girl!baekhyun/chen, [minor pairings]friends-with-benefits! girl!baekhyun/chanyeol, side!chanyeol/girl!kyungsoo, girl!lay/luhan, broken!kris/suho, sehun/tao, girl!baekhyun/yonghwa, minor!chen/taeyeon – pg – friendship, romance – language – 16610 words
Ten years into Baekyeon and Jongdae's friendship.
a/n: prequel to ten years.
Baekyeon groans as she opens her eyes and the light immediately flashes down on her. She rolls over and buries her head in the pillow, freezing when it doesn’t smell like her usual sheets. Her hands clench into fists when she recognizes the scent, something she thought she distanced herself from.
She sits up immediately and bites her lip when she sees her ex splayed out on the bed beside her. Baekyeon forces herself to hold in the tears collecting in her eyes.
The bewildered girl slowly crawls out of the mess of tangled up sheets. She picks up her clothes and hastily puts them on, sighing in relief when she feels her phone in the pocket of her shorts. Before Baekyeon shuts the door behind her, she flips her middle finger at his sleeping form and drops his phone into the trash can. He deserves it.
With her short shorts and messed up top, she goes down to the sidewalk in front of the building. Only then does she allow herself to cry, heavy sobs shaking her tiny frame. Baekyeon fishes for her phone in her pocket, pressing the first contact on her speed dial.
“Hello?” Jongdae’s groggy voice sends a calming chill down her spine.
“Jongdae! Jongdae, please, please pick me up. Please, I’m begging you, I-I just... I need to get out of here. Get me out of here,” she rambles on. On the other end of the phone, she can almost imagine how he stumbles out of bed and rushes to put clothes on. She can hear him curse as he hits his toe on the door frame, like how he always does, and she can hear the jingling of his many keys as he picks them up from the counter beside the door.
“Baekyeon, can you tell me where you are? I’m going down to my car, but I don’t know where to look for you,” Jongdae asks. The girl looks around and she realizes that Jongdae lives kind of far from where she is.
“In m-my ex’s place. Like, if your back is facing my dorm building, it’s two blocks to the left then four streets to the right? I’m not s-sure. Please come here soon, Jongdae.” She whispers, “I need you,” as quietly as she can.
“I’ll be there in a while,” Jongdae says. “Please stop crying. Come on, dummy. You can do this.”
“I don’t know, Jongdae! I don’t know if I can do this anymore. I thought... I thought I was over him.” She starts crying again and looks back behind her. He’s not going to wake up and look for her. He was never the one who put effort into chasing after her.
Jongdae keeps talking and talking at the other end of the phone, and Baekyeon is grateful for his soothing voice. He keeps her grounded; he always keeps her grounded. They’ve been best friends for years now, and she doesn’t know how she can ever survive without him.
After a few more minutes of pacing and quietly crying, Jongdae’s beat-up car arrives in front of the building. Hastily, Baekyeon sits down on the passenger seat and stares at the dashboard. It only takes a hand on her shoulder and Jongdae’s concerned expression before she starts openly crying again.
Jongdae takes off his seatbelt and reaches out to hug her. Baekyeon fits her head under his chin and lets herself relax to his touch. It’s calming: the way he rubs her hair and murmurs unintelligible words into her ear.
It feels nice and soothing, until the low words start becoming more distinct and Baekyeon starts hearing “taco,” “bulgogi,” “green tea ice cream,” and other random shit that comes out from Jongdae’s mind. Baekyeon starts laughing, weakly hitting Jongdae’s chest.
“Alright, that’s enough, you ass. Let’s go get some food before you start thinking that my hair smells like fried chicken and start eating it.” They roll their eyes at each other and buckle up. Jongdae brushes hair away from her eyes, and then he starts driving.
Jongdae drops her off at the female dormitories of their university. She thanks him for the jacket he left for her to borrow and cover herself up. “It’s fine,” Jongdae says. Baekyeon’s just thankful.
As she arrives at her room, her roommate, Sooyeon, greets her with a wide grin. “Did you get laid last night?”
Baekyeon tries to ignore her and grab her clothes without any fuss or chaos or potentially dignity-ruining questions. Sooyeon refuses to let go.
“Was it a booty call?”
The other girl drops her clothes on her bed. “Yes, okay. My ex-boyfriend called me up, I was tipsy, and I went to his apartment. We had sex. I woke up, and then I felt horrible. Is that enough for you?”
Sooyeon stops typing on her laptop. “I didn’t know he was the one who called. I’m sorry.”
She sighs. “I’m going to take a shower now.” Baekyeon hesitates for a second. “Can you keep this a secret? Please? I don’t want everyone to know that I... you know with him again.”
Sooyeon makes a gesture of zipping her lips and goes back to her laptop. Baekyeon’s grateful that she’s the nosy, but not noisy type.
Her bath cleanses her of her mistakes, clears her mind of everything that she’s been thinking of. It’s just one night, Baekyeon. One night when you messed up really bad. You can do this. You’ve moved on, she tells herself.
The harder part is looking at herself in the mirror afterwards. She sees marks of him, bits and pieces of last night that she never wants to think about ever again. He’s an ass, and she’s happy that they broke up. But it doesn’t stop her from thinking of what would have happened if she had stayed with him for just a little longer. It doesn’t stop her from thinking of what if and maybe.
Her phone beeps, alerting her of a new message. It’s Jongdae.
hey dummy. don’t beat yourself up too much about last night. he’s an ass and you’ve got a great ass.
haha. you’re not laughing at that, i bet.
just kidding. you free to go out tonight? i dragged along chanyeol and jongin with me. meet us at nine in the usual bar?
Baekyeon sighs, slipping on her clothes. She doesn’t have a very good memory about the last time she drank, so she doesn’t reply instantly.
She receives another text in the next minute.
From: king chanyeol harharhar
yo r u goin tonight?
Fine, you two. Just as long as you go away.
too much testosterone. i need more womanly parts in this group.
Sooyeon’s still on her bed, looking at her phone, when she exits the bathroom. She’s hoping that it isn’t Chanyeol or Jongin trying to convince her to convince Baekyeon to join them. At least it isn’t Jongdae. That guy always has some hidden blackmail material on everyone.
we can bring along sehun and zitao? they’re practically girls, right??
Baekyeon laughs. She imagines that Jongdae’s laughing too, especially since they’re the ones with the shared sense of humor.
alright i’m going. pick me up in my room. i’ll wear that black dress you like so much ;) ;) ;)
haha i’m glad to see that dress make a comeback again ;) ;) ;) ;)
be careful though. chanyeol’s hands are extra grabby when he’s drunk.
i think jongin’s the one he’d be more likely to grab than me...
The bartender hands her whatever cocktail she ordered, and she coyly sips at it, looking at Jongdae the entire time. Her best friend rolls his eyes, taking a swig from his beer. She eyes how his adam’s apple bobs when he swallows, and the sudden temptation to choke him hits her.
She’s distracted by a hand slapping her butt and she doesn’t have to turn around and act disgusted to know that it’s Chanyeol. And yeah, he is kind of drunk.
“Hey!” he yells, sliding his arm around Baekyeon’s waist. She’s used to this, so she just hits him lightly on the arm and straightens her back so that she looks close to his height, even while sitting on a high bar stool. Chanyeol starts laughing randomly and yeah, he’s really drunk.
“It’s only ten-thirty; how’d you get drunk so fast?” she asks.
“All it takes is, ‘I’ll pay for everything,’ for him to lose control,” Sehun dryly comments. Baekyeon sees a hand groping his butt, and Zitao’s glazed eyes just prove that they are practically girls. Girls with guy parts, that is.
Zitao and Sehun vanish off to a corner while Jongin and Chanyeol attempt to down more shots than each other. Jongdae and Baekyeon gladly offer to pay just to see which one of the two idiots would win the drinking game for tonight.
Baekyeon loses count in the middle of Jongdae’s obnoxious laughing. She catches someone’s eye, a guy who’s sitting on a table at the side of the room. He’s cute, she thinks to herself and takes a deliberate sip on her drink. He smiles, calmly gesturing to the dance floor. Baekyeon finishes off her glass and drops it on the bar.
The hide and seek in the middle of the crowd leaves her breathless when she finds him, but it gets even harder to breathe when their eyes have finally connected. She grinds messily against him, not caring about how they look or if he seems a little older than twenty, to be honest.
She stops moving when there’s a hand on her ass. Gently, she takes it off and backs away, leaving him with a sweet smile and a short wave.
At the bar, Jongdae stares at her with judging eyes. “What?” she asks. “It’s a club. I usually get laid in clubs.”
He drapes a coat over her tiny frame. “Let’s go home.”
Before they can exit the club, the guy she was dancing with stops them. He smiles at her, and she has to admit that it has her swooning a bit. “Can I know your name, at the very least? I don’t want to be dreaming of a nameless face tonight.”
“Sorry,” Jongdae interrupts. He places an arm around her waist, pulling her close to him. “She’s mine.”
The stern tone in his voice is certainly believable, and the guy backs away. Jongdae chuckles as he drags her out. She leans her head on his shoulder, wrapping herself well with his coat.
Jongdae and Baekyeon have always had “The Post-Break Up Protocol.”
Like when in high school and Baekyeon’s boyfriend rejected her invitation to go to prom with her and broke up with her, Jongdae was there for her. He was the one who went to her house with ice cream and soda and other things that she probably shouldn’t be eating if she really wanted to fit in the dress that she bought. He was the one who sat down on her bed and let her cry on his shoulder for around thirty minutes while he watched anything he could find on cable. He also ended up being her impromptu date at the night of the prom, and he picked her up from her house and shook her parents’ hands and placed the corsage on her wrist. He was the one who danced with her, even while they tripped on each other’s feet and ended up on the rooftop to get away from the stuffy atmosphere and annoying drama queens who all wanted to dance with the same guy.
Baekyeon was there for him at the time that Jongdae’s first girlfriend in college broke up with him right in the middle of his finals week. She was the one who brought ice cream to his apartment and ignored the security guard who told her that going up without a resident’s pass isn’t allowed. She was the one who let him lean on her while he finished half of the liter of ice cream all by himself. She was the one who shoved a book at his face and forced him to study so that he wouldn’t fail at relationships and his exams. She was the one who pushed him even if he didn’t want to be pushed around.
And maybe the best part is that they don’t really need to say that they need all of these things. All they really need is a text message that says, “come over please,” and they’d rush to each other’s side. It’s the fact that their friendship is built on familiarity and how they can just read each other’s mind in a second.
Baekyeon is in love with how well they work together. Jongdae is in love with how they work.
Baekyeon doesn’t know how she finds herself naked in Chanyeol’s bed, wrapped up in his sheets. The giant is still sleeping beside her, and when the memories of last night flood back to her, she can’t say she completely regrets it.
It takes a while before Chanyeol wakes up. Baekyeon’s already showered and is playing Temple Run on her phone while sitting on his couch. He groans, putting on clothes as fast as he can.
“Good morning,” he greets. Chanyeol grabs eggs and other ingredients for breakfast. “Sunny side?”
“Soft yolk, please,” she says sweetly, not looking up from her phone. “Good morning, by the way.”
As they eat breakfast in front of the TV and watch cartoons and replays of dramas, it isn’t as awkward as Baekyeon expected. Maybe it’s because this is Chanyeol, and Chanyeol is one of her best friends. She’s not going to deny it: the sex wasn’t bad. And right before he inched closer to kiss her, he did ask if there were no strings attached to whatever was going to happen next. She agreed.
It’s really simple. It’s okay to get attached to the dick, but not the one who it’s attached to. Easy deal, she tells herself.
And Chanyeol does make it an easy deal. He’s one of her best friends. There’s an unspeakable amount of trust between them.
Her phone beeps.
hey where are you? i was supposed to pick you up so i can help you look for an apartment, remember?
“Fuck,” she mutters. She’s already dressed and bathed, so she drops her dish in the sink and waves goodbye to Chanyeol quickly. She faintly hears him say, “Have fun, married couple,” and rolls her eyes. She has no time for his “married couple” jokes.
Baekyeon sends him a text to pick her up at a coffee shop near Chanyeol’s building. By the time he arrives, she already has cups of coffee for both of them and a list of apartments near the campus. There’s no seat across of her, so they settle with her sitting on his lap.
“Alright, since we’re starting from this area, we should make a route map to save gas,” says Baekyeon.
“At least you’re considering my transportation expenses for the first time ever,” Jongdae comments. The girl on his lap frowns and hits his hand with a bagel.
“Will you shut up and get your coffee so that we can go?” She stands up and walks out without him, leaving the male bewildered and completely amused.
Halfway through second year, Chanyeol brings a girl to one of their group lunches. The petite woman smiles at them with her big doe eyes and heart-shaped lips. Chanyeol towers over her, but they can see that she fits perfectly in his gangly arms.
“This is Kyungsoon. Kyungsoon, this is the gang,” Chanyeol proudly introduces. The others also introduce themselves, and by the end of the lunch, it’s almost as if Kyungsoon’s been part of the group since forever.
Baekyeon sits next to her and gives her a shit-eating grin. “Tell me all about how you met Chanyeol.”
“Well,” Kyungsoon hesitates before leaning closer and lowering her voice, “I met him in a cooking class.”
“No way.” Baekyeon starts laughing and hides her face in her hands. “Tell me more, tell me more.”
“We were partnered with each other, and I have to admit that he’s not bad. We just got to know each other through cooking and then we saw each other on campus one time. He’s... really sweet, if he wants to be.” She stares at him with sickening longing, and Baekyeon makes “I want to throw up” eyes at Jongdae. The latter returns the look.
“We’ve been dating for a few months now. He asked me to be his girlfriend a few weeks ago, and here we are.”
Baekyeon looks at Chanyeol. The way his eyes light up while he’s talking and laughing is different, and he’s definitely not the same old bully that they all knew in high school.
Kyungsoon looks at her watch and groans, standing up to take her bag from beside Chanyeol. “I’ve got a class in ten minutes. I’ve got to go, bye!”
“I’ll come with you--” Chanyeol offers, but Kyungsoon puts a hand up to stop him.
“Your next class is in an hour. Go stay with them.” She tiptoes to peck his cheek and runs to her lecture room.
The others start packing up too, leaving Chanyeol alone with Baekyeon. They smile at each other, and Baekyeon observes how he unintentionally touches the cheek that Kyungsoon kissed as if it’s the most precious spot in the world.
“You are so smitten over her,” Baekyeon teases. There’s really no point in it, seeing that Chanyeol’s already as red as a tomato.
“I’m not that smitten,” Chanyeol retorts.
“You are. Just look at you. You’re an even worse bumbling mess than you were in high school.” The thought of Chanyeol back then suddenly hits her, and she can’t even see the faintest hint of that mean bully that they forced themselves to befriend so that the teachers would think that they’re good people.
“Hell, you’re barely even that guy in high school anymore.”
Chanyeol looks up, straight into her eyes. “I’m not?”
Baekyeon smiles. “You’re not. You’ve changed so much, Chanyeol, and I have to admit that you’ve changed in all the good ways. I’m happy that you’re happy. I’m happy that she makes you so happy.”
Chanyeol looks thoughtful, pensive. “I think I’m in love with her.”
Chanyeol rolls his eyes. “It’s only been a few months since we knew each other; I don’t want to rush my own feelings because it’s what I should be expecting myself to feel. I’m sure that I like her, and I’m also sure that there’s no one else who makes me feel this way. She’s special, Baekyeon. She makes me laugh all the time and she understands all of my weird antics and we think so alike even if she may seem like a petrified deer beside a raging tiger. I’ve never felt this way before. Never.”
“What if she’s the one?” Baekyeon asks, teasing. Deep inside, she wants to know the answer. Chanyeol isn’t--or wasn’t--the type of guy she’d associate with those who fall in love too easily. He’s not the one who meets the girl in some lame setting like a cooking class and suddenly starts falling in love with her as fast as a ball rolling down a hill. He’s the type who meets a girl at a club and sleeps with her and meets her somewhere that they aren’t both drunk and that’s when he starts falling in love with her. He’s not a romantic.
But now, Baekyeon sees that in him. And maybe it’s because she’s always been too focused on the fact that he’s that bully that they were forced to befriend so that the teachers would think that they’re good people. Maybe it’s time to change what she sees in Chanyeol.
He starts laughing loudly, and the spontaneity startles Baekyeon into laughing as well. “Let’s not go that far, Baekyeon. I like her, and I hope she likes me back.”
“Trust me, Chanyeol.” Baekyeon leans forward. “She likes you a lot.”
The landlord smiles at them and lets them inside the apartment.
“It’s fully-furnished, and you have a great view of the city up here. I also heard that your university isn’t too far and there are lots of places to get some part-time jobs or so nearby.” The middle-aged man seems a little nervous while watching Baekyeon and Jongdae observe the apartment unit.
“Could you give us a few minutes to look around by ourselves?” Jongdae asks politely. The landlord just nods, leaving the room and closing the door behind him.
Baekyeon squeals, running to the kitchen counter and giving it a big hug. “I love this place, Jongdae! It’s beautiful.”
The man agrees, touching the glass of the sliding door that leads to the small balcony. “You can see the sunset from here, even past all the smoke and buildings.”
When he turns around, Baekyeon’s seated on the couch that’s facing the window. She pats the spot beside her and Jongdae sits down comfortably, placing an arm around her shoulders. She’s comfortable enough to lean into his body and hug his waist tightly.
They watch as the sun slowly vanishes into the horizon, and while Jongdae’s completely captivated by it, Baekyeon’s starting to drift off. They had been looking at units the entire day, and she almost can’t remember anything about the other places that they looked at.
A cough disturbs the two of them, and light suddenly floods the room. “Sorry for disturbing you two,” the man mutters.
He leads them to the bedroom. “Since we said that this is fully-furnished, we already have a king-sized bed for both of you.” When they don’t respond, his palms start sweating. “You’re moving in together, right?” Another awkward pause. “You are a couple, aren’t you?”
It takes them another second of staring dumbly at him before they deny profusely, complete with the matching arm waving and awkward laughing. “No! No, we are not.” Jongdae’s smile is forced, but he’s laughing deep inside too. Baekyeon laughs openly, clutching her stomach and the doorframe with her other hand.
“How much would this unit cost?” Baekyeon asks when she calms down.
“It’s still up for negotiation, but here’s the estimated rent.” He hands them a paper and their eyes widen. They look at each other and Jongdae smiles sadly as he hands the paper back to the landlord.
“It’s a great unit, but the price is a little... steep for my budget. Thank you for showing us around,” Baekyeon says with disappointment in her voice.
When they’re ready to go back to Baekyeon’s dorm, Jongdae doesn’t start the car yet. Baekyeon looks upset as she looks out of the window and towards the apartment building. Jongdae gently guides her face to face him with a hand on his chin.
“It’s okay,” soothes Jongdae.
“I know. I just really liked it there.”
Jongdae squeezes her shoulder. “You know, I’ll always be looking for a roommate.”
“Are you serious?” Jongdae shrugs. Baekyeon unbuckles her seatbelt and reaches over to hug him.
“You know that I love your place and it’s practically my second home now, but I wouldn’t want to bother you. I’ll be fine in the dorms,” Baekyeon assures him. She buckles up and they go home.
Baekyeon wakes up at two forty-nine AM because of her phone’s endless beeping. She squints her eyes as the screen’s bright light surprises her. There are four messages, all sent with two to three minutes between each of them.
come over please
please come over
i really need you. please come over.
i know it’s nearly three am and you’re probably asleep and i’m expecting too much from you by asking you to come here, but i really need you. i don’t know what to do, baekyeon. you’re the only one that can help me right now.
come over. please.
By the time she finishes reading all four, she’s already wearing a thick coat over her t-shirt and pajama pants. She runs to the nearest convenience store and buys ice cream, the first flavor she can get her hands on. It’s triple chocolate, and she’s glad that it’s a flavor that Jongdae really likes. She rushes to pay and run to Jongdae’s apartment building.
The security guard’s asleep, so there are no objections to her running to the elevator and nearly breaking the button to the fifth floor. Baekyeon quickly texts Jongdae to tell him that she’s here, and the shaky sound of the elevator doors opening pushes her to run to Jongdae’s door as fast as she can.
Jongdae’s already waiting for her, and she storms into the house, dropping the plastic tub on the kitchen counter. She reaches out to hug Jongdae by the neck, and his arms slide around her waist. It’s her favorite part about being nearly the same height as he is: they fit nicely with each other and she only has to tiptoe a little.
“What happened?” she murmurs into his hair. Baekyeon feels a shiver run through his spine and she hugs him tighter.
“I don’t know, Baekyeon. I’m suddenly hit with this... fear. I’m afraid that I’m not doing the right thing.”
She pulls away slightly. Her hands frame the sides of his face and he’s still hugging her by the waist. “What are you talking about, Jongdae?”
He doesn’t look at her, but his grip tightens. He looks down and looks pensive. Jongdae’s rarely ever this hesitant.
Baekyeon forces him to look at her. “Hey. This is me. It’s just me. You can tell me anything.”
Jongdae’s hands slide over to hold her waist. “I-I... I have feelings-- a feeling that this isn’t the course for me.” His hands nervously slide up and down her sides. “I suck at everything and I don’t see myself doing this for the rest of my life and I don’t know what to do--”
“Shh. Relax,” Baekyeon calmly says. She strokes his cheeks, enjoying the blush on his face. “You can do this, Jongdae. You’ve been through a lot of crap before, and I know you can make it through this.”
“I’m thinking of shifting, but it’s nearly my third year. I don’t want to waste my time.”
“Jongdae, you’re going to waste the rest of your life if you don’t choose to do something that you want to do now.”
His hands still. Baekyeon tiptoes to hug him again, and this time, Jongdae just sags into her arms. They lean on each other for a while before Jongdae pulls away and squeezes her hand.
“Thank you,” he whispers.
No problem, she mouths back.
Baekyeon places the tub of ice cream in his freezer. “Can I sleep over tonight? I’m too tired to run back to my dorms.” Jongdae nods and turns off the lights in the kitchen.
When he turns around, Baekyeon’s already out of her coat, wearing a tight-fitting shirt. “Do you want to borrow one of mine?”
Baekyeon grins and goes to his cabinet, randomly grabbing one of his large white shirts. For some reason, his clothes fit her well, and she’s always comfortable when she feels his warmth from the smell of the fabric. His smell is different from everyone else’s. It’s comforting, familiar.
Wordlessly, they crawl into bed. Maybe it’s because they’ve known each other for years now; Baekyeon trusts Jongdae and vice versa. Maybe it’s because they’ve been through so much separately, and the only person who was truly there for them was each other. No matter what, Baekyeon and Jongdae naturally drift closer and closer and closer, like two waves that are ready to crash. It’s explosive, the reaction, but they stay because this is worth it.
Nothing actually happens. Baekyeon hugs Jongdae’s chest and Jongdae has an arm under her head and they sleep peacefully. And they’re just there, just breathing and being, but Baekyeon hasn’t felt this close to Jongdae in a while. Even if they spend almost all of their time together, personal space disregarded as they practically hang off each other, it’s as if Jongdae’s been distant all this time.
Baekyeon’s happy to feel him again, to know that she knows him again.
Jongdae wakes up because of a something biting his nose.
“Ouch!” He flails his arms and hits somebody. That “someone” turns out to be Baekyeon, and even with her hand on her forehead, she’s still grinning at him.
“What the hell was that for?” Jongdae wipes away the feeling of her teeth on his nose. “It’s really weird, by the way.”
Baekyeon giggles, standing up and pull the sheets off Jongdae. “Come on. You’re my best friend and that means you’re obligated to help me cook breakfast.”
Jongdae glares at her back while she leaves the room. He picks himself up and follows her to the kitchen. It’s probably not acceptable to hug her from behind and lean his head on her shoulder, but he’s tired and she’s warm and it’s Baekyeon. It’s just Baekyeon. There’s nothing to be worried about, right?
Baekyeon runs to hug Joonmyun when she sees him for the first time in months. The rest of the original gang in high school is slowly entering the restaurant that they agreed to meet in, and Baekyeon’s excited to see everyone again.
Minhee enters with her bombshell legs and Chanyeol lets out a loud whistle. “Someone’s looking hot now.” She merely shrugs before Jongin starts hitting on her as a joke. Minhee starts hitting Jongin and the younger male runs away before she can do any serious damage to him.
Luhan enters with a girl in tow. Chanyeol’s the first one to complain. “Hey! I thought we agreed that there would be no girlfriends or boyfriends here.”
Baekyeon starts laughing. He’s clearly not comfortable without Kyungsoon behind him, trying to prevent him from causing any trouble. They’ve been together for a year now, and she’s not lying when she says that they’re probably falling for each other more and more each day. They’re disgusting.
“Chanyeol, it’s just me.” The girl is actually Yixue, someone that Luhan had always liked ever since she transferred from China to their school in senior year. She smiles at everyone, and Baekyeon decides that she’d be the one to officially welcome her into the group by tackling her in a hug until they nearly topple over each other.
“Welcome to the group! We don’t have cookies, but we are pretty cool.” Baekyeon pauses. “Sometimes.”
It’s a good thing that Yixue’s just rides with everything; she just laughs at Baekyeon’s lame attempts at trying to be funny. She squeezes into the booth beside the two other girls. Minhee seems to be close to her, instantly latching onto her arm when they’re put beside each other. When the others give them odd looks, Yixue answers, “We had a few classes together and she’s Luhan’s best friend so we’re close.”
Luhan leans down to kiss her quickly and everyone else groans. “No PDA please!” Sehun yells.
When the door opens and Yifan steps in, it’s like a bucket of cold water dropped on everyone, especially Joonmyun. The smaller male looks down and messes with his phone while Chanyeol greets Yifan loudly and tries, desperately tries, to make the mood a little lighter.
It’s common knowledge that his split with Joonmyun was... not clean. It wasn’t easy for both of them, and it’s clear with how they can’t even look at each other. Yifan tries to smile, tries to act normal, but it’s really not easy.
Sehun attaches himself to Zitao once the latter finally arrives. While everyone’s happily chatting and all, Baekyeon texts Jongdae and asks him where he is. The man doesn’t reply, and of course she starts to worry. What if he's in trouble? Or worse, what if he forgot?
Jongdae bursts in and grins at everyone. "Sorry I'm late! I had a paper to cram and is almost forgot until someone sent over ten messages to me just to ask me why I'm late." Baekyeon giggles and looks away.
The male takes a seat and they start ordering. Jongin and Sehun crack jokes and Chanyeol makes fun of everyone and Baekyeon realizes that she misses this. She misses it a lot.
After sharing eight bottles of soju and too much meat, most of them are drunk and laughing at the lights in the ceiling. Minhee and Chanyeol are comfortably cuddling in the booth; Zitao and Sehun are comfortably making out in front of everyone; Joonmyun is eating on some leftover lettuce like a little rabbit; Yixue is sleeping, arms draped over Luhan who's still drinking straight from a bottle.
"Jongdae!" Baekyeon yells. The man being called raises his head from the mug of beer that he was staring into.
She climbs past Joonmyun, Jongin and Yifan just to climb onto his lap. Jongdae groans at her weight, but he places an arm to support her back. Baekyeon starts giggling again.
"Let's go home," she whines to Jongdae.
"Alright, I'll try to drive you to your dorms," he says, trying to fish his keys out of his coat pocket. Baekyeon places a stern hand on his.
"You are not driving while you're drunk. Also, you know that bad things happen when Sooyeon sees me drunk." The memory of her email being flooded with pictures of her passed out in the bathtub with two snapbacks covering her chest makes her shudder. Sooyeon can be very, very dangerous if she wants to be.
"Fine. I'll call a cab." Jongdae pushes her away and climbs out of his seat. He holds her hand and helps her stand up. Baekyeon ends up leaning on him and holding into his jacket as if it's her lifeline.
"Bye guys. We had lots and lots of fun tonight." Baekyeon starts one of her giggling fits again. Jongdae guides her out of the restaurant and calls a cab. It’s a little late and the two obviously look, sound and smell very drunk. The cab driver doesn’t comment on anything as Jongdae gives them the directions to his apartment.
Baekyeon grabs the keys from the pocket inside Jongdae’s coat. She struggles to fit the key inside the lock, especially while she’s still laughing at everything and Jongdae is leaning on the wall beside her, smiling at her like it isn’t one in the morning and they aren’t drunk enough to see the walls warping and spinning around them. He smiles at her and hugs her from behind until she finally opens the door and they fall inside.
Baekyeon crawls her way to his bedroom, climbing to get on the bed. Jongdae flops down beside her, not even bothering to turn off the lights in the hallway and close the door. They hide under the covers, and Baekyeon hugs Jongdae’s body tightly when their hands meet.
Even through her drunken haze, she can feel Jongdae stiffen in her arms. Baekyeon doesn’t move to give him more space because this was never a problem before. Jongdae... has always been comfortable with her. Things aren’t supposed to change.
“I love you,” she whispers. Jongdae tenses up even more.
Oh crap, she thinks to herself. What is she saying? Why can’t she stop her mouth from running around and saying things that she doesn’t mean to say?
“I love you too.”
It’s not the response that she expected, to be honest. She doesn’t know why she thought Jongdae would just laugh, that he would say that he loved her too with his standard joking tone. She doesn’t know why she’s so surprised that Jongdae would say it back with full seriousness in his voice.
“You’re my best friend, Jongdae. I just can’t live without you,” Baekyeon murmurs against his chest. His hands feel shaky against her body, fingers tracing familiar patterns the Baekyeon always sees him tracing absentmindedly. It's one of Those Jongdae Things: random actions and habits that he has which Baekyeon's so used to already.
"I love you too," Jongdae whispers, and it's so faint that Baekyeon has to focus extremely hard to hear past the alcohol blur in her mind. It makes her brain throb to even think of anything, so she just inches closer to Jongdae and tries to fall asleep with his deep breathing serving as her guide.
She wakes up to the smell of breakfast and a headache that makes her head feel like it's filled with rocks. Baekyeon turns to her side and smiles at the sight of painkillers and a glass of water. If you ever need it, a note on the table reads. She takes it gratefully.
Her hands meet cold sheets when she reaches out on her other side. It makes her heart sink, a strange longing that she hasn't felt in a long time.
The door opens and Jongdae walks in wearing one of his large t-shirts and with a fork in one of his hands. “Breakfast’s ready if you’re ready.”
“Help me up?” She pouts and raises her arms off the bed. Jongdae sighs, putting down the fork on his desk. He reaches out to grasp her hands, but she groans in pain when he lifts her up too quickly. Jongdae decides to carry her over his shoulder and she laughs while kicking her feet out in the air.
“Put me down!” she yells in between her laughter and Jongdae’s playful attempts to drop her on the floor unceremoniously. He kneels down in front of the couch and helps her sit down comfortably. The breakfast he cooked is on the coffee table, and the TV is already on, showing a rerun of an old cartoon.
While they eat and let their legs tangle on the couch while they lean against the armrests, Baekyeon suddenly notices that she’s still in her clothes from last night. The thought of last night hits her like a wrecking ball.
“Shit,” she mutters. Jongdae looks up from his plate of eggs and bacon to stare at her oddly. Baekyeon puts her plate down on the table and Jongdae follows suit.
“What’s going on?” he asks hesitantly.
“Shit, shit, shit, shit,” she repeats. Baekyeon looks up from where their ankles are touching and leans over towards him, hands placed on his shoulders to press him down against the couch. He looks up at her with wide eyes.
“Baekyeon, you’re freaking me out. What’s wrong?”
“Did I say anything...” She bites her lip. “Did I say anything last night?”
“Of course you said something. This is you we’re talking about. I think your true calling in life is to chat someone’s ears off,” Jongdae says helpfully. Baekyeon hits his chest and sits back down again.
“Come on, help me out here. I don’t know if I said something particularly weird last night.”
Jongdae strokes her hair. “No matter what you might have said, I don’t remember anything except for drinking a lot and waking up beside you.”
“Alright. I just thought that I might have said something I would regret.”
The way Jongdae’s hand stiffens on her head is a memory that doesn’t wash away no matter how much she regrets saying anything at all.
Baekyeon’s decides to join the music club in her last year in college. Kyungsoon, their captain, welcomes her with open arms, gladly accepting more talent into their relatively unknown club.
She knows the thrill of holding a mic. She knows the feeling of exhilaration when she sings the very first note, the opening of a door to her innermost desires. She loves it; she lives for it. Baekyeon has always loved performing and entertaining people, and that’s why she loves the group and the group loves her back.
“You’re going to have a solo song!” Kyungsoon proudly announces. She hands Baekyeon a sheet of paper with lyrics and several notes already written down for her. “I’m excited to hear you practice for our fundraiser.”
Baekyeon nods, nervousness suddenly stopping her from making a sound. It’s funny how she’s suddenly shy when she’s given the opportunity to shine.
The practices afterwards are more grueling than what she expected. Baekyeon is a vocalist but not a singer, and the differences between those two are clear in how she can hit every note that she has to but she can’t say a word without feeling like a robot. She’s frustrated because she’s doing good, but she has to do great. Kyungsoon tells her not to be too hard on herself. Baekyeon knows that Kyungsoon’s trying her best as well, but she needs everything to be perfect so that they wouldn’t always be “just another one of those useless orgs.”
On one of her practice nights when she would sleep at way past midnight just to nail a song that she’d mastered perfectly, she asks Jongdae to come over. He doesn’t reply, but he knocks on the door ten minutes later with nothing in his hands.
“Where’s the ice cream?” asks Baekyeon, slightly upset. Jongdae lets himself in and places his coat on top of Sooyeon’s bed.
“It’s bad for your throat, and the concert’s in one week. I don’t want to be responsible for the loss of the star’s voice.” He chuckles and sits down on her bed, beckoning her to sit down. She follows wordlessly, and her head naturally leans on his shoulder as she lies down.
Jongdae sees the papers on top of her pillow. He knows her song by heart because of how many times she had talked about singing it, but he’s never heard her sing. She sits up straight, closing her eyes when she starts.
Maybe it’s because she can sing it perfectly even if they put plugs in her ears so that she couldn’t hear herself while singing, or maybe it’s because he’s never realized that there was a slight rasp to her voice, but there are goosebumps on Jongdae’s skin even after a single line. It’s strange how he finds himself randomly harmonizing with her, eyes locking when they realize that they sound good--no, great-- together.
Baekyeon hugs him; face pressed against his neck, arms snugly fitting around his waist. He strokes her back gently, trying to calm her down because he knows that she’s freaking out. She’s good at hiding it, but Baekyeon isn’t always invincible. She isn’t always laughing and smiling and joking around. Sometimes she gets scared, very very scared, and Jongdae’s the only one who can see that.
“Thank you,” she whispers. It may look like Jongdae didn’t really do anything, but his presence is enough. She needs him a lot more than she lets on.
At the most awaited day, the concert goes along smoothly. Without even expecting it, talent scouts are talking to her already, praising her “versatile range” and “commendable technique.” She doesn’t have the heart to tell them that she can’t understand a single word that they’re saying and that trying to win her over with big words isn’t going to work, so she takes their calling cards and stuffs them in her textbooks as bookmarks. Jongdae only laughs when he finds out, secretly jealous that she’s getting such a big opportunity.
The rest of the group in high school take her and Kyungsoon out to congratulate them. They end up in a pizza place that knows Chanyeol and Kyungsoon really well since they always go there for their dates.
“You must be a really generous boyfriend to be considered a regular in a pizza place,” Jongin teases. Kyungsoon hits him sharply with a napkin, and Jongin has to admit that the flick of the tissue against his arm kind of hurt. He stares at her with eyes of fear and whispers at Sehun and Zitao to “watch out.”
“Hey, their Pizza Blanca is to die for,” Kyungsoon points out. “We’ll take two family-sized pizzas of that, and maybe a party-sized pepperoni. Is that okay with you?” she asks Chanyeol. Her boyfriend just nods absentmindedly, still enraptured at the sight of Kyungsoon’s thighs in leggings and short shorts.
On the other side of the table, Baekyeon is starting to fall asleep on Joonmyun’s shoulder. “Are you okay?” he asks, and the concern is refreshing.
“The adrenaline wore off and I guess the weeks of practicing have finally worn me down. I’m exhausted,” she drawls. Joonmyun pulls her closer and lets her rest her eyes while leaning on his chest.
By the time the food has arrived, she’s already in deep sleep. It is eleven-thirty in the evening, and her performance high is gone already. She and Kyungsoon are already asleep, and Chanyeol decides that there’s no point in celebrating if the celebrants are both fast asleep. They eat a little and pack up the rest of the slices.
Chanyeol takes his girlfriend home, and Joonmyun hesitantly opens his car door to let Baekyeon in. To his relief, Jongdae offers to drive her home instead since he knows the way by heart already. He makes her hang onto his neck and half-carries, half-drags her to his car.
She’s still peacefully asleep when they arrive at her dorms. Jongdae calls Sooyeon, apologizing profusely for waking her up at twelve-thirty-nine in the morning, and asks her to help him carry Baekyeon up.
“Thanks for bringing her home. She’s been so fidgety lately, and I’m just glad that she did great tonight.”
Jongdae nods, making sure that she’s lying down comfortably before he leaves.