Pairing(s): TaoRis, XiuHan, BaekYeol, KaiSoo
Summary: Hypothetically, it's a good idea
A/N: Wow this is crappy. It took me forever to get this done and it feels like the worst one yet so okay brb burying myself in a rabbit hole.
After their museum date, Zitao doesn’t get to really see or speak to Wufan for the next two weeks. The date was fun—because, as Zitao’s felt before and the feeling continues to hold, Wufan is easy to talk to and easy to listen to. But after it ends, university life picks up for Zitao (with the humongous project looming over his and his partner’s head), and the hours that Zitao comes back from university clash with the hours that Wufan works.
But two weeks from then—exactly two weeks—on a Saturday night, they see each other again.
It’s not a date. It’s kind of an accident.
Zitao is passing through the hall, back from the university library (working on his project there with his partner, since he doesn’t have the luxury of having a partner who lives in the same building the way Kyungsoo and Jongin do) and from hanging out late with Baekhyun (who then went on to stay out for a date with Chanyeol). He gets just past the elevators before he sees Wufan coming out of the emergency stairwell, hair slightly windswept and hands in his pockets.
“Ge,” Zitao says.
Wufan whirls around, blinking quite rapidly in surprise as Zitao steps towards him. “Hi,” he says. “Um—”
“Why didn’t you take the elevator?” Zitao asks, and points at the door of the emergency stairwell behind Wufan. He watches as Wufan turns back around, glancing at the door and then back to the younger man.
“Oh—I wasn’t coming up,” Wufan says with a tiny smile. “I was coming down—rooftop.”
Zitao tilts his head.
Wufan lets out a small, nervous breath of laughter, and doesn’t quite meet Zitao’s eyes. “You want to know why, don’t you?”
The younger man shrugs, smiling back a little. “If you don’t want to tell me, it’s okay.”
It’s not that Wufan doesn’t want to.
It’s that—like—it’s not really time. He doesn’t think he’s ready to tell Zitao yet, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to. Because Wufan is sure that he does. Just not right now.
There really isn’t anything else to say to Zitao, and logically, Wufan should just thank Zitao for being understanding and then bid him a goodnight because the younger man probably has class the next day and Wufan has work the next day.
But what comes out of his mouth is something entirely different (and dumb).
“D’you want to go for a walk?” Wufan blurts.
Zitao stares, blinking slowly—blankly. “Where?”
Wufan is actually a little floored right then because it’s nearly midnight on a Wednesday night and they all have things to do tomorrow morning, but instead of turning Wufan down or echoing the request back incredulously, Zitao is asking an otherwise almost irrelevant question and maybe the fact that it’s so ridiculous and nearly midnight and Wufan is kind of exhausted after the day of work that he just went through—so he starts laughing right then, quietly, and feels like he’s literally left his sanity on the rooftop.
“What’s so funny?” Zitao asks then, confused.
“Nothing,” Wufan says, and knows he should just be glad Zitao hasn’t run away by now. He reaches out and taps the younger man’s arm lightly. “And I don’t know where—around the block maybe. We can get food and stuff.”
Zitao tips his head to the side again, looking straight into Wufan’s eyes. The younger man grins. “Okay then.”
Yixing nearly gets a heart attack when the front door opens at (he glances at his laptop) sometime past four in the morning because no one the dancer rooms with ever comes home at four in the morning. The last time he checked, he rooms with a teacher who comes home sometime near six after supervising detentions and a reporter who comes home at five after finishing interviews—and then occasionally that reporter will go back out at ten and come back in before midnight because that reporter likes to think on the rooftop.
But right now, it’s four in the morning (and Yixing is still up because he has to finish watching all of these audition tapes for a special class), and Wufan is sneaking in through the front door, through the darkness of the living room (penetrated only by the light from Yixing’s laptop) as though someone of his size could actually go unnoticed whether in the dark or not.
Yixing turns around on the sofa and stares, reaching over and pulling on the string of the lamp.
Wufan licks his lips nervously. “Um,” he says.
“I’m watching audition videos,” Yixing says, and points at the screen, and then waits for Wufan’s excuse for coming home at four in the morning.
“I’m,” Wufan begins, “um—like—um—”
“You weren’t on the rooftop, ge,” Yixing says and then points to the empty coffee can in Wufan’s hand. “Secret date?”
Wufan snorts. “Even if it was, it’s not anymore, is it?”
Yixing grins. “It can still be a secret—from Jongdae, I mean.”
The reporter snorts again, hopping over the back of the couch with his long legs, and expertly landing straight into the seat beside the younger man. Yixing raises an eyebrow at Wufan, still waiting for further explanation. Wufan meets the dancer’s eyes and shrugs. “I was just out with Zitao—bumped into him on the way down from the roof.”
“You were out with him until four in the morning?” Yixing blinks, biting the inside of his cheek so a grin won’t accidentally slip out and chase Wufan away (because holding an actual lasting conversation with Wufan about this kind of thing is like trying to feed a frightened deer—you can’t make any sudden movements).
Wufan shrugs again. “There was a lot to talk about,” he says simply.
Yixing smiles inwardly.
Baekhyun likes spending time with Zitao, and he knows that Zitao likes spending time with him. They both like spending time with each other, normally going out to eat—sometimes Zitao picks Baekhyun up from work on days where Chanyeol is busy, or Baekhyun drops by Zitao’s campus in between the younger man’s lectures and they go to the library together so Zitao can better his Korean. There are a number of things that they like doing together, but Baekhyun must have missed the memo where sitting in the lobby together, staring into space, was considered one of them.
“Um,” he says, when it passes fifteen-minute mark of Zitao staring straight ahead like a stone statue while Baekhyun sits there beside from him on the lobby sofa and tries to figure out if maybe this is just a Chinese thing.
Meanwhile, a ways across in the lobby, Baekhyun watches as Kyungsoo and Jongin’s heads lean a little too closely over the research for their project (which, apparently, Zitao and his own partner are far into enough that Zitao has a few days free after class—resulting in this odd arrangement where Zitao and Baekhyun sit in the lobby for no apparent reason, doing mostly nothing).
Five more minutes pass before Baekhyun finally decides to say something because this is getting kind of extremely odd and Zitao has sat there, unmoving, for the past twenty minutes and that’s also kind of extremely odd. The pharmacist is leaning towards Zitao, about to open his mouth and ask, when the front doors of the lobby open and Chanyeol, Wufan, and Luhan return from work.
Luhan pads by the receptionist’s desk at a brisk pace, slowing down just enough to leave some sort of remark to Kyungsoo that turns the choral major’s ears bright red and Jongin’s expression utterly confused. Baekhyun doesn’t get the chance, then, to go on and ask Zitao what needs to be asked because the pharmacist finds himself pressed back into the sofa—a familiar mouth covering his own and long, lanky arms entwining around Baekhyun’s body.
“You waited for me?” Chanyeol asks, grinning.
Baekhyun raises his eyebrows, amused. He pushes Chanyeol away, one hand against the journalist’s chest. “Right,” the pharmacist snorts lightly. He slides to the side slightly, craning his neck around Chanyeol to try and catch where Zitao went.
“I’m right here,” Chanyeol says, and moves again, purposefully blocking Baekhyun’s view.
Baekhyun shoves him to the side enough to peek around the taller man and catch sight of something that makes him break into a smile so wide that Chanyeol instantly bounces back into place, blocking Baekhyun from seeing anything but the journalist’s face again. “Sit down,” Baekhyun says, when Chanyeol curiously raises his eyebrows, and eventually rolls off of Baekhyun onto the sofa.
“Oh,” Chanyeol breathes, eyebrows disappearing into his bangs as his eyes catch the scene that Baekhyun is grinning at.
Wufan blinks. “Hi,” he says, and tries to sound less taken aback than he is at Zitao waiting for him in the lobby after he gets back from work. He’d assumed that the younger man was here for Luhan, but that became clearly not the case when Luhan just patted Zitao on the hip and went on to harass Kyungsoo for a bit before heading to the elevators.
(Wufan is also trying not to let his gaze slip to the side where Chanyeol and Baekhyun are inappropriately sucking face in a public location)
Zitao blinks, and smiles. “Hi,” the younger man echoes playfully, and Wufan bites the inside of his cheek at how his heart thumped a little bit harder than necessary against his chest right then.
“You came down with Baekhyun?” Wufan asks, gesturing his head over to how—
Zitao squints in the direction Wufan is staring at. “I thought they were kissing,” Zitao says. “Why aren’t they kissing anymore?”
Baekhyun and Chanyeol have disentangled themselves from each other and are now sitting civilly side-by-side on the lobby’s sofa, both pairs of eyes locked onto Zitao and Wufan from across the lobby. Chanyeol even catches Wufan’s eye and waves a little.
Wufan snorts and rolls his eyes, biting back an incredulous smile. “C’mon,” Wufan grins, slipping his hand around Zitao’s and pulling him towards the elevators—and out of Baekhyun and Chanyeol’s sights. The reporter tugs Zitao to the elevators, but not into one—he swings them around until they’re just behind the nook of the hall where the lift doors are located. There’s a plant and a sharp, plastered corner, and he and Zitao can just barely fit into the space there.
“Were they watching us?” Zitao laughs softly, and they’re so close together because of the tiny space that the younger man’s breath dusts over Wufan’s own mouth.
“Probably,” Wufan says, amused. “So—why were you waiting for me?”
Zitao grins, leaning back against the wall behind him so he isn’t pressed up too closely against Wufan. “Why do you think?”
They’ve known each other approximately two months, and they’ve actually hung out together approximately two times—with a few smattered conversations here and there in between.
But Wufan leans in anyway—closes the distance between their lips—there in the tiny space, in a little hidden nook at the corner of the elevators hallway.
It’s dangerous, and Luhan’s offered Zitao plenty of other options—offered to take Zitao to a nearby gym, or a nearby school where they have rooms especially for martial arts training that Zitao could rent. There’re also probably better places to practice at the university, and Jongin and Sehun have even offered to help Zitao find them. But Zitao declines politely, and sticks to the choice he’s found first despite it being dangerous and probably impractical.
He just really likes practicing wushu on the rooftop.
There’s the dramatic thrill of it, naturally, like something out of a movie, and having the wind whip through Zitao’s hair as he spins and flips in the air—on the ground—around the wooden stick—helps clear his mind. Luhan has told him before, back when Zitao was packing and preparing to come here, that everyone has different ways of dealing with it, and the best thing to do is keep searching, and search fast, to find that certain way as soon as possible before it overcomes you.
Zitao’s found his special way, and he thinks that that’s probably why Luhan doesn’t raise too many objections about practicing on the rooftop when there’re probably far safer and more accommodating places to do so.
(definition of it – that feeling in the pit of his stomach when he’s left alone for too long, when Minseok is busy somewhere so Zitao is just there with Luhan or Yixing or sometimes even Wufan or all three, and they’re just there, left together to speak in their native tongue about things that are thousands of miles away, when Zitao is with Baekhyun and Baekhyun starts talking about how he and Chanyeol are going on a trip to visit Baekhyun’s mother and father this weekend, when Zitao walks by the receptionist desk and Kyungsoo is assuring his mother that he’s eating all right and everything is fine, when—)
For the most part, though, Zitao knows Luhan, Yixing, and Wufan try to avoid being left alone all together with each other because homesickness is something that’s better dealt with alone—from experience, they all say. They’re all here with their own separate purposes, and coming together to reminisce about a place they can only go to maybe once or twice a year just defeats all of that. There’s no point in moping. They all have their separate outlets to relieve that feeling in their stomachs whenever it culminates to a point they can’t stand.
(Yixing has dance, Luhan has Minseok, Zitao has wushu, and—well—he supposes that that’s what Wufan does on the rooftop too—he supposes that that’s the reason Wufan didn’t want to bring Zitao up there along with the reporter—because it’s easier and better dealt with alone)
Zitao just—is it—naïve of him to wish that maybe, despite how it’s supposedly better dealt with in solitude, he and Wufan could deal with it together?
(Because from what he’s heard from Luhan and Yixing, Wufan is the one who—after all these years—still has trouble with it the most)
“Um,” Wufan blinks.
Zitao blinks back, slowly getting back to his feet and lightly dropping his stick to the cement floor of the rooftop. His project session ran late, and the entire week was hectic at university, so the only time he has to practice is right now—after dinner—after the sunset—it’s the first time he’s practiced with Seoul’s night sky looking over him instead of the usual blue.
He supposes he should’ve remembered that Wufan takes the rooftop later on at night, and that Wufan likes to be alone (that’s the whole purpose of finding a method to un-stress, anyhow).
“Oh,” Zitao breathes, “sorry.”
Wufan catches Zitao by the wrist as the younger man bends down to gather his things (a water bottle, his wushu stick, a sweatshirt). “You don’t have to go,” Wufan says.
Their eyes meet.
“Don’t you want to be alone?” Zitao asks. “To think, and all, I mean.”
They haven’t really talked about the kiss.
It was just kind of a thing that happened, and all the times they spent with each other afterward (because sometimes Wufan would wander down from the rooftop and Zitao would be there again, back home late after working on his project, and they’d go around the block walking and talking until they were both too tired to go on) were spent without acknowledging that it happened.
It was just a kiss, and it was kind out of place, in Wufan’s opinion. Being with Zitao, while seemingly a good idea in the beginning, actually wasn’t, the more Wufan thinks about it—the more Wufan thought about it—and Wufan’s conclusion is that it wouldn’t be a very good idea at all. Zitao is three years younger, and a university student who’s studying abroad. Everything about that arrangement really does scream temporary and while Wufan had pretended (with Joonmyeon’s suggestion) that a test run wouldn’t hurt—
The reality of it is a little too different.
That’s Wufan’s complete mentality of all this.
It doesn’t stop him from pulling Zitao forward and kissing him again, there on the rooftop, anyway.
Their lips are only touching for a few seconds before Wufan pulls away first and steps closer, hands resting on Zitao’s thin hips (Zitao’s hands gliding up onto Wufan’s chest). “Thinking alone,” Wufan says, “gets boring after a while.”
Zitao licks his lips, teeth visibly digging into his lower lip. “So—I guess—d’you want to think together?”
Wufan smiles. “Yeah.”