Pairing: Jonghyun x Key
Word Count: 2823w
Summary: The school jock was known to be a big flirt, but Kibum couldn't help but like him. Just a bit.
Notes: Prompt from jongkeykink. It turned out much more fluffy than I intended. Much longer too. Warnings for homophobic school bullying. Also cheesy One Direction lyrics.
He always sees him around school; tanned arm wrapped around his best friend's shoulder or around his best girl's waist and Kibum can't help but begrudgingly find the other boy beautiful. They were as different as night and day. While Kibum's hair was soft and silky from expensive overseas products and dyed a brilliant shade of golden wheat, the older boy's was the color of warm chestnut and smells of soap and grass. Kibum’s shoes were colorful and delicately used, special edition Converse logo stitched in gold on the sides, and the other boy’s shoes were scuffed and well-worn, sneaker logo faded from multiple machine washes.
The older boy was the school's number one flirt and school idol (second to Lee Taemin of course), with many constantly vying for his attention and ever so friendly laugh. The other boy was most importantly popular and accepted, while Kibum wasn’t. And it hurt.
Kibum didn’t care for the popularity; he found the incessant chattering from hoards of nameless boys and girls to be undesirable and preferred a smaller close knit group of friends. But sometimes, Kibum wishes he was part of them, the beloved, that he could have the protection that the popular kids have, that he could be as accepted as they were.
'It must be a nice feeling,' he wrote in his journal.
It started in Kibum's first year. He was running late and was racing towards the locker rooms to change for gym class. In his haste he ran into someone, knocking them both over into the dirt. To his horror he realized it was the surly boy in his class, Kangdae. The taller boy was clearly displeased; their math teacher had earlier reprimanded Kangdae for not answering a question correctly and had praised Kibum for providing a correct answer and being the “model student.”
Kangdae's scowl was anything but friendly when Kibum apologized and tried to help him back up. However the smirk that followed was even less kind.
Kibum ended up skipping gym class, the gym teacher was surprised to see the younger boy limp in with a bloody nose and hastily sent him to the nurse to get cleaned up. It should have stopped at that encounter, but as fate would have it, or for most of their teachers would have it, Kangdae and Kibum continued being compared to one another. The teachers showered Kibum with praise while Kangdae continued to receive scolding.
Kangdae’s grudge passed on to his friends and soon the group strategically waited outside of school or classrooms for the other boy. Afterwards, Kibum started to keep a package of bandages in his locker.
Halfway through the school year, a new student moved to their school. He instantly became everyone’s favorite. With his warm brown eyes and slightly ridiculous laughter, the second year boy easily charmed many girls and befriended the boys in their school. Everyone wanted to be Jonghyun’s friend.
Kibum was amused as the older boy accidentally walked into his classroom for the third day in a row. Mr. Lee, Kibum’s homeroom teacher didn’t even bat an eyelash as Jonghyun bowed sheepishly at him and then the class. Kibum couldn’t help but stare, finding the other boy's grin decidedly charming. He felt his face tint as Jonghyun was suddenly unabashedly staring back. The older boy grinned goofily and winked at Kibum before exiting. The room was suddenly abuzz with noise, the class excited and amused over Jonghyun’s visit. Mr. Lee put down his book and impatiently waited for the class to settle down. The first two days have taught him that he just couldn’t contain order whenever Kim Jonghyun decided to waltz in.
Kibum stared at his hands, picking slightly at his nails. He didn’t know what he was feeling but when Jonghyun looked at him; he could feel his heart beat a spark faster, just a bit.
Later on between classes, after pestering Hyoyeon for gossip, Kibum learned why the school was so in love with the warm eyed boy. It seemed that Jonghyun was the lead vocal in the glee club, a founding member of a popular rock band, and had volunteered to be co-captain of the school wrestling team. According to Hyoyeon, the school hasn’t been this impressed with a single person since Lee Jinki’s academic paper was published in a prestigious scientific journal.
Kibum didn’t know that there was a wrestling team but vowed to attend one match, just to see the older boy in action.
A few weeks later, on the night of one of a wrestling meet, Kibum was at home sulking. Earlier on in the day he had plans of going to see Jonghyun’s match, just because it was a critical moment for the school’s wrestling team, and not because he wanted to see Jonghyun in spandex, as he had told Hyoyeon. Hyoyeon politely guffawed at him before shaking her head.
Kibum was looking forward to it as he had also convinced the older girl of attending with him. But, as fate would have it, he ran into Kangdae’s friends outside of school.
When he eventually limped home, his mother was hysterical at the sight of the scratches on his and bruised knees. She before slapping the first cold object she could find (a porkchop) on his eye to lessen the swelling.
After calming his mother down and packing an actual cold compress, Kibum dialed Hyoyeon to tell her he couldn’t make it at all. She didn’t pick up and Kibum left a voicemail instead.
The next day, Kibum was greeted by an excited Hyoyeon at his locker. Jonghyun and his team won last night and made it to nationals. At first the blonde girl was worried about his injuries, but held her tongue when Kibum not so discreetly changed the subject and asked her how the match was last night.
The match the night before was a nationals ranking championship, one that Jonghyun’s team barely won. Kibum listened sadly, tight smile pasted in place as Hyoyeon recounted her experience. According to the older girl, the standout match was Jonghyun’s. Jonghyun victory, as it turns out was a type of match that newspapers loved; where two equally matched opponents fighting for a victory, the competitor seemingly having the upper hand only to lose at the last moment to Jonghyun, who had pulled a shocking reversal.
“Oh Kibummie, I wish you were there! After the match he was so happy and sweaty and was hugging everyone, even me, who he doesn’t even know. It’s like the second coming of Choi Minho in terms of sports accolades.”
Kibum pretended to not hear Hyoyeon as she once again inquired about the marks on his face as there was a commotion at the end of the hallway. It was Jonghyun and his entourage of fans. The number of people trailing after the jock seemingly doubled overnight.
Even Hyoyeon was captivated when he strutted past, smile lopsided and playful. When Jonghyun walked by Kibum, he caught Kibum staring again. He playfully blew a kiss at the other before moving to take off his newly bought letterman jacket, showing off his arm muscles. The fans, both male and female, squealed in delight.
Kibum was surprised to say the least. He fidgeted with his shirt before he turned away, eyes downcast. He knew that Jonghyun had already walked past, but he could still feel Jonghyun’s eyes on his form, making his heart beat erratically. By the time he looked back, he was not surprised to find that the older boy had already turned away and was currently flirting with a group of freshmen girls nearby.
“Wow. What was that,” breathed Hyoyeon. She fanned herself with Kibum’s notebook.
‘An asshole,’ scowled Kibum.
The bullying continued well into Kibum’s second year. News of his coming out had somehow reached the school and it seemed like Kangdae had gathered followers in his quest to make Kibum’s school life unpleasant. Now the taller boy liked to combine well-worn insults with the new colorful slurs. It was only their second week of school and Kibum had already had more than handful of unpleasant encounters with the others.
The new school year bought about a new kind of irritation. Jonghyun. Kibum felt himself grow more and more irate as he saw Jonghyun sauntering around school. Before the older boy was a welcome sight, his carefree attitude was always entertaining and his laughter was infectious. But now, Jonghyun was almost as annoying as Minho, if that was possible. His eyes were still warm, and his laugh was just as pleasing, but his flirting was beyond tolerable.
Now, every week Jonghyun would strut around school with a new girlfriend by his side and his ever growing following trailing behind. The boy knew he was loved and thrived on attention. Smiling cheekily, he would whisper pretentious poetry in his girlfriend’s ears, gently draping his letterman jacket over her slim form as she giggled girlishly.
"Ugh I can't believe I used to find him cute, he's so annoying," muttered Kibum as he randomly scribbled a flower on a newspaper photo of Lee Taemin.
Kibum grimaced; his side prickled and throbbed from where Kangdae’s friends pushed and held him down against a water fountain. They were currently deliberating on who was to have the honor of ‘treating’ Kibum. His eyes were tightly closed, frame shaking, waiting for the worse when raucous singing resounded in the halls. Before Kibum could even gasp for help, the others were off him in an instant, scampering away to gods know where. Kibum curled up quietly, hoping that whoever had interrupted them could just walk the other direction and leave him alone.
The singing stopped. Kibum flinched as he felt a gentle hand touch his arm. When he opened his eyes he saw a pair of bright looking eyes stare quizzically at him.
“Hey, are you okay?”
It was Jonghyun. Kibum nodded shyly before quickly moving away and ran towards a random direction. He was embarrassed to be seen in such disarray by the popular older boy, even if it wasn’t his fault. He felt a twinge of guilt as he snuck a backwards glance. Jonghyun was still standing by the water fountain, hands tucked in his pockets, a slight frown startling out of place on his usually laughing face.
Kibum's sides hurt as he sprinted towards his classroom, and he knew his face was glowing warmly but he didn't care. He smiled as he remembered how dashing Jonghyun looked, standing over him in the hallway, large brown eyes dripping with concern. He also remembered how attractive the varsity wrestling jacket looked on the older boy, how nicely his frame filled out the clothes.
"So maybe I don't hate Jonghyun-hyung for being annoying," he mused.
It was spring and it was raining steadily outside. Kibum huffed as he peered out a window, glaring at the weather to possibly let up for him to run home. He did not want to run home drenched, it was absolutely out of his comfort zone. In most circumstances, he would come prepared for the rainy season but earlier had another encounter with Kangdae. The bully and his gang had managed to break his umbrella and twist his arm a little before they were quickly interrupted by a teacher walking by. She smiled dotingly at the boys, mistakenly believing that Kangdae had his arms wrapped around Kibum's shoulders in a friendly gesture. After she had left, Kangdae had shoved Kibum into a locker with dark promises of giving Kibum a pleasant surprise after school.
Kibum spent most of the morning worried. Kangdae never showed up for class. It wasn't strange that the bully skipped morning and even the afternoon classes, but Kibum found it strange that Kangdae wasn't present during lunch. Lunch was Kangdae's second favorite time to make Kibum's life miserable and he was slightly giddy to be able to finally relax and not constantly worry about the bullies. What confused Kibum the most was the lack of Kangdae after school. It was very puzzling.
Sighing again, Kibum resolutely made his way to a small bench and sat down to wait out the rain. Suddenly, he heard a faint whistling. He turned around to see Jonghyun leaning against the doorway, brows furrowed. Kibum turned away and nervously adjusted his shirt. Ever since a few weeks ago, when Jonghyun had inadvertently saved him, Kibum's face would annoyingly redden at the mere thought of the older boy. Hyoyeon said it was a man crush and Kibum had ignored her for a grand total of two hours before he remembered he needed her help with his math homework.
Now, with Jonghyun nearby, his fanclub nowhere to be found, Kibum was even more at a loss. He had painstakingly planned out a thank you speech for Jonghyun, one that was both cool and sincere. But now, every word, every choreographed hand gesture and smile was forgotten as he saw the shorter boy standing next to him, hands in his pocket, whistling an One Direction tune.
Just when it couldn't get any more awkward, Jonghyun started to sing a One Direction song.
"Baby you light up my world like nobody else, the way you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed..."
Kibum fidgeted some more, face growing warmer as Jonghyun finished the song. The sappy lyrics and sticky sweet medley was stuck in his head. The quiet echoes of raindrops was the only sound in the quiet school grounds.
Jonghyun chuckled heartily, suddenly finding something hilarious. Kibum also laughed nervously before clearing his throat, eyes trained on his gold converse shoes.
"That was, erm. Really nice. You should become a singer," Kibum said. He nervously wrung his hands. "Also, thanks for erm. For helping me. By the fountains…"
"It wasn't a problem," said Jonghyun. Kibum peeked up at the older boy through his bangs, and nearly squeaked when he saw the handsome boy's gaze trained on him. "I don't think Kangdae is going to bother you again."
"What? What do you--"
"I told Principal Lee about Kangdae and his gang. Your friend, Hyoyeon backed me up. The Principal doesn't believe that the son of his family friend could be such a bully, but he had to suspend Kangdae for a while, at least until everything is sorted out. Anyways, as long as you hang out with me, Jinki-hyung or Minho, Kangdae shouldn't bother you."
Kibum stared up at the older boy, mouth open, lost for words.
Jonghyun imitated Kibum before laughing again, this time at the slight huffy look on Kibum's face. "Don't look at me like that! Anyways, you probably don't remember this but last year I kept walking into your class by accident, and the only face that stood out from me was yours, probably because you didn't look at me like I was some sort of alien, but as a person."
"But, hyung. What would others think to see you hanging around with the gay kid? Aren't you scared? That they will hate you...?"
"If someone hates me because of you, then they aren't worth my time," Jonghyun said firmly. "Besides I've been meaning to get to know you for a while. But nobody in my grade wanted to tell me your name," said Jonghyun. He fiddled around with his jacket sleeve. "It wasn't until I sat next to Hyoyeon in Chemistry did I finally got to know your name. Kim Kibum. It has a bright ring to it."
Kibum smiled and attempted to laugh gracefully. He sneezed instead. Suddenly, a warm coat was thrown over his shoulder, Jonghyun's letterman jacket. Jonghyun was now standing in the slight drizzle in a thin white t-shirt.
"Oh no, hyung. Aren't you cold? I'm fine really, you don't need to give up your jacket for silly me," worried Kibum. He hurriedly tried to remove the jacket.
"Psshh I'm always too warm in that thing anyways. You wear it, you seem cold and the colors look better on you than me. Hey! Do you want to go noraebang? C'mon, I know this great place where we can sing all sorts of stuff for super cheap." And before Kibum could even say yes, Jonghyun had grabbed his hand and was tugging him along, running through the rain and the wet grass.
Kibum shrieked as he stepped into a large puddle, his shoes quickly became wet and his hair a mess. Despite the raining weather and the slightly chilly air, he was still warm. Even though the material was well-worn and soft, Jonghyun's jacket was warm and smelled like the clean scent of soap. The older boy's hand even warmer, fingers fitting comfortably with Kibum's.
'So this is what it's like,' Kibum thought as Jonghyun turned around to send him another boyish wink. Kibum smiled, light tint on his cheeks.
'It is a nice feeling.'