Characters/Pairings: Lay/Lu Han
Rating: …Not even R?
Notes: ~4.3K words. University AU. This has been burning a hole on my hard drive for so long I'm no longer sure as to its quality, but I thought I would post it anyway. Still agonising over whether to write "Luhan" or "Lu Han", since one seems more accurate, but I seem to naturally write the other more...? I'm getting a headache just thinking about writing Kris, with his million names.
|"Come on, let's go!"
"Wait, hyung… he looks…"
A sharp sigh.
"It was just one punch, come on."
The metallic tang of blood is sharp on his tongue, filling his mouth, and he spits it out onto the ground, coughing. Christ, my nose is bleeding, he realises, terrified when he reaches up with shaking fingers and the next moment they're stained a bright red. He stumbles a step and crouches down, disoriented more from shock of the punch and presence of blood rather than any kind of loss of it. He leans with one hand against the bricks, watching as scarlet drips onto the cement.
A thought that he's going to die from a punch to the nose flits through his mind, but he immediately bats away that notion, making a mental note to finally try and locate first aid facilities for future reference.
The nose bleed is bad, though, and he digs around in his abandoned bag for tissues, coming up fruitless. He sighs, and with one hand covering his nose and mouth he starts moving to the nearest bathroom, praying he doesn't see anyone he knows on the way.
Yixing pushes open the door, making a beeline for one of the cubicles and coming out with a wad of toilet paper, careful to not drip blood on the floor. He makes a face at his reflection in the mirror, a bruise and slight scratch where his cheek had hit the bricks. The fluorescent lights are a stark contrast from the dimming dusk outside, making his skin look greenish, the shining scarlet stains a shock against it—he looks positively battered. He cleans his face, watching idly as the water runs pink, before rinsing his mouth with the tap water, flushing the taste of copper from his tongue. He pinches his nose with the toilet paper, grimacing as he feels blood trickle down the back of his throat when he tips his head back accidentally again (he spits into the sink once more, and thinks, the taste of blood should really not be familiar one).
Yixing starts, eyes widening as he takes in the sight of the other boy.
"Are you okay?"
His voice is soft and warm, like velvet, just how Yixing remembers it. He hasn't changed much, he realises, still that same young face, and those big, deer-like eyes. Lu Han is a little thinner than he remembers, maybe, and he's dyed his hair a light brown, but his presence still evokes that emotion in Yixing, that feeling of longing and want tainted with regret and hurt and leaving a bitter taste in his mouth.
Speaking of tastes in his mouth, he's still bleeding through his nose, and he turns back to the sink, applying more pressure.
"What happened?" Lu Han appears behind him, eyes full of concern, and Yixing is too distracted by the invasion of his personal space to realise Lu Han is taking one of his hands—his free one—in his own until he does it. The contact is almost too much, like he's hyper-sensitive to Lu Han's touch, and Yixing tenses, forcing himself not to pull away.
"Got into a fight," he finally says, words coming out stuffy from blocking his nose, watching as Lu Han guides his hand under the tap, gently washing away the remnants of blood, and does the same with the other.
"Yeah, kind of."
Lu Han dries Yixing's hands one by one with a paper towel, and then takes him by the arm, steering him outside after Yixing disposes of the used toilet paper and receives a pack of tissues from Lu Han, grateful.
"You don't need to go to the hospital, do you?"
Yixing thinks it over seriously, but he's had a nosebleed before. The bruise didn't look too serious, and he's sure he doesn't have a concussion (the punch and subsequent collision with the wall weren't forceful enough—he guesses—and besides, he doesn't have any of the symptoms. He's a med student. He should know). But considering his condition, it wouldn't hurt—in case he faints or something—and he says as much, sheepish look taking over his expression.
"I don't know where the first-aid room is."
Lu Han purses his lips, then glances at his watch. "Come on," he says shortly, guiding Yixing across the campus with an arm around his shoulders—their similar heights make it a little awkward, but Yixing hunches slightly to accommodate, ignoring the way his heart strikes up a staccato in his chest at the closeness.
They're silent as they walk, the burden of unasked questions heavy on their shoulders, but then they arrive at the building, the first-aid officer, about to finish for the day, ushering them in after one look at Yixing.
The first-aid officer stumbles his way through asking Yixing what's wrong with him, and Yixing immediately realises that the kid (barely older than himself) is still green and new at his job. After a few minutes of back-and-forth, Yixing has an ice pack wrapped in a towel pressed to his face, leaning forward on the bed, legs dangling.
"You can go, you know," he tells Lu Han, who is standing awkwardly in the middle of the room. "I should be fine."
Lu Han hesitates, checking the time on his phone before sitting down on the visitor's chair next to the bed. "Why don't you come back to my apartment with me after this? We haven't spoken in ages—or we could go out and get food."
The nervousness in his voice is what grabs Yixing's attention.
"You don't live in the dorms anymore?" Yixing asks, saying the first thing that pops into his head after 'yes, yes I'll come home with you'.
Lu Han gets that slightly embarrassed look on his face. "I couldn't stand sharing the bathrooms," he explains. "Well, I share a kitchen and balcony with this other guy—you'll probably meet him—but it's a lot better than the dorms."
"Oh." Yixing isn't really sure what to say (especially that he'll meet Lu Han's flatmate, because he says it like it's a definite thing, like he'll start coming to his room often), but thinks, fuck it, and agrees anyway. "Are you sure? You don't mind?" he asks out of politeness.
"Yeah, I—well," Lu Han stops, faint blush painting his cheeks. "I missed… you."
And Yixing understands why he pauses before 'you', because 'us' would be too dangerous and 'our friendship' would be both a lie (because they were never just friends) and slightly insulting, but 'you', you is okay because what does that even mean? Yixing as a person, as a friend, as that one buddy he ended up falling into bed with one drunken night after the end of exams, and then a week after that, until they just ended up something more than friends but less than lovers?
"Okay," is what he says instead, and Lu Han gives a relieved smile. "I want to see your new place."
It takes another twenty minutes for the nosebleed to stop, and Yixing is bowing profusely at the flustered first-aid officer, assuring him that no, he won't sniff or blow his nose in the next hour, and yes, he will avoid strenuous activity and will use the nasal spray if he gets another one.
Relieved to be done with that, Yixing follows Lu Han across the campus, lapsing into more small talk as they slowly leave the university grounds and arrive at the apartment complex. They go up the elevator, and Yixing can tell it's a definite upgrade from the International dorms (he wonders how much Lu Han's parents chip in for it), and a few minutes later they're in Lu Han's room. It's big, much bigger than his old one, with a double bed on one side and huge Apple monitor and desk and curtains drawn across balcony doors.
Yixing finds the bathroom and checks his reflection again, pressing the pad of his finger to his bruise. "Your new place is nice," Yixing compliments from the bathroom; he walks back into the bedroom and realises Lu Han is still in the kitchen-come-entrance room he shares with his flatmate.
"Thanks," Lu Han replies as he breezes in, kicking the door shut behind him. "Sorry I don't have a humidifier, by the way. I should really get one for winter, shouldn't I? My flatmate--the guy in the next room--has one, but he's out at the moment, so…"
"It's okay," Yixing says. "So, uh, do you pay much for this dorm?" Yixing masks his inward cringing at the monotonous question by taking his time to take off his bag and shed his jacket, avoiding Lu Han's eyes as the other boy does the same.
Lu Han nods. "It's not as much as the dorms, since they do catering as well, but… because it's connected to the uni, it's still pretty expensive."
"I guess it's close to your classes, though."
Is this what they're left to—boring, impersonal small talk? Maybe coming here was a mistake. And to be honest, Yixing doesn't know what he expects from this invitation, only that they're finally talking again after—what was it—five months? It doesn't feel any different when they were friends, that's the thing, and the atmosphere between them is not quite awkward, like he thought it would be, but somehow charged and tense.
Yixing sits on the edge of the bed and Lu Han moves to lounge in the office chair at the desk so they're facing each other.
He looks up, and Lu Han is biting his lip, the soft, pink flesh, and Yixing tears his eyes away before he is unable to stop thinking about Lu Han's lips and the way they felt on his own.
"It's been so long since we've talked," Lu Han says, like he's unsure what to say.
"It seems like it," Yixing agrees, but he's lying through his teeth. Sure, the first few weeks they broke off communication completely, he'd be reminded everywhere of vivid memories, like the Thursdays they'd get take-out jjajangmyun and watch that one variety show, or the way their bodies moved in tandem on a hot summer night, mouths meeting in an attempt to minimise their gasps and moans so Yixing's flatmate wouldn't hear them from his room; or just Lu Han in general. But after that, the days blur together and he doesn't even remember Lu Han until specific things remind him of the other boy, little things like digging around in the pantry and finding extra boxes of red tea. "So what's new with you? Have a boyfriend—or girlfriend?"
He isn't sure what makes him say it, and largely ignores the awkward look Lu Han gives him.
"No, actually," Lu Han replies, crossing his arms. He looks like he wants to ask Yixing the same question, but refrains. "I didn't see you at the last dinner Wu Fan organised."
Yixing blinks, thinking back to that time, and flush creeps up his collar when he realises what he was doing at the time. "Oh. I, er, I had a date, actually."
He had specifically organised a date at that time, because no matter how Yixing realised he didn't need Lu Han like in a relationship, every encounter afterwards had been somewhat awkward.
"Ah, really? Who is he—or she?"
Yixing has to commend Lu Han on his convincing expression of indifference. "It was just a date, it didn't really work out in the end."
"Oh?" Lu Han stands up from the chair suddenly, as if he's restless, and joins Yixing on the bed, sprawling out on his front before propping his head up with his elbows. "You wanna join me for dinner? I'll cook."
Lu Han is pretending like they're friends again, but Yixing decides he doesn't mind, turning to face him.
"You can cook?"
"I got sick of going out every time I wanted to eat, since I don't live in the dorms anymore," he says, nodding. "Or just having ramyun or something. Plus, you weren't here to help whip me up a meal if I wanted something cooked at home, so I had to learn to survive."
Is he really going to reference their past so flippantly?
Yixing laughs, though, and it's kind of amazing how natural this is, pretending.
"I missed you, too," he admits, looking around the room again; anywhere but at Lu Han himself. He feels the bed shift underneath him, and sure enough, as he turns around again, Lu Han is kneeling on the mattress, inching closer with a rogue smile on his face. Yixing mirrors the action, heaving himself up on his knees.
"Yeah?" Lu Han phrases it like a question, not quite like he's asking permission, and a hand reaches out to play with the hem of Yixing's shirt.
"Yeah," Yixing breathes, and their lips finally meet in a kiss, the first one in months. It's slow and easy, mouths moulding together like they remember each other, the brush of tongues sending a jolt of electricity up his spine, and before they know it, Lu Han has his fingers tangled in Yixing's hair and Yixing's hands are dipping beneath the waistband of Lu Han's jeans.
"Wait," Yixing finds himself saying.
"What?" Lu Han asks, breathlessly, their faces way too close to each other and eyes kind of unfocussed.
"Didn't that guy tell me not to engage in strenuous activities tonight?"
Lu Han laughs, and gently pushes Yixing so he's lying on his back on the bed. He comes up to hover above him, smile half between a smirk and genuine affection. "I guess I'll have to take care of you, then."
Yixing's mouth is open in wonder, wondering just how he finds guys like him. Lu Han leans down and pulls him into another kiss, hot and eager, and Lu Han is undoing the button on Yixing's jeans, who smiles into Lu Han's lips. It's scary how easily they fall back into old patterns, back into this relationship that isn't really one. That's right, you like it when I press against here just so, one of them ends up thinking, and it's like muscle memory, built from months of experimentation and fooling around and mostly straightforward, uncomplicated sex. Yixing realises just how much he misses the little whimper Lu Han makes when he's on the verge of release, and then Lu Han is biting his lip raw at the overwhelming sensations, before their eyes catch again and their lips meet desperately once more, hands curling into hips and threading through hair.
Afterwards, as they're still regaining their breath on the bed, Lu Han reaches across Yixing to the bedside table and picks up his phone. Yixing rolls on his side, propping his head on one hand to watch the other boy, who is also still very much naked, and scrolling through his contact list. Lu Han pauses, suddenly grinning at Yixing.
"Wanna order takeout?"
Yixing chuckles. "Jjajangmyun, again?" he asks, completely forgetting Lu Han's previous offer to cook.
"Unless you have any other suggestions," Lu Han responds. "The usual?"
Yixing continues to watch Lu Han as he makes the phone call, laughing silently at Lu Han's animated expressions and realising what he used to miss. As Lu Han finishes the call, he moves to get off the bed, but Yixing seizes him by the wrist and tugs him back.
"Why are you always so restless after sex?"
Lu Han stares at Yixing at the candidness of the comment, letting himself lounge back on his front, languidly.
"Why are you such a sloth after sex?" Lu Han shoots back, reaching out and tracing patterns on Yixing's forearm.
Yixing doesn't answer, catching Lu Han's hand in his own and entwining their fingers. "Are you not satisfied?"
Lu Han's brows furrow, making to pull his hand away, but Yixing's grip tightens. "What? No—"
"Or do we have to do it again?" Yixing finishes, smiling to let Lu Han know he isn't actually being accusatory.
Lu Han rolls his eyes in realisation, but can't keep the grin off his face. "You're so… ugh. Sometimes I can't stand you."
"What was that?" Yixing is laughing, and in one movement, he has Lu Han pinned on the bed, his own body hovering over the elder's, other hand finding Lu Han's as well so he has both arms pressed into the mattress. Though he does it to play around, he immediately becomes very aware that they're both still naked, both still not completely—clean, and he bites back a soft groan when Lu Han, realising he can't move his top half, finds leverage on the bed and arches up to press their lower bodies together. Yixing can feel himself start to harden again, but he quickly releases Lu Han, getting off the bed.
Lu Han pouts and sits up, head cocked to the side. "I was enjoying that."
"We have jjajangmyun coming in another fifteen minutes," Yixing says, picking his clothes up off the floor and making a face at his boxers, completely losing his motivation to make himself presentable again. Changing his mind, he dives back on the bed again.
"Hey, what are you doing!" Lu Han is tugging at the covers in a flash. "Get your ass in the shower before you smother yourself all over my sheets."
Yixing groans. "Whyyyyy," he whines, drawing out the word. He slowly gets up, and feels a little shy all of a sudden, remembering that they've only reconnected in the last couple of hours. "Join me?" he asks softly.
Lu Han hesitates, something flitting over his face briefly before he smiles. "I'll be right there."
He pads quietly into the bedroom, and stops short. Lu Han has laid out two sets of clean clothes on the bed, and Yixing can feel himself smiling at the gesture. He quickly gets changed, and as soon as he slips on the t-shirt (recognising it as one of those that they had bought together), there's a pounding at the door, accompanied by a bored shout of, "Lu Han-hyung! Your take-out is here."
Yixing's eyes widen, and he's frozen for a second, unsure what to do.
"Jjajangmyun? Why did you get two servings? Hurry up and claim it before I eat it all."
Yixing slips back into the bathroom. "There's someone at the door. I think it's your… flatmate?"
Lu Han shuts off the water, reaching for the towel. "Answer it, then. Tell them you're my friend, and I'll be out in a second. Or something."
Friend? Of course that is what they'll be, right? That's what they've always been, friends. Kind of. Yixing lets it go, though, and closes the bathroom door behind him.
The guy on the other side is still in his rant. "I paid the delivery guy for you, as well, so you owe me—"
Yixing opens the door, and the guy stops in shock.
"Uh, hello," Yixing greets politely, half-bowing and willing himself not to make a fool of himself. The other guy is bowing, too, eyes still widened in surprise, and scoots back when Yixing eases outside completely, closing the door behind him.
"Lu Han's, uh, in the bathroom," he explains, and, scrambling for anything else to say, ends up introducing himself. "I'm his—friend," he almost chokes on the word, "Zhang Yixing."
"I'm Do Kyungsoo," the other boy says, giving him a sudden smile.
"So do you go to Yonsei, too?"
Yixing mentally kicks himself; he had forgotten how bad he is at small talk. What other university is within walking distance?
Kyungsoo laughs nervously, thankfully accommodating Yixing's awkward conversation starter. "Yeah, I study Engineering."
Yixing instinctively grimaces at that, but quickly smooths his expression into a blank one. "Oh, really?"
"Yeah. What about you?"
"Med student," he says in reply, and starts to panic when he realises he has already run out of things to say. Why are they still standing near the door? "Uh, Lu Han should be out in a second."
At that moment, the door opens and Lu Han pops up behind Yixing, eyes bright. "Kyungsoo, hey."
"Hi Lu Han-hyung," Kyungsoo replies, and Yixing catches him looking from his own damp hair to Lu Han's, before he starts blushing. Yixing looks away, stepping aside to let Lu Han have more room, and hides his smirk behind that blank facade.
"Thanks for getting the take-out," Lu Han says, digging out a few bills from his wallet and handing it to the other boy. "Yixing, could you get that?"
Yixing leans around Lu Han to take the plastic bag from Kyungsoo and waits as Lu Han pays him back.
"Oh, and Sehun is being..."
Kyungsoo trails off, eyeing Yixing. Lu Han glances at him, too, and turns back to Kyungsoo.
"What?" Lu Han asks sharply, wordlessly ordering Kyungsoo to talk about whatever this Sehun person was 'being'.
"Um, anyway, Sehun," Kyungsoo starts again, and he blurts out his next words as if they'd have less impact if he said them faster. "He's kind of, did something happen between you two? I mean, I don't know if you two were, you know, I just assumed—but you know what? Never mind."
Yixing has moved back into the room by this point, but he can still see Lu Han's stiffened jaw, his profile tense.
"I'll talk to him later, then," Lu Han decides, one hand on the door.
"Just—be careful, alright?" Kyungsoo warns. "He's still young, you know?"
Lu Han nods stiffly, then moves to close the door. "Alright. Bye, then."
Kyungsoo sighs. "Bye, hyung."
Yixing is lying back against the bed, propped up by his elbows. The jjajangmyun is forgotten on the desk, and Lu Han climbs up beside him, lying on his front and head turned towards him.
"So. Sehun, hey?" Yixing begins, and he hates how he sounds like a jealous boyfriend. "One of your latest conquests?"
Lu Han's expression becomes even more icy at that, but Yixing can't find it in himself to care.
"He… we hung out for a bit, kind of, and I think he liked me, but I… it never would have worked," Lu Han says hesitantly, looking kind of desperately at Yixing, like he's asking the younger to understand.
Yixing watches the emotions play across his face; Lu Han has always worn his heart on his sleeve—when he isn't careful, Yixing can read the elder with ease. Tonight, though he's out of practice, it's like he's starting to attune himself again to Lu Han, like old times.
I understand, he wants to say, because I've been in that position—because none of them were you.
"We should eat," he says instead, getting up and unpacking the take-away boxes.
"I'm not hungry," Lu Han mumbles, voice muffled.
Yixing glances back over his shoulder, sighing, and puts down the plastic forks. He lies down again, on his front this time, an arm slung comfortably on top of Lu Han's back.
"You can talk to me, if you want," he says softly, head level with Lu Han's, side of his face pressed against the mattress.
Lu Han moves his head infinitesimally, peering at him.
"What can I say?"
"Anything. We haven't talked, properly talked, in a long time."
Lu Han closes his eyes for a moment, as if collecting himself, and when he opens them, they're clear. "He's too… young, you know? Innocent. I don't think he ever saw me for who I really am. Do you know what I mean? And then… It never felt—right, with him. Not really, not yet."
Yixing is silent, gathering his thoughts. "I don't know Sehun very well," he starts. "But I know you, Lu Han." He hesitates. "Do you want advice, or my opinion?"
Do you want me to tell you to try with him, or do you want me.
"I can't change what's already happened," Lu Han says, scrambling to sit up.
Yixing follows, observing the other. "Can't you?" Do you want to?
"Why did you invite me over today?"
Lu Han is a bit at a loss for words at that question. "I—I don't know. I just." He swallows. "I missed you. I forgot what it was like, and I… missed it."
"And us," Yixing almost laughs at what he's about to say, "Are we going back to how it was before? Because… I don't know if I can."
Because Yixing knows that if they do, he will always want more, he'll always be thinking of the what ifs. Lu Han looks down at his lap, hands fidgeting nervously before stilling, and he looks up again at Yixing. "I don't know what I want," he says steadily. "I know I want you."
Yixing fights the urge to sigh, heart already jumping in his chest at his words. "Lu Han, you're an idiot."
"What?" Lu Han says out of surprise rather than offence.
Yixing shakes his head in wonder. "Why not Sehun, then?"
"I—I already said…"
"This isn't about him, Lu Han, don't you get it? Yeah, maybe he's innocent or naive, but ultimately it's up to what you want," Yixing says, and he's surprised at his own patience.
Lu Han looks so confused and unsure, but something in his eyes harden, and suddenly, he's crashing his lips against Yixing's again. Yixing makes a noise at the back of his throat in surprise, but then he's pressing back, and it all feels so familiar. After another long, lingering kiss, Lu Han pulls away, their foreheads leaning against each other.
"Make me decide," Lu Han almost urges, hot breath fanning over the younger boy's lips, eyes closed. He feels Yixing's hands cupping his face, pulling them apart a bit, and Lu Han keeps his eyes closed, biting his bottom lip slightly.
"Lu Han, look at me," Yixing says, and Lu Han obeys. "I can't decide for you."
"I don't mean it that way," Lu Han says, his own hands coming up to loosely wrap around Yixing's wrists. "Persuade me."
Yixing realises, in that moment, that this isn't really about who Lu Han wants—he had decided in that kiss—but about his previous question, about being something more or not. It's about what Lu Han wants, and what he wants he's too scared, too proud to say it. A look of wonder crosses Yixing's face, yet again, and he's kissing Lu Han hard, briefly, almost in relief.
"You're an idiot," he repeats, lightheaded.
Lu Han laughs, softly, breathlessly, wondering just what he had gotten himself into.
"I can't promise anything," Lu Han breathes, eyes searching Yixing's, once again serious. "But I—like you. I want you. What do you want, Yixing?"
"You," Yixing says immediately, and their lips meet halfway, the kiss slow but passionate. The way they explore each other's mouths with their tongues is somehow different, erotic, fingers grazing into bare hips, and they stay like that for a good time, entwined in each other, until Lu Han's stomach growls and they part.
Yixing laughs this time, getting off the bed and pulling Lu Han up.
"Come on, let's eat."