04201007 (04201007) wrote in onlayforlu,
04201007
04201007
onlayforlu

[FOR EVERYONE] FOR OUR BENEFIT

RECIPIENT: Everyone
TITLE: For Our Benefit
LENGTH: 5944
RATING: PG-13
WARNINGS: I have no idea how most things work in America especially with jobs and licenses and basically most things so think of this as an AU of an AU lol and I apologise in advance for any inconsistencies and mistakes!
SUMMARY: Fake!Marriage AU (well it’s not that fake but shh). Luhan asks Yixing to move to America with him to avoid being a boring business heir. His co-worker Krystal tells him about marriage benefits, and Yixing is always up for whatever Luhan says.
FINAL NOTES: Thank you L for the fic idea and the overall inspiration you’re an angel ;w; Thank you to C for beta-ing my first draft! And to my recipient, I apologise if this isn’t what you were looking for because I admit it isn’t my best, but nevertheless I hope you had at least a bit of fun reading this. :)
And lastly, thank you to the OLFL mods for their patience and thank you for the wonderful fic exchange! :)









2008
The week before graduation, Luhan gets into an argument with his mother about his lack of interest at a college education. He tried so hard to explain to her that he had no plans to take over the business once they retire, and argued that why can’t Joonmyun take his place, he’s always been the responsible son anyway, but as he expected, everything fell into deaf ears.  No really, he’d been expecting this. So he slams his door for added drama, and quickly sends a message to Yixing on Yahoo Messenger to meet him at their usual spot in the public park, intentionally leaving out an in-depth description of his ongoing family and identity crisis. Yixing only replies with a random Madonna audible.

"can't you get your hand out of your sweatpants for two seconds to say oK"

He gets another Madonna audible.

"rly"

A few minutes later, his computer freezes from a BUZZ! notification.

"sry my keybord is brokn n my mouse s startng to diE 2 it's t@king me 2 min s to type th i s msG but k i'll b thre :("

Yixing gets there first, much to Luhan's surprise. "Hey," he greets as he sits down, careful not to crush the bag of chips with his ass.

"I've been thinking," he continues, and Yixing actually turns his head to face him. "After graduation, do you want to move to America with me? I mean, I know a guy, we have a place to go, I just- we both don't have plans yet, so I was just thinking hey, why not embark on a journey with my good ol' pal Yixing ha ha..."

He trails off, suddenly feeling embarrassed, and grabs a fistful of chips from Yixing's bag. With a mouth full of V-Cut, he resumes his proposition - "It's cool if you don't want to go though, I just thought it'll be exciting and I can finally learn English and the music is great there too so-"

"Okay." Finally, an answer. Yixing is smiling at him, like right at him, and it makes Luhan curl his toes a little but he also can't fight the urge to smile back. He reaches into the bag of chips again, only to find it empty.

The atmosphere turns a little awkward, because sure Yixing doesn't say much, but for a decision as big as this, 'okay' is way too nonchalant even for him. So Luhan double checks.

"That quick? Really?" Yixing tilts his head to the side, too much like a stretching owl, eyes surveying his friend's face, and says "Have you been skipping meals again? You look pale. My mom made some spicy noodles earlier. I don't want it. Do you want it?" Luhan opens his mouth to ask his question for the second time but decides against it. For now. "Okay. Feed me."

Later, after Luhan finishes the noodles and thanks Yixing's mom for it, he hears her gasp. He looks up from his plate and sees Yixing pulling a rather large suitcase out of his room, with his guitar case slung across his body.

"Ma, I'm moving to America with Luhan," he announces.

Mrs. Zhang snaps her head at Luhan, scandalised. Luhan’s glad Yixing waited until he finished the noodles. "Well I- we-, I might have made plans and asked him and he said okay." When she starts crying, Luhan kind of wants to die.

**
With some words of encouragement and a signed contract that promises monthly postcards and video messages, Yixing's mom allows him to go. After the graduation ceremony, they returned their togas and headed straight to the airport. It was then that Luhan fully realised what he had gotten them into, and he briefly considered bailing and making everything easier by submitting a college application to some random online college. However, they have already boarded and Yixing is now eating two chicken sandwiches and has just asked for a tall glass of orange juice from the flight attendant.

To America it is, then.

**
A diploma from a mediocre Beijing high school probably shouldn't be the most impressive thing to have on your resume. Sadly though, that's what Luhan's is. Looking for a job in a foreign country with completely different standards has been annoyingly stressful, and he just hopes someone likes his smile and hires him.

He had his friend back home type up an English resume for him, and now he hands it to every manager with practiced ease, even if he knows to himself that his English is less than sub-par. Thrice, he gets rejected. Four times, he gets hit on by the manager. Once, he gets slapped in the face when he tried his luck at compliments but realising too late that literal translations are not always his best bet.

So he treks back home a bit defeated, also a bit embarrassed to bear such news to Yixing. His best friend probably won't scold him or anything ridiculous, it's just an ego thing that's fuelling the gloom, and also his desire to prove himself.

Two blocks away from the apartment, he sees a sign on a little Daiso store next to a dimsum house. They need shopkeepers, it said. Luhan doesn't really know what that is exactly but it's worth a shot.

The manager is a guy named Key, as seen on his bright pink name tag. He greets everyone who enters the store in Japanese. Luhan bows a little in response then stops and just stands by the door after, not sure how to introduce his intentions for coming by.
"Hi, uh, I saw sign. For job?"

Key slips his phone into his pocket and makes a small o with his lips in acknowledgement.
"Name?" He asks, making his way to the applicant.
"Luhan." The shelves hide Key for a few seconds then he pops right back in view with another question - "Where are you from?"
"Bei- two block away."
Key takes one step closer. "Hm. How’s your English, Luhan?"
Luhan hesitates then decides rejection will hurt less if he doesn't lie. "N...no good..."
Key smiles. "Okay. You're hired!"

Luhan takes a sudden step back and almost knocks over a rack of face masks. Key laughs obnoxiously loud for his taste, but his face basically glows when it hits the light so he can forgive that.

All of a sudden he's being dragged to the back of the store and being handed a plastic bag that has what looks like a uniform similar to what Key is wearing. "That should fit you. I know you're confused, but I have a good feeling about you. You look like a nice innocent guy. I like your smile. Just smile at everyone who goes inside the store, organise things, and you'll be fine. We just need a few extra hands to look after this tiny piece of heaven, you know? God, I should probably call Tao because you look like you don't understand a word I'm saying."

For once, Luhan is at a loss for words, not only because of the language barrier, but because someone is not judging him by his resume and actually noticed his nice smile (thanks). He probably should have tried looking for Asian shops sooner. "Thank you," he tells Key, who has probably just told him his life story for the past two minutes he spent staring. Key doesn't seem to notice. "Don't mention it. Just fill up this form and promise me that you're not a psycho criminal." Luhan resumes staring back blankly in confusion. "I....m gonna call Tao."

The Tao kid is pretty nice, translating everything on the piece of paper which Luhan doesn't understand. Tao's family is from Qingdao but he grew up in California. His existence brings Luhan so much relief, giving him the hope he was so close to losing, so when he finally arrives home, he's almost too excited to tell Yixing about the sudden turnaround of things.
**

He almost breaks down the door of their apartment on his way in.

"Yixing!!!!!"
A strum.
"I got a job!!!"
A Guns n' Roses (???) guitar cover.
He waits for a few more seconds by the door for an actual reaction, but it doesn't come. With a sigh, he puts his keys into the glass bowl by the door and collapses on the couch. “Incredible.”

Yixing looks up upon hearing the metal hit porcelain, a smile already on his face. "Are you hungry? Do you want me to cook some ramen?"
Luhan sighs. "Before i die please, thanks."
Later, when they're eating, Yixing sees the plastic bag on the dining table.
"Hey you got a job!"
It will be too easy to make a snarky comeback, but the sheer delight on Yixing's face would be a travesty to ruin.

**

The first day is not too much work, he just has to do inventory with the cleaning supplies and the products on aisles 1-10. Probably not the best idea when he can't tell which is which, but thankfully, Tao exists.

A new shopkeeper comes in the next day - a girl named Krystal. She has bleached hair and a strong aura, which made Luhan a bit afraid to say hi. When Key introduces them, Luhan attempts to hide behind his broom. Krystal chuckles, her hair falling gently over her face.

She turns to Key and whispers, "Where'd you get him? He's cute." To which Key rolls his eyes and hushes her. "Your sister wants you to work, Soojung. Please." Krystal shakes Key's hand off her shoulder and pouts. "I told you not to use that name." The manager just shrugs and grabs Krystal's arm to continue the tour. She looks over her shoulder and sends a quick wink to Luhan.

At lunch, Krystal approaches him and Tao to invite them for lunch. They agree to eat together at the dimsum house next door, and once they're served, Luhan is so taken aback by how similar the food tastes to Beijing street food.

"Victoria jie grew up in Beijing like you," Tao points out. Luhan nods and stuffs more prawn dumplings into his mouth and almost sheds tears at how delicious everything is.

"Yixing would love it here," he says. Tao reaches for his iced tea and takes a sip.
"Who's Yixing?"
"Oh, we moved here together. He lives with me." The side of Tao's mouth lifts, looking interested. Luhan continues.
"Beijing suffocated us a little, you know? Yixing's a nice talented guy and I think living in California will open so many doors for his music."
"I see," Tao says in English.
Krystal puts down her fork. "Oh, so that's who you always talk to during breaks? Is that why you guys moved to California- aw?? Hey what gives-" Luhan turns to Tao for an explanation. He waves Luhan off. "It's nothing, ge. Keep eating." But Luhan isn't too convinced, poking Tao's hand with his index finger like a curious toddler.

"You see, Krystal here just asked if you and Yixing moved to California to get married since you know, that's legal here now." Krystal, upon the sound of her name, wiggles her eyebrows while Luhan recovers from choking on his soup. "It'll be really good for you guys to get a license early," she explains. "Does Yixing have a job yet? You two can get lower taxes and stuff, at least that's what my sister said." “But Soojung, you don't even know if Yixing is his boyfriend or not-" She narrows her eyes at him, so he gives up and proceeds to translate.

Distracted by the food again, Luhan is only half listening, but the part of the translation that said benefits, lower taxes and opportunities for health insurance ring loudly in his mind for a few seconds until realisation dawns on him. "That was real reason! My boyfriend Yixing, very excited!" He waves his chopsticks in the air, some meat still unchewed in his mouth. Then he laughs to add a more relaxed feel to the lie. Tao eyes him mindfully and Krystal mouths Tao an 'I told you so.'

When their shift ends, Tao runs after Luhan who's already walking home. He catches up and puts a hand on Luhan's shoulder. "Hey, sorry for what happened back there. We didn't mean to pressure you into telling us anything since that's your business and all. I do hope you get your marriage license!" Oh. Nothing but weak laughter comes out of Luhan's mouth because how else do you react?

"It's nothing," he assures. Then Tao smiles the prettiest smile he's seen that day and suddenly he wants to get home faster. Tao begins to run back into the store, shouting, "See you tomorrow!" when he finally remembered to.

Luhan walks home slower than he did yesterday, stopping by a 7-Eleven to buy some chips and dinner for him and Yixing to share.

**

Two months pass, and Luhan starts to feel the responsibilities piling up. Ever since he got the job at Daiso and started earning every week, he realises how fast money comes and goes when you don’t have your parents to turn to. Yixing has managed to get gigs at local coffee shops and bars, singing there then playing the piano for restaurants at night. Both of them aren't actually suffering, but the strain is starting to exist in Luhan's joints.

"Xing, think you can cover the water bill this month? I still haven't paid our laundry from 2 weeks ago and Key's been asking me where my uniform went."
Yixing hums into his spoon and they continue to eat dinner like usual.

Tonight they're having KFC. He has never really tried out the version of this chicken back home, but now he realises what he'd been missing. Yixing looks like he's absolutely in love with the thigh he picked from the bucket, peeling off the skin and saving it for last. Luhan watches him with a small smile, realising how long they've been friends yet Yixing has never seemed to lose his childish charm.

**

Luhan gets his last paycheck for the month along with a tax summary for //legal// immigrants, and reading through everything with Tao’s help, Luhan thinks these rates are unacceptable. Almost a fourth of his salary is taken from him and transferred to institutions and funds he can't even pronounce, instead of them being used to go buy himself a nice TV or something.

Krystal catches him moping at lunch and tells him to scoot a little so she can sit. "Why the long face? Have you and Yixing set up appointments yet?" Appointment. Tao taught him that word a week ago. Right. "Uhm, not...yet? Very busy now," he answers. She hums in agreement. "Yeah, but really though, the benefits you guys will get will help a lot with money. I read up on the entire thing instead of doing homework yesterday." She chucks her soda can into the bin. "Well, back to work. See you later."

He thinks about what Krystal said for the rest of the day at work.

When he gets home, Yixing apologises when he gives Luhan his share for the month. Bloody taxes. Yixing never complains about anything, which is why he apologises instead when he brings home less money than he should've. Luhan shoves him at his third apology. "Shut up, it's fine. We'll survive."

He deliberates pitching Krystal’s idea to Yixing, then overthinking the shit out of it. He attempts to wash the stress off with a long, hot shower, in hopes that the strawberry shampoo gives him motivation.

**

Yixing doesn't have any more bookings for tonight, so he does as usual when he isn’t in the mood to compose. He turns on their mini TV with bad reception to watch the news. He repeats the words he hears and likes, writing them down to look up later. He drops his pencil when the bathroom door opens without warning and Luhan comes barrelling into the living room, dripping wet from the shower, only a tiny hand towel covering his lower half.

"Yixing. I have an idea," he starts, and Yixing struggles to maintain eye contact, the urge to stare at the puddle forming at his friend’s feet too strong. But he has to focus on whatever nonsense Luhan is about to say.

"We should get married."

Yixing rolls his eyes, bending down to pick up his pen from the floor. Absolute nonsense.
"Whatever you say, Luhan." He switches the channel to stall, forgetting they don’t have cable.

"Yixing. I'm serious."
"..........."
"We’ll get benefits! My American friend who might be Korean told me!!! It's real!!"
"Sure, whatever you say," he sighs. “We can talk about it later. Get back in there, you’ll get pneumonia.”

Luhan stomps away (carefully) and continues showering. Yixing stops writing, suddenly very distracted. He leaves his pen and paper on the couch and gets up to fetch some water to clear his head.

**

Yixing comes home late the next day, dumping his backpack on the couch before heading to the kitchen to check for some leftover food. But he doesn’t see food. Instead, he sees Luhan with his laptop on the dining table, a gigantic grin on his small face.

“What is-”
“This,” Luhan turns his laptop screen around so Yixing can see, “is a powerpoint presentation about the benefits of getting a marriage license with me.”
“..........”
“.....Don’t just stare at me sit down and listen I spent the entire afternoon at work making this thing.”

Yixing laughs, the loudest Luhan’s heard him laugh since they moved here. He doesn’t even bother hushing him even if it’s midnight and their neighbours are probably asleep, he missed the sound way too much. But when the animations in his powerpoint start moving, and he realises how ridiculous this entire presentation idea is, he starts laughing too.

Yixing pulls a chair, one hand on his stomach because he’s still laughing, and settles it next to Luhan’s. He puts an arm around his best friend’s shoulder and grabs the wrist on his other arm as if locking Luhan inside. He leans closer, and closer, his lips finding Luhan’s ear. “You know,” he whispers in the voice he used to use on his girlfriends way back and Luhan wants to throw up. “If you wanted to marry me so badly, you could’ve just asked.” Luhan suffers from a full body shiver before he comes to his senses and shoves Yixing off him. “Please. Wouldn’t want to be stuck with your ass for the rest of my life thanks,” he retorts, and Yixing stands up again to finally do what he went to the kitchen for. Yixing is still chuckling to himself, while Luhan just sits there like a stuck up princess.

Once the fridge door closes, Yixing bites into his apple. “Oh, but seriously though Lu, I’m really cool with it. I asked a friend about it this morning and I’m all for the benefits...for the taxes and things. We can go get the license whenever.” All this he says with such a casual tone that Luhan wants to burn his eyebrows off for worrying too much and going through so much trouble with the powerpoint (he may have passed all his work to Tao today and promised to owe him a favour of the same nature).

When Yixing leaves the kitchen, apple already half gone, Luhan remembers something. He rubs his ear with the sleeve of his shirt because he’s a mature adult afraid of cooties.

**

They take the train to the registration office on a Tuesday the next week, since business was pretty slow and Key allowed them to leave early. Krystal and Tao decided to come along, to be "witnesses," they said. Yixing meets them there, in a tank top too low even for this weather. He runs forward and throws his jacket towards Yixing’s chest, sending him the message. Yixing whines but slips into the hoodie anyway. When Luhan turns to tell Tao something about fees, he finds him and Krystal eyeing them suspiciously. Then he remembers that shit, he has completely forgotten about how they need to be a 'couple' for this to work out.

He immediately grabs Yixing's hand, wiggling his fingers a bit to link them properly and stay comfortable. Yixing does a double take at the sudden gesture but doesn't say anything, just lets himself be led into the excessively white building.

The process finishes surprisingly fast, there not being too much people to line up behind. It’s a relief they don’t give the couples much trouble for this, really. They all decide on eating together after, and as they walk to the taxi lane, Luhan holds up the piece of paper the scruffy old lady gave them. He nudges Yixing's hip, catching his attention. "Can you believe this?" He asks. For some reason he has the biggest grin on his face, which is on the borderline of being creepy and murderous. Yixing, in contrast, just shrugs. Luhan makes a face upon noticing something on the document. "It's weird though. This doesn't say if I get your last name or if you get mine." He stops. "We should go back and ask-" "Does it really matter?” Krystal cuts in, “Because Tao’s treating us to lunch!" Yixing laughs at Tao’s reaction and quick resignation to Krystal’s announcement.

They proceed to walk in pairs, and this time, it’s Yixing who takes Luhan’s hand. He’s smiling too, still with that overwhelming gentleness that just melts Luhan everytime he sees it.

Whatever the papers might say, Yixing’s friendship is still the real benefit of existence.

****************

Getting married to your best friend in the face of the law should be quite a big deal, and even thinking about doing it for monetary benefits should sound ridiculous. Even if he knows Yixing is not the type to overreact, he wonders if doing this will change anything between them, if a piece of paper can have the power to turn their relationship upside down. So he takes the extra precaution, because the last thing he wants to do is scare Yixing off, and god forbid lose his best friend.

They’re eating together on a Monday, for a change. Usually, they’re both busy on the first day of the week, but their schedules were less divergent today.

“Hey,” and usually, they eat in a comfortable silence, so Luhan feels a little awkward for deciding to break it. “You know my friends think we’re a real couple, right?” Yixing nods and gets another serving of rice. “Just...act all couple-y around me when they’re with us, all right? I mean, so they think this marriage thing is real and all you know, I don’t want us to get in trouble or something. Tao and Krystal are cool I know but like yeah….” Smooth, he thinks. He really needs to stop rambling when he gets flustered. He especially hates it when Yixing knows how flustered he is and gets that stupid knowing smile on his stupid knowing face. By now his face is probably so embarrassingly flushed. This was a bad idea.

Yixing puts down his chopsticks and places his hand over Luhan’s on the table. “You know sometimes, you worry too much that you remind me of my mom.”  Luhan swats Yixing’s hand away with his free one. “I’m being serious, Yixing. I know we aren’t exactly….that way, but I just really want this to work out. You know I don’t want to fail here and go back home...” Yixing nods in understanding immediately, point taken. They resume eating in silence, and Luhan exhales in relief.

**

In his haste to get to work early, Luhan forgot to bring his keys with him. Yixing finds them on the table next to the plates Luhan attempted to make a sandwich on. He checks his watch, and sees that he still has time to drop them off. On his way out to a job himself, he immediately grabs his giant hoodie and walks to Daiso.

Key greets him when he enters, startling him a bit. They never actually formally met before, so when Tao looks up from his checklists, he says a quick “Hey Yixing,” then immediately pointing his pen towards where Luhan is. Yixing starts making his way there, but Key stops him with a gentle hand on his shoulder.

“Hey! You’re Yixing!” Yixing slips his hands into his hoodie’s pockets and nods timidly.
“I don’t think we’ve met? I’m Key! Congrats on the marriage license we’re all very happy for you and Luhan!” He pats Yixing’s shoulder and Yixing just hopes Luhan saves him before he starts sweating.
“T-thank you...we also very ha..ppy..”
Luhan probably heard Key call Yixing’s name, so he pops in from behind him.
“Oy, what are you doing here? Did you lose something?” He shakes his head no, then notices Luhan looking around the store awkwardly, obviously uncomfortable with everyone watching them talk. Then Yixing remembers. He finds himself relaxing, reaching for Luhan’s keys inside his pocket and handing them to him.

“You forgot this,” he says in a disgustingly loving tone. It sounds a little fake but thankfully Luhan’s co-workers don’t know him that well. When Luhan holds his hand out to receive the keys, Yixing gives them to him but doesn’t let go of his hand. He feels the pulse on Luhan’s wrist quicken. “I’m going home late tonight. Rest well later, okay? Don’t wait up for me.” And as if Luhan isn’t already a nervous wreck, Yixing pulls Luhan towads him and places a soft kiss on his cheek. They hear Key whistle from behind, and Yixing can’t help smiling in satisfaction. He lets go of Luhan’s hand, waves to Key and Tao, and starts his day.

Luhan, on the other hand, scurries to the back of store to cool his face in front of the AC.

**

Yixing did come home late that night, spotting Luhan asleep on the couch with the TV still on. Luhan always swears to wait for him when Yixing tells him he’ll be home late. However, he almost never fulfills this promise and ends up as he currently is on their couch. Yixing shakes his head slightly and sets his backpack on the floor. With a deep breath and no second thoughts, he hooks his arms under the back of Luhan’s knee and the small of his back, lifting the sleeping log to sleep in his room. It’s routine, though Luhan will probably kill him if he finds out, but he’ll have to thank him eventually because if Yixing just leaves him there, he’ll wake up in the morning with cramps in his joints.

Yixing puts a blanket over the little bundle of fatigue, making sure not to wake him like always (even though Luhan sleeps like a dead log). He hovers over Luhan for a while, smiling a bit to himself, then gets ready for bed himself.

***************

Work gets busier for Yixing, and Luhan barely sees him for more than two weeks. For some reason the money this provides the both of them doesn’t quite justify the absence for him. Even the new TV they managed to buy doesn’t quite cut it.

He especially hates eating dinner alone, even if it’s usually him who does the talking and Yixing just smiles or laughs or makes unrelated remarks. So when Yixing texts him on Friday morning that he finally has the weekend off, Luhan almost catapults himself home to make snacks and decide on which DVDs to watch. It all feels like elementary school again, when Yixing went to visit his grandparents in Changsha the entire summer and Luhan’s vacation felt so dull he almost agreed to signing up for Young Entrepreneurs Camp, at his mother’s recommendation of course. But, even at that age, he’d rather eat glass shards than do so. In the end, he spent the entire summer watching anime and eating until Yixing knocked at his door one day to announce his return. From then on, Luhan didn’t waste another minute with his best friend.


They wake up late Saturday afternoon (with the intentions of staying up late at night of course), and Luhan organises the order of the movies they’ll watch while Yixing pours the chips and popcorn into some bowls. Once the sun sets, they play the first movie. Yixing likes horror movies, and Luhan decided to indulge him today despite hating the genre. He supposes it won’t be too damaging since it’s just 6PM.

……...Wrong. Watching Insidious is the worst decision Luhan’s ever made in his life next to dyeing his hair pink in junior year. The entire duration of the movie, he was either screaming, hiding in the bathroom, or begging Yixing to eject the disc so they can watch another movie. Of course Yixing didn’t let him and actually finished the damn movie, and Luhan’s surprised he even made it. So once the credits start rolling, Luhan crawls pitifully to the DVD player to play the next movie. “That was horrible I hate you,” he tells Yixing when he sits back down. “But it was good though!” Luhan narrows his eyes at him. Yixing holds his hands up in surrender, facing the TV again.


Eventually, as the second movie plays on, Luhan melts into the couch and relaxes. He’ll never admit it, but romance chick flicks are his guilty pleasure and somehow the one they’re watching is healing the scars Insidious inflicted. And somehow, Yixing got so into watching Confessions of a Shopaholic that Luhan just opted to watching him laugh and listening to whatever side comment Yixing has.

At one point, Luhan unknowingly detaches himself completely from the movie and just revels in the reality of how far they’ve gone in this city they never thought would accept them so easily. He just feels exceptionally happy with how everything is turning out that he doesn’t manage to stop himself when he reaches for Yixing’s hand and links their fingers together.

Yixing stops mid-laughter and makes a soft sound of surprise. Even if Luhan had done this before a thousand times, grabbing his hand when they accidentally bump into Tao in the convenience store or Krystal at the mall, he can’t help feel a little different about this one.

“You know it’s just the two of us here right, Luhan? We don’t have to pretend here,” he says, voice soft but it cuts all the same. Luhan looks down at their hands, then back up at Yixing’s eyes to reply in a softer voice. “I know,” but he doesn’t let go. “I just...want to hold your hand for a while. Is that okay?” Yixing doesn’t respond, and attempts to draw his attention back to the movie. But how can he, when he can feel Luhan’s warmth press against him for the longest it ever has, and the longer they stay like that, the fiercer the contact burns.

For a moment, the only things audible are their soft inhales and exhales, and the muted buzzing of the television as the movie fades to black. And for the first time in all these years of pretending he feels nothing, Yixing cracks. For the first time, he grows tired of always drawing a line for himself when it comes to Luhan.

And while Yixing’s resolve dissolves, Luhan feels something build up deep inside him - looks, touches, words exchanged that merge into a single clear thought and feeling he was too afraid to think and consider as truth. He feels a little stupid for only putting actual thought to this now, when they’re in their own little platonic arrangement and a legal document binding them together in ways that are 100% of another nature. But somehow, it all makes sense.

“I-” They start speaking at the same time, both a little nervous and uneasy. Yixing gestures for Luhan to speak first, and Luhan does despite his quivering lips.

“I...don’t think I can continue pretending that we’re together.” It’s hardly noticeable, but Yixing’s face falls. “This is a little stupid….and terribly behind schedule, but I kind of...like you? And it doesn’t feel right to act like I don’t when I’m around you and act like I do when I’m around other people. It just feels like a really fucked up lie, you know? I realised that, maybe I do want this, but for real this time.” He tightens his grip on Yixing’s hand. Yixing is looking straight at him, his expression blank. “But what I really want to say is just-” but he doesn’t really finish saying what he wants to say because suddenly Yixing is kissing him, hard and fast and desperate and Luhan flops around awkwardly for a bit until he melts into Yixing’s touch and just lets himself feel. Yixing’s erratic breaths are all he can hear between his own intakes of air, and all he can feel is the fire in Yixing’s touch when he slips his hand inside Luhan’s shirt and maps his body with gentle hands. If this is what he’s been missing all this time, then he wants to formally express his deep-seated regret.


When they break apart for some air, the air between them contains the many questions they still need to answer. However, Yixing seems to understand the question plaguing Luhan the most, and so he kisses Luhan’s forehead, the contact almost negligible, and says, “Me too. I want to stop pretending too,” before dipping back down and kissing Luhan again. This time, the kiss is slower, less erratic, and the walls between them collapse and fade into abject darkness.

************

Luhan fiddles with the loose threads on Yixing’s shirt, his head on the other’s shoulder. Their lips are red and swollen, and they’re both still winded after making out for hours. The silence ends with Yixing’s soft laughter, then his voice. “I still can’t believe it took you this long to realise. And they call me the dumb one.” Luhan winces, but he can’t lose. "Well you could’ve told me you liked me sooner, I would’ve taken less time then.” Yixing rolls his eyes, shaking his head. But Luhan is having none of this, so he runs his thumb ever so slowly over Yixing’s bottom lip, and presses a delicate kiss on the other’s neck. And then and there Yixing’s self-control dies, but before he gives in, a thought crosses his mind. Something that’s way behind schedule, yet the timing can never be more perfect and Yixing can’t be any happier that they’ve reached this point.

"Wait. Now I think I have an idea.” He takes Luhan’s chin in between his fingers, pulling his face closer and closer until there’s barely any distance between them and until their breaths mix. And it doesn’t take Luhan long to see how dark Yixing’s gaze is on him, making the hunger years delayed completely crawl to the surface, happy and ready to be fed.

The lights dim at their command and the door creaks gently as it's closed.

***************

Notes: Thank you L for the fic idea and the overall inspiration you’re an angel ;w; Thank you to C for beta-ing my first draft! And to my recipient, I apologise if this isn’t what you were looking for because I admit it isn’t my best, but nevertheless I hope you had at least a bit of fun reading this. :)

And lastly, thank you to the OLFL mods for their patience and thank you for the wonderful fic exchange! :)





Tags: !round 2014
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