Pairing(s): TaoRis, XiuHan, BaekYeol, mentions of broken!KrisHan
Summary: It'll be like a test run. Minimal pain.
A/N: ....I just want to write more xiuhan now ;A; also. B1A4's song is fjdksa;f adorable and catchy and I want to write DooSeob to it.
Zitao takes his passport out of his mouth, so he can talk into his phone (to do that, he has to shift his phone between his ear and his shoulder since now his hand has to hold his passport). “Wait, ge,” he says, stopping in the middle of the empty hall, “so you’re coming at nine but Minseok-ge’s on his way?”
“Yeah,” Luhan says, sounding apologetic and distracted (Zitao hears numerous other voices at the other end). “I’m really sorry, but the interview got moved back so—”
“It’s okay,” the younger man says, smiling. “I can wait, ge, relax.”
“Okay—and if you need anything, Yixing and Wufan are down in 1225, except I don’t know if both of them are home yet since I haven’t seen Wufan at the office all day today. Jongdae gets home the same time as Minseok so—”
“Ge,” Zitao stands his suitcase near 1211 and he himself leans against the outer edge of the door frame, “I’m okay.”
Luhan sighs. “You don’t have your stick with you,” he says. “I get worried when you don’t have your stick with you.”
Zitao laughs. “I’m in Korea, ge,” he says. “Not a war zone.”
For some reason, Luhan suddenly laughs along. “No, but you are on the twelfth floor of building E.”
Wufan had dated Luhan when the reporter had went to high school in Beijing—on through when they attended university together in Korea, before they went their separate ways once Luhan returned to China but Wufan stayed in Korea. That meant that, obviously, Wufan knew about Zitao. Knew about—but didn’t actually know. Wufan had been with Luhan far back in time enough to remember a skinny, little boy who needed to be picked up from wushu practice and sometimes loosely babysat.
He probably saw Huang Zitao a total of three times.
So, naturally, since Luhan doesn’t talk to Wufan on a regular basis anymore (other than for work), and since Wufan only has seen Huang Zitao a total of three times back before puberty treated Zitao so kindly—naturally, Wufan doesn’t realize that the (highly attractive, slender, tall, attractive, tall, attractive—attractive) person Minseok is helping move in is Huang Zitao until about three days after Wufan walks by the scene.
He realizes that that’s Zitao when Luhan drops by 1225 and rubs it all over, into, and around Wufan’s face.
“He’s not that attractive,” is all Wufan has to say, leaning against the dining table with his arms folded across his chest. “I don’t think he’s that attractive.”
Jongdae, who is sitting at the dining table, opens his mouth to say something so Wufan kicks him in the shin before he can.
“You think he’s hot,” Luhan says, rolling his eyes. “You think he’s really hot and he does wushu, and I know your thing for Chinese boys who can knock you around.”
Wufan can sense that Jongdae is about to start laughing so he glowers down at the younger man until Jongdae sucks in his cheeks and bites his lip to keep silent. “I don’t,” Wufan says in Mandarin, just to spite Jongdae because nothing about this is funny, “have a thing.”
Luhan doesn’t seem to hear Wufan. “I’m just here to give you my full approval,” he says in Korean, probably to spite Wufan for trying to seek some sort of privacy so Jongdae can’t laugh or tell Yixing about it later. “And he’s also younger than you,” and this time Luhan does switch to Mandarin (Jongdae’s face drops), “which I know is also another thing you have. Imagine him calling you ge while you—”
“Can you please leave?” Wufan says in Korean, covering his eyes with one hand.
Chanyeol glances up from his laptop when Baekhyun comes in. They switch on and off sleeping over in each other’s apartments and tonight—Friday night—Baekhyun is sleeping over at Chanyeol’s so they can go out for brunch the next morning.
“Hi,” Chanyeol says, as Baekhyun climbs into the taller man’s lap, and takes the reading glasses from Chanyeol’s face. The pharmacist puts them on his own face. Everything becomes a blur. “Did you have fun with Zitao-shii?”
“Yeah,” Baekhyun says, taking the glasses back off and putting them next to Chanyeol’s laptop so there’s nothing blocking the way when Baekhyun leans in and presses his lips against Chanyeol’s lightly. “Except—”
Chanyeol blinks. “Except?”
Baekhyun wrinkles his nose, resting his head against Chanyeol’s shoulder—the journalist’s arms wrap around Baekhyun’s waist. “When we were in the lobby,” he says, “Wufan-shii was—like—kind of there too. He just walked past us, staring, and when I tried to talk to him, he started walking faster—all the way back to the elevators.”
Chanyeol blinks again. “Wow—that’s—”
“—weird, right?” Baekhyun finishes.
“Yeah,” Chanyeol looks thoughtful, so Baekhyun lets him think and the pharmacist busies himself with running fingers lightly through Chanyeol’s hair (and also seeping in the warmth, because Chanyeol is tall so there’s always a lot of warmth to surround Baekhyun, which is why Baekhyun likes sitting on him so much).
“How’s Kyungsoo?” Baekhyun asks once the silence stretches long enough that he’s sure Chanyeol is probably finished thinking.
Chanyeol grins suddenly—so widely that Baekhyun blinks in surprise. “He’s dealing—more or less,” the journalist says. “Lots of Tylenol, though.”
Baekhyun brightens. “I can give him a discount,” he says and Chanyeol laughs, burying his face against Baekhyun’s neck.
Zitao meets Yixing and Jongdae before he gets to meet Wufan. On the days when Luhan is caught up at the office, Minseok and Jongdae have after school activities with his students, Zitao usually eats dinner in 1225 with Yixing. And on days when Yixing has to teach extra classes at the studio, Jongdae usually ends up home earlier and lets Zitao in for dinner—and sometimes to just hang out—and occasionally to help Zitao with university work.
He ends up meeting Wufan on an evening when Yixing has to teach extra classes at the studio, Jongdae and Minseok are caught up with their students, and Luhan is caught up at another delayed interview. Zitao ends up meeting Wufan because the younger man didn’t know that Yixing (the one who’s usually always there) was teaching late, so when he knocks on the door and the door opens, for the first time since he’s arrived in Korea—at this building—Zitao finds himself having to look up.
“Where’s Yixing-ge?” Zitao asks, instinctively in Mandarin.
“At the studio,” the older man says—he looks surprised. “I’m—”
“Wufan-ge,” Zitao says brightly (sweetly), with a small smile, “right?”
It’s like Luhan is a ghost hovering above Wufan, gloating with a grin except Wufan refuses to let Luhan gloat because that honorific does nothing for Wufan’s emotions. Nothing. And while Zitao is attractive, it’s not like he’s that attractive. “Yeah,” Wufan says.
“I can come in, right?” Zitao goes on, raising his eyebrows and making to step forward. Wufan plasters himself against the wall so Zitao can pass by. “Did Yixing-ge leave dinner or—”
“I can make dinner,” Wufan blurts mindlessly and wishes to heaven and hell and everything in between that he hadn’t the moment that the words come out of his mouth because now he has to make dinner and he can’t really make dinner.
Zitao blinks slowly.
Wufan closes the door and shuffles off to the kitchen before Zitao can say anything else and Wufan has to respond with anything else because Wufan doesn’t know how to respond. To anything else. It’s also getting increasingly hard to look at Zitao’s face for longer periods of time because Zitao’s face is kind of attractive.
But not that attractive.
Luhan chokes on his soda bread. Minseok helpfully thumps the translator’s back as Zitao blinks in confusion. “What?” the translator asks hoarsely.
“You used to date Wufan-ge, right?” Zitao asks in Mandarin.
“Yeah,” Luhan says because that piece of information is general knowledge and can be passed around at anyone’s leisure. His windpipe was nearly cut off because of Zitao’s following question which the younger man is now about to also repeat.
“What kind of boyfriend was he?” Zitao says curiously, as the concentration on Minseok’s face shows that the teacher is trying to silently translate as much of the conversation as he can.
Luhan doesn’t really know how to answer that question because he’s afraid that that might be code for how-does-Wufan-have-sex. And Luhan really just doesn’t want to answer that question—not because Wufan is horrible at sex, but because it’s Zitao.
The translator is about to start explaining in rapid Korean in hopes that Zitao won’t understand, when he’s saved by Zitao’s phone ringing (it’s Byun Baekhyun from 1213 who, these days, has apparently taken a great liking to Zitao and has attached himself to Zitao whenever and wherever possible).
“I heard the word boyfriend,” Minseok says, once Zitao’s excused himself from the table to take the call.
Luhan glances at him, grinning. “Did you?”
Minseok just smiles back as Zitao returns to the table.
Joonmyeon rather likes Wufan of 1225.
The reporter is easy to talk to, friendly despite the contrasting first impression, and usually gives Joonmyeon good advice on how to prevent Jongin and Sehun from ending up as dead chickens on the side of the road. However, there are still times when Joonmyeon is left wondering if this is caused by cultural differences regardless of how long Wufan’s lived in Korea, or if this is just Wufan.
Most of the time, Joonmyeon has to end up concluding that it’s just Wufan.
With one of those times being the current time, wherein Joonmyeon is mildly perturbed by the sight of Wufan standing hidden behind a corner and a tall, potted plant located right near the elevators of the twelfth floor. “Maybe,” Joonmyeon suggests quietly, coming to stand next to Wufan (the reporter jumps slightly, blinking at the sudden appearance), “you should just ask him head on?”
Wufan blinks a bit more. “I’ve had an actually conversation with him,” he says, “once.”
“Oh, c’mon,” Joonmyeon says, smiling a little now. “Chanyeol-shii never spoke to Baekhyun-shii in his entire life, brought him flowers, and now they’ve—like—been married for sixty years. Like—you don’t have to ask him out to be handcuffed to you for life. Just ask to be friends—to try it out—like a test run.”
“A test run?” Wufan stares.
There’s an odd, indiscernible expression that takes over Wufan’s face as he suddenly steps out from the corner, claps Joonmyeon’s shoulder, and goes on in the direction back towards 1225.
Wufan makes horrible food, but he makes a good listener.
Zitao’s only been able to really speak to him once—the one night where Yixing, Minseok, Luhan, and Jongdae were all gone and Zitao hadn’t met Baekhyun or Chanyeol or Kyungsoo yet. Talking with Wufan is easy and that confuses Zitao a little bit because it was the first time he’d even met Wufan—but conversation is already easy.
Wufan doesn’t talk a lot—he talks extremely well (he’s a reporter), but he doesn’t talk a lot. Zitao doesn’t know how to describe what it’s like to have a conversation with Wufan because it’s hard—it’s one of those things, Zitao thinks, that can only be shown through firsthand experience. However it’s supposed to be described, though, Zitao likes it. He likes (really, really likes) talking with Wufan and he wishes that their schedules weren’t so all over the place so they could talk again.
(Also, for some reason, it’s getting increasingly hard to find Wufan these days—like the local apartment monster has eaten him or something)
Wufan is also kind of tall.
(“No,” Luhan says, “he’s actually a dumb moron—listen to your ge, Zitao.”)
Since Luhan, Wufan’s found it easier to date Korean men and Korean women.
Korean men and Korean women expectedly would want to stay in Korea, and in the rare-but-not-unfounded occasion that they don’t mind accompanying Wufan to China for a few weeks while he spends time with his family, that’s great too. But for the most part, if he dates Korean men and Korean women, Wufan will know what to expect in terms of who’s going where because they’re Korean. Clearly, they’ll more than not want to stay in Korea and, knowing that, Wufan can adjust himself accordingly.
With Luhan, Wufan couldn’t predict anything.
With someone who’s Chinese like he is, but studying abroad—working abroad, involved in foreign affairs—Wufan can’t know what to expect. It was made worse because Luhan was Wufan’s first real relationship and they went to Korea together—they lived together—they helped each other in a new country with no other family and friends to support them. They endured it all together and when it came time to decide, Wufan thought that they’d make the same decision.
To stay in Korea.
Except Luhan went back to China.
(“It’s okay,” Luhan says through the phone, and the smile is audible, years later—when Wufan is settled in Korea and Luhan is about to move back to Korea for a new job at the same station Wufan works for, “you didn’t follow me and I didn’t stay for you—so I guess we just didn’t love each other enough.”)
Wufan doesn’t understand why he’s so interested in Zitao because, despite what Luhan says, Wufan tends to put barriers all across his heart when anyone Chinese comes into the picture (when Yixing came into the picture, Wufan gated everything shut with iron bars—and, ultimately, it wasn’t that hard because Yixing is just a best friend).
Huang Zitao is even more dangerous because, at the very least, if Wufan had taken a chance with Yixing it would’ve been knowing that Yixing moved to Korea to learn, and now teach, dance. Zitao is here to study.
Luhan had also been here to study.
It’s scary, but maybe—like Joonmyeon had suggested—a test run wouldn’t be so bad—would be okay. (Or maybe it’ll end up as terribly as it had with Luhan, but Wufan wants to take a chance anyway because he’s as dumb as Luhan says—maybe Wufan is just hoping that, for once, there might be someone who’ll love him enough to follow him—the way Luhan’s found someone who loves him enough to stay with him)
Minseok jumps a little in his seat, startled by the front door opening too suddenly at a time that’s late past when Zitao usually comes home. “Dinner’s in the kitchen,” Minseok says, once Zitao’s kicked his shoes off and dropped his bags on the couch. “Did you go somewhere with Baekhyun-shii again?”
Zitao blinks, standing at the stove and peering into the pot. “What?” he turns. “No,” he says, smiling slightly. “Wufan-g—er—hyung stopped me in the lobby.” He starts scooping rice into a bowl. “He asked me look at a museum with him tomorrow.”
“He asked you out?” Minseok echoes back, mouth open.
“A museum,” Zitao frowns, “isn’t that indoors? Does Korea have an outdoor—”
“No, I meant—like,” Minseok says slowly, “on a date. A date.”
Zitao blinks, starts piling kimchi into another bowl.
“When you go with someone you really like—you do things like watching movies and museums and stuff,” Minseok tries again, as Zitao comes to the dining table, sitting across from Minseok and placing his food far enough so that there won’t be any danger of it spilling onto the papers the teacher is grading.
“Oh,” Zitao’s voice is laced with comprehension now. “Yeah—it’s a date then.” He smiles and Minseok laughs.