Puppy Love

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:46 pm
yukulicious: (puppy love)
[personal profile] yukulicious

Title Puppy Love
Band EXO
Raiting PG
Pairing Chanyeol/Baekhyun
Genre romance
Length 13k ; complete
Chapter oneshot
Warning English is not my native language.
Disclaimer I own nothing but the plot and formulations. This is fiction.
Summary Baekhyun, an employee at the small dog café in front of subway entrance 4 meets Chanyeol, a dog lover who keeps visiting, eventhough he suffers from pet hair allergy.

This is from December 2015. I originally wrote it to get rid of my writer's block that was taunting me back then. It's inspired by this tumblr post.

For the sake of completeness I decided to repost it here (you can also find it on aff). I dedicated this fic to my friend sharoooney from LJ.
I'd be overjoyed to receive some feedback, eventhough this piece is 2 years old already...

He works in a small café right next to exit 4 of the subway station, where life is buzzing and he can watch the stream of people, flocking up and down the staircase like a colorful, multi-shaped shoal of fish. He spends his lunch break at a small table in the front part.
It’s a table for two on the right side of the store. It’s the first upon entering, where the sun’s rays shine through the window facade and the glass door of the café, projecting colorful patterns on the table’s brown surface and the chair’s green padding. It warms his face, too.
Truth to be told, Baekhyun loves his job.
He still wants to thank all the gods in the Heavens for giving him the great opportunity to spend all of his vacation working here, in one of the many - but sure one of the cutest - dog cafés in town.

In the back of the café, where seating areas line up in front of the windows and walls of the big room, leaving enough space in the middle for the pack to play, Baekhyun fondly arranges the dog’s sleeping-places in a circle whenever he has the late shift and sometimes he feels jealous for the owner of the café that is lucky enough to spend all their time with 6 of the best dogs that exist on the planet.

Baekhyun likes people.
It’s very probably one of the main reasons he was chosen as the employee of the week for the past month.
He is an outgoing person, always smiling at the customers, never failing to lure a small smile out of them in return.
But sometimes Baekhyun thinks he likes dogs a little more than people.

The sole thought of the pack of cuteness that is waiting just behind the half-height wooden fence gate that seperates the front of the café from the back, makes the young man’s heart flutter in happiness.
It doesn’t matter how tired he is, they always cheer him up - that does not apply so much for demanding people who only see their own needs most of the time.
Dogs would never lie to him either and he can always see right through their sparkling eyes and waggling tails. People on the other hand… as much as Baekhyun likes to socialize - some people just make it a lot more difficult than dogs. They don’t even want to be read and sometimes it makes him angry.

Alarmed by a small chime, he looks up, watching how two little girls and a tall young man enter the café. The two children - Baekhyun assumes them to be around 10 years old - laugh and chatter happily while their babysitter follows calmly, barely lifting his feet while he drags himself over to the counter Baekhyun is waiting behind, next to the green wooden gate.
“A table for three?” Baekhyun asks charming, after the usual small welcome speech, that is more of a small sing-song and makes the person in front of him chuckle.
“Yes, but I guess the little ones don’t need a place at the table. They will be busy playing and cuddling the dogs all the time anyway” the two little girls agree excitedly and the two men nod happily in their direction.
“I fear you have to order two drinks anyway, Sir… that’s the rule” Baekhyun hikes his shoulders in an apologetic manner but the man in front of him doesn’t even need to be mollified. His whole face scrunchs up to make room for an enormous smile that forms on his lips and makes his big eyes squinny for just a short moment. Then he speaks again, filling the rather empty café with a deep, powerful voice: “Oh, that’s fine. I’m sure they will get thirsty so I wanted to order a drink they can share anyway.”

Baekhyun nods along while his customer orders orange juice but actually he is still impressed by how much taller the man in front of him is, though it doesn’t look like they have a lot of age difference. The man in front of him is tall, lean but still board-shouldered and his smile sure is one of the most handsome sights Baekhyun has seen in a while.
He spots big ears, not covered by the light hair on the other’s head, when said person squats down to talk to the two girls, explaining the basic rules to them - just like Baekhyun did before while preparing their order.
Once they are all ready to go he puts the drinks on a tray and opens the fence gate. The girls walk in first - now a lot more conscious than when they entered the café, their curious eyes looking around for the six dogs that are introduced on posters in the front of the café.
Baekhyun accompanies the man to his designated seat and puts down the tray to set down the two glasses, before he leaves with a smile because the next customer has already entered the café - announced by another chime.

It’s about twenty minutes later that Baekhyun walks over to the table the tall man is sitting at to collect the emptied glasses before one of the dogs can knock them off the table.
Belle, the toy poodle lady of the café has her head on the man’s lap who ruffles her fur with a small smile.
Baekhyun watches the two of them interact happily, until he notices something strange.
He clears his voice, attracting the man’s attention who looks up, blinking rapidly, with a confused expression on his face.
Baekhyun tilts his head and furrows his brows.
“Excuse me, but… is everything OK?” he asks tentatively, only causing more confusion to well up in his opponent’s swollen eyes.

Baekhyun gulps because now when he can look into the other’s face it is even more concerning.
“Your eyes… I’m afraid they are swollen and reddened and you look a bit pale, sir”, Baekhyun explains and the man blinks a couple of times, before he rubs his eyes and nods slowly.
“Now when you mention it, they do feel kind of dry and bothered…” he snuffles and smiles a crooked smile but it’s far different from the first Baekhyun has seen today.
He watchs the tall customer a bit longer before he sighs deeply and shakes his head.
“I’m very sorry sir… but there is no way I can let you stay here when you are sick. It would be irresponsible for your and the pets’ health since you might infect them, too. I strongly suggest you to go home and rest” he says with a stern voice.
The man objects sheepishly, “Please, I’m sure I wasn’t sick when I came here… you see - I wouldn’t take my cousins out on a play date if I was sick. I would never take the risk to make them sick”
Baekhyun slowly folds his arms in front of his chest.
“It wasn’t my intention to make you upset or hurt your pride concering the way you care for your cousins - it’s actually really endearing how you care for them… but I have to go by the rules and honestly - your runny nose and puffy eyes don’t speak in your favor. I’ll make sure to get your two princesses an extra treat the next time you come to visit - but please get some rest first.”
The man sighs but raises his hands in defeat before he stands up - towering over Baekhyun whose heart is suddenly in his boots and he is relieved all the speaking is done for now.

He closes the door after the three have left, the sad stares of two little girls still pricking like arrows in his chest. His lips form a pout and he stomps into the break room, startling his co-worker Jongdae, who almost falls off his chair.
He is angry at himself. How could he let himself be blinded by the customer’s handsome appearance and not realize that the young man was showing so obvious symptoms.

Baekhyun meets the handsome stranger sooner than he imagined. It’s so soon that he can’t really prepare himself and instead of the ever charming welcome singsong a loud groan leaves his mouth when he spots the tall young man entering the café - hands burried in the pockets of his college jacket - during his lunch break the next day.
“Oh, it’s you again? Sir, why are you already here again? Did you already recover?” he perks up from his spot at the table on the right making the silver blond man look around surprised.
When he spots him however, a huge smile stretches across his face, making his eyes squinny dorkily and Baekhyun thinks people like him should be arrested for making ‘dorky’ so attractive.

He rolls his eyes, not caring about blows to the neck from his boss for being rude to customers, when the man walks over and looks down to him with an amused smile on his face, just like he did the day before when talking to his cousins. Baekhyun doesn’t like the idea of him secretly making fun of his height with that but the smile on the other’s face isn’t cheeky at all but geniune and it confuses him.
“I’m moved that you are so concerned about your customer’s health but when I woke up this morning my eyes and nose were fine again and funny enough the afflictions actually got better about two or three hours after leaving already”

Baekhyun’s eyes narrowed to slits.
“I don’t like people who lie…and I hate to break it to you but a cold takes longer than 12 hours to heal. You shouldn’t take it too easy on you…” he murmurs, causing the other to laugh out loud - this time there is a cheeky ring to it. The man sits down across from him and smiles.
“I didn’t lie. I’m a terrible liar, actually... “ he scratches the back of his head, a grin not leaving his face.
Baekhyun is still having second thoughts and crosses his arms in front of his chest.
“Anyway, I’m on my lunch break right now so if you want to order a drink or cuddle with the pups, you have to go over and ask my co-worker, Jongdae” he nods his head in the direction of another young man that wears the same shirt with the café’s logo on the back.
Right now he serves a table full of highschool girls in the back of the café who giggle whenever he makes a joke.
Baekhyun and his opponent watch him for a few moments before he sighs and shakes his head.
“I’m pretty sure they are not here because of the puppies…”
Baekhyun’s head whirls around and he stares with big eyes at the man that is still sitting at his lunch table and just voiced out his own thought dead-on.

The tall man with the bleached hair and big ears stays for twenty minutes, playing and lying around with the dogs in the back of the shop.
Baekhyun has to admit that he finds himself watching their guest a lot and though seeing people who like dogs in a dog café couldn’t be less of a surprise, he finds himself impressed at how much adoration he can see in the way the taller deals with the animals that surround him and honestly, it makes the corner of his lips curl up with a similar feeling in his insides.
He looks up from his phone when he hears someone cough close to him.
He hides his phone sheepishly behind his back, expecting Jongdae or his boss but instead looks up to the blond man from before, who is rubbing one of his eyes.
They are swollen again and Baekhyun can’t help but inhales sharply.
“Excuse me Sir, you look aweful” he says cautiously then and opens the wooden gate to let his opponent exit the dogs’ playground.
The man coughs in reply and massages his own throat, scrunching up his face.
“I hope it’s not too bad though… I just made friends with everyone” his look wanders back to the pack of dogs that run around their playing area.
Baekhyun bites his lips and shakes his head.
“You said you were fine, remember?” he can’t hide the dissappointment in his voice and his customer shrugs helplessly.
“I really thought I was…” he mumbles and apologizes before Baekhyun hands him over his jacket and watches him leave. He doesn’t miss the way the blond turns around again at the door, but he chooses to ignore it.

“He’s such a flirt…” Baekhyun hears a dark, velvety voice perk up. There is amusement painting it though and when he turns around, the guy with the bleached hair is sitting across from him at his lunch table once again, watching Jongdae shortly, who talks with a young girl at the counter.
Baekhyun snorts but nods, before he looks back up at his surprise visitor. He didn’t even hear him coming in and the slight feeling of familarity that sets in his stomach upsets him a bit. He likes it, although he would never admit it.
“Why are you here again? I thought we settled you wouldn’t return until you actually recovered” he argues, his eyes wandering to the young man in front of him and he tries to hide the surprise that washes over him when he can’t find any of the symptoms the other had just a day before.
The man grins sheepishly and ruffles his own hair. Baekhyun averts his eyes and sips from his coffee cup. It bothers him how interesting and attractive he finds the other.

Said customer tries to laugh off the weird atmosphere until he begins to speak:
“To be honest… I know where the symptoms come from but I was scared you would send me away and I wouldn’t be able to play with the pups then…”
Baekhyun looks up from his cup over to the man in front of him, waiting for him to continue.
“So…” he looks at Baekhyun’s nameplate then back into his face, “Baekhyun, the thing is… I am allergic.”
“Allergic to what?” Baekhyun bluffs out, without thinking, not even bothering to complain about the other using only his first name and speaking informaly all of a sudden.
“Dog hair” the usually booming and deep voice of his opponent dies down a little when he admits and the barista just stares at him with wide eyes, full of disbelief.
“You are kidding me, right!?”
The tall blond man stoops when Baekhyun suddenly springs to his feet and towers over the table. “You are allergic to dog hair and visit a dog café? Are you an idiot? Do you want to die?”
The silver-blond doesn’t dare to look up at him for a few moments and the way he crouches down on his seat, avoiding any contact with him in his outraged state, reminds Baekhyun of a dog a lot.

They flee out of the café when Baekhyun realizes all of the stares of customers who witness him shouting at one of them like a fury.
The tall man leans on the wall next to him, suddenly eruppting in a laughing fit.
“You should have seen the way that woman looked at you. She was really scared!” he bellows between laughter and Baekhyun can’t stay mad at him but starts to laugh as well, until they both hold their stomachs breathlessly.
The two boys grin at each other and Baekhyun takes the air.
“But really… why would you even come near a place like that if you are allergic to dog hair?”
The man smiles at him and though Baekhyun wants to deadpan that it looks stupid, he secretly likes this expression a lot.
“I love dogs.” The expression on the other’s face fades to a soft smile and his eyes are warm when he says those simple words - Baekhyun can almost feel it on his skin - how true this is, but he still can’t believe his ears.
“Are you crazy or just stupid?”
The man laughs before he starts to leap around on the spot, flailing his arms a bit, causing Baekhyun to laugh again.
“I’m not stupid, nor crazy. I’m Park Chanyeol and I love dogs.”
“Yeah… but Park Chanyeol has a pet hair allergy and shouldn’t be wandering around dog cafés.”
Baekhyun crossed his arms in front of his chest and the goofy giant in front of him calms down again.
“But… can’t you understand it at least a tiny bit? Ever since my parents found out about my allergy I wasn’t able to play with dogs anymore. Only able to watch them from afar… I didn’t even know anymore if I really was allergic - that is how much I was kept away from them” his features saden pulling on Baekhyun’s heart strings.
“I just wanted to cuddle a dog again, play around and have some fun. You can do that all the day… it’s something normal for you, so you probably don’t understand but for me this was like Christmas and my birthday all together.”

Baekhyun sighs before he brings himself to approach his customer and pat his shoulder sympathetically.
“It’s fine… I shouldn’t have called you crazy or stupid, Chanyeol. I’m sorry… but you really shouldn’t go inside the pit and play with the dogs again. Who knows how badly your symptoms can get? We can’t risk that…”
"Eh- I mean you. You can't risk that."
Chanyeol smiles shyly but nods.
“But I can visit and watch them from the front of the café, right?”
The tall man in front of Baekhyun sounds like a small kid, his timid yet hopeful expression emphasizing it even more and the barista sighs but nods and watches the giant in front of him break out into a jig of glee. Baekhyun groans and rolls his eyes, turning around to return to the café - to which Chanyeol follows excitedly.
It’s weird and a lot harder than he thinks but he still tries to deny how much he suddenly feels connected to the tall stupid grinning guy that trails behind him.

Chanyeol’s visits become routine and Baekhyun admits silently to himself that he enjoys growing accustomed to the daily company around his lunch break.
They talk about a lof of things during these twenty minutes every day - usually starting with jokes about Jongdae and his habit of flirting with every customer he can get hold of but as of the middle of Chanyeol’s second week of visits their conversation topics range from their college goals for the next semester to favorite sports and everything in between.
Baekhyun learns that Chanyeol is majoring in IT at the university close to Baekhyun’s dorm and Baekhyun fills one or two of the breaks they spend together with complains about his annoying roommate who has a gambling problem and sleeptalks loudly in his mother language: Chinese.
Chanyeol laughs extremly loud and pounds his fist on the table, making Baekhyun’s cup jump but Baekhyun likes the deep sound and how the other’s voice rushes through his ears and head and body, sounding so harmonious with the vibe inside of him.

On this particular Thursday afternoon however, they don’t sit together in the front of the café. Instead Baekhyun waits outside of the shop he usually spends most of his time in. When Chanyeol turns around the corner and spots him his eyes widen in surprise and he takes even bigger steps than he naturally does due to his long legs, just to stop right in front of him. The man’s attention isn’t focused on the feisty barista though, but the honey-blond ball of fluff that sits next to him on the sidewalk.
“Hello little guy!” Chanyeol has crouched down in front of the curly furred pup who starts to pant and wag its tail happily.
The tall man’s voice has undergone a change, sounding slightly pitched and full of restrained excitement..
Baekhyun can’t help but chuckles, waiting patiently until the man in front of him is done patting and sweet-talking the four-legged friend and actually greets him as well.
“But really, who did you bring along today? And why? What’s his name? Is that your dog? You never told me you have one yourself…”
Baekhyun laughs.
“Man, you get more excited about a puppy than Jongdae gets about pay raise” he snorts and Chanyeol grumbles but follows suit when the barista gently tugs at the dog’s leash and motions it to get going.

“So, is that your dog or not?” Chanyeol raises his voice again before they even cross the road to walk to the small city park, one block away.
“It’s not. I don’t have a dog - I told you!” Baekhyun retorts but decides to explain: “This is Ketchup. He’s the dog of my neighbors and because they are both working a lot I take him out for walks and to play at least two times a week”

“His name is Ketchup?”

“Yeah… I think their niece gave him the name when she was two years old…”
They walk a while and watch the dog who curiously inspects every shrub it can find, continuesly wagging its tail.
Its fur is honey-blond and covers the whole animal and even its floppy ears in small curls that shine healthily in the afternoon sun.
“I thought Ketchup could help you a bit… he’s a goldendoodle. and-”
Baekhyun rolls his eyes when Chanyeol starts to cackle louldy, interrupting him mid-sentence.

“A goldendoodle?!”

“Yeah, a goldendoodle… it’s a golden retriever - poodle cross-breed” Baekhyun explains slightly sore, glaring with disapproval at his companion who has started into another laughing fit after Baekhyun mentions the breed’s name once more.
He huffs unhappily, “Anyway, I read they throw off less allergenes than most other dog breeds… so I thought if you haven’t changed your mind after last week and still want to try medication or desensitization, he’s probably the dog to which you’ll have the least aggressive allergic reaction anyway”

Baekhyun pauses when he sees that Chanyeol has stopped moving from the corner of his eyes. He turns around again, meeting big, round eyes that are even bigger than usual and stare at him in a manner that he can’t really read.
He furrows his brows when his opponent still doesn’t move. It’s so unusual because the giant is usually moving around nonstop but the high contrast to the situation makes it even easier for an uneasy feeling of worry to wander up into his head.
Before his worry forms words and a question however, the guy in front of him breaks out into a big smile and sheepishly runs his hand through silver-blond hair. Baekhyun blinks, fearing his face could fall asleep that moment because he is way too absorbed in the way Chanyeol’s fingers move and he already feels the remorse biting in his guts. He should be worried about why the goofy giant was behaving so weirdly a short moment ago but instead his thoughts take him away and he can’t stop wondering what the other’s hair feels and smells like.
Baekhyun makes an embarrassed sound when he realizes what his head is doing again, causing Chanyeol to wake from his chuckle, too.
He harrumphs, giving Baekhyun the chance to collect himself again before he finally raises to speak:

“It’s just… no one has ever done something like that for me” he smiles happily, looking down at the light-brown thatch that is Baekhyun’s hair. His smile reaches his eyes, making them shine warmly - or maybe the barista is just imagining things again.
“When my parents found out I was allergic to dog hair, they forbid me to play with the neighbor’s beagle and washed all my clothes, to make sure no dog hair was left on them. Even the clothes I never wore when playing outside… they made sure to tell all our relatives that had dogs to be careful when visiting and I know they were hurt too, seeing how hurt I was. I mean… they basically prohibited me to see one of my best friends. The means my parents took to avoid allergic reactions were more punishment for me than the worst rash… and now you just come along and put this cute little puppy in front of me and say that it usually causes no allergic reactions or at least less strong ones.
You have no idea how much this means to me, Baekhyun…”

Baekhyun feels like someone just started a bubble bath in his stomach. He feels how the bubbly, tingly feeling spreads from his navel through his whole body, accompanied by a wave of heat that rushes over him, tickling every nerve ending inside of him. His cheeks and ears suddenly feel really warm and he doesn’t even want to think about which shade of pink his face has probably taken on.
Chanyeol’s confession is way more emotional than he has imagined and the barista is overwhelmed with the situation that just unfolds in front of him.
The goofy giant and he share all kind of conversations but this is the first time it reaches beyond unfair university professors or funny videos on youtube.
It’s emotional and overpowers Baekhyun for the moment but he would lie to himself, if he said he isn’t liking the direction they take.

It doesn’t change how they are both flustered now, just dumbly standing in front of each other, until Ketchup calls for their attention. He pushes his head against Chanyeol’s knee, rubbing his fluffy face into the jeans cloth that covers the leg.
Baekhyun starts to coo and Chanyeol tries hard not to jump back in utter surprise.
“This is so cute” the barista chirps, his voice a shade lighter than usually.
Chanyeol grins proudly and watches the dog detach himself from him, wandering around another shrub, before he looks down at his leg again.
The giant makes a weird squeak noise and wipes his thigh earning a judging huff of his barista friend.
“I changed my mind. It’s not cute when Ketchup just comes to cuddle when he wants to wipe off the cobweb he ran into face-first.”
Baekhyun’s huff transforms into a loud laugh and he throws his head back in a way one usually just sees it in comic books.

They walk a bit around the park, always looking out for Ketchup who strolls around happily, sniffing here and there curiously while his tail wags ceaselessly.

“Really though… when you are allergic for such a long time already and got rashes from them, why do you even like dogs? They could probably kill you.”
Chanyeol snorts and shakes his head when he hears Baekhyun’s comment.
“I don’t think it’s that bad. I got rashes as a small kid but now it’s mainly nose, eyes and the throat. It’s a bit as if I suddenly caught a really bad cold. My throat starts to feel rough, my eyes get red and bothered and my mucosa generally start to act up” he grins cheekily and Baekhyun likes this expression way too much.
He shoves the taller man who starts to laugh, a sound that hounds cold and warm shivers down his spine in turns.

“Anyway… I don’t know” Chanyeol sighs, “It’s hard to explain. I always liked animals and dogs especially because - dumb question because you’re working in a dog café - but have you actually seen a dog? It’s not really hard to like them just by looking at them if you ask me”, he laughs, scratching the area behind his jutting ears.
“I guess it was easier to communicate with them sometimes… you know. When I look at a dog and they wag their tail or move their ears in a special motion - I know instantly how they feel. It’s so much easier to read them. I’m not anti-social or something… but especially during middle school I didn’t have a lot of friends. I am loud and clumsy - with words as well. I sometimes said things in a weird way and used to rub people the wrong way though I didn’t mean it at all. Dogs don’t care how eloquent or witty you are, they just listen and are happy that you are there, even if you have a runny nose and your jokes aren’t funny. I guess this sounded really weird now but… I don’t know how to explain it.”

At first Baekhyun wants to disagree because he thinks Chanyeol is one of the funniest people he knows, but he decides against it and just nods slowly to signalize he listened.
“You don’t sound weird at all. Honestly, I think the same way sometimes… People are so complicated. They are hard to read, they change their minds too fast and look for their own benefit in most of the things they do. Dogs on the other hand are just there. They want to play with you. They never get tired of you and are always happy to see you around. They just love you for being there… I never feel like I need to make them like me, they just do it”
Their conversation ceases at this point because Ketchup calls for their attention but they agree silently with each other, smiling reassuringly.

Baekhyun feels weirdly light. He never has thought there could be someone else who thinks in the weird lines his mind takes and just speaks out loud what he carries inside already.
It’s a bubbly feeling that pulls at his navel again and Baekhyun feels incapable to resist the small, seductive tugs that the goofy giant does to his heart.

Ketchup runs around excitedly, its locks bouncing with every leap it takes. The dog is chasing after a bright yellow ball that darts across the cut meadow of a small city park, only one block from exit 4 of the subway station.
Unlike the usual, Baekhyun doesn’t spend his time with the dogs in the pit of his favorite dog café and summer job today - instead he sits on top of a multicolored blanket that is covered with a pattern of light and shadow that the branches and leaves of the tree behind him project onto the picnic rug.
He can spot the blond puppy he is taking care of again today, running across the green, natural playground, carrying the bright yellow ball proudly in its muzzle.
Shortly behind the goldendoodle walks a tall young man with bleached hair that shines in a silver shade but doesn’t cover the jutting ears that peak out almost elfish.

Chanyeol goes along whenever Baekhyun goes out to play with his neighbor’s dog, Ketchup and the dog grows attached to the tall guy almost instantly and for the first couple of minutes of each of their meetups it seems as neither Chanyeol, nor Ketchup even remember Baekhyun’s existence.
He is fine with it though, because he has grown addicted to the huge grin and grimace on Chanyeol’s face that makes his eyed drizzle in delight and then curl up in a way that defies description and honestly it makes the barista’s insides curl up and twist in funny ways as well.

Chanyeol returns to the rug Baekhyun has spread underneath one of the trees that provide shade from the strong sun and Ketchup trails happily behind him.
Both of them are still out of breath and Baekhyun can’t bite back a snarky comment about how alike his two companions are.
Chanyeol scrunches up his face amusedly, causing Baekhyun’s insides to do another backflip.
“So you think I’m like a dog? I actually heard someone say I’m like one of those big dog breeds… maybe you’re right. But what kind of animal do you resemble then?”
He sits down next to Baekhyun and Ketchup nuzzles its head onto his lap and watches them from below. Chanyeol chuckles and starts to ruffle the pet’s head, but still looks back up at Baekhyun to watch him with curious eyes.
“Pff, isn’t that obvious? My cousin always complains how much she envies me for my natural puppy eye look - so of course I am a cute little puppy.”
Chanyeol gives a laugh, causing the barista next to him to sulk.
“Man, you are so full of yourself… but I’ll let you have that one because you are actually adorable. So if you are a small puppy and I am a big one, we’re like puppy brothers, right?”
He throws his head back in another short laugh and Baekhyun needs a few seconds before he joins in timidly. Did Chanyeol just call him cute?

While Ketchup and the goofy giant chase off for another round of their personal play routine, Baekhyun stays behind, nibbling on another fistful of grapes. To Baekhyun and Chanyeol’s delight the latter doesn’t react with any allergic symptoms to Ketchup and even the slight roughness in his throat is gone, that he usually gets upon entering the dog café, due to all the hair flying around there.
It’s much better than Baekhyun imagined when he brought Ketchup along for the first time three weeks ago and during the days were he’s working his shifts at the dog café, the thought about their next meetup brings even more joy to him than the cute pups he takes care of.

It’s about time that Baekhyun admits he has a serious crush on his favorite customer and vice-dog sitter of his neighbor’s dog. But ever since the realization a week ago, another worry emerged, stirring up his mind at night when he checks off the days of summer on his calendar: summer will come to its end soon and he won’t continue neither his job at the café, nor as the dog-sitter because his dorm is a 30 minute train ride away and university life won’t let enough time for his part time job.
But being a 30 minute train ride from his part time job is harmless compared to the shadow that towers over Baekhyun menancingly whenever he thinks about Chanyeol. It’s away from Chanyeol. He remembers clearly that his dorm is close to the other’s university but that is far from a guarantee to actually see him again once summer ends.

Baekhyun snaps out of his dull thoughts when Chanyeol launches himself onto the picnic rug once again, Ketchup running around the colorful cloth, barking excitedly until Chanyeol raises his arm and throws the bright yellow ball once more. The dog darts off with another bark, leaving the two students behind.
Chanyeol chuckles lowly while he watches the dog frolicing, grabing a handful of grapes and stuffing them into his mouth ungracefully.
Baekhyun makes a sound of mock-disgust, causing Chanyeol to wink at him jokingly, but it throws the barista off again. What is going on today?

The silver haired giant rolls around on the blanket grinning until he lays there lengthways, occupying most of the cloth. He looks up and watches the leaves above his head that cast the magical pattern of shadow and light onto the bridge of his nose and his whole face now.
Baekhyun bites his lips and averts his eyes when his heart makes another jump.
“This is amazing”, Chanyeol’s dark voice raises and the man sits up again, looking at Baekhyun with a huge smile on his face and that drizzle in his eyes, that does dangerous things to Baekhyun’s insides.
“I was really sad when the symptoms came back… you know, the first time I visited the café with my cousins… but I still wanted to come again even if I got rashes. I’m not living with my parents but in a shared apartment close to university… so they wouldn’t find out what I did and I guess a part of me just wanted to take the risk no matter what.
But now, I can lie around in the sun and play with a dog without a runny nose or burning eyes. All thanks to you, Baekhyun. Just because of you this summer turned into the best thing ever. I never thought this would be possible. Playing with a dog, spending time with someone who reads me so well. I never met someone as funny, witty and cute as you. I’m so happy that you are my friend, Baekhyun.”

The barista and the customer look into each other’s eyes for a few seconds but it’s already too long for Baekhyun’s poor heart.
It feels as if it tries to break out of his ripcage and gallop away.
The air around them feels warm, the wind soothing and the tree’s pattern of shadow and light paint their features magically.
All of a sudden it all feels so romantic and dreamy to him.
Baekhyun can’t take it.
He ruffles through his hair helplessly, emitting a timid laugh in a desperate attempt to cut through the atmosphere between them.
“Yeah… I’m happy you are my friend, too…” the word ‘friend’ tastes bitter on his tongue but he tries to brush it off and laughs again, followed by a slow nod.
Chanyeol purses his lips, looking around sheepishly as well, before he stretches and starts to look around for the blonde dog that has rolled itself up and is snoozing next to him.
It takes some time until they raise their voices again for another topic and they carry on until the sun sets, laughing so much that Baekhyun’s stomach starts to hurt.
He can’t forget about the patterns on Chanyeol’s soft features though and the memory of his velvety voice saying all these sweet things to him lulls him to sleep later that night.

Baekhyun purses his lips nervously and blinks a couple of times - definitely more than usually and it makes him even more nervous. He gulps, presses his eyes shut and tries to focus.
You can do it!
He tries to reassure himself internally and takes another deep breath until he looks at his opponent again.
“What I was trying to say is… you know. I am free on Saturday and if you don’t have anything planned we could… you know, go out? No, without Ketchup… just the two of us…” he bites his lips, blushing until his ears have turned crimson, too.
His opponent blinks, tilts its head, then blinks again.
Baekhyun sighs. “Don’t be like that… it’s already embarrassing enough!”
His opponent tilts its head again but inches closer, focusing on Baekhyun’s face, who emits a sound of utter frustration.
It transforms into a loud squeak when his counterpart towers over him, crushes their heads together and starts to lick his face.
“Damn it, Belle! Fooey!”
The toy poodle girl wags its tail happily, still pressing its paws onto the barista who sits in the pit of the dog café he’s working in and lets his head hang low.
“I’m so pathetic…” he murmurs but continues to tickle the dog under the chin.

Two hours later Jongdae pokes his head into the breakroom to which Baekhyun has wandered off to get his coffee for his lunch time.
He chuckles, pointing with his thumb behind himself.
“You have a visitor…”
Baekhyun’s heart skips a beat because there is only one person he can think of who would visit him here but it makes him even more nervous.
After another week he just doesn’t know what to do anymore to ensure they won’t lose sight of each other once summer is over and the only way is the most drastic solution he can think of: be straight forward and ask him out.
He has hoped to have enough time to grow more accustomed to the whole impact of his insane plan before he sees the other again but Baekhyun can’t hide his delight to see the other in his eyes, when he walks out and over to the door, where he spots Chanyeol’s figure instantly.

His giant friend is waiting outside of the café ever since Baekhyun asked him to do so, not wanting to risk any more rashes or swollen eyes.
He likes Chanyeol’s handsome face a lot more when his eyes aren’t red, bothered and swollen…
When he walks out and meets the other’s face however, a cold shower washes over him.
Chanyeol’s eyes are reddened, his nose too and he snivels lowly.
The barista tries to play off the shock with a shaky laugh.
“You haven’t even entered the store. Actually called a cold now, mister?”
Chanyeol doesn’t laugh and it twists his stomach painfully.
“... OK, what’s going on?”
Baekhyun folds his arms in front of him and gives his counterpart his infamous ‘don’t fuck with me and tell me the truth’ kind of look.
The man in front of him ruffles his hair, his eyes wandering around restlessly.
“Nothing much… it’s just…”
His eyes still wander - helplessly, resting only a few seconds in Baekhyun’s face whose features have scrunched up in a worried expression.
The ever so goofy, ever laughing giant snivles again.
“I told my mom about Ketchup and that I want to try out medication so that I can visit the dog café without trouble…”
Baekhyun feels a pang in his chest when he notices the defeated, low way in which the words tumble out of the mouth that used to laugh so loudly that the sound kept ringing in his ears like an echo.
“Oh…” he breathes, casting his look to the ground, “I guess she got mad?”

“Yeah, but even worse… She started crying on the phone and told me how worried she is ever since that childhood accident.”
Baekhyun’s head whips up again and he blinks confused.
“Childhood accident?” he repeats questioningly and Chanyeol sighs, but spills the beans:
“I told you how my parents prohibit me to play with the neighbor’s dog, right? Well it broke their heart to see me so sad so they tried to get my symptoms under control with medication, so that I could play with the beagle again… It worked just fine until one day.
I suddenly got an allergic shock out of nowhere and was rushed to the hospital.”
Baekhyun gasps and he feels even sicker in his stomach than before.
“Are you crazy, coming to a dog café and wanting medication after that happened to you??”
Chanyeol looks at him with sad eyes but furrows his brows, raising his voice in defense:
“Don’t blame me! I didn’t even remember until my mom told me about it yesterday. She was crying so much and wouldn’t calm down. It was aweful… I couldn’t even tell her about Ketchup and how he is such a good dog and actually doesn’t cause any allergic reaction. Instead I had to promise her to not try any medication… and to go for avoidance again.”
He lets his head hang low and Baekhyun feels his heart falling awkwardly into his shoes.
“Does that mean…”
“I can’t see Ketchup anymore and I can’t visit the café” the giant sounds defeated and his eyes are so sad that Baekhyun wants to scream at how unfair it is.
Everything breaks down in front of him and he can’t do anything but watch.
He sighs deeply but plucks up all of his courage and tugs on the other’s sleeve, to make him look up again.
His smile is ascrew, but he still tries to keep it up.

“I know you love dogs, Chanyeol… but this can’t be helped. Maybe you can talk to you mom again when she calmed down… in a week or two and tell her about Ketchup again. I’m sure she’ll understand and trust you. You are a grown-up and you acted really responsible whenever I saw you interact with dogs…”
He pauses a moment, realizing the irony of what he just said. He is delighted when it makes Chanyeol chuckle a bit as well.
At least for a short moment everything seems like it has always been between them.
Baekhyun grins, but still tries to keep a serious face when he continues:
“I mean… except for the fact that it was irresposible to interact with dogs in your state to begin with… but what I am trying to say is that it probably isn’t as bad and you don’t need to cry. I’m sure it’s not effectively lost yet.”
Chanyeol starts to chuckle through his teary eyes.
“It’s really cute of you that you try to comfort me…”
Baekhyun blushes “It’s just because you look ugly when you cry” he sulks and crosses his arms, causing Chanyeol to laugh out a bit louder.
“Honestly, Ketchup is not the only reason I cry like a child that got their lollipop stolen” his voice raises to the usual level and the velvety sound doesn’t even cease to send shivers down Baekhyun’s spine in a situation like that.

The giant steps a bit closer, hovering over his dark blonde friend.
He looks down at Baekhyun almost sheepishly, who holds his breath.
“It’s not like I will just miss… the dog. I don’t want to stop seeing you”
Baekhyun feels like his head will explode any moment; his ears burn in a dark cherry red and he can’t even fight it, just avoid the other’s look.
“Oh” he breathes again and Chanyeol purses his lips, sighing - still a bit shaky.
“Yeah” he says and slowly takes Baekhyun’s hands in his own.
They are a lot bigger than the barista’s but they feel soft and warm, embracing his slender fingers securely.
“Uhm… listen, Chanyeol. I kind of feel like it’s my fault as well that you got your mom worried sick and all that… and you know, Saturday I have a day off. I mean… maybe as some kind of redress I could get us cards for the funfair… you seem like a person who’d enjoy this and-”
Chanyeol squeezes his fingers fondly, effectively shutting Baekhyun up.
He chuckles, nudging the other’s head with his own.
“You don’t need to say anything more to convince me. How about we meet at the main entrance around 3 PM?”
Baekhyun nods starring at their fingers embarrassedly.
“I… well I guess you have to get back to work now. It’s not your lunch break yet and I guess I shouldn’t stay too long… I can already feel my throat getting itchy again”, Chanyeol breaks away a few inches, finally realizing how red Baekhyun’s face is, which sparks his embarrassment, too.
The two of them stare at each other and Baekhyun can’t even think of correcting Chanyeol. He’s too distracted by how fast his heart beats. He can even hear it in his ears.
“Yeah, you better get lost before I have to rush you to the hospital because you get an allergic shock, Mister!”, he still succeeds to remark sassily and Chanyeol grins at him.
“Haha, right… OK. See you then.”
The giant shyly lets go of Baekhyun’s hands but they still end up in a clumsy hug with tangled limps and a small kiss pressed onto the barista’s temple.

By the time Baekhyun actually realises what just happened, Chanyeol is already gone and the barista has a hard time to collect his thoughts when he returns into the café.
His cheeks still grace a hard blush and his fingers feel numb but at the same time it feels like an invisible force sends bolds through his fingertips whenever he thinks about how Chanyeol held his hands.
Baekhyun is so jazzed that he doesn’t notice how Jongdae lazes about his lunch table with a grin on his face that breeds mischief.
“Well, looks like someone has a date” he perks up cheekily causing Baekhyun to huff and roll his eyes, before he gets up from his table but Jongdae follows him.
“Well, sounds like someone can’t keep their nose out of other people’s private business - besides, it’s not even a date.”
“Judging by the weirdass way you just asked him out, it totally is one. But that’s fine. You’ll make a cute couple. Weird, annoying and loud… but definitely cute.”
Baekhyun rolls his eyes again at his annoying co-worker. He feels caught red-handed but there is no way he would ever let Jongdae have the satisfaction and actually confess how much he wants it to be a date.
“Whatever, Jongdae.”

extra; three weeks later

It feels warm and wonderful when skin rubs against skin and their fingers intertwine. His soft hands fit perfectly into the gentle grip of Chanyeol’s bigger hands. His fingers are a bit rough but still have a soothing touch, wrapped securely around Baekhyun’s delicate set of fingers.
Baekhyun feels flustered whenever Chanyeol simply takes his hand into his and stuffs them together into the pocket of his jacket or when they stand close next to each other and their arms brush accidentally, he can feel Chanyeol doing it again - on purpose - until his hand slits down and his fingers start to play around with Baekhyun’s.

For Baekhyun it’s like a game he grew addicted to. Whenever they meet up, they will launch into a friendly hug but it lasts just a little too long to be simply between friends and when Baekhyun tiredly rubs his eyes and leans his head against Chanyeol’s shoulder when they once again played games too long, the taller chuckles and circles his arm around his friend, who snuggles closer and bathes in the warmth just a little too long for just friends.
Sometimes Baekhyun finds Chanyeol just staring at his face with soft features and a dreamie look and it makes him sheepishly stop in his words, because the sparkling feeling the glance leaves wandering across his skin is too exciting and he can’t concentrate on his words anymore.
He looks back and their eyes meet, time stops for a while but nothing ever happens. Baekhyun purses his lips and he can see how Chanyeol licks across his own lips absentmindedly. It makes the smaller boy’s hair stand on end and his heart speeds up so much, he can suddenly hear it in his ears. It’s drowning out the sound of their game that is looping in the background. But nothing ever happens.

It’s Thursday and Baekhyun breathes in the fresh but warm air when they finally leave the arcade they have spent the afternoon in. His fingers and arms feel chilly from the aircon that created an unnatural coolness inside of the hall. It’s refreshing at first but since they spent a couple of hours inside he’s glad to be outside now, where his limbs can warm up again.
Chanyeol still wears a triumphant grin on his face, his eyes sparkling with pride, while he strides along the sidewalk next to the brunet dog-keeper.
“So, I can decide what we’ll eat now,” he announces with a loud voice and Baekhyun just rolls his eyes.
“Yes you can. You won and get to decide. You know I’m true to my words,” he says, his buttom lip jutting out in a pout while he crosses his arms in front of his chest.
Chanyeol, who doesn’t miss the edge in the other’s voice is fast to react. He ruffles his friend’s hair and chuckles before he circles his arms around Baekhyun’s shoulder and pulls him closer.
“Stop sulking like a child, Baek. We both like the same food anyway and I already know where we can eat. It’s not too far and I will buy your meal... “ he hesitates a few seconds before he adds, “It’s our second real date after all.” His lips collide clumsily with Baekhyun’s temple but he doesn’t mind.
His heart begins to race again and his sulk transforms into a shy smile.
Right, they are on their second real date - this is what Chanyeol calls it.

They have met up a lot of times in the last three weeks after their first date to the amusement park. They meet at Baekhyun’s and eat pizza together, watch funny videos on youtube or play games till Chanyeol’s last train is long gone and he has to stay overnight.
Sometimes they make up time in their university schedules to take the 30 minutes train ride to the dog café and go out to play with Ketchup in the small park only one block away from exit 4.
Baekhyun can’t feel his face from all the smiling when he realizes that they have made it - they are still in contact - actually they spend even more time together now than before because their dorms are so close to each other.
But still, it’s only the second time they go out of their way and meet up to go somewhere more special, though it all feels special to Baekhyun.

They turn another corner and Baekhyun can feel how Chanyeol’s fingers trace the back of his hand and it makes a warm tingle settle in his insides.
“Do you see the café over there? It’s one of my favorites! They have a lot of really delicious stuff and not only serve sweets but also savoury things! Their bagles are incredible! You should definitely try one, I bet you’ll like them as well!” Chanyeol explains excitedly, his voice raising to a slightly higher octave than his usually deep voice that never tires to send pleasant shivers down the other’s spine.
“You can definitely count me in for a Beagle Café! I love dogs” Baekhyun grins and giggles, waiting for Chanyeol’s laugh to burst through the warm air around them but the taller only chuckles and emits a small snort.
Baekhyun stops, looking up at his date in confusion.
“You know… because you said Bagel -” he starts to explain, but Chanyeol shuts him up when his large fingers comb through his hair tenderly.
“I got it Baek,” he chuckles, “but you don’t need to try so hard… you are a natural and I really like you - not only for your jokes.”
Baekhyun averts his look flustered, a light shade of pink adoring his cheeks, when they resume to walk over to the building in the middle of the block of houses that faces the pedestrian area. He can feel Chanyeols warm hand wrapping around his fingers again, squeezing them softly.

When they enter the café the smell of coffee and pastry hits Baekhyun’s nostrils. The air that blows the odor around the seating area is cooled by an aircon that drones almost sleepily in one corner of the store.
The seating area is divided in several small compartments of couches, arranged around dark brown, wooden table tops. The couches are covered with beige cloth.
The texture reminds him of pleather, when he sits down in a compartment for two and rubs his fingers absentmindedly across the surface of his seat. The domaining colors are beige, yellow and brown shades, accented with light blue stripes around the menue cards, napkins and in the background of promotional posters that are spread on the walls behind the counter.
Baekhyun likes it.

He finds Chanyeol watching him, his face stretching into a smile when he realizes that the brunet is looking up at him. “I knew you’d like it here,” he comments proudly and Baekhyun laughs.
“I haven’t even tried anything yet,” he protests then and crosses his arms in front of his chest. He crosses his legs too, for emphasis.
Chanyeol simply grins - a sight that makes Baekhyun’s indignant features falter before he smiles again - almost shyly.
This is what Chanyeol does to him.
Usually he feels simply comfortable around the other, the drum of his excitedly skipping heart like a song in his insides that he can hum along to, but sometimes he gets perplexed at how fast the pace suddenly becomes, only because his counterpart winks at him or grins.
Baekhyun can’t calm his heart, can’t fully explain what is actually happening between them but it never makes him question wether or not he should see the other.
Of course, he is well aware of his crush on the other but whenever it gets lost in the comfortable warmth he feels around them, the calm he senses whenever Chanyeol wraps his arms around him when he accidentally falls asleep on the sofa - he starts to wonder that maybe it could be more than just a crush; maybe they could be more than puppy brothers.
Maybe they could be more than two dudes, who go on dates but never actually talk about it. Maybe he and Chanyeol could actually be a thing, something serious.

“I will order!” Baekhyun almost jumps when his opponent suddenly leaps onto his feet, a loud thud vibrating on the table when the silver head supports his hands on it.
“But I didn’t even check the menue yet,” Baekhyun whines, shifting in his seat to follow Chanyeol with his head when said person wanders off with a mysterious grin on his face.
He gets ignored and slums back into his seat with a snort, after watching Chanyeol wander over to the counter. He could simply stand up and march over, complain or order for himself but Baekhyun lets him go instead, because secretly, he’s curious what Chanyeol will order for him.

Chanyeol doesn’t disappoint him whe he returns with two cups of their favorite soda.
“They’ll prepare our bagels freshly and bring it then,” he announces with a grin and Baekhyun nods acknowledging.
They sit a few seconds in silence before Chanyeol’s face grimaces into another huge smile but Baekhyun notices how the corners of his opponent’s mouth falter in what looks like nervousness and sheepishness.
“So... “ the taller starts but trails off without actually saying anything.
The brunet looks up at him expactingly and blinks when he notices that damp fingers grab clumsily and try to hold his hands. He gulps but willingly slides his hands inbetween Chanyeol’s fingers. He can’t deny that the other’s nervousness is contagious and he finds himself suddenly disquiet too.
They always find things to laugh about like children and joke about the most trivial things, but Baekhyun has learned that they respond well to each other no matter which kind of emotion is expressed. Sometimes he is worried about maybe being too responsive and empathic to Chanyeol. But instead of feeling abnormal or creepy, the feeling of being home settels in his stomach and he can’t resist the comforting warmth.
“So…?” He chimes in, hoping to help Chanyeol to collect himself, though the tension is gnawing on both sides now. His thumb starts to draw soothing patterns onto the other’s hand and Baekhyun tries to ignore how sweaty the other’s palms feel.

Chanyeol breaks into another - nervous - smile, but the shine in his eyes shows how grateful he is for Baekhyun’s patience.
He takes a deep breath, until he finally continues to speak: “So… I was wondering”, he pauses yet again, looking down on their connected hands. “Since this is the second time we’re on a date and stuff… And you know, we pretty much hang out most of the time as well and honestly, I really enjoy spending time with you and to be painfully straightforward I could hold your hands forever, because they are just so soft and delicate and beautiful,” he starts to ramble and laughs, “like holy shit, they are easily the most beautiful set of hands I’ve seen in my whole life.”
Baekhyun laughs flattered, a blush warming his cheeks.
His heart is excitedly drumming that song inside of his ribcage again and he wouldn’t mind to hear Chanyeol ramble on about all the things he likes about him. He loves compliments from Chanyeol at least a thousand times more than any other kind of positive feedback he has ever recieved. But he sees how the other is struggling, stumbling over his own words in such an endearing manner that Baekhyun can’t help but just falls head over heels for that dorky giant once again.
“What were you wondering, Chanyeol?” He interrupts the other with a soft voice, but instead of a response or further rambling, there is just silence between them for now.
Baekhyun looks at Chanyeol and Chanyeol looks back at Baekhyun. Their eyes are locked onto each other and it’s like one of these moments again; these moments when time stops around them and he shivers because he can see how Chanyeol’s eyes wander and try to read, try to take in every little piece of his face, every milimeter, every pore. But nothing happens.

Baekhyun startles up when the sound of porcelain hitting the table top errupts close to him.
“Sorry, I didn’t want to destroy your moment,” he hears a dark voice but it’s by far not as deep as Chanyeol’s.
The waiter looks apologetically and scratches the back of his head sheepishly.
Chanyeol rolls his eyes and breaks loose from Baekhyun to face the young waiter. His physique is lean but not weedy, the white shirt contrasting with his teint that reminds Baekhyun of caramel syrup and latte macchiato. His eyes are slightly hooded and a lopsided grin spreads across his face. He is what people would call attractive.
“Really Jongin?!” Chanyeol growls through gritted teeth and the waiter flinches but still can’t hide a grin.
“Oh come on, Yeol! It’s not like I did it on purpose…” He snarls and slums his shoulders.
Baekhyun blinks.
“You know each other?” He then asks slowly, though he feels like an idiot.
The waiter looks amused but doesn’t laughs at him. Instead he nods and finally places their bagels down in the middle of the table.
“You could say that. I’m not even surprised Chanyeol didn’t talk about me or thought it was necessary to introduce us. I’m only his best friend and roommate…it almost feels like he always goes over to your dorm just to make sure we'll never meet,” Jongin rolls his eyes dramatically and Baekhyun can hear Chanyeol scoff on the other side of the table.
He smiles lopsided again and he doesn’t only look attractive but also really warm and friendly like that.
Baekhyun smiles - he can imagine why they are friends.

“Jongin, really… I was just about to tell Baekhyun something really important,” Chanyeol raises one of his eyebrows for emphasis and glances over to Baekhyun, but the brunet notices it because Chanyeol isn’t low-key by now. Baekhyun can hardly hold back a grin but he feels his cheeks blush tellingly.
Jongin’s features derail and his complexion pales.
“Oh man. I’m such a klutz! I thought you were already a thing and you told him about how you were completely smitten by him ever since you saw him through the shop windows!” Jongin exclaims and the heavy silence that follows hits him like a wrecking ball.
He pales even more but Baekhyun can’t laugh anymore because his heart is running wild in his ripcage by the sight of a completely embarrassed Chanyeol who can’t even look him into the eyes anymore.
The penny drops and Jongin begins to stammer apologies before he trails off helplessly.
“I definitely destroyed this moment. I guess I should just… OK then, enjoy your meal?”

Even after he is gone, Chanyeol doesn’t look up and Baekhyun sighs, trying to swallow the tension and nervousness.
“Your best friend really has no timing,” he tries to laugh it off but Chanyeol still doesn’t look up.
Baekhyun drops the act and bites his lips when he slums back into the seat helplessly.
“He’s the worst,” he can hear the taller mumble and a small smile finds its way back onto his features. He breathes in and reaches out to grasp the taller’s hands again.
“So… let’s just act as if he didn’t just spill the beans. What were you wondering…?”
Chanyeol looks up, face still beet-red and he starts to laugh hoarsely.
“I’m sorry. I’m such an embarrassment”
Baekhyun tsks disapprovingly but Chanyeol ignores it.
“I mean… I’m not only the loser who visits a dog café - well aware of my allergy. I’m the loser who visits a dog café because one of these waiters that I only saw passing by smiled and I suddenly could hear my heart galloping in my ears. How embarrassing is that?!”

Baekhyun doesn’t know how embarrassing it is, he only knows that his heart is doing the exact same thing right now. His ears are turning red and hot from all the galloping his heart does and he can feel his blood boiling, sending shivers over his skin over and over again.
“You are not a loser, Chanyeol…” He objects softly.
“I mean…” He looks up when a couple enters the store and presses his lips together - effectively cutting himself off.
“Let’s go somewhere else,” he suggests then, “Jongin can wrap the food for us and then we’ll eat later, OK?”
Chanyeol doesn’t answer but still gets up and carries their plate over to the counter.

When they finally arrive at Baekhyun’s place said boy puts down the box of food exhaustedly.
They didn’t say a word all way and the tension and nervousness is draining him in ways he never expected.
He busies himself in the kitchen a bit to prepare drinks, though he knows full well that Chanyeol is waiting in his room already.
It’s not like he didn’t know that something like that would eventually happen. It’s not like actually nothing ever happens. But now when it does, when things has been clumsily set into motion by Chanyeol’s friend, it happens all too sudden and Baekhyun has to admit that he is kind of scared.
He has always thought about the ‘What if’s, the endless list of possibilities and outcomes. He finds himself shamelessly daydreaming about them so often but now, in real life, it stattles him and Baekhyun doesn’t know how to react.

Chanyeol looks up when he enters the room. He’s sitting on Baekhyun’s bed and puts down one of Baekhyun’s figures that he obviously has been fidgeting with.
Baekhyun puts down the tray in his hands and they sit in silence next to each other, before the smaller raises his voice again.
“So… what you said in the café… and what Jongin said… is that true?”
Chanyeol nods, his face automatically turning beet red and Baekhyun can sense how he tries desperately to find a spot he can fix his wandering eyes on.
“Yes” he voices the confirmation timidly and his look slips into his own lap again.
“It’s true that I saw you from outside of the café but the things I told you weren’t lies - you know I’m a terrible liar.”
Baekhyun starts to giggle, “yes you are,” and his hearts leaps a bit when he sees Chanyeol’s bothered face lift into a small grin.
“So… after Jongin started all this I want to tell you the whole story,” the silver head insists and Baekhyun nods, happy that at least a bit of the tension has fallen off of them.
He shifts a bit in his position so that they are facing each other before he waits for Chanyeol to start talking again.

“So… I wanted to do something fun with my cousins and they love dogs just as much as I do and Jongin has three dogs at home so we thought we could like hang out and my cousins could play and everything would be cool and while we talked about this we passed that dog café at the station and you were there, serving a group of students that were sitting at the table near the window and you smiled and…” he trails off, hiding his face behind his hands.
Baekhyun blinks at the fast motion, but stays calm for a minute though Chanyeol doesn’t start to speak again.
The brunet raises his eye brows.
“And then…?” He insists and Chanyeol rubbs his face with a distraught sigh, before he forces himself to say the next words, “and then I ran into a pole.”

Baekhyun bursts out in a single loud laugh and Chanyeol braces his forehead with his palm again.
“Wait, I thought you were joking…” Baekhyun mumbles off-guard but Chanyeol lets his head hang low.
“Am not. I literally ran into a pole because I couldn’t stop looking… and that asshole Jongin didn’t even warn me and just laughed his ass off… I told you I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I am a loser,” he explains sourly but Baekhyun can’t stop smiling. His insides are tingling and he feels flattered but also slightly awkward.
“Of course I took my cousins to the dog café then. I just wanted to actually meet you and see you again and… well then you turned out to not only look cute but be really endearing in real life and you were just so nice and attentive and this just made it worse because I wanted to get to know you even more”.

He smiles and Baekhyun knows his cheeks are burning by now but he can’t stop listening.
“At first I was worried that I would get onto your nerves, but you were so funny and I just couldn’t get enough and then you found out about my allergy, but instead of just writing me off you brought Ketchup and I still can’t put into words how much that means to me. You’re are just so amazing and gorgeous and funny and at some point I just couldn’t stop thinking about…” he stops and presses his lips onto each other embarrassedly.
Baekhyun tilts his head and skids closer, trying to look into the other’s face who has cut off his own words and averts his eyes stubbornly.
Even Chanyeol’s ears are tinted red by now and he mumbles embarrassedly whenever Baekhyun catches a glimpse of his flustered face.
“What do you can’t stop thinking about? You can’t just say that and leave it like that. Do you want me to die of curiousity?”
Chanyeol sighs but pushes off Baekhyun to straighten his seating position. He closes his eyes and breathes in deeply for two or three times, before he has calmed himself enough to actually be able to look at the smaller boy in front of him again.
“I just…” He starts to hem and haw again, bites his lips before he closes his eyes once more - but this time he grasps Baekhyun’s hands and clutches them. He takes another deep breath, before he finally gives voice to it:
“I just can’t stop thinking about how much I would like to kiss you.”

Baekhyun swears time stops for real this time. He feels the breath caught in his lungs while his heart speeds up straight into overdrive. A firework of butterflies waves like a soft hurricane through his stomach and when the stream of time sets in again his blood rushes through his body with such a force that he feels tingly and numb all at the same time.
Chanyeol just looks at him with blushed cheeks, trying to read any reaction out of him but Baekhyun can’t even understand himself.
He breaks into a heartfelt smile but can’t shake off the nervousness that makes the expression falter shyly before he finds himself plucking up all his courage: “Then do it.”

Baekhyun himself is taken aback by the sudden explosion of selfconfidence but the happiness and excitement that is running through his veins has taken over his system just like that.
Chanyeol luckily wakes from his stupor before his opponent’s confidence washes away like a wave on the shore.
He cups the smaller’s face and tries hard to hide how much he is shaking when he clumsily presses his lips onto Baekhyun’s.
Baekhyun throws his arms around Chanyeol’s neck and closes his eyes.
Time stops and he feels his heart drumming this never ending melody that he grew addicted to a long time ago already. He feels how Chanyeol’s warmth seeps under his skin when the taller wraps his arms around him in response and Baekhyun just wants to drown in it. This time it happens.

The brunet’s body is brimming with warmth and contentment when Chanyeol looses his grip. He kisses Baekhyun’s nose who giggles softly, before they break loose a bit more to look into each other’s faces.
Chanyeol coughs slightly but he fails to look serious when his huge trademark grin creeps onto his face unwittingly. He laughs, a sound that radiants with relief, happiness and so much more.
“So… what I actually wanted to say before Jongin happened…” He rolls his eyes and chuckles again, “I was wondering what we are. Actually I am still… after now” he nods to himself, only causing Baekhyun to giggle again.
“You know, I never spent a lot of time thinking about wether or not something like soulmates were really a thing but then I met you and we just… clicked - kind of. And then I remembered how I said we were like puppy brothers, that one afternoon when we were at the park with Ketchup and the thing is… I would much rather like to call us puppy lovers, than brothers”, he pauses for a bit, before embarrassment kicks in and he struggles to correct himself.
“What I’m trying to say is, that I really, really like you and I want you to be my boyfriend, Baekhyun.”

Chanyeol emits a surprised yelp when Baekhyun launches himself onto him and he lands on his back. “Baekhyun?” He asks insecure trying to look down to the boy who has burried his face in the crook of his neck.
He can feel him smiling into his shirt, causing relief to wash over him.
“Yes,” the smaller utters then.
“Yes,” he repeats, when he sits up, straddeling Chanyeol’s legs.
He beams and his eyes sparkle with so much happiness and delight that Chanyeol forgets how to speak for a moment.
“Yes, Chanyeol. I want to be your boyfriend… because I like you, too. I really do.”
Baekhyun wants to keep talking and rambling about his first impression of Chanyeol and how he has caught himself thinking about how ridiculously handsome Chanyeol was right from the start on, too but he doesn’t when he feels the giant’s lip pressing tenderly onto his own.

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