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[personal profile] surgicalfocus
Title: You’ve Ruined All My Favourite Songs

Pairing(s): Chanyeol / Baekhyun

Rating: R

Genre: Romance, fluff

Warning(s): Language, drunken sexual activity, hints of alcoholism

Length: oneshot (~9,500)

Summary: Chanyeol makes a bet with his roommate Baekhyun, an avid bar-hopper, that he can't last a whole month without going out. Baekhyun accepts the challenge, but soon finds that spending more time around Chanyeol only serves to resurrect some long-buried feelings, as well as a few old habits.




“Honeyyyy, I’m home..”

Baekhyun stopped doing his make-up in front of the hallway mirror and looked up just in time to see his roommate walk through the front door. “Hey,” he replied, “how’s it going?”

“Yeah, not too bad..”

Chanyeol closed the door behind him and kicked his shoes off in the corner; by contrast, Baekhyun’s shoes were all lined up in a row near the door, arranged according to colour, but Chanyeol’s tended to remain wherever they landed until he next wore them again. Baekhyun had long since given up lecturing him about it; you could only change a person so much, after all.

Baekhyun rolled his smoky eyes at Chanyeol’s reflection as it appeared behind him; he was wearing his backpack over the front of his body again, which always looked extra ridiculous when paired with a suit. “Hey… it’s not called a ‘frontpack’, you know..”

Chanyeol dropped the backpack on the floor and then shrugged off his jacket. “Wearing it at the front is more practical,” he said. “I can put stuff in and get stuff out without taking the bag off, or reaching behind me and dislocating something..”

“You are so painfully uncool sometimes,” Baekhyun replied, laughing to himself.

Chanyeol grinned and gave him the finger. “Up yours.”

“After you.”

“Where are you off to tonight, anyway?” Chanyeol asked casually. He walked over to the couch and flopped down onto it, putting his bare feet up on the armrest – another thing Baekhyun had stopped trying to train him out of. He leaned over to swipe the remote from the coffee table and turned the TV on. “Didn’t you go out last night..?”

“Maybe you should get out more, instead of being cooped up with your TV shows and video games all the time,” Baekhyun said. He brushed his fringe over to the other side to see how it would look, then made a face at his reflection and moved it back to where it was before.

Chanyeol snorted loudly. He sat up and leaned on his crossed arms over the back of the couch, watching Baekhyun do his eyeliner with a contemptuous smirk. “What about you? Going out all the time and then going to work half-dead the next day... how is that any better?”

Baekhyun sighed to himself and capped the eyeliner, putting it back in his make-up case; he could see Chanyeol still eyeballing him in the mirror, and it put him off a little. “Nice try, but you’re not going to make me feel guilty for going out on a Friday night,” he replied, smearing clear gloss onto his lips and smacking them together. He checked himself out in the mirror one last time and smiled at his reflection.

“You know what? I bet you couldn’t last a month without going out once,” Chanyeol said. “In fact, I reckon you wouldn’t even last a week.”

Baekhyun raised one heavily penciled eyebrow at Chanyeol’s reflection. “Oh you think so, do you..?”

Chanyeol nodded. “I’d give you five days, tops, before you cave.”

“Alright, then… challenge accepted,” Baekhyun said; he turned to face Chanyeol, smiling mischievously.

Chanyeol stared at him blankly for a moment. “Wait… you’re actually agreeing to this..?”

“Uh-huh,” Baekhyun replied with a defiant nod. His fringe flopped out of place and he quickly turned towards the mirror to fix it, attacking it with a blast of super-hold hairspray to make it stay.

“The real question is this,” he said, turning away from the mirror again. “How much are you willing to bet on it?”

“Oh,” Chanyeol replied, and then laughed. “Oh, I see how it is… alright. What did you have in mind?”

“I’m willing to not go out starting from tomorrow until the end of February,” Baekhyun said, pointing his finger at Chanyeol. “That’s over four weeks of not going out. But for that same amount of time, you can't play any video games, either. It's no fun if I have to suffer alone.”

Chanyeol gave a casual shrug. “Fine,” he said. “I can do that.”

“And if I win the bet,” Baekhyun continued, “you have to take me out every night for a week – wherever and whenever I want.”

Chanyeol sucked his bottom lip into his mouth and chewed it thoughtfully. “And if I win?”

“Name your prize.”

Chanyeol considered this for a while in silence. “You can pay my share of the rent for the whole of next month,” he said at last.

“Oh, upping the stakes I see,” Baekhyun replied, nodding. “Fine… that’s perfectly fine. I look forward to kicking your arse.”

“Likewise.” Chanyeol spat into the palm of his hand and held it out for Baekhyun to shake. "Let's shake on it.”

Baekhyun looked at him with disgust. “Has anyone ever told you you’re gross..?”

“Don't pretend you don't want to swap spit with me,” Chanyeol replied, laughing. “You used to love it, back in the day..”

“Oh, piss off,” Baekhyun muttered, and Chanyeol lunged at him; he ran out the front door screeching with gleeful terror before his roommate had a chance to wipe any spit on his precious going-out clothes.

“Go on… go out and have fun, then,” Chanyeol called down the corridor after Baekhyun’s retreating figure. “It’s going to be a very long four weeks, Byun Baekhyun.”


* * * * *



Back in the day…

Baekhyun thought about Chanyeol’s earlier words, replaying them over and over in his head during the cab ride into the city. He closed his eyes and leaned his head against the window. How long had it been since they’d kissed, or done anything else, exactly..? He wasn’t sure, but it couldn’t have been much more than a year. Back in high school, when they’d first become friends, they’d had a more regular arrangement, relying on each other solely for companionship at first, and then gradually moving on to activities of a more physical nature. Over the years, this initial sexual attraction had grown into a comfortable and unspoken affection for each other, which Baekhyun had yet to experience with anyone else.

At Baekhyun’s insistence, he and Chanyeol had stopped sleeping with each other as soon as they’d moved into the same apartment the year before, just to keep things from getting unnecessarily complicated. The move itself was mostly for practical reasons; you could save a hell of a lot by sharing expenses with another person, which meant more money for funding his clubbing addiction – the only problem was that there were few people in the world that he was actually willing to live with. Chanyeol himself only just barely scraped onto the list, what with all his infuriating little housekeeping habits, but Baekhyun valued him enough as a friend to excuse him of them; plus there was the added benefit of being able to invade his bed for a cuddle without having to ask, if he felt like he needed one. The sex ban had never extended so far as to disallow cuddling, and Chanyeol would always welcome Baekhyun with open arms at any time of the night, without ever trying to coax him into anything more. It was nice – and rare, Baekhyun realised – to share that sort of understanding with someone.

The cab driver interrupted Baekhyun’s daydreaming by loudly quoting the fare at him; he handed over a few wrinkled notes, telling the driver to keep the change, and hopped out of the car, slamming the door shut behind him. When he entered the club he found Tao and Kyungsoo seated at the bar with beers in front of them, apparently already deep in conversation; they looked up when they saw Baekhyun approaching.

“Thanks for waiting for me, guys,” Baekhyun said sarcastically, sliding onto an empty stool next to Tao. “I appreciate it..” He flagged down a bartender and ordered himself a beer; they always started with beer, and then worked their way up to the hard stuff over the course of the night. “Anyway, I have some bad news for you both, so it’s probably a good thing you’re already on your way to being drunk… It’ll make this easier to swallow.”

Tao raised an eyebrow at Baekhyun curiously. “What is it..?”

“Are you dying..?” Kyungsoo asked.

“What… no,” Baekhyun spluttered indignantly. “I made a bet with Chanyeol that I could last four weeks without going out, so I guess this is the last time I’ll be drinking with you guys for a while.”

“Really? Well done,” Tao said, raising his glass to toast Baekhyun’s announcement. “You do realise you won’t even last a week, right?”

Baekhyun groaned. “Not you too..”

Tao returned his already half-empty glass to the bar and made a gesture of helplessness with his hands. “You’re our best drinking buddy and I don’t want to bullshit you… I admire your resolve, I really do, but I don’t think you’ll make it.” He turned towards Kyungsoo. “What about you, Soo? Do you think he’ll make it?”

“If I had a Magic 8 Ball on me right now, it would read ‘outlook not so good’,” Kyungsoo replied solemnly.

Tao gave him an odd look and then turned back to Baekhyun. “I think what he’s trying to say, somewhat obliquely, is that you haven’t got a hope in hell.”

Baekhyun sighed and drained the rest of his beer in one swallow, pushing the empty glass away; he signaled at the bartender for another. “I came out tonight to have one last night of fun, not feel bad about myself..”

Tao’s expression softened a little. “Alright, I’m sorry… admittedly, I almost hope you do fail – but that’s only because I’ll miss the hell out of you,” he said, patting Baekhyun on the back. “Sort of.”

“You’ll miss his drunken dancefloor antics, you mean,” Kyungsoo added.

“Well, Kyungsoo my friend, that goes without saying,” Tao replied; then, seeing the wounded expression on Baekhyun’s face, he laughed. “Aww, there there… don’t sulk, sweetheart, it doesn’t become you,” he said, putting his arm around Baekhyun’s shoulders. “I know what’ll make you smile… how’s about another drink?”


* * * * *



“I am never drinking again,” Baekhyun announced the next morning when he finally staggered into the kitchen. He flopped down at the table opposite Chanyeol and groaned.

Chanyeol looked up from his crossword just long enough to push a plate of eggs on toast towards his roommate. “Famous last words… here's your breakfast, you silly creature. How are you feeling?”

“Don't ask,” Baekhyun said quietly. He rested his head upon the table. “I don’t know if I can do breakfast right now. Or ever.”

“Do you see now why going without clubbing for a while might actually do you and your liver some good..?” Chanyeol replied through a mouthful of toast. The sloppy chewing sounds he made grated on Baekhyun’s nerves even more than usual.

“Whatever… I’m going back to bed to sleep this shit off,” he said, slowly and painfully getting up from his seat. “Please don’t wake me up for any reason at all.”

Chanyeol raised both eyebrows. “What if you start screaming in your sleep?” he asked, wide-eyed and blinking behind his glasses. There were crumbs and bits of dried yolk collecting in the corners of his lips, which Baekhyun also found strangely irritating… but maybe that was because he felt like he’d just been disassembled and put back together again by a horde of sugar-crazed toddlers.

“Not even then,” he replied, trudging towards his bedroom. “So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye – I’d like to stay, but if I do I’ll die.”

“What if the entire building catches fire?” Chanyeol called after him.

Baekhyun stopped in his tracks in front of his bedroom door and sighed heavily. “Alright… in the unlikely event of a fire, you have my permission to wake me. God help you if you disturb me otherwise.”

“What if—”

Baekhyun closed the door behind him before Chanyeol could finish his sentence.


* * * * *



The almighty hangover Baekhyun was blessed with after his last night out turned out to be so bad that, for a few days at least, he was all too happy not to go out again… but it wasn’t long before he realised how ill-equipped he was to battle out a whole month of nights spent locked up indoors. Chanyeol, on the other hand, had an entire arsenal of bits and bobs to keep himself entertained – all of which he kindly offered to Baekhyun, and all of which Baekhyun rejected on the grounds that they were, in his own words, ‘craptastically crap’.

By the fourth day, Baekhyun was already nearly running up the walls from boredom.

“I'm so booooooooored,” he whined; he lay on his back on the couch, beating his heels against the armrest. Chanyeol was seated on the armchair opposite him, absorbed in a Sudoku puzzle. “What’s the point of having cable when there’s never anything good on TV..?”

“Maybe you just need to get a hobby,” Chanyeol told him; he didn’t look up from the Sudoku book balanced on his knee.

Baekhyun groaned and rubbed his eyes with his hands until he began to see crazy kaleidoscopic patterns – something he used to do often when he was bored as a child. It offered him little comfort now. “Why are you finding this so much easier than me..?”

“Probably because I have hobbies..” Chanyeol replied, sucking distractedly on the end of his pen. He murmured something incoherent and scribbled onto the page in front of him.

“Alright, smartarse,” Baekhyun muttered irritably. He lay there for a while in silence, watching Chanyeol working through his puzzle, his brow furrowed in concentration. Every now and then he leaned forward and his glasses slid down to the end of his nose, but he paid no further mind to Baekhyun’s presence.

“Why don’t we play a game?” Baekhyun said at last, breaking the silence, and Chanyeol finally looked up at him.

“Alright… what do you want to play then..?” he asked, closing the Sudoku book and putting it back on the coffee table.

Baekhyun wrinkled his nose. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “I don’t really know any games. How about Mario Karts or whatever that shit is that you like..?”

Chanyeol sighed and shook his head. “It’s Mario Kart – singular, not plural – and I can’t play video games, Baekhyun. That was part of the bet.”

“Well, how about I let you play with me, then, for old time’s sake..?” Baekhyun said, walking over to stand in front of Chanyeol. He wiggled his butt in Chanyeol’s face. “How about you twiddle my knobs for a change? Huh? Would you like that..?”

For a moment Chanyeol sounded like he was choking, but then Baekhyun realised he was only trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to hold back his laughter. “You can’t be serious..”

Baekhyun stopped gyrating for a moment and turned his head to look at Chanyeol pleadingly. “Um… I am if you are..?”

“Baek,” Chanyeol sighed, “I’m not going to fuck you just because you’re bored..”

“You used to love this shit,” Baekhyun said irritably, turning towards Chanyeol and making indecent gestures at his own crotch. “Don’t pretend you don’t want it.”

“Yes, I did love it…” Chanyeol replied quietly; he looked pointedly at Baekhyun’s groin for a moment and then back up at his face. “And I still do. But no, I’m sorry… it wouldn’t be right. Things are different now.”

Baekhyun groaned. “Fuck this stupid bet… whose idea was this, anyway..?”

Chanyeol opened his mouth to reply, but Baekhyun pointed a finger at him before he could say anything. “Don’t-you-say-a-word,” he said through gritted teeth, and stormed off to his room, slamming the door behind him.


* * * * *



A few days later, Chanyeol opened the door of Baekhyun’s bedroom to find him in a compromising position – sitting cross-legged on his bed in his pyjamas, apparently performing some sort of meditation exercise.

“What’s going on..?” he asked. “I thought I heard a weird noise coming from your room..”

Baekhyun stopped humming tunelessly to himself and reluctantly opened his eyes to find Chanyeol standing in his doorway, frowning at him. “Do you mind..?” he said irritably. “At least have the courtesy to knock before barging in. What if I was naked..?”

The corner of Chanyeol’s mouth twitched with amusement. “Do you usually meditate naked..?”

Baekhyun sighed. “For your information, Chanyeol, I'm trying to astrally project.”

“Um… trying to what..?” Chanyeol asked, looking even more confused.

“Well, according to this handy guide – which so far isn’t very handy – astral projection refers to ‘leaving one’s body to travel in another plane, without physically moving – a type of out-of-body experience’,” Baekhyun told him, reading directly from the open book resting in his lap.

“So you're trying to break the rules of the bet, in other words,” Chanyeol said flatly. He leaned against the doorframe with his arms crossed in front of him.

“I’m not breaking them, Chanyeol… I’m just bending them a little with my mental powers,” Baekhyun argued. “Anyway, we only agreed that I couldn’t go out for a month – it was never explicitly stated that my astral body would be bound by the same limitations."

Chanyeol looked at Baekhyun like he was an idiot. “I’m not sure how you acquired whatever drugs you’re on, Baek, but sharing is caring.”

Baekhyun sighed and flung the book away; it landed facedown on the floor with a dull thud.

“What a waste of money,” he muttered, hurling himself backwards onto his bed. “I don’t think I’ll even last another three weeks... I’m starting to think that death is the only way out of this.”

“Um… it’s actually three weeks and a day, technically,” Chanyeol said, and Baekhyun lifted his head up from the bed to glare daggers at him.

“You know, that book might be completely useless, but it’ll still hurt when I throw it at your head,” he said irritably. “Now get out of here.”

“Alright, keep your hair on…” Chanyeol said, and he flashed one last cheeky grin at Baekhyun before closing the door.


* * * * *



Baekhyun heard the sound of the door creaking open, but paid no attention to it. He had his binoculars pressed up against the pane of his bedroom window; something was amiss in the apartment directly opposite his and Chanyeol’s, and he was determined to get to the bottom of it.

“Baek, dinner’s ready if you want some, and… um, what the hell are you doing…?”

Baekhyun lowered the binoculars and swiveled around slowly in his chair to face Chanyeol.

“That weird guy in the apartment opposite ours,” he whispered, even though the man in question was well out of hearing range. “I’ve been watching him for the past week, and I reckon he's up to something dodgy. I just heard screaming, Chanyeol… and it’s Friday the 13th. You can’t always chalk these things up to coincidence..”

Chanyeol looked at Baekhyun like he’d finally cracked, even though this had already happened long ago. “You really need to stop shutting yourself up in your room every night, I think,” he said. “This self-imposed solitary confinement is making you creepy and paranoid, and I don’t need you going all Rear Window on my ass.”

“What do you suggest, then..?” Baekhyun sighed, tossing the binoculars onto his bed. At this stage, he’d given up counting how many days it had been since he’d stopped going out; all it did was remind him of how many days he had left to go.

Chanyeol shrugged. “How about I hook up the ol’ karaoke machine? We can have a bit of fun, have a few drinks… you used to love karaoke, remember?”

“Well, sure,” Baekhyun said flatly, “back when I was underage..”

Chanyeol rolled his eyes and grabbed Baekhyun’s wrist, pulling him forcefully out of the swivel chair. “Come on,” he groaned, “don’t be such a fucking drag..”

“Alright, fine,” Baekhyun relented – but only because Chanyeol was physically stronger than him.

Chanyeol’s karaoke machine was an ancient model that hadn’t seen the light of day in years; it was meant to plug into a television, but the television in their apartment was about two decades ahead in technological terms, and so Chanyeol stood there for easily half an hour, scratching his head as he inspected the collection of mysterious plugs in his hands.

“I don’t understand these plugs,” he murmured to himself. “What goes into what hole..?”

“That’s what he said,” Baekhyun smirked under his breath, and then added, “maybe we should just quit while we’re ahead.”

“No,” Chanyeol replied, “I’m determined to make this bloody thing work...”

When another twenty minutes had passed and Baekhyun was lying facedown on the couch, virtually drooling from boredom, Chanyeol finally admitted defeat and turned around to face him.

“Here's an idea – how about we go out for karaoke instead..?” he suggested, scratching the back of his neck.

“But I can’t go out, remember..?” Baekhyun mumbled into the couch cushion.

“Well, it’s not like we’re going clubbing…” Chanyeol said. “And I suppose you can have one cheat night, given that you’re already nearly halfway through your sentence. Congrats on that, by the way.”

Baekhyun lifted his head and looked up at Chanyeol skeptically; the corduroy fabric covering the couch had humorously left rows of lines imprinted into his face. “Does this mean I have to let you play Wonky Dong to make it even..?”

“I’m just going to assume you meant ‘Donkey Kong’,” Chanyeol sighed, “and no, that won’t be necessary. Now let’s go, before I change my mind.”

Baekhyun didn’t need to be told twice before he catapulted himself off the couch and out the front door, so excited was he to spend an evening outside the apartment for the first time in two weeks. Chanyeol followed close behind, shaking his head at him in amusement.


* * * * *



Going out for karaoke with Chanyeol turned out to be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, Baekhyun was overjoyed just to be allowed out again; on the other, he’d forgotten how awful a singer Chanyeol was. At home, Baekhyun only ever heard him singing in the shower, and he’d never sounded that bad… but then anyone could sound half-decent when they were being drowned out by running water.

“Ooh, I’m going to sing Birthday by Katy Perry..!” Chanyeol said, scrolling through the tracklist; the fact that he was getting excited over Katy Perry seemed to suggest to Baekhyun that he’d probably had one too many beers.

“No fair, you’ve picked the last three songs…!” Baekhyun whined, although at that point he was so tipsy himself that he didn’t really care.

“Alright, alright,” Chanyeol replied, laughing. “Ah – here’s one I know you used to love..”

Baekhyun’s eyes widened in horror when he saw the title of the song Chanyeol had selected pop up on the screen in front of them. “Oh… oh no…” he said, shaking his head vigorously. “I love that song – don’t you dare ruin that song..!”

Ignoring him, Chanyeol lifted his microphone to his lips and started to sing.

“You got it, you got it bad, when you’re on the phone, hang up and you call right back…”

“Congrats,” Baekhyun said drily. “You’ve now successfully ruined all my favourite songs..”

Chanyeol only winked at him and continued singing.
“You got it, you got it bad, if you miss a day without your friend your whole life’s off track;
You know you got it bad when you're stuck in the house, you don't wanna have fun, it's all you think about—”


“You got it bad when you’re out with someone but you keep on thinking ‘bout somebody else,” Baekhyun sang, cutting Chanyeol off, and then he put his microphone down. Chanyeol was looking at him now; the song continued in the background, the lyrics lighting up on the screen in front of a scene with some random couple walking hand-in-hand along a beach. Neither of them paid any attention to it.

“This might be the alcohol talking,” Chanyeol said at last, “but I really, really want to kiss you right now.”

“I think that is the alcohol talking,” Baekhyun replied, “because it’s saying exactly the same thing to me.”

Chanyeol nodded and opened his mouth to say something else, but instead he pulled Baekhyun into his arms, kissing him with such passion that Baekhyun felt his knees start to give out, and he fell backwards onto the vinyl-covered bench seat behind him, accidentally pulling Chanyeol down with him. Chanyeol pushed him down onto the seat, still kissing him – breathless, urgent, desperate kisses that tasted like beer and nachos, but Baekhyun found he didn’t mind that at all.

“Maybe we should continue this somewhere else,” Chanyeol said, pushing his glasses back up his nose. “I’m pretty sure there are cameras in here.”

Baekhyun nodded and licked his lips, his mouth already dry at the thought. “Your place or mine..?”

Chanyeol laughed at that. “We live in the same apartment, Baek.”

“I know,” Baekhyun replied, rolling his eyes. “It’s just an expression..”

During the cab ride back to their apartment, Baekhyun had to sit on his hands to keep them from wandering elsewhere; Chanyeol only made things harder by whispering dirty things in his ear, like he used to do when they were younger, and he stole as many kisses as he could get away with while the cab driver had his eyes on the road. Baekhyun could see the driver eyeballing them in the rearview mirror whenever they were stopped at a red light, his unblinking stare seeming to threaten them both with the promise of a substantial cleaning bill should any fluids be released within the confines of his cab. He didn’t actually say the words, granted, but Baekhyun could tell it was what he was thinking.

As soon as the driver pulled up outside their building, Chanyeol handed him the cab fare and practically yanked Baekhyun out of the car by the hand, slamming the door shut behind them. They kissed again in the elevator, their hands roaming all over each other, and Baekhyun was fairly sure there was a camera in there too, but at that point he’d stopped caring – there was one thing on his mind and one thing only, and that was getting Chanyeol naked as quickly as possible. It had been so long since he’d felt like this – so eager, so turned on, so completely and utterly alive.

They exchanged no words, only kisses, pushing each other through the front door of their apartment, and ending up in Baekhyun’s room because it was a mere few metres closer to the entrance than Chanyeol’s. As soon as they were inside Baekhyun pushed Chanyeol down upon the bed and pulled his sweater up over his head, knocking off his glasses as he did so. Chanyeol seemed too stunned to react; he simply lay there passively and let Baekhyun fumble around with all his buttons and zips until all his clothes were in a pile on the floor. Baekhyun then started on himself until he stood at the foot of the bed in his boxers, breathless with arousal and effort, watching Chanyeol, who was watching him. Chanyeol was still spread out on the bed before him, also wearing nothing but his underwear; he’d put his glasses back on, and his eyes were impossibly wide and almost glazed over with desire. Baekhyun realised how long it had been since he’d been looked at this way, and just how much he’d missed it; none of the other people he’d been with had ever looked at him like Chanyeol did. He slowly pulled his boxers down, letting them drop to the floor at his feet, and then kicked them over to the corner of the room.

“Wow…” Chanyeol whispered, sitting up a little to rest on his elbows; he swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down.

Baekhyun licked his dry lips to moisten them and pointed at Chanyeol’s undies. “Those,” he said quietly, “off.”

His vocabulary always seemed to go missing in action at times like these.

Chanyeol nodded in silence and lifted his hips up from the bed, sliding his underwear down a little, and Baekhyun pulled them off the rest of the way, tossing them onto the floor to join the rest of their clothes. He settled down on the bed next to Chanyeol and they looked at each other in silence for a moment, their eyes travelling hungrily over each other’s nakedness, and it finally sank into Baekhyun’s consciousness, just what it was that they were about to do… but then Chanyeol rolled on top of him, pinning him to the bed, and kissed him with such heated passion that he almost instantly stopped thinking. Chanyeol began to kiss his way downwards, over Baekhyun’s neck and chest, and then stopped when he reached his stomach.

“Well, this is new,” he said, lightly poking the silver ring in Baekhyun’s navel.

Baekhyun smiled. “That there was the result of a drunken bet with Tao. He had to come with me the next day to make sure I actually got it done, and then I went home two hundred bucks richer. I didn’t originally plan to keep it, but it kind of grew on me.”

“Why am I not surprised..” Chanyeol replied, laughing a little.

“I need to stop going along with all these dumb bets, don’t I..?” Baekhyun said with a sigh. “They only get me into trouble.”

Chanyeol nudged him playfully. “If I make a bet right now that you're not as good in bed these days as you used to be, will you prove me wrong?”

“Mmm… maybe,” Baekhyun replied, and then smiled. “Make that definitely.”

“Good,” Chanyeol laughed, “I hope I lose, just this once..” He lowered his head, hovering just above Baekhyun’s bellybutton. “Will it hurt if I kiss you here..?”

“No,” Baekhyun said quietly. “It's healed now.”

Chanyeol nodded in silence and kissed the spot directly above the piercing, and then moved a little lower, and a little lower still, so slowly it would normally have driven Baekhyun crazy… but tonight he decided he enjoyed the special attention, releasing a deep sigh of contentment and tangling his fingers up in Chanyeol’s hair. With each spike of pleasure lighting up his nerves like wildfire, he tugged at the reddish-brown curls a little; Chanyeol let out a muffled groan each time he did this, his deep voice vibrating against Baekhyun’s skin, which only turned him on even more.

Somewhere between that first kiss in the karaoke room and now, they’d lost that sense of heart-racing urgency; Chanyeol's movements were deliberate, unhurried, and he took his time, carefully reading Baekhyun’s face and body for clues about what he liked and what he didn’t like. Much like the old days, when they used to do this more often, he never seemed to get it wrong.

Chanyeol lifted his head from the spot where Baekhyun’s neck met his shoulder, which he’d been kissing and nuzzling eagerly, and looked down at him with his soft brown eyes.

“What..?” Baekhyun asked, the word more of a breathless grunt than anything else.

“I was so convinced I'd never see you like this again,” Chanyeol whispered; he took one of Baekhyun’s hands in his own, linking their fingers together. “And now that I am, I can’t take my eyes off you.”

“Please,” Baekhyun whispered back, “don’t stop..”

He could feel Chanyeol still looking at him intently, trying to meet his eye, but he kept his own gaze fixed to the ceiling above, connecting invisible lines between the light fixtures to distract himself, to focus on making it all last just a little bit longer. When the feelings became too intense, he pulled Chanyeol's head down, closed his eyes and kissed him with renewed hunger and desperation. They panted heavily into each other’s mouths between each kiss, riding through the storm of overwhelming sensation together, the throbbing heat from the friction between their bodies enveloping them completely… and then it was over – not all that quickly, to Chanyeol’s credit, but somehow far too soon. It was only after Baekhyun had caught his breath a little that he noticed Chanyeol was still holding his hand.



He woke up late the next morning, the sunlight shining through the gap in the curtains prickling his eyes, making him blink repeatedly. Chanyeol was asleep behind him, curled up so close that Baekhyun could feel the warmth of his breath against his back. He settled down on the bed again and sighed happily, feeling Chanyeol begin to stir next to him; he yawned and stretched and snuggled up closer, pressing himself firmly against Baekhyun’s body.

“I forgot how much I love this,” he murmured, kissing Baekhyun’s shoulder.

Baekhyun soon found himself yawning too. “Love what..?”

“Waking up with you. It’s been far too long.”

“Are you still drunk?” Baekhyun asked.

“No,” Chanyeol replied softly. “Are you..?”

“I'm not sure. I can’t decide if this was a good thing to do or not.”

“Mmm. Too early for decisions. Or thinking.”

Baekhyun made an amused little sound in the back of his throat. “But it’s never too early for cuddles, huh?”

“Nope,” Chanyeol murmured in agreement. He wrapped an arm around Baekhyun’s waist and pulled him closer. “Never too early for cuddles..”

Baekhyun decided to let the topic drop. Right now, apart from a slight headache (which was an easy time compared to the hangovers he usually got after a night out), he was comfortable. He could worry about the consequences of their actions later.

“I think you won that bet, by the way,” Chanyeol said, breaking the silence. “Wow… I may have been a bit hammered but I won't be forgetting last night in a hurry.”

Baekhyun laughed through his nose. “Well, I'm glad to hear I’ve still got it.”

“You’ve definitely still got it.” Chanyeol slapped Baekhyun's bum playfully, making him whine, then rubbed gentle circles over the reddened flesh. “You're still the same smoking hot babe you’ve always been, in my eyes,” he said. He leaned down and licked around the outside of Baekhyun’s ear, making him wriggle around a little in protest, before whispering into it. "And I've yet to find another human being on this earth who can turn me on half as much as you do."

“Oh, be quiet..” Baekhyun said, but he secretly loved every word.

“It's true… would I lie to you? It’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed single all this time.”

Baekhyun turned his head to look back at Chanyeol for a moment. Chanyeol returned his gaze, his eyes warm and sincere, and then leaned down and kissed him softly.

“Wanna go again..?” he whispered, breathing the words like smoke into Baekhyun's mouth. He dipped his tongue inside until it met Baekhyun’s, only for a second, giving him a little taste before pulling away.

Baekhyun answered the question by immediately pulling Chanyeol’s head down for another kiss.


* * * * *



Pleasantly exhausted by their morning romp, Baekhyun fell asleep again soon afterwards. When he finally awoke again it was already three in the afternoon, and the other side of the bed was empty.

Feeling refreshed after a quick shower, he ventured into the living room to find Chanyeol sprawled on the couch, working on a piece of cross-stitch embroidery; the TV was on, ostensibly for background noise only, since he was paying no attention to it.

“Just how many freaking hobbies do you have, exactly..?” Baekhyun asked, sitting down on the other end of the couch.

Chanyeol looked up at Baekhyun and smiled. “I like cross-stitch… I find it therapeutic.”

“Of course you do,” Baekhyun replied, standing up again. “I might head out for a bit… just to take a walk, maybe get some fresh air.”

“Okay, have fun. If you want to stay out a little later and hit up a few clubs, then that’s alright by me.”

“Ha,” Baekhyun scoffed, “nice try.” Chanyeol poked his tongue out playfully in response and went back to his cross-stitch.

When Baekhyun walked out into the street, the first thing he noticed was that there were couples everywhere – couples walking hand-in-hand, hugging and kissing on street corners, holding bunches of roses and shiny red heart-shaped balloons. Each and every shop-front was festooned with red streamers and pink bunting and hearts, hearts and more hearts. “Love is in the air, everywhere I look around..” Baekhyun sang to himself, and then smiled; he’d actually forgotten it was even Valentine’s Day at all until he’d stepped outside. It was a beautiful day, if a little chilly, so he decided to walk around a little longer, looking at all the fancy decorations and the people that passed him by.

He’d never really been into Valentine’s Day – he was too cynical for that – but now that he was surrounded by couples flaunting their love to the world, Baekhyun could almost see the appeal. He envied them all, in a way, for having the guts to let themselves fall in love, for their ability to find happiness in another person; the only person that made Baekhyun feel anything close to happiness these days was Chanyeol.

His good friend Chanyeol, whom he loved dearly.

And then there was the memory of what had happened the night before… it was still a little fuzzy in parts, but incredibly vivid in others, so vivid he could feel his face warming up at the recollection of what they’d done, how he’d felt... Baekhyun pursed his lips and shoved his hands deeper into the pockets of his jacket. He still had no idea what this would mean for the two of them… if Chanyeol would now expect the sexual element to reappear in their relationship again. It could only be a bad thing, Baekhyun thought, as much as he’d enjoyed it while it was happening. He figured he’d go home and set Chanyeol straight, make sure it was all out in the open and there were no misunderstandings. Surely that was the right thing to do: the best thing for them both.


It was just after five o’clock when Baekhyun got back to the apartment, and Chanyeol opened the door before he could even get his key into the lock, as though he’d been waiting for him to return; for some reason, he’d changed into a pinstriped dress shirt and tight black jeans while Baekhyun was out. “Shh,” he whispered, holding a finger to Baekhyun’s lips before he could speak, and he gently took his hand, leading him towards the kitchen. When they got there, Baekhyun saw that the kitchen table was covered with a red cloth and set for two with the fancy crockery they never used. There were a couple of scented candles lit up in the centre – the ones that Baekhyun sometimes burned while he was taking a bath.

“Um…” Baekhyun said, as soon as he could find his voice again. “What’s all this..?”

“Well, since it’s Valentine’s Day and all, I just suddenly felt like surprising you,” Chanyeol replied, smiling shyly at him. “I would have loved to cook for you too, but this was all very last minute, and I had some other things to take care of… so I’ve just ordered some takeout instead. I hope you don’t mind.”

Baekhyun shook his head, still a little dazed by what was happening. “Takeout’s fine… I’ll be back in a second, I just want to, um, get changed..”

“No, wait –” Chanyeol said, but Baekhyun was already headed towards his bedroom, and he pushed open the door before Chanyeol could hold him back. The first thing he noticed was that his bed was neatly made up – he certainly hadn’t bothered to make it himself earlier – and that it was completely covered with rose petals.

Baekhyun covered his mouth with his hands and laughed. “Oh… oh shit..”

“I’m sorry,” Chanyeol said, sounding a little embarrassed. “I hadn’t planned for you to see that. At least not until later..”

Baekhyun turned around slowly to face him. “Chanyeol… we had sex twice – after what, a whole year? It was really nice and all, but it doesn’t mean what you think it means..”

Chanyeol’s face fell a little. “I know that,” he replied, “and I know we were drunk the first time… but we weren’t the second time, and I really enjoyed it… and I could tell you did too. And I just wanted to do something sweet for you, to show you that I actually care about you as a person – not just about getting you in bed.”

“Well, this is a little too sweet,” Baekhyun said, gesturing towards the rose petals covering his bed. “This… this is something you’d do for a longtime lover, Chanyeol. Not a friend.”

Chanyeol opened his mouth to say something, but then sighed heavily and nodded his head. “It’s okay,” he said quietly. “I get it… I’ll clean it up, don’t worry..”

Baekhyun looked at Chanyeol for a moment in silence, searching his expression. “You’re upset with me,” he said, “I can tell.”

Chanyeol shook his head. “No… you’re right. I mean, that is what we are, after all, isn’t it..?” he replied, his voice cracking a little. “Just friends..?"

“I’m sorry,” Baekhyun whispered. “I didn’t mean for this to happen.”

Chanyeol laughed bitterly and started walking away, with Baekhyun following close behind. “Please… let’s just forget I ever did this. We can just pretend for a night that we always have dinner with a red tablecloth and nice plates and candles burning… I’m perfectly capable of pretending if you are. I’ve been pretending for a long time.”

“Chanyeol, I really am sorry..” Baekhyun said again, and he jumped back a little in surprise when Chanyeol spun around to face him.

Will you please stop apologising!” he snapped, and then covered his mouth with his hands, as though taken aback by his own words. Baekhyun nodded quietly and stood there for a moment, looking down at the floor to avoid the hurt in Chanyeol’s eyes. After what felt like an eternity he headed towards the front door, closing it gently on his way out. Chanyeol didn’t try to stop him. Baekhyun had no idea where he was planning to go; he just wanted to be out of there as quickly as possible, away from the thick heaviness of the atmosphere in their apartment, which suddenly seemed far too small for the pair of them. It had never felt that way before.

Baekhyun stared at his reflection in the elevator’s mirrored walls and fixed his hair, teasing it with his fingers a little. He wasn’t really dressed appropriately to be heading out at night, and his friends would undoubtedly be out celebrating Valentine’s Day with their respective partners, too busy to give him a second thought… but there was nothing else to do, and he baulked at the thought of going back to the apartment so soon. Maybe he’d head out on his own for a change – party it up with all the other people who were alone tonight, raise his glass with them in commiseration. Just a drink or two would be enough, and then he’d go home and admit his defeat. It had been a long time coming anyway.

He hadn’t thought to grab his wallet during his hasty exit, but upon feeling around in his jacket pockets, he discovered he had some cash on him; after a quick calculation, he concluded that it would be enough for the cab fare to his usual haunt, maybe a couple of drinks, and then a cab back again. At least he had his keys, he thought; that meant he could come home whenever he damn well liked.


As soon as Baekhyun arrived at the bar, he made a beeline for the counter and ordered a straight vodka with a slice of lime – there was no time to prep himself with beer tonight. He downed it in two gulps and ordered another. And then another after that… and so it continued until he had nothing left in his pockets but some shrapnel and a ball of lint.

“Hey,” said a voice in his ear, “did you come here alone..?” Baekhyun felt someone grab his shoulder and turned his head around in surprise.

“Uh… yeah,” he said, his speech already slurring a little from the alcohol. “What’s it to ya..?”

“I just thought I’d ask you if you’d like to dance, since you’re so cute,” the stranger said, and he flashed Baekhyun a creepy grin, revealing yellowed teeth with one gold-capped incisor. Chanyeol was about a trillion times better looking than this guy, Baekhyun thought, but then he banished the thought from his mind; since when had Chanyeol become the yardstick by which he judged other people’s looks..? The mere thought angered him for some reason.

“Fine – I’ll dance with you,” he said, turning back towards the creepy stranger, who wasted no time in wrapping his greasy fingers around Baekhyun’s wrist, hauling him away towards the dance floor. Baekhyun tried to maintain a safe distance while they danced – to Katy Perry’s Birthday, of all things – but the man’s hands were soon sliding all over his body, which he definitely wasn’t drunk enough to enjoy, but somehow just barely drunk enough to tolerate. Then, as the sleazy man’s slimy little eyes met his, a flashback blossomed in Technicolor clarity in the hazy depths of Baekhyun’s addled mind – of a moment the night before when they were kissing, and Chanyeol had suddenly lifted his head, looked down at Baekhyun and smiled a little smile of such tenderness and love, as though finally seeing him again for the first time in years.


Baekhyun violently pulled himself free of the stranger’s clutches and bolted towards the exit. As soon as he got outside he bent over and vomited a mouthful of watery stuff that smelled like pure alcohol onto the pavement; then, remembering he hadn’t enough cash left on his person for a cab, he forced his unwilling feet in the general direction of home, but somehow ended up going round in circles for hours, forgetting where he was supposed to go. He did this several-hour walk of shame with the puddles from the earlier spell of rain seeping into his shoes, shivering as he pulled his jacket tighter around himself. It was freezing out; brass monkey weather, Chanyeol would have called it. On his way home, Baekhyun saw couples devouring each other in the backseats of cabs stopped at the lights, girls stumbling around in skirts so short he could see their underwear, some drunk guy puking into the gutter (not that he could judge), and it briefly crossed his mind that maybe he was at least a tiny bit over the whole clubbing thing.


By the time Baekhyun got back to the apartment, the sun was just beginning to rise, and he was so exhausted he could have died right where he stood. He walked past Chanyeol’s room and, seeing that the door was ajar, peeked inside; Chanyeol was asleep facedown on his bed, lying diagonally across it, still in the same black jeans and pinstriped shirt he’d been wearing when Baekhyun had left hours earlier – to Baekhyun this suggested that Chanyeol had probably waited up for him a long time before finally passing out, and the thought stabbed him through the heart a little. Chanyeol’s old checked woollen blanket was twisted up around his ankles. He still had socks on.

Baekhyun tiptoed over to Chanyeol’s bed and untangled the blanket, draping it over his body to make sure he was warm; he held his breath for a moment when Chanyeol groaned and stirred a little in his sleep. Baekhyun watched him for a while longer until he stopped moving and then crept away, closing the door gently behind him.


* * * * *



When Baekhyun got up later that morning, Chanyeol was sitting in the kitchen as usual, reading the Sunday paper. He didn’t look up or say anything, but pushed a plate of waffles towards Baekhyun when he sat down.

Baekhyun couldn’t find the guts to speak, so he picked at the waffles half-heartedly in silence. He didn’t really have a hangover this time, given that he’d thrown up all the alcohol outside the club, but somehow he had no appetite anyway.

“So…” Chanyeol said, breaking the uncomfortable silence at last. “Where did you sleep last night, then?”

Baekhyun put down his fork and opened his mouth to say he hadn’t slept anywhere, that he just came straight home, albeit at six in the morning… but then closed his mouth again.

“What business is it of yours..?” he said instead, but as soon as he saw the wounded look on Chanyeol’s face, he regretted it instantly.

“It has nothing to do with me,” Chanyeol replied, calmly turning the page. His eyes were still fixed to the paper in front of him, which Baekhyun guessed he was only pretending to read to avoid eye contact, because he could see from where he sat that it was open at the classifieds section. “It’s none of my business whose bed you end up in, Baekhyun,” he said at last. “I just really don’t like the idea of you doing anything unsafe. So excuse me for caring.”

Having said this, Chanyeol got up from the table and stalked over to his room, shutting the door behind him. Baekhyun sighed and remained where he was for a minute or two with his head in his hands; then he got up and walked over to Chanyeol’s door, knocking on it loudly. There was no reply from inside.

“You can’t avoid me forever, you know,” he yelled through the closed door. “We live in the same apartment.”

“I’m not avoiding you,” came the muffled reply.

“Well, then, why don’t you come out and say it to my face..?”

Baekhyun heard the sound of footsteps and then the door was yanked open, and he suddenly found himself face-to-face with Chanyeol.

“Fine,” Chanyeol said, “I’ll give it to you straight. I don't want to be just friends with you, Byun Baekhyun. Also, you lost the bet… although I must confess I did play Tekken for four hours straight while I was waiting for you to come home… but still, you broke the rules first, which means I win.”

Baekhyun sighed and nodded in agreement. “Fine… whatever, I can’t argue with that. I’ll pay your share of the rent next month, you lucky bastard..”

Chanyeol bit his lip. “I have another confession to make.”

“What now..?” Baekhyun asked, sounding a little more irritated than he meant to.

Chanyeol went red and puffed out his cheeks for a moment, then blew the air out forcefully. “When I said you were one of the reasons I was still single, I lied,” he said. “I’m not exactly bombarded with offers from attractive men on a daily basis, but other than that, you’re the only reason I’m still single. I want you – you – all to myself. That’s the honest truth.”

Baekhyun nodded in silence. “Okay,” he said. He didn’t really know what else to say, so he kept quiet.

“So you don’t have to pay my rent,” Chanyeol continued. “I don’t give a rat’s arse about the bet… all I ask is that you give me a go: just one chance to prove just how good I could be for you. No one knows you like I do, Baek… I know I can make you happy. I’ll love you just as you are – mistitled video games and all.”

“I don’t really know how to respond,” Baekhyun said quietly. “It’s not that I don’t want to try... I just don’t want to risk losing you as a friend. You’re by far the best one I’ve got.”

Chanyeol shook his head and took both of Baekhyun’s hands in his own, rubbing them gently. “You won’t lose me… whatever happens, I’ll always be your friend. If it doesn’t work out, that’s okay; I don’t see why it can’t go back to how it was before. We’ll just need to give it some time.”

Baekhyun opened his mouth to say something, but Chanyeol held up his hand to silence him.

“Just… sleep on it tonight,” he said gently. “You can give me an answer in the morning, if you have one by then.”

“Okay, I will,” Baekhyun promised, even though he wasn’t really sure he would.


* * * * *



Baekhyun woke up the next morning feeling like death, having tossed and turned all night, deliberating over his decision. After hurriedly throwing on the work outfit he’d picked out last night, he walked into the kitchen with his eyelids still feeling like they’d been glued together, and found it empty. There was a plate of mini chocolate muffins on the kitchen bench, with a piece of paper in front of them, on which someone had scrawled the words ‘PLS TAKE ONE’. Baekhyun glanced at the muffins, then turned around when he heard footsteps approaching from behind him.

“So,” Chanyeol said, “the verdict is…?” He was in the middle of doing up his tie – a navy blue one with little pineapples on it that Baekhyun had never seen before. He bit his tongue and decided not to comment.

“Okay, here goes…” he said, and began to wring his hands nervously. “So I thought about it all last night, and I got no sleep at all in the process… but I decided that yes, I want to give this a go too. As much as it scares the hell out of me.”

To Baekhyun’s surprise (and annoyance), Chanyeol promptly started laughing. “I was referring to the muffins,” he said, biting his lip. “We’re having a charity bake sale in my office today, and I’m fairly new to baking, so I wanted you to try one and tell me if they’re alright. But hey, that’s great… that’s the best news I’ve heard all day. So when do you want to move in..?”

Baekhyun looked at Chanyeol blankly. “Move in where..?”

“Well, into my room, of course,” Chanyeol told him, still smiling. “Or I could move into yours… whichever you prefer.”

“I don’t mind whose bed we sleep in,” Baekhyun replied, “but please… no more rose petals or any of that romantic crap.” He smirked a little before adding, “if you want to make me gag, there are better ways to do it.”

“I can think of one..” Chanyeol replied with a wicked grin; he leaned over to give Baekhyun a kiss, then grabbed a mini muffin and stuffed it into his mouth.


* * * * *



“Honeyyyyy, I’m home..” Chanyeol announced upon walking through the front door, as he did every evening. He kicked his shoes off and entered the living room to find Baekhyun lying on the couch, already changed out of his work clothes. He was engrossed in one of Chanyeol’s Sudoku puzzles.

“Hey,” he replied, sitting up, and Chanyeol leaned over the back of the couch to kiss him hello.

“Is that my Sudoku book..?” he asked.

Baekhyun laughed. “Yeah… I’m actually quite addicted to these now, surprisingly.”

Chanyeol nodded and shrugged off his jacket. “How come you haven’t been out lately? You're a free man again, you know… the bet’s over.”

Baekhyun shook his head. “I think I’m done with clubbing for a while,” he said quietly. “It doesn't really do it for me anymore.”

Chanyeol walked around to the front of the couch and plopped himself down next to Baekhyun, putting an arm around his shoulders. “Well, how about I take you out then? We can have dinner, maybe catch a movie..” He leaned over and kissed Baekhyun noisily on the cheek, then whispered in his ear, “we can feel each other up in the back row like we used to do when we were kids.."

Baekhyun laughed at the memory. “Ah, yes… so many movies we saw, but never actually saw, if you know what I mean..”

“Yeah,” Chanyeol replied, chuckling a little himself. “So what do you think?”

“Sure,” Baekhyun said, “sounds perfect. Do I look okay, or should I get changed first..?”

Chanyeol shook his head and stood up, hauling Baekhyun up off the couch. “You look fine,” he said, steering him towards the door. “And when we get back home, perhaps I can tempt you with a round or two of Mario Karts? Perhaps a bit of Wonky Dong..?”

“Oh my god, shut up,” Baekhyun whined, but he smiled and let Chanyeol hold his hand just the same.


______________________________________




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