yeolliepopday (yeolliepopday) wrote,


For: nkots
Title: With your presence, and your grace
Pairing(s): Chanyeol/D.O
Rating: PG-13
Warning(s): swear words, cheesiness
Length: 9389
Summary: Chanyeol quits his job and ends up bagging groceries at the local supermarket, where he slowly becomes affiliated with a wandering insomniac.
Author's note: Dear recipient, I really hope you like this since I basically just used your prompt as the setting and tried to come up with an interesting story to go along with it. The title belongs to "Please Don't Say You Love Me" by Gabrielle Aplin, which played constantly while I was writing this.

“Hello! How are you tonight?”

Park Chanyeol grins, determined to live up to his “teeth-rich” nickname he’d been assigned shortly after training, flashing his pearly whites at the sort of haggard looking customer who’d walked up to his register.

The customer grunts, placing a bag of pretzels and a bunch of bananas on the belt, digging a hand noisily into the pocket of his grimy jeans for change. Chanyeol, unfazed, immediately begins scanning the items, kindly bagging them without being asked.

“That’ll be $4.75! Cash or card?” he recites, though his hand is already outstretched to receive the coins. To his credit, he only slightly winces at the dirty coins, tipping them into the till dutifully. It’s exact change, for which Chanyeol is grateful.

The customer ends up leaving as silently as he’d arrived, though Chanyeol enjoys a brief moment of amusement when the man seems to struggle with the automatic doors for a bit. It doesn’t bother Chanyeol too much, because Baekhyun is always telling him about the “slightly creepy – and by slightly, I mean, like, totally – vibe” Chanyeol apparently gives off. He doesn’t try to be creepy, most of the time.

He stands idly for a few moments, letting the sounds of the peppy girl group song that’s playing over the sound system wash over him in sugary k-pop waves. (His manager, Joonmyun, pretends it’s because it reminds him of Korea, but everyone knows that he’s just got an enormous weak spot for Girls’ Generation.) He debates whether or not it was worth leaving the tills unattended long enough to take a leak. He’s the only one in the area (he has his suspicions about the ever-sleepy Jongin falling asleep amongst the tomatoes), and the customer lingering over the candy bars looks close to picking her poison and checking out.

Usually, it isn’t a problem, since Chanyeol works the graveyard shift at the local supermarket; there isn’t very many customers at any given time, and most are too busy picking out their choice of munchies to pose much risk. The store isn’t necessarily big, either, though being the only store open all night that offered convenient access to ready-made meals and condoms assured that Chanyeol has a job. However, after an unfortunate incident where a pair of teenagers tried to prove their rebelliousness via a few packs of gum on display near the registers, Chanyeol had been given strict instructions not to stray too far from the tills. And though Joonmyun is usually a laid-back manager, there’s definitely a special stick shoved deep in Joonmyun’s ass dedicated to rule following.

He’s just about to bully the maknae into covering for him (at the cost of probably a forty – Sehun the underage drinker was cunning and drove a hard bargain) when his eagle eyes spot a guy dressed head to toe in black coming straight for his register. He’s not pushing a cart, but Chanyeol’s once had a woman pull a half-eaten ice cream bar out of her purse to pay for, so Chanyeol doesn’t assume.

“Hello! How’re you doing?” Chanyeol greets, cheerily as ever, as the customer approaches. He adjusts his nametag, which has somehow become askew in the ten minutes since he’d last fidgeted with it.

“Hi,” the guy murmurs, drowsiness clear in his voice. He’s got big eyes and rather pale skin. “I’m sort of tired.”

Which Chanyeol can gather pretty easily, from the purplish under-eye circles that the guy is rocking, to the yawn of epic proportions that he lets out immediately after the word ‘tired’.

“I feel you,” he replies sympathetically, though sort of insincerely because his biological clock has completely flipped since he began taking the overnight shifts. He’s especially awake after the espresso shots Sehun had dared him into taking pre-shift. “Can’t sleep?”

The other man smiles faintly, eyes still slightly wet from yawning. “Something like that,” he answers. He opens the hand that Chanyeol hadn’t noticed had been closed around something, offering Chanyeol the contents.

“Just those five?” Chanyeol jokes weakly, accepting the slightly warm grapes that Panda Eyes had probably just picked from the selection Sehun had just put out. “Not very hungry?”

Now, Chanyeol’s had his fair share of strange customers. He’s had someone ask him the pros and cons about flavoured lube (an incident that Chanyeol wishes he could forget – Jongin had been almost too knowledgeable on the subject), and there was of course that time he’d spent thirty minutes arguing with (“advising”) a woman about how she couldn’t buy just the one sleeve of crackers out of the box of three.
“I guess I just had a craving for grapes,” the man says, shrugging, watching Chanyeol with all the intent of someone going out of their way to be purposefully inconvenient. He seems to be unsure about everything.

Chanyeol lets out an unseemly cough of a laugh as he awkwardly moves the grapes from one hand to the other, all the while desperately trying to remember the last time he’d washed his hands - he finds himself horrifyingly unprepared. He ends up weighing the five grapes.

“Um, fifteen cents?” He’s not sure whether to offer the guy a bag or to pass the grapes back over.

He taps the button on the register when the customer holds up a debit card (which, in Chanyeol’s opinion, is just a little too much). He ends up scooping the grapes into his hand, ignoring the slight dampness of the juice he can feel, and giving them to Debit-For-Small-Purchases-Man. It all feels incredibly excessive for some grapes, especially when Chanyeol’s bladder is threatening to burst in retaliation for being ignored.

“I hope you fall asleep,” Chanyeol wishes as he hears the beep of a successful transaction, though he realizes a beat too late that he could have totally phrased that better. “And enjoy your grapes.” Nice save.

This gets a laugh out of All-Black-Grape-Man, and Chanyeol realizes just how pleasant the man’s voice is. Especially compared to his usual fare of the slurring of the inebriated, or the grouchy ass-o’clock-ers that need their deli meats at three in the morning before work.

“I hope so, too,” the other replies. “And thanks. I will.”

Which is about all he could have said in response anyway. Chanyeol’s poor at small talk.

Chanyeol flashes the man two thumbs up as he makes to leave, instead of being normal and just waving (which, as a cashier, he doesn’t normally do anyway). He’s also a little bit socially inept. Pleasant Voice smiles anyway, which takes years off his slightly haggard face, and uses his free hand to return the gesture before leaving out the front doors.

“Hyung, look,” Sehun drawls, tearing his attention away from the strange customer. Sehun is balancing two jars of Smucker’s on his head. “All of this jelly,” he whispers, leaning into Chanyeol’s personal space, “But you still got no jams.”

Chanyeol throws a pen at Sehun’s face and snickers when the jars crash to the ground as Sehun flinches. “Cover me, brat,” he orders, hoping that Sehun was too distracted picking up his dignity from the ground to put up a fight, “Or I will pee on all your loved ones.”

Chanyeol slips away quickly before Sehun can protest, and all thoughts of Pleasant-Voice-With-Eyebags are replaced with the all-consuming urge to relieve himself.

But later, when he passes the grapes to get back to the till (and Sehun, sporting an impressive bitch face), he gives himself a tiny smile.

“Ew, hyung, stop doing that, you look super creepy.”

“Shut up, Sehun.”

“Rise and shine, Park!”

Chanyeol jerks awake when he feels a familiar, but very much unwelcome, weight jump on him. Byun Baekhyun grins down cheerily at Chanyeol’s sleep-encrusted face and pecks him with perfectly glossed lips on the forehead.

“No, Baekhyun, it’s too early to be gay, get off of me.” Chanyeol feebly pushes at Baekhyun’s face, pinned down by the strategic placement of Baekhyun’s bony ass on his stomach. “Who let you in, anyway? I thought Jongdae banned you from our apartment.”

“I secretly made copies of your keys a couple months ago,” Baekhyun informs him, completely unapologetic, “And Jongdae is passed out at his desk again, so you get to entertain me. Also, there’s always time to be a little gay with my extremely homosexual best friend.”

“Of course,” Chanyeol says dryly, though he grins stupidly when Baekhyun leans away from his morning breath. “All gay, everyday.”

“You know it, dude.”

His best friend slides off his stomach and settles into big-spoon position, wrapping arms and legs koala-style around Chanyeol’s too-long frame. It’s been like this since they were five and Baekhyun had still been bigger; though Chanyeol complains now and then, the now-shorter Baekhyun maintains his big-spoon status.

“Is there a reason you’re not at work and instead chose to come wake me at too-damn-early o’clock?” He prods at Baekhyun’s skinny-jean clad leg straddling his hip. “Also, you know we need to get to at least second base before cuddling comes free.”

Baekhyun smacks his head against Chanyeol’s back in retaliation. “I’m invoking Best Friend Privileges,” he declares. “And it’s three in the afternoon. Class is over, my beloved wombat.”

“Noooo,” Chanyeol groans, his face smushed against his pillow. “Go away. I had a really rough shift, man, I need to sleep some more. There were like, ten customers. Ten!”

“Bro,” Baekhyun says in sympathy.

“And then Jongin lost a crate of strawberries? How do you even lose a crate?”

“Oh man, your life sounds rough, Yeol,” is Baekhyun’s muffled murmur as he buries his face into Chanyeol’s t-shirt. “You should have kept the desk job at Suho Inc., then. So cushy. Could probably pay off my loans.”

This elicits a groan from Chanyeol. “Desk job,” he repeats. “Typing up reports and throwing paperclips at Tao three cubicles over just to hear him bitch about it.” He sighs dramatically. “I couldn’t do it. Cuff links.”

He feels Baekhyun’s full body shudder. “Word.” They both remember trying to buy a pair for Chanyeol’s boss, one Wu Yi Fan, and immediately abandoning the idea after three minutes in the high-end shop.

“At least the supermarket has interesting people,” Chanyeol says. “And overnights aren’t so bad. I get paid, like, a dollar more an hour just to stock crap. What a time to be alive.”

“I wouldn’t call Jongin and Sehun interesting. Annoying. Weird. Lame. Those are the words I would use.”

“I meant the customers.” The Grape Guy from the night before flashes through Chanyeol’s mind. “Who knows, maybe I’ll meet The One someday. I’ll finally get to be a real Disney Princess.”

Baekhyun coos. “Our Chanyeollie, meeting Prince Charming in Aisle Three. How romantic. It would make the best best man speech ever.”

“Which you wouldn’t be delivering,” Jongdae intones, appearing in the doorway with a fist rubbing his eye vigorously. “Because obviously I would be the best man. Also, who let you into the apartment?”

Baekhyun scrambles out of bed to drape himself over Best Friend Number Two; this left Chanyeol to roll over onto his stomach and press his face deeper into the pillow.

“Ah, Jongdae-ah! Why do you torment yourself with dreams that won’t ever come true?” Baekhyun pats Jongdae’s back comfortingly. “I think we need to have a little talk about boundaries and how they don’t exist with us three.”

Baekhyun leads a scowling Jongdae out of Chanyeol’s room, for which he is grateful. He’s been watching those two dance around the sexual tension between the two of them for months. While he loves his best friends dearly, and he knows that they love him back just the same, he is not blind to the lingering touches and meaningful glances they throw at one another in their miserable pining.

Besides, Chanyeol supposes, this might get them off his back about his career choices. When he’d come home to the apartment and told them he’d quit, they had all gone out to celebrate the end of Chanyeol’s horrible plight. However, the news that he’d picked up a glorified bagging job had not been met with the same enthusiasm.

“This is your chance, man!” Jongdae had whined. “You’re free! You can do whatever you want now!”

“Yeah, Yeol, and that doesn’t mean taking shitty job after shitty job.” Baekhyun had casted a dark look at the soiled button-up and slacks they’d all taken the liberty of stomping on after forcefully stripping Chanyeol of his work clothes. “A supermarket? Really? Whatever happened to the whole ‘I’m dropping out to make music’ spiel you gave your parents?”

Chanyeol had huffed out a small laugh and sighed. “I was twenty,” he’d groaned. “Back when my parents were still paying for my internet bills and I went clubbing every weekend. Besides, music doesn’t pay the rent.”

Jongdae had shut up after that, because the two of them together were barely making rent every month as it was, especially with Chanyeol’s constantly changing employment. But it was clear that he was still displeased for his friend.

“Responsibilities,” Baekhyun had moaned pathetically. “They’ve even taken over our little Yeollie. That’s when you know the world is ending.”

Chanyeol had guffawed at the pout on Baekhyun’s face and reached forward to envelop both of his best friends in the cavern of his giant’s arms.

“Don’t worry, brethren,” Chanyeol had assured them. “I have a good feeling about this job. I might even keep it.”

“That’s what you said about your last five jobs,” Jongdae had said shrewdly before shrugging. “But whatever, man. As long as you’re not miserable.”

Chanyeol had beamed. “Thanks. That really means a lot,” he’d said with watery eyes.

It wasn’t that Chanyeol had been miserable at all of his past jobs. True, the job at Suho Inc. had easily been the dullest, but it wasn’t that bad. Neither was the Starbucks before that, or the secretarial job before that. They’d been alright; he’d especially liked his stint at the veterinary hospital from a couple years ago.

No, they hadn’t been bad, but Chanyeol had quit every single one of them purely because he’d never found a reason to stay. He felt no strong connection or passion towards any of the numerous jobs he’d taken up over the years, and whether it was a matter of months or years, Chanyeol would always end up leaving with a rueful two weeks’ notice and a shrug of his shoulders.

It was by chance that he’d seen the Apply Now! sign in the window of the supermarket on his walk home one day. And that was all it took to have him typing up a letter of resignation that night and bidding his office job at Suho Inc. goodbye. He’s not even ashamed of his fickleness at this point.

 His friends understand, because they were his friends, but he didn’t miss the concerned looks they gave him sometimes, and the whispers that stopped abruptly when he happened to walk in. They’d even tried to get the nickname Wanderer to stick at one point, but they’d quickly given up on that when they realized it was too many syllables to bother.

It’s been three months since he started working at the supermarket, and while it hasn’t been bad, Chanyeol still feels as lost as ever.

It’s midway through Chanyeol’s shift that night when he sees Debit-For-Small-Purchases man again.

He’s got his old biology textbook hidden sneakily beneath the safety manual by his register, flipping idly through pages detailing molecular biological processes that he learned once and promptly forgot after taking his final. Maybe if he went back to school his parents would talk to him again. And maybe help fund his utilities bill.

He’s distracted (though admittedly it doesn’t take much to do so) when he sees someone ruminating over a sale on Ziploc bags in the bin a couple of registers over. It’s the black-on-black outfit, Chanyeol decides, after recognizing the customer from last night. Most normal people understand that wearing all black outfits make them seem suspicious and unsettling, and Chanyeol thrives on meeting not-normal people. Plus, there are those signature under-eye circles that suggest yet another sleepless night.

It occurs to Chanyeol, as he watches the guy struggle over the bags, that it might also be how hot Under-Eye-Guy is that makes him so recognizable.

He’s just finished promising himself to make a better impression this time around when the stranger comes up to his register and places two Ziploc boxes and store-brand animal crackers onto the belt.

“Back again?” he asks cheerfully, which seems to startle the other man. “To be honest – and I’m not getting paid to say this or anything – I actually prefer store-brand.” He shakes the box of crackers with a smile.

“Honestly, I’m not a really big fan of animal crackers,” the other says quietly, and Chanyeol is struck again by just how nice this man’s voice is; this time, however, the sentiment is not completely benign. At Chanyeol’s raised eyebrow, he explains, “I just felt like I should at least buy something after loitering around the store for hours.”

“We welcome all types of people here,” Chanyeol promptly assures. “of all races, genders, and pastime-spenders. It’s okay if you get a kick out of front-facing labels and our Always-Fresh-Guaranteed produce. I won’t judge,” Chanyeol says, smiling kindly, all the while mentally congratulating himself on rhyming.

“Fantastic. I feel so much better about myself now that I’ve been reassured of your acceptance,” the man says dryly, smirking, “… Chanyeol.”

Chanyeol hastily raises his hands to his chest, covering up his (once again askew) nametag. “Hey! I said I wouldn’t judge you, not that we could be on first-name bases!” Chanyeol pauses for a beat. “Though I wouldn’t mind being able to refer to you as something other than Grape Guy in my head.”

“My name is Kyungsoo,” Kyungsoo allows, picking up the plastic bag holding his purchases. “And I’m so touched that you remembered.”

“I value all of my customers,” Chanyeol says solemnly, though internally excited. “Even the ones that refuse to carry small change,” he adds with a flourish as he points to Kyungsoo’s debit card.

Kyungsoo huffs in fake annoyance, which causes Chanyeol to squee inside because cute. “Coins are heavy,” he intones haughtily. “And if you haven’t already noticed – I’m a little... small. I can’t risk being weighed down.”

“Just a little?” Chanyeol teases.

“Well, we can’t all be giraffes.” Chanyeol laughs at this.

“Are you two done flirting?” an elderly woman suddenly pipes up irritably, holding a bag of bean sprouts in her hands behind Kyungsoo. “Because I have a soup to get home to.”

Chanyeol goes red in embarrassment as Kyungsoo hastily gathers his things, bowing repeatedly in apology. How long that lady must have been standing there, Chanyeol doesn’t know, but from the muttering about ‘kids these days’ and ‘this generation’, it can’t have been short. Chanyeol layers on the charm in the hopes of getting back into her good graces and watches Kyungsoo leave with a shrug of apology and a short wave. Chanyeol smiles wider in response, until he realizes that he now just looks creepy and the woman is now thoroughly repulsed.

Oh well. Chanyeol, as much as he tries, can’t please everyone. And getting Kyungsoo’s name is probably worth breaking Chanyeol’s record.

When Chanyeol wakes up the next day, sprawled over his tiny twin bed, it’s mid-afternoon and Baekhyun is perusing his closet with pursed lips.

“You have, like, nothing to wear,” is Baekhyun’s greeting when Chanyeol groans and tries to roll over to go back to sleep.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Chanyeol mumbles. “Jongdae did my laundry two days ago.”

“Your ratty-ass hoodies and sneakers aren’t going to fly when we go out tonight, peasant,” Baekhyun snarls, whipping a stray snapback at his friend’s head.

Chanyeol peers blearily at Baekhyun, who has by now unceremoniously dumped most of Chanyeol’s clothes onto the ground in rejection. “We’re going out tonight?”

This gets him a scathing look. “You’re off,” he explains slowly for Chanyeol, “I don’t have classes tomorrow, and Jongdae owes me a couple of shots. So, yes. We’re going out.”

Going out apparently means tight and/or ripped clothing, and copious amounts of eyeliner on Baekhyun’s part. The club they hit up is a new thing, still full of unrealistic hopes of being clean and classy, but boasts various unexplained fluids on the floor and teenagers with good fake IDs. Chanyeol pulls awkwardly at the leather jacket Baekhyun forced on him, never mind that he hasn’t actually gone clubbing in years, so all of his clubbing clothes are mostly outgrown.

(“Even better,” Baekhyun assures. “It’ll show off those broad shoulders of yours.” He conveniently disregards the whole Chanyeol-is-6ft-tall-and-lanky part.)

They’d arrived slightly buzzed, but this doesn’t stop Baekhyun from immediately demanding drinks before doing anything. They make Jongdae use his curled lips and bright eyes on the bartender – a guy named Minseok that sees right through them but indulges them anyway. By the time they’ve each downed more shots between the three of them than they can remember counting, Chanyeol wonders if the music in clubs had always been so loud, and if people had always had such disregard for personal space. Baekhyun, on the other hand, is getting handsy and sloppy. They’re best friends, but this does not do anything for Chanyeol’s tolerance for aforementioned best friend’s saliva inexplicably being on his arm.

Minseok cuts them all off when Baekhyun whispers something lewd to him in his ear, leaving Chanyeol only the rest of his beer and a disgruntled pair of best friends. He loses Baekhyun and Jongdae not too long after this, who have lost interest in drinking and gained interest in sweating off their makeup on the dance floor. As he sits at the bar to wait for them to come back, completely uninterested in joining any of the men sending heavy looks his way, he realises with horror that he’s grown out of clubbing.

“Oh god,” he says aloud, though it’s drowned out immediately by the cacophonous music in the club. “I’m a loser.” He thinks Minseok sends him an understanding look, which makes him hide his face in his glass.

Chanyeol wallows in self-pity and tepid beer after this revelation. Normally, he isn’t the type to be the sad drunk amongst his group of friends (that honour had been bestowed upon Luhan, an old roommate from college), but he can’t help feeling pretty shitty. Even clubbing, it seems, has lost its allure, and as a healthy twenty-five year old that tugs one out at least twice a day, this observation makes him feel like Joonmyun. Bless Joonmyun’s soul, but the poor guy was duller than the monthly ‘employee pep talks’ he liked to host after shift hours.

All of this combined with the fact that his dick is slowly suffocating within the confines of the at least two sizes too small jeans he’s got on, which is a brand of miserable all on its own, and Baekhyun’s drying saliva on his arm, Chanyeol considers the whole night one huge suck.

An unsuccessful search for his friends and three pairs of hands on his ass later, Chanyeol trudges out of the club, deciding against a walk home and hailing a cab. He tips the driver generously, because someone might as well have a nice night, and walks up to his shared apartment on the fifth floor, because of course the elevator is out of service.

He’s just slotting his key into the hole when he feels his Spidey Senses tingling. Normally, they only tingle when there’s a gory bit coming up in the movie he’s watching, or if Baekhyun has done something stupid.

He finds out it is both, sort of, when he opens the door and hears the unmistakeable sounds of sex, and his best friends. And his best friends having sex, together.

“I mean, I guess,” Chanyeol utters eventually, after he debates the pros and cons about sleeping in his bedroom – which happened to be right beside Jongdae’s. In the end, his plushies waiting for him in his room win out over thin walls, and he gets ready for bed as hastily as possible, hoping to fall asleep quickly and forget about the mess of that night.

It is a testament to how much Chanyeol loves his best friends that he is awake at ten in the morning the next day, flipping through the channels on the TV, waiting.

Jongdae appears first, thankfully covered up in all the important places. He obviously wasn’t expecting Chanyeol to be home, because the yelp he lets out when Chanyeol peeks his head over the couch to smile evilly at him is equal parts scared and embarrassed.
“Jongdae, my friend, good morning to you,” he chirps cheerfully.

“Oh my god, Chanyeol, what are you even doing here – I mean, like, you live here, but—”

“It’s okay, Dae,” Chanyeol assures easily, grinning, “I don’t mind that you’re fucking Baekhyun. Frankly, finally. And like, he has a nice ass. I get it.”

Jongdae lets out the breath he’d been holding, ears a cute pink as he sinks down next to Chanyeol on the couch.

“You don’t have to explain,” Chanyeol kindly offers. “I’ve seen it coming for a while.”

Jongdae bites his lip and rests his head on Chanyeol’s shoulder. “You know we still love you, right? Nothing’s changed.”

It occurs to Chanyeol that maybe nothing changed, that maybe things changed a while ago and Chanyeol’s only now being let in on the secret.

“Yeah,” Chanyeol answers absently, nodding, “Yeah, I know. I love you guys, too.”

Baekhyun walks in, then, whining about being lonely and unashamedly scratching his balls, flopping down across their laps. He, at least, is unconcerned with the new dynamic in their relationship, yanking the remote from Chanyeol’s hand as if nothing was different.

“Ugh, get off, you’re so heavy.”

“Bite me.”

But as Chanyeol watches his best friends, he’s thinking about how he’d be able to manage rent on his own, and about maybe finding a new roommate. Third wheel status would probably suck less if he were to live elsewhere. It’s nothing personal, he tells himself, really.

“Hyung, don’t ever take days off without me again,” Sehun groans the instant Chanyeol clocks in, falling heavily into Chanyeol so that Chanyeol is suddenly in possession of an armful of dramatic maknae.

“On a scale of one to fuck-up, what did you do?”

“You know how trash I am at math. Joonmyun-hyung knows it, too! And yet they still stuck me on cash because Jongin snores through life and sucks Joonmyun-hyung’s dick.” Sehun scowls. “For real, though, who even does mental math anymore.”

“Um, I do,” Chanyeol says, slightly hurt. “I’m really good at it.”

“Yeah, but who cares about you.”

Chanyeol pulls on the company sweater that passes as uniform, throwing Sehun a pitying look. The young are so bleak. Tragic.

“And you missed the weirdo that came in yesterday.”

“Seriously?” Chanyeol sighs – weirdos are Chanyeol’s absolute favourite. “What’d he do?”

Sehun brightens with obvious joy at judging his customers. “He was really creepy looking, you know? Looked like a twelve year old snatching panties from his next door neighbour. Just walked around for a couple hours, inspecting toothpaste and crap, and then bought a banana and left. What even.”

Recognition dawns upon Chanyeol. “Oh, you mean Kyungsoo,” he says, mildly disappointed in Sehun’s idea of weird. “He’s alright.”
“You know him?” Sehun raises an eyebrow critically.

“Not personally. But he’s come in a couple times already.” Chanyeol shrugs, embarrassed. “I don’t know, he’s pretty cute.”

Sehun stares. “Ew, hyung, do you have a crush on the weirdo?” Sehun wrinkles his nose at the idea of Chanyeol having feelings.

Flustered, Chanyeol throws his nametag at Sehun, followed by Jongin’s shoe when Sehun dodges the first. “No, I don’t have a crush on the weirdo – I mean, Kyungsoo,” he retorts hotly. “I’m just saying. Remember Pink-Thong-Guy? It could have been him.”

“True.” They both shudder. “But this doesn’t mean you don’t have a crush on Weirdo, bye~”

Sehun grins and dashes out of the room cackling, yelling at Jongin (who had been diligently stacking cans of tomato soup) to beware Chanyeol’s cooties. Chanyeol groans and hides Sehun’s cellphone in Jongin’s sweaty gym clothes in retaliation.

It doesn’t help anything that Chanyeol suddenly feels really warm when he spots Kyungsoo coming in later that night, furtively looking around to make sure neither Sehun nor Jongin are nearby. Knowing Sehun, Jongin had probably already gotten a colourfully embellished recap, and the two were probably just waiting for the opportunity to shit talk their favourite hyung together.

“Hi, Kyungsoo,” Chanyeol greets when Kyungsoo finally gets around to checking out, marginally less upbeat because his palms are slightly sweaty. Which is pretty lame, because he’s supposed to have grown out of his junior high phase ten years ago. At least the coast is clear – he can hear Jongin’s gross laughter even here.

Kyungsoo yawns and gives him a half-hearted smile in greeting. “Hello, Chanyeol.”

Chanyeol begins scanning the items from the relatively full basket Kyungsoo was unloading. “You seem extra tired, today,” he notes, taking in the darker circles under Kyungsoo’s eyes.

“Is it that obvious?” Kyungsoo asks wanly. “I’m actually under a really tight deadline right now. No ideas, though. I guess the pressure’s starting to get to me.” He gestures to the store, “It’s why I spend so much time here. I’m hoping a change of scenery might help, and here is the only place that’s open for me to loiter in.”

Chanyeol blinks. “I mean, I guess our hours are pretty great, but I feel like it’s the welcoming and gracious staff that keeps you coming back,” he says, trying for deadpan but ultimately failing with a self-satisfied grin.

“Gracious staff? You know I feel so attacked whenever I come here; it’s like you’re purposefully being excessively tall just to spite me.” Kyungsoo looks unimpressed, but there’s clear mirth in his eyes, and to Chanyeol’s mild mortification he finds himself finding it really endearing.

Oh crap, Sehun was right, he thinks pathetically. I hate it when Sehun is right.

But he can’t really help it when Kyungsoo is all round eyes and full lips and he’s short. It’s adorable. He probably has to stretch onto his toes at the cereal aisle.

So cute. So, so cute.

He doesn’t realize how bad he’s got it, though, until he’s just finishing bagging the items and he blurts, “Uh, I have my guitar on me.”
Kyungsoo pauses and stares. “Okay?” he says, “That’s nice?”

It is nice. Chanyeol keeps one of his old guitars in the trunk of his cars for this very reason. People totally dig musicians, he’s been assured, and he’s been able to impress his way into a number of pants with his finger work. Chanyeol is nothing if not prepared.

“I could play for you,” he offers impulsively with a winning smile, “Maybe music will help you? Because, no offence, you look like you’re going to pass out if you’re awake any longer. You don’t look so hot.” (The last bit is a lie, but Chanyeol isn’t that obvious.)

This is how Chanyeol finds himself ten minutes later sitting in the parking lot with Kyungsoo, who had agreed without much fuss – Chanyeol thanks his lucky stars that Kyungsoo actually seemed desperate enough to go for this. Even Sehun’s sulky face when asked to cover Chanyeol’s break was worth it.

Chanyeol plays a few chords, warming up, as Kyungsoo sits to his right watching him. It’s been a while since he’s last tuned the instrument, which is made immediately noticeable when even his C chord sounds wonky. He fixes it quickly, hoping Kyungsoo wasn’t music-savvy enough to notice.

It’s definitely gratifying, though, when Kyungsoo stares unashamedly as Chanyeol starts to really play, fingers remembering old songs from college with ease, songs he’d come up  with Yixing, a friend from a composition class he’d taken second year. He preens under the attention, occasionally glancing upwards to watch Kyungsoo with hopeful eyes. Kyungsoo is silent the whole time, fingers tapping out the beat on his thigh, expression unreadable but focused nonetheless.

“You’re really good,” Kyungsoo finally says, as Chanyeol is packing up to get back to work. “I didn’t expect it, honestly.”

“Such glowing praise,” Chanyeol replies. “Thank ye, kind soul.” Kyungsoo rolls his eyes at the sweeping bow Chanyeol gives him. “However, if you look to the right, you can see my beloved son Sehun flipping me off, which means it’s time for me to go.”

Sure enough, Sehun has his best bitch face on as he glares oppressively from the back door window. Much to Kyungsoo’s amusement, Chanyeol quickly hightails it after this, yelping a quick goodbye before dashing back into the store. Kyungsoo kindly locks Chanyeol’s car doors for him.

“Hyung,” Jongin hisses, startling Chanyeol out of his reverie and ruining his dinosaur drawing that he’d been working on for the last hour and a half. “Hyung, he’s here!”

Chanyeol blinks. “Who’s here?”

“The weirdo!” Jongin points unsubtly at the doors, unable to mask the grin on his face. Kyungsoo walks in and starts walking straight to Chanyeol. “He’s here to reap your soul.”

“You hang around with Sehun too much, Jongin,” Chanyeol sneers, rolling his eyes when he spots Sehun putting on a one-man musical with the mop by the produce. “Now go away, heathen. I’ve got very important business to attend to.”

Jongin snickers but obliges, loping away – probably to go and hide in the dairy section and nap amongst the cream cheeses. In the meantime, Kyungsoo approaches the register, walking with a purpose he usually didn’t possess on his usual meandering rounds around the store.

“You need to play for me again.” Kyungsoo’s voice is flat, but with a certain sense of urgence.

 “Hello to you, too, Kyungsoo,” Chanyeol teases cheerfully, unnecessarily excited to see Kyungsoo yet again. “You look better. I guess it worked?”

It’s true – the eyebags under the shorter man’s eyes are much less purple and swollen and closer to a normal size. Even Kyungsoo’s skin seems to be brighter.

“I’m using a new BB cream,” Kyungsoo deadpans when Chanyeol mentions this as well. “But yes, I think your playing actually did the trick. That’s why I need you to play for me again.”

Well, Chanyeol wasn’t about to reject his crush when he seemed to keen on his company, so he flashes Kyungsoo a grin and bribes Sehun into covering for him yet again.

“Why don’t you ever ask Jongin to cover you?” Sehun gripes.

“Because I actually like Jongin,” Chanyeol quips, ruffling Sehun’s hair, much to Sehun’s annoyance. “Remember: the quarters are the big silver ones.”

“Screw you, hyung.”

Chanyeol laughs, and even Kyungsoo smirks as they leave Sehun behind to serve a pair of giggling teenage girls clutching cheap booze and Cheetos.

This time, at Kyungsoo’s request, Chanyeol improvises, plucking out chords and lining them up in his mind. The tune is simple, easy, but pleasant. Kyungsoo pulls out his phone partway through, and Chanyeol is flattered when Kyungsoo begins to record him playing.
It feels good. It’s been a while since Chanyeol’s had the chance to show off his musical prowess, and even longer for an eager audience.

“I miss this,” Chanyeol says later, when his break is over and he’s getting ready to go back inside. “I wanted to go into music, once. I dropped out because of it. It’s probably the one thing I’ve ever really wanted to do in life.”

“So why are you working at a supermarket, then?” Kyungsoo asks. “You’re clearly really good at it.”

Chanyeol looks at his feet. “I’ve sort of given up on it. It never really got me anywhere, you know? Busking doesn’t pay the bills.”

“Well, if it means anything to you, I think you sell yourself short,” Kyungsoo says seriously. “I might even go so far as to say that I’m your fan, Chanyeol.”

“Thanks,” Chanyeol says, eyes wide with surprise. “I’ve never had a fan before. Does this mean I get to choose a lightstick colour?”
Kyungsoo points a finger at him. “Don’t get too ahead of yourself,” he reprimands. “You’re not that good. Maybe we can choose a balloon colour, though.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you look dumb when you’re happy, hyung?” Sehun drawls, after their shift is over and the two younger workers have convened around Chanyeol to get all of the details. “But then again, you sort of look dumb all the time.”

“Oh, shut up, Sehun. You’re just jealous that I’ve gotten further with Kyungsoo than you have stalking Tao on Facebook,” Chanyeol snaps back.

“I can’t believe you tried to get into Weirdo’s pants with your guitar,” Jongin groans. “That is so lame. What kind of 2000 and late shit is that?”

Sehun kicks Jongin. “Did you just poorly reference the Black Eyed Peas?” he asks, nose wrinkled in offense.

“Just because you can’t appreciate the finer things in life,” Chanyeol says primly, “Doesn’t mean Kyungsoo can’t.”

Jongin snorts and Sehun just looks disapprovingly at Chanyeol, and Chanyeol feels mildly attacked by all the judgment he can feel coming off in waves by the duo.

“And anyway,” Chanyeol continues, smirking as he changes out of his uniform, “I got his number in a neon green sweater, which is more than you two can manage in your skinniest jeans on a good hair night.”

Chanyeol walks out, leaving Jongin with his mouth hanging open and Sehun scowling, feeling pretty damn good about himself. He checks his phone as he dumps his bag off into the trunk of his car, smiling at the unamused texts he’d received back from Kyungsoo after Chanyeol’s texting spree during his shift.

He stops before he can get behind the wheel, though, when he opens the new email he’d received as well.

Dear Park Chanyeol, it begins in crisp Hangul. Following your application submitted three months ago, we would be pleased to offer you a position here at EXO Technologies…

Memories of him sending in his resume on a whim one night months ago come rushing forward. He hadn’t expected to ever get a response back, especially when EXO Tech was one of the leading companies on the rise in Korea. It’s an incredible opportunity, Chanyeol knows. Coupled with his growing disinterest in his job at the supermarket, the job sounds extremely appealing – even if it does mean having to move halfway around the world to do it.

Chanyeol can feel it. It’d been the same when he’d first applied for the job at the supermarket, and the same before that with Suho Inc. The impulse to go itches at the back of his head, a little seed that will no doubt grow larger with time.

He drives home that night preoccupied with thoughts about ddeokbokki and summer vacations as a child.

The next few weeks go by abnormally quickly, as everything in Chanyeol’s life seemed to be happening all at once. He’d been given a month to consider the position, and he was planning on using the full month to make a decision. Though he was used to constant change, a sudden upheaval from his roots was not something he was going to take lightly.

He hadn’t even told Baekhyun or Jongdae. He’s sure that they would be supportive of him, but he wasn’t exactly keen on discussing his moving away – to another country, no less – with his closest friends. Especially when they were just settling into their new relationship.

In between agonizing over this momentous decision, Chanyeol lets off stress by spending his every break at work with Kyungsoo, who never seemed to be available in the daytime but showed up without fail every night. His crush had morphed over the weeks from superficial attraction to a sort of intimacy; there’s so much more to Kyungsoo than his odd choice of dress and his aversion to carrying cash. He doesn’t want to call it love, not yet, but the giddiness in his heart whenever Kyungsoo so much as laughs at one of his jokes makes him want to think ‘close enough’.

Most nights Chanyeol brings out his guitar and plays idly as they talk; Chanyeol with his cheesy one-liners and Kyungsoo with scathing, but indulgent comebacks.

“You should sing with me,” Chanyeol demands one night when he catches Kyungsoo humming along to the song Chanyeol’s been working on ever since the second night. “Please. This song will never live up to its full potential if it’s only got my crappy voice singing along to it.”

Kyungsoo purses his lips and ducks his head, avoiding Chanyeol’s gaze. “No thanks,” he declines, fiddling with fingers. “I don’t want to ruin your work.”

Chanyeol laughs and pats Kyungsoo on the back. “Don’t worry, Soo. It can’t be worse than me. And besides, the song is as much yours as it is mine.” Chanyeol says the last sentence quieter, tapering off at the end in embarrassment.

Kyungsoo stares at Chanyeol long enough for Chanyeol’s ears to go red at the scrutiny, wondering if perhaps he’d said too much.

“Okay,” Kyungsoo says eventually, to Chanyeol’s surprise. “I’ll try.”

And so Chanyeol begins to play again, the chords now as familiar to him as the ones for Happy Birthday. He starts off with a hum, fiddling around with different melodies. Soon, Kyungsoo joins in; first with just little harmonies to Chanyeol’s melodies, and then even leading.

Chanyeol beams, playing with renewed enthusiasm, because he was right.

“You’re amazing,” he gushes the moment the last chord fades out. “I’m serious!” he insists as Kyungsoo makes a face, “You’ve got an incredible voice. For a first time, we sounded freaking awesome!”

Kyungsoo groans. “It was definitely not that good,” he says, shoving Chanyeol lightly on the shoulder. “We were a mess.”

“I think our voices sound really nice together,” Chanyeol counters, sniffing pitifully. “We should do it again.”

“No way!”

“Oh, come on,” Chanyeol wheedles, “Of course it’d be rough the first time! We can only get better with practice – maybe one day, we could even sell it to some big name company and get super rich! But it will only work if you relax and let it go!” He pouts, knowing full well the effect it usually has on strangers and friends alike.

“Alright, fine!” Kyungsoo gives in with a defeated shake of his head – Chanyeol grins to himself at yet another victim fallen prey to his puppy dog eyes. “But don’t say I didn’t warn you about ruining the song!”

“You could never ruin the song,” Chanyeol says saccharinely, earning him an eye roll and another smack on the shoulder.

“Just play already, before I change my mind.”

And Chanyeol complies.

As time goes by, the two of them throw everything into their nightly sessions, cobbling together lyrics written on the backs of receipts and recorded on Kyungsoo’s phone. The song comes together slowly, but surely, and Chanyeol becomes overly attached to it. Sehun and Jongin tease him endlessly when they catch him humming it to himself at work.

Kyungsoo slowly relaxes, becoming more and more comfortable with their little arrangement, no longer needing prodding to get him to sing. A lot of it is how often Chanyeol’s voice cracks when they sing together, and how Chanyeol laughs along with Kyungsoo whenever it happens.

It strikes Chanyeol as ironic, how he’s been spending all of this time getting to know Kyungsoo just to get him to let go a little bit, when the biggest struggle in his own life is the exact opposite. Kyungsoo asks, sometimes, about the circles that have formed under Chanyeol’s eyes.

“You’re turning into me,” he teases, nudging Chanyeol lightly with his elbow.

“I hope not,” Chanyeol grimaces, “I mean, you’re not bad looking yourself, but I could never settle for anything less than my insanely good looks.”

He never mentions the reason for his eyebags, how he’s been tossing and turning not in sleep, but back and forth between staying and accepting the job at EXO Tech. Because then he’d have to explain that the one thing holding him back is Kyungsoo himself.

He tells Baekhyun and Jongdae the day before he hands in his two week’s notice and he’d officially confirmed everything with the company, and the response he gets in unsurprising.

“You’re kidding me, right?” Jongdae asks, except the omnipresent smile on his face fades fast. “You’re joking.”

The movie they’d put on earlier that night plays in the background, the cheery sounds of Love is an Open Door eerily out of place in the suddenly sombre atmosphere.

Chanyeol takes a bite out of his pizza, shrugging and looking away from the piercing stares of his best friends. “It’s not like I decided on a whim this time,” he mumbles around a mouthful of cheese and pepperoni.

Baekhyun shrieks and thumps Chanyeol with a pillow. “No way!” he spits vehemently. “You’re not actually thinking of leaving us, are you? You can’t!” Baekhyun’s eyes water pitifully as he throws himself around Chanyeol’s legs from his spot on the ground.

“It’s our fault, isn’t it?” Jongdae groans and kicks at Baekhyun. “It totally is.”

Chanyeol blinks. “How is this your fault?” he asks.

“Ever since we got together, you’ve been different,” Jongdae accuses. “Or, we’ve been different. We don’t even spend as much time together anymore!”

“Oh my god, you’re right,” Baekhyun wails, retaliating with a sharp smack to Jongdae’s thigh. “We’re such assholes. We’ve gone and neglected our bestest friend and now he’s leaving because of us and—”

Chanyeol laughs and slaps his hand over Baekhyun’s mouth.

Chill,” Chanyeol says, amused by the distraught look on both of his friends’ faces. “I’m not leaving because of you. I love you and all but this one is for me. You know how I am.” He pauses. “Though not hearing Baekhyun moaning when I get home would be a plus.”

“But what are we gonna do without you,” Baekhyun blubbers. “I moan extra loud just for you, Yeollie, how am I going to scar you now?”
“Skype, probably.” Chanyeol grunts as Baekhyun scrambles into his lap to bury his face in the crook of Chanyeol’s neck. He pats Baekhyun’s back. “It’s gonna be okay, guys.”

Jongdae sighs, resigned, and joins in on the hug fest. “I know. But that doesn’t mean we’re not gonna miss you.”

“Come on. Knowing me, I’ll probably be back in six months, tops,” Chanyeol teases. “After stealing one of their new smartphone prototypes, of course.”

It takes only a little longer, but Chanyeol eventually convinces them both to give their blessings. He hadn’t been worried about that bit, anyway, since he knew his best friends were amongst the few that always supported his constant career changes. It’s mostly just the goodbyes that Chanyeol dreads the most.

Speaking of goodbyes.

That night at the supermarket, Chanyeol is especially nervous waiting for Kyungsoo to come, since Sehun is refusing to speak to him in protest of him leaving, and Jongin had followed suit only after his crying ploy hadn’t worked. He loves the two of them, and he’s certainly going to miss him, but he can’t be helped when he spots Sehun glaring sulkily at him from the soda aisle. However, the lack of distraction doesn’t help the rapid beating of his heart.

He’d practiced the speech in his head, but it is promptly forgotten the moment Kyungsoo walks in.

 “Oh sure, leave! Just go! That’s all you wanna do,” Sehun grouses when Kyungsoo comes, taking over for Chanyeol as per usual.

“Sehun, I haven’t seen this emotion from you since Jongin stole your fruit rollup from you,” Chanyeol marvels, patting the younger boy’s head as he scowls, “I’m touched.” He hurries away with Kyungsoo quickly, though, in case Sehun said anymore.

“What is he talking about?” Kyungsoo asks as they walk out of the store. “Are you going somewhere?”

Crap, Chanyeol panics. So much for prolonging the inevitable. Given, he had waited until he only had two weeks left to break the news.

“Um, yeah. Sort of.” He clears his throat uncomfortably. “I’m going to Korea.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo blinks, “That’s cool. When are you going? I haven’t been in forever.”

“Two weeks,” Chanyeol replies.

“How long are you going for?”

“That… isn’t something I can answer. Indefinitely?” Chanyeol sucks in a breath nervously.

“Wait.” Kyungsoo stops in his tracks and turns, eyes widening. “What do you mean, ‘indefinitely’?”

“I-kinda-accepted-a-job-at-EXO-Tech-and-I’m-moving-there-in-two-weeks,” Chanyeol blurts out, words slurring together in his rush.
Chanyeol waits anxiously for Kyungsoo to respond, but is disappointed when Kyungsoo just stares at him, face unreadable.

“It’s a really rare opportunity. Marketing for one of the biggest companies in Korea. And the pay is really good, too,” Chanyeol rambles. “And, you know, it’s not that big of a deal. I’m always moving around anyway. Who knows? Maybe this will finally be the job that I stick with.”

“That’s great, Chanyeol,” Kyungsoo finally says, “Congratulations. I’m really happy for you.”

Chanyeol’s heart sinks at the flat way Kyungsoo says it, and the way he won’t even look at him anymore.

“Thanks,” Chanyeol replies, a tad bitter. He looks down at his feet, feeling distinctly uncomfortable with the silence that is returned.
Suddenly, Kyungsoo turns wide eyes on Chanyeol. “I’ve got to go,” he announces. “I’ve really busy and I came to say I couldn’t stay for long tonight.”

“What?” Chanyeol asks, upset. “I mean, I understand, but—”

“I’m sorry, Chanyeol, but I’ve got to leave.” And with that, Kyungsoo turns on his heel, walking away, leaving Chanyeol standing in the parking lot.

He can’t help but feel a little disappointed as he watches Kyungsoo walk away. Not even a protest – though he isn’t sure if he had been waiting for one anyway. Chanyeol hadn’t even had the chance to say goodbye.

The last two weeks go by miserably, though quickly. Most of it is spent packing and making last minute plans, though he’d spent the better part of the last few months preparing for the big move. He also spends a lot of time with Jongdae and Baekhyun, since plane tickets were expensive and they couldn’t anticipate being able to visit very often afterwards. Chanyeol had even taken Sehun and Jongin out to eat once, before their shift, and had surprisingly had to try and hold back tears when they read handwritten goodbye letters to him over the sizzling of their barbeque.

He waits every night for Kyungsoo to come back, to at least say goodbye, but with every shift Chanyeol becomes more and more disappointed when Kyungsoo never shows up. Texts and calls go unanswered, and Chanyeol realizes that he has no other way to contact the other man. It forces Chanyeol to re-evaluate their relationship – Chanyeol doesn’t know where Kyungsoo lives, or what he does for a living, doesn’t even know what that deadline Kyungsoo is under is even about.

Perhaps it would be better this way. Kyungsoo’s silence could only mean disinterest - and Chanyeol can’t help but think how much easier leaving will be if he’s not still waiting on Kyungsoo. A true fresh start in Korea without regrets left behind.

Chanyeol’s just about given up on his last shift, only a couple of hours left, when Kyungsoo comes running into the store.

“I finished it,” Kyungsoo huffs out the moment he arrives. “I actually finished it, thank god. Chanyeol, you have to come with me.”
“Finished what?” Chanyeol splutters, flustered when Kyungsoo grabs his hand and drags him away from the cash. “What the hell, Kyungsoo? I can’t just abandon my station!” he says urgently, resisting.

“This won’t take long. Sehun can cover you.”

Sehun is busy arranging the oranges into various genitalia, but spots Chanyeol being pulled out of the store and sighs, giving up on the penis he’d been working on to stand by the register.

“What is going on right now? What are we doing out here?” Chanyeol whines as they get to his car, thoroughly confused, and Kyungsoo pushes him in. Kyungsoo makes no move to start the car, only turns on the sound system and pushes play.

“Just listen.”

Chanyeol’s protest cuts off when a song starts playing, instantly recognizing it from the first few chords alone.

“I’m a singer,” Kyungsoo explains quietly as Chanyeol listens with his mouth wide open. “I’m not huge or anything, but I’ve got a decent sized following. The deadline I was under? My new album. For the longest time, I couldn’t think of anything. Everything I made was terrible, no matter what we did to the arrangement, no matter how many takes we did at the studio. Until you.”

It’s their song. The song they’d been working on together – Chanyeol can even hear his own guitar playing in the background. It’s a rough demo, given that bits of it had originated from Kyungsoo’s phone recording, but Kyungsoo’s voice singing the lyrics they’d written together is unmistakeable.

“I spent the last two weeks trying to put this together myself – my producing team were too busy to help much and I can’t play the guitar as well as you can.” Kyungsoo looks at him with pleading eyes. “Rushed as this was, it’s the best thing I’ve done in ages. And I obviously can’t do it without you.”

“Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” Chanyeol asks, snapping out his reverie as the song ends and begins playing again on a loop. “I would have helped you. You wouldn’t have been as stressed.”

Kyungsoo looks torn. “I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want things to change,” he admits eventually. “All those nights with you… I didn’t come so I could work with you. I came because I wanted to sing with you, to talk with you. I thought that that alone would be inspiration enough to help me with my album.”

“Was it not enough?” Chanyeol asks softly. His mind reels, stunned over Kyungsoo’s confession.

“You told me you were going to leave,” Kyungsoo says, “You said you were going to move away. And I couldn’t… couldn’t just ask you to refuse your job just because I’m in love with you.” Kyungsoo takes a deep breath, twisting his hands nervously in his lap.

Chanyeol’s eyes widen and his jaw drops. “Did you just—”

“You said once that you wanted to do music, but that you couldn’t because of money. Well, I have money. We can do music together, we can actually finish our song. You can finally do the one thing you ever wanted.”

“And you can stay,” Kyungsoo finishes, voice breaking on the last word. “You don’t have to leave.”

Chanyeol blinks rapidly, shaking his head a little at the sudden overload. “You love me?” he asks, unable to process anything said after that.

“I—well, yes,” Kyungsoo answers, flushing. “Granted, your jokes are lamer than you think they are, and you’re way too tall, but yes. I love you.”

Chanyeol laughs, partly out of elation and partly out of relief.

“Kyungsoo, I’m so glad you said that,” he says breathlessly. “Fuck the job. I’m staying. And not because of the music thing – which is amazing, don’t get me wrong. But I’m staying because I love you, too.”

Chanyeol leans over to pull Kyungsoo in, capturing his lips the way he’s been dying to for months. It’s better than he had even imagined, their mouths fitting together better than even their voices did.

“Sorry it took you almost leaving before I had the balls to confess to you,” Kyungsoo says, looking slightly ashamed. It’s adorable like everything else Kyungsoo does.

Chanyeol grins. “It’s alright. I’m sorry I almost ran away from you without telling you that I love you. Honestly, if you hadn’t come in tonight, I probably never would have. Thank god you had the balls at all to go first.”

Kyungsoo laughs, and it’s one of his rare laughs where it’s pure joy. As Chanyeol leans over once again to kiss the laugh off of his lips, he congratulates himself on finally finding a reason to stay.

Final author's note: This was such a monster to write. I don't think I've ever written anything as long. Thank you to A for kicking my ass to get this done - I guarantee that without you this fic wouldn't have happened. Thank you to the mods for giving me an extension for my poor time management skills, and for hosting a Chanyeol fic exchange!

Tags: 2014, pairing: do, rating: pg-13

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