swag level chanyeol (rubyls) wrote in jeosul,
swag level chanyeol
rubyls
jeosul

brightside

brightside
chanyeol/jongdae, pg-13, general? crack
jongdae is a hipster. chanyeol tries too hard sometimes, but it turns out that tryhards are right up jongdae's alley. inspired by this lol

as always thanks potaoto for putting this on my wip list, holding my hand throughout and betaing ♥



Who the hell puts a mixtape on a CD with "I made this mixtape for you" written on it in marker pen? The first time Jongdae met Chanyeol he'd been almost alarmed by the elasticity of Chanyeol's face and promptly labeled him a weirdo. Chanyeol's been doing very well in furthering this conclusion, with a slow but sure infiltration of all of Jongdae's classes, coincidence or not, and his somehow getting to know all of Jongdae's friends has been a rather creepy culmination towards, now, a stunning crescendo in the form of a mixtape.

"I heard you like mixtapes," Chanyeol says and grins, though it seems more a vaguely frightening baring of his teeth to Jongdae. "I, uh, would you like to listen to one I made?"

Jongdae's very tempted to say no because what the fuck, but he's been brought up to be polite, and turning down a CD someone had actually made for him is probably callous and rude. "I guess," he says, and takes the CD. Chanyeol's grin after is almost blinding.

"I hope you like it." Chanyeol flashes a thumbs-up at him, "I put together all of the songs that remind me - uh, that I like."

"Cool." Jongdae stuffs the CD in his satchel and hopes it gets crushed under his Bang and Olufsen headphones. "Thanks." He turns to walk towards the cafeteria hoping to end the conversation, but somehow Chanyeol seems to interpret this as a cue to follow him.

"No problem." Chanyeol grins and shuffles a little nearer Jongdae in the midst of the lunch crowd. "I'd be glad to make more for you if you wanted."

Jongdae tries his best to keep his tightly polite smile up. "That's..... nice."

"Minseok told me you like Boyz II Men?" Chanyeol asks, bringing his fingers up to ghost against Jongdae's elbow. Jongdae is sufficiently creeped out because while he already knows Chanyeol is an exceptionally touchy person, they're clearly not the best of friends and Jongdae likes a bit of personal space with strangers. He nods shortly, picking up his pace so they'll get to the caf sooner.

"I checked them out and I really liked a lot of the Love album! And their latest." Chanyeol grins, looking at Jongdae as if to ask for validation. Jongdae's going to kill Minseok for sharing his music preferences with Chanyeol.

"They're nice albums," he says noncommittally. Well, duh, he wouldn't be a fan otherwise. Chanyeol seems unfazed.

"I really liked the producing, especially, that was really good quality." Chanyeol nods, Jongdae nods, and he basks a little in the way Chanyeol's grin freezes a little into awkwardness. Oops.

"Do you like any other -" Chanyeol tries again, when ah, thank god, there's the caf. Jongdae spots Minseok and Kyungsoo immediately, and hurries over, cursing silently inside that Chanyeol is friends with literally all of his friends. The lack of any foreseeable circumstances where Jongdae can be sheltered from Chanyeol's presence is depressing.

"Hey." Minseok brohugs Chanyeol and scoots over on the bench while across him Kyungsoo removes his backpack to let up space for Jongdae. "You guys came from class together?"

Chanyeol nods before Jongdae can say anything. "Hey, Jongdae, you want anything from the sandwich counter?"

Jongdae might find Chanyeol creepy, but he's not dumb enough to turn free food down. "Sure, an egg mayo, thanks."

Chanyeol's smile this time is less wonky, more normal. Jongdae shudders at himself possibly getting used to Chanyeol's smile - the horror - and turns to Minseok and Kyungsoo when Chanyeol's safely out of earshot.

"You don't look too great," Minseok remarks as he chomps on a fry. Jongdae scowls and steals one.

"Chanyeol is really creepy," he says under his breath.

Kyungsoo glances at him, then takes a bite of his kimbap. "Why? I think he's okay, just friendly."

Ew. Jongdae frowns down at Minseok's fries. "He's literally in all of my classes. I see him everywhere."

"Well," Minseok chugs down a good half of his Coke, "he clearly likes you. Like in that way."

Which Jongdae can totally tell, he's not dumb, and he's obviously attractive enough to garner random admirers like Chanyeol, but that makes it triply creepy.

"He made me a mixtape." Jongdae pulls out the CD after discreetly checking that Chanyeol was still in the line at the sandwich counter. "Like, what the fuck? This isn't a high school drama."

Kyungsoo raises an eyebrow, but looks mostly amused. Minseok shrugs and takes a swig of his Coke again.

"People do dumb things when they're in love. Remember when you thought serenading Victoria in the middle of the high school field was a good i-" Jongdae kicks Minseok before he can finish and glares at him. Minseok holds his palms up, but rolls his eyes.

"Or the time you tried to ask Junmyeon out -" Kyungsoo starts, but Jongdae pinches Kyungsoo in the side.

"I hate you guys." Jongdae swipes a handful of Minseok's fries and the rest of Kyungsoo's kimbap to stuff into his mouth in spite. Minseok bursts into laughter and sprays a bit of Coke in Jongdae's face in the process.

"Not a good look, bro," Minseok says, wiping his mouth, "you might lose the one admirer you have."

"Fuck you." Jongdae's ready to throttle Minseok across the table, but Chanyeol's back.

"Here," he says, setting a sandwich in front of Jongdae. “No cress, right?"

It's a bit of a pleasant surprise that Chanyeol remembered, Jongdae has to admit, since he hadn't remembered to tell Chanyeol himself, and he's speechless for a second, but catches himself in time. "Yeah, thanks."

Minseok wiggles an eyebrow at Jongdae, then lapses seamlessly into conversation with Chanyeol and Jongdae decides that Minseok is an asshole, and that Chanyeol's astuteness about his vegetable and sandwich preferences could very well be a creeper attribute as well, and scowls throughout the rest of the day.

---

"Hey, you wanna grab dinner with us and Kyungsoo? We're going down to the great samgyeopsal place and maybe soju after." Jongdae curses the guy that had been blocking the door so he didn't manage to escape the lecture theatre before Chanyeol and Minseok caught up with him.

"It's okay," Jongdae says almost reflexively, "I have stuff to do." He doesn't tack on the elaboration that stuff meant nothing, really. He adjusts his thick black frames in his best superior intellectual impersonation. Minseok snorts.

"And by stuff you mean queueing your thousandth Tumblr post about cheesy quotes." Minseok rolls his eyes. "You are such a hipster loser."

If looks could kill, Minseok would be headlines tomorrow about a ruthlessly mutilated body. Chanyeol looks at Jongdae, then at Minseok, then back at Jongdae.

"Hipsters are kind of cool?" Chanyeol says almost matter-of-factly, and Jongdae has to bite his lip to school his features into not sneering at Minseok like seeeeee.

"I have an essay to write," Jongdae says, thankful that Chanyeol doesn't call him out because Chanyeol clearly knows they have no assignments this week, but he feels a little bad, for some reason, at the flash of disappointment in Chanyeol's eyes.

Minseok shrugs. "Sure. I'll take a picture of the samgyeopsal for you to upload on your Tumblr."

Jongdae fits his hands around Minseok's neck to fake-throttle him, though he does put a little pressure on his fingertips because Minseok deserves it. He only realises that Chanyeol's been watching him with a bit of a strange look in his eyes when he lets Minseok go, something in between hurt and realisation, and a hint of guilt. It's very unnerving, since Jongdae hasn't seen anything less than genial on Chanyeol's features since they'd met a month ago at freshman orientation, and it makes Jongdae feel bad, again, for hurting Chanyeol somehow. Maybe he'd been a little too obvious with his distaste for Chanyeol - though Jongdae does find Chanyeol a little too clingy and creepy sometimes, Chanyeol's a decent person, and it's not a great feeling knowing that you've hurt someone.

"I really - do have stuff to do," Jongdae manages, and turns to go. "See you guys tomorrow."

He doesn't turn around, though he's hyperaware of the weight of Chanyeol's eyes on his back for that split second before Minseok's "let's go, then."

Jongdae battles himself for the length of the walk back to his dorm before he decides that he's not going to be able to do anything about their past interactions, but he'll try being nicer to Chanyeol in future, make an effort to be real friends. Going into a friendship already knowing the other party has a crush on you is kind of weird, but Jongdae can't deny it's at least a little flattering, and it's not like he'll be able to avoid Chanyeol any time soon, so he might as well make good use of his presence.

Perhaps he could start with listening to Chanyeol's mixtape, he supposes. The scribbled message on the disk still makes him cringe, but it goes out of sight soon enough in his computer's drive. Jongdae plugs in his precious headphones and presses play.

There are a few good songs, some Jongdae recognises from his own iTunes, too, and some that actually sound promising, indie bands with a raw sound that Jongdae quite likes. The mixtape itself is patchy and a little random, but actually pretty good and very listenable. Jongdae's finding himself jamming to the last few songs when the last track comes on and he's a little surprised when it's Chanyeol's voice that follows the first few guitar rifts. The recording is clearly phone-microphone quality, but there's something charming about the twangy, raw sounds of Chanyeol's guitar playing that keeps Jongdae listening till the very end. It's a song about keeping your chin up no after what, and Jongdae wonders if Chanyeol wrote the lyrics himself; he wouldn't be surprised, since they're not very polished, but nevertheless simple and resonating. He actually likes it a lot.

Jongdae listens to Chanyeol's mixtape throughout his Tumblr queueing for the rest of the night, and it's not till tomorrow morning when he catches himself humming Chanyeol's song as he changes out of his pajamas that he realises he'd really been looping it for well over an hour last night before bed, and he really does kind of like Chanyeol's voice.

Goddammit, now he’s being the creepy one.

---

The strangest thing about today, Jongdae realises, besides the fact that he keeps humming Chanyeol’s stupid song in his head, is that Chanyeol doesn’t come up to him like he would always in class, with a “hey, you don’t mind if I sit here, right?” Jongdae always comes to class early to grab a seat at the back so he can doze off if he wants to, and Chanyeol had taken to coming to class early as well so he can grab the seat next to Jongdae’s, when the lecture theatre is almost empty - and Chanyeol comes in early today, too; he pushes open the door and is taken by surprise for a moment when he sees Jongdae. Chanyeol’s jaw drops open in an attempt to say something and gestures behind him, as if to say I forgot something, and leaves the lecture theatre before Jongdae can say anything. Chanyeol’s not the best at awkward situations - Jongdae can already tell.

Chanyeol's frozen face yesterday flashes past Jongdae's mind and suddenly he's taken with some - a lot - of guilt for being mean, and it occurs to him that Chanyeol had probably just wanted to be friends. Perhaps he’d been slightly more enthusiastic with Jongdae because Jongdae was attractive, of course, but he can’t fault Chanyeol for being friendly, and if he’s honest, he could do with making his life a lot less awkward by not pushing Chanyeol away.

Chanyeol doesn’t return to the lecture theatre till five minutes after the lecture’s started, though, and grabs the only seat nearest to the door. Jongdae watches the back of his head for a good minute before making up his mind to talk to Chanyeol later, be the first to start a conversation this time.

He’s weaving through the throng of people in the corridor when the lecture lets out rather hurriedly in a bid to catch Chanyeol, cursing the fact that Chanyeol walks rather fast, that it hits him that being on this end of the - Jongdae doesn’t even know what to call it; potential friendship? - kind of sucks, which makes him even more guilty. Fuck it, he thinks, and catches up with Chanyeol with a tap on his shoulder. Chanyeol’s surprise that registers on his features is a bit of a relief, but Jongdae doesn’t miss the guardedness that glazes over his eyes.

“Hey.” Jongdae puts on his friendliest, brightest smile, hoping it doesn’t look as creepy and weird as he feels right now. Chanyeol’s smile is instinctive in return, but also hesitant, like he’s not sure how to act around Jongdae.

“I really liked your mixtape,” Jongdae says as they fall into step to head towards the cafeteria.

“Really?” Chanyeol’s smile is genuine this time, a lot less guarded.

Jongdae nods. “Especially your song. What’s it called?”

It’s clear that this is a pleasant surprise to Chanyeol; the astonishment on his face melts into a huge grin, one so infectious that Jongdae finds himself mirroring it. “Warrior.”

A little cheesy, but fitting, and cheesy hipster titles are right up Jongdae’s alley. “I like it. Did you write it?”

Chanyeol keeps that blinding smile up all the way to the cafeteria as they talk about guitar chords and harmony, and Jongdae doesn’t know how he hadn’t noticed this before, but Chanyeol’s smile really is infectious - they’re both laughing by the time they find Minseok, Baekhyun and Kyungsoo at a table. Minseok looks at them, then at Jongdae with his eyebrows raised, but he’s smiling approvingly when he moves over on the bench for Jongdae. Jongdae’s sure Kyungsoo snorts under his breath a little, but he’s smiling, too.

“So, what made you come round to Chanyeol all of a sudden,” Minseok asks as they head off after lunch from the cafeteria, Minseok to soccer and Jongdae to guitar club. Jongdae bares his teeth at Minseok and pushes his lower jaw out menacingly.

“Awww,” Minseok grins and pats his head, “Jongdae growing up. Really does bring tears to my eyes.....”

Minseok runs off before Jongdae can do anything to him, but when he’s heading to guitar club with a spring in his step and still humming Chanyeol’s damned song this whole Chanyeol thing seems loads more manageable already.

---

Having Chanyeol as a friend, Jongdae realises, really has its perks, including the fact that he now has someone that shares his sense of humour in their little group. Minseok had always looked on unimpressedly when Jongdae was at the height of his wittiness, and Kyungsoo never participated in Jongdae’s elaborate pranking schemes in favour of calling him childish. It’s great to have a partner in crime for his pranks on his friends, and Chanyeol is good at a lot of things so Jongdae discovers a whole new world, including being able to do things like send an autoplaying porn link to Baekhyun’s laptop when he’s in the library and flirting with Kris. Baekhyun tries beating Jongdae up for the longest time after that, but Chanyeol is a good sturdy shield that can block most of Baekhyun’s moves.

“Why do you like Kris so much, anyway?” Kyungsoo asks as Baekhyun glares at Chanyeol and Jongdae after they’d successfully wrestled his phone from him to send Kris a message - wanna have some fun tonight? ;) - he’d given up trying to rip their hair out in handfuls.

“Shut up,” Baekhyun growls as he hastily adopts damage control, texting furiously. “I’m going to get you guys one day, and you’re going to regret it.”

“Just looking out for your welfare, Baekhyun,” Chanyeol hums rather obnoxiously as he munches on his fries. “I’m not sure getting with Kris will be good for your neck.”

“Or your street cred,” Jongdae adds with a grin, then amends, “ah, wait - I was assuming you had any in the first place -” Jongdae dodges Baekhyun’s vengeful fists and bursts into sputtering cackles with Chanyeol. Chanyeol grins and holds up his palm at Jongdae, which Jongdae meets in a resounding, triumphant high-five and shoulder bump, and when Jongdae falls back in his seat feeling his cheek hurt from laughing he has to admit that Chanyeol is pretty cool.

---

Alright, so Chanyeol’s hella cool, Jongdae can't even deny. Jongdae needs some cash urgently to pay off his school fees this term? Chanyeol pulls through and loans him half of it without question, even though Jongdae knows Chanyeol will probably need to be scrimping this month for that. Jongdae falls sick with a particularly bad bout of flu? Chanyeol comes right to his room after class to hand him a photocopy of his own notes.

Chanyeol is also great at keeping Jongdae's ego in check, as Minseok likes to tell him, with the good-natured jabs he makes at everyone, but Jongdae knows there's no heat in anything Chanyeol says most of the time. Chanyeol's a pretty great friend, to be honest. Kind of - almost - everything Jongdae wants in a friend.

"You, bro," Jongdae slurs as he throws himself towards what he thought was Chanyeol in his inebriation but is really Baekhyun at the end-of-term party they'd decided to hijack Kris' parents' posh house for, nearly spilling his vodka and coke, "mfnghddh." He's not even sure what he'd meant to say, really, so he gives up and rests his entire weight on Baekhyun. Baekhyun wrinkles his face, but keeps his hold on Jongdae.

"Don't puke on me, I will kill you," he warns, and helps Jongdae to the sofa. "You're such a lightweight."

"I had -" Jongdae mumbles, trying to defend himself, but Kris rolls his eyes and cuts in.

"Remember that time he got drunk with two cans of beer."

Baekhyun shakes his head and looks disgustedly at Jongdae. "Why does anyone let you drink?"

"Hey, you want some chips and dip or anything," Kris asks Baekhyun, "I'm gonna go grab some."

"I'll help you." Baekhyun grins and jumps to his feet, leaving Jongdae sprawled over the sofa alone. Jongdae rolls his eyes to he best of his ability, muttering "whipped" under his breath, but he's already speaking to Baekhyun's back. What a shit friend, Jongdae thinks. The rest are caterwauling some SNSD song further away in the living room, and if Jongdae focuses hard enough he can just about make out Sehun's dying goat noises and Minseok's garbled words. Chanyeol is yelling hook lines at completely inappropriate places. Jongdae would head over to join them, if he didn't feel the bile coming up the back of his throat, so he stumbles out the sliding door off the side of Kris' living room to head outside so he won't need to face Kris' wrath if he does end up puking on the marble floor.

The winter chill outside is so sharp it's a surprise - not a great feeling, but he's possibly less nauseous now. Maybe he should find a pool chaise to lie down in and tide over the nausea, because lying down helps. Or something. He's not the most coherent right now. But yeah, pool chaise.

It literally happens in a second - one moment he's feeling water sloshing over his foot as he feels the edge of the pool slip out under his feet, and the next there's a huge splash and he realises the huge splash is him, because he's - neck? - deep in water and panicking.

"Fuck!" he yells, flailing around half stunned sober and half still trying to shake the inebriation, because he can't remember how deep Kris' pool is and he's not the best swimmer, and fuck, what the fuck - a gulp of water just made its way down his throat -

There's another loud splash, and suddenly Jongdae feels someone's incredibly secure, firm hands around him, pulling him towards somewhere, and he doesn't even know who it is, but he immediately latches on to the person, digging his fingernails into the person's arm like they're his only lifeline. They are, really. The person practically throws him out of the pool to sprawl onto the edge of the pool, Jongdae falling over to try clutching at the ground in sheer relief, and the person gets out with a whoosh of water to plop down beside him, panting.

"Damn," Chanyeol says, looking at him. "You okay?"

Jongdae whips his head up to really peer at the person's face and it only registers, after a few seconds, that his saviour is Chanyeol, wet and dripping and his teeth chattering in the cold next to him. Fuck, man. Jongdae nearly bursts into tears.

"Oh my god," he says and pitches himself into Chanyeol's side, wrapping his arms around Chanyeol's waist. "I thought I was going to drown, holy shit -"

"Whoa," Chanyeol laughs, but he doesn't move. "Steady now, tiger. You're gonna be okay."

By now Kyungsoo and Lu Han have made it outside and Jongdae's mostly embarrassed. "Wow," Lu Han says, rubbing his face looking like he's not sure if he's still drunk or dreaming. Or both. "Uh, did we interrupt something? We heard a splash."

And then Jongdae realises he's got his face buried in Chanyeol's thigh, kind of maybe near his crotch, and his arms round Chanyeol. Ah, shit. He pulls himself up from Chanyeol's thigh, admitting that he's rather reluctant because Chanyeol's thigh is very warm, to look at Lu Han and Kyungsoo. Chanyeol laughs and jerks his thumb at the pool, getting to his feet.

"This genius, here--" Chanyeol grins at Jongdae and shakes his head, "--fell into the pool."

Lu Han bursts into laughter, his jaw looking unhinged, and Kyungsoo looks torn between laughter and true disgust at Jongdae's dumbness. Jongdae kicks at Kyungsoo so a bit of water flies at him.

"Okay," Chanyeol says as Jongdae realises his own teeth are chattering. "Can we do this inside, I'm gonna freeze my balls off."

They end up towelling themselves dry, huddled together in Kris' bathroom for warmth, and when Chanyeol has to curl up on the couch and wrap himself around Sehun (much to Sehun's chagrin) even in his down coat Jongdae realises that Chanyeol's just jumped into a pool in the middle of fucking winter to haul his drunk ass out, and fuck his life, because how is he supposed to defend his heart against that?

---

Jongdae resolves the internal debate he has over the weekend by convincing himself that what Chanyeol did was just something he would probably have done for any other friend too, and Jongdae was vulnerable under those circumstances, and... yeah. So what if he's running out of arguments? He doesn't like Chanyeol that way, not at all. He's still healing his broken heart from Junmyeon, and it's not like Chanyeol is attractive.

Too bad he has to stuff these words right back down his throat on Thursday, when he, Chanyeol and Kyungsoo - the only ones who were willing - head down to the hipster cafe Jongdae really liked for a night of music appreciation. They're just settling down and chatting casually when there's an announcement that it's open mic night, and a spotlight turns to illuminate the stage near the bar.

"Hey, you should try." Kyungsoo pokes Chanyeol. "There's no one else in the cafe, anyway."

It is a rather slow day for the cafe, and Chanyeol looks at the guitar propped up against the box meant as a stool on the stage before looking back at the table and Jongdae. Jongdae shrugs and nods, smiling. "Go for it."

Jongdae doesn't know if he's imagining it when Chanyeol's eyes linger on his for a split second too long, then Chanyeol's standing up and heading to the stage, picking up the guitar and making himself comfortable on the box. Kyungsoo whoops and claps enthusiastically, and Jongdae does, too, holding his hands up as he cheers out loud. Chanyeol's flash of confidence in his eyes right before he starts strumming, Jongdae doesn't want to admit, is kind of sexy.

Only the first few rifts have come through the mic before Jongdae realises it's Warrior, literally his favourite song recently and he can already sing along as Chanyeol starts, quietly so Kyungsoo doesn't hear. Kyungsoo does, and raises his eyebrow, an amused smile on his face, but that's not the point. Chanyeol's voice is just as rough live as in the mixtape version, but somehow it sounds better, even more genuine and raw and true. It's... the acoustics of the cafe or something. Not the fact that Chanyeol looks really fucking great in the light, his shoulders hunching a little as he strums, and his right arm tensed a little - nope. Jongdae takes a sip of his Colombian double-pressed decaf Mayan chilli cappuccino and pretends it's not suddenly really hot at their table for some reason.

"What?" he says almost too defensively when he catches Kyungsoo looking at him.

"Nothing," Kyungsoo snickers and pats his knee. "It's okay, Chanyeol can be pretty attractive. Your type, right?"

"No!" Jongdae nearly trips over his own words in a haste to deny. "Not my type, what are you talking about, I like noonas and hyungs -"

Kyungsoo rolls his eyes, but thankfully turns to cheer when Chanyeol finishes and comes back over to their table. Jongdae can't even choke out a cheer through the spit at the back of his throat, but he musters up his best, brightest smile when Chanyeol grins at them anticipatingly when he takes his seat again.

“You were great!” Kyungsoo says. “Could give Baekhyun a run for his money, to be honest.”

Chanyeol laughs, but he’s clearly flattered. “I like being lead guitar, Baekhyun doesn’t have anything else to do if he’s not lead singer.” He turns to Jongdae, his eyebrows a little raised like he’s waiting for some sort of verdict, and it’s not a joke when Jongdae finds himself very close to blurting something horribly enthusiastic and girly like oh my god please touch me.

“You were great,” Jongdae parrots Kyungsoo lamely, but keeps his smile on so it doesn’t sound like he’s not impressed by Chanyeol. Chanyeol’s smile grows wider, showing a healthy amount of teeth.

“Yeah?” He’s probably imagining the tinge of red smudging Chanyeol’s cheeks.

Jongdae nods, not breaking eye contact and he’s a little more than horrified to find his heart thrumming with a sort of electricity, one he’s come to associate with attraction - it’s the one he felt when Junmyeon first smiled at him in high school. It’s pretty bad.

“I was nervous,” Chanyeol admits, “a lot more than like, during the usual gigs I do with the band.”

“I really liked it,” Jongdae offers quietly, and Kyungsoo nods in agreement, so Chanyeol takes a sip of his iced coffee happily. Jongdae’s not looking at the bob of his Adam’s apple as he swallows.

They get through the rest of the night without much more mishaps regarding Jongdae’s heart, but when Chanyeol and Jongdae are walking back to the dorms in the same direction he’s mildly horrified, again, to find a bit of a warmth on his cheeks when Chanyeol looks down at him and locks eye contact to get his point about whatever they were talking about across. Chanyeol looks at people with a sparkle in his eyes that is utterly charming, intentional or not, and Jongdae really doesn’t understand how completely easy he is being right now.

--

The next morning has Jongdae a little uneasy, because Chanyeol doesn't show up early to the first lecture and Jongdae hastily racks his brain for anything he'd said yesterday that Chanyeol might construe as impassiveness or worse, aversion, but draws a blank. It's not like Chanyeol would get offended or anything if he did anyway, right? They're good enough friends now. It doesn't stop him from fretting, though, about all the reasons Chanyeol's not here, and he's almost ready to text Chanyeol with a question as the lecturer starts when Chanyeol bursts into the theatre, panting and flustered like he'd just ran five miles to class. He gets a few titters from the class, but then he catches Jongdae's eye and grins before he slides into the nearest seat, and Jongdae's heart calms considerably.

This lecture, though, Jongdae keeps catching himself watching the back of Chanyeol’s head not unlike how he’d envisioned Chanyeol pining after him during lectures not too long ago, then checking himself and furiously focusing on the lecturer. He’s not suddenly desperate, or anything, so this is really embarrassing, and he'd done almost a 180 since coming to find Chanyeol creepy. Minseok would have a field day with this.

Jongdae manages to keep his newfound thing for Chanyeol in check for the rest of the week, even when Chanyeol slings his arm around Jongdae's shoulder with a low, but cheery "hey" in the corridor after lectures, or when Chanyeol's knee brushes his when they're sitting together in lectures, because he's not that attracted. He is, however, a little flustered when Chanyeol asks if he'd like to sit in one of his band's jamming sessions. It's a bad idea - a disastrous idea to agree, really, especially because he knows all of the people in Chanyeol's band, including Baekhyun who is the biggest fucking mouth in history, but he finds himself agreeing in some kind of perverse attempt to prove himself right, that the night in the cafe was an anomaly. Chanyeol's grin that Jongdae has now come to find normal, maybe even possibly endearing, has Jongdae torn between confirming that this is the right and precisely the wrong decision, but he can't back out now, not when Chanyeol hands him another mixtape suggesting he introduce Jongdae to the world of hip hop music.

"I'll listen to it," Jongdae tells Chanyeol with a smile, trying not to look like he's been only listening to all of Chanyeol's mixtapes recently, and Warrior a probably unhealthy amount. "Thanks." He is nearly scaring himself with how hard and fast he's becoming enamoured of everything that has to do with Chanyeol - but Jongdae forces himself to stop thinking and focus on keeping the conversation up with Chanyeol instead. He pinches himself as discreetly as he can to maintain concentration.

Chanyeol pushes the door open to a practice room in the music building of their university, a cacophony of instruments clanging and voices coming from behind it - there's a beat as everyone looks up and parses Chanyeol and Jongdae coming in together. Jongdae really doesn't like the little smirk Baekhyun adopts almost immediately.

"Hey." Chanyeol grins seemingly unfazed, slugging his backpack and coat down on the floor and removing his guitar from its case.

"Hey," Jongdae says, narrowing his eyes at Baekhyun who exchanges a sneaky grin with Yixing as Yixing fiddles with the tuners on his bass. "Chanyeol made me come here because you guys needed an audience."

Kris smiles and shrugs, twirling his drumstick only to have it clatter to the floor. "Sure," he says as he emerges from bending over to pick it up, "sit down or something. You can give us some opinions."

Jongdae tries very hard not to look only at Chanyeol when they start playing, because Chanyeol's all the way in the corner of the room and it's incredibly obvious, especially when Baekhyun starts wiggling his eyebrows at Jongdae and whips out his phone to text someone during their break. He's also not looking when the room becomes really hot due to the lack of air-conditioning and being in the basement that Chanyeol takes his hoodie off, because Chanyeol is only wearing a tank top underneath that, and... Jongdae's not looking.

Okay, he is looking at the way Chanyeol's bare arm tenses, at Chanyeol's collarbones, at Chanyeol's neck glistening with sweat. He tears his eyes away to focus as hard as he can at Yixing's playing, ignoring Baekhyun's stare boring into the side of his skull. He's almost mad - he hadn't signed up for this, deciding to be friends with Chanyeol - he just hadn't wanted to be a dick to the loser. It's not his fault, because while Chanyeol is still a loser and a dumb shit, he's kind of a cool dudebro loser, and a really hot cool loser at that - not even Baekhyun would be able to dispute that. And despite what Jongdae will insist to Kyungsoo and Minseok, he can be a rather shallow person, at least for potential hookups.

"So... how was it?" Chanyeol asks when they finish their practice repertoire. Jongdae gulps.

"Yeah, you guys are good. I like your stuff."

Which sounded infinitely better and completely innocent in his head, but he's 100% sure Baekhyun hears it the way he's hearing himself right now, though maybe he doesn't regret dropping the smallest of hints inadvertently because there's a bit of a mischievous, but pleased glint to Chanyeol's smile. The thing is, Jongdae isn't even sure if Chanyeol still likes him, since Chanyeol really seems to be the same with everyone else, but it wouldn't be a stretch to assume so, right? Jongdae is pretty attractive after all.

"So," Baekhyun drawls as he comes up next to Jongdae to put his coat on, disrupting Jongdae's train of thought. Jongdae glares at him.

"I will tell Kris about your -" Jongdae hisses, when Kris turns around.

"Tell me what?"

Baekhyun cuts over Jongdae and moves his foot to crush Jongdae's little toe under his stupid fucking boots. "Nothing," Baekhyun says sweetly, and turns around so he can glare threateningly at Jongdae. Jongdae smiles as patronisingly as he can at Baekhyun and doesn't trust himself with looking Chanyeol in the eye till Chanyeol gets his coat on.

---

So Jongdae has a crush on Chanyeol. He'd gone through a lot of internal strife over the weekend, including a bit of a conference about his Chanyeol crisis with Kyungsoo, and concluded that he's not going to delude himself, he's not a wimp. He's a man.

He just has to figure out what he's going to do about this. Jongdae has no idea if Chanyeol still likes him back - they have come a long way since Chanyeol's - friendly - tendencies, and he's seen Chanyeol drag himself out of bed at 3 AM to pick up drunk Baekhyun and Sehun, too, so Chanyeol's a great bro, and probably not just especially so to Jongdae. Which totally sucks, because Jongdae is sick of rejections - Junmyeon had been heartbreaking for Jongdae, no matter how hilarious his friends found that. Jongdae's not going to go into this unsure of his chances. He calls Minseok.

"I need you to back out of Looper on Saturday," he says when Minseok picks up without so much as a hello. They were due to catch the film with Chanyeol, and what better than to have a romantic date to suss Chanyeol out in the dark, sexy cinema? Minseok would be but a third wheel.

"Uh," Minseok says after a pause. "Hello to you, too."

"Hyung." Jongdae rolls his eyes. "Go find a girlfriend or something."

"You insolent brat," Minseok grunts, though Jongdae can hear a bit of a smirk in his voice. "Are you going on a date with our Chanyeollie, finally found a way to get into his pants -"

"Shut up," Jongdae grits out, "why do you listen to anything Baekhyun says?"

"I listen to things Yixing films," Minseok corrects, and Jongdae's jaw falls open. Yixing was a much bigger threat than Jongdae had thought - he didn't even know it was possible to film someone while playing bass. Didn't that go against the musician's code of conduct or whatever?

"Anyway," Jongdae bulldozes on like he didn't hear Minseok, "just go away. Don't turn up on Saturday."

"What if I tell Baekhyun and we all come along."

"Then you will regret it," Jongdae snaps, "I will destroy you just like you have done to my life."

Minseok laughs for a good minute. "Wow, you have got it bad. Fine, you little punk, and you owe me one."

"The only thing I will owe you is my resounding gloat of leaving you in singledom," Jongdae snipes, and hangs up.

On Saturday Jongdae cuts guitar club to spend two hours picking out an outfit and styling his hair so it looks like he spent two minutes. He wants to test Chanyeol out, not appear desperate, so he also turns at the cinema five minutes late, but he doesn't see Chanyeol, so it's a surprise when Chanyeol sneaks up behind him as he's typing out a message to Chanyeol.

"Hey." Chanyeol plops his arm heavily onto Jongdae's shoulder and grins at him. "S'up."

"Hey." Jongdae looks down and realises Chanyeol's gotten popcorn and a soda for them.

"Minseok's not coming, right?" Chanyeol steers Jongdae towards the theatres, still keeping his arm on Jongdae's shoulders. "I got popcorn to share."

"Wow, thanks." Jongdae feels his cheeks warming for some absurd reason. "Uh, I'll just go grab the tickets?"

"Nah, I've got them," Chanyeol says and thrusts the popcorn and soda at Jongdae so he can dig in his pocket. "Let's go."

Jongdae's gotta say he's very pleased at being treated to a movie by Chanyeol, though he's not sure if Chanyeol had chosen the special pair of Valentine seats at the back of the theatre on purpose or if it was just because the theatre's full, but he's not complaining. Chanyeol's grin is softer, prettier in the dark light and their hands keep brushing as they reach into the popcorn bucket - Jongdae has to keep judging himself when he finds a grin on his face like a blushing fifteen year old girl. Get a hold of yourself, Kim Jongdae, he tells himself, this is ridiculous.

Looper's a pretty good movie, but Jongdae's distracted at how he keeps catching Chanyeol glancing surreptitiously at him to see if he's entertained when he keeps glancing at Chanyeol surreptitiously. Despite however little dating experience Minseok and Baekhyun will insist Jongdae has, Jongdae's not dumb, and he can recognize a mutual attraction when he sees it. It leaves him a little on edge, though, because Chanyeol doesn't seem to have interest in much more than occasional flirting with Jongdae, like leaving his hand on Jongdae's thigh and leaning in just a shade too close to be platonic when he whispers in Jongdae's ear during the movie. There's a lot of dancing around each other and flirty butterfly touches too fleeting to mean anything substantial, but it doesn't occur to Jongdae until Chanyeol's pinky brushes Jongdae's as they're walking out of the theatre that this is actually familiar - Chanyeol's been doing this a lot, but Jongdae is only just beginning to become hyperaware about the ghosting of Chanyeol's skin against him. Now every brush means something to him.

By the end of the night after dinner at a roadside stall that Jongdae had fought to treat, it occurs to Jongdae that tonight feels too much like a date, but he has his reservations about Chanyeol, because Chanyeol still hasn't tried anything beyond grabbing Jongdae's arm as they cross a road. Jongdae leaves Chanyeol for his room with a unshakeable insecurity about how serious Chanyeol wants to take this, and a fuckload of frustration.

---

Jongdae hasn’t managed to sort his feelings out by Monday, so perhaps it’s just as well that Chanyeol doesn’t show up to class on Monday, with a only simple have stuff on as explanation when Jongdae texts him to ask. It sets Jongdae’s nerves off, making him unnecessarily snipy throughout the day which he gets weird looks for. He’s in no mood at all to do his assignments, so he spends the afternoon sulking on his bed, pummelling his pillow and alternating between cursing Chanyeol and cursing Chanyeol. Jongdae is pretty proactive in his romantic endeavours otherwise, but Chanyeol is so fucking difficult to read and Jongdae doesn’t want to have this blow up in his face and lose a good friend in the process - he didn’t graduate from high school for this.

He’s startled by a loud knock on his - window - and jumps a little, watching his window. He’s rather alarmed when a pebble slams against his window again and falls, the sound vibrating a little in the quiet of his room. What the fuck?

The pebble had obviously been thrown against his window from below, so Jongdae frowns and nears his window warily, peeking over the ledge to look: no one. His mind immediately jumps to Baekhyun, maybe some kind of weird joke, but he doesn’t have time to process anything when his phone rings, and it’s Chanyeol on the line.

A surge of excitement, then a surge of hesitation that seems to smother the excitement through his pulse, then Jongdae picks up on impulse - a phone call doesn’t mean anything, anyway. “Hello?”

“Jongdae?” Chanyeol’s voice is a little hurried, like he’d been running. “Can.... uh, can you come down for a bit?”

“What?”

“I’m downstairs, outside your dorm.”

“What, no.” Jongdae panics - he’s not ready, what if Chanyeol decides to confess, or what if this is a I’m-sorry-but-I-don’t-like-you-that-way talk, or what if - “It’s like three degrees outside.” Thank god for his lightning-quick thinking.

“Aww, man,” Chanyeol wheedles, “just let me in or something, I’m freezing.”

Jongdae tries sounding as put out as he can, but he’s not even considering it, let’s be real. “Alright,” he says grudgingly, and heads out of his room. Chanyeol’s grin when he spies Jongdae through the glass doors of his dorm building is blinding and jumpstarts a little jig in Jongdae’s chest.

“Hey,” Chanyeol breathes, grinning, when Jongdae lets him in.

“Hey?” Jongdae looks at Chanyeol, who doesn’t seem to be ready with an explanation for his presence. Jongdae raises an eyebrow at Chanyeol’s grin.

“Ah.” Chanyeol slings his arm around Jongdae’s shoulders again to manhandle him towards his the stairs. “Let’s go to your room.”

“Why are you even here?” Jongdae asks, but Chanyeol doesn’t bother with a reply in favour of a teeth-baring grin at Jongdae. Jongdae is really, really confused.

“What do you want.” Jongdae watches as Chanyeol lets them into his room, noticing for the first time that Chanyeol’s carrying his guitar on his back. Chanyeol smiles a little sheepishly, at least, and sets his guitar down, jerking his thumb at the window.

“That was, uh, me, by the way.”

“What?”

“Your window,” Chanyeol says, and the lighting in Jongdae’s room isn’t too bright, but he’s definitely not imagining the tinge of red on Chanyeol’s cheeks. “Uh, the pebbles.”

“What the fuck?” Jongdae says incredulously. “Are you like, from the Jurassic era or something?”

Chanyeol makes an annoyed little pout at Jongdae and takes his guitar out from his case. “Because... I wanted to do this.”

Okay, Jongdae may have a crush on Chanyeol, and Chanyeol may be pretty hot, but he is also really fucking weird. Maybe he should rescind this crush. “What. The fuck.”

Chanyeol looks at him, then at his guitar, and sets his guitar back in the case with a little sigh. “Forget it. Uh.”

They stare at each other across Jongdae’s room, Chanyeol clearly uncomfortably awkward, and there’s an electricity running through Jongdae’s veins that his hairs are on end - something anticipatory. Then -

“I like you?” Chanyeol mumbles it so softly Jongdae’s sure he’s hearing it wrong, but his heart is beating so fast at the back of his throat he thinks he might retch blood any moment.

“What?”

Chanyeol takes a deep breath. “I like you.” He looks Jongdae in the eye sharply, like he’d pulled all of his confidence together for these three words. “Like all the way back from when you were still a mean little shit.”

Jongdae’s first reaction is to rebut that jibe, but his heartbeat is pounding in his ears. “You’re.... serious.... right?”

Chanyeol gives him a look like are you serious. “Yeah.” Jongdae hasn’t seen Chanyeol this serious and genuine since... ever, really.

“Um,” Jongdae searches for the best way to put this, swallowing his heart at the back of his throat. “Me too?”

Nothing could have prepared Jongdae for Chanyeol’s full-wattage smile that follows. “I know.”

Jongdae narrows his eyes. “What.”

“You flirt kind of obviously,” Chanyeol grins and makes himself comfortable on Jongdae’s computer chair. Jongdae throws a pillow at him, but there’s just one question occupying Jongdae’s mind.

“Wait, did you say you... liked me since, uh, the start? Even when I was kind of mean to you?"

Chanyeol nods almost matter-of-factly at this, the asshole. “Uh.” Chanyeol pushes in the corner of his mouth, his dimple showing. “I guess I’m a masochist?”

Jongdae grabs for his pillow to fling at Chanyeol again, before realising Chanyeol’s already hugging it. “Wow, way to fuck your chances up,” Jongdae says offended, but Chanyeol comes right over to jump into Jongdae’s bed and ruffle his hair.

“I don’t even need chances.” Chanyeol grins, and Jongdae plants his elbow in Chanyeol’s stomach.

“And what’s with this.” Jongdae kicks in the direction of Chanyeol’s guitar. Chanyeol has the decency to look a little embarrassed and shrugs.

“I just wanted, you know, to do a little event or whatever.” He picks at his fingernails. “Throw pebbles at your window and serenade you when you opened it. Except then I hit the window below yours instead and had to evacuate.”

Jongdae is really, really considering rescinding this whole thing. He looks over at Chanyeol, not even bothering with an appalled expression. You can't even make this shit up, he’ll have to tell Minseok.

“What?” Chanyeol says defensively. “My old girlfriend loved that sort of shit.”

“This sort of shit really isn’t attractive, I hope you know,” Jongdae informs him. Chanyeol slips his hand around Jongdae’s waist.

“Sorry, sweetheart.” Chanyeol laughs in a disgustingly cheesy way and puckers up his lips. Jongdae pushes his face away with the flat of his palm.

“Call me that again and you’re gonna be single so fast,” Jongdae warns, but he’s already thinking of the most annoying form of gloating he can use at Minseok. Take that, singledom.
Tags: a: rubyls, f: exo, g: crack, g: general, p: chanyeol/jongdae, r: pg-13
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