Like Coming Home
He had woken up in the middle of the night to find his head pillowed on Baekhyun's lap, a rerun of Strong Heart playing on the TV in the background. The apartment was cold and he stifled a shiver. He turned to see Baekhyun slumped over the sofa arm with his left hand lightly cradling Sehun's face. In repose, Baekhyun's normally intense features looked youthful and relaxed - now that he had nothing to stress over and no one to boss around. Tenderly, Sehun's slender fingers explored Baekhyun's heart-shaped face. He had imagined and drawn those features so many times in the quiet of his own room but this was the first time he'd ever had the luxury of freely touching him.
Baekhyun had the kind of clean-cut, bookish good looks which couldn't be called handsome exactly, but they were somehow the epitome of everything that appealed to Sehun. Images of Baekhyun's many expressions rifled through Sehun's head. Baekhyun laughing. Baekhyun scolding him. Baekhyun being sarcastic. Baekhyun relaxed. Baekhyun being angry. So many years of memories. Sehun's fingertips rested gently on his eyelids and they twitched slightly beneath his touch, but Baekhyun carried on sleeping. For someone who made so much noise when he was awake, Baekhyun had such a quiet snore, and Sehun found the contrast unbelievably cute.
His head told him he should wake Baekhyun up so that they could both move to their own rooms to sleep comfortably, but his heart was selfishly telling him not to spoil this moment. So he switched off the television and carefully swung Baekhyun's legs up onto the sofa, and moved him so that he was lying down on the couch instead of sitting up. Sehun knew he should feel bad for falling asleep on Baekhyun's lap and causing him so much discomfort but he just couldn't make himself regret the opportunity it had given him to be as close to Baekhyun as he'd ever been.
Quietly, he made his way to his room to get his phone because he needed to set his alarm - damn Professor Lee to hell for having fricking 8am lectures. He groggily checked his phone for texts. There was one from his mom reminding him to eat a proper breakfast. And there was a text from Jung Soo-Jung, saying she'd see him at the 8am lecture. Soo-Jung was a girl in his Multimedia Applications course who was obviously into him but Sehun hadn't figured out how to tell her sorry I can't date you because I've been in love with my best friend for three years.
Then he saw the message from Jongin, which was the only one he gave a damn about. He'd texted Jongin before dinner but he'd never gone back to his room the night before. Sehun was a ball of anxiety mixed with hope as he opened Jongin's reply.
Sehun: why'd you say B was jealous?
Jongin: he watched you a lot at lunch. when KJ asked you out, I saw his reaction. he seemed jealous. don't think I read it wrong.
Sehun's chest clenched a little. Could Jongin be wrong? He'd only known Jongin for six months but they'd grown pretty close. He was a cool guy who was easy to relate to and who'd shown himself to be pretty good at reading people's emotions. Kyungsoo had once complained that he couldn't hide anything from Jongin, no matter how hard he tried. Thinking back on the evening, Baekhyun had been unusually reticent. He usually talked his way through any lunch and dinner - but not breakfast because he wasn't a morning person and everyone just stayed out of his way until he'd had his second cup of coffee. Tonight, he'd barely said anything and it wasn't like him at all. But it was too late at night for ruminating - he'd figure things out in the morning.
Grabbing his pillow and blanket, Sehun headed back to the couch. After carefully placing the feather pillow beneath Baekhyun's head, Sehun climbed in next to him and covered them with the heavy winter quilt he had brought from home. Baekhyun moaned in protest at all the sudden motion, and then he threw his left arm around Sehun and pressed his body close against his back. It felt safe, like coming home. And with that final thought, Sehun fell back to sleep.
Sehun still had his hand over Baekhyun's when his phone alarm went off. Baekhyun moved restlessly at the jarring noise and seemed a little startled when he opened his eyes to find himself draped all over Sehun.
Sehun turned to face him, "It's ok, hyung. Go back to sleep. I've got an 8 am lecture but you don't have one till 11 am. Go back to sleep,"
Baekhyun mumbled something incoherent and drifted back to sleep. Reluctantly, Sehun got up. Then he covered Baekhyun with the quilt before leaving to get ready for classes.
The soft click of the bathroom door shutting was followed soon after by sounds of running water. Baekhyun opened his eyes once he was sure Sehun was safely in the shower. Quicksand. It felt like he was sinking into a pool of shifting sands - anathema for someone like Baekhyun who constantly craved control.
For a few brief moments, he allowed himself to savor the residual warmth Sehun had left behind; then he stared at the slight dent in the pillow where his head had lain just moments ago. Involuntarily, Baekhyun moved closer and his nostrils were filled with the faint scent of apple. Was it Sehun's shampoo? His soap?
He'd spent the past eight years sitting and standing beside Sehun, even lying down next to him during camping trips and sleepovers, but Baekhyun had never once registered what he smelt like. He'd just never been aware of Sehun physically before yesterday. Now he couldn't comprehend how he could have not noticed Sehun all those years because he hadn't stopped noticing him since he'd seen him shave the morning before. All those years ... how could he not have seen?
He shook his head and closed his eyes again, guiltily breathing in the warm clean scent that was uniquely Sehun's. As his sleep-fogged brain cleared, he belatedly realized that Sehun must have brought out the pillow and quilt during the night. Why didn't he just wake him up so he could move to his own room? And why had he remained with him? Was that why Sehun had so vehemently insisted he wasn't his dongsaeng? Was Sehun attracted to him too?
The bathroom door inched open quietly and Baekhyun tensed, keeping his eyes tightly shut. He wasn't ready to deal with this - whatever this was. So Baekhyun tried his best to snore convincingly - not that he had any idea what his snoring even sounded like. It was probably loud though since his friends always complained that everything about him was noisy. So Baekhyun pretended to snore as loudly as he could.
Muffled footsteps approached the sofa and Baekhyun's fake snores became increasingly loud. Then, for some reason, Sehun gave a low throaty chuckle and the light fragrance of apples flavored the air as he stopped right in front of Baekhyun. After a moment's pause, Sehun pulled the quilt up to cover his shoulders before rubbing his back gently. Then he brushed Baekhyun's hair off his forehead and left the apartment quietly.
Baekhyun exhaled jerkily and stared up at the ceiling. Quicksand. He was surrounded by quicksand. And apples. All he saw were shifting sands and sleepy almond-shaped eyes, and apples. He smelt apples. He burrowed his face into Sehun's pillow and Sehun's quilt, and desperately, futilely tried not to think about Sehun.
The Engineering cafeteria reverberated with the hum of conversation and laughter, and the garlicky aroma of kimchi from a hundred food trays permeated the air. The guys had met there at 1.15 pm as usual and were now munching away, deep in conversation. Sehun was sitting beside Baekhyun, their thighs almost touching. Neither one of them had brought up the events of the previous night and that morning - both acting as if nothing had happened and that absolutely nothing had changed between them. Perhaps later when they didn't have such an inquisitive audience around, Sehun might bring it up.
Baekhyun asked Chanyeol how it had gone with Yoon Hee on Sunday and Chanyeol groaned theatrically that he had crashed and burned. Two hours of helping her browse through nightmarish pink, purple and yellow laptops, and all he had to show for his trouble was a free bulgogi burger and soda at Lotte, fuck his life. The others laughed at his most recent epic fail, while he gave them a death glare that would have reduced weaker souls to smoldering piles of ash.
Kyungsoo asked him to itemize the exact shades of pink and purple he'd had to endure and Chanyeol began disgustedly rattling off words like fuschia, cerise, and dusky rose. The other guys were crowing in disbelief and mirth when suddenly, everyone at the table went quiet. Sehun, who had been toying disinterestedly with his food, looked up to see what had brought on the abrupt silence.
"Hi, Sehun." It was Soo-Jung. Soo-Jung of the long, straight hair and limpid eyes and legs that went on forever. Soo-Jung who had been trying to ask Sehun out for two months. But this was the first time she'd ever approached him at lunch though. Chanyeol was staring openly at her - Sehun had to admit she was undeniably pretty and Chanyeol could never resist an attractive girl. As for Baekhyun ... he didn't dare look at Baekhyun.
"Hi, Soo-Jung. What's up?"
"Can you walk with me for a while?" she looked at the other guys awkwardly. Sehun nodded, sure, and stood up slowly and followed her out of the cafeteria. He refused to turn and look but he was pretty sure the other guys' jaws were hanging wide open. But he really only cared to know what was going through Baekhyun's head.
Soo-Jung finally came to a stop at a concrete bench and took a seat, gesturing for Sehun to sit beside her.
"I don't suppose this is about Multimedia Applications?" Sehun smiled wryly.
"No, Sehun, it's not," she had to laugh at this and there was a brief, uneasy silence before she asked, kind of in a rush like if she didn't get the words out in one shot they'd be trapped inside her forever, "Sehun, will you go out with me? You know I've liked you for a while now but you've never said anything to show you're interested but I'm hoping you're just shy and yeah, will you go out with me?" Then she covered her face with her hands like she was dying of embarrassment.
"I ... I'm sorry Soo-Jung but I just can't. I don't-"
"Can I at least know who she is?"
"It's kind of complicated." Sehun gazed into the distance, avoiding eye contact with Soo-Jung and wishing he could be anywhere but here.
"You really really like this person, huh?" she sounded so sad that Sehun turned to look at her.
"Yes, yes I do. It's been a few years but I've never told the person. I'm not as brave as you, I guess." Sehun smiled bitterly.
"Is there any chance you might change your mind?"
"I wish there was, Soo-Jung, but there's just too much history with this person. I don't think I could change my mind even if I wanted to. I'm so sorry."
"Oh Sehun, I don't know who's more sad here - you or me. How can I even be upset with you?" Soo-Jung laughed miserably, "Can we just pretend this conversation never happened? Like ... Can we go back to what we were? Friends?"
"Sure, Soo-Jung. Friends." Sehun's smile reached his eyes.
"Dude, you've been holding out," Chanyeol complained as Sehun slid back into his seat, "Who's that vision of loveliness you've been hiding from us?"
"Vision of loveliness? Yeol, that is unbelievably corny - even for you. " Sehun sounded incredulous as he settled himself comfortably close to Baekhyun. A move which the latter found deeply distracting. "Where's Kyungsoo?"
"Library. Freaking out over a Hydraulics assignment that's due whenever. But don't change the subject, Sehun. That girl is gorgeous - why haven't we heard you mention her? Hold out!" Chanyeol kicked Sehun's ankle vengefully and Sehun kicked him back equally hard.
"Who is she?" Baekhyun asked quietly and Sehun turned to face him. His face was devoid of expression as he waited for Sehun's answer.
"Jung Soo-Jung. She's in my Multimedia Applications course. She's ... nice."
"What did she want from you?" Baekhyun regretted it the moment the words came out of his mouth. They were too intense, too prying, and too fucking possessive.
"She just wanted to ask me some stuff." Sehun shrugged noncommittally.
Baekhyun knew it couldn't have been just "stuff". If it had been just stuff, the girl wouldn't have asked him to go somewhere private. What the hell had they talked about for 15 whole minutes, and damn Sehun for not sharing.
"She totally asked you out, didn't she?" Chanyeol teased.
"Does it matter if she did? She's a great girl and all but I don't exactly like girls."
"Damn, did you just come out?" Chanyeol hissed sotto voce.
"I guess?" Sehun's answer was deadpan.
"You gotta give a guy some warning when it comes to this sort of thing, ok? That came out of nowhere, man! Come to think of it, I don't remember you ever talking about finding anyone hot or anything. How did I miss that? More importantly, how did Captain Control Freak Byun Baekhyun miss that?" Chanyeol looked accusingly at Baekhyun who was deep in reverie.
"Baekkkkk, did you know about Sehun? Am I the last to know? What the hell?" But before anyone could respond to Chanyeol's grousing, Kim Junmyeon showed up. In a move that surprised Baekhyun himself, he nudged his knee against Sehun's in an action which seemed a lot like marking his territory. Sehun didn't push him away though, and he took that as a positive sign.
"Oh Sehun, you owe me a movie! I'll pick you up at 7, all right?" Junmyeon was all good looks and smooth lines and confident smiles and Baekhyun couldn't stand the sight of him. He especially couldn't stand the thought of Sehun being anywhere near him. Baekhyun swore it was like a conspiracy. Anyone and everyone who had ever been attracted to Oh Sehun seemed to be crawling out of the woodwork to taunt him. And apparently they were all choosing today to do it.
"About that - I ..."
"He can't make it," Baekhyun interjected.
"I'll see you at 7. Where should we meet?" Sehun ignored the righteous anger emanating from the agitated male beside him, and calmly made arrangements to meet Junmyeon. After making a series of what Baekhyun found to be disgustingly delighted noises, Junmyeon thankfully made his exit.
"Because I really want to watch Skyfall and I might as well watch it with him since he's asking."
Baekhyun didn't have a reply to this statement, which in itself shocked Chanyeol, but he kept his silence because he had a pretty good idea there was more going on here that he didn't know shit about.
"I don't like you going out with that douche. I don't trust him at all."
"Yeah, I think you've made that more than abundantly clear. But hyung, it's just a movie."
"Don't accept any drinks he gives you." Baekhyun sounded disgruntled, but he had obviously decided not to argue with Sehun.
"What's he gonna do? Spike the cola at the cinema?" Sehun gave him a withering look.
"You guys might go for drinks later. He might slip you a roofie. Just saying."
"There will be no roofie and no after movie drinks but I'll be careful, ok?"
"Okay. Just remember he's not to be trusted. That's all I'm saying."
Sehun nodded in assent, not bothering to hide the amusement in his eyes and this drove Baekhyun into a flurry of annoyance and irritation. Baekhyun glared at Sehun and consciously or unconsciously, his left thigh made contact with Sehun's right one and Sehun pressed closer, challenging him almost.
"So how's this roommate thing working out, guys?" Chanyeol decided it was way past time to remind the other two that there was a third person at the table.
"It's fine!" they both answered simultaneously but where Sehun was nonchalant, Baekhyun sounded defensive.
"You sound a little testy, Baek." Chanyeol teased.
"I always sound testy."
"You sound a little more edgy than usual, if you ask me."
"I'm FINE." Baekhyun insisted but the other two didn't look like they bought it.
"So I won't be joining you guys for dinner tonight. Sunbae and I will just grab a burger or something before the 8.45 movie."
Tight-lipped, Baekhyun's eyes flashed with something far stronger than annoyance. And from what Sehun -and even Chanyeol - could tell, he looked anything but fine.
It was 6.32 and Baekhyun's stomach was tangled in knots. Sehun was supposed to meet Junmyeon at a nearby cafe in precisely 28 minutes but Sehun's door hadn't opened yet. Why was he even going on this ... whatever this was with Kim Junmyeon?
Sehun finally emerged from his room and Baekhyun was unreasonably relieved to see that he was casually dressed and didn't seem to have taken any special care with his appearance - he just wore his usual uniform of faded denims, any-colored (tonight it was gray) sweater and bulky navy blue parka which was draped over his arm.
His fringe was jabbing his eyelashes as usual and he flipped it to the side with the usual languid turn of the head. It was like he had no energy to use his hands to flick the hair out of his eyes. It was a movement that Baekhyun had never paid much attention to before but which now drove him insane in the most acute way. Now that he'd actually touched Sehun's silky, dark brown hair, he just wanted to brush it out of his eyes every time he saw it. He was going to be a physical and emotional wreck at the rate he was obsessing over everything Sehun.
"What are you having for dinner, hyung? Don't just take ramyun, ok?" Sehun said as he headed for the kitchen to pour himself a glass of water.
"I don't want to talk about what I'm having for dinner, Sehun." Baekhyun had entered the cramped kitchenette and stopped right behind Sehun, standing close enough to get a faint whiff of apples tempered with Sehun's own masculine scent. The slim nape of Sehun's neck was tantalizingly near and Baekhyun couldn't stop himself from leaning into it. Sehun stiffened, and his glass hit the counter with a sharp clink.
"I want to talk about what happened last night." Baekhyun pressed his nose against Sehun's skin and he heard a sharp intake of breath that wasn't his. But that was all right because he had his own problems to deal with, like the warmth pooling in his gut, and lower still than that. Sehun turned around, eyes intense. And he didn't back away as Baekhyun had feared he might. Instead he placed his hands on Baekhyun's hips.
"I don't really want to talk right now, hyung." Sehun's voice was smoky as he lowered his head and captured Baekhyun's lips firmly in his. He drew Baekhyun closer and deepened the kiss - gradually, almost tentatively. And Baekhyun, who had always taken the lead in their eight-year relationship, finally let his younger friend set the pace. Letting go felt good, just as sharing passionate kisses with Sehun felt good.
At some point, Sehun stopped kissing him and started hugging him tightly, his breathing shallow and quick.
"I have to go." Sehun's voice was laced with regret and his thin arms continued to hold Baekhyun close in spite of his words.
"Why do you need to go again? I still don't understand." Baekhyun's hands were clasped behind Sehun's waist, and his cheek was pressed against the comforting warmth of Sehun's sweater-clad chest.
"I said I'd go so I have to. You know I always keep my word," Sehun's right hand rubbed his back rhythmically as he said this. And it was true, Sehun was someone who always kept promises, no matter how much trouble they caused him. If it brought him trouble, he would never agree to it again, but that first time? Sehun always followed through. That was who he was and Baekhyun knew he had to let him go. Well, this once anyway.
"But why did you agree to go in the first place?"
Sehun's chest vibrated with laughter as he tightened his embrace, "Because you said I couldn't, you dork. Contrary to what you may think, Byun Baekhyun, you do not always know better than everyone, and you do not get to tell everyone what to do. It was the principle of the thing, I had no choice but to agree, see?"
"You dumbass." Baekhyun punched his arm in annoyance and Sehun just laughed at how exasperated he was.
Baekhyun's screen lit up. It was Sehun - who had only just left the apartment half an hour ago.
"Sehun?" He could hear the muted buzz of conversation in the background and the frenetic clinking of cutlery.
"Hyung, I need a favor. Do you remember my cousin Eunhyuk? You know that asswipe who used to date Yeol's older sister? Well, he needs to borrow some of my course textbooks. He was supposed to pick them up tomorrow but now he can't make it so he wants to go over around 8 tonight instead. Could you pass them to him? They're in a stack on my desk. Please, hyung?"
"No problem. So ... how's it going? With the date thing?" Baekhyun hated himself for being insecure and asking but then again, it had always been in his nature to pry. Sehun would have been more surprised than not if he hadn't asked.
"Date?" Sehun laughed, "It's not a date, hyung. The food isn't bad. I'm having a steak sandwich. But the conversation could be better. As in it could be an actual conversation. Right now it's just a monologue and I'm not the one talking if you know what I mean. Have you eaten anything yet? Don't forget to eat, ok? I bought some eggs today and there's a loaf of bread in the fridge."
"Yeah, I had some, thanks. I didn't even know you picked up some food ... and ... yeah, thanks. It helped a lot," Baekhyun thanked him awkwardly before reminding him, "Sehun-ah, don't forget what I said about the drinks, ok?" Baekhyun had walked into Sehun's room by now, phone at his ear. The room was neat with a minimalist air about it, and he saw the stack of books immediately. "The book on the top is called 'Interactive Media Design'?"
"That's the correct stack, yup. Thanks, hyung. I'll be home right after the movie." Sehun added the last bit almost shyly.
"I'll wait up."
"You don't have to." Sehun protested, but he sounded pleased, anyway.
"I do - because we really need to talk about us." Baekhyun insisted and Sehun agreed. Then they quickly said their goodbyes and Baekhyun was leaving the room when he caught sight of a black folder on Sehun's bed.
He knew he shouldn't look inside it but then again if it had been something really private, Sehun surely wouldn't have left it there, tempting him. Baekhyun wrestled with his conscience for another five minutes before he caved and opened up the folder ... and saw his face looking back up at him. It was a beautiful pencil sketch of him with a serious expression. A date had been written in the bottom left hand corner of the sheet: June 11, 2011.
Baekhyun carefully leafed through the thin sheaf of thick, white paper. They were all hand drawn pictures of him - smiling, serious, surprised. But mostly, they were drawings of him smiling. He counted six pictures in total - all marked with dates that ranged as far back as November 12, 2009. He sat down heavily on the bed, torn between feeling guilty for invading Sehun's privacy and feeling touched at what he'd found.
Baekhyun planted his face in Sehun's pillow. They really, really needed to talk.
Was it possible to die from boredom? Because Sehun felt like Junmyeon's droning voice was slowly but surely killing him. He'd stopped registering what the other guy was saying three quarter way through dinner - preferring to mentally replay his intimate encounter with Baekhyun while nodding his head from time to time so Junmyeon would think he was actually listening. He cursed Baekhyun for getting him into this. If he'd only just kept his mouth shut at lunch, Sehun would have just refused the movie date on his own. But if he were honest with himself, a little part of him found Baekhyun's blatant act of possessiveness kind of hot.
Sehun had paid for their tickets (he didn't want Junmyeon thinking this was an actual date) and he had sighed with relief when the lights went off, because that meant that the movie would start soon and Junmyeon's monologue would forcibly stop. Thankfully, Junmyeon apparently wanted to watch the movie for real and only muttered the odd word after the opening credits rolled out.
He couldn't help comparing this to watching movies with Baekhyun - after eight years they'd established a comforting pattern. They'd watch quietly and then if something really over the top happened, they would make fun of it and afterwards, they'd pick the whole movie apart. Baekhyun usually did more of the talking but he always wanted Sehun's input. Baekhyun might be a lot of things but he did expect interaction in a conversation. This was literally two strangers sitting beside each other in a darkened cinema.
Skyfall was gripping and Sehun was soon caught up with the events unfolding on the screen. The climax was spectacular and Sehun only began relaxing as things started winding down right at the end. But he was still concentrating fully on James Bond reporting at Headquarters when he felt something wet and unpleasant and ... painful at the base of his neck.
"What the hell?!" He shoved Junmyeon away, wincing slightly at the sharp pain, "Sunbae, what are you doing?" Which was a stupid question - Junmyeon had clearly been giving him a hickey and considering how much it hurt, the bruise was going to be a bad one. Sehun glared furiously at him and Junmyeon shrugged a little sheepishly, saying the movie was almost finished - like that was a reasonable explanation for anything.
"That was not ok. And we are not doing this again, sunbae." Sehun said quietly but firmly, and Junmyeon raised his hands in surrender - his expression seemed to indicate he'd received the message loud and clear.
Sehun let himself into the apartment, his body humming with anticipation at seeing Baekhyun again, while at the same time hoping the latter wouldn't notice the darkening bruise on the left side of his neck. He wasn't trying to hide it from Baekhyun, he just didn't want to go into it tonight - that it had even happened was bad enough.
"Hyung?" Sehun approached the living room sofa to find Baekhyun sleeping. The aubergine-colored quilt was pooled messily around Baekhyun's midriff and a copy of William Gibson's Neuromancer lay on the coffee table. He had brought his pillow out from his room too, and he half lay on it, half cuddled it. It moved Sehun to see his temperamental, cranky hyung looking vulnerable and contented in sleep. He didn't have the heart to wake him up. Their talk could wait till the next day.
Sehun went to wash up and change into his sleepwear of gym pants and long sleeved tee. As he was leaving his room, he glimpsed the black folder on his bed and swore. He'd forgotten to keep it in the drawer and Baekhyun had been in his room to get the books for his asshat of a cousin. He wondered if he'd checked out the contents. Baekhyun was nothing if not terminally inquisitive. Kyungsoo liked to say he was like a pit bull - when he got curious about anything he would persist until he had found out everything there was to know about it. Could he have resisted looking in the folder? Sehun doubted it but he refused to worry about it because he would have eventually shown him the drawings anyway. Things had already changed irrevocably between them and it would just be a matter of telling Baekhyun earlier rather than sooner, that he had kind of been in love with him for the better part of three years.
After switching off all the lights, Sehun lifted the quilt and climbed in beside Baekhyun - blessing the oversized red sofa that could hold two slim male bodies quite comfortably. He lay on his left side and faced Baekhyun, running his fingers up and down Baekhyun's arm until he stirred, and rubbed his eyes.
"You're back," Baekhyun mumbled groggily and Sehun smiled lazily, continuing to stroke his right arm.
"Were you waiting up for me?"
"Yeah. I must have fallen asleep. What time is it?" Baekhyun buried his face against Sehun's neck and inhaled deeply, his warm breath tickling Sehun.
"It's late. Past midnight."
"We should talk about things," Baekhyun tried to stifle a yawn unsuccessfully.
"Why don't we do that tomorrow? There's no rush, right? You're not leaving for America tomorrow, or starting a new job in Europe, or dying of a brain tumor like in the dramas?" Sehun gazed at Baekhyun teasingly, his right arm draped over his waist.
Baekhyun laughed and shook his head, no there was no rush he said just before his lips met Sehun's. They kissed for a while before falling asleep in each other's arms.
Sehun woke up to a tickling sensation on the right side of his neck. His eyes flickered open languidly, and saw Baekhyun lying on his side, head propped on his right hand, features relaxed and smiling. He was drawing gentle circles on his skin, "Sehun-ah, did you know you have a mole right here?" Baekhyun placed his fingertip on it.
"I guess so. Did you?"
"I never used to check you out so yeah, it's a new discovery for me." Baekhun continued to draw circles on Sehun's already sensitized neck and then, without warning, his finger was replaced by his tongue and Sehun moaned in response. A moan that was silenced when Baekhyun covered his mouth with his own.
"Tutorial ... at ... 9am." Sehun gasped in between fevered open-mouthed kisses.
"Make it 9.15?" Baekhyun rubbed his stubbled jaw against the crook of his shoulder and raised goosebumps all over Sehun's skin.
"I can't. Professor Moon is a dragon. She takes attendance and says all kinds of shit to you if you're late, or worse still, skip class."
"Argh! Damn her cockblocking soul! And Professor Choi's too because I have a 9 am class too, fuck my life." Baekhyun groaned loudly and bitterly into Sehun's chest until he became distracted by his collarbones. And finally, his fingers traveled upward to Sehun's face, brushing his fringe out of his eyes, "You have no idea how much time I spend in a day wanting to flick your hair out of your eyes. How can you stand it?"
"Is that your way of telling me I should get it cut short?" Sehun looked amused.
"No! No, don't cut it! I mean ... I like it. It's kind of sexy," and then Baekhyun buried his face in Sehun's neck right after he made the confession, saying he couldn't believe he'd said that aloud and he was literally dying of
"Hyung, relax, I'm not going to cut it. And it's a nice change, you know, you telling me I look sexy instead of you nagging me to cut my hair because it's irritating the hell out of you." Sehun chuckled and nuzzled Baekhyun behind his ear, playfully nibbling at his earlobe, and discovering that it was a sensitive area as Baekhyun started squirming and laughing.
"Cut it out! Your nose is cold," Baekhyun complained but Sehun ignored him and carried on kissing his neck. A few minutes later, they reluctantly got up, stretching limbs stiffened by a second night's sleep on the sofa.
"Hyung, we really should sleep on a proper bed tonight. Your couch is comfortable and all but it's not a bed. My back is killing me." Sehun remarked casually as he disappeared into the bathroom.
"My back isn't the only thing killing me." Baekhyun looked down at the tent in his pants and groaned.
That morning, Sehun cursed the fact that he didn't own a single turtle neck because that would have been the perfect way to camouflage Junmyeon's stupid hickey. In the end, he settled on a hunter green woolen scarf which he draped loosely around his neck.
It wasn't that he was trying to conceal the thing from Baekhyun. He had every intention of showing it to him; he just preferred to tell him later that night in the privacy of their own home rather than reveal it to him in the heart of Hongdae where he would most likely overreact. And Baekhyun seemed to have a particular distaste for Kim Junmyeon. Sehun sighed; he was not looking forward to the confrontation. But he would go through with it because he wasn't planning on hiding anything from Baekhyun. Ever again.
They had agreed to meet outside the Engineering Faculty Building at 3pm and Sehun was kicking the ground with his hands rammed into his pockets when Baekhyun showed up. Baekhyun got his attention and Sehun turned to greet him, smiling. They had agreed to have their overdue talk over some coffee at the Caffe Bene nearby. They walked alongside each other, shoulders touching, talking and laughing and just being.
All around them cherry trees were festooned with flaming red and gold leaves and the air was crisp and bracing. Years of friendship made for easy conversation, although as always, loquacious Baekhyun did most of the talking while quiet Sehun did most of the listening. But it was their way and neither noticed or minded if one spoke too much while the other spoke not enough.
They were across the road from the cafe when the autumnal breeze suddenly picked up. The wind whipped Sehun's hair into his face and eyes and cut through Baekhyun's light jacket and sweater, making him shiver violently.
"Wait, hyung." Sehun unraveled his scarf and wrapped it around Baekhyun's slim neck. The scarf was still suffused with the warmth of Sehun's skin and Baekhyun reveled in the comfort it brought him.
"Thanks, Sehun. And now I can finally see that mole of yours again," Baekhyun teased as his eyes openly searched for the tantalizing black dot on Sehun's neck. But instead, he found his eyes drawn to an ugly dark bruise on the left side of his neck. He placed three fingers on the mark, expression hardening as Sehun tilted his head to the side a little.
"Is this a hickey?" Baekhyun's voice was quiet but menacing.
"But I didn't give you that."
"No, hyung, you didn't."
"Was it that asshole Kim Junmyeon?!" Baekhyun's voice was getting louder.
"Yes. It happened during the movie-"
"I told you not to go out with him but you wouldn't listen!" The gesticulating had started. When Baekhyun became overexcited, he always started waving his arms around. And when he got like that, Sehun usually just kept quiet and let him rant and ride out his anger. But not anymore.
"But that's the point, I don't have to listen to you, I'm 21 years old and I know what I'm doing. You need to remember I don't need your protection anymore. I know you looked out for me a lot when we were in high school but I'm not your dongsaeng anymore. I'm not." Sehun was starting to get angry himself now. And by this time, Baekhyun was incandescent with jealous rage.
"You call this knowing what you're doing? Have you seen the size of that thing?! So if you knew what you were doing, that means you wanted him to do it? To mark you like that?" He was shouting now as he pointed furiously at Sehun's neck. Passersby were turning to look because Baekhyun had gone past caring and was not making any attempt to lower his voice.
"I never said that!" Sehun's fists were clenched at his sides as he yelled back, albeit not as loudly.
"He's not the kind of guy who does relationships and you're the sort to get attached!"
"I never wanted that hickey! It was the end of the movie and I was concentrating on the screen when he started sucking on my neck. I pushed him off straight away but it was too late. And you're right, I am the kind of person who gets attached - I've been attached to you for three fucking years but you were just too fucking blind to notice! The only person I want to give me hickeys is you, hyung, you fucking asshole! I could care less about Kim Junmyeon! Didn't you see those sketches I made of you? You saw them, didn't you?"
"I ... yes, Sehun, I did. I'm sorry I looked. I had no right to look in your stuff." Baekhyun's jealous rage was dissipating.
"Well, I wouldn't want you digging around my shit in future but I was going to show you those drawings anyway because I don't want to hide anything from you anymore. I hid how I felt for three years and it damn near killed me. I wasn't planning to show you the sketches so soon but that's ok. You know when I first knew that you weren't just a hyung to me? When you started going out with Kim Ryeowook. I hated him so much. I don't even know why I've liked you for so long. You're not exactly desirable, you know. You're cranky, impatient, bossy and you nag me all the damn time that my ears hurt - almost as much as my heart hurts. I must be insane. But I guess you can't pick who you like." it was the most Baekhyun had ever heard Sehun say in all the years they'd known each other. He never said much, Sehun, but when he did he always made it count, because Baekhyun's heart hurt too now.
"I'm so sorry it took me three years to figure things out. I don't know what to say," Baekhyun's eyes were sad.
"Then don't. Don't say anything," and Sehun dragged Baekhyun by the wrist, steering him into a narrow alleyway between two nearby buildings, "Don't say anything. Just show me how you feel,"
And that's when Baekhyun kissed Sehun passionately, held him close, and tried to convey three years of regret through his caresses and kisses and whispered words of love ...