Part 1 of when nights are cold (and days unyielding), a series of canon-compliant oneshots.
when nights are cold (and days unyielding)
Their relationship is one characterised by subtle eye-fucking and brief touches of the neck. There’s a certain intensity in the words they exchange, even cloaked underneath the veneer of joking around and acting like absolute dorks. The back hugs that linger just a little too long, the intense stares when the other isn’t looking. (Because the back is just as nice as the front.)
Even though this is as far as it goes, even the other members throw them looks that range from suspicious to amused to disapproving, and Chanyeol’s taken his role as official cockblock rather seriously.
The first time Jongin met this strange, strange hyung who stared at everyone with too-wide eyes, who talked with a deep, restrained voice, he was scared.
Interested, curious, yes. But scared.
To everyone’s surprise, though, the two grew the closest in the shortest amount of time. Pre-debut days were spent at the nearby cafe, snapping poorly-lit selcas amidst the smell of greasy fries and inedible milkshakes and amused laughter.
Maybe it’s because they’re both born at the start of the year (winter babies, you see, the ones that begin with the snow and end when the cold gives way) but they click immediately. When Jongin is with Sehun or Luhan or anyone else, really, he is reduced to a laughing buffoon who spouts out the most inane of things, who shoves his opponents hard when he loses a round of Mario Kart.
But when he is around Kyungsoo, the adrenaline fades, gives way to a subdued admiration that leaves his heart brimming with something whole and good. He likes to think that it makes him all the more mature.
When their debut rolls around, he expects the shipping to start, because he may be childish and a nuisance, but he’s certainly not an idiot. The company briefly pairs him with Luhan (”the visuals,” they said) and then with Sehun (”maknae line,” they preached) but then decides that they’re better off giving him fifty-four different teasers, fifty-four different dance routines to memorise and practice and perfect down to the very last flick of the finger.
Kyungsoo is paired with Chanyeol (”height difference,” they reasoned) even though he’s more likely to hit Chanyeol with a stick than anything else, and soon enough, when the fans take to Baekhyun’s natural penchant for talking shit and dragging Chanyeol along like a lost puppy, Kyungsoo is left alone too.
Not that he needs a partner, Jongin thinks, not when he’s got a voice that can move mountains.
He’s never been one for skinship, so he can’t pinpoint when it starts. But for everything else, it starts because they are roommates. It is each other’s voices they hear in the midst of the night, at three am in the morning, half-dead from a day’s worth of rehearsals. It is times like these where his mind is as incoherent as it is honest, and it is times like these that he manages to pull Kyungsoo into conversations with ease, conversations that last well into the dead of the night.
He is surprised that the company doesn’t pair them up. He’s not blind to the shippers, the crazy fans that give him fanart and fanfiction thinking that he’d actually read such stories - because, no matter what, it just doesn’t seem right to have your self immortalised in prose. But they play it off as two close friends, a hyung and his dongsaeng, a singer and a dancer, and he’s fine with that.
There are times he catches himself looking, staring. Kyungsoo’s not even the one talking - it could be Suho or Baekhyun or anyone else, really - but his gaze would be locked on a familiar head, head tilted to a side, and when he is called to answer a question or another, he politely asks for a repeat of the question, much to the amusement of everyone else. He ruffles Kyungsoo’s hair in the midst of rehearsal even though beads of sweat catch on the strands, leans his head on the back of Kyungsoo’s neck as the elder belts out a smooth tune in the middle of a concert, feels the low hum of his voice vibrate through his own body. Words, too, are exchanged, but they are nothing compared to the fleeting moments of bliss he gets when their hands touch.
Chanyeol is the one who brings it up, asks him over dinner if there is something going on. Jongin fervently denies anything. But Kyungsoo overhears, and he marches over, face a blank slate, reaffirms Jongin’s statement. Chanyeol nods slowly, eyebrows raised and backs away.
Jongin is afraid that someone else will say something. He is afraid that someone will come after them, tell them that this is not right, it’s not fucking fanservice. He is afraid that Kyungsoo will stop whatever this is, stop talking to him at four am when he can’t sleep because he’s too worried about messing up the next day, stop marathoning Hunter x Hunter on their rare half-days off, stop granting him the subtle touches that leave something sweet and pleasant pooling in his stomach.
But Kyungsoo doesn’t. Nothing changes, except for their hairstyles and their wardrobe.
They get dangerously close to kissing on more than one occasion. It doesn’t help that they share a room, doesn’t help that Jongin’s a bit of a contact-whore and enjoys climbing into his hyung’s bed every other night, doesn’t help that Jongin is a contact whore specifically for this particular hyung.
Nights fall with the promise of cuddling and the role of the little spoon, perhaps to a shared rewatch of one of their favourite episodes of that tennis anime that leaves Kyungsoo weeping whenever the protagonist scores a point. He can feel the other’s body warmth blanketing his own, feel flesh sliding on flesh whenever the other shifts a little, slides his forearm or his thigh or his foot against Jongin’s own. Every little touch has him gulping and jittery.
When the episode has ended, he hears soft hiccups behind him, interspersed with light sniffs that sound much too adorable. With the screen a blank, the room is pitch dark, so he finds little problem with turning around to face Kyungsoo.
It’s pitch dark, but he can tell that they’re almost nose to nose. (He can tell they’re almost mouth to mouth.) His hyung’s large, beautiful eyes are squeezed shut, tears clinging onto long lashes, chest harrumphing every other second in sync with the rather adorable hiccups. These are the only times he gets to see him like this; figures, the only way to get Kyungsoo to cry would be having him watch a heartbreaking anime about a fourteen-year old pianist, his journey to self-discovery and a love that’s never quite fulfilled.
And because he’s a bit of an idiot, he reaches out a hand, traces the soft curve of eyelids, feels salty, sticky tears between the pads of his fingers. Kyungsoo stiffens but doesn’t stop him, so he takes it as a cue to continue. He slides his hand over smooth cheeks, a straight nose, stops right at the corner of a pair of thick, heart-shaped lips.
“Hyung, what -”
Kyungsoo’s eyes snap open, and instinctively, Jongin draws his hand back.
He flashes a small smile. Even though it’s dark as hell and Jongin can barely see shit, he knows - he knows, because this is Kyungsoo-hyung we’re talking about - that it’s not the kind of smile that makes his eyes crinkle, that reveal his teeth and contort his lips into that endearing rectangular shape that fans seem to go crazy over.
“Jongin-ah,” Kyungsoo says. His voice is deep but soft, laced with fatigue and something else. “Let’s go to sleep.”
He wants to speak up, but it’s already three thirty-two am in the morning and they have to be up at seven for a flight to China. He wants to say something, maybe finally clarify why they touch each other when no one else is looking or cuddle in bed half-naked before they go to sleep.
He looks at Kyungsoo, who’s rolled over onto his back, a pillow clutched in his arms and peacefully asleep, and sighs. He wants to speak up - wants to say something because when he sees Kyungsoo he sees not just a boy, sees an entire world, a future mapped out on smooth skin and thick lashes and full lips - but figures that they have all the time in the world.
A/N: sigh, excuse this painfully unedited piece of idek. it was SUPPOSED to be a drabble (like, 500 words tops) but guess what happened... please spot the anime references!!! the piano anime broke my heart