Genre: Fluff, romance, bestfriends!au
Summary: Best friends Jongin and Sehun have seen each other through their first crush, first date, first kiss, first broken heart. But for one of them, being best friends isn't quite enough.
A/N: For my mei, durianparfait
Monday, June 3rd
Two weeks ago
Jongin had had better days. There was that time he twisted his ankle during soccer, and there was that time Jolene Wasserman spilt the entire contents of a caramel frappuccino on the front of his favorite red letterman jacket. These were pretty bad as bad days went ... but they were nothing compared to how monumentally today sucked.
Choi Minho was the star midfielder of the school soccer team. Tall, tanned, good looking, witty and charming and just a touch cocky, Minho was pretty much the embodiment of every high school jock cliche out there and Jongin had nursed a crush on him for the better part of three months.
Jongin was pretty sure Minho had no idea he liked him and he wasn't planning to enlighten him anytime soon because all the signs pointed to Minho being straight - the matter of his four ex-girlfriends being the most obvious and significant sign. But the heart is never a practical organ; so even though Jongin was almost 80% sure Minho was straight, he fell for him anyway.
When he'd first told Sehun, three months ago, that he had a thing for the school soccer captain, his best friend of ten years had shaken his head and given him a sad look.
"Whaaat?!" Jongin had demanded, giving Sehun a decidedly dirty look.
"Unrequited love is a bitch." Sehun had said in the most annoyingly wise manner.
"Tell that to my heart." Jongin grumbled as he stood up and flung the flat pebble at the still surface of the pond. As it skipped one, two, three times ... Sehun muttered under his breath, "I know all about that."
"Hmm? Did you say something, Hun?" Jongin turned to look at him distractedly and Sehun lost his nerve, saying it must have been the wind in the trees he'd heard. Shrugging, Jongin bent down and took his time selecting another skipping stone of the perfect size and shape. Sighing soundlessly, Sehun watched as Jongin swung his arm in a perfect arc and released the pebble in a movement that was both graceful and strong. But this time the stone did not bounce over the water. It cleaved right through the surface and dropped right to the bottom - sinking in the same way Sehun's heart sank as he lamented inwardly, of all the assholes in the world, why'd you have to pick Choi Minho? Why, Jongin?
Maybe if Jongin had been paying attention that day and heard Sehun's comment, he might not have become more enthralled with Minho. Who knew? But the fact remained that he didn't hear Sehun's remark about knowing all too well about unrequited love so he hadn't investigated further, and remained on his trajectory of developing an even deeper crush on Choi Minho.
In the end, Jongin blamed the worst day of his life on his History teacher Mr. Hahn. If Mr. Hahn hadn't given their class an assignment on "Diseases during the Middle Ages", he wouldn't have had any reason to go in search of a book on The Black Death. If he hadn't needed the book he wouldn't have gone to the back of the library and seen Choi Minho making out with Jung Soojung. Jongin may have wandered into that part of the school library in search of insights into the bubonic plague in medieval times, but what he'd found instead was heartbreak.
In a daze, Jongin somehow found his way back to the desks where he'd been sitting with Sehun. His best friend's blond head was bent over, his long straight fringe hanging like a curtain over his heavily lidded eyes. Silently, Jongin sat heavily beside Sehun, his hands folded in his lap and his face expressionless.
"Did you find it?" Sehun looked up from the tome he'd been poring over. Not showing any signs of having heard Sehun's question, Jongin leaned to the left and rested his head on his friend's bony shoulder.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Sehun asked quietly, as was Oh Sehun's way. The two friends were both quiet in their own way, but Sehun most especially. Jongin shook his head but Sehun could see that while Jongin had carefully schooled his features so they remained blank, he could not hide the hurt emanating from his eyes. Sighing, Sehun removed the earbud from his left ear and gently inserted it into Jongin's left ear, the one that wasn't currently squashed against his collarbone.
And if you have a minute why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go
Somewhere only we know?
Somewhere only we know?
The haunting strains of Keane's song filled Jongin's senses and Sehun's warm fingers wrapped around his shoulder comfortingly as if to say it'll be okay, Jonginnie, everything will be okay. And just like that, Jongin's heart hurt a little less. He closed his eyes and breathed in the comforting scent of Sehun, a familiar scent he'd known for most of his life, and felt his muscles slowly unknot. Then, as he listened to the beautiful melody of the 'Somewhere Only We Know', and leaned closer to Sehun, Jongin tried to empty all thoughts of the kiss out of his head and his heart.
Even bad days had some good moments. Songs that inspired. Friends that accepted.
Monday the 17th
The phone screen lights up from its resting place on the mahogany bedside table, simultaneously emitting an ominous buzz. Jongin stares at it like it's a cobra poised to strike and asks himself whether he even wants to read whatever text has just came through. In spite of his current melancholy though, Jongin is a curious boy and he finally picks up the phone.
OS: Stop moping.
Jongin rolls his eyes. Of course, it has to be his best friend and personal tormentor, Oh Sehun. Grimacing, his thumbs fly across the screen.
KJ: I am not fucking moping.
OS: Of course you are. I can hear your sighs all the way across the lawn.
Jongin suddenly leaps off the bed and goes over to the window. Pulling the curtain open with unnecessary force, Jongin waves his fist and flips up his third finger. He can hear Sehun's low chuckles penetrate the stillness of the night, just as he can see Sehun's amused face in the open window.
OS: Very mature, Jonginnie.
KJ: Go away so I can sulk in peace.
And he gives Sehun the third finger again for good measure. But before he can draw his curtain shut, he sees Sehun's hand held up as if to say >>wait. And he waits, watching Sehun's unusually serious expression.
OS: Let's go out.
KJ: Where would we go? It's 9pm. I'm already in my PJs.
OS: Well ... You can wear your PJs if you want but you'll attract less stares if you change out of them?
KJ: Piss off, Sehunnie!
OS: Nope. See you downstairs in ten.
KJ: But Umma? It's late ...
OS: In ten.
KJ: I. HATE. YOU.
Quickly shucking off his faded, wash-worn Spongebob t-shirt and indigo blue cotton boxers, Jongin dresses himself in white Billabong shorts and a loose black wifebeater. They've been having the hottest summer and it's hotter outside the house than in, so going sleeveless is the best option. When Jongin's halfway down the stairs, he hears Sehun's husky voice interposed with his mother's feminine one, "I'm taking him out for froyo. Yes omoni, I'll drive carefully, I promise."
"Don't do anything stupid, boys." Jongin's mother raises a warning eyebrow.
"We won't, umma." Jongin says reassuringly and gives his mother a disarming smile and peck on the cheek.
"Don't use your charm on me, Kim Jongin! Just try to refrain from being idiots, the both of you." Jongin's umma always tries to act tough with them but they both know she's actually 100% marshmallow inside.
"Love you!" Jongin yells over his shoulder as the boys saunter out of the house. "Bye, omoni," Sehun waves.
"Don't be idiots!"
As soon as the door closes, Jongin doesn't have to pretend anymore so the cheery facade sloughs off him like a dried up husk and he looks all gloomy again.
"Stop it." Sehun says firmly.
"I'm not dragging your sorry carcass around town if you're gonna be like that."
"I didn't wanna come out anyway. You made me."
"You know you want that boysenberry froyo. That sour, tangy, cold, refreshing melt-in-your-mouth bowl of yum-" but Sehun never gets to finish his sentence as Jongin stops his flow by covering his mouth with his palm, his fingers splayed all over Sehun's cheek.
"Fine, I'll be more congenial." Jongin grunts. He lets his hand drop - never noticing the pained surprise on Sehun's face at the unexpected physical contact. "Let's go." He climbs into the front seat, immediately tilting his body to face right, so he can stare out the window.
The froyo gives them brain freeze. It always does and there's something comforting about that. They make theatrical groans like they always do - they've been doing that since they were six, but only with each other. It's too embarrassing to groan like that with anyone else. Just like the brain freeze is comforting, so are the flavors they're having. Jongin always has boysenberry and Sehun always has vanilla.
"What are we doing next?" Jongin asks just before he smacks his forehead and groans at the cold ache between his eyes.
"Your call." Sehun answers lazily as he leans back against the booth, watching though half-lidded eyes as Jongin swirls the clear plastic spoon around his almost empty, purple spattered froyo cup.
"We could go catch a movie? But there's nothing to watch. We could ... go to laser tag? But I'm too lazy to run. We could," and Jongin is cut off mid-sentence as a rich low voice greets him.
"Jongin, hey!" It's Choi Minho, with his arm draped possessively around Jung Soojung's petite shoulders. Soojung, so stunning with her long straight black hair and purple highlights, gives Jongin an easy smile and he returns it. He's too shocked to do otherwise; besides they know each other from English Lit and it would've been rude not to smile back. Fortunately, Minho and Soojung carry on walking to the back of the shop, drawing stares as they pass by tables - both so tall and good looking after all.
"Never mind where we're going next. Let's just go," Sehun stands up abruptly and drags a semi-comatose Jongin out of the store. He curses himself for bringing Jongin here and hopes he won't have a basket case to deal with for the rest of the night.
"The park. I want to go to the park." Jongin's voice sounds lifeless, but at least he's speaking, Sehun tells himself.
"Okay, Jonginnie. The park it is."
They're lying on the dry grass, staring up at the distant night sky, which is a jet canopy studded with silvery stars. There are no clouds tonight and the sky is practically ablaze with diamond chips of cold light. Living in a small town is generally a drag as far as Jongin and Sehun are concerned, but if there's one good thing about being far, far away from the big city and its lights, it's that you can see the stars so clearly out here.
The two boys are lying shoulder to shoulder, but they're facing opposite directions so they can see each other's faces easily. Flip flops long removed, they can feel the cool green blades of grass between their toes. It feels good and even though Jongin's heart is all sore and achey right now, he's still kind of glad he came out with his best friend. Sehun always manages to make him feel better.
"Yeah?" Jongin turns to look at Sehun, his face wretched.
"You knew he was straight, right?"
"I guess so. Yeah, I pretty much did."
"So why did you fixate on him?"
"Because you can't choose whom you like, you just do."
"I know all about that."
"What do you mean by that, Sehunnie?" Jongin turns to lie on his belly, "You never told me you were into anyone." He pokes his best friend's cheek.
"I kinda couldn't."
"Sehun, what the hell? We've always told each other everything." Jongin scolds him. "I can't do this, your face is upside down." Jongin moves so that he's lying flat on his tummy, close beside Sehun.
"Who are you into, dammit? And why couldn't you tell me?"
"I still can't tell you." Sehun closed his eyes and placed his forearm over his eyes in a dismissive gesture. At least he'd successfully distracted Jongin from the whole Minho and Soojung incident. But at what cost?
"Hun," Jongin peels his arm off, half lying across him, "Who is it?"
"Go away." This time it's Sehun who turns onto his belly, showing Jongin his back.
"Who?" Jongin tries to make him turn back to face him.
"Someone who likes someone else."
"Oh." Jongin's voice falls soft and he lies down next to Sehun again, letting out a long drawn sigh of frustration. "We sure know how to pick 'em. Why couldn't we have liked each other? That would have made things so much easier, Hun."
Sehun laughs at that and to Jongin's ears, the laugh sounds hollow and bitter but he doesn't understand why. Storing his doubts in a box to be examined later, Jongin snuggles up against his best friend who's always been there for him. As his arm clings to Sehun's narrow waist, Jongin rubs his nose against the smooth summer cotton of his t-shirt and breathes in the faint smell of pink grapefruit that he always associates with Sehun. It's the Body Shop soap he uses, which his elder sister Hyewon always gives him because she gets it on staff discount. She started off buying him the strawberry soap when he was 14 but he'd complained that it made him smell like a girl so after that first failed experiment, she'd gotten him the grapefruit instead. Since then, the scent of pink grapefruit has always reminded Jongin of Sehun in the same way the taste of vanilla always makes him think of Sehun - because it's been his best friend's favorite flavor since forever.
Jongin sighs almost contentedly as he snuggles closer still to Sehun ... but to his surprise, Sehun doesn't cuddle him back. Warm, comforting hugs are another thing he associates with Sehun, but today he seems to be keeping some kind of distance and Jongin doesn't like it. There was a brief period in their early teens when Jongin had been the taller, but Sehun surpassed him in height almost a year ago. Not that it matters which one of them is taller because their bodies have always fit perfectly together. But tonight, Sehun refuses to let them fit and instinctively, Jongin knows it's because of this mystery person he likes so much, but who doesn't like him back.
"Tell me who, Sehunnie." Jongin asks quietly.
"You don't want to know who." Sehun grimaces.
"Come on, Sehunnie," Jongin pokes his cheek gently with his index finger.
"You have to promise not to get weirded out about it." Sehun finally says in a cryptic manner.
"If I didn't know better, Hun, I'd think you were about to tell me you like me." Jongin jokes and he waits for Sehun to laugh but he doesn't.
"Hun?" Jongin's voice is worried now and he props himself up on his elbows and looks down into Sehun's familiar, handsome face. And Sehun's eyes are sad, so sad.
As Jongin stares down at him in a mixture of concern and confusion, Sehun impulsively makes a decision he will probably regret in approximately ... 23 seconds.
"Hun?" Jongin asks again, but more tentatively this time. And that's when Sehun reaches up and kisses Jongin. His best friend's lips are soft and plump beneath Sehun's thinner, pinker lips. They're everything Sehun's ever imagined, only so much more. Perhaps it's shock that prevents Jongin from pushing him away, because for just a moment, it feels like Jongin is kissing him back. But it's just for a moment and then Jongin is pulling away gently.
"What just happened?!" Jongin's voice is shaky as he watches Sehun cautiously.
"But you never said."
"You liked other people and I didn't want to lose my best friend. Don't freak out, Jongin. Let's just pretend this never happened. Please?"
"You just kissed me!" Jongin yells in disbelief, "How do I pretend that never happened?"
"I don't want to lose my best friend. You were looking at me like that and I just couldn't stop myself - but it won't happen again. Don't be mad, Jonginnie." Sehun looks miserable.
"I'm not mad. Shocked, yes. But I'm not mad." Jongin doesn't know what to feel or say so he just lies on his back and looks up at the stars and tries not to think about how much he'd liked the feel of Sehun's lips on his.
That night, as Jongin moves restlessly on his bed, trying to find a comfortable position, it is not Minho who fills his thoughts, but someone who's been a part of his life and a part of him, really, for the longest time. Why hadn't he ever noticed anything? Sehun must have been so careful.
At this time of night, it can only be one person. And despite the emotional tangle he's in right now, Jongin can't help smiling as he reads the text.
OS: Can't sleep.
KJ: Me either.
OS: Knock, knock.
KJ: Who's there?
KJ: Who who?
OS: Are you an owl?
KJ: THAT WAS BEYOND LAME OH SEHUN
OS: Jongin, are we cool?
KJ: Yeah, we're cool.
OS: Thanks, Jonginnie. G'night.
KJ: G'nite, Hun.
Sehun makes a frustrated noise as he puts his phone down. He covers his face with his pillow like this will somehow erase the kiss and magically restore things to how they were before. He hopes he hasn't screwed up their friendship irrevocably with his rash move. Sehun wishes he wasn't into Jongin. It's been six months since he realized his less than platonic feelings for his best friend, but the past three months have been especially hard for him because the clueless Jongin has been going on and on about Choi Minho. Sehun wants to stop liking Jongin but it's a bit like brain freeze. You know eating froyo will give you brain freeze but you keep eating it anyway. He knew liking Jongin would only lead to a broken heart, but that didn't make the feelings stop.
Sehun just wanted them to stop.
Monday, the 31st
Two weeks later
They've been in a holding pattern for the past two weeks. Since the kiss. Both Jongin and Sehun try to act as if Sehun never confessed his feelings and that they didn’t kiss. And they also try their hardest to pretend that things are cool and that nothing has changed when honestly, everything has. They both know everything is different but neither one of them knows how to fix things. All each boy knows is that he can't be without his best friend.
Not unexpectedly, they spend less time together because Sehun is embarrassed and Jongin is confused. Finding himself left mostly to his own devices during summer vacation, Jongin starts rifling through memories of his ten year friendship with Sehun. He needs to understand … to figure out when things changed for Sehun. What Jongin doesn't notice is that so much of his attention is focused on deconstructing Sehun's crush on him that he has nothing left to spare for Choi Minho. After two weeks, Jongin still can't find the answer but he seems to be completely over the school soccer captain. But the awkwardness has gone on long enough and even though Sehun and him have seen each other on and off, he misses the way things used to be between them. But most of all, he misses Sehun. He really, really misses him. After a few minutes of indecision, Jongin texts him: Froyo tonight. No buts. Seconds later, he gets his reply: Fine. Pick you at 8.30 =___=
And for the first time in two weeks, Jongin is happy.
It's another unbearably hot night and they're both wearing wifebeaters and surf shorts. They're having their usual boysenberry and vanilla froyo, and the brain freeze forehead smacks are making Sehun almost feel like things are back to normal. Almost.
There's a sense of déjà vu as Choi Minho and Jung Soojung stroll into their area. Nervously, Sehun watches Jongin's reaction as Minho and Soojung greet him. But all he does is wave and smile and after they leave, he continues eating his froyo calmly.
"Jongin, are you okay?"
"I'm good." Jongin licks the last of the boysenberry off his spoon.
"Where should we go next?" Sehun asks, trying not to sound worried.
"Let's go to the park." Jongin gives Sehun an enigmatic smile.
"The park it is."
The grass tickles the undersides of Sehun's toes and the soles of his feet. They're lying beside each other again, shoulders touching and feet pointing in opposite directions.
"When did you first know?"
"That you liked me?"
"I don't really know. I mean it wasn't a specific incident. It's just ... you know we've always hugged and stuff like that but sometime this winter, I started getting this achey feeling every time we hugged. And when you crushed on Choi Minho, I was mad and it kinda hurt and ... yeah. You know how bad I am with words, Jonginnie. That's about as good as it's gonna get."
"But why do you like me?"
"I just do. I wish I knew why I liked you then I could have stopped liking you a long time ago. Because liking your best friend sucks ... when your best friend doesn't like you back."
"What if he does? Like you back, I mean? What if your best friend likes you back?"
"I ... what are you saying?" Sehun's cheeks and neck flare hot as hope wars with cynicism and his mind tries to tell his heart he's reading too much into Jongin's words. He couldn't possibly ... could he? Jongin's cheek rests on his upturned palm as he lies on his side, gazing at Sehun.
"Y'know, I've been trying to figure it out. I've been thinking about it for two weeks but I just can't figure out when you started liking me different. What I realized though, when I was looking back at all the shit we've done together ... I can't imagine sharing all my 'firsts' with anyone else. First kiss. First crush. First time I fell off my bike and cried like a baby. First broken heart. I don't think I could confide in anyone else the way I can confide in you. And you know what? I don't want to. Also, I like that I was the one who got to hear all your 'firsts' and I don't really like the idea of you telling anyone else."
"Are you ... confessing?" Sehun is almost grinning now, his heart pounding a feverish rhythm in his throat as it waits in anxious anticipation for Jongin's answer.
"Don't be an asshole, Sehunnie." Jongin glares at him, his hand slowly reaching out to brush the soft blond hair off Sehun's forehead. In the end, Jongin gives up trying to put his feelings into words and just kisses his best friend instead. The kiss starts off questioning and just a little tentative as Jongin waits for Sehun to respond. When Sehun's lips part to let him in, his tongue slides in and meets Sehun's and he half expects it to be weird because they've been best friends since grade school and it should technically be at least a bit weird. But it's not. It's not strange at all; it just feels like … they belong together. Tenderly, their tongues tease each other and Jongin's left hand curls around Sehun's nape, while Sehun's hand clasps the back of Jongin's waist.
Minutes later, they stop for a breather and just hug each other, their arms and legs entwined almost shyly together because their bodies have never fit this perfectly. Sehun thinks to himself without saying it aloud, first kiss. He's kissed other boys before but this is the boy he's wanted to kiss the most and his kisses are the only ones that matter as far as Sehun is concerned.
"Hun?" Jongin sounds a little breathless - like he's still recovering from the emotions and sensations of their shared kisses.
"Yeah?" Sehun lets his finger trail over Jongin's perfect jawline, liking the way the smooth tanned skin feels under his fingertip.
"I know you know that wasn't my first kiss, but I think I'm going to tag it as my first real kiss. Who knew Oh Sehun could kiss so well. Are there any other secrets you're hiding from me?"
"I hate that I smell like fruit." Sehun announced, deadpan and they both burst into laughter – the tension of the last two weeks dissolving in a series of husky chuckles. Jongin says he'll miss the pink grapefruit but they'll go and look for a new soap for Sehun that doesn't smell of fruit. And then Sehun's kissing the corner of Jongin's upper lip and his tongue is gliding into his mouth and their arms tighten around each other, and for a while they just forget about the world. And it's perfectly okay.