Pairing: Kaisoo (Chansoo mentioned)
Genre: Romance, fluff
Length: 1,806 words
Summary: Quiet Jongin has a crush on perfect Kyungsoo whom he works with at the dog shelter. Can Jongin convince Kyungsoo that he'll make a better boyfriend than jock Chanyeol?
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable.”
— Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones
Jongin volunteers at the dog shelter twice a week, but Wednesdays are his favorite. His duties are the same on both days: he feeds and grooms a changing array of abandoned or abused puppies and dogs, cleans out their cages and takes them out to the yard to run and play. But on Wednesdays, he has company - a boy from school with pale, almost translucent skin and intense eyes that seem to hold secrets even though everything about him seems open and warm. They've been working together for two months and the other volunteer's name is Do Kyungsoo and he doesn't mind that Jongin never says much, and he doesn't mind that he's often red-eared and awkward when Kyungsoo asks him questions which aren't related to the shelter:
What do you do in your free time, Jongin? (I like to read)
What's your favorite book? (They're not books but I like Neil Gaiman's Sandman Collections best)
Do you like kiwifruit ice-cream? (I'm not really into fruity flavors but I really like macadamia ice-cream)
Jongin wishes he knew how to sound less, well boring? But he's always been shy and the fact that he likes Kyungsoo so much just makes things harder. So he continues to mumble and blush his way through their conversations while Kyungsoo pretends not to notice. And as they talk Jongin sometimes manages to ask Kyungsoo questions too. Because Jongin's desire to uncover the puzzle that is Kyungsoo sometimes overwhelms his self consciousness and he asks questions back. So he now has fistfuls of unconnected jigsaw pieces: Kyungsoo likes to read too and his favorite book is Neverwhere and this delights Jongin because this means they have Neil Gaiman in common and it gives them something to talk about which Jongin knows inside out - something that won't make him stumble over his words. He's never been very adept with words ... words and Jongin are lifelong adversaries. It's a good thing Kyungsoo seems content to speak enough for the both of them on days when Jongin is even more reticent than usual.
He also discovers that Kyungsoo's favorite ice cream flavor is blood orange (and not kiwifruit like Jongin had assumed). Kyungsoo likes blood oranges because they taste of sun-drenched summers. But mostly, Kyungsoo likes blood oranges because they taste of his childhood in another town - where they'd had a blood orange tree planted in their front yard. He has a sweet tooth, he confesses one day, and sugar dusted beignets are his secret indulgence (Jongin admits reluctantly that he can't resist sugar sprinkled churros with chocolate dipping sauce). Over the months, Jongin collects random scraps and snippets about the other boy and commits them to memory and holds them close to his heart - like precious keepsakes.
Most of the time, they talk about the dogs under their care, and mundane things like whether they need to order more dog food or shampoo. And some of the time, they don't talk at all. They just work quietly and efficiently beside each other and when they're like this, Jongin's heart constricts painfully at the bittersweet weight of words left unuttered on his tongue. There's so much he wants to say to Kyungsoo but it's all trapped inside, and Jongin wishes someone had a key that would unlock the cage that holds it all in. No matter what they're talking or not talking about though, to Jongin's fledgling heart, Kyungsoo is the most perfect creature he has ever known. No one else has ever made his heart squeeze and contract in quite the same way. It's just too bad Kyungsoo has a boyfriend. Park Chanyeol is energetic and compellingly charismatic in all the ways quiet Kim Jongin isn't, and the first string quarterback also happens to treat Kyungsoo well - a fact which further depresses Jongin. The couple are often seen walking through the school corridors together and Chanyeol always has a a casually slung arm around Kyungsoo's shoulder and a ready smile for his boyfriend. Jongin hasn't seen them around for more than a week though - well, he's seen Chanyeol but he's been with friends the last few times he's seen him. Anxiously, Jongin wonders if Kyungsoo is sick.
Jongin has always buried his disappointment that Kyungsoo is taken and he knows he'll continue to try his best never to reveal how he feels about him. He knows someone who shines as brightly as Kyungsoo was never meant for someone as nondescript as himself. But being friends with Kyungsoo is better than nothing so Jongin can't help looking forward to Wednesdays.
Today is a Wednesday like any other but today their supervisor tells them someone brought in an abandoned Golden Labrador an hour ago. He's scrawny and his dull gold coat is matted in patches but other than that he seems perfectly healthy. When any new addition arrives, Jongin and Kyungsoo know that's their cue to bathe and groom the dog.
They're out in the yard and Jongin and Kyungsoo are scrubbing the dog - their fingers occasionally crossing paths as they work the soap over the dog's coat and Jongin has to work very hard not to react to Kyungsoo's touch. This is the third time they're soaping the dog and the foam is white now instead of the filthy brown it was that first time. The dog, whom they've nicknamed Firecracker because he's fizzing with energy in spite of his emaciated frame, looks a lot happier now that he's clean and Jongin wonders if he can ask to keep this one. It's been six months since Chase, his 8 year old Golden Retriever died and he thinks ... he thinks maybe he's grieved long enough and it's time to move on.
Jongin hears Kyungsoo say, "Jongin, the hose," and he picks up the green rubber hose and aims the water at Firecracker. The suds are rolling off his body when the dog suddenly yaps frantically - he's caught sight of a bird flying low and leaps towards it without a second thought. The wriggling body cuts through the arc of water coming from the hose and suddenly there's soapy spray everywhere. Jongin and Kyungsoo are drenched and they laugh, surprised, as they shake drops of liquid from their hair. The world is all blurry as beads of foam and water droplets cling to Jongin's glasses, staining them. Before he has a chance to remove them, warm thumbs rest on both his cheeks and his skin tingles as the spectacles are gently removed by fingers that aren't his.
His mind is such a whir of shocked emotions that Jongin forgets to be shy - he forgets that his eyes hardly ever meet Kyungsoo's, and he looks right into them. His irises are such a deep, rich shade of brown they remind Jongin of the dark Tahitian rum his grandfather likes to sip on Friday nights. As clichéd as it seems, Jongin feels like he's drowning in those lustrous brown depths.
"I've always wondered what you look like without these on." Kyungsoo folds the spectacle frames carefully after wiping the moisture off them.
"I ... Can I have them back?"
"Later." Kyungsoo smiles. Jongin's eyesight isn't so bad he can't see his smile. Kyungsoo's smiles are like rain on a blistering summer day and Jongin has to remind himself to blink and inhale-exhale-inhale because their faces are so close right now. Jongin feels the butterfly tracks of Kyungsoo's fingers as they trace the landscape of his face and he closes his eyes because it's all too much.
"Open your eyes, Jongin."He hears Kyungsoo whisper as the afternoon breeze tugs at his hair and spills strands of it across his forehead. In the distance, he hears a dog barking excitedly.
"Jongin, please open your eyes. There's something I need to tell you." Kyungsoo's right palm is cupping Jongin's left cheek while his left hand reaches for Jongin's right one. His pale fingers slide into the slivers of space between Jongin's tanned fingers and hold on tight. Eyelids flickering open in a slow, dreamlike cadence, Jongin looks right into Kyungsoo's eyes again.
"So, I just wanted you to know that I ended things with Chanyeol two weeks ago." Kyungsoo strokes his cheek and Jongin's heart understands where this is going but his head is still telling him that this can't be happening. Someone as perfect as Kyungsoo can't like him back can he?
"I haven't seen you together in school lately." Jongin says stupidly, still in a daze.
"I couldn't date him anymore because he doesn't understand Neil Gaiman and he can't understand why I like blood orange ice-cream more than kiwifruit ice-cream. And he thinks beignets are too sweet."
"Those aren't reasons to break up with someone." Jongin realizes he has no survival instincts to speak of as he finds himself arguing on behalf of Park Chanyeol.
"But the real reason I broke up with Chanyeol was because he wasn't you." Both Kyungsoo's hands are on Jongin's cheeks now. The sun is warm on their arms and already licking the moisture off their clothes. Kyungsoo's skin is coarse and waterlogged from earlier but Jongin doesn't even notice as the other boy's words gradually sink in.
"You mean you broke up with Chanyeol because of me?" Jongin finally asks, and this time he takes Kyungsoo's hands in his - still not sure if this is a dream. Kyungsoo nods and smiles, saying, "Aren't you going to kiss me, Jongin?"
Jongin only hesitates for half a heartbeat before he takes one step closer and his lips fit gently over Kyungsoo's. There's a small sigh as Kyungsoo's lips part and they share a sweet, exploratory kiss. Then Kyungsoo is taking a step back, the pale skin of his face tinted an attractive hue of pink.
"We'd better finish up with Firecracker," he says, and for the first time since they've met, Kyungsoo actually sounds a little shy.
"Yeah, I guess we'd better." Jongin says, crestfallen.
"After work, can we walk home together?"
"I'd like that." And just like that, Jongin's spirits lift. Then, Kyungsoo is walking back towards him, and gingerly putting his spectacles back into place.
"You're very handsome, Kim Jongin. With and without your glasses." Kyungsoo says and steals a kiss before Jongin has a chance to even react. Blushing and indescribably happy, Jongin calls Firecracker over so they can finish rinsing him off properly.
Half an hour later, they walk home with their fingertips grazing each other's every now and then. And Jongin thinks, as he sees Kyungsoo strolling close beside him, that Wednesday will always be his favorite day of the week.
a/n For Gem. Comments are loved so I hope you guys will leave some XOxo