title: ASL: A Summer Love
prompt number: 65
other pairings involved: bff!chanyeol/sehun and bff!kyungsoo/jongin
summary: Sehun is a barista for the summer, and Kyungsoo is a sweet customer... who also happens to be deaf... and who also begins to frequent the café that Sehun works at. Sehun begins to fall for him, and is willing to do whatever it takes to both communicate and be with him.
warnings: I’m not sure if this could be considered triggering, but... I do not have the best knowledge of deaf and hard of hearing culture. I’ve taken 2 high school years of ASL... that’s it. And that was several years ago. So, I don’t remember much... So forgive me if I happen to offend in any way >~< I’msowwy. Also! Chanyeol is uninformed and there is a moment where he seems like a dick. Chanyeol is not a dick. I don’t think he is in either fic or real life, but... idk. My fingers just wrote that part. Sorry if it offends...? It is meant to offend slightly, but only briefly, within the story.
notes: If a stand-alone sentence is italicized, then that means that characters are communicating in sign language (except for like, one instance, where Kyungsoo writes). The dashes in-between capitalized letters indicates fingerspelling (forming individual letters with your hand). If a stand-alone sentence is bold, then that means it is the thoughts of the character. And I must thank a certain special someone for helping me brainstorm for a title teehee~<3
ASL: A Summer Love
Spending his summer working was not exactly what Sehun had had in mind, but when you're a broke college student from a just as broke family, not much else is to be expected. He decided to make the most of his situation, enlisting Chanyeol—his closest friend, who he had met his first year at university—to work alongside him. They wouldn't necessarily be together each shift, but Sehun was comforted in the knowledge that he had someone to suffer with him; that he wouldn't be the only one burdened with hours of work, dealing with occasionally not-so-friendly customers.
Yet, he was beginning to believe that he actually enjoyed his job. Not only did he have Chanyeol to joke around with, but he also got to interact with a large variety of people, all interesting in their own way. Besides, he had a front row seat reserved for one of his favorite pastimes—people watching.
And there were certainly some odd characters that wandered into the café every so often.
Speaking of which... There was somebody different today. Sehun would feel quite awful if he were to describe the customer as odd, especially since that word didn't seem to fit the guy, anyways. He wasn't odd, but he had certainly piqued Sehun's interest, and he couldn't help but stare as the customer waited in line, preoccupied with speaking to the man beside him.
Except—here’s what truly made Sehun stare, despite how rude it was—the customer... he was conversing... by way of his hands.
It was both beautiful and baffling; strange and symphonic.
And Sehun couldn't bring himself to look away.
I don’t want coffee. His hands stretched out and receded in a sequence of motions, indicating his aversion to entering the café directly before him.
“I don’t care, you need to get out for once. Plus, you’ve already gotten this far! What’s a few more feet?”
Kyungsoo’s head drooped a bit, and when it lifted, he glimpsed Jongin’s lips forming the final words of a sentence.
All Kyungsoo had to do was arch a single brow, and soon Jongin was repeating himself—patiently—for it was something he was entirely accustomed to doing on a daily basis.
“You know you get along well with anyone and everyone, Soo, you’ll be fine.”
Before Kyungsoo could pull together a protest with his fingers, Jongin had gripped him by the shoulder and gently accompanied him inside.
Although Jongin normally just spoke instead of fumbling with his hands—he was a rather talkative person, after all, and he wasn’t well versed enough in sign language to get his meaning across as quickly as desired—he preferred to sign while out and about with Kyungsoo. This was because he knew of Kyungsoo’s reluctance to sign in public (at least when he was surrounded by those who did not use or know sign language), and Jongin wanted to draw him out of his protective shell and present the true Kyungsoo to the world. He admired both his best friend and his ability to move his hands in such controlled, graceful ways. Jongin was certain his own hands were incapable of doing the same, and yet, this knowledge didn’t deter him from practicing constantly. If anything, he knew Kyungsoo appreciated his efforts.
“So…” Jongin eased himself into the art of speaking with his hands, after finding them both a place in line. What do you want to drink?
Kyungsoo hesitated, almost imperceptibly, his gaze scanning each and every occupant of the café before he allowed himself to respond. I don’t know, yet.
It wasn’t long before it was their turn to order, and even then, Kyungsoo was still deliberating.
Do you know now? Jongin pressed, not wanting to linger, given that there were other customers waiting behind them. But Kyungsoo did not see his question, for all that he was presently aware of was the young man poised behind the counter, whose lips were parted in wonder, gaze flickering from one friend to the next.
“Are you… is he…” The man… his nametag informed that he went by ‘Sehun.’ He appeared to be very conflicted, lips twisting one way, then another, without letting any actual sounds pass through. Jongin could already tell what he was longing to ask; it seemed that the barista wanted to inquire of their way of speech without seeming insensitive.
“He is. I’m not.” Jongin swung an arm around his best friend’s shoulders, drawing Kyungsoo in close to his side. “He’s sort of shy, at first, but he’ll open up to you... If you start talking to him, instead of about him, that is.”
Sehun immediately appeared flustered, holding his hands up in an unconscious display of defense. “I… I didn’t mean to—” His eyes slowly traveled over to where Kyungsoo was now worrying at his lower lip with his teeth.
“Sorry,” He spoke softly, looking directly at Kyungsoo. “I seem to speak without thinking, sometimes.” Sehun shuffled a bit in discomfort before brightening back up, falling back into professionalism. “So! Do you know what you want to order?”
He shot a fleeting glance towards Jongin’s direction, but his gaze reverted back to observing Kyungsoo within seconds; he offered up a slight, sheepish grin as an additional apology.
Kyungsoo gave a simple shrug of his shoulders before leisurely cycling through a series of signs, as if the restricted pace would somehow enable Sehun to understand.
“He says he isn’t sure, and wants to know if you can recommend him something.” Jongin translated, casually picking at the fraying edges of his wallet.
“Oh!” Sehun swiped his suddenly clammy hands against his apron, absentmindedly adjusting his nametag and pushing his hair back from his forehead. “Well, uh. There’s something I get all the time; I really like it. Do you like your coffee on the sweeter side, or…?”
Kyungsoo’s mouth was now turned up into a semblance of a smile, and it was only in that moment that Jongin noticed the subtle shade of pink staining his cheeks. As soon as Kyungsoo had nodded and given the go ahead, and as soon as Jongin had tacked his own order on as well, Jongin dragged Kyungsoo to the side to await their hot beverages, a sly glint already present in his eyes.
Why are your cheeks red?
The question only made the shade deepen in color and expand in circumference.
Jongin overdramatically rolled his eyes. Don’t believe you.
Kyungsoo purposefully turned away. Not only could he hide cheeks that most certainly were not red, but he could also avoid conversation with Jongin. Win-win.
Jongin ruined—or bettered—this situation by delivering him his coffee, and Kyungsoo peered only once over his shoulder before reluctantly exiting the café he had earlier been so reluctant to enter.
Sehun was too preoccupied with customers, but Kyungsoo wasn’t so sure that the barista would have spared a glance his way even if he were the only other person in the room.
(Of course, he decided to ignore the fact that they had already had eye contact; this was only because Sehun was doing his job and living up to the polite standard expected of employees.)
The next time that Kyungsoo found himself in that same particular café, Jongin did not accompany him. In fact, Kyungsoo wasn't accompanied by anyone. He twisted his hands together, anxiously. Incessantly.
He wasn't accustomed to being alone; he had gotten used to Jongin's constant, bubbly appearance, and felt rather uncomfortable now that he was lacking it. Nevertheless, he had wanted to return to this exact place—without Jongin, because it was inevitable that he'd make some sort of teasing remark or assumption that was utterly untrue—and so he had.
He purposely allowed others to cut in front of him, gesturing wildly in hopes that they'd get the idea. For, he already knew what he wanted, but he was unsure of how to ask for it. So, he was hoping to develop a backup plan in order to save himself some—just a small fraction—of embarrassment.
Before he could entirely prepare himself for it, he was standing directly in front of the counter. There were no other customers that could pass him—he finally had to make his best attempt at communicating with the mind-numbingly attractive male working the register.
Kyungsoo could have sworn that Sehun was smiling especially wide upon seeing him, but he wrote it off as a sort of mocking smile, due to how there was no way that the barista hadn't witnessed his ridiculous actions for the last five minutes or so—or so it felt.
"Hello again; may I take your order?"
A...gain? Sehun remembered him?
Kyungsoo was confused for all of two seconds before realizing that of course Sehun had remembered him—Kyungsoo could be certain that the community was primarily made up of those who were hearing, and coming across somebody deaf or hard of hearing was like seeing an eclipse instead of what was predicted to appear according to the lunar calendar.
Kyungsoo held his breath; puffed his cheeks in the process. He settled into his native language, uncertain of how to make his order known.
Sehun hadn't told him the name of the drink he had had last time, and so, he had no idea how to request it. Being here at all was already troublesome enough...
Sehun watched in both confusion and fascination, gaze trained on hands that were by this point flailing about in desperation.
"Um..." His voice was soft, apologetic—Kyungsoo could tell by the way his lips moved at a slower pace than normal; by the way his eyebrows furrowed in frustration. "Oh!" He brightened up, reaching beside the register for a notepad and pen before sliding them both over to the flustered customer. "Here, write it down!"
He appeared quite pleased with himself, clapping his hands together, and Kyungsoo couldn't help but shyly smile at his reaction.
And then, he took the pen between fingers previously preoccupied with signing, quickly scrawling the words, Whatever you gave me last time... if you remember, that is.
He slid the notepad back over to the barista, self-consciously adjusting the collar of his shirt and glancing around the room as Sehun read what he had written.
As soon as he peered back up at the man before him, he was greeted with a grin that caused that same heat from the previous time to flare up and scatter across his cheeks.
He's just an exceptionally nice-looking barista. Calm the fuck down, Kyungsoo, yet again, he's only smiling so that he doesn't get any complaints and keeps his job…
"Yeah, of course I remember. I'll have Chanyeol over here whip that right up for you, alright?"
Sehun pointed a bit to the side, to where the other barista was waiting. He flashed a grin just as wide—or maybe even wider—as Sehun's, but it didn't seem to have the same effect on Kyungsoo.
"One signature latte, coming right up~"
Kyungsoo lingered a few feet to the left, at the spot where drinks were placed as soon as they were made.
To his disappointment, it was Chanyeol who handed it to him, rather than Sehun.
"Have a nice day!"
Kyungsoo nodded and smiled awkwardly, not bothering to respond, because he figured that the barista would only send him that puzzled look which always made his heart feel as if it had dropped into his stomach. Rotting away. Remaining there. Forever.
The fact that he could communicate with only a select few people... It made him sadder than most could imagine. How was he supposed to make new friends? He didn't necessarily need any more, seeing as he had Jongin, but... How was he ever supposed to meet a significant other? He was seriously considering moving somewhere that had a greater population of deaf people. At least that way, he could talk easily with others... find someone who had similar interests... no longer be held to the stigma of being 'forever alone.'
"That man is back again."
Sehun was busy clearing trash off of several tables, but he still spared a moment to glance up at Chanyeol with curiosity. The slightly—just slightly, the height difference was barely even noticeable, Sehun had decided—taller male was trailing along behind him, smacking his gum and halfheartedly wiping a rag over surfaces that already seemed clean enough, at least by Chanyeol standards.
"What guy?" But his eyes were already scanning the only other occupant of the room, lips lazily dragging into a smile once he had identified said man.
"You know." The tone in which Chanyeol spoke seemed as if it were meant to be considered a whisper, when truthfully, it was as loud as a normal speaking voice. Maybe even louder. That was Chanyeol, for ya. "That one guy? Who always does that thing with his hands?"
Chanyeol then proceeded to make extravagant hand motions, prompting Sehun to give him a rightfully deserved smack upside the head.
"You're an insensitive idiot, you know that?" Sehun deposited the trash he had collected in the trashcan, eager to greet the customer before he was forced to wait too long.
"You should join your people, Yeol." Sehun patted the top of the trashcan. "It's where you belong."
"Shut up, you're practically radiating glitter."
"Are you trying to make a reference to my sexuality?" Sehun spoke over his shoulder, legs already pumping as they carried him back over to the counter.
"More like, I'm making a reference to how glow-y and gross you get whenever this guy shows up."
Sehun made a little hissing sound and shot a quick glance over at the man patiently awaiting service, and was glad—but also a little unnerved—to find that the man's eyes had been focused primarily on his lips, rather than Chanyeol's.
"Shut up." He commanded, but it sounded more apathetic than anything.
"Why? You never shut up about how cute this guy is or how seeing him only once or twice a week is not 'nearly enough.'"
Sehun ducked his head as he hurried behind the counter, hiding the pair of pink lines coating his cheeks as he tightened the knot of his apron.
"Hi, welcome, may I take your order?"
The man pretended to mull it over, but both he and Sehun knew that his choice had already been made.
He held up several of his fingers, indicating that he wanted the third thing on the menu. This was the drink that Sehun had introduced him to, and this was the drink that he had stuck with. Why try something else when you already have something you like, right?
"Sorry for the wait," Sehun bumbled about, almost dropping one thing and then another. He always felt awkward in front of this particular customer; for he was speaking and moving and whatnot while the man only smiled gently and observed.
He had been coming here for just over a month, a few times a week, so Sehun had really only seen him a handful of times. And yet, those instances had been enough to pique Sehun's interest in the man. Not just because he had a different way of communicating, but also because he had this sort of softness in his expression—in his eyes. And this soft grace transferred to his hands as well.
Just... everything about this specific patron... seemed beautiful. At least, to Sehun. It was a serious problem.
You can't fall for a customer, Sehun. Especially not someone you've never even had a proper conversation with.
That's it. He knew what he had to do between now and the next time the man visited the café.
My name S-E-H-U... My name S-E-H-U-M—
"Fuck." Sehun cursed, pulling the sign language fingerspelling alphabet back up on his phone.
"Almost got it... Why do 'm' and 'n' have to be so similar!?"
He glanced up, and almost got the scare of his life. He had been practicing for several days, but only two had passed, so he hadn't exactly been expecting the customer to come in, but he knew it was a possibility. Yet, normally at least three days went by, so he was shocked to see the man stepping up to the counter, lips already curved in a subtle welcoming smile.
Shit. He wasn't ready. He really wasn't read—
Hi. He waved his hand in greeting, a sign that was common knowledge to anyone and everyone.
The man looked a bit astonished to see a hello instead of hearing it, but his smile widened slightly nonetheless. Sehun's face was already heating up, and he hadn't even put any lesser-known signs into use, yet.
My name S-E-H-U… He hesitated, face an unmistakable bright red by this point. Did his thumb go under this finger or this finger... Why was he even doing this again? The man already knew what his name was, he had a nametag for God's sake—
Somehow, he had managed the correct letter, and the reward for his time spent studying was evident in the way the man's face had lit up and how he had to hide how wide of a smile he was sporting by way of his hand.
What's your name?
The patron drew his hand away from his mouth in order to utilize it, making some extreme motion that led Sehun's eyebrows to furrow.
His mouth fell open in an expression of laughter upon seeing Sehun's confusion, and Sehun was ashamed to admit that he was surprised to hear a loud laugh escape the other male.
He made another series of signs, likely explaining himself, before suddenly segueing into fingerspelling.
My name K-Y-U-N-G-S-O-O.
He formed each letter slowly, watching Sehun's face for confirmation of understanding.
And then, a smile unfolded across Sehun's face as well.
"Kyungsoo," he tried it out with his vocal chords, feeling warmth wash through him. "Kyungsoo... What was the first sign? Is there a sign for your name?"
Kyungsoo repeated it in slow motion, gesturing for Sehun to follow along. After a minute or so, Sehun had perfected it.
Kyungsoo appeared much happier to be called this way, rather than by name vocally. And it made Sehun just as happy, knowing that he was finally breaking through to someone who had previously seemed so unreachable.
Another two weeks went by. Kyungsoo came more frequently, now. Generally every other day, sometimes two days in a row if he really wanted to see Sehun.
Sometimes Jongin showed up right when he was planning to go out, and he had to postpone it.
But one day, Jongin insisted on tagging along, because he had literally shown up at Kyungsoo's door right when Kyungsoo was walking out of it.
And Kyungsoo's excuse of going 'grocery shopping' was apparently not believed.
The entire trek there—it was roughly a twelve minute walk—Kyungsoo's face was pink. And it wasn't because of the cold.
"Sooo, where we going?"
To get coffee.
And then he turned away, discouraging further discussion.
As soon as he stepped foot into the café, his gaze sought for Sehun, and it landed on the barista just in time to watch his lips form the word: "Hyung!"
Jongin's head turned from side to side before his questioning eyes landed on Kyungsoo. "Hyung?" His brow arched in both amusement and confusion. "Since when were you 'hyung' to a barista?"
I... Since... It doesn't matter; I'll explain later.
He raced forward to the counter, shy smile already in place on his face.
Hi. How are you? Sehun hastily began signing, wanting to show Kyungsoo how much he had improved since the last time. He was beginning to perfect some of the more simple phrases, and even a few of the more difficult ones. And if all else failed, he could fingerspell or watch Kyungsoo fingerspell, and Kyungsoo would teach him the sign or signs that he didn't know.
Now, whenever Kyungsoo ordered a drink, he'd sit at a table, and Sehun would converse with him every chance he got. There were times where business was slow, and Kyungsoo got the opportunity to talk to Sehun for twenty, thirty minutes... An hour. Sometimes with customers in-between. Either way, Sehun was gradually expanding his knowledge of sign language, and the both of them were gradually becoming close friends.
I'm okay. How are you?
Sehun brought his right hand up to his chest, palm facing to the left and thumb pressing into his sternum. He wiggled the tips of all of his fingers before releasing a giddy laugh.
Kyungsoo echoed his laughter before shaking his head, entertained. No, you use that sign to say something is C-O-O-L. A-W-E-S-O-M-E.
Sehun's face visibly fell, and Kyungsoo almost felt bad for correcting him. He supposed it could possibly make sense, if Sehun was—for some reason—feeling 'awesome.' He was preparing to say something else when Jongin popped up beside him, eyes brimming with excitement and nails digging into his shoulder.
"He learned sign language for you!? That is so cute."
"Um." Sehun sheepishly fixed his hair, gaze focused on the register before him. "Actually, I don't know very much." His voice lowered in volume. "But I'm trying..."
Taking advantage of the fact that Sehun presently wasn't watching, Jongin hastily signed to Kyungsoo, Are you guys together now?
Kyungsoo rolled his eyes. No, we're not, we haven't even gone on a date. You're making a big deal over nothing.
"Actually..." Sehun cleared his throat, although he obviously only succeeded in earning Jongin's attention. Thankfully, Jongin tapped on Kyungsoo's shoulder, and the man redirected his gaze to Sehun, cheeks a faded pink given the topic of conversation.
Do you want to go on a date with me?
The signs were used entirely out of order and some were performed entirely in the wrong position, but Kyungsoo realized what he was asking all the same. Sehun was bright-eyed, earnest, leaning over the countertop with a shyness that perfectly matched Kyungsoo's.
Kyungsoo gave a cough to cover up his embarrassment, but he couldn't hide his face in his hands because he needed them to give an answer.
I'd love to.
Sehun swung his feet back and forth, back and forth. He was seated far enough off of the ground that his feet flew freely through the air without fear of scuffing against the asphalt. He was waiting for Kyungsoo on a stone ledge; it bordered a charming little park that he figured the two of them would walk through.
Sehun wasn't the most experienced of daters—it was generally a bit more difficult when you were a man interested in other men, rather than women. There had been plenty of opportunities to go out with girls, but... He clearly didn't swing that way, so it was out of the question.
He was so unbelievably nervous and immersed in his own self-deprecating thoughts—he didn't think he was capable of making this date either a memorable or amazing one, although he supposed the two were actually one and the same—that he didn't hear the footsteps approaching from behind.
There was a tap on his shoulder that brought him back into the moment at hand, and he turned to greet Kyungsoo with an ecstatic smile.
"Good morning, hyung." He rose to his feet, trying to climb over the ledge in a way that presented him as charismatic. As soon as he was facing Kyungsoo, the man signed a 'good morning' in return, the shyness in his expression proven by how he never fully met Sehun's eyes.
You want to go for a walk with me? Sehun had practiced this question the night before, desperate to get it right. He had also practiced many other sentences and questions, but those he was saving for later.
Yes. Kyungsoo simply responded, hand forming into a fist before tipping forward several times, imitating the motion of nodding one's head.
Sehun didn't want to be forward and just grab Kyungsoo's hand out of the blue, but he was seriously considering it. He opted for just walking side by side for the moment—maybe he'd be more courageous later. Maybe.
It was actually quite a difficult task to wander and keep your eyes open for obstacles and turns while still attempting to hold a conversation... Because a conversation with Kyungsoo required watching both his hands and his facial expressions.
They moved at a rather slow pace, sometimes halting in their steps whenever clarification was needed. Sehun asked all the silly questions he thought he required answers to—favorite color, favorite food, favorite movie, etcetera.
Yet, there was one point where Sehun fucked up beyond repair—at least, in his opinion. He had asked Kyungsoo what his favorite band was, and both his hands and the remainder of his body had frozen in place as soon as he had finished phrasing the question.
"Shit," he mumbled, shame clouding his face in pale pinks and furrowed brows. "I wasn't thinking, I—"
A single finger was pressed to his lips, the man it was attached to delivering him a brief smile of understanding. I don't have one. But don't feel bad, I still love music even though I don't experience it exactly the same way as you do. I can still feel the vibrations, in my body. I can still tell when one instrument changes to another. I still love music, okay?
Watching Kyungsoo sign, watching him get immersed in the subject and the story he was weaving with his fingers, it was... Well, it was rather beautiful and mesmerizing... Sehun felt his heart fill with all sorts of emotions as he observed, and he couldn't help himself, the words were already upon his lips—"Can I hold your hand?" His lip was drawn between his teeth, eyes vulnerable, yet hopeful. I know that it's harder to talk that way, but… He couldn't think of any other way to word it. I want to be close to you. He confessed, hoping that what he said made sense.
Kyungsoo's face had never felt warmer. He slowly slid his hand into Sehun's, but the college student took things one step further and decided to interlace their fingers. They walked in a comfortable silence for quite some time, until Sehun suggested eating somewhere.
They spent the majority of the day together, joking around and getting to know each other and flirting despite how inexperienced the both of them were. Sehun returned home that night, content and confused. Scared.
He had never felt so strongly about somebody before, and these feelings were seeming to develop at an exponential rate. He had only been on one date with this guy, but he'd seen him so many times before... Spoken to him so many times before... This fond feeling had just been lying mostly dormant within him, activated as soon as he had encountered Kyungsoo outside of his workplace.
Sehun had scored the man's number, as well as a two-second kiss on the cheek (which had probably only occurred because Sehun had pressed his lips to Kyungsoo's cheek first).
He was already in too deep... and just to reiterate—he had only been on one date with this guy.
"Hyung, I'm not sure how to make that sign." Sehun sounded a bit frustrated, continuously moving his hand in a way that just never seemed right.
Kyungsoo gifted him with that soft, stunning smile, and slipped his hand over Sehun's. His touch was just as effective at prompting Sehun's heart to flutter, and Sehun couldn't help but wonder what god had been so kind to him, and why. Kyungsoo was too good for this world, too good for him, but for some strange reason, he had given himself to Sehun.
Of course, they were only in the beginning stages of dating, but Sehun already felt so many feelings that it was hard to contain himself from just attacking poor Do Kyungsoo with kisses.
Kyungsoo led his hand in the correct motion, several times, occasionally peeking at Sehun's face to check if he was getting it or not. Then, he told Sehun to use the sign on his own, and he appeared so pleased and proud when Sehun made no mistake that the younger—as always—got the most uncontrollable urge to kiss him. But he knew. He knew that they should take things slow. Kyungsoo was a shy, gentle flower bud, who needed coaxing in order to bloom in all his unashamed glory and receive all the warmth and love that he deserved.
Sehun now woke up anticipating seeing Kyungsoo's face at the café rather than Chanyeol's. (Sorry, Chanyeol, he still loves you).
The older man—only older by two years, he hadn't gone to college and instead worked only through his laptop, his own hours—now stopped in nearly every day. Granted, he didn't always buy something, but Sehun often offered him a drink entirely free of charge.
And if Kyungsoo happened to come nearer to closing, then whatever would have been thrown out was open to claiming by either or both of them.
Which was what happened. Kyungsoo began to come nearer to closing almost every visit he made, hoping to spend more time with the barista, and Sehun took it upon himself to walk the man home each time, without fail.
Sometimes they'd stop to get dinner, and sometimes they'd linger on Kyungsoo's doorstep, conversing for a bit and delaying the inevitable—Sehun's departure.
It eventually progressed to the point where Sehun would kiss Kyungsoo goodnight—their first kiss had occurred during one of their frequent dates, in the same park where it had all begun. They had been on a picnic, this time, and Kyungsoo had gotten a smudge of something on the corner of his lip. Yes, it was cliché as fuck, but that didn't stop Sehun from reaching out to rub it away with his thumb. And by that point, his face was already so close to Kyungsoo's, he figured... Why not follow it up with a kiss?
It had been terrifying, honestly. Sehun could hear his heart pounding, in his ears. He was afraid that Kyungsoo could hear it too; was afraid that Kyungsoo would shove him away, but—their lips met. A soft, sweet kiss, that was sweetened even more by the remnants of raspberry jelly. Sehun's soiled thumb remained pressed to Kyungsoo's cheek, and his nose clashed briefly with Kyungsoo's when he quickly pulled away.
He was met with that stunning, gentle smile before he was reeled back in for an additional, lengthier kiss.
Ever since then, there had been cute little brushing of lips as a way of saying goodnight, and after several nights of that, they'd ventured into kissing with a bit more intensity. Rather... making out.
Soon, they were on Kyungsoo's doorstep for well over ten minutes, conversation forgotten and pushed aside in favor of reintroducing their lips and tongues, hands used for touching rather than signing.
But Sehun was eventually always cut off, a hurried goodbye given to him before Kyungsoo predictably darted inside, door shut in Sehun's face before he could entirely process and evaluate the situation.
You're rushing me. Kyungsoo confided one day, over his signature drink that Sehun so dutifully prepared for him time and time again. His gaze was directed on his cup—he feared Sehun's reaction, he feared confrontation.
I am? No, I'm not, drink as slowly as you want.
Kyungsoo could just make out the signs due to his peripheral vision, and he let out a choked laugh. No. I meant that you always pull me back when I try to stop kissing you, you just… He inhaled slowly.
By this point, Sehun was extremely proficient in sign language. Kyungsoo didn't even have to sign slowly anymore. But considering how worked up he was, he figured he should slow down anyways.
I don't know. I just... I'm not ready for sex yet, Sehun!
You're not ready for what? Sehun had never encountered such a sign. Sure, he was curious about such things, but he'd never searched them up. This only proved how off the mark Kyungsoo was.
S-E-X, Sehun. I'm not ready for it. He lifted his head, only to see Sehun's lips parted in the shape of an 'o'. In Sehun's hurry to explain himself—clearly—he decided to use his voice.
"Kyungsoo, I never meant to rush you. I'm not expecting sex from you, in fact... I'm not expecting anything from you... If you want me not to kiss you, then..." His lips turned down in evident sadness. "I will. I'm sorry that you feel this way, I mean..." The words were resting directly on his tongue, but he wasn't sure if now was the time. He searched Kyungsoo's face for any sign of how to continue, but it remained infuriatingly blank. "I... care about you... a lot." He whispered. "I'd never pressure you into anything."
Kyungsoo looked stricken. Sehun…
"I... How serious is this, to you?" The question came out of nowhere. It wasn't even directly connected to the subject of discussion. But Sehun had suddenly thought of it, and he had to know. "I have to go back to university, soon. It's like forty minutes away from here."
What do you want to do about this?
The only change in Kyungsoo's expression was an increase of its intensity. They had talked about this before, but not recently—it had been back when their relationship had just been beginning to develop. Now that doomsday was drawing nearer, it only made sense to address the issue.
I... don't know. Kyungsoo was too taken aback by this turn of events to come up with a fixed opinion on the matter.
You don't know. Sehun couldn't hide his pained expression, because to him, in this exact moment, 'I don't know' was synonymous with 'I don't care'.
What am I supposed to say?
Sehun just shook his head, staring down at hands that he decisively didn't use when he spoke next, voice soft and stilted. "You're supposed to say that you want to stay together... That even though I won't be as easy to reach as before, we'll still see each other, and... we won't grow apart."
"But maybe you're wanting to take a break... Things are moving too quickly, yeah?" He was brave enough to look Kyungsoo in the eye, now. "Is that what you want? Are you just too scared to say it?"
Kyungsoo resolutely shook his head, eyes seemingly damp with a few bitter tears. What I want is for you to stay. I'm used to seeing you all the time. How am I supposed to cope—I can probably only see you on weekends; you'll be so busy... And what if you meet someone else?
Kyungsoo was being selfish. Protective. But he couldn't bring himself to care—all he wanted was for Sehun to be with him. He regretted complaining about the supposedly fast pace of their relationship, for... He had been misguided.
Sehun shyly wrapped Kyungsoo's hand in his, thumb caressing the back of it. "I won't fall for anyone else, Kyungsoo. It isn't possible. I'm... Well, to be honest... I'm falling in love—" He lowered his gaze once more. "—with you. There isn't room for anyone else."
Kyungsoo found himself carefully retracting his hand from Sehun's grasp. Guilt overcame him once he registered the hurt on Sehun's face, so he hurried to explain himself. I need my hands for signing.
His face was overwhelmed with color after hearing the almost-confession. It was sweet as well as reassuring; yet it only cut him a bit deeper. I... guess... we can try this? And see where it goes? Because... I... feel the same. He was too shy to admit his feelings properly, at least for now. And I like what we have. Okay, long-distance relationship, here we come!
"I'm... literally forty minutes awa—"
Very far away!
They had barely been together before experiencing a challenge, but they were both sure they'd get by. Skype sessions and text messages were enough (no they weren't), and the occasional visit was bittersweet but enough to tide them both over til the next one.
Sehun bought himself the necessary materials to brew his own coffee, and he made sure to prepare a very special cup for Kyungsoo each time he happened to visit. He experimented with the foam, forming hearts and the like.
And one day, he decided to prepare an unreasonable amount of coffee—three cups. He figured that maybe Kyungsoo would let him drink one, which, hey. Was absolutely in no way an inconvenience. But either way, he ever so carefully arranged the coffee cups so that, together, they formed a sentence. Maybe not a perfectly grammatical sentence, but a sentence after all: