"It's just—I'm really not so sure this is the look I'm going for," Chanyeol says, pulling a little at the spandex top Kyungsoo's put him in. Kyungsoo sits back in his chair and taps his pen against his pad, lower lip tucked under his top teeth. He's thinking—Chanyeol can tell. Kyungsoo always wears that expression when he's contemplating a change with Chanyeol's outfit and Chanyeol knows better than to try and fucking argue when he makes that face. Kyungsoo's a cool customer when it comes to his work: he takes Golden Boy pretty fucking seriously. Almost more seriously than he takes Chanyeol sometimes.
"Yeah," he says finally, pushing his glasses back up his nose. "You're right. It makes you look too skinny." He erases something. "Skinnier than you already are, I mean."
I know, Chanyeol thinks. "Should I take this off?" is what he asks instead. Kyungsoo doesn't answer for a moment, the scratchy sound of pencil on paper the only noise in Kyungsoo's quiet little studio apartment.
Chanyeol waits, curls his fingers under the hem of the top and lifts it just enough that he's flashing his bellybutton. He practices his best coy smile. No reaction.
"Kyungsoo?" he says finally.
"Mmm?" Kyungsoo jerks up. "What?"
Chanyeol sighs and pulls the shirt the rest of the way over his head. "Never mind."
"I'm just—I've been out all night—"
"Yeah, I've been drawing all night," Kyungsoo says slowly. "New issue's due to my editor on Monday if I've got any hope of making last-minute changes in time for the Thursday hard deadline. And you—you're still running around the streets in a Halloween costume."
"Technically I'm not doing a lot of running," Chanyeol points out. "I'm just saying—can I have five minutes of your time? Maybe?"
Kyungsoo's face softens. "Yeah, of course. I'm sorry." He sets the pad on the table next to him and opens his arms. "Come here."
"Come here?" Chanyeol raises an eyebrow. "We've tried that before. I'll crush you. You come here."
Kyungsoo looks at his watch. "Look, I really—really have to get some work done. Can you settle for half an hour? I'll—I'll make it up to you after I get this finished. I'll have a little more time." He gets to his feet. The chair slides out from underneath him and away, bumping against the desk with a hollow knock.
Chanyeol nods, lowers his hands to the snap of his jeans. Kyungsoo shakes his head and knocks his hands away to do it himself. Chanyeol likes this part—always has, loves it when Kyungsoo rucks his jeans down past his thighs, too impatient to wait for Chanyeol to step out of them before he's got a palm against Chanyeol's burgeoning erection. Chanyeol cranes his neck down to kiss Kyungsoo like he hasn't had a taste in weeks, tongue dragging against the roof of Kyungsoo's mouth in heavy, broad strokes until Kyungsoo bites on his lip to slow him down.
Chanyeol's the one with the disguise, the one who flies around Seoul at night to help keep the streets safe. Chanyeol's the one with the super powers, the one who stars in Kyungsoo's comic book as the real-life chronicles of Golden Boy.
But Kyungsoo's the one with the secret identity.
Kyungsoo's never told a soul that he's got an in with Golden Boy, that it's not because he stays up all night sketching and listening to the police scanner that he has his finger on the pulse of the city. Never admitted that he knows Golden Boy is actually Park Chanyeol—you know the one, the cheerful, smiley kid that works at the coffee shop on the corner, the university dropout who never draws attention to himself and certainly doesn't act like he's a fucking superhero. Kyungsoo has never let on to the fact that he gets the information straight from the source when Chanyeol comes home at daybreak and crawls into bed with him, murmuring sleepily into the crook of his neck until he falls asleep mid-word, mouth pressed into a pout that Kyungsoo can't help but claim with his own.
Kyungsoo's been hailed as a genius in various circles, the creator of the first genuinely popular, internationally-known Korean superhero—but Chanyeol and Kyungsoo are the only two souls alive that realize it's much more than just that. Kyungsoo's the one who sits up all night listening to the calls come in on the police scanner so he can tell Chanyeol where to go, where he's needed the most and when. He's also been the one in charge of crafting Chanyeol's image and helping him become a more professional super hero—something Chanyeol's all too happy to step aside and allow Kyungsoo the full freedom to do as he likes. He's the brains behind the operation. Chanyeol's just the brawn.
Chanyeol leans forward against the desk, bracing himself on his forearms. Above him, Kyungsoo grunts—the sound of his own jeans flying across the floor as he kicks them off. His palms are rough against Chanyeol's waist, fingers calloused from hours of gripping pencils too tightly, trying to get the shading just so—
"Hey," he says, breaking Chanyeol's concentration. "Move the—move the pad aside, will you? I don't want you sweating on it like last time, it took forever to draw that. I don't have time to re-draw it before my deadline."
Chanyeol laughs at Kyungsoo's abrupt seriousness—it'd startled him the first time he'd snapped into it, but now Chanyeol knows it's nothing personal, just him—meticulous, organized. Conscientious. Obediently, he slides the notebook onto the floor with his chin. A moment later, two halves of a purple foil wrapper follow, fluttering gently to rest on top of Kyungsoo's latest sketch of Chanyeol. Chanyeol waits, hears the quiet snap of latex on skin as Kyungsoo rolls it the rest of the way down. His eyelids shutter, playing out the image in his head even though he's not watching it happen.
"You ready?" Kyungsoo murmurs. Chanyeol shivers—loves the way Kyungsoo's voice drops a full octave when it's just the two of them, when there's only a few inches of stuffy air separating their bodies. There's the telltale grind of the top drawer, the familiar opening click of a bottle. Chanyeol's memorized these sounds, can time them out to the second—first the gasping squeeze of the lube, the slick noises as Kyungsoo warms it between his palms.
"Mmm," Chanyeol agrees, burying his face in his bicep. He waits. Kyungsoo's very methodical about this part—everything else is up for grabs (he's even been coming around to Chanyeol's idea of fucking in mid-air, although he keeps insisting on a few test hand-jobs before he's ready to trust Chanyeol's flight for a full session). He's the only person who seems to remember that Chanyeol's—well, Chanyeol's not indestructible. He's still a person—a person capable of some truly incredible things, but he's not Superman. At the end of the day, Chanyeol's just as capable of getting hurt as anyone else.
Kyungsoo slips a finger inside Chanyeol past the tight ring of muscle and waits, lets the tension ease from Chanyeol before he pushes in another and crooks his fingers like he's gesturing for Chanyeol to come closer. Chanyeol groans, voice splitting into a broken yelp.
"You alright?" Kyungsoo asks quietly. He always asks. Chanyeol nods and pushes back onto his hand.
"Yeah," he manages after a minute. "Feels good. Really good. Keep going."
Kyungsoo barely has a third finger inside Chanyeol before Chanyeol's panting, balanced on his forehead, fingers gripping wildly at nothing, a few beads of sweat trickling past his temples onto the desk (Kyungsoo'd been right about the sketch pad—he always was). Kyungsoo removes his hand, wipes it on the discarded spandex top (much to Chanyeol's satisfaction—he'd hated that fucking outfit) and before Chanyeol can take another breath, Kyungsoo's up on his toes, pushing inside of Chanyeol with one swift motion. Chanyeol clenches for a moment, fingers gripping the edge of the desk until he settles, feels Kyungsoo's hands skip up the terrace of his ribs to take hold of his shoulders, and he leans into it.
The noises Kyungsoo makes—these low, guttural moans that peter out just in time for him to slam back against Chanyeol, thighs slapping—Chanyeol thinks they're the best part for him, hearing how uninhibited Kyungsoo allows himself to be, only with Chanyeol. Only when they're alone like this. Chanyeol collapses onto his elbows, feels Kyungsoo's whine vibrate through his body before he even hears it.
Kyungsoo comes with his teeth sunk into Chanyeol's back, plush lips covering the sting with slow kisses once the aftershocks slow and his hips stop working. Chanyeol's sure he'll have a mark tomorrow. Kyungsoo barely has time to reach around and pull Chanyeol to completion, too (again, using that stupid spandex top to clean up the mess) before the police scanner crackles to life with a harsh burst of static. They both spring apart, startled.
"Shit," Chanyeol says, still out of breath as he struggles to pull his jeans back on. "What could that possibly be now, don't these fucking criminals ever sleep—"
"Go," Kyungsoo says, voice rough. His face is still sweaty from exertion and his glasses keep slipping down his nose when he finally puts them back on. "I'll—I'll be here when you get back." He leans over and kisses Chanyeol's bare shoulder. "Be safe out there." Chanyeol pulls on one of his old uniform tops he's got stashed around Kyungsoo's room, some ratty yellow thing he'd worn until Kyungsoo'd insisted on its permanent retirement.
"I always am." Chanyeol grins, freeing the window from its latch and pushing it open. The night air billows the curtains softly past his body as he climbs up, toes wrapped around the edge, and pushes off in flight.
When Chanyeol returns it's a few minutes before sunrise. He pulls himself up in the room by his fingertips and shuts the window behind him as quietly as he can manage. After a moment's thought, he cracks it back open again, just enough to let some air in. The small room still smells like sex, even hours later.
Kyungsoo's always leaving the window open for him. Even in the dead of winter when it dips to below freezing—if Chanyeol's not there, Kyungsoo's dressed in two heavy wool sweaters and a coat, earmuffs clamped over his ears, just so Chanyeol doesn't have to risk being spotted by the doorman coming through the lobby of Kyungsoo's building.
It's early summer now, though, the air cool and balmy. The room's bathed in a dusty, purplish glow. Kyungsoo's fast asleep on his desk, glasses clutched in one hand, a colored pencil in the other. He's drooling a little on his notepad. Chanyeol tugs it out from underneath his cheek before he ruins the drawing he'd been working on so diligently.
Kyungsoo stirs. "Mmm?" He blinks, lids sinking heavily over his dark, doelike eyes. Chanyeol chuckles.
"Couldn't make it the two steps over to the bed?" He tugs at Kyungsoo's wrist. "Come on. Get up, Sleeping Beauty."
"I only put my head down for a second—" Kyungsoo protests feebly, abandoning his glasses on the desk. He stumbles a little, knees still locked from sleep. "Anyway—" he yawns, "—how was the call?"
Chanyeol shrugs, coaxes Kyungsoo into his side of the tiny twin bed. "Routine," he admits, stepping out of his old uniform. "They didn't really need me. I stayed out of the way—caught a purse snatcher on my way back here, though. That's why I'm late."
Kyungsoo puts a hand out to catch at his hand, slides his fingers through the spaces between Chanyeol's. "They really should pay you for this stuff, you know," he mumbles. His voice crackles, lips unwilling to part enough to allow the words a clean exit.
"All checks payable to Golden Boy." Chanyeol pulls back the covers and crawls inside. Kyungsoo slings an arm around his waist and pulls him close. It's a tight fit, bodies always crammed up against each other until the combined body heat is almost too much to bear, but Kyungsoo doesn't seem to mind, and when it comes down to it, Chanyeol doesn't really, either. It's nice, honestly, having a little intimacy after spending all day working in a dead-end food service position to keep up the illusion of normalcy and spending all night flying and fighting crime in a whacked out spandex suit.
This—this is the closest thing Chanyeol has to normal.
Kyungsoo always visits Chanyeol at work—every afternoon at a quarter past one. He orders a black coffee, dark roast, and sits at the corner table watching Chanyeol fumble with trying to clean out the coffee grinder. He sketches sometimes, tongue poking between his lips as he concentrates on getting the slope of Chanyeol's nose just right—Chanyeol knows because he asks to see them later, sitting naked at the end of Kyungsoo's bed, legs crossed, elbows on his knees as he stares in awe at the things Kyungsoo's capable of creating.
"They're not very good," Kyungsoo tells him. "Just quick sketches. I was trying to figure out a panel, needed a new angle of your face."
"You get plenty of angles." Chanyeol wiggles his eyebrows. "I'm still waiting to see my best ones. Unless you're lying to me when you tell me I look so good like this—"
"Maybe I just like seeing you, too," Kyungsoo shoots back, rescuing the pad from Chanyeol's hands. "Since I can't even pretend to know you when we're out in public."
Chanyeol's coworkers still give him endless amounts of shit about that nerdy artist guy that shuffles in from the comic book studio across the street. He'd come in for the first time over a year ago when he'd started as an intern, sat there smiling at Chanyeol over the top of his pad. Jinri had caught a glimpse of the sketches during her hourly sweep to clean the tables and came skipping back, grinning. "He's drawing you, Chanyeol. They're really incredible, too—looks just like you, right down to that stupid smile of yours—yeah, that one," she said as he blushed and promptly spilled a customer's latte down his apron.
It took him a month to work up the nerve to go over to him, ask him what he was working on. Kyungsoo shielded the paper with both hands and shrugged. "I'm an intern—I work over there, for SM Studios—we're a publishing company. For comic books." He laughed, obviously uncomfortable. "I know, it's lame. I'm—supposed to try and give creating my own character a shot. It's not going very well."
Chanyeol slid into the seat across from him. "What do you have so far?" His curiosity had been piqued. This is dangerous territory—nobody's ever, ever been privy to his deep secret, the one where he throws himself off the top of buildings to soar across the city, watching, waiting—looking for trouble just so he can get that little rush of power when the bad guys run away like their asses are on fire.
"Not much," Kyungsoo muttered. "I'm—thinking about basing it on the Seoul Avenger. You've heard of him, right?"
Chanyeol stiffened. "Yeah. I—that's not his name, though," he said quickly. He'd been sick and tired of reading that stupid fucking name in the papers—it sounded so last century, sounded like he was some muscled thug with a cape and a heroic stance, arms akimbo. He's just—he's just Chanyeol. Sometimes he fought crime. Sometimes he got too tired from work to go out and so he didn't. He wasn't an avenger of anything, just some dude who happens to be able to fly.
"Really?" Kyungsoo asked, leaning across the table. "How do you know? Do you know the guy?" His voice dropped to a hushed whisper. "I've never met anyone who knows anything about him. Even the victims—they're usually too shocked to remember much."
"I—I've—uh," Chanyeol stutters, trying to come up with a plausible explanation. "Friend of a friend," he says finally. "Somebody he lived with once for a few months. Might've—you know, crashed on his couch."
Kyungsoo raised an eyebrow. "I didn't even follow that."
Chanyeol smiled apologetically. He could feel it getting away from him. "Sorry. I just—I've heard it on good authority that he prefers Golden Boy."
"Dumbest name I've ever heard for a superhero." Kyungsoo snorted. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to hear that from his mouth." Realization crossed his features. "Hey—this friend of a friend. Do you still talk? Can you put him in touch? I'd love to—I'd love to adapt his story. You know, for a comic."
Chanyeol felt a weight settle in his stomach. This was not a good idea. But the guy sitting in front of him—kind smile, long, dark eyelashes, eyes wide and very warm, he just—he seems genuine, like he actually might give a shit about the story and less about the gossip, less about trying to get a piece of him to sell to the highest bidder. He'd already been caught on camera twice—both too blurry to tell a thing, thank God, but still—
"I'm Kyungsoo, by the way," Kyungsoo said, putting his pencil down to extend his hand.
"Chanyeol." He smiled. "I'll see what I can do."
"He's back again," Jinri says, tugging at the sleeve of his shirt with her small hand. He looks down at her, feigning innocence. He's gotten so good at keeping secrets from the people around him that it's easy to add Kyungsoo to the list, keeps their relationship close, safe from prying eyes.
"Hm? Who's back?"
"Your stalker." She gestures at Kyungsoo with a jerk of her head. "Do you want me to ask him to leave?"
"No—don't do that, he's harmless," Chanyeol says quickly. "Besides—he's kind of sweet. And his drawings are incredible, they're even better than when he first came in."
Jinri squints. "If you've got such a crush, why don't you go over there and introduce yourself? I don't think I've heard you say more than 'Good afternoon,' and 'Will that be all, sir?' and no offense, Chanyeol, but that's not getting you laid anytime soon."
Chanyeol thinks about the crescent shaped marks Kyungsoo's fingernails had left on his hips last night, the bruises on his knees from knocking against the desk drawers and narrowly suppresses the urge to laugh. "Thanks for the concern," he says after the longest moment of his life, letting his hand rest on her shoulder. "I'm fine, though."
"Mmm." Jinri frowns at him. "My mother says you're too handsome to be going home alone. I mean, she thinks you should be going home with me, but I think we both know I'm not your type."
Chanyeol musters the sleaziest wink he can manage. "Tell your mother she can call me anytime."
Jinri whips a towel in his direction. He dodges it, laughing, and disappears into the back room. When he comes back ten minutes later, Kyungsoo's gone. He feels the ache of separation and looks at the clock: six more hours of this stupid shift and he can go home, tell Kyungsoo what Jinri's mother's been saying about him again, suck kisses down Kyungsoo's forearms and urge him to rest, put the pencil down, work on me for a little while.
"Your uniform," Kyungsoo says before Chanyeol's even completely through the window. His back is turned, shoulders hunched—they've been doing this for so long Chanyeol doesn't even have to make a sound for Kyungsoo to know he's arrived. Chanyeol swings a leg over the frame, pauses for a moment to catch his breath.
"I hate it," Chanyeol says finally.
"No. I know. Me too." Kyungsoo turns in his seat, elbow hooked around the back of the chair. His entire face changes when he looks up at Chanyeol, fills with a warmth that wasn't there before, smile almost too big for his mouth to accommodate. "We need to figure it out, though. You can't go back out in that yellow thing you were wearing when I first started seeing you."
"Is there a way for me to have a uniform and not look like a colossal idiot?" Chanyeol asks, raking his fingers through the short hair at the side of Kyungsoo's head. Kyungsoo leans into it, closes his eyes.
"Mmm. You've got some options."
"Masks are out. And I'm not going to put letters on my chest."
A sly smile creeps into the corners of Kyungsoo's mouth. "Maybe if you'd picked a name that wasn't so—"
"Hey," Chanyeol warns, other hand bracing against Kyungsoo's jaw. "Yura picked that one out. It's been my name since I was a kid. It stays."
"Alright, alright—I'm just saying," Kyungsoo says through his quiet chuckling. "You're not giving me a whole lot to work with here."
"You'll figure something out. You're really good at this stuff." Chanyeol's lips press against Kyungsoo's hairline, lingering slightly before he pulls back. Kyungsoo rolls his eyes.
"When did you get to be such a smooth guy?" He turns back around to his desk. Chanyeol takes the opportunity to peer over his shoulder. He smiles, unable to suppress the elation he feels when he sees the unmistakable outline of his own face peering back at him from the middle of the page.
There's a dozen or so variations, minute changes in expression—all of them serious, all of them painstakingly detailed. Chanyeol doesn't think Kyungsoo even needs to look at him anymore when he's working on an issue of Golden Boy—the way he draws, he's got the things memorized that most people don't even notice: the scar above his eyebrow, the slight dimple in his cheek that doesn't have a match on the other side, even the uneven squint of his eyes when he's smiling. They're all here—the imperfections that Chanyeol always wants to forget and that Kyungsoo seems to catalogue and worship.
He brushes aside Kyungsoo's hand from where it seems to be covering a corner of the page and stares, taken aback at what he uncovers. "This is you," he says after a moment. "Jesus. Kyungsoo. You're so handsome." He traces his thumb around the line of the illustrated Kyungsoo's face. "This is great. Why have I never seen your self-portrait before? It's perfect."
"You need a sidekick—it's stupid, I was just—playing around with something. It's—don't worry, it's not serious, I know I can't fly in real life, I just—wanted to play around with some things." He coughs. A deep, crimson flush creeps up his neck, settles in his ears, his cheeks. "Didn't have a model, so I used the mirror." He goes to crumple it up but Chanyeol's finely-tuned reflexes have the sheet safely in his hand before Kyungsoo has a chance to destroy it.
"No—I think it's a good idea, I really like it," Chanyeol says, holding the drawing two centimeters from his nose to get a proper look at it. It's perfect—right down to that light in his eyes, the one that always makes Chanyeol feel like he's flying even when his feet are on the ground. "What's your name going to be?"
"Chanyeol, come on—quit playing around." Kyungsoo gets to his feet. Chanyeol lets himself lift off the floor, hovers with his arm above his head, just out of Kyungsoo's reach even if he jumps.
"No—you're going to rip it up."
"Of course I am! It's my art, I can do whatever I want with it."
"I want to keep it." Chanyeol tucks it inside his back pocket and drifts a little higher, just out of reach. "If this is the only version of Golden Boy and his sidekick Graphic Lad—"
"Graphic Lad?" Kyungsoo splutters, clambering on the chair to get closer to Chanyeol. Chanyeol inches closer to the ceiling. "Chanyeol—I swear, you get down here right now or I'm quitting the comic and moving to America."
"You wouldn't," Chanyeol retorts, grinning. Kyungsoo sets his mouth into a grim line, steps up onto the desk. He's nearly eye level with Chanyeol now.
"Why not, though?" Chanyeol relents, pulling the paper from his pocket and unfolding it. He tries to smooth the creases away with the heat of his hand against his thigh.
"Why not what?" Kyungsoo snaps irritably, snatching the paper away from Chanyeol.
"Why not give me a sidekick?"
"I'm planning on it—"
"Why can't it be that? Not Graphic Lad, that name is terrible—I just mean—why can't it be you?" Chanyeol puts his hand out. "You practically are my sidekick in real life. A couple flying lessons and we could be a good team."
"We are a good team. That doesn't mean I need to drop anymore hints about your identity to the public at large. Do you know how many people have already commented on the fact that my character looks exactly like the barista across the street?" Kyungsoo slips his hand in Chanyeol's. "I know some artists like to self-insert, but I—I don't know, it feels kind of vain. Especially for how new to the business I am."
Kyungsoo steps onto Chanyeol's toes. It looks like a bad date, the way he balances on the top of Chanyeol's feet to let him lead—except, of course, for the fact that they're four feet off the ground.
Chanyeol's been carrying others in flight for years. It's easy—not altogether unlike the weird, floating sensation of carrying a body underwater. Kyungsoo barely weighs a thing up here. He still grips at Chanyeol's hand like he's going to fall, gaze fixed on Chanyeol's face so he doesn't accidentally sneak a glance at the floor below and lose his cool. Chanyeol cracks a smile at Kyungsoo's solemn expression.
"Relax. Do you know how many people would think this is fun?"
"I don't know how you don't get vertigo doing this all the time," Kyungsoo murmurs.
"You get used to it."
"I'll never get used to it."
Chanyeol dips him the way he's seen ballroom dancers do it. Kyungsoo lets out a soft cry of surprise, but he's laughing on the upswing.
Later, Kyungsoo brings his sketchpad into bed and doodles a few new uniform options for Chanyeol, who summarily rejects all of them with a scowl and a curt shake of his head.
"Can't I just wear my street clothes?" he whines, burying his face into the pillow. "This is stupid."
"Helps with aerodynamics and visibility," Kyungsoo says, ever the pragmatist. "Solidifies your identity."
"You make it sound like I'm a brand."
"You are. Sort of," Kyungsoo amends when he sees the hurt look on Chanyeol's face. "You've got to be a consistent presence or they'll think there are a bunch of guys flying around at night fighting the street crime."
Chanyeol sighs. Always with the valid point. He puts his hand over Kyungsoo's hand to stop the bobbing, jerky movements of the pencil. "We'll figure it out. No more tonight, okay?"
"Sidekick who's afraid of flying," Chanyeol suggests, a sly smile draped across his face. Kyungsoo elbows him.
"Quit it. I'm not going to be your sidekick. I'm already your creator."
"Have you seen this?" Jinri asks, thrusting the comic book under his nose with an abrupt gesture. He feels something heavy come to rest at the pit of his stomach, the cold weight of panic anchoring him to the floor.
"No," he lies, pushing her arm aside to retrieve a cleaning rag. She follows, still forcing the comic into his line of vision.
"You really should, Chanyeol—it's that artist, you know, your stalker? I guess he's got quite the following of nerds, mouth breathers and basement dwellers." The pages flutter when she drops it on the counter in front of him. He looks at the cover, sees his caricature staring back at him, and swallows the bile rising in his throat.
It's going to be tough to deny this one.
"Golden Boy?" he tries, voice scratchy, pitched higher than when he was in middle school. "What kind of a name is that?"
"You haven't heard? God, Chanyeol. It's like you live under a rock." Jinri leans in, fingers splayed across the linoleum counter like she's imparting some great secret. "The Seoul Avenger—you know, the guy the papers keep writing about. He's been responsible for a bunch of arrests—every morning there's always some report of a mugger being chased off by a dude who can fly..." She trails off, mistaking his look of fear for one of blank confusion. "None of this is ringing a bell? Really?"
He's grateful that his head shakes of its own volition.
"Well, anyway," she breezes, rolling her eyes, "this guy—Do Kyungsoo—he's been putting out a monthly—well, look, it's you, Chanyeol. He's been using you as a model."
Chanyeol frowns. "You think I look like that?"
"Are you blind?" She laughs. "I was showing Soojung earlier. She even agrees it's a perfect likeness. You weren't kidding about his art—he's really good." Chanyeol surreptitiously mops at the perspiration on his hairline while Jinri thumbs through the pages. "Isn't it hilarious? Park Chanyeol, the superhero." Her eyes crinkle into tight crescents when she looks up at him. "You're less of a Golden Boy and more of a Cheshire cat, though."
He snorts, tension inching down his shoulders and away. He's safe—ish—for now, anyway. He's a cell phone snapshot away from exposure, though, and feels that danger acutely in the way Jinri props her chin on her fist and turns to inspect the first page of panels.
The sadness is unexpected, the way it creeps past his pursed lips and knots in his throat. He's enjoyed living this way, the freedom to come and go as he pleases. And it's not as though he wasn't aware of this possibility, that he didn't realize that a flying vigilante in spandex couldn't stay under the radar forever. Seeing it disappear over the horizon line like this—it's just a little scary.
"You can quit anytime, you know," Kyungsoo says later, palm flattened against the bare skin of Chanyeol's stomach. "The comic's—I make more than enough. We could even find somewhere bigger, if—"
"What is it?" Kyungsoo asks after a moment.
"I think," Chanyeol says carefully, "that I need to put some distance between Golden Boy the character in the comic book and—me. Park Chanyeol. The person."
Kyungsoo pulls his hands away like he's been burned. "Oh," he whispers, stone-faced. Chanyeol sees the hurt lurking deep in Kyungsoo's eyes and leans in, rests his chin heavily on Kyungsoo's shoulder.
"Don't misunderstand what I said. I don't want a distance from you."
Kyungsoo clears his throat, arms moving stiffly to put space between his body and Chanyeol's. "I am the comic, Chanyeol. It's what I do. It's all I have."
"No," Chanyeol insists vehemently. "You're Do Kyungsoo the artist. You're dating Park Chanyeol the coffee guy who should probably go back to college to get a better job. You're the person who makes sure I'm going to the people who need me at night. I just—I need to stop worrying about staying true to the comic or doing it justice—because you'll be fine with it no matter what. Golden Boy will be fine, he's got you to make sure he stays out of serious trouble. Out on the street—I wish you were there, but It's just me." He sighs. "I've got to grow up and stop messing around with the trivial shit. Take this seriously. And I think—" He swallows. "I think it might be time to let them call me the Seoul Avenger. Let them put a face to the name."
Kyungsoo whistles quietly. "This is big, Chanyeol—I'm—I don't know what to tell you, other than be careful. Once they know who you are..."
"I'll never have privacy again. I know. But—they're close to figuring it out, anyway. Shouldn't I be the one to decide when to reveal myself? I'm running out of time to make that decision for myself."
"Yeah. You're right." Kyungsoo nods, the hint of a smile playing on his lips. "There is one thing," he says, resting his forehead against Chanyeol's.
"I think you should keep the name." Kyungsoo palms the back of his neck, eyes hazy and fond as they search Chanyeol's. "It suits you."
It's barely two strides to the bed from the farthest corner of the apartment but Chanyeol still manages to trip over his own feet, pulls Kyungsoo on top of him and keens a little when Kyungsoo grinds the heel of his hand into the tent in Chanyeol's pants.
Chanyeol's never been fond of the term making love: it's gross, sounds way too much like a bad pop song with the way it turns his tongue to lead. Sometimes, though, he thinks he understands what people mean by it when Kyungsoo's easing himself into Chanyeol's lap, hands gripping at Chanyeol's thighs to endure the momentary sting of penetration. Kyungsoo works himself up and down a few times, back arching away, knees curled against the bed.
Chanyeol wraps an arm around Kyungsoo's waist, settles the other on his hip and sits up to meet him halfway, mouth searching. He feels himself shift inside Kyungsoo, feels his dick slide deeper until Kyungsoo's scratching at Chanyeol's chest and whining obscenities into the shell of Chanyeol's ear.
Nights like these are preciously rare. Chanyeol treasures every single one, when they're not rushed to meet deadlines or beat sirens, when Chanyeol can nuzzle his face into Kyungsoo's hair and let his body rise in time with Kyungsoo's heavy breathing. When it's less about getting off and more about getting close.
Chanyeol lets their interlocked bodies lift little by little, slow, almost imperceptible jerks into the air. Kyungsoo's so wrapped up in Chanyeol that he doesn't even notice until they're over a foot off the bed. He gasps, laughs into Chanyeol's mouth: "Fuck you. Don't drop us, please."
"Trust me. I won't," Chanyeol leans in to whisper, teeth catching on Kyungsoo's earlobe as the distance grows between their bodies and the sheets. Each thrust of Chanyeol's hips rocks them gently. It's not unlike fucking on a big waterbed—or, at least, what Chanyeol imagines that would be like. He hits something warm and sensitive inside Kyungsoo, who chokes on a quiet moan into Chanyeol's collarbone.
They're closer to the ceiling than the floor when Kyungsoo comes with a soft, shuddering cry, hands flexing against the dimples in Chanyeol's lower back. Chanyeol kisses him, body freezing against Kyungsoo's mouth as his own climax rolls through him right through to his fingertips. Kyungsoo pulls their bodies closer until Chanyeol's finished, curling against Chanyeol's chest like it's too difficult to stay upright any longer. When he finally moves, it's to push the sweaty hair off of Chanyeol's forehead with his knuckles, blissed out and eyelids sinking slowly. The corners of his mouth tug up in a soft smile.
"That was nice," he mumbles. Chanyeol nods, kisses the top of his head.
"You want to get down now?"
Kyungsoo takes a fresh grip around Chanyeol's neck and shakes his disagreement into Chanyeol's shoulder. "Not yet. Just a little longer. I'm actually starting to like it up here."
Chanyeol laughs and cards his fingers through the short hair at the nape of Kyungsoo's neck. "Looks like we'll make a sidekick of you yet."
"Considering the mass appeal this character has, I've got to ask—why Golden Boy? Most of the papers have been calling him The Seoul Avenger. Doesn't your name sound kind of—childish—in comparison?"
"It's what he prefers," Kyungsoo responds lightly. Chanyeol can see the interviewer's eyes pop, clearly aware of this answer's significance. He leans forward in his chair.
"Prefers? Kyungsoo-ssi, are you saying you've met The Seoul—Golden Boy? In the flesh?"
Kyungsoo's face is unreadable, expression so neutral he's practically a cardboard cutout of himself. Chanyeol, though—Chanyeol's freaking the fuck out, wonders if he's going to run out of fingernails to chew before this interview concludes.
Kyungsoo takes a long drink of water, makes the interviewer wait for it. "Let's just say," he begins, choosing his words very carefully, "that he's familiar with my work."