Sehun is tired of living the same day over and over. He’s lived the sort of life where he’s constantly working towards something. To be trapped, stagnant, never able to move forward, is frustrating.
Even more frustrating is how, no matter how many times, or in how many ways, he tries to make things right with Chanyeol, each morning he’s back to square one.
There’s also the fact that every time he redoes this day, he uncovers more and more things he’d never noticed; there are things about Chanyeol, and his reactions to Chanyeol that seem so much more obvious now that Sehun knows where to look.
Sick of the monotony, Sehun remains in the studio during lunch, running through old routines to try and blow off some steam. His muscles still easily recall the steps for History, and he closes his eyes, taking a break from studying his reflection in the mirror.
“It doesn’t look so impressive with only one person,” says Chanyeol, and Sehun spins around, surprised.
“What are you doing here?” It sounds accusatory, so Sehun quickly adds, “Not that I mind. I just thought you weren’t talking to me.”
Chanyeol’s cheeks are puffed up full of air. “Baekhyun said-- I wanted to see your new hair.”
“Well,” Sehun says, like he’s talking to a rabbit that might bolt at any moment, “what do you think?”
“I think you’d look good with any hairstyle.”
“That’s because you like me.” Sehun is straightforward, leaving Chanyeol no room to guess what he means. Chanyeol sucks on his lower lip to buy himself time, and Sehun sighs. “It’s true, isn’t it?”
Chanyeol, who is wearing his favorite over-sized hoodie, the one with the now-fraying hem that Sehun had bought him for his seventeenth birthday, hides his hands away in the front pockets. Sehun knows Chanyeol’s only doing it to keep from twisting his hands together the way he always does when he’s nervous.
“Yeah,” Chanyeol says, “I do.”
Chanyeol seems almost relieved that Sehun’s said it for him and that all he had to do was agree. Then he straightens his back and smiles, smaller than usual, but still genuine.
“That’s okay,” Sehun tells him. “Really.”
“It’s not okay. Because I don’t know how to be just your friend anymore.” Chanyeol laughs, helplessly. “I really like you. I really, really like you.” He’s giving Sehun that look again; like Sehun’s taken away his kitten or like Sehun’s asked him for advice about girls. Sehun is coming to realize that there’s a name for that face, and it’s heartbreak.
Sehun’s heart is beating quickly, in a way that he could blame on dancing. But the truth is, he’s actually just scared. He’s unsure if he’ll ever look at Chanyeol the same way again, even if he woke up tomorrow and the days had moved forward.
Scarier yet, he’s not sure if he wants to.
“I really--” Sehun starts, but even after countless repetitions of this same January 18th, he still doesn’t know how this sentence is supposed to end.
After twenty renditions of the same interview, Sehun is so bored he’s sure he’s going to decompose on camera. He can imagine the delightful headlines. Interview Ages EXO-K’s Maknae Before Our Eyes! He consoles himself by mouthing along to everyone’s answers, and making rude faces at the host every time she turns away.
They’ve made him wear his pastel pink tuxedo shoes without socks, and as he sweats under the studio lights, his feet start to stick to the leather. It itches, and Sehun might have to sit through this interview again, but he’ll be damned if he does it with itching feet. He bends over in his seat, ignoring Kyungsoo’s hissed “what are you doing?”
“My feet itch,” Sehun whispers back neutrally, and Kyungsoo nods subtly, returning his attention to the host, who is asking Junmyeon about their stupid concept for their comeback and listening to his stupider answer.
His jacket is tight on his shoulders as he unties the laces, hooking his index fingers into the heels of his shoes and pulling them off. He sticks his bare feet out in front of him, flexing his toes and enjoying his freedom, and the cameraman gives him a strange look. Sehun shrugs back at him, and his jacket is still too tight across his back, so he slips it down off his shoulders, tugging at the sleeve and giving himself enough room to pull his arms out. He throws the ruffled bolero jacket carelessly on the floor behind, and the rhinestones clink against the tile.
Stretching his neck and relishing the cool air on the bare skin, he notices Chanyeol staring at him, alarmed, but he decides to ignore it. The rough material of his eyelet lace shirt, sticky with accumulated sweat, itches too. Sehun barely thinks about it before he pulls it over his head. The cameraman’s jaw is dropping, but his bandmates, save for Chanyeol, have yet to notice his impromptu striptease. He thinks it’s kind of hilarious that, had he been whispering with Jongin, Junmyeon would have glared at him in a second, but here he is, stripping in the middle of a livestream, while thousands of fans watch on the internet, and Junmyeon doesn’t even look in his direction. He thinks that might say something about their occupation.
Now, it feels like a challenge to see how much he can take off before someone tries to stop him. Chanyeol is making small choked noises, which garners Kyungsoo’s attention just as Sehun accidently elbows Jongin in the process of unbuttoning his capris. He shimmies out them without standing up, as Kyungsoo watches in abject horror and Jongin chides him to watch his elbows without sparing him a glance. He shakes the capris off his ankles, and reaches for the waistband of his briefs.
The host turns to ask him about Lu Han’s opinion on his hair, but she doesn’t get the chance, words catching in her throat as Sehun turns around to reveal his bare ass to the camera.
Chanyeol drops his mic.
Everyone turns to look at the loud echo, and Sehun makes a peace sign and smiles.
“Sehun, what the--” Junmyeon swallows the swear, but his eyebrows are knitted so tightly together that Sehun is almost worried that his face is going to collapse inward.
“Leader, it’s too hot.”
“We have air conditioning,” the host says, finally finding her voice, but Sehun thinks she sounds fairly unenthusiastic about the offer.
“Maknae, no one wants to see that,” Baekhyun snaps. “Put your ugly clothes back on.”
“Sehun you can’t show your,” he mimes jacking off and lifts his eyebrows, “all over the internet. To our fans.”
Junmyeon lets loose an awful wheeze, like he’s taking a desperate gulp for air in the midst of drowning, and gesture violently with his arms for Sehun to clothe himself. “Sehun-”
“Shut up, Jongin,” Sehun says, as he obeys, reluctantly, bending over to grab his briefs, and mooning the camera. “At least my dick isn’t pierced.”
Jongin vocalizes a scandalized “my dick isn’t pierced!”, but it’s too late, because Sehun’s back in his underwear, which leaves Junmyeon free to turn to Jongin with a speculative expression. Jongin is left to fend off Junmyeon and a curious Baekhyun, who is asking strangely invasive questions about foreskin sensitivity and urination, while Kyungsoo still hasn’t moved, looking a bit more like a corpse than an idol. Sehun sits back in his uncomfortable chair smugly, pleased at the chaos he’s caused, and meets the host’s intrigued eyes. He smiles at her blandly, until he observes Chanyeol picking up his mic out of the corner of his eye.
When Chanyeol looks up at him, his face is soft; the distress lines that had gathered around his mouth and eyes fading beneath a huge, Chanyeol smile, complete with teeth and eye twitches and a scrunched up nose, Sehun is happy to grin back, offering a wide smile of his own. Sehun feigns a shiver, rubbing his hands up his arms, and Chanyeol cracks, laughing loudly and wildly as everyone once again turns their attention to Sehun.
There’s something satisfying about sharing a laugh with Chanyeol that leaves Sehun’s toes curling, and it makes him think of countless other times they’ve been the only ones in on a joke like this, chuckling in a situation that is funny to the two of them alone.
A lot of Sehun and Chanyeol’s friendship has been like that; things only the two of them get. It’s a connection that would hurt Sehun to lose, because in a lot of ways, they’ve grown up together, and Chanyeol’s understanding is something he can always depend on, same as the biting cold of Seoul winter or Jongin’s terrible taste in footwear.
“Sehun,” Junmyeon says, “you are in so much trouble.”
“Sure I am,” Sehun says, and shrugs, because there’s nothing he can do about it now, and it will never have happened tomorrow. Still, the pleasant warmness that had spread through him at Chanyeol’s laugh makes him feel too flush to put the rest of his clothes back on. Sehun likes to think that no one really minds, especially not the host, who seems to have an obsession with Sehun’s belly button that he’s not going to even try to understand.
In the dressing room, as they change to go back to the dorm, Sehun catches Chanyeol laughing to himself again, shaking his head in disbelief, and waits for Chanyeol to look at him. Chanyeol seems to feel his stare, and returns it, and Sehun thinks back to earlier, in the dance studio, when Chanyeol had told Sehun he liked him and Sehun hadn’t said anything back.
“Hey,” Sehun says, as Chanyeol starts to drop his gaze, “I’m...” Sehun stops, and licks at his lips. “I’m the opposite of sick of you.” Chanyeol doesn’t move, like he’s waiting for Sehun to say something else. “So even if... it has to be different-” No more of Sehun’s hand curled around Chanyeol’s wrist, or Sehun’s toes sliding up Chanyeol’s calf, or lying next to each other in Chanyeol’s bed while Chanyeol definitely doesn’t cry. “Even if it has to be different, we’ll be okay.”
Chanyeol, when Sehun finishes, takes a deep breath, holding the air in his lungs for a minute before releasing it heavily, with an audible sigh. “Yeah,” he says, “Maybe we will be.”
Sehun wakes up with the same pounding headache he went to sleep with, Junmyeon hovering over him with a disappointed frown on his his face.
Sehun scrunches up his eyes and groans. “I’m not late.”
Junmyeon pauses, surprised. “What?”
Sehun rolls over and says into his pillow, “And don’t call me a jerk. I know I have to apologize to Chanyeol.”
“I-” Junmyeon starts. Then: “okay.”
Turning back over, Sehun shoves his blankets down, ignoring Junmyeon, who is still standing next to his bed looking dumbfounded, and sits up. “Ugh, I hate Friday. You always drip water on my face on Friday.”
“But I didn’t--” Junmyeon says.
“Not yet,” Sehun says, swinging his feet over the edge of the bed and grabbing a random shirt off the floor. “But you were going to.”
“I was going to?”
Sehun doesn’t bother to answer him, slipping the shirt on before walking out of their room and into the hallway. The collision with Chanyeol is much harder when Sehun is moving so much faster, and Chanyeol lets out an “oomph” when Sehun barrels into his chest, immediately reaching out to steady Sehun before he can fall backward, catching his arms at the bicep and pulling him straight.
“Morning,” Sehun says. “Maybe I should watch where I’m going.” There’s not enough space between them. Before all of this, Chanyeol’s hands on his arms wouldn’t have felt electric, but now, even after Chanyeol drops his hands and steps backward, Sehun can still feel the current running up and down the skin.
“Morning,” Chanyeol replies, his voice even lower from disuse, the way it always sounds when Chanyeol wakes up. “I have-”
“To leave early for a photoshoot,” Sehun says. “I know. But you’ve still got about forty minutes.”
“How do you...” Chanyeol is so surprised he actually returns Sehun’s look, and Sehun thinks it’s actually pretty useful to know the future. “I mean, yeah.”
“You only take ten minutes to get dressed when someone else is going to do your hair,” Sehun says. “So that means you can spare five minutes to talk to me.”
“About what?” Chanyeol says, and Sehun’s not sure why he’d never noticed just how great Chanyeol’s voice is. It slides like honey down his spine, which is probably the gayest thing Sehun’s thought in weeks. Except for the whole kissing thing. “I thought you were sick of me.”
“Chanyeol,” Sehun says, lifting a hand to curl his fingers around a handful of Chanyeol’s shirt at his stomach, knuckles brushing at Chanyeol’s abs. Chanyeol shivers, and Sehun’s not sure if it’s from the touch or the cool air on his still wet skin. “We’ve known each other forever. If I was really going to get sick of you, it would have happened years ago.” He runs his tongue across his teeth, wincing at the thin film on the unbrushed surfaces, and exhales. “And you know how I get. About my calculus homework.”
Sehun is actually kind of shit at apologies. “Yes,” Chanyeol says. “I do.” He shifts his weight from foot to foot, scrunching his whole face up. “It’s...” There’s conflict in his eyes. If Sehun hadn’t already known how Chanyeol feels about him, he would have missed it. “It’s not your fault. It’s mine. For overreacting.”
Sehun debates moving past Chanyeol now, and letting the conversation stand, but that, Sehun thinks, would be the selfish option, because Chanyeol looks so insecure. Sehun prefers the Chanyeol who stares at himself in the mirror and nods in approval, and the Chanyeol that winks at fansite cameras because he knows how much they like him. It’s really... Even if the next time he wakes up, Chanyeol will feel sad again, that doesn’t mean Sehun would feel good about leaving him sad today.
So Sehun steels himself, and narrows his eyes at Chanyeol with determination, pushing his knuckles harder into Chanyeol’s stomach until Chanyeol’s gaze returns to his, and bites his lip. “I...” His mouth is so dry. “It’s okay, you know.” That’s not specific, and Chanyeol is probably confused. “We’ll be okay, I mean.” He crushes the fabric in his palm. Chanyeol’s breathing has sped up, and he can feel his stomach pressing against the flats of his fingers. “Things between us. Those’ll be okay.”
Chanyeol’s lips part, and there it is again. That urge to see if Chanyeol’s lips are as soft and inviting as they look. It would be easy, Sehun knows, to lean forward and press their mouths together, and maybe lick into Chanyeol’s mouth and taste the spearmint toothpaste he knows Chanyeol prefers even though it’s inferior to the wintermint that Sehun’s always used. And--
And that’s not something Sehun should be thinking, and maybe it’s too early in the morning for this conversation after all. “Never mind,” Sehun mumbles, letting go of Chanyeol’s shirt like it’s on fire. This time it is Sehun that escapes behind a closed door, locking himself in the bathroom so Kyungsoo can’t walk in, and leaving Chanyeol standing bewildered in the hallway, large hand against his own stomach where Sehun’s hand had been.
When he can no longer ignore Kyungsoo’s pounding on the bathroom door, Sehun splashes water on his face one last time before undoing the lock and going out to the kitchen. Grabbing the water bottle from the fridge to pour himself a glass, Sehun says without turning around, “Jongin, get out from under the table before you hit your head.”
Jerking awake, Jongin smacks into the table anyway and growls sleepily. When Sehun turns around, Baekhyun is looking at him strangely.
“Why are you staring at me?” Sehun says, taking the seat next to Junmyeon.
“You’re much more observant than usual this morning.”
Sehun smirks. “Actually, I’m psychic.”
Baekhyun rolls his eyes, and Sehun focuses on trying to snatch pieces of Junmyeon’s breakfast to distract himself from what had happened in the hallway earlier.
“If you’re psychic,” Baekhyun says, taking a sip of his hot toddy, “tell me what I’m about to say.”
“That I should apologize to Chanyeol,” Sehun replies around a mouthful of Junmyeon’s rice, “which I already did, by the way.”
Baekhyun is surprised, but then pleased, taking another sip of his drink and looking relieved.
“No way,” Jongin says, shoving his face into Sehun’s space again, like the closer he is, the more capable he’ll be of spotting a lie.
“Sure I am,” Sehun says. “For example, Junmyeon is about to freak out about Baekhyun being gay.”
Junmyeon drops his chopsticks. “Wait, Baekhyun is gay?”
Sehun pushes his chair back half a meter right as Baekhyun lunges at him, taking Junmyeon’s bowl with him. “And then,” Sehun says carelessly, “Baekhyun is going to try to strangle me.” Baekhyun clutches angrily at the air in the space that Sehun has just vacated.
“I’m going to kill you later,” Baekhyun says. “In your sleep. I’m going to put your pillow over your face and watch you slowly suffocate, and then I’m going laugh. I’m going to laugh forever, and tell everyone in later interviews that you were into auto-erotic asphyxiation and it was a tragic masturbation accident.”
“Don’t you think that’s a bit much?” Sehun asks, and Baekhyun makes a thwarted scream that Sehun thinks is incredibly satisfying.
“I’ll show you a bit much-”
“Children,” Jongin says, trying to hang his spoon on his nose, eyes crossed, “act your age.”
Sehun snatches the spoon and clonks him on the top of his head, just hard enough to earn a hiss.
Baekhyun glowers, and Junmyeon just looks resignedly amused, reaching toward Sehun to reclaim his bowl.
Sehun remembers that this is when Chanyeol arrives. He ignores the twinge in his chest, and turns to Junmyeon. “Chanyeol’s coming, so I’ll finish your breakfast,” he says, bringing the bowl closer to his chest and out of Junmyeon’s reach.
Junmyeon gapes at him, before nodding slowly. “Right,” he says. “Don’t forget-”
“My haircut. In a half an hour. I got it.”
“All this time,” Jongin says. “All this time, and you’ve known when the members of SNSD are going to be naked backstage, and you never helped a friend out?”
“Sorry,” Sehun says, and offers everyone an angelic smile. “It’s against the psychic code to use my powers to aid perverts.”
“But think of it,” Jongin says dreamily as he tugs at the sleeve of Sehun’s shirt, “just tits everywhere, nipples everywhere.”
Sehun pries Jongin’s hand off. “Get off, you plebeian.”
Chanyeol’s shadow casts along the tiles, and Sehun doesn’t look at the doorway, where he knows Chanyeol will be standing with his big black sweatshirt and his skinny jeans, too big feet in the Canadian flag socks Wu Fan had given for Christmas that match nothing Chanyeol owns.
Chanyeol’s voice cracks as he speaks. Sehun wonders if Chanyeol is looking at him, because everyone goes quiet, and he’s pretty sure only Jongin actually thinks he can see the future. “Are you ready to go?”
“Holy shit,” Jongin says. “Sehun, man, we have to go gambling.”
“You’re underage,” Junmyeon says, as he stands up from the table. “And that’s illegal. No getting arrested during comeback promotions.”
“Who’s getting arrested?” Chanyeol says and Sehun is pleased that Chanyeol sounds less upset than most of the other mornings, but his presence in the kitchen is making something hot crawl around under Sehun’s skin. He shifts in his chair, trying to get rid of the feeling, and glares when Jongin pokes him in the cheek.
“Sehun is psychic,” Jongin says. Sehun bats Jongin’s hand away from his face and picks up the spare set of chopsticks on the table so he can distract himself with eating Junmyeon’s leftovers.
“Psychic?” Without looking, Sehun knows Chanyeol’s eyebrows are raised, eyes reflecting the kitchen light and lips parted in curiosity. Sometimes, Sehun knows Chanyeol so well that it hurts.
“Pity you never told us,” Baekhyun says, smirking skeptically and tipping his chair back. “You could have saved us a lot of trauma. Like warning us that time before we all came back from shopping and found Jongin alone in the living room with his fingers up his--”
“I told you,” Jongin interrupts, slapping his hand on the table, “that was for science.”
Baekhyun scoffs. “Sure it was.”
Chanyeol clears his throat and Junmyeon pushes in his chair. “Okay,” he says as he and Chanyeol head for the front door, “Sehun, the whole psychic thing-- just... don’t break anything before the interview later today.” Jongin, who had been trying to imitate Baekhyun by leaning back in his chair, loses his balance and falls forward, into the edge of the table with a painful-sounding thump. Junmyeon sighs, with the air of someone forced to champion a lost cause. “Or anyone. Please.”
Before the door closes, Sehun can’t stop himself from sneaking one small look at Chanyeol, out of the corner of his eye. Chanyeol has his hands stuffed in the pockets of his hoodie, and he’s staring at Sehun. The look he’s got on reminds Sehun of the times when they would hole up in a studio together after-hours, running through routines until Chanyeol could do them without stumbling over his own feet, and sometimes Sehun would look up to meet Chanyeol’s eyes in the mirror and it had felt the same as holding his hands too close to a fire, making his skin go hot and stinging all at once, until he looked away.
It’s that kind of thing, Sehun thinks, that should have made him realize at least part of this...thing between them a long time ago.
Then, too soon and at the same time not soon enough, the door closes and Kyungsoo comes out into the kitchen, still looking a little put out that Sehun had kept him from his shower.
Jongin pokes Sehun in the cheek again, pulling him from his thoughts and making him scowl. “If you’re psychic, then tell me what I’m going to say.”
“I’m not actually psychic, you dumbass,” Sehun says, picking up a bit of egg between his fingers and smushing it onto the side of Jongin’s face as Hyeonkyun appears in the doorway, hoodie and cap in hand.
Maybe, if Sehun were actually psychic, things with Chanyeol would be a whole lot simpler.
Sehun’s skin still prickles, like the scraping of a match against the rough edge of the box, whenever he’s around Chanyeol, and lunch and the MNET interview are like torture. He can feel whenever Chanyeol is looking at him and it makes it hard to think about anything else.
Afterwards, he drags Jongin out for bubble tea, needing a break from the tension crowding his shoulders. Jongin makes him pay and then spends the whole time trying to perfect the art of balancing on the two back legs of his chair, which Sehun would think was really insensitive, except that it’s Jongin and unless he says something, Jongin will never notice that he’s... Sehun isn’t quite sure what he is, but it’s something less than happy, and closer to upset, and he hates the feeling.
Puffing up his cheeks, Sehun blows out a loud breath. The action is very Chanyeol-like, Sehun realizes belatedly, and the thought makes him frown even more.
Jongin, holding his drink in one hand and using the other to anchor himself on the table as he balances on half the legs of the chair, finally says something. “Dude, whatever apology you gave Chanyeol, it must have sucked. He’s still acting all strange. Do it again. Better.”
“I’ve apologized a million times!” Sehun says. Maybe it just seems that way, but he’s sick of apologizing. Always being wrong is exhausting and this has been, quite literally, the longest day of Sehun’s life and he just wants it to end.
Taking a sip of tea and sucking a few tapioca balls up the large straw, Jongin doesn’t seem convinced. “Well, maybe you ought to tell him you’re in love with him while you’re at it. Spare us the melodrama.”
Sehun shoves at Jongin’s tipped chair with a foot under the table and Jongin loses his balance, tipping back onto the floor with a loud smash.
Jongin’s tea spills all over him, making him sputter wetly, and when Jongin picks himself up, righting his chair again, Sehun keeps a tight hold on his cup. He’s had enough of tea-soaked sweatpants.
Jongin is yelling at him, but Sehun can’t hear him, for some reason. All he can hear is his own heartbeat and the idea of being in love with Chanyeol, rattling around in his brain like an untuned brass band. “I’m not-” The words get stuck in his throat, because... because... Sehun clenches his hands into fists as Jongin brushes invisible dirt from his sweatpants and glares at him.
“Please do not waste the breath to tell me you’re not,” Jongin says. “I have eyes. You guys lie in bed together and cuddle when you’re homesick, and all you did today was stare at his mouth.”
“But-” Sehun says, and all the feelings are making him nauseous. “But-”
Jongin looks profoundly disappointed. “You’re like the worst psychic ever,” he says. “What’s the point of seeing what happens in the future if you can’t even see what’s happening now?”
It is not often that Jongin makes Sehun feel stupid, but Sehun, between the inability to catch his breath and the clammy feeling to his hands and the way his stomach is going to rebel, can admit that now is one of those rare times.
“I’m in love with Chanyeol,” Sehun tests out, under his breath, and saying it hurts, kind of like shutting his hand in the car door hurts, but at the same time, it’s like he’s been holding his breath for a long time and now he can finally inhale. “I’m. In love. With Chanyeol.”
“Damn,” he hears Jongin say, as he listens to his friend with half an ear, dabbing listlessly at his soaking sweats with a couple of thin napkins that tear and leave tiny bits of paper residue on the fabric, “if you’re not really psychic, there go my titty dreams.”
“Jongin,” Sehun says faintly, and distractedly, licking at his lips, and swallowing around the lump in his throat. “Shut the hell up.”
Chanyeol looks different in love.
Or. Well, he looks different to Sehun, when Sehun knows he’s in love with him.
The curry is spicier than Sehun likes it, but he hardly notices. What he notices, instead, is the hesitant way that Chanyeol takes his customary seat next to Baekhyun at the dinner table, long legs stretching out and tangling with Sehun’s, invading each other’s space they way they’ve done since both of them had had their growth spurts. (They’d even done that together, Sehun thinks, dazedly, as Chanyeol’s bony ankle digs into his calf.)
He also notices the way Chanyeol’s fingers delicately hold the chopsticks, because even if people see Chanyeol as big and clumsy, Sehun knows he’s also careful in everything, to make up for his lack of natural grace. And he notices the way Chanyeol’s eyes linger on Sehun’s throat when he swallows, and the way Chanyeol laughs at Sehun’s jokes even when they aren’t funny, and the way Chanyeol shivers when Sehun’s foot grazes his.
Worst of all, Sehun notices the way he can’t take his own eyes off Chanyeol’s mouth, and that it feels like he’s overheating whenever Chanyeol does, well, anything, because Chanyeol is as warm as the oversized hoodie he always insists on wearing, and it’s almost too much for Sehun to bear.
Once again, it’s Sehun’s turn to do the washing up, and Chanyeol helps him by bringing the dishes over to the sink in a huge, precarious stack. As he sets the various plates and bowls down, his chest presses to Sehun’s side, and his breath tickles Sehun’s cheek.
“About earlier,” Chanyeol says, haltingly, and Sehun turns on the tap, letting the sound of the water cover the hitch in his breath. “When you said-”
“I said never mind,” Sehun replies, and it comes out harsher than he means it to, which leaves him feeling guilty.
Chanyeol takes a step back, and Sehun’s side is cold in his absence. “Okay,” Chanyeol says. “I just thought...” He’s silent, for a moment, and the only sound in the kitchen is the water splashing against the metal basin of the sink. “Good night, Sehun.”
“Good night,” Sehun echoes, as Chanyeol leaves the room.
When he climbs into his bed, shimmying under his blankets and pulling them up quickly over his bare shoulders, he fleetingly wonders what it would be like if Chanyeol were sleeping next to him. He pulls the covers over his head, and tries to tune out the nagging feeling that there’s so much more he should have said.
Sehun wakes up with the same pounding headache he went to sleep with, but he also wakes up thinking of Chanyeol. He sits up as Junmyeon comes through the door to wake him, standing before Junmyeon can come close enough to drip water in his face. “I’ve got it,” Sehun groans, scrubbing his hand over his face in exasperation.
He’s so tired. Tired of this day, tired of having this fucking headache, and tired of all these feelings he’s never had to deal with before.
He walks out into the hallway, not bothering with a shirt and heading toward the kitchen instead of the bathroom, hoping to miss Chanyeol, but he’s miscalculated, because the door of the bathroom opens, and this time it is Chanyeol who is running into him. Chanyeol trips, and then catches himself with both hands landing on Sehun’s shoulders, and Sehun can once again smell his shampoo, and his minty toothpaste, and the gentle scent of laundry detergent that clings to his clothes. Sehun’s hands come up to steady himself, clutching two handfuls of Chanyeol’s shirt at the chest, which pulls Chanyeol in closer. Their foreheads bump, and Sehun looks into Chanyeol’s eyes; they’re glassy and wide, and because he’s been caught off guard, nothing in his expression hidden. The way that Chanyeol is looking at him makes him feel like he’s been punched in the gut, because Chanyeol’s cheeks are pink from the shower and from embarrassment, and Sehun can feel his own cheeks flush in response.
Chanyeol is soft, and warm, and damp, and maybe repeating the same day, over and over, has made Sehun a little reckless, because when the thought, heady and overwhelming, that he’d like to kiss Chanyeol, floods his mind, he just... does it. He tugs a little harder on Chanyeol’s shirt, tilts his chin up, and presses their lips together. Chanyeol squeaks, muscles tensing, but he doesn’t push Sehun away, so Sehun moves in closer, until Chanyeol finally melts into him, one hand sliding up to cup his neck as the other squeezes too tight on his shoulder.
Chanyeol’s lips are smoother than he’d expected, but just as warm, and when Chanyeol sighs, mouth parting slightly, Sehun takes advantage, sucking Chanyeol’s lower lip into his mouth and biting at it. Chanyeol whimpers, and threads his fingers into Sehun’s hair, tugging the strands with his shaking hand. When Sehun’s tongue slips between Chanyeol’s lips, exploring the roof of Chanyeol’s mouth and tasting Chanyeol’s gums, Chanyeol sighs, and the sound is more like a relieved sob than an exhale.
Then Chanyeol is pushing him back, until they crash into the wall, and Sehun bangs his elbows, grunting in pain. “Sorry,” Chanyeol mumbles into his mouth, lips falling off-center to kiss at the corner of Sehun’s.
“Why are you talking?” Sehun growls, and drags Chanyeol closer, distractedly thinking he’s probably stretched the front of Chanyeol’s shirt beyond repair. Then he just kisses Chanyeol harder, as Chanyeol’s hand moves to frame his jaw. Sehun’s arms link around Chanyeol’s neck, pressing them chest to chest, and as Chanyeol mewls, as loud in this as he is in everything else, Sehun can feel their hearts beating in sync.
“It’s too early for this,” Jongin says, and Sehun would roll his eyes, but he’s busy, so he pulls away from Chanyeol just enough to say “go away,” before Chanyeol whines and uses the hand cradling Sehun’s jaw to bring him back in and seal their mouths together again.
“Have you even brushed your teeth yet?” Jongin sounds the same as he did when he watched that series of documentaries on rare jungle parasites on SBS2; sickly fascinated. “Chanyeol needs to save some of that ecstasy for EXTACY.”
Chanyeol’s hand, the one on Sehun’s shoulder, slides all the way down, burning along his bare chest before coming to rest on his waist, his thumb rubbing slow circles into the skin next to his belly button.
“I’m still here,” Jongin says obnoxiously, and then: “Ow, ow, that’s my ear.”
“Let’s leave Chanyeol and Sehun to work out their differences,” Baekhyun says sweetly, and then there’s the shuffling of feet, but Sehun is too absorbed in the way Chanyeol is sucking on his tongue to really care.
“Since when is everyone gay?” he hears Jongin whine, as Baekhyun drags him away.
“So,” Sehun says, when they break, Chanyeol’s nose squashing into his own, breath hot on Sehun’s slick mouth, “I really, really like you.”
Chanyeol is looking at him like he’s said something amazing, but also like he wants to laugh. “I kind of figured.”
“Oh, shut up,” Sehun says, and he kisses Chanyeol again.
Sehun doesn’t sulk as the buzzer shaves off half of his hair, or when the stylist is massaging in the fuchsia dye. He thinks his generally pleasant demeanor sort of freaks her out, because when he smiles at her one last time as he’s leaving, she gives a horrified shiver and clutches her scissors.
Baekhyun, Jongin and Kyungsoo seem torn between teasing him about his haircut and teasing him about Chanyeol. “Maybe I should start offending girl group members,” Jongin says, during a quick water break, “if that’s how apologies work these days.”
“I think,” Baekhyun says, “Sehun’s going to have to apologize to Chanyeol for his hair looking like that.”
“Chanyeol likes me for my personality,” Sehun says with a tiny frown, and Kyungsoo pats him on the shoulder consolingly.
“Whatever helps you sleep at night,” Kyungsoo says, and Sehun feels a bit like Caesar in front of the Capitol, betrayed by the one he trusted most.
“Oh, I don’t think he’ll be getting much sleep,” Jongin says, and Baekhyun cracks up as Sehun pretends to be upset. Really though, Sehun’s too happy to be upset, giddiness sloshing around in his stomach as he remembers Chanyeol’s goodbye kiss that morning when he left with Junmyeon for their photoshoot, with swollen lips and a smile that lit up his whole face.
They get into the elevator to head to lunch, and it’s a completely different atmosphere when the doors open three floors too early to pick up Chanyeol and Junmyeon. Chanyeol immediately comes to his side, and he shyly slides his hand into Sehun’s pocket instead of his own, and tangles their fingers together.
As everyone exits the elevator, Chanyeol holds on to Sehun’s wrist, pulling him back in as the doors close, and hemming him in against the steel wall. It’s cold against Sehun’s sweaty skin.
“Did you miss me?” Chanyeol asks, and Sehun pulls on the strings of Chanyeol’s hood until it’s scrunched up around Chanyeol’s neck.
“No,” Sehun says, but he smiles, tugs again at the strings, and it’s a clear invitation that Chanyeol doesn’t pass up.
Sehun notices now, even more than that morning, how hot Chanyeol’s mouth is, slick as it slants across his, and the sounds Chanyeol makes echo around the elevator, raising the hairs on Sehun’s nape. Chanyeol moves to press kisses into Sehun’s jawline, supporting himself with a palm on the wall over Sehun’s shoulder. Sehun pushes his fingers into Chanyeol’s hair, holding him in place, and Chanyeol growls, low in his throat, and sucks at the place where Sehun’s jaw meets his neck.
“I like your hair,” Chanyeol breathes against the hollow of his collar bone, the syllables making Sehun shiver as Chanyeol’s lips brush the skin, and it’s so sensitive that Sehun knows Chanyeol’s left a bruise. He slips his free hand up Sehun’s shirt. “You’d look good with any haircut.”
His thigh shifts between Sehun’s, rubbing against Sehun’s crotch, and Sehun pulls Chanyeol’s hair in retaliation. “We don’t have time,” Sehun gasps, as Chanyeol’s thumb flicks across his nipple. He clutches at Chanyeol’s sweatshirt, feeling the shift of his shoulderblades beneath the fabric and wishing they did have time, because Chanyeol’s body feels so good molding into his own.
“Later,” Chanyeol says, and Sehun’s stomach tightens because he doesn’t know what Chanyeol means by later and Sehun’s not sure if he’ll ever get there.
At the interview, Sehun ignores the host, preferring, instead, to let his eyes roam along the length Chanyeol’s legs, which look good despite the patchwork denim. Chanyeol is looking back, staring at the strip of bare ankle skin between Sehun’s pink tuxedo shoes and the rhinestoned hem of his paisley capris.
The host, bored by Sehun’s inattention, fixates on Jongin instead, and he happily stares at her boobs throughout the show, answering her every question in detail.
As Sehun leads Chanyeol off-set by the hand, Sehun swears he hears Jongin ask her for her phone number.
The way they fit together in Sehun’s bed is exactly the same way they fit together in the rest of their lives. Chanyeol is noisy and takes up too much room, but Sehun isn’t afraid to push and shove back until their legs are intertwined beneath the sheets, and they’re whispering back and forth about elbows and knees. They settle when Junmyeon tells them to go to sleep from his bed across the room, and Chanyeol buries his face in Sehun’s neck and breathes in, hair tickling at Sehun’s chin. Chanyeol slips the tips of his fingers under the waistband of Sehun’s pajamas, and murmurs “I’ve wanted to kiss you for a long time,” against his cheek, making Sehun laugh.
“Then what are you waiting for?” Chanyeol raises his head and kisses him lightly, right at the edge of his mouth, before tucking himself back beneath Sehun’s chin. Sehun traces patterns across the expanse of Chanyeol’s back as Chanyeol falls asleep. Sehun fights his drowsiness as long as can, but in the end, it’s a futile battle, his eyelids growing heavier as Chanyeol’s heat seeps into his side.
Sehun doesn’t want to lose this. It has taken him a long time to figure, but he’s finally gotten it right, and Chanyeol is here, and he wants Chanyeol to still be here in the morning. Sehun doesn’t want to fall asleep, because then he’ll wake up and live the same January 18th again.
Sehun wakes up with hair in his mouth, and an arm like a dead weight across his stomach. The room is still dark, but a glance tells him that Junmyeon’s bed is empty, and he uses his free hand to rub at his eyes. His headache is finally gone, but the way he’s slept has given him a crick in his neck. He’s annoyed until he realizes that this is different, and that he’s finally woken up in today instead of yesterday.
He attempts to sit upright, but Chanyeol is pinning him down, and whines when Sehun’s shoulder hits him in the jaw. “Too early,” Chanyeol groans. “Sleep more. Move later.” Chanyeol curves his arm more tightly around Sehun’s waist, pulling him down and in, and Sehun easily gives in, falling back into the mess of covers and long, wayward limbs.
Relishing in the fact that he doesn’t know whether he’s late for something or not, Sehun nuzzles at Chanyeol’s cheek, a balloon of happiness inflating in his chest until he feels full with it, and it spills out onto his face as a smile.
When Chanyeol’s finally ready to wake up, he rolls on top of Sehun and peppers his face with kisses, and Sehun feigns distaste, digging his fingers into Chanyeol’s side and tickling him until he falls off the bed with low-pitched squeals. “So mean,” Chanyeol says, a little bit of a rasp in his voice. “That’s going to leave a bruise.”
“Good,” Sehun says, and then looks to the side, trying not to blush. “Maybe you’ll find someone willing to kiss it better. If you’re lucky.”
“You’re going to kiss the bruise on my tailbone better?” Chanyeol asks teasingly, and Sehun frowns.
“I did say if you’re lucky.”
Chanyeol lunges, then, pulling at the sheets until they, and Sehun with them, come tumbling down to the floor next to him. Sehun shoves at Chanyeol until he falls backward, tangling them both in the sheets, and it reminds Sehun of being fifteen, and of being seventeen, only now, when Chanyeol blinks up at him with glowing eyes, Sehun can lean down and kiss him.
Breakfast has wrapped up by the time they stumble out from Sehun’s room, flattening each others’ hair but not able to hide overly pink lips and the bruise on Sehun’s throat.
“Well, well, well,” Kyungsoo says, “glad you guys decided to join us.” Everyone looks up, save for Baekhyun, who seems totally invested in his mobile phone.
“No, we’re not,” Jongin says, like Sehun holding Chanyeol’s hand is the most unacceptable turn of events he could possibly have envisioned. Sehun knows Jongin is pleased, though, because his eyes are smiling. “I’ll never be glad about anything ever again.”
“What about the host of the program yesterday?” Junmyeon says, and Jongin’s whole face lights up.
“She totally wanted the d,” Jongin says. “And totally gave me her number.”
“Congratulations, Jongin,” Kyungsoo says. “Now you just have to muster the courage to actually call it.”
Baekhyun looks up from his phone, raising one eyebrow and smirking. “Sehun, go put on a turtleneck. Hickeys are so tacky.”
Sehun rebelliously pulls his shirt a little lower in the front, and Chanyeol stares at the revealed skin, like he’s looking for a place to leave the next mark.
“Who’ve you been texting all morning?” Jongin asks. “I swear your phone’s been glued to your hand this week.”
“My new girlfriend?” Baekhyun says, like the answer is obvious. “Duh.”
Sehun starts with surprise. “Wait, who?”
“Taeyeon.” He wiggles his eyebrows. “Excuse me, she prefers Taeyeon-seonbaenim.”
Kyungsoo whistles, and Junmyeon laughs behind his hand as Jongin falls out of chair. Again. Sehun is starting to think he needs a seatbelt. “You guys didn’t know that?” Chanyeol asks, squeezing Sehun’s hand. “It’s been in the works for a while.”
“You don’t know what I had to do to get her number,” Baekhyun says, and Sehun might have a few guesses. “Not that I didn’t completely enjoy the challenge.”
“By the way, Sehun,” Junmyeon says, “not to be a buzzkill, but your teacher called, and she needs your homework by tomorrow.”
“I’m not so bad at math,” Chanyeol says, “if you want some help.” Sehun isn’t sure he’ll be able to concentrate on calculus when there’s the much more interesting problem of getting into Chanyeol’s pants, but anything will be better than Junmyeon’s attempts.
Jongin is still on floor, staring at Baekhyun like Baekhyun has cured cancer. “Dude, you have the hook-up? Set me up with Tiffany.” He pauses. “Wait. Since when are you not gay?”
“Jongin, please,” Baekhyun says, looking back at his phone with a grin. “Tiffany is way out of your league.”