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Brother Issues

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Yifan's friends sat around the table in the coffee shop just down the road from where he lived, their laptops all sprawled out on the desk with papers littered between and coffee cups in the small chunks of wooden table that was left between in each sheet. The knowledge of whose mug belonged to who faded hours before and they'd slowly begun to lose the will to care about whether or not that was their cappuccino or cinnamon latte, the caffeine quickly started to taste the same to each of them. It was a weird crush of studying for college exams that had Yifan worrying over whether or not he would get the grades he needed for his employer to continue to fund his tuition, not to mention the fact that he needed the degree to be able to progress to where he wanted as fast as he could.

The pressure of revision and note taking had become a strain to them all, more so than it ever had during his high school years. He was nineteen and in his first year of university. Despite many people labelling the first year as a buffer to get you up to degree standard in learning, Yifan took it as seriously as he could. There was no stress, other than school, on his shoulders and he knew that the longer he spent with his friends trading note cards, he would be able to relax at home. It was a pleasant thought, returning into his parents' home to find his two brothers waiting around, playing video games until it was well into the early hours of the morning.

Yifan always looked forward to getting back into the warm recesses of his temperature controlled home, the warmth always edging into his bones as the spring air hadn't yet begun to heat up.

Time flew out of the window as soon as Yifan's small cohort called it quits to get home before the sun had fully set below the horizon. The hours of the day grew later and Yifan, being a good friend and the only one with a car, decided to drop his classmates off to their dorm building on his way home. They were a rambunctious bunch, all different in the most unique of ways and Yifan loved the way they all seemed to fill in almost all areas of life with their knowledge. It was no shock that Kyungsoo, the friend he had known for the longest, was in his close cluster; the younger boy was studying the same course and worked in another department at the company Yifan was employed by. Despite having grown apart in high school, Yifan was relieved that they fell back into a comfortable friendship with ease.

The Korean male had even ensured Yifan that his two brothers were in safe hands, Kyungsoo had been the one to be the mentor of Luhan's friend, Jongdae. He had told the older Chinese male that Jongdae had managed to weave his way into being the singer who Yixing worked with the most, it made Yifan's heart relax in his chest once he found out. Despite discovering that Yixing's crush on Zhang Ziyi had always been non-existent, the loss of himself and her in school had been a blow to the younger male. Especially when Yixing had confided in Yifan to tell him that he didn't want to work with another music student unless he trusted them wholeheartedly, and it wasn't like Luhan was willing to give up his love of soccer just to be there for his younger friend. Jongdae, a person Yifan would forever be thankful for, was a lifeline to the older male.

The Korean highschool student gave Yixing a new direction, his music had become far more lively to fit with Jongdae's strong voice and the lyrics they wrote together. It was a strain off Yifan's heart when he heard everything but sadness flow from Yixing's fingers as he played and throat as he hummed new pieces when he woke up in the morning. There were glimpses of the ever playful Yixing flowing back into their lives as time passed; Yifan knew there was only a matter of time until the younger's personality righted itself completely.

He opened the door to the house, welcomed with a heavy silence that was only broken by the sound of running water. Yifan looked at the time on his phone, frowning when he saw that it was around the time the five house inhabitants ate dinner together. There was normally a cacophony of sound; fryers burning, voices bouncing above the radio and chairs moving as people sat themselves at the readily set table. Yet, there was nothing but a shower flowing above his head.

The placement of the sound was coming from his en-suite, which convinced him that it was Yixing who was home and everybody else was either in their own rooms or not in the house at all. He made his way up the stairs, dropping his work and university things into the study before jogging up to his own room. He plugged his dying phone into charge and laid out on his bed to wait for the younger boy to be done in the shower, he closed his eyes and felt the edge of the hardback songbook Yixing kept under his pillow dig into the side of his arm.

A squealing scream sounded as the bathroom door opened, "Oh my god, Yifan! You almost frightened me to death."

Yifan peaked through slit eyelids and saw a towel clad Yixing gripping his chest, as though that would slow his scared, racing heart.

"Sorry, I thought you would have heard me coming in," he explained, still under the scrutiny of the fifteen-year-old's eyes.

"Well, I didn't and I am sure a little bit of pee came out because of you," Yixing didn't sound embarrassed by what he had said, his comfort level around Yifan was unmatched and it made the elder male laugh loudly.

Yixing walked from the doorway over to the wardrobe, picking out his own clothes from the large bundles that rested against the back of the oak cabinet. The younger walked back into the bathroom without closing the door behind himself and stood around the other side of the wall to redress himself.

"Where is everybody?" He asked, his hands raising above his head to pull a basketball from the window sill, his hands throwing it up and down while the other threw his towel into the dirty washing basket Yifan had in the corner of his room.

"One of Luhan's football things, there was a parent meeting or something," Yixing exited the bathroom fully clothed and laid himself out on Yifan's bed, his feet in line with the university student's head and head at the bottom of the mattress.

"Is it that time of the season again?" Yifan was surprised at how much time had passed since the previous season and Yixing hummed in response. "Why were you showering anyway? Eight is an early time for you."

"I joined a new club," he could hear the smile on Yixing's lips, answering the unasked question on Yifan's lips. "It's a dance one, I guessed that I could use my sense of rhythm and coordination for something that would be useful for my physical health, rather than sitting at a piano bench for hours on end."

"I didn't know that you were interested in dance," the nineteen year-old caught his ball steadily to turn on his side, for which he used the new angle to look down at the boy he considered to be his younger brother.

"Me either," Yixing laughed, his shoulders shrugging. "I just thought about how fast I could pick up the dances to the songs Han and I used to imitate in front of the television and it seemed like a good group. Jongin is there, so I'm not starting completely anew."

"How was your first day, then?" Yifan's left hand played with the sock around Yixing's foot while the other clutched his ball to his stomach.

"It was really great, the coach said I was a natural at all the hip-hop stuff, which I found ironic, given that I spend so much time thinking about more classical music," Yixing turned on his side and met Yifan's eyes. "Can I ask you something?"

"Of course," Yifan shifted on his bed and sat up to look down at Yixing curiously. "You can ask me anything you want, you know that."

"What was it like when you told your parents that you liked guys as well as girls?"

Yixing's question shocked Yifan, his face pulling into a scrunched up frown and Yixing turned onto his back to avoid Yifan's eyes. The younger boy had been the one to make the least fuss over Yifan's bisexuality, he had just just piled yet more food into Yifan's dish when they had gone out for lunch together, his words of 'And that's supposed to be big news, how? I'm still waiting for you to pass over the pork here.' The youngest had been one of the first to know and there was nothing Yifan found more comforting than the fact Yixing had been so effortlessly serene over something the elder had thought would drive them apart.

"I wouldn't say liberating." That feeling came from telling Yixing, "I think it was relief, more than anything else. I don't like keeping secrets and that honesty was refreshing for me, I don't know. It was quite a while ago now."

He saw the younger boy nod, the gap between his eyebrows closing as his frown matched Yifan's. They were quiet again.

"Why?" Yifan asked after what must have been five minutes, his stare not wavering from Yixing's face as the boy opened and closed his mouth repeatedly like a fish in a tank.

"I'm gay," Yixing finally said, his gaze not making its way to Yifan yet and the older boy's fingers on the younger's foot wrapped around it in a comforting grip as he watched emotions fight their way onto Yixing's face.

Yifan knew he had to lighten the mood, the fifteen year-old's turmoil reflecting a feeling that Yifan knew all too well. "So, I guess that crush on Zhang Ziyi really didn't happen?"

There was a playfully firm knee driven into Yifan's stomach and he felt the air get knocked out his lungs as they both laughed at the dumb comment.

  

 

Yifan was the only person Yixing confided in with his secret, making Yifan feel as though he was the most important person in the younger's life. However, it had made Yifan more wary of the people Yixing would surround himself with, he did not want to think of the younger being hurt by any of the ones he believed he could trust. Yifan knew what it was like to lose friends once sexuality was brought into question, he had gone through the turmoil of becoming the butt of the joke or the ostracised one of the group. He did not want to risk Yixing from being pitted down as some sort of sexual deviant because of the way his sexuality pushed him.

Luhan had questioned Yifan's escalated protective attitude, sometimes telling him that it would cause another argument for him to mediate but Yixing had constantly assured the fretting boy that he understood Yifan's actions. It was all Yifan needed to realise that Luhan had no idea that Yixing was gay, otherwise he too would have been acting with the same intent.

The university student never pushed the subject of Yixing telling anybody else, as Yixing seemed content in whispering all his questions and queries to him in the middle of the night.

In actuality, Yixing did not make any move to say anything until a night that settled right between Yixing's sixteenth birthday and Yifan's twentieth. Yixing had been acting weirdly for hours before the five people settled at the dinner table and that sparked worry within Yifan as Yixing pushed his chair a few inches closer than normal to Yifan's and a smaller hand sought for his under the table. He didn't know how he worked it out but Yifan knew exactly what was to follow in the next hour.

He watched as his parents accepted what Yixing said with smiles, the smaller's hand cut the blood circulation off in Yifan's hand when Luhan stared at his best friend with wide wonder. "Did you know?" The middle aged teenager asked Yifan, making his face tilt questioningly to the side. "You don't seem shocked."

Yifan nodded, his hand still holding Yixing's delicately.

There was a tense moment when Luhan didn't say another word, only thanking his parents for the food before leaving the table to escape to his bedroom. Yifan leaned to Yixing's frame as the younger boy's hurt tears began to fall and all Yifan could do was whisper that he would talk to Luhan and make everything okay. His parents huddled around the youngest boy, their arms encasing him in loving hugs and Yifan was thankful that they had taken things so well. He had even heard his father mutter something to his mother about Luhan being reprimanded for his evidently offensive behaviour, making his body relax completely as he guided Yixing up two flights of stairs until they were safely in Yifan's bedroom.

The older of the two urged Yixing into the shower, his advice being that if Yixing were to wash then a lot of the despairing sadness would rinse away with the water too. The shorter teenager looked sceptical but obeyed the request with minimal argument, taking the opportunity to spend a little time alone before he returned back to Yifan's side as they prepared for a strangely early night.

Yifan had dressed himself in night clothes, done the parts of his skincare routine that didn't require a sink and managed to have grabbed a water bottle from the fridge for Yixing without encountering any of the other members of his family. Though, he could hear a set of three voices edging their way out from beneath Luhan's bedroom door, he had no knowledge of what exactly was being said but he could guess. Yifan didn't want to waste any more time as he heard the water of his shower close off and soft thuds of feet stepping out onto the tiles. He waited, sat on the edge of his bed with the water bottle cooling his hot hands with condensation forming between his fingers. He watched the bathroom door, the shadows of Yixing's feet dancing in the light shining out, he observed them intently with a fascination of how the things changed as Yixing moved to and from the vicinity of the door. He didn't look away as the handle turned and the sixteen-year-old walked out in one of Yifan's old shirts and some loosely fitting shorts.

His eyes, reddened and swollen, still stared up at Yifan in complete sadness. There were so many things drifting silently between them; 'why did Luhan accept Yifan and not Yixing?' was the mainly unsaid thing. There was barely any difference between the two boys, other than the fact that Yifan could like girls too. It baffled the nineteen-year-old, setting a deep anger within him as Yixing shuffled forward to cry into his chest. Yifan wanted to soothe, heal and fix Yixing up until nothing hurt him anymore. He felt a rush of something through his body as Yixing's hands curled to clutch weakly at the shirt on Yifan's chest, there was a level of neediness in the action that sat well with Yifan.

He adored being the one to put Yixing back together. Something about the younger boy appealed to Yifan's protective side and a voice in the recesses of his mind told him that he had to guard Yixing's heart, like a dragon and its castle. If there was a way to wrap himself around Yixing's fragile, weakly thumping heart then he would have taken that opportunity.

Yifan felt momentary hatred for his biological brother for treating the light of both their lives, the missing piece to the jigsaw they'd haphazardly thrown together in the six years before Yixing, as though he had not just had the biggest moment of his teenage life.

Yifan suspected that it was his understanding of the push and pull feeling within Yixing that made him so fiery about the subject. He did not expect anything of the sort from Luhan, nor did he ever expect to be the sole person supporting a blindly crying Yixing in a dark bedroom. The light of the bathroom bled into the room, the golden rays being the only thing to shed light upon the two of them and Yifan rested his chin on Yixing's head. His longer arms enveloped the younger until there was no room between their bodies.

It was a bittersweet moment, one that would always linger on Yifan's skin and he knew it. Yixing needed him in that moment. Yifan was all Yixing sought out and the elder was more than happy to oblige, if it was to make the younger so much as smile.

They edge back to the bed, falling onto the mattress with a controlled thud and Yixing curled his body on top of Yifan's. The sixteen-year-old hadn't ever done that before, it would have been utterly inappropriate outside of the context but when somebody was broken, nothing else mattered.

He kept the smaller body steady as he sobbed, his tears had long since made Yifan's shirt cling to his chest in a few damp spots and his fingers clenched even tighter to the fabric beneath his fingers. There was nothing normal, nor constant, about their situation but Yifan knew he had to remain steadfast in Yixing being able to rely on him. The taller male decided to rock Yixing slightly in his arms, to lull the younger to sleep like they used to when they were younger and Yifan slowly let out a sigh as Yixing fell into dreamland.

 

 

As any college student found, there were times when he wanted to punch his friends or at least slap them across the face with paper, lined in drawing pins and see if that made them think twice. Few of those times, Yifan had found himself hating that he agreed. Such occasions were rare and far between, allowing Yifan to remain on the moral high ground he had already pitched himself on.

It was just over a month after Yixing's coming out incident, Yifan had turned twenty and felt as though he was at a place where he really had to mature. Much like he did at every milestone age. However, the run-up weeks to his birthday hadn't happened as he had anticipated. While he spent more time hovering around Yixing, even more so than his escalated protective attitude before Yixing had made his announcement, Luhan seemed to slip into the background.

His biological brother gave Yixing the cold shoulder at every possible chance and it had rattled Yifan in ways that it shouldn't have. He could not believe his brother's audacity, nor was he one to keep that to himself. There had been a night where Yifan had yelled, shouted and loomed over his petite brother with numerous accusatory words rolling from his tongue; he had reached his breaking point. In all honesty, he had expected Luhan to put up more of a fight or look guilty for his actions. Yet, there was nothing. Not even a blink.

It had taken a watery plead from Yixing to get Luhan to open up to the two other boys. The concise words that struck both Yixing and himself were: "I could not care less if you liked other men, either of you, but it's the fact that you told him first. I am supposed to be your best friend, Yixing, but then you tell somebody other than me your biggest secret. Am I not allowed to be hurt or mad over that?"

That had both Yifan and Yixing stumped, they had not thought that Luhan was even bothered by the fact that Yifan knew exactly what was going on with Yixing before he did. It seemed to juvenile to Yifan, as he could see how much ease could be found in telling somebody who had been through something similar.

Things seemed to fall into place from that conversation, the three of them returning back to their normal dynamic and Yifan relaxed into his role of older brother once again. He could watch the two younger boys mess around with a sense of fondness in his chest.

That was, however, until Yifan invited his friends over with the promises of cheap alcohol and takeout. The afternoon was comfortably cold, the temperature change from the outside to inside his warm living room gave him something to relish in. Luhan and Yixing were out at their clubs; Yixing's dance classes ran in tandem with Luhan's soccer ones and Yifan was not needed to rush to pick them up. Not when they both said they'd go out for dinner to give Yifan and his friends some space.

It was a relief that his friends weren't going to be around his brothers, only Kyungsoo had ever met them and he had mentioned how they'd be eaten alive by the rest of the guys Yifan knew. It wasn't a lie, one of the other guys, the type that was only part of the group for ease or because they were a friend of a friend, was bisexual like Yifan. It was one of the reasons why he stuck with that group, there was minimal to no judgement from anybody. However, Yifan had never taken to the man; he had an attitude that irked him and made everything uneasy whenever they spoke. Yifan could only tolerate him once he had managed to drink several beers and was in a rare mood for complete carelessness, those rare occasions were not enough to base a solid friendship, in Yifan's eyes, but he couldn't speak for the other.

That was why Yifan had felt nothing but unadulterated rage when the guy had mentioned something along the lines of how Yixing did not look just sixteen with his well-developed body and face that was the perfect mix between sexy and cute. Kyungsoo had sent Yifan a look as he opened his mouth to not talk about his brother in such a suggestive way, it was something that caught a sensitive nerve in how much his protective nature was still raw and millimetres below the surface with Yixing.

He readied himself with a deep, calming breath in and was ready to demand for the other guy to withdraw what he had said in regards to the sixteen-year-old. In a moment of the worst luck Yifan had ever encountered, Yixing entered the room with his shirt clinging with sweat and eyes dark with passion. Yifan was thankful that the younger boy's eyes only searched for him in the room, avoiding the somewhat predatory gaze that somebody else in the room was setting on him. Yifan made sure to stand up and guide the younger boy out of the living area and into the corridor, closing the door behind him with a firm click and his full attention on the shorter male.

"I could have just talked to you in there," Yixing nodded his head towards the door and Yifan blinked a few more times before he spoke up again. "You're not ashamed of me, are you, gege?"

"Of course not," Yifan denied vehemently. "Some of my friends aren't the kind of people I want to expose you to," as I am worried they will expose themselves to you. "Nothing else, don't worry."

"I trust you, ge," Yixing's dimple popped into his cheek as he smiled childishly. "I was only going to say that I am going to be washing these clothes and Han's kit, in case you had anything that needed throwing into the washer too?"

Yifan shook his head, his hand ruffling Yixing's hair before the teenager turned away to make his journey up to Yifan's room to get himself washed and dressed. Only when Yixing disappeared to the second floor did Yifan release a long sigh, his stomach unnerving at the idea of Yixing returning back down while his friends were still inhabiting the living room. He willed for Yixing to stay in his room, to do whatever homework he must have received and that was all Yifan could think of as he opened the white door his hand hadn't moved from since closing it.

He took place beside Kyungsoo, the smaller of the two gave him a look that spoke a thousand words, it said: "You do not want to know what was said in your absence," and "I will tell you when it's just us."

Yifan nodded, the conversation having flipped onto another topic, one he wasn't interested in and he willed time to pass faster in hopes of knowing what was talked about, not that it took a genius to know it was Yixing. He silently seethed, his glare fixed on everything in the room other than his friends and he only found relief when his phone vibrated. Yixing had sent him a whiny text message saying how he and Luhan were too hungry to stay upstairs for too long,that they were close to eating their own fingers and Yifan informed the younger of his secret stash of popcorn and chocolate he kept in the shoe drawer of his closet.

There was a very quiet thud above his head, right where Luhan's bedroom was and the sounds of equally dull footsteps making their way into Yifan's bedroom; he could almost hear their delighted laughter from where he was sat.

That was his cue to usher his friends, all bar Kyungsoo, from the room and they all agreed that it would be best to go home; with the beer having run out and their stomachs thickly lined with foods. It made Yifan sigh out in grand relief, his muscles losing their tension as the boys left out the front door.

Yifan settled on the sofa, an empty beer bottle in his hand there was a moment of silence before he looked around to Kyungsoo expectantly. "What happened while I was talking to Yixing?"

"Some comments were made by a certain somebody about how Yixing managed to fill his clothes, trousers specifically, extremely well. Apparently some features were accentuated in a very alluring manner," Kyungsoo had made what was said a little less provocative, Yifan knew that from the way he blinked quickly between words. It made Yifan's blood boil and he wanted to have been able to defend the honour of somebody he considered a younger brother, especially from somebody Yifan held less favour for than anybody else in the world.

Kyungsoo collected up the glass bottles, saying he would throw them away on his way out from the house.

It left Yifan to stew until the two younger boys walked downstairs, their carefree and wide smiles brightened the older boy considerably. The only issue he found himself having was keeping his eyes from wandering to see whether the comments on Yixing were even true. He hadn't ever considered the shorter male as attractive before, he knew the sixteen year-old was good looking with his softened but still defined features and the smile he had was enough to disarm anybody. Yifan hadn't even thought about letting his gaze become appreciative as the years passed by; his mind still threw out images of the thirteen year-old who hadn't even touched himself before. Yixing was everything that could embody innocence in his eyes; like any older brother would view their younger sibling with a four year age gap.

He granted himself one look as Yixing walked passed the living room to head into the kitchen, the snapshot of a sight was enough to have Yifan noticing that the statement made while he was out of earshot was not a lie.

Yixing did fill his clothes well, even though he had draped his shower fresh body in one of Yifan's university shirts; the younger male was attractive, Yifan caught himself thinking. The development made him somewhat uncomfortable, he wasn't supposed to find elements of somebody he thought of as family as appetizing appealing. Especially when that person was sixteen. Yifan was sure that he wasn't attracted to younger people, he was one who was attracted to maturity and people around his own age.

It was impossible for him not to look when Yixing came into view and an extremely perverted part of his mind let the idea that Yixing's body looked very mature come into his consciousness.

He convinced himself that it was just the alcohol, despite the little volume of it, coursing through his veins that had made him think such things. That, and the fact that Yifan hadn't had sex in awhile - not that he was promiscuous but Yifan was like any other hot-blooded twenty-year-old that was surrounded by beauty. There had been nothing physical for the university student since his year began, a random hook-up that hadn't equated to anything other than an awkward morning. He had wants, everybody did. It was the fact that Yixing should not have become one of them.

Ever yet, Yifan found himself of thinking how Yixing had grown up since the last time he really looked at him. The younger male had managed to develop in ways that Yifan had never imagine possible, there was never a thought in Yifan's mind that Yixing wouldn't be anything other than completely adorable or handsome; there was no room for Yixing having the body of an adult dancer. There should not have been the image of a toned behind and arched spine in Yifan's mind, yet there it was.

Yifan only stopped looking when Luhan threw a dirty dishcloth at his face, commanding that he clean up after the two boys' mess and Yifan sighed at the sudden reversion to normalcy.

 

 

 

On one of the rare occasions that Yifan picked Yixing and Luhan up from school, he decided to run a quick test, he sat in his car in the main parking area and waited for the students to filter out towards the exit gates. He felt like an idiot, his face splashed with a blush and heat crawling up under his clothing. Yifan assured himself that what he was doing wasn't weird or strange, it was quick research.

It was to settle the internal debate he had been having for a handful of days. In the span of that time, Yifan had been noticing more desirable parts of Yixing. It was both awkward and off-putting to climb into the bed beside the person he had felt sudden desire for. The Realisation had been profound and something that kept him on edge. It drove him almost completely out of his sanity before he knew he had to do something about it; he had decided that setting a test for himself would be the fastest way he could get some decipherment over what he had been thinking.

He had never been through such a dilemma before, that's why he found himself looking over other high school students; his field-test to see if he had certain inclinations towards people of a younger age, or if it was only Yixing. In all honesty, he did not know which one he would prefer to have.

Finding teenagers attractive was something he could hide, drown out in relationships with people his own age - maybe people who would look a little cuter than the average adult - and seek help for his attractions. However, there would be the lingering disgust he would have for himself, especially as an adult, in liking those of a far younger age.

Wanting Yixing had it's own issues; he was like the younger boy's older brother and there was something wrong about that on its own. Factoring in that he would always be around Yixing, there would be no way of escaping that fate and avoiding the younger boy until somebody else caught his fancy. There would always be the thought, the knowledge, that he had taken considerable notice for the younger male; it made his palms sweat and stomach turn in the most horrific of ways.

Yifan's brain registered some of the students as people who would grow up to be attractive or were beautiful in their own way. Nevertheless, he felt that ever expanding feeling of hunger enter his body when Yixing stepped into view with his backpack slung over one shoulder and his perfectly fitted uniform. Yifan should not have been close to drooling as he watched the younger approach the car with his naturally swaying hips and his flawlessly placed hair. Yifan didn't even look at any of the people surrounding Yixing when he was there and that's when he knew something wasn't right.

He felt the resentment alongside the attraction; the positive feeling directed at the younger and the negative was saved only for himself.

Beneath everything, Yifan knew it was only physical attraction that he was harbouring in his sea of raw and unrefined feelings. It wasn't as if he was in love with Yixing, no, he found himself being affected in no other way in that respect. There was nothing that gave him the urge to kiss Yixing until he felt better about something or feelings of jealousy when Yixing was with other people. It was more that Yifan wanted to touch Yixing until there was nothing but pleasure displayed across his face. There was nothing normal in that, however.

Yifan hadn't ever wanted somebody, in a physical sense, that much before.

That only heightened as Yixing sat in the car beside him, the younger greeting him happily with a smile and a cute, "Gege."

Yifan cast him a single glance for a second before letting his eyes fall on the street around them, he started the engine and pulled out of the school.

"Luhan called and said he was going to Jongin's house for the afternoon to talk over plays or something," Yifan hummed, keeping his gaze trained on the road ahead. "I'm not sure what Mom and Dad are doing though, they left before I could talk to them."

"Oh," Yixing didn't sound disappointed with that idea, he seemed more soothed and relaxed by it. It made Yifan feel a little worse about himself, the fact that when he had said that, he had thought that he'd get more time to just watch Yixing without anybody to catch him in doing so. "Are we making dinner?"

"Huh?" Yifan glanced to his right.

"What are we doing for dinner?" Yixing asked, speaking a little louder and Yifan relaxed a little more in his seat.

"I don't know, whatever you want," Yifan shrugged, following the way the road curved and Yixing began to him.

"I'll think it over," Yixing looked out of the window, Yifan's sight catching the action in the corner of his eye and he let himself take a quick look at the younger boy.

"Okay, let me know when you think of something," Yifan let out a breath, the start of his street coming into view and he could not wait to pull into the driveway and make his way inside with the hopes of actually distracting himself from wanting to gape at Yixing like a child in an aquarium.

"I will," the sixteen year-old whistled between his teeth, talking that way was a habit all three of the boys had developed from each other through the years and it spoke of how much time they spent together. Yifan could small parts of his own habits, and Luhan's too, in Yixing and he guessed that was why he didn't feel romantic feelings for the other.

"Good day?" Yifan queried as they both got out of the car, circling around to enter the house once the door was unlocked.

"I guess so, what about you? You were gone early this morning."

Yifan let his keys fall onto the small oak table they had in the entranceway, "Yeah, early morning practice has been killing me."

"I can only imagine, you were gone for a while," Yixing commented offhandedly. "Your side of the bed was cold when I woke up."

The elder felt slightly guilty, he had purposely left early that morning because he had woken up to avoid having to see Yixing taking his morning shower; his practice began an hour later than when he had arrived at his university's gym. His coach had liked the enthusiasm but Yifan's body clock had not, he was exhausted by the time his first lecture started.

Yifan barely noticed when Yixing placed his smaller hand in his palm, his fingers curled around the much thinner and softer ones automatically and he allowed himself to be led through the house and up the stairs with Yixing's voice buzzing excitably about music. Yifan listened as best as he could but it was difficult to do such a thing when Yixing's ass was right within his eye line on the stairs, he looked up and watched Yixing's dimple appear and then melt into nothing as Yixing spoke with a smile on his face.

The twenty year-old felt awkward about the fact he had stared so hungrily at Yixing, there was something thick and unsettling layering in his throat because of the guilt he felt. He knew that kind of sensation wasn't supposed to be felt when you were attracted so somebody, it wasn't like Yifan could help himself when everything was so confused within him. His head felt muddled when he looked at Yixing, there was a bold sense that he was being drawn in but he knew he had to stay away. There was a degree of trust so high between them that he had to avoid all unwanted thoughts about the younger at all costs.

They were supposed to be brothers, they were only supposed to have platonic emotions for each other when they were together; not the pain of immature attraction and attention.

Yifan had managed to distract himself by helping Yixing with a Chemistry paper he was writing, the sixteen-year-old's words of equations and chemical symbols were enough to pull Yifan out of his decidedly wrong train of thought. He could focus on the paper between them as they looked at the screen of the laptop in the study, his eyes ran through the characters and he did not let his eyes roll back to look over Yixing's body.

That was until Yixing's phone began to buzz in his pocket. Yifan spied that it was Yixing's father, he rose from his seat and ruffled Yixing's hair before giving the younger some privacy to converse with his parents.

Yifan took the opportunity to escape up to his own room, he took out his own phone and dialled a number he knew by heart.

"Kyungsoo," he groaned as soon as the call was answered. "There's something really fucking wrong."

"What's up? Do you need me to come over?"

Yifan closed his eyes in discomfort, "I think I'm a paedophile."

There was a loud choking noise, rustling and a deep breath in, "A what? Why? How did you even figure that out?"

"I have been noticing Yixing so much over the past few days," he ran one of his palms down his face and didn't move it from his mouth until his eyes opened once again, "He's sixteen, Soo, he's a kid. I am physically attracted to somebody who is a child? A really beautiful, attractive child. How messed up is that?"

"Do you find other young people beautiful?"

"You don't find beauty in all ages?" Yifan gaped, his heart falling down into his stomach.

"I'm talking about beauty in the kind of way that you're seeing Yixing. I mean the kind of beauty beyond the platonic."

"No," Yifan sighed, his chest loosening just a little. "It's just Yixing but he's still a kid."

"Yifan, you need to remember that you may consider that Yixing is a child but he isn't. Not anymore. Surely you remember how much of an adult you felt like you were when you were his age? I think you'd even had sex at that point already; you definitely weren't a kid then. You're not attracted to somebody who isn't of legal age to do the things you're thinking about. Especially if it is just him you're thinking about." There was a paused as Kyungsoo shuffled some things on the other end of the call. "Think about it this way, it seems scary right now but in two years he'll be eighteen and you'll be twenty-two; if you still feel the same at that point then you can tackle that problem when you face it. I don't have to tell you that being attracted to Yixing isn't wrong, it is what you do about it that would be the problem. And, if you have a problem with the fact he sees you as nothing but a brother, that's something different in itself."

"Okay," Yifan unleashed his stress through a long exhale, his hand lessening its grip on the device. "I think that's what I needed to hear. Thank you so much."

"I'm always here to help you out," the line crackled a little, making Kyungsoo sound a little tinny. "If you feel anything more about this then don't hesitate to call, I'm more than willing to be here for you."

"I'll see you tomorrow," he began his goodbyes and Kyungsoo returned the sentiment back to him. "Thanks again."

Kyungsoo hummed once before the line cut off, Yifan didn't return back down to the study where Yixing was studying in favour of stretching out across his mattress. Even though his friend's words helped to unfurl some of the tension within his gut, Yifan was still on edge about the whole thing.

The younger male trusted Yifan, looked up to him even, and he could not betray that with the way he felt himself react when he set his eyes upon him. There was little he could do to stop the tumult other than will it away.

 

 

 

 

In all the heat, Yifan could feel hands and lips all over his body, a slight movement of tongue along his skin accented everything he wanted. His blood was boiling up, he could feel it all searing through his veins and scolding every muscle into action; his own fingers were holding tightly to slender hips. The movement between his own body and the one on top of him was situated halfway between rough and sensual - harsher movements rounded off into grinds and undulating sways. He could feel something hot, tight and heavenly around his cock as the other person lifted their hips in a satisfying drag; it didn't even seem to matter to the other that he was slamming his own pelvis into them with a harsh snap. Their moans filled the air, Yifan found himself groaning with the sensations that were climbing through his nerves and shooting into every receptive part of his body. He was in need of release.

Nothing stopped him from tossing the smaller, more slender frame of his bed partner to the other side of the bed to enable him to fuck more ruthlessly. The other was more than willing, their fingers dragged deep trenches of scratch marks down his back and he relished in the pain that teetered on the border of pleasure. He was slamming himself senselessly into the male form below, the face of his partner obscured by their pale arm covering their face as they tilted their head back in a broken cry. Yifan could feel it building within himself and the one below him; their bodies contracting and chasing heaven before they could even think anything more.

Yifan came first, the twitching hole around his member was far too much to handle and there was something sinfully pleasing about feeling his cum spurt out into a more than willing and pliant body. That's when he heard it, the cry of something he never wanted to hear during sex and the scream cut through him like a knife, "Gege."

Then it was the face, one which was all too familiar, contorted into everything lust, sin and passion embodied. It left him weak and dazed beyond comprehension.

 

Yifan's eyes slung themselves open, his chest heaving and sweat pooled in the gentle curve of his stomach. He felt dazed peering at the person only a handful of inches from his own and there was a still moment where he let himself take in the sight of Yixing's perfectly still and radiant face. Yifan felt his heart slowly returning to its natural pace, he shifted on his mattress to lay on his side. He managed to ignore the increasing pressure in this nether regions, he told himself that he would not give in to the urge to touch himself while Yixing was blissfully unaware with slumber encasing his body. The twenty year-old was pushing every lewd thought away in hopes of sleeping again but then Yixing's lips parted with a soft popping sound. He watched the younger's soft mouth as something of a little indulgence before he resigned himself to ignoring everything once again.

"Gege," he watched the two syllable whisper out of Yixing's lips and suddenly there were twisting images of Yifan pinning the sixteen year-old to the bed, to trap him beneath his body and let his mouth-

Yifan's stomach twisted harshly, the arousal that had been there was replaced with something rocketing up his throat and only a blink passed before he was scrambling to his en-suite with gelatinous legs. He crashed into the toilet and clutched the porcelain bowl with a tight grip. Vomit spilled up his throat, through his mouth and into the water that was dished there. His retching didn't halt, it was a continuous onslaught as Yifan remembered his dream in vivid detail and cursed himself for not realising how wrong everything his subconscious has conjured was.

Each new scene that he remembered pushed him into a frenzy of vomit and stomach clenching; nothing he could think of was working to quash those visions from his mind. Tears flooded out of his eyes as he slowly ran out of things to throw up into the toilet bowl. The stench of his vomit didn't aid him in quelling the uneasy feeling that was so deeply ingrained within him.

A small voice in his mind told him that his sickened feeling was a natural reaction to what he had seen, however, yet another issue arose. Yifan came across the fact that he wasn't disgusted in his attraction. He loathed himself because he was the person Yixing called gege and who the sixteen-year-old admired, he should have only thought of being a tenderly loving brother. Not the man who dreamed having the younger riding him while moaning out the honorific in a whimpering tone.

A hand on his back startled him from his thoughts, he looked around and saw Yixing with a more than concerned expression, "Are you okay, ge?"

Yifan hated himself for waking Yixing up, especially on a school night, but couldn't say he didn't like the small hand rubbing the length of his spine or the way Yixing's head tilted forward uncaring of the stench of sick that had filled the room.

"Yes," he dipped his head down, not wanting the stench of his breath to infiltrate Yixing's breathing air. "I think I ate something funny."

"I'll get you a drink, wait here," the teenager left the room, leaving behind Yifan to hang his head onto the seat of the toilet.

Yixing returned with a glass filled to the three-quarter point, he handed it down to Yifan who immediately took a gulp before swishing the liquid around his mouth, all while Yixing's hand returned to his back. He felt confused by the way his heart seemed to vibrate at the sweet act. The younger only moved from his close position by Yifan when the elder began to move, he stood up to brush his teeth and found it laying in wait for him on the counter.

There was a moment where Yixing just watched Yifan through the mirror to ensure that Yifan was completely fine. A few seconds passed before the teenager moved, leaving Yifan's eyes to follow him around the room as he cleaned out the toilet. Yixing was diligent in using bleach, the strong lemon scent pushed out the pungent vomit smell, it was like Yixing was just brushing away all the disgust and replacing it with affection.

Yifan didn't want that though, it left him wanting to subject himself to even more of Yixing's wonderful nature and there was a chance of his attraction developing into feelings. He could not let himself fall deeper into the emotions that he felt for the teenager; it was one thing to be physically attracted to the sixteen-year-old but that should not spill into the danger zone of romantic affection. Yifan didn't stop gazing at the younger, who was still pottering around with his cleaning tools while Yifan was scrubbing away at his teeth.

They made their way back to bed quickly, Yixing snuggling down on the mattress and laying with the duvet open for the elder to follow in after him. He lay beside the smaller male and flinched ever so slightly when Yixing's hand rubbed on his stomach in just the same fashion as it had on his back. It was a soothing feeling, the content pressure that Yixing was there, that Yixing was looking after him and caring for him. It returned the fluttering to his chest, his heart thudding lightly before thundering away loud enough for Yifan to fear that Yixing would be able to hear it when he was laid so close.

Nevertheless, he found himself relaxing when Yixing curled his body into his, he rested his head on the older man's chest and it made Yifan feel sleep come more quickly. He found his mouth moving of its own accord, making the younger boy freeze up before he, too, settled down once again, "Why are you so wonderful?"

 

 

 

A boyfriend. Yifan had, had two of them and Yixing had acquired his first. The sixteen-year-old had chirruped about his dates, leaving Yifan dumbfounded as he finally understood that all those dates were with the same person. It made the elder feel that flare of protectiveness stifle his thoughts whenever the subject was brought up, it prickled his skin and made him uncomfortable. Luhan was often elbowing Yifan or whispering at him to knock it off because Yixing was smiling. The oldest of the trio found himself backing down quickly under the scorn of his younger brother, especially when Yixing actually seemed excited about things like he was when he had been younger.

That bubbly attitude, the squealing laughs Yixing released when Yifan tickled him at night or his smile when Yifan praised him, did nothing to reject the older boy's slowly growing feelings. It was a struggle, the slimy feeling of jealousy joined the irritation that came with wanting to protect the younger boy in the depths of his stomach.

Things only worsened when Yixing told Yifan that things had become official between him and the boy he had been dating; he found himself hating it. The boyfriend, who Yifan never wanted to dignify with getting to know, began to appear in his living room often. The three sixteen year-olds were a force to be reckoned with when they were together, two of them annoying Yifan and the other frustrating him in a whole different way.

Yifan had to suffer through sleeping beside Yixing almost every night; the younger still snuggled into his side, he still held Yifan's hand as they walked around and he still talked to Yifan like he was the only person in the room. It made him hyper-aware of the way they touched each other and came into contact with one another. None of it seemed brotherly anymore, not to Yifan. There were things he could do with Yixing that made him notice that he would never treat Luhan in the same way.

It was a direct hit when Yifan came home to soft panting sounds floating from the living room, he could half anticipate what he would see and nothing stopped him from slowing his steps to move quietly to where the lounge door was slightly open. There was nothing wrong in taking a look, he told himself.

When he came at eye level to the six inch wide divide between the door and the architrave, he stopped with a silent breath and watched as he took in the sight of Yixing and his boyfriend. Their kissing was fiery, heavy with passion and Yifan knew that kind of lip lock so very well. The make out sessions he had when he was around Yixing's age were weighted down by lust and urges; tongues thrashed and bodies craved. Yifan watched like an unknown voyeur, his tongue wetting his lips as he observed the way Yixing's body curved as he straddled his boyfriend with the ever so slight rock of his hips. The twenty-year-old could imagine how that would feel after many years of having Yixing huddled on his chest as they slept and Yifan found something replace the avoirdupois of shame in the bowels of his emotion.

He knew immediately it was jealousy. Or maybe it was envy. All he knew was that he wanted to be the one Yixing's tongue lashed at so very furiously, the one who bruised his lips and made him whimper through instinct. It was all angled lust, sharp and penetrating to Yifan's chest and he knew that his newly discovered feelings for Yixing were buckling, struggling mightily, under the weight of his new want to covet Yixing. And still, Yifan didn't stop watching. He could not stop himself. The minutes flew past and soon he was hard, leaking and doing everything in his power to stop imagining himself as Yixing's boyfriend. It was not right.

Yifan only brought himself to move when he heard Luhan's keys turn in the front door, he took quick and light footsteps down the hallway and into the kitchen. He twisted around the corner, plucking a water bottle from the refrigerator and downing as much of it as he could before his brother walked into the house completely. He found himself softening as Luhan screeched out: "Zhang Yixing, what the fuck are you doing with that boy on my couch?"

Yifan took a deep breath in; composure. He left the safety of the kitchen, witnessing as Luhan dragged Yixing from the living room by his ear.

"You," Luhan growled as he saw Yifan, making Yixing look up in horror at the eldest.

"Me?" The twenty-year-old pointed to himself.

"Yes, you, idiot," his brother growled. "Did you know that this imbecile was practically dry-fucking his boyfriend in our living room?" Yifan shrugged, feigning nonchalance. "You knew and you didn't stop him?! I thought you were the protective freak, not me."

"He's not a kid, Lu," Yifan found himself saying, half justifying things to himself. "He's got a boyfriend, it's not like it's a complete stranger."

Yixing looked flushed faced, his lips swollen and hair in slight disarray but Yifan couldn't help but note how the youngest of them all was staring at him, chest heaving and eyes still dark with lust. The sixteen-year-old looked almost predatory and Yifan had to look over to Luhan to regain some of his equanimity again.

"I've done worse things in the house while you've both been here," Yifan regretted the words as soon as they left his lips, not because they sounded vulgar but Luhan appeared furious and Yixing flinched ever so slightly. "I'm not saying I like that it happens, heck I hate it, but Yixing's learning about himself."

Luhan released Yixing's ear with a huff before dragging Yixing's boyfriend out of the house by his wrist. Nothing more was said about the topic once Yifan saw his parents enter the house with bags full of takeout.

Yifan only spoke up again when they were in bed; Yixing's head on Yifan's chest and his legs fully wrapped up in Yifan's - their hands weren't clasped but they touched as they settled in the tiny space on Yifan's far right hip. "Does your boyfriend know we sleep like this?"

The question was light, almost airy, and Yixing took a few seconds to reply. "Yeah," there was a swallow so deep that he could feel Yixing's Adam's Apple move against his shoulder, "he knows I sleep in a bed with you most nights but I don't think he knows it entails this."

Yixing's little finger caught Yifan's thumb in a small hook and Yifan knew what this was; it was how Yixing's side of the bed hadn't been slept in for months, how they cuddled as soon as the lights went out and that Yixing's face settled under Yifan's jaw, his lips ghosting over the skin of his neck.

"It's not like we're doing anything wrong by doing this, right?" Yixing's voice was quiet, it had the same timid hush to it as when he told Yifan he was gay - it was the fear of rejection and the fear that somebody would tell him it was wrong.

"I don't think I could sleep any other way," Yifan's honesty was firm, the confidence in his words leading to a quick kiss to Yixing's hair. "But I like that this is just us, you know? It makes sense because it's us and I don't think others would understand that."

Yixing hummed in agreement, his little finger pulling Yifan's hand up until their digits were in line with one another and he bound their palms together in a firm hold.

"About earlier," Yifan whispered, closing his eyes when Yixing looked up at him, "don't do that again, at least not when I, or Luhan for that matter, can come home and see it."

"Why?"

"I didn't like it," Yifan murmured, "I didn't want to cause a scene in front of your boyfriend and embarrass you but I'm saying this now, don't do that."

Yixing was quiet for a minute, his spare hand moving by his head to trace patterns on Yifan's neck as light as a zephyr. "Are you jealous?"

"No," Yifan lied through his teeth, his fingers grazing over the ones entwined with his. "Just protective.”

"Okay, gege," Yixing whispered, his head returning to its usual place on Yifan's left clavicle, his breath touching where his fingertips did not.

 

 

 

Yixing's break-up happened not even a few days after their hushed talk that revealed too much and hid even more; Yixing didn't cry. Yifan waited for the tears but they never came. Not in the middle of the night when Yifan stayed awake in fear that he'd sleep through Yixing's split from his boyfriend finally hitting him full force. Not in the early mornings when Yifan brushed his teeth while Yixing showered behind the steamed up perspex of his shower. Not even when Luhan stole Yixing away for a night, their hushed voices filled the top floor of the house in mutterings that Yifan couldn't discern but he could feel the importance of the conversation between both the younger boys.

Luhan had watched Yifan and Yixing interacting intently the next morning, his eyes filling with knowing that Yifan wasn't privy to whenever Yixing smiled under Yifan's touch or laughed at one of Yifan's jokes that were anything but funny. Yifan sent his brother questioning looks but he shrugged them off; Yixing hissed out a whined 'Luhan' whenever the middle child watched them interact as they normally did. Something changed but Yifan was the only one who was lost.

 

 

Wu-Zhang house parties were notorious among the youth of their suburb during their younger years but that had spread out to Yifan's university since his first birthday as a student. When Yifan had a party, it was in everybody's best interest to receive an invite from the tall male. His parents never minded as long as the three boys stuck to their set of rules:

  1. No fights
  2. No overcrowding
  3. No neighbour complaints
  4. Absolutely, no police

It wasn't hard to keep to them when every party was invite only. Yifan never shied away from using his dark aura and intimidating height to ward off those who weren't desired; he had only used it once before. There had been a girl, one of Luhan's prospective date interests, who had been a little too pushy with Yixing - constantly plying him with more alcohol than Yifan limited him with, her hands not stopping their appreciative scrawl over Yixing's skin and she didn't move away when the boy pushed her away. The twenty-year-old never believed in hurting women, hurting anybody for that matter, but he'd felt a murderous glint slash within him when Yixing sought comfort behind him as he pushed the girl out of their front door. She had been promptly banned by the Wu-Zhang brothers.

Their recent organised gathering was the biggest hit so far, especially since Yifan had upped the sixteen-year-olds' drink limit to six cups of whatever they wanted; not just beer of under 4% and not just three bottles. There was a worrying moment the night before when Yifan regretted his decision as Yixing talked about trying tequila, gin and vodka when they had settled together beneath a thinner duvet as the weather warmed.

The elder didn't see Yixing and Luhan for a few hours, Yifan stuck with his own friends and he remained almost plastered by Kyungsoo's side as he drank more little by little. He didn't dance, he just acted as the host and made sure that everybody had a full glass without allowing people to become ridiculously drunk. He found himself settling into the flow a little more as he spotted the two younger boys laughing boisterously as they kept themselves to themselves in the hallway by the stairs. They weren't too drunk and Luhan had shown the proud sign of five when Yifan had gestured to his own cup, it let him cut that little looser.

Yifan trailed behind his friends as they made their way into the lounge, where the music played the loudest and guests danced around in the empty space. There must have been almost twenty or thirty people crammed into the room, all their drinks held tightly and their bodies pressed together.

Luhan and Yixing seemed to follow closely behind, their laughter rushing through the air and Yifan was relieved at their joy. He stood at the edge of the room, swallowed up his drink as they began to dance. Yixing went off on his own while Luhan latched onto a girl Yifan knew was way out of his league but he still silently cheered his brother on. He could see Yixing drink the rest of his cup, completely unknowing of the contents and strength of the liquid in it but Yifan knew nothing bad would happen to the younger with him as his watchdog. In reality, the person who put Yixing most at risk was Yifan himself.

In the swathes of limbs and bodies, his eyes could only focus on one person in the room, his gaze never moved away in the minutes that passed. A feeling, intense and crippling, settled in his stomach to simmer there until his stare was met. He had promised himself that he wouldn't watch that night, he shouldn't have watched, but he couldn't help it.

He told himself in an attempt to convince a lie into becoming the truth that it was brotherly love and affection he felt. Every part of him screamed that it wasn't and the dark eyes that met his return reflected that.

All the red hot heat that had engulfed his bloodstream turned white under the dark, hooded look he was receiving. It felt forbidden, his heart was strained by notions that were begging for freedom and he knew he would slip over the edge. The figure approached, his gait much like that of a stalking tiger and Yifan felt enclosed, pinned, by the sight. It was like something from a fantasy.

If only a snapshot in time, it was worth it.

It made him incapable of resisting a warm hand on his wrist that meandered teasingly up to the sensitive inner part of his bicep. His shudder caused by the movement was stilted in this spine when his eyes caught sight of the one in front of him, they were dark and lusting.

"Keep a look out for Luhan," Yixing whispered as his mouth rose to Yifan's ear, the elder did as advised but saw that the hoard of people had swallowed his younger brother up as Yixing began to vaguely mouth at the area around Yifan’s jugular vein.

"Xing-ah," Yifan warned, his mind screaming for him to push the younger boy away. "Don't."

"Why not?" Yixing whispered.

"You're drunk," the twenty-year-old could taste the liquor on Yixing's breath and knew that drunk would be an overstatement, tipsy but still in control was more accurate. Yixing was just a little more liberated, much like Yifan. However, it was easier for Yifan to pry himself away when he convinced himself that Yixing was inebriated. "If you're going to be stupid, just go to bed."

Yixing moved away, his hands still clutching at Yifan's arms, "Only if you tuck me in, will you do that for me, gege?"

Yifan looked back out at his friends and ignored the glaring warning look that Kyungsoo was sending his way, he was so close to telling Yixing to go up alone but then he looked back at the lusting boy before him. He prayed to god, and Kyungsoo, for forgiveness as he gripped at Yixing's hand and pulled him out of the living room. They both ran up the stairs, Yixing giggling and Yifan sweating with nerves that had clogged his brain. He was sober, so much more so than before, but the edges of reality were still hazy as he opened his bedroom door and felt Yixing's firm, dancer grip push him into the closest wall.

The teenager kissed him. Yixing kissed Yifan. The didi kissed the gege. It was so utterly wrong but Yifan's hands clutched at Yixing's jaw and his tongue was almost instantly in the younger boy's willing mouth. Yifan wanted so much. His lips ran with Yixing's, the pressure was perfect and there was nothing Yifan could do to guide Yixing in his lip movements; the younger was the aggressor but he let Yifan lead him through. The sixteen year-old curled his head back, letting Yifan exert more power and to press their chests even closer together. Yifan could feel how Yixing's shirt rubbed against his own. There was a hint of nipple that grazed up Yifan's boldly defined pectoral muscles, it sent addicting shocks through Yifan's body that Yixing's nipples were hard after such little stimulation. The younger male was whining, his breaking voice stuttering in his throat as Yifan's expert tongue danced around his smaller one. Yifan was growing harder, his erection almost halfway there as Yixing's hips pressed further into his. That was where Yifan felt how much more affected Yixing was and that only reminded him of the younger boy's inexperience.

Yixing pulled back slightly, dragging Yifan to the bed where he pushed the older male down and began to straddle his hips immediately. Flashes of when Yifan had watched Yixing make out with his ex-boyfriend flooded his mind; he gripped a little harder a pushed more of his own force into the kiss that little bit more. He felt that jealous and the envy crushing through his body and there was no stopping himself when his palms ran to Yixing's ass and his fingers squeezed the fleshy globes tightly. The action made Yixing buck forward and release his most need moan.

"Fuck me," Yixing keened against his lips. "Gege, please fuck me."

Yifan pulled back, his hair dug deeply into the pillow beneath his head, "No."

Yixing stopped chasing to kiss Yifan again, his eyes wider and his saliva slicked lips parted in speechlessness.

"I can't, not while you're drunk," Yifan's hand moved up to the younger's face and fanned against his cheek, his finger curled into where Yixing's hair had begun to grow a little long. "You broke up with your boyfriend barely a week ago, I'd be taking advantage of you."

"But I asked you, you didn't start a thing," Yixing argued, his forehead resting down on Yifan's, "It's not taking advantage if I'm the instigator."

"It can be, Yixing," Yifan whispered, not moving an inch.

"Do you not want me like that?" Yixing's voice was frail, his alcohol controlled emotions taking over a little more than they should have. "Am I just somebody for you to kiss tonight? I've watched you at parties before, you make out with random people and don't think that I don't know why you ask me to stay in with Luhan all of those times. I'm not stupid, not when you throw out your bedding the morning after. You've fucked those people, why won't you fuck me?"

"You're different, Yixing," his voice choked, the crack making him seem like the one who was nearing the latter stages of his puberty and not Yixing. "You're so much more and you're a virgin, you need to save that for somebody who you want to take it when you're sober."

"Everybody talks about how I should save it for somebody who cares for me, somebody who won't freeze me out afterwards, somebody who will take me how I want them to, somebody who will show me that I'm worth something and somebody who will hold me close when it's over," Yixing swallowed deeply. "You would do all those things. I know you would."

Yifan couldn't deny that, not a single bit, because he was most likely that somebody.

"Don't you want somebody your own age?" he asked, making Yixing look at him questioningly. "I'm so much older than you."

"Is that what the issue is? Age?" Yixing pulled away almost completely. "I don't care about our ages, why do you?"

Because I'm the adult, Yifan wanted to scream but then Yixing's tongue was wetly pressing to his earlobe in a way that Yifan didn't know made him weak.

"I'm not a kid," the teenager whispered with his tongue commencing its previous action enough to make Yifan release a breathy moan. "You did far worse than this when you were my age."

"That doesn't make it okay," Yifan fought the urge to give in, he wanted to cave and his mind clouded as Yixing's nimble hands made their way down his body to meet where his black belt was buckled against his hips. He felt the leather shift and whip away from his body, Yixing not pulling it out of the belt loops and leaving it suggestively slung open.

"I want you to be my first time, gege," Yixing muttered, his eyes casting down before something switched within the younger boy and Yifan feared what was to be said next. "Maybe I should have given myself to my ex-boyfriend when he begged me for it. I should have let it be him who fucked me, or maybe I should have fucked him? I should have let him be the one who made m─"

Yifan didn't want to hear anymore, so he did all he could think of and flipped the pair of them over until Yixing was pressed into the mattress by his body. Yifan knew Yixing was doing it to rile him up, he knew how to get under Yifan's skin and the elder hated how easily it could be done.

Yixing's hands undid the button and zipper of Yifan's jeans, he was trying to tug them down much to Yifan's chagrin and the boundaries of his limits. He found no other solution than to pin Yixing's hands above his head, the younger boy's ever growing arms stretched out beneath him and Yifan thought that Yixing looked edible in such a position. Yixing giggled at the action with his lips spread wide and he clearly thought that Yifan was going to take him then. The twenty-year-old could not deny that he felt the urge to effervesce in each of his pores. Irresistible; that's what Yixing was. There was nothing Yifan wanted more than to have their bare skin rubbing, sliding with sweat and breaths cascading into each other's mouths howbeit he couldn't do that. Not to Yixing. Not so soon.

The younger boy's hips ground upwards, it shocked every nerve in his body until there was nothing else to feel. Yixing was persistent with his urging Yifan on, using his body to encourage the elder into give in to what was passing between them, the unadulterated lust that had mixed with that little something that made Yifan's chest feel lighter while the teenager was round. Yifan decided that giving Yixing part of what he wanted was not wrong; he could give Yixing a first without being the first. That led to Yifan pressing his own hips down to meet the smaller male's, the rough edges of their denim jeans collided and Yifan could feel his undone zipper stimulating them both with its rough teeth as it scraped past both of their erections.

Yifan was sucked so deeply in by Yixing, their foreheads meeting at a hot axis and their lips searched for one another, docking onto each other as though they had found home barely seconds later. Their languid mouths vastly contradicted their quickly and roughly thrusting hips, they pushed each other furthermore into the realms of no return. As time passed, the contact they had wasn't quite enough, which caused Yifan to pull back and use one of his arms that had been pinning Yixing's hands to bend one of the flexible younger's legs up until it was crushed up against his chest. Yifan relished in the new found space, he used it to be more earnest in his hip movements, their grinding and driving happening in a way that had Yixing whimpering out.

The older of the two was surprised at how long Yixing lasted with his head thrown back in pleasure, his eyes closed in ecstasy and his voice calling out in wanting over the music playing floors below. Yifan couldn't believe the sight before him, the boy he had adored like a brother since the moment they met was flushed with arousal below him, begging him for more. Something in that turned Yifan on even more, letting his hands abandon Yixing's completely in favour of letting his thumb skim over where he could see the outlines of the younger boy's nipple beneath his slowly soaking shirt. Yifan could not believe how Yixing mewled at that contact, it was a loud gush of: "Yifan."

The sound called out to a more primal instinct of the twenty-year-old and his tongue was tracing the lines of Yixing's ear within a heartbeat, his teeth teased at the flesh and everything worked away at Yixing's sanity until he was chanting nothing but "Fan, Fan, Fan," over like a needy mantra.

Yixing was an addiction; his sounds, his body, his voice, his glazed eyes, his heaving chest, his beauty and his trust. Yifan couldn't get enough, he'd never have Yixing and that only made his thirst grow as he felt Yixing's erection twitch beneath the thick fabric separating them. The taller knew that Yixing must have felt uncomfortable so he slowly undid the younger's trousers with the hand that had been teasing over the sensitive bud on his chest, his thumb and forefinger teased the zipper down while his hips ground in unrelenting stimulation on the younger, it was enough to have Yixing's underwear wetting as the boy suddenly gripped at his shoulders. "Gege," was all Yixing cried as he came under Yifan's fleeting fingers and ever moving hips. His eyes were wide open to take in the sight of Yifan above him and that image of Yixing through his orgasm and the moments afterwards branded themselves into Yifan's mind, he would never forget it.

That mere reaction was enough to have Yifan shuddering as he came in his jeans, his head falling down to align his lips with Yixing's ear as he growled out a lowly pitched, "Yixing."

He stayed there panting over the younger boy's body and Yixing rose up on his elbows to kiss Yifan's lips sweetly, his fingers threaded through the elder's hair and Yifan could feel the hot tips of his fingers drag along the top of his skull in an affectionate graze. They didn't say anything for a while, Yifan's alcohol had completely burned out of his system and he did not feel a single drop of the guilt he had anticipated, it left him ever so slightly dazed.

He shifted from Yixing's body, kissing wherever he could as he moved and the younger giggled out happily, his left leg still weakly twitching from his orgasm. That image had Yifan skirting his finger down to rub at the muscle that was littered with small spasms and he watched Yixing relax under the touch, his mouth releasing a breathy moan. His eyebrow rose in curiosity, taking note that the spot behind Yixing's knee was an area of sensitivity before he pulled away completely. He stripped off his own jeans, thankful that Yixing did too, before they began to stick to the younger boy's body and pulled out some of their pyjama pants out from the drawer that was just across the room. He threw a pair at Yixing, uncaring that they were his own and they both changed without looking at one another.

Yixing beamed up at Yifan when the elder climbed into the bed beside him, their lips meeting somewhere in the middle automatically and Yifan could taste everything that was Yixing on his tongue.Their kisses sealed themselves off, their tongues retreating back into their own bodies and Yifan adored the way Yixing's lips fit between his on their lingering, closed mouth kisses. Their eyes were open for most of it, unblinkingly staring at one another as they shared small moments of intimacy, Yixing shuddered and Yifan understood the action all too well.

Yifan didn't mind being a part of Yixing's rebound process, it didn't even hurt him when he knew he had already indulged in too much of the younger already. He couldn't find it within himself to care in those slow moments for the repercussions that would surely come in the morning but he couldn't bring himself to. Not when he was coated in a layer of Yixing's Nutmeg and Ginger scent. Not when he had Yixing's lips on his own. Not when Yixing cuddled so closely to his side that he had nowhere to move.

Yifan couldn't care at all.

 

 

Yifan had blundered and pushed himself through multiple break-ups and minor heartaches, they were something he could easily overcome and grow on the other side of it. Nothing, however, compared to the raw heartbreak he felt when Yixing woke up the next morning with the question of, "When did I go to bed last night?" on his lips. It had made Yifan want to vacate his room, maybe even throw up a little as he realised that Yixing could have been more inebriated than he had initially anticipated. The younger couldn't remember and that was enough to have Yifan announcing breakfast and stumbling his way down the stairs. He only stopped when he got to the kitchen where he used a cupboard door to bash his head against. Maybe he could knock the sense he had lacked the night before into his own head that way.

"What's eating you?" A familiar voice, deeper than usual but still completely recognisable.

"I fucked up," Yifan's own was scratchy, apparently he had been more vocal during his and Yixing's little session than he'd thought.

"I know, I saw," the voice behind him said, making him look over his shoulder at his best friend. "I thought you were going to stay away."

"I did too, Soo," Yifan turned and got water from the fridge, taking a sip to quell the burning in his throat. "But he's so perfect all the time, I can't help myself. Especially not when he asks."

"You know, I always kind of knew this would happen between the two of you," Kyungsoo shrugged out, making Yifan side eye him from where he was stood. "Do you remember that girl you really liked, it was around a year ago? That short haired one from your class?" Yifan nodded in response as he took another swig of his water. "Well, as soon as Yixing said he didn't really like her, you dropped her like she was nothing. Not to mention the hundreds of other times that has happened, do you know how many of your relationships have ended because either Yixing didn't like them or they didn't like Yixing?"

Yifan gulped down his water, "No."

"All of them."

Yifan's eyes widened, his heart stopping in its place in his chest and he found it ridiculous to believe such a thing. And yet, when he searched through his memories, he knew his friend was right.

"Fuck," he groaned, hitting a new patch of his head on the cupboards.

"Last night," his friend began, his voice lowering. "You didn't, you know, go all the way with him, right?"

Yifan shook his head, "No, we had our clothes on but he was─he was under me... Oh god, I'm going straight to hell, aren't I?"

"Did he give consent?" Kyungsoo pressed, his eyes suddenly wide with worry.

"Yeah, he started it and he told me to keep going," Yifan recalled, making his friend's shoulders sag down.

"You didn't do anything illegal then, Yifan," he rubbed his back. "He's old enough to give consent and if he gave it then there's nothing wrong with it."

"But he was drunk─"

"How many times have you been drunk but completely aware of what you're doing?"

"Every time, but th─"

"This is no different, okay? He knew what he was doing and he wanted you. Don't let this eat you up, you're not a bad person."

They both quieted as Luhan, with his hair in utter disarray and eyes screaming 'I have a hangover, go away' walked into the room. Yifan took a breath, drinking the rest of his water bottle before realising that he may not have been a bad person but he had been an awful brother. He had been the worst and that was enough to make him promise himself that he'd stay away from the sixteen-year-old who was in his bed two storeys above his head.

 

 

 

Spring strolled straight into the summer months; the temperature rose and the tension in Yifan's stomach did the very same. He felt as though he lost his reasoning with each day that passed, every moment spent with Yixing was a moment where he felt as though he was walking across hot coals. There was no way of escaping the younger boy; they shared a bed, shared a house and shared Luhan. They were constantly around one another and Yifan could not help but notice how beautiful Yixing became as life passed by. His shoulders filled out, his waist tapered perfectly and his legs were filled with the power a dancer would need. It was so difficult to ignore every small change that showed as Yixing gradually progressed from being an adolescent to a young man. Yifan could note that his younger brother was doing the same, Luhan had been a very big hit with girls of almost every age with his handsome aura but Yifan was constantly gazing at Yixing.

The heat did not help, not in any way.

For two years since getting his license the eldest of the three boys had treated his youngers to spontaneous days out on school days. Yifan had completely forgotten about the tradition until he had bumped into a familiar face while food shopping for his parents, Zhang Ziyi had been meandering around with her trolley when she had noticed Yifan appearing torn between two different kinds of cooking sauce. The woman had become a pianist in an orchestra and was happily engaged, as she had divulged to Yifan after greeting him in a friendly manner he barely deserved after the years of dismissal he had given her. Her laughing voice had reminded Yifan of all the escapades Yixing used to recite to the woman and Yifan had found himself longing for some of that impromptu attitude he'd let slip during the month since his last party.

Three days later, Yifan called the high school whilst pretending to be his own father and had claimed that Yixing had one of his doctor appointments and it was far easier for them to take Luhan along with them. Within the following thirty minutes, piled into the car Yifan was driving was Luhan, Yixing and Ziyi. The two adults knew exactly where they were headed on the ridiculously hot day but the boys buzzing around in the back seats had no clue at all. Yifan had packed up everything they would need and Ziyi was there to pay as a distraction from the teenagers' incessant questioning.

Ziyi filled the time as she talked about music with Yixing and soccer with Luhan, apparently her fiancée had been one of Luhan's seniors, and Yifan was relieved that he wouldn't be pestered as he took the long journey out of the city. The air conditioning was on full blast and Yixing's phone was plugged into the console, allowing him to show some of his compositions to Ziyi and Yifan couldn't stop his smile. He adored the passionate fire that flared in Yixing's eyes when he talked about music and the sheer ferocity in which his excitement came as he talked about his future plans. The driver wished he knew more about semitones, interval classes and cents; he wanted to talk to Yixing about that part of his life. Just like Yixing could when they would watch basketball together. Yifan didn't want to be left out of the part of Yixing's heart that made it beat.

"Oh my god," Luhan screeched over Yixing's soothing tone. "We are going to the beach."

Yifan's eyes flicked from the road to look up at Yixing's expression in the rear view mirror, he watched as Yixing considered the other boy's exclaimed suggestion and that thought turned into something raw. Joy.

Yifan was ecstatic that he had been the shepherd of that flock of feeling. There was nothing he wanted more than to be the reason why Yixing smiled and when his eyes met the younger's in the mirror, he let himself soak in all the light that Yixing's face splitting grin was emitting.

Neither of the adults confirmed or denied Luhan's guess but it was almost certain in the car that they would come into contact with sand and salty water. There was something about the road trip they took to the East coast that had made the two younger boys always seem happier than anything else, maybe it was the way that they radiated a refreshed attitude or the way they seemed to let the chatter of the seagulls play over their own voices. Yifan loved watching the teenagers act like they were the age that they were.

Yifan pulled into a space next to the wall that lined the back of the beach, the wind was non-existent and the sun was set to fully blaze through the whole day. The warmth was already making his temples bubble up with sweat and he could see Ziyi downing large amounts of her iced water, her body pinking with the heat and Yifan knew that the passengers in the back of the car would be no better.

They collected the items from the car and Luhan declared a race to the water once they were all set up on the beach, it made Yixing gleefully squeal at the idea of being able to wipe the floor with everybody else. Ziyi decided to sit out, as somebody had to look after their stuff and Yifan didn't want her to feel left behind by the group, so he plonked himself down beside her. With their normal clothing removed, the two adults watched on as Yixing and Luhan dashed down to the waterline in their uniforms before returning with soft shoves at each other's shoulders.

"Who won?" Ziyi asked, her hand shielding her eyes from the glare of the sun.

"Yixing," Luhan grumbled and Yifan looked at how Yixing was practically glowing from that face and he observed as Yixing's eyes drifted between Yifan and Ziyi slowly. He was certain that the falter in Yixing's smile when he took in their proximity wasn't reality but Yifan couldn't ignore how Yixing's mood dampened slightly at the sight of Yifan being close to his musical senior.

"Xing-ah," Yifan said before he really thought about what he was going to say. Was he going to apologise for not being pressed to Yixing's side for the whole time?

"Yes, gege," Yixing looked down at the elder, the brightness silhouetting him against the light sky.

"Uh," Yifan stumbled. He cleared his throat and tried again, "I packed your beach stuff in this bag, there's a bathroom just up the beach where you can get changed."

Yifan nudged the bag towards the younger boy and there was something in the way the teenager's body language changed after Yifan showed that his main focus was him; a fanning peacock, that was the only way to describe it. He could see Yixing's chest puff out under his sweat soaked shirt and it took everything in Yifan's power not to search for the nipples beneath.

"Thanks, Fan-ge," Yixing fell to his knees and dug through the black strapped bag and pulled out the things Yifan had prepared him. One of the items was a large basketball jersey and Yifan watched closely as Yixing discreetly brought it to his face when he thought nobody was looking and draw in the scent they both knew would have lingered on the fibres. Yifan denied that his heart stuttered. He denied it vehemently.

Luhan was the next to rummage through the bag and Yifan watched them both make their way back across the sand to where Yifan had directed them and he laid out on his towel again when they were out of his eye line.

"I didn't know you two had something going on," Ziyi hummed, her voice soft but Yifan's head turned so harshly that it clicked. "I don't think Luhan does either."

"We don't," Yifan knew he wasn't lying, even if he wished he was.

"That look he gave me says otherwise," she laughed.

"What look?"

"The one that I read to be 'stay away from what's mine'."

"But there's nothing between us," he reconfirmed.

"There's more than you think," she smiled, her sunglasses moving up slightly and they both let the subject drop. There was no need to say anything more, they both knew what was implied.

They talked back into the safe realms of old school friends and shared interests, being sure to steer clear of the person they had in common. Yifan found it easy to laugh with Ziyi, she was a vibrant person and Yifan was reminded of the times Yixing's eyes would sparkle in admiration of her in the nights where they talked about their days. Their conversation only stopped when the two younger boys returned, Luhan wearing his shorts without his shirt, much like Yifan, and Yixing was proudly wearing the jersey that Yifan had bought from himself the year before.

"Ge," Luhan called, making Yifan lift his own brown tinted sunglasses to look at his brother. "Do you have any food?"

"Yeah, it's in the cool bag," he let his eyes fall back to Yixing who was letting the sand fall between his fingers with a sense of wonder at how somebody could look so adorable doing such a thing. Once again, before he could stop himself, he was saying Yixing's name. The younger boy jolted in surprise before smiling softly at the elder, "Are you hungry too?"

He shook his head and Yifan laid back down, his eyes closing and it wasn't long until somebody was lying down beside him on his wide towel. Yixing's nutmeg and ginger smell wafting in the air.

"Fanfan-ge," the younger whispered, "I'm hot."

"Take your shirt off then," he responded as nonchalantly as he possibly could.

"I have," he whined and Yifan permitted himself to sneak a peek at the form he always wished to have in his hands. He could see lines of toned muscle and sunscreen-slicked skin; his tongue licked his lips. "Can you take me to the water?"

Most of Yifan's mind screamed that saying yes would be his demise and yet he nodded his head, the constantly horny part of his brain supplied him with visions of Yixing dripping in water, Yixing wearing only his swimming shorts and Yixing pressing his bare chest to Yifan's when the water got a little too cold. He willed those thoughts back into their vault in the back of his head as he stood up on the hot sand.

Yifan allowed himself to be led down the beach, right to where the seawater curled into foamy crowns and splashed sun warmer droplets on his ankles. He didn't stop as Yixing waded out with no hint of flinching as the cooler recesses of the ocean came towards them, his own stomach tensed as it finally touched at his waist. He couldn't help but wonder how Yixing let the water touch at his ribs without even shivering. Yifan wondered how he could be so hot all time. In every sense of the word.

"Cooler now?" He questioned anyway.

"Better," Yixing grinned, slowly slipping down until he was submerged to his chin in the water and staring up at Yifan intently. "Are you not enjoying yourself, gege?"

"The water isn't as warm as I would have liked."

"Maybe we should come back later in the season," Yixing mused, his arms stretching under the surface of the water. "The sun could do its job then; warm the sea temperature up even more."

"Maybe," Yifan looked to his side at the horizon, hating how much he wished he could gaze at the teenager all day.

"Or you could just be getting old, yeye," Yifan's head whipped around at Yixing's words and he could see the young boy restraining a giggle, making his cheeks turn bright red.

"Did you just call me grandfather?" Yifan jokingly growled, pulling Yixing's hand playfully with two of his fingers and he relished in the lighthearted squeak that left the other's mouth.

"Do you need to get your memory checked, yeye? Huh?" Yixing was smiling brightly, his cheek dimpling in the most wonderful of ways. "Your memory is very important."

"You're such a little shit."

Yixing laughed, loud and airy, "You like me this way."

"I wish I didn't," Yifan slipped, his heart stopping in his chest as Yixing's eyes widened a little but he played it as cool as he could when the other looked at him with his surprised expression. He raised an eyebrow; a challenge.

Yixing burst into giggles before too much time passed and dragged Yifan deeper into the water with his hand, right up to where the elder's body was beginning to submerge on his own and he acquiesced the younger's silent plea by diving through the surface. They splashed around for a while before Luhan was knee deep, whining and wanting to swim with his brother and Yixing had jokingly pushed Yifan towards the shoreline before leaving to coast his way up the sand and plonk himself down beside Ziyi.

Yifan gave his full attention to Luhan; making him laugh, wrestling around with him and coating his light brown dyed hair in the water.

They fumbled around and laughed so much they weren't sure if their cheeks or ribs ached more, it was buoyant playfulness. Brotherly love. Yifan adored his junior and made definitive action to pay him the consideration he consistently lacked to give him. As much as he enjoyed spending his time with Yixing, his loyalties should lay where blood ran with the similar genes.

The day passed peacefully as the three boys and Ziyi tired themselves out, ending with them all sunbathing on the towels and eating almost all of the food packed into the cooling bag. Driving back was more peaceful than the journey there. Luhan and Ziyi took the back, leaving Yixing to be the one to tend to Yifan's driving needs, which Yixing translated to holding Yifan's hand as soothing music flowed through the vehicle. It was clammy, holding hands, but it was chest slowing, warmth spreading; silent dialogue.

Once they had dropped Ziyi off at her apartment building, the three of them watching her through the door and waiting for the third light on the fifth floor turned on - just like she said it would - before driving their way home. Luhan retreated to his bedroom first, Yixing following him up as Yifan sorted everything out into their rightful places. He got a knowing look from his parents, their eyes flashing with recognition that the three boys had done their thing but they didn't say anything out loud. They knew it was a rare break and the two high school students worked better after they'd had their mini breaks, the teenagers had hit refresh and they would be okay until their next official vacation from school.

Yifan didn't mind that Yixing wasn't waiting for him in bed, he could hear the chatter of his light voice, along with Luhan's, echoing through the top floor of the house and he settled easily into his own bed once he had showered. The cool sheets soothed his warm skin and he closed his eyes, unfurling on his mattress fully.

Yifan stirred only once that night and that was only to welcome the slender body of the person whose scent of nutmeg and ginger filled every ebbing ounce of air into the space next to him. He dreamed of dimples, sunlight, glittering water and soft lips until he woke up.

 

 

 

Yixing getting back into a relationship with his ex-boyfriend planted an ever growing seed of doubt in Yifan's head. The sprouting thought told him that Yixing had gone to him at that party because Yifan was responsive and willing, he was receptive to every touch, caressing breath and brush of lips, and that made him the best source of distraction from heartbreak. Maybe Yixing didn't outwardly show his previous anguish over his sudden split with his boyfriend but it drove Yifan insane that every lingering look he had caught since wasn't what he had interpreted it to be. Yixing didn't like him in the romantic sense. Yifan was a source of platonic and filial love that Yixing craved. He should have known that.

Yet that small revelation did nothing to protect Yifan from seeing Yixing flirting with somebody right under his nose, having to deal with nights alone when Yixing was staying at his boyfriend's house or being the person who Yixing unloaded his relationship successes onto. It sparked that feeling that Yifan had discovered was covetous jealousy and the protective instinct of reclaiming what was his.

But Yixing wasn't his. Yixing was his own person. A person with loves, likes, dislikes and hates. He didn't want Yifan and neither did he feel the same way about him, so he tried to move on.

Dating was different to maintaining a relationship was a lesson Yifan learned long before he had waded his way into the thicket of adulthood. Dating was about finding the excitement of common interest and feeling that small something that would make somebody stand out in a sea of people. Maintaining a relationship was built upon the foundation of finding comfort and evolving with one another; love not infatuation.

It wasn't like Yifan didn't know that Yixing was engaging in a sexual relationship across the summer months when he wouldn't be in the Wu household, it both hurt and it didn’t. There were days where he could see marks on Yixing’s skin that he longed to press in those places and there were other days when he’d see Yixing limping slightly. It was difficult to ignore when it stared him dead between the eyes, intense and unwavering was the jealousy but there was that nagging part of him that told him to let Yixing be happy. However, he was happy that Yixing had heeded his command of not doing anything with his boyfriend where Yifan, at least, couldn’t see. And Yixing wasn’t the type to utilise Yifan’s bed to spend time with his boyfriend.

The elder tried to date other people of either sex, some happening more successfully than others and he always felt sick when he would wake up next somebody who wasn’t Yixing. The longest one of his dating periods lasted was two weeks and that unfurled into nothingness when Yifan broke up with the guy because of the amount of time Yixing spent latched onto his hand, hip or shoulder. Yifan wondered if Yixing’s boyfriend was the same, if he had issues with the relationship the 'brothers' shared. There was a constant blurring of right and wrong in Yifan’s mind when he’d wake up shirtless with a half naked Yixing sleeping with his lips nuzzled into the junction between his throat and shoulder. They slept like lovers. Even Luhan loved to point that out while he watched Yifan’s dates squirm and look at the college student from an out to his biological brother’s questioning prior to meeting Yixing.

It came as no shock to Kyungsoo when Yifan would reveal that yet another dating conquest had failed once they had met the young pianist.

“Fan,” Luhan yelled urgently as he opened the car door and gained his brother’s attention. “It’s Yixing, I can’t find him.”

With a sense of chilling Deja Vu throwing him back to when he was sixteen and he’d heard those same exact words from his brother in the dead of night, Yifan got out of his car and advanced towards his old high school with Luhan tailing him in a flurry of face paced steps.”

“When and where did you last see him?” Yifan’s voice didn’t shake but it was close to cracking, his mouth and throat dry with fear.

“The start of lunch, he was going to meet up with that jerk before class but he didn’t show. I thought that maybe you’d come early for him or something, so I didn’t think much of it but one of you usually call if you do but I had nothing. He’s not in the music room or the dance studio, I asked Jongin and Jongdae.”

“Is there anywhere else?”

Luhan looked around worriedly, his honey shade hair falling into his eyes before he pushed it back with his hand, “I don’t know. He doesn’t spend much time with me in school, not since he started dating that jerk again.”

“Why do you keep calling him that? I thought you liked him,” Yifan asked, his legs not slowing as he looked through the doors of classrooms, not caring if there were clubs happening inside.

“He’s been different recently and I don’t like it.”

“What do you mean different? Is he hurting Yixing?”

“No, no, no! Yixing said something and I think it caused a rift but he wouldn’t let Xing explain himself. I didn’t want to get involved too much because you’re the one he talks to about this stuff.”

Yifan didn’t say anything more until he came to the last room on the lower floor and there was a niggling feeling in the back of his head that told him to search somewhere in particular, he was unsure and Luhan voiced that out as they approached the sports hall.

Yifan turned off to head towards the basketball court and he wasn’t sure whether or not to feel relief when he heard familiar sobbing echoing in the empty space.

“I’ll stay here.” Luhan motioned to the steps that led down into the court, nodding at Yifan to go in. “Actually, I go wait in the car.”

Yifan didn’t speak as he approached the small office that had light shining out from under the door and silently opened the door to see his old coach sitting on a tattered couch with a red faced, crying Yixing and Yifan cursed his heart for feeling warm when he saw what was clutched in Yixing’s hands. His old jersey. The printed ‘WU’ above the number 10 Yixing had pleaded Yifan use in the first season he played for the high school. He still played in 10. The grey haired coach saw Yifan enter first, moving away from the crying teenager with a worried look on his face before leaving as quietly as Yifan came.

“Xing-ah,” Yifan cooed, moving closer to the sixteen year-old and the boy launched himself at the adult with a heartbreaking sob. He didn’t ask why Yixing was crying, he just wrapped his arms around the younger’s body and drew him in closer, rubbing his spine soothingly. “I’m here now, it’s okay, it’s okay. I’m here now.”

Yixing nodded against his neck, clinging to his body as if it was his anchor in this world and nothing else to Yifan mattered in that moment, not that anything but Yixing mattered almost all the time to the college student.

“He-he b-b-broke u-up wi-with me-me,” Yixing choked out after a few minutes passed and Yifan felt bittersweet. Angry because Yixing was hurt but elated that he had some delusional chance at being the one Yixing wanted the most.

“He’s an idiot then,” Yifan whispered, his arms starting to hurt where they rubbed Yixing’s back up, “such a huge idiot.”

Yixing nodded again and Yifan took no time in lifting them both up with practised ease, passing the coach that was waiting outside of the office and making his way to his car as quickly as he could carrying the younger. Luhan opened the car door before scooting to the other side, Yifan placing Yixing in the back seat before following in and the crying boy was hugged tightly by his two elders immediately. It was the best thing for him, Yifan had decided, to be surrounded by people who adored him and it seemed to be the right thing to do as cries morphed from sobs to sniffles as time slipped by.

“You stay back here,” Yifan ran his fingers through Yixing’s hair gently, “I’ll get us home and then we’ll have a sleepover, the three of us, like we did when he were kids.”

Yixing and Luhan approved of the idea, allowing the driver to get behind the wheel and take them on their short journey home. Yifan’s eyes flitted back to Yixing and Luhan the whole time, his worry chewing at his stomach as he saw how exhausted Yixing was from his crying that he had slumped against his best friend in a frowning slumber. He was thankful that the three of them all had each other.

It was barely five in the evening before they were in bed, Yifan’s duvet stretched as Yixing huddled like a second skin into him while Luhan cuddled him from behind. It was easier when Yixing wasn’t crying, Yifan could stroke through his tresses and kiss his forehead as much as he wanted but when he was sobbing, Yifan had to clench his fists and grind his teeth as his protective anger bubbled up to the front of his mind.

“Who would want to break his heart?” Luhan asked as Yixing fell asleep at around nine o’clock.

“I don’t know,” Yifan whispered. “I can’t ever imagine wanting to hurt him.”

“Me either.” They were quiet. “Do I have your permission to land one punch on that idiot the next time I see him?”

“No,” Yifan hummed, smiling slightly as Luhan whined. “You have to do it three times; once for Yixing, once for you and once for me.”

“Seriously?”

“Deadly,” the elder looked down at Yixing’s puffy eyes. “Do it after lunch, I’ll be at home then and able to pick you up when you get suspended without Mama or Baba knowing.”

Luhan did get temporarily excluded from school for landing three firm, fast punches on another student the next day. Yifan was in the office to pick him up with fake sympathy and disappointment when the teachers had informed him of his brother’s behaviour in display in the office but an ice pack and Yixing in the car. Yifan had never felt more proud of his brother when he was shown a boy with a busted lip, bloody nose and black-eye, and Luhan returned the sentiment when Yifan flirted his way into getting Luhan suspended for two days instead of seven and the incident not staining his record. Apparently, the pastoral officer of the school had always had a soft-spot for the oldest of the Wu brothers and flushed right to her ears when Yifan noticed that she had dyed her hair a different shade of brown since he had last seen her.

“I can’t believe you did that,” Luhan smiled as they made their way to the car which housed a pyjama clad Yixing, the youngest having not attended lessons that day. “Leave basketball and become a lawyer.”

“I don’t want it to be a regular thing to get you out of the shit, Han. This is a one time thing.”

“This is just because the Wu family protects its own, right?”

Yifan smiled, ruffling his brother’s hair, “Right.”

 

 

Summer passed in a quick rush of hot air and sticky skin, autumn was a dream when cool breezes pushed the stuffiness away. While there were still humid days when the sun came out after rain, Yifan felt more comfortable with declining heat than the blazing days July and August had come with. It was October and Yixing’s birthday was on a Sunday, the three boys had been granted permission to host a party the week after and Yixing had talked to Yifan about inviting the usual suspects. That was Yixing’s small collection of friends and the rest of those in attendance would be college students, not that anybody minded. A party was a party, after all. Zhang Ziyi had been asked to attend with her husband, her wedding having passed in the July in an intimate ceremony that the three boys were invited to - Yixing even making it into the bridal party as a brides man and performing a self-composed song filled with love and joy for the first dance segment of the night. However, the newlywed declined, as they were going on a late honeymoon to avoid all the summer pricing.

Yixing appeared to not mind, he was dressed in a constant smile and clung to Yifan like a leech while they planned out times and alcohol choices. It was a relief to see Yixing so joyful, Yifan didn’t know how his first heartbreak (that he knew of) would impact him but the younger was ever resilient in bouncing back from pain like it was a bump in the road. His recovery from his break up happened in a couple of weeks, especially when he was pampered by the two older boys and Yifan couldn’t help but indulge Yixing whenever he looked even a mere picture of slight despair.

“Excited?” Yifan asked from the driver’s seat, Yixing sat by his side with his eyes closed and body relaxed but the college student knew he was still awake.

“I guess so.” Yixing showed a small smile.

“Why is that not a yes? I’ve worked hard for this.”

Streetlights passed in a bright blur and Yixing turned to look at Yifan, the older of the two glancing from him to the empty road constantly.

“I don’t want to forget the night like I did last time,” Yixing shrugged and Yifan’s hands grew clammy on the leather coating of the steering wheel.

“Don’t drink so much then,” Yifan covered his racing heart with a cough. “You’ll never forget about it then.”

“Good idea,” Yixing nodded and turned his head to the road, watching as the headlights bounced on the uneven tarmac and Yifan felt a hand on his.

He lifted his palm up and placed the younger’s hand on the gear stick, “Go to fourth.”

Yixing tightened his hand on the metal and leather shift, using what Yifan had taught them on their nightly drives to change the gear and Yifan let out a happy hum as everything happened smoothly. Yifan took their hands away and placed them both on Yixing’s thigh, allowing his grip to linger and hold the younger’s hand until they got home, sneaking in to go to bed and wake up early the next morning.

“It sucks that you have to work more,” Yixing whined, changing into some of his warmer night clothes as Yifan remained in just his boxers to brush his teeth. “I miss being picked up at school by you.”

“I know but it’s better to work hard now than leave it all for when my exams come,” Yifan hummed around his toothbrush, the other understanding his toothpaste layered garble.

“But I miss you.”

“I know.” Yifan closed his eyes, banging his head on the mirror quietly as his chest set alight at Yixing’s whiny tone. “I miss you too.”

“If I get up early tomorrow, can I go to practice with you?” Yixing’s head popped around the door and Yifan spat out what was in his mouth as a cover for his previous actions.

“You’ll just be sat watching us do drills again,” Yifan reminded him gently, holding his shoulders to guide him back to the bed and used a controlled push to press him down into the mattress, bending down to hover over Yixing with only a handful of inches separating them. “Unless you’re there to watch hot, sweaty guys all take off their shirts?”

“You caught me,” Yixing laughed out, not even flinching as Yifan crawled over him on the bed and the elder’s mind struggled to push away a time when Yixing had been begging and pleading beneath him, his face twisted in ecstasy as he groaned his praises to Yifan.

“Or maybe there’s just one player you like watching?”

“Maybe.”

“Does he wear your number?”

“Not telling.”

“Does he not wear your number then?”

“I’m not telling.”

“Am I not your favourite basketball player then?” Yifan pouted, raising up onto his knees to crawl down Yixing’s body, his hand lifting Yixing’s shirt slowly. He could see the frown on Yixing’s face as he tried to work out what he was doing. “Tell me, Xing-ah.”

“You’re not.”

Yifan fake gasped. The elder took his revenge by leaning forward and blowing on Yixing’s bare, toning stomach and the younger squealed out in horror. They continued like that until Yixing complained about laughing so much that he was going to wet himself, which was the only grounds in which Yifan ever released the other from his clutches and it wasn’t long until they were tangled up beneath the sheets, sleeping with their noses taking in each other’s scents and lips open in smiles.

  

 

The party, while nothing unusual or special, was different. Yixing stayed by Yifan's side the whole night, sharing drinks and playing around with one another. It was a comfort for Yifan to see the younger acting so carefree, he push all his time into being a perfect student, being a perfect dancer and being a perfect musician that he rarely cut himself some slack. It seemed as though the younger had been pushing himself harder as the new academic year began, renewing itself with over talked fact and over appreciated fiction that didn't have much bearing on how to pay taxes or read an energy bill.

Yifan had worried that Yixing wouldn't enjoy the night but his deep dimple and warm hands said otherwise. The elder was captured and weakened by everything Yixing did when they were together, especially at that party. Yifan was having flashbacks to the way Yixing had been seductive and yet needy in the way that he threw himself at Yifan and asked to be fucked. It was Yifan's biggest wet dream in his memory bank and there was nothing that could have topped that. Not in his head, at least.

It drove him to a near state of despair when Yixing had worn a plain white t-shirt, a thick leather jacket and the most fitted jeans Yifan had ever seen in his life. The younger was effortlessly handsome most of the time, so seeing him dressed up with his hair and light make up - done courtesy of Luhan - had Yifan staring unabashedly at the body beside his as the night began. He got numerous elbows in the ribs from Kyungsoo for being so indiscreet but Yifan’s eyes couldn’t stop going back to Yixing’s perfectly proportioned body and admiring the way that his jacket cinched in ever so slightly at his waist. Yixing was a wonder for Yifan that never ceased to throw obstacles in the path the elder tried to take to get over him.

It was probably on Yifan’s third whiskey and coke that he felt Yixing starting to sway at his side, the younger’s alcohol intolerance showing far faster than Yifan could have ever thought.

“Do you feel okay?” Yifan whispered, placing an arm around Yixing’s waist to steady him and stake a subtle claim on him. “I can take you up to bed, if you’d like?”

“No.” Yixing shook his head. “I want to stay here a little longer.”

Yifan looked down on him skeptically, taking in how his pupils had expanded a fraction wider than usual and his lips hung open slightly as warm air puffed out. “Just tell me when you want to go to bed.”

Yixing nodded and Yifan didn’t dare to look around at Kyungsoo, he could feel the heat of his glare and the judging thoughts buzzing between them.

The evening edged its way through time, the minutes became hours that were filled with boisterous conversation and cheek aching smiles. Luhan had found space with his friends, talking endlessly about everything he could, namely soccer, and the boys had even gone out to the garden to cool down when the windows began to fog with condensation. Yixing remained at Yifan’s side, everybody accepted that he and Yifan were a packaged pair that night. It was a relief for the elder to not have to stand next to Yixing as he got hit on, nor did he have to calmly reject girls that had taken his party invite as an expression of feelings. He was just happy to be able to share the night with the younger, especially when he clung to Yifan like he had. One arm around the neck, one arm around the waist and nose pressed firmly into collarbones. It appeared like a couple sharing and intimate moment in a sea of their peers.

Yifan had long since ignored his best friend’s silent warnings and found his hands in Yixing’s back pocket resisting the urge to not squeeze the firm muscle like he had months before. Alcohol made him remember how willing and open Yixing was to his touches, how he had begged for things to go further and Yifan knew he was intoxicated on something much stronger than the five Asahi beers and whiskey mixers he’d had.

The night came to a close, Luhan slipping out to stay with his friends and Yifan saw everybody off just before two in the morning. It was just him and Yixing in the house, silently going up the stairs and Yifan stripped down to his underwear as soon as they entered his room. Yixing struggled with his jeans, his clumsy hands tugging at the fabric and Yifan held his breath before using his own fingers to grip at the fabric and pull them down. They crawled into the bed, Yifan readying himself for another night of an almost naked Yixing nuzzling into his side when they assumed their normal positions.

He closed his eyes. Then he felt it, a hand that was soft but had calloused fingers, trailing down to his navel and then slipping beneath the elastic of the boxers he was wearing. He gulped, too surprise to even tense as Yixing closed his hand around the base of Yifan’s member. The taller was almost instantly hard, mouth slack and eyes peeked open.

Yixing was watching him intently, a glimmer in his eyes shown in the darkness and it wasn’t long until his hand start to pump up and down with dry hands.

“Shit, Yixing,” he finally muttered, making the younger retract his hand and climb over Yifan’s body to straddle him.

Gege,” Yixing used a mockingly innocent voice and Yifan hated how his cock twitched at the two syllables. “You liked that, gege?”

“Yes, didi,” Yifan nodded, smirking ever so slightly when he saw how Yixing’s breathing stuttered and his hips jerked gently on Yifan’s lap. “Let’s not do that, okay? It’s best if we don’t.”

Yixing looked as if he was going to question what Yifan was talking about but he understood when Yifan’s hands went to his slim waist. “What do I call you then?”

“Whatever you want, just not gege.”

“Okay,” Yixing nodded, leaning forward slightly before his lips met with the elder’s.

“Are you sure you’re not too drunk?” Yifan asked, flashing images of their previous encounter echoing in the back of his mind.

“No, I know that I want this. Whatever you’re willing to offer me, I want it.”

“And you’re not just doing this because of your ex?”

“That was months ago, Fan, I want this, with you.”

They paused as Yifan’s looked up at the younger’s dark silhouette. It didn't feel like they watched each other for long but minutes had flitted themselves away before the elder sat up, touched Yixing's jaw lightly and drew them closer together. The kiss was short, barely a gentle peck before Yixing was crawling away from the elder man, mouthing his way down Yifan's body and tugging his underwear down. There was an involuntary hiss that became a gasp as Yifan felt his cock come into contact with cold air and then a wet mouth. Yixing licked him, softly then ravenously, softly then ravenously, softly then ravenously. He thought he was going to finish just with those actions, sparking envy in Yifan that he probably wasn't the first Yixing had pleasured in such a way.

Yixing sucked on the bell shaped head of Yifan's cock, it was an appetising preview of what was to come and the elder had to lay himself down before his spine buckled with pleasure. The younger slowly took more of Yifan's member into his mouth, only covering a few inches and wrapping his fingers around what was left, it was only then that his suction technique and tongue worked in unison. Yifan felt one of his eyes blink closed as they rolled back, his gaze going cross eyed for a few moments before he adjusted to having Zhang Yixing's mouth around his cock. His hands held the back of Yixing's head as he began to bob up and down, his lips swelling and his cheeks creating a concave as he sucked harder. Yifan was leaking so much pre-cum he wasn't sure if there would be any fluid left to cum with. 

Even just the thought of Yixing having Yifan's cum in his throat, drenching his mouth and marking his lips had Yifan shallowly thrusting into the younger's mouth, his eyes squeezing tight when Yixing gagged slightly around him before whining out a moan. Yixing moved up onto his hands and knees, tilting his body forward until his mouth was at the perfect angle to take yet more of Yifan into his lips. The college student was in heaven, everything Yixing did was so incredible that he wasn't sure how long he was going to take climax. He hoped it wasn't too soon, he didn't want to ruin whatever Yixing had planned and he contained himself until a finger gently pressed against his ass, making him cum with a shocked groan and satisfied groan. 

Yifan's eyes opened just enough to watch Yixing attempt to chase all the droplets of cum to swallow and not make a mess on the sheets, if his member wasn't still twitching in its post-orgasm haze, then he was sure that the sight would have made him hard all over again. 

Yixing looked just as wired as Yifan had felt and the elder placed his hand into Yixing's boxers once he had sat up and begun to flick his wrist painfully quickly. The relief came in how Yixing came within a minute, his eyes rolling back and his body sagging in the most spent way Yifan had ever seen him before. Even more debauched than the first time they has ever flirted with the idea of sexual relations between the two of them. Yifan loved to see Yixing cum, his whole body was part of the process as he tried to both fight and enhance it while Yifan had stroked him, it was like he was being torn in two different directions by pleasure. It was phenomenal.

The smaller also seemed to appreciate Yifan licking up the cum from his hand right before kissing him, allowing both their tastes to mingle and merge until it was a mess of sweetly salty flavours and lust. Yifan was so drunk on Yixing he couldn't think straight as they settled down, covered in Yixing's cum, to sleep with their bodies in harmony.

  

 

Yifan couldn't stick around in the morning to query whether Yixing remembered or not. He had experience with it before and he didn't want it to escalate to a point that he couldn't control his emotions, he knew he would either get ridiculously upset or want to throw a chair across the room. It seemed as it was only the two of them that morning, it wasn't even like they could have avoided one another, it was impossible and Yifan wanted to whack his head on something hard to knock some sense into himself.

All of that was forgotten as slender arms reached around Yifan's torso, lips pressing to the back of his ear and it wasn't long until Yixing was sucking in his first lovebite on Yifan's skin and he felt seventeen again. Forever horny and looking for things to suck, which only served to make Yifan remember how it felt to be blown by Yixing.

"Can I call you gege now?" Yixing whispered, stopping Yifan's heart in his chest and driving the entire life force of his body out of his hands.

Yixing remembered.