Genre(s): romance, angst, fluff
Word Count: 5,211
Summary: Seohyun doesn't need anyone. But maybe she does.
Written for kpop_olymfics and originally posted here.
a/n: Apologies to my team for being the worst teammate ever (aka hiding out by myself) b/c I was too ashamed that I didn't get inspiration for this until two days before the deadline OTL That being said, I'm actually really pleased with this?
Seohyun looked up from her book to find one of the boys from her class standing in front of her desk, fidgeting with the edge of his uniform shirt. They were having recess indoors that day since it was storming outside, so Seohyun had opted to spend the time reading. She wasn't too pleased with the interruption, but she was always polite, so she placed her bookmark between the pages and set the book down on the corner of her desk.
“I was wondering...” the boy started when she had folded her hands in front of her and looked up at him expectantly, “Do you...do you wanna be my girlfriend?”
Seohyun felt her forehead crease as she processed what he'd asked her. His girlfriend? She barely knew him, first of all. He sat on the other side of the room from her and they'd maybe exchanged ten words the whole school year. Also, they were eight. How practical was it to have a boyfriend at the age of eight? Seohyun couldn't see any benefit to dating this boy at this point in her life.
“I don't think it would be practical for us to date,” she told him honestly, watching his face fall, “I'm just not interested in having a boyfriend. But I hope we can be friends.” She smiled kindly at him.
The boy nodded and retreated back to his friends on the other side of the room.
Seohyun could see the way his shoulders slumped and she felt a sense of guilt for disappointing him. But it was better to tell him that she wasn't interested now than to try to date him and end up ignoring him by accident.
She'd worry about romantic relationships later.
“Seohyun, I think you're gonna rob Jessica of her title as ice princess,” Hyoyeon told her with a wicked grin as she re-entered SNSD's dressing room at the MBC building.
Seohyun's affronted look and Jessica's glare were both ignored in favor of elbowing Seohyun in the ribs as she squeezed onto the couch next to her.
“I heard you turned down another rookie who asked you out,” she taunted with a glint in her eye, “If you keep this up, people are going to start thinking you're a lesbian.”
At that, Jessica threw a pillow at the smirking girl and, surprisingly, hit her directly on the back of her head.
“Yah!” Hyoyeon turned around, displeased, “The coordi unnies are gonna have to fix my hair now!”
Jessica shrugged nonchalantly, “Oh well.”
“I didn't mean there was anything wrong with being a lesbian,” Hyoyeon amended, “I just don't want people to get the wrong idea about our maknae.”
Jessica rolled her eyes and got up to go talk to Tiffany, glancing back at Seohyun curiously.
“So why did you turn this one down?” Hyoyeon pressed, “Not cute enough? Too much of a pansy? Was his dick too small?”
“Unnie!” Seohyun chided.
Hyoyeon grinned unrepentantly.
“I just don't even know him. Why would I go out with a stranger?”
“To get to know him?” Hyoyeon suggested.
“I really don't want to go through all the trouble of sneaking around to go on a date with some guy I don't even know,” Seohyun explained, “It's not worth it.”
“You're even more uptight than people give you credit for,” Hyoyeon teased, earning her a scowl, “You should take a chance every once in a while. Maybe you'll be glad you did.”
Seohyun sighed and chanced a look at Jessica who was hanging off Tiffany's arm and laughing at something that Sunny was saying.
She forced herself to look away.
They'd always been pretty close, since before they'd debuted. Maybe it wasn't a friendship that people would have been able to guess at. It wasn't loud or obvious and it didn't have fans making poster boards with their couple name on it, but Seohyun liked to think that she was closer to Jessica than most of the other girls were. She hoped she was right even if she'd never admit to such a selfish thought.
The fact that Jessica openly had a preference for girls had never been an issue either. Why would it be? Jessica was Jessica, her (unofficial) favorite unnie. Her sexuality was irrelevant to their friendship, although Seohyun sometimes found herself relieved when Jessica would turn down the guys who were interested in her. But that was just because Seohyun knew that Jessica deserved the best, and none of those guys were good enough for her.
Seohyun and Jessica were both fairly quiet which was one of the main reasons why their friendship slid under the radar for the most part. And she figured that fans wouldn't imagine that the innocent and sweet maknae would get along well with Jessica, straight forward, stubborn, and (mistakenly) accused of being a cold person.
Jessica doted on Seohyun just as much as the other girls, but there was always something so vulnerable about the older girl when she was around Seohyun that had Seohyun wanting to take care of her instead. Consequently, their relationship was a little different than Seohyun's relationship with any of the other members. There was a give and take, an understanding, that was between them that she didn't have with anyone else.
She had her unnies.
And then there was Jessica.
Seohyun knew that fans thought that she participated in only the most intellectual of activities in her spare time. And while that would have been an ideal scenario, sometimes she was just so wiped out that she could do nothing but flop down on the couch in front of the TV after a long day. Not to say that TV couldn't be intellectually stimulating. It was just that Seohyun didn't watch shows with any kind of substance when she was feeling like that. She often didn't even bother to change the channel.
It was a nice feeling sometimes to just let herself relax into the cushions while she stared mindlessly at the television, barely even paying attention to what was on the screen. Often another member would join her on the couch and then someone else would curl up in the chair, but that particular evening after an exhausting day of comeback preparation, she was the only one in the living room.
Seohyun was so zoned out that she didn't even register the soft footsteps across the wood floor and she didn't even really register another presence until someone dropped into her lap. It was with a wince due to that person's bony butt that she realized that Jessica was perched on her thighs, leaning back against Seohyun's chest.
“Unnie,” Seohyun said, hands coming up to rest on Jessica's hips instinctively, “There's room on the couch.”
After she'd said it, Seohyun felt kind of stupid, because obviously there was room on the couch for Jessica to sit. The older girl could see that. And it wasn't that Seohyun minded having Jessica in her lap. It was just...well...she didn't know. She just felt like it needed to be addressed.
“I can see that,” Jessica laughed, reaching back over her shoulder to blindly tap Seohyun on the side of the head.
“Because,” Jessica cut her off, “I'd rather sit here. Is that okay, Seohyunnie?”
Jessica had leaned back enough to rest her head on the back of the couch and she turned to looked at Seohyun, her face so close that Seohyun could feel her warm breath against her jaw.
“Of course it's okay, unnie,” Seohyun reassured her, as she would have had any of the other members chosen to sit in her lap. But they didn't, that was the thing. It had only ever been Jessica. But even that was rare, leaving Seohyun to wonder if Jessica even realized that she kept doing it.
Jessica made a noise of contentment and relaxed against Seohyun's chest as Seohyun wrapped her arms around Jessica's waist. She was too awake now to stare almost uncomprehendingly at the TV, but Jessica's warmth had her feeling more comfortable than she had before and she stayed where she was for an hour longer than she usually would just so Jessica wouldn't have to move.
Fanning herself with her hands, Seohyun walked over to the edge of the studio to grab her bottle of water. After taking a generous drink and taking her hair down only to pull it back in a tighter ponytail, she found her eyes drifting over to the other side of the room where Jessica was leaning against the wall, hair pulled up in a messy bun on top of her head, and her eyes closed.
Maybe she shouldn't bother her, Seohyun thought. Jessica was infamous for catching quick catnaps during even the shortest of breaks. She didn't want to be the one to deprive her of precious sleep. Jessica was none too pleased with the person who accidentally woke her up before she needed to be awake and functioning. But then Seohyun saw her shift, blowing at a few stray hairs that had come loose- little soft tufts at her hairline that weren't likely to be tamed.
Making up her mind, Seohyun grabbed a clean towel and walked over to where Jessica was sitting, lowering herself down to the floor so that she was seated beside her unnie. When Jessica looked over at her, she held up the towel and then proceeded to dab at the sweat gathered on her forehead and on her upper lip, watching Jessica's face intently as she shut her eyes and tilted her head so that Seohyun could reach more easily. She looked so serene and sweet in that moment, no makeup on her face and dressed in a soft t-shirt and leggings, yielding to Seohyun's fussing with a happy sigh.
It was with regret that Seohyun pulled away and set the towel on the ground next to her.
“You're the best magnae,” Jessica murmured, leaning her head to the side to rest it against Seohyun's shoulder, “Super Junior has Kyuhyun and we have you.”
Seohyun wasn't exactly sure what to say to that, unsure if it was more of a compliment to her or a chance to poke fun at their senior, so she just reached out and placed her hand on Jessica's thigh, hoping that the comfort of resting together outweighed the unnecessary added heat. But Jessica didn't protest, so she figured it was alright.
When the choreographer came back and announced that they'd be starting again, Jessica turned so that her face was buried against Seohyun's neck and whined, reaching over to grab onto Seohyun's arm to keep her from getting up.
“We have to get up, unnie,” Seohyun told her, wishing herself that they could just have a few more minutes. And it had nothing to do with tiredness at all.
Jessica still refused to move.
It took Hyoyeon coming over and bodily hauling her up with Jessica protesting all the while to get her on her feet. Seohyun hastily stood up once Jessica's comforting weight wasn't resting against her side anymore and moving to her starting position for the dance. She saw Taeyeon glance at her even before Hyoyeon started to chide her about spoiling Jessica.
Seohyun apologized for delaying rehearsal even as Sooyoung playfully scoffed and told her that she apologized too much. Glad to be on a different topic, even if this one was still at her expense, she laughed along, relieved when they finally got to rehearsing.
Because she didn't know what to do with Jessica's gaze on her through the mirror as all of that occurred and for some time afterward. Thinking too hard about that only brought up feelings that Seohyun had been determinedly locking away for years. And she always followed through with what she set her mind to, so there was absolutely no way that she was going to acknowledge those musings.
Even if they were multiplying and starting to get more and more obstinate about making themselves heard.
Seohyun didn't drink much. But on special occasions, she made an exception, though she was always responsible about it- not wanting to get drunk enough that her judgment was skewed and not drunk enough that she woke up feeling like she'd been run over the next day. Just a glass or two of wine or champagne and she'd call it quits.
And that was exactly what she'd planned to do on Yuri's birthday when all of them gathered together at the dorm for dinner and champagne afterward. Except somehow she'd ended up accepting a third glass when Sunny had pushed it into her hand with a smile. But the fourth glass was her own fault since she'd grabbed it when she realized that she'd been staring for ten minutes at Jessica as she talked to Yoona. Which was a problem considering her unwelcome feelings were less easily evaded when she was drinking. So she did the stupid, impulsive thing, and drank more.
To be fair, she wasn't falling down drunk or anything- what she'd eaten for dinner had absorbed the alcohol well enough- but she was definitely behaving a bit more freely than she normally did. Which was how she ended up flopped on the couch next to Jessica, leaning into her and feeling the way her body shook when she laughed.
“Is our Seohyunnie drunk?” Jessica teased when Yoona had decided that she ought to get to bed, “Your eyes look a little unfocused.”
“I'm not drunk,” Seohyun assured her and Jessica giggled, eyes bright and cheeks pink- a bit past tipsy herself.
Seohyun made herself comfortable with her head on Jessica's shoulder as Jessica went between interacting with the other members who were still awake and watching the muted TV. Actually having dozed off for a couple of minutes, Seohyun was surprised to find that they were the only two who hadn't retired to their rooms.
“Unnie,” Seohyun yawned, “We should go to bed.”
“But I want to stay here,” Jessica argued, sliding further down the couch so that her hips were right at the edge of the cushion and her neck was bent against the back as she maneuvered an arm over Seohyun's shoulders to keep her in place. Not that Seohyun was going anywhere quickly.
“But we have to get up early tomorrow.”
“Not that early,” Jessica contended, “Besides, I want to lay with you and you aren't in my bed.”
Seohyun had been feeling a bit groggy before, but those words sent a jolt of adrenaline through her as she felt her cheeks heat up. Jessica had only been talking about cuddling, but any insinuation that Jessica would want her in her bed for any reason was enough to have her paying attention.
“You're being silly,” Seohyun said, trying to get past the moment that had left her with her stomach in knots, “Why would I be in your bed? It's too small. You wouldn't want me there.”
Jessica was supposed to agree. She was supposed to laugh it off and say that Seohyun was right, that her bed was too small and that it was a ridiculous thought.
But that is not at all what she got.
“No, we could fit,” Jessica insisted, “And I could think of so many reason why I would want you there,” she giggled, turning to look at Seohyun playfully.
Seohyun swallowed, “Like what?”
Jessica looked at her thoughtfully, suddenly serious, “Do you really have to ask?”
Opening her mouth, Seohyun tried to think of a response- specifically a response that would allow her to laugh this off so that she could pretend that this had never happened. Because they were getting into very dangerous territory and she didn't know how she'd be able to get out if she sunk in much deeper.
“You always take care of me,” Jessica was saying then, sitting up on the couch and looking at Seohyun intently even though it looked like she was having somewhat of a hard time keeping her gaze still due to the champagne in her system, “You do it more than you do with the other girls. No one else treats me like that.”
Seohyun was at a loss. She really didn't want to lie. She absolutely hated lying and avoided doing so at all costs which was particularly tricky as an idol since they were asked some strangely personal questions in interviews.
“Seohyun,” Jessica intoned, like she was afraid that Seohyun wasn't going to answer, “I'm not imagining things, am I?”
“No,” Seohyun whispered, feeling like all of the air was sucked out of the room. This wasn't supposed to happen. Jessica was never supposed to know about those feelings she kept locked away. No one was supposed to. Seohyun barely even acknowledged them herself. This wasn't right.
Jessica's eyes were wide as she took in Seohyun's face, searching for something more that would tell her where to go from here. But Seohyun was fairly certain that the only emotion playing out on her face was fear.
“Seohyun,” Jessica said again, eyebrows furrowing as she very nearly pouted, reaching a hand out to cup Seohyun's cheek.
No no no, this was bad. This wasn't supposed to happen. Jessica wasn't supposed to have feelings for her. She shouldn't have shown any weakness. She wanted to open her mouth to tell Jessica that this was all wrong- everything was wrong. She wanted to tell her that they needed to forget about this conversation as soon as possible. She needed to tell her that they had to be stronger.
But then Jessica's eyes had locked onto hers and Seohyun felt a surge of emotion in her chest. Seohyun watched Jessica's eyes fall shut and the next things she knew, Jessica's lips were against hers.
The voice of reason in her head that was yelling at her to stop was getting drowned out by the rush of blood in her ears and the pounding of her heart until she could no longer hear it and she was instead only focused on the slide of her lips against Jessica's. Because she was kissing her back and her head was spinning and her pulse was racing and she didn't have it in her to stop.
Seohyun woke up in her own bed in the clothes that she'd been wearing last night, which was a big red flag considering she never, ever went to bed without changing into her pajamas and brushing her teeth because otherwise, she felt disgusting.
Sitting up, she glanced over at Hyoyeon who was still fast asleep- hair half covering her face and mouth open. A look at the clock showed that it was only 7:30 in the morning. Somehow, despite having had too much to drink the night before, Seohyun's body clock still had her waking up early.
Her head was pounding and her stomach felt a little queasy, but there was something niggling at the back of her mind that had her in a good mood despite all of that. As she got up to shower and brush her teeth because she kind of felt like something might have died in her mouth, she suddenly remembered why she'd gone to bed in such a good mood. Seohyun closed the bathroom door behind her and tried to breath through the bout of nausea caused by the swoop her stomach took at the recollection of the previous night.
Jessica had practically confessed to her and she'd done nothing to deny her returned feelings. And then there had been the kissing. She was pretty sure that her mind had completely turned off after the first lip lock. Because, if that hadn't been the case, then she was sure that she never would have ended up with her back against the wall of the living room with Jessica pressed against her, leaning up to lick into her mouth with a whine that sent the tendrils of arousal skittering under her skin.
What had she done?
Breakfast was uncomfortable, to say the least. Seohyun didn't know what to do with herself or what to say to Jessica. How was she even supposed to act around her? She knew she probably had to tell Jessica that it had all been a lapse of judgment on her part and that they shouldn't pursue anything. But it wasn't like she could just say that with all the other members in the room.
Besides, she wasn't ready to say anything yet. She needed to mentally prepare herself first. A fact made especially apparent when she accidentally caught Jessica's eye across the kitchen and had to look away quickly- the small smile on her unnie's face and the question in her eyes...she wasn't ready to confront that. Not with how her heart ached with the knowledge of exactly what she couldn't have.
The ride to the SM building was no less awkward than breakfast since, despite Jessica making an effort to sit next to her in the van, Seohyun made a point to end up sandwiched between Hyoyeon and Yuri. She muttered something about having a headache to Hyoyeon and rested her head on her shoulder, closing her eyes so she wouldn't have to see the hurt look on Jessica's face.
Seohyun found out that it was nearly impossible to avoid someone when in a room with an entire wall of mirrors. It seemed that, no mater where she looked, Jessica was always there, right in her peripheral, so that Seohyun would have to make up some excuse to turn the other direction. She tried to look casual on top of it all, just so no one would ask her what was wrong because she really didn't know what she would say.
The worst part, however, was just how obvious it was that Jessica was upset, even if Seohyun managed not to look directly at her all day. The older girl kept getting scolded by their choreographer for making mistakes in sections of the dance that they'd already mastered days ago, and Seohyun knew that it was all her fault.
She watched out of the corner of her eye as Tiffany put an arm over Jessica's shoulders and led her out of the practice studio during their break. And while she knew she should have been glad that Jessica had someone to take care of her when Seohyun couldn't (wouldn't), all she felt was jealousy. She should be the one comforting Jessica, not Tiffany. Jessica had said herself that she liked having Seohyun take care of her. But she knew that she had no right to feel that way since she would never allow herself to give in to her feelings.
Jealousy didn't sit well with Seohyun so she was noticeably frustrated by the end of the day, being uncharacteristically snippy with the other members who all looked completely perplexed by her mood. Except for Jessica who had, by that point, stopped even looking in her direction. Which hurt more than it should.
By the time they got back to the dorm, it was after eleven, so most of the members showered, snacked, and then relaxed for a bit before bed as was typical when they weren't getting back in the wee hours of the morning. Seohyun ended up standing in the middle of the kitchen, gripping the back of one of the chairs, and trying to calm her breathing. She had to talk to Jessica that night. As much as she wanted to put it off, she knew that she had to. It wasn't fair of her not to offer Jessica any explanation for her actions. Hopefully the sooner they got this over with, the sooner they could go back to how they were. If that was even possible.
Just when Seohyun was psyching herself up to going out into the living room and asking Jessica if they could talk, Jessica walked into the kitchen, freezing when she saw Seohyun there before looking at the ground and walking around her to get to the fridge.
“Unnie?” Seohyun said, voice thin, “Can we talk?”
She watched as Jessica tensed with her hand on the door to the fridge. After maybe twenty long seconds had passed, Jessica turned around, face set into a mask of indifference- that very same blank expression that got her labeled as an ice princess.
“You want to talk?” Jessica asked, an edge to her voice as her eyebrows rose disdainfully, “After ignoring me all day?”
Seohyun flinched at Jessica's tone. They had never really fought before, so it was her first time hearing that tone directed at her. She really hoped that it would be the last.
“I'm sorry,” she breathed, so ashamed of how she had acted, but still unsure of how to behave now. It wasn't like she could just tell Jessica how much it hurt to see her unhappy and how much she'd been dying to hug her all day, telling her that she was perfect and that she shouldn't ever look that sad.
Jessica's expression stayed the same, but she sighed, nodding and leading the way to her bedroom. Once the door was closed, Jessica strode coolly over to her desk and leaned her hip against it, arms crossed, as she waited for Seohyun to speak.
“Unnie, I'm so so sorry,” she began only to be cut off.
“For ignoring me or for kissing me?”
Seohyun paused before she responded, “I'm sorry for giving in to my feelings. And then for how I handled it today.”
Jessica was frowning now, but it almost looked more like confusion than anger.
“What do you mean, giving in to your feelings?”
“I was weak, I'm sorry,” she said, “I shouldn't have given you the idea that something could happen between us.”
“What feelings?” Jessica repeated with a scowl that was only half angry.
Seohyun felt herself flush. Jessica really wasn't ever supposed to know how weak she was. Even though they'd kissed, having to actually admit to how she felt- something that couldn't be blamed on a little alcohol- was terrifying.
Seohyun took a deep breath, “You were right when you said that I treat you differently than the other members...I don't do it on purpose. I'm not trying to butter you up or something! It just happens.”
Seohyun couldn't meet Jessica's eyes, knowing that her cheeks must have been bright pink.
“Why does it happen, Seohyun?” Jessica asked, voice gentler.
“Because...I have feelings for you,” Seohyun admitted, feeling adrenaline shoot through her at the admission, “But I've really tried not to let then interfere with the group or change anything. I should have been stronger, I'm sorry.”
“Why would you be sorry for having feelings for me?” Jessica asked after a moment of silence and Seohyun couldn't help but look up at her face, seeing the warmth in her eyes as well as the uncertainty, “I think I made it pretty obvious that I have feelings for you too.”
The light flush across the bridge of Jessica's nose had Seohyun transfixed, overwhelmed once again by how beautiful her unnie was- how perfect she was to her.
“But we can't,” Seohyun forced herself to say, “We're part of a group. We can't be selfish.”
“If you live your whole life trying to be selfless, then you're never going to be able to make yourself happy,” Jessica reasoned, eyes pleading, “And besides,” she added when Seohyun opened her mouth to argue, “Tiffany and Yoona both know how I feel about you. Neither of them would have a problem if we were...together. And I'm sure the rest of the girls would be okay with it too.”
The fact that Jessica's feelings for her were significant enough for her to have confided in Tiffany and Yoona had Seohyun's mind reeling. She'd never imaged that Jessica could really feel as strongly for Seohyun as Seohyun felt for her. It took her a moment to catch her breath.
“But I don't need anyone,” she said desperately, feeling her resistance wearing thin.
“What are you talking about?” Jessica asked, stepping toward Seohyun with concern.
Seohyun knew that she must have looked on the verge of falling apart.
“I don't need anyone. I don't want to rely on anyone,” she tried to explain, “I've never needed someone. I can be independent. I can be fine by myself.”
She was trying not to cry now, always wanting to be the one who was calm in order to comfort others- the one whom her unnies could turn to for strength even though she was younger. She was strong enough to hold herself together in favor of shouldering someone else's burden. She shouldn't be breaking down like this.
“I know you can be fine by yourself,” Jessica said softly, “I know that you can get by without relying on anyone, but...it's okay to need someone.”
Seohyun felt a tear escape and slide down her cheek.
“It's okay to need someone,” Jessica reiterated, gaze tender as she stepped closer, “Especially...especially if they need you too.”
She wasn't sure how it happened, but the next thing she knew Jessica had her arms around her and Seohyun's face was buried in the crook of Jessica's neck, her tears wetting the cotton of her t-shirt.
“I've got you,” Jessica murmured into her hair as she stroked her back.
And Seohyun, for once in her life, was okay with that.
“You're so embarrassing,” Jessica whined from behind her hands, curled up against the armrest of the couch, “Stop looking at it.”
“Why?” Seohyun laughed, turning the page in Beauty+ to admire Jessica's photo spread for the third time after the magazine had come out, “Unnie, you look so pretty!”
Jessica made a pathetic whimpering sound and Seohyun put the magazine on the coffee table.
“I'm not looking anymore,” she told her, giggling when Jessica hesitantly removed her hands from her face.
“You're biased anyway,” Jessica pouted, weakly smacking Seohyun in the shoulder and trying to hold back a smile when Seohyun pretended to be affronted at being hit.
Seohyun leaned over and pressed a sweet kiss to Jessica's lips, feeling affection bloom in her chest when Jessica's hand came up to cup her jaw.
“You know, you could have just said that you kept turning guys down because they have dicks,” Hyoyeon teased, purposefully interrupting their kiss with a shit-eating grin.
“What is with you and dicks?” Jessica demanded before Seohyun could think of a good response to that.
“Well, someone has to care about them and you two clearly don't,” she shrugged, laughing when Jessica threw a pillow at her and missed.
“Besides, that's not why anyway,” Seohyun told her.
Hyoyeon raised a brow.
“It's because they weren't...” she blushed, “Jessica-unnie.”
Jessica blushed as Hyoyeon pretended to gag.
“Gross! I'm leaving!” she called as she headed toward her room, “Let me know when the honeymoon phase is over!”
Seohyun knew that she was blushing too for saying something so sappy, but she didn't have to sit with her embarrassment for long since Jessica reconnected their lips as soon as Hyoyeon was out of the room.
Smiling into the kiss, Seohyun finally let her walls to come down. It turned out, she didn't feel weak at all.
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