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Twelfth time's luck!
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"Why am I here, again?"

"Because it's time for us to find some soulmates!"

"Soulmates? As in you're trying to find your forever someone on speed dates? Are you insane?"

Two friends stop with bickering when they pull up at the venue, Baekhyun kicking the engine off. "Soo, we have to try, huh." He turns to his best friend on the passenger seat, raising his shoulders in question that lingers behind his words.

"Baek, I love you sweetie, but no!"

Kyungsoo locks the passenger door with a press on the little tab at the bottom of his window and crosses his arms. "I thought we're here so you can meet someone new, that funk out of you and get over your ex."

"And I will do just that." Baekhyun unlocks his door with a press on the button on his own side, and Kyungsoo locks it again.

"But you just spilled the truth about your one true love that could be inside—and Baek? Do you really wanna date a guy that uses speed dating? Nowadays?"

Baekhyun shrugs. "What's there to hate."

"Like nowadays?!" Kyungsoo repeats himself, widening his already big eyes. "When there's Tinder™, and what's the name of that one where you met your ex—?"

"KoreanCupid™," Baekhyun mutters ashamed for even having a membership on one of those sleazy dating sites.

"That one, yes." But Kyungsoo doesn't see his pink blush starting from the ears, going downwards to his cheeks too, and continues. "And that relationship should've been an eye-opening for anything of this, this—" He points outside of the car, where the venue takes place, and curses under his breath. ".. and to drag me into this.."

Baekhyun unbuckles his seatbelt, moving to do the same with Kyungsoo's, and shakes his shoulders. "Soo, please, just give it a shot. Okay? It can go wrong and it could be good in the end. You never know."

He's the first one out of the car, slapping the door to its hinges as he stands proud and tall, inhaling bravery that he should have for both dealing with his serious BFF, and for facing approximately a dozen dates. 

Kyungsoo's still cursing when he exits the car so Baekhyun could lock it, and joins his sides. "So, ready Mr. Do?"

"I'm kicking your balls if some creep gets on my back!"

And off they go.

Baekhyun's the first one to enter the place, looking around, trying to spot some cuties, when Kyungsoo crosses the threshold. "What if they're all some creepy old dudes that can't get it up anymore?"

There's one male sitting behind a somewhat small table in the foyer of the restaurant where the speed-dating is taking place, and he smiles when he spots two new applicants. "Welcome!" He's cheery when he says it, and Baekhyun briefly wonders if he's up for a five-minute date. 

"Please write your names on these post-its, and move on to the main room for the further introduction of the course." 

Baekhyun writes his nickname 'Byun' on the piece of paper that the male offers, and sticks it to his pocket, making sure it's aligned perfectly with the edges of the pocket. 

Meanwhile, Kyungsoo writes 'I don't wanna be here' in bold letters, and sticks the paper to his forehead first, before Baekhyun snatches it, and throws the paper away. And all the while smiling uncomfortably at the male sitting confused behind the table. 

Once Kyungsoo's 'D.O' is written on the paper that Baekhyun sticks on his chest this time, they walk through the main door to the venue and stop to stare. 

About a dozen guys are lingering around—just like Baekhyun read it on the site—and they both walk to the bar fitted on the right side, ordering their first drinks for the night. Since Baekhyun signed them up both, they get a free drink each, and Kyungsoo orders some vodka. 

"Really?" Baekhyun raises an eyebrow, which Kyungsoo quickly air-slaps down. 

"What? I'm under pressure."

"More like nervous.." Baekhyun says, and barely ducks a real attack this time around. "Come on, Soo, loosen up! Any of the guys here would be lucky to date you. Hell, even have a five-minute talk with you alone."

On that, both of them turn around to watch the room full of males that are here for the dating part. 

There are exactly a dozen men—Baekhyun counted quickly in his head—which meant that they were the last two to arrive and that the venue is about to start. 

"See something you like?" Baekhyun turns to Kyungsoo, watching as the male keeps looking down one of the males, that stands on the opposite side of the room, seemingly nervous to even be here. 

Kyungsoo breaks his focus to glance at his friend, and gulps down. He's caught. 

"Okay, hello everyone!" The same male from the reception walks in, gathering everyone's attention. "I wanna welcome you to our new cycle of speed-dating in this part of Seoul. There's currently twelve of you, and by the end of the course we wish there was six of you instead."

When nobody gets the joke, the host feigns a laugh and explains it somehow awkwardly. "You get it because there are twelve individuals and by the end, there could be six couples... Nobody? Really?"

He sighs out and gets serious again. "Okay, so the rules are simple. You have five minutes with each of the participants, and in those five minutes, you can talk about whatever. Just be polite and no touching! Once those five minutes are up, this side—" he points to the right of two rows of chairs and tables, "—moves in a circle to the left side, and we do it until everyone has talked with everyone. Got it?"

Some of them nod, some of them clap enthusiastically, and then there's Kyungsoo who yawns. 

"Let's begin then!" The host claps for good luck and sits them each on chairs respectively until everyone has someone across from them, only a table in the middle. There are six tables and twelve chairs, and Kyungsoo's sited in the row that ought to sit this one out, while the row across from him moves to the left instead—his right side. Baekhyun's in that row as well. 

"Good luck, everyone, and you may..." He checks the little egg-timer he has on the table at the front of the room where he sits down and starts it. "Start!"

Kyungsoo looks up from his fingernails, finding a rather tall dude across from him. He isn't actually that bad, he thinks, and rather cute with his black hair and a lip piercing at the side of his bottom lip.

The dude obviously likes what he sees across from him too, so he his lips, and leans on the table to get closer. "You come here often?"

Kyungsoo makes a face and checks his nametag for the name 'Kris' written in scrawny handwriting. 

"Next!" He yells, and the host actually comes up to see what's the commutation about. 

"I don't like him." Kyungsoo's bored by now, and the sleazy guy across him only flexes while the host tries to push them to talk some more. 

"D.O," He reads his nametag, "you should talk some more, maybe you have something in common—"

"I can bench press more than 400 pounds." Kris offers to the mess, and Kyungsoo actually pushes the table to stand up. But then Baekhyun calls his name from the other side of the room and points to his eyes with two fingers, before pointing at him. It's like saying 'I'm watching you, so behave!' and Kyungsoo actually sits down. 

He could do this for five minutes, for sure. Kyungsoo tells the host the same, and the poor man walks back to his station, checking on the time. 

"So.. you're a bodybuilder?" Kyungsoo looks back at the Kris guy and asks, but gets only a smirk in return. 

"Like what you see?" Kris flexes both hands at once, biting on his tongue as he asks, and Kyungsoo rolls his eyes again. 

"Yeah, this won't work."

"Oh, are you jealous of the other males around, baby?"

On the 'baby' part, Kyungsoo's ready to pounce. It doesn't matter that the guy is all jacked up, probably being able to smash him to the ground, he's up and almost going across the table to strangle him with his own tank-top. 

"Call me baby again—"

"Time! Switch!" The host yells just in time and Kyungsoo sighs out when Kris moves to his right, freeing the space for someone new to sit down. 

"Hey, I'm Luhan, nice to meet you!" The shorter man than the previous one sits across from him, giving him a hand to squeeze and Kyungsoo actually takes it. 

"You too." He says and even nods when Luhan basically bounces on his seat, before settling down. 

"Is this your first time here?" He asks, and Kyungsoo's already forgotten about that Kris dude. 

"Actually, yes." He cracks a tiny smile. "My best friend made me come."

"Oh my god, same!" Luhan exclaims loudly, clutching his heart in worry about Kyungsoo's wellbeing. "I told Minnie that I don't need this, but he was so persistent in coming that I couldn't say no."

"Minnie?" Kyungsoo asks, and Luhan promptly points to his friend that sits three seats to his left. Pudgy-cheeks and a cute dimple when he smiles. His eyes shine underneath the rows of artificial light and Kyungsoo finds him extremely cute.

"Minseok, the love of my love," Luhan says, matter-of-fact, and Kyungsoo stops. 


Luhan scratches his cheek, almost blushing at the thought of having to explain it to a stranger. "Well, he doesn't know it, and this is a test drive."

"A test drive?" Kyungsoo's parroting everything that Luhan says by now, but he just doesn't get it. 

Ash-blond hair falls into his eyes when Luhan looks at the table and smiles knowingly. "If he doesn't find anyone here, then I'm gonna confess." He looks up when he finishes like the resolution is to not be changed at all. 

But Kyungsoo has to ask. "And what if he finds someone here after all?"

Luhan looks up, doe eyes blinking in a realization. He opens his mouth to answer, but.

"Time! Switch!" The host yells again, accompanied by the insistent buzz of the egg-timer still on his table, and Luhan moves on the instant. 

Kyungsoo watches him go, almost crestfallen, and doesn't even register the next guy sitting down. That until the guy across clears his throat, gathering his attention once again. 

"Are you... lost?"

Kyungsoo looks at him like he'd grown two heads and looks around. Everyone seems to be talking with people across the table, so he looks back at his next five-minute date.

"Why.. would I.. be lost?" He asks slowly, like testing what the person thinks, and whether he's slow or just rude. 

"You seem like you don't belong here."

Kyungsoo looks at his unruly curly hair and unkempt clothes like he didn't even care to shower before coming here, and reads the nametag. 

"So, Dae-machine—" Kyungsoo raises an eyebrow on that, "—why do you think I don't belong here?"

The pink sweater and a blue vest over it his lips a bit, closing his eyes naturally with the smile that soon follows. He looks like a cat like this, Kyungsoo notes, and the one that's up to no good. 

"Well, your nametag is boring, you look bored and your friend keeps saying to everyone how this is your first time, so we better be gentle with you."

Kyungsoo blanches on that, turning in his seat to spot Baekhyun that keeps approaching as the row across moves, and slits his throat with his thumb as a threat. Baekhyun actually looks confused at that, but Kyungsoo doesn't mind him anymore, for his message has been sent loud and clear. Everyone could tell what that means and had to know that it means 'you're dead', and if Baekhyun doesn't get it, then it's his fault for being dumb. So Kyungsoo actually has a reason to kill him after this. 

"And now you're plotting his death. How original." Dae-machine checks his cuticles while rolling his eyes at Kyungsoo, and he's on a verge of losing it once again. 

"And why are you here, huh? So you can be a condescending bastard towards everyone?" Kyungsoo's actually proud of this one because usually, he thinks of something to say in a fight so long afterward—while he's laying in his bed at night, thinking of what he could've said—that he smirks when Dae-machine raises both eyebrows. 

"I'm here to lay something, but I think that wouldn't be you."

Kyungsoo feels offended, like really offended by now, because he's never had someone telling him so openly that they wouldn't... well, to put it not so nicely, him. 

"And why is that!?"

Dae-machine smirks again, the curl of his lip irking Kyungsoo to no end before he leans in and whispers so loudly the whole two rows could hear him. "Because you already have a rod up your ."

"Time!" The host hisses when Kyungsoo really pushes the table in Dae-machine's face and turns to the rest of them. "Switch!"

"Saved by the bell, huh." 

Kyungsoo's still sending daggers to Dae-machine's side where he moves along the row, while the man himself laughs out loud, irking his next date as well, so he doesn't get to see a man sitting across from him, saying his name from the nametag.


"Huh?" Kyungsoo turns to see who's calling and gets the surprise when another tall dude sits across. 

"Chanyeol?" He reads the nametag across, and the said male smiles so widely, Kyungsoo sees his whole cavern. It's somewhat scary. 

"Well, nice to meet you, D.O." He offers a hand which Kyungsoo takes, and shakes it with much more vigor coming from his five-minute date. "So where are you from?"

"Here," Kyungsoo answers dumbly, and Chanyeol laughs again. 

"Okay, then what is your favorite food?"

"Chicken," Kyungsoo blurts out without thinking, and actually nods when Chanyeol asks 'really?'. Yeah, he could eat some chicken now. 

"That's crazy, my best friend's favorite dish is chicken too." Chanyeol's all smiles around his head if it weren't for his ears, which are big too, and Kyungsoo nods dumbly. 

"Well, cool."

"Okay, when is your birthday?" He asks and asks, without giving Kyungsoo a chance to ask anything in return. 

"January 12—"

"Oh my god, my friend's is January 14. He's here tonight actually."

Kyungsoo stops and stares when Chanyeol starts to ramble about his best friend that's super shy but also super sweet, and how Kyungsoo's gonna like him when it's his turn, but Kyungsoo breaks him off to ask. 

"Don't tell me you're in love with your best friend too?"

Chanyeol actually laughs out loud, continuing the laugh even though it isn't that funny, and Kyungsoo looks around when they gather the attention from everyone else with Chanyeol slapping the table in front. 

"Don't humor me, D.O." Chanyeol stops to wipe a tear of mirth from his eye. "But to be honest, somebody did catch my attention here."

He isn't looking at him, but to his left instead, where his best friend is too. Kyungsoo looks to the side too, trying to spot anyone who's looking bored or at them, but gets nothing. 

"Have you two talked?" Instead, he asks, and Chanyeol splutters at that. 

"Oh, god, no!" He wipes at his forehead and presses both palms into pink cheeks. "I would've died!"

"Well, do you know his name—?"

"Byun!" Chanyeol shyly says, only for him to hear and Kyungsoo takes a better look at his posture, tall frame, long limbs, and nice clothes. He even smells nice, and his hair doesn't fall into his eyes like Baekhyun hates to see. Plus, he's like dozen times better looking than Baekhyun's ex, and Kyungsoo finally sees the light at the end of the tunnel.

Yup, they could go together nicely, Kyungsoo thinks and smirks when Chanyeol looks at him again. 

"Why are you smiling so creepily?" 

"Time! Switch!" The host says, more loudly than before, because the couples are turning up the volume with talking. It's almost too loud, too overbearing to be in the room with so many men, and Kyungsoo realizes it when Chanyeol moves on to the next date and someone new sits across. 

"Hi, I'm Zitao. Ni Hao!" 

Kyungsoo looks perplexed because he's sure that was Mandarin. And he doesn't know any language besides Korean, and some broken English to go with it. 

"I'm sorry, I don't know Chinese." 

The male across ducks down out of embarrassment and whispers something under his breath. 


"You're cute!" Zitao says in a broken Korean, and Kyungsoo actually hiccups. 

"T-thank you! You're not so bad either.."

"Bad?" Zitao repeats the word, seemingly not understanding the meaning. 

"You're cute too," Kyungsoo says just to be sure that Zitao understands him, and the man blushes again. He nods and nods until their eyes meet, and Zitao looks at the table instead. Adorable, nonetheless. Too bad Kyungsoo doesn't know the language to communicate properly. 

So he tries with small and easy words. "Where do you live?"

Zitao understands after a moment of silence and answers earnestly. "I'm from Qingdao, China, but recently moved to Seoul. I wanna model."

Kyungsoo nods, slowly getting used to the idea of these dates. "Oh, that's great. You could totally do it." He checks the other out, seeing that he's tall, but not freakishly like Chanyeol is, and built nicely, not too buffed like Kris is. Plus he's cute, but in a mainly kind of a way, and Kyungsoo could imagine his face in news spreads. 

"How long have you been here?"

Zitao mulls over the question for a moment but then shows five fingers, as a child would. "Five months."

Kyungsoo nods and smiles earnestly for the first time. They are running out of time, but he just needs to say this one last thing. "If you need a friend in Seoul or someone to take you around, help you with the language, I can help you!"

Zitao understands him enough to smile widely, thanking him in both Korean and Mandarin for offering his help, and by the time they agree to exchange numbers by the end of this, their time is up. 

"Nice meeting you, Zitao!" Kyungsoo yells after the taller male and actually feels glad for earning himself a potential friend. 

Zitao moves on and he's left alone for a second too long until the next person sits across from him. The nametag reads 'Byun', and he rolls his eyes. 

"Well, hello there sweet-cheeks, fancy seeing you here." Baekhyun winks at him from across the table.

"Baek, have you had any luck? Because I haven't." Kyungsoo drops down on the said table, huffing out when Baekhyun pats his head comfortingly. 

"There, there, baby. You'll meet someone worthy too—"

"Does that mean you've met someone you like?" Kyungsoo cuts him off and raises his head, looking Baekhyun dead in the eyes. When he both his lips and tries not to burst out laughing, Kyungsoo swats at his face to spill it out. 

"Hey! No touching!" The host walks by their table just in time to reprimand him, and Kyungsoo reminds him that they know each other. 

When he leaves them be, Baekhyun's the one to drop down on the table instead, dreamily looking at their side. "Maybe I have, but we haven't talked yet."

"Does his nametag say 'Chanyeol' perhaps?" Kyungsoo asks and actually prays that Baekhyun and he are thinking of the same person. 

"How did you know?" Baekhyun looks offended that he's that easy to read, and Kyungsoo laughs. 

"Oh, sweet-cheeks, you're up for a surprise."

The rest of the five minutes are spent in Kyungsoo's teasing and Baekhyun trying to figure out how Kyungsoo knows him so well until their time is up, and Baekhyun has to move on. 

"I'm gonna miss you, sweet-cheeks," Baekhyun wipes at his dry eyes, feigning a tear. "You're the best I've ever had!" Baekhyun sends him a parting kiss as Kyungsoo swats at him, and his next date watches the whole scene with mirth in his eyes. 

"Hello, may I introduce myself?"

Kyungsoo wipes the smile off his face when the male asks, and checks for a nametag somewhere on his chest. But once he finds none, he looks up to meet his eyes. "No nametag?"

The pretty boy ahead smiles and closes his eyes as he starts speaking. His head is strangely pointed to the side and the ceiling, and Kyungsoo looks up to see what's so nice about the said ceiling. 

"I think it's more personal if I introduce myself without that piece of paper." There's some romanticized melancholy in his voice, and Kyungsoo can recognize a 'Romeo in love' wannabe from miles away. 

"Nametag." He offers and corrects, but the male is already pulling a rose out of his sleeve, offering the stem to him. 

"Take this my lovely, and let me tell you my name."

Kyungsoo makes a face when the male stands up from the seat a bit to cross the table before them and takes his chin in one, soft palm. "The name's Junmyeon, the possibilities are endless."

'What the ?', Kyungsoo muses and by the time he's woken up from the shock, the male sits down in his seat, taking a silky handkerchief from his pocket on the left side of his suit. Oh, did he mention that this Junmyeon guy is in a three-piece ash-grey suit?

"Would you like to accompany me on this journey forever?" Junmyeon says, swaying his handkerchief in Kyungsoo's face, almost to the point of being completely annoying. 

"Have you said that to every guy here?" He asks and raises an annoyed brow, on which Junmyeon laughs out loud, totally fake and practiced. He sounds like a broken machine. 

"Of course not, my lovely. I only admire beauty when I see it." He's smooth, Kyungsoo could give him that. 

And only that, to be honest. 

"Thanks, but I'm not your Juliet." 

"Who said anything about—"

"Time! Change!" The host is back at it again, and Kyungsoo actually thanks him for that. But when Junmyeon moves from the seat, Kris takes it, and he doesn't like going for a second turn. 

"Okay, so since you've talked to all six guys from this turn, we're switching things up." The host talks again, and Kyungsoo cheers out loud. 

They all move again, Kyungsoo's row included this time, and now, they all can move around until they find someone who they haven't talked to yet. 

Kyungsoo sits down next to Baekhyun this time, and both of them wait for someone who hasn't had their turn with them yet. 

The first one that sits in front of Baekhyun is the Kris dude, and Kyungsoo sends quick good luck to his side. Meanwhile, in front of him sit a man around his age, maybe younger. The nametag reads 'Minseok', and Kyungsoo already knows what to say. 

"Hey, you should talk to your best friend." Minseok snaps his head up to where Luhan's talking with someone across the room and looks at Kyungsoo again. 

"Why?" He's confused, because he didn't even properly introduce himself, and the D.O nametag already knows his best friend is here too. Maybe Luhan said something...

Not wanting to spill the beans before Luhan does it first, Kyungsoo tries the safer route. "Have you had any luck here tonight?"

Minseok takes a quick look at his nametag and answers. "Well, not really, D.O. I mean, the guys aren't that bad, but I just.. don't know."

"Someone special in your life already?" Kyungsoo asks and watches as Minseok his lips from splitting them in a grin. 

"I don't know. I'm not sure, but I think I already have someone on my mind."

Kyungsoo's got this. "Is he someone you know?"

"Very well so."

"Is he named Lu—" He stops before saying it all the way, and Minseok doesn't catch on, thank god. "I mean, is he someone close to you?"

Minseok nods, blushing obviously on his pudgy cheeks. Oh, how Kyungsoo wants to squeeze them. 

"Well, what's stopping you from talking with him about it?"

On that, the other huffs out, looking down to the table in front. "He's really popular, you know. With whole armies of fangirls and fanboys. I can't compete with that."

Kyungsoo doesn't understand where Minseok stands, bu

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