"Up here," Chanyeol points to where his motorbike is parked.
Jongin hesitates. He's never sat on one of those things, and his mom has been telling him his entire teenage life that motorcycles are death traps. Jongin's inclined to agree. But Chanyeol. . .is persuasive.
Chanyeol turns around and he's got a look on his face which is equal parts amused and patient. "C'mon Jongin. I said I'd buy you galbi and fondue if you scored a B+ and you got an A. That restaurant I like is in Hongdae and I've got my bike here so it would be kinda pointless to take a bus or a train? Plus I'd have to come back for my bike and don't do this to me, man."
Jongin's sigh is brimming over with resignation. "But motorbikes are death traps."
"I'll be extra careful, I promise."
Chanyeol waits a beat for Jongin to protest but all he does is nod. Then Chanyeol's large hand and his long, long, guitar fingers engulf Jongin's much smaller hand and tug him gently up the slope. Chanyeol’s skin is warm and dry against Jongin's, his fingertips, callused.
This isn't the first time Chanyeol's touched him. Just brief, accidental touches. Like when he's teaching Jongin how to solve a mathematical problem and their fingers brush or their shoulders collide. Like when Chanyeol gives him a goodbye pat on the shoulder at the end of each tutoring session, or when Chanyeol gives him a hello pat on the shoulder when they run into each other on campus.
Brief, accidental touches, yes. But Chanyeol’s never held on to Jongin this long. This is the very first time they've held hands, if you could even call it that. Jongin wants to hold hands with Chanyeol most of the time but he doesn't know if Chanyeol would want that.
They talk about mathematics and shitty lecturers. Music and manga and movies and God, all kinds of things that move them. But they've never once talked about holding hands. They've never once talked about whether Chanyeol's kisses taste like the sweet cinnamon punch he's always drinking. And they've definitely never once talked about how much Jongin likes his older coursemate, slash, Math tutor. Jongin wonders if they ever will.
For now though, it’s enough that Chanyeol hasn't relinquished his grip on his hand.
"Ready?" Chanyeol asks, his voice a little muffled by the visor of the helmet.
"Are you kidding me? I'll never be ready!" Jongin’s nervous laughter echoes inside his helmet.
"I'll take that as a yes," Chanyeol says and then he's laughing too as the motorbike shoots forward. The roar of the engine is shockingly loud and the sudden motion startles Jongin. It's instinctive the way his arms wrap around Chanyeol's waist. He should let go and just grip the saddle or whatever but Chanyeol smells of faded soap and boy. Chanyeol smells of soap and boy and the wind and Jongin doesn't let go.
"I'm so full now I don't think I can ever eat again," Chanyeol announces with dramatic finality as they push through the door and spill onto the pavement. Hongdae is teeming with tourists and university students and the sound and energy around them revive Jongin a little from his post-meal lethargy.
It's only half past eight and they don't have any homework or anywhere they have to be so they just stroll around the area aimlessly. Chanyeol's motorbike is parked in the opposite direction but no one seems to care.
The night air is nipping at Jongin's nose and the tips of his ears and he contemplates taking a scarf and beanie out of his backpack. He’s reaching for the strap slung over his right shoulder when Chanyeol grabs his hand and pulls him into a tunnel under the train tracks. There’s a dull fluorescent glow in the tunnel and there's no one here but them.
"What is it?"
"Your hands are cold." Chanyeol sounds almost surprised. His hands are warm, so much warmer than Jongin's.
"Yeah. They get like that a lot." It's a stupid thing to say but Jongin's too distracted to come up with anything more intelligent.
"So I was thinking. . .I mean, I’ve been meaning to ask," Chanyeol says, his thumbs circling over the backs of Jongin's hands in slow, soothing movements.
"I know we’ve only known each other for six months and I'm only supposed to be helping you with math but would you—"
"YES!" Jongin answers before Chanyeol can even get to the question. It’s embarrassing how eager he was with his yes. But also, Jongin kind of doesn’t give a shit because for the first time in all the time Jongin has known Chanyeol, he begins to feel like maybe he isn’t the only one with a crush.
"Why are you saying yes before you've heard the question? I could be asking you if you want to go backpacking in the Himalayas!" Chanyeol’s grin appears in a flash and his eyes are bright with something. Joy? Hope? He looks flattered by Jongin’s answer. It's cute.
"Well, I don't want to go to the Himalayas." Jongin tries to make a face but the smile breaks through anyway.
"I'm not asking you to go backpacking in the Himalayas." Chanyeol's smile and the dimple in his left cheek are making him feel a little lightheaded.
Jongin's not the kind to take risks but he puts his heart on the line anyway. "Whatever you're going to ask me? I'm pretty sure my answer will still be yes."
"So you'd go out on a date? With me? A real date? Not a reward for getting an A kind of date but a real date?"
"YES! I would totally go on a real date with you, hyung." Jongin sounds confident but he can feel the heat in his cheeks and he hopes Chanyeol doesn't notice. Or maybe he does. A small part of him kind of wants Chanyeol to know how affected he is by him. Almost like he's heard him, Chanyeol places his large, large hands on his cheeks, cupping them gently.
"Your cheeks," Chanyeol says as he looks down at him. And all of a sudden, Jongin is reminded of how much taller Chanyeol is, how much broader, how much. . .more he is in every way. "Your cheeks are warmer than your hands."
Jongin's too mortified to say anything so he looks down. He knows the ground won't open up and swallow him whole but he can't help hoping it will, anyway. Then, for just a second, there's a light pressure on the top of his head. Maybe it's one of Chanyeol's brief, accidental touches but Jongin can't help thinking it feels like a kiss. One that he hopes isn't accidental.
"I like that your cheeks are warmer than your hands, Jongin." Chanyeol's voice is softer than Jongin's ever heard it.
"That's. . .yeah."
Very, very gently, Chanyeol tilts Jongin's head up so he can see his face again. Jongin's heart is like a hummingbird beating its wings fast, so fast he has to tell himself to take the next breath, and then the next.
Chanyeol’s thumb glides over Jongin’s bottom lip and his touch makes Jongin’s breath hitch. “You know? For months and months, I’ve wondered whether your kisses would taste like those choc mint smoothies you’re always drinking.”
That bubble of tension in Jongin’s throat finally pops and he inhales. Smiles.
“Is that funny? It’s lame, I know,” Chanyeol apologizes, looking a little sheepish.
“For months and months, I’ve been wondering if your kisses would taste of sweet cinnamon punch.”
“We’re not cheesy at all,” Chanyeol says. They laugh and laugh and laugh all the pent up longing away, letting it dissipate into the autumn night air. And when they finally run out of laughter, Chanyeol’s fingers slip into the spaces between Jongin’s. He looks serious and nervous and just a little breathless as he says, “There’s only one way to find out, you know? If our kisses taste of sweet cinnamon punch and choc mint smoothie.”
“I guess so.” Jongin takes a few steps forward, his heart racing and skin humming with sensation. Chanyeol’s palm is strong and solid on his back as he pulls Jongin further into his warmth. There’s a soft moan as their mouths meet and Jongin isn’t sure if it’s his or Chanyeol’s. Jongin’s lips part with a soft sigh and Chanyeol’s tongue slips into his mouth and Chanyeol’s kiss doesn’t taste of sweet cinnamon punch. It tastes so much better, Jongin thinks as his mouth finds Chanyeol’s again.
“I like you, Jongin, so much,” Chanyeol murmurs against the sensitive skin of his earlobe.
“Me too. I like you too, hyung. So much.”
And for a while, they just stand there in each other’s arms, wanting more but also scared of wanting too much, too fast. And so they just hug each other, waiting for their breaths to calm and their heartbeats to slow down.
Chanyeol brushes Jongin’s bangs out of his hair. “Your kisses don’t taste like choco mint.”
Jongin chuckles. “Thank God for that.” And then they’re kissing again—so wrapped up in each other they don’t even notice when a few ahjummas walk by and scold them for being shameless.
You're up, 93rdfragment. Best of luck!