Chanyeol to the wall this time before he leaning in to kiss him again. Chanyeol is prepared to stay pressed up against the wall all day and ignore the thrumming ache in his lip and jaw if it means Kyungsoo will keep kissing him. He’s unlucky however, because Kyungsoo pulls away moments later, wrinkling his nose distastefully.
“You need a shower.”
Shoulders slumping, Chanyeol dips down to nose at Kyungsoo’s temple, pressing a kiss just in front of his ear but Kyungsoo pushes him back again with a hand on his chest, giving him a look.
“I’m serious, you reek of sweat.”
Chanyeol considers pouting, but decides against it and pushes himself off the wall dejectedly. Kyungsoo must read the look in his eyes though, noting the hesitance in his movements because he leans in again to kiss a spot just below Chanyeol’s jaw.
“Go on,” Kyungsoo urges softly, dipping down to press a soft kiss to his collarbone. “I’ll be right here.”
He’s oddly shy when he steps away, cheeks a little pink and unable to meet Chanyeol’s eyes.
Grinning, Chanyeol pads off to the bathroom, stripping out of his sweaty uncomfortable clothes and stepping into the shower under the hot spray.
The scalding water feels good on his aching muscles and he stands under the spray motionlessly, letting his muscles relax. His entire face aches by now, terribly sore and throbbing. He reaches up to touch a finger to his swollen jaw and immediately regrets it, yelping at the sudden zing of pain and groans as his pounding headache intensifies. Chanyeol shuts the water off when he starts swaying on the spot, a little dizzy from the steam and combined tiredness. Drying himself off quickly, he pulls on a pair of comfortable sweats and a tank top before draping a towel around his neck to catch the water droplets from his wet hair.
He pads back out into the living room, hearing the sounds of Kyungsoo puttering around in the kitchen. Collapsing onto the couch, he exhales with long-drawn groan at the feeling of the soft cushion under his aching body. Kyungsoo shuffles back into the room after a moment, hands loaded with a bowl of ice and his make-up case. Chanyeol's jaw drops a little when he realizes that Kyungsoo isn't in his own tight fitting clothes from before anymore.
"Is that...is that my sweatshirt?" he asks a little hoarsely, heart pounding in his chest at how much he likes the idea of Kyungsoo wearing his clothes. It's far too big for him, of course, dwarfing him in the folds of fabric as the sleeves fall past his knuckles.
"Uh, yeah," Kyungsoo answers, looking down at his front as if to make sure. "I borrowed a pair of sweats too; felt like something more loose and comfortable."
He looks up when Chanyeol doesn't say a word, uncertainty flitting through his eyes.
"Is...do you mind?"
"What?" Chanyeol snaps out of his reverie and stares up at Kyungsoo. "No of course not, it's...I like– it looks good on you."
His face is burning but he holds Kyungsoo's gaze steadily, waiting until he sees the smile creep back onto his lips.
Setting the case down on the couch beside Chanyeol, Kyungsoo shuffles for a moment, seeming to ponder which position would be best to sit in before deciding that climbing onto Chanyeol’s lap and straddling him would be ideal. He settles down comfortably with his knees bracketing Chanyeol’s thighs while he holds the bowl between them.
Chanyeol settles his hands on Kyungsoo’s thighs easily, rubbing lazy circles into his skin through the fabric with his thumbs. The position feels especially intimate, and Chanyeol’s heart stutters in his chest yet again when he remembers the feeling of Kyungsoo’s lips against his own.
Meanwhile, Kyungsoo busies himself with scooping ice cubes up into a towel and rolls it up into a makeshift ice pack.
“It’s a little late for that, don’t you think?” Chanyeol murmurs, raising an eyebrow at him.
“It’ll help with the ache,” Kyungsoo replies simply, quirking an eyebrow back.
He can’t argue with that, not when his face is still smarting painfully, the ache not quite as dull as he’d hoped it would be by now. His lip has split open again, numerous times between the show and now and he’s just about ready to rip his entire lip off if it means the pain will ease up.
Still, he can’t help the way he instinctively flinches back when Kyungsoo makes to press the ice pack to his mouth.
Pausing, Kyungsoo curls his free hand around the back of Chanyeol’s neck, squeezing reassuringly before Chanyeol gives him a nod of assent. The first icy touch has him jumping a little, jarring against the heat of his face and Kyungsoo chuckles at him. The pressure of the pack hurts and Chanyeol whines, eyes fluttering shut with a sigh as he waits impatiently for the cold to set in and numb the ache. He senses Kyungsoo shift on his thighs just before feeling the press of his warm lips against his cheek. Chanyeol sighs again; more relaxed this time as he rubs his palms up and down Kyungsoo’s thighs and lets himself be distracted by the soft kisses Kyungsoo peppers all over his face.
Finally pulling the pack away, Kyungsoo sets the bowl and towel aside and reaches for the tub of Vaseline in his case again. He cups Chanyeol’s face, holding him steady as he spreads it carefully along the crack on his lip.
Chanyeol frowns, grumbling in his throat as he looks up at Kyungsoo reproachfully when he presses on the swell a little too hard.
“Quit being such a baby,” Kyungsoo scolds, but his touch becomes gentler, and he strokes the crest of Chanyeol’s cheekbone with his thumb apologetically.
When he’s done, Kyungsoo wipes his fingers on the towel next to them and pushes himself off Chanyeol’s lap to take everything back to the kitchen. Chanyeol whines at the loss of warmth on his legs but doesn’t move from where he is, his exhaustion catching up to him and weighing him down. Dropping his head against the back of the sofa tiredly, he lets his eyes slide shut drowsily, already feeling the pull of sleep tugging at his consciousness. He dimly registers the feeling of cool fingers brushing his bangs out of his face and he mumbles a quiet ‘stay’ as he grapples blindly to hold onto the hand. He hears Kyungsoo laugh before feeling him tuck himself into Chanyeol’s side; his good side, where Chanyeol can press the unscathed half of his face into Kyungsoo’s hair. The last thing he feels before he falls asleep is Kyungsoo’s fingers sliding against his palm and lacing with his own.