Genre: Romance, drama, fluff
Summary: Baekhyun and Sehun have been friends forever. But their relationship begins to alter when they begin sharing an apartment, and Baekhyun becomes attracted to a more grown up, more assertive Sehun.
A/N: Part of a loosely linked series that includes Made of Stars & There's Always Time for Patbingsu
"Where do I put this?" Chanyeol groaned theatrically in his loud baritone voice, making the large box look a lot heavier than it actually was.
Baekhyun, standing with his hand still poised on the doorknob, rolled his eyes sarcastically at his melodramatic friend and pointed towards the room at the end of the corridor. Their friends Jongin and Kyungsoo entered the apartment next, carrying a medium-sized box each. Chanyeol was still complaining bitterly that they were picking on him because he was the tallest - making him carry the heaviest box but everyone typically ignored him as they quietly delivered the boxes to their destination.
Sehun was the last person to saunter in, a few minutes later, with one small, heavily sealed box balanced on top of a partially open, medium sized one. His overgrown fringe was practically skating his eyelashes and he flipped it out of his eyes every now and then as he carried his heavy load.
"Geez Sehun, what have you got in that small box? Some secret stash? None of the other boxes are even taped," Baekhyun teased inquisitively as he shut the front door in Sehun's wake. Baekhyun could never resist investigating anything that looked out of place, but his curiosity was not destined to be satisfied as Sehun merely shrugged in response, being his usual reticent self.
"Thanks, guys," he said to Chanyeol, Jongin and Kyungsoo as they walked past him, single file.
"Dude, what did you put in that big one? Bricks? Rocks? Dumbbells?" Chanyeol collapsed on the terracotta colored sofa in a messy sprawl of skinny, lanky limbs and long-suffering noises, "I think your damn box just killed my back ..."
"They're just art supplies," Sehun threw over his shoulder stoically just before he disappeared into the bowels of his new room. His moss green suitcase, which he had brought up earlier, was already standing by the wooden closet, awaiting his attention while five assorted boxes had been left in a tidy cluster in the center of of the room.
Sehun could hear the others chatting and laughing raucously in the living room as he reached for the smallest of the boxes and methodically removed two layers of tightly wound silvery duct tape. He peered in and reached for an object right at the bottom, dislodging it carefully from the rest of the contents.
Sehun now held an unmarked, black folder in his long-fingered hands. His fingers glided across the hard, textured paper and slowly, he turned the cover over. There were only six loose sheets of pencil sketches inside - all hand drawn portraits of the same person. Sehun gently traced the firm jawline in the first sketch with his index finger, careful not to smudge the artistic pencil marks. Then he made a frustrated noise, closing the folder to conceal the features he had spent hours upon hours sketching. Eyes shut, he sighed.
Baekhyun rapped on his door and opened it, "Sehun-ah! You can unpack later, ok? Everyone's hungry from all that moving - you have seriously got way too much shit,"
"Why did you even knock if you weren't going to wait for me to answer?" Sehun sounded just a little irritated and Baekhyun raised his eyebrows in surprise. He was used to Sehun just going along with most things he suggested.
"Are you going to be that kind of pissy roommate, are you?"
"Forget it, I'm just tired. It's been a long day." Sehun gestured at his pile of belongings.
"Just as well we're going to have dinner now then. We're doing barbecue, ok? You don't get a vote," Baekhyun grinned and turned to leave.
"When do I ever get a vote?" Sehun asked quietly after the door clicked shut.
He walked over to the mahogany desk in front of the window and pulled open the drawer, placing the black folder carefully at the bottom. Then he emptied half the contents of the small box on top of it, obscuring the folder from view completely before slamming the drawer shut.
Grabbing his parka, Sehun left the room.
A Toast To Soju and To Friendship
Doing barbecue turned out to be a great choice for dinner because everyone was shivering from the autumnal chill by the time they were halfway to the restaurant. Baekhyun was comfortably wedged between Sehun and Chanyeol, while Jongin and Kyungsoo huddled together against the biting breeze. They gave a completely tone deaf rendition of Super Junior's 'Perfection' in a desperate and futile attempt to keep their minds off the cold. It may not have distracted them from the weather, but their singing had certainly entertained passersby who pointed and laughed at them.
Fortunately Baekhyun and Sehun's apartment was only ten minutes' walk to the barbecue house. Called the Namsan Korean BBQ House, it was a regular hangout for the guys because the food was cheap and delicious, and Lee Ahjussi the owner sometimes gave them freebies because Kyungsoo reminded him of his son who was studying the States.
Inside the cosy restaurant, they warmed their hands over the charcoal fire as wafer thin slices of beef curled and sizzled on the grill. To help them warm up faster, Baekhyun had ordered two bottles of Jinro Chamisul soju, which they were now steadily consuming. Soon, everyone was starting to feel all warm and sociable from the alcoholic buzz supplied by the soju. They had chatted about everything from football (Baekhyun insisted that Manchester United was the best English Premier League club to which Jongin responded with a passionate defense of Chelsea) to Chanyeol's latest crush (a sophomore called Jung Yoon Hee) to which club they were going to that weekend (Vertigo). As usual, the loudest contributors to the conversation were Baekhyun and Chanyeol, while Kyungsoo and Sehun mostly listened and Jongin lay somewhere in between.
"So, I'd like to propose a toast to my new roommate, Oh Sehun! He was my next door neighbor for eight years and now he's kind of my neighbor again. And he's the best friend and dongsaeng anyone could ask for," Baekhyun had been in an expansive mood all evening so the toast was not exactly unexpected. Sehun found his friend's effusive compliments mortifying though and he covered his face with his palms in embarrassment. But Baekhyun didn't seem to notice Sehun's discomfort and if he did, he chose to ignore it as he carried on with the business of the toast.
"Here's to Sehun becoming a man! Now you're not living at home anymore, you'll have to ... do your own dishes! Wash and fold your own underwear!"
"Cook your own ramyun!" Chanyeol chimed in.
"Make your own breakfast," that was Kyungsoo.
"Hey, you're not getting any shit from me 'cause I'm still living at home," Jongin held his hands up, laughing,"I've been folding my own underwear since I was 15 though. Now I just have to convince my little sister that I'm 20 already and more than old enough to move out." Jongin turned to give Kyungsoo a small grin and Kyungsoo made a face.
"Okay, I'll wash my own underwear but there's nothing that says I have to fold it, right?" Sehun looked a little disgusted.
"Of course you have to fold it because there's no way I'm folding it for you. Ok, get your glasses ready, everyone ... and ... gun bae*!" there were loud clinks as they toasted each other's glasses and drank their soju in one shot, emptying their glasses. Red-faced and laughing, they all cheered for Sehun and said mushy-ish things about him. Sehun was practically squirming under all that attention. Luckily Kyungsoo and Jongin noticed and quickly introduced some other topic to distract the others with, and Sehun was grateful to his longtime best friend. Kyungsoo and he had been friends for ten years - even longer than Baekhyun and he had known each other.
As the conversation drifted to movies they'd watched recently, Sehun surreptitiously watched Kyungsoo and Jongin. One had a slight build and alabaster skin, while the other was tall and broad-shouldered, with a light mocha tan. Physically, they were opposites but they complemented each other in every other way. Even though they'd been dating for six months, they were not the sort to hug and cuddle in front of others. It was the subtle things the couple did that Sehun observed and envied. For example, they were now sitting side by side and their knees sort of touched, sort of almost touched. And they would say or whisper things to each other that the others couldn't hear, which would leave them deep in thought, or they would smile at each other or chuckle together. And occasionally, they would put their arm around the other's shoulder. It was painful sometimes, watching Jongin and Kyungsoo, because they shared something Sehun yearned for but would most likely never have ...
In the end, Sehun paid for dinner, "Thanks so much for helping today, guys. It would have taken me two days of lugging and carrying otherwise."
"Hey, I would have helped. It wouldn't have taken that long," Baekhyun says teasingly.
"Pleeeease, hyung. Your idea of helping would have meant you standing there and pointing and telling me where to put the boxes. I would still have been the only one carrying the boxes and it would still have taken me two damned days." Sehun retorted sarcastically and everyone laughed because it sounded exactly like something bossy Baekhyun would have done.
"Hey!" Baekhyun protested in mock indignation.
"You know he's got a point, Baek. Admit it, you're just plain bossy." Chanyeol smirked.
"Maybe just a little," he admitted grudgingly and everyone laughed.
Baekhyun and Sehun walked into the apartment single file. It was past midnight and Sehun was bone tired. He looked around the apartment which Baekhyun had just illuminated with a flip of a switch. He looked around and realized for the first time that he wouldn't be leaving for his parents' apartment later because this was his home too, now.
Baekhyun suddenly ruffled Sehun's hair and he flinched slightly - conflicted because on the one hand, he craved the other's touch but on the other, he resented the motion. It was something you did to a kid, not someone you saw as your equal. This upset Sehun more than he could say but as always, Baekhyun was oblivious.
"I'm glad you're my roommate, Sehun. You know me - I'm not good with strangers. It'll be fun, right? Being roommates will be great fun," Baekhyun's voice was slightly slurred from the soju, "Ok, g'night, Sehun. I'll see you in the morning." He gave Sehun one final smile and disappeared into his bedroom.
Sehun didn't say anything.
Later, he lay in bed with his right arm tucked under his head. There was a large cherry tree right in front of Sehun's bedroom window and the shadow cast by its branches spilled messily over the covers like ink. Sehun stared up at the moonlit ceiling and shut his eyes tightly, remembering how Baekhyun's hot hand had felt as it moved through his hair and briefly touched his scalp.
Now he'd really gone and done it. What was he thinking moving in with Baekhyun? He always called him hyung in real life, but in Sehun's thoughts, he was always just Baekhyun - his equal, not his hyung - because in his thoughts, age didn't come into things at all. Sehun kept his eyes closed and ran a hand over his hair where Baekhyun had touched it. Now they were sharing a living space, there would probably be all kinds of accidental touches that were going to make things hell for Sehun. He must have been mad to agree to this roommate thing. Mad.
Then, before his thoughts could wander any further, Sehun was overcome by sheer exhaustion and his eyelids drifted shut ...
Why was it so bright? Baekhyun flinched as his eyelids flickered open. His head was throbbing dully and he was dying to go back to sleep, but his over stretched bladder refused to let him. He glanced in the mirror as he stumbled out of bed and was taken aback as his wavy dark brown hair was currently channelling its inner punk in the most horrific case of bed head ever. Making a few desultory attempts to flatten the unruly spikes, Baekhyun staggered to the bathroom.
He was letting out a whole night's worth of urine when he suddenly noticed a rhythmic shik-shik noise behind him ... which sounded a lot like teeth being brushed, followed by sounds of gargling and spitting. Startled, he quickly finished and pulled up the well worn gym pants he wore to sleep. In his post-soju daze, he'd forgotten his new roommate had moved in.
"What the hell, Sehun! You scared the crap out of me!"
"Morning, hyung." Sehun greeted calmly as Baekhyun gaped at him. He didn't say anything more as he proceeded to lather his jawline with shaving foam. Sehun's slim fingers were deft as he spread the foam evenly over his jaw. Still ignoring Baekhyun, he began to drag a stainless steel Gillette razor across the lathered area, exposing smooth pale skin in its wake.
Baekhyun watched, mesmerized as the younger man manipulated his razor expertly along his jawline, the mirror guiding its path. He'd never watched Sehun shave before. Truth be told, it had never even occurred to him before today that Sehun even shaved - which was really kind of stupid seeing as Sehun was a healthy 21 year old male. When had his jaw gotten so defined? When had he even started growing facial hair? Baekhyun dragged his palm over his face, trying to shake off the cobwebs of sleep. It was too early in the morning for this much contemplation.
"I was peeing." Baekhyun pointed out, a little piqued that his dongsaeng wasn't paying him any attention at all.
"I was in the middle of brushing my teeth when you came in here, hyung. So technically, you were the one who jumped queue. You must have had more soju than I thought if you didn't even see me brushing my teeth when you walked in. Or maybe it's not that you had more soju but rather that you just aren't a good drinker ..." Sehun let the words trail off meaningfully as he rinsed off the razor and splashed warm water on his face.
"Yah! My drinking skills are solid."
"If you say so ... But I'm not the one entering occupied bathrooms."
"You should have locked it if you didn't want anyone walking in."
"But I don't have a problem with you walking in. You're the one making all the noise here." Sehun responded matter-of-factly as he dried the moisture off his face, "There's no food in the fridge and I'm hungry. Do you feel like some kal guk su*? I wouldn't mind some of that for breakfast - well, lunch actually because it's almost lunchtime now. Hurry up, hyung. Starving here. Oh, and you might wanna ... comb your hair or something."
Then Sehun ruffled his hair as he walked past. The. Kid. Ruffled. His hair. Of all the bloody disrespectful things! What had gotten into him? And since when did Sehun suggest anything? He usually just agreed to whatever Baekhyun suggested. Something was up with him and he was going to find out what it was.
He looked into the mirror and sighed. He REALLY did need to comb his hair.
Time For a Change
Sehun shut his bedroom door quietly and leaned against it, taking quick jerky breaths. He stared at his palms - the trembling was probably imperceptible to anyone looking on but to Sehun, it felt like his hands were shaking uncontrollably. He only hoped Baekhyun hadn't noticed the subtle tremors. It was a minor miracle he hadn't cut himself to ribbons while shaving - he'd been that nervous.
When Baekhyun had staggered in unexpectedly and headed for the toilet, Sehun's initial instinct had been to flee, and it had taken all his willpower to stay rooted where he was and carry on brushing his teeth as if it was the most natural thing to do.
He couldn't even understand why he had been so disturbed by Baekhyun's accidental intrusion. I mean it wasn't as if Baekhyun and him hadn't been going to public toilets together for years. But this had been ... infinitesimally different somehow. Maybe it was because they were sharing a private space now and all the rules had inexplicably changed - well they had for him anyway. Baekhyun seemed as oblivious as ever.
Sehun still couldn't believe he'd mussed Baekhyun's hair on his way out. And the even bigger mystery was that the older man hadn't gone completely feral about it. It was probably delayed shock. He was surely going to tear him limb from limb once it finally sank into his soju-tinged consciousness that Sehun had sassed him. Totally.
Instead of feeling apprehensive of the repercussions though, Sehun's heart felt strangely released. He grinned - taking charge of the situation had felt good. He'd allowed Baekhyun to be the alpha for too long. Sehun had never been one for confrontations so if it was something he could live with, he usually just let Baekhyun take the lead. It was just ... less exhausting than going into headlong collisions with him like Chanyeol seemed to enjoy doing.
But maybe it was time he started stirring things up. If nothing else, it would certainly distract him from the fact that he was now living together with Baekhyun while desperately trying to conceal his less than platonic feelings from him. Baekhyun could be terrifyingly perceptive about most things and most people, but Sehun was like his blind spot. Sehun supposed he should feel grateful for this and yet ... he didn't. Three years was a long time to keep quiet about how one felt and maybe he didn't want to do it anymore.
Yes, it was definitely time to mess with Baekhyun's equilibrium, Sehun decided as he changed into casual jeans, shirt and hoodie.
"Hyung! Let's go! Hungry!" Sehun yelled with a confidence he didn't really feel as he strode out of his room ...
Of Noodles and Bookshelves
"Where's Chanyeol?" Kyungsoo asked as he slid into the wooden booth seat, Jongin following closely behind.
"He's at Co-Ex Mall. Trying to impress some girl by taking her laptop shopping," Baekhyun supplied the information while Sehun gave a lazy wave of the right hand, " I think her name is Yoon Hee or something? He's been talking about her for weeks."
"Oh that girl. He's going to have to work real hard to impress her. Heard she's quite a princess." Kyungsoo shook his head doubtfully.
Noodles and barley tea ordered, the guys sat back and relaxed - chatting in a laid back manner.
"So what's it like living with The Dictator?" Kyungsoo asked conversationally, mischief in his eyes. Sehun and Jongin burst into laughter at the completely unexpected question and Baekhyun gave Kyungsoo the finger and a murderous glare. Chanyeol was usually the only one who teased Baekhyun but he wasn't here today so maybe Kyungsoo felt someone had to do it and it might as well be him.
"It's too soon to tell, dude, it's only been a day." Sehun gave a wry smile.
"Did he try and make you do all the housework? Don't let him, ok?"
Baekhyun gave Kyungsoo the finger again which the latter ignored completely.
"As if." Sehun's response was deadpan.
"I would never!" Baekhyun insisted.
"You so would." Kyungsoo and Sehun chorused.
"What is this? Bash Byun Baekhyun Day?"
Jongin shook his head, grinning, "Wow, you must have been a real tyrant in high school if they're still giving you shit about being The Dictator."
"Rubbish! I was never a tyrant. They just like giving me shit about stuff I never even did."
Sehun emitted a low chuckle, and looked straight at Baekhyun, his half-lidded eyes issuing some kind of subtle challenge. And that's all he did - he never said a word.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Baekhyun's skin was prickling with irritation as he questioned Sehun. What had happened to his placid younger friend? Who was this provocative stranger sitting beside him, staring at him? Baekhyun seemed to be losing the upper hand with Sehun and he was not enjoying the sensation. He liked the old Sehun. The one who listened to him and agreed with what he said most of the time. Brand New Sehun was mutinous and disrespectful and he found it maddening.
Sehun shrugged nonchalantly and dropped his gaze to his food. Using economically precise movements, he used the skinny steel chopsticks to insert the wet noodles into his thin-lipped mouth. Just as he'd been enthralled by the sight of Sehun shaving himself in the bathroom that morning, Baekhyun now found himself transfixed by the sight of Sehun feeding himself. Why did he keep staring at the kid? Baekhyun forced himself to concentrate on the kal gak su in front of him - but every now and then, his eyes would involuntarily drift to the left, towards Sehun. His strong jaw, his small mouth. He had never really scrutinized either before this and now, all of a sudden, they were all he saw.
"Hyung, are you planning to eat that?" Sehun gestured innocently at Baekhyun's noodles which hung, dripping from chopsticks that were suspended in mid-air.
"Of course I am, I was just ah trying to figure out ... an equation for Advanced Physics." Baekhyun groaned inwardly at the absurdity of the excuse he'd given and kicked himself mentally for being caught daydreaming - by Sehun no less.
"Sure," Sehun sounded highly sceptical but he left it alone.
They had just finished eating and had moved on to sipping barley tea when someone called out, "Oh Sehun!" and approached their table.
Lazily, Sehun turned to see who had called him. When he saw who it was, he greeted him, bowing his head slightly, "Sunbae, good afternoon."
The others greeted the good looking man politely and nodded respectfully. Well, everyone except Baekhyun because Baekhyun was feeling unreasonably annoyed that Sehun never showed him that kind of deference. And what was even more galling was that Kim Junmyeon did not deserve such respect. He was a notorious party animal who had a reputation for picking up both girls and guys and Baekhyun did not want him messing around with Sehun.
How did he even know Sehun and what was he doing talking to him? And why was Sehun being so ... respectful? Wait, why was he asking Sehun for his phone number? And why was Sehun keying it in for him - what the hell? He was so going to give that kid a lecture about not giving out his phone number to strangers.
"So you wanna catch a movie tonight? That new James Bond movie is showing at 8.45. We could grab a quick dinner first." Junmyeon was so greasy it was making Baekhyun feel nauseous.
"Thanks, sunbae," Sehun gave a kind of crooked smile. But why wasn't he saying no? He wasn't actually going to watch a movie with greasy Kim Junmyeon, was he?
"Thanks but I've got an 8am lecture tomorrow so ... yeah, I'm staying in tonight. Got some work to finish up too."
"Get your work done earlier, this afternoon. I'll drive you home right after the movie, no worries."
Baekhyun had had enough of this nonsense and decided it was time to step in, "This afternoon is out, sunbae, sorry. Sehun needs to shop for some furniture - he just moved into my apartment so there are some things he needs to buy."
"I have things to buy?" Sehun looked deeply amused.
"Of course you do! You need some bookshelves because you don't have any in your room."
"Can't I use the bookcase in the lounge?"
"No, no, that's already full of my books!"
Junmyeon was watching the exchange with interest, and he didn't look like he was buying the shopping trip story at all. But to Baekhyun's great relief Junmyeon conceded defeat and said maybe later in the week then. Sehun nodded quietly as Junmyeon took his leave.
"I need shelves?" Sehun asked sarcastically, left eyebrow raised.
"Of course you do! You're a university student for fuck's sake. Of course you need shelves. You can't just dump your books in piles on the floor."
"I could just use the bookcase outside - it's not even two-thirds full!"
"That's because I took a lot of books out of the shelf for a project - they're in my room now but they'll have to go back on the shelf! There won't be any space left when I'm done putting those back," Baekhyun sounded ridiculous even to himself.
"Well, I am not buying a shelf this afternoon because I need to unpack my stuff. And to be honest, I don't think this has anything at all to do with me needing a place to put my books." Sehun rolled his eyes. Brand new Sehun did that a lot and Baekhyun didn't like it. He wanted old Sehun back.
"What do you mean? Of course this is about you needing some shelves."
Now Jongin and Kyungsoo were openly staring at the two of them as they argued about whether Sehun needed to buy a bookcase.
"Guys? Jongin and I are um ... We've gotta be somewhere so I'll see you around campus tomorrow, ok?" Kyungsoo looked and sounded awkward as he got up to leave. On their way out, Jongin stopped to whisper something in Sehun's ear and he could swear Sehun's cheeks flushed just a little. He shook his head, a strained expression on his face and Jongin patted him on the shoulder before leaving with Kyungsoo.
"What did Jongin say to you?" Baekhyun asked suspiciously.
"Nothing important." Sehun said quietly but Baekhyun suspected it had been something all too important.
Baekhyun had ducked over to the other side of the booth so he now faced Sehun. It was warm and cosy in the noodle shop and chilly outside so Sehun didn't complain when Baekhyun ordered another pot of hot barley tea.
He was clearly making preparations to interrogate him - Sehun could see all the signs. Baekhyun always had this intense expression on his face when he was about to kick someone's ass. And he was drumming his fingers on the table as well, so Sehun knew he was in for it now.
But he couldn't find it in himself to care because he was too preoccupied with what Jongin had said. Just seven words but they had scattered his thoughts and planted dangerous seeds of hope: I think Baekhyun is jealous of Junmyeon.
Could Jongin be right? Was Baekhyun finally starting to be physically aware of him? That whole bookshelf fiasco had certainly been completely out of character for Baekhyun. It had been such an obvious attempt to block Junmyeon from taking Sehun out. The question was why had Baekhyun been so desperate to prevent the outing. Sehun fervently hoped Jongin was right.
"What do you think you're doing with Kim Junmyeon?" Baekhyun had asked impatiently as soon as Sehun had finished pouring out the hot tea.
"How do you even know him? He's a final year student and he's not even majoring in Graphic Design."
"Hyung, I do have friends outside of my course, ok? I met him last weekend at some club."
"Some club?! You made friends with some random stranger at some club?" Ok now Baekhyun was definitely in scold mode. In the past, Sehun would just have kept quiet, zoned out and let him rant but he wasn't taking the easy way out anymore.
"He wasn't a random stranger. He knew my friends."
"Didn't your friends warn you about his reputation?"
"What? That he parties hard? That he's bisexual? Everyone on campus knows that."
"If you know all that then why the hell are you giving him your phone number?!" Baekhyun made a frustrated noise.
"Why not?" Sehun shrugged in a move calculated to irritate Baekhyun.
"Because he's probably trying to get into your pants!" Baekhyun was gesticulating wildly now.
"At least someone wants to get into my pants," Sehun's voice was dead calm.
"What does that even mean?" Baekhyun gave him a sharp look.
"Exactly what it sounds like, hyung. Look, can we talk about something else?"
"Yes, we can talk about what's gotten into you since you moved in."
"I only moved in yesterday," Sehun had to chuckle at this.
"I don't even know who moved into my place to be honest. Who are you and what have you done with Sehun?"
"It's still me, hyung. I just ... realized it's time I started saying what I think instead of just going with the flow all the time. Didn't you guys say I had to be a man and all that shit now I've moved out of home?"
"We were joking! I don't want you to change."
"Everything changes, hyung. I'm not a kid anymore." Sehun made direct eye contact with Baekhyun.
"No, no you're right. You're not a kid anymore." Baekhyun agreed reluctantly, "But about Junmyeon, be careful, ok? I don't trust him."
A waiter gingerly placed two bowls of steaming hot kal gak su at the table next to theirs, and Sehun turned to face Baekhyun, "Did I ever tell you why I like kal guk su so much?
"No," Baekhyun looked curious, "why do you like it so much?"
"Do you remember that time in middle school when some dick knocked my lunch onto the floor because he didn't like the way I looked at him or some crap like that?"
"Sure, I remember. It was that asshole Jonghyun from the school baseball team."
"Yeah, that's right. Well, you shared your lunch with me that day so we were starving when school let out. And you took me for ..."
"Kal guk su." Baekhyun finished Sehun's sentence, a thoughtful expression on his face.
"I never really thanked you, hyung, but it meant a lot to me what you did. And I know you kinda said something to Jonghyun because he left me alone after that."
"I threatened to post a baby picture of him on cyworld. His elder sister was one my best friends, see?" Baekhyun confessed and Sehun laughed.
"Oh my God, that's like cyber bullying, hyung!"
"Shut up. It worked didn't it?"
"Yeah, I guess it did. Well anyway, I know you were looking out for me then, and I know you're looking out for me now as well with the Junmyeon thing. But I'm not fourteen anymore. I need to sort things out for myself."
"But you're my dongsaeng, I've always-" Baekhyun protested.
Sehun flinched, "I'm not your dongsaeng."
Baekhyun's mouth opens as if he's about to say something, but then it closes as he decides not to argue with Sehun.
Sehun stood up abruptly, "Let's go. I need to unpack."
When The Lights Go Out
The rest of the afternoon had been uneventful. It was as if the noodle shop confession had used up Sehun's quota of words for the day because he'd barely said anything after that. They'd gone home and Sehun had disappeared into his room to unpack, refusing Baekhyun's offer to help.
At loose ends, Baekhyun reclined on the comfortable wine colored couch and endeavored to concentrate on William Gibson's Neuromancer, which ought to have been a fast paced, gripping read. And yet his mind kept checking out of the cyberpunk Chiba City Sprawl and drifting back into his student apartment in present day Seoul. More specifically, Baekhyun kept catching himself staring at Sehun's bedroom door. How could so little noise seem so very loud?
After an hour's struggle with words he was making no sense of, Baekhyun went into his room for a nap - blaming his fatigue on a non-existent soju hangover. When he emerged from his room two hours later - groggy and grouchy - it was to find that the bookcase in the lounge had been neatly filled with Sehun's books.
The door his eyeballs had been pounding to death for most of the afternoon suddenly swung open and said brat walked out, his bangs poking his eyes in the most maddening way. Sehun moved with a kind of liquid grace - he tended to do most things in a sort of lazy, leisurely way and walking was one of those things.
"Hyung, can we order pizza for dinner? Kinda tired from all that unpacking and I don't feel like going out." Sehun sat down heavily on the sofa, his lean, long limbs sprawled uncomfortably close to Baekhyun. It was 6.30 pm and the apartment was sheathed in the half light of dusk.
"Yeah, why not? Shall we have the Super Supreme since that takes care of all the major food groups?" Baekhyun asked and Sehun nodded tiredly.
After Baekhyun had rung in the order, he walked over to the kitchen to pour himself a drink. He was parched from an afternoon of slumber, and if he was going to be honest with himself, sitting so close to Sehun unsettled him. It never had before this as old Sehun was ... well, Sehun - his quiet, laid back younger friend and next door neighbor. But brand new Sehun was altogether different. The Sehun who had moved in the day before had him on edge and hyper aware. It wasn't a comfortable feeling and Baekhyun hoped it would fade away soon.
The apartment had gotten pretty dark so he switched on the kitchen light. There was a brief flare, followed by a dry static buzz and then the bulb extinguished, leaving the room all dark again.
"Shit!" Baekhyun grabbed the torchlight from the counter and started digging around in one of the cabinet drawers for a spare lightbulb. Fortunately he found one after ten seconds of frantic searching. He was about to climb onto a chair when warm, slender hands rested firmly on his waist, lingered for a few moments ... then moved his body slowly to the side.
"It's ok, hyung, I've got it." Sehun's husky voice and the touch of his hands on his waist had ignited a series of hot tingling sensations and Baekhyun was struggling to get himself under control. Seemingly unaware of the other man's discomfort, Sehun took the lightbulb from Baekhyun and calmly climbed onto the chair.
"Um, I need some light?" Sehun asked and Baekhyun hastily pointed some light at the ceiling, only to groan inwardly. A tantalizing expanse of Sehun's bare torso was illuminated as he stretched up to reach the light fixture. The skin on his taut abdomen looked smooth and pale in the wash of dim light and Baekhyun had to force himself to look away - speechless and shaken to the core.
He grimaced. He could do this, he could make it through dinner. It was just Sehun. It was just Sehun. It was just Sehun ...
It always amazed Baekhyun how much Sehun could eat and yet remain so thin. Where did all that energy go? All those spare calories? And Sehun was never restless or hyperactive like Chanyeol. He was typically calm and quiet - like Kyungsoo, only quieter. But then that was old Sehun. This Sehun was ... unpredictable.
In the past, Baekhyun had always felt the tension flowing out of him when he spent time with his low-key friend, but now he found himself all strung up and anxious. He'd been too antsy to make small talk during dinner and Sehun had been his usual quiet, ravenous self. Baekhyun had tried his hardest not to stare at Sehun's mouth as he casually, unhurriedly chewed his way through multiple slices of cheese-covered pizza.
They'd finished the entire regular pizza - Sehun consuming two-thirds of it as usual. Then they had worked quietly together to clear the dinner things. Sehun had simply got up after dinner and brought the empty pizza boxes and dishes to the kitchen. Baekhyun didn't say anything but he was pleased that Sehun seemed to be the kind of roommate who pulled his weight - unlike his last roomie Kyuhyun whom he'd had to nag every last second of the 12 months they'd spent sharing the apartment.
Earlier on, they had sat cross-legged on cushions on the floor and eaten at the living room coffee table which doubled as a low, Korean style dining table. Now, they half reclined next to each other on the burgundy sofa, surfing channels. Baekhyun eventually settled on some Hollywood movie they'd both never watched called The Bourne Ultimatum. It was a spy thriller, which was their favourite kind of film. He could do this. Sehun and him had been watching movies together for eight years and this felt safe. He could do this.
Only twenty minutes into the movie, and he was stealing glances at Sehun's profile, trying to ignore how close his thighs were to his, pretending he wasn't peering at the slim hand that rested on Sehun's right thigh, and restraining himself from brushing that annoying fringe out of his half-lidded eyes.
"Hyung, did you catch that last bit? What did Bourne say? I didn't read the subs fast enough."
"Hmm? No, I don't know what he said - the subs were too fast for me too." Baekhyun lied. He had no intention of telling Sehun he hadn't caught anything much at all of the movie because he'd been too preoccupied with surreptitiously observing the long, warm body beside his.
He forced his attention back to the screen and tried to make sense of the complex plot without much success. Then an even bigger challenge presented itself about halfway through the movie as Sehun's head suddenly drooped and rested on his left shoulder. He could hear rhythmic breathing sounds and he bent forward so he could glimpse Sehun's face. His eyes were shut and his face was relaxed in sleep. His beautiful face. How had he never noticed?
His dongsaeng had become a handsome young man without Baekhyun realizing it. He studied the sensual sleepy eyes which were now concealed in slumber, the strong jawline which held just the faintest shadow of a beard, and almost razor sharp high cheekbones. His nose wasn't perfect but it was still a very attractive nose. And Baekhyun couldn't stop staring at that small, thin-lipped mouth, which he wouldn't normally be drawn to but - but this was Sehun.
Baekhyun dragged his eyes away and let out a sigh. What was he doing? This was his best friend. He couldn't be attracted to his best friend. He'd never even once asked Sehun if he was gay or straight. Kyungsoo and himself had dated other guys over the years, so there was no question where their preferences lay. And Chanyeol had only ever liked girls. But Sehun had never talked to either one of them about liking anyone and honestly, how could he never have thought to ask? What a useless hyung he had turned out to be.
Sehun shifted slightly, emitting a gentle snore and Baekhyun's right hand reached out tentatively, hovered for a few seconds, then brushed the fine dark brown strands to the side so they no longer touched Sehun's eyelids. But as soon as he removed his hand, the soft fringe fell back down like a curtain. Stubborn hair.
Baekhyun gave up on the fringe and let his fingertips skate lightly over Sehun's smooth forehead, cheek and stubble roughened jawline. He watched as slight furrow lines appeared on Sehun's forehead and his eyelids flickered open lazily.
"Tired." Sehun's voice was husky with sleep. Then he shifted his body and lay his head on Baekhyun's lap, wrapping his left arm over Baekhyun's knees and thighs.
"Sehun, I ..." Baekhyun started to speak but fell silent as he heard Sehun's soft snores. He stroked Sehun's hair rhythmically like one would do to a sleeping child - except his feelings were nothing like what one would feel towards a child - sleeping or otherwise.
Baekhyun frowned. How had things changed so much in a space of one day? He felt like he was walking on quicksand. Powerless to do anything about it and trapped by Sehun's sleeping form, Baekhyun caressed the younger man's hair until he too fell asleep.
Stray beams of sunshine had dappled the apartment with pockets of gold by the time Sehun's eyelids finally unshuttered themselves. His limbs were a little stiff but his body was pleasantly flush from the warmth that surrounded him. Closing his eyes again, Sehun smiled languidly as he placed his hand over the one that clung to his slim waist ...