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13 October 2012 @ 01:55 am
I'll Pull Your Pigtails Until You Get It [TaoKai]  
Title: I'll Pull Your Pigtails Until You Get It
Pairing: Tao/Kai
Genre: Romance
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Prompt: Artwork #33
Summary: Tao is oblivious, and Jongin resorts to childishness to get his attention. It doesn't quite go as planned.
Word Count: 4.313
A/N: For sunwa, at SNCJ's Reverse BB. The title sucks, I'm sorry :c It was a little bit of a challenge writing Tao/Kai, I had never really thought about them together before, but I liked it! I really liked the art and the idea behind it. And this was kinda X-men-ish, with the whole center for the gifted thing. I hope you enjoyed it, anyway :3

It starts like a little prank. The kindergarten type, where the boy pulls the girl's pigtails because he doesn't know how to say I like you, and Jongin is silly like that.

Jongin is one of the youngest, but also the one who's been “awake” the longest. His powers are well honed and not even Wufan, who is said to be the strongest, can get a hold of him when they train.

He's just too fast.

One time, when he was bored, he asked Sehun to time how many times he could come and go in a second. Sehun couldn't really tell, but it was probably four or five times. The grin on Jongin's face had been so big that day that Kyungsoo had given him a slap on the head.

“To deflate your ego a little.” He had said.

The thing is, Jongin is really the fastest of them all when it comes to using his powers, and he's damn proud of it.

But when Tao comes into the picture, Jongin gets a little bit carried away. Just a little bit.

Tao arrives at the center on a rainy day. Wufan is the one to go to the airport, since Tao can barely speak Korean and Wufan is the only who speaks Chinese and drives.

Tao stays at a corner of the airport, huddled between his two suitcases, slanted eyes wide open, taking in the people that come and go. He doesn't wait for long until he spots a tall, dark haired boy looking around, and from the description he had received, he's fairly certain it's Wufan.

Wufan looks at Tao a few seconds later, just as Tao is contemplating whether to wave a hand in Wufan's direction or grab his things and go after him.

The introduction is awkward because Tao is extremely shy, but Wufan has a nice, welcoming smile, despite his serious face, and Tao feels like breathing for the first time since he said goodbye to China.

The trip to the center is filled with silence, and it's not as bad as Tao would have thought.

He thinks he might like Korea, after all.

A few hours later he changes his mind, because that boy – what's his name again? Jongin? – hasn't stopped looking at him since he got here, and it's starting to get on Tao's nerves. Everyone is really welcoming, kind smiles and jumbled Korean words that Tao doesn't understand, but the tone is soft, so he smiles and bows.

He's at the cafeteria, grabbing something to eat as Wufan tries to explain how everything works, while Luhan and Yixing bicker on who will show Tao the training rooms, but Tao isn't really paying attention to them.

There's a prickling at the back of his neck, someone's eyes burning through his skull, and Tao clenches his hands.

He looks over his shoulder, scowl firmly in place, the way his mother doesn't like, because it makes you look like a gangster, and his eyes connect with intense dark brown ones, set in a pretty face. It's Jongin, the shy boy who's slightly older than him, who's smile was slow and hesitant when he met Tao.

Jongin averts his gaze as soon as he notices Tao looking, and Tao wonders if Jongin has a problem with him.

It makes something churn in his stomach, because he's in a new place and wants to be liked, accepted, and he hasn’t done anything yet for Jongin to dislike him. Hell, they haven't even properly talked.

But then Luhan asks Tao what's his favorite food, and Wufan is looking between him and Jongin with a considering expression, and Tao ignores Jongin's eyes on him for the rest of the day.

The first time it happens, Tao almost cries afterward.

It's been a week since he got here, and he's training in the room especially made for him. Well, not him specifically, but for people like him.

People who control time.

Not that Tao is any good at that. It's been a year and a half since he found out he could mess around with time, but he never really thought about the extent of the things he could do. Not until he got a letter from someone named Joonmyun, telling him about EXO Training Center For The Gifted, where Tao would have a full scholarship and learn how to use his powers. His mother tried to say no, his father encouraged him to go, and Tao spent a month wondering how Joonmyun had found out, and deciding what to do.

He's still not sure if his decision was good. (But at least he's found out that Luhan is more than a simple telekinetic. Luhan can see things far away, and Tao jokes he's like a telescope. Sehun always laugh at it.)

On his second day, Joonmyun, who revealed himself to be young and kind and nothing like Tao had imagined, showed him the special Time Room. A room with black walls, with layers upon layers of special shielding around it, so Tao's power doesn't escape through the gaps of the door and the single, small window in the center of the largest wall.

Petals all around the floor, used for testing his powers, and Tao thought it looked too simple to be special.

But as he began training, with Joonmyun and Wufan alternating between overseeing him, on his first days, Tao realized he didn't need more than this.

So he's been spending hours upon hours inside the Time Room, and he still can barely make time stop for a few minutes before a ridiculous exhaustion takes over him. It's harder than he thought, but Tao is not really someone who gives up.

He's looking at a petal right now, frozen right in front of his face, and Tao is counting the seconds in his head.

It's then that he hears a small noise, a loud woosh, like the wind running through the small opening of a door, and his concentration breaks, the petal falling slowly to the floor.

He looks around, nerves hyper aware, but there's nothing, no one, there.

Tao waits a few seconds, but everything is still, so he goes back to training.

And the sound comes again, this time close enough for the hairs on the back of his neck to rise, and Tao whips around, but again, nothing. He's either going crazy or someone's playing with him, and he doesn't like either of those options.

He stays still longer this time, controlling his breathing like his wushu master had taught him, closing his eyes and concentrating on the flow of energy around him. And when the sound comes again, Tao's eyes open immediately, already focused on the point where the sound came from, and for a split moment, too fast to rationalize, Tao sees a tanned face and dark brown eyes.

It's Jongin, and Tao feels a sour taste in his mouth.

He's ready to yell as soon as Jongin appears again, but that never happens that day. Tao leaves the room shortly after that, and all through dinner he ignores Kyungsoo's giggles and Jongin's embarrassed face.

Tao feels like a laughing stock, and he barely eats before retreating to his bedroom.

Tears threaten to spill out, but he forcefully holds them in. Throwing himself on his bed, Tao counts pandas and waits for sleep to come.

He doesn't sleep really well that night.

The second time, Jongin isn't really satisfied with just breaking Tao's concentration. He wants to annoy Tao, so he spends a long time coming and going, and even goes as far as stealing the damn petals Tao is holding still in the air.

It's annoying, and a little hurtful, and Tao wants to kick Jongin where it hurts, and he surprises himself with the force of his thoughts.

Tao tries, but he can't stop time at the exact moment Jongin appears. He's just not that good yet, and Jongin notices it, when he stops inside the room for more than just a millisecond, unrepentant smirk on his face.

Tao's scowl stays permanently placed on his face for the rest of his training hours.

The third and fourth times are essentially the same, but they happen almost a month later. Tao takes to practice wushu in the Time Room as well, and he yells at Jongin to stay away because it's dangerous. Of course, Jongin doesn't listen.

He does what he always does, spending hours in and out of the room, stealing petals and Tao's wushu stick. The only thing Jongin doesn't touch is the sword, but that doesn’t stop him from getting too close to it a few times.

The fifth time is when things go wrong. Jongin is playing again, appearing and disappearing on Tao's training without warning. The thing is, Tao is training with only the sword today, and he has told Jongin time and again that it's dangerous.

Jongin, of course, ignores him.

He figures he's too fast to be hurt, even if he's caught. Which really should have been a warning thought, because things always go wrong if you get too cocky.

Jongin appears right in front of Tao, and he smirks at the surprised expression on Tao's face. What takes him a full second to notice is that he's not disappearing, and the expression on Tao's face is slowly building into one of horror.

It's then he feels a piercing pain on his abdomen, and he looks down to see Tao's sword impaled somewhere under his heart. It probably got one of his lungs, it's too close to his ribcage not to.

Jongin looks at Tao again, and he looks like he's about to cry.

It's the first time Jongin's seen that expression on Tao's face, and he feels bad, wants to apologize, to tell Tao not to cry, he didn't mean to make him cry, will you forgive me?

But he can't say a word, and suddenly he's teleporting again, without his conscious consent, to somewhere he doesn't know. There's sun hitting down his face, wherever he is, but Jongin can't even wince before the pain makes him black out.

Tao panics for a second when Jongin vanishes, and then he's sprinting out of the room, fear clenching his heart. The horrible moment only lasted a few seconds, and for the first time since coming to EXO, Tao resents his inability to reverse time.

He only prays Jongin will hold on until they find him.

He enters the cafeteria, where he will probably find someone, because the cafeteria is never empty. Sure enough, Wufan and Yixing are eating at a far table, close to the windows.

“Ge! Ge, please, you have to help me!”

He shouts loud enough that he attracts the attention of everyone inside, way more people than he had previously noticed. But Tao doesn't care, his only thoughts are getting help and finding Jongin and oh god, please let us find him in time.

They find Jongin some fifteen minutes later with the help of Luhan and his orbs. Jongin is passed out and bleeding at the edge of the forest surrounding the EXO center. He's too pale and his breaths are shaky, and Tao has to take deep breaths. He can't start crying now, Jongin needs them. Needs him.

The thought of getting angry at Jongin, because this is his fault, never crosses Tao's mind.

Someone starts crying – probably Sehun or Kyungsoo – as Yixing kneels down and starts moving his hands slowly through Jongin's chest, trying to ease the bleeding, because they can't carry him in that state. He doesn't say anything, but the set of his mouth is enough to worry Tao.

“What is it?” Tao asks with desperation in his voice.

Yixing takes a while to answer, and Tao's not sure if he's too concentrated or just stalling for time.

When Yixing finally opens his mouth, Tao closes his hands into tight fists, because it's one of the last things he wanted to hear right now.

“His teleporting messed up his wound. Teleporting messes around with the body's cells, and I told Jongin to never use it when he was injured. He's not trained enough for that. Of course, he never listens.” The end would be an admonition, if Yixing's voice wasn't trembling so much.

Wufan rests a comforting hand on Yixing's shoulder, and he concentrates again on Jongin.

Tao is taking in the new information with a dawning fear. Jongin's wound was pretty serious to begin with, and now it was worse? Tao wants to scream, to shout at someone to do something, but there's nothing to be done right now, except wait.

It's not long until Yixing is done, sweat starting to form at his forehead from the healing. Tao knows Yixing's power is one of the more difficult ones, taking a toll on the healer's body everytime it's used. Tao makes sure to remember to thank Yixing later.

Right now all he wants to do is take Jongin to the medical ward, and even thought he's not as strong as Wufan nor does he move things like Luhan, Tao insists in being the one to carry Jongin. Amidst the chaos and tears and stricken faces, Tao misses Luhan's brief smirk.

The infirmary, thankfully made to handle any type of injury because of their powers, is white and sterile and unnerving. The nurses don't let them in on the surgery room for obvious reasons, and all they can do is wait outside for hours.

It's night by the time a nurse comes and tells them they can see Jongin, but he's sleeping on heavy painkillers, so you won't be able to talk to him, okay?

Tao is the first to get up and head for the room, and he hears the others' steps behind him. The medic ward is eerily silent, but Tao is too tired to care much. He reaches Jongin's room, but doesn't open the door right away. The last image he has of Jongin in his mind is him bleeding all over the grass, tanned skin shining sickly in the sun.

A hand on his shoulder has him looking back to Luhan's face.

“They've taken care of him. He's going to be okay.”

And all Tao can do is nod, because his throat has closed up, but Luhan understands the feeling. Tao doesn't miss the way Luhan's eyes travel to Sehun, and Tao remembers Jongdae telling him, when he came to the center, about the time Sehun fell from a great height when he was trying to use the wind to fly, and got into a coma for a week.

According to Jongdae, Luhan had been a mess.

Tao knows Luhan understands the panic he's not showing. So, taking a deep breath, he opens the door and enters the room.

The beep beep of the machines hooked to Jongin would be ominous if not for the fact that they show just how much Jongin is alive and well.

They all crowd around Jongin's bed, and Joonmyun takes his hand and squeezes, and there's a collective sigh of relief in the room. No one says anything, because there's nothing to say. They will hold the idiot, we told you not to be so careless until Jongin is well again.

The nurse comes in some five minutes later telling them they only have a few more minutes and then visit time is over. Wufan ushers everyone out of the room. Everyone except Tao.

He barely registers the door closing behind him, but he knows he's alone with Jongin now. He takes the only chair in the room and pulls it closer to the bed, sitting and resting his arms on the sheets, where he can grasp Jongin's hand. It's pale and unmoving, but there's a strong pulse beneath the skin of the wrist, and Tao finally sighs out the fear he had been holding in.

Jongin's alive.

It's then that the tears finally come, and Tao is surprised they didn't come sooner. Obviously he had been more shocked than he had thought.

But it doesn't matter, Jongin's alive and Tao sobs quietly, hours and hours of pent up panic loosening up in his chest.

When Jongin wakes up, two days later, Tao is sitting at the chair again, reading a book.

Jongin opens his mouth to say something, anything, but all he does is cough. Tao jumps slightly in his chair, and looks up, meeting Jongin's eyes.

There's relief and something else in Tao's eyes, and Jongin feels his chest tightens, because he remembers the way Tao's face had paled in horror, the way his eyes had been bright with panicked, unshed tears. Jongin thinks this look on Tao's face right now is much better.

Tao grabs a glass of water from the bedside table and hands it to Jongin, who gulps at it gratefully. When he's done, there's a strange silence in the room, and Jongin feels suffocated.

He wants to apologize, but Tao beats him to it.

“I'm sorry.”

Jongin is surprised, and it must show on his face because Tao stutters. “I-I'm so-sorry, Jongin. I'm so sorry.”

Jongin feels like an asshole, because Tao starts to cry and it's all his fault. He grimaces because the idea behind his annoying little game was never to make Tao cry.

Jongin just wanted to grab his attention.

Getting stabbed seems to have worked. Oh well.

“I should be the one saying sorry.” And Jongin's hands reach out, thumbs caressing gently below Tao's eyes, and Jongin remembers that Tao is younger and more sensitive and Jongin's really, really stupid.

He can feel his face burning, and Tao's inquisitive eyes are on him. “I never meant to make you cry.”

And Tao's eyes take on a curious look that makes Jongin look away, because he suddenly feels vulnerable, and maybe his eyes, his face, said too much.

But Tao doesn't ask, and his hands grab at Jongin's, and they stay there for the rest of the afternoon.

It takes two months for Jongin to get back to full health. The doctor tells them it's only thanks to Yixing's healing that Jongin healed that fast. If they hadn't found him as quickly as they did and stopped the bleeding, Jongin's lung would have taken three months to heal, give or take a few days. It could have easily gotten infected or never healed properly, and Joonmyun doesn't waste anytime in chewing Jongin out for his recklessness.

Wufan just stares stonily at Jongin for a while on the day he's discharged, and Jongin has the decency to blush and look well chastised.

The tension doesn't last, though. Soon Chanyeol is pulling Jongin in a headlock, and Baekhyun wipes a tear with a smile on his face. Jongin looks at his friends and smiles, and they laugh at something silly Minseok said, and Jongin finds himself seeking Tao's eyes. They find and hold onto them, and Tao smiles like he knows something, and as much as Jongin wants to crawl beneath a rock and shake from shame, he returns the smile with a blush.

Things are okay again.

Tao notices there's something wrong a few weeks later, when they are enjoying a brief vacation at the beach.

Jongin is the only one not in the water.

They've been here for a few hours and not once did Jongin enter the water, or even took off his shirt to enjoy the sun, at least. Tao has an inkling of what's wrong, but he's not sure, so he makes up his mind to ask Jongin about it.

The other boys decide to play volleyball, and Tao takes this opportunity to get out of the water and rest a bit in the sand, beside Jongin. They sit side by side for a while, watching the game and not saying anything, but Jongin was never really patient, so he's the first to open his mouth.

“What?” He asks, tone a little petulant.

Tao only smiles. “I want to know why you're not having fun.”

“I am having fun.” Is the answer, but Tao only scoffs slightly, and Jongin blushes, because he's not really a good liar.

“Jongin.” It might be Tao's tone, or his eyes, or the way his hand settle on Jongin's arm. It might be all those things together that make Jongin sigh in defeat.

“I have a scar, and I don't want to show it.”

And Tao was right, but he wishes he wasn't. He pursues his mouth, an apology forming on his tongue, but Jongin beats him to it.

“Don't.” But Jongin's smiling, shy. “I told you, it's not your fault. It's mine.”

“When did you get so mature?” Tao teases, and Jongin sputters, throwing sand at him, and they engage in a little fight that has them both panting and lying on their backs by the end of it. The sun is starting to set, but the other boys don't seem like they'll stop any time soon, so Tao reaches over for Jongin's hand and doesn't let go.

He asks nothing more, and Jongin's fingers are warm and soft, and they squeeze Tao's a little, something like thank you hanging in the air.

They're back at the center before the day ends, and Tao looks at Jongin making his way to his room, and he follows.

He doesn't know where he got the guts for it, but as soon as Jongin enters his bedroom, Tao enters soon behind, closing and locking the door. Jongin's so surprised he doesn't even move, and they're so close that Tao leans against the door to breath and think.

He wasn't thinking when he followed Jongin, but the tense set of Jongin's shoulder were enough to spur him on. But now that he's here, the tension between them is palpable, and Tao wonders if it's a good idea.

He wonders if Jongin will disappear if he gets too close.

But Jongin is looking at Tao like he knows what Tao's thinking, and it's confirmed when he whispers “I'm not going to disappear. I never wanted to run away from you.”

Tao thinks about the time he spent at Jongin's room in the infirmary, thinking things over in his head. He remembers his suspicion about Jongin's behavior, Jongin's expression when he saw Tao crying, and how things connected when Jongin smiled at him, for real, for the first time, that day outside the infirmary.

Tao reaches out, grabs Jongin by the arms and pulls him close, and Jongin goes willingly.

Their breaths mingle, mouths close and noses touching. Tao drags a hand to the hem of Jongin's shirt, and he hesitates for a split second before putting his hand beneath the fabric, connecting with Jongin's warm skin.

Jongin's breath hitches, but Tao's hand doesn't slow. He doesn't want Jongin to think Tao's disgusted by him.

The ascent of his hand is slow, and by the time Tao reaches the scar, Jongin is shaking in his arms. He puts his other arm around Jongin's waist, and Jongin's hands come up to clench at Tao's shoulders.

Tao caresses the scar slowly, not wanting to hurt Jongin, and his fingers graze against the sensitive flesh, feeling the texture. The guilt wants to put its ugly head out, wants to snarl at Tao that he did this, he put this scar here, on Jongin. He made Jongin ashamed of his body.

But now it's not the time, not when Jongin is trembling and his hands are grabbing Tao's shoulders for dear life. Tao needs to be strong now.

He lifts Jongin's shirt, insistent on taking it out, and it takes a while for Jongin to comply. But when he does, chest bared for Tao, he's blushing, lower lip between his teeth and arms around himself. Tao grabs Jongin's arms and pull them away from his abdomen slowly, and Jongin evades his eyes.

The scar is still angry looking after all these months, and Tao thinks it gives Jongin an edge.

“Now you can tell everyone you have battle scars.” Tao smirks, and Jongin's laugh is quick and surprised, and he relaxes a little.

Jongin looks at him then, and his eyes are shy and earnest and completely embarrassed, and Tao realizes how beautiful Jongin is, right at this moment, scar and all.

He pulls Jongin close again and this time he comes easier, eager, and the kiss that was waiting to happen since they entered the room is unsurprisingly soft. Tao takes them to Jongin's bed, never breaking the kiss, and they fumble a little, but soon they're lying on the sheets, Jongin's legs around Tao's waist.

Tao locks his gaze with Jongin as he leans down, slowly, to kiss the scar, just below Jongin's heart. The look Jongin sends him makes him shiver, and he presses close, closer, and Jongin's trembling hands on his hair spur Tao on.

Tao wants to show Jongin that he doesn't care about the scar, and he's gonna spend all night on that if he has to.

The next morning Jongin curls under the covers and hooks his ankles with Tao's, and Tao's hand rests around Jongin's abdomen, fingers absently running over the scar.

Jongin's reaction is a small, contented sigh.

Jongin never teleports inside the room when Tao is training anymore. But that doesn't stop him from interfering from time to time, knocking on the door and breaking Tao's concentration. Tao usually ignores the knocking until Jongin gets fed up and barges into the room, dragging Tao from his training because you train too much, honestly, what am I gonna to with you? and out in the sun.

Tao never protests.
Mood: anxiousanxious
seaolifeseaolife on December 20th, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
Its soo cute and well written^^ Jong-in is soo sweet to Tao and I love the fact that he let Tao touch his "battlescars" and by the end all he did was sigh in bliss when he touched them..TOO ADORABLE~~
she's a ma-ma-ma-ma-machine~razi_a on December 20th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you ^^ I see Jongin as someone to take care off, because even though he's Kai on stage, I can only see him as a little kid xD
(Anonymous) on December 9th, 2014 06:42 am (UTC)
THIS WAS SO CUUUTEEEEE aah jongin and tao were both adorable in this <3 <3 <3 awesome writing xxxxx
she's a ma-ma-ma-ma-machine~razi_a on December 28th, 2014 06:44 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it :D