When Kris opens his locker in the morning, a box of chocolates and three letters in varying shades of pink fall out. He stifles a sigh as he bends over to pick them up. “Such is the difficult, trying life of Wu Yifan,” Jongdae narrates from his side - Kris does not even have to look up to just know he must have an infuriatingly smug smile on his face. “First thing in the morning, and he is attacked with not one, not two, not even three, but four love confessions. How does he even deal with it? It is a mystery to all of us who do not have dozens of adoring teenage girls at his heels, in other words, everybody in this school who is not Wu Yifan.”
“Please,” Kris groans, pushing the box of chocolates into Jongdae’s arms. “It’s still too early for me to be able to deal with you. And don’t call me Wu Yifan.”
“Little do they know that Wu Yifan is actually a gigantic homosexual loser,” Jongdae continues, ignoring Kris as he opens up the box and pops a chocolate in his mouth. “It’s okay. He would not be the Wu Yifan we all know and love if he wasn’t like that. Mm, ooh, these are the nice chocolates. This caramel is positively sinful.”
“Do you have to say stuff like that in public where people can hear you?” Kris asks in his best I’m going to strangle you in your sleep tone. It is 100% ineffective on all his friends, because all of them know that Kris is the type of person who apologizes when he accidentally high-fives somebody too hard.
“Kris, you could have a gay threesome orgy in the middle of the hall while telling the story about how you broke your nose the first time you tried to play basketball and none of the girls in this school would believe that you are a gigantic homosexual loser.” Jongdae pauses to eat another chocolate. “It’s not fair, honestly.”
“You give me a migraine,” Kris says.
Jongdae grins. “What are friends for?”
Kris is about to retort, but then down the hallway he notices Byun Baekhyun, Oh Sehun, and Huang Zitao walking by. Zitao pauses behind them for a moment to wave and grin, and Kris has to willfully gather all his scattered wits together to be able to wave back.
“You see what I mean,” Jongdae says as he chews on his sixth chocolate. “Gigantic homosexual loser with a hopeless crush on his innocent underclassman.”
Kris opens his mouth to deliver a wry, scathing remark, but then he realizes he has no reply to that one. “I don’t like you,” he says, and grabs his notebooks from his locker, throwing them into his backpack with unnecessary force. “I’m going to class.”
“Wu Yifan makes a retreat, as he is unable to compete with Kim Jongdae’s saucy wit and cutting tongue,” Jongdae continues to recite while he trails behind Kris, as if he is doing the voiceover for a particularly interesting nature documentary. For the umpteenth time, Kris wonders what he did in his past lives to deserve friends like this.
Kris doesn’t know exactly when he started liking Huang Zitao, but he thinks it might have been when Zitao had stood up in the middle of the cafeteria and defended his friend Lu Han from a few upperclassman flinging insults at him. “You say one more thing about him and I’ll beat you up so badly that you won’t be able to tell up from down for weeks,” he’d said. Everybody around him started going quiet, turning to stare at him as soon as he started talking, so even from halfway across the room Kris could hear him clearly. “You’re not witty, you know that? You’re just being unfunny tryhard jerks.”
Kris could tell he was nervous from the way his voice got louder and louder as he kept talking, but to his credit, he stared down those upperclassmen until they backed off. “Gutsy,” Chanyeol had said as he chewed on his milk straw. “Now there’s a kid with some attitude. Hey, d’you think we could recruit him to the team? We could use some more spirit. And he looks like he’s in shape, too, which is more than I can say about most of the -”
“I know that guy,” Kris said, interrupting Chanyeol in the middle of his sentence. He furrowed his brow and thought about it for a few moments - “His name’s Zitao, I think. Transfer student.”
“Him and most of the rest of the school,” Chanyeol pointed out. “Including you, now that I think about it.”
Nevertheless, Zitao’s name and face had irrevocably stuck in his memory, and he found himself, strangely, able to empathize with his veritable entourage of suitors: he kept wanting to get closer, but couldn’t quite bring himself to, and was so transparent about it that all his friends began alternating between giving him vague encouragement and making fun of him for being useless with his feelings. Chanyeol offers to introduce them through Baekhyun, and Minseok through Lu Han, but he decides there are too many risky variables involved to go that route.
Then, came that happy, fateful night at Joonmyun’s house when they nearly literally ran right into each other, and somehow - somehow - fate gives Kris a break, and they manage to strike up a friendship. If Kris had been unsure about his infatuation before, after they become friends it is firmly cemented in the annals of excruciatingly huge crushes. He spends far too long at each lunch period - the only time of day that their school schedules overlap, since Kris is an upperclassman and Zitao two years below him - trying to inconspicuously look over at him, but he tends to have difficulty controlling the intensity of his gaze, and it gets to the point where Chanyeol starts telling him, “You need to stop trying to eyefuck each other while we’re eating, because my stomach really can’t handle it.”
Kris, though, ignores him. He also tries to ignore the fluttering sensation in his stomach at knowing that Zitao is also looking back: from his knowledge of dramas (which, for the record, he does not watch because he enjoys, but only because his mother insists on watching them in the living room while he does his homework, and it’s not as if he pays attentions to know every single character and plot point or anything - just most of them), exchanging furtive glances is always a Significant Thing in the advancement of a relationship.
Or at least, that’s what he hopes. To be honest, he doesn’t have much first-hand experience to back it up.
Kris had known that Zitao would occasionally come with his friends to watch basketball practices, but somehow, the awareness that Zitao is watching him is completely different when Zitao tells him beforehand, “I’m going to come to cheer you on, okay?” and smiles widely.
“Yo, Kris, don’t you think you should wait to start sweating bullets until after we hit the court?” Chanyeol asks, grinning and elbowing his arm lightly. Some of the underclassmen laugh, but then Kris stares at them and they immediately shut up.
“Can we not comment upon others’ appearances right now?” Kris asks.
Chanyeol frowns, but after a few seconds his face does that unfortunate thing where his eyebrows go crazy and his eyes widen at slightly different intervals, so he looks mildly deranged. “Ohhh, I get it. This is about the Zitao thing, isn’t it? You’re nervous ‘cos he’s coming to watch us, aren’t you?”
“Do you have to say that so loudly?” Kris snaps. The rest of the people in the locker room, though, seem too distracted to take notice.
“It’ll be okay, Kris. If there’s one thing you’re really good at, it’s basketball,” Chanyeol says, nodding enthusiastically. “I mean, they didn’t make you the captain for your people skills, that’s for sure.”
“Thanks,” Kris says sarcastically. Chanyeol ignores his tone and gives him a grin and an enthusiastic thumbs-up.
“Alright, let’s get on the court, you guys!” Chanyeol calls out, ushering the other players out of the locker room. “Your captain’s got a person he needs to impress today, so you’d better all be looking sharp, okay!”
Kris can hear the murmurs and speculation already beginning to start around him. “Don’t listen to Chanyeol, he’s not serious,” he announces. Predictably, none of them seem to listen to him. He sighs wearily and follows after them to the court to start their warm-ups. To make himself feel better, he makes Chanyeol lead last-man-up runs until he looks too tired to make fun of him anymore.
“Aren’t you going a little over-the-top?” Minseok comments lightly, as both of them watch Chanyeol trail around the corners of the court for his twelfth lap. “The underclassmen are really going to think that there’s somebody you want to impress if you keep this up, you know?”
Kris must admit that he has a point. He blows his whistle to call them back in, and ignores the injured look that Chanyeol gives him as he half-drags himself back to the center, wheezing slightly. “As you guys know, the qualifying games for the regional tournament are starting soon,” he announces to the team. “We’ll be doing scrimmages for the next two days to decide the lineup.” He dictates the positions he wants each person at, careful to divide the teams so that the ability on both sides is roughly even. He takes center for one, with Minseok at a defensive position on the same team. Chanyeol is on the other side.
With the knowledge at the back of his head that a certain somebody is watching him, Kris plays with a passion and intensity that leaves the majority of the players on the court openly fearful. “You are taking this way too seriously,” Chanyeol accuses him between heavy gasps for breath, as he fruitlessly waves his arms in an attempt to block him. As usual, Kris ignores him, brushes past him, and goes in for the shot, scoring his seventh basket in just the first quarter alone. In vain, the other team puts three guards on him - it doesn’t work because the players on that side are too scared of him to be effective, and the players on his side are so scared of him that they mostly try to get out of his way as best as they can.
After his ninth basket, he finally works up the nerve to take a glance at the stands while dribbling the ball down the court - his path is so clear at this point that he can afford to spare some of his attention. When Zitao notices him looking up, he smiles and waves and gives him a cheer in support, and he gets so distracted by it that one of the opposite team’s guards finally gets a move in on him, and he has to swivel backwards on his right heel, turning so hard that he rotates further than he meant to - and with a crack that is far too loud, the back of his head makes impact with the basketball pole.
He faintly registers the thought this is so humiliating, I kind of want to die before everything goes black. When he next opens his eyes Zitao is peering over him with a worried look on his face. Chanyeol and Minseok are there too, as well as the team manager, Joonmyun, and he thinks maybe the rest of the team is milling around behind them, but he can only seem to focus in on Zitao - everything else is a little blurry around the edges. “Oh my god, are you alright?” Zitao asks, biting his lip slightly.
Kris tries to say that he’s okay, but all that comes out is a guttural, moaning noise. The part of his brain that is still functioning correctly is completely horrified at himself.
“He might be concussed,” Chanyeol says grimly. “C’mon, let’s get him to the nurse’s office and get him checked out.”
He and Minseok pull him up into a standing position and start walking him off. No, he thinks dazedly, it can’t end like this, no. Zitao is going to think I’m a loser. Unfortunately, the rest of his body does not seem to be speaking the same language as his brain, and he can only let himself be dragged out of the gym. The image of Zitao biting his lip nervously lingers in his brain for far longer than it should.
To make things extra mortifying for him, the nurse calls his mother to come pick him up. Whenever his mother is around, his friends are all reduced to puddles of disgusting teenage hormones, and he tries his best to ignore it when Chanyeol mutters, “Man, Kris’s mom has got it going on,” while Minseok discreetly low-fives him for the obligatory song reference. It’s times like this that he is reminded that while Minseok is the quietest and nicest out of all of them, he is also one of the biggest bros that Kris knows.
When he is finally released from the nurse’s office with a diagnosis of “probably not concussed, just a little stunned from impact, but watch it for a few days just to be sure,” he checks his phone and finds a number of texts. Jongdae sends one making fun of his head trauma, which he more or less expected. There are a few messages from unregistered numbers - he wonders how girls keep on managing to get his cell phone number - that are frantically, fanatically anxious, which he deletes without replying. Zitao sends one that reads, “Are you okay? I was so worried! Let me know how you are whenever you can. Don’t push yourself, okay?”
He will later convince himself that the only reason he saves the text to his phone memory is because he was still in a fit of delirium at the moment.
Two weeks after the nightmare blackout incident, Chanyeol comes to him in between classes with an expression on his face that Kris is all too familiar with and has labeled “the smile of bad decisions and awful life choices.”
“Whatever it is, my answer is no preemptively,” he says.
Chanyeol tries to look injured, but as usual, he somehow manages to exaggerate it so much that he just looks comical, or a little like he’s constipated. “I haven’t even said anything yet!” he whines.
“I don’t need to hear anything,” Kris replies. “Whenever you approach me with that look, it always ends badly. Like the time with the time with the ice cream stand. Or the other time with that random kid’s clarinet. Or the one at the pet store with all those turtles.”
“Oh, man, I forgot about those turtles,” Chanyeol says, and grins. “That was really funny, Kris, don’t even lie.”
In response, Kris gives him a Look. Chanyeol clears his throat and changes the subject. “But anyway, even if not all of those turned out great, this is really a good one!” he insists.
“That’s what you always say.”
“But this one involves Huang Zitao!” Chanyeol says.
Kris turns and starts walking away, but Chanyeol follows him down the hall. “Oh, come on, just hear me out,” he whines, keeping pace far too close to Kris’s shoulder for comfort. “‘I’ve got the insider deets, Kris. The deets.”
He sighs heavily and stops. Chanyeol nearly runs straight into him. “Okay, let me hear it,” he says evenly. It’s definitely not because he wants to know the deets, and one hundred percent because he wants Chanyeol to stop bothering him.
“Well, in exactly one month, it’s going to be his birthday,” Chanyeol says, and waggles his eyebrows. “His birthday, Kris. AKA the day that you could make his day... for the rest of his life.”
Kris stares for a few moments. “You had better not mean what I think you mean, Chanyeol.”
Chanyeol wrinkles his nose. “Ew, gross, you perv. I wasn’t even thinking about that at all!” he insists. “Nah, I was just thinking - you should take him out to do something special for his birthday. I asked some girls and they all said it would be, quote-unquote super cute if two people started going out on one of their birthdays.”
Grudgingly, Kris must admit this is actually not a poor idea. However, because it comes from Chanyeol’s mouth, he is reluctant to take it as it is. “Thanks, but I’ll do what feels right when it comes to Zitao,” he says. “And I’m not sure if it’s the right thing to do considering I don’t even know if he likes me, you know, like that.”
“Whenever you say that, you never end up doing anything,” Chanyeol replies, and he actually sounds a little upset. “Mark my words, Kris Wu, I’m going to get you to take that kid out on a date for his birthday if it’s the last thing I do. For your sake.”
“Chanyeol, you could bother me every free moment for the rest of the month, and I still wouldn’t feel any more inclined to follow your advice than I am right now,” Kris says.
So Chanyeol recruits their friends to his cause and bothers Kris every free moment for the rest of the month. (In retrospect, Kris can’t say he didn’t completely ask for it, and while he hates himself a little for that, he also secretly is kind of glad that his friends realize that he probably actually does need to be hounded from hell to back before he can work up the nerve to do what he secretly really, really does want to do.)
One unfortunate afternoon after practice, Kris checks his cell phone and finds 62 unread text messages, all of them from one Kim Jongdae. There are so many of them that even on his nice, new smartphone, it takes an absurdly long time for them to all load, and when they finally do, he realizes that his instinct to immediately delete them all without even looking was the correct one.
To: Wu Yifan
(1/62) yo wu yifan i have something to tell you, text me back asap
(2/62) are you there?? respond now it’s important time-sensitive info
(3/62) you have kept me waiting a whole fifteen minutes this is unacceptable
(4/62) now i’m just going to keep texting you until you respond, you know that
(5/62) once every half a minute
(6/62) you doubt me now but just wait
(7/62) your phone will be buzzing so often people are going to wonder wtf is going on in your pants pocket
(8/62) WU YIFAAAAAN
(9/62) thank the lord for unlimited texting
(10/62) but no seriously text back
And it continues on and on. As he deletes them, he receives 63rd, 64th, and 65th texts, all of which are just as meaningless and irritating as the first 62. The only reason that he does not throw his phone at the wall is because his annoyance meter has gotten to its maximum, escalated through the top reading, and broken itself in the process. I have reached annoyance zen, he tells himself. I am so annoyed that I no longer can register the feeling of being annoyed.
I was at practice, oh my god. I hate you.
What do you want.
And don’t call me Wu Yifan.
To: Wu Yifan
WELL. somebody sounds ungrateful
I just wanted to let you know that a certain somebody’s birthday is coming up...
so basically this is the perfect opportunity to put da moves on him
wink wink, nudge nudge
I’ve known about Zitao’s birthday FOR THE PAST 2 WEEKS.
To: Wu Yifan
Annoyance zen, he reminds himself as he tries to not crush his cell phone in his hands out of sheer agitation. He succeeds in only cracking the case a teeny, tiny bit.
Minseok’s approach to convincing him is a subtle one, because he does not say anything at all. When Kris asks him if he’s going to start on the whole date thing too, Minseok just smiles and says, “I think you should do what you want to do,” and fools Kris into thinking that he is on his side. Finally, though, after nearly two weeks of playing the supporter, he reveals his true colors.
“I know that you’ve been bothered a lot about this already,” Minseok says, “but, really, have you thought about maybe asking Zitao out? Because I think it’s not a bad idea, honestly. Even if it does originate from Chanyeol’s mind.”
“Did Chanyeol get all of you guys to bother me to ask him out until I give in or something?” Kris asks, eyes narrowed suspiciously.
Minseok’s eyes widen. “Whoa, Kris. Is it really so surprising to you that all of us, individually, want you to do what’s best for you? You know... as friends?” Minseok asks.
Kris sighs. “Yeah,” he replies. “Yeah, you’re right. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have reacted like that.”
“You’re totally right, though,” Minseok continues, “I mean, he did ask us to do that.”
“I take back my apology,” Kris announces.
I thank you shocks ask huang zidia out for his northday
it build make him gaps
and I think it would make you happen top
Turn off your autocorrect.
It’s ok. What were you trying to say?
I was dying you shirk ask hung zitao out
… Your autocorrect, Yixing.
Taping on a phone us hard ok
In lieu of carrying out their incomprehensible text conversation, Yixing comes over to Kris’s house. As usual, he does not ask permission first - not that he needs it, since Kris’s mother has more or less considered him a second son since their middle school days - and he drifts through the front door as he wasn’t going anywhere in particular, and just happened to end up in Kris’s living room, even managing somehow to look mildly surprised as he observes his surroundings.
“Hello,” Yixing says tranquilly.
“Hi,” Kris replies. “Any reason you’re here, or...?”
Most of the time Yixing doesn’t have one, though, and just shrugs and smiles haplessly before proceeding to spend the rest of the day there, sometimes even sleeping over without planning to. It has gotten to the point where one of Kris’s bedroom drawers is filled with Yixing’s clothes, so that he can come and go from the house whenever he feels like it. His mother rather enjoys it, and calls Yixing their stray cat, and Kris is too used to it to think it’s weird. Today, though, he nods. “I came to tell you that I think you should ask Huang Zitao out on a date for his birthday,” he says. “I think that it would make him happy, but also, I think it would make you happy too. And I like it when you’re happy.”
It’s times like this that Kris is reminded of why Yixing is one of his oldest, closest friends: he likes that sincere, straightforward nature that Yixing has - it’s something he admires quite a bit. Still, he finds it hard to appreciate it when it’s being turned towards him. “I’m not going to do something just because you guys are trying to spite me into doing it,” he says, trying to keep his tone as neutral as possible.
Yixing stares for a few moments. “That’s disappointing,” he says, after a rather long pause. “I’m disappointed in you.”
“Can you not say it like that? You’re younger than I am. You’re not allowed to use that tone on me,” Kris says.
“Age is transitory,” Yixing says.
Kris side-eyes him. “Yixing. What does that even mean?”
“Oh, I have no idea,” Yixing replies dreamily as he sits down and turns on the television, focusing on the screen with rapt attention. “I read it in a fortune cookie once.” The conversation breaks off there, abruptly, and Yixing does not say a single word for the next two and a half hours, only breaking out of his trance when Kris’s mother announces that dinner’s on the table.
They have known each other since they were shoving sand in each others’ diapers, and Kris still has not even the slightest inkling of how Yixing’s mind works, nor does he think he particularly wants to know.
Nearly three weeks of nonstop texts, in-person badgering, and general frustration, and Kris finally gives in with a harsh exhale. “Fine, I’ll do it, just stop bothering me!” he tells them, so sharply that even Jongdae takes him seriously and cuts off reciting his list of Reasons Kris Should Bite the Bullet and Ask Huang Zitao Out (he has just gotten to, “you will regret it for the rest of your life if you don’t!”) mid-sentence. Kris gets up from their table at the cafeteria abruptly, takes a few therapeutic breaths to calm himself down, and starts walking over to where Zitao is sitting.
It is rare that Kris ventures from his usual place at the cafeteria, if only because he doesn’t like going to places where he is vulnerable to receiving unsolicited love letters, but for once luck is on his side and he does not encounter any confessions before making it over to the other side of the room. “Hi,” he says, and tries to ignore the fact that Oh Sehun and Byun Baekhyun are boring holes into his head with their eyes.
“Hi, Kris,” Zitao replies. He looks a little surprised, but Kris supposes that is only to be expected.
“Hey,” Lu Han says agreeably, and smiles so serenely that he is almost reminded of Yixing for a moment. “What brings you here?”
“I wanted to ask Zitao something,” he says. “Privately.”
Zitao blinks a few times. “Okay,” he says, and gets up. “I’m done eating anyway.”
“But you only took two bites of your sandwi -” Sehun starts to say, before Baekhyun reaches over and covers Sehun’s mouth with his hand. Zitao ignores them with a sense of dignity that Kris can admire.
They walk around for a while, making small talk, until they finally get to an empty hallway. Kris takes a deep breath before asking, “I was wondering - do you have plans for your birthday yet?”
“Well, I think my friends and I were going to do something,” he says, trailing off slightly before he hastily adds, “but nothing that would take the whole day! I’ll probably be free after four.”
“After four? Then, if it’s alright with you, do you want to meet up at six?” he asks.
“Six? I usually eat dinner at six, though,” Zitao says, and he looks a little perplexed. Kris thinks that his confused expression is kind of cute, though, and ignores the voice in his head that sounds suspiciously like Jongdae that is making fun of him for thinking something like that.
“Well, I wanted to take you out for dinner,” Kris clarifies.
“Oh,” Zitao says, and smiles so that his skin around his eyes crinkles a little. “Yeah. Yeah, I’d like that, then.”
“Okay, then it’s set,” Kris says, careful to avoid using the word date. “I’ll come pick you up at six, then.”
“Sounds great!” Zitao beams so brightly that Kris swears that he almost has to squint a little.
“Yixing,” Kris says that afternoon, as they and the rest of their friends hang out in Kris’s living room, “you are somehow the only one of my friends who has managed to hold down a significant other for a long period of time. What’d you do when you asked her out?”
Yixing takes so long to think up an answer that for a few moments Kris wonders if he heard the question. “I wrote her a song,” he finally says. “And I played it on my guitar for her. She liked it a lot. I think she might have cried a little. I don’t really remember.”
The rest of them do not question the fact that he isn’t sure whether or not he made his girlfriend cry, because Yixing probably doesn’t even remember how he got to school that morning. “A song about what?” Jongdae asks as he sticks a straw into a milk carton and takes a sip.
“Well, it talked about how she made me feel... like, a warm, tight feeling in parts of my body I never knew could feel like that before,” Yixing explains, in his usual placid, distant way. “And that I wanted to share that feeling with her, and let her touch and have those parts of me.”
They are dead silent for a few moments. “Yixing,” Minseok says, in a deceptively unperturbed tone, “I think you may have written your girlfriend a song about how you wanted her to jerk you off.”
Jongdae nearly snorts milk out of his nose, and Chanyeol makes a sound like a baby seal. It takes Yixing a few moments to register what Minseok means. “Oh my god,” he says, faintly horrified. “No, I didn’t!”
“But anyway, subject of Yixing’s subconscious thoughts aside, it’s not like I can really write or sing him a song,” Kris says. He expects Jongdae to helpfully add something like Well, not unless you want to rupture his eardrums, but everybody is ignoring him in favor of embarrassing Yixing.
Minseok pats Yixing on the shoulder sympathetically as Yixing wails, intensely distraught, “I accidentally wrote my girlfriend a song about how I wanted her to jerk me off!”
Kris sighs and decides to be grateful that they are not making fun of him for once in a blue moon.
For the thirty-six hours preceding The Date, Kris spends every waking hour planning out every possible facet of the evening. He makes a reservation at one of the nicer restaurants in town, and only winces a little bit when he looks at the menu prices. He picks out what clothes to wear - he wants to look dressed up, but not formal, end ends up settling on a button-up with corduroys - and he thinks about possible topics of conversation. He cleans up his car, which was already nearly spotless to begin with. Thankfully, his friends are unusually sensitive towards his agitation, probably understanding of the fact that he is in a rather delicate state and needs to work things out, and only tease him once or twice before offering him genuinely well-meant advice (“Don’t forget your table manners, nothing turns a person off more than bad table manners,” Chanyeol says; “Just don’t do that thing where you stare and say nothing,” advises Jongdae; Yixing’s words of wisdom are, “Wear clean underwear”) and leaving him more or less alone.
The evening comes. At 5:58 PM, Kris pulls into Zitao’s house’s driveway. He gets out, rings the doorbell, and is met by Zitao looking even nicer than usual, who cheerfully greets him, and they are on the way to their dinner.
The ride over is manageable - they exhaust the usual topics, like “How are you?” and “Do you have a lot of work this week?” and “How was basketball practice?” by the time Kris parks. It’s only by the time that they’ve been seated, ordered, and are waiting for their meals to arrive that Kris runs into his life stumbling block: his apparent inability to keep a conversation going.
“How’s your birthday been so far?” Kris asks.
“Pretty good,” Zitao replies, “Sehun and Baekhyun only managed to hit me seven times, which is better than I was expecting.”
“What,” asks Kris blankly.
“You know, like, birthday punches?”
“Oh,” Kris says, and is a little relieved that his friends have not revived that elementary school tradition.
They fall silent. After a few moments, Zitao says, “You look really nice.”
“Thank you,” Kris replies. “You look really nice too.” And he honestly does - Kris especially thinks that those pants make Zitao’s butt look great, but he is so repressed that he wants to slap himself for thinking something like that.
“Thanks,” Zitao echos. It gets uncomfortably quiet again. Kris becomes all too aware of the fact that he is, somehow, one of the most socially inept people he has ever met, and that he has never been on a date before, nor has he even had his first kiss (if one does not count that time that Jongdae drunkenly landed one on the corner of his lips, which he doesn’t, because oh god why). He has always been awkward, to the point where his only friend in elementary school was Yixing, but somehow once he entered high school, people misinterpreted that as being cool and distant, and it probably helped that puberty treated him exceedingly well.
In other words: Kris’s whole life is like every trite romcom trope rolled into one really, really ridiculously good-looking package, and he doesn’t find it funny in the least.
The second tick by, and Kris can’t seem to think of a single thing to say, even though he had made up a whole list. He’s pretty sure he’s doing that thing where he stares and doesn’t speak, and all he can think of is the fact that Jongdae totally called it and that makes him a little upset. The arrival of the food does nothing to ameliorate the situation, and the light clink of silverware against porcelain plates only amplifies their silence.
Kris checks his watch. Sixteen minutes of silence have gone by. As it gets to the seventeenth, he rather recklessly puts his fork down, which makes such a loud noise that Zitao looks up, and their gazes meet. It is a moment out of a television drama, which Kris knows because he has a not-so-secret love for those television dramas, dammit, they’re just so addictive. Without even thinking about it, he blurts out, “I’m sorry. This is probably the worst date ever. I am the worst date ever. I suck, and I hate me.”
Zitao blinks very rapidly a few times and says in a voice that is just a little tremulous, “Is this a date?”
“Uh,” Kris replies. He had not meant to call it a date, the word had just kind of slipped out. “If you want it to be?” he says, hesitantly.
Immediately, Zitao’s whole face seems to soften as he smiles. “Oh my god,” he says, and to Kris’s relief he sounds happy. “This is a date. We are out on a date on my birthday. This is, like, the most romantic thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life.”
Kris makes a mental note to grovel at Chanyeol’s feet for a few moments for convincing him that this was a good idea. “I really am sorry, though,” he says. “I... well, I don’t have much experience with this. In fact, this is the first date I’ve ever been on.”
“Oh,” says Zitao, and Kris can tell he’s struggling not to look surprised, but he doesn’t say anything. “Well, that’s okay! I mean, neither do I. Most of my experience is limited to, uh. Staring longingly and having embarrassing thoughts.”
Kris can empathize with that. They’re quiet again, but it is infinitely less awkward this time. “So, are we going out?” Kris asks. “Because, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure what dating, you know. Entails.”
Zitao thinks about this for a few moments. “Well, I don’t know if most people feel like this when they date, but I just want to hang out with you a lot, and talk about things, and learn more about you, and also maybe kiss you at least somewhat often,” Zitao replies, rather bluntly. Kris can appreciate that in him, because he isn’t, and wishes he was, but he is so ambivalent with his feelings that he can’t even bring himself to directly reject the love letters he gets on a daily basis. “If that’s okay with you,” he adds on, in a more hesitant tone.
Kris laughs, relieved, for the first time in what feels like weeks. “Yeah,” he says. “That’s more than okay with me.”
The tension dissolves seems to dissolve after that, and keeping up a conversation between them is effortlessly easy. They joke around and do couple things, like playfully feed each other (he’s not exactly sure why Zitao seems close to paroxysms of delight when he holds up his fork to Zitao’s mouth, but Zitao looks happy and that’s all that matters) and he realizes that being with Zitao feels like being with any of his other friends, except that he notices it more when Zitao smiles, and - true to Yixing’s song - it’s a warm, tingling sort of feeling.
Their date comes to an end and Kris drives Zitao home. Standing at the doorstep, Zitao shyly says thanks him, and says, “I had a great time.”
“I’m glad. Me too,” Kris replies, and before he can give himself time to think about it, he leans over and kisses Zitao - it’s light and chaste but Kris thinks it’s one of the best feelings he’s ever experienced in his entire life. When he steps back again, Zitao’s expression is radiant.
That Monday, a girl comes to Kris’s locker before first period classes and, looking down at the floor, hands him a letter. “I really like you,” she says, and blushes. “Please, would you accept this?”
He looks at her, then at the letter, and thinks vaguely about Huang Zitao. “I’m sorry. I can’t take this,” he replies, and smiles despite himself. “There’s somebody else that I like.”
BONUS SCENE ONE:
“Kris and Zitao sitting in a tree,” Chanyeol sings, “K-I-S-S-I-N-G, and guess what? It’s all thanks to me!”
“Nice rhyme,” Jongdae says as Minseok offers Chanyeol a high-five and Yixing nods in approval of his impromptu composition.
Kris is too busy being on cloud nine to tell them to shut up, though, and merely gives them a blissful smile. Chanyeol immediately freezes and Jongdae shivers. “Maybe this was a bad idea,” Chanyeol murmurs, “Kris is really, really freaky when he’s happy.”
BONUS SCENE TWO:
“- and he said it was his first date ever,” Zitao says, and sighs happily. “I took Kris’s first date virginity, guys.”
Sehun chokes on a chip and Lu Han starts beating at his back with far more force than is necessary. Baekhyun wrinkles his nose and says, “I’m going to need extra strength brain bleach to get that phrase out of my memory permanently.”
“First date virginity,” Zitao repeats wistfully.
fandom: Exo - Taoris
description: Sequel to Notice Me This Year. Kris Wu is the most popular guy in high school. He definitely does not watch bad television dramas because he enjoys them. And it's not as if he's never been on a date, or had a first kiss, or understands how to deal with having a crush on his underclassman Huang Zitao, or how to handle talking to other people in general. Nope, he's definitely just as cool as all the girls say he is. Definitely.
author's notes: i'm sorry for everything and i promise the next thing i write for exo will not be a travesty like this. like with "notice me this year," please do not take anything in this seriously :')
also, the title has nothing to do with the fic, but it's a play off that stereotypical shojo manga scene where the characters stand there and there are flower petals blowing dramatically around. even back in my manga reading days i could never take that seriously...