— Baekhyun/Kyungsoo. PG-13. 6685 words.
— As far as Baekhyun knows, kissing his boss isn’t part of the job description. (Warnings: creepy stalkers, two people kissing under the influence of alcohol but completely consensual)
— for ebie and kitten! @ fake dating au week. alternate titles: icantwriteshortbaeksoo.txt, lolwhatwasithinking.txt, utriedreezautried.txt. Also available on AO3.
On a scale of one to ten, Baekhyun would probably rate his secretarial skills an eleven. For one, he actually comes in on time, way before his boss does. He's never been absent from work, save for that time when he woke up hungover the day after the Agency of the Year party. And he actually makes a to-do list every night, before clocking out from work. He's come to follow a system now, one he's crafted for himself to make full use of his work hours. The moment he arrives in the office, the first thing he does is to go through his task list for the day, resolving to himself to finish them in order. Booting his laptop always comes second; making sure that his phone is charged and that his boss will be able to reach him anytime between nine in the morning to six in the evening is third. Fourth comes going through his emails for five quick minutes and marking the important ones that aren't already flagged as 'URGENT!' then leaving to grab coffee for both himself and his boss. Kyungsoo almost always arrives in the office at nine in the morning, on the dot, after all. The only time he's even been 'late' was that instance when his car broke down just when he was about to take a right turn to the 88 highway on his way to work. And even then, Baekhyun still grabbed a cup each for them, half past eight in the morning, then took the first train to Yeouido. Grabbed one of those waffle treats along the way, as well, because if there was one thing that made Kyungsoo's grim days better without fail, it was the combination of yummy waffles and an even yummier cup of Americano.
And then fifth: doing whatever his boss asks of him, sometimes even after office hours. So nine in the evening in his and Kyungsoo’s favorite ’nondescript’ bar in Hongdae sees him returning to their table not with two cups of coffee in hand but, instead, with two rocks glasses and an entire bottle of whiskey that Baekhyun is positive Kyungsoo can finish it he just put his heart into it.
"Thanks," Kyungsoo mumbles as soon as Baekhyun sets the tray on their little table. He reaches out for the bottle, uncaps it in one slick twist, then pours a generous amount over the ice in Baekhyun's glass. Baekhyun reaches out, then, trying to stop Kyungsoo halfway through because this is part of my job, boss, but then Kyungsoo's shaking his head, laughing a little and looking up at Baekhyun as he says, "Whiskey on the rocks, still? What are you, twelve?"
"Older than you, actually. By a few months. But whatever," Baekhyun retorts, but whispers a soft 'thank you', anyway. Three years down the line and he still finds it difficult to tiptoe to the other side of the fence, to that realm where he and Kyungsoo aren't co-workers, where Kyungsoo isn't his boss but, instead, someone he can hold conversations that stretch past an hour with without tiring himself out or having to think through everything he wants to say. They've done this at least ten times already in the past quarter and then more in the years they've worked together – hang out somewhere after work, hopping from one street performance to another in Hongdae or maybe even ducking into a bar without any cover fee so they can sort of splurge on drinks. (Though Baekhyun's never had to pay for anything; Kyungsoo somehow manages to settle the bill even before Baekhyun can pull out a couple of bills from his waller.) He's had to drive Kyungsoo's car home once or twice already, during those few times when Kyungsoo'd make the mistake of not eating before drinking then end up a blubbering mess on Baekhyun's shoulder. Yet it still feels weird, sometimes, to saunter closer to the controls and flick off the work switch. To drop the entire 'you're my boss and I won't joke around with you unless you pay me to do exactly that' act and clink glasses with Kyungsoo. Only when Kyungsoo stares at him, an eyebrow cocked and a glass of whiskey tilted in his direction, does he find it sort of easy to detach himself from that thin line and just snap the string. "Didn't you know that adding a bit of water to your whiskey actually releases a smoother flavor–"
Kyungsoo snorts. He doesn’t put up a fight when Baekhyun snatches the bottle from him, though, even flashing a thumbs up once he’s satisfied with the amount of whiskey in his glass. “But that’s ice, not water."
"–and makes the whiskey taste better–I'm not done yet–" Baekhyun huffs, pressing his lips into a thin line at the first sign of Kyungsoo's shoulders shaking, at the slightest upward curl on Kyungsoo's lips. And then he’s setting the bottle down on the table, slapping Kyungsoo on the arm, light taps that soon bloom into heavy hits as Kyungsoo erupts into a lovely peal of laughter. "Why did I agree to go with you again–"
"You've finally thawed out," Kyungsoo whispers now, lips pressed to the rim of his glass as he meets Baekhyun's gaze. Baekhyun takes a deep breath, doesn’t thin his lips into a line yet, doesn't even let out all the air in his chest and instead just holds it there. He doesn't see this often – Kyungsoo unfurling, looking in his direction instead of just tilting his head to the side to acknowledge whatever he's is saying, Kyungsoo waiting instead of asking for things right now, urgent request, sorry. I'll make it up to you sometime. Kyungsoo just staring, almost like he's thinking of what to say next, instead of laying down the points he wants to discuss as soon as he enters the conference room because Kyungsoo's almost always prepared for anything. It makes Baekhyun's insides turn a little, makes his stomach lurch. And it makes his breath hitch, for some weird reason, his grip on his own glass tightening in accord.
"For a minute there, I thought I was the one who was going to have to distract you when it's supposed to be the other way around,” Kyungsoo continues after a while.
Baekhyun rolls his eyes. "With what, paperwork?"
Kyungsoo takes a sip of his drink, closing his eyes as the liquid spills over from the rim to his lips. Baekhyun drags his gaze along that, guiding his eyes down from the bridge of Kyungsoo's nose all the way to the gentle swell of his mouth. His throat feels so tight and dry all of a sudden, sort of like he'd chugged down a bottle of tequila in five minutes and didn't even drink water afterwards. He feels a bit silly, a bit... exposed. His first thought is, that thing probably stings without the ice to cool it down. His second, it's probably rude to stare, what with the way Kyungsoo's popping an eye open and cocking an eyebrow at him. Not that Baekhyun’s ever cared about rules.
A snort, bubbles of laughter popping at the corners of Kyungsoo’s lips, then, "Do you really think I'm that heartless?"
Baekhyun furrows his eyebrows. Not really, he’d say in a heartbeat if Kyungsoo wasn’t looking at him like he was posing a challenge. But then Kyungsoo is the only boss he's ever encountered who tells him to go home as soon as he's completed his eight hours at work, the only boss who makes it a point to ask if he's already had lunch, because I know you'll screw up if you keep working when you're hungry. And I don't like screw ups. So, where do you want to eat? Kyungsoo is the only boss he's had who'd sent flowers and a fruit basket over when he heard about Baekhyun's mother getting hospitalized. He even dropped by to visit... and again make sure Baekhyun had eaten. You do that when you're worried, skip meals. Not good, Byun.
And Kyungsoo coos at the sight of baby animals. So he isn't heartless at all. Maybe he's a bit too grump and listless on most days, but scratch the surface and you'll be rewarded with the sight of Kyungsoo being a complete marshmallow, weak to the mere sight of pandas, kittens, or cute little puppies, of kids whose cheeks he just has to pinch. The trick, Baekhyun muses, is to wait for Kyungsoo to drop the curtains, to wait for Kyungsoo to drop that thick wall of defense past work hours and to hang around long enough that he'll treat your presence as an invitation to talk.
Baekhyun snorts. Not that he's been studying Kyungsoo. He doesn't have time for that, what with the insurmountable workload that Kyungsoo gives him everyday. So he nods in response to Kyungsoo's question, sticks out his tongue when Kyungsoo narrows his eyes at him. Beams at his boss – no, at Kyungsoo who has one hand raised and balled into a loose fist, poised to land a jab on Baekhyun's arm.
Now you've thawed out, Baekhyun almost says. He doesn't. Instead, he mutters, "I don't just think you're heartless." A sip of his drink, then, "I know you are."
Kyungsoo rolls his eyes, shakes his head, lands that balled fist straight to Baekhyun's chest, left and center. Baekhyun feels the impact, the soft 'thud' that thrums through his skin, but It doesn't hurt. It doesn't leave a dull ache in his muscles even if Kyungsoo's twisting his knuckles in his crisp polo now, pressing even harder with each motion like he means to etch something there, on Baekhyun’s skin just beneath the material of his shirt. "If this is your idea of revenge then it's bullshit," Baekhyun mutters now, just loud enough for Kyungsoo to hear, and that earns him a chuckle from Kyungsoo, a tiny jerk of the body. It makes Kyungsoo drop his hand to Baekhyun's thigh and drum a beat there for a few quick seconds before he pulls away.
Then Kyungsoo looks up, looks straight into Baekhyun's eyes at the same time that Baekhyun takes a deep, sharp breath. Or maybe the violent breathing came first; Baekhyun can't tell anymore. His mind's already a bit fuzzy. Whiskey always hits him harder and faster than most, after all. He's tired to the bone. And really, if Kyungsoo wasn't his boss then he would've declined the invitation in a heartbeat. If Kyungsoo hadn't shifted from wearing his bright corporate smile when he was facing the rest of the team after announcing that they'd won the account to him pressing his lips together, letting the corners pull down at the same time that his shoulders slumped forward a little as soon as he turned on his heel to head back to his office– If Baekhyun hadn't caught that then he would have looked the other way and told Kyungsoo that sorry, boss, I have plans tonight that totally don't involve having a marathon of all fifteen seasons of Case Closed. I can't let you make fun of me as I get ass drunk again. Don't you have other friends to bother or something?
"I do, but they're not as fun to talk to as you are," he recalls Kyungsoo mentioning one time, halfway through their shared bottle of whiskey. He snorted; Kyungsoo pinched him in his side and laughed. "And you're always on my Friday schedule. I can't change that. That's part of who I am already–"
"O–kay!" Baekhyun had said then, and clasped a hand on Kyungsoo's back. He could feel his pulse in the press of his palm to Kyungsoo’s skin. Kyungsoo’s body gave a tiny jerk, as if in recognition, maybe in retaliation. And he was looking at Baekhyun like he wanted to say something, but whiskey'd already pushed his words down his throat, back to the pit of his stomach. "We are going to dance and we're going to get you sobered up and–"
"I'm not drunk, Baekhyun."
"Yeah. That's what everyone says. Now, take my hand so you won't have to fall on your ass on our way to the dance floor–"
"The business is worth at least half a trillion won," Kyungsoo whispers now, then breathes out to blow bubbles into his drink. Baekhyun turns to his side, then, too quick and too sharp, that he almost regrets it when he feels a sharp sting score along the slope of his neck. At least Kyungsoo hasn't caught on yet, he muses as he watches Kyungsoo draws lazy circles on the table, the space just beside his drink. If Kyungsoo ever saw him zoning out again then he'd be taking a punch to the gut once and for all. "I've never handled an account this big. And I know we have a lot of people in the company but what if our resources aren’t enough? What if we’re lacking in technology? In… in knowledge, maybe? What if– What if we’re not ready for this kind of account yet?"
Kyungsoo breathes out and shuts his eyes again, but doesn’t take a sip of his whiskey this time. Then, after a breath, he continues, "What if I just screw things up?"
Baekhyun gulps down hard. Nine out of ten times, when they go out to drink, Kyungsoo tells him about clients who are a pain in the ass or meetings and presentations gone wrong. That one time he didn’t, Kyungsoo didn’t say a thing. Just told Baekhyun to order whatever he liked for the two of them and sat there with Baekhyun in companionable silence. Baekhyun didn’t mind, though – Kyungsoo spoke better like this, in the way he kept taking a deep, shaky breath, kept clenching then unclenching and then clenching his fists again like he was close to dropping a syllable and talking about whatever was bothering him with Baekhyun. Then he leaned his head on Baekhyun’s shoulder, shut his eyes, breathed out long and deep. Whispered before Baekhyun could even ask why, “Chanyeol got pirated by SMG. I can’t keep losing people."
That was a year ago, a few weeks after Baekhyun’d decided to maybe try applying for a different job, try to use his college degree and go for that copywriter job in an advertising agency once and for all. He was happy being Kyungsoo’s secretary, being able to write on the side and earn from that, as well, but part of him was yearning for something more, something new. Not the weird, lurching sensation that he got when Kyungsoo tapped a beat on his thigh the night before, or the way his chest felt oddly tight and his throat dry when Kyungsoo passed by his desk the following morning and set down a cup of coffee in front of him without saying another word. Still, when he got a call from the potential employer, he turned it down, said he was sorry, he’d changed his mind, I hope you find a better candidate. Then he barged into Kyungsoo’s office and said, “I don’t know how you got my coffee order right, but thank you."
Kyungsoo looked up at him through his glasses and smiled a little. His eyes were red and his lips were chapped and he looked like shit, but somehow the smile on his lips, the way sunlight filtered through the glass windows, the way the same rays softened the hard edges of Kyungsoo’s features made him look as if he hadn’t downed too many mojitos the night before. It was unfair, Baekhyun thought. Kyungsoo was unfair.
“Did you even shower? You’re a mess,” Kyungsoo’d said in response after a while. And then, standing from his seat and reaching out, he combed his fingers through Baekhyun’s hair in slow, torturous strokes, like he wasn’t supposedly rushing to meet a 10 a.m. deadline. “There, much better."
So Baekhyun shakes his head now, snorts, looks around for an audience before ruffling Kyungsoo’s hair. He can feel Kyungsoo tensing a bit in the fit of their bodies, can hear the hitch in Kyungsoo’s breathing, but soon Kyungsoo’s leaning in, tilting his head to the side, breathing out. “You’ve never screwed anything up,” he says, then, chuckling as he continues, “I don’t even think you’re capable of messing up."
“You’re just saying that because you want a raise,” Kyungsoo murmurs. A corner of his mouth is curled up, though. He feels a bit warmer than the usual.
“You mean you didn’t give me raise?” Baekhyun gasps, widens his eyes, presses the back of his free hand to his mouth when Kyungsoo turns to look at him. It’s better having that thin wall of defense up even when his fingers are still entangled in Kyungsoo’s hair, because he knows, he just knows Kyungsoo will be wearing one of those exasperated, helpless smiles again in a while and if that happens– "What kind of boss– What kind of human are you–"
Kyungsoo furrows his eyebrows. “Maybe I should get you acting classes, instead? You’re a really bad actor."
“You’re willing to spend that much money on me, really?” Baekhyun snorts. He can see Kyungsoo’s lips quirking up in response, maybe even in defense – he can’t tell at the moment. He can feel the pulse in his temples throbbing a bit too strongly, can feel his eyelids getting heavy, a burning heat pulling down at them. So he squints a little when Kyungsoo just stays there, when Kyungsoo just stares at him, lips parted, head tilted to the side, as if in question but not quite because no word, not a single sound is spilling from his lips. “Ah, you better not let the others hear that. They’ll start thinking you’re playing favorites and–"
Baekhyun’s breath hitches. From where he is, Kyungsoo looks like he’s moments away from saying something important, but there’s no mistaking the figure just a few feet away from where they are. He knows this man, has seen him every single morning of his life not by chance but by a choice that Kyungsoo has already made for him. Tall, lanky, lips pursed and almost pressed into a thin, thin line, aimless gaze glimmering with color only when the man snorts, giggles, laughs. A peculiar curl at the corners of his lips as their gazes meet even with a sheet of darkness enveloping them, even with all the distance in between them pushing them apart–
“Holy shit–” He grabs Kyungsoo by the shoulders and ducks, closes his eyes. He tries to breathe, tiny puffs of air slithering from his lips. If the gods of luck decide to play a prank on him today then he’ll probably be seeing that barista from Starbucks right beside him in the next minute or so, will probably have to lift his gaze and give the man a small smile because he can’t afford to get shitty coffee in the mornings to come. And then Sehun will probably drag him to the dance floor because Baekhyun distinctly remembers Sehun mentioning being good at dancing, my major, actually, except I haven't practiced it in a while– In fact, he recalls a lot of things about Sehun – Sehun showing off his dance moves behind the counter one time, half past eight in the morning, as he waited for a long shot to be extracted for Kyungsoo’s Americano, Sehun leaning on the side of the counter Baekhyun was waiting to be attended to by the barista at, Sehun scribbling these silly little notes on the cup that turned into creepy you've been haunting me in my dreams messages coupled with a heart at the end only two weeks after Sehun had been assigned to the branch closest to Baekhyun’s office.
He breathes out, long and loud, and presses his forehead to Kyungsoo's chest. Never mind that it probably isn't the most appropriate thing to do to your boss – they've long clocked out and Kyungsoo has already dropped the boss act, anyway. And Kyungsoo’s rubbing soothing circles on his back, closer to the side than to the center, fingers trembling a little. “Okay, forget the raise," Baekhyun begins, pausing only to swallow around the thick lump in his throat. "Just get me out of here. Bring the bottle. We are leaving–"
“Baekhyun, you’re mumbling.”
“I don’t care. You are going to take your beloved whiskey and we are going to sneak out of here and we are walking all the way to Hapjeong because I don’t trust you to drive–"
“Baekhyun–” Kyungsoo pulls away, shrugging off Baekhyun’s hands to grab Baekhyun by the wrists, instead. “What the hell is happening to you?"
"Creepy stalker," Baekhyun blurts out, choking on his own spit as he does so. He widens his eyes when he spots Sehun inching closer, wading through the crowd to make his way to where they are, and that's when he meets Kyungsoo in the eye. "Sorry, there's this–" He shakes his head, holds his hands up in defense for the quickest moment, and then he's dropping them to his sides when he sees Sehun getting whisked away by another tall guy. "There's this... creepy barista who keeps trying to get my number and has been writing creepy messages on the cups–"
Kyungsoo laughs a little. His grip is firm on Baekhyun's arms, though, but not enough for Baekhyun to wince in pain. "That explains the KKT I.D. written on my cup," he mutters after a while. He looks around him, then, over his shoulder and following Baekhyun's gaze. "Which one's he? Tiny guy over there?" Baekhyun shakes his head, tilts it even more to the right when he finds Sehun in the crowd again – it's not hard, not with Sehun sporting pink hair. "Ah, tall guy who's... gyrating his ass in the air?"
Baekhyun chokes on his own spit. From where he is, he can see Kyungsoo leaning back a little, mouth twisted into a scowl. "Yeah, the one and only."
"Well..." Kyungsoo scratches a line along the slope of his neck, then worries his bottom lip for a while. It's almost as if he's trying to find the right words for this – for Sehun, for the situation Baekhyun is in, for them actually having to stop drinking to be hyperaware of where Sehun is, of what he's about to do. "I guess his vacant expression's kinda cute if you're drunk."
"No," Baekhyun groans. He gives Kyungsoo a light jab to the cheek, knuckles grazing Kyungsoo's skin. "I trusted you–"
"Why didn't you just move to another Starbucks, though?"
Baekhyun gulps down hard. Part of him wants to just cock an eyebrow at Kyungsoo, shake his head, roll his eyes and tell Kyungsoo that come on, do you think it's that easy? It took him three years to find that one coffee shop that could get Kyungsoo's preference for Americanos right, and he'll just throw it away because of some persistent guy who wouldn't take a wry smile and a shake of the head for an answer? He'll put years of trying to find that one barista who could perfect Kyungsoo's cup of coffee right and consequently make Kyungsoo's day ten times better to waste just because he didn't have – and probably never will – have the courage to say 'no' straight to Sehun's face? Because he's too chicken to turn people down because he knows how it feels? It doesn't work that way, he wants to tell Kyungsoo. Taking the first flight out of the web of your problems won't solve things. It can't be that easy.
So he takes a deep breath, tilts his head back just a little so he can loosen his throat, so that he can feel the words clawing at the walls better. Kyungsoo's looking at him now, no longer sizing up Sehun with a focused gaze, and Kyungsoo's lifting his eyebrows as if reminding Baekhyun that he'd asked something. You're going to make me wait? You're going to do this to your boss?
"Because he's the only barista in three years who got your coffee right?" he begins, pausing only to rub the underside of his nose. He takes a quick sip of his drink and lowers his head a little when he sees Sehun walking in his direction, when Kyungsoo widens his eyes at him a little like Kyungsoo can't believe what Baekhyun is saying, at all. "Because his days off are usually weekdays so I catch a break from time to time? Because I know how important coffee is to you?" He laughs, shakes his head. Breathes out into the thinning space between them. From where he is, even with the lights around dropping into a dangerous dim, he can make out the quiver of Kyungsoo's lips, the subtle rise of his chest when he takes a sharp breath then lets it out at once in light laughter. Yes, Baekhyun wants to say, it is ridiculous, having to talk about this at all. Maybe he should go look for an alternative that won't get him into trouble with young baristas. Maybe he should tell Sehun 'no, I won't ever give you my number' once and for all. And maybe he should think of ways to get them out of this situation because Sehun's walking in their direction again, his strides bigger and this time around. "Because I don't want to screw up both your day and mine?"
Kyungsoo blinks – once, twice, thrice – and then he breathing out into the empty space between them. Baekhyun shivers a little when Kyungsoo's hot breath catches on his skin. It tickles the bridge of his nose, makes him too aware of the thundering pulse at the back of his knees. It makes his insides turn.
"Thanks. For thinking coffee's that important," Kyungsoo whispers after a while, then he's tugging at Baekhyun's shirt in light jerks of the hand. It's almost as if he's unsure of what he wants to do, just a wee bit uncertain, until he looks over his shoulder to survey the surroundings. "But you didn't have to, really–"
"Fuck, he's coming over," Baekhyun groans. He lets his face fall forward, into the crook of Kyungsoo's neck, and breathes out a long sigh. Nevermind that he can feel Kyungsoo tensing a little but soon relaxing into the fit of their bodies, or that Kyungsoo's snaking a hand up his back, all the way to his nape and then rubbing slow circles where Baekhyun's skin and the tips of his hair meet, and it feels right – he has to think of something, anything that can get them out of this mess. So he tries to go through a list of things he could tell Sehun – Barista from Starbucks, right? Have you been following me? Pretty sure I saw you camping out at the entrance of our office's building and you are aware that what you’re doing is creepy–
"Kiss me," Kyungsoo whispers in a rush. Baekhyun looks up in an instant, peeking through his bangs, taking a sharp breath. Then he tilts his head – to urge Kyungsoo to go on or in question, he can’t tell. All he knows right now is that Kyungsoo’s voice isn’t shaking, wavering, and he looks a hundred percent serious about what he’s just proposed. "I said, kiss me."
"What," is the first thing Baekhyun blurs out. The second, "What did you just–"
"You heard what I said," Kyungsoo groans, but for the most part it sounds like a gurgle with the way he has his face buried in Baekhyun's hair. Baekhyun shivers a little when he feels Kyungsoo's hot breath against his skin, when he feels the light brush of Kyungsoo's lips against his temples before Kyungsoo pulls away. At the sudden rush of cold that assaults him now that there are six long inches between them, keeping them apart, keeping them in check. Kyungsoo’s never had qualms with Baekhyun breaching his private space, save for that one time when–
No, Baekhyun tells himself. Don’t go there. Don’t look back. He gulps hard, then, trying to ease the tension in his throat a little and coax words to form on his tongue so he can–
“I mean, if he sees you kissing someone then maybe he'll stop bothering you,” Kyungsoo reasons after a while. He scratches a line along the slope of his neck. Baekhyun drops his gaze there, to the red mark flaunted on Kyungsoo’s skin in stimulus, an escape route that ends up being another trap. So he drags his gaze up, fixes his eyes on Kyungsoo, trying to see better through the narrow slits of his bangs. “Better yet, he’ll move away or to a new branch and then grabbing coffee won’t be such a chore anymore–"
Kyungsoo breathes out, leans back, cracks his neck. Laughs for a quick second before swallowing the sound in exchange for a sharp intake of breath. There's still the dregs of a peculiar smile on his lips, though, Baekhyun muses, one that Kyungsoo doesn't wear on most days, or in front of most people. Baekhyun catches that, sees that quick moment of weakness, but there's no trace of indecision in Kyungsoo's features. It's almost crazy, Baekhyun thinks, how sure Kyungsoo seems to be – of what he's asking Baekhyun to do, of the repercussions of what they'll be doing, of what he wants, because hadn't they made an agreement the first time they shared a kiss after splitting that last glass of neat vodka between the two of them? That was, what, a year and a half ago? Maybe even less? Still, Kyungsoo isn't the type who'd find it easy to just forget a contract and choke it up to being too busy, to having other, better things to worry about. They made an agreement then, that night they got a bit too drunk at the company's Christmas party, to not come too close to each other, to not come within six inches of each other if they didn't want the same thing to happen again. They both made it clear to each other that sucking face once more time would be the most ridiculous mistake they could ever make because too much teeth and no tongue, Baek, Didn't they teach you kids how to kiss back in college?
“Just– Just do it, okay?” Kyungsoo mutters. “I’m giving you a quick fix to your problem. Your creepy admirer will be here in a bit so if you want to save yourself then just–"
"Why?" Baekhyun asks now, probably for the first time since Kyungsoo bought him coffee for no apparent reason three years ago. He can feel his chest grow tight one second and then strangely light the next, like dropping that lone syllable has opened the gates and everything’s pouring out in big waves of questions, clarifications, realizations. “Are you out of your mind? We had an agreement– You said before that the last thing you’ll want me to do is–" He takes a deep breath, licks his lips, curls his fingers into loose fists where his nails catch on the material of Kyungsoo's pants but pulls away all at once when he feels Kyungsoo drop his warm hand to his side. “And now you’re suggesting that I kiss you just to–"
“–ward off some creepy guy you could’ve easily avoided if you just turned him down,” Kyungsoo finishes. He snorts, shakes his head, sits upright again and puts an even greater distance between them now. Baekhyun feels a bit cold. “And you were the one who… drafted that contract thing. I just signed it. Your idea, not mine."
One and the same, Baekhyun wants to argue, but he knows it isn’t. He was drunk then – on Kyungsoo’s warmth, that strange, sinking sensation at the pit of his stomach, at the way Kyungsoo looked at him, peeked at him shyly with a cute little flush on his cheeks as he worried his kiss-swolled lips – and not once has he made good decisions when he’s drunk. So let it go, he tells himself. They’re already halfway through their first glass and fatigue and alcohol have never been a good combination. They’re tired, stressed and distressed. They’re not making sense. It’ll take more than ice-cold water to sober him up from this. Or maybe a sloppy, vodka-stained kiss much like the one they shared–
Baekhyun takes a deep breath. Sehun is still a good three, four feet away, but his voice is loud enough that Baekhyun catches it even with the collective noise pounding on his eardrums. Sehun hasn't stopped walking yet, head tilted to the side, eyebrows furrowed, eyes fixed on nothing, nobody else but Baekhyun like he's asking for answers that doesn't involve Baekhyun's mobile number. And Kyungsoo's just opposite him, twelve long inches from where he is yet still just a breath, a kiss away. Part of him keeps screaming don't do anything stupid, but if he really wanted to just walk away then he would have yanked Kyungsoo by the wrist a long time ago, would have waved off Kyungsoo's suggestion as soon as Kyungsoo had given it.
And if he really wanted to never go down the same route that they did last Christmas then he would have already bitten the bait, jumped ship, left Kyungsoo's agency in exchange for the writing opportunity that he's always dreamed of. He wouldn't have stayed. And he still won't be here, marvelling at the light in Kyungsoo's eyes, at the way the pulse at the base of his throat quickens when Kyungsoo sucks in his bottom lip.
He meets Kyungsoo's careful gaze, then, licks his lips, bumps the tip of his shoe against Kyungsoo's own as if asking if the offer still stands. Kyungsoo snorts in response. Or maybe it's Kyungsoo parting his lips that's the answer. Maybe it's Kyungsoo shifting in his seat, dancing his fingers up Baekhyun's thigh but not quite leaning in yet that's his reply. Baekhyun decides to fill in the blanks, then, inching closer until he's near the edge of his seat, until Kyungsoo can splay his fingers on his thigh without stretching his arm too much. Then he's leaning in, breathing out, worrying his bottom lip as their foreheads bump and the tips of their noses touch. This isn't the first time they've come too close, isn't even the first time Baekhyun has replayed in his mind the way Kyungsoo kissed him that night, fingers entangled in his hair and mouth too wet, warm, willing, but it feels a lot like it.
"You don't have to do this," he whispers in the thinning space between them when he feels Kyungsoo snake a hand up his nape, fingers cold, trembling a little, but Kyungsoo shakes his head. Pinches him in his stomach with his free hand, then plants a soft kiss to the corners of his mouth, and then the other, then at the center before answering, "My idea, not yours." Baekhyun shivers at the prickling heat of Kyungsoo's breath against his skin, at the way Kyungsoo brushes rough lips against his own, at the way Kyungsoo just presses their lips together in a weird link like he's still waiting for those three letters to spill from Baekhyun's lips.
"Promise I won't bite too much this time around," Baekhyun mumbles against Kyungsoo's mouth, then darts out his tongue to wet his lips. Kyungsoo shivers at the cold graze along his chapped skin, but he still balls a fist in Baekhyun's shirt in thoughtless retaliation, twisting his knuckles and tugging Baekhyun even closer. Baekhyun takes a deep, shaky breath, then, tilts his head to the side just a little, and licks a short stripe along the seam of Kyungsoo's lips. Kyungsoo's first response is a hitch of the breath; his second, a jerk of the body and his grip on Baekhyun's shirt loosening. Baekhyun takes it as a sign to go on, an invitation, the end of that silly contract they both signed, and pries Kyungsoo's mouth open with the gentle coax of the tongue, nipping on Kyungsoo's bottom lip before giving it a light suck. He can feel Kyungsoo laughing in the slide of their mouths, can feel the way Kyungsoo melts into the fit of their bodies as Kyungsoo just drops his hands to Baekhyun's thighs, slides them up to grab at his shirt again but only ever manages to hook his fingers on the waistband of Baekhyun's pants. He can feel his knees weakening when Kyungsoo sucks on his tongue just before Kyungsoo breaks the kiss for a moment to suck marks along the underside of his jaw. And it feels good. Strange and odd and weird because this is still his boss, the person he swore he'd never look at for longer than five seconds for fear of seeing through that tough exterior to find the kid who's just afraid of being vulnerable in everyone's eyes, the same man who he swore he'd never kiss again because damn if he won't get hooked on that. Kyungsoo licks along the cavern of his mouth, the back of his teeth, teases him with light sucks on the lips, and he feels his hands shaking where he has them grabbing onto Kyungsoo's slicked back hair. And Kyungsoo isn't just kissing him – this is Kyungsoo mapping him out, memorizing every quirk, every wicked contour of his face, ghosting soft, gentle kisses on his skin and holding him with shaking hands like he's afraid Baekhyun might pull away anytime and break the spell.
Like he wants this as much as Baekhyun does, maybe even more.
So Baekhyun keeps giving, urges Kyungsoo to go on with soft ah's and low grunts, curls his fingers on the base of Kyungsoo's nape and pulls him even closer until they're chest to chest, heart to heart. He can hear the sound of Sehun's footsteps fading into the distance, dissolving into the crowd, and he's pretty sure there are a handful of people looking at them already, whistling, maybe even cheering them on, but it doesn't matter anymore. All that matters is the slow-forming smile Kyungsoo's etching on his skin as they kiss, Kyungsoo's laughter reverberating through every nerve in his body where they're linked, and the way Kyungsoo catches his bottom lip with his teeth when they pull away minutes after, only to reel him back in. There are no questions here anymore, just answers offered in the warm press of Kyungsoo's mouth and the fit of their bodies. And Baekhyun drinks it all up, gets drunk on it, meeting Kyungsoo halfway for a second round.
"I'm getting two orders of tteokbokki and you're paying for it," Baekhyun says later, massaging his lips with his thumb and index finger as they shuffle to their favorite pojangmacha just two blocks away. Kyungsoo doesn't say anything, doesn't even make a sound, and instead slows down in his pace and links their pinkies together. It's two in the morning in Hongdae and they're closer to forty years of age now than thirty, yet Baekhyun feels like a teenager all of a sudden, faced with a boy who's walking up to him with a confession long overdue on Pepero day. So he pulls Kyungsoo closer, slips his hand south, and threads their fingers together in a nice, snug fit as he breathes out.
"Charge it to the petty cash," Kyungsoo says as he looks to his side, meeting Baekhyun's gaze. "Or overtime. Yeah, overtime should be better. You won't need receipts–"
Baekhyun shakes his head and leans in a little until the tips of their noses touch. "Nah. I'll do this pro bono," he whispers, then inches even closer to press a soft kiss to Kyungsoo's lips. Screw overtime pay and a raise – Kyungsoo widening his eyes in surprise, light catching on his flushed cheeks, and that silly grin on his lips is worth it. It's all worth the wait.