Title: light my heart up
Summary: Sometimes Kyungsoo wonders if he's playing music or suffering punishment for his feelings for Chanyeol.
His second worst decision was agreeing to join Chanyeol’s music troupe, as a favor for a friend, because no one else would take Chanyeol’s request seriously.
Not that Kyungsoo took it seriously now—it was just that he didn’t like it when Chanyeol begged because he always looked more pitiful than he usually did, and that in itself was an amazing feat because it was Chanyeol.
This was the guy who thought it would’ve been a good idea to mix up his blank burned CDs (it made the reveals more exciting, he explained) before they had to apologize to a room of angry mothers because they couldn’t play ‘I Just Had Sex’ to impressionable young children.
Yes, Kyungsoo had to do the whole apology with him even though he had nothing to do with it, just because he was guilty by association.
Being Chanyeol’s friend had given him a sort of reputation because no one was Chanyeol’s friend, or at least, no one advertised they were. Chanyeol was the kind of person that his classmates talked about but never really put any effort into getting to know. They passed stories of varying degrees of truth, and made up decisions about him based on what they’ve been told.
Kyungsoo didn’t add into any of the fiction (because he’s a good friend like that), choosing to live with reality, even if it means helping Chanyeol by donning a horrendous cat suit and fake a smile for a crowd of three year olds.
As he stares at the fluffy pink ears popping out happily on top of his head, Kyungsoo wonders how many gods he pissed off in his previous life to have this much bad karma.
“When you say it like that, you make it sound like I'm pressuring you into some illegal drug cartel, instead of making some money singing for kids," Chanyeol pipes up as he stumbles into the bedroom, the bell jingling on his collar with every movement. The dog suit is too small on him, his bare forearms and calves sticking out from the holes, but somehow it looks perfect like Chanyeol was born to wear the most ridiculous outfits life can throw at him.
At the very least, it beats last week’s sentai spandex that made no attempt at hiding the family jewels, no matter how many ways Chanyeol tried to position his legs. He ultimately decided to let everything hang out, so to speak (Kyungsoo is still trying to figure out in what universe this is seen as a good idea) and they've since been banned from the downtown Burger King.
On the plus side, their emails have since skyrocketed with offers from clients outside of their usual trade, though Kyungsoo isn't sure he's ready to dive into being a professional stripper just yet. He still has to see what his life is like post-university to make a clear decision.
“You look stupid,” Kyungsoo grits out as he checks in the mirror for any stray bangs. Just because he was going to look ridiculous today doesn’t mean his face had to suffer.
Chanyeol clutches at his chest with a dramatic gasp and a face that Kyungsoo thinks is supposed to be scandalized, but comes off more like he's having cramps. “I’m wounded.” His eyes are widened comically and the fact that Chanyeol obviously practiced these faces beforehand just makes it even more ridiculous.
“You should be because you look stupid,” Kyungsoo huffs as he strides across the room, hands raised up on routine to tighten the collar around Chanyeol’s neck. It’s been a habit of Kyungsoo’s since middle school to scrutinize his friend’s appearance and fix him up in every way he can, to the point where Chanyeol barely bats an eyelash at him entering his personal space. “Why do we both need bells?”
Laughter erupts deep in Chanyeol’s throat and it laces through Kyungsoo’s fingers like electricity. “We don’t, but I figured I should wear one too so we could match.” Chanyeol lifts his chin up at the stray collar laying on the nightstand, but Kyungsoo ignores him to adjust the bell so that it’s resting on the front instead of on the side awkwardly.
Stepping back, Kyungsoo looks Chanyeol up and down, admiring his beautiful work before he notices that Chanyeol's staring at him with a bit too much intensity. Maybe it's the blush he powdered onto his cheeks, but if he didn't know any better, he'd think that Chanyeol looked— No.
Kyungsoo is someone who doesn't like to have feelings, so whenever he has these thoughts where he imagines Chanyeol as something other than his childhood friend, he mentally sets himself on fire.
Turning back to Chanyeol’s collar, Kyungsoo clears his throat and tries to make himself seem less obvious. “Where's this party anyways?”
“Just a couple of blocks down. I think it's near where Yixing works actually,” Chanyeol answers as he brings up the address on his iPhone. It's actually a bit farther than he makes it out to be, but it's not too far of a drive from their apartment. There's still some gas from the last job, so they should be able to make it to the party without having to stop anywhere.
"Did they want anything specific?"
Chanyeol flips through a bunch of texts. "Nope, looks like a pretty normal job to me. Just the standard singing and music. Play something summer-y, try not to scare the kids, blah blah blah. Kind of boring if you ask me."
"Well no one did so don't worry," Kyungsoo makes sure to pack a first aid kit along with the usual essentials, because he just never knows what to expect each time he sets out to do a gig with Chanyeol. "How are your fingers? Are they still hurting?"
Chanyeol tilts the corner of his lips up teasingly. "Worried about me?"
"Just make sure to bring your guitar this time," Kyungsoo huffs as he zips up his duffel bag and throws it over his shoulder.
What starts out as a mildly peaceful drive out of the apartment complex quickly turns into a nerve wracking mess a few minutes in, when Chanyeol decides to roll down his window and yell lyrics at the people walking by on the sidewalks. The fact that Chanyeol makes an effort to sing along from the top of his lungs to every single song on the radio is one of the many reasons Kyungsoo’s developed a bit of road rage.
Kyungsoo sinks into his seat when Chanyeol makes eye contact with a man roughly in his forties, and he starts screaming that he got one less problem without the man, even sticking his head out as they drive off.
"Can you stop that?" Kyungsoo grunts as Chanyeol makes a sharp turn onto a ramp, barely avoiding a minivan on his side that he only notices when he hears the angry honk from the driver. He tries not to flip a bird at the van because children might see. "Like, really."
"I could, but what fun would that be?" Chanyeol's face is swallowed by his two rows of teeth that only reveal themselves whenever his brain is working overtime. Unfortunately, that usually means bad news for Kyungsoo. For a second he prays that traffic is not too congested this time of day.
His prayers go unheard because their car ends up behind a stupid school bus, and when the glaring yellow vehicle makes a stop in front of them, Kyungsoo lets his face fall into his hands.
Chanyeol's still wailing on his left and Kyungsoo thinks he's singing 'Na Na' now; he's not really sure because he decides he can use his brain power for something more important, like finding an escape from this situation.
A few kids are shouting along with Chanyeol's horrible screeching and Kyungsoo has to hand it to the guy—he sure does have a way with kids. It's possible that creatures with the same mental capacity communicate on the same wavelength, and that the reason Chanyeol is so good with kids is because he is one. Mentally, if not physically.
The clock on the dashboard is still reading thirty minutes before their scheduled arrival, so Kyungsoo tries to make the most of it and sits back in his seat to pass the time. He tries not to focus on the kids still pouring out of the bus, and how the hell are there so many kids coming off on one stop?
When he looks over and notices that they are at the local recreation center, Kyungsoo seethes because he’s never been one for sports, or anything that required too much energy from him.
“Put your hands in the air if you feeling tonight,” Chanyeol cheers as he taps his fingers on the dashboard. “You don’t look happy Kyungsoo.”
Kyungsoo peers up at Chanyeol and pulls out the most judgmental face he can muster while his balls start to stick to his boxers inside the cat suit. Curse this foul summer heat. “What gave it away?”
“Well for one—”
“Rhetorical.” Kyungsoo deadpans. “That was a rhetorical question, Chanyeol.”
Chanyeol’s eyes widen. “You sure?”
Kyungsoo throws his head to the side so that he’s glaring back at Chanyeol with full on saucer eyes, and it seems to be effective because Chanyeol immediately pouts and looks away. “By the way, exams are coming up,” he says while he turns down the radio so it’s mere background noise. “Have you been studying?”
“I have, actually,” Chanyeol replies, leaning back against his seat with a look that’s beaming with pride. “If I’m not at the top of my classes then my parents would definitely think something was wrong. They would be like, ‘we raised you to be a winner!’” Chanyeol makes a gruff imitation of someone’s voice, most likely his father’s.
“And here you are in a dog suit.”
“And I look like a winner?” Chanyeol flashes him an optimistic smile.
Kyungsoo leans forward when the red stop sign folds back after the last kid exits the bus. “Sorry nope.”
“Well I’m sure the kids think I do.” Chanyeol laughs the comment off as he reaches over to blast the music up higher, deafening any further conversation.
Immediately, Kyungsoo shudders back to his world-hating state of mind because he hates kids like they’re demon’s spawns.
Back in high school, Chanyeol signed him up for a big brother program, where they had to act as mentors and guide underprivileged kids so that they can have a positive older figure in their life. Kyungsoo was stuck with a kid that pretty much towered over him and used his height to boss him around, and it was quite honestly not a fun experience.
Chanyeol’s is a different story. His loud and positive energy infected the kids like a happy disease, with the way his smile coaxed out similar toothy grins.
Laughter explodes from Chanyeol’s face like cannon fire and suddenly all the children are jumping up and down with joy, laughter filling up the backyard like a symphony of happiness and sunshine. It seems they’ve forgotten the main reason Kyungsoo and Chanyeol are there in the first place and start asking Chanyeol questions about all sorts of things.
“Woah woah hang on kids,” Chanyeol chuckles as he tries to back up onto the patio to free himself from the sudden swarm of children. They start jumping onto him like he’s a fluffy tree for them to climb on, bringing him down to the floor with glee and Kyungsoo has to admit, seeing Chanyeol like this does make the job a bit easier to handle.
With how well of a job Chanyeol does all by himself, it’s baffling to Kyungsoo why Chanyeol still has to ask for someone else to help him.
When the initial excitement dies down, Chanyeol pulls out his guitar from its case and tells the kids that they’re going to be playing an old favorite of his (he lies), and that Kyungsoo is going to be joining him.
All eyes are suddenly on Kyungsoo, like they’ve forgotten he was there with him the whole time and how hard is it to miss a young man in a pink cat suit in your backyard?
The mind of a kid works in mysterious ways. There’s absolutely no logic to explain why the closest kids suddenly pull at his sleeve and drag him over to Chanyeol, pushing him to sit down on the patio steps beside him. Kyungsoo rolls with it through a strained smile and pinched cheeks because he’s doing all of this for the money, and Chanyeol (but mostly the money).
Chanyeol starts strumming an old tune they practiced back when they first got into their apartment, what they once called their first real step into adulthood.
The melody takes him back to a comforting time and Kyungsoo follows his lead, letting the initial note leave his lips like the first stroke of a paintbrush. The audience is his canvas and with ease he guides the soft sounds of the guitar to paint himself a masterpiece.
This is the part Kyungsoo enjoys the most, when he gets to use his voice to create something wonderful, no matter whose ears it falls on. Slowly Chanyeol starts to harmonize with him and the sound they make together is beautiful, like happiness you can listen to, happiness you can feel over your body.
He probably imagined it, but when Kyungsoo glances over at Chanyeol, he swears he can see embers dancing in his eyes.
“We actually have enough money left over for ourselves this time,” Chanyeol sighs as he stretches out on the couch they’re both trying to claim authority of.
Kyungsoo makes a strangled noise as he’s pushed deeper into the side of the couch by Chanyeol’s stupid (“I think you mean amazing!” he once corrected him) legs. It’s nothing new to him, with their weekly TV show marathon nights, as it usually ends up with Chanyeol falling asleep near the season finale, body sprawled out over the cushions and Kyungsoo desperately trying to escape from underneath it.
“Do you mean we can actually upgrade from Kid Cuisine and get some real food this time?” Kyungsoo asks as Chanyeol flushes. “Don’t think I don’t see the boxes you tried to cover up.”
“They’re delicious,” Chanyeol whines, as he throws his legs over Kyungsoo’s lap like it’s some sort of free pillow for his body. “And kid friendly. I think that part is kind of important.” The bills from their earlier gigs lay abandoned on their coffee table, along with the remote control and a few notes Kyungsoo scribbled for their upcoming jobs. “I think we should get a new couch. This one is a bit small, don’t you think?”
Kyungsoo pushes the dead weight off of his thighs, much to the vocal disappointment of Chanyeol, and shuffles the sheets of paper around to search for the closest bill deadline. “It’s because you had to go and grow into a titan that we’re having a problem with a couch made for two average adults.”
“It must be such a pain being so short.” Chanyeol snorts.
“Careful. Your balls are within striking distance.”
“Yeah but you wouldn’t— No!” Chanyeol lets out a yelp as he jerks his body away, fearing for his life when Kyungsoo feigns a swinging motion with his fist. His tumbling off the couch frees enough space for Kyungsoo to occupy comfortably, and with legs crossed like a king, Kyungsoo smiles as he claims his throne. “Almost gave me a heart attack. I kind of need these you know, it’s like a package all together.”
Kyungsoo doesn’t bat an eyelash. “I’m sure I’d be doing the world a favor.”
Chanyeol ends up curling into himself on the floor, back pressed up against the couch as they continue their fifth sitting of Pretty Little Liars. Occasionally, Chanyeol quotes a line loudly several minutes before the character actually says it, and Kyungsoo ignores him to sort out his plans for their next gigs. He’ll have a few costumes he’ll need to rent next week, but thankfully his budget is a bit more lenient this time around.
He’s gotten the hang of this part, that’s for sure. The first time Chanyeol showed him a website for renting costumes, it was an adult-themed directory with more leather and metal than Kyungsoo thought was possible to wear on the body.
Interestingly enough, there were a few cartoon characters mixed in, but he paid it no mind because to each his own he figured. Maybe some people loved a bit of roleplay in their foreplay.
“How do you feel about pirates?”
Chanyeol grunts in the back of throat before his eyebrows knit together as he actually computes the question. “Didn’t we do that theme for that kid Baekhyun was watching?”
“Funny you should mention Baekhyun,” Kyungsoo says as he pushes a bright sheet over to Chanyeol’s side. Scrawled hastily on the top is chanyeol’s brofriend, which have been scratched out and replaced with the words piss bucket. “He’s our client.”
“Again?” Chanyeol tilts his head up at Kyungsoo. “He’s gonna want a discount again right?”
“He’s your friend, of course he’s gonna want a discount.” Kyungsoo rubs at his temples as he sighs with realization.
“This is better than last time isn’t it?” Chanyeol smiles over to Kyungsoo as he snaps a picture he’ll send over to everyone on Snapchat.
The flash momentarily blinds Kyungsoo, and he’s thankful because for a split second he forgets that he’s dressed in some ridiculously oversized parrot costume. He can practically hear his high school teachers shaking their heads. There’s a tap from the outside of his costume, and he opens it slightly to see Chanyeol grinning at him like it’s the best thing in the world.
Baekhyun’s presence is announced with the sound of stomping boots as he walks into the room with a little girl at his heels, a few tears welling up in her eyes.
“She needs to use the bathroom I think,” Baekhyun gripes as he looks back and forth between them. “Or maybe she’s hungry? I brought her to the bathroom and the kitchen but she just shook her head.”
Kyungsoo blows at the feathers that peek in through the opening of his beak and he wishes he could be in bed right now and not suffocating from the heat. He wonders if there would be any consequences if he randomly fainted from a heat stroke in the middle of a children’s birthday party. That can be his new goal in life: teaching kids about the real world.
Chanyeol stumbles towards Baekhyun and kneels in front of the little girl, fixing his Jack Sparrow hat when it slips a bit forward. “Maybe she just hates you,” he says aloud as he takes hold of her hand and guides her towards the patio out back. He’s mumbling something into her ear and she’s suddenly laughing along.
“Baekhyun is a bad person, though,” Kyungsoo adds as he shuffles over to sit on the couch. Baekhyun looks chastised and looks as if he’s about to add something terrible, but stops himself as he watches Chanyeol talk to the kid.
“Who knew Chanyeol was such a kid whisperer?” Baekhyun asks as he drops himself onto the couch beside Kyungsoo. Or at least, attempts to, with how much space Kyungsoo’s parrot costume takes up. “What am I talking about—Chanyeol’s a huge man child.”
Chanyeol is a man child, though. Not that he would ever admit to it, but he cried once when Kyungsoo took him to Disneyland for the first time and he got to shake hands with Cinderella. Kyungsoo still has the delicious evidence in his phone and occasionally threatens to upload it to Instagram whenever Chanyeol gets especially annoying.
“So have you gotten into his pants yet?” Kyungsoo makes a strangled noise in his throat at Baekhyun’s question. He turns his head quickly over to Baekhyun, and Baekhyun withholds an apology when Kyungsoo’s beak hits him square on the cheek.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Baekhyun rubs at his cheek, but maintains the smirk on his face, a knowing look in his eyes. “People up in Canada know what I’m talking about.”
“I was right. You are a bad person.”
“I’m not surprised Chanyeol can’t see it though.” Baekhyun muses as he digs into the bowl of Fritos on the table and stuffs them into his mouth noisily. “The guy is almost as oblivious as Yixing. I told Yixing someone had a crush on him and he just stared past me for a few minutes before tripping over the guitar displays.”
Kyungsoo turns his head again and this time Baekhyun has the good sense to duck. “Why are you still talking to me?”
“Because you’re still crushing over Chanyeol like he’s your high school sweetheart,” Baekhyun answers gleefully as he points over to Chanyeol. He’s crouching next to the girl now and letting her play with his hat. It’s cute. “Left any love letters yet on his nightstand?”
“It’s more complicated than that,” Kyungsoo hisses. The feathers on his costume ruffle vigorously and threaten to fly into Baekhyun’s mouth.
“I can’t do this,” Baekhyun clutches at his stomach dramatically. “This is like a really boring movie I once saw where the main character is too chickenshit to admit their feelings to the absentminded love interest.” He turns to Kyungsoo and stares at him with some intensity. “You are that main character.”
“I hope you stop breathing."
“Please tell me why we’re—” Kyungsoo starts to ask before he sways, and nearly topples over before Chanyeol catches him from the back. “Thank you. Why are we boxes of Pocky?” He motions over the huge box costume he’s currently imprisoned in and the similar box Chanyeol’s wearing.
It’s better than the parrot costume from their last job, but it’s still nothing he would ever let anyone who ever had faith in him see (because he would die from the embarrassment). On the plus side, wearing these costumes does give Kyungsoo more confidence in wearing his own clothing in public, despite what Chanyeol says about his choices.
“It’s supposed to go with the theme,” Seulgi perks up as she brings two giant bowls of Hershey Kisses into the park shelter. “There’s nothing sweeter than chocolate.”
The shelter is decorated in streamers and expensive decor, warm shades of brown flooding their eyes and drawing them to the main table where a few bowl of candy are starting to gather.
“I guess,” Kyungsoo mumbles, tapping at the giant pocky screaming across Chanyeol’s box. Chanyeol throws him a lopsided grin before waddling over to the hostess with as much grace as a giant in a box could have.
“Do you need any help with setting up?” Chanyeol asks. “It doesn’t look like there’s any kid here yet.”
“They’re down at the playground,” Seulgi says as she piles a few towers of paper plates on the table. “The party doesn’t start for another half hour, so if you two could help, that’d be nice.”
Kyungsoo starts organizing the Domo plates and spoons across the tables before he notices Chanyeol walking Seulgi over to her van. They’re smiling brightly at each other and laughing loudly at something Chanyeol said.
He doesn’t mean to stare, but he can’t help but take in the way he stares at her with happiness and the way she responds by stroking his arm with equal happiness. Chanyeol looks good with her. Chanyeol looks good with anyone, Kyungsoo decided a long time ago, but as he stands next to Seulgi, he can’t help but feel a bit of jealousy creeping in his veins.
Taking a deep breath to calm his thoughts, he continues to spread out the decorations, ignoring the odd flipping his heart does in his chest. The party passes by and Kyungsoo can’t even remember what song they played.
Chanyeol walks into their bedroom fresh from the shower, towel in hand and attempting to dry his hair. “You can use the shower if you want.” His right eye crinkles as he chuckles. “I’m not sure if there’ll be any hot water left though.”
Kyungsoo looks up at him from his laptop and gives him a death glare before going back to him Emulator. There’s plenty of things he could say in response, but they would all involve him looking back at Chanyeol and half-naked Chanyeol is a kind of Chanyeol he would rather not deal with at the moment.
“Seulgi called earlier by the way,” Chanyeol says quietly.” She was kind of wondering if you would be interested in going out with her? This Saturday I think, at the mall.”
There’s a sound like a key pressing way too hard and Kyungsoo looks back at Chanyeol with his full attention. “What?”
Chanyeol plops onto his mattress with too much force and it creaks harshly under his weight. “Yeah she sounded really interested.” The towel around his waist threatens to slip when he stretches for his phone, and Kyungsoo bites on his tongue because he doesn’t want to make it obvious he’s staring at him right now. “I think she thinks you’re cute. Of course she thinks you’re cute. Why else would she be asking you out?”
Kyungsoo registers the actual conversation they’re trying to have and shakes his head. “I can’t.”
“Why not?” Chanyeol’s watching him closely. “She seems really nice and she’s really pretty.” His eyes crinkle up in a smile. “I’m jealous.”
“I’m not, interested, in going out with her?”
“Really?” Chanyeol examines his eyes like he’s carefully searching for something. “That’s too bad. I think she’d be good with you.” He flips through his contacts. “It’s been a while since you went out on a date, I was hoping—” He pauses. “Actually, I can’t remember you ever going out with anyone.”
Kyungsoo picks his next words out carefully. “I don’t want to.”
“Why?” When Kyungsoo doesn’t answer, Chanyeol nods to himself and relaxes in his bed. “Well, if you change your mind, I know plenty of girls who’d love to take you out on a date.” Kyungsoo curls the blankets around himself as Chanyeol sends a text off to Seulgi.
Theoretically, it should be simple for Kyungsoo to confess his feelings to Chanyeol. It’s only a few words, and Kyungsoo knows it can lift so much weight off of his shoulders.
It’s the destructive potential of a confession that keeps them locked away in his throat, and he knows that the outcome will much more realistic than he’d like it to be.
The truth is, Kyungsoo has always known that he’s felt a little something more for Chanyeol than just the affection one has for a friend. It’s just that when you’ve known someone for so many years, the thought of romance never really crosses your mind, and when it finally does appear, it’s frightening how much it can change a relationship.
Kyungsoo has been there for most of Chanyeol’s relationships, sitting through spells of girls that would come and go and take a piece of Chanyeol’s heart each time until there’s nothing but a husk left in his chest.
He remembers laying on his bed with his back turned to Chanyeol, listening to the phone conversation his friend was having with Jinri as they rambled about nothing late into the night. He remembers sitting beside Chanyeol as they stared up at the ceiling and listened to playlist after playlist of sad breakup songs.
Love isn’t something new to Kyungsoo, but he knows the effects it can have on a person, especially when it’s unrequited.
To be fair though, Kyungsoo knew that Joonmyun was straight, but he allowed his heart get infected anyway, because that’s what love does to a person; it clouds a person’s judgment and lets them make irrational decisions.
He will never forget the sad realization in Joonmyun’s eyes when he finally confessed his feelings to him, and the way Joonmyun slumped into himself like he was trying to block out everything he just heard.
Chanyeol is different though.
Kyungsoo wants to believe that Chanyeol is different, with the way Chanyeol watches him when he thinks Kyungsoo isn’t looking, and the jokes he makes to cheer Kyungsoo up because he always looks ‘so grumpy’, and that he looked much better when he smiled. He wants to believe that Chanyeol feels the same way he does, and that his feelings won’t betray him again.
“It sounds like a really boring movie I’ve seen before,” Jongdae says when Kyungsoo rants to him about his Chanyeol problems over an iced mocha. They’re sitting at the local Starbucks and practically hiding away in a corner table as college students start filling up the building with noise. There should be a limit on how much shouting a person can do inside a room.
“Please don’t say it like that, you sound like Baekhyun.” Kyungsoo frowns as he takes a sip of his coffee. It’s not as sweet as when his favorite employee is working. “What do you think I should do?”
Jongdae lifts his fingers like he’s deep in thought. Jongdae favors these poses whenever they hang out because he likes being the wise one out of the pair. Kyungsoo doesn’t mind because Jongdae does offer some sage advice when he needs it. “You haven’t told Chanyeol you’re gay yet have you?”
Kyungsoo leans his chin against his palm. “I figured it’ll slip out in a conversation easily one day like, ‘hey by the way I like men’, but we’re adults now and it’s still just as hard as when we were kids.”
“I’m sure you’ve already heard this a million times before but, honesty is the best policy.” Jongdae nods to himself. “Unless you’re Baekhyun. Just not talking is best for him.”
“I’ve told plenty of people I’m gay before and I’ve had moments where I’ve been let down.” Kyungsoo curls his fingers around his cup. Condensation begins to chill around the plastic. “I’m used to being disappointed, so I don’t know what’s stopping me.”
“It’s not obvious?” Jongdae asks as he quirks an eyebrow. “You’ve known Chanyeol since you were kids so it’s only natural you’d be afraid of losing that friendship.” He takes a sip of his overpriced coffee. “You don’t want him to look at you any differently.”
“If that’s my problem, then what’s my answer?”
“There isn’t really a clear answer for this,” Jongdae smiles at the pair of college girls that walk by their table. They blush for a moment and then walk away giggling. “But if you never say anything, then what’s going to change? Do you want to just live the rest of your life singing for birthday parties with Chanyeol and never letting him know how you feel?”
“I want to tell him, eventually,” Kyungsoo says as he gives a cordial wave to Jongin at the front counter. The boy notices it and waves back, before flushing in embarrassment when the customer yells at him for not paying attention to them. “I just need the right moment.”
“Take as much time as you need.” Jongdae’s lips twitch. “It is your feelings after all. I’ve known Chanyeol for a while now as well and well, you should give him a bit more credit than you’re assuming.” He looks at Kyungsoo straight in the eye. “He obviously cares for you a whole lot.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.”
“I mean, I’m sure he wouldn’t just end your friendship over--” He pauses when Kyungsoo looks down at the table. “I’m sure he wouldn’t end it just because you liked him. The guy’s pretty narcissistic. I’m sure he’d be flattered.”
The doorbell jingles and they both look up to see Sehun walking over to the counter, flashing Jongin the barest hint of a smile as he takes his order. Jongin’s cheeks dust red as they start to talk and Kyungsoo thinks it’s cute.
“I hope you’re right, Jongdae.”
“This is too good,” Baekhyun chortles between coughs as he watches Kyungsoo walk in through the front door. “I mean, I had an idea of what it was going to be like but actually seeing it in person is way better.”
Kyungsoo tugs at his pink frills before waltzing into deeper into the party. When the client had called in for a Nintendo-themed birthday party, Kyungsoo didn’t think that he’d be playing Princess Peach out of all the characters they could pick from. The client insisted on making sure someone was Princess Peach because most of the kids loved her. Kyungsoo loved her too but it wasn’t like he wanted to dress up as her anytime soon.
“Shut up, fuckface,” Kyungsoo grits out as the crown on his head starts to slip.
Baekhyun wipes away a tear. “That was pretty bad language for a princess you know. You have to be dainty and all of that.” If Kyungsoo was Princess Peach, then Baekhyun was definitely a Toad.
Kyungsoo makes a choking motion with his hands before throwing on a smile for the kids looking at him through the kitchen doors. “I hope you die in the fiery pits of Hell,” he whispers, because kids have ridiculously acute hearing.
“So anyways where’s Chanyeol at?” Baekhyun asks as his laughing fits quiet down.
Kyungsoo checks his phone and Chanyeol should’ve been here by now. They had to make separate trips because of last minute planning and the fact that Chanyeol’s costume didn’t come in on time. He wanted Kyungsoo to go ahead and had assured Kyungsoo he’d make it on time with the Mario costume.
“This is cute by the way,” Baekhyun motions towards Kyungsoo’s dress. “You even went all out with the blond hair.” He tries to touch the wig but Kyungsoo slaps his hand away. “Still not swayed about your character choice but I’m glad you’re taking the canon couple route for revealing your feelings to Chanyeol. Didn’t take you for the roleplaying type. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like reenacting Nintendo’s power couple.”
“Why are you even here anyways?” Kyungsoo tries to smooth down the wrinkles on his gloves aggressively like Baekhyun’s presence is giving him some sort of rash.
“I’m helping out Yixing. Guy might as well play guitars in his sleep, but he doesn’t know the first thing about hosting a birthday party, so he called me up to make sure things went well.” Baekhyun picks at his cuticles. “So I made sure to book you guys because we’re friends.”
“You’re not my friend.”
“I’m hurt. But it’s okay because I consider you a friend, Kyungsoo. You’ll thank me later for helping your love life move along.”
He needs to sit down, or at least, get as far away as he can from Baekhyun’s phone because it’s completely obvious he’s taking as many photos as he can of Princess Kyungsoo. The beady black eyes from the Mushroom doll on the table stares at him with silent judgment, like it’ll burst out into a lecture about how Kyungsoo life is both sad and perfect for a summer romantic comedy.
His middle school teachers would be shaking their heads right now and questioning why Kyungsoo made the decision to befriend Chanyeol, because befriending Chanyeol meant befriending everyone Chanyeol considered friends, and that included Baekhyun.
“Do I tag this as genderbent?” Baekhyun mumbles to himself. “It definitely qualifies as Rule 63--”
“Hey guys, sorry I’m late.”
Kyungsoo recognizes Chanyeol’s voice instantly and he’s about to yell at him for his tardiness, but what he didn’t expect to find was Chanyeol dressed top to bottom in a Marth costume. It’s like watching a prince walk out of the video game he originated from, and it’s enough to leave Kyungsoo speechless. Chanyeol scratches at his cheek as pink starts to flood in and it’s adorable?
“What happened to you?” Baekhyun screeches as he starts taking pictures of Chanyeol instead. Kyungsoo is relieved, standing up to fully take in Chanyeol’s… everything.
“The costume shop didn’t have anything Mario or close to him, so I asked them if they had anything Nintendo related. So they pointed me to Fire Emblem and well, eyes on me.” Chanyeol juts out his hip as he rests his hand on the other side, sliding into an easy grin as the children start to gather in the living room.
Yixing looks completely thrilled that the children are no longer surrounding him and Kyungsoo feels sympathy for the guy as he drags his feet over to him. “They kept yelling at me to make Mario show up faster,” he whines into Kyungsoo’s side. “Then they just looked at me with those soul-sucking eyes and, I don’t get paid enough for this.”
“You and me both,” Kyungsoo adds. “I guess they don’t care much about Mario since Marth arrived.”
“I can’t wait for this party to be over, I need to burn out my brain with some--” Yixing glances over to Kyungsoo. “I mean I need to sleep.”
Yixing leans his head onto Kyungsoo’s shoulder, nesting in the pink puff of his dress like a baby kitten. It distracts Kyungsoo enough so that he doesn’t have to acknowledge the way Chanyeol watches him through the crowd.
Baekhyun scoffs as he pours way too much vodka into a plastic cup. “I think I know a thing or two about this, okay?” He takes a whiff of the bottle before shrugging and pouring a bit more.
“So are you trying to get shitfaced?” Chanyeol looks between Baekhyun and Zitao, who arrived after the party ended because he ‘heard there would be alcohol’.
“I’m not Yixing,” Baekhyun jabs. Kyungsoo socks him in the arm and Yixing looks pleased at the groan Baekhyun rubs out. “I mean, I’m not Zitao.”
Kyungsoo socks him again and smiles when Baekhyun wobbles a bit in his seat, because after all of the teasing and poking Baekhyun initiated in the party, it’s nice to finally get some revenge in after all the kids have left. Zitao smiles at him appreciatively and Kyungsoo swears there’s hearts floating around him like some manhwa character.
“So are we going to drink or?”
“Pour your own drinks fuckers.” Baekhyun bites out as he leans back into the couch with a wounded arm, propping his feet onto the new coffee table Yixing bought from IKEA. Said owner doesn’t look amused at all.
“Don’t mind if I do.” Zitao practically jumps at the nearest bottle of Pinnacle (Chanyeol quickly throws his arms around the remaining bottles as the table starts to shake) and starts pouring it into the cup closest to him.
They start an easy round of shots, which quickly evolves into a no-holds-barred competition of apparent manliness and superior drinking ability. Zitao is knocked out as soon as it starts (“Like the lightweight he is!” Baekhyun shouted) and he’s humming happily in his sleep as he collapses on the couch. Baekhyun wastes no time in taking as many pictures as he can for blackmail.
Yixing seems to be holding out better than Zitao is, but as soon as Chanyeol pours the sixth glass of vodka, Yixing’s ranting on about something to do with touching music and Kyungsoo knows he’s pretty much gone for the night. Chanyeol’s hand is starting to shake slightly as he concentrates really hard on holding onto Kyungsoo’s arm.
“Hold me the room is shaking,” he slurs.
Kyungsoo, being the designated driver he always is, simply pats Chanyeol’s hand and reassures him that the room is in fact, not shaking. “We’re still stable Chanyeol.”
“Sta-ble... Stable... Stable, horse. Do you want a horse, Kyungsoo?” Chanyeol’s brows furrow. “Horses are hard to take care of.”
“No.” Kyungsoo moves his hand over so he can pat Chanyeol on the head affectionately, and Chanyeol responds by leaning in closer, the warm smell of alcohol on his breath as he sighs.
“Please don’t be mad at me.”
“Why would I be mad at you?”
“For being,” Chanyeol pauses. “Me.”
Kyungsoo drops his hand back to his side. “I’m not mad at you.”
“Really?” Chanyeol looks up at him with a glassy stare.
“I could never be mad at you.”
“But you try. So hard. For this.” It’s taking all of Chanyeol’s energy to get his words out as his voice becomes lower with each breath. “For this, job and for me.”
“I guess I do.” Kyungsoo’s laugh withers. “I wonder why sometimes.”
“Disgusting,” Baekhyun hiccups as he pours himself his ninth shot for the evening. He’ll say it’s his seventh, but who’s really counting anymore? “You two are disgusting.”