Title: Beneficial Transactions
Word Count: 13300
Summary: Sehun wants to do NSFW things to a SFW camboy whose channel he subscribes to. There are Skype chats, terrible attempts at flirting, and rilakkuma.
Other pairings: Sehun/Tao
Sehun snorted. Reading all that crap made his dick go soft so fast it was as if he'd suddenly thought of fucking his grandma. Either this guy was a bored finance major or a 60-year-old predator out on the prowl. He sighed, yanking his hand out of his boxers and wiping it once on his bare knees. He wanted someone to get his blood pumping, rushing in his ears and making his senses stand up to attention. He wanted restless nervous energy. This Camboy was cute and all, but this act just wasn't cutting it tonight, pun intended.
He hovered over the 'X' button until he noticed a featured affiliate banner, where a cute boy, surprisingly fully clothed, was staring coyly at the camera with photoshopped sparkles around his head. There was a dewy look to his eyes, which was probably due to the lighting and the slightly out-of-focus camera angle, the same technique Sehun himself used for his tumblr selcas. But in all fairness, he looked like someone Sehun wouldn't mind meeting in school instead of in a seedy motel downtown, lower lip out and peace sign up. The banner looked out of place amidst all the pictures of wet assholes and swollen cocks lined up below the video feed.
Chat with the cutest international boys and girls now! Guaranteed G-rated SFW fun! Subscribe to our featured VanillaQT of the week Deer420k and get 100,000 won worth of free credits!!!
He clicked it, and was brought to a new page. The first thing he noticed was the flamingo pink background framing close-ups of faces that looked like they all belonged in idol groups, and the next was Deer420k's preview window reading Streaming now - hurry and click!!.
Sehun didn't even take three seconds to click.
The video stream took about twenty seconds to load. Sehun glanced below the screen in the meantime, browsing through Deer420k's profile.
Sehun was in the middle of contemplating whether it would be a great idea to send this guy a phallic passion fruit he'd seen in the grocery one time, when the screen loaded to a background with a single bed with two posters on the far wall - Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo - along with a boy sitting on the bed. Said boy was wearing comically large (maybe vanity?) glasses and had dark blond hair, a hint of black peeking out from the roots. Compared to Veggies camboy who was probably a size small based on shoulder width alone, this one was probably medium-build underneath the oversized red and black striped sweater he was wearing. He looked cozy, inviting and comfortable, his jean-clad legs tucked underneath his thighs indian-sitting style; he oozed 'little brother you could play online monopoly with who just happened to be overseas.'
Then he talked, and Sehun suddenly couldn't remember much of that 'little brother' train of thought.
"Hey, girls! And a few guys, too, as some of the usernames make it obvious. Did you all miss Lu-ge?"
His big eyes, lined with slight black kohl and lashes possibly lengthened with mascara, scrolled over the comments. He laughed at some, and thanked a few people who were obviously regulars. He said a few more 'preliminary' things while waiting for the tips to come in, such as, "Nope, crazycassie84! I didn't change my bb cream today. Still Missha! I know it's a bit expensive but Yunho says it's the best so I say it's the best!" and "I agree minahsgirrrl, Girl's Day's Something is one of the best songs I've heard this month!"
As much as Sehun found this guy disarmingly pretty, like ulzzang and idol-level pretty, he still had a bit of trouble wrapping his head around the thought that people actually watched this stuff, and regularly at that.
Then as if a switch was turned on, the camboy sighed dramatically, resting his head on his palm as he pouted in what can only be described as really fucking cute.
"So guys. It's been... two days? Since we all got together on this chatroom. Feels like it's been forever!" His back hit the bed, his laptop moving up to his knees. "Well, now, it's time to start the fun! I see we've already reached..." His pink mouth made a perfect 'O' in what could only be astonishment. "24,000 credits, wow! You guys are amazing! It's only been 5 minutes!"
Sehun gulped. Those fixed rates on his profile weren't just for show. This guy was an atomic bomb of cute and he knew it.
Hey, if you were good at something, never do it for free. This guy knew he was cute, and he made something out of it. Sehun had to admire that.
"You guys know what that means. Time to request for your favorite boy group song while I perform a little something-something..."
Up until then, Sehun was battling slight feelings of pedophilia; for all he knew, this guy was a fourteen-year-old mooching money off forty-year-old sugar daddies. Then the camboy's nose wrinkled, and the light from the computer screen caught the lines on his face. He looked older for a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, but he smiled demurely and and it was back to looking impossibly young.
Sehun knew he meant performing those SFW services. Which people apparently paid for. In real money. Deep in his heart he knew this was all kinds of lame and ridiculous. Hell, he could be cute, too, if he gained a pound of fat on his cheeks and learned how to sing Gwiyomi without looking like he'd rather jump off a cliff.
Then the guy - okay, Lu-ge - winked at the camera and blew a kiss, ala Marilyn Monroe.
The chatbox exploded with comments ranging from fannish enthusiasm to keysmashing to outright marriage proposals. Many a sparkling heart emoji was sent. The counter ballooned to 29,000 credits in under five minutes and reached 30,000 after two more minutes.
Sehun, deciding he was probably depraved to the core, promptly did three things: click 'subscribe' (he was the 5274th subscriber); give 10,000 of his free credits to Lu-ge's account; and shove his hand further down his thighs so he can get a nice grip around his base, tightening his hold as Lu-ge stopped singing some song from BTOB or B1A4 or BAP upon seeing his counter reach 40,000 in the middle of his song, clapping excitedly and blowing even more kisses.
From that point on, Sehun was... well, whatever he was, 'obsessed' was not the word. Probably interested. His interest was piqued. Yep, let's go with that one.
Sehun had 'known' Lu-ge for a grand total of two months when he clicked the tip button and entered 550,000 credits. It was totally ridiculous and insane; he'd just spent two months worth of scrimping and saving up from three part-time jobs plus his allowance from the parental units (who thought he was spending it on books, god bless them).
It was probably because of that one time last week where Lu-ge ate chocolate-covered strawberries on-cam. Sehun's mouth went dry at how dark and red Lu-ge's lips became, wet with juice and saliva. To make matters worse, he wore a low-cut sweater with his collarbones exposed, the juice dripping onto smooth skin in intervals.
In the span of those two months, Lu-ge had done everything that could be described as covertly sexy or innocently slutty, a paradox which Sehun thought was perfect for Lu-ge and his supposedly G-rated antics - flip his cosplay Cardcaptor Sakura skirt up (he was wearing two layers of shorts underneath), lick an ungodly amount of Chupa-Chups (he had started complaining about in his status messages, pleading with everyone to stop sending him lollipops), awkwardly sway his hips to A-pink songs while wearing Honey-senpai cosplay (though entertaining, it was a bit stiff; it was obvious he felt uncomfortable dancing to girl group songs, but he gave about a thousand times more effort for BS2T songs and the like).
Lu-ge gave 'shows' four times a week, the schedule varying from 'late' to 'that time when vampires woke up for blood'. Sehun didn't mind blowing off a night or ten of clubbing with the guys to watch it. He found that a lot of people didn't mind as well, which caused him to seriously question Lu-ge's audience's ages. Schoolgirls weren't supposed to stay up this late, were they? He was seriously convinced at one point that Lu-ge probably had more than ten pervy dudes (Sehun included) lurking about in his stream, especially when the chatbox would have messages from people named urdaddy4tonyt and agedlikefinewine.
Sehun usually didn't like reading the comments. Most screamed 'dumb fangirl comment', and these were the ones with emoticons stretching for lines around the chatbox, punctuated with colorful flowers, hearts and !!!!!!!. Some, however, were outright come-ons, even creepy, asking for Lu-ge's number and requesting pictures of his bare ass. The website had a policy against overly sexual comments, but since a camboy's page went largely unmoderated, there was nothing stopping dickwads from propositioning.
Lu-ge was a sweetheart for ignoring them. Probably just rolling his eyes on the inside. Sehun had tried replying to those comments once. It was also one of the few times he'd typed up something in the chatbox himself.
Lu-ge had laughed, grinning into the camera. "You got that right, mayor_oh."
But Lu-ge... sometimes did things that probably spurred on, rather than deter, those come-ons. A few minutes after responding to Sehun and other users, he'd started eating those chocolate-covered strawberries. urdaddy4tonyt probably jacked off to it, as did all the douchebags watching the stream.
"That was soooo good. I wish you guys were here to eat with me. It'd be like a picnic! With fruits! Next time I'll try kiwi!" Eating the strawberries had taken up longer than usual since Lu-ge hadn't prepared them before the chat. He'd set up the laptop next to a table and apologized as he cut up the fruit and poured swirls of chocolate syrup on each piece. He made up for it by chatting lightheartedly with his audience about school (he was a music theory major, which meant he was in college, which meant HALLELUJAH SEHUN WASN'T A CRADLE ROBBER) and added commentary about the latest Marvel movie he'd gone to see the other day.
Since time was running out for the night, Lu-ge made a show of tapping on his cheek in deep thought, resting his chin on his hand. "I've got it," he said. "Since we only have ten minutes left and I've already taken up a lot of time, whoever tips the highest, whatever the amount, will get my skype ID. I know it's supposed to be 500,000 credits." His mouth went up in a lazy but charming sort of smile. "Think of it as a one-time only deal."
Almost immediately, the chatbox began pinging with messages. Users tipped amounts ranging from 30,000 to 90,000. Sehun watched the amount grow with a strange feeling in his gut, his throat tightening.
"Time's almost up," Lu-ge said.
Sehun held his breath as he clicked the tip button.
mayor_oh tipped 550,000. Lu-ge blinked rapidly, cheeks flushing a faint pink as his mouth formed that perfect round 'O' which Sehun had become rather familiar with.
Sehun stared at the screen, unable to believe he'd just given all that hard-earned money out. He considered renaming to obsessedandindenial_oh for a second.
"Well, someone's a big spender," Lu-ge said almost breathlessly. One side of his mouth quirked up, and Sehun noticed the lines around his mouth. Yep, Sehun definitely wasn't a pedophile. "Thank you, mayor_oh. I'll be pm-ing you in a sec. Goodnight, everyone." He blew his customary Marilyn Monroe flying kiss. Sehun wondered if it was possible for his mouth to get any redder.
Messages of outrage popped up in rapid succession as the feed darkened. Sehun felt oddly anxious all of a sudden. It felt like his first job interview all over again, or even worse. He licked his lips out of habit, but his throat felt constricted and no matter how many times he swallowed his own spit it didn't seem to loosen.
This was ridiculous. Not to mention so fucking stupid. He could have spent that money on a new skateboard or on that Topman hoodie he'd been eyeing.
A new window popped up on his screen, a message flashing Deer_420k left 1 message.
His eye twitched as he opened the message. Hi! Thank you for the tip! :) My skype ID is mlm_420. Can't wait to ~*~*~see~*~*~ you ;)
Sehun's stomach twisted at the thought of Lu-ge giving this exact same message to his other regulars who were desperate enough to give real, cold, hard cash just to have a private chat with him.
But he was one of those desperate people now, wasn't he?
In the two months since he'd subscribed to Lu-ge's stream, there had been about 15 or so people who had given him 500,000 and at the end of a session. It didn't bother him so much before, but thinking about it now made him... unsettled? He had this strange desire to really know this guy, but at the same time there was nothing special about him to make Lu-ge think he was different from any other patron.
Sehun took a deep, heaving breath, opened skype, and added mlm_420.
A new window popped up, revealing Lu-ge sitting at his desk, wearing a modest, plain black shirt and his thick-rimmed glasses. Sehun blinked, suddenly curious. He could've sworn Lu-ge was wearing a tanktop earlier.
"Why did you change?" he blurted out. Not the best introductory statement, in hindsight.
"Hey to you, too, mayor_oh," Lu-ge said, and his voice was a touch deeper, softer, and more controlled. In most of his videos, he pitched his voice higher, more over-the-top, bordering on syrupy sometimes. To put it simply, he sounded like an airhead. It was probably what his audience wanted. Sehun decided quickly that he liked this one more than his 'show' voice. "Thank you again for the tip. Is there anything in particular you want me to do?"
He didn't answer Sehun's question. He wanted to go straight to business. Sehun was okay with that.
Problem was, he didn't know what exactly he could make Lu-ge do.
"Um, while I'm thinking about that," he said, "is it okay to ask for a name? Is Lu-ge your real name?" As soon as it was out his mouth, he wanted to bang his head against the table. Stupid stupid stupid. As if a camboy would tell Sehun his real name.
Lu-ge's head tilted to one side. Sehun saw his eyes slowly roaming up and down the screen. Err. Was Lu-ge checking Sehun out?
"Lu-ge is kind of like a nickname. Think of it as the equivalent of 'hyung' in Korean."
Oh. Sehun's mind scrambled to dredge up middle-school Mandarin basics. "You're Chinese? You speak Korean so well."
"Mm, I am. And that's because I've been here for three years. My real name's Lu Han."
Sehun nodded. Lu-ge - Lu Han, rather - was still looking at his face. He fixed his bangs a bit self-consciously. "I'm Sehun. It's nice to meet you. I really enjoy your shows." He should've said that from the start, really.
Thankfully, Lu Han didn't seem to mind, laughing it off. It wasn't that exaggerated, airy laugh he did during his shows where, more often than not, he had to cover his mouth with his hand. He laughed openly, mouth stretching wide. It made him look normal for a second, a real guy with real imperfections rather than some online quasi-celebrity with perfect, dewy skin and perfectly lined eyes.
"Thank you. It's nice to meet fans like you."
"Yeah, polite ones." Lu Han sighed. "Believe it or not, I've had my fair share of people coming onto skype demanding at first sight that I take my clothes off and fulfill their weird kinks."
"I... can believe that." And then some. Sehun felt a little guilty for actually scrolling through that option in his mental checklist of 'things I can make Lu Han do'. Yay for self-control. "What are you, uh, amenable to doing during these chats, anyway? Obviously not-" Sehun wrung his hands awkwardly. "You know. Yeah."
"Ye-eeah. Not that." Lu Han said. "I don't know, really. Anything that isn't soft or hardcore porn, I guess. I am found on a G-rated site, after all. If they wanted some of that, they could've just gone to the affiliate site."
Sehun could argue that what he was doing, with the fruit eating and the cosplaying was like marshmallow porn - fluffy and sweet, but there were obvious sexual undertones underneath the veneer of innocence. Hell, the Japanese porn industry lived off that stuff. Lu Han must've known that. Or he was just playing dumb. Sehun couldn't tell; he was so good at playing innocent.
He wisely decided to hold his tongue on that, only saying, "I see."
"I've actually stopped a lot of private chats because of it. There was a time I had to change skype IDs every few days."
With a name like mlm_420, it wasn't hard to guess why. "What do they make you do? Even the girls make you do weird shit? Do girls even tip that high and if yes, are they like, weird stalker scumbags, too? Err, sorry."
"Your French is excused," Lu Han said in a faux-regal accent, and Sehun laughed, relaxing a bit. "That was a lot of questions. Ok, let's see." He ticked his fingers off one by one as he answered. "The degenerates usually ask me to strip, send nudes, perform a striptease, finger myself or masturbate. Sometimes they'd ask me to do things like autofellatio or shove a food item up where the sun don't shine." His nose wrinkled. It was fucking adorable, as always. "I cut the chat when that happens. If I'm in a good mood I might send them to my friend who does actual sexy camboy stuff. He'd be too happy to oblige them, because last I heard he still had an... affinity with vegetables."
"Um." Sehun was 120% sure he was talking about that CuttinUrVeggies camboy, and was about to ask how in the hell Lu Han was acquainted with such a deviant, when Lu Han cleared his throat and continued.
"I actually get a fair amount of girls for private chats. Maybe 4 in 10 private sessions would be with girls. They have tame requests, most just ask me to sing full songs from idol groups in cosplay or just talk to them about school and boys and local celebrity gossip. No deep talks there. Sometimes even about shopping and make-up tips." He paused, fixing his hair just like Sehun had done earlier. "To be honest, I learned all I know about fixing my face up from youtube gurus, so I just link them a lot of tutorials, mostly."
"At least they don't ask you to strip?" Sehun asked helpfully.
Lu Han looked to the side, as if remembering something. "I did get a pair of... fangirls? I think? This one time. They sent me this BL drama monologue which basically involved a lot of pretend-moaning and fake orgasm sounds."
Sehun winced. Girls and their freaky tastes. Maybe it was like straight guys and their obsession with lesbians? "And did you do it?"
"Yeah." Sehun raised an eyebrow as Lu Han let out an embarrassed chuckle. "I know, I know, that's bordering on softcore. But it's just audio! And, well, the girls were really nice and they didn't scream or anything. They were like, shy about it and stuff."
"So the key to getting favors from you is being 'shy and stuff'?"
Lu Han actually winked. "It also depends on how cute you are."
Was that legitimate flirting? Sehun tried not let that bring his hopes up too much. This guy was still a stranger. A really pretty stranger with a laugh bordering on comical, but still a stranger. Be cool, Sehun, be cool.
"How old are you, anyway? I was kinda afraid I was watching a fourteen-year-old's stream the first time I saw your show."
Lu Han looked mildly affronted. "For your information, I'm twenty-three." At Sehun's eyes bulging out, he guffawed. There was that large, mouthy laugh again. "It's okay, I get that a lot. The closest people have come to guessing my real age so far is twenty years old."
"I wouldn't even guess eighteen. Hearing you're at least legal is a relief, at least."
"Hey!" Lu Han squawked, but he was still laughing. "How old are you, then?"
"Ha. I was guessing twenty-one. You have that old baby face, you know what I mean?"
Sehun sputtered. "Old baby?"
Lu Han blinked innocently, pointing to the screen at Sehun's forehead. "You have this thing where your forehead wrinkles when you're thinking of something to say. Your skin just kind of-" He put his index and middle fingers on his own forehead and squished it together, creating little ridges of skin in between.
"We've barely talked for ten minutes and you're already insulting me?" He knew his skin stretched over his bones and face like paper, a byproduct of being rail thin since reaching puberty. He had a fair amount of muscle on him since he ate a lot of meat and danced his ass off, but it never did anything for his cheeks, making him look a little older than he really was. Lu Han was apparently the reverse.
"It's not insulting, I swear! It's cute!" Lu Han insisted, pouting.
"Oh, so now you're saying I'm cute?"
Lu Han's pout grew deeper. "I just said you were cute a minute ago! Jeez, quit giving me a hard time here!"
So it was legitimate flirting. Aw, yeah.
"Hey, you still haven't told me what you want me to do."
"Oh... yeah. I forgot about that." Talking freely with Lu Han had rid his mind of all thoughts of making Lu Han perform a Rania song in Shingeki no Kyojin cosplay. "This is nice. I don't mind just chatting."
Lu Han grinned. "I was thinking the same."
Fast forward to two months later, and before Sehun knew it, he and Lu Han had developed an easy friendship. Sometimes he still watched Lu Han's shows, but he didn't need to tip 500,000 anymore to talk to Lu Han - Lu Han would hit him up all on his own after shows, Sehun's skype pinging with lines of messages if he was ever offline.
Lu Han was a little freewheeling with his replies, but for the most part they talked about each other's day jobs and other trivial things to pass time. They'd send each other links to corny videos and movie trailers. Lu Han for some reason liked to send him longcat videos.
"Longcat is actually you in cat form," he'd said, ignoring Sehun's loud protests. "It's the torso. You think you can try farting rainbows, too?"
"WELL YOU LOOK LIKE CHORONG FROM A-PINK," Sehun would half-scream, half-flail indignantly.
"Weak," Lu Han said, sticking his tongue out. "Work on your burns, son. That one has no basis in reality. I, for one, am manly."
Sehun snorted. "If you say it enough, it'll come true one day."
Lu Han glowered, trying to look more intimidating than his face would allow. "Yah! It's not my fault I was born extremely cute, okay. Just for that, when we meet face to face, I'm gonna beat you up. Mark my words, Oh Sehun!"
Sehun humored him. Lu Han needed to feel that he was still a functioning boy with cock and balls every now and then, considering what he did on-cam. He'd usually say, "Sure, hyung. Go easy on a lil twig like me."
But that was a bit different. "Meeting in person?" He tried to mask his enthusiasm for the idea, to no avail. "When? Midterm season is coming up, though. Maybe after that?"
Lu Han had seemed to realize what he'd said, visibly hesitating. "... Yeah."
He still avoided answering questions that bordered on too personal, like why exactly he left Beijing for Seoul, and if how many relationships he'd been in that didn't involve him cosplaying for the other person's entertainment.
He did eventually answer Sehun's question about CuttinUrVeggies. Yes, he was a real guy, a university student like them. No, he's not a sex robot from Planet Testes. Yes, Lu Han knew him personally; he actually lived next door. No, he didn't exclusively have sex with vegetables.
"Kyungsoo introduced me to the business, so to speak. It just sort of... happened. We took the bus to school at the same time everyday, so were were bound to talk."
How 'talking' led to 'introduction to the world of amateur camboys', Sehun wasn't sure he wanted to know.
Lu Han had four private sessions since the time they've started chatting, two girls and two guys. Only one guy turned out to be a dick (he'd asked Lu Han to hump a body pillow doggie-style, which was relatively tamer than what most dudes requested). Because of this, Lu Han had to change IDs again. Sehun didn't mind that.
What he did mind was Lu Han still doing his kissy-face routine, parading his natural cuteness around for the entire internet to feast on.
So he actually minded the entire G-rated camboy business. Lu Han was just doing his thing, he knew, but it still felt like he was sharing Lu Han with 5,000-odd anonymous faces. The rational part of him reasoned that no one was intimate with Lu Han the way he was - although it wasn't that kind of intimate. Not yet, anyway.
Yeah, he liked the casual, no-fuss nature of their friendship. They talked about school (Lu Han was a junior; got delayed a year after leaving Beijing to study in Seoul), the latest Marvel movies (Lu Han loved Iron Man and was extremely disappointed there was no Iron Man cameo in the latest Captain America), and video games (Lu Han was an avid fan of Pokemon HeartGold and took all opportunities to insert terrible Pokemon puns into the conversation; Sehun still wasn't over the awfulness that was "I turn on my Charmander pants come right off").
But was it wrong to want something more once in a while?
Sehun had had precisely one boyfriend in his entire nineteen years on earth.
He initially thought himself attracted to Jongin for one scary phase in his prepubescent years. Before Taemin, no one understood how deep Jongin's interest was in anime and manga. Coolness might be self-evident to some kids, but to Sehun there was no single variable to look for - dorky-looking kids who were apparently popular, and handsome boys who were pointed out as losers. Jongin was the latter and Sehun didn't mind. Sehun was one of the few who got his weird quirks and found his strange high-pitched laugh cute. Jongin was the first truly good-looking yet approachable guy Sehun got in close proximity with, but it didn't take long to realize it was just his thirteen-year-old hormones going into hyperdrive.
Then, in his senior year in highschool, there was Huang Zitao. At first he deemed Zitao a part of a subgroup called People Who Are Light-Years from Ever Touching a Boob, a light-year guy for short. Sehun himself had made out with and touched girls' nether regions, before deciding he much liked the feel of dick and balls more. Even awkward dude Jongin managed to snag girls at some point in his life, though his stripper moves on the dancefloor and good looks probably helped.
That was, of course, before he found out Zitao was gayer than Richard Simmons singing a duet with Elton John in a Bath House with Liberace for accompaniment. He was out, proud and loving it. That was the thing he liked most about Zitao - his confidence and comfort in his own skin. People talked shit to his face because of his outrageous fashion choices that showcased just how homosexual he truly was, but Zitao didn't give a rat's ass.
They became study buddies because of a month-long pair project, so the transition to a full-fledged relationship wasn't difficult.
Zitao had scoffed when he told him, after a particularly long blowjob, that he first deemed Zitao a light-year. "I wouldn't touch it even if you gave me another Maserati."
"Dude, you totally breastfed, though. So you did touch a boob at least once in your lifetime."
"... I'll give you that." Zitao grimaced. "Now I'm thinking about my mom's boobs. I hate you."
"That's all you. Also, I've seen your mom and she's pretty fit for her age-"
"NO. STOP RIGHT THERE. Ugh, now I have this mental image of - of - that! Get it out!"
"Ummm, think of Miranda Kerr's boobs?"
"Isn't she like, 30?"
"I don't wanna think of saggy tits."
Sehun burst out laughing. "Seriously, how fucking clueless are you about boobs? Tits don't sag that early. Otherwise no woman would wanna get married past twenty-nine."
"Why the fuck are we talking about tits anyway? For a couple of guys who just blew load all over each other, we're like, super straight right now."
They were probably also high together. A lot. Sehun was hazy on the details.
They both liked the company of other people, but whereas Sehun was content to spend weekends at home, Tao always had to flit around from one hangout to the next, ever restless and thrill-seeking. He loved being the center of attention and would never hesitate to leave Sehun to fend for himself at parties where they both didn't know anyone.
They'd fooled around, used their hands on each other, rubbed off against each other, but Sehun didn't put any deep significance to it. Judging by their nonchalant break-up, Zitao didn't either.
"This was fun," Sehun had said carefully. "But I think we shouldn't date anymore."
Tao nodded, looking away for a moment. Sehun thought he would cry. Instead, he held out his hand. "Wanna get break-up bubble tea?"
"You - how could be so lackadaisical about this?" Sehun asked out of genuine curiosity. He was so relieved Zitao hadn't thrown a tantrum that he couldn't muster up the indignant rage people usually reserved for apathetic lovers.
Zitao shrugged. "Sometimes people work better as friends. I like you a lot, Sehun-ah. Same vibes, same crowd, you know. But I guess we both need... a challenge?"
"I'm not enough of a challenge for you." Sehun didn't know whether to be insulted. Things sometimes got lost in translation with Zitao.
"It's not a bad thing," Zitao assured. "With us, everything was so easy, right? We made out three days after we met."
That he did. He also gave Sehun a handjob in the janitor's closet a few hours after that. Sehun cleared his throat. "I think I get what you mean. Now that I think about it, bubble tea sounds awesome right now. By the way, is your mom open to extra-marital affairs?"
They were still friends; when they met he'd never miss the opportunity to bring up the running joke of one day boning Zitao's mom. These meet-ups were often day-long affairs, with a flavor of the month on Zitao's arm, to all appearances out of the sincere desire to just let loose and have fun.
With Lu Han now, it wasn't as if the helpless adoration Sehun felt was obviously unrequited, enough that Sehun felt it unwise to explore other intimacies. Already Sehun had told Lu Han more about his inner life than he'd told anyone else - even Jongin, even Chanyeol, even Zitao. There was no one he'd rather spend his late nights with. Not even free samgyupsal, soju and noraebang at the ass-crack of dawn with his friends would get him to leave. If his friends wanted to see him, they had to see him in the afternoon, because his nights would be occupied.
Worse, it physically hurt to watch Lu Han's shows because he knew he wasn't the only one watching.
In the next few days, Sehun conducted little experiments gauging his chances with Lu Han, without trespassing any obvious boundaries and freaking Lu Han out.
He decided to appear in front of his laptop one day dressed in a low-cut tank, hair wet and dripping.
"Sehun-ah, what's taking you so..." Lu Han paused, lifting his eyebrows in a swift, jerky motion as he opened his eyes wide to gaze at him. Then he dropped his eyelids, tilted his head down and to the side, and looked away. "Took a shower, huh. So that's why you were gone longer than 5 minutes. You said you were just gonna brush your teeth..." He giggled nervously, then bit his lip.
Another time, Sehun joked that he wanted to be a camboy himself. Hey, he had to earn back that money he spent on Lu Han somehow.
Sehun tried not look put out, blowing his cheeks out.
He switched on his webcam, turned away, then whipped his head towards the screen, fixing Lu Han with an intense stare that lasted for about five seconds.
Lu Han looked away first. Then he pulled a pillow out from nowhere and buried his face in it while typing with one hand.
Lu Han looked to the side and back to him in the span of 0.01 seconds. It was like he didn't know where to look exactly. The flush on his neck slowly crept up to his cheeks.
Sehun knew basic flirting involved eye contact - it triggered a primitive part of the brain, calling forth two actions: approach or retreat. You cannot ignore the eyes of another fixed on you; you must respond. You may smile nervously and talk it off. You may look away and edge towards the corner. But first, you will perform some other meaningless movement to alleviate anxiety while you make up your mind how to acknowledge this invitation.
Which was exactly what Lu Han was doing.
Sehun moved onto the final stage of his little makeshift experiment - he wanted to seriously ask Lu Han about meeting in person. For some reason, they avoided talking about this, even though he knew Lu Han was also based in Seoul.
He was still thinking how to go about the asking - direct or roundabout and just wait for Lu Han to catch on at some point - when Lu Han leaned close to the screen, eyes narrow but concerned.
"Are you okay? You seem pretty spaced out there," Lu Han said, waving a hand.
A flash of daring made Sehun lean forward. "Are we ever gonna meet?"
Lu Han could have acted surprised, but he said nothing for a while. He did nothing. Then Lu Han's eyes met with his with almost unnerving directness. "Why should we? Isn't this-" Lu Han gestured vaguely around his general space. "-Okay enough?"
Sehun's throat suddenly felt dry, and he had to swallow before he could speak. "It - it is. But it also isn't?" He buried his face in his hands, embarrassment pooling at the pit of his gut. "I don't really know how to explain myself. But we've been talking for a while now and I think there's something here... between us. Maybe I'm getting weird signals or I'm just reading too much into things. But I... I really like you, Lu Han."
"I..." Lu Han started. His voice broke off. He looked so uncertain and Sehun knew this was the end. It ended before it even started.
"If you don't wanna talk to me anymore, I get it," Sehun said, unable to keep the dejectedness out. Rejection clutched as his guts like a white-hot fist. It was as though he could feel every blood vessel in his body as they burned from shame. "I'd understand. I mean, this must be awkward, right? I bet you get confessions like this everyday from those creeps on your chatbox. But-" I'm not like them because I'm your friend first before I'm anything else. "-But these past few months with you was really... great. I'll miss you-"
"Stop. Stop talking like one of us is gonna die or go away forever." Lu Han shook his head. His adam's apple bobbed up and down as he breathed in deep. "Yes, I get confessions like this all the time. But never to my face from someone who actually respects me and isn't out to get some sort of sexual favor out of me. What I'm saying is... Sehun. I really like you, too."
"Y-you do?" Sehun had never simultaneously more dumb yet relieved at the same time, all the adrenaline and nervousness rushing out of his body in waves.
It occurred to him that Lu Han might have been testing him. He sounded so skeptical when he'd asked to meet. "So... do you wanna... maybe go out? Sometime?"
He expected that to be met with a little more resistance than a quiet "Okay."
"... Are you sure you're okay meeting me?" Off-frame, Sehun's fingers fisted the hem of his shirt nervously. "We've already established mutual... something. But I don't wanna force you into doing anything you don't want to."
"I said I liked you, didn't I? I meant that." Lu Han squared his shoulders, looking a tad uneasy. "It's just - I've never done this before."
Sehun blinked. "Go on a date?"
"Meet in person anyone I know online, period." Lu Han rolled his eyes. "I've been on dates, thank you very much. They didn't always go well, but dates are dates."
Sehun jotted in his mental notepad: ask about Lu Han's ex-dates. "Don't worry. I don't chop up my victims' bodies after the first eyeball. Gotta do a bit of inspection first y'know, see if the flesh is succulent and tender."
That got a laugh out of Lu Han. The subject abruptly switched to the latest episode of Hannibal and Sehun pretended just for another two hours that he was calm and unruffled and didn't feel that distinct fluttering feeling in his gut.