acatwhowrites: (Changjo♡love)
A Cat Who Writes ([personal profile] acatwhowrites) wrote2014-08-31 08:54 pm


title: Suddenlovely
players: femByun Baekhyun (Baekhee), Kim Jongdae/Chen, Park Chanyeol, Do Kyungsoo/D.O.
word count: ~3,100 words
rating: PG
summary: (High school AU) Best friends over boyfriends until one of the three best friends becomes the boyfriend.

a/n: Originally written for the chinguline exchange. (Original post here.)

High school was supposedly some of the best years of a person's life. It's when they began to “find themselves,” whatever that meant, and sometimes, they find someone else, too. Friends, mentors, even lovers. . .

Kim Jongdae, Park Chanyeol, and Byun Baekhee grew up together. Their moms had been friends since high school, and they all remained friends well into adulthood and used to dream about their kids getting along as well. It was a perfect arrangement; they always had a reliable babysitter, chauffeur, and supervisor. For the kids, it was like having three moms.

In middle school, Do Kyungsoo moved with his parents and older brother. He was shy and quiet and was immediately pounced upon by the trio. Literally.

They often got detention for being too rowdy. Kyungsoo spent the extra half hour lecturing the group—who all had the worst time sitting still—about proper behaviour and etiquette.

It all went in one ear and out the other. Once he finished his spiel, Baekhee chirped something along the lines of, “You have really cute eyes!” which set off her friends in compliments and coos over his large eyes and heart-shaped mouth and just proved that they absorbed nothing of what he said.

They never quite grew out of their rowdiness, and they never really listened to Kyungsoo's seemingly endless nanny-goating, but they did learn that—although small—Kyungsoo packed a powerful punch.

Jongdae and Chanyeol learned all three, at least. Baekhee, being the only girl, was never on the receiving end and would always switch allegiances if she sensed Kyungsoo's patience dwindling.

“You're such a cheater, Baek,” Jongdae complained, rubbing his sore bicep. He checked for bleeding, pouting.

“Survival of the fittest, my friend.” She slapped his arm, right on the bruise, and danced away from his pained screeching to latch onto Kyungsoo's arm.

There was blatant favouritism, because Baekhee was the sole girl in their group, although she fit in among her male peers more than her female peers for the most part. She was very friendly and mischievous, always joking and ready to play, so everyone liked her.

Just before high school, something started to change.

One afternoon after school let out, the four of them—Kyungsoo, Chanyeol, Baekhee, and Jongdae—migrated to the local park. Baekhee had volunteered to watch a friend's puppy while she visited relatives, and Chanyeol and Jongdae collapsed on the grass after many rounds of tag. Baekhee's energy was dwindling as well, but the puppy had no concept of limitations.

“Hey. . .” Chanyeol watched Baekhee chase her puppy, purposely slowing down only to speed up or spin around and taunt it to follow her! catch her! and it yipped excitedly. He finished his water bottle and looked at Jongdae, just as sweaty and happy to be outside as he was. “Have you noticed anything different about Baek?”

Jongdae frowned. “Different how?” He had noticed something different, but it wasn't something he would bring up himself.

“Like, when did she become a girl?”

“You noticed, too?!”


Comrades in their puberty, they discussed Baekhee in hushed whispers. She always had long hair, but it was usually pulled back in a practical ponytail. Braids, half-ponytails, hair clips and ribbons were totally new additions to her wardrobe, as were the skirts, dresses, and shorts. Short shorts.

“She's so small, but her legs look almost long, because there's so much showing.” Long and very, very smooth.

“Our shorts don't do that.” Chanyeol had only recently begun to thin down and grow up rather than out. He kicked his legs up and flopped back onto the grass. “But really, you know what I mean, right? She didn't used to be so. . .” He waved his arms, looking for words.

“So girly, but not. She's still Baekhee, but she just. . .” Jongdae shrugged. “I dunno. Something happened.”

A backpack dropped between them, dangerously close to Chanyeol's head.

“You two are idiots. It's called puberty. Your hormones are reacting to the opposite sex.” Kyungsoo sat behind them and opened his backpack, passing out more drinks and snacks. “It's a natural response, and you didn't notice her before because male puberty is later than female, and it lasts until later than females, so we'll have to suffer your immaturity for about ten more years.”

Jongdae snorted. “Wow, nerd.”

“You say 'we' like you're a girl, too.”

“No matter my sex,” Kyungsoo sighed, “I would still suffer knowing you two.”

"Aww!” Jongdae cooed, nuzzling against the boy's side. “I'm glad that you'd still hang out with us, regardless."

"As if I have ever been given the choice."

An excited bark is the only warning before the puppy leaped into their triangle, attacking Chanyeol's face with slobbery kisses.

"Byul! Down!" Baekhee lifted the wriggly puppy when it turned to launch its attack on Kyungsoo and sat with it on her lap, pink-cheeked and panting but happy. "I'm so sad, Jooyeun's coming home, soon, and then Byul's gotta go home." She kissed the puppy's fluffy white head and waved her fingers at the water bottle beside Chanyeol's thigh.

He handed it to her wordlessly, used to the silent cues.

“You must be thirsty. You want some water? Yeah. Here you go.” She baby-talked the puppy through drinking the water she poured in her cupped hand until it had its fill and stretched out on its belly beside her.

The rest of the late afternoon was spent making summer plans. Baekhee had been invited to stay a few weeks with her grandmother, and Kyungsoo's family all went on vacation together every year, but they had a couple of weeks until then and then some time before school started as well.

Jongdae and Chanyeol spent most of the days together, and—even without meaning for it to—the topic of discussion and gossip often meandered back to Byun Baekhee.

“When I took a cake over to her mom that my mom made, she had dresses and stuff all over her room. She was so embarrassed and started tossing things into her closet.” He doesn't mention the brightly patterned bras and panties that were hurriedly kicked beneath the bed.

“She looks really cute in dresses.”

“She looks cute regardless.”

It took a moment or two for their cheeks and ears to heat up under embarrassed flames.

"So we both like her. What do we do?"

Chanyeol held up an arm. "We can't let one of us dating her get in between our friendship."

Jongdae clasped his hand and bumped their shoulders together. "It'd never happen." As an afterthought, he added, “Although I'd take Baekhee over you any day. You're not quite my type.” He laughed when Chanyeol shoved him.

Content with their camaraderie, they picked up their controllers again.

"What about Kyungsoo? You think he likes her, too?" The countdown pinged to GO; Mario and Luigi set off among the other racers.

"Nah. . . I don't think he's really interested in anyone.” The group jumped the bridge gap with various calls of excitement. “He's shy, though, so I dunno?"

"Well, regardless. Best of luck, my friend. May the best man win." Luigi hit a rouge banana peel and spun off course. Jongdae cackled and left his friend behind.

Their approaches were different and planned out after careful deliberation and consultation with older siblings. Chanyeol felt he had an advantage, having an older sister, but Jongdae cheated and not only asked his own brother but Baekhee's as well.

Jongdae tried the more traditional approach, buying her flowers and candy, which she accepted with some confusion but no less enthusiasm. She nearly fainted from ecstatic giggles when he presented her with Rain's newest album. He thought that was a good sign, especially when Baekhee jumped on him in a koala-like hug.

Chanyeol went on a spending spree and bought fifteen different plush animals ranging from alpacas to unicorns to Rilakkuma. He gave her one a day until her birthday the first week of May. She laughed and set them all up on her bed. Too lazy to push them away, she simply slept with them all, and if they fell, they fell.

Treating her to snacks and lunch was no different than usual.

Holding open doors and walking on the streetside of the sidewalk became habit no one commented on; they all talked too much to notice.

No matter how brilliant their plans and gifts and compliments were, Baekhee responded no differently. She laughed, smiled, smacked their arms, or hugged them, and it meant nothing but "Thank you for being my friend, you weird idiots."

A more direct approach was needed.

In high school, they all were in music programs, but they didn't meet at the same times except for Kyungsoo's and Jongdae's, who were in the same vocal group. Chanyeol and Baekhee went to Baekhee's house, helped her mother prepare vegetables for dinner, and retreated to Baekhee's brother's bedroom, which was spotless since he was gone doing military training.

"Hey, Baekhee."

"Yeah?" She laid on her brother's bed, watching the shadows of the trees and birds on the curtains.

"Ever thought about what you're gonna do after high school?"

She sighed, kicking her feet up against the wall. "Sort of, but not really? I'd like to go to university for music, but I dunno beyond that."

"What about getting married? You want kids?"

"Someday, sure. When I'm older and meet the right guy, I guess, and once he confesses to me."

Chanyeol nudged the mattress with his foot. "You don't want to chase him down?"

"I'm tired of chasing, already,” she whined.

"You sound like an old woman!"

"Yah! I'm wise in my old age. Men are typically scum, but every once in a while, there's a prince."

"What about me?" He sat up, metaphorical tail wagging.

"Hm. . .” She tilted her head back to look at hi upside-down. “You're like a puppy. You're not scummy, but you're not quite a prince. You're in-between."

His tail stilled. "I feel as though I've been insulted."

"You haven't! I promise!" Baekhee laughed. Her voice softened. "I had a dream, once, where I was getting married. You, Jongdae, and Kyungsoo were all there, and you were kind of hovering around, always close by, so I was never nervous. I was so exited, and I was still laughing, because you kept threatening my fiancée that you'd break his arms if I cried. I think YOU made me cry, because you were so serious when you said it. I felt like I could really rely on you."

Chanyeol wondered where Kyungsoo and Jongdae stood in that dream.

Now or never. Do or die. It's go-time.

Inhaling deeply, Chanyeol closed his eyes. Opening them, he turned his head to look at the wall to his right and not at Baekhee. “I really like you, Baek. Not like a sister b-b-ut more like a husband—wife I mean!—like. . .” He lost himself, frowning as he thought back on his words. It sounded so much better when he thought of it last night.

Baekhee giggled, covering her mouth with her hand. “We would have kids like Jongdae and Kyungsoo!” She sat up and sighed, staring at the plush zoo that had overflowed from her own bed. "I wish we could all stay kids forever. I don't want to grow up. Responsibilities. How do you now you're an adult? Who says when it happens? Why is there a cut-off age? We've grown up with responsibilities, but no one really teaches us how to deal with them by ourselves. There's no universality in capability, you know?" She usually didn't worry, but it felt as though they were all suddenly in high school. Time couldn't just go day by day like in preschool and middle school and junior high.

Chanyeol had similar worries. He had told his sister about them, as well as his feelings for Baekhee, and Yura had apologised, unable to offer any answer of substance. "I guess that's what your partner's for. They help you through the decisions and hardships and stuff. You don't ever deal with them alone."

"I'm lucky, then. I've got three." She held up three fingers and winked cutely.

Chanyeol's heart couldn't quite agree wholly on anything except how beautiful she looked in the soft light filtering through the curtains.

Weeks later, after hearing about Chanyeol's rejection, Jongdae ran out of class as the bell trilled to find Baekhee before Chanyeol and Kyungsoo.

She looked surprised when he dropped onto the bench beside her. “You look like you ran a marathon!”

“I have. . . I have something to tell you.” He fanned his face and swallowed, shaking his head. “I didn't want Kyungsoo and Chanyeol to hear.”

“Are you okay?” Sometime in middle school, she started wearing make-up. Eyeliner accentuated her eyes, and Jongdae felt betwitched. He had to look away to remember what he wanted to say.

“Baekhee,” he willed his heart to settle down and stop trying to climb out of his throat, “I love you.”

Shaped brows rose, and she smiled. It successfully stopped his heart's ascent and made it plummet to his stomach. “I love you, too.” Jongdae didn't return the smile, and her bottom lip slipped between her teeth. "Not the same way, though."

"No. . ."

Her shoulders slumped. "I'm sorry, Jongdae. I really do like you and Chanyeol both, but. . ."

"But we're too tall, right? You like shorter guys with fair skin, who are cute, owl eyed, courteous, and look good in jeans."

Baekhee blushed. "When you put it like that, he sounds like a dream."

"Maybe he is, but he's your dream,” Jongdae shrugged and sighed, “so I can't tease you about it."

They sat in silence. Baekhee didn't feel like eating anymore.

"Are you going to tell him?"

"Eventually. I haven't found the right time, yet, is all."

"His family's going on vacation right after classes end."

"I know."

"You can't wait forever for him to notice you."

"I know. It's just hard. I don't know when I fell for him, but you've all been there for me for so long—you and Chanyeol, especially—and I feel kind of guilty—"

"Don't, Baek. Don't worry about us. We'll be okay. There will be other girls." None will be as breath-taking as Byun Baekhee. "We have our whole lives. You're lucky to have found someone so young, because you will have your lives together."

"Wow. . ." Baekhee sniffled and wiped at her eyes, careful of the eyeliner. "I don't remember the last time you were so passionate." Her giggle sounded shaky. “Thank you, Jongdae.”

He'd been passionate about her for a couple of years.

The boys were walking home the Sunday after school ended. Kyungsoo should have been home, packing for his family vacation, but he'd already packed the week before, so he had been finagled out of his hermitting to join Jongdae and Chanyeol for a send-off meal. “You may not remember us when you get back!”

“We already miss you!”

Kyungsoo went with them just to get them to stop whining. He had plans to go out later, anyway.

Sitting outside of a yoghurt shop Kyungsoo chose, each with a bowl of various flavours and toppings that may or may not have mixed well, no one spoke. Chanyeol ate so seriously that Kyungsoo used to be worried, but if it kept his mouth occupied, he wasn't about to complain.

The same didn't go for Jongdae.

“Baekhee likes you, Soo.” He spoke around a mouthful of gummy worms and M&Ms.

“She's had a crush on you for years.”

Kyungsoo sighed. He wondered when the other boys would catch on. “I know.”

“Y-You do?! Well, aren't you going to say anything?”

“She hasn't told me, yet, so I'm waiting. Besides, I think it's cute how hard she tries.”

“That's just cruel. You're playing her as the fool.”

“Isn't it more cruel to pretend that you're just friends and have Baekhee's best interests at heart?”

We,” Jongdae waved at himself and Chanyeol, “have already confessed, been rejected, and moved on.” Sort of. They sometimes felt like crying when she bit her lip or hugged them or wore shorts too short to be legal.

“I'm gonna tell her.”

Kyungsoo wasn't worried. “If you do, what then? You don't know my feelings. I could reject her; then she'd be sad. Would you comfort her, then, as her friends?” Chanyeol's face fell. Jongdae shuffled behind him a little, yoghurt melting and unappetising.

“Besides,” he continued, “if I did date her, what would really change?” At Chanyeol's nervous blush, Kyungsoo tilted his head, an action which spoke volumes and had Chanyeol trying to make himself as small as possible. “Relationships are not built on sex.” He dropped his gaze to the tabletop. “I don't want her to think something is wrong with her, when I don't want to touch her. She's perfect.”

“So you do like her.”

“Of course I do. It's impossible to dislike her. And I know that if she ever confesses to me, I won't be able to reject her, because that's also impossible. I'm actually kind of scared of how much I love her.” He looked up, large eyes softening with a small smile.

“You guys!” Baekhee bounced on the balls of her feet, waving. Cupping her hands around her mouth she shouted, “Kyungsoo! We're gonna be late!”

Chanyeol and Jongdae waved.

Kyungsoo stood and scuffed the toe of his sneaker against the pavement. He appeared nervous, but he had told them he had plans that evening.

“Dude,” Chanyeol said, “you guys going somewhere?”

“She asked me to go with her to a concert. Her friend had two tickets.” The cracked pavement was really interesting. He wiggled the heel of his shoe in it, shimmying out a broken piece of cement. “Just two, so. . .”

Soo oppaaaaaa!” Baekhee was getting impatient. She looked very cute, wearing a sleeveless floral sun dress that barely reached her knees and white sandals.

“Don't worry about us, man. We'll nurse our broken hearts and feelings of neglect over take-out pizza and Mario Kart.” The duo clung to one another, sniffling and wiping away invisible tears.

Kyungsoo's glare cut through the dramatics. “Behave.”

“Back atcha.”

“Have fun!” Jongdae chirped. They both waved as Kyungsoo jogged to meet up with Baekhee, who looped an arm through his and took the lead, half-dragging him to the train station.

Silence fell over them, but it was thoughtful more than uncomfortable.

“If he makes her cry, I'm breaking his arms.”

“I'll hold him still,” Jongdae promised.