Written in the Water

extravagant, complex; applied to a style in art and architecture that emphasized dramatic, often strained effect and typified by bold, curving forms, elaborate ornamentation, and overall balance of disparate parts

Their table in the dining hall had been awkwardly quiet Friday night. After the events that had escalated beforehand, and the fact that Junmyeon had gotten so upset that he had backed out of eating with them to instead go back to the dorm, a heavy atmosphere filled the space surrounding them. It had been painfully obvious that no one had really known what to say at first, sitting in a thick silence that was only broken by the sound of clinking utensils and the chatter from the other students sitting around them.

At long last, Yixing had been the first one to speak.

“Why didn’t you guys tell me?” Yixing asked, frowning. “Junmyeon is my friend too.”

“It wasn’t really our story to tell,” Sehun replied quietly, distress in his eyes as he stirred his food around with disinterest. Yixing could tell how worried he was. “If Junmyeon wanted people to know, then he’d say something. It’s not really my place or anyone else’s to spread his business around like that.”

Zitao huffed, stabbing into his food. There was a vein still visibly throbbing on the surface of his forehead from how worked up he had gotten. “Pretty sure the world now knows how much of a piece of Chanyeol is. I should’ve kicked his .”

“You knocked him to the floor and gave him a bloody nose due to how he hit his face on the tile. I’m pretty sure much else beyond that would give you one hell of an assault charge,” Sehun said dryly.

They could practically hear the growl that rumbled in the back of Zitao’s throat. “It’d be worth it. We don’t need garbage like him getting anywhere near Junmyeon, or on campus at all.”

Yixing pulled his lower lip between his teeth, chewing on it in a mixture of thought and guilt. “If I had gone to the party too, I could’ve kept an eye on him… I can’t believe Jongdae introduced this Chanyeol guy to him.”

“It isn’t your fault, Yixing. You should know that,” Sehun replied. He stole a glance at his phone, wondering where Jongin was, and how on earth they were going to explain what had happened when he finally did show. He then noticed he had a text message, discreetly scanning it when he realized it was from Junmyeon. ‘I’m spending the night at Yifan’s. Don’t wait up’ was all it said. It was comforting to see that Junmyeon was feeling pieced together enough to socialize, but it worried him at the same time, because it wasn’t like Junmyeon to head to Yifan’s without previously established plans.

“Well…” Yixing started, looking as if he was about to argue, before he merely sighed. “Either way, I’m going to talk to Jongdae. There are no excuses for something like this.”

Zitao let out a snort. “I already took care of that too. Jongdae’s lucky all he got was an earful from me and not a fist.”

“Zitao, you need to calm down!” Sehun shouted, currently the only line that barricaded his friend from the rest of the world.

Yixing was the one watching over Junmyeon, helping wipe his blotched teary face with some tissues and bring him down from the anxiety that still lingered in the cracks of his mind.

Chanyeol’s nose was bleeding, flowing freely into the palm he had cupped over the cartilage. A few strangers had wedged themselves between Chanyeol and Zitao to keep the two of them separated.

“I was just trying to tell him I was sorry,” Chanyeol said then, voice muffled as he continued to pinch his nose between two large fingers. “I never meant to hurt him—“

“You knew perfectly damn well what you were doing, and you’re only sorry because you got caught!” Zitao screamed, biceps coiling dangerously under Sehun’s grasp. “I already told you to stay away from him!”

Chanyeol’s fingers were stained red as he spoke, surrounded by an assortment of other students who were watching the scene unfold. “I just wanted to ask him to give me another chance. I really like him—“

“You barely even know him! And some piece of like you doesn’t deserve another chance!” Zitao bellowed. “You tried to hurt him once, and the last possible thing on this earth that I would allow is the possibility for you to try to hurt him a second time! So scram, or I’m going to kick your up and down this building!”

There was a thick and uneasy silence at the table then.

“I wish he had come with us,” Zitao then muttered, propping his chin up in one hand and picking at his food with disinterest. “He needs to eat.”

The others murmured in agreement. Sehun tried to brush their concerns away without revealing too much. He could easily recall Junmyeon’s latest text message. Sehun merely told his friends that Junmyeon had headed back to the dorm, and thankfully, everyone seemed to believe it. The last thing he wanted was to try to formulate a chain of lies to continue shielding and hiding Junmyeon’s secret from the knowledge of others.

Now was more crucial than ever.

“Can I ask you something?” Yixing started, loosely clutching the straps of his backpack. He and Sehun were traveling alongside each other down the sidewalk, headed for the dining hall. “Don’t freak out when I ask you either. Okay?”

“Uh… Okay?” Sehun answered, blinking in confusion. “Shoot, I guess.”

“Have you noticed Junmyeon acting a little weird or anything recently?” Yixing then asked, frowning. “He’s been really…off lately in class. And it’s usually just in regards to things dealing with Kris.”

“Haven’t you asked me something like this before?” Sehun countered as he arched a single eyebrow, scratching his chin thoughtfully. He kept his voice completely calm as he spoke. “Yixing, I think you’re looking too deeply into this.”

“I’m not! I’m telling you, something is going on between those two. Junmyeon has been giving him way too much of his focus,” Yixing grumbled. “Junmyeon doesn’t talk about Kris at all?”

“No,” Sehun replied, lying right through his teeth.

Before he could say anything else, Yixing interrupted him with a loud huff. “Well, if you don’t know anything, then I guess I’ll just have to find out some information from the source.”

It seemed like, for now, the events that had occurred had been enough of a distraction. Yixing had not dared to grill Junmyeon for details after all that had happened with Chanyeol, but Sehun had a sickly feeling that their luck was running thin.

“It’s supposed to frost tonight,” Junmyeon said, breaking the silence that had fallen between them. The air that Saturday morning was absolutely freezing. Junmyeon’s frame looked even smaller than usual, swallowed whole by the clothing he was bundled within, consisting of his sweater and his thickest winter coat. He could see his breath fogging before him as the pair walked down the sidewalk, huddled close together. “I guess it’s officially winter. It’s gotten super cold so early this year. I wonder if that means we’ll get snow soon.”

“I hope the hell not,” Yifan grumbled from beside him. “The last thing I want is that garbage.”

Startled by the sudden attitude, Junmyeon just stared at Yifan for a second in surprise, absently rubbing his red and damp nose with the back of his hand. Yifan was glowering underneath his beanie, shoulders scrunched inward, and his frame shaking inside of his coat.

Junmyeon cracked a smile then, eyes twinkling. “Sounds to me like somebody is a bit of a baby regarding the cold.”

Yifan furrowed his eyebrows unhappily. “I’m not a baby. I just hate the cold.”

“So… Am I supposed to act like you’re not whining right now, or what?” Junmyeon teased, cracking a grin. Yifan merely pursed his lips together in response, eyes curving into mirthful crescents as he scowled. Junmyeon laughed then, giving Yifan a playful nudge. “Come on, don’t be such a sourpuss. I’m only kidding.”

“Well, I’m not,” Yifan replied dryly, expression not altering in the slightest. “I hate the cold immensely. If winter ceased to exist I’d throw a party.”

“No offense, but you don’t really seem like the party type of guy to me,” Junmyeon said, voice trailing off for a moment.

It was at times like these that it dawned on him entirely just how little he knew about Yifan and his life. Sure, he had an inkling that Yifan wasn’t a big fan of parties based on how quiet and reclusive he was, but he had no facts to support his claim. He had no idea if Yifan had ever been into parties in the past. He didn’t know how many Yifan had been to in his life before he had decided he didn’t like them. And that was just one topic; the horizons seemed endless when it came to the mysteries surrounding his boyfriend, his likes and dislikes and the assortment of events that had happened in his history.

Yifan merely hummed back at him, hands shoved in the pockets of his leather jacket. “I’m not. They’re too noisy and there are always way too many people.”

“Did you go to any in college?” Junmyeon asked curiously, glancing over at Yifan with big and wondering eyes. The two of them were nearly bumping into each other as they walked, huddled close together for warmth in the bitter cold as they traveled down the sidewalk.

“Some. They were okay, I guess,” Yifan replied, stiff shoulders rolling for a second in a shrug. “I guess I just outgrew it. The last party I went to was my sophomore year, if I remember correctly.”

Junmyeon frowned. He knew people changed, but he never thought that someone’s interests could jump so drastically in only two years. If Yifan had gone to parties in the past, he must have enjoyed them to some extent, right? The cogs in his mind were already turning in puzzlement, trying and failing to determine what could have happened for Yifan to lose interest so quickly.

The journey was overall quiet. Junmyeon kept sniffling the entire walk, nose flushed from the cold and starting to drip. Yifan was visibly shivering, tightly clenching his jaw to keep his teeth from chattering. Junmyeon actually pitied him at the moment, able to tell that Yifan was currently downright miserable from the cold. How on earth Yifan had survived the drive over to downtown in the icy wind on his motorcycle was beyond Junmyeon’s comprehension.

Unfortunately, things did not always go as planned. Their date had already been a bit of a disaster so far due to unforeseen circumstances. Yifan had wanted to take him to an art exhibition he had heard about online, but due to miscommunication, they missed the event time by a few hours. They had instead tried to duck into a restaurant that Yifan had visited several times in the past to try to get something to eat, only to find the building closed for renovations. Yifan had just stood there for a good five minutes with his head resting against the door, groaning in frustration. Luck was definitely not on their side that cold Saturday, but they were trying to make it work.

“This ,” Yifan said bluntly, still scowling as he trekked alongside Junmyeon, leather boots thudding heavily against the concrete. The two of them were in a bit of a rut, trying to find something to do as they traveled down the freezing city streets. “Maybe we should’ve just stayed home.”

“Don’t talk like that. The day is still young! We can find something,” Junmyeon chirped, typical optimism lining his voice as he flashed Yifan a smile, showing off those white teeth. Yifan didn’t argue with him, but Junmyeon could tell by the unhappy twisting of his lips that he really wanted to do so.

‘Something’, as it turned out, as not quite what either of them had been anticipating. The two of them had passed a small café on their journey and had swung inside to receive a break from the cold, and to try to warm themselves up with some drinks. Yifan, unsurprisingly, ordered a coffee, screaming hot that he quickly splashed with creamer. Junmyeon nestled across from him at the table, curled up with his latte. The two of them shared a slice of cake and merely talked, cracking jokes and not caring about the way their knees bumped together underneath the tiny white table.

Cafés, however, were normal. Yifan was a coffee fanatic, and Junmyeon had been into several shops himself since he had started attending university. Cafés practically littered the campus grounds, after all. Coffee and cake were plenty standard to the two of them. However, their current location was definitely not the norm for either one of them.

“I can’t believe you convinced me to come in here,” Yifan said, talking loudly to be heard over the various noises and music emitting from the machines. His black boots contrasted sharply against the bright blues and neon greens of the carpeted floor. “I’m over thirty years old, Junmyeon. Someone like me doesn’t belong in an arcade.”

Despite his obvious hesitance to even enter the building, Yifan could never say no to Junmyeon. Junmyeon had been the first one to notice the arcade, pausing during their journey along the sidewalk to instead tug on Yifan’s sleeve before pointing across the street at the building. Yifan had tried to object immediately after, only for Junmyeon to blatantly ignore him, instead scurrying across the road to get a closer look.

By the time Yifan managed to scuttle across the road in a rather pathetic attempt of catching up with him, slowed down by his bad back, Junmyeon was already huddled against the building with his face nearly crushed against the glass to read a flyer hanging in the window. Junmyeon could be such a kid sometimes, and he acted like one right then too, eyes big and glittery as he spun around to face Yifan, gushing about the advertisement. Yifan wasn’t keen on agreeing to the two of them ducking into the arcade despite the sale; for starters, he felt too big and too old to even go inside, and it didn’t seem anywhere close to a romantic date idea.

But, as usual, Yifan couldn’t object when Junmyeon gave him that look, eyes pleading and wide as he pushed his lips together in a pout. Yifan caved every time without fail, and he did then too, sighing in defeat as Junmyeon grabbed him by one leather-gloved hand and yanked him indoors. And now, well, here he was, awkwardly shuffling alongside Junmyeon as the two of them brushed past various machines and games.

“Just because you’re over thirty does not mean that you’re too old to play. Last time I checked, games are for everyone, and there’s no age limit on having fun,” Junmyeon countered, giving Yifan a cheeky grin. “Besides, like I just said, it’ll be fun. When was the last time you kicked back and just tried to do something to enjoy yourself?”

When Yifan remained silent at that question, Junmyeon already knew he had made a valid point. It had been far too long since Yifan had done something like this. He couldn’t stop himself from wondering when the last time Yifan had experienced something fun had even been. Was Yifan capable of remembering it, or was it simply another memory lost amongst the others of times long gone?

Shaking those thoughts away was a bit of an easier task once the two of them finally found a game that caught their interest. They huddled around the cabinet, and Junmyeon caught the dry chuckle that passed through Yifan’s lips when he had stooped down to insert a coin into the slot.

“What’s so funny?” Junmyeon asked, arching an eyebrow as he straightened himself up. He shifted closer to the panel of controls, a little unsure of what he was doing. His interest had been piqued due to the artwork that had been plastered along the sides of the cabinet, but Junmyeon had very little experience in the gaming department. The most he had done was huddle with his friends around video game consoles in their rooms; he had never dealt with an arcade style game before. The little panel of buttons and small joysticks were oddly intimidating as he awkwardly let his fingers hover in place as the screen darkened to show it was loading. “Are you laughing at me?”

“Laughing at myself,” Yifan said simply, edging forward and leaning one elbow against the framework of the machine as he watched. “This game used to be really popular when I was your age. I’m old as dirt and I definitely feel like it.”

Junmyeon frowned as he cast his eyes onto the screen, giving the buttons a few experimental taps. “How many times do I have to tell you that you aren’t old?”

“Well, regardless of what you say, it doesn’t change the truth, now does it?” Yifan argued rhetorically.

Junmyeon just huffed, knowing the argument could go on forever. Yifan was horribly stubborn and he knew that for a fact, so if Yifan wasn’t going to listen, he may as well just let the conversation fade and not waste his breath. The game was starting now anyway, and Junmyeon’s tongue poked out from between his lips as he began to concentrate. His movements were clumsy and jerky and he just barely managed to avoid the first incoming attack.

Still, despite how he was starting to get into the game, Junmyeon had noticed something and he didn’t hesitate in calling Yifan out on it. “Stop squinting.”

“I wasn’t,” Yifan argued, blinking in surprise as he tore his eyes off the screen to instead stare at Junmyeon.

“You were. I saw you, and it may have been out of the corner of my eye, but I still saw it,” Junmyeon said calmly before letting out a loud squawk, jumping just in time to avoid a hole in the ground, his fingers pressing random buttons in panic. “It’s bad for your eyes to squint. Get your glasses.”

“I don’t always realize I’m doing it, okay? It’s a habit. Don’t nag me about it,” Yifan grumbled, but he obeyed regardless, digging around in his pockets before extracting the thin glasses case.

“What do you mean it’s a habit? You have glasses, there’s no reason you should be squinting,” Junmyeon asked, sinking his teeth into his lower lip as he kept his gaze locked onto the screen.

“Because when I was your age I didn’t like to wear them and usually didn’t,” Yifan replied dryly, pushing his glasses just a little higher up the slope of his nose.

“You’ve had glasses for that long? Why didn’t you wear them?” Junmyeon continued, peering over at Yifan in confusion. The cabinet beeped loudly and Junmyeon jolted then, letting out a string of garbled nonsense as he quickly spun back around to face the game properly. “Oh, crap—“

“You’ve been playing for two minutes and you’re about to die already,” Yifan pointed out, edging closer and bumping hips with Junmyeon in an attempt of making him scoot over. “Gimme some room. Let me help you.”

“I don’t need help,” Junmyeon whined, before yet again making a yelping noise as he just barely managed to avoid dying. He then quickly shuffled sideways to give Yifan more room. “Okay, maybe I do. I’ve never played before, alright?”

“Just let me help you get out of this mess you got yourself into,” Yifan commented, taking over, scowling in focus. “Then you can play again. But if you keep this up you’re gonna die so fast.”

“I didn’t think you even knew how to play,” Junmyeon said, standing on his tiptoes so that he could watch the screen from over Yifan’s arm. Yifan seemed a lot more pieced together than he was, complete with better timing and hand-eye coordination.

“What part of ‘this game was really popular when I was your age’ did you not catch? I used to play this a lot,” Yifan grunted back, eyes wide behind his glasses and not even blinking as he rhythmically tapped a few buttons. “But that was a long time ago. I guess I still got it.”

“In your face!” Yifan shrieked gleefully, swiveling on his heel and jabbing a finger at Luhan. “I told you I could beat your high score!”

“Oh, quit bragging,” Luhan drawled, huffing in frustration as he crossed his arms. “You didn’t even beat it by that much.”

“But I still beat it,” Yifan said smugly, sticking his tongue out at the other for a split second. “You’re just jealous because I have mad skills.”

“Is that what we’re calling it now?” Luhan asked, letting out a snort of laughter. “Don’t try to talk ‘cool’ ever again. You’re only embarrassing yourself.”

Yifan was, in fact, extremely talented when it came to video games. Junmyeon would have never expected it, but it was the truth that unfolded before his very eyes. Yifan easily blew him out of the water when they played competitively, and knocked Junmyeon’s scores off the charts without issue. Aside from a racing game and a way too competitive round of air hockey, Junmyeon hadn’t managed to beat Yifan at anything. Still, winning that air hockey game had felt like a massive victory. It had been neck and neck and the both of them had gotten way too into it, yelling at each other as they hunched over the table, into their own world and seeming to forget that they were in a public place.

“I didn’t know you were the competitive type,” Junmyeon commented out of the blue. He and Yifan were standing near the back wall in front of another game. The entire game was assembled to resemble a sloped basketball court, complete with a little basket hanging on the back wall. Yifan was balancing one of the toy basketballs in his hand as he stooped over with a bit of difficult to cram some change into the slot to get it to start. “I’ve never seen you that passionate about anything besides art.”

“Nothing wrong with wanting to win,” Yifan said over the loud noise of a buzzer as the game booted to life. Yifan was taking it slow at last, not fighting to rack in as many points as he could this time, instead just hovering around and shooting baskets as if he was playing a real game of basketball. His hands looked too big around the inflated rubber, glasses perched atop of his head as he shot his baskets.

“You’re right, there’s nothing wrong with it, I just wasn’t expecting it,” Junmyeon said honestly, giving Yifan a little smile as he watched the older male. “It’s nice seeing that side of you. Not to sound rude, but you can be really stoic sometimes. Getting to see you so passionate about something is really nice.”

“I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a stoic person,” Yifan replied calmly, eyes narrowed slightly in concentration. “Guarded, maybe, but not stoic. You can’t trust everyone, Junmyeon. Sometimes you just have to pick and choose whether you think it’s worth it or not to let someone see the real pieces of you that you don’t show to everyone else.”

“What about me?” Junmyeon asked then, and Yifan blinked in surprise, glancing over at him. Junmyeon’s expression was shy but hopeful then as he wrung his fingers together.

“You’re definitely worth it,” Yifan told him without hesitation, his facial features instantly softening a little as he offered Junmyeon a small but warm smile, nothing more than a brief tugging of lips that made Junmyeon’s heart melt into pure goo in his chest. “I’m sure you’ve already figured that out anyway.”

Junmyeon jolted in shock as Yifan suddenly tossed the toy basketball at him. Fumbling, Junmyeon just barely managed to catch it, holding it close to his chest with surprise scribbled across his face. Yifan’s mouth was curled up in amusement as he merely nodded in the direction of the hoop.

“Just try it,” Yifan told him. “You haven’t tried this game yet. I’m sure you can’t be that bad. I’m just good at it because I used to play basketball.”

“You’re putting way too much faith in me,” Junmyeon said, awkwardly turning to face the hoop. “You should know by now my hand-eye coordination is awful after seeing me play that one game when we first came in here.”

“Just try,” Yifan repeated, tucking his hands into his pockets as he watched.

Well, here went nothing. Junmyeon already knew he was awful at these types of games, but if Yifan wanted him to give it a go, he was going to do exactly that. his lips, Junmyeon shifted his weight around for a moment, shifting from foot to foot. He cradled the small ball in his hands as he focused, hyperaware of Yifan’s gaze from beside him. And, inhaling sharply, he raised his hands a little, and took the shot.

And from beside him, Yifan suddenly let out a loud snort, before letting out a guffaw of disbelief.

Junmyeon had not been exaggerating which he had said that he had horrible hand-eye coordination. Even standing right there, so close, and focusing that hard, Junmyeon hadn’t even come close to making the basket. He missed, horribly so, and the ball went smacking against the backboard hung up behind the hoop. He had thrown it way too hard and instead of merely falling down, the ball came bouncing right back at him. Junmyeon had dodged it, flinching away with a yelp, and the ball hit the floor before rolling away. As Junmyeon scurried after it, Yifan suddenly erupted into laughter, eyes crinkling up in amusement.

“Don’t laugh at me!” Junmyeon whined, coming back quickly after with the ball cradled to his chest. He huffed, cheeks puffing up in irritation and embarrassment, though that did not last long, because Yifan was still cracking up at his pathetic attempt of a shot. “Yifan, it wasn’t that funny.”

“It was,” Yifan wheezed at him, attracting a few perplexed looks from the people around them, because he couldn’t stop. Erupting into complete and utter gut-busting laughter, eyes crinkling up, Yifan doubled over then, balancing his hands on his kneecaps as he laughed uncontrollably. “You should’ve seen your face—“

He wanted to feel embarrassed, to feel ashamed, to feel insulted, because that would have been normal emotions when someone was laughing over his mistakes. But as he stood there, Junmyeon realized he didn’t have the capacity to be upset, not when Yifan was laughing like this. Time was suddenly standing still. The world had stopped turning. All noise had vanished from around him. Junmyeon was merely hovering in front of an arcade game with a toy ball in his hands, surrounded by an endless void of gray, and there was Yifan, standing in the center of it. It was silent, but Junmyeon could hear his laughter, watching how he dug his fingers into his own jeans as he bent himself in half. He straightened up for only a second, raising one finger as if trying to speak, but he was laughing so hard he couldn’t get it to come out. He resorted to merely wrapping his long arms about his stomach, curling into himself as he kept laughing, tears swelling in the corners of his crinkled eyes. And then, there was a sudden lump in his windpipe, and Junmyeon struggled to choke it back down his throat as he swallowed.

Junmyeon wasn’t sure if he had ever seen something so perfect in his entire life.

The drive back to campus had been quiet as always. The air had only grown colder as dusk arrived, momentarily bathing the sky calming colors of purples and reds as the sun dipped behind the horizon. Under the cover of night, the pair darted along the quiet streets. The wind had been brutal, icy and stabbing, and Junmyeon buried his hands in the folds of Yifan’s shirt as he threaded his arms around his boyfriend’s waist. He felt guilty in an odd way, sitting on the back of the motorcycle and pressed against Yifan’s back. He knew Yifan must have been freezing. Yifan didn’t handle the cold well, and even though he was armed with his beanie, Junmyeon knew the wind was no joke.

His suspicions were only confirmed when Yifan stopped the bike. They were parked in the lot across the street from Junmyeon’s dorm, shaded and hidden from trees and the darkness of night. It wasn’t the safest spot, but it hid the two of them well. Campus was empty at the early hours, as it was nearing one in the morning, but it didn’t hurt to be cautious.

“You’re shaking,” Junmyeon said quietly, scooting back a little when Yifan swiveled a bit on the bike to see him. Junmyeon was holding the helmet in his lap, hands clutching it to ensure it wouldn’t fall. They could just barely see each other, the lamppost on the corner giving them the haziest and softest amount of light. “Are you that cold?”

“I’m fine,” Yifan said, his voice a soft but gritty rumble that seemed to rise from the depths of his chest. Junmyeon wasn’t sure why it made him feel so odd, knowing that Yifan’s voice only became that way when he was tired. How had it become this way, knowing Yifan’s little tics? “I can handle it.”

“I hate that you have to drive home in this weather. It isn’t good for your health to be out in the cold like this, or to be out this late,” Junmyeon murmured. He drummed his fingers against the helmet, staring down at it. “I wish you could come inside… It’s warmer indoors.”

“And it’s also your dorm, where I’m not allowed, for various reasons,” Yifan commented with a sigh through his nose. “Regardless, I doubt it would work out very well. Your dinky dorm room bed wouldn’t be big enough for the two of us.”

“When did I say anything about you staying the night? I just wanted you to come inside to warm up,” Junmyeon asked, pushing his lips together as he furrowed his eyebrows.

“Ah? So you don’t want me to spend the night?” Yifan asked, leaning closer to him then. Junmyeon’s cheeks reddened almost immediately as he realized Yifan had his hands resting on his thighs, just above his knees, as if to give him more leverage as he leaned closer. “That’s a damn shame. Hurt my feelings a bit.”

“Don’t be so overdramatic,” Junmyeon complained softly, pink cheeks feeling so warm all of a sudden in the cold air. Yifan was just staring at him, corner of his mouth curled up like a cat, smug and knowing. “If you could, you know I’d let you. I wouldn’t mind it.”

“Wouldn’t mind what, exactly? Being crushed against me all night on a tiny mattress?” Yifan asked rhetorically, that smirk still plastered across his face. “Or do you just want me to spend the night at your place so you can get this out of me?”

Yifan kissed him then. Junmyeon let out a soft grunt of surprise, eyes blinking twice as he tried to collect his thoughts, before he relaxed. It was always so easy to relax around Yifan, especially when the man was kissing him like this. Yifan kissed so well. His lips were so soft, warm, just like his hands, which were still resting on his thighs, fingernails embedding into the fabric of his jeans as he kissed Junmyeon just a little harder.

“I have a wish too you know,” Yifan said in between kisses, his breath warm as it ghosted over Junmyeon’s skin. “It’s that you didn’t have to live in this damn dorm. I could kiss you all the time if you were always at my place.”

There was a weird heat in his belly as he rested his hands on Yifan’s chest, pushing him away just enough so that he could look into his eyes. Junmyeon swallowed, his lips. “Really?”

“Really. There wouldn’t be any awkward tangos if you were always at my place. No roommates, no other people to worry about seeing us together,” Yifan whispered, hands squeezing tighter around Junmyeon’s thighs. “I could kiss you as much as I wanted, any time I want. Would you like that?”

Yifan didn’t give him a chance to respond. He bowed his head, claiming Junmyeon’s lips for himself all over again. It made him feel so horribly weird but left the oddest type of chills running down his spine when he felt Yifan nipping at his lower lip, as if begging him to play along. Junmyeon was always so eager to please and he was then too, parting his lips slightly to grant Yifan entrance. Yifan tasted like a sharp mixture of lemons and limes from the soda he had earlier during their dinner, oddly addictive in its own warped way. Junmyeon could feel himself whining into the kiss, his arms shifting, hands sliding upwards and wrapping around the back of Yifan’s neck, as if trying to pull him in deeper.

It felt like no matter how many times they kissed nowadays, it just wasn’t enough, each one leaving Junmyeon’s body screaming for more.

“I want to see you again,” Yifan told him, his thumb swirling around the corner of Junmyeon’s puffy lips, wiping away the saliva that dribbled down his chin when Yifan broke their kiss. “Soon. I missed you so much. I hate only seeing you once a week.”

His mind was still hazy. Junmyeon was panting for breath. “I can’t. It’s too hard during the week, you know that. I’m sorry.”

“We can make it work,” Yifan told him. “We’ll figure it out.”

“You need to be patient. Classes will be over soon. I can see you all the time then,” Junmyeon said, hardly even thinking, just spitting out the first thing that came to his mind. It didn’t matter. It was the truth. He meant every word. “Your birthday is in two weeks, right? I can try to make it up to you then. We’ll make sure it’s a great day for you.”

“The sixth, yes. But really, you’re thinking too much. I only need one thing to make it a great day, and that’s you,” Yifan whispered, leaning forward all over again.

Junmyeon let out a snort as Yifan nipped his jaw, peppering his pale skin with kisses. “You’re such a big cheeseball. I mean it, I’ll make sure you have a good time. I already picked out your gift too.”

“Ah? You didn’t have to get me anything though,” Yifan said, genuine confusion in his eyes as he peeled back just enough to look Junmyeon in the face. He then grinned a little. “Honestly, if I had to ask for a present, it would be this.”

Sometimes Junmyeon wondered if Yifan used every excuse he could come up with to kiss him. Right then was no exception. Yifan was all over him, hands balanced on his thighs, connecting to his lips to Junmyeon’s all over again and kissing him senseless right then and there in the parking lot. Junmyeon was supposed to have walked over to the dorm fifteen minutes ago, but there they were, hidden in nearly complete darkness and making out like high schoolers on the back of Yifan’s motorcycle.

Oddly enough, Junmyeon didn’t mind. He could barely even breathe though, air right out of him as Yifan kissed him over and over again. His fingers were knotted around Yifan’s neck to tug him down, tug him closer, short nails scratching at the fine hairs that lined his nape. He couldn’t stop himself from nipping at Yifan’s lower lip when Yifan kissed him a little too hard, nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction, but it left Yifan gasping into his mouth as his fingers bore down on his thighs, squeezing them mercilessly.

Junmyeon didn’t know where it came from or why, but a moan came crawling out of his throat, his back arching for a split second as he practically shoved himself at Yifan, attempting to deepen their kiss even more as if the way Yifan was curling his tongue behind his teeth wasn’t good enough.

And suddenly, Yifan pulled away from him.

“What?” Junmyeon asked, his chest heaving up and down, face splashed pink and lips swollen. Yifan leaned away, his lips as he turned his head, letting go of Junmyeon’s legs so quickly it was as if he had been burned. “Yifan?”

“I can’t. I can’t do this, not right now,” Yifan murmured, increasing the gap that was carved between them. “We need to stop. It’s going too far.”

“But I thought you liked it?” Junmyeon asked, red lips pursing. “I thought you liked to kiss me? Don’t you want to kiss me? Did I do something wrong?”

“That’s the problem, Junmyeon. I do like it. I love it. I love kissing you,” Yifan said without a drop of shame in his blood. “And I love touching you. But I might like it a little too much. And that’s why we need to just call it a night. I can’t keep kissing you and touching you and listen to you moan like that, I can’t. And I refuse to lose control of myself around you a second time.”

“You won’t,” Junmyeon argued weakly. He was shaking all over, trembling with adrenaline, his heart pumping a thousand beats per minute. Yifan had nearly eaten him alive, and even now, kisses and touches dissolved, Yifan’s very stare made him feel bare and hot. He could still feel Yifan’s hands gripping his thighs through his jeans. It felt wrong, having Yifan pull away from him. “You aren’t like that.”

“I lost control of myself once and made you cry. It’s late. You need to think about this with a clearer and refreshed mind because I’m not going to force you into something you might regret,” Yifan told him, and Junmyeon could feel his heart squeezing in his chest with the weirdest mesh of emotions.

“You’re so gorgeous and you’re perfect and I want you so ing bad sometimes I can barely stand it. I don’t think you realize just how stunning you are sometimes, Junmyeon, how cute and how attractive you are and how y you can be without even trying,” Yifan continued, reaching out with one hand, his thumb tracing over Junmyeon’s lips, eyes calculating and tired. “But for you? I can wait. And until you think about this and decide what you really want, what will really make you happy, I’m going to wait.”

He was warm, warm from the fuzziness that came from him knowing that Yifan cared about him so much, warm from the reactions of his body, warm from adrenaline. He felt loved, knowing Yifan was putting him first. And yet, why did he feel…disappointed?

The small kiss on the lips that Yifan gave him right before they parted ways was not enough, and for the first time since they had begun dating, he felt angry over Yifan giving him nothing more than a kiss goodbye. He wanted more. He needed something, and his mind was a whirlwind as he crossed the street, face contorted in confusion as he glanced over his shoulder.

Yifan was putting his helmet on in the parking lot, starting his motorcycle once more. The headlight was bright, and Junmyeon just stood there for a moment, bombarded by a slew of emotions he did not fully understand.

And deep below his skin, unbeknownst to him, the monster that he had caged inside for so long was beginning to rattle its bars, demanding release.

this took too long im sorry orz

Story #15: so the girl who lived across from me in the apartments on campus is the only person from university i still talk to actually lol but one weekend we were like lets go on a road trip to this theme park. so it was me, her, and her two roommates (who were also from china like mine were). so we drive like 6 hours and finally get to the city and there's this 18 wheeler semi truck that's making a turn and the one chinese girl goes "how does the truck bend like that?" and there's just dead silence for a sec bc everyone was like wtf is she talking about. so the other chinese girl and her start talking to each other and they're both like ??? and my friend is like ??? and i'm like ??? and then out of nowhere i'm like "it's two pieces it's not one big truck" and she's like WHAT and i had to explain that the front is just this tiny thing that pulls the big box in the back and she was like. legit SHOOK lol she was like I THOUGHT IT WAS ONE BIG BENDABLE TRUCK OMG and we're all like no................. no.... it's not... and she just zipped her hoodie up and hid her face for the next 15 mins in embarrassment lol

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Angie_gc12 #1
Chapter 31: Can yifans art career take off now! Love this story and the characters so much and these lasr two chapters had me shook. CAnt wait for the rest.
191 streak #2
Chapter 31: aren't rumors supposed to die down after a few weeks of silence and all??? not blow up specially when Kris isn't even in campus... yes Jun is, but he's not been doing anything out of the ordinary aside from attending his classes, it's not like he's the type who calls for attention onto himself too... ugh, anyway it's there already... i thought the issue could just die before it reached the school admin...

is it just me, but i really didnt approve of Jun shutting off his friends instead of letting them explain... Sehun was ready to be there for him, Yixing confronted him... i get it that he needs time and he's the most affected by what happened since it involves him... but dude, these are the people who helped you survive the semester... also Kris's reply when Jun was worrying abt his friendship dilemmas was a mere they wont be friends after graduating... well excuse you... that gave me a slight headache... the world wont only revolve around the two of you! it took yifan years to admit he still needed his friendship with Luhan, very adamant to admit it, but still desperate to have his friend back on the inside... idk how he could say that to Jun... ugh

at least he let Zitao talk when the guy finally had the chance to confront him... but i think at that point, Jun's mind was closed already... idk how much time he'll need before he's ready to deal with his friends again... but i do hope it comes across his mind that these people didnt choose to shut him off like he expected them to, they wanted to talk to him, to understand him and he just wasnt ready for that yet

soooo... Yifan got fired... who the eff was the sneaky one who was able to photograph them in so many occassions??? granted they weren't exactly subtle whenever they were in Yifan's apartment, probably coz they thought it was far away enough... but who is the spy??? it's not even pics from when you suppose the investigation started, that's supposed to be after Jun's outburst, it's pics from wayyyy before! how did they get their hands on those???

anyway, Yifan getting fired might be for the better... he can refocus on what he wants to do in life, teaching wasn't for him... yes his goal was to make more people appreciate art, but most of his students just grumble and complain abt him and his grading methods... it's nice to see him painting again and even thinking of a new signature to signify a fresh start... and he still has Jun by his side, here's to hoping he'll be completely fine soon
DongTien #3
Chapter 31: ooooooooh,
its nice to see junmyeon angry for a change.
fiqahaina #4
Chapter 31: Hwaitingggg
192 streak #5
Chapter 31: Im so sad that he got fired because I was reay hoping he wouldnt, but now that I think about it, its for the best. Both of them dont have to stress about it
darexvyn #6
Chapter 31: So good!
192 streak #7
Chapter 31: OMG YOU UPDATED!!! I got so excited when I saw it was updated. 9,000+, wow, this was with the wait. Yifan got fired, I honestly did not see that happening. I thought Junmyeon's outburst was a dream, but no I was wrong. They must suffer the consequences of their actions. Yes, they are in love, but their love is forbidden, sadly. I hope things go well for the both of them. Can't wait to read the next chapter!!!! :) It seems like Junmyeon has something planned, and I hope it's good!!
Gyu2su #8
Chapter 31: I'm so proud of Junmyeon, even if he doesn't noticed, he is strong. He is handling everything well.
Chapter 31: WOW. this chapter was a rollercoaster. So much happened, but I loved every minute of it. Can't wait to see what Junmyeon has up his sleeve; I feel like Junmyeon has grown the fastest in this chapter out of the entire story (which is a good thing!! I've been watching it build and build and build it finally spilling out and him finding his voice was just beautiful).
PhantomFlames #10
Chapter 31: Ahh I love it! Thank you so much. Junmyeon maybe be stressed and panicked but he handled everything so well. He's truly growing up. I'm glad Zitao apologized. If he didn't I would hope Jun wouldn't stay friends with him bc that's a big betrayal. But I'm glad it worked out