“You’re clinging too much to him. He’s not your boyfriend, with your looks obviously not, it’s kind of weird to be honest.” It was then that it started. No, he wasn’t Kris’ boyfriend, but touching your friends wasn’t a crime, was it? Was he not allowed to touch Kris just because he wasn't handsome enough to be mistaken for his boyfriend? Weird.
Tao hadn’t thought much of about that statement, it only popped up in his mind before going to sleep sometimes. It was Kris’ friend who had said that. As Tao didn’t care much for him, or knew him for that matter, it slipped into the back of his mind, needing a trigger to be remembered.
That trigger was Kris’ new boyfriend. Kyungsoo was small, looked like a delicate being and had the most beautiful eyes one could possibly possess.
The moment Tao compared himself to beautiful grace that was Kyungsoo, was the moment Tao began to crumble. At first it was a small snap to his ego, but it kept cracking and cracking, until parts came to hang loose, and soon everything started falling apart, with no hope for renovation.
Kris was crazy about Kyungsoo. This crazy, Tao had never seen him before. Although most gestures would not be caught by the untrained eye, Tao observed like a predator observes its prey. It was Kris’ hand that would rub along Kyungsoo’s small back, and Kris’ eyes that would spill no other truth than love. It was when Kris kissed Kyungsoo goodbye on the cheek, blushing and all, that Tao realized he had fallen for Kris.
Kris and Kyungsoo became an obsession to Tao. Not a single movement between them wasn’t seen by Tao. The observation of Kris being gentle and patient with Kyungsoo bored into Tao’s mind, an image of the perfect state of being.
Tao wanted to be like Kyungsoo, because maybe then Kris would love him.
And all Tao ever wanted was for Kris to love him.
Kyungsoo had really pale skin, like a peachy look on snow, clear like a summer day and soft like silk sheets. Tao bought light foundation, a shade way lighter than his skin really is, but only because he thought Kris liked pale guys. It covered up pimples and scars too, and a feeling of satisfaction burned through his body once Kris commented he looked good these days.
More. Tao needed to be more. One compliment wasn’t enough.
Kyungsoo was built narrow. Everything seemed small. Tao observed how tiny his hand was when linked with Kris’, the way Kris could wrap Kyungsoo’s upper body entirely in his arms, and the way both their eyes gleamed when they were reminded of their height difference. Tao started wearing baggy and oversized clothes to avoid showing his own broad shoulders and arms, as well as his thighs so Kris would think he was as petite as Kyungsoo.
Tao stopped his intense martial arts training, keeping it to a lower level as his obsession got the better of him, putting a golden chain around his neck. It was in hope of decreasing his muscle definition, since Kyungsoo wasn’t buffed up. Everything about Kyungsoo screamed delicacy and ‘take care of me’ and Tao desired being like that more than anything.
Kyungsoo was sweet like chocolate cookies, knew what to say, and definitely wasn’t afraid of declaring his love for Kris at any given time. So polite, so perfect.
Tao wanted it all.
No one noticed, not a single soul knew about his wants and needs, but it was inevitable. It happened when Tao took a better look at Kyungsoo’s eyes, which was definitely his best feature. They were big and full of life, always bright when with Kris. Eyeliner. A big, carefully drawn string of ink over the edge of his lids, and Tao looked like a new person.
“You’ve been spending a lot of time on your appearance lately.” Sehun had commented.
“You’re good enough without all that trash, you know.”
“I know.” Tao had replied with a fake smile, but it was one Sehun saw straight through. Thankfully, no other words were spoken.
Kyungsoo complimented him. Kris agreed when Kyungsoo said Tao looked good. Approval. That’s what Tao had been wanting. But even after such a big deal, Tao still found himself feeling bitter.
When Kris and Kyungsoo broke up, the image of being Kris’ perfect guy remained unchanged. Still striving towards being like Kyungsoo, being delicate and small, Tao refused to take a better look at himself and see his obsession had leashed him to a steel pole. It got worse.
With Kris being single again, Tao put everything on everything. Flaws became the source of his nightmares. Going outside without his face caked full of make-up or his hair not styled to perfection was unacceptable.
It had become a major element in Tao’s life. Every morning, Tao would take at least an hour to perfect his outer appearance, and soon his bank account started suffering from it. The money spent on beauty products tripled.
Continuing being a good friend to Kris, they got closer and closer. Kris would regularly drop compliments, sometimes even going as far as threading his fingers through Tao’s locks after saying it looked good today. Tao couldn’t be happier.
More often, the two of them would be alone rather than with other friends coming along. Eating out, going to see a movie, hanging out at Kris’ place, it all became a thing they did together. As two.
It didn’t take much longer one they held hands on the way back from a 24/7 restaurant. When Tao thought he couldn’t be happier, he learned that he was wrong. Very wrong.
Kris kissed him unexpectedly. It started out as a regular evening on the couch, watching one of the many movies Kris owned. The atmosphere was calm, and for once, Tao actually focused on watching the movie instead of Kris. However, the moment he took as much as one glance at Kris, there was a pair of lips pressed against his.
After making out for what seemed like hours, the status of their romantic relationship became official.
Tao hadn’t thought it would become difficult.
There was a fear for showing his self, showing that he wasn’t all fragile, showing that he wasn’t beautiful. With a crumbled self-esteem like Tao’s, he was chained to a state of being that was all worry and anxiety.
When Tao would sleep over at Kris’ place, he wouldn’t take his make-up off before going to sleep, and fix it first thing in the morning. Weather became hotter and how unnecessary clothes may be at night, Tao continued wearing big sweaters. Kris commented on it, but most of the time it was a joke, and Tao would laugh along, but with a dark feeling weighing his stomach.
Tao dreaded the day Kris would see all of him.
In this day, Tao and Kris are seated next to each other on a sofa in a 24/7 dinner, Kris’ arm slung around Tao’s shoulder with a sigh of contentment escaping his lips. Tao is snuggled against him, inhaling Kris’ scent instead of the filthy fried-food air that hangs all around the diner.
“We should go home,” Kris says. “It’s getting late.”
Tao hums in agreement, but as he looks outside of the window to check Kris’ words, his throat closes up in panic. Rain patters on the windows and pavements, creating big pools of water as the wind drags it along to the ground. “Let’s wait until the rain is over,” Tao proposes, trying to sound calm.
“It’s no use. I checked the weather forecast this morning and it said it would rain from eight till midnight. We’ll just run home. My place isn’t far anyway.”
Tao looks for words to protest going into this kind of weather with all this make-up on, but nothing jumps to mind and Tao is left with serious anxiety swirling in his head as he watches the rain rage outside.
Kris puts on his coat, paying no mind to the frozen Tao as he walks up to the register to pay. As Tao chews on his lip in the hope of finding an excuse somewhere deep in his mind, he figures it’s best to accept his fate, so he slips his jacket on, luring at the rain in sorrow.
When Kris gets back, he smiles at Tao. “Ready?”
Tao nods with a bitter feeling in his stomach.
Once standing on the covered porch of the restaurant, Tao clamps himself to Kris’ side. The wind is hard and unmerciful this night.
“You cold?” Kris murmurs into his ear, Tao’s waist with his thumb.
Just then, as the two of them are huddled of together, Tao gets an idea. “My phone is at home and I have no stuff with me. I don’t think it’s smart if I stay over at your place. Besides, I have work tomorrow and my laptop is still at home too.”
Kris frowns, “Are you sure? I thought…” He looks a little disappointed, eyes downcast and mouth slightly pulled down. “I thought this would be a night together…”
Tao looks away in shame, “I’m sorry. I’ll make it up to you, okay? I’ll make us dinner this Saturday. Just you and me, yeah?”
With his best smile, Tao rakes his hand through Kris’ hair, but the latter still looks somber. Kris sighs, “Fine. But I want to sleep over, okay? I’ve never slept at your place before.”
“Of course.” Tao agrees. When their gazes connect, Tao blushes and plants a sweet kiss on Kris’ cheek. “Don’t get too wet. I love you.”
“Love you too.”
On his way home, Tao is internally cursing himself for letting his obsession take over and upset Kris, but on the other side, Tao wouldn’t want him to be even more upset when he would see what Tao really looked like under those layers of make-up and fabric.
Kris wants to go to the beach with him. Tao’s entire mind screams no when he proposes so, but he ends up agreeing as Kris gives him a smile, one of his handsomest ones. Afterwards, Kris kisses Tao’s cheek in happiness and starts packing drinks and towels. As Kris is full of energy and good mood, Tao thinks this might not be so bad.
Turns out it is.
Kris tells him it’s not necessary to wear a zip-up in this weather and definitely not on the beach, but Tao refuses to hear his words and wears it, determined to keep his muscle tone sealed. Kris shoots him a weird look, only accepting it in the end, sighing deeply as he starts the car.
Arriving at the beach, Tao is surprised to find it empty. On a sunny day like this anyone would want to go swimming.
Kris puts their mat down on a spot at least ten feet away from the water, dropping his bag and car keys on it. When he takes his shirt off without hesitation, Tao blushes a bit, seeing as Kris’ body is really attractive.
“I’m gonna take a dive. I really have to cool off from sitting in that hot car for half an hour.”
“Go ahead. I’ll set up our place here.”
Kris runs towards the water and Tao tries not to look too much at Kris’ glistening body while he rolls out their bath towels. While drinking the cold beverages Kris took along, Tao watches Kris dump water over his own body, sighing in contentment.
Then, as Kris has seemed to have cooled off, he steps out of the water, body all wet and shimmering. Tao hands Kris his towel silently, slightly embarrassed at having Kris’ abs right in front of him.
Kris thanks him with a kiss to his cheek, which has Tao smiling to himself. While Kris dries himself, Tao crawls closer to him, snuggling up to his slightly dried side with no concern.
“Shouldn’t you get a dip too? Your skin feels kind of hot.” Kris says, thumbing Tao’s arm attentively.
“I’m not a fan of swimming, and my skin is just hot because you just got out of the water.” Tao says, grinning.
“Just one dip.” Kris says. “Please, Tao?” He gives Tao the puppy eyes, but with Tao’s stupid fear taking him over, as always, he refuses.
“I don’t want to…” He protests weakly.
“Come on, Tao. Just one.” Kris holds up his finger to signal the small amount. “Please?”
Tao sighs, “I don’t like swimming, Kris. My make-up will go off and my hair—”
“That’s what you’re concerned about? Make-up?” Kris asks with an incredulous look on his face. He scoffs, “It’s just one dip. You can even leave the water up to your chest.”
“I just don’t want to, okay.” Tao’s tone is defensive, and Kris doesn’t seem to like it much.
“It’s one dip. One. Come on, Tao, you can’t be serious about this.”
“You don’t understand, okay? I don’t want to swim. Period.” The tone reveals some things to Kris it seems. He stares at Tao for a whole while before kissing his cheek and apologizing for being so insistent.
Tao is afraid of having Kris know his fears and insecurities. So afraid, that all his senses have been using their maximum detection. There should be nothing that could bring him in a situation where Kris seeing his imperfections could be possible. Alarm clocks for when he slept over, always make-up close, an extra jacket in his bag, and much more things that led to Tao’s aware state.
When Kris starts shooting Tao looks when he is looking at himself in the mirror, it would usually be a puzzled one, like he’s trying to figure something out, and it’s scaring Tao. Naturally, Tao acts like nothing is wrong, smiling around Kris and playing his happy lover. It’s hard, though. Because when there’s only so much as a push towards an uncomfortable situation, Tao feels driven into a corner, and his defenses set high.
Kris gets that same puzzling look when Tao’s tone becomes defensive, and Tao really doesn’t like that. It’s starting to make him pay attention to being convincing too, but he makes sure not to slip up even once. Because that would be a flaw, and flaws are not allowed.
Maybe it was inevitable, though, that he would forgot to lock the door because he was carrying his make-up tools to the bathroom.
Kris coming in while he was showering was a smaller chance, but it still happened.
Just as Tao washes the shampoo out of his locks, the door clicks open. Tao screams in horror, kicking the shampoo bottle from its respective place.
“D-don’t look!” Tao yells, covering himself as he turns his back to Kris.
Kris is scanning his body, no expression detectable on his face as he steps closer. “I think we’ve been in this relationship long enough to see each other ,” he says.
“No! Don’t look at me, please.” Tao is already sobbing as he says this, all hope of Kris loving him after seeing him like this gone.
Kris pulls Tao out of the shower, wraps him in a towel and kisses his forehead. “Listen, baby.” Tao sniffles, looking down as he’s too embarrassed to look Kris in the eye. “Could it be… that you’re insecure about some things? Your body?”
Tao nods, shamefully so. “I’m sorry, but I’m not cute.”
Kris shakes his head, sighing as he pulls Tao close, kissing his wet locks tenderly. “Baby, you know I adore you more than I have ever adored anyone.”
“That’s not it!” Tao protests, hot tears streaming down his cheeks. “I’m not small, I don’t have cute, big eyes, I have arm muscles and I just… I’m not cute.”
“Tao… you really shouldn’t—”
“I don’t look like your boyfriend next to you, I don’t have that perfect petite pale complex like Kyungsoo does and I—”
“Hold on,” Kris interrupts. “Kyungsoo?”
Tao buries his head in his hands, “I wanted to look like him so you would love me like you loved him! And now you sort of do… because I wear pale make-up and make my body look small and fragile. I don’t want you to see this part of me… because it’s not what you like.”
Kris sighs, wiping Tao’s tears. “Tao… there’s a few things you have to understand, okay?” Tao nods with a sniffle. “Kyungsoo and I broke up for a reason. Unless you want us to end up like Kyungsoo and I did you have no reason to be wanting to look like him. I want you for you. Love is unconditional.”
“O-okay.” Tao replies, cheeks burning with these heartfelt words Kris is giving him right now.
“Second, you’re still perfect to me without make-up or those clothes. You’re a man, I won’t mind if you have muscles or if you don’t look feminine. I think it’s y when you have a ripped body, but I would love you regardless.”
Tao blushes, leaning against Kris’ shoulder with his forehead as embarrassment washes over him.
“Besides, Kyungsoo wasn’t all sweetness, you know. He was a tough guy.” Kris says. “But you’re a cute damsel in distress. And if there’s one thing I can’t resist, it’s a baby like you needing me.”
Kris kisses his forehead again, yet this time feels a whole lot more special.
A/N: y ending but w/e
hope you enjoyed even tho its kinda bad haha..............
i got the inspiration for this when i remembered tao said he wouldnt take pics of himself without make up and caroon said he looked like a man in a dress if he would wear a sailor dress for kris
tao is poopi
he might be actin tough guy in his vid but baby is not foolin me!!! i know whats under the tough guy act dont tryna play me
this became longer than expected lol