[EXO] opposites distract

Oct 04, 2012 17:19

opposites distract | exo | jongin/sehun | pg-13 | ~10k
desire: to wish or long for; crave; want. (or fic in which jongin volunteers at a library and meets oh sehun)
for hoaegi; my favourite sekai shipper (ps: press the title to read)

opposites distract

"I'm perspiring in an air-conditioned library, Baekhyun. I didn't sign up for this," Jongin grumbles as he tiptoes on the fold-out step to slide the thick dusty volume into place. He squints at the practically microscopic numbers printed on the label of the book, further blurred by sticky tape that is years old. The book is in the right slot; he is at least fifty perfect sure.

"You were the one that skipped every Community Involvement Programme in the last four years. You have to make it up. The real question is what I am doing here," Baekhyun throws back him, hurling a book upwards. Jongin almost slips off the step to catch it, the need to stop it from crashing onto the floor and causing a loud noise ingrained in him after just three days.

Mrs. Choi might be the most boring person alive but she definitely was one hell of a librarian and slave driver. Jongin has to hold back a shudder as he remembers her steely glare and folded arms or the way she had rattled off from an invisible list of rules.

"You're here because you are the best friend ever." He squats down on the step to tap Baekhyun on his back good-naturedly.

Baekhyun snorts, nose scrunching up in a way that scales the line between cute and ugly. "I'm your only friend."

"That's why you're my best friend," Jongin replies and Baekhyun just snorts again before sitting down on the floor to sort through the books on the lowest level of the book trolley. Jongin stands up and tiptoes again to slide another book back to its designated place. Dust settles against the tip of his nose and he has to swallow back the urge to sneeze and make a noise.

In all honesty, Jongin had picked the library volunteer programme because it had seemed to be the easiest, especially since the other two choices had been either at an animal shelter or to pick up litter at the park. The library had looked like the only choice, little did he know shelving books could be so draining.

Firstly, it was the fucking Dewey Classification System for non-fiction books.

Mrs. Choi had been very specific about the need for organization and order, and she had wanted not only for the books to be placed in order of their number but in said number, also in order of author surname. Jongin had always been the type to leave his books - "Not that you have actual books," Baekhyun had commented - textbooks all around his room and the fact that books had to be organized was a pain the ass.

The key crux of the matter was this: why shelve books in order when people were going to mess them up again later? Sure it was easier to find books when they are in order but if no one cared enough to slot them back rightfully after use, why should they be allowed easy access to the books that they needed?

Secondly, there was so much dust.

Dust tickled in his nostrils and got trapped in the strands of his hair and itch against his scalp. There was dust on his favourite cardigan and his most comfortable pair of jeans. There was dust everywhere.

The first few days had saw Jongin's nose being tinted with the mildest of red and his throat constantly itching with the need to sneeze and sniffle sadly. After a few days it stopped, like he had gotten used to dust.

Jongin doesn't think there's anything sadder than getting used to dust choking your airways.

Thirdly, it was the lack of human interaction.

Don't get Jongin wrong; he got plenty of side eyes from parents and the occasional leer from teenage girls but what he wanted was someone who was as hormonal and as male as him. Baekhyun had looked hurt when he had told him that but his features quickly morphed into a scowl when Jongin ruffled his hair.

"I hope you end up with a house full of cats and no human partner," Baekhyun had said as he used the front camera of his phone to rearrange his hair, fingers gingerly brushing them back into place.

And then Oh Sehun (and his friend) walked in one gloomy rainy day.

"If you stare any longer your eyes are going to fall out of their sockets," Baekhyun says to him as he walks past Jongin, who is huddled in a corner at the Section 500 (Science) with a stack of books held in his hands and his chin resting on the top volume. Jongin spares him a small glance before he focuses his attention back to the boy who is crouching down at Section 292 (Classical Religion), jeans hugging his non-existence ass. "What even are you staring at, there's nothing to stare at."

"I am sick of shelving books." Jongin watches as the boy shifts to start standing up, a book held loosely in one of his hands. "Wait, just - look."

The boy stands up and stretches, his shirt rising above the waist of his jeans to display a sliver of smooth skin and the start of his underwear.

"Oh my god, you're a Grade A pervert," Baekhyun whispers loudly. Jongin glares at him but Baekhyun ignores him and continue. "You're the most desperate person I know and I am friends with Yifan. Oh my god." Baekhyun pinches the bridge of his nose in mock distress and Jongin frowns at him.

"You can be such a drama queen sometimes."

"I'm not the one lurking around the shelves just so I can get a glimpse of some guy's skin."

"I'm not - I'm not actively looking out for it, I just noticed he had a tendency to that."


"The stretching thing," Jongin says and he turns and reaches up towards the shelf behind him to illustrate his point, clinging on to the books with one arm now instead of two.

Baekhyun remains silent for a moment, and then he starts to laugh, breathy little laughs that are congested in his throat.

Jongin forgets himself for a moment and raises a hand to rap a knuckle against Baekhyun's forehead, annoyed.

Except he doesn't get to do it because said stack of books crashes onto to the floor into a pile of paper and covers, the noise deafening in the eerie quietness of the library. They gape at each other.

The cough from behind them startles them both and they they turn to meet the disapproving glare of Mrs. Choi, glasses permanently perched on her sharp nose. "Care to explain this to me?" she asks in a tone that makes Jongin's skin crawl.

Baekhyun glances at Jongin from the corner of his eyes and his shoulder twitches forward. Jongin breathes in deep and sheepishly steps towards her. "It's my fault," he admits cautiously as she pushes her glasses up.

"Books have feelings too; you know that right? Stop dropping them."

Jongin can feel Baekhyun's arm against his own, trembling with the effort to not burst out in laughter.

"I'll be more careful," Jongin promises and Mrs. Choi graces them with another steely glare before walking back to her front desk, high heels muted against the carpeted floor.

"Yeah Jongin, books have feelings too, why are you such a dick?" Baekhyun chides him lightly when Mrs. Choi is a good distance away. Jongin flips him the finger and Baekhyun gasps in mock disbelief.

Oh Sehun the library card Jongin had found in between two books about Greek Mythology says. It is old and frayed at the sides, the thin layer of laminate partially separated from the card itself.

Jongin moves to the counter and Mrs. Choi isn't around. He clears his throat and clicks the little button on the speaker system's microphone. The gentle ringing pierces through the stale silence.

"Oh Sehun, can Oh Sehun come to the counter please?" he says in his nicest voice possible and then plops himself down into the nearest office chair.

He's about to repeat the announcer when he, when Oh Sehun taps the table in front of him.

"Is it about my card? I left it there as a marking," he says and his voice is not the way Jongin had imagined it to sound, not low and inviting but instead it is undeniably young and nubile, pitched high. Jongin blinks at him.

"A marking?" he repeats dumbly. Sehun looks at him, eyes almost critical, for a moment before speaking.

"Yeah, I just needed to know which book I had finished and which I hadn't. I'm doing a paper on Greek Mythology."

There is a heavy silence and Sehun looks at Jongin expectantly. "Is there another way for you to mark them?" Jongin manages to ask.

Sehun gives him a tilt of the lips that looks like a smile and picks up his card from the table. "I promise it wouldn't be for very long. Besides, no one really goes to that section of books anyway. Please?"

Jongin should say no. He should wait for Mrs. Choi to explain to Oh Sehun why it was a bad idea and then hide himself in the computing section, also known as the wasteland. He shouldn't be - "Okay," he hears himself say, "Okay."

"Thank you," Sehun says and the small tilt turns into a smile with just a hint of white. Jongin's stomach lurches and something strange tingles through his veins.

Jongin states blankly at Sehun's retreating back until he curves a corner to go towards the studying tables.

"Smooth, Jongin. Real smooth," Baekhyun teases lightly as he passes. Jongin does a literal head to desk.

Jongin sighs as he drops the penknife on the table, wincing at the clatter it produces. He leans back against the back of the chair to look out the glass door; Mrs. Choi's eyes are trained on the computer screen, mouse moving furiously over the pink mousepad, Jongin breathes deeply and picks up the roll of transparent wrapper to wrap the nth book on the table.

He had opt for book wrapping instead of shelving because it had seemed more relaxed compared to shelving but the monotonous nature of the task was driving him crazy and the silence was heavy on his shoulders. Baekhyun was outside doing damage control at the kids' section, where a little girl had just mere hours ago spilled her water all over the carpeted floor.

The boy - Sehun - had been constantly turning up at the library everyday with his friend, sitting at the same table at the corner and near Section 292, where Jongin had previously found his card. He taps away at his laptop quietly, earplugs in his ears occasionally and lips moving as he silently mouths to the lyrics sometimes. His friend does the same thing, but wanders to Section 330 (Economics) instead.

"You should just go up to him, say hi, it's not going to kill you. It's kind of pathetic you know his name and he probably doesn't even notice you."

"It's not that easy."

"Saying hi is really all that easy, Jongin."


"Do it before I say hi for you."

Jongin opens the next book and lays it on the wrapper, humming quietly as he works the penknife. Maybe he could do that, say hi and strike up casual conversation, ask Sehun what he was doing at the library everyday. It wouldn't be weird, it would just be making friends.

Of course the first time they actually communicate, it ends up with Jongin tripping over nothing and giving his jacket to Sehun.

It had been another gloomy rainy day; the sky was streaked with electricity and blurred by the torrents of rain. The library was freezing, condensation clinging to the window and cold prickling against exposed skin.

Jongin watches almost smugly as Baekhyun stops to cup his hands in front his mouth and blow on to them for warmth, thin arms shaking just a little. He snuggles deeper into his huge, thick, warm jacket and pulls the hood up.

The jacket had been a mistake at first. Jongin had brought it along the first day because he had assumed that working at the library would mean constant exposure to the air conditioner and in turn, constant exposure to the cold. Instead, shelving books and pushing the trolley around had proved a tiring job and the jacket was left forgotten in the staff-only room, sitting in an empty locker and accumulating dust.

Until today.

The sky had been grey with promises of rain on their way to the library and it had poured mere minutes after they had arrived. The temperature had slided down slowly and after the third time of rubbing his own arms, Jongin had dropped the books in his hands into Baekhyun's cradled arms and ran into the staff-only room to take his jacket. Baekhyun had glared at him as if he had somehow betrayed him for having something warm to wear.

It's emptier than usual, but Sehun and his friend are still at the same spot, typing on their laptops. Sehun has an opened book on his lap and a pen stuck in his mouth as he flips through the book. He reaches out the free hand to rub against his exposed skin.

Jongin doesn't know what possesses him but he walks towards Section 000 and shrug off his jacket, ignoring Baekhyun's confused look as the latter continues to shelve the thick computing books back into your rightful place. He hooks the jacket over one arm, squeezing his eyes shut when a particularly heavy breeze from the air-conditioner dances its way across his now bare skin and walks resolutely towards Sehun.

"You look cold," he says as he thrusts the jacket into Sehun's line of vision, hindering the latter's view of his laptop screen. Sehun pulls out his earplug and tilts his head to blink up at him.

"What are you doing?" he asks politely and Jongin notices from the corner of his eye that Sehun's friend has stopped typing and instead opts to stare at them. Jongin's hand and jacket is still blocking Sehun's laptop and the whole scenario is just mortifying and terribly confusing.

"Cold - You look cold, I was just offering you my jacket?" And Jongin cringes when it comes out as a question rather than an assertive statement. Sehun raises an eyebrow at him questionably.

"For me? But aren't you -" "No, I am not cold," Jongin replies a little too hastily and Sehun's left eyebrow lifts a little.

"You're a librarian here, right? I'll return it to you soon. I feel a little weird taking it up but I'm freezing. Hi, I am Sehun."

I know, Jongin wants to say but instead draws back his arm when Sehun has lifted the jacket into his lap. "I'm Jongin."

"Jongin," Sehun says, Jongin's name sliding off his tongue in a mess of lightness. He stretches his arm out and slides the jacket on and Jongin really likes the way it hangs over his shoulders. "Thank you."

Jongin laughs a little - an awkward sound from the back of his throat - and turns to leave.

And proceeds to trip over the floor - over empty air and has to flail a little to catch his balance. He straightens up and feels his face flame red. Resolutely, he walks towards the counter without looking back because he has never felt so mortified in his life.

Baekhyun greets him with a sympathetic pat on his back. "You tried."

Sehun doesn't return him the jacket when he leaves or even the next day when he is back. In fact, Sehun still hasn't returned him the jacket three days later and Jongin is too much of a wuss to go up to him and demand for it back.

"I don't know what to do with you," Baekhyun says in between bites of his burger, held delicately between his fingers, "you can't even ask for your jacket back. Just how in love are you with this boy?"

Jongin chokes on the soft drink he is sipping on and hacks and coughs as Baekhyun takes another bite. "Love? Are you crazy?"

"The way you stare and trip over him says otherwise; you're acting like a highschool girl with a crush it's pretty pathetic to watch," Baekhyun tells him matter-of-factly, punctuating his indifference with another bite of his burger. Jongin sets his cup on the table and stares gloomily at his drumstick.

"I'm not - Sehun - I'm not in love with Sehun, how does that even make sense?" Jongin replies indignantly. Baekhyun merely shrugs his shoulders.

"It's just that I've never seen you this way, fluttering and waddling around one person; you've always been slightly more assertive and daring. This - this is different, it's like you fell in love at first sight."

Jongin laughs sharply. "Don't be ridiculous."

"Whatever you say. Just you know if you really want to know the guy you need to speak up, try harder."

"You make it sound like I don't know that."

"With the way you are acting, I had doubts that you do."

Jongin laughs sharply again and throws a french fry towards Baekhyun's tray.

Jongin is late and he is sprinting towards the library, hurrying through the automatic doors when they open. "Hi, sorry I'm -"

Baekhyun is sitting on the counter with his leg crossed and Sehun's friend is standing in front of him, oddly close. Upon closer inspection, Jongin sees that Baekhyun has fingers light on the other's forearm, innocent touches that seem more intimate than they should.

"Jongin! Mrs. Choi is out at the bank and I was just helping Zitao here with the searching for a book. Zitao, this is Jongin."

Sehun's friend - Zitao - stretches out a friendly hand out to shake Jongin's own, other hand reaching up to push up his glasses and breaking the contact with Baekhyun.

"You were the guy that gave Sehun your jacket." Jongin winces at that and reaches out to shake Zitao's hand. Zitao's grip is firm but not overly so.

"Yes that's me, jacket guy," Jongin says as he laughs nervously. Zitao crooks an eyebrow at him. Baekhyun has to cough back and swallow a laughter.

"Why don't you start with the shelving first Jongin?" Baekhyun asks. Jongin notices that his eyes glance towards Zitao for a moment. "I'll join you once I am done helping Zitao here." His smiling is positively winning and white with teeth.

Jongin waves at them briefly and hightails it for the cart full of books and pushes it away quickly. He purposely starts with the part of the library furthest away from the counter, revelling in the relative silence as he tries to will his mortification away. He has never been this embarrassing his whole life - save for the time where he had been dared to ask a teacher out on a bet. This was different, this was humiliation that he had brought upon himself. He slams his forehead lightly against the nearest shelf level.

"Are you okay?" A voice calls out, jolting out of his thought process. He whirls around to say yes and is met with an eyeful of Sehun.


He opens his mouth and gapes a little as he flails his arms at him. Sehun just stands and looks at him patiently.

"Yeah - yeah I am fine, just got caught by surprise, I was uhm, thinking," Jongin manages to blabber out. What was Sehun doing here? Didn't he work solely at the non-fiction section? Sehun had seen him slamming his head against the forehead - oh god.

"I'm sorry for startling you, I just wanted to return this and I saw you walking towards here, so," Sehun says as he pushes Jongin's jacket towards Jongin's chest. Jongin receives it quickly. "I forgot that it wasn't mine for a while; I washed it everything, thank you."

Jongin blinks at him for a moment before he finds his voice again. "Thank you for washing it," he replies and Sehun smiles at him, touching him light against his forearm; a small pat that sends tendrils of panic crawling up the length of Jongin's arm.

Sehun is turning to leave when Jongin blurts out, "do you want to get coffee some time?" Sehun turns back to look at him.

"That sounds nice. My treat though, since." Sehun cocks his head towards Jongin. "The jacket." He waves at Jongin and Jongin fumbles one back in return.

Oh my god, Jongin thinks as he leans against the shelf, he said yes.

"I can't believe you didn't tell me I had to bring a nicer set of clothes; I can't believe you did," Jongin grumbles as Baekhyun slips into the clean black shirt that he had brought along, before haphazardly throwing his other shirt into a random locker.

"I thought it was common sense? I mean, we are going to a festival," Baekhyun says. He gestures for Jongin to lift the phone higher and he uses the front camera as a makeshift mirror as he wields his eyeliner as if it was a weapon.

"My thought process was more oh it's just a festival," Jongin replies begrudgingly. Baekhyun snorts at him, even with the eyeliner pressed precariously against his waterline.

"Can't blame me for your stupidity then," Baekhyun murmurs as he returns attention back to his eyes, "besides, you look fine. Like you're going for that laid back don't-give-a-fuck look."

"You mean the I'm-dressing-like-a-slob-because-I'm-a-slob look. Have you said how frayed the collar of this shirt is?"

Baekhyun remains silent as the liner dips into the crease at the outer edge of his eye.

"I could put some eyeliner on you, muse up your hair, I'm sure Sehun would be suitably impressed," Baekhyun offers as he shifts the liner to his other eye.

"Impress? Who said I was aiming to impress anyone?"

"Not anyone." Baekhyun pauses for a moment. "Sehun."

Jongin doesn't offer an answer or protest to this and Baekhyun takes it as a sign to continue. "You want him to put his hands on your skin tight jeans, be his teenage dream tonight." Baekhyun is singing by the end of the sentence and there is a silence that hangs in the air and the song is oddly familiar and -

"Fuck you," Jongin replies.

"I'm sure you would rather -" Baekhyun starts. Jongin drops the phone from Baekhyun's line of vision. "Fine, I'll stop." Jongin lifts the phone again. "Sehun..." Baekhyun doesn't get the chance to finish because Jongin snatches the liner out of his hand and threatens to use it to draw streaks against Baekhyun's face.

Jongin watches a little bitterly as Baekhyun touches a hand against Zitao's forearm and the latter doesn't even flinch. Instead, he seems to move in even closer, plucking the last piece of fried chicken out of Baekhyun's plate. Baekhyun reacts a second too late and Zitao already has the food in his mouth. Baekhyun laughs.

Jongin shuffles behind them quietly, Sehun next to him (maybe next to him is a far stretch; it was more like them walking at the same pace and speed but at opposite ends of the road).

The festival is nice in a way, people milling about and the smell of food heavy in the air. The sound of laughter and chatter weaves with this and the lights and colours are a treat to the eyes.

"Want some? It's pretty good." And there is a cup of pink liquid thrusted in front of Jongin. Jongin's eyes filter up and it is Sehun who is holding the cup out to him. Jongin fumbles for a moment - how had Sehun snuck without him realizing?

Sehun shakes the cup in front of him, ice knocking into each other and liquid sloshing dangerously close to the rim of the cup. "So?"

Jongin reaches forward and catches the straw with the edges of his teeth. The beverage is cold down his throat, quenching a thirst he didn't know was present. Sehun tugs the straw out of his mouth and sips the drink himself.

For no clear reason at all, Jongin feels flame lick against his cheeks; he looks up and blames it on the gentle sunlight streaming down against their skin. Sehun has his eyes on him again and Jongin doesn't remember him standing so close a second ago. "So?" Sehun asks and Jongin is too stunned to reply.

"So what?" Sehun cocks an eyebrow at him. His face is oddly fascinating to watch especially since Jongin mostly sees it deep in concentrate as he clatters away on his keyboard, a small frown gracing the middle of his eyes.

"The drink, Jongin," Sehun repeats.

"Ah - the drink - it is good, you were right," Jongin replies and Sehun pushes it in front of him again.

"Have more, I can't finish anyway; not if I want to try out more of the food available."

Jongin takes the cup from Sehun and the latter seems to inch closer, shoulder brushing against Jongin's own. Jongin's grip on the cup tightens a fraction.

"Sorry, am I standing too close?" Sehun asks and Jongin struggles to school his expression to one of neutrality instead of panic.

"No! In fact, you can stand closer if you want." Jongin wants to bury himself in a hole when the words slip out of his mouth. Sehun laughs at him, something quiet that doesn't draw the attention of anyone.

"That's good," he replies and Jongin isn't quite sure what he is supposed to interpret that as.

"Zitao and I are going to check out the photography exhibition. Do you guys want to come or...?" Baekhyun turns to ask. He looks at Jongin with a look that plainly reads for Jongin to reject or else. Jongin can't help but roll his eyes at him.

"Nah, I am going to go look for food instead," Jongin says and Baekhyun rewards him with a bright smile. He is a little startled when he feels Sehun rest a hand on his shoulder.

"I'm going with Jongin then," he says and Jongin notices Baekhyun trying to hold back his laughter. Baekhyun tugs on Zitao's sleeve and they leave and Jongin wants to die at the awkward that has decided to permeate the air.

"There was this stall selling grilled chicken, want to start from there?" Sehun asks, breaking the silence. Jongin nods numbly and follows Sehun's lead.

The day passes by as a mirage of reality. Sehun is surprisingly fun to hang out with, a bundle of fun paired with the right amount of sensibility. There are moments when it seems like his head is the clouds especially when he concentrates to read something stuck against the pillar or when he is contemplating what to say but all in all, Sehun is someone that Jongin can see to be a friend.

They end at the day sitting near the bonfire, the flames licking up towards the sky behind them. It is a comfortable quiet as they both stare at the empty night sky, devoid of stars that are drowned out by the city lights.

"Thank you," Sehun says after a moment of silence. Jongin looks at him, confused. "For the jacket. I know this is like the third time I'm thanking you."

"I told you, it's okay."

"No I saw you uhm you know? Trying to keep warm," Sehun reveals, rubbing his upper arms with his hands to illustrate his point. Jongin feels red crawl up his heck. "I don't know why you insisted on lending me the jacket... but thank you."

"I just - I just wanted to," Jongin admits and it is not quite a confession but it holds the promise of one to come. Sehun assesses him for a moment, poised to say something but drops it in the end. His hand finds the crook of Jongin's elbow and Jongin has to regulate his breathing.

"Come on, tell me. I've been curious about this for a while," Sehun urges. His eyes are wide and he leans in closer. Jongin has to stop himself from leaning backwards.

"It's nothing I swear."

Sehun's eyes are mischievous and full of tease. It is astonishing and intriguing because Jongin has always seen Sehun as just "the attractive guy in the library that he creeps on" and not "someone who is capable of mischief and emotions". He guess to put it bluntly, Jongin has always seen Sehun as just his eyes and his ass, his lean physique and the way his shirt rides up. It has never been about being interested in what he was writing and what he liked. It is something that reeks of lust and desire for flesh and at this moment Jongin thinks he might want more than that.

"Would you judge me if I told you it was because you looked nice?" Jongin admits.

He thinks he sees something akin to disappointment flicker pass Sehun's eyes but he pushes that crazy notion away because Sehun has not showed an interest in that way before and never will he.

Sehun looks at him, really looks at him and it makes Jongin just that bit of uncomfortable. "I guess I should thank you for finding me attractive?" And there's just that hint of tartness in his voice that rubs raw against Jongin's bones, a hint of displeasure that Jongin has no idea had come from where.

"Are you offended?" Jongin asks and Sehun replies instantly with a startled laugh.

"No, I am not. I am just - never mind," Sehun throws back but he doesn't shift away from Jongin.

Jongin opens his mouth to talk but Sehun leans in more, taking up the edge of Jongin's personal space. Jongin can't help gulp a little, his throat moving.

Their faces are close - too close - and the fire behind him crackles with anticipation. Jongin's heart slams insistently against his ribcage and there is a ringing in his ears that he doesn't understand. Sehun's face is so close he can count the number of the lashes he has, can see the way they fan lightly against his eyelid. He swallows quietly and Sehun inches that bit closer. The hand he has gripping the edge of the seat tightens and his mouth is suddenly too dry.

And then Sehun pulls away.

There are a million questions running through Jongin's head; all at the speed of light. There had been something he was sure of it, something akin to electricity and dry static against the heat of his skin, something that had sped up his heart rate and probably even cause palpitations.

"I'm sorry." Sehun's voice stops his thoughts and he is thrown back down to Earth, to Sehun who looks apologetic, hands linked together in front of him. "I shouldn't have - uhm - lean in that close."

Jongin laughs back nervously, mouth too dry for him to articulate words. He wants to tell Sehun it is okay but it would be weird because they are not quite there yet, they are not quite anything.

"I'll will go look for Zitao? We should leave soon anyway - I assume Baekhyun and you are working tomorrow?" Sehun says and Jongin just nods numbly. He turns to look at the fire and Sehun's disappearing back as he goes to find Zitao. His heart doesn't stop thumping and this is so ridiculous it is pathetic.

The phone is ringing; his phone is ringing and Jongin is rudely pulled away from darkness and the most pleasant of dreams; a dream where shelving books didn't result in an abundance of dust. The ringing stops and Jongin tugs the pillow over his head.

Then it starts again.

Jongin groans and flails blindly at the bedside table, wincing when his hand slams against the corner of it instead. When he presses the answer button on his phone, it takes him awhile to get it to his ear.

"- me out." Jongin catches the tail-end of what Baekhyun says.

"What," he manages to mumble out before rolling onto his stomach, side of his face pressed into the soft pillow.

"Zitao. Zitao asked me out. For lunch tomorrow. Jongin what do I do?" Baekhyun's voice is quick and excited. Jongin cracks open an eye to look at the clock on his bedside table. It flashes at him three bright red 2s.

"It's 2am, Baekhyun."

"You're not answering my question. What do I do?"

"You should sleep. I'm going to back to sleep."

"You're the wor-" Jongin hangs up on Baekhyun before the latter can continue with his sentence.

"I'm not going for lunch with you today."

Maybe Sehun just didn't like him? Maybe Jongin was just - "You aren't what," Jongin zones back to earth.

"I told you Iast night. Zitao is bringing me to this chinese restaurant ten minutes away," Baekhyun replies casually, reaching pass Jongin to slide a book into its rightful space. Jongin grabs onto the extended arm.

"What about me?" he asks. Baekhyun cocks his head to look at him, shrugging his shoulders as best as his current position allowed.

"I'm not bringing you along on a date," Baekhyun says gleefully, unable to stop the twitch at the corner of his lips.

"A date? Baek, the boy is heads taller than you," Jongin says and cringes inwardly when he realises that it doesn't quite make sense.

"I'm friends with Yifan, I don't think height differences matter much to me," Baekhyun replies breezily, "besides, I think - I think I really like Zitao."

Jongin can't say he is not surprised to hear that because Baekhyun has always been a little flighty in relationships and dating, has always been about quick flings and dropping people before one could snap their fingers. Baekhyun looks at him, biting against his bottom lip.

"This sounds so dumb but I really want this to - you know - work out. For as long as it possibly can." Baekhyun looks smaller than Zitao can ever remember, unsure as he twiddles his thumbs and cast his eyes downwards.

Jongin ruffles Baekhyun's hair. "If there is one thing I know about you, is that you make anything you want work. You'll be okay."

Baekhyun graces him with a small smile before frowning and chiding him for messing up his hair again.

Jongin lolls around in the office chair behind the counter as he waits for the lunch hour to be over. He has already consumed (or more like choked down) a sandwich back in the staffroom and his water bottle has been empty for ages. Baekhyun still isn't back from his date with Zitao and Jongin refuses to start shelving first. He does a twirl on the chair and has to catch on to the edge of the table to stop himself from swerving off into a stack of books.

"Are you free to get that coffee?" A voice asks from in front and Jongin tilts his head back to meet Sehun's face. It is a wonder that he doesn't simply topple out of his chair. The clock behind Sehun tells him that he only has thirty minutes of a break left.

"I only have thirty minutes left," he replies and Sehun's forehead scrunches up a little.

"How about lunch? We could eat at the convenience store next door; maybe instant noodles or something? I haven't had anything the whole day and Zitao is out with your friend so...," Sehun asks and Jongin thinks he detects a tinge of nervousness in his voice. He plays it off as his imagination.

"Yeah, sure," he agrees even though he has already eaten. He could just pick up a bottle of water or small snacks and accompany Sehun. It is dumb but Jongin can't help but feel the tight curl of anticipation low in his stomach due to the opportunity of hanging out alone with Sehun especially when things had ended off so awkwardly last night.

"Could I leave my laptop with you? It's a hassle to carry it out," Sehun asks. Jongin agrees of course.

It takes the better half of the thirty minutes for Jongin to lapse back into the easy atmosphere he had with Sehun from yesterday. He doesn't want to say anything that might be wrong again, doesn't want Sehun to think that he is just interested in the way he looks.

"Why are you always at the library?" he asks mid-bite of his bun. Sehun stops slurping at his noodles to look at him.

"I thought you were just interested in the way I look?" Sehun teases but Jongin doesn't miss the hint of seriousness that clouds his voice. He winced inwardly.

"You said you weren't offended," Jongin throws back and Sehun does that eyebrow thing again - Jongin finds it incredibly sexy.

"Do you just believe everything everyone tells you, Jongin?" Sehun replies, mischief filtering into his voice. Jongin is at a lost for words and god were they - flirting?

"No - No of course not," Jongin replies adamantly and Sehun jabs his chopsticks against the top of his hand.

"Okay, I'll believe you." And his voice tells Jongin he obviously doesn't. Jongin frowns at him.

"You haven't answered my question."

Sehun looks confused for a moment before his eyes light up. "Ah, about me going to the library? I'm writing a paper on the different ways people interpret Greek Mythology; that's why I had to do the marking thing."

"That sounds...interesting," Jongin replies and he cringes at how generic his response sounds.

"It sounds boring to you, doesn't it?" Sehun chides. "Do you know any of them?"

Jongin thinks for a moment. "Icarus," he blurts out, "I like the story of Icarus."


"There - There's something about Icarus and how he just went ahead to do something so stupid because of his excitement - I don't know, there's just something so free about it that, you know, resonates," Jongin replies, "the whole satisfying your curiousity thing too."

There is a thick silence as Sehun stares out the window of the convenience store, face blank.

"You do know Icarus dies in the end right - or at least, falls into the sea?" Sehun says after a long moment of thought. Jongin shrugs nervously and laughs.

He thinks he spots Sehun assessing him with curiousity burning in his eyes - he doesn't ask further. He isn't Icarus.

"Are you jerking off in the library? That's nasty, Jongin," Baekhyun says as a voice behind Jongin, a hand warm against his back. Jongin jumps up and the book in his hands almost slips out of his grasp.

"W - What are you - I - What?" Jongin splutters, "I am not, I am just - "

"You're staring at Sehun again, figures. You would jerk off to him if you could, wait - I bet you do at home. God, Jongin."

Baekhyun is being extra obnoxious today and Sehun knows why - Zitao had asked Baekhyun out on another date - and Jongin doesn't want to admit it but he's just that hint of jealous because Baekhyun is having an abundance of success and all Jongin has is a promise of a coffee date that hasn't yet come to pass.

So no one can really blame him for what he says next.

"I'm going to tell Zitao about that time i walked in on you jerking off to SHINee's Lucifer Music Video, Byun Baekhyun."

Baekhyun's eyes widen and he leans in closer. "You wouldn't dare."

"Try me."

"I don't know why we're still friends." Baekhyun's face is painted with distress and that makes Jongin feel a tad bit better.

"I ask myself that when I walked into you moaning Taemin's name."

"Oh my god please shut up," Baekhyun pleads, hands clamping his ears. "It was one, independent incident stop bringing it up."

"Then stop making fun of me about my - uhm - my..."

"Crush?" Baekhyun finishes for him helpfully. "Attraction? Infatuation? Lust?"

"My nothing," Jongin replies because it is true. This is nothing, this is... just this. A spark of desire that coils against his chest and a possible want to reach out and touch bare skin. It was just... just Jongin looking from afar and craving something he'll never get and even though he knows deep inside that this had become something more than just the physical more than just lust, he doesn't want to try and decipher it.

"I told you, the way you look at him is definitely not nothing," Baekhyun argues. His voice gains a degree of seriousness and Jongin isn't sure why Baekhyun is making such a big deal out of this whole thing.

"He's just attractive okay? Eye Candy," Jongin replies hastily, wanting to get Baekhyun off his back and honestly even if this was not nothing, this was nameless and fluid, a floating mass of confusion and indefinite that Jongin isn't sure he wants to explore or chart out.

"Jongin," Baekhyun starts but Jongin clamps a hand over his mouth.

"I'm going to go clear up the children book section okay?" He doesn't wait for a reply before standing up to leave.

He starts to have lunch with Sehun more often especially since Baekhyun and Zitao are always off alone, going to obscure restaurants after obscure restaurants and returning at the last second of Baekhyun's lunch break hour, usually laughing over something or with shoulders that bump and ears that are too close.

To sum it all up, Baekhyun and Zitao are cloyingly sweet together in a way that makes Jongin scrunch up his nose and feel goosebumps on his arms.

"What about you Jongin? Why are you volunteering at a library instead of enjoying your break?" Sehun asks in the midst of one of their lunches. They are at a cafe near the library because Sehun was craving pastries and Jongin looks up from the pasta he is demolishing.

"Community Involvement hours," Jongin replies, "I skipped every one of them for four years so I am making up for lost time." Sehun laughs a little at this.

"So you are a regular badass eh?" Sehun teases and Jongin doesn't jump out of his seat, not when this has become almost familiar ground, words laced with possibilities of more. He has become comfortable around Sehun because he doesn't think it is possible not to, not when Sehun is one the easiest person ever to talk to, despite of the fact that his expressions sometimes don't quite catch up with him.

"Just lazy, to be honest," Jongin replies and Sehun chuckles at that.

"Good," Sehun replies and it is when Sehun says things like this, things that can interpreted in so many ways that Jongin gets tossed into a cycle of confusion again.

"What do you mean by that?" Jongin asks.

Sehun looks up from his food to love at him. "I prefer lazy asses to badasses." There's a quirk to the corner of his lips. Jongin's heart hammers in his chest and he picks up his orange juice and sips at it noisily.

"I am the furthest thing from a badass."

"Zitao told me that Baekhyun told him about the one time both of you skipped school."

Jongin can't help but snort at that. "Because Baekhyun wasn't done with his assignment and wanted someone to help him with it, you mean."

"So you were just helping a friend in need?"

"Of course - I told you, I am the furthest thing from a badass."

"Pity, I like them with a tinge of danger," Sehun says. Jongin is caught by surprise and he is trying to formulate an answer but Sehun continues. "Sorry."

"What?" Jongin blurts out. He watches as Sehun schools his expression to one of nothing.

"Sorry - just - sorry," Sehun says and he is uncharacteristically flustered, the starting of red crawling up the pale column of his neck. "I got carried away."

They eat in relative silence for the rest of the meal, Jongin munching sadly at his spaghetti while Sehun practically chokes down his chicken pie. The air is stale with tension.

The journey back is as equally awkward and Jongin is glad it is merely three blocks down the road. Jongin walks faster when they near the entrance of the library, eager to get out of Sehun's immediate presence but a hand clamps itself around his wrist. He turns to look at Sehun.

"I- I don't do flings," Sehun says out in a rush, words conglomerating together to form an almost inaudible mess of words. Jongin opens his mouth to speak but Sehun has already let go of his wrist.

Jongin remains rooted to the ground, confused out of his fucking mind.

"I have a Situation, Baekhyun," Jongin says when Baekhyun answers the phone. He is met with a loud groan and the sound of bedsheets shuffling. "I hope that isn't Zitao next to you."

Baekhyun remains silent for a while, breathing the only thing that echoes through Jongin's ears. "Yeah, Zitao is in my bed, we just had marathon sex to Lucifer on repeat - of course not. Have you looked at the time? It is 2am in the morning. Remember what happened when I called you at 2am the last time? You hung up on me."

Jongin is probably going to get killed for this but - "You called? When?" Baekhyun snorts in disbelief.

"Never mind. I am going back to sleep, we can deal with your Situation tomorrow."

"I can't sleep," Jongin says quickly before Baekhyun gets the chance to hang up on him.

"What's up then?" Baekhyun asks and his voice develops something softer that Jongin recognises as his Serious Voice. Jongin wants to tell him that that isn't necessary.

"I went for lunch with Sehun today and things got tensed halfway through. At the end lunch he told me that he doesn't do flings, how am I supposed to interpret that?"

Baekhyun is quiet for too long and Jongin is ready to hum at him for a response when Baekhyun speaks. "He's interested in you, you slow-wit. No one goes up to a random person and tells them they are not interested in flings - how is this a situation?"

"It's one because I don't know how to proceed from here. I mean if he was interested why doesn't he just come up to me and ask for a date? God knows I will say yes."

Baekhyun snorts at him sleepily. "Says the person who has been harbouring this crush for weeks." Jongin winces at the truth of this statement.

"Look Jongin, I think this a first move you're going to have to make. I think Sehun has made himself pretty clear. Heck, the only reason he is not moving forward could be that he doesn't think you're interested. I mean, you pretty much fumble and stumble all over the guy - no one would be able to see how interested you actually are."

Jongin wishes Baekhyun was next to him just so he could smack him across the head. Instead, he replies, "you are the wors-" before Baekhyun hangs up on him.

Except no plan is needed because Sehun avoids the fuck out of Jongin the next day. Jongin waves to him when the latter walks in and Sehun just glances quickly at his general direction before turning towards his usual table, leaving a baffled Jongin to stare at his retreating figure. Zitao goes up to him and pats him on the back before tailing behind Sehun.

Jongin doesn't know what the fuck is happening or has happened.

Baekhyun approaches him after a moment, commenting on how Jongin has been standing there for five whole minutes and that he has graciously rejected Zitao's invitation for lunch so they could deal with Jongin's Crush Crisis.

Jongin tells him to go for lunch with Zitao and shoves past him to shelf more books. Baekhyun whisper-yells at him what's wrong but he doesn't hear it, not when the swirling in his head and the way his heart is his throat blocks everything out.

"Spill, why are you being so damn mopey?" Baekhyun says during lunch break, after he has dragged Jongin by his pinky to the staffroom. He locks the door behind him and pushes Jongin into the nearest chair before crossing his arms, an imposing picture. Jongin fidgets a little.

"Tell me," Baekhyun asks again, injecting more steel in his voice. Jongin gulps.

"Sehun is avoiding me," he replies softly, "I said hi this morning and he breezed past me like he was staring into empty space."

"Are you not telling me something? Did you say anything that might have triggered such a negative reaction from him yesterday?"

"N-no. It was all him. We sort of flirted and he just cut himself off a while later and then told me he wasn't into flings. I've never said anything to hint that I wanted a fling - god Baek I don't want a fling."

Baekhyun assesses him for a moment, thinking, and Jongin is taken aback when Baekhyun's face develops something that looks like guilt.

"You're going to kill me," he says very very softly, to the extent that Jongin has to lean upwards to catch his words. "I think I know what is going on."

"Tell me. I wouldn't kill my best friend."

"Tao - Zitao asked me a few days back about you and what was your deal with Sehun. I told him you were developing a huge case of lust over Sehun."

"Oh my god."

"He had frowned - he might have told Sehun."

"My life is a joke," Jongin says, laughing humorlessly. "Sehun thinks I am after his ass."

"Which you sort of are?" Baekhyun says tentatively, trying to remedy the situation. Jongin buries his face into his hands and makes silent wailing noises.

"How do I fix this?" he asks.

"Talk to him, you have to talk to him. I can't go up to him it would seem like I'm trying to cover for you or something. This is something you have to do by yourself. I told you - you have to make the first move."

Jongin doesn't approach Sehun for the next three days. Baekhyun must have told Zitao about this Situation because Zitao makes it a point to greet Jongin loudly (or as loudly as a library would allow). Sehun just grunts something that sounds a fraction like hi and shuffles away to his seat. Zitao smiles at him weakly and shrugs his shoulders before catching up with his friend. He doesn't know why they are acting this way because he doesn't care. It's not like Sehun and him had actually been dating. They had been becoming friends and losing someone who was more of an acquaintance than anything shouldn't hurt this much.

Except if Jongin was true to himself, it did hurt because he had gotten used to being able to talk to Sehun comfortably, had started to look forward to the times where he got to eat lunch with Sehun. He had fell in tandem with the infrequent text messages they share, usually started off when Sehun texts him about something interesting he had read. Basically, Jongin had started to open up an actual space in his life for Sehun and now it was left empty and gaping.

So when Jongin chances upon Sehun at the already familiar Section 292, crouching down to shuffle through the book, he freezes at first. He stands and quietly observes Sehun humming under his breath and then standing up, notices the sliver of skin and continues looking as Sehun turns. Sehun stops humming mid-melody.

"Sehun," Jongin starts but Sehun's face hardens - fucking hardens.

"I'm busy." His reply is curt and painful to listen to and it makes Jongin angry. Angry because he doesn't think his actions have warrant complete dissociation, angry because Sehun was being overly immature and angry because -

Something possesses him, something must have because never in his right mind would Jongin grab the edges of Sehun's shoulders and shove him against the shelf behind him.

And kiss him.



Jongin has just kissed Sehun. Jongin has just shoved Sehun against a shelf full of computing books and kissed him. Sehun is staring at him, eyes wider than Jongin has ever seen them, hand in a fist pressed against his mouth.


Sehun takes a tentative step towards him, foot placed in front of himself and Jongin thinks he hears himself make a noise of distress that sounds oddly like a whimper. Sehun pauses as if he is approaching a spooked out animal.

"Jon -" Sehun starts but stops when he catches the way Jongin is looking at him.

"Fuck I shouldn't have done that - I shouldn't have - shouldn't have want to do that. God you must think I am crazy, jumping on someone like that - I shouldn't have I didn't - no fuck I wanted to - but I shouldn't have - I am sorry."


"It was true I only noticed you at first because you were attractive and your shirt kept riding up - god that sounds creepy as fuck - but I wanted to know you too and when we got to know each other you became a person to me not just lean body and long legs and I just - it's irrational I know, I know, but I like you Oh Sehun, I like you a whole fucking lot."

Jongin takes a deep breath when he finished his spontaneous confession, heart echoing in his ears and uncomfortable as it slams against his chest. Oh god, he was a goddamn idiot. If he was Sehun, he would dash to the nearest police station to get a restraining order on himself. You don't just kiss someone like that out of the blue especially not when said someone had been obviously trying to tell you no through the way he was acting.

All in all, Jongin fucked up. Big Time.

Apprehension sits heavy in the air and constricts Jongin from just bolting away. He needs to get a reaction from Sehun; a reaction that would crush all his hope and allow him to mope away his crush instead of allowing it to fester and still end up in nothing.

So it doesn't take a genius to determine that when Sehun is the one that shoves him, shoves him against the opposite row of shelves and presses lips against his, Jongin doesn't react because how is he supposed to react? His heart picks up even more speed and his arms are limp next to him.

Sehun's pushes his face back to look at him. "Kiss me back." And Jongin does - god - does Jongin kiss him back.

They have to be quiet, after all, they are still in a library in the Greek Mythology Section and Jongin's mind travel as he hopes hard as hell that this isn't going to foreshadow their future interactions as ones filled with tragedy - Sehun brings him back to what is at hand with the lightest of nibble against his tongue.

Sehun was nibbling on his tongue.

Jongin can't stop the small moan that escapes his throat and he is lucky Sehun swallows it for him because he is sure the whole library would have heard him otherwise. The kiss is surprisingly frantic for a first (second?) kiss and it makes Jongin curls his toes in his shoes. He has never kissed anyone like this never really kissed someone and when Sehun pushes playfully against his tongue he makes a pathetic sound from the back of his throat. It has always been drunken dares and chaste press of lips not this - not something that makes the butterflies in his stomach reproduce at lightning speed and mess up his system.

They only pull apart because Baekhyun coughs into his fist when he walks past, eyes full of mirth. "I see you guys have solved your issues," he says lightly and Jongin curls into Sehun's side unknowingly, unconsciously trying to hide himself from Baekhyun because he was never going to live this down - Baekhyun was going to use this as tease material for ages.

"I can only hope so. Do you mind?" Sehun gestures towards the opposite end of the library and Baekhyun rolls his eyes and leaves, throwing them a backwards goodbye wave.

"I want to know you better too. Since that day you gave me your jacket and chose to freeze. You - you intrigued me and you can ask Zitao but not much does."

"Wow," Jongin says after a stretched silence. Sehun chuckles.

"Will you go for coffee with me? A coffee date. We can get to know each other better." Sehun asks and Jongin is so glad that Sehun is so much more articulate and calm than he currently is.

He nods and Sehun graces him with a smile he has never seen before - a smile that captures the hint of shyness and the full extent of content.

"So I guess this library volunteer thing turned out better than expected, huh?" Baekhyun says to Jongin on their last day, crouching side by side as they shelved at the children section.

Jongin's phone buzzes in his pocket and he can't help but smile a little.

"Yeah - yeah I guess it did."


Shu, so this was supposed to be Christmas fic and this was supposed to have aisle porn but neither happened :( but since this is months earlier and you're graduating in days, this is a graduation gift! I'll write you something else come Christmas. good luck in your o levels! you're so smart I am sure you are going to extraordinary. ♥ thank you for being a friend; I'm glad I met you because you're a delight and more. Let's meet up again soon, I still own you a cup of Starbucks! I love you I hope this doesn't disappoint too much xoxo.

- this is one of the longest and grossest thing i have ever written wow why does this exist please stop me but qt innocent sejong is my favourite :c awkward!jongin is the best screams.
- beta-ed by the lovely seulpeo! who without this fic would have 99 instances of italics rather than the much saner number of 45.
- ty to amber (my favourite minor) and sammy for cheerleading; this fic would not have existed without your handholding.
- soundtrack: trespassing (adam lambert) | holly (would you turn me on?) (all time low) | poison (secret) | boys/boyfriend (glee cast)
- rolls back to hiatus land

fandom: exo, pairing: sehun/jongin, rating: pg-13

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