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The first time, it’s a genuine mistake.

Zhou Mi forgets to lock the bathroom door when he goes to take a shower. Usually he doesn’t allow things to slip his mind, but his head is full of lyrics that don’t quite scan and he’s too busy trying to fix them to even think about locking the door.

He showers, quick and efficient, and when he gets out he’s annoyed that he forgot to move the towel closer. So he’s dripping water onto the mat, and trying to work out if he can shuffle it across the floor to the towel because he hates the idea of stepping on tiles when he has wet feet, and then the bathroom door opens and Siwon comes in.

Siwon stops, fingers still stretched back for the handle even though the door is slowly swinging away from him. He stares. Not at Zhou Mi’s face.

Zhou Mi freezes like this is some weird game of musical chairs, only there’s no music and he’s naked. He thinks he should cover up, but the towel is a million miles away on the other side of the room, and if he tries to move now, Siwon will get even more of an eyeful. Zhou Mi decides it’s best to stay where he is and wait for Siwon to get the fuck out of there.

But Siwon doesn’t seem in a hurry to leave. He remains rooted to the floor as if he’s never seen a naked guy before. He just keeps on staring, but now the surprise has gone from his eyes and instead he looks appreciative.

Zhou Mi thinks of at least seven witty, cutting, and downright hilarious remarks to make. He can’t translate a single one into Korean, so he says nothing.

Ice ages pass. Empires fall. They’re still standing there.

Then Siwon tilts his head, looks Zhou Mi in the eye. “You’re very pale,” he says at last in Mandarin. “Very white. Like—like...” He fumbles for an appropriate word.

Zhou Mi remains silent, wondering what the comparison will be. A swan, perhaps, tall and stately and elegant.

“White like a ghost,” Siwon decides, smiling.

“A ghost?” Zhou Mi can’t keep the disappointment from his voice. “A ghost. Thank you.”

Siwon seems to realise his error. “No,” he says, eyebrows drawing into a tight frown. “I didn’t mean—” He breaks off, mumbles something in Korean. He looks angry. “Beautiful,” he says, first in Korean, then in Mandarin. “You’re beautiful. And I’m sorry.”

He backs out of the bathroom and slams the door.

Belatedly, very belatedly, Zhou Mi snatches up the towel and wraps it around himself. It takes a moment for him to realise he’s trembling. He doesn’t know if it’s because of the surprise or Siwon’s sudden anger or the fact that Siwon told him he was beautiful.

* * * *

 

The second time could be construed as accidental.

It’s been a rough few days, and Zhou Mi wants a bit of peace and quiet. Short of checking into a hotel for the night, the only way he’ll find it in the dorms is by locking himself in the bathroom. He arranges his towel within easy reach of the bath and lets the water run. He sets out a washcloth and a sponge and realises he forgot the damn bubble bath. It’s Sungmin’s fault. Zhou Mi’s favourite bubble bath happens to be pink, and Sungmin covets it, so Zhou Mi keeps it hidden at the back of his wardrobe in an empty shoe box. He leaves the water running and goes to retrieve the bubble bath. When he gets back, he forgets to lock the door.

Zhou Mi flicks his bathrobe away from his legs and sits on the side of the tub. He dips his feet into the water and adds a hefty slug of the bubble bath beneath the torrent pouring from the taps. Heat creeps up over his ankles, makes its way up his shins. Bubbles swirl and flood, and a heady fragrance stains the air. Zhou Mi sighs and loosens the robe from around his shoulders, shrugging it down a little. He turns his head, posing on the edge of the tub, imagining how he’d look from behind, the robe dipping about four inches below his nape to show his back, the sharp cut of his hair into his neck, and the curve of his shoulders.

He preens, lifts his chin, ignores the rising water and the steam and summons his invisible audience. He’s always had one, performed for a fantasy long before he ever had an audience in reality, and he’s never quite let go of it. Lately he’s taken to giving his audience a face. A name.

Siwon has started being strange around him. Maybe not strange, exactly, but... different. Not in the way he acts, but in the way he looks at Zhou Mi. It’s almost awkward, but Siwon is too good-natured to be awkward with anyone. Zhou Mi doesn’t know how he’d describe it, but there’s a tension between them, like a mispronunciation in an otherwise perfect phrase.

He supposes it’s his fault. Neither of them has mentioned the accidental bathroom encounter, not even to laugh about it. Maybe he should forget about it, but he can’t. A couple of times since then, he’s been in the bathroom with the door locked and he’s seen the handle turn. It could have been nothing, of course. It could have been one of the others. But he had the feeling it was Siwon. He hoped it was Siwon.

Maybe he should find it weird. Kind of like having a stalker in your own house. It gives him a jittery feeling, but it’s nice, too. More than nice. It’s sexy. Zhou Mi likes being watched. He likes being on stage or in front of a TV camera or a photographer’s lens. This is just another type of performance. Harmless. Innocent.

The water has reached midway up the tub. Zhou Mi turns off the taps, unties the belt of his robe, lets it drop to the floor. He slides into the bath, gasping a little at the heat. His pulse races and he feels heady, inhaling the sweetness of the bubble bath. He bats at the bubbles, stirring more from the water, then leans back and settles against the tub.

He sighs, adrift in heat and scent. He closes his eyes, sinks into the sensation. Bubbles rustle around him. The water sloshes then ripples into silence. The tap drips a splash of cold water onto his shoulder, but Zhou Mi barely registers it. His face prickles with sweat, his top lip wet. He flicks out his tongue, tastes salt. Fragments of thought drift through his mind—lyrics, snatches of Korean conversation, the memory of Siwon’s gaze on him. Zhou Mi stirs. He wallows a little deeper into his fantasy.

There’s a click as the bathroom door opens. It doesn’t quite close. A faint draught reaches out and caresses his shoulders.

He goes still. Perhaps this was a bad idea. Rather than looking groomed and seductive, his skin is flushed with heat and his hair is sticking to his forehead in draggly tendrils. But it’s too late now. Zhou Mi takes a breath and opens his eyes.

Siwon is watching him.

The door is slightly ajar behind him, as if Siwon wasn’t sure of his welcome, and the thought pleases Zhou Mi. He meets Siwon’s gaze, a challenge for the curious, and they look at one another. The silence sings with tension. Zhou Mi bends his left leg, knee and glimpse of thigh and shin surfacing, water rolling, bubbles clinging, refracting rainbows, popping.

Siwon’s lips part, but he remains silent.

Zhou Mi lifts his leg, rests it along the side of the tub. The water splashes, the foam eddying across the surface. A line of bubbles track their way down the inside of his thigh. He has no idea how much of himself he’s revealing to Siwon. From this angle, he thinks everything’s covered in bubbles. The idea that Siwon can see more of him than he intended to show makes Zhou Mi nervous. He hides it with an arrogant tilt of his head.

There’s a burst of laughter and comment from another room. Siwon doesn’t move. He waits until it’s quiet again, and then he takes two steps forward. He stretches out a hand, reaching for Zhou Mi’s ankle.

Zhou Mi slides his leg back into the water with a splash that sends waves across the bath. He sits a little straighter, smoothes bubbles across the surface. His heart is pounding. He watches Siwon from beneath his lashes and tries to act normally. He knocks the sponge onto the floor and grabs for the washcloth instead. Dunks it in the water. Lifts it out, strokes it across his shoulders.

Siwon sits on the side of the bath. Casually, as if they did this kind of thing all the time. His gaze is slow and deliberate, following the direction of the washcloth over Zhou Mi’s shoulder and down his chest, into the water. Zhou Mi knows the situation has slipped out of his control, but he doesn’t know how to get it back. Annoyed, he lifts an arm over his head and scrubs at his armpit. It’s the least sexy thing he can think of, but apparently Siwon doesn’t realise this because he just smiles and smiles.

There’s more noise from down the hall. Zhou Mi pauses to listen, aware of the open door.

“Kyuhyun bought a new game,” Siwon says then in Mandarin.

“Ah?” Zhou Mi stares at him, startled by the utter irrelevance.

“He waited a long time for it, this game. He’s very excited. For ten minutes he looked at the box. Then he opened it and looked at it again. The others are urging him to play the thing already. Me, I think he likes to wait. He enjoys it more if he waits.”

“Anticipation.” Zhou Mi offers the word like a sacrifice.

“Yes. Anticipation.” Siwon leans over the bath, pops a bubble, then dips his hand in the water. He looks at Zhou Mi. “I like you wet.”

The kick of lust is immediate and violent. Zhou Mi drops the washcloth, grateful for the concealment of the bubbles, thankful that the water is so deep, but even so, he presses a hand over his erection and wills it to subside.

Siwon continues chattering about Kyuhyun’s new game, still idly stroking through the water, making the bubbles swish. The back of his hand touches the side of Zhou Mi’s thigh. It’s accidental, of course. Siwon doesn’t seem to notice the contact, doesn’t break off from his monologue.

Then there’s another touch, a quizzical brush of fingers over Zhou Mi’s knee, and still Siwon keeps talking about stupid things, and Zhou Mi knows he should stop this, he should stop it right now as Siwon lifts his hand and slides his fingers up Zhou Mi’s thigh, slowly, oh so slowly, and Zhou Mi is burning up, gasping, water splashing, and Siwon isn’t talking any more, no, he’s frowning, all his concentration focused on his fingertips, and Zhou Mi knows he’ll die, he’ll die of shame if Siwon goes any further, or if he stops, or if—

Siwon draws back suddenly, resumes talking as if nothing happened. At the same time he turns and picks up the sponge from the floor and hands it to Zhou Mi as if he’d been asked to retrieve it. Zhou Mi takes it, stares at it in a daze.

“Siwon, you in here?” The door is poked open and in comes Kyuhyun.

Zhou Mi clutches the sponge like it’s an MTV award and sinks lower in the bath.

“Hey.” Siwon turns to Kyuhyun and they begin a conversation in Korean about the new video game. Zhou Mi feels abandoned, invisible, until Kyuhyun seems to notice him and asks him to join the multiplayer mode.

“I’m in the bath,” Zhou Mi says, in case it’s not obvious.

Kyuhyun blinks. “No problem.” He goes to the door, shouts for someone to bring Zhou Mi’s laptop.

Zhou Mi sits up violently, water tidal-waving across the bath. “You can’t! What— No! Don’t you dare!” The situation is so ridiculous that he starts laughing, and then Sungmin wanders in, starts searching through the cabinet for something, and he joins in the conversation only to break off with a squeal when he spots Zhou Mi’s bubble bath, and in very broken Mandarin he asks if he can have—no, take—sorry, borrow—can he borrow that bubble bath because it’s pink and it smells nice?

Weak with outrage and laughter, Zhou Mi splashes water at him, splashes it at Siwon and Kyuhyun. Siwon splashes back, and Kyuhyun cackles and tries to shove Siwon into the bath, and Sungmin grabs the bubble bath and flees, almost colliding with Han Geng, who’s standing in the doorway looking bemused. He takes in the chaos and scolds them for acting like five-year-olds. This just makes everyone laugh even harder.

Han Geng raises his voice, assumes his ‘I’m the leader’ mantle and chases everyone else out of the bathroom. He pauses before he leaves and looks at Zhou Mi. “Don’t,” he says, and his voice is sharp with warning.

Zhou Mi bridles at the tone. “What?”

“Don’t read anything into it. Don’t go thinking it means something. Don’t...” Han Geng shakes his head. “Just don’t.” He goes out, closing the door firmly behind him.

Zhou Mi sits in the bath. The bubbles are going flat.

* * * *

The third time, it’s deliberate.

Zhou Mi spends several minutes preparing, getting everything together. It’s become a little ritual, choosing the right towel, picking out which shower gel to use, which shampoo. He lines it all up on his bed then clutters it together, excited by possibility. He’s been dithering about this for the last few days. Han Geng has turned just as watchful as Siwon, but Han Geng’s gaze is annoying rather than arousing. He’s been like a dog, hackles up but not quite growling, and in response Zhou Mi has been meek and quiet.

His patience has paid off. Han Geng is recording an interview somewhere with half the group, and everyone else is busy in their rooms or sprawled in the living room in front of the TV. Siwon is somewhere in the dorms. Zhou Mi just needs to find him.

Zhou Mi tightens the belt of his bathrobe, slings the towel over his shoulder, and hooks his fingers around the shampoo and shower gel. He struts out into the corridor, strolls into the kitchen. He puts down the shower gel and the shampoo and gets a glass of water. He drinks it, slowly.

Siwon is raiding the fridge. He doesn’t look up.

Disappointment stings. Zhou Mi dumps the rest of the water in the sink, snatches up the shampoo and shower gel, and sweeps out of the kitchen, trailing irritation in his wake. He goes into the bathroom and leaves the door unlocked.

He yanks at his bathrobe, lets it drop in an untidy pile. He places the towel within easy reach and steps into the shower cubicle. The first spray of water is cold against his back, and he yelps as his skin tightens. Soon it’s warmed through, becomes a cascade of heat, and he ducks his head beneath the shower, turning around to face the tiled wall. He squeezes his eyes shut and gropes for the shampoo, runs just more than the right amount through his hair, and attacks his scalp with his fingertips.

The flash of aggression calms him, and he tips his head to one side. The water rinses through his hair, pours in a juddering stream onto the floor of the cubicle. The sound of the spray is hypnotic, the pulse of water on the tiles, on the glass door, on the floor. Zhou Mi finds the note hidden within the water and sings it, sings without words, voice sliding up and down in scales and variations.

Through the patter of the water, through his singing, he hears the click of the door opening and closing. His song falters. Suddenly he can’t breathe. Steam hazes his vision and he focuses on the water droplets running down the tiles in front of him. All he can hear now is the rhythm of the shower. The air is hot and tense. His body reacts. He feels skittish and sexy, caught between fear and longing.

He turns his head.

Siwon is standing with his back to the door, his arms crossed, his gaze electric.

Shyness beats aside every other emotion. Zhou Mi looks ahead again, puts both hands on the shower wall, feels water run between his fingers, drip from his wrists. He imagines how he must look to Siwon, hopes he looks lithe and sleek and desirable. He aches to turn around and flaunt himself, but he doesn’t dare. There’s still the chance that Han Geng is right: that this doesn’t mean anything; that Siwon is just toying with him. Zhou Mi shivers from the threat of humiliation. It only adds to his arousal. Now he definitely can’t turn around.

He knows that Siwon is still looking at him.

Zhou Mi doesn’t move. There’s nothing in his head but the awareness of warm water pouring over him and Siwon watching him. It’s like he doesn’t exist outside of this moment. A wave of panic unfurls inside him then, and he wonders if he should do something, because Siwon might get bored and walk away, and then he’d be lost and disappointed and—and...

Unable to bear it, Zhou Mi turns his head again.

Siwon moves, unfolds his arms, pushes away from the door. Zhou Mi gives an inward flinch as Siwon nears the shower cubicle, but nothing happens. Siwon stops in front of the sink and writes something on the mirror set into the wall. He takes his time over it. Then he leaves the bathroom without even once looking back.

A long moment later, Zhou Mi turns off the shower. He steps out and catches up his towel, burying his face in its softness before he lifts his head towards the mirror. Scrawled through the condensation, the Chinese characters perfect, Siwon has written I want you.

Zhou Mi stares at it. Then he obliterates it, wipes it away, afraid that the next person to use the bathroom will read it and know everything.

* * * *

The fourth time, Zhou Mi is in charge.

Han Geng continues to utter non-specific warnings couched in language as vague as clouds. Pretending innocence, Zhou Mi listens and nods and wonders whose benefit this is for—his, Han Geng’s, Siwon’s?

But for every warning from Han Geng, there’s a hot-eyed look from Siwon, and Siwon’s intent is much clearer for all that it was written in mist.

Zhou Mi appreciates the direct approach. It’s time he responded in kind.

He comes home from a ten-hour practice, his throat raw from vocal exercises and his body sprung tight from dancing. He made sure to warm up and cool down, but still his muscles complain and jitter. He’s gone past the point of exhaustion, his mind spinning with shocking clarity. The world is sharp and bright. He needs to blunt it, needs to find a way into oblivion. He craves release, even if it’s only by his own hand.

He goes into the bathroom. Doesn’t lock the door. He flings off his clothes, leaves them in a heap on the floor. He turns the water on full, waits for the heat, then steps in beneath the spray. For a moment he revels in the sensation, then he puts out his hands and leans forward against the wall, the water raining down across his back.

The bathroom door opens. Closes. The lock clicks shut.

Zhou Mi holds still. Water runs down his face, into his mouth. He concentrates, hyperaware of everything beyond the cubicle. He senses Siwon moving across the floor, watching him, always watching him. Frustration and pleasure coil together inside him, and he waits, breathing harder now, breathing through the rivulets of water.

“Turn around,” Siwon says, voice soft and deep. “Won’t you turn around, Mimi?”

Zhou Mi hesitates. His heartbeat thumps in his ears, his head buzzing with a sense of daring. He doesn’t care what will happen afterwards. He wants to do this, wants to preen in front of Siwon, wants to preen for Siwon.

He turns around. Slowly. Siwon is sitting on the edge of the bathtub. Zhou Mi smiles at him, smiles through the glass door streaked with water, smiles and runs his fingertips down his body from shoulder to hip.

Siwon rocks back, eyes widening, and he draws in an audible breath. His hands grip the side of the bath.

The reaction delights Zhou Mi. Water runs over his head, his shoulders, tickles its way down his back, slides down his chest. Nervousness flutters once inside him, then performance takes control. Zhou Mi laughs, the sound echoing from the tiles, dulling beneath the spray. He twists and turns, letting the water catch at his body. The light glints, sparkles through the glass door, turns the water droplets silvery. Steam surrounds him, threads through his hair, and he raises his hands, brushes through it, scrapes it back from his forehead.

Siwon takes another deep breath.

Zhou Mi smiles. He watches Siwon watching him, and joy builds inside him. He wants to please Siwon, wants to show him how happy he feels. Zhou Mi bends down, picks up the bottle of shower gel. He holds it out as if for Siwon’s inspection, then flips open the cap, inverts the bottle, and pours far too much of the cool, pearly-sheened liquid into his palm. He squeezes out so much that the glimmering gel overflows his hand and starts spooling through his fingers, oozing down over his wrist and dropping to spatter over his feet, over the floor of the cubicle.

He lifts his hand and wipes the creamy gel across his chest. The fragrance hits him, and he raises his head, smiles at Siwon through the rain of warm water.

Siwon sits forward on the side of the tub, mouth open.

Thrilled by his audience’s appreciation, Zhou Mi tips out more gel, strokes it over his body. It glides over his skin, the layer of pearled liquid making it easy for him to disconnect, to imagine it’s not his hand but Siwon’s. The heat and steam wrap around him; his breathing becomes shallow and his vision unfocused. Zhou Mi washes his arms, his shoulders, his chest, down his belly. Lust twists sharp hooks into him. His cock is half hard, rising fast. He shivers, sensitive to the spray, to his own touch, to the weight of Siwon’s gaze. His hand creeps lower, fingertips reaching—

“Yes,” Siwon says, his voice hoarse. “Yes, yes.”

Zhou Mi gasps, cups his erection, gathers up the slippery trails of gel from his flanks and soaps his cock. Lather runs through his fingers. He slides his hand to his balls, teasing himself just a little, then reaches for his cock again. A whimper breaks from his lips. He holds back, resists the urge to fuck his hand. Zhou Mi turns his head from side to side beneath the water, hair swinging back into his face. He feels at one with the heat, burning up, need thrumming through him as relentless as the beat of the shower. Through it all he keeps on smiling at Siwon.

“Oh,” says Siwon, eyes very bright, his erection straining at the front of his trousers. “Oh, Mi.”

Conscious of his power, Zhou Mi flirts. He puts both hands on the glass door, leans forward. He flattens his chest against the door, gasping at the contrast of the cold glass and the pounding heat of the water behind him. He tosses his head, hair flicking in his eyes, and he laughs, made bold by the blatant desire on Siwon’s face. Zhou Mi rolls his hips forward and up, laughing again at the sensation of his cock sliding against the wet glass. It’s good, so good it shimmers through him, and he feels sexy, wanted, desired.

He repeats the move, slower this time, eyes closing as he presses harder against the door. He gasps through his open mouth and tips back his head, drops his hand to wrap it around his cock. Arousal hammers at him. His awareness is shrinking down to the throb of need inside him, the unbearable hunger.

“Mimi. God. Mimi.” Siwon is off the edge of the bath and standing outside the shower door, staring at him in a fury of desperation. He places his hand as a mirror image of Zhou Mi’s, as if they could touch palm to palm through the thickness of the door. Siwon comes closer. He lifts his head, looks into Zhou Mi’s eyes. Kisses him through the glass.

Zhou Mi sways forward, kisses his side of the door, kisses where Siwon’s mouth is pressed against the glass. He moans, feels the tremble of his lips, hears Siwon’s muffled, answering groan. Zhou Mi half closes his eyes, licks at Siwon’s lips. The glass between them is a torment. It’s cold and tastes vaguely of soap. He knows Siwon would be warm, his mouth yielding and delicious.

Siwon raises his arms, thumps them against the door as he tries to get closer. Zhou Mi mewls at the restriction between them. His hand is still around his cock, and he starts stroking it, jerking off while he kisses Siwon through glass.

“Mimi—” Siwon turns then, turns and puts his back to the door, bows his head and buries his face in his hands. Then he straightens, flashes Zhou Mi an unreadable look and strides away, wrenches open the bathroom door and slams it shut behind him, leaving Zhou Mi with nothing more than the imprint of his lips on the glass.

Hollow with desire, Zhou Mi spins around into the spray of the shower and yanks at his cock, bringing himself off fast and hard and brutal. When he comes, he grits his teeth. He doesn’t want to reach orgasm with Siwon’s name falling from his mouth. He keeps it inside instead.

* * * *

There’s a line, and Zhou Mi is fairly certain it’s been crossed and left behind a long time ago. Everyone else seems to have noticed the charge in the air, the storm-front rolling in, but no one says a word, and everything festers until one day Han Geng takes Siwon into his room and closes the door.

A moment later, they’re arguing, Han Geng shouting and Siwon defensive and then furious. Donghae goes to put his ear up against the door, but Hyukjae pulls him away and Kangin just smirks.

Ryeowook looks bewildered, one hand to his mouth and his eyes wide. “Maybe we should—maybe someone should—” he begins, but doesn’t have time to finish his sentence before Han Geng’s door is thrown open and Siwon storms out. He doesn’t even grab his jacket, but walks out of the dorm with his back rigid and his shoulders set in rage.

Han Geng emerges a second later. He glares around at them, reserving a particularly vicious look for Zhou Mi, and then charges off after Siwon.

Everyone jumps when the door slams.

Zhou Mi goes to the window overlooking the street. The others crowd around, murmuring to one another. Zhou Mi stays silent, watches Han Geng catch up with Siwon, watches their body language, Han Geng entreating, Siwon with his arms crossed. Zhou Mi wonders if they’re arguing about him. It makes him feel both guilty and excited.

Han Geng returns alone. He goes into his room without speaking to anyone.

The dorm is quiet for the rest of the day. Kangin tries knocking on Han Geng’s door but receives no response. Donghae tries again a little later, even going so far as to shove a note under the door. An hour later, the note has gone but there’s still no reply.

Siwon comes back in the evening, as bright and charming as ever. He makes no reference to the argument, doesn’t even look towards Han Geng’s room.

Zhou Mi steals a moment alone with him, stopping Siwon in the hallway. “So,” he says in Korean, hoping his vocabulary and grammar is good enough for this conversation, “we should talk.”

Siwon looks at him, then puts his fingertips over Zhou Mi’s mouth. “No,” he says. “No talking.”

“But...” Zhou Mi protests, fading into silence at the gentle, insistent pressure of Siwon’s fingers on his lips.

“No talking,” Siwon says again, his voice softer. He smiles, curls his fingers back, and walks off.

Zhou Mi exhales his annoyance, tries to stifle the hurt. Is that the end of it? Not that he knows what ‘it’ is. To define it would be impossible, and he’s resisted doing so until now, and now it’s over—is it over? He doesn’t know for sure—he wants to slap a label on it so he can deal with it and move on.

He doesn’t even know where to start.

Dispirited and restless, he trails back into the living room. A Hong Kong action film is showing on TV. He doesn’t want to struggle with subtitles and dubs, so he goes to his room, flips through three magazines and a book, then pulls the quilt over his head and tries to sleep.

His watch ticks off the seconds. It’s annoying. Zhou Mi gets up and moves his watch to the other side of the room. He lies down again. He can hear the noise from the TV along with the occasional laugh or comment. He turns onto his side and curls up, rehearses dance steps in his mind, runs through his schedule for the next week, the next month. Sleep still eludes him. He turns and turns again, thumps the pillow. He drifts off, waking to hear the murmur of a low conversation being held outside his room.

He can’t quite make out the words, is too tired to listen properly, but he recognises one of the speakers as Siwon. Zhou Mi wonders what time it is and reaches for his watch, only to remember it’s on the other side of the room. He crawls out of bed, fetches his watch, holds it close to his eyes and stares at it. Two o’clock in the morning. He gets back into bed, groaning at his weariness, and tucks the watch beneath his pillow.

He naps again, jerks awake a little later to see that only thirty-five minutes have passed. He rolls over, listening to the silence around him. Now he’s too hot. Zhou Mi pushes the duvet off, twists it between his legs. An echo of arousal spins through him. He turns onto his front and bucks against the mattress, half-hearted, too tired to do anything more.

By four o’clock, Zhou Mi has given up on sleep. His hair is damp at his nape and he feels sweaty and uncomfortable and numb with tiredness. He staggers out of bed, longing for the sensation of warm water running over his skin. He doesn’t lock the bathroom door because he’s certain no one will disturb him at this hour of the morning.

He lets the water run cold for a while, stands beneath it shivering, needing the biting chill to wake his senses. He tilts his head up to the spray, turns the mixer to hot and sags into the warmth.

The bathroom door opens. Closes. Locks.

Zhou Mi blinks through the water, his vision blurry.

Siwon stands there, his hair ruffled, still dressed in yesterday’s jeans and t-shirt. He must have stayed over on the couch. He looks like he hasn’t slept either. He has shadows beneath his eyes, but the expression in them is bright and hungry.

Nervous excitement flutters through Zhou Mi. He didn’t invite this, not this time; he didn’t expect it, isn’t prepared for it.

Siwon comes right up to the glass. Zhou Mi can’t move, can’t speak, painfully aware of the water, of how vulnerable he is in this moment, naked and wet and trapped in a confined space.

Siwon puts a hand on the door.

Zhou Mi gasps, jerks back. Water hazes his sight, runs into his eyes. He exhales a panicked breath, pushes at the fall of his hair, and retreats to the other side of the spray. It’s a false safety. He’s almost afraid, knows no one will hear him if he shouts out. He knows Siwon won’t hurt him, not really, but they haven’t discussed this, didn’t talk about it, he didn’t plan it, he doesn’t think he’s ready for it, and—oh, fuck—he wants it so bad, but he can’t, he just can’t—

Siwon puts his other hand on the door. The glass trembles beneath the press of his palms.

Zhou Mi swallows heat and steam, takes shallow breaths. Dizziness spirals through his head. His skin feels too tight, the water over his body too much for him to bear. He lifts a hand, pleading, rejecting, beckoning. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. Arousal shrieks, demands, needs. He’s so hard it hurts.

Siwon opens the door.

Zhou Mi cries out in shock and desperate excitement, helpless noises spilling from him as Siwon gets into the shower fully dressed. Spray hits his t-shirt, soaks his jeans, trickles down his face, drips from his hair. He doesn’t flinch, never once takes his gaze from Zhou Mi.

It’s unbearable, incredible. Zhou Mi shrinks away, the tiles cold against his back. He closes his eyes, panting, overloaded already. Siwon comes even closer, wet clothes brushing against Zhou Mi’s body. Siwon’s breath tickles over his skin; his voice, low and rough: “Tell me to stop.”

Zhou Mi stares at him. The word flashes through his mind, hovers on his lips, but he’s not going to say it. More than that: he can’t say it.

Siwon backs off slightly, studying him. Then he goes down onto his knees, bows his head and presses his face against Zhou Mi’s thighs.

Zhou Mi feels Siwon’s lips moving, realises he’s saying something over and over. Praying, maybe. Asking forgiveness, or for the strength to resist this, or—or...

Siwon lifts his head, and Zhou Mi hears him: “I want you. I want you, Mimi. Oh God, how I want you.”

Before Zhou Mi can find a response, Siwon kneels up and folds both hands around Zhou Mi’s erection. He looks up, warm water raining down upon him, his eyes fierce with desire, and then he parts his lips around Zhou Mi’s cock and takes him in deep.

Zhou Mi is so startled he jerks back and bangs his head against the wall. Silver streaks across his vision, pain rockets through his skull. “Oh,” he says, gasps, trapped between the sudden sharp ache in his head and the gorgeous wet warmth of Siwon’s mouth. Zhou Mi’s knees buckle. He slumps back, shoulders flat against the tiles. “Oh,” he says again. “Oh God. Oh fuck.”

Siwon hums a soothing noise and begins to draw back. Zhou Mi strikes down, grips Siwon’s wet hair, holds him in place. Shaking off the echo of pain, he cants his hips, shoves his cock into Siwon’s mouth. He moans in desperation, watching the hard length disappear between Siwon’s lips.

Siwon frowns with concentration, heavy brows drawn tight, eyes closed. He smiles around Zhou Mi’s cock, makes a stifled sound of pleasure. He moves his hands, slides them up and down Zhou Mi’s thighs, stroking, caressing, using his palms, the blade of his hand, then his fingertips. He draws slow circles around the back of Zhou Mi’s knees, dances his fingers up the back of Zhou Mi’s thighs, and finally cups both hands around Zhou Mi’s arse, forcing him closer, taking more of his cock.

Zhou Mi soft-gasps, grunts at the deeper sensation, the build towards release. He thrusts hard, excited by the smothered wet noises they’re making. He’s not sure who’s fucking who, if he’s in charge or if it’s Siwon calling the shots. He doesn’t know and he doesn’t care. He’s never imagined it like this. A dozen other ways, maybe, but not like this. The sense of power is intoxicating. The sense of helplessness is a darker thrill.

Siwon tightens his grip, fingers digging into Zhou Mi’s flesh. He burrows forward, a whine cresting from his throat as he sucks. Zhou Mi lets go of him and spreads his arms against the wall for balance. He feels crucified, fingertips scrabbling slippery-wet over the tiles. He’s falling, pinned to the wall but falling faster and faster, Siwon’s mouth on him and the roar of the shower around them, over them, and he tilts his face to the spray of water and sobs out his climax in a broken exclamation of pure joy.

Orgasm renders him weak. Zhou Mi slides down the wall, sits tumbled over Siwon, one foot outside the open door of the cubicle. They rest there, Zhou Mi with his head on Siwon’s shoulder, gasping, feeling Siwon’s equally shuddering breaths. Water pours down on them, washes away sin. He stirs when Siwon nuzzles at him, nips at his ear, licks water from his shoulder.

Zhou Mi turns his head and kisses him. He tastes himself on Siwon’s tongue. They kiss and kiss, and it’s like drowning. He forgets everything but the feel of Siwon’s mouth. When they pull apart, it hurts.

“I want you, too,” Zhou Mi says into the silence, and Siwon looks startled, amazed, delighted, and in that moment Zhou Mi realises Han Geng was wrong. It did mean something. It does mean something. Han Geng was wrong.