Chapter Title: Trust
Pairings: Yunho/Changmin (bonding only like HoMin can). Taemin -> Yunho friendly admiration. Side helpings of Yunho/Jaejoong, Changmin/Junsu, and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 2Min.
Summary: Changmin and his junior dorm-mates meet up with Yunho on the Seoul University campus. Taemin and Minho are ecstatic to have a new sunbae to tutor them. Changmin is doing whatever it takes to distract himself from thinking about Junsu. Yunho helps all three of them - inadvertently - by just being himself. The third story in a series of vignettes set in the Café Bisco fic-universe.
Un Petit Bisco[tti] Pour Toi
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:: Trois ::
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Changmin was barely a paragraph into re-reading his history textbook when Taemin tapped him on the shoulder.
It took every bit of his willpower not to glare at the boy. “What do you want?” He said after a brief pause, watching as Taemin fidgeted with the collar of his bright yellow jacket.
“Umm. Sunbae, can you come with me to the bookstore?” More fidgeting and tugging at his bottom lip with pearly whites. “I could really use some more post-it notes. The star-shaped kind.”
Staring back at Taemin’s vacuous gaze, Changmin sighed. “Where’s Minho?”
“And you don’t want to go by yourself?” It was less of a question than an affirmation. Taemin’s hair flopped about with every fervent nod.
It’s impossible to say no to this kid.
“Alright,” Changmin finally relented after Taemin sent him a dejected puppy look. “But you’d better make breakfast tomorrow for us. And I’m not paying for you.” Taemin cheered, hopping around the living room couch in elation. “—Didn’t you just say Minho was sleeping?” He snapped, not expecting Taemin to send him another tearful glance in response. “Just…get out of here, you. Wait for me outside while I grab my keys. Can’t trust Minho to hold down the fort while we’re gone.”
“’Kay!” Taemin beamed – and immediately, Changmin was reminded of someone else’s sunshine smile. “Thanks, sunbae.” Making a heart with his hands and pressing it over his heart. “My heart feels thiiiiiiiiiiis full.”
On second thought, Changmin inwardly groaned, taking a moment to lock up while Taemin skittered up and down the foyer, Junsu’s not nearly as cheesy as Taemin. And thank God for that.
There were perks to living in a dorm at Seoul University, though.
One, he didn’t have to think about his parents’ latest harebrained scheme ruining his day. Two, he was conveniently located near so many good restaurants…right on campus, even.
“Oh! Changmin-ah! W-What are you doing out here so late?”
—Three, there was a greater appeal to the everyday coincidences that happened on campus. Like this, for instance.
Yunho ran (nearly skipped, really; something obviously put him in a good mood) to Changmin’s side at once, smiling at Taemin once he reached where the freshmen had been standing at a crosswalk.
“Hi.” His breathless greeting. “I came out from an exam just now, but I wasn’t expecting to find you out here.” Turning to Taemin. “I’m sorry, have…have we met before?”
“Don’t mind me.” Changmin quipped, crossing his arms with a smile. “I’m just out here keeping this one company.” Gesturing toward Taemin, who was currently trembling from the cold (and excitement, likely, at meeting someone related to his sunbae). “Anyway, you haven’t met before. This is Taemin. Taemin, Yunho.”
“Hi.” The baby-faced teen grinned, holding out his hand for Yunho to shake. “Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too.” Chuckling a bit, Yunho gripped Taemin’s hand and smiled fondly when Taemin giggled a bit in response to his tight grip and squeezed back Yunho’s hand tighter. “Hmm. So you’re about Changmin’s age, Taemin-sshi?”
“I’m sixteen,” Taemin announced, making Yunho choke on his reply. “I know. People usually tell me I look younger than I am.” Taemin’s cheeks swelled with pride. “It kinda makes me happy you thought the opposite.”
“He’s got the Peter Pan syndrome.” Changmin shook his head, sending Yunho an understanding look. “I swear. Never gonna grow old, this kid.”
“I-I can imagine.” Rubbing his ungloved hands together, Yunho shivered a bit. “But let’s talk inside, where it’s warmer. How about…the bookstore, since it’s closest?”
“That’s exactly where we were headed, Yunho-sshi!” Taemin clung to Changmin’s arm, nearly yanking him off his feet. “Let’s go, then! To the bookstore! And then you can come back to the dorm with us if you want!”
They walked to the bookstore together and left quickly after Taemin purchased his Post-it notes, the lanky high schooler babbling about why he liked the star-shaped ones and what colors all of the other ‘SHINEE committee members’ liked.
Yunho had no idea what he was talking about, so he just laughed and let Taemin keep talking. He didn’t want to interrupt. Besides, the kid really was cute and he didn’t have the heart to wipe the adoring smile of Taemin’s face.
Changmin noticed Yunho’s hesitance and tried to distract Taemin, to fail miserably in his attempt. And so, the rest of the walk back to the dorm continued in this fashion until they reached the inner dormitory hall.
All Changmin had to say to quiet the still chattering Taemin was, “Minho’s sleeping, remember?” To Yunho’s bewildered look, he explained, “Taemin’s roommate.” Then, he added with a slight indulgent smile, “He’s a good kid.”
When they entered the room, Minho was pacing in the kitchen, boiling up a pot of instant ramyun.
“I got hungry,” he stated plaintively, dark bangs just barely reaching his ears and a vague smile in place when Taemin plopped his bag of Post-its on the table and came running into the kitchen to see what he was making. “Figured you guys might want some, too.”
“Smells goooooooood.” Taemin took a heady sniff of the air, turning to Yunho. “Oh, sunbae! You want to join us? There’s enough here for everyone!”
“I don’t know about that,” Yunho joked, chuckling, “with Changmin-ah’s appetite for ramyun. I’ve seen that shark up close and I’m not sure if I want to see it again.”
“Shut up, hyung.” Changmin scoffed, whacking Yunho on the arm – lightly, of course – as he passed by to sit at the dining room table. “And don’t make it sound like you can’t eat a lot, too. I have witnesses I can call right now that’ll tell these two the same thing.”
Minho dragged out a cardboard box filled with more packages of ramyun.
“Don’t worry, we’ve got more than enough for the four of us.” Turning to Yunho. “By the way, I’m—”
“It’s okay, Minho-ah.” Yunho laughed as the tall boy’s eyes widened and his face grew flushed. He really is a good kid. “I’m Jung Yunho. Nice to meet you.”
While Taemin and Minho were busy making ramyun for them, Yunho spent the next few minutes sitting with Changmin and looking over the younger one’s shoulder at his history textbook.
“Wow.” Yunho shook his head with a laugh. “They really don’t write books for freshman in human languages, do they?”
“This is a sophomore level class.” Yunho mumbled a soft ‘oh, I see.’ “Besides, Seoul Uni isn’t exactly known for its easy curriculum.” Lifting his chin only slightly to look at Yunho sitting beside him. “You should know. You’re in their criminal law program.”
“Tell me about it.” Yunho sighed, sudden exhaustion writ across his visage as he ran an unsteady hand through his hair. “That test from tonight was pretty brutal…I’m not even sure if I passed it, to be honest.”
“I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.” Changmin looked toward Taemin and Minho, both sitting atop the kitchen counters now, the younger boy chattering away while Minho stirred the pot of ramyun lightly. “But don’t worry. None of us here would cast you out of the group or anything if you did.”
“I wasn’t worried.” Yunho began to smile, anyway. “–Thanks for that, though. I appreciate it.”
There was a comfortable silence until Changmin made a soft noise between amusement and realization.
“I just remembered – I owe you, hyung. For buying me lunch last week, I mean.” Changmin grinned. “Besides, you’re giving these two a little something to get excited about.”
“–Which reminds me.” Changmin suddenly raised his voice enough to make Minho look up, “don’t you two have classes at eight tomorrow? Why are you still up exactly?”
“Class is at nine in the morning.” Minho deadpanned. “And it’s only ten-thirty, hyung. If we go to bed by eleven-thirty, we’ll get at least seven hours.”
“And I’ll get six! Since I can never go to sleep right away…” Taemin raised his hands in the air from behind the kitchen counter. “We’ll be okay, sunbae! Thanks for worrying, though~”
Yunho turned to an exasperated Changmin, trying not to laugh. “Are they always like that?”
“Always.” Changmin dropped his head into his textbook with a muted thump. “Drives me up the wall sometimes, too.” More clattering and clanking ensued; Yunho stole a glance at the two boys setting up bowls and chopsticks – and making quite a racket in the process. “I swear to God, they’re like rabbits, hyung. At it all night long.”
Yunho coughed, eyes comically wide.
“Like…rabbits? ‘A-At it all night long’…? You mean they’re…?”
Changmin, realizing what Yunho must have thought, turned scarlet.
“Oh, no, definitely not, hyung! I didn’t mean—have you been hanging out with Yoochun-hyung too much or what?” Slapping Yunho full-force, Changmin ducked under the hood of his jacket, howling with laughter. “I can’t even believe you…!”
“Umm.” Taemin piped up – all too innocently, in Yunho’s opinion – suddenly walking toward the oldest two and carrying a tray with two steaming bowls of ramyun. “Are you guys ready to eat yet? The food’s ready for you…”
Changmin straightened up, clearing his throat and opening up his textbook in an attempt at looking busy. Yunho smiled at Taemin, taking the tray and placing the bowls down on the table for him.
“It smells great, Taemin-ah…Minho-ah.” He patted the boy on the head, patting Minho’s shoulder as he too passed by and brought over the last of the ramyun. “Let’s all eat together.”
And for the rest of the night, Seoul Uni’s Red Hall Dorm 33 was filled with warm conversation, shared laughter, and delicious ramyun.
[ fin. ]