Actions

Work Header

You of Yesterday and Me of Tomorrow

Work Text:

Cakes need eggs, right?

The packet says they do, but how much can he bet the cake he’s making will survive without the cracking of an egg? Admittedly, after a second of no-brained thinking, he doesn’t think the odds are in his favour. And so Chanyeol sighs, holding the box of already half-made ‘devil’s food cake’ mix in frustration.

It had all started off as a silly gesture, spotting the ready-made mix in the supermarket and giggling rather childishly at the thought of making it for Kyungsoo. God knew how many times he’s called the smaller man ‘the devil in disguise’, complete with hand motions and a snarky tone.

He had felt a phantom punch in his shoulder when he bought the packet, knowing just how much flak he was going to get when his friend saw the poorly made cake. Alas, all he did was snicker, because hey, he’s Chanyeol, and Kyungsoo would probably appreciate the gesture. His friend’s cool like that.

Unfortunately for him, he didn’t realise how small his stocks are, and he curses himself for throwing out egg whites oh-so flippantly this morning. He could’ve had at least something in his flat out disaster of a cake. One egg white is better than no egg whites and a demotivated groan.

Why does the mix of powder have to look so flat-out sad without eggs and milk and other liquidy substances? Does it have to mock Chanyeol and his egg-less house? It’s not his fault he’s an avid poultry-of-every-kind eater.

He throws the empty packet on the table, eyeing the lone analogue clock in the kitchen tick rather gloomily in his mess of cutlery and other junk. If he rushes he’ll be able to pop down by the local shops and pick up a carton of eggs. He’s pretty sure convenience stores don’t sell eggs which in itself sucks because the time’s ticking and his cake is getting sadder and sadder by the second.

Chanyeol has one foot out the door before he looks down at his attire and sighs. How embarrassing would it be if he showed up at the store in his fuzzy plaid pyjamas? Tapping his toe on the cold tile floor twice, he shakes his head and eventually decides to hobble off towards his bedroom. There’s a pile of clean clothes in his wardrobe, and it’s with a sigh that he sticks his hand into said pile, ruffling through the lot. His hand is halfway through when his fingers clench around a random shirt, dragging it past the rest of the mess.

It’s when he’s already half putting the shirt on, clunky elbows knotted in the faded ends, that he realises just what shirt he’s putting on. The fabric is a little soft, caressing his skin like a lover’s touch. Quality employee assurance, Chanyeol thinks with a snort as his fingers brush by the embroidered letters near the top. Surprisingly, the shirt has retained its vibrant royal blue despite having lain in the bottom of his drawer for the past two years—along with his pair of flared jeans (yuck) and dust mites (probably). A flicker of nostalgia fills Chanyeol when he sees the letters of Kris’ name hug close to his heart.

There’s something a little weird about wearing your ex-boyfriend’s EB Games shirt, and it’s more than just the fact it’s your ex-boyfriend’s shirt. But Chanyeol’s not a quitter and as much as he’d like to languidly take his time, dragging out each and every shirt he owns to choose for this special occasion of hopping to the store, he just doesn’t have the time. It’s real egg-time hours.

So Chanyeol wears the shirt—that isn’t his, that’s never been his—to the store, realising that he’s probably only going to be there for less than five minutes. Maybe even less than less than five minutes. How fast can he go? If he’s lucky, he’ll channel Sonic and be back before he even knows it. Maybe get a couple of golden rings along with his carton of eggs.  

There’s really nothing to it.

But he passes the bottle store that’s conveniently placed right next to the supermarket because God bless the country he lives in, and hastily takes a snoop. He swore he saw green apple Smirnoff on sale, fuck yeah, he did. How would Kyungsoo like a vodka infused devil’s food cake? Master chef Chanyeol on the lewse.

A loud clunk resounds when he places the bottle on the counter and he sighs when the shop assistant asks for his ID.

“Come on dude, do I really look that young?” Chanyeol complains, reaching over to pick his wallet and provide evidence that he’s legally able to par-tay.

The shopkeeper just shrugs, “It’s my job.”

Well, he guesses it is. And quickly passes the piece of plastic to the shopkeeper.

The guy eyes the ID before he nods in the direction of Chanyeol.

“Thought your name was Kris.”

How annoying, Chanyeol thinks shaking his head and mumbling the first excuse that comes to mind.

“It’s my boyfriend’s.”

The shopkeeper nods and scans his items, not seeming to notice the minor freak-out the man in front of him is undergoing. Because the freak-out is a drawn out process and all. He has to undergo it.  

Dumbly, Chanyeol reaches over for his item, hobbling out of the store with the grace of toe-tied giraffe. Which, admittedly, is not very graceful. Out of everything he could’ve said, he had to say the shirt is his boyfriend’s? While it may have been true in the past, it hasn’t been true for two years.

What’s the most stupid part of it all, is how much Chanyeol’s freaking out over the little comment. He hasn’t thought about Kris in months—well, that’s a lie, but he definitely hasn’t freaked out like this in a while.

Whatever.

He’ll pick up the eggs and then go home.

The basket is a little heavy with the vodka, but Chanyeol ignores the weight, eyes flittering past the cereal section to where the cold food is stored. He walks through the health and body aisle, stilling when he sees a box of condoms. He lingers around the vitamins for a few seconds, waiting for the old lady next to him to pick up her bottle of fish oil before he quickly leans in a grabs a tube of water-based lube, throwing it rather haphazardly into the basket.

There’s a spring to his step when he quickly walks, runs, towards the fresh food aisle, spotting the eggs mixed with cheese and other cold food goodness. He’s just about to move over and grab the eggs for himself when he sees a dangerously long arm reach over to pick up the exact carton Chanyeol was looking at.

Objectively speaking, it’s a rather pretty arm and surprisingly familiar, Chanyeol thinks, watching the lithe muscles bend and flex in conjunction. But then he follows the arm up to the man’s head and his chest stills suddenly, because holy fuck he’s still blonde, and Chanyeol always told him the blonde killed him in every way possible.

Chanyeol is so engrossed in stalking Kris from the side, watching him open the carton like it’s a briefcase filled with money, that he doesn’t realise the man has gotten his groceries and is walking straight towards him.

He has a split second before Kris notices him, and he quickly jumps behind a rather pitiful column of bread. It’s quite a large pile filled with almost every type of bread one can imagine, from plain old white to good healthy rye. Unfortunately, the one and only thing the bread pile is lacking is height which, surprisingly, Chanyeol has a lot of, and in the midst of his split-second panic, he falls to his knees, something that he doesn’t often do in the middle of supermarkets.

What he doesn’t account for is his basket hitting the linoleum floor, banging quite loudly like a frustrated percussionist. The crashing sound it makes causes Chanyeol to wince, eyeing the bottle of vodka and feeling his heart thump rather thickly in the middle of his chest. He knows he’s a bit of a clumsy oaf at times but this is just ridiculous.

But of course, as fate has it, divine intervention by some being that Chanyeol is starting to quickly dislike, the tube of lube jumps out of the plastic container as though it is finally free from its metaphorical (and literal) cage. It’s with wide eyes that Chanyeol watches it fall. The rectangular container flops once, tumbles twice, a third time before stopping, teetering on the lines and creases of its cardboard container, conveniently next to a pair of sneakers that Chanyeol knows only too well.

Or at least, he did. In the past.

He remembers when Nike Airs were the thang and in reality, it’s quite impressive how clean Kris has managed to keep the white material. Sparkling quality. Diamond finish.

As he’s still crouched quite embarrassingly near the ground, long legs wide and bent in awkward angles (imagine: a giraffe on roller skates, but worse because it’s Chanyeol and there’s a tube of lube near his ex-boyfriend’s feet), he cranes his neck up towards the fucking sky because Kris is a literal giant of a man, and that’s not something that has changed. Not like it could’ve changed, but nonetheless.

The guy looks amused, like this whole situation is hilarious, and threads of mortification spread through Chanyeol like a spiderweb, thick and as dense as the humidity during mid-Summer in Seoul.

God, he’s still so hot. Kris, that is. Not Seoul’s weather.

“Hi,” he laughs.

He fucking laughs.

“Hello…” Chanyeol replies, but even that sucks because it’s phlegmy. Why is everything going so wrong? He clears his throat and tries again, letting out a little smile despite the fact that all he wants to do is sink into the floor. Or let the floor swallow him whole. Can he send a message to hell like right now so Mr. Satan can just take him while he’s already down for the count?

“I haven’t seen you in this position for awhile.”

Chanyeol just gapes because, what the fuck? Who casually says that to their ex-boyfriend? Technically, it’s true, and while they were together, Chanyeol had assumed this position on the floor, an avid cocksucker in his prime. But still?

“Um,” Chanyeol swallows, turning his head to the side. He stands quickly, not wanting to feel so weird next to Kris, resuming his usual position around the other.

People aren’t usually as tall as Chanyeol and so it’s interesting having to look up to Kris, chin tilting upwards slightly. He looks good, really good. Casual clothing looks especially nice on him, tight-fitting white t-shirt straining against his delicately toned body. Kris had never been especially muscly, but Chanyeol has always loved his lithe figure, knowing the casual strength the other had. The jeans he’s wearing are dark but as equally slim-fitting as his shirt, and of course, his white Nike Airs almost glisten under the bright shop lights.

All in all, he looks great.

And what is Chanyeol wearing? Kris’ fucking EB Games t-shirt, complete with the one toothpaste stain on the right shoulder that he had never been able to get out despite the abundance of Vanish Napisan Oxi Action used. He had even tried the Gold Oxi Action Crystal White, but apparently he was too dumb to read the label that said it was meant for whites, and all it did was fade the royal blue shirt out. Kris had laughed at the time, and Chanyeol remembers the other reaching over to fondly rub at Chanyeol’s back and neck, telling him how cute it was that Chanyeol tried so hard to remove one measly stain for him.

It seems as though Kris is still staring at that one stain because apparently he had not noticed what Chanyeol was wearing before. And now that’s all he’s looking at, eyes trailing from left shoulder to right back to left. Oh, maybe he’s looking at the newly formed muscle Chanyeol has gained over the years? Now that he realises it, the shirt is a little snug on him, especially around the pecs and arm areas.

“I think we need to get you a bigger size.”

And that’s all Kris says.

He’s still looking at the shirt and Chanyeol gulps a little, previous feelings of mortification sizzling through him.

Kris doesn’t ask why Chanyeol’s wearing his shirt. He doesn’t ask why Chanyeol still has it after two years. After two years of being broken up, Chanyeol wears it to the store to buy eggs.

“Um.”

Because that’s all Chanyeol can say, it seems. Apparently his brain is only allowing him to say one syllable since it freezes when it catches sight of one Kris Wu.

“Ah,” Kris says, leaning down to pick up the, fuck – the lube, from the ground. His fingers graze over the cardboard before he pops the tube into Chanyeol’s shopping basket, right next to the bottle of brownbag-cased vodka. “Here you go.”

“Um…” Chanyeol clears his throat and forces another word through it: “Thanks.”

There’s silence as Kris rests his hands in the back of his jeans, fingers slipping in the large butt-pockets. It’s a gesture Chanyeol recognises as something Kris used to do when he was nervous but actively trying not to show it. For some reason, it’s this that causes him to calm down because as much as this is Kris in front of him, this is Kris, the boy he spent three years of his life with.

This is Kris, the Kris he had met through basketball in university. Kris, who asked him out on a date to the aquarium before finding out that it was closed and instead spending the day in the park. (He held Chanyeol’s hand the entire time so extra points for him there). This is Kris who, although didn’t take his virginity, took Chanyeol in every way possible, bending him backwards, teaching him how to love himself and to be proud of the body he has.

“You’re given this gift, you know?” He remembers Kris trailing his finger down the side of Chanyeol’s waist and hip, landing on the edge of his thigh. “You have to be proud of it. Show the world how beautiful you are, Chanyeol.”

The Kris in front of him now doesn’t seem as confident as the one Chanyeol remembers touching him intimately, showing him the little nub of pleasure inside of him and truly letting Chanyeol shine. This Kris seems a little awkward and nervous around his ex-boyfriend who is wearing his old t-shirt despite having broken up a little more than two years ago.

And for some reason this relaxes Chanyeol, because Kris isn’t in control here. Chanyeol isn’t either, but at least that puts them on equal footing.

“How have you been?” Chanyeol asks softly, moving his basket behind him. It’s slightly weird to have a conversation with his ex-boyfriend while holding a basket that only contains a bottle of vodka and a packet of lube, so he tries to make the groceries less noticeable.

Kris relaxes slightly at the question, shoulders suddenly slouching. He sends Chanyeol a small, grateful smile.

“I’ve been good.”

“That’s good,” it’s still a little awkward but Chanyeol smiles at the other, shifting the weight of the basket from left-to-right hand.

“How’s Yoora?”

“Good, good, she’s getting married soon.”

“Oh really?” Kris sounds surprised. “Is it to that Jongkook guy?”

Chanyeol nods. Kris had been around when Yoora had first gotten with Jongkook, but it’s still surprising that he remembers the guy at all.

He watches as Kris lets out a laugh, reaching a hand over to brush through his hair. Such a casual act, so subtle, so normal but so, so handsome. Chanyeol doesn’t think he’ll ever get over how beautiful Kris is. He’s never had.

“I remember the first time she brought him home to meet… us.”

Us.

That’s what it was, once.

“He was so scared around you. Mr. Chanyeol Park, man of the house,” Kris says wistfully, tilting his head to the side. “You were so fierce as well, all protective younger brother. But I think Yoora liked it.”

“Yeah?” Chanyeol asks.

Kris nods, yes.

Silence blooms between them and Chanyeol bites the bottom of his lip hard. The atmosphere had become really tender, somewhat intimate. The way Kris is looking at him with a nostalgic softness in his eyes makes Chanyeol’s skin crawl for all the wrong reasons.

It’s so easy to be caught up in Kris’ charm, because that’s what it is. Kris has always had this extra grasp on Chanyeol. Once upon a time, there was nothing Chanyeol wouldn’t have done for the man in front of him. They were young, they were in love.

They’re not any more. And Chanyeol needs to remember that.

And so when Kris asks Chanyeol out for a late dinner—dessert! with that same twinkle in his eyes Chanyeol swears he remembers from long ago, he shakes his head.

“I’m a bit busy tonight…” Chanyeol continues to bite his lip, the weight of the carry basket feeling especially heavy in his hard grip.

He watches as Kris’ eyes drop down to Chanyeol’s basket, eyeing the vodka and lube. What indescribably crazy items to have in a basket. Something Chanyeol wouldn’t usually have.

“I see,” Kris clears his throat. He shakes his head nonchalantly, raising his shoulders in a shrug. “Maybe next time then?”

“Yeah…” No.

Awkward. Everything is so awkward.

Kris places his large hands in his back pockets once again and Chanyeol rubs the side of his palm. The older man points towards the basket, voice turning slightly high pitched.

“Thanks for reminding me to pick up some. The boyfriend has been pushing me.”

Chanyeol feels his heart stop.

Boyfriend.

Of course. Of course Kris would have a boyfriend. He doesn’t know why he’s surprised. It’s been two years after all.

Chanyeol forces himself to remain casual, trying to hide the fact that he’s kind of freaking out. It seems wrong to be so surprised, so shocked by the fact that Kris has a boyfriend. He’s smart, he’s beautiful, and if Chanyeol’s still correct, he’s loaded. Kris is by far Chanyeol’s best catch of an ex, not that he’s had many, but nonetheless.

What did he mean about getting ‘some’ though? Chanyeol sends a look towards his basket, and the sight of lube and vodka makes his gut clench uncomfortably. If he means the vodka, okay, that’s fine. Alcohol for all, and for all to be merry, or something like that.

But if he means the lube…

“The lube? Yeah mine messaged me to just pick some up. He hates the feel of silicone-based but that’s all we have at home.”

The words fall out of his mouth, unstoppable. They plummet, tumbling one by one until Chanyeol’s dug himself a big enough hole to fall inside and perhaps die in. That would be nice, he thinks. He can stuff Kris’ shirt in there too and hope it provides sustenance for the earth or something.

“Oh yeah?” Kris’ voice is still a little high, and Chanyeol shakily nods his head. “Just like you, huh?”

Pinching himself, Chanyeol tries to think past the fact that Kris remembers what he likes. Remembers that he prefers the feel of water-based lube on his skin. How he prefers it to the unending glide silicone-based provides.

“Yeah,” Chanyeol nods again, wondering if Kris notices how off his voice sounds. “We’re very alike.”

Shut up Chanyeol. Shut the fuck up.

“Oh, that’s good.”

There’s silence again, weird awkward silence that makes Chanyeol feel like he’s said something wrong. Well, of course he’s said something wrong. He just lied about having a boyfriend. He lied to Kris’ face about having a boyfriend.

“Well,” Kris nods at Chanyeol, “I’ll catch you… some time?”

“Yeah, sure thing.”

Kris sends him one last look, opening his arms and inwardly Chanyeol cries because fuck he’s going to hug Kris again and that’s not something he’s done in so long. He should probably walk away as quickly as possible without even sparing the other a second glance just so he doesn’t freak out. But like Chanyeol always tends to do around Kris, he acquiesces and drops his basket immediately.

The first thing he thinks when Kris wraps his arms around him is warm. Kris is always so warm, so big. His arms wrap around Chanyeol, holding him close for a brief moment. It’s the slightest second in the whole grand scheme of things, a fleeting moment in which their arms are wrapped, chests touching. The urge to press his chin on the edge of Kris’ neck and shoulder is overwhelming but it’s with the great strength that he forces himself to lean back.

The warmth stays when Kris sends him a polite smile. Stays with him when he pays for his groceries. Stays with him when he gets in his car and drives back home.

The warmth stays with him even when he walks inside his house, locking the door and cursing loudly because he forgot to buy eggs.

*~*

“So he mentioned his boyfriend, you were jealous and you said you had a boyfriend too?”

Chanyeol nods, groaning into the flesh of his bicep.

“He mentioned his boyfriend after seeing lube in your basket?”

“Yes…”

“What’s the lube for anyway? Do you have a boyfriend?” Baekhyun asks, taking a sip of his ice chocolate.

Rolling his eyes, Chanyeol shakes his head. “I have a boyfriend by the name of TW.”

“TW.”

“The Wreckinator.”

“Is that your fucking dildo?” Instead of sounding disgusted, Baekhyun sounds impressed.

“It’s so huge, I swear I can feel it in my stomach.”

“That’s honestly disgusting.” Baekhyun huffs, letting out a brisk laugh. His face is at odds with his words, looking even more impressed and slightly intrigued. “Tell me more.”

“Well, I bought it from that sex shop near—”

“Not about your dildo, you heathen. Tell me more about Kris.”

“Oh,” Chanyeol bites his lip, stopping short. He gives a tiny shrug, touching the side of his tea-plate with the tip of his index finger. “We hugged but that’s it.”

As soon as he'd gotten home, Chanyeol had rung Baekhyun, breathing heavily into the phone about meeting Kris at the store. Meeting Kris at the store in Kris’ shirt of all things. Baekhyun had only laughed at him, causing Chanyeol to grumble about having the worst friends. Eventually when Baekhyun stopped laughing, he promised to meet up the following day for ‘morning tea’.

That’s what they’re doing right now, at a café that’s close to both their houses. As soon as he saw the other, Chanyeol had wrapped his arms around the smaller man’s shoulders, hugging him tight before crying rather dryly into his shirt. Baekhyun soothed him by patting his back and telling him that it was okay.

Baekhyun’s his one til-death-do-us-part friend, from womb til tomb kind of bestie. He’s been there for him since the very beginning, holding his hand and beating up all the bullies. He had been there for him when Chanyeol had gotten his first girlfriend. Been there for him when Chanyeol realised that hey, he kind of liked boys. He had given him advice about sex until Chanyeol found out that Baekhyun himself hadn’t even had sex yet (Chanyeol had praised his ministration nonetheless).

Out of everyone, Baekhyun’s his best friend and while some were surprised to find out they hooked up once during university but nothing ever came out of it, Chanyeol will gladly boast that Baekhyun is his and no one else’s.

He was also one of the few to have met Kris, been there while Chanyeol was with Kris, and then was the subsequent shoulder to cry on when all things went bad.

“Well, fuck that guy,” Baekhyun rolls his eyes and scoffs into his drink.

Turns out he’s also a firm supporter of their break-up.

Chanyeol doesn’t take the words to heart, knowing just how much Baekhyun had liked Kris in the past. He knows it’s just Baekhyun’s overprotective best friend feelings making sure and reassuring that Chanyeol knows he don’t need no man.

It’s quite endearing, actually.

“Aw,” Chanyeol coos cutely, and reaches over to pinch his friend’s cheeks. Baekhyun tries to swat his hands away to no avail, pouting in his drink. “You’re so cute sticking up for me.”

“Why do I even put up with you when this is what you do to me?” Baekhyun puffs loudly, releasing a sigh that says something along the lines of ‘how am I still friends with this guy?’.

“Because I’m the best and you love me?”

“Unfortunately,” Baekhyun mumbles. “So yes, what are you going to do?”

“Do?” Chanyeol questions, because he hadn’t even thought about doing anything. “Nothing?”

“Nothing? What happens if he sees you again, boyfriendless?”

Scrunching his face up, Chanyeol shakes his head.

“What is the chance of us meeting again? This is the second time I’ve seen him since we broke up. Wait. Third.”

“Fourth,” Baekhyun kindly reminds with a slight slap to Chanyeol’s hand.

Ah, yes, fourth.

The first two times were purely coincidental and Chanyeol’s sure that Kris had no idea he was even in the vicinity. Sometimes it sucks to be in a relationship for so long because if you do break up, your friendship circle kinda gets all muddled. Chanyeol’s lucky Baekhyun’s his ride-or-die, with him til the end, ‘fuck Kris and his stupid fucking blonde handsome face and his stupid fucking huge hands’.

Chanyeol’s other friends were less disjunct, kinda still friends with both of them but trying hard to hide it. It sucked walking into Jongdae’s house one day and seeing Kris lounging happily on the sofa, legs wide and face peaceful. He quickly left before the other could notice him, but the pitiful gaze Jongdae had sent was more than enough to send a wedge through Chanyeol’s heart.

The second time was somewhat similar but included Joonmyun who Chanyeol swore said he wasn’t even friends with Kris. That was a real shock, meeting the other with Baekhyun and seeing him window shopping with Kris of all people. Baekhyun had pulled Chanyeol away, shaking his head and cursing Joonmyun under his breath for ‘having no tact at all’. It hurt, but Chanyeol had gotten over it.

The third time was by far the worst though, and the memory still lingers with Chanyeol today. It was the one that fucked him up because Tao was his ‘friend’. Is his friend. Not that Jongdae and Joonmyun aren’t his friends or anything, but Tao was different. At the time, Chanyeol was harbouring some fledgling feelings for Tao, little threads of burgeoning interest flourishing with every new meet up.

He had no idea Tao knew Kris or that Kris knew Tao, and it hurt more than just a little when he knocked on Tao’s door one fateful night with Kris being the one who opened it. The two of them had stared at each other for a few seconds, shared looks of surprise on both their faces. Kris had dark hair at the time and it was so different to the blonde he knew and loved, but at the same time so, so handsome.

Chanyeol left in a hurry, asking Kris if he could tell Tao ‘maybe some other time’, trying to ignore the weird feelings in his chest. The weird feelings that were telling him that he wasn’t fucking over Kris at all and what he felt for Tao was nothing in comparison.

It hurt to see Kris open Tao’s door, and still to this day, Tao assures him that they’re just childhood friends. The reassurance was nothing that had made Chanyeol feel even the slightest bit better, needing Baekhyun to practically wheel him around for the next few days as he moped bitterly.

Most of his feelings for Kris have dissipated over the years, and he knows that what he feels for the other is just nostalgia. Nostalgia is inevitable for a relationship like the one he had. They were together for years, forging a slew of great memories one after the other.

They had split up because of work and other (what Chanyeol would now consider as meaningless) individual priorities. Kris’ job had taken him to Jeju while Chanyeol was forced to stay in Seoul. Initially there was talk of a long-distance relationship, something that Kris was an avid propagator for. Chanyeol however had heavily belittled the idea of a long-distance relationship, complaining about physical distance and how it made couples grow distant themselves. Forced them to become independent in ways that would have previously involved couple alone time.

There was interest in weekend visits, but in the end there wasn’t any weekend time. Kris was constantly busy with work, acquiring a job in the events management industry with a gruelling weekend schedule. Chanyeol himself was stuck with a 9 to 5 job, weekends being the only days he really had off. The inevitable breakup was somewhat bitter, and Chanyeol resented himself for being right about not being able to maintain a long-distance relationship.

That’s not to say that Kris never came up to Seoul, because he did of course. He came back the first time Chanyeol had seen him in Jongdae’s apartment and then the second time when he caught the other on his little play-date with Joonmyun. After each visit, Chanyeol cursed himself for being so negative about long-distance relationships, because it wasn’t like Kris was never able to come up, having seen him twice by accident. He could only imagine how many times he would’ve been able to see the other if they hadn’t broken up.

It’s something he’s still bitter about to this day, and Chanyeol wonders what they could’ve been if he hadn’t suggested their split. Would he and Kris still be together? They were doing so well, he can only imagine how much their relationship would’ve progressed.

Since then however, Kris has moved back to Seoul, and Chanyeol only knows this because Jongdae had casually mentioned it on a whim. That initially threw Chanyeol for a loop because if Kris was back, they could get back together, right?

Chanyeol was wrought with nerves for an entire day, thinking through all his corny romantic tactics, and really, just how he should approach the situation. Should he call Kris up and ask him out for dinner?

But when he thought about it, the guy himself hadn’t even told Chanyeol he was back. Chanyeol had to find out through his friend, through Jongdae of all people. That meant he didn’t want to see his ex-boyfriend, right? Otherwise he would’ve rushed to call Chanyeol as soon as possible.

That was a tough period for Chanyeol, stuck on the fact that he obviously still loved the other while Kris was happily moving on with his life. Without him.

And now it sucks even more because he knows why Kris was only too happy, not even bothering to give him a call. He has a boyfriend.

“Chanyeol.”

Baekhyun’s voice shocks Chanyeol out of his reverie and he turns back to his best friend, blinking a little fast.

“Huh?”

“You zoned out.”

“Oh,” he bites his lip and takes a sip of his drink to cool himself down. Just thinking about Kris gets him all frazzled. “Sorry.”

Baekhyun sends him a concerned look, reaching over to grab at his hand.

“That’s okay, are you okay, though?”

Chanyeol opens his mouth to respond, a simple ‘I’m fine’ on his lips. He stops himself from saying the words that just aren’t true though. Because he’s not fine. He needs to calm down.

“No…”

Chanyeol drops his face into the palm of his hands, groaning rather sullenly. It’s so pathetic to still feel so bad despite having broken up ages ago. He could’ve sworn he was over his feelings for Kris. Fully and completely. He thought he was a free man. Guess not.

“Chanyeol…” Baekhyun reaches over to squeeze at the hand on Chanyeol’s face.

“I’m so pathetic,” he groans into his palm, dragging the skin of his cheek down with him.

He’s lucky Baekhyun’s seen him at his absolute worst (think: pulling his hair back when he was vomiting all over himself during the period he actually had long hair) because this isn’t anything near that. It’s still not something he would like the average person to see, totally embarrassed about having feelings for his ex-boyfriend.

“You’re not pathetic,” Baekhyun assures him, his tone stern. “It’s understandable that you’d still feel like this—”

“Baek,” he starts and even his voice sounds a little exasperated. But that’s because he is exasperated. With himself, of course. “It’s been two fucking years.”

“So? You guys were serious. You can’t just say, ‘it’s been two years’. It doesn’t work like that.”

“But it does work like that,” Chanyeol rubs his face with his fingers, feeling the skin turn red and hot underneath the pads. “He’s obviously gone and forgotten about me, new boyfriend and all. He doesn’t even need two years.”

The bitterness in his voice is embarrassing and Chanyeol sighs loudly because even if Baekhyun says he’s not pathetic, he sure feels like he is. More than just pathetic. This is the worst he’s felt in so long and it’s all because he, for some reason, cannot get over his ex while the guy is able to easily schmooze up with all the other boys.

“Yeah?” Baekhyun says and the tall man actually looks up this time because his best friend’s voice sounds a lot more steely than usual. “Well, fuck him. Fuck him and his big hands.”

“They were really big,” Chanyeol reminisces.

“Yeah? Well fuck those hands, you don’t need those hands—” oh God here he goes “Chanyeol, you’re better than him and I’m not just saying that as your best friend.”

Chanyeol eyes the firm look on his best friend’s face, snorting at the seriousness. It’s not that he isn’t grateful Baekhyun is standing up for him, thankful to hell and back that he has the other as a friend. Baekhyun’s the one to spur him on when things get rough. If Chanyeol wants to do the most moronic thing then Baekhyun’s all for it. If Chanyeol wants to egg a house—not like he’d ever—then Baekhyun would be there, ready with an entire carton.

It’s a mutually beneficial friendship and whenever the other tells him about the relationships he’s in that goes wrong, Chanyeol is the one expressing that Baekhyun’s an independent man who don’t need no wo-man.

Now though, now when Chanyeol is thinking about Kris having a boyfriend, everything seems so unnecessary. Like, he can cry and mope over his feelings but Kris is living his life. Chanyeol wants to live his own life too.

“I’m no better than him, but thanks Baek,” he sends the other a small smile, trying to ignore the mope-driven feelings in the pit of his stomach.

“I’m here for you, my dude,” Baekhyun gives him a look, brown hair falling into his eyes. “Why don’t you, me and Minseok get something to eat?”

Touched that Baekhyun’s inviting him for lunch, Chanyeol gives the other a small but thankful smile. Chanyeol hasn’t seen Minseok in a while either. He’s more of Baekhyun’s friend, being the other’s new roommate, but since Chanyeol is Baekhyun’s best friend they’re bound to see each other quite often.

“Yeah, thanks. That’d be good.”

Baekhyun sends him a soft look.

“I think so too,” he reaches over and gives Chanyeol one last pat. “Besides, I know I said what if you run into him, but honestly, what is the chance that you’ll run into him anytime soon?”

*~*

Chanyeol manages to buy the eggs.

He does it just before he’s about to head home after his little rendezvous with Baekhyun. They sit in his refrigerator for four days before he remembers that he has an unfinished devil’s food cake mix lying around in a glass bowl in the kitchen. The cake doesn’t turn out to be catastrophic and he smiles happily when he spoons the last few brown chocolatey goops of icing on top of the somewhat dilapidated baked goodness.

The cake is left on its own for a day nearly two before Chanyeol is able to give it to Kyungsoo. He packs it in a neat cake-dish, folding the edges with al-foil. It’s such a nice gesture, and he smiles when he places it into his work bag, eager to give it to his friend. Kyungsoo had told him he was free for lunch—also free to pay—and Chanyeol wasn’t one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

“Hey,” Kyungsoo smiles at him and Chanyeol gives a small wave, bright grin on his face. “What’s that?”

He’s staring at the little Tupperware Chanyeol’s holding and the older man gives the other the box, smiling brightly.

“Devil’s food cake for the devil himself!”

Kyungsoo takes the cake from his hand and snorts, looking into the box and staring at the yummy, but slightly battered chocolate goodness.

“What?” The other laughs slightly, eyebrows furrowing in confusion yet happiness. “Thanks? I feel as though I should hit you since you called me the devil.”

Rolling his eyes, Chanyeol bounces on the heels of his feet. Kyungsoo looks happy enough receiving a cake out of nowhere, but Chanyeol guesses not many people wouldn’t be. He knew the other would be a good sport.

“Just be grateful I thought of you when I saw it at the store.”

Kyungsoo snorts slightly but smiles regardless, reaching over to punch him soft in the flesh of his arm.

“Thanks Chanyeol.”

Silences lingers on for a few more seconds before Kyungsoo asks the tall man what he’d like to eat for lunch. Both of them are pretty indecisive but they eventually choose to go for porridge with Chanyeol feeling the urge to sip on some chunky watery rice. They’re laughing and joking as they always are, just on the cusp of entering the porridge store when a man walking out bumps directly into Chanyeol.

“Oh sorr—”

“Sorry—”

They both freeze.

Chanyeol robotically turns his head to face the stranger, quickly realising that it’s no stranger at all. The wind blows and Kris’ hair flutters quite gently around his head, looking entirely like a model in the middle of a photoshoot.

“Chanyeol—” Kyungsoo begins to say when he notices the man lingering behind. Chanyeol half has the mind to notice Kyungsoo’s eyes trailing both his and Kris’ figure when the tall man says his name.

“Chanyeol.”

He closes his eyes automatically, almost as if on instinct. It’s so nice to hear Kris say his name again, so soothing. There’s something about the way he pronounces the syllables, a twinge due to his Canadian twang. It’s only a hint of a difference but it’s a hell of a hint more than anyone Chanyeol has met in the past. No one has this effect on him like Kris does, and he pinches himself just so he doesn’t fall to his knees in front of the man.

“Fancy seeing you here,” he manages to choke out somehow.

They’re in the entrance of a porridge joint, which is really the most random place Chanyeol can even imagine meeting the other.

“Yeah, you’re not wearing my shirt this time.”

Cheeks instantly reddening, Chanyeol lets out a quick laugh to hide his embarrassment. He drags a hand to scratch at the back of his head—his telltale nervous gesture—looking down slightly.

“It’s in the wash…”

Kris is the one to laugh this time, and Chanyeol’s heart flutters in his chest. He hasn’t heard Kris laugh in so long. The warm and slightly husky chuckles waft over Chanyeol, past feelings brewing in his chest. The other is staring at him with this fond look on his face, holding the door to the restaurant open. He’s wearing a t-shirt and Chanyeol can only briefly glance in wonder when he sees the long stringy muscles flex.

“Still not able to get that stain out?”

“I think it’s just apart of the shirt now,” Chanyeol just shrugs, rubbing the corner of his wrists, bashful. “It adds extra flavour.”

“Yeah,” Kris laughs again, eyes crinkling up into cute moon crescents. “Toothpaste flavour.”

Letting the wide grin envelop his face, Chanyeol’s teeth are unleashed. “Minty freshness?”

He chuckles when Kris snorts loudly, feeling the same warmth from before spread all through his body. The crinkly eye-smile the other is sending him causes mini-rainbows to burst in his heart, sappy but real. It’s so easy to fall back into banter, and it’s with a little shock of surprise that Chanyeol realises he’s flirting with Kris. The slight flirty gestures, fingers locked around wrists and eyes peering through thick eyelashes is textbook 101 How To Flirt.

The fact that Kris is responding to his advances is what makes everything even more confusing. Kris is smiling happily at him, hands carding through silky blonde locks. He looks so natural standing there in front of a porridge store, holding the door open while he casually talks to his ex-boyfriend.

Ex-boyfriend.

Yes. Chanyeol needs to remember that.

“Chanyeol?” A voice intones from the side, slightly quizzical.

Kyungsoo is what shocks him out of his reverie, and he jolts suddenly, eyes flickering to his somewhat confused looking friend.

“Oh!”

Just the sight of Kyungsoo next to Kris makes him feel strange. Kris is undoubtedly the tallest guy he has ever dated and while he’s never thought of Kyungsoo in that way, he’s just so small. The height difference is quite significant and Chanyeol trails his eyes over from Kyungsoo’s questioning gaze towards Kris’ quickly steeling ones.

“Kyungsoo this is Kris, Kris this is Kyungsoo.”

“Yifan,” Kris interrupts, raising a hand out to shake the other. “Yifan Wu.”

Chanyeol blinks, feeling a little surprised at the name. Of course he knows that Yifan is Kris’ Chinese name, but the other had never called himself that in front of Chanyeol before. In university he was known as Kris, Yifan only ever used by Kris’ Chinese family.

Kris seems less warm when he shakes Kyungsoo’s hand, previous elation disappearing.

“Yifan?” Chanyeol asks, surprised.

“My professional name,” Kris explains, releasing Kyungsoo’s hand and stepping back. He plants his fingers in the gaps of his front pockets, looking especially large in front of the shorter man.

Nodding once, Chanyeol turns to face Kyungsoo who is looking upon the situation with interested eyes. He gives Chanyeol a ‘we’ll talk about this later’ look, holding the Tupperware filled with cake in his palms.

There’s silence as the three of them stand rather stiffly around each other, watching as Kris lets the door close shut. The awkwardness between them is the same awkwardness Chanyeol had felt the last time he was around Kris, back when they were together in the store. It’s not that he isn’t happy to see the other, more that he isn’t sure what he should say. What’s appropriate to say. Back when they were together, Chanyeol was unrestrained. He would tell Kris everything and anything, the other knowing him back to front and inside out.

Things are different now, and Chanyeol’s scrambling to find even the smallest thing to say. Kyungsoo doesn’t seem eager to start conversation either, staring pointedly at Chanyeol and sending a number of curious glances his way.

“Are you here for lunch?” Chanyeol finally asks when the silence becomes unbearable.

Kris nods once, his blonde hair flopping slightly in front of his deep brown eyes. He raises a hand to push the hair back, looking like the model he was born to be.

“I only just saw that it’s cash only so I was about to go and get some money from an ATM.”

Raising his eyebrows, Chanyeol turns to face Kyungsoo. “I don’t have cash.”

Kyungsoo just rolls his eyes, shaking his head a little fondly.

“I have cash, Yeol. Plus I was the one who asked you out anyway.”

The other’s tone is slightly patronising and Chanyeol moves to childishly elbow him in the side, hearing a loud snort of laughter come from the younger man.

“Why you little…”

“Um, well, I’ll let you get on with your date,” Kris says and Chanyeol brings his eyes back to the other in disbelief.

Opening his mouth to interrupt, Chanyeol sees a look of surprise on Kyungsoo’s face. He hasn’t observed any partners in the past, but Chanyeol’s pretty sure his short friend is straight. No, he knows the other is straight.

But, it’s with a pluck of courage that he forces a smile on his face and reaches over to take Kyungsoo’s hand in his own. There’s shock in the other’s grip—a grip that is ever so slightly tight, as if questioning what Chanyeol is doing. Chanyeol squashes Kyungsoo’s fingers in response, harder with vigour and strength, praying that the other acquiesces for once.

“It was nice seeing you,” Chanyeol smiles, mouth turning acrid despite his forced genial disposition. “Maybe I’ll see you later?”

The air seems still, so still and thick it feels stifling. It is stifling. The awkwardness is almost strangling in its intensity, Kyungsoo’s small hand burning a thick, life-sized hole straight through Chanyeol’s palm.

Kris’ eyes drop to their combined hands, a tiny glimpse before they shoot back up towards Chanyeol’s face. Then, his expression changes. Rather miniscule in the whole grand scheme of things, but Chanyeol did not date the man in front of him for several years without catching on to a few things or two. It truly is a testament to his own memory when he remembers just what the expression could mean.

Kris only sucks in his lower lip, teeth digging into the flesh like pointy blades, in two situations. Either because he’s a) nervous or b) angry. But that can’t be right, can it? Why would Kris be nervous or angry? He had seemed quite fine conversing earlier on, even having a laugh or two.

Kris’ eyes drop further, from Chanyeol’s combined hands to the ground before staying on the solid pavement. He suddenly looks small, almost tiny in comparison to his especially large stature. A daintiness there, unsure and—oh.

Nervous.

“Yeah, it was nice seeing you, Chanyeol.” Kris’ eyes are still glued to the pavement and Chanyeol grips Kyungsoo’s tiny hand even harder. Fuck. His heart hurts.

Then, the older man leaves—with a lasting, ‘bye’ and a sparing glance, large shoulder just grazing the edge of Chanyeol’s shirt.

Chanyeol almost collapses on the spot when Kris is out of sight, heart plummeting in his chest. It feels as though he’s going to have to call an ambulance for organ failure soon enough with the way his lungs are acting. Should it feel so painful and awkward just having a conversation with your ex-boyfriend?

“Chanyeol.”

Kyungsoo’s voice is soft yet firm, questioning but not intrusive. Now this is a real judge of Kyungsoo’s patience. The fact that he isn’t jumping down Chanyeol’s throat shows just how well he knows the other. What he does however, is pull Chanyeol into the porridge store and seat him at a table, ordering food and water in silence.

The tall man drinks from the paper cup steadily, feeling the cool rush run down his throat, a soothing reprieve. He thought he was over Kris. He was doing so well. So, so well. Just because he was the one to suggest the break-up doesn’t mean he was immune. It took a long time with constant suggesting and pushing before he was able to consider himself a free man once again, hopeful threads inside of him thinking of Kris in that boyfriend-y way long past their break.

But, if this one encounter has anything to say, he’s definitely not past their break up. The idea that Kris is, that Chanyeol has to fucking pretend he has a boyfriend just so he doesn’t look like a complete and utter pathetic piece of shit is just so fucking embarrassing. Fuck.

“Fuck.”

He groans into his palms, running his fingers through his hair and pulling the strands hard. With a deep breath, he exhales, squashing the digits along the sides of his face.

He can hear Kyungsoo taking a sip of his drink before placing the cup on the table.

“Chanyeol.”

The older man looks up. He can only imagine what his face looks like, scrubbed raw from his fingers, and expression probably not the most pleasant in the world. Probably rather ugly if the way he feels has anything to add to it.

Kyungsoo doesn’t look that perturbed though, quite normal in a world that feels so horrible and unpleasant. It’s nice that Kyungsoo hasn’t changed, a constant in Chanyeol’s otherwise tumultuous life.

“Please drink your water and calm down.”

He follows the advice, taking another sip of the water and feeling it run down his throat. Closing his eyes, he exhales once, twice, a third time, feeling the tension slowly ebb out of his system.

Okay.

Oh. Kay.

“Feeling better?” Kyungsoo asks, a small but concerned smile on his face.

“Yeah,” Chanyeol responds, clearing his throat of all phlegm. He sends the other a weak smile, taking another sip of the water.

“Do you want to tell me what that was all about? You don’t have to.”

What a fucking saint. But Chanyeol does want someone to talk to, someone that isn’t his best friend Baekhyun, someone who can actually give him an objective outside perspective on the whole scenario.

And so Chanyeol talks, a little timidly at first. He explains how Kris is his ex-boyfriend—and Kyungsoo isn’t even surprised at all—what had brought them to split, how Chanyeol thought he was over his ex, before meeting him in the store and realising rather quickly that he isn’t over him. Or at least not like he thought he was.

Their porridge comes, the one that Kyungsoo had apparently ordered for them while Chanyeol was freaking out in his seat, and the tall man continues his story, explaining just how pathetic he feels for having lied about his relationship situation. And how he feels about Kris in general. That Kris is moving on with his life while Chanyeol is just stuck in the past.

Kyungsoo is a good listener, nodding his head in all the appropriate spots. Or at least, in all the spots Chanyeol likes to think is appropriate. He doesn’t interrupt either, letting Chanyeol vent to his fullest.

“And now I’m freaking out because I’m pathetic,” he ends as eloquently as he started, feeling like the whole world is on his shoulders. Which is ridiculous, but maybe he’s got just the weight of the Asia-Pacific on his shoulders. He thinks this is probably just how much it’d weigh.

“Don’t think that,” Kyungsoo says immediately, the first words he’s spoken since Chanyeol took centre stage and prattled off. “You’re acting like anyone would, especially considering the fact that you were in a long term and serious relationship.”

“Yeah,” he knows that. He does, really. And while it’s always nice to hear a little reassurance, he can’t help but feel like it’s a cop out. Yeah sure he’s allowed to feel that, but Chanyeol had always thought of himself as independent.

Kyungsoo’s face tenses a little more, eyebrows furrowing. “Have you talked with Baek about this? Gotten a second opinion?”

“You know Baekhyun,” Chanyeol gives the other a look and a shrug, “he’s all for me, yet I don’t think it’s helpful? Like I’m really grateful he’s there, but I need a long-lasting solution.”

Kyungsoo snorts once, nodding his head. Chanyeol had introduced the two to each other a while back, and has been forever surprised at just how close they had gotten since then. He sometimes catches Baekhyun talking on the phone to Kyungsoo. He even caught Baekhyun doing so only a few days beforehand—which he would’ve been jealous of if the other hadn’t already been sitting on the couch, legs planted directly in Chanyeol’s lap.

“Would he be at his place now? Maybe we can talk about it together. It would be good to get his opinion.”

*~*

“So I’m saying, fuck Kris anyway like who even needs that big sack of potatoes.”

“He’s not a big sack of potatoes,” Chanyeol grumbles gloomily into the couch. His cheek keeps rubbing against the fake leather of the chair and he watches through one eye as Baekhyun prances around the lounge room, feet practically stomping on the carpet in his great haste.

“Yeah, he’s more like a big sack of gourds. You know? The vegetable? It’s like a pumpkin I think.” Baekhyun nods his head, mouth curling up at the side.

“Squashes,” Kyungsoo corrects, sitting on the couch and nursing his one lone bottle of beer. His only beer too. A guy who practices the golden middle way of moderation in life rather than living to the extreme (see: Chanyeol and Baekhyun). Aristotle would be fucking proud.

Chanyeol’s downed a shot or two. Maybe a third because Baekhyun had insisted. The shorter man had said that it would ease his worries, complete with an encouraging smile on his face. Chanyeol is learning rather quickly that no, it isn’t easing any of his worries at all. At. All. If anything, he feels even more stressed now because Baekhyun is getting more and more prance-y as he continues to drink, and unfortunately Chanyeol doesn’t feel up to jump with him tonight.

“Yeah, lets squash him. Put him in a bag and squash him. Minseok, you have a car, right?” Baekhyun asks, turning his head towards the kitchen as Minseok—the only one who hasn’t drunk anything—continues to cook silently in an apartment full of loud.

“I’m not going to help you guys kill someone. You know accomplices get charged with the same offence, right?” Minseok adds rather dryly, not unlike how Chanyeol feels at the moment. He needs some water.

“I don’t want to kill Kris,” Chanyeol mopes further, because the thought of Kris dying is sure a dampener on his already sullen mood. “I like him a lot.”

“We’re not going to kill him,” Chanyeol thinks he sees Kyungsoo hit Baekhyun in the foot. “Why did I think it was a good idea to bring him back to you?”

“Because I’m his best friend and I know how to fix things?” Baekhyun flutters his eyes at Kyungsoo, finally slowing down. He jumps over towards the couch and sits next to the tall man, wiggling his arm around Chanyeol’s back and patting at soft fleshy bicep skin.

“How is killing Kris a good idea at all?” Chanyeol turns his head to the side to stare at his friend. Baekhyun pauses for a second, seemingly trying to remember why he thought it was a good idea too.

“We’re not going to kill anyone,” Minseok adds, finally joining the trio with his bowl of rice and vegetables, and moving to sit on the second couch.

“Ah!” Baekhyun exclaims, mouth widening in happiness. “Knew you were going to join us, buddy. So what else? Wounding? Grievous bodily harm?”

Minseok just stares at Baekhyun for a second, before he shakes his head and moves to take a bite of his food, ignoring the man. The overexcited puppy just pouts for a few seconds, grumbling under his breath about '... killjoys and we already have Kyungsoo why Minseok too? '.

“I don’t want to hurt him either,” Chanyeol shoves Baekhyun with his shoulder, watching the other topple over and curse.

“What did this guy do anyway?” Minseok asks Kyungsoo who seems to be the only other sober person in the room.

Chanyeol listens with half an ear as Kyungsoo explains their situation—about Kris being Chanyeol’s ex, and all the shenanigans that has happened since then.

“I didn’t realise you liked men,” Minseok says with wide eyes, blinking at the tall man.

Before he’s able to say anything, Baekhyun pops his head up from under Chanyeol’s armpit.

“If that’s a problem…” he sounds as menacing as Baekhyun can be, which in reality, isn’t very menacing at all. But Chanyeol smiles anyway, reaching over to rub at his best friend’s hair and laugh a little into the crook of his shoulder. He loves his friends. “Our Chanyeol is the gayest man who has ever lived, with a need for dick and/or other long and hard devices.” Okay. Maybe he doesn’t love his friends that much.

“Jesus Christ Baekhyun,” Chanyeol groans, pushing Baekhyun again and feeling a strange sense of déjà vu when the other tumbles over again despite himself.  

“No, not at all!” Minseok quickly shakes his head to say no, pausing to rethink his words. “I was just a little surprised.”

Chanyeol shrugs. He is what he is.

There’s silence for a few seconds as Minseok continues to chew through his food and Chanyeol rests his head on the couch.

“I have a work friend,” Minseok starts off and Chanyeol turns his head to face the other. “He’s kind of in the same boat as you. I think he’s pining over an ex. If you’re interested in dating again…”

Chanyeol opens his mouth to refuse, the idea of dating leaving a bitter taste on his tongue. Maybe in the past, but recently he’s been sufficiently wrecked, can he just have a week of peace?

But Kyungsoo is the one who answers. “Maybe you should try it out, Chanyeol.”

As fast as lightning, Chanyeol whips his face towards his friend, shaking his head immediately, “I really don’t want to.”

“Think about it,” Kyungsoo starts slowly, voice sure. “You said he has a boyfriend, right? How you’re jealous that he’s managed to get over you? If anything, use this opportunity to bounce back and find your footing once again.”

“Are you telling me to use this guy as a rebound?” Chanyeol’s eyebrows furrow, feeling Kyungsoo’s words wash over him. “This is Minseok’s friend you’re talking about.”

He shoots a glance towards the eldest man in the room but the other just shrugs.

“I think it would be helpful for him too actually.”

Chanyeol’s mouth drops open. Well. Okay then.

“I think this is a good idea,” Baekhyun adds then, from Chanyeol’s side. He reaches a hand over to slap at the tall man’s thigh and Chanyeol jumps in surprise. “You haven’t dated in ages. Do you even know how to flirt anymore?”

“Of course I do,” he grumbles rather pathetically. Why do his friends think he’s literally been in a cave for the past two years? He’s been quite active, joining them on nights when Baekhyun wants to go dancing and maybe pick up a girl (or two). Or the lunch dates Kyungsoo takes him on during work, venturing and finding new places until the other just shakes his head and says his own cooking is better.

Let alone the fact that he has dated in the meantime. Twice. Okay maybe once if he doesn’t count the little bout of feelings he had for Tao. It was short and brief but Chanyeol was able to pick Sehun up and seduce him into bed. Even if they ended up as friends rather than anything romantic, Chanyeol was able to flirt with someone.

“If you hadn’t told me about your dildo, I would’ve thought your dick had shrivelled up by now.”

“Fuck. Off.” Chanyeol groans, grabbing Baekhyun by the shoulder and stuffing the other’s face into his armpit. Solid punishment.

“Oh?” Minseok sounds curious now that they’ve decided to go down this topic and Chanyeol sends him a warning glance. “What? I’m interested now.”

Baekhyun manages to gather enough strength to push his head out of Chanyeol’s armpit, wheezing loudly.

“He has a dildo that he calls The Wrec—”

“Okay, that’s enough for you,” Chanyeol wrestles his friend on the couch, taking his long gangly limbs and putting them to good use. As in, shutting his best friend up by tickling him. He’s a great tickler, if he can say so himself.

It takes awhile but eventually Chanyeol manages to wrestle the other into submission. Baekhyun’s a good friend most of the time, but sometimes he just doesn’t seem to know where the boundaries lie. It’s up to Chanyeol to really teach him just what means what.

They settle down and Kyungsoo moves over to turn on the TV, letting the white noise flitter through the stilling room. Baekhyun sits properly on the couch as Chanyeol follows, mind moving back to Minseok’s suggestion.

He’s interested, there’s no doubt about that. The only thing is the fact that he is somewhat scared though. Scared about the potential possibilities. What would happen if he did go on a date with this guy? Sure, the other is looking for a rebound too but, if they do happen to find each other interesting… He doesn’t really want to leave Kris behind.

No, he shakes his head. He shouldn’t think like that. Kris has already found a boyfriend himself. He’s already left Chanyeol behind. This is only a simple suggestion for Chanyeol to step up and find himself once again. Get his life back on track and finally move on.

When there’s relative silence during an ad break, Chanyeol speaks up.

“Hey Minseok…?”

*~*

“Okay, done.”

Baekhyun moves back to inspect his work. He has done Chanyeol’s make-up today, something light yet ‘spunky’. Whatever that means. He had promised to make Chanyeol look ‘alive’, whatever that meant too. But that’s fine, because Chanyeol does trust the other’s skills. It’s rather handy having a make-up artist as his best friend, and he often is used to experiment on. He’s just lucky those makeup remover things actually do what they’re meant to do. The 21st Century is amazing.

Pushing Chanyeol towards the mirror, Baekhyun smiles happily in front of his creation. He’s really done well, Chanyeol thinks, blinking his eyes and watching as the man in front of him copies his exact movement. Of course it copies his exact movement, it’s him. The beautiful, handsome, sexy man is him.

He doesn’t know what Baekhyun has done to him, but his eyes are suddenly larger, eyelashes thicker. His jaw looks so much more tapered and thick—very masculine, and very handsome. Blinking again, Chanyeol realises that his natural features have been accentuated. That’s really all Baekhyun’s done, but the other has turned him into this fine specimen. Man. Maybe he should date himself.

“Wow.”

“I know right?” Baekhyun laughs, swivelling the chair over so he can really check out his handiwork. “You clean up nice.”

“Thank you,” Chanyeol breathes, still eyeing himself in the mirror. So, why didn’t men wear makeup all the time?

“No worries,” Baekhyun smiles and it’s something a little soft. “I hope this works out for you, Chanyeollie.”

“Me too,” Chanyeol looks into the mirror and thinks that maybe things may work out for him after all. He moves his head back to look up at Baekhyun who is now cleaning up his makeup kit. “What did Minseok say this guy’s name was again?”

“Uh…” Baekhyun frowns, tube of mascara stuck in between his pretty fingers. “You know, I actually don’t remember at all.”

Snorting, Chanyeol runs his fingers through his hair. “How great. Mystery date with a stranger I don’t even know the name of.”

“Don’t worry too much. You should go get changed now.”

With a nod, Chanyeol moves towards Baekhyun’s bedroom. He had brought his clothes over earlier in the day, knowing that his date was supposed to pick him up from Minseok and Baekhyun’s apartment. Apparently he has dropped Minseok off a few times after some after-work drinks. But Chanyeol’s not here to complain, especially since Baekhyun had willingly turned him into a superstar.

He chucks off his jeans and t-shirt, taking the ironed black pants between his fingers and shrugging it on. Minseok hadn’t told him anything about the date, no logistics at all, and so he’s at a loss as to where they’re going. Does he need to dress up nicely? He has no clue. Either way, it’s probably a safe bet to wear something semi-formal.

It’s a little fashion forward but Chanyeol’s wearing a blazer over a shimmery silver cardigan. He looks good though. He has eyes, he knows he looks good. And if both Minseok and Baekhyun’s reactions say anything, he knows his partner will probably like it too.

“Looking good,” Minseok says while Baekhyun just stares unabashedly with his mouth open.

“Hot,” he nods wildly. “Fucking hot as fuck.”

With a grin, Chanyeol feels his heart pump in his chest. He can do this.

But when the bell rings at exactly six pm and Baekhyun quickly pushes him towards the door, Chanyeol doesn’t think he can do this anymore.

“Please, please, I don’t want to anymore!” He whisper-yells towards his two friends who are sitting on the couch, steadily ignoring him. Apparently ignoring him is how they’re supposed to get Chanyeol to do things on his own. Very frustrating. But, apparently it’s a method that works because Chanyeol is now breathing in through his nose and walking towards the door.

He inhales and exhales one last time before he grabs the knob and pulls it open, wide and welcoming smile on his face.

Which eventually drops as soon as he sees just who it is behind that door.

Kris.

Fuck.

Absently, Chanyeol notes the look of shock on the other’s handsome face, eyes wide and mouth open in surprise. Past that, he glances down and observes the other’s features. Kris is dressed up nicely too, tight pants and light blue buttoned down shirt. The fabric is snug against his biceps and Chanyeol forces himself to look away from the other’s hands. Gigantic hands that he knows way too well.

A rush of memories shoot through his head like a bullet train, fast and nauseating. There’s memories of a beach, of a sunny apartment. Of a guitar and a large queen sized bed. Of those fucking hands, so long and thick and breaking Chanyeol almost every time they had touched him.

It’s a shock seeing Kris right here in front of him, again. Again because this is the third time he’s seen him in the past month. How insane.

With wide eyes, he watches as Kris’ mouth wavers, practically trembles, voice cracking on the syllable.

Canli—“

“Yifan!” Comes from around the corner but Chanyeol barely hears it, let alone sees it. There’s a loud ‘oof’ and he realises that Minseok has barrelled into the other, most likely hugging him. But Chanyeol is still stuck on what Kris had called him. What Kris was calling him.

Canlie.

The Chinese name Kris had given him when they were together. Canlie. Kris had told him it meant something along the lines of being fiercely bright, incredibly intense. Because Chanyeol was his fire, was his brilliant bright star in a world of dull and mundane. Kris’ fiery Chanyeol.

“Oh fuck, Minseok this was a bad idea,” Chanyeol can hear Baekhyun from around the corner but his eyes are still closed, heart numb in his chest.

Canlie. Fucking Canlie.

“A bad idea? What do you mean?”

“This… Hey Chanyeollie, you okay?” There’s a hand rubbing into his lower back and Chanyeol slowly opens his eyes, wincing slightly when bright light invades his senses. He sees the concerned look on Baekhyun’s face before his eyes roam and reach Kris.

The other looks somewhat concerned too and Chanyeol quickly throws his gaze back to safe, welcoming Baekhyun. He clears his throat and puts his hands into the pockets of his pants, hoping they don’t start shaking on the spot.

“I’m… fine,” he eventually responds, voice soft.

“Is everything okay?” Minseok asks, looking extremely confused. He continues to glance between the three people, eyes eventually stopping on Baekhyun whose own attention is stuck solely on his best friend.

“Maybe I should go…” Kris mutters, sending a glance towards Chanyeol. He still looks worried, and Chanyeol’s heart flutters in his chest at the thought of the other being worried about him.

“What?” Minseok says, shaking his head, obviously very confused. “Why would you—”

“It’s okay, come inside,” Chanyeol interrupts, feeling battered and a little worse for wear, “…Kris.”

Vaguely, Chanyeol notes Minseok’s eyes widening in surprise, in shock, finally realising just what is going on. Kris himself doesn’t seem very eager to step inside, which Chanyeol can understand, but the older man acquiesces regardless. Chanyeol hasn’t seen these shoes before, a nice pair of suede loafers that fit his especially large feet. The two of them are similar in height and in size, but Kris has always, consistently beaten him in the hands and feet department. And another department too but Chanyeol has never complained about that before.

When the other finally enters the house, Chanyeol tries to reconcile his thoughts. Minseok had called him Yifan, by his professional name if what the tall man had told both Chanyeol and Kyungsoo was true. So this must be Minseok’s work friend. The one that was supposed to be Chanyeol’s date.

But doesn’t Kris have a boyfriend? What is he doing here?

“Would you like anything to drink?” Chanyeol asks, moving towards the kitchen and grabbing a cup. He already has the orange juice in his hand when Kris looks up and smiles at him.

“Orange juice would be great.”

Chanyeol sends the other a small smile in response. Guess there are some things you will never forget.

He can barely hear Baekhyun and Minseok chatting in one of their own rooms, their voices too muffled to actually comprehend. Knowing his best friend, the other must be telling Minseok exactly who his work friend is.

“So, you’re friends with Minseok?” Chanyeol eventually manages to cough out, voice deep.

“Yeah, we work together,” Kris nods, taking a sip of the juice. “You… live with him?”

A head shake. “Nah, Baekhyun lives with him. I’m just. Well you know me and Baek.”

Kris chuckles a little. “Of course. He was the first line of defence I had to get through before I could even start to woo you.”

Chanyeol smiles at the memories. “He’s a good friend.”

“I’m just surprised I didn’t know he was Minseok’s roommate. I mean we aren’t as close as you and Baekhyun or anything, but I feel as though I should have known that.”

Chanyeol nods in agreement. He’s a bit confused about that. Also the strange coincidence that Minseok had not said just who was coming on this date. If he had, Chanyeol would have instantly made a fuss. How didn’t they know anything?

Never mind that, what about the fact that Minseok had said Kris was pining over an ex? Did he just break up with his boyfriend? What even happened?

Why is everything so confusing?

Chanyeol guides them towards the one dining table that’s placed in the middle of the apartment, hastily pushing aside a clutter full of junk. Kris takes a seat, legs spreading wide and almost touching Chanyeol’s nearly equally long leg in the process. He really doesn’t seem very happy at all. Chanyeol can note an anxious expression taking over the older man’s face, fingers almost as jittery as those tiny little twirling beetles that camp outside of his house during monsoon season. If anything, this only soothes Chanyeol, realising rather quickly that maybe there isn’t that much difference between them after all.

“Should we talk about this?” Chanyeol asks, awkward silence suddenly feeling tangible.

Kris’ eyebrows furrow, and he clears his throat. His blonde hair is coiffed upwards, looking extremely handsome like the part time model he—probably—is by now. Rather overwhelming, actually. You’d think that after living with someone, their combined traits would make them less attractive. Obviously, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Kris, and the fact that Chanyeol is already one hundred percent ready to get on his knees for the man in front of him is extremely embarrassing.

But it’s speaking time now. Not fucking time. Definitely not fucking time at all.

“I thought… Minseok invited me over for a date,” Kris’ thick eyebrows furrow together, shaking his head slightly to the side. “But with you? Not Baekhyun, right? Isn’t he straight?”

“Mostly straight,” Chanyeol confirms with a shrug. “Like 89 percent straight. Probably. Maybe 88.”

Kris shakes his head, eyebrows furrowing even further like this makes even less sense. “Then. So. It’s with you?”

With a sigh, Chanyeol bites his lip. Now is the time to make things clear, not to lie and fuck everything up again. And so he grips his fingers together and relays one brisk nod.

“But, don’t you. Don’t you have a boyfriend?” Kris spurts out quickly, like this is the part that makes the least sense and he’s been trying to reconcile the fact. “The lube. Your boyfriend that I met.”

“Don’t you have a boyfriend?” Chanyeol counters in return. Never mind the fact that Chanyeol had lied about Kyungsoo, which is, something that he really doesn’t want to think about at all. But also the other fact that Kris had talked about his boyfriend. He did talk about having one, didn’t he?

“I—” Kris starts, before letting his head hang rather sullenly. “No. I don’t.”

“See, that’s what I’m—wait. What?” Chanyeol stops, mouth running dry. So Kris did break up with his boyfriend. Huh, go figure.

“I never had a boyfriend,” Kris laughs, rather sardonically. His lips turn thin, mashing together like two long pieces of string. “I lied.”

Lied. Kris lied. What a strange concept, Kris lying. But what exactly does that mean? Chanyeol’s head turns blank, and he’s sure that the expression on his face follows suit. What exactly did he lie about? About not having a boyfriend? So the entire time Chanyeol thought the other had a boyfriend, and therefore Chanyeol also lying about having a boyfriend, Kris was single? What the absolute hell?

But also—what a complete revelation. Kris lied. Kris is single. Kris is ready to mingle.

“I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t want to lie but I was. I was… well, I was jealous. You seemed to have moved on with your life. And yet I was stuck, reliving our past, thinking about you all the time—”

How crazy? Kris thinking about him all the time? Is Chanyeol in some kind of weird alternate universe right now? Isn’t he the one that thinks about Kris all the time? Isn’t he the one stuck in the past?

“—while you were out there, getting a boyfriend, getting over me. So in order to not look pathetic, I decided to lie.”

Isn’t that exactly what Chanyeol did? He knew they were similar in the past and influenced each other in many ways. But he didn’t realise they were that similar. Holy shit.

“Please say something.”

“Huh?” Chanyeol shakes his head, turning to face Kris. The taller man looks freaked out, a little scared, having bared his heart out to his ex-boyfriend. “Kris…”

“I’m sorry for confessing like this, for ruining everything probably. But it’s true,” Kris lets out a harsh sigh, raising his large hand to run through his hair. Fingers catch on the strands of his blonde locks, gripping them tight. “I thought starting a new life would be okay, that I would be fine. And it was. At first. But then…”

“Kris…”

“All I’m doing is making things worse. I’m sorry,” his head drops, eyes facing the ground flooring. “I’ll leave.”

“Kris,” Chanyeol interrupts, firm. Brown eyes raise, eventually reaching Chanyeol. “I’m—” Take a deep breath Chanyeol. Kris confessed. It’s time for you to confess too. “I lied as well.”

The look on Kris’ face changes only minimally. His thick eyebrows cross, knitting together and his lips purse in confusion.

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t have a boyfriend either.” Surprisingly, the words aren’t that hard to get out. And once Chanyeol’s said it, everything else continues to fall. “Kyungsoo isn’t my boyfriend. I lied too.”

“W-what?” Kris blinks, mouth dropping open in surprise. His voice is breathy, shocked.

“I can’t believe it, but I honestly thought exactly the same as you,” Chanyeol drops his gaze and lets out a whimsical laugh. Amusement mars his features, but he’s more bewildered than anything. “I thought you had a boyfriend and I was really jealous. So I said I did too because I didn’t want you to think I was pathetic.”

When Chanyeol looks up, he sees a dazed looking Kris. Apparently the other had never even considered this a possibility at all and he sits there, shocked. Chanyeol lets a fond smile cross his face as he waits for Kris to eventually regain control of himself.

“I thought I was the pathetic one, I honestly can’t believe. I’m. I’m still in shock,” Chanyeol admits, lips widening on instinct at the sight of astounded Kris.

It had always been a game of cat and mouse between them. Ever since the beginning, when they were both introduced through basketball and Chanyeol had accidentally grinded his (very shapely) butt against Kris’ crotch in the changing rooms one time. Once Chanyeol had known the effect he, and his butt had, they were set. Baekhyun was but a simple obstacle to jump over, it was Chanyeol who had all the moves—setting the bar high and seeing if Kris’ long legs could jump over it.

He could.

Things went well and they didn’t stop going well until Chanyeol was the one to open his big mouth and ruin things.  

“Um. Well then,” Kris blinks, sounding surprised. He shakes his head twice before an almost crazed laugh.

With a shrug, Chanyeol sends the other a fond smile. If Kris hadn’t confessed first, Chanyeol isn’t sure if he would’ve been able to take the plunge. He still feels embarrassed at the thought of lying about having a boyfriend in the first place.

Everything feels so muted and yet so intense at the same time. Kris is here, confessing to him about having feelings but at the same time he feels so far away. The metre of space between them seems so excessively large like they’re shouting over a football field instead of chatting on the one dining table near Baekhyun’s kitchenette.

Despite confessing, there’s still been two years of silence between them. Despite everything, things have changed. Chanyeol isn’t the same as he was when he was Kris’ Canlie. He’s single Chanyeol now. Single Chanyeol that has different interests, that hardly even remembers how to play basketball anymore. Kris likes the old Chanyeol, who even knows if he likes the current Chanyeol.

Kris being different is a whole other matter. He’s probably different. There’s no way he’s the same as he once was. Maybe his traits have lingered, like how he loves to turn on the TV and his computer to live stream his basketball matches. Two different angles, he once said. He needs that breadth of vision.

“So what now?” Chanyeol asks when the silence lingers on. And that’s just another factor, that there is so much distance between them they don’t even know what to say to each other anymore. What is necessarily appropriate in the grand scheme of being ex-boyfriends. Ex-boyfriends who still like each other, apparent-fucking-ly.

Kris is quiet, fingers fiddling around his glass. He seems contemplative, and a little wary, like he’s unsure what Chanyeol wants.

“I miss you.”

The words feel like a blow to the heart, everything Chanyeol’s wanted to hear for the past two years. Long, spidery fingers linger on the edge of the table, inching closer and closer, nearing Chanyeol, and just on the brink of touching—before Chanyeol moves back.

Startled, Kris drags his hand back like he’s been electrocuted, shocked by a power socket.

“I miss you too but we’re so different now…” Chanyeol yearns to grab Kris’ hand and hold it against his chest, to feel the limbs flex directly into his pecs. “We split because of long distance and I know you’re back now but. We can’t just go back to how we used to be.”

Kris stares at him, expression changing from hurt to neutral. A little fond even. “You have changed, haven’t you?”

Letting out an embarrassed laugh, Chanyeol raises his head to tuck a few strands of hair behind his ears. “I had to.”

“But, if that’s the case…” Kris reaches out his hand again, but he looks less hesitant this time. More like the Kris, Chanyeol knows. “Would you like to go on a date with me, Chanyeol Park? Let’s not have any expectations. Let’s just get to know each other.”

And because this is Kris, he reaches his fingers out again, and before the other is able to react, positively or negatively, he grabs Chanyeol by the hand. He’s just barely holding onto the tips of Chanyeol’s fingers, loosely curling around the first joint and not even reaching the base of the younger man’s knuckles. It’s shocking, but surprisingly expected at the same time.

“Okay,” Chanyeol croaks, heart feeling large and full of life. He watches as Kris’ lips turn into a smile, eyes crinkling like night moon crescents. He grabs Kris too, fingers moving closer and finally connecting their grasp.

Warm and comforting. It’s nice.

They arrange the time and place, and it’s settled. Chanyeol will be going on a date with Kris.

The pressure in his chest builds, plateauing when Kris lingers by the door and reaches out for Chanyeol’s hand again. The younger man acquiesces almost on instinct, fingers brushing Kris’ before letting those gigantic bear paws hold him rather delicately. What follows is a single head movement, nothing that would incite any sort of behaviour in probably anyone else. But it’s Chanyeol, and Chanyeol knows what this let’s-poke-my-nose-and-chin-out move means.

And so Chanyeol gives it to him.

A kiss. A simple brush of lips, fingers still locked together like vines, steadily growing tight. It’s the most chaste kiss Chanyeol has participated in for a long time, something so innocent yet telling of what’s to come. Something that really blooms hope and vibrancy in his heart. Kris leaves with the softest touch of tongue against Chanyeol’s lower lip and it’s this that sparks waves of affection and nostalgia. And gets Chanyeol excited for what’s to come.

Kris leaves with a smile on his face, one of his beautiful smiles, where his teeth are shown and his lips are drawn wide like he’s been gifted the entire milky way. He reaches forward, and Chanyeol expects one last kiss. A farewell goodbye. What he gets instead is something just as beautiful, a whisper. A soft yet poignant:

“See you soon, Canlie.”  

*~*

Not surprisingly, their date goes great. Kris takes him out for dinner near his place, nothing too upmarket. It makes the atmosphere a lot more relaxed, conversation easy to find. Suddenly, Chanyeol is laughing he used to, reaching a hand out to grab Kris’ from under the table. There’s fond looks and even softer smiles. Chanyeol buys Kris ice cream. Kris accidentally gets some on Chanyeol’s nose and licks it off like the tease he is.

They go on a second date and then a third. The outings go on for longer and longer until Kris finally stays the night.

Sex takes a little while to get readjusted to, for Chanyeol to remember just how Kris likes it and for Kris to find those spots in Chanyeol he knows the younger likes. They wake up next to each other with the sun shining in Kris’ face, and the blonde complains just like how he used to, crinkling his nose up until Chanyeol eventually laughs and grabs him by the waist. He then goes down and blows the absolute hell out of his boyfriend and Kris promptly forgets anything and everything about sunshine.

And yet while everything is so familiar, there are so many things that are just as equally different. Kris has a new interest in coffee and taking showers with a showering cap on. Suddenly there is a pet lizard Chanyeol has to look after because Kris apparently has a new reptile son that he had acquired in their break. The only unfortunate part about this is the fact that Baekhyun is suddenly not coming over as much due to his reptile-phobia, which is also similarly great, because sexy times are hardly ever as interrupted as they once were.

Speaking of Baekhyun, his loyalty was bought, turning him into a huge Kris fan as soon as the guy gave him free SNSD tickets. Insane. Chanyeol almost thought his best friend was gonna drop him for his boyfriend on the spot.

 

One day when Kris is running his fingers through Chanyeol’s pile of clothing, because they’re around about the same size anyway, he cards through a familiar royal blue shirt with a toothpaste stain near the top.

“Remember this shirt?” He asks Chanyeol who’s lounging on the bed, naked as the day he was born.

“Oh please don’t remind me,” the younger man groans, stuffing his face into a pillow that smells like Kris.

“What?” Kris flicks the shirt in between his hands so he can take a good look at it. “It’s this that brought us back together you know? The shirt of dreams.”

“I’m just remembering all the embarrassment I had to endure because of that shirt. Burn it,” Chanyeol replies, deadpanned. At least the vodka was good, the lube too. Lube that he has unsurprisingly finished—with Kris’ help, of course.

“It’s a good shirt,” Kris disagrees. “I think it looks better on you anyway.” He flicks his eyes towards Chanyeol, straying towards a very, very naked chest.

The younger man preens under the praise, flexing his arms even further and letting Kris appreciate the muscles in the way only he can.

 

Chanyeol doesn’t burn the shirt. He doesn’t get the stain out either but that’s okay, it’s the shirt that got them together. Perfect in its own minty way.