Genre(s): fluff, romance, humor
Word Count: 2,236
Summary: Gongchan's new haircut bothers Sandeul but he can't put his finger on why.
Written for the B1A4 Secret Santa (b1a4ss
a/n: Minor references to A Pink...because. Also, this is super fluffy and schmoopy. Just be warned.
“Holy shit, Gongchan! Is that really you?” Baro exclaimed, gaping as the younger boy walked up to the group of four of them at the lockers.
Sandeul turned, wondering what all the fuss was about. In all of the years that he'd known Gongchan, the younger boy had looked pretty much the same more or less, barring the fact that he was now taller than all of them except Shinwoo. So he didn't expect much when he turned around.
But he ended up staring with his mouth hanging open unattractively as the sophomore walked up to them.
Despite his height, Gongchan had always been the youngest of their group of friends. While Shinwoo and Jinyoung were seniors and Baro and Sandeul were were juniors, Gongchan was a sophomore and he was even young for a sophomore. But all of the sudden, Gongchan looked like he had matured at least two years.
His hair was shorter in the back and his bangs fell diagonally over his forehead. In short, he'd gone from adorable dongsaeng whose cheeks begged to be pinched to a dongsaeng who was alarmingly handsome. Sandeul swallowed- speechless- as the other three gushed over him.
“You look great, Channie,” Jinyoung cooed, petting the younger boy's hair, “Our little puppy is all grown up.”
“You really look manly,” Shinwoo told him.
“You're gonna get all the girls now,” Baro teased.
Gongchan blushed and Sandeul frowned.
“Doesn't it look good, Sandeul?” Jinyoung asked, shooting Sandeul a pointed look.
“It looks good, Chan,”Sandeul said, smiling weakly. What was wrong with him? And why was his heart hammering so hard?
Gongchan looked at Sandeul uncertainly, seeming unsure of himself. Jinyoung glared at him from behind Gongchan's shoulder.
“I, um, have to go to the bathroom,” Sandeul mumbled, grabbing his backpack and speed walking away from his friends, head down.
“The bell is going to ring in like two minutes,” Baro called after him, but he ignored him and kept walking. He needed to get away.
“What's wrong with you today?” Baro asked, disregarding the instructions their chemistry teacher had passed out and pouring chemicals at random into the beaker.
“Tired,” Sandeul mumbled, too out of sorts to scold Baro for ruining their lab experiment.
“Okay,” Baro shrugged, going back to what he was doing.
“Just because Gongchan got his haircut, it doesn't mean that he's gonna get a bunch of girls,” Sandeul said after a moment of watching Baro play chemist.
“This morning. You said that Gongchan was gonna get all the girls,” he explained.
“Oh,” Baro replied, “I dunno. Girls already like him though. They think he's adorable. She now that he looks older, they'll probably be falling all over themselves to get to him.”
“But just because girls want to date him, it doesn't mean he'll want to date them,” Sandeul pointed out.
“Yeah, I guess.”
Sandeul nodded, but couldn't shake the feeling gnawing at him. And he didn't even bat an eyelash when the teacher came over to reprimand Baro for causing their mixture to overflow.
“Why Gongchan! You look so handsome!” Sandeul's mother gushed when they entered the house after school.
Ever since Gongchan had moved in next door to Sandeul when they were in elementary school, the two of them had walked to and from school together. And through the seemingly endless hours that they'd spent at each other's houses, they'd become close with each other's families as well. Which made Gongchan's sudden transformation even more strange to Sandeul.
“Thank you,” Gongchan replied, bowing his head modestly.
“Doesn't he look handsome, Sandeul?” his mother prompted and Sandeul wondered what what was with everyone wanting him to compliment the younger boy.
“Mmmhmm,” he replied vaguely, digging around in the cupboards for a snack.
“I'll bet all the girls love you,” Sandeul's mother teased Gongchan.
Sandeul frowned, but fortunately his face was hidden by the pantry door.
“Come on, Chan,” Sandeul said, emerging with a bag of chips, “Let's go up to my room and work on homework.”
“Okay,” Gongchan agreed, “I'll see you later ahjumma.”
Sandeul led the younger boy up to the room, the track well-tread for the two of them.
“So...your hair seems to be a hit,” Sandeul observed casually, sitting down in his desk chair while Gongchan sat on the bed.
“Yeah,” Gongchan giggled, cheeks flushing.
Sandeul looked away and cleared his throat. Seriously, what was the matter with him?
“You don't have to like it,” Gongchan said softly, smiling lightly.
“What?” Sandeul looked up, surprised.
“You didn't seem to like it much...”
“No! I do! It's just so different,” he explained.
“Yeah,” the younger boy agreed, “I keep getting surprised when I look in the mirror.”
Sandeul laughed at the image of Gongchan startling himself, feeling some of the tension fall away from him. He didn't know why he had gotten so weird about the other's haircut- like it had changed something fundamental about their friendship or like Gongchan himself would be different because of it.
“I think you probably look older than I do,” Sandeul observed, reaching up to brush at his dark brown bangs, cut straight across his forehead like they had been ever since he was little.
“I do not, hyung,” Gongchan giggled, reaching out and grabbing the chips from where Sandeul had set them on the floor.
Sandeul grinned and wrestled the chip bag away from the younger boy. Everything was as it always was.
Sandeul entered school with the idea of asking Gongchan's opinion on if he should get his hair cut as well. He thought that maybe it was time for a change. And if Gongchan could look that different, then so could he. If he was honest, he had looked up hair styles online the night before. But he was pretty sure that he wasn't going to mention that. Unless Gongchan was really excited about the idea.
Except that, when he walked in, he didn't see Gongchan standing with the other three boys. Sure, Jinyoung, Shinwoo, and Baro were in front of Jinyoung's and his lockers like they usually were, but Gongchan was decidedly absent.
“Hey guys,” he greeted, stooping to open his locker, “Where's Chan?”
“Being a stud,” Baro joked.
“He's over there talking to Nam Joo,” Jinyoung clarified.
“What?” Sandeul whipped around. And sure enough, there was Gongchan, talking to a girl that he'd seen around the halls- a freshman, he was pretty sure.
“What's the big deal?” Baro asked, looking at Sandeul like he was crazy, “Do you not like her or something?”
It was a good question, Sandeul realized. Because he didn't even know Nam Joo- hell, he'd only just learned her name thirty seconds ago! But she was pretty and she was talking to Gongchan, and that was enough apparently.
“No...” he began, realizing that he really had no idea what to say since even he wasn't sure why he was so bothered by it.
“What are you in love with her or something?” Baro teased.
“I don't even know her,” Sandeul rolled his eyes.
“So you're in love with Gongchan, then?” Baro cackled, obviously just being facetious.
“No!” Sandeul immediately responded.
“Geez, I was kidding,” Baro chuckled, holding his hands up in surrender, “You need to get more sleep or something.”
“I think they're in the same geometry class,” Shinwoo jumped in, attempting to cool the tension that no one really knew that cause of.
Sandeul just knew that Baro's teasing accusation that he was in love with Gongchan kept ringing in his head.
Sandeul felt bad for not saying anything to Gongchan as they walked home from school, but he really had no idea what he could say that would sound even relatively normal.
Baro's words had haunted him all through the day- not leaving his mind at all despite the fact that he'd attempted to distract himself and, you know, actually pay attention during his classes. But they just wouldn't leave him alone. And neither would the image of Gongchan so casually talking to that girl- looking unfairly handsome all the while.
It was when he caught himself thinking those thoughts- the ones where he fixated on the younger boy's eyes and his smile and his freaking jaw- that he realized that maybe Baro's jest had been truer than either of them knew. Which had his stomach nearly falling out of his body and onto the linoleum floor with a splat.
Because he couldn't have a crush on Gongchan. They'd known each other for ages. It would be weird. Oh, and then there was the fact that Gongchan was decidedly male and so was he. Barring any worries about what his friends and family would think if they knew, what would Gongchan think? He'd probably be disgusted, Sandeul decided. And if he wasn't, he certainly wouldn't reciprocate his feelings. He'd probably much rather date Nam Joo, or any other female for that matter, than him.
Why oh why couldn't he have just had a crush on a girl?
Like that girl who sat in front of him in his history class...what was her name? Eun Ji! Yes, that's right. Eun Ji. She was pretty. Seemed nice. There was no reason in the world why he shouldn't just like her instead.
Except that there was one very big reason why he didn't like her and that reason was walking next to him- glancing over every few seconds to try to figure out why he wasn't talking.
He was so screwed.
“So...Nam Joo?” Sandeul immediately winced. That was all he could think of to say?
“Huh?” Gongchan looked confused.
“You were talking to her this morning...?” Sandeul hoped that there would be a spontaneous earthquake that would distract them and then maybe Gongchan would forget about this conversation all together.
“Oh right,” Gongchan nodded, finally knowing what it was that Sandeul was referring to, “She wasn't here yesterday so she was asking me about the homework.”
“Oh,” Sandeul replied lamely.
“Why do you ask?”
“I dunno...I just thought maybe you liked her or something?”
“No,” Gongchan laughed, “Why would you think that?”
“Baro made some comment about you being a stud...” Sandeul explained, feeling completely ridiculous even as he said it.
“I think Baro hyung thinks we live in a rap video or something, or maybe a movie,” Gongchan joked.
Sandeul smiled and maybe even chuckled a little though his stomach was still twisting around on itself.
“I like your hair,” he blurted.
At that point, Sandeul was pretty sure he should lose all speaking privileges, but unfortunately, there was no one there to keep him from talking. Except himself and he was obviously failing.
Gongchan looked over at him, surprised.
“I...thank you,” he smiled shyly, dipping his head.
“I know I already told you yesterday,” Sandeul went on, clearly unable to stop himself from babbling, “But I just thought you should know...”
“I'm glad you like it,” Gongchan said softly, glancing up just long enough that Sandeul was able to see that his cheeks were flushed, “I...I was hoping that you would. When I got it cut, I mean. I just...kept thinking about whether you would like it or not.”
Sandeul felt his stomach flip with something akin to hope.
“Just me?” he asked, needing to know what Gongchan was saying, “Or do you mean like me and Baro and Jinyoung and Shinw-”
“I mean you,” Gongchan clarified, uncharacteristically cutting Sandeul off, though his voice was still unsteady- unsure, “I hoped that you'd notice me if I got a haircut.”
“Notice you? Chan, I walk to and from school with you everyday. How could I not notice you before?”
“No, I mean...” Gongchan blew out a breath and gripped the straps of his backpack, “I wanted you to see me as more than just the younger kid who lived next door.”
Sandeul looked at the other boy closely, watching how Gongchan was shifting from foot to foot and noticing the way that his eyes were darting around as though looking for something to settle on that wasn't his face. When had they stopped walking?
He still wasn't completely sure what Gongchan was getting it, but if the way his heart was pounding was any indication, he knew he had to speak up now.
“I did,” he finally said, “Notice you, I mean. With the new hair...I-I noticed.”
Gongchan looked at him then, studying his face to see if they were both talking about the same thing. Sandeul was fairly certain that the way his cheeks were burning was a dead giveaway as to what he meant.
“So is it just the hair or...”
“No,” Sandeul shook his head, “No I don't think so. It's...it's you.”
“Oh,” Gongchan exhaled, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, “Good.”
“Yeah,” Sandeul nodded, the two of them beginning to walk again.
Except that this time, their hands were clasped between them- tentative and a little unsure, but determined. Which was the same way Sandeul felt when he plucked up the courage to lean over and kiss Gongchan later that afternoon when they were sitting on his bed- lips just pressing together gently.
And it was even sweeter than he'd imagined it would be.