There’s really only one thing that Renjun doesn’t like about Jaemin.
That damn fur coat.
He likes everything about him, and even that annoys Renjun in the best way possible. He likes the way he hugs him from behind when he wakes up in the morning, likes the way he sneaks out of his room so that Renjun’s roommate (Zhong Chenle, his very best friend) doesn’t figure out they’re a thing, he likes the way Jaemin pulls him into secret corridors in their university building for a quick kiss slash makeout session at 9:45 AM before they’ve both had their morning coffees.
But that damn fur coat.
Jaemin bought it a winter ago, says that it’s his signature piece and he thinks that it goes with every and any outfit. Here’s the thing, a winter ago, Jaemin and Renjun were just friends. A winter ago, Renjun wasn’t pushing Jaemin down on the bed, pushing that stupid fur coat off of his broad shoulders. A winter ago, the stupid fur coat wasn’t leaving fur on Renjun’s clothes.
A winter ago, they were just friends⏤they didn’t need to hide that they were a thing to the rest of their huge and loud friend group. But now they are, and it’s getting everywhere. Renjun finds fur on his clothes after a sleepover at Jaemin’s, he finds fur on his sheets when it’s time to change them, he finds fur on his rug that doesn’t belong there.
He fears the day that Chenle finds the fur on his bed, really.
It’s like he has a shedding dog, but he doesn’t because their dorms don’t even allow pets. And the damn black fur coat is Jaemin’s statement piece. Everyone knows it’s him if there’s fur. It’s kind of making Renjun go crazy.
It’s Wednesday afternoon, it’s been about two hours since their Human Anatomy class that they share and they’ve managed to wriggle out of a group hang out by saying they’re going to “study” for their upcoming quiz. Which, at this point, Renjun is sure is a bullshit excuse that their friends can see through. It’s a surprise no one has called them out yet.
“Baby,” Renjun calls out from Jaemin’s bed, pulling his shirt over his head as Jaemin walks into the room with a tray of snacks and drinks in hand.
“Mhm?” Jaemin asks, setting the tray down by on the nightstand. He settles on the bed next to Renjun, only in his boxers with that silly and giddy post-cum grin on his face.
Renjun sighs. How can he even tell off such a cutie?
But it’s a conversation that must be had, that is, if they would like to keep their relationship secret for a little while longer.
Their friends are accepting and non-judgmental, but he’s just not really ready for all the talks and the change of dynamics that comes with their friend group knowing that he and Jaemin have been dating for the past couple of months.
“That coat,” he starts, pointing at the guilty fur coat hanging on the back of Jaemin’s gaming chair, “are you really going to wear it this winter? Like, I really can’t bargain for it?”
Jaemin pouts, puts on that puppy dog eyes that Jaemin swears is never on purpose. This time though, Renjun is pretty sure it’s on purpose. “You really hate it that much?”
Renjun shrugs, accepts the digestive biscuit that Jaemin feeds him. “It gets fur all over my clothes. You know Chenle asked me the other day after I came over at your house if I spent time with a dog?! A dog! He thought that I was with a dog, Jaemin. And you know Chenle isn’t that stupid.”
His boyfriend thinks it’s funny, and he’s met with a laugh and a shrug. Jaemin wraps his arms around his shoulders, snuggles his cheek against his own and squeezes. “It’s okay, we can just bring a lint roller with us. No biggie.”
Renjun groans, but now the image of Jaemin whipping out a lint roller from his expensive Dior bag is making him laugh. He holds it in though, because he doesn’t want to encourage Jaemin. Instead, he pokes him on the side of his rib. “But that’ll make it even more obvious!”
Jaemin rubs his side in a whine. “And so what? Maybe it’s time they know, right?”
There’s silence, and Renjun only frowns. He’s not too adverse to the idea of their friends knowing they’re a thing, but he doesn’t know if it’s too soon⏤he doesn’t know if he can handle their teasing and the inevitable change in dynamics.
Renjun doesn’t really want to think of that right now. So he exhales through his nose, grabs the glass of water Jaemin got for him and gulps it all down. He wipes his lips with the back of his hand, facing a surprised Jaemin with a frown that, in Jaemin’s opinion, makes him look like an angry kitten. “Fine, but you’re telling them how we got together. I’m not explaining anything.”
Jaemin has the audacity to laugh, and Renjun doesn’t have it in him to get angry. Because god, that smile, that stupid, handsome smile, he just can’t get enough of it. “Oh, yes, I’ll definitely tell them how you practically begged to go out with me after I gave you a mindblowing⏤”
It’s like Renjun’s in a sitcom and there is a literal record scratch playing in his head. He elbows Jaemin, rolls over onto his bed and as far away from Jaemin as he can. “No, on second thought, don’t say anything at all.”
Being in love makes people stupid, Renjun is convinced.
Here’s the picture, Jeno’s apartment, seven o’clock in the evening and Donghyuck is making dinner for everyone⏤it’s his mother’s specialty, he says. They’ve just survived a gruelling exam week and the whole group’s gathering together for some good kimchi jjigae. The whole gang's here, Mark, Jisung and Chenle are present as well, sitting around the couch as Jeno watches over Donghyuck making the stew in his kitchen.
Renjun is with them, watching the door anxiously because he knows any minute know, Jaemin is going to come through that door, fashionably late with his stupid fur coat and an iced Americano in his hand. Yes, even in winter.
And he’s right, because a minute later, the door swings open with Jaemin being loudly Jaemin behind it.
“Oh my god, Jaemin hyung brought out the coat from the storage. It’s definitely winter already.” Jisung comments and groans in pain when Jaemin makes a beeline to him, sitting straight on his lap.
Renjun’s sitting on the opposite end of the couch, and he’s trying hard to stay casual.
“What? You hate my coat? Come on, feel it, it’s absolutely soft to the touch.” Jaemin urges Jisung to touch him, but Jisung fervently shakes his head and pushes Jaemin off him. Jaemin barely manages to get on his feet to save his iced coffee.
Chenle cackles, but Mark is already petting his fur coat like it’s a puppy. Jaemin flamboyantly offers the hem of his coat to Mark. “Fur literally gets everywhere, Jaemin hyung. Like, you don’t even come over our place that often but I see black fur shedding on our couch. Do you know how tough that shit is to vacuum?”
Renjun shifts uncomfortably on his side of the couch. Yeah, he knows.
Jaemin glances at Renjun, a smug smile on his face.
“I agree, the fur does get everywhere.” Renjun clears his throat. “The only reason why Mark hyung likes it is because it reminds him of his dog back home, right Mark hyung? Good thing Jeno isn’t allergic to it.”
Mark pats his lap for Jaemin to settle on instead. Chenle relents, reaching out to pat the fur on Jaemin’s shoulder as Jisung pulls a face at the stray strands of fur flying around them.
“It does remind me of my dog back home, but she has hypoallergenic fur, so…”
Jeno comes from the kitchen upon hearing his name. “Did I hear you guys talking about⏤oh god, Jaemin, no… you know I’m allergic.”
Donghyuck follows after Jeno, ladle in hand and the other on his hip like a scolding mother. “Na Jaemin, I swear if you get fur on my stew you are not eating.”
Jaemin only nuzzles against Mark, hugging him by the neck and faking sobs. “You guys are so mean, what if my fur coat has feelings? It's only friend is Mark hyung…”
Renjun shakes his head, hides his smile behind his hand and doesn’t notice the fur shedding on his pants even before Jaemin got here.
Someone does though.
(“Listen, there’s no way Jaemin hyung’s fur sheddings can get into the nooks and crannies of our couch unless he secretly sneaks into our place without me knowing. That only means Renjun hyung allows him in, and that means they’ve been up to no good. I can feel it in my gut, Park Jisung.”
“What if they’re just studying? Renjun hyung said they needed to study together a lot for human anatomy right?”
“Pfft, yeah, studying for sure.”)
There’s one thing that Chenle really likes in this world other than putting Lao Gan Ma chili oil on everything—it’s being proven right.
He can’t say that he’s some kind of a detective, but he knows when something is up and he has an impeccable bullshit meter. And more than anyone, he can tell when Renjun is bullshitting him. They’re not roommates for nothing.
He’s been coming home to the awful sight of black fur sheddings everywhere. And, sure, Renjun cleans up well but not well enough for those tricky little fuckers that Chenle would like to call Jaemin’s fur coat sheddings.
He can’t be wrong. He’s been observing Renjun and Jaemin for a while now and there is a certain glow to them that wasn’t there before. A part of him always knew that they’re going to end up entangled with each other some way or another, but he didn’t expect that they’ll be the kind of people to hide it from their group of friends.
Is he hurt? Not really. He understands why they might be hiding it for now, being in a relationship with someone in the same friend group can be quite complicated. They can pretend that they can be the same but they all know it’s not going to be the same, but he knows that their friends will be happy if they tell them about their relationship now.
He won’t say it, but he has a running bet with Donghyuck about how long it will take for Jaemin and Renjun to get it together. Donghyuck bet on never because they’re too much of a wuss and Chenle bet on this year because he has been seeing those damn fur sheddings everywhere.
He knows how much Renjun hates keeping secrets from their friends. Maybe he just needs a little baby push in the right direction.
And he can’t take the secretly sneaking of people into their apartment. If Renjun wants to bring his boyfriend over, who’s also Chenle’s friend, he shouldn’t have to sneak him away like he’s living with his parents. He’s a damn grown man.
Renjun and Jaemin took care of him a lot during his first year, maybe it’s time he takes care of them too.
“Hey,” Chenle starts, crowding Renjun into their kitchen. He’s busy making a strawberry banana smoothie.
“What?” Renjun asks, not even looking at him. “You want a smoothie?”
Chenle looks him up and down, and bites his tongue when he sees a strand of fur on the back of his hoodie. God, Renjun is awful at this secret relationship thing.
“Strawberry smoothie, really?” Chenle crosses his arms, wears the best frown he can muster, “you kiss Jaemin with that mouth?”
Renjun’s shoulders physically deflate, and Chenle can’t help the grin that spreads on his lips. Oh, the sweet taste of being right. He’s definitely going to rub this on Donghyuck’s face. He’s winning the damn bet.
Renjun rolls his shoulders back, but doesn’t look at him and continues to blend his smoothie. “I-I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Really? You don’t know? So why is our vacuum so full of black fur when we don’t have pets? It might come as a surprise to you but I do clean the vacuum. There’s no way it’s just magically empty each time you use it with your trysts with Jaemin ge.”
Chenle continues, oh, he’s not done yet. “And your clothes always have black fur on them even though we haven’t seen Jaemin that day as a group. You’re always sneaking away with him, skipping out on group gatherings because you and Jaemin have to study. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with dating your friend, ge. It’s just awful he has that jacket, really.”
Renjun holds on to the edge of the counter to save his life, throws his head back then laughs. Chenle can’t help but laugh too.
“Fuck, it’s really that damn jacket that gave us away. I told him to not use it, but he likes that stupid thing so much. He says it’s his signature piece.” Renjun finally turns around to face him, and when he does, he’s smiling with the glow of a person in love.
He might not look like it, but Chenle does love a good love story.
“Yeah, that’s definitely his signature piece. He’s the only one with enough confidence to pull off something as outrageous as that.”
Renjun shakes his head, unable to wipe the smile off his face. Chenle can’t help but feel happy for him too, so he walks towards Renjun, pulls him in a congratulatory hug and doesn’t let go for a while.
“So, why did you guys hide it from us? I mean, I respect that, I just want to understand it better, you know? Because I think the gang’s going to be ecstatic about the two of you dating. I mean, we couldn’t stand the eye fucking any longer, and I say that with a lot of love.”
“Chenle!” Renjun whines, apples of his cheeks turning a shade of red. “It’s just… we were, I mean, I was afraid of our relationship ruining the friend group dynamic, you know what I mean? I don’t want to make it weird, what we have—all of us, it’s special, I just don’t want what Jaemin and I have to interfere with it. All of you guys are special to me and Jaemin, it’s just… it’s a lot.”
Chenle nods, doesn’t ask any further and instead focuses on the smoothie. “That’s good enough for me, but I want you to know that change is okay, I am sure that the guys would be super chill about it. So what if you and Jaemin ge would need some couple time together? Anyway, you wanna give me some of the smoothie or what?”
There’s a cathartic smile on Renjun’s face. He can’t wait to talk to Jaemin too.
“Fine, I’ll make you your own.”
(“You guys are dating? We never would have known.”
“Congratulations! That’s so awesome, when did you guys start dating?”
“Did you tell him to get rid of the jacket already?”
“Hey, Donghyuck hyung lost that bet with Chenle.”
“You bet on my love life?”
“No, I’m keeping the jacket.”
“Hey. You wouldn’t have admitted your relationship to everyone if not for me!”)