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All Your Mysteries are Moving in the Sun

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Hakyeon [3:47 am]: jae help

Hakyeon [3:47 am] jae i did somethin

Hakyeon [3:48 am] wake up jaehwan

Hakyeon [3:48 am] J A E H W A N

Jaehwan wakes to the sound of his window sliding open and Hakyeon flopping onto his floor.

He groans and drags his blanket up over his head.

“Not now, please,” he begs, “I have an exam in 4 hours.”

“I know. I have the same one,” Hakyeon says, crawling up under his covers and burying his face into the back of Jaehwan’s t-shirt. “Jae, I really fucked up.”

“Did you finally fuck your way through the entire lacrosse team?” Jaehwan mutters bitterly, trying to wrestle the covers away from Hakyeon. “I don’t want to know how you got into my dorm room when I’m on the third floor.”

“I did gymnastics,” Hakyeon says, all nonchalance, “but anyhow. Jae. I can’t go to this exam. I have to leave school, maybe the country—do you have a passport?”

Jaehwan throws the blanket off of them and sits up, ruffled dyed blond hair flopping down over his eyes. He runs a hand through his loose fringe and sighs.

“What could you possibly have done that is worse than when you told my mother to her face that you preferred to suck my cock in the daylight because it was more artistic ?”

Hakyeon pauses for a minute, as if remembering such a priceless, perfect moment, a soft smile on his face, before he turns serious once more.

“Jae, you know how every weekend I try to ‘accidentally’ send very flattering nudes of myself to someone I want to sleep with?”

Jaehwan sighs again.

Hakyeon continues: “So I had these great photos of me in these sheer—”

“Who did you send them to, Hakyeon.”

“These beautiful, expensive sheer—”

Who —”

“Professor Mun.”

“Jesus Christ, Hakyeon,” Jaehwan moans, grabbing Hakyeon by the hair and shaking him. Hakyeon shrieks and struggles to push Jaehwan away. “Why?! Why can’t we just get through university without being arrested for distributing pornography or something?”

“No one is being arrested, okay?” Hakyeon assures, fixing his hair and massaging his tingling scalp. “I just need to get the picture back before he sees it.”

“How did you even send it to him? You have his personal number?”

“No, it sent to his email.”

“You…email people…your nudes?”

 

Taekwoon is sitting at Professor Mun’s desk, pen tucked behind his ear, when the screen comes out of sleep mode to alert him to a new email.

This isn’t technically part of his job as a TA, but Professor Mun--Eric--rarely ever checks his own emails. Most often, he goes out with various pretty men and women, calling Taekwoon at 3 am to come drive him home, Taekwoon’s back seat filled with debauchery.

Also not part of the job description. He’s pretty sure the most he’s supposed to do is collect exam papers and maybe plan a class or two.

The email has no subject, but Taekwoon can see there’s an attachment.

The computer alerts him that the content might be malicious.

Taekwoon enjoys a little maliciousness every now and then, so he clicks.

Taekie [3:25 am]: Wonshik i think professor mun is sleeping with a student

Taekie [3:25 am]: i know you’re not asleep, fuckbutt

Taekie [3:26 am]: i got nudes

Wonnie [3:30 am]: did i hear nudes

Taekie [3:31 am]: what do i do??? Do i delete them??

Wonnie [3:31 am]: NO I’M COMING OVER

Wonshik bursts through the office doors around 3:50 am, headphones around his neck, the wires wrapped worryingly all around his torso, cheeks flushed.

“Who is it? Is she hot?” he gasps, almost collapsing as he trips towards the desk.

“Well--” Taekwoon rubs the back of his head, feeling the spots where his hair is growing back out after being cut short.

“How do you know they’re fucking? Is she with him in the shot?”

“Well--”

“You know, I never can find the right lighting for nudes, and when I do, I always--” he pauses, hands braced on Taekwoon’s shoulders from behind the office chair, gaze poised on the bright image on the screen.

“Holy--”

“I know.”

“I mean this is--”

“I know, Wonshik.” Taekwoon feels something frantic leaping around his insides. “It’s fucking Cha Hakyeon, and he’s wearing fucking like mesh or something with little lacy bits and some weird socks, and I don’t know what to do!”

“I’ve never heard you swear so much or even... say so much ever in one sentence. You must really be freaked,” Wonshik says, cupping Taekwoon’s cheeks in his cold palms. “Don’t worry, Taekie, we’ll just delete the pictures and forget it ever happened, ok?” Wonshik cooes.

“What? No!” Taekwoon says, covering the keyboard protectively.

“Taek, what?”

“Don’t delete them! This is…” Taekwoon seals his lips tight, unable to find words that would explain his irrational reaction. Panic bubbles up into his mouth at the thought of never looking at these pictures again, and he’s alarmed to realize he has no idea where that feeling is coming from. “Art?”

“...Art.”

“He clearly put a lot of thought into these.”

“For... art purposes, you believe?”

“So you understand.”

Wonshik slowly licks his bottom lip. “Taek, you know who this is, right?”

Taekwoon spins his chair around aggressively, fisting the front of Wonshik’s shirt.

“Yes. I already said I knew.”

“And you remember how he--”

I know, ” Taekwoon hisses.

Wonshik steps back, hands lifted in surrender.

“Want my flash drive?”

Taekwoon’s face lights up. He holds his hand out.

 

Meanwhile Hakyeon has Jaehwan kneeling as a stool beneath the Liberal Arts Building’s first floor window.

“How do you know it’s unlocked?”

“I have my ways, Jae, so just stop wobbling.”

“You’re the cheerleader, can’t you be the one kneeling like a fucking pyramid?” Jaehwan hisses, fingers gripping the grass, pulling at the roots as if to keep steady.

“You want to be the first one to drop into the building and potentially encounter some janitor or something?”

Jaehwan grimaces and arches his back up to push Hakyeon closer to the windowsill.

Hakyeon latches onto the short ledge and heaves himself up, finding his balance on the thin few inches of stone. The glass slides up easily, as if expecting Hakyeon.

“You terrify me,” Jaehwan murmurs to himself in the dark.

“Stay there,” Hakyeon whispers, shutting the window behind him.

 

The Liberal Arts Building is alarmingly old. The walls are covered in bulletin boards to mask the crumbling paint and old wallpaper that has practically melted into the drywall. The floors are clearly new tile placed over hundred-year-old-or-more wood floors that creak like frightened animals.

Professor Mun’s office is all the way at the end of the long hall of classrooms, tucked in the back corner where, frankly, Professor Mun’s office belongs.

He’s devilishly handsome, that Professor Mun, but one has to wonder how he obtained a PhD in anything beyond holistic hangover cures and creative sex positions to try in an abandoned warehouse.

For a brief moment, Hakyeon thinks it might not be that bad for Professor Mun to see his ultra-flattering nudes, but then he reconsiders. He does not think his butthole would ever recover from such an interaction.

JaeJaeBoo [4:26 am]: Did you delete it yet? It’s cold.

Hakyeon [4:26 am]: almost there can u chill

JaeJaeBoo [4:27 am] i just sAID I AM COLD I AM CHILL

Hakyeon peers into the dark office, thanking the Goddess that Professor Mun leaves his computer on and most likely logged in like an irresponsible old man would.

He jiggles the mouse until the screen lights up.

Fuck. It isn’t logged in. How unpredictable.

“If I were a hot old man with little to no sense of poise, what would my password be?”

Hakyeon types in ‘im hot.’

No luck.

And then, taped next to the monitor, a sticky note.

PASSWORD: SexyProf123

Well, he was close.

Hakyeon shakes his head. His butthole would definitely not survive such a meeting.

He begins scrolling through emails, searching for his own. He types in his name. Nothing. No results. Huh.

He glances down at his phone, checking his sent folder, and sure enough, the email is there, labeled as ‘delivered.’

But there is no email from Hakyeon in Professor Mun’s inbox. It isn’t in his deleted emails or clutter either.

Well then. How fortuitous.

 

Jaehwan is waiting for Hakyeon by the tree next to the building’s back door.

“Well?”

“It wasn’t there.”

“What? It just vanished? Just...poof?”

Hakyeon shrugs. “I guess my phone thought it delivered, but it never made it to him.”

“Maybe you sent it to a different Professor Mun?”

“No, he’s in my address book,” Hakyeon says, brushing dust from his knees. “I just got lucky.”

Jaehwan heaves a heavy yawn, cracking his knuckles. “Well, lucky for us, now we’re by the library and the class building, so we can get in a few hours of studying before going to our exam. The exam we will now both definitely take because you didn’t send nudes to our professor.”

“Well, I did but--”

“It’s a good thing you didn’t send nudes to our professor, Cha Hakyeon, can you imagine what a disaster that would have been? Ha! Aha ha!” Jaehwan’s laughter is terrifyingly annunciated.

Hakyeon tries to begin running back to his dorm for another few hours of sleep, but Jaehwan continues laughing as he grabs the collar of Hakyeon’s shirt and yanks him back, dragging him down the dark path to the library.

 

Taekwoon gets to the classroom twenty minutes before the exam, sitting in the front of the room with his laptop open. The flash drive sits on the desk beside his laptop, taunting him with it’s contents.

“I mean, if you insist,” he says, grabbing the thin blue plastic and shoving it into the usb port.

Now Taekwoon isn’t a pervert. He’s just a curious person. Naturally. Like a kitten, he enjoys knocking things off counters and looking at nudes he isn’t supposed to even have gotten in the first place.

Better him than the professor, he’s sure.

Unless it was purposeful. But he can’t imagine Cha Hakyeon crushing on Professor Mun. They’re both very dominant personalities. Very loud. Abrasive, colorful...tan.

So...tan.

So gorgeously bronzed and soft looking and…

Taekwoon slams the laptop shut, breath coming fast and uneven.

What is he doing? Looking at porn in his classroom?

Even when he shuts his eyes, the image appears on the backs of Taekwoon’s eyelids like an endless reel of skin.

Hakyeon is not Taekwoon’s type. Not at all. He’s loud. He’s so fucking loud. He’s loud and confident and so goddamn fucking beautifully tanned and smooth like those girls in Nair commercials and Taekwoon wants to know what it feels like to touch skin like his, as if it might just be the sun tucked up under Hakyeon’s epidermis. So hot, so bright, just glowing like a goddamn fucking--

“Um.”

Taekwoon moves to shut the laptop again, but obviously it’s already closed, so he ends up just slamming his palms down onto the cover, slapping sound resonating from the plastic. Hakyeon doesn’t seem to register the noise.

“Can I come in early? I know we still have like ten minutes, but I can’t sit in the library anymore. I can feel my brain oozing out from my ear canals.”

Taekwoon blinks slowly, praying for his brain to come back down from where it had launched up into the sky, searching for that gorgeous sun.

“Yeh,” he practically moans, “ahead. Go ahead.”

Hakyeon smiles, and then these long glittering rays of sunlight come beaming into the room on cue, and Taekwoon recoils like a vampiric basement-dwelling hermit.

“How’s your school year going so far, Taekwoon?” Hakyeon finds a seat near the middle of the room, fumbling inside his backpack for a moment.

Taekwoon tries not to let it show when his heart burps up into his throat, bulging out from his neck like he’s a toad.

Instead, he flips his laptop back open and turns the brightness all the way down before it can show him the devil photos again. He glares at the blank, dark screen, feigning deafness to Hakyeon’s question.

Hakyeon begins laughing, and Taekwoon’s cheeks go bright pink. He peeks up from behind the laptop screen, but Hakyeon isn’t laughing at him. He’s laughing at something on his phone.

“Boys are funny creatures, aren’t they, Taekwoon?” Hakyeon says, catching Taekwoon looking at him.

Taekwoon quickly ducks back down behind the laptop.

“How do you mean?” Taekwoon says.

Hakyeon must have smiled again because the light comes creeping back into the room, warm sun touching Taekwoon’s shoes where they rest under the desk.

“This boy that I slept with once just texted to ask for coffee tonight. He never texted me after that night, but now he feels it’s a good time? I wonder how lonely he is to do this.” He’s laughing again, but Taekwoon doesn’t find anything amusing in Hakyeon’s tone or story.

“What is it about seeing me naked that makes boys never want to text me back?” Hakyeon wonders aloud.

“Probably can’t see you anyhow. Since it’s always 3 am when you fuck them,” Jaehwan says, coming into the room and dropping down at the desk beside Hakyeon. “You know, because you’re so dark.”

Hakyeon slaps Jaehwan’s cheek lightly and then leans in to nuzzle their noses together. “Oh Jae, my sweet flower of a best friend, I can always rely on your comforting words of loving friendship.”

Jaehwan recoils from the nuzzle and rubs his nose gently, inspecting the bridge in a small compact mirror he’d withdrawn from his pocket. “You know what my plastic surgeon said about your nose nuzzles.”

“Right, right,” Hakyeon laughs, and it’s like they’ve both forgotten about Taekwoon’s presence all together.

Soon, the classroom is full, and Professor Mun enters with a stack of exam papers and heavy bags under his eyes.

“Whattup, kiddos. I’m still a little drunk, but luckily today is test day, so I don’t have to talk at all. Let’s make this easy for everyone and not waste time with directions or explanations. Just read the questions carefully and…” He pauses to burp, pounding his fist on his chest to clear away lingering indigestion. “Hand them in to Taekwoon when you’re finished.”

Taekwoon is relieved when Professor Mun steps away from the front of the classroom to hand out the papers, as it gives him time to turn the brightness up on his computer and close out of the nude photo tabs.

Hakyeon is chewing on the end of his blue pen.

Doesn’t look like he really studied.

Taekwoon has no idea if Hakyeon is a good student or not. All he knows is that Hakyeon and he knew each other before university, and he knows Hakyeon doesn’t remember. It isn’t as if Hakyeon would. Hakyeon is different now anyhow. He’s frighteningly bold and bright and capable of taking aesthetically masterful naked photos of himself with only a cellphone.

 

He’s missing three questions, but Hakyeon can’t concentrate anymore. He grabs his exam and files to the front of the room to hand it to Taekwoon.

There’s something in Taekwoon’s eyes that makes Hakyeon pause.

“I know I’m missing some questions, but I don’t feel like bullshitting right now. Might as well be honest,” Hakyeon admits.

“At least if you bullshit, you have a chance of guessing correctly,” Taekwoon replies.

“I don’t appreciate dishonesty,” Hakyeon says, “it’s boring.”

Taekwoon drops his gaze to the flashdrive beside him, avoiding eye contact. Hakyeon thinks it’s curious. He wants to tease him. But he’s too tired. He’d rather nap.

“Can I go?” he asks instead.

Taekwoon licks his small bottom lip and nods.

Hakyeon puts a little swish in his hips as he exits.

Taekwoon notices.

 

“I don’t want to join choir, Taek,” Wonshik groans as Taekwoon pulls him by the wrist to the chorus room.

“Didn’t you learn your lesson from ‘Hip Hop Club,’ Wonshik?”

A room. A small dark room. Three boys sit in front of a single laptop, bobbing their heads to an old Eminem CD.

This is the real shit, one of them says.

No one makes real shit anymore, you know?

RIP Slim Shady.

Wonshik shakes himself. “Never again,” he hisses.

“Choir it is, then,” Taekwoon says.

“I don’t sing, Taek.”

“Sure you do. And, hey, rap is music too.”

Wonshik grumbles to himself as he drops into a wooden chair beside Taekwoon in the semicircle of chairs.

“This room smells like old people.”

“Better than smelling like grape vape smoke, eh?” Taekwoon mutters, elbowing Wonshik in the ribs.

Wonshik shivers, the smell of Welches-esque smog wafting into his subconscious. Never. Again.

“Is this bring-your-friends-to-choir-day?” Jaehwan asks, a very red-faced Hakyeon stumbling behind him.

Wonshik shoots a glance over at Taekwoon, who has become so pale that Wonshik wonders if he should perform the CPR he became certified in back in baby-sitting class.

Boy he’s glad he didn’t say that aloud.

Wonshik looks back at Hakyeon, who is fixing his now-stretched navy sweater. He’s an okay looking guy, Wonshik guesses. Wonshik doesn’t really understand the hype. He’s pretty. He’s slim, built like a dancer, but he’s nothing special. He does, to his credit, know how to pose.

“Sorry I’m late!” someone cries from the doorway. “My game ran over, and then I couldn’t get this one out of the chair, and--”

“I’m one game away from ruling the leaderboard, Hongbin, please!” a deep, disgruntled voice warbles out.

Wonshik can’t focus on finding out who the voice belongs to because his eyes have turned to mush, blessed mush, at the sight of this...Hongbin.

“It’s cool, bean-oh, we haven’t even started. Kyungsoo said he wasn’t gonna make it today, so we can just pick some songs for the recital,” Jaehwan says from behind the piano. Hakyeon is leaning against the side of the old light wooden instrument, arms folded against his chest.

“You got my sheet music, right? I emailed it this morning. It was a bitch to scan. The line in the library was unreal,” Hongbin says, brushing his lush brown fringe back from his forehead with both hands. The movement lifts the hem of his white sweater up to expose a little strip of practically shimmering pale skin and the hint of a sharp hipbone.

Wonshik begins vibrating in his seat.

Hongbin catches sight of Wonshik and blinks. “He with you, Taek?”

Taekwoon lays a hand on Wonshik’s shoulder, his brows pulling together as he feels the anxious vibrations resonating into his palm. “Yeah, this is Wonshik. He’s your year, actually, Bean.”

“Bean…” Wonshik repeats. “What a lovely name.”

Hongbin chuckles, and dear God--

Dimples.

“It’s Hongbin, actually. Everyone just calls me Bean.”

“Hong...bean.”

Taekwoon clears his throat, clearly unnerved, and stands. “All right, then. Let’s start practicing before we waste the whole hour.”

“Why am I here, Hongbin?” Sanghyuk whines, headbutting between Hongbin’s shoulders.

“Because you need a club, and you used to love singing. So you will sing,” Hongbin says, and his voice is soft, but his tone is frighteningly stern.

“We have a club! We have the g--”

“Sit your ass down, Sanghyuk, or I swear I will tear out your insides and make them your outsides,” Hongbin grits out, still smiling that lovely dimpled smile.

Wonshik shifts in his chair. So thoroughly aroused.

Sanghyuk looks put-off about the whole thing. He’s alarmingly tall, Wonshik thinks. Alarmingly tall but somehow very boyish and yet manly? Wonshik is alarmed by Sanghyuk’s entire presence. He seems terrifying. Like he could aegyo your face off and then take you out back and literally tear your face off.

Jaehwan steps back around from the piano and purposefully bumps into Taekwoon on his way to the front of the room. Taekwoon looks as if he is mentally picturing Jaehwan being sucked up inside the molten core of the Earth.

“As President of the choir club--”

“Co-President,” Taekwoon corrects.
“As President who occasionally shares the less desirable duties of presidency,” Jaehwan continues, “I would like to commence today’s club meeting with a nice group rendition of Kim Bum-soo’s--”

“I thought we agreed to sing something fun?” Taekwoon cuts in.

“Kim Bum-soo isn’t…fun?” Jaehwan’s hand shoots to his chest, gripping his shirt over his heart, crushing the fabric of his sweatshirt in his fist.

“To get school funding, we have to sing something more upbeat, Jae,” Hongbin says. “Something they can put in the school promotional video.”

“Sacrifice my art for fun,” Jaehwan moans, dropping into the nearest chair.

“You should sing some mash-up of current trend songs,” Hakyeon says, scrolling through his phone. “You know, those boy bands that get chased around and stalked.”

“You stalked them too, Hakyeon,” Jaehwan huffed into his palms where his head rested between his hands.

“I like pretty things. So sue me,” Hakyeon says, picking at his cuticles.

“You're a curse,” Jaehwan says, shaking his head wearily.

“Can he even sing--” Taekwoon finds himself blurting out, momentarily distracted by the way Hakyeon slides his thumb over his bottom lip as he bites at the skin.

“Can I even--” Hakyeon  huffs, moving behind the piano and sighing loudly, sounding affronted and bored at the same time. He lays his fingers on the keys and begins playing a song Taekwoon vaguely recognizes, one of those old 2004 ballad songs that girls would cry over in gym class. His voice is soft, light, high, confident. He sounds sweet, his voice like the touch of warm spring air coming through an open window. Like the sunlight trapped beneath his skin.

Hongbin’s gaze slides over to Taekwoon from across the room. He smirks knowingly.

Wonshik observes this smirk, as he has yet to look away from Hongbin’s face this entire time.

Hakyeon finishes singing and closes the lid of the piano.

“Ok he can sing.”

 

Wonshik chases Hongbin down after choir, out of breath with his side-shaved black hair spiked up from the wind.

“I'm Wonshik,” he says, “I don't think I said that.”

“You didn't, but Taek said it for you,” Hongbin replies, adjusting his backpack on his wide shoulders.

“You're my year, but I've never seen you before,” Wonshik says, throat dry from what Wonshik can only think to call shame.

“I'm a political science major. Photography minor,” Hongbin explains. “You’re…”

“Writing and composition.”

“Right. Yeah, I don't spend much time in the liberal arts building. I spend all day with the children of lawyers and American transfer kids.”  

“Why do they all like Eminem so much--”

“What?” Hongbin’s smile falters a little in his confusion. Wonshik makes a quick mental note to never make Hongbin stop smiling.

“Nothing. Do you like parties?”

Hongbin eyes his watch, and Wonshik feels the glance like a stab in his sternum.

“Tonight?” Hongbin says.

The stab of pain turns to a stab of pleasure.

“Yeh,” he moans.

“Where?”

“The, uh, the lofts? A bunch of the comp kids are throwing it. There's no cover, but they ask that you bring booze or something.”

“Isn't my presence enough of a gift,” Hongbin jokes, dimples spooning into his cheeks like tiny bowls. Wonshik wonders if he could get close enough to drink out of them.

“I mean yes.”

Hongbin pauses. Then laughs, pulling out his cell. “Text me the address. I'll see if Sanghyuk wants to come.”

“Is he 21.” Wonshik quickly jabs his number into Hongbin’s phone and texts himself.

“Are you a cop.”

“Do you want me to be a cop.”

“I'll see you tonight, Wonshik,” Hongbin says, all dimples and sparkles and soft sweaters.

 

“You have to come,” Jaehwan cries, tossing his clothes out from his closet. “I don't even like the comp kids. They're all hermits!”

“The pre-med kids are worse, Jae,” Hakyeon says, shaving his legs in Jaehwan’s sink, his toes checking the temperature before he slides his skin under the spray of water.

“I'm not a hermit,” Jaehwan says, holding up a striped shirt and smiling to himself in the mirror. He screams and throws the shirt up into the air. “I have nothing!”

“If you don't like the comp kids, why do you care what you look like?” Hakyeon asks, rinsing his smoothly shaven leg in the warm water. Forgot the shin. Fuck. He re-lathers.

“You of all people should understand. I haven't been touched since last semester.”

“Because you're a pre-Med hermit, like I said,” Hakyeon chirps, toweling off his legs.

“Because I'm responsible .”

“Wear the blue. It looks nice with your skin,” Hakyeon says, jumping down from the ledge of the sink to lotion his legs.

“If you aren’t going, why are you doing your pre-fuck routine?” Jaehwan gripes, tugging the blue sweater over his head. “I’ve known you long enough to know the routine, Hakyeon.”

“I decided I was bored enough to join you, I guess,” Hakyeon says dismissively, fixing his dark hair in the mirror and pulling out his compact of BB cream.

“That’s three shades too light for you.”

“That’s the point,” Hakyeon hisses, patting his cheeks with the cushion.

“You look like the ghost of a gisaeng.”

“Good. That’s what I’m going for,” Hakyeon hisses again. He whirls around from the mirror, hands on his thin hips. “Do you want me to go or not?”

Jaehwan holds up his hands in surrender. “Okay, my lady, please, you look just lovely. So lovely and pale.”

Hakyeon scoffs and throws his compact onto Jaehwan’s bed. “I’m crashing here,” he says.

“I figured.”

“You’ll probably carry me home.”

“I also figured that. Can I carry you home after someone touches my dick?”

“Fine. Text me an eggplant emoji to let me know when you’re free to carry my beer-logged body home.”

 

The party is dark. Not as bad as those fraternity parties in musky basements with strobe lights and smog machines, but definitely a mood-lit swamp of bodies.

“I’ve decided not to drink beer, so I don’t bloat,” Hakyeon says, stepping up to the appointed student ‘bartender’ and leaning over the counter. “Vodka soda. Light on the soda.”

“You just want a cup of vodka?”

“I said light on the soda not no soda.”

“Right.”

Hakyeon turns around, clutching his red cup full of vodka (with a splash of soda), and he scans the room.

He honestly doesn’t recognize many people, which is absurd considering their school is only a few thousand kids, and Hakyeon makes it his business to know anyone and everyone.

He turns back around to the bar. “I’ll also take a shot of something.”

“Anything?”

Hakyeon simply holds out his hand, waiting. A moment later, there is a small Dixie cup of something that smells vaguely like tequila in his hand. He shoots it back.

It sucks. It’s really horrible. Hakyeon cringes and washes it down with his vodka soda.

Which also sucks, but it’s fine because his mouth is sort of numb from the terrible tequila.

“You’re cute, but you are a terrible bartender,” Hakyeon says to the kid without turning back around to face him.

“This isn’t my job. I was just standing here. It’s help yourself,” is the reply, before the kid picks up his own cup of beer and walks off.

 

“You know how I feel about parties,” Taekwoon grumbles, feeling the reverberating bass from the music coming from the end of the hall.

“I know. I know you hate parties. I know you hate socializing. I know you hate any and all instances of human contact, but look, Taek, I can’t go alone. Hongbin will think I’m just coming to stalk him or something--”

“Aren’t you.”

Taekwoon’s gaze is sharp yet dead in that way that Taekwoon’s gaze often is. Like a mildly annoyed corpse. Or a recently awoken cat who has found itself shaven in the night.

“I mean, yes , but he can’t know that!” Wonshik cries, flashing his school ID to the kid at the door to the party. “You’re wearing your nice gray shirt with the...buttons...so let’s just have fun, okay?”

“You’re going to abandon me as soon as you see Hongbin,” Taekwoon predicts, scanning the room.

“Am n--Good God , Taek, he’s--he’s immaculate. He’s an angel. He’s goddamn fucking art --”

“Wonshik, Wonsh--Won--”

And he’s gone. Across the room in a second, darting as if magnetized to Hongbin, drawn into his orbit like a little lost space rock.

“Ah, fuck,” Taekwoon murmurs to himself.

“Listen, you-you guy-you bro . Just because someone showed you a picture of me, that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to--”

Taekwoon’s gaze darts over to the commotion.

“My reputation is not an invitation ,” comes Hakyeon’s voice from the other side of the room. He’s pressed up against the sink in the small kitchen of the loft, and there are hands pressed to the cabinets on either side of his head, caging him in.

He seems very well in control of the situation, but there’s something about seeing Hakyeon’s thin frame made even more slight in the presence of this foreign body that doesn’t belong where it is. There’s something so frustrating, so very frustrating about how calm Hakyeon seems, even though he’s clearly being, Taekwoon doesn’t know, harassed?

Taekwoon finds himself pushing through a swarm of bodies, hands and elbows and shoulders, just shoving until he’s close enough to say, “Hakyeon.”

Hakyeon leans to the side, giving a coquettish head tilt, squinting in Taekwoon’s direction. “You’re at a party.”

Taekwoon doesn’t know how to reply to that because he’s still so annoyed by the presence of this lumbering douchehole, so instead he just taps the jock-ass who has Hakyeon boxed in on the shoulder and says, “I need to talk to him.”

The criminally repulsive boy spins around, clearly unamused.

“You who he’s fucking with now?” His breath is pungent and smells like well chewed grass.

Taekwoon again doesn’t know how to reply. “I’m his friend.”

Hakyeon shakes his head. “We’re fucking,” he says, leaning to speak the words into the boy’s ear. “I’ll fuck anyone.” He slips around like slick oil and winds his arms around Taekwoon’s waist. “Except you,” he mouths in the boy’s direction with a pout.

Suddenly there are hands pulling Hakyeon off Taekwoon, and there is a fist in Taekwoon’s face.

He’s knocked to the ground, and it stings like hell. It stings like bashing your elbow against a hard surface, like falling hard onto your palms on some hot asphalt. It’s this throbbing under his skin that feels like a pulsing, aching heartbeat that doesn’t belong there in his face.

“Holy shit,”  he breathes aloud, clutching his jaw.

And then the other boy is down, knocked back against the refrigerator, stumbling, clutching for purchase on any near object and finding none. Hakyeon stands, observing his handiwork as the boy flails and falls hard, lowering his leg from some clearly expertly well-practiced kick.

“You’re a sick fucking jock-ass loser,” Hakyeon spits. “And sluts like me have class. We have standards. I don’t fuck with you or your archaic fratboy shit .”

Taekwoon glances up from the ground, still holding his hand to his cheek, and there’s

this strange glow around Hakyeon that wasn’t there before.

He’s magnificent.

Hakyeon helps Taekwoon off the floor and practically lugs him into one of the abandoned bedrooms in the loft. Taekwoon thinks the bedrooms were all locked at the start of the party, but laws of reason and physics don’t seem to operate around Hakyeon.

Hakyeon leads Taekwoon over to the bed, and Taekwoon doesn’t want to think about whose bed it is and what germs could be on it but he sits.

Hakyeon’s cold fingers press to Taekwoon’s face, and it feels so terrible and also so amazing. Like rinsing frozen snow-touched hands under a hot faucet. Relief and misery.

“Ow,” is all Taekwoon knows how to say.

Hakyeon laughs right beside Taekwoon’s face.

“You kicked him.”

“He punched you.”

“You told him we were fucking.”

“He already thought we were, so what’s the harm?”

“Why do you want people to think of you like this?”

“Like what?” Hakyeon pauses his fingers where they’re pressed like icicles against Taekwoon’s skin. “Like I fuck around? I do. Like I’m a slut? I am. Like I have no shame? I don’t.”

“But--”

“Since when is liking sex a crime? It feels good. Someone’s skin on mine. Someone kissing my throat and,” Hakyeon’s hands are skimming up his neck, tan fingers moving over soft skin as he shuts his eyes, “Biting and pressing me against a wall and,” his breath is coming out like hot expulsions of gasping air, and he licks his lips, “pressing into my body until I feel so full and--”

Taekwoon clears his throat softly and shifts in his spot.

Hakyeon blinks his eyes open. There is a smile playing at the corners of his lips.

“You aren’t curious?” Hakyeon asks.

“About what?”

“About me. About why everyone talks about me.”

“Because you’re loud. And everywhere. And sorta hot.”

Hakyeon settles himself on the floor in front of Taekwoon where he sits on the bed. His hands slide up Taekwoon’s legs like silk, the tips of his cold fingers recognizable through the denim of Taekwoon’s jeans. Hakyeon begins leaning in, and Taekwoon finds himself reaching out to touch Hakyeon’s face.

His fingers come away dusted in white.

Hakyeon looks embarrassed, sucking his lips inward and glancing away.

“You--”

“Don’t tell me I don’t need it. You don’t know what I need,” Hakyeon interrupts, nails digging into Taekwoon’s kneecaps through his jeans.

Taekwoon tries not to think about how good those little half moon indents feel in his skin.

Hakyeon whips his gaze back go Taekwoon’s face, and Taekwoon is completely thrown by the stunning ferocity in Hakyeon’s eyes.

“I'm good at it,” Hakyeon says, back to his composed hoity tone.

“I...don't doubt it?” Taekwoon ventures as Hakyeon’s hands skim up to his inner thighs.

Taekwoon grabs at Hakyeon’s fingers with his pointer and thumb in a pinching motion, as if Hakyeon were a roach or a mouse. A very sexy roach. “But I don't do this.”

“Do what? Get your cock sucked by a hot underclassman?” Hakyeon challenges, scoffing.

“Is that what you were offering? To me it just seemed like you wanted to make a point.”

“I did. I wanted to make the point that I have the most skillful mouth in the--”

“I meant the point that you don't care that people gossip about you,” Taekwoon cut in.

“I don't,” Hakyeon replies, laying his cheek on Taekwoon’s thigh. “People talk because they're bored or jealous. I don't care one bit. I have sex, sometimes good, mostly bad, and it is my prerogative.”

“Why do it if it's bad?” Taekwoon asks, unconsciously reaching out to brush Hakyeon’s sweaty fringe from his eyes.

“Because I enjoy intimacy. I enjoy feeling sexy. I think sex is the best way to know someone. I know so many people; and I know their secrets,” Hakyeon says, warm breath ghosting over Taekwoon’s inner thigh.

“You want to know me?” Taekwoon finds himself asking.

Hakyeon’s gaze flicks up, and a smile twitches at his lips. “I could know you so good you would forget yourself.”

Heat surges like a swarm of seagulls, squawking in Taekwoon’s chest as they circle his ribs, chanting fuckfuckfuckfuck.

“You're drunk,” Taekwoon replies, throat dry, voice small. “It's not consent.”

“I'm not that drunk,” Hakyeon insists, grabbing Taekwoon’s hand and waving it in front of his own face, his steady gaze watching the movement closely. “See? Focused. Practically sober.”

Taekwoon laughs.

Hakyeon’s pupils seem to dilate at the sound.

“Cute,” he breathes out, leaning in closer to Taekwoon’s face, lips centimeters from Taekwoon’s. He licks his lips.

“I'm your TA, you know,” Taekwoon reminds him, trying to lean further back, put some distance between himself and those lips.

“You won't tell on me, will you, Mr. Jung?” Hakyeon practically moans, climbing back up to Taekwoon's lap. His fingers splay out over Taekwoon’s inner thighs, the tips so close to his crotch that Taekwoon swears he can feel the ghost touch against his cock already.

“No,” Taekwoon utters softly, eyes on Hakyeon’s lips still.

“You smell like oolong and cream,” Hakyeon says, fingers inching forward to flick the button of Taekwoon’s jeans open.

“Please don't make a comment about how I'll taste,” Taekwoon begs, cheeks aflame and mind already conjuring lewd montages of Hakyeon laying in that sheer lingerie while Taekwoon spills oolong and cream on his flesh. The leaves. Not the burning tea.

“Why? Afraid you'll cum?” Hakyeon teases.

Taekwoon can't stand it. Hakyeon must learn his dialogue from Bad American Pornography.

“Anyhow, cocks all taste like cocks, so don't worry. I harbor no expectations about your taste based on your smell,” Hakyeon reveals, tugging down the zipper of Taekwoon’s jeans. “Skin is skin. Cum is cum.”

Hakyeon's hands tuck into the waistband of Taekwoon’s jeans, and fuck, this is really happening, Taekwoon guesses.

In one swift movement, Hakyeon has Taekwoon's pants ripped out from under him, and he is falling forward on top of Hakyeon on the floor, balance lost.

“Sorry,” Hakyeon muses. “I've always wanted to try that. Like yanking the dining table cloth without breaking the tableware.”

Taekwoon is panting, his face hovering over Hakyeon’s, hands braced on either side of Hakyeon's tan face.

“Good first attempt,” Taekwoon says before he dips down to press their lips together. He isn't sure what makes him do it. Maybe it's Hakyeon’s audible breaths, sounding rushed and...aroused. Maybe it's just the heat of the moment. Maybe it's because Taekwoon can't stop seeing Hakyeon in those sheer stockings. Regardless, there he is.

Hakyeon hooks his teeth into Taekwoon’s bottom lip and tugs. His hands come to fist into Taekwoon’s hair. He releases the sweetest needy growl.

“Fuck,” Taekwoon whispers, pulling back from the kiss for a second and licking his lips contemplatively. “That must've been some shitty tequila.”

Hakyeon giggles . And it's so lovely. Like a children’s xylophone toy or a washing machine filled with bells.

He drags Taekwoon down again and laps into Taekwoon’s mouth with his warm tongue still tasting of cheap liquor and maybe... rice cakes?

Hakyeon seems to sense Taekwoon is still thinking weird things, so he grabs Taekwoon’s shirt and uses it as leverage to flip their positions. In this new position, thighs planted on either side of Taekwoon’s hips, Hakyeon hikes Taekwoon's shirt over his head, ruffling his hair, and he drags his nails down Taekwoon’s chest.

Taekwoon arches off the floor and whines, and Hakyeon revels in the sound. Hakyeon repeats the motion, and Taekwoon can feel his arousal like heavy stones in his gut.

“Receptive,” Hakyeon observes, wriggling a little in Taekwoon’s lap. “I've never heard you so loud.”

“I don't normally--”

Hakyeon presses his lips to Taekwoon's collarbones, then runs his tongue along the groove, teeth scraping over the bone.

Taekwoon bucks up, hands moving to Hakyeon’s hips, nails digging into his hip bones.

Hakyeon hisses then grinds down harder in Taekwoon’s lap. “You like to play.”

“Stop talking like you're reading a script.”

“I'm always reading a script, Mr. Jung, as I am a star,” Hakyeon says, practically twinkling as he tugs his own shirt over his head in one swift motion.

His skin is radiant. There are touches of sweat at the base of his neck, and his BB cream seems to have stopped abruptly at his shoulders, but Gods, he's gorgeous.

Taekwoon reaches up to run his fingertips eagerly over Hakyeon’s abdomen, tracing freckles, ribs, the small patch of hair from his belly button to the waistband of his impossibly tight jeans.

Hakyeon falls forward towards the touches, rocking his hips. His eyelids flutter, and his lips part.

Taekwoon’s thumbs brush over a bruise on Hakyeon’s hip, and he presses the tip of his finger into the purple mark.

Hakyeon’s eyelids flicker open, and he groans softly. “He was a biter,” he murmurs.

For some reason Taekwoon’s stomach shrivels up into a grain of sand at that remark, and he digs his thumb into the bruise again.

Hakyeon bucks down, hands falling forward as he collapses against Taekwoon’s chest, writhing.

“Did you suck his cock too?”

Hakyeon is still writhing against Taekwoon, his cock hard against Taekwoon’s.

“It is what I am famous for,” Hakyeon replies moments later.

Taekwoon sits up, pulling Hakyeon with him, arm around Hakyeon’s waist. Hakyeon moves easily, as if in a daze.

Taekwoon works Hakyeon's pants down and realizes he isn't wearing anything underneath. Figures.

“You're not drunk,” Taekwoon says. A question.

Hakyeon comes back into his body then, eyes dark and focused. “Never been more sober,” he says, winding his arms around Taekwoon’s neck as Taekwoon yanks his own boxers down.

Their cocks rest together in between their bodies, and Taekwoon wants to look away because it's filthy. It's strange...and yet he can't. Hakyeon is so lovely and tan beside him, and Taekwoon wraps his pale fingers around that tan skin just tightly enough for Hakyeon to whine.

“And here I thought you were a virgin,” Hakyeon hisses between his teeth as Taekwoon pulls his own cock against Hakyeon’s and works them both.

“Who says I'm not,” Taekwoon replies, finding it difficult to breathe, as if the room had filled with water while they were moving together.

Hakyeon appears to get impatient, whimpering as he grabs Taekwoon’s free hand and pulls it to his lips. He sucks Taekwoon’s fingers into his mouth, and Taekwoon isn't sure if this is some kind of sexy foreplay or--

And then Hakyeon is guiding Taekwoon’s hand behind his back, dragging the wet fingers down his tailbone to his--

“Oh,” Taekwoon breathes, circling his fingers.

His hand falters on their cocks, and Hakyeon huffs.

“I have to do everything myself, I see,” he says, swatting Taekwoon’s hand away and replacing it with both of his own hands.

Taekwoon is still curiously touching his fingers to the soft skin of Hakyeon’s ass, which he can tell is vexing Hakyeon greatly . He’s making these sounds, just puffs of air that somehow express more annoyance than Taekwoon ever knew air possibly could.

Taekwoon looks up from where Hakyeon’s hands are wrapped around their cocks to find Hakyeon glaring at him.

“What?”

“Are you going to make me beg?” Hakyeon asks, teeth gritted, hips circling down against Taekwoon’s hand.  

Taekwoon blinks slowly. “I don’t understand.”

“I’m asking you to finger-fuck me, Taekwoon, not gently caress my ho--”

“Okay, I get it, I get it,” Taekwoon cries out as Hakyeon grips their cocks tighter so Taekwoon can feel every inch of Hakyeon’s heated skin against his own.

Taekwoon sinks a slick finger in, and Hakyeon makes the most pleased little purring moan. If Taekwoon weren’t already as hard as he ever imagined a human could be, he thinks he would have gotten harder at that sound.

“You...like it?” Taekwoon asks, experimentally shifting his finger around, not sure what to do with the new knowledge that his hypothesis about Hakyeon being filled with the gaseous heat of a thousand suns had been correct. Hakyeon’s insides are burning. Taekwoon feels like he, in turn, is on fire.

“God, it’s amazing, don’t stop,” Hakyeon says, hands working between their bodies as he wriggles in place, trying to get Taekwoon’s finger deeper. “More. C’mon, more.”

Taekwoon doesn’t know how he manages to get two more fingers inside Hakyeon’s body, but by the time he realizes he’s three-fingers deep in Hakyeon, he knows that he must’ve been devoured by the sun.

His skin feels like lava, like it is just running down onto the floor in heaps of molten, burning, surging heat. His insides must’ve already exploded or dissolved. He’s sure of it. He can barely feel himself anymore. All he knows is that the more he moves his fingers, the more Hakyeon fills the room with the soft, sweet sounds that come from deep within his throat, and Taekwoon never wants those to end.

But he also vaguely recognizes that he’s--

“I’m,” Hakyeon whines, “I’m really gonna--”

Taekwoon nods. All he can do is nod, Hakyeon still riding his fingers. He feels paralyzed. And yet he also feels like every atom that makes up his being is pulsating, trying to escape.  

Hakyeon is looking at him, and Taekwoon is pretty sure this moment is entirely too intimate for what is actually transpiring, but he can’t look away.

Hakyeon’s eyes are so bright, even though the room is dark. His skin is covered in a sheen of sweat, and his hair is like a helmet against his high cheekbones as he circles and rocks his hips to shift Taekwoon’s fingers inside him.

Hakyeon won’t look away. Even as he digs his fingernails into Taekwoon’s waist, his cock twitching in his own grip, his hips riding down and then shuddering, shaking, back arching.

Even as he comes apart, releasing over his tan fingers and Taekwoon’s cock.

He still looks at Taekwoon through heavy lids, like Taekwoon is telling him the weather or that his sweater looks nice that day.

He looks at Taekwoon through the haze of his own orgasm.

He looks at Taekwoon as Taekwoon’s own orgasm rushes through his body like rapids in his bloodstream; as Taekwoon bucks up into Hakyeon’s grip, as Taekwoon needily claws at Hakyeon’s back with his free hand, as Taekwoon gasps sharply and then cries out when the feeling of Hakyeon’s hands becomes too much, much too much.

And when Taekwoon comes to realize he’s pulled his fingers free, and Hakyeon is reaching for his jeans, and there’s cum drying on his inner thighs, it is too late.

Because Hakyeon turns around and zips his fly and says, “I told you so.”

And Taekwoon is still on the floor, still in a daze, still thinking about the way Hakyeon’s eyes seemed to suggest they knew everything about him, still thinking about the way Hakyeon’s body moved like one part dancer one part fighter one part magic.

“Wait,” Taekwoon says as Hakyeon reaches the door, already re-dressed.

Hakyeon doesn’t turn around, but he hums to acknowledge, tucking his phone into his back pocket.

Taekwoon struggles to find something to say. Sorry I have your nudes on a flash drive? You know I got punched for you, right? Do you always get so bossy when you fuck? Was I okay?

“I’ll see you Monday.”









Chapter Text

Parties aren’t really Wonshik’s scene. Honestly, Wonshik isn’t sure he has a scene. When he was twelve, his mother became convinced he was agoraphobic because he never left his room. In therapy, he had to convince his therapist that his illness had nothing to do with his location. He could be ill anywhere. But he wasn’t. He was just a kid, just a kid who liked music and nothing else. His therapist was a small man in many ways, but his smallness made it easier for him to swallow Wonshik’s lies. His stomach couldn’t hold more than a few at a time.

 

Meeting Taekwoon was the first big thing that ever happened to Wonshik. Taekwoon was like him, didn’t really talk until he was directly spoken to (and even then, pulling words was like pulling magician handkerchiefs from the depths of Taekwoon’s throat), and Wonshik liked that Taekwoon kind of looked like his childhood cat. Puffy cheeks, small pink mouth, tiny, aggressively violent paws.

“Meow,” Wonshik said one day while the two of them waited in the lunch line.

Taekwoon cocked his head to the side, eyes narrowing. “Meow?”

Wonshik smiled, grabbing one banana milk for himself and placing another on Taekwoon’s tray.

“Meow,” he agreed, nodding.

Taekwoon still looked slightly murderous, but he came and sat beside Wonshik at lunch that day, sipping his banana milk in silence.

 

Wonshik feels a nagging tug in his stomach as he darts through the crowd. The tug has a voice to it. A soft, pouty kind of sound. Ah, Wonshik realizes, Taekwoon.

But at this point, it is too late. Hongbin is leaning in a doorway, wearing this exceptionally tight pair of light-wash jeans with rips in the knees (and another one in the thigh that Wonshik refuses to acknowledge because it makes his palms sweat) and a soft gray t-shirt.

It is also Taekwoon’s voice in Wonshik’s skull cavity, whispering Out of your league, you dumb oaf .

Wonshik agrees with the tiny Taekwoon in his skull, but he couldn’t care less.

Not when Hongbin is standing there, sipping from his red cup so elegantly, a thin sheen of sweat lining his skin like he’d been lightly dusted all over with ground-up diamonds.

Wonshik raises his hand to wave, which, undoubtedly, is probably the least in-Hongbin’s-league greeting he could have attempted, but it doesn’t matter.

Because someone else is walking up to Hongbin and wrapping his arm around Hongbin’s little waist, whispering something into Hongbin’s beautiful, sweet, amazing ears, making Hongbin’s lip curve up at the corner in the most delicious one-dimpled smirk Wonshik has ever beheld.

Hongbin presses a palm against the boy’s chest, leaning in to whisper something back, something that makes the other boy tip his head back and howl with laughter.

Wonshik’s hand is still raised, and he forces himself to finish walking towards Hongbin and this—

This

“Chansik,” Hongbin hisses, fighting another fit of laughter, “please.”

“What? It’s true. He really looks like a boiled potato. With the skin,” Chansik replies, grabbing the tip of Hongbin’s earlobe and tugging. Wonshik doesn’t know why this is such an affront to him. Hongbin’s ears are not his property, but for some reason he feels as though he’s witnessed someone strip Hongbin bare in front of him just with that simple touch. Hongbin’s ear, just barely peeking out from under his thick hair--a synecdoche for all of what Wonshik didn’t have the right to touch.

Wonshik sniffs loudly, making Hongbin look in his direction.

Wonshik finally shakes his raised palm in a stiff-looking wave. “You came,” he says to Hongbin, pointedly ignoring Chansik, especially since looking at him would require Wonshik to lift his chin up. He sullenly wishes he’d worn his shoe lifts, the ones his sister mailed him from home with a little folded note saying Your worth is not a number (except when it comes to your height).

“I did. Figured I would give these comp kids of yours a shot,” Hongbin replies, smiling earnestly, making Wonshik’s ventricles twitch in the same way they did when he played whack-a-mole.

“Who’s this,” Wonshik asks before Hongbin can add anything else, and Wonshik finally shifts his gaze up the final couple inches to look at Chansik face. Damnit, he’s handsome. He’s got the same kind of sharp, v-shaped face that Hongbin had. Androgynous, cherubic, almost.

“Oh,” Hongbin says, smiling and putting his red cup down on a chair. He gestures with his probably pillow-soft hands. “This is my boyfriend, Chansik.”

Wonshik’s eyeballs turn inside out and explode inside his head, or perhaps he just has dust in his eyes, because he can feel liquid brimming near his bottom eyelid, fighting against whatever intrusions were floating in his eye goo.

“Chansik, this is Wonshik,” Hongbin says, and then, with the realization, “oh, your names are so similar. You should be best friends.”

Wonshik blinks slowly at Hongbin and tries to mentally tabulate a way to forget this entire exchange, this entire evening, this entire lifetime. Perhaps a bit of laundry detergent into his ear canals? Or his eyeballs? Something stronger, perhaps? Bleach? Would that melt his organs like acid, or would he simply drop dead? Could he shove a magic eraser up his nostrils in a reverse mummification tactic and then shake it all around the inside of his skull cavity until his memory was, as advertised, magically erased?

Chansik analyzes Wonshik for a moment and then smiles, offering his hand for a shake.

Wonshik grabs Hongbin’s drink off the chair and chugs it.

Chansik and Hongbin watch, heads tilted in unison.

“That was—”

Wonshik wipes his mouth and begins walking back towards the bar. “I’ll return it full. Don’t move.”

While at the bar, Wonshik takes three sequential shots before returning with Hongbin’s cup. Embarrassingly now visibly inebriated after just three shots and a cup of what Wonshik can only assume was some coconutty rum, Wonshik hands Hongbin’s cup to Chansik.

“You look like you could use a drink,” he says.

Chansik looks at the drink and then back at Hongbin.

“This one is yours,” he says, patting Hongbin on the cheek. “I’m gonna go flirt with that hot DJ to make them stop playing EDM and put on real music.”

“I wouldn’t start off with that,” Hongbin replies, still smiling.

Chansik waves Hongbin’s words away and ducks into the crowd.

“He’s,” Wonshik mutters, waving with noodle arms at where Chansik stood just moments before. Where he announced he would be going to flirt with not Hongbin.

“What? He’s cute, right?”

That wasn’t what Wonshik was going to say, but he nods slightly in acknowledgment.

“Yes, but also—”

Hongbin licks his lips before taking another drink, and Wonshik forgets his words again.

“Wonshik, do you dance?” Hongbin asks, fingering the collar of Wonshik’s shirt.

Wonshik is about to reply when Hongbin begins tugging him towards the section of the room where all the loft furniture has been shoved aside to expose the stained laminate “hardwood floors” that Wonshik’s mother had tsked about when they’d first visited the campus. For all that tuition money, they can’t afford real wood?

Wonshik wonders briefly, his brain trying desperately to remember what rhythm is as Hongbin pulls him close, whether Hongbin is aware of how abso-fruiting-lutely gorgeous he is. And not in the “file his face away for the spank bank” kind of way, but in the “if we put a wig on you and took you home to mom, she’d not be the wiser.”

So Wonshik, instead of keeping these thoughts deep within his psyche where they belong, blurts them all out. Luckily the music--now some kind of post-punk girl anthem that Chansik is celebratorily making-out with the DJ to--is too loud for Hongbin to hear any of it.

“What,” Hongbin yells in Wonshik’s ear. His hips are moving against Wonshik’s in a way that Wonshik believes whole-heartedly he would have been stoned for in any other location except this party.

Wonshik takes this opportunity to double back, retrace his steps, get his brain off of Hongbin’s hips, his face, his-- “I said you have nice hair.”

Hongbin bursts out laughing. The sound is joyful, cruel, almost sardonic.

Wonshik is absolutely positive that was not what he’d meant to say, and he isn’t entirely sure why he ended up saying it. It is true. Hongbin has lovely soft-looking hair, but the more Wonshik looks at it in the steamy, almost sauna-level haze of the loft, he notices the way the strands begin to curl gently at the ends.

“It’s curly,” Wonshik adds, suddenly grinning, suddenly reaching up to finger Hongbin’s fringe with joyful fervor, suddenly . . . being shoved away.

“Stop, no it isn’t,” Hongbin hisses, sweeping his hair back across his forehead, patting it down, slicking it with the sweat from his hands.

“But it--”

Hongbin’s gaze turns sour. “I was just trying to have a good time,” he says.

Wonshik isn’t sure when it became a bad time.

Chansik seems to sense Hongbin’s negative aura from the makeshift DJ booth, and he teleports into their space, looking more menacingly gigantic than he had before.

“Everything okay, Beanie?” Chansik asks, eyes boring into Wonshik’s face like the wide-hole section of a cheese grater.

Hongbin lifts his chin up and simply huffs. Chansik gives Wonshik one more witheringly judgmental glare before ushering Hongbin towards the door.

Wonshik exhales heavily into his palm, sniffs the air to test for a smell. Shrugs.

 

Wonshik isn’t completely sure what makes him think Taekwoon is still at the party, even though Wonshik had ditched him roughly 1.66 hours ago. But he’s sure. It is almost like he can feel Taekwoon’s residual angst on his skin, taste the misery on his tongue. Just like the good old days.

He tests the bathroom, comes upon the sloppiest looking oral sex he’s ever witnessed--and he had subscribed to Straight Boys Give First Head when he was fifteen. Out of curiosity, of course.

Then the coat bedroom. Nothing. Somehow the bed remains clear of debauchery, simply piled high with many versions of the same black fleece.

And then he tries the room he could have sworn was locked at the start of the party.

“Taek,” Wonshik cries, rushing to where his friend is clearly passed out on the floor, his head pillowed against his own upper arm as he lay curled in on himself like a rolly-poly.

“I’m not dead,” Taekwoon protests, swatting Wonshik away when he tries to scoop him up princess style.

“Why are you on the floor?” Wonshik huffs, eyebrow quirked as he squats down beside Taekwoon on the floor.

Taekwoon looks sick. His cheeks are flushed, lips chapped and swollen, hair matted to his head in a helmet of sweat.

“Why do you look like you’ve come down with influenza?”

He pauses, gaze shifting.

His eyes narrow.

He opens his mouth.

“Don’t,” Taekwoon begs, cupping his hands around his face to hide the crimson flush of shame.

“You fucked someone,” Wonshik cries, one part triumphant, one part jealous.

Taekwoon shakes his head rapidly from side to side, still hiding behind his palms.

“Your fly is still down, and you have a mysterious liquid on you,” Wonshik protests.

Taekwoon jerks up from the floor into sitting, quickly zipping up his jeans. “Don’t,” he begs again.

“Jung Taekwoon, I have known you your entire life. You better tell me what happened.”

Taekwoon looks like he’d rather dig a really big hole and then launch himself from a very tall structure into it, never to be seen again. He gets this look a lot, Wonshik realizes.

“Tell me, Taek,” Wonshik whines, prodding at Taekwoon’s cheek, feeling the soft pillowy skin give under his finger. Wonshik once had cheeks like Taekwoon did, but his had dripped off his face like wax after puberty.

“I can’t,” Taekwoon replies, heaving himself up to standing, his legs seeming to wobble beneath him like a foal’s first steps.

“Pl--”

“Can we just go?” Taekwoon asks, and his voice is so strong and so pleading that Wonshik acquiesces.

 

He and Taekwoon have never had secrets before. When Wonshik had his first kiss, he was texting Taekwoon before it was even over. When Wonshik bought his subscription to Straight Guys Give First Head , Taekwoon was the first to come over to watch it with him, even though Taekwoon had no idea that was why he’d been invited over. When Wonshik gave his first absolutely horrifying hand job to some guy he’d met while on vacation in Jeju with his parents, Taekwoon answered the phone after and told him ‘that’s gross.’ Taekwoon, to the best of Wonshik’s knowledge, has never kept a secret from him either. Wonshik knew exactly when Taekwoon had his first boner. He knew when Taekwoon came embarrassingly fast after Eunji went down on him after the homecoming dance in middle school. Taekwoon isn't good at talking, but he has always been good at talking to Wonshik.

 

The next day, Wonshik shows up to choir club, and Taekwoon isn’t there.

“Um,” he says.

“Where’s Taek?” Jaehwan asks from the front of the room, currently fiddling with what appears to be an incredibly old boom box cassette player.

Wonshik only shrugs. He’s never known Taekwoon to just go MIA like this before.

Hongbin is standing at the piano with Sanghyuk, showing him some sheet music, asking him to try to play along. He looks up, notices Wonshik, turns away with a harumph. Wonshik’s heart sizzles wearily.

He’s about to leave when Cha Hakyeon grabs his sleeve.

“Is he okay?” Hakyeon says, eyes looking tight at the corners.

“Who?”

“Taekwoon.” Hakyeon is shifting from foot to foot, as if he can’t keep his balance. His shirt is hanging off his left shoulder, exposing a little strip of tan skin, and he looks--in a way Wonshik can never remember seeing Hakyeon looking--disheveled.

“I dunno,” Wonshik replies honestly. “I haven’t seen him since we left the party last night.”

“You guys don’t live together?”

“No. Everyone thinks we do. Taekwoon has a single. We tried to live together Freshman year, but Taekwoon is very particular,” Wonshik says, remembering the look on Taekwoon’s face when he’d come home to Wonshik practically laying in a pool of empty pudding cups after he’d gotten so high that one clearly had not been enough to satisfy him (neither had 3 or 10 or 16).

“Oh. I mean, I just saw him at the party last night, and he looked kind of…”

“Sick?” Wonshik offers.

Hakyeon shrugs, shifting his shirt up off his shoulder and fixing its placement, appearing to gather his haughtiness back from wherever it had been hiding while he was being concerned. “I just figured I should check, since he’s technically co-president of the club, and he isn’t here. Doesn’t look good.”

“That’s right it doesn’t,” Jaehwan shrilly cries from the back of the room.

“How did he even hear us--”

“Jung Taekwoon, I’ve got you now,” Jaehwan says, rubbing his hands together maniacally as he presses play on the boom box cassette player. The sounds of H.O.T. circa 1999 fill the room, all techno and synthesizer.

“I used to masturbate to this song,” Wonshik blurts, not sure why Hakyeon’s presence feels so similar to Taekwoon’s, why he feels he can blurt these things.

Hakyeon actually smiles.

“Me too.”

 

Two hours later, Wonshik leaves choir practice with the new position of H.O.T. remix maker/ Procurer of Taekwoon from the depths of whatever hell he’d subjected himself to after the party.

He’s halfway down the block to his apartment when he hears someone calling his name.

He wheels around. Well, he turns around. He wishes he had wheels. Like heelies. Those really made the ladies wet back in the day.

“Wonshik,” Hongbin says, out of breath as if he’d actually chased Wonshik. Which he may have.

“Are you talking to me?” Wonshik knows he shouldn’t be petty with the person he practically worships, but he can’t help it. He’s miffed.

“Look, I’m sorry, okay?” Hongbin says, sighing as he scuffs the toe of his sneaker against the cement path leading from the music building. “I’m...sensitive.”

“Clearly,” Wonshik replies bitterly, adjusting his bag on his back just so he has something to do with his hands. “I don’t get it.”

“Get what?”

“I don’t get why you’re the most gorgeous person on campus, but you have a boyfriend who fucks other people, and you pushed me away because I liked your curly hair,” Wonshik grumbles, lifting his gaze to Hongbin’s face after it had been trained on the pavement to avoid looking into Hongbin’s dimple black hole.

Hongbin seems taken aback, which is strange, since Hongbin must contain all the secrets and knowledge of the universe inside his dimples.

“I’m what?”

“You’re--” Wonshik breaks off, wincing, “gonna make me say it again?”

Hongbin presses his lips together, so he’s either about to start laughing, or he’s about to vomit.

“You think...you think I’m gorgeous?”

Wonshik looks around, checking over his shoulder, craning his neck, even looking up at the sky for hidden cameras on planes or droids or something. “Is that a joke?”

Hongbin shrugs. “I’ve never been told, I mean, all straightforward like that.”

This must be a ploy. A prank. Wonshik is positive. Hongbin is getting his jollies just watching Wonshik struggle now.

“No,” is all Wonshik can say.

“I can be a bit abrasive,” Hongbin admits, spreading his arms out, releasing his truth into the air between them.

Wonshik wants to nod and agree, but he’s still sure this is some kind of test.

“You know I like you,” Wonshik says, figuring he may as well release his own truth.

Hongbin presses his lips together again, tucks his hands into his pockets, rocks back on his heels, eyes still trained on Wonshik’s face. “Yeah.”

“But you’re dating Chansik,” Wonshik says.

Hongbin stops rocking. “Yeah.”

“But he’s dating other people,” Wonshik adds, still waiting for the part when Hongbin explains any of this.

Hongbin scratches the bridge of his perfectly straight nose. “It’s complicated.”

Wonshik sighs because he hates complicated. He likes music because it all can be broken down into notes that build and build and build and make sound. It seems complicated, but it never really is to Wonshik because he can take it all apart.

Wonshik doesn’t admit that he would love to take Hongbin apart.

“Do you want to fuck me, Wonshik?” Hongbin asks, standing in the middle of the sidewalk in the middle of their campus, plain as day, voice even, as if he’d asked Wonshik for a stick of gum.

Wonshik gapes at him.

“Well, I mean, I--” he waves his arms around in the air, trying to erase the question, but he inhales it through his nostrils unknowingly and it lodges itself in his lungs.

Hongbin smiles and nods knowingly. “This is why we can't.”

Wonshik blinks slowly. “What is why we what?”

Hongbin grabs Wonshik by the sleeve and ducks back around the liberal arts building, pressing Wonshik’s back against the bricks. Wonshik’s skull rattles against it, and he swears under his breath.

“Hongbin, I don't--”

Hongbin fists his hands in Wonshik’s shirt and yanks him forward, pressing their lips together. Wonshik feels a whimper bubbling up in his throat, and he reaches up to grip into Hongbin’s hair. The strands are surprisingly thick, coarse.

Hongbin licks into Wonshik’s mouth like someone who knows his way around mouth cavities. His body is warm and solid against Wonshik’s, and Wonshik drops his hands down to Hongbin’s thin waist, dipping his hands under Hongbin’s sweater, feeling his skin like soft gentle flames against Wonshik's palms.

“Fuck,” Wonshik gasps, rutting off the wall to press closer. He needs to be closer. He wants to fuse their bones into one shared skeleton.

Hongbin lifts Wonshik’s shirt up to his armpits and dips down to kiss at his abdomen, his hips, his nipples. Wonshik feels like he’s breathing through a snorkel. He’s breathing, but the air is never enough air. Never enough at all.

Hongbin doesn't even draw Wonshik’s pants down after he drops to his knees on the concrete; he unzips Wonshik’s jeans and reaches in, like he has a goal, like he is determined to somehow prove something to Wonshik, something that Wonshik cannot remember because Hongbin’s mouth is wet and hot, so fucking hot.

Wonshik groans, bucking his hips out, and instead of protesting, Hongbin let's Wonshik deep into his throat with a pleased little hum.

Wonshik feels like his whole body is thrumming, like a car left to run at a stop sign for too long. He rocks his hips again, and Hongbin’s throat makes this horrid gagging wet sound but for some reason Wonshik’s dick processes the sound like it's the newest goddamn Kendrick Lamar track.

“Hongbin, please, I--”

Hongbin pulls his mouth away from Wonshik’s cock, replacing it with his hands, sliding slickly in tandem in a brutally slow pace over Wonshik’s skin. Hongbin looks up, the whites of his eyes showing like a begging puppy, and Wonshik swears again.

“Christ, Hongbin, your mouth.”

Hongbin’s lips quirk up at the corners, and he asks, “what about my mouth?”

Wonshik draws in a sharp breath as Hongbin slips his thumb up the underside of his cock, sliding it around the raised ridge of the head.

“It's fucking great,” Wonshik offers weakly, moments from screaming himself hoarse from how amazing it feels to be in Hongbin's hands.

“Just great?” Hongbin asks, appearing sullen, dejected. His pace slows more.

Wonshik bucks wildly into Hongbin’s grip, searching for more friction, begging. “Your mouth is the fucking best, and I want to live inside it. I want to build a house in your goddamn mouth and stay there forever. ”

He winces.

Hongbin grins, tips his head back, and laughs. “Oh that's a good one,” he says before taking Wonshik into his hot slick mouth again until the head hits the back of his throat. He swallows, and its tight, so momentarily tight that Wonshik thinks he’ll blackout. He'll scream.

Hongbin does it again, his hands working over the base, and Wonshik shoves his fist between his teeth and bites down.

“Oh God .” Wonshik has had blow jobs before, obviously, but Hongbin’s mouth is magic. His mouth is the purest, rawest magic he’s ever experienced. “Hongbin, I--”

Hongbin waves his free hand by his ear and then cups it around the lobe. He's asking for Wonshik to say it. He swallows around Wonshik’s cock head again, and Wonshik muffles his whine into his fist again.

“Hongbin, I'm gonna fucking come,” he grits out, teeth clenched as Hongbin pulls his amazing, gorgeous mouth away from his skin and grips him tightly in his hands again, quick, thorough strokes until Wonshik shudders.

His knees feel like they'll give out under him as he releases, shaking against the brick, watching in horror as Hongbin parts his lips to take Wonshik’s come into his mouth.

Hongbin’s lips close, and he swallows, so easily, just like that. He uses Wonshik’s shirt as a grip as he heaves himself up to standing. With a little smile, he tucks Wonshik’s dick back into his jeans and zips his fly for him.

“Let that be enough,” he says, pressing his lips to Wonshik’s cheek. He smells like Wonshik’s come. Wonshik feels his face burn.

“Enough?” Wonshik manages to murmur.

“Get over me,” Hongbin replies, his eyelashes wet from all the gagging. His lips are red and chapped from the stretch. He's absolutely stunning. “I'm not worth it.”

Wonshik wants to choke himself until he blacks out, maybe hit his head on the way down as he faints, get some minor amnesia, not enough to forget Taek but enough to forget this moment. To forget the way Hongbin so easily walks away.

“I won't,” Wonshik calls after him.

Hongbin stops, but he doesn't turn. Then he keeps walking.

 

Hongbin opens his apartment door and presses his back against it after it shuts behind him. He's panting, his cock hard against the front of his jeans. Wonshik was handsome, sure, but Hongbin hadn't expected to react that way, hadn't expected to be so fucking aroused by his low-pitched voice as it begged him.

“Oh, you're back,” Sanghyuk calls from the kitchen. “I just made ramen. The server was down for a while, but we can get a new game going now that you're back. I downloaded the new Pirate mod, so I figured we could--”

Hongbin freezes against the door as Sanghyuk walks out with two steaming bowls of noodles.

“Why are you just standing there?”

Hongbin lets out a sigh of relief. Of course Sanghyuk, his precious virgin friend, wouldn't notice his binder.

“Let me change,” Hongbin says, “and then I'll be out to play.”

In the safety of his room, Hongbin wills his erection away, pacing for a moment while thinking about his grandma hitting the back of his head with a slipper if she knew what a horrible slut he was.

He comes out in a new shirt and sweatpants, hair pulled up in a little fountain ponytail on the top of his head, his glasses on.

Sanghyuk has his headphones on, and the silence of the room, save for the sound of the mouse clicks, are comforting. Sanghyuk is simple. The games are simple.

“Hyung, hurry,” Sanghyuk says.

Hongbin’s phone vibrates next to his keyboard.

[Wonshik 4:45 PM]: u don't know me very well yet but u should know I don't give up on anything

Hongbin shuts the screen off and puts his headphones on. Sanghyuk grins at him, an excited puppy smile, and Hongbin smiles back.

Ah, my sweet precious virgin, Sanghyuk. Please stay pure as long as you can. Sex ruins everything.

“DIE, you dirty pirate zombie bastard !” Sanghyuk screams.

So pure, so sweet.

“Eat my alien shit and choke to death, you fiendish undead fuckers!”

Hongbin gazes endearingly at Sanghyuk and wishes he could Tabula Rasa himself back into a Sanghyuk.

[Chansik 5:00 PM]: beanie guess what I totally fucked our government policy TA and she gave me this weeks quiz answers

[Chansik 5:01 PM]: her tits were amazing

[Chansik 5:01 PM]: wanna get dinner? I love you.

Hongbin fires round after round of laser bullets into the already dead carcas of a zombie on the screen, screaming along with the loud bullet sounds.

“I WILL DEVOUR YOUR SOUL AND DIGEST IT SLOWLY IN MY STOMACH ACIDS AND THEN I WILL PEEL YOUR FLESH FROM YOUR BODY WITH A RUSTY DAGGER AND BURN YOUR REMAINS!”

Sanghyuk pauses in his attack, glancing over at Hongbin.

He howls with laughter.

“That's my hyung!”

Hongbin grins and begins his assault on the zombie pirate hoards. 

Chapter Text



“Ah, fuck,” Sanghyuk grits out through clenched teeth, rutting his hips forward.

Hands grip his hips, nails like half-moons pressed deep into the skin.

Sanghyuk rocks his body forward, his own hands wrapped around the top of the wooden bed frame, keeping his body upright.

He can feel sweat dripping down between his shoulder blades, two or three drops racing down to his tailbone, like rain on a car window as the wind shifts the droplets. His hands shift down into soft, mussed up hair, and he fists it tightly, shoving his cock back into the tight, wet heat.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” he murmurs weakly, breath coming in short, heavy pants as he tugs on the strands of hair between his fingers. “I’m, I’m…”

A hand slaps his thigh, and Sangyuk stills for a moment before crying out sharply, hips stuttering, his cock buried deep in that tight, oh so tight, wetnes. When he releases, his whole body's  throbbing as if his blood were drumming up against his skin.

He collapses to the side.

There’s a sharp intake of breath, and then, “Christ, kid, you nearly fucked my voice box into my gut.”

Sanghyuk rolls over, grabbing his box of cigarettes from the bedstand, pulling one out and tapping it against the cigarette box.

“You told me to fuck your face, so I fucked your face,” he says, slipping the cigarette between his lips and flicking open his matte black zippo. The flame bursts upward with a roll of his thumb, and he breathes in as it singes the end of the cigarette. He exhales.

Jaehwan clears his throat, testing to see if his larynx still functions. His lips are red, chapped, swollen, absolutely fucking gorgeous.

After another heavy inhale of smoke, Sanghyuk holds the cigarette out to Jaehwan. He takes it between his thin pale fingers and brings it to those pretty red lips.

“So you and Hakyeon,” Sanghyuk says.

Jaehwan coughs on the smoke as he tries to laugh. “Shit, I think there’s ash in my belly button.”

He digs his finger into the little dip in his abdomen, swirling it around.

Sanghyuk snatches the cigarette back as more ash threatens to tumble onto his bedspread.

Jaehwan inspects his fingertip and declares it clean. Sanghyuk ignores him. He blows smoke up to the ceiling, tucking one hand under his head as he lays back against the mattress. The pillows are scattered around the bed, having been kicked off haphazardly when Jaehwan came into Sanghyuk’s room at 3 am with a bottle of soju and the words I can’t sleep, so won’t you fuck my mouth ?

“Hakyeon and I,” Jaehwan cooes, snagging the cigarette and taking a long drag. He releases the smoke like he wishes he could hold it inside, like he hates to see it go. Sangyuk’s eyes follow the trail up to where it dissipates against his recessed lights, currently switched off, of course. “Are best friends.”

Sanghyuk snorts. “I mean, obviously.”

Jaehwan snuffs out the cigarette, even though there is half still ready to burn, and Sanghyuk is about to protest when Jaehwan climbs into his lap, straddling Sanghyuk’s waist with his thin, smooth thighs.

Sanghyuk stares up at him, grinning as he takes in Jaehwan’s cock flushed pink, straining against his stomach, slick with precome.

“This just from getting your face wrecked?” he asks, chuckling as he touches his thumb to the slit, slides precome around the head.

Jaehwan rolls his hips into the touch, eyelids fluttering.

“Me and Hakyeon used to experiment , yes, if that’s what you’re asking,” Jaehwan mutters, trying to get more friction when Sanghyuk loosely fists his cock.

“Like this?”

Jaehwan scoffs, throwing his head back and laughing. “No, Hakyeon and I are friends . You, Freshman Scum, are my frenemy .”

Sanghyuk likes the way Jaehwan’s face looks when he’s being flippant and disgusted. His lips pulled up in a snarl, cupid’s bow painted with sweat. His eyes are bright with disdain. Sanghyuk sighs, gripping Jaehwan tighter in his fist until Jaehwan nearly squeaks with the effort to keep from screaming.

“I didn’t think I was important enough to warrant a title,” Sanghyuk admits, chuckling as Jaehwan bucks up in his grip, trying to get more, just some kind of movement. “Good to know I’ve made an impression.”

Jaehwan scratches rough red welts down Sanghyuk’s chest. “Goddamn jerk me off or I swear to the Gods I will flay you and write an Ode to your skinless corpse.”

“That’s beautiful,” Sanghyuk sighs, feigning a sniffle. “Thank you.”

Jaehwan groans, hips attempting to circle, to try to get any kind of movement, but Sanghyuk has grabbed hold of his throat.

“Don’t,” Sanghyuk says.

Jaehwan stills, lips parted, breath shaky with arousal.

“You’re a diva,” Sanghyuk says, fingers pressing indents into the side of Jaehwan’s throat, dancing over the skin one by one. “But you let me talk trash to you, and you deign to put my Freshman Scum dick in your perfect royal mouth.” He pauses. “Why?”

Jaehwan’s eyes roll to the side, ignoring the question. Sanghyuk slides his fist up Jaehwan’s cock as slowly and tauntingly as possible. Jaehwan tries to moan, but it gets caught in the trap Sanghyuk made around his neck.

“Because you’re intimidating and rude, but all you really want is for someone to call you a pretty slut, right?” Sanghyuk asks.

Jaehwan’s eyelids flutter again at the words, and he slips his tongue out over his bottom lip.

Sanghyuk keeps his hand around Jaehwan’s throat as he pumps his fist quick and tight over Jaehwan’s cock until Jaehwan releases a shrill cry from the depths of his throat, as if he’d tried to scream from the bottom of an endless well. His face is a ghastly shade of white, lips nearly purple, chest flushed to the collarbones, and he is fucking stunning.

Sanghyuk releases Jaehwan’s throat one finger at a time, as if he were a child that had caught a bumble bee, fingers curled like a cage around it’s wings, feeling it thrumming against his palm like a heartbeat. Jaehwan collapses forward, heaving in a sharp, gasping breath before biting hard into Sanghyuk’s shoulder. He can feel it when Jaehwan’s come spills up over his hand as he works him through his orgasm.

The bite on his shoulder aches, pulsing from the epicenter, and he hisses between his teeth.

“Damnit, hyung, your teeth are like daggers. What are you, a dog?”

Jaehwan is still panting against his neck, breath thick and shuddery. “I am not a dog,” he protests, words coming seconds apart as he struggles to breathe. “I’m obviously a song bird.”

Sanghyuk laughs, shoving Jaehwan off of him.

“Song bird my ass,” he says, though he can’t forget first hearing Jaehwan sing. Can’t forget the way Jaehwan seemed a whole different person. Seemed almost like a ghost--no, like a bodiless incorporeal bundle of noise and sound and breath .

“I’ll have you know I’m--”

“Yeah, I know, I know, you’re famous in Japan,” Sanghyuk finishes, laughing heartily.

Jaehwan sits up, rolling his eyes. “You may not believe me, but it’s true.” He grabs blindly for his sweatpants in the dark. Sanghyuk claps, and the lights turn on.

“You have a fucking clapper?”

Sanghyuk shrugs. “Saves me the trouble of getting up when I’m in the middle of a game and want the lights off.”

“You’re a goddamn nerd, you know that, right?” Jaehwan says, shimmying into his pants, boxerless as he came, before grabbing his sweatshirt.

“I’m also famous in Japan,” Sanghyuk replies, smirking. “I’m in the top tier of players from As--”

“Uh huh, fascinating shit,” Jaehwan cuts in, tugging his sweatshirt down. “Anyhow, I’m gonna slip out before that angry poodle of a roommate of yours wakes up. He’s a vicious little gremlin .”

“You don’t have to worry about Hongbin,” Sanghyuk says, reaching for his box of cigarettes again. “He still thinks I’m twelve.”

“Thank God you’re not, or I’d be in deep shit. Well, actually, if you were twelve, I would never have met you, so maybe I would be better off,” he ponders aloud.

Sanghyuk chucks his empty cig box at Jaehwan as the door shuts behind him.

“Fucking pre-med diva.”

 

Jaehwan is standing in front of his mirror when Hakyeon drops into a somersault from his window onto his floor. Jaehwan doesn’t even react, holding up a deep maroon sweater on the hanger to his body and inspecting his reflection.

“Red makes you look like a vampire hooker,” Hakyeon says, crawling up onto Jaehwan’s bed.

“Everything makes you look like a vampire hooker,” Jaehwan replies. He tosses the sweater aside and grabs a light blue and white striped one instead. “Why are you here?”

Hakyeon flops back onto Jaehwan’s mattress, gazing up at his white speckled popcorn ceiling. “Jaehwan, do you think I’m capable of love?”

Jaehwan barks a laugh, the sound hollow and unamused.

“Okay...what about just...affection?”

Jaehwan spins around in front of his mirror, hands on his hips. He winces. His hips are still bruised from the way Sanghyuk had held him last night. He had a lot of strength for a bean sprout.

“Cha Hakyeon, will you just get to the point of this visit? I don’t have time to wax poetic with you about love. I have a Future Plastic Surgeons of Korea meeting in fifteen minutes, and I have to prepare my speech on why, because I have a, medically-speaking, perfect face, I should be the spokesperson for the FPS.”

Hakyeon blinks slowly. “But your nose is fake.”

Jaehwan touches his fingertips lightly to the bridge of his nose. “I mean, obviously, so I’m even more perfect for the job.”

“Are they looking for a spokesperson?”

Jaehwan’s hand drops down to his side. “No, but whatever. Every club needs a spokesperson.”

“Just like I’m the spokesperson for Choir Club,” Hakyeon agrees, nodding to himself.

“Uh, no,” Jaehwan protests.

“Hongbin?” Hakyeon guesses, perplexed.

“No.”

Hakyeon scratches the back of his neck. “Well, it sure as hell isn’t Kyungsoo, that’s for sure. Can’t have a walking nugget of fury as a spokesperson.”

Jaehwan is about to screech when Hakyeon’s phone rings.

His face pales.

“Don’t answer it,” Jaehwan says, rushing over to press the red ignore button before Hakyeon even moves to reach for the phone. “Block that number, Cha Hakyeon, I mean it.”

Hakyeon grabs his phone back and slips it into his coat pocket. “It’s my phone. I can do what I want and keep whatever numbers I want.”

“Hakyeon, please,” Jaehwan sighs, but he drops the subject. “Why are you here to talk to me about love?”

Hakyeon’s face still looks pale, which is always alarming. It was like the summer when Hakyeon stopped eating and tried to cosmetically bleach his skin. It was wrong. Like someone had taken a vacuum hose to Hakyeon’s soul and sucked up everything that made him glow.

Jaehwan touches Hakyeon’s cheek, feeling the pillowy soft skin against his palm. Hakyeon has amazingly smooth skin. Everywhere. Jaehwan was always jealous. It also made him oddly slippery when he was sweaty and lotioned up, and Jaehwan had, more than once, accidentally slipped off of him when they’d been fucking, like they were too slick dolphins passing in the night.

Hakyeon’s face tips up into Jaehwan’s touch, and he lets out a weary sigh. “I broke the cardinal rule, Jae,” Hakyeon says.

“You forgot to bleach your butthole?”

“No the other cardinal rule,” Hakyeon says.

“You...didn’t call your mom today?”

Hakyeon grimaced, looking for a moment like he’d been shot point-blank between the eyes. “Okay, two cardinal rules.”

Jaehwan stares at him, eyes void of understanding, until Hakyeon groans and waves his arms around.

“I slept with a good boy.

Jaehwan blinks. “You've slept with good boys before.”

“Nuh uh,” Hakyeon retorts, petulantly shaking his head. “Name one.”

Jaehwan taps his bottom lip. “That bleach blond from high school English club?”

Hakyeon clicks his tongue, still shaking his head like an old, disgruntled woman at the market tsking the fish selection. “Lied about being American so I would lick his balls. I’m not sure why him being American warranted scrotum-licks, but, you know.”

Jaehwan snorts, snapping as he tries to remember the numerous faces of men from Hakyeon’s past. “Okay...the guy who wrote you that poem in the school paper?”

“Stole it from the internet, so I would--”

“I don't need to know what appendage you did or did not lick for him, Hakyeon, I get it,” Jaehwan cuts in, holding his palm up in a stop motion.  “So who is this good guy?”

Hakyeon fingers the hem of his fuzzy pink sweater, the color sweet and pretty against his tan skin. “I can't tell you.”

Jaehwan laughs heartily, mouth wide with amusement. “That's a good one, Cha Hakyeon. Who is it?”

Hakyeon bites his bottom lip, but not in the sexy I’ll fuck your heart out and then pack it for a light lunch way he usually does. In the I need to physically seal my mouth to keep myself from telling you this secret, Lee Jaehwan way.

“Hakyeon, what is this?” Jaehwan whines, gesturing to the physical space between their bodies. “I know every inch of your being, inside and out, and you insult me this way? The man who was there when you learned what menstruation was and couldn’t look your sister in the eyes for weeks . The man who explained to you, in vivid detail, I might add, why it sometimes feels like you need to pee when someone touches your prostate. The man who--”

“I can’t tell you!” Hakyeon shrieks, vein popping in the side of his neck as the echo of his words hangs thickly in the air like unfallen condensation.

“Well,” Jaehwan stammers, thrown off, taken aback, hurt , “I guess I’ll just tell everyone about how you sent a salacious photo to Professor Mun.”

Hakyeon’s eyes narrow as he grips the bottom of his sweater, stretching the thick salmon wool. “You wouldn’t.”

“Tell me who your good boy fuck was, Cha Hakyeon, or I’ll do it,” Jaehwan threatens, waving his fist at the heavens and then at Hakyeon: a promise.

“Th-the picture never got to him, so you have no proof!” Hakyeon protests.

“I will find the sent email in your email history,” Jaehwan huffs proudly.

Hakyeon’s lovely brown skin turns a sour yellowish brown at his words.

“I can’t tell you,” he murmurs again, feebly sniffling and pouting at the floorboards.

Jaehwan almost acquiesces, and he would have let it go, honestly, if he didn’t now Hakyeon better than anyone else in the world.

“I know that face, princess,” Jaehwan scoffs, “since it’s the one you would pull on your dad every time he caught us red handed after throwing a party. He would be clutching the discarded plastic bottles of soju, and you would craft this exact same face on cue, Cha Hakyeon, and I am no fool. He would let you off the hook because his sperm led to your creation, but my sperm has nothing to do with you (anymore), Cha Hakyeon, so you better t--”

“It was Jung Taekwoon!” Hakyeon screeches, rising up in a huff, his body practically vibrating.

Jaehwan is blown back against his mirror by this revelation. He stumbles against the glass, feeling it cool and solid against his palms. He gasps, hand clutching at the fabric over his heart, checking to see if there is blood seeping out into the fibers, as his heart is surely broken.

“My nemesis ,” Jaehwan utters, pupils dilating.

“It isn’t like that, Jae!” Hakyeon cries, voice wavering, moving towards Jaehwan where he’s collapsed against his full-length mirror. “I told you it was an accident! I broke a rule, and it didn’t mean anything!”

Jaehwan is reeling. His head is swimming with images of Jung Taekwoon buried balls-deep in his best friend, who he once was also balls-deep within. They are eskimo brothers. Is nothing sacred, he wonders.

And then says aloud, “Is nothing sacred?! Get out, nemesis-fucker,” Jaehwan spits, turning away from his best-friend-turned-villain.

“I’m sorry I slept with your enemy, Jae, but it was an accident. We were drunk and--”

“Jung Taekwoon is not my enemy ,” Jaehwan laughs, throwing his head back, eyes crazed. “He is my nemesis . They are wildly different things, Hakyeon.”

Hakyeon backtracks. “Uh, okay, I’m sorry I fucked your nemesis, Jae, but, again, we were really drunk and obviously it won’t happen again.”

Jaehwan sniffs, gazing into his own eyes in the mirror, still turned away from Hakyeon. Letting Hakyeon face his back, feel the shame wafting off his body. Jaehwan can see the betrayal fizzling in his own dark irises like PopRocks.

“Leave me,” Jaehwan hisses when he notices, beyond his reflection, the dark impending shadow of Hakyeon moving toward him.

“Jae, this is stupid. So I drunkenly fucked your arch enemy, so what?”

“I said he was my nemesis, Gods , Hakyeon!” Jaehwan shrieks, spinning around and shoving Hakyeon towards the door. “Out, out with you and your traitorous butthole!”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so--”

Jaehwan slams the door shut.

 

It’s just past 1 am when Sanghyuk’s phone buzzes on his dresser.

[Booty 1:04 am]: let me in

[Booty 1:04 am]: now

Sanghyuk groans, clapping his desk lamp on before heading to the door. He wrenches it open, rubbing the sleep away from his eyes.

“You were actually asleep?” Jaehwan asks, pushing into the apartment and heading for Sanghyuk’s room. “You’re always still up playing some dumb game.”

“I have an exam,” Sanghyuk replies, trailing after him, still rubbing blearily at his eyes. “I told you I wasn’t availa--”

The moment the door shuts behind Sanghyuk, Jaehwan has him boxed in against the wood. Sanghyuk has only his boxers on, since he finds both shirts and pants incredibly annoying to sleep in, so when Jaehwan’s body, still chilled from the brisk walk to his apartment, touches his bare chest, Sanghyuk groans.

Jaehwan’s lips are on his neck, his hands clawing at Sanghyuk’s sides desperately. Jaehwan licks into the groove of Sanghyuk’s collarbone, and Sanghyuk tips his head back against the door with a loud thunk .

“I have an exa--”

Jaehwan slides down Sanghyuk’s body, dragging his nails down as he moves. He has Sanghyuk’s boxers at his ankles before Sanghyuk can finish his sentence, and then Sanghyuk’s cock, still soft, is deep  in Jaehwan’s mouth.

“Fucking, okay,” Sanghyuk moans, feeling himself harden on Jaehwan’s tongue as it swirls around his skin. “Who needs sleep anyway, right?”

Jaehwan pulls his mouth away and replaces it with his hand, applying gentle pressure on the upstroke, swirling his thumb around the ridge of the head, tongue flicking at the slit until Sanghyuk is fully hard.

“I’m having a bad day,” Jaehwan says, “so you’re gonna fuck me until I feel better. My best friend is fucking my nemesis, and he doesn’t understand why I’m upset.”

Sanghyuk’s brows pull together. Is this genuine emotion he sees in Jaehwan’s face?

Jaehwan kisses at Sanghyuk’s inner thigh, and his lips feel so soft and well-moisturized, and Sanghyuk hates that he can now recognize when Jaehwan has been applying chapstick routinely.

“You have a nemesis? Is this about Hakyeon? Of course it is, you don’t have any other friends,” Sanghyuk breathes out, tracing the line of Jaehwan’s defined jawline, sharp and smooth.

“Of course I have a nemesis,” Jaehwan says, mouthing up Sanghyuk’s shaft. “All powerful and important people have a nemesis.”

“Is it someone I know? I have multiple nemeses on my gaming forum,” Sanghyuk replies, watching every minute movement of Jaehwan’s beautiful lips.

“I don’t like to tell my friend’s kisses, if you know what I mean, but I’ll just throw it out there that my nemesis is a pale silent spectre of cleverly disguised evil,” Jaehwan says, nipping at the skin of Sanghyuk’s thigh. “And I’m very upset.”

There’s something honest lurking in these words that makes Sanghyuk worry that Jaehwan is actually upset, despite his odd phrasing and facetious tone. Sanghyuk has no idea why the concept of Jaehwan being upset is giving him such a visceral bodily reaction, but it is.

Jaehwan is about to take Sanghyuk back into his sweet fucking mouth when Sanghyuk grabs him by the hair and hauls him to his feet. Seeing Jaehwan’s eyes so dark and genuine causes something to snap deep in Sanghyuk’s gut. Like a bone had broken off somewhere within him and fallen down into the depths of his stomach acids. It was visceral and uncomfortable and annoying .

“You said you were here for me to fuck you, so let’s not waste time,” he says, throwing Jaehwan belly down onto his mattress. The springs are cheap and bizarrely tight, so Jaehwan bounces a few times before settling still. Sanghyuk tries to keep his lips tightly shut to keep from laughing. This is more like it.

Jaehwan kicks his sweats off, boxerless again, and obediently lifts his hips up with his hands fisted in the messy blue sheets. His shirt is hanging limply in a little pool at his armpits, just under his chin.

Sanghyuk stands by the end of the bed and just lets himself enjoy the view for a moment before Jaehwan huffs out, “If you want any chance of restful sleep, you better get your dick in me stat.”

Sanghyuk sighs, the image ruined, and he grabs the bottle of lube from his drawer. He’s unwrapping a condom when he realizes.

He’s never actually fucked Jaehwan before.

Sure, they’ve done everything else you can possibly do. And even some things that people probably wouldn’t even consider. But they’ve never actually had sex.

Jaehwan kicks his leg out, blindly searching for where Sanghyuk stands beside the bed. His toes graze Sanghyuk’s stomach. “Let’s go, Scum.”

Sanghyuk rolls the condom down over his cock and apprehensively climbs up onto the bed behind Jaehwan’s body.

“Maybe we should just talk about what it is that’s really bothering you,” Sanghyuk says, uncapping the lube and letting it drip over Jaehwan’s tailbone down to his hole.

“I’d rather talk about why on earth you’re wasting time talking when you could be impaling me.”

Sanghyuk slaps Jaehwan on the smooth pale skin of his ass. Jaehwan moans and jerks up into the touch.

“Please don’t use the word ‘impaling’ as a sexual term. I don’t like imagining my dick as a violent weapon,” Sanghyuk mutters, slipping two fingers into Jaehwan’s body, feeling the muscles resisting, pressing back against him.

Jaehwan releases a shaky exhale, his body relaxing gradually as Sanghyuk works his fingers in small scissoring motions. Jaehwan’s spine is bowed up against the skin of his back, sharp and prominent, and he looks so small with his face buried in the sheets. Sanghyuk reaches out with his free hand and touches the veins reaching up like deep fissures in Jaehwan’s body, creating rifts between his muscle and bone. Jaehwan makes a soft whining sound and arches up into the touch.

Sanghyuk isn’t sure what makes him do it, but he grabs Jaehwan by the thighs and flips him over. Jaehwan’s legs come easily to wrap around Sanghyuk’s waist as he aligns their bodies just right and sinks in more gently than he would have treated Jaehwan’s body normally.

Jaehwan is staring up at him, wide-eyed, open, lips parted in a broken gasp. Neither of them says anything. Sanghyuk rolls his hips, slow, testing, with no discernable rhythm or measurement. Jaehwan continues staring up at him, chest rising and falling with hard, long breaths.

Sanghyuk wants to look away. Jaehwan’s shirt is still hiked up under his chin, baring his hard cock between their bodies. His ribs are sharp white hills under Sanghyuk’s hand as he leans forward to adjust his positioning. Jaehwan’s lips stay parted as he whimpers, as if the touch alone were too much for him in its intimacy.

Sanghyuk feels the same. But it's too late. There’s sweat beading on his skin, trapped in the fuzzy short-cropped spikes of hair at the back of his neck.

Sanghyuk can’t keep going. He can’t. His hips keep moving of their own accord, seeking out more friction, more of the way Jaehwan seems to fit so perfectly around him.

Jaehwan has this look in his eyes of wonder and need and desperation, and it’s for him, and Sanghyuk needs to get out.

Gathering all the strength of will he has in his growing adolescent body, Sanghyuk pulls himself out of the blinding beautiful heat of Jaehwan’s body and steps off the bed.

Awoken from his trance, Jaehwan sits up wearily, brows pulling together. “What the fuck?”

“I...gotta pee,” Sanghyuk says, bolting out the door and into the tiny pastel orange bathroom he and Hongbin share. Safe within the confines of his tangerine hidey-hole, Sanghyuk splashes water over his face, and it lands on his still-hard, still be-condomed dick. He shivers.

Oh, he is so fucked. So stupid.

He thought there were rules to these things. To keep things casual, there’s no mouth kissing and there’s no sex . Maybe Jaehwan assumed that they could fuck from behind and wouldn’t have to make any eye contact whatsoever. Was Jaehwan aware that when he was fucked he looked like an Angel of Heaven, awaiting anointment from some Holy power? Was he aware that his eyes fucking glowed in a way that was too affectionate, too... loving to be considered anything close to casual?

He couldn’t be.

Sanghyuk is about to splash more water on his face when Hongbin rips the door open.

“Ah, shit, Bean, I’m in here!”

Hongbin blinks slowly, eyelids lead-heavy, cheeks still carved with pillow-marks. “Why’reyounaked?”

Sanghyuk cups his hands around his dick quickly. “I was hot.”

Hongbin can barely open his eyes, so he just shoves Sanghyuk out into the hall. “I think I saw’a ghost comin’ outta your room. Be careful,” Hongbin slurs.

Sanghyuk’s breath catches in his ribs. Shit. He rushes back to his room, and Jaehwan is gone. He reaches for his phone, urgent and almost crazed with the need to explain, to get Jaehwan back into his bed.

[Scum 1:46 am]: i’m sorry hyung come back i just really had to piss

[Booty 1:47 am]: i have better things to do than wait for you to pass urine

[Booty 1:48 am]: also our arrangement is over

[Booty 1:48 am]: if you don’t see that i am a godddamn p-r-i-z-e then you can *finger pointing emoji* *fingers making okay sign emoji* *lightswitch emoji*

Sanghyuk tilts his head, confused, before his phone beeps again.

[Booty 1:49 am]: that means you can fuck off

Sanghyuk drops down onto the edge of his bed, the dark screen of his phone beside him on the sheets.

“Shit.”

 

Jaehwan wakes up to the sound of knocking.

“Mmrf?”

“Jae, it’s me.”

Hakyeon.

“Go away, traitorous harlot!” Jaehwan cries, throwing a decorative pillow at the door. It lands with a soft plop a few feet away from its target. Perhaps this is why they are called Throw Pillows. And also why Jaehwan was never a member of a single sports team.

“Jae, please let me in,” Hakyeon begs, and Jaehwan can feel the nervous energy emanating from his body in the hall. The anxious aura seeps under his door frame, and Jaehwan tries to wave it away.

“Why should I?” he spits.

“I ... have coffee,” Hakyeon trills, and Jaehwan can hear him shaking a carrying tray of iced lattes. Sweet and creamy like they both enjoy it. Not like that bitter vegetable sludge everyone else convinces themselves they enjoy. “And cheese croquettes?”

Jaehwan’s stomach disobediently rumbles. He sighs and shoves the covers off his legs. “Fine,” he says, rising to open the door.

Hakyeon rushes forward, but since his hands are filled with breakfast items, he settles for pressing his forehead into Jaehwan’s sternum instead of going for a hug. His hair tickles under Jaehwan’s chin, but he doesn’t push him away. Hakyeon’s body is always a bizarrely soothing presence.

“I’m sorry, Jae, really, I’m sorry,” he mewls weakly. “I am undeserving of you or your friendship.”

“Okay, don’t lie to me. I know you don’t believe that,” Jaehwan replies, snorting and grabbing one of the lattes.

Hakyeon lifts his head, grinning brightly. “Okay, yeah, that felt really icky to say. I mean, I am sorry. But, no, I do deserve your friendship, as I deserve everything.”

Jaehwan rolls his eyes and drops down onto his bed, snagging one of the croquettes from the bag in Hakyeon’s hand. Hakyeon drops down beside him. They sip from their coffees in silence for a moment.

“I promise I will forget all about the nemesis-fucking if you just answer me one simple question,” Jaehwan says, biting into the steaming surface of the croquette, tasting the melted fake cheese and breadcrumbs and hot oil.

Hakyeon heaves a weary sigh, touching his warm fingertips to Jaehwan’s chin. “I didn’t get a good look, Jae, so I can’t tell you whether or not your dick is bigger.”

Jaehwan pouts, bottom lip plump and pushed up over his top lip like a bitter child. “Okay, so maybe not the size, but who was better ?”

Hakyeon’s gentle touch on Jaehwan’s chin turns to a steel claw-like grip, and he pushes Jaewhan’s lips together until they part, so he can shove more croquet into Jaehwan’s mouth. Jaehwan splutters, arms waving wildly in the air as he frantically chews.

“If you have to ask, it means you’ve already mentally acknowledged that he is probably better,” Hakyeon replies, smirking as he wraps his lips around the straw of his latte and sips elegantly.

Jaehwan gurgles dejectedly around the crumbs in his mouth.

Damn that Cha Hakyeon.





Chapter Text

 

Hakyeon was a “late bloomer.”

That’s what his mom called it. A late bloomer, Hakyeon-ah, don’t worry .

He was short, with gangly twig limbs, dark skin, dark, frizzy hair like a bowl around his head, dark eyes. He was a very dark, stumpy tree.

All of his friends came back to school in their 8th year with lurid tales of first kisses, first touches below the belt, first nipple sightings. Hakyeon barely even looked at his own nipples. It was too freaky. Just a splotch of dark brown raised skin. He hated them.

Hakyeon’s family didn’t go on trips. His mother was paranoid about traveling, having spent the last two decades being married, trapped at home, watching nothing but the news and horrible television dramas where everyone is always getting shot or hit by cars or kissing with awkwardly closed mouths.

When Hakyeon’s school organised its first ever class excursion to Gyeongbokgung Palace, Hakyeon’s mother immediately refused to sign his permission slip. After three consecutive nights of begging, she acquiesced under the guise that Hakyeon would take his sister’s cell phone and call his mom every hour on the hour.

Gyeonbokgung Palace was beautiful in the spring, laden with flower gardens and throngs of tourists with heavy Nikons slung around their necks, snapping shots of paid models in hanbok. Hakyeon’s class had also been forced to wear hanbok, and Hakyeon was especially miffed because his was a soft rosy pink, and he looked way better in darker colors, since they made him look minutely less tan.

Hakyeon didn’t have many friends. He’ll be the first to admit that he was an unlikeable kid, trailing after his fellow students like a hovering awkward shadow. After an hour of guided tours around the palace, Hakyeon’s class was free to explore the gardens and Jongmyo shrine on their own.

Hakyeon immediately found a bench, hiking up the silky hem of his rosy hanbok as he sat.

His phone chimed shrilly in his hand. “Mom, I’m fine. I’m hanging up now.”

“Hakyeon--”

“Mom, what? I’m here. I’m in a stupid pink hanbok. I look like a burnt raisin stuffed inside some fish market granny’s old rags. I’m hungry, and I’m stuck out here in the sun, getting probably even more brown and ugly.”

Hakyeon’s mother sighed, the weary sound of a saddened mother. “Shouldn’t you try to have fun, my perfect precious son?”

Hakyeon gurgled indignantly and turned off the phone.

When he was finished tucking the phone into the pocket of his hanbok, he nearly fell off the bench because suddenly there was a kid sitting beside him.

The boy was sullenly licking a popsicle, one of those twisty green melon kinds. It looked so good.

“You’re like a ghost,” Hakyeon blurted. “Just appearing here without making any noise.” He glanced at the boy’s soft white hand wrapped around the popsicle stick. “All pale and ghoulish.”

“It’s going to rain,” the boy said, casting his gaze up to the clouds gathering above the roof of the palace.

“How come you didn’t have to wear hanbok like an idiot?” Hakyeon moaned, watching the way the boy’s tiny pink mouth wrapped around the parts of the popsicle that started to drip down the sides, bright pastel green.

“You’re loud,” the boy said.

“What are you talking about? I never talk. I’m silent as the grave,” Hakyeon protested. “You know there are loads of other benches free to sit on, right?”

In an instant, the clouds rolled in front of the sun and the sky bellowed thunder like a loud grumbly burp.

“I told you,” the boy said as the first few droplets of rain fell.

And then suddenly, with another crackle of thunder, it was pouring. Heavy, thick sheets of rain were tossed down relentlessly as Hakyeon shrieked and quickly held his hands over his head to try to stop the onslaught of water bullets.

“Ah, fuck ,” Hakyeon hissed, and he never swore. Never. He could almost feel the disappointment rolling in from where his mother sat watching soaps in front of their tiny television set.

The boy looked over at him then, probably seeing Hakyeon’s frizzy mullet of black hair tacked down to his cheeks, probably thanking the Lord that he didn’t have such unholy brown skin that must’ve looked even darker without the sun casting its brightness down over him.

Hakyeon’s hanbok began to stiffly stick to his skin, pasted down against his bony chest and the tops of his thicker stumpy thighs.

“What?” Hakyeon grumbled when the boy didn’t look away.

“Pretty,” the boy said, gaze steady as he abandoned his popsicle onto the ground, and it pooled into the rain like toxic green goo.

Hakyeon drew in a slow breath, and it tasted like spring rain. The boy had a delicate looking face, round and pillowy around his cheeks, around his little mouth. His eyes were intense, feline almost. Hakyeon didn’t shrink under his gaze, though, as he would have normally.

“Are you here alone?” Hakyeon asked, scooting closer--well, struggling to, as his sopping wet hanbok weighted him down.

The boy blinked and shook his head.

“But you are now,” Hakyeon followed up.

The boy tilted his head, and Hakyeon saw the inner rim of his lips was tinged green.

“You think I’m pretty,” Hakyeon repeated, his fingertips pruning where he held the wet skirt of his hanbok in his lap. The water kept getting in his mouth as he talked, but he couldn’t feel it as much anymore.

The boy didn’t seem to notice the rain much either. His hair was shorter, cut closer to his cheeks, and it was nearly as black as Hakyeon’s in its wetness. There were droplets of rain on his long eyelashes. On his small, white nose.

The boy lifted one corner of his tiny pink mouth, and it was almost like a smile, almost like a grimace. A few little white teeth showed.

“Do you want to kiss me?”

The words came from Hakyeon’s lips before he really had a moment to process them from where they’d formed inside his skull cavity like the dark clouds, condensation sticking against the gray matter of his brain.

The boy blinked again, and Hakyeon reached out swiftly to grab the wet material of the boy’s soft gray t-shirt, tugging him forward until their lips touched.

It was messy. Wet. Cold. Tasted like artificial fruit. Hakyeon felt himself shivering now, his hands shaking where they held the boy against him. He felt the boy’s hands grab hold of the silken material of his hanbok skirt, and then the boy’s lips parted in a sigh.

Hakyeon had never kissed before. And now he knew why people were always talking about it. His heart felt like someone had kicked it sharply with soccer cleats on, and it was bouncing around against his ribs, his organs. But in a great way.

“Fuck,” Hakyeon swore again, and this time he didn’t picture his mother in front of the television, salting giant tubs of cabbage for kimchi. This time he felt liberated.

“Hakyeon! Cha Hakyeon!”

Hakyeon drew back with a jolt, grabbing the hem of his hanbok and rising to his feet. “Here!” he called out, spotting his class leader under a wide black umbrella as he gathered up his classmates to leave.

Hakyeon turned around for a moment, and the boy was staring at him, blinking in even measured motions. His slanted feline eyes were clouded over, darkened.

“Thank you for thinking I’m pretty.”

 

Taekwoon is sitting cross-legged on Wonshik’s floor, fiddling with the blue outer plastic of the flash drive.

“I should melt it or something. Burn it.”

“I don’t think that’s safe,” Wonshik replies, tapping a few keys on his keyboard before groaning gloomily and slamming his hands down on the white and black plastic ivories. “I can’t do this shit, Taekwoon. I compose hip hop, not oldies pop hit remixes.”

Taekwoon knows that Wonshik isn’t just upset about his inability to formulate a choir remix.

“Wonshik,” Taekwoon says softly.

Wonshik has now laid his face down on the keyboard, and the resonating cacophonous whine of the keys has Taekwoon wincing.

“Wonshik,” Taekwoon says louder, the sound burbling in his mouth weakly.

Wonshik begins rocking his forehead back and forth over the keys, and they shriek in a miserable groan of anguish.

“Wonshik,” Taekwoon says, actually raising his voice above the shrill cry of the keyboard.

Wonshik lifts his head, and there are lines from the plastic on his skin.

“What the fuck happened to you?” Taekwoon asks.

“What the fuck happened to you ?” Wonshik retorts.

Taekwoon and Wonshik stare at one another for a few beats of silence.

“This is about Hongbin.”

“This is about Cha Hakyeon.”

Their words meld together in the air between them, almost indistinguishable.

Taekwoon’s lips twitch.

Wonshik presses his mouth into a tight line.

“None of this would be happening if you had just told me Hongbin had a boyfriend,” Wonshik grouses with a huff.

“Hongbin doesn’t have a boyfriend,” Taekwoon says.

“Uh huh, yes he does,” Wonshik grits out, “and I met him. It was so embarrassing, Taek, I walked up to Hongbin all confident--well, okay, not confident, but I walked up to him--and he was standing there canoodling with some boy named Chansik. His boyfriend .”

Taekwoon thinks that over for a moment. “As far as I knew, Chansik and Hongbin had broken up.”

“Well, Hongbin said it. With his own perfect, stupid mouth, the same mouth that--” Wonshik’s lips snap shut.

“The same mouth,” Taekwoon repeats, deadpan. “That?”

Wonshik rolls his desk chair over to Taekwoon and grabs him by the collar of his button-down, shaking Taekwoon back and forth. “I’m a fucking fool , Jung Taekwoon.”

Taekwoon feels the material of his shirt digging into the back of his neck with each pull. He grabs Wonshik’s wrists and pulls them away from his shirt collar.

“We all knew that,” Taekwoon says.

“Hongbin is dating Chansik, who is still, apparently, fucking other people, and also Hongbin is too, I guess, because he fucking went down on me outside the L.A. building, all shameless and forget about me, Wonshik , and what the fuck is a guy supposed to do when he cannot possibly forget how amazing Hongbin’s damn beautiful mouth felt on his fucking dick , Jung Taekwoon?!”

Wonshik sounds near hysterical.

Taekwoon does not know how to offer sympathy or empathy or anything at all, so he pats Wonshik’s cheek lightly with his fingertips, like a golf clap to Wonshik’s face.

Wonshik does, however, appear to take comfort in the gesture.

“I really like him, Taek.”

“I know.”

Wonshik pulls his shirt over the top of his head, retreating into the dark fabric like a turtle. His words are muffled as he says, “I’m going to win him over.”

“You don’t seem very confident,” Taekwoon says, observing the way the material of Wonshik’s shirt appears to breathe as Wonshik speaks. It’s alarming.

“Because I’m not. Chansik is a goddamn giant, and I’m no shorty, Taekwoon, you know that, but this kid is huge. And he’s got that movie star handsome face, and Hongbin laughs at his jokes, and, ah, shit, this is gonna suck,” Wonshik moans.

Taekwoon begins patting Wonshik’s kneecap.

Wonshik tugs his face free from his shirt, and his hair is all ruffled up.

“Are you going to talk about Hakyeon now?”

Taekwoon wishes he could turtle inside his own shirt now, but the flannel isn’t stretchy. “No,” he says, “I’m not.”

“I know something happened. You were acting all weird after the party--I mean, weirder than normal Taekwoon level of weird--and then Hakyeon came up to me at choir and asked if you were okay because he saw you at the party, and he--”

“He asked about me?” Taekwoon burbles.

Wonshik grins smugly, his narrow mouth twisted up gleefully. “See? It is about him. I knew it! Did he walk in on you and whoever had taken your pants off at the party?”

Taekwoon wants to laugh, but his throat feels like beavers have built thick muddy dams inside it with twigs and dirt and spit. “No.”

Wonshik taps his chin. “Then, what? He walked in afterwards? Insulted you for how pathetic you looked post-coital?”

Taekwoon chokes on an aborted laugh that had attempted to batter against the hearty dam in his larynx. “No.”

Wonshik wrinkles his nose up in thought. “He pulled your pants down and told you your dick is weirdly pale and curved weird?”

“My dick is not curved weird ,” Taekwoon protests, “and yes , he did pull my pants down, but it was because we had sex, okay? I fucked Cha Hakyeon at the comp loft party, and I feel like my insides are eroding, and rapidly I am going to melt inward, organs turning to molten bloody lava, and I’ll cease to exist, and Cha Hakyeon will go on with his life.”

Wonshik actually gasps. It’s an exaggerated, almost hilarious sound that Taekwoon would have thought was funny if he weren’t horrifically appalled at himself.

“Holy shit, Taek,” Wonshik finally replies, after what seems like the World’s Longest Gasp. “You fucked the most notorious butthole on campus?”

“Hakyeon isn’t just a butthole,” Taekwoon says, dropping his face into his palms with a whine.

“Of course he’s not,” Wonshik agrees. “But I mean, you know what I mean. He’s like a celebrity. But for sex. A sexlebrity.”

Taekwoon whines again, more pathetically. “I haven’t told him about the pictures or the fact that I remember him or anything at all.”

“Whoa, whoa, wait,” Wonshik replies, waving his hands in front of his face, gesturing for Taekwoon to stop. “Hold up. He didn’t remember you? You look exactly the same. And he stole your first kiss .”

“He didn’t steal it, Wonshik,” Taekwoon mutters. “I’m not a k-drama heroine. We were just kids. He’d probably kissed loads of guys before me anyhow.”

Wonshik puffs a short, unconvinced laugh. “Yeah, his reputation isn’t great, Taek.”

Taekwoon fists his hands tightly, knuckles turning yellowish white from the strain. “So what if he likes sex? Why does anyone care?”

“Uh, because he loves ‘em and leaves ‘em, and because it isn’t like he’s just fucked a handful of guys, you know; he’s slept with a lot of --”

“He’s got his reasons, okay?” Taekwoon cuts in, rising up and stomping around Wonshik’s dorm room in his white tube socks. “And he’s great at it. Everyone is just pissed that they aren’t special even after he picked them. Everyone is just dumb and bitter and...and…”

“Taekwoon, you’ve talked more in the last hour than you have during our whole friendship; please calm yourself. I’m afraid your lips will fall off from suddenly flapping around so much, after having rusted shut over the years from disuse,” Wonshik says.

“It just makes me mad. He’s not some villain. He’s just not ashamed of who he is.”

Wonshik reaches out his hand, trying to catch Taekwoon as he paces in front of him. He manages to snag the back of Taekwoon’s shirt.

“Oh, Taek, please don’t tell me you’ve fallen for him again. He’s not that girly tourist in lady’s hanbok you kissed in the rain anymore,” Wonshik pleads, eyes wide and nervous.

Taekwoon drops his head, chin cradled against his bony sternum. Wonshik tugs insistently on the material fisted in his hand, seeking an answer.

“I don’t think I ever stopped falling.”

 

Hakyeon and Kyungsoo are sitting in the choir room alone after geology class. Kyungsoo is scribbling notes onto a sheet of messy lyrics.

“Sing this,” he orders, shoving the paper in Hakyeon’s face.

Hakyeon pulls the sheet back down to the table, wiping his face to check for stray ink that may have smeared onto his skin. His fingers come back clean.

“Why? You sing it. You’re the one who wrote it, and your voice is ten-thousand times better than mine,” Hakyeon gripes, sliding the sheet back to Kyungsoo.

“It’s a softer sounding verse. It’s good for you,” Kyungsoo replies, expression blank, his owlish giant eyes boring gaping holes in Hakyeon’s face. “Your voice is airier. Breathy. Calming.”

“How can you offer me a compliment and yet look so murderous at the same time,” Hakyeon says, shaking his head in disbelief. “Fine, I’ll sing it, but please stop looking at me.”

Kyungsoo’s fingers trail lightly over the keys, and Hakyeon attempts to mentally locate what key he’s supposed to be singing in.

For all his confidence, Hakyeon never feels completely confident singing in front of people. The time he performed for the whole choir room, after Taekwoon challenged his singing ability, that was the first time he’d sang for people in a long time. He admits he liked the way Taekwoon looked at him afterwards. Pleased, surprised, enchanted.

But Kyungsoo offers no such glances, simply pulling notes into the air from the keys and waiting for Hakyeon to open his mouth.

Hakyeon clears his throat and sings.

 

Taekwoon stands in the doorway. He’d been seconds from yanking it open to confront Kyungsoo about stealing his TA key to sneak into the choir room when it was Taekwoon’s time to practice on the shared wooden piano. He was econds from bursting in there and wringing Kyungsoo’s little stumpy neck when he heard singing.

Hakyeon’s voice is shaking. He sounds gentle and vulnerable in a way Taekwoon thinks is vaguely familiar. Like the way Hakyeon had warily asked Taekwoon to repeat his compliment ( “pretty” ), his request quivering at the edges as if his words weren’t sure they were allowed to be heard at all.

Taekwoon knows he should leave. This isn’t his performance to hear. But the weakness, the helplessness of Hakyeon’s tone has him feeling like the rubber soles of his shoes have melted into the linoleum.

Kyungsoo stops playing.

“Stop creeping around like a lurk, Taekwoon,” Kyungsoo says.

Kyungsoo isn’t even looking at the doorway. Taekwoon glances around, a rabbit in the headlights, ready to be roadkill as Hakyeon’s gaze shoots in his direction.

Hakyeon’s cheeks are flushed, the pink dancing high on his cheekbones, and he rises up from the piano bench so quickly that he nearly topples it. Kyungsoo grabs hold of the front of the piano to keep himself from collapsing backwards as the wooden bench wobbles.

“I,” Taekwoon says, voice hoarse as if he’d been shouting or as if he’d swallowed a pile of gravel without chewing, “need to talk to you.”

Kyungsoo waves him away with a small stubby hand. “I’m busy.”

“No,” Taekwoon replies, “not you.” He points a shaky finger at Hakyeon. “Him.”

Hakyeon turns his head away, crossing his arms over his chest. “I’m busy too.”

Taekwoon finally breaches the doorway and comes to the middle of the room. “I need to talk to you,” he repeats patiently.

Kyungsoo gathers up his papers and files them away in a pale blue folder, tucking it under his arm on his way out. “As someone who is actually busy, I’ll see myself out,” he mutters under his breath as the door shuts behind him.

The room is eerily silent, as rooms that are soundproof and made for purer acoustics generally are. All of the sound of the outside world is now locked out, and all the quiet of inside the room echoes loudly in Taekwoon’s ears.

Hakyeon keeps his chin up as he strides down the two short steps that lead up to the piano, and he heads for the door.

Taekwoon steps in his path. He holds out his hand, palm up, with the little blue plastic flash drive sitting in the center.

“What’s this? Class notes? What, since we fucked you think you owe me something? I know that I’m good, but you don’t have to compromise your position for me,” Hakyeon says haughtily.

Taewoon jostles the flash drive in his hand like it were a treat he were offering a dog. Hakyeon snatches it and inspects the device from all angles.

“The email,” Taekwoon says, wishing he could pull his bottom lip over his head and devour himself whole. “It was me who got it.”

“Email?” Hakyeon repeats, brows knitted as he holds the flash drive up to the light.

“Professor Mun,” Taekwoon replies, staring down at his feet against the hardwood floor.

Hakyeon’s face blanches. He wraps his arms protectively over his chest. “You had it, all...all this time?”

“I didn’t mean--that is, I did mean, but I didn’t show them to anyone; well, Wonshik saw them, but he doesn’t count; I mean, of course he counts, but he doesn’t look at you like that; I mean, you’re obviously gorgeous, and wow those sheer black things you wore on your legs?; that is, I was going to tell you, but I didn’t know how, and then at the party, everything looked so good in person too and…”

Hakyeon’s face is rosy pale pink, and he’s staring wide-eyed at Taekwoon as if he’d shoved a lance through his abdomen.

“I’m sorry, Hakyeon. I wasn’t trying to be a pervert or anything. I thought you wanted someone to see the pictures and admire them, and I didn’t want it to be Professor Mun because he looks like he could tear you in half with just a damn finger,” Taekwoon says, words rushed and urgent and miserable. “You’re beautiful,  Hakyeon, and I want to be your friend, and I wanted to tell you that I--”

“My friend?”

Taekwoon’s swirling cyclone of words finally calms, eases back inside.

“I’m beautiful ... and you want to be my friend?”

Taekwoon nods, just a tip of his chin.

Hakyeon shoves the flash drive deep into his coat pocket. “Fine,” he says, smirking as he strides to the door. “Now we’re friends.”

 

He’s having that dream again. That one where he’s sixteen and kids at school have slathered over his whole body with thick white acrylic brushstrokes of paint. The one where he’s standing outside the school waiting for his mom while the kids shout from the windows Hakyeon-ah, Hakyeon-ah, lookin’ like burnt rice, Hakyeon-ah ~

It rains in the dream, too. Swollen, almost solid droplets of rain that smear the paint in swirls and lines all down his flesh like a fingerprint.

A car pulls up at the curb, but it isn’t his mother. It’s his first boyfriend, tall and handsome with clear skin like white petals, and he rolls the window down. Look at yourself, Hakyeon.

When Hakyeon does look down, he’s fourteen and the hem of his pale pink hanbok skirt is brown with mud.

Hands come to cup around his cheeks. Soft, delicate fingers brushing the paint away from his cheeks.

It’s the boy from that day. His first kiss.

Pretty, he says, kissing Hakyeon’s cheeks, his lips coming away rimmed in white. Pretty. He kisses Hakyeon’s eyelids, his chin, his cheeks. His lips, white and cracked with paint now, hover over Hakyeon’s. The boy presses his cheek to Hakyeon’s, and the intimacy of the sensation rocks through Hakyeon’s whole body. The boy’s cheek is so soft, soft like feathers, and so soothing, comforting.

Hakyeon feels a small crack forming on his chest. It splits with a loud sound, shattering, and shards of his body begin tumbling to the ground. Cracks upon cracks shudder up his back, and he bows under the pressure of such loss.

 

Hakyeon wakes to the sound of water dripping from his ceiling.

It’s dripping onto his nose now, sliding down the side of his nostril and beading on his upper lip.

He shoots up, pulling his comforter over his head.

“Sonovabitch,” he mutters, feeling the steady stream of droplets as they land in the cradle of the soft cotton blanket.

He slips out of bed, pulling the blanket with him as he eyes his ceiling. There’s a soggy-looking yellow-brown stain in the drywall. That’s what he gets for living off campus in his own shitty cheap apartment. He had just been so tired of running into people he hooked up with. At the dining hall, in the dorms, even in the loft housing. Everyone was always staring. Always talking. They never shut up. So annoying.

Hakyeon climbs up onto his bed and reaches his fingers to tap lightly at the little wet moldy ceiling puddle. His fingertips just barely graze the ceiling when he jumps from atop his lofted mattress. His ceilings are by no means tall, but Hakyeon knows he’s not going to be able to stop this leak.

He could just slide his bed away.

He could text Jaehwan, but Jaehwan has a date with some pre-law kid named Sandeul. Hakyeon couldn’t cockblock him like that. Especially since Jaehwan seems so desperate lately.

Hakyeon doesn’t have any other friends.

On his desk, the blue plastic seems to glimmer mischievously.

 

[Cha Hakyeon 1:37 am]: my roof is leaking

[Cha Hakyeon 1:37 am]: we’re friends now, right?

Taekwoon’s eyes refuse to leave his screen as he treks across campus in the rain. His hood is pulled up, but the rain seems to seep under the waterproof lining, coating his hair, his face, his eyelashes. He wishes he had an umbrella. His phone is not waterproof. It fizzles weakly in protest in his hand.

Hakyeon expects him at the door.

“You’re fucking wet,” Hakyeon says as Taekwoon tromps through the doorway, slipping off his shoes, though his socks are just as bad. They make a squelching sound as he walks. Hakyeon glares at Taekwoon until he peels off his socks too, and shoves them into his shoes.

“It’s fucking raining,” is Taekwoon’s reply.

Hakyeon leads Taekwoon over to the leak, pointing an angry finger at the insulting dark puddle on his ceiling.

“Fix it,” he says petulantly.

Taekwoon glances at the leak, a little 5-6” splotch where water is steadily dripping. He turns back to Hakyeon, drawing his hand through his messy, wet hair. “I need more supplies to fix this. You need to cut out the water damaged drywall and patch it. For now,” Taekwoon says, rubbing sleep and water away from his eyelashes. “You can just put a bucket there and move your bed.”

Hakyeon’s eyes go wide as he watches Taekwoon attempting to clear away the rain from his skin.

“What?”

“Nothing, you just, you looked like someone,” Hakyeon says, shaking his head. “You really can’t fix it? The sound of rain gives me anxiety.”

Taekwoon grabs a pot from atop Hakyeon’s little two-burner induction stove and places it under the leak. The droplets hit the metal with an almost musical set of pings.

“Is it better now? Doesn’t sound quite like rain,” Taekwoon says as a droplet lands in his bangs and bounces down onto his nose.

“I still hate it,” Hakyeon huffs. “It reminds me of this nightmare I have.”

“Nightmare?” Taekwoon says, bracing his hands on Hakyeon’s bedframe and shoving the whole bed out of the way of the leak. The metal frame groans against the floor, and there are black streaks left in its wake on the wood.

“You know, like a bad dream.”

“I know what a nightmare is,” Taekwoon grouses, scuffing away the streaks with his damp bare heel. “Anyway, I’m done here. Text me tomorrow when it’s dry, and I’ll come patch it.”

He’s heading for the door when Hakyeon reaches for his wrist. Taekwoon’s skin is slippery and slides through Hakyeon’s grip until Hakyeon is grabbing hold of only Taekwoon’s thumb.

“Uh, wait,” Hakyeon says, voice hesitant and scared, as it had been when Taekwoon heard him sing with Kyungsoo.

Taekwoon swallows, and it tastes like heavy aching need as it slips down the back of his throat.

Hakyeon pulls Taekwoon back by the thumb like reeling in a fish on a line. Taekwoon moves easily, letting himself be tugged back. Hakyeon leans in and lays a soft kiss on Taekwoon’s cheek.

“Is this what friends do to say thank you?” Taekwoon murmurs, words barely audible in his own ears as his heartbeat hammers against his ear canals.

Hakyeon shrugs. “I don’t have much experience with friendship.” There’s a strangely fierce determination in his gaze that wasn’t there before.

Taekwoon is about to ask about Jaehwan when Hakyeon cups his face and pulls him down into a real kiss. It’s brief, warm, wet from the rain still drying on Taekwoon’s face.

“I knew it,” Hakyeon says, drawing back, dazed. His lips are still parted, and he draws his tongue across his plush bottom lip.

Taekwoon feels his stomach contracting, anxiety bubbling up into his esophagus.

“Knew what?”

Hakyeon releases a triumphant giggle. It’s one of the most honest, cheerful sounds Taekwoon has ever heard. It rings like the purest church bells in the air.

“Jung Taekwoon, why didn’t you tell me you were my first kiss?”

 

Chapter Text

Hongbin has never had anyone actively pursuing him before.

He’s partially flattered, really, he is.

But he’s also horrifically embarrassed.

For Wonshik.

He’s standing outside Hongbin’s apartment door, brandishing a greasy-bottomed brown paper bag of McDonald’s.

“For you,” he says. There’s a crude doodle of stick-figure Wonshik making a heart symbol with his little twig fingers on the bag. The feet are soaked in oil.

Hongbin snatches the bag and shuts the door.

“I told you to forget about me. And I prefer Lotteria.”

 

Wonshik has pulled out all the stops at this point. He’s done flowers, food, poetry, that cool move that they do in dramas where he gives Hongbin one movie ticket and then they meet up at the movie and wow surprise it is from him!! Except Hongbin didn’t show up. He sent Sanghyuk instead. Sanghyuk who, despite Wonshik’s vice grip on the bag, ended up eating all of his “Hongbin Reserved Popcorn.”

 

Wonshik is currently standing outside Hongbin’s window with a boombox over his head. Unfortunately, the only cassette he could find other than the choir’s copy of H.O.T. to play had been an old mixed tape he found on the floor of the music composition room that had the words Baby Makin’ scrawled on the outside label in metallic sharpie.

So Wonshik, yeah, is standing outside Hongbin’s window, which, unromantically, is on the ground level, so Wonshik is essentially just lurking like 10 feet from Hongbin’s bedroom. And, as such, Wonshik feels he shouldn’t make too much noise, since it is pretty late--around 12:07 am approximately--so the music is turned down to an appropriate level. Its smooth jazzy beats are a meek whisper through Hongbin’s window pane.

Hongbin stands in front of the window, looking utterly horrified, while Sanghyuk sways behind him, snapping and poorly singing along in English to the old Marvin Gaye song.

“Please leave,” Hongbin says, lifting up the window just a few inches. The music grows minutely louder beneath the crack.

Leeeet’s get it on , Sanghyuk croaks.

“This is just weird,” Hongbin adds, words wafting over the smooth sounds of Marvin’s voice.

Wonshik lowers the boombox and clutches the cold blue plastic to his chest, a shield between himself and Hongbin.

And givin’ yourself to me can never be wrong.

“Should I have brought food?” Wonshik asks, self consciously shutting the music off.

“Go home, Wonshik. Chansik and I were about to have crazy rabbit sex,” Hongbin replies, chin high and gaze steely.

“Chansik isn’t even here,” Sanghyuk says, now slurping loudly on cup ramen as he stands behind Hongbin at the window. “I thought it was pretty smooth, Ravi.”

“Who the hell is Ravi?” Hongbin says, wheeling around on Sanghyuk, accusatory.

“You listened to my radio show?” Wonshik gasps, fumbling to lay the boombox reverently at his feet.

“Hell, yeah, man, I was a religious follower of your tunes,” Sanghyuk says, waving his chopsticks around excitedly.

“Hello, I am still here,” Hongbin says, eyes narrowed, glancing between his traitorous roommate and his horribly awkward suitor.

“This guy is an underground hip hop celebrity,” Sanghyuk explains, jabbing his chopstick in the air towards Wonshik through the window.

“Park Hyo Shin is the only real music,” Hongbin says snootily. “Hip Pop isn’t music. It’s just noise.”

Wonshik looks for a moment as if a barrage of flaming arrows had fallen from the sky and pierced every inch of his flesh.

“First of all,” Sanghyuk says.

“No music is just noise,” Wonshik interrupts, cheeks flushed. “Anything created with intent is art. I don’t particularly like American Country music, but I respect the fact that whoever wrote the music had to create sound out of nothing. I respect the fact that nothing dictates a song has to exist, and our creation of music is entirely in our hands. We make what we desire.”

Hongbin swallows thickly.

Sanghyuk slurps the last bits of floating noodle at the bottom of his ramen cup.

“No one forced man to make music,” Wonshik continues. “It’s something that is entirely about...about pleasure, and if what I do gives someone that pleasure, then I’m happy.”

“It certainly gave me pleasure,” Sanghyuk agrees, nodding.

Wonshik files that comment away forever.

“If you love Park Hyo Shin, then I’m glad. I’m glad there is someone,” he pauses, “er, something that makes you happy if I--if Hip Hop doesn’t. If we all had the same tastes, we’d probably still be banging rocks against other rocks to a four-count beat,” Wonshik concludes, grabbing up his boombox again and cradling it gently in his arms, staring directly ahead at Hongbin through the glass. He looks as if he has something else to say, but then he just turns and walks.

“Okay, bye!” Sanghyuk crows, leaning out the window to wave as Wonshik strides away. He shuts the window and rubs at his mouth with his sweatshirt sleeve to clear away oily residue. “He seems cool. Did you guys fuck?”

Hongbin blinks at Wonshik as he slowly disappears into the shade of the trees on the path back to his own room.

“Fuck,” Hongbin repeats, nodding.

 

When Hongbin turned thirteen, he became utterly unnoticeable.

It was if, as he blew out the candles on his thirteenth birthday cake, he blew out all light surrounding his body. No one could see him. And that was good.

As a kid, he had soft round pale cheeks and smooth albeit chunkily cut dark hair. He had wide, dark eyes and deep-set dimples that made his mother instantly forgive him in the instance he dropped a glass bottle of Chilsung on the kitchen floor, standing surrounded by shards at his feet, grinning nervously up at her. He garnered attention at every turn as a kid. People cooed over him, made him smile for rounds of photographs, made him try on fuzzy silly clothes, made him perform.

In middle school, he came to stand in front of his mirror every morning to push his hands against his own skin to see if the mirror reflected what he saw in his mind. He dug his fingertips into his narrow waist, into his skinny thighs, into his arms--toned only from repetitive hand motions of playing games--, into his cheeks, trying to find the place his dimples originated from. He pressed the triangle of flesh between his collarbones, as if, like a magic bookcase, it might spread open his chest and reveal something he felt was lost. He knew he wasn’t ugly. He was perfectly average. Maybe even slightly above average.

His mom told him it was normal. Puberty. Everyone comes to judge themselves more harshly when their bodies change. But Hongbin really didn’t think he was ugly--really. He thought he was actually rather pretty. It was just easier to be average, dress down, keep his mouth shut. It was easier to fit in than to practice and preen and perform.

Hongbin felt like everything that made him a noticeable child eventually made him an incredibly unnoticeable teen. His hair lay flat and greasy against his scalp, his eyes now fit normally in his broader face, and his body was perfectly average, not weak but not strong.

He enjoyed being ignorable. He met Chansik then. At age fourteen, the two of them sat at the back of the room during lunch and unwrapped pre-packaged cream buns while reading manga. They didn’t need to speak much, which was good because Hongbin didn’t like opening his mouth. He didn’t like showing the two deep indents in his cheeks that formed when he spread his lips up to form certain words. They made people look, made them think Hongbin was something he wasn’t. He wasn’t pretty in all that it entailed.

Chansik was tall, lanky, quiet. He liked the same comics--the ones where badass dudes beat up less badass dudes. The ones with silly drawings of girls with their skirts blown up from the breeze formed during the dudes’ awesome fight.

Chansik would come to Hongbin’s house after school to play games. More games where badass dudes fight. Sometimes games with fast cars that rip up the side of huge neon inclines and launch into the air. Mostly games with explosions.

One time Chansik brought over a game Hongbin had never heard of before. On the box, there was an image of five anime girls with huge twinkling eyes and utterly horrifying dollish features.

“It’s a dating sim,” Chansik said conspiratorially. “You ask girls out.”

Hongbin didn’t want to ask girls out. Hongbin thought the girls were cute, but they made ridiculous high-pitched squealing sounds when Chansik got to the part of the game where the girls got naked and exposed their shimmery clean white skin with pink tipped knees and tits with nipples like rosebuds and pillowy, snowy thighs.

“Do you want a girlfriend?” Hongbin asked as Chansik sat stock-still and red-faced on his floor, watching as the girl on screen writhed and whined like a kitten in heat.

“No,” Chansik replied, turning to face Hongbin. “I don’t care about all that.”

Hongbin tilted his head at the screen. “Then what’s this all about?”

Chansik waved his hand dismissively. “Cause everyone else said it was dirty and fun.”

“Do you think she’s pretty?” Hongbin asked, nodding at the blue-haired buxom cartoon as she flashed her red polka-dot panties.

“Not really,” Chansik said. “Her proportions are weird. Her tit to waist ratio is like a health hazard, probably. I like a classic gal.”

Hongbin pushed his hair, which had grown frizzy from the summer heat away from his face and clipped it back with a pin. “Do you think I’m pretty?”

Chansik pressed his lips together, appraising Hongbin. Hongbin let himself smile. Chansik just laughed and touched his calloused thumb to Hongbin’s cheek to feel his dimple.

“I think you’re Hongbin,” Chansik replied.

 

They didn’t fool around until they were seventeen. After three years of friendship, Hongbin was now stronger, more sturdy, more bold. He smiled sometimes and let himself revel in the way people stared. He washed his face a lot. He had a skin-care routine. He dressed like a real human and not like a heap of dirty laundry. Well, outside the house.

Hongbin got drunk in Chansik’s basement and asked Chansik to touch him. Chansik laid his hand on Hongbin’s knee. Hongbin shook his head. Not like that .

That was pretty much how it happened. They weren’t really ever together. Chansik was just the only one Hongbin felt comfortable with. He was the only one who didn’t care about Hongbin’s dimples or his anxieties or his three-day-unshowered-frizzy-hair. He didn’t care when Hongbin performed and he didn’t care when he didn’t.

Hongbin wanted to be seen. He did. But he wanted to be seen on his own terms, he supposed. It was as if, after years of hiding himself away, Hongbin couldn’t imagine the thought of laying himself bare to anyone else but Chansik. It was easier that way.

 

Chansik is spinning around in Hongbin’s desk chair, scrolling through Instagram when Hongbin comes over and straddles him.

Chansik looks up from his phone, gorgeous wide eyes staring blankly. “What?”

Hongbin wriggles a little over Chansik’s crotch. Chansik lifts an eyebrow.

“What?”

“What do you mean, what? What does it look like?” Hongbin says, gyrating awkwardly.

Chansik sighs and puts his hands on Hongbin’s waist, stilling him. “What’s this about, Beanie?”

“It isn’t about anything,” Hongbin protests, hands braced on the back of his desk chair, knees slipping off the edge of the leather around Chansik’s bony thighs. “I just want you to touch me like always and then we can play a game.”

Chansik’s phone buzzes.

“Another date?”

Chansik shrugs, fingers dipping under the hem of Hongbin's shirt. Hongbin lets out a happy sigh at the familiar touch. “That Sunwoo boy. I told him he isn't my type, but he seems reluctant to accept that.”

Hongbin can picture Sunwoo in his head but only vaguely. He’s short, squirrelish, bright and warm. There was something about him that reminded him of Wonshik--

Ugh, Wonshik.

Hongbin drops his head to Chansik’s, so their foreheads are touching. “I am in a similar unfortunate situation.”

“That Ravi kid?”

Hongbin pulls away, brows knit. “Does everyone know Wonshik's supposedly famous underground rap except me?”

Chansik pinches Hongbin, and he recoils, falling onto his ass on the floor. He pouts, bottom lip puffed out in the way Chansik usually coos over, as if Hongbin were a small robin buried, broken-winged, in the snow beneath his foot.

“Just because you think Park Hyo Shin is the epitome of fine art doesn’t mean the rest of the world listens exclusively to old man ballads,” Chansik chides.

Hongbin grabs Chansik’s ankles and yanks him out of the chair, his knees hitting the ground hard before he splays out on his forearms, palms, face. His cheek mashes onto the hardwood as he turns his face to Hongbin and grumbles.

“Do not,” Hongbin sniffles, “insult my man.”

“He’s an old man, Hongbin. Maybe you should try to listen to Ravi’s music and see for yourself whether it is really the drivel you expect it to be,” Chansik says, climbing over Hongbin to straddle him and clawing up his sides in that way that he loves, marking his pale, pale skin and ribs like sharp snow-capped peaks with pink lines that heal so quickly that it’s almost as if they were never there.

 

Wonshik is sitting in the old radio broadcasting room, mourning the now-silent machinery and dust-coated microphones, scribbling notes for his symphonic composition class when his phone buzzes.

[Hongbin >:| 9:56 pm]: i need help

Wonshik considers ignoring it. Hongbin not only seemed like a lost cause at this point, but he used the phrase “hip pop,” like the jerking motion of an anatomical joint beneath Wonshik’s flesh and not Wonshik’s entire being, his lifeblood, his raison d’etre.

[Hongbin >:| 9:57 pm]: please

Wonshik has always been a sucker for begging. Even textual begging. Honestly, Wonshik couldn’t imagine Hongbin’s level calm yet fearfully aggressive voice forming the word please . His lovely lips--previously known to wrap around Wonshik’s cock which was pretty great--pressed together in a kiss of the letter p, fleshy red tongue lifting to the top of his soft palate on the l sound, caressing the roof of his mouth, whining out the remaining ease .

[Wonshik 10:01 pm]: gimme 5

 

Hongbin’s four-post metal bed smells like sweat and Old Spice. He’s never been self-conscious about it before. Mostly just because only Sanghyuk and Chansik have ever been in his room before.

After Chansik had left, Hongbin had taken his advice. Chansik had a folder of Wonshik’s--er, Ravi’s--music on his laptop, which he’d transferred over to Hongbin’s.

“He doesn’t make any money. They’re all free downloads,” Chansik had explained.

“Like that joke. What’s the difference between a musician and a pizza?”

Chansik had narrowed his eyes, unimpressed.

“A pizza can feed a family of four,” Hongbin had said, chortling to himself as he scrolled through the page of Ravi’s songs. “Get it? Because musicians are poor.”

After Chansik left, Hongbin sat up against his headboard and pressed play.

The first song was aggressive. Thumping beats that sounded like the hard sole of ragged sneakers against cold winter cement. Hongbin was about to skip it because it honestly kind of frightened him, when Wonshik’s voice came on. It was low, gravelly, expressive. There was a passion in it that Hongbin had seen that night when Wonshik came over with the boombox and Hongbin had insulted him as Hongbin usually does.

There was a passion in him that Hongbin never had for anything. Not school, not his friends, not even his games--he wasn’t nearly as passionate about leaderboards and kill counts as Sanghyuk was. He liked playing. He liked singing. He liked fucking. But he didn’t love anything. He didn’t need anything. To need was to give yourself over completely to something else. Relinquishing control means trust. Trust means letting your consciousness seep out the bottoms of your feet to plant roots into the earth as your muscles and skin and fat and everything lets go and succumbs to gravity, and all you can do is hope that there’s something or someone to catch your sack of empty skin when you fall. Or you can hope that the roots you’ve planted are strong enough to steady you as you reach up, up, up.

The next song was gentle. Haunting. There was a softness about the piano arrangement, the delicate background strings that Wonshik must’ve conjured out of some synthesizer. Hongbin couldn’t imagine Wonshik laying a violin to his sharp jaw, leaning against it cheek-to-cheek and leading a bow over delicate strings.

Wonshik sang. It wasn’t like a sudden surprising melodious voice rang out over the music. It was just Wonshik, extending his deep-pitch voice like thick hot tar-like oil or chocolate or blood.

Hongbin exhaled. His thighs tensed. He spread his legs to ease the tension. He touched his knees together, squeezing.

Wonshik’s music was like a promise. An oath. Like pressing thumb-tack pricked palms together and pulsing your grip so the blood beads together in the middle, mixing.

“Fuck,” Hongbin breathed aloud, sliding his hand down to his crotch, hot palm pressed to his cock, twitching under the pressure of his hand. “I’m so fucked.”

Wonshik’s voice came faster, rocking beats and syllables forced out between gritted teeth, harsh, relentless. Wonshik in person seemed so demure, so innocent. But this--this Ravi--he was someone else entirely.

This side of him.

Hongbin wanted to see it. He wanted to see a little more. Just a little more.

 

Wonshik shows up at Hongbin’s apartment and seriously considers turning around when he sees Sanghyuk coming out the door.

“Oh, hey, Ravi,” Sanghyuk chirps, zipping up his heavy black parka. “Bean-o’s in a weird mood.”

Wonshik shrugs. “When isn’t he?”

Sanghyuk knocks his fist against Wonshik’s shoulder as he passes. “He’s got a damn fine ass though, amirite?”

Wonshik sighs. He is right. He is.

Wonshik catches the door before it fully swings shut, and he walks in. He’s never noticed before, but their apartment is oddly neat for a space shared by two college boys. The table has three large computer monitors set up on it--clearly never been used for eating. The dining chair have been replaced by two thick leather gaming chairs with speakers in the headrests. He wonders if Sanghyuk’s family has money. He can’t imagine Hongbin comes from money--he isn’t sure why though. There aren’t any posters or pictures or anything up on the walls. It makes Wonshik sad almost, but he assumes it’s just because they can’t drill holes in the drywall on lease.

Wonshik doesn’t even knock, which is silly of him, considering Hongbin hadn’t even let him in in the first place, probably doesn’t even know he is here.

Hongbin is spread out on the bed, legs bent at the knees, toes curled in the comforter.

He’s fucking naked.

His calves have a light dusting of hair up to his knees, where the skin is pink-tinged and his kneecap bends sharply under the skin. His head is up against the headboard, stomach curled forward, exposing the gentle ridges of abdominal muscles where the flesh creases. His shoulders are broad, waist impossibly narrow, like a swimmer’s. His hipbones stand out starkly against the olive green bedding.

Wonshik blinks and only now realizes there’s music playing.

His music.

He shuts the door, back pressed against it in an instant, as if locking the door will lock him fully in this moment.

Hongbin’s eyes snap open, and he draws in a sharp gasp, reaching fretfully for the edge of the blanket to draw it over his body.

It clicks now. Hongbin was jerking off. To his music.

Wonshik’s fingers curl into fists, his short-chopped nails fighting fruitlessly to cut into his palms.

“Shit,” Wonshik says, and he’s on the bed.

Hongbin looks up, startled, but there’s a smile in his irises, a swirl of utter joy in the deep dark brown.

Wonshik grips the comforter over where Hongbin is holding it, trying to keep it in place over his body, and their fingers touch.

Wonshik leans over and shuts Hongbin’s laptop. The music shuts off. He lowers his lips to Hongbin’s ear, driven by the sound of Hongbin’s ragged, invigorated breaths. “Did that turn you on?” he asks, voice a low growl like kicked up gravel. “The sound of my voice?”

Hongbin jerks, tilting his head, pressing his face into the mattress. His throat is flushed prettily up to his jawline.

Wonshik kisses the sharp knife-line of his jawbone. He tastes like soap and citrus aftershave. Wonshik takes Hongbin’s wrist now, the one he’d seen dipped between Hongbin’s spread legs, and he pulls it up to his mouth. He slips Hongbin’s fingertips between his lips, and Hongbin whines.

“Did you picture me as you wrapped these pretty fingers around your cock, Hongbin?” Wonshik murmurs, tasting the bitter hint of precome on Hongbin’s skin. The thought sends shockwaves and frantic pulses down the wire of his spine.

Hongbin looks up, and there’s a brightness to his gaze, a revelation. “That’s not all I did with my fingers, thinking of you.”

Wonshik pulls back, trampled at once by the force of his sudden need . He grabs Hongbin’s legs and hoists them up, bending his knees up to his chest, nearly dissecting Hongbin’s body at the waist.

Hongbin grabs the sheets again and lets himself be maneuvered.

Wonshik allows himself a long look at Hongbin’s body. His cloudy pink cheeks, his mussed up hair, his parted lips expelling harsh breaths. His body, reddened where his fingers had slipped in, spread himself open, curled against the walls of muscle and heat inside himself. There’s still a slickness around his entrance, and Wonshik circles his fingertip in it.

Hongbin tips his head back and moans, crystal clear and broken.

“You’re fucking perfect,” Wonshik groans, weak, weakened so immensely by how terribly he wants to just bury himself inside Hongbin until he uses that moaning voice to cry out that word he’d texted earlier. Please .

Hongbin shakes his head, but it’s more like a rocking motion, just side to side tilting limply.

“Not perfect,” Hongbin replies, stomach muscles twitching as Wonshik continues circling his fingers.

“No?” Wonshik doesn’t know if he’s ever felt this way. Except for in those moments when motivation strikes him as more than a thought and becomes words on a page, notes in the air as his hands move over a keyboard, pulling sound from his own mind and making it real.

“I’m just me,” Hongbin says, gutturally moaning again when Wonshik pushes a finger inside him.

“Damn, you prepped with lube and everything,” Wonshik can’t help muttering.

Hongbin looks momentarily embarrassed. Wonshik wants to erase those lines that draw tight between his brows, so he says, “It’s so hot. So fucking...filthy. For me. You’re a goddamn filthy tease, Lee Hongbin.”

Hongbin writhes, cheeks growing pinker, eyes blown wide. He looks pleased. Humiliated and pleased.

Wonshik can easily fit three fingers inside Hongbin. How long had he been prepping himself, waiting for Wonshik to walk in unknowingly and find him? The thought is intoxicating, like that time Wonshik smoked weed spliced with acid without knowing. When he’d found himself dizzy with the impact of knowledge and thought and consciousness. When he’d tripped over his own feet trying to escape his body. He just kept running, waiting for his skin to split up the middle and drop uselessly to the grass, for his skeleton to melt in the heat of his blood, for his insides to free him to his outsides.

“Keep talking,” Hongbin says, sliding his tongue over his bottom lip. “Don’t stop.”

Wonshik lets himself smirk. So much for Park Hyo Shin and his old man ballads. So much for Hip Pop.

“You want me to fuck you? You want me to touch those places you’d been touching earlier. To replace the memory of your own fingers with mine so that next time when you fuck yourself while thinking of me, because I know there will be a next time-- you can have a visceral memory of how I feel when I fuck you?” Wonshik rambles, just saying anything he can think of as he watches his fingers spread Hongbin open beneath him. It’s so raw, so real, so--

“God, yes,” Hongbin says, kicking his legs petulantly in Wonshik’s grip. “Just do it. Just do it already.”

Wonshik lays Hongbin’s calves against his shoulders, freeing his hands, so he can rock himself forward into Hongbin.

Hongbin’s voice cracks on a scream. Wonshik has never heard anything so magical.

Wonshik knows he’s talking over Hongbin’s little filthy noises, but he can’t stop rambling now. Just saying anything. About Hongbin’s pretty flushed face and lips cracked from panting and the tight, blinding heat of his fucking body as he tries to wriggle closer, pull Wonshik deeper somehow.

Hongbin is insatiable it seems. Moaning lewdly and meeting all of Wonshik’s thrusts even with barely any control over his body’s positioning.

“Make me come,” Hongbin says, an order.

Wonshik slides his hand down Hongbin’s thigh and leaves it at the juncture of his pelvic bone.

Hongbin tries to kick again, whining deep in his throat. “Make me come, I mean it. I’m so close. I need it. I need it.”

Wonshik nips at the skin of Hongbin’s calve where it rests on his shoulder. “Were you this desperate earlier with just the sound of my voice? Begging the recording to let you come? I thought hip hop wasn’t music. Was just noise? Sounds like you would fuck my voice alone if you could. Can’t hide the way your cock is so hard and dripping for me.”

Hongbin shuts his eyes tight and moans between gritted teeth. He wants to fight, to protest, but he doesn’t.

“I wasn’t going to listen. Chansik sent it to me, said I shouldn’t judge you. You sounded so different. So confident and sexy and fuck I thought of your cock in my mouth like before. You were so solid and heavy on my tongue, and I knew you would feel so fucking good inside me,” Hongbin pants out, words slurring together. He grips his sweaty hair in his hand and opens his eyes, looking crazed. The strands puff out of his grip in a fuzzy cloud. “Your music persona is some kind of sex God but in person you’re so--”

Wonshik stops thrusting. “So what?”

Hongbin whines, frantically trying to draw out more words, take it back, explain, anything to pull Wonshik’s cock back in deep. “No, I mean! This...your music is so honest and fucking rugged and you’re just this--”

Wonshik wraps his fingers around Hongbin’s cock loosely. Hongbin mewls.

“This what?”

“This marshmallow prince --” Hongbin snaps, bucking up into the touch, still looking just as crazed. His hair is a frizzy poof of sweaty strands, and the flush of his cheeks and throat has spread down to his chest, pink dancing around his nipples.

“Oh, so because I’m a good guy--”

“Don’t give me that bullshit about good guy syndrome, ugh,” Hongbin groans. Wonshik squeezes his fist around Hongbin’s cock lightly. Hongbin doesn’t relent. “You’re not shy in your music. You’re powerful. It’s honest and wanting and needing and I could fuck Ravi all day.”

Wonshik thinks he’ll take it. Technically he is Ravi too, so Hongbin is essentially telling him he’s the sexiest man alive, right? Aside from also insulting him rather viciously.

Wonshik starts moving again, pulling out and rutting in deep and hard and harsh. He moves his hand in time with his thrusts, and Hongbin finally gives him what he wants. “Please, Ravi, please--”

Wonshik again, will take it.

He tightens his grip and pumps his hand roughly until Hongbin shudders, eyes shutting tight, hands scrambling against the mattress for purchase. “Please, oh yes, please,” he cries.

There it is, that delightful word. Softly demanding, tongue pushing the words from Hongbin’s larynx to his tonsils to his soft palate to his hard palate to his teeth and then out, out to Wonshik, who catches it inside his chest and keeps it there.

Hongbin’s body tightens around him, muscles pulling in and drawing Wonshik’s own release out of him more quickly than he’d have wished.

Hongbin’s legs fall weakly to the bed, and Wonshik collapses onto Hongbin’s chest.

“I knew it,” Hongbin pants, come dotting the muscles of his abdomen, slipping down his sides onto the sheets.

“Knew what?” Wonshik asks, voice ragged and gruff from all the groaning rambling he’d done.

“That I could get this out of you,” Hongbin replies.

“Was this a test?”

Hongbin pushes Wonshik down and climbs over him, face inches away now.

“Call it more of a trial.”

“A trial for what?” Wonshik murmurs, caught at once in the intensity of Hongbin’s post-coital stare.

“A trial to see if you can date me.”




Chapter Text

Jaehwan wakes up on a bed of yellow sheets, the pillowcase beneath his cheek patterned with small yellow and orange ducklings. The fleecy baby blue blankets are coiled around his ankles, and he kicks them away as he sits up, blinking blearily at the open window as light streams through onto his face. It stings his retinas.

“Oh, you’re up.”

It smells like burnt toast and jam. Jaehwan’s mouth tastes like toilet water and instant noodles.

“I’m,” Jaehwan replies, rubbing at his eyes with the heels of his palms. “We?”

Lee Junghwan, aka Lee Sandeul (his stage name among the operatic vocalist kids), drops down onto the bed beside Jaehwan and offers him a paper plate of two slices of heavily browned toast slathered in purple goop. It smells amazing despite its horrid appearance.

“We what?” Sandeul asks, holding a slice of toast up to Jaehwan’s lips. Jaehwan snatches it from him, spills crumbs down his bare chest, and chomps down on the blackened crust. It turns to grape-flavored ash on his tongue.

“I’m in your bed,” Jaehwan says around a mouthful of fruity cremated bread.

“You don’t remember?” Sandeul replies, laughing that ridiculous full bodied laugh he has. It fills the whole room. It reminds him of Sanghyuk, barking out ha ’s like a damn seal, trained to flick a ball with his nose for a bucket of fish.

Fucking Freshman Scum.

Jaehwan shakes his head, both as an answer to Sandeul’s question and also to dispel the image of Sanghyuk and his dumb marine-animal laugh from his head.

“I mean you did drink like two beers, uh, four shots of soju, a double-shot of sake--”

“I get it--”

“Some makgeoli, I think maybe another beer, and then more shots of soju--or just a bottle?”

Jaehwan folds the toast in half, crumbs spilling everywhere, and shoves the whole thing in Sandeul’s mouth.

“I get it. I was really wasted. So did we fuck or not?”

Sandeul’s giant mouth processes the toast and swallows. “Well, we started to.” He says the words tentatively, as if they might wake some sleeping beast hiding beneath the bed.

Jaehwan lifts the blanket, sees that his boxers are still on. Maybe just a handjob kinda night then? “Uh huh. And?”

Sandeul licks at the jelly from the rim around his mouth. “You asked me to hit you.”

Jaehwan freezes, shame-fueled flames licking at his cheeks from the inside. It tickles and burns and melts down his throat. “Oh.”

Sandeul finishes chewing finally and lays a hand on Jaehwan’s knee, leaning in a bit. He presses a gentle, terribly platonic kiss on Jaehwan’s cheek. “Listen, Jae, I really like you.”

“You don’t have to do this,” Jaehwan says, feeling the shame like a mouthful of hot coal. “I know I’m fucked up. There’s something wrong with me.”

Sandeul’s hand tightens on Jaehwan’s knee. “There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re awesome. I have a lot of fun with you, honest. If you want someone to hit you, then that’s cool. It isn’t my thing,” he says calmly, little crumbs still glued to his soft squishy cheeks. Why was Jaehwan even attracted to him in the first place? Maybe it was just out of a need to be wanted? Or perhaps because Sandeul sang like the kind of angel Jaehwan wished he could be? “But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a thing. You should be with someone who can give you what you want.”

“It’s so hard to…” Jaehwan stammers, peeling the blackened edges off the toast and crumbling them between his fingers. Black dust coats his thumb and forefinger. “Vocalize.”

“Hard to imagine anything being difficult for you to vocalize, honestly,” Sandeul admits with a small chuckle. “But I get it. Look, Jae, you’re gorgeous and smart and annoying as fuck, you know? You’re hot, okay? You are. You’re totally hot. I mean, I was tempted to just do it for you, you know, hit you, just so I could see how turned on you’d be for me.” He sighs and rubs his palms along the tops of his jeans, wiping away imaginary stress sweat. “But I grew up in a house where, I mean, you know what I’m saying? I saw some shit. Some shit that makes me unable to associate that kind of...shit... with anything remotely sexy.”

Jaehwan swallows and nods, his gut pretzeling. He wants to throw the burnt toast dust into Sandeul’s eyes like a smoke bomb and sprint away, but his legs are frozen.

“But I also think that you deserve to get whatever you want,” Sandeul says softly, tucking a stray hair from Jaehwan’s fringe away from his face. “Am I making any sense at all? Sorry, I don’t think I’ve had a serious discussion in a long fucking time. Probably since Chansik told me he fucked his best friend and didn’t know what to do about it. And that was a horribly awkward conversation--lemme tell ya. How do you tell your friend that you’re glad he found someplace to finally stick his dick, but you wish he’d found someplace a little less...politically charged?”

Jaehwan just keeps nodding, feeling like one of those little dolls that sits on a car dashboard, soaking in the heat from the sun and just bobbling his head over and over. Constantly agreeing. Unable to do anything else. Just bob, bob, bob.

He is also now curious, in the way that gossip-mongers always are, who these people are Sandeul is talking about? Is this the same Chansik that Jaehwan has heard talk of before? Focus, Jaehwan.

“I still want to sing with you,” Sandeul says, breaking the gossip spell swirling in Jaehwan’s brain. “And I still think if you wanna get a lil’ tipsy and make out from time to time...I’m here,” he adds, patting his chest.

“Right,” Jaehwan replies, practically croaking. “And you won’t, um, tell anyone?”

Sandeul barks another oafish laugh. “Jesus, of course not. Maybe if I really hated you, but even then I’d feel terrible. But, look, Jae, I mean, you know...fuck, why is this so hard? Uh, you know, there are people who would chop off their limbs for the chance to be able to hit you.”

Jaehwan’s brow wrinkles.

“Fuck, you know what I mean, okay? In a sexy way. Sure, some would want to just hit you because you’re kind of fucking stupid sometimes, but there’s someone on this damn campus who wants to wreck your butthole and choke you and--”

“Please,” Jaehwan begs, voice rising a few octaves, nearly splitting the sound barrier. “Just stop talking.”

Sandeul pats Jaehwan’s back, his lips quivering at the corners in amusement. “For someone so fucking obnoxious, I would have never suspected you to be so...submissive.”

Jaehwan rises up from the bed, his legs feeling like the grape-flavored goop he’d just ingested. “Okay, this has been fun. Thanks for letting me crash here, ‘deul. I’m gonna...just….fucking leave now.”

“See, you’re so shy now,” Sandeul observes, tilting his head as he continues chuckling.

“You’re just upset because my ass is better than yours. Under all that padding, yours is not so great,” Jaehwan spits, conjuring his bravado up like a magician’s smog around his body.

“Mhm,” Sandeul replies, still laughing shamelessly, clearly unfazed by the jab.

Jaehwan dances to the door on wobbly legs that feel like sandbags of shame. “Anyhow, pick a song. Any song. I’ll duet with you since you’re practically begging me. I have to go do very important chores...errands, okay? I’m an important person.”

“Mhm,” Sandeul says again, grinning like a damn fool. Why did Jaehwan like him in the first place? Fucking duckbutt.

“You tell anyone about what I did, and I will ruin you , do you hear me?” Jaehwan hisses through the crack in the door right before he slams it shut and books it home.

 

“Hey, hyung,” Sanghyuk says, sliding his heavy gaming headphones away from his ears, letting them fall around his neck.

Hongbin hums in acknowledgment as his fingers skip over the keyboard, building a shield around their base--some kind of steampunk castle in space-- on screen.

“What do you know about that guy from Choir Club? Uh, Lee Jaehwan?” Sanghyuk mutters, peeling chapped skin from his bottom lip with his teeth as he watches enemy forces firing laser arrows at Hongbin’s shield.

Hongbin barely reacts, busy yelling at the screen as his shield cracks under the force of the laser arrows. The glowing forcefield splits into pieces. Hongbin doesn’t reply for a few moments as he places a verbal, cuss-filled hex on the opponent’s households. “I dunno, Hyukkie, he’s weird,” Hongbin answers finally, clicking rapidfire to repair the glowing blue forcefield around their base. “Could you help me, please?”

“I’m still respawning,” Sanghyuk replies, still gnawing at his lip.

“I’m fucked. This team is in the shitter. Goddamnit, don’t any of you know how to press the fucking space bar? It’s called fucking jumping , like God , fuck,” Hongbin slurs, face red with loss-fueled rage. “Where do these kids come from? Are you ten ? Don’t you have homework to do? A sandbox to play in? Get out of my fucking server, you incompetent plebeian schmucks!”

“Hyung,” Sanghyuk says, feeling anxious as he watches the loading bar struggling on his screen. “Jaehwan?”

“I told you. I don’t know. He’s weird. He hangs out with Hakyeon a lot. That’s probably as much as someone needs to know to learn about Jaehwan. I figure they’re probably fucking,” Hongbin blurts, eyes never straying from the computer screen.

Sanghyuk’s hand tightens on the mouse, squeezing the thick plastic until he can hear it precariously bending beneath the force. “They aren’t.”

Hongbin laughs softly and shakes his head. “What would you know?” His face is cast in a neon greenish blue light. It’s terrifying.

Sanghyuk stands from his computer chair as his character respawns in the base. He lets the avatar bounce in place expressionlessly. Ready? Go!

“Uh, hello. Earth the Hyukkie: are you coming to take their base or not?” Hongbin crows.

Sanghyuk’s avatar impatiently swings its sword-gun and utters an alien battle cry from beneath its metal helmet.

“What did you mean by-- what would you know ?”

Hongbin’s clicks come rapid-fire, but he still doesn’t react to Sanghyuk’s words. Just casts an annoyed glare at Sanghyuk’s immobile avatar.

“It means what it means, okay? Are you playing or not? What do you care who Jaehwan fucks? Are you just embarrassed that I said the word ‘fucks?’” Hongbin chides, teasing in that oh, my small-yet-terrifyingly-tall-dongsaeng way. He smirks at the screen even as his shield shatters into bits of falling blue fire.

Sanghyuk leans over and swiftly clicks the escape keys on Hongbin’s keyboard, logging him out of the game.

Hongbin wheels around in a rage. “What in the fuck, Sanghyuk? You’ve been begging me to play this for weeks, and when I finally have time to play with your lonely ass, you fuck up my game?” His chest is rising and falling as he comes down from his playing high. Sanghyuk wonders if this is what he looks like as he plays. It’s frightening.

Sanghyuk plants his foot up on the chair between Hongbin’s knees, leaning in close to Hongbin’s face. “I’m not embarrassed about the word fuck. I’m not a child. I’m nineteen years old, and I’ve probably fucked more people than you have.”

Hongbin chokes. His eyes screw up tight, and he splutters as if he’d swallowed a swarm of bees. Then he shakes his head once.

And bursts out laughing.

“Oh, Hyukkie, you’re so funny sometimes. You always know what to say to diffuse the tension.”

Sanghyuk drops his head into his hands and sighs.

“Thanks for distracting me from my impending shameful loss, but can we get back to playing now? I was actually really close to upgrading my shield technology.”

Sanghyuk resigns himself to dropping down into his computer chair and opening a new server. He tries not to think about how rapidly fury had spread through his body like wildfire at the mention of Hakyeon and Jaehwan fucking. Instead he focuses on the rage of Hongbin still treating him like a rebellious youth.

“I really wasn’t joking about the fucking,” Sanghyuk says as he charges into a horde of robot knights.

Hongbin continues chuckling as he shoves a handful of Jagabee crackers in his mouth. “Sure, Hyukkie, sure.”

 

Hakyeon is clambering over Jaehwan’s windowsill when Jaehwan hisses, “I’m not going.”

Hakyeon drops down into forward roll onto Jaehwan’s floor and shucks his shoes off, leaving them politely under the window. “C’mon, Jae. You’re looking tense. You have those lines around your eyes that you get when your dick is lonely.”

“Please,” Jaehwan begs, rubbing between his eyes. “Don’t.”

Hakyeon crawls over to Jaehwan’s desk chair and places his warm palm on Jaehwan’s crotch, leaning in to press his ear close. “He’s saying let’s go to the baseball team party, Jaehwan, please .” Hakyeon provides a very squeaky mouse-like voice for Jaehwan’s penis.

Jaehwan swats Hakyeon’s head away. “That is not what my dick sounds like at all.”

“Okay,” Hakyeon amends. “ Please, Jaehwan, let’s go with Hakyeon to fuck some bitches. ” The voice is now Darth Vader-esque and rumbling.

Jaehwan purses his lips and kicks at Hakyeon with his tube-sock clad foot. “Begone, harlot! Can’t you go find some poor sap to hypnotise with your feminine hips without me?”

Hakyeon drops his cheek onto Jaehwan’s thigh and pouts. “Showing up alone to a party is worse than not showing up at all.”

Jaehwan eyes the clock. It’s already 10:30. He hates to admit he has been feeling very wound up since he broke off the arrangement with Sanghyuk a few days ago.

“You’re paying the cover,” Jaehwan says.

Hakyeon scoffs. “You think they would make me pay? I gave their captain the best head of his life.”

Jaehwan rolls his eyes. “I’ve had better.”

Hakyeon crawls up into Jaehwan’s lap and grabs him by the hair, leaning in, eyes narrowed to slits. “ What ?” he howls inhumanly, breath sweet as cotton candy as he shakes Jaehwan’s head back and forth.

Jaehwan unlatches Hakyeon’s hands from his hair and throws him back down onto the floor. He lands in a heap of tan skin, loose white button-down, and petulance. He looks up sorrowfully at Jaehwan, betrayed.

“You have a blessedly wonderful mouth, Cha Hakyeon,” Jaehwan croons, patting Hakyeon on the cheek as he moves to his closet.

“But not the best,” Hakyeon supplies, warbling.

Jaehwan throws off his sweatshirt and pulls on a black v-neck that dips down to show his clavicles. “You were younger then. Perhaps you hadn’t mastered your technique fully.”

Hakyeon seems to accept this answer, rising from the floor to brush off the dust from the butt of his impossibly tight black jeans.

Jaehwan wonders if Hakyeon painted them on or had them sewn onto him each time he wore them. What must it be like trying to tug them off?

He remembers once when he and Hakyeon were fifteen. They’d gotten caught in the rain, and Hakyeon’s skinny jeans had practically fused to his skin, refusing to peel down his legs. They’d used Jaehwan’s dad’s exacto knife to extract him from the denim. All that for a sloppy handjob. Hakyeon walked home in Jaehwan’s performance choir sweatpants. Ah, youth.

“I brought you a gift,” Hakyeon sing-songs, pulling a little bottle of peach sake from his coat pocket. The bottle appears much larger than what should feasibly fit into that pocket. Hakyeon is the Mary Poppins of transporting dubious items. Jaehwan remembers Hakyeon once conjuring a line of condom packets from under his armpit.

Jaehwan grabs the bottle, inspects it. “You drank some.”

“It was a gift for me too,” Hakyeon says, shrugging. “I had a weird week.”

Jaehwan quirks an eyebrow as he takes a long pull of the sake. It doesn’t taste quite as good cold as it does when warmed nicely on the stove, but it’ll do. He would hate to show up to a baseball party sober. They weren’t the best conversationalists, those boys. Really pretty, though. Especially that Minhyuk.

“Jaehwan, do you remember I told you about my first kiss?” Hakyeon says, taking the bottle back and swigging a shot from it.

Jaehwan taps some bb cream beneath his eyes to hide the purplish hue of sleepless chemistry-studying nights. “So many kisses ago, Hakyeon, how could I remember?”

“You know, that boy at the palace. I was wearing the--”

“Ah, yes, the pink hanbok trip. The boy who first told you you were pretty, of course,” Jaehwan finishes, tousling his hair with a bit of pomade. “What about him?”

Hakyeon watches Jaehwan draw another long chug of liquor into his mouth.

“It was Taekwoon,” Hakyeon says.

Jaehwan spits pinkish sake all over his floor.

Hakyeon grimaces as it seeps into his socks, and he shakes his foot to banish some of the liquor.

Jaehwan wipes his mouth with his forearm. “What do you mean it was Taekwoon?”

Hakyeon spreads his arms out, as if to say here we are and here is all the truth I can provide you .

Jaehwan chugs the rest of the bottle.

“Well,” he says, finally swallowing all of the bitter peachy fire. “Taekwoon once again defeats me in all things. Singing, academics, perfect skin, and now kissing my best friend before me.”

Hakyeon rolls his eyes. “That’s what you got from that revelation?”

Jaehwan tosses the empty sake bottle into the recycling. “Yes. Taekwoon must’ve known that one day this piece of news would pierce my soul like a flaming bullet, and that’s why he kissed you back then.”

Hakyeon heaves a resigned sigh, pulls his shoes back on, and opens the window.

“Uh,” Jaehwan says, clearing his throat and holding his door open.

“Right.” Hakyeon shuts the window, cheeks tinged pink, and follows after Jaehwan.

 

Sanghyuk is four beers in when Sungjae asks him to dance. This is Sungjae’s party, technically, because he is on the baseball team, though Sanghyuk isn’t sure what position or even if baseball has positions?

They’d flirted before when they were geology (rocks for jocks) lab partners, but Sungjae wasn’t really Sanghyuk’s type. He was a little too bony. Too many sharp angles. Sanghyuk liked a bit of hip to grip when someone rode him. A bit more fleshy ass to grab and spank.

But Sanghyuk is also four beers in and hasn’t even jacked off in days. Each time he became aroused, he would remember the shame of his cowardice, and his boner would shrivel up in embarrassment.

Sungjae has him up against the wall, his tiny hips swaying vaguely in time with the thick rhythmic bass of the song. It feels nice to be wanted, Sanghyuk admits. It feels nice to have Sungjae’s lips against his throat, shouting over the music, “You’re, like, really hot.”

Sanghyuk wishes Jaehwan would tell him that.

Ah, fuck, c’mon Sanghyuk. Get over it. Jaehwan was never going to last long anyhow. He just wants someone to flog his ass raw, tell him he’s pretty, and then fuck off.

Sanghyuk wishes he could go back to that. Jaehwan’s ass is so pretty post-flogging.

“Sanghyuk?”

Sungjae has stopped moving. He’s staring at Sanghyuk. He must’ve asked something, fuck.

“Uh, yeah.”

“You do?” Sungjae repeats, grin splitting his cheeks.

“I do, what?”

Sungjae laughs behind his palm, but Sanghyuk can see that it wrinkles his eyes and flares his nostrils. He might be kind of cute if Sanghyuk weren’t into softer-cheeked perverts with asses that don’t quit.

“You want to come with me...to the back?” Sungjae repeats, more hesitantly this time.

“Oh,” Sanghyuk breathes as Sungjae’s palm skims up his thigh to settle over his cock. “Yeah.”

Sungjae drags him through the party in a blur of bodies, and Sanghyuk finishes off his fifth beer on the way. His mouth tastes stale.

All the bedrooms are taken in the loft, so Sungjae pulls Sanghyuk into the small half-bathroom. Sanghyuk bitterly ponders why the baseball team players deserve 1.5 bathrooms when most students only get 1, sometimes 1 per 4 students. Alas, school sports funding.

Sungjae’s lips are on Sanghyuk’s now, and they taste like dark rum and soda. Maybe Chilsung? Sanghyuk doesn’t remember the last time he was kissed. Jaehwan didn’t let him anywhere near his lips. And he had such nice lips too. So pretty. So plush. Probably so warm.

Fuck, Sanghyuk, get your head in the game. Is that what they say in baseball?

Sungjae nips gently at Sanghyuk’s bottom lip, and he groans. His cock seems to realize it’s allowed to be hard again.

Sungjae shimmies down Sanghyuk’s body, and Sanghyuk feels the urge to grab his hair and fuck into his mouth. But not everyone wants that, and Sanghyuk isn’t much into actually choking people or gagging them accidentally on his cock.

Sanghyuk barely registers the door slamming open behind them before a voice is slurring, “Excuse me, you have a Scum that belongs to me.”

 

Jaehwan hates the baseball team. They’re all fucking weird, and the only one he can tolerate is Hyunsik because he’s quiet. The rest of them are loud and obnoxious, and Jaehwan doesn’t enjoy any environment where he has to fight to be the center of attention.

Hakyeon is staring at his phone when they get inside. Jaehwan can see that he has a text from his nemesis, and he tries to read it over Hakyeon’s shoulder, but all he can see are the words please and again . Uch, gross. He doesn’t want to think about Taekwoon pleasing anyone again . He probably can’t anyhow.

With his chin up, Jaehwan shoves Hakyeon further into the party and towards the bar. He’s already pretty buzzed from downing around 16 ounces of pure fruity sake in less than five minutes, but he likes to be holding a beer at parties so he has something to do when he’s bored of conversation or just wants to scowl at people judgmentally behind the lip of his cup.

Beer in hand, Jaehwan is already scowling as he watches Hakyeon saunter over to Eunkwang, no doubt to remind the doofy fuck about how great his mouth is. Eunkwang and the other baseball boys are watching and laughing as one of the other players, presumably, leads a victim to the facilities.

It’s the youngest player, some pale knobbly giant whose name escapes Jaehwan at the moment because he only remembers people’s names if they’re important.

Jaehwan shakes his head, feeling sad for the poor sap who is drunkenly following the pointy oaf, before he realizes who the sap is.

Scum .

Jaehwan crushes his beer cup in his shaking fist, the liquid bubbling up to the lip angrily and spilling over his hand, lukewarm and faintly carbonated.

Hakyeon is calling Jaehwan over to join him as he chats with the baseball boys, but Jaehwan waves his voice away and stares in awe after Sanghyuk’s sweat-stained back.

How dare he recover so quickly from Jaehwan’s rejection? And with that--that jocktwat?

Jaehwan bristles and shoves his cup into the hands of a girl passing by. She gapes at him, but he’s moving past her already. He doesn’t have time for this. He doesn’t have time for Hakyeon crowing at him from the kitchen as he teases the school’s least successful sports team.

Aside from their youngest.

Who is, of course, trying to seduce Jaehwan’s... scum .

As if he could. As if.

As…

As if.

Jaehwan feels his legs moving beneath him, but all he can see is Sanghyuk’s back, his sharp shoulder blades shifting beneath his tight white shirt, his broad shoulders.

Fucking scum .

They disappear in the crowd, but Jaehwan trails after them, his hand now sticky from the beer he’d volcanoed over his hand.

Jaehwan watches them duck into the little half-bath, which is appallingly classless, even for the Freshman Scum who fucked him in the English Language Lounge, when neither of them majors in English.

Jaehwan hears Sanghyuk groan somehow over the sound of the music, as if his ears are attuned to listening for his sounds of pleasure, which only fuels Jaehwan’s fury.

He kicks the door open. Clears his throat authoritatively.

“Excuse me, you have a Scum that belongs to me.”

Sungjae doesn’t stop his lip assault on Sanghyuk’s skin, so Jaehwan grabs him by the collar.

“I said excuse me,” Jaehwan declares condescendingly.

Sungjae glances nervously between Jaehwan and Sanghyuk, looking to Sanghyuk to rectify this horrifically awkward situation as Jaehwan remains gripping Sungjae’s shirt collar.

“Um,” Sungjae ventures, eyes wide and foolish.

“Hyung,” Sanghyuk says. So formal. As if he hadn’t humiliated him and made Jaehwan call him hyung in order to cum just weeks earlier. As if he hadn’t tied Jaehwan to his bed, legs spread wide, thighs flushed and slick with sweat, and made Jaehwan watch him stroke himself with no hope of being touched. As if Sanghyuk hadn’t ditched him , Lee Jaehwan, the finest ass on campus (somewhere: Hakyeon, ears twitching, howls in outrage), with some sad excuse of having to urinate mid-sex.

Jaehwan was supposed to hold the power of leaving Sanghyuk. Sanghyuk was supposed to pine after him until he died while spilling agonizingly sorrowful come over his own hand, murmuring Jaehwan’s name like a prayer before his heart stopped.

Was that so much to ask for?

Jaehwan eyes Sanghyuk’s jeans, sees his cock pressing heavy and hard against the zipper. His mouth waters, but he swallows it down bitterly.

“Sanghyuk,” Jaehwan replies noncommittally. “A moment of your time, please.”

He throws Sungjae out of the bathroom and shuts the door behind him, locking it.

“Uh, okay, see you later then!” Sungjae croaks.

Sanghyuk cowers against the wall.

“Hyung, what are you...doing here?” Sanghyuk mutters.

Jaehwan has so many things he wants to say, but all he can manage to do is groan and kick at the small white pedestal sink. The porcelain is hard against his toes, and he hisses.

“Are you okay, hyung?”

“Stop calling me that,” Jaehwan grits out, rubbing at his stinging foot, staring down at the brown-tinged sink drain. The filth helps him concentrate on his anger when all he wants to do is sink to his knees and mouth at Sanghyuk’s cock through his jeans, make Sanghyuk cry out his name again.

“Uh, okay, what should I--”

Jaehwan spins on his heel and grabs Sanghyuk by the hair, tugging him into a kiss.

Sanghyuk parts his lips and gasps into Jaehwan’s open mouth. Their breath welds together, and Jaehwan breathes it in. One part Sanghyuk, one part Jaehwan. It’s bitter like liquor and sweet like mint cookies.

Of course Sanghyuk eats cookies before a party. Jaehwan bites at Sanghyuk’s bottom lip and tugs, letting the skin slip between his teeth achingly slowly.

Sanghyuk moans and grabs Jaehwan by the shoulders, maneuvering him against the wall, and then Jaehwan is off the ground, Sanghyuk holding him up with hands on his hips.

“F-fuck,” Jaehwan says, feeling small, feeling fragile in a way that’s horribly vulnerable. His cock aches with it. “Yes.”

“Yes?” Sanghyuk repeats, breathing hard as he ruts their bodies together up against the wall.

“Oh, fuck ,” Jaehwan replies, tipping his head back against the wall.

“Kiss me again,” Sanghyuk commands, and Jaehwan is helpless to refuse. Sanghyuk’s mouth is so needy, so demanding, and Jaehwan has almost forgotten about Sanghyuk getting hard for someone else. Jaehwan pulls back, panting. “Again.”

Sanghyuk slaps his cheek lightly. Jaehwan moans, his skin stinging and warm. This. This is what he wanted.

“No,” Jaehwan says, grinning peevishly.

Sanghyuk slaps him harder, and Jaehwan mewls, arching against Sanghyuk and pressing their lips together again.

Yes, this is what Jaehwan wanted. His skin is tingling and hot and--

“Uh, hello?” Knuckles rap against the door.

Sanghyuk freezes in his rutting and secures his sweaty hand over Jaehwan’s lips.

“Almost done!” Sanghyuk whines, and Jaehwan giggles behind his palm, tasting sweat on his lips.

“No you’re not,” Jaehwan whispers, leaning in to nip at Sanghyuk’s ear. “I’m not even close to done with you.”















Chapter Text

“So it was stolen.”

Taekwoon was sitting outside the convenience store around the corner from Wonshik’s house when he told him about his first kiss. They lived exactly two neighborhoods away, and their moms played weekly Go Stop together. They were very competitive, those old ladies. Taekwoon remembered when Wonshik’s mother nearly broke down the door of his house to yell at Taekwoon’s mother about owing 200 won.

Taekwoon sprinkled more cheese into his instant noodles and waited for it to melt a bit before stirring. It still congealed, but the red pepper paste made his lips tingle, and the cheese toned it down enough for Taekwoon to eat without thinking of Cha Hakyeon’s lips on his.

“No,” Taekwoon protested, mouth full of spicy, cheesy noodles. His lips still were tingling, so he added more cheese. The concoction was now 60% noodles, 40% cheese. Wonshik stared at him, concerned.

“Do you need to talk to me about something, Taekwoon? You don’t normally go around kissing strangers at historical landmarks,” Wonshik said warily, pulling the plastic baggie of shredded cheese away from Taekwoon when he saw him eyeing it for more. “Are you sick? Is your mom sick? You sister? Is Eun Ji Won sick?”

“No, no, and God I hope not,” Taekwoon replied, grumbling. He whispered a small prayer in his mind to keep Eun Ji Won safe. “I’m fine.”

Wonshik’s brows furrowed, and he scooted his plastic chair closer to Taekwoon’s, leaning in close, inspecting the flush marking Taekwoon’s high cheekbones. “I see through you, Jung Taekwoon. Something is up.”

Taekwoon slurped on more noodles, nearly choking on a balled up tumbleweed of spicy cheese that had gathered while he’d stirred the soup with his chopsticks.

“You like him, don’t you?” Wonshik teased, grin spreading his pale cheeks wide, eyes bright with the joy of blackmail.

“He was...very pretty,” Taekwoon admitted, sighing as he stared at the glop of cheese now floating like a milky iceberg in his ramyun broth.

“Uh huh,” Wonshik pressed, waving his hands in the air, “go on.”

“That’s it. He was pretty. And his lips felt...nice,” Taekwoon murmured, wrinkling his nose as Wonshik snatched his cup and tossed the cheese ball into his mouth. He chewed it thoughtfully.

“Just nice? You’ve been daydreaming like a lovelorn manga heroine for weeks , Taek. C’mon.”

Taekwoon stared up at the sky, feeling the heat laying heavy on his skin. Well, that wasn’t right either. It was inside his skin. It was penetrating, like his epidermis were lined with acupuncture needles coated in the sun’s rays. He’d never met anyone like Cha Hakyeon before. Someone who looked like he’d been dipped like Achilles into the river Styx, except his mother had dangled him over a streaming river of sunlight and let the tides crest over his baby soft skin until he was kissed all over with light.

“He was special,” Taekwoon said, as Wonshik nearly choked on the heavy ball of cheese.

“You didn’t even talk, really. How do you know he was special?” Wonshik muttered around the chipmunk cheek of cheese.

“He was. He just was.”

 

Hakyeon is climbing over Taekwoon on the couch when his phone buzzes with the invite to the baseball party.

[Eunkwang Cap’t of Balls 8:36 pm]: R U COMING TO PRTY? FREE DRNKS IF U DNCE 2 SNSD

Taekwoon is eyeing the vibrating phone with such disdain that Hakyeon is almost certain he hears the vibrations grow meeker in his presence. Hakyeon drops his head to Taekwoon’s shoulder.

“And here I thought we were gonna have time to make out for several hours,” Hakyeon groans.

Taekwoon’s hands snake up under Hakyeon’s sweater, and Hakyeon shivers at the touch of his chilled fingertips. Hakyeon wonders if Taekwoon perhaps needs some circulation therapy, perhaps the kind they give to grandma’s at the spa when they get too old to regulate their temperatures properly.

“Can’t we,” Taekwoon breathes against Hakyeon’s throat. The air seems to shake out of him as he speaks, his voice so gentle it is shocking. “I mean, don’t we?”

Hakyeon wants to laugh, but he also wants to tear Taekwoon’s zipper down with his teeth and watch Taekwoon squirm. And then the other part of him is screaming IS THIS A DATE, CHA HAKYEON? ARE WE ON A DATE? WHERE IS THE NEAREST FIRE ESCAPE?

As if he can sense Hakyeon’s internal conflict, Taekwoon’s grip tightens on Hakyeon’s hips. He pulls Hakyeon down in his lap, and Hakyeon releases a thoroughly aroused sigh.

“This isn’t really what I was expecting when I asked you to come over and talk about the kiss,” Hakyeon admits, subconsciously rolling his hips down.

“You know I am not,” Taekwoon says, the words like soft puffs of air against Hakyeon’s skin, “really a talker.”

Hakyeon feels Taekwoon’s breath like shivers down his spine, whispers wrapping around each knobby bone and sinking deep inside him.

“We should,” Hakyeon tries, his thighs feeling shaky where they’re brushed up against Taekwoon’s firm legs on the couch, “try it anyway.”

“But you smell so good,” Taekwoon whines, fingertips dancing up Hakyeon’s sides and over his ribs, raising goosebumps in their wake. “Like dryer sheets.”

“That’s not really what I try to go for,” Hakyeon says, grimacing.

Taekwoon looks up at him and reaches up to touch Hakyeon’s jaw, tracing the soft curve. “I like it. It’s gentle and clean and warm.”

“Like laundry,” Hakyeon pouts.

Taekwoon hums and moves his fingers to trailing lightly over Hakyeon’s ear. It makes Hakyeon shiver again. He isn’t used to this kind of tenderness. This intimacy. It feels like time is moving slower--is it still 9:30, or have they entered some foreign dimension where time is measured in touches and invisible fingerprints left on skin?

“You need to go,” Hakyeon says suddenly, but Taekwoon’s arms tighten around him.

“I just got here,” Taekwoon mutters. “What about...talking?”

“You got here an hour ago,” Hakyeon replies, feeling that aroused tension skittering over his spine. He wants to guide Taekwoon’s hands to his zipper, help him tear Hakyeon’s clothes from his shivering skin, make his eyes glaze over in that way they did when Hakyeon guided his fingers inside his body last time.

Why couldn’t Hakyeon forget that look in Taekwoon’s eyes? Eyes are all the same. The same way dicks are all the same. Same skin, same blood, same come.

But Taekwoon’s eyes are different. They are softly fierce, feline, focused. They look at Hakyeon as if Hakyeon is the only source of light for miles. As if Hakyeon has swallowed the universe, and Taekwoon is floating in space, lost without Hakyeon to ground him.

Hakyeon groans weakly and nips at Taekwoon’s jaw, at the soft skin beside his ear.

“You make it hard to leave,” he says.

“I’m not doing anything.”

“That’s what you think,” Hakyeon says, pouting. “Why did you call me pretty?”

“Huh?”

Hakyeon pulls back, hands braced on Taekwoon’s shoulders. “Back then. At the palace. That time, you know? Why did you call me pretty?”

Taekwoon’s brows pull together quizzically, and his lips twitch at the corners. Hakyeon can tell he doesn’t feel like divulging any such information, but Hakyeon can be very persuasive.

He shimmies his hips down “accidentally,” adjusting his position in Taekwoon’s lap, as if trying to get more comfortable as he waits for a reply. He runs his tongue over his bottom lip and nips at the chapped skin. He tilts his head, baring the long, tan line of his throat.

“Hm?” he murmurs.

Taekwoon huffs, turning his head away.

Hakyeon pokes at Taekwoon’s beautifully clear white cheek, feeling the skin give under his light touch.

“Because you are,” Taekwoon replies, still facing away, eyes on some unseen target on Hakyeon’s floor. “I mean were. No,” Taekwoon sighs, “you are. Even now. You are. You’re beautiful.”

Hakyeon had not be expecting that. He feels the vines wrapped around his heart tightening, feels the thorns pressing in like little blades, jabbing into each ventricle until Hakyeon can barely breathe from the pain of it.

“Oh,” is all he says by way of reply, quickly clambering off Taekwoon’s lap before his arms can tighten again, keep him still. He backs away.

Taekwoon looks surprised, pale pink lips parting to speak words of protest he’ll never say.

Hakyeon reaches for his coat.

“I should go,” he says. “There’s this party.”

“This is your apartment,” Taekwoon says weakly, throatily.

“You can let yourself out, sorry. I forgot about the, uh, the party. I said I’d make an appearance, and you know they’d obviously miss me if I didn’t show my face.”

“It’s not even 10 pm, Hakyeon. Stay.”

Hakyeon can’t bring himself to look at Taekwoon again. His chest feels like it’s stuffed with cotton balls that have been dipped in rubbing alcohol and set aflame. He feels tight and hot and sweaty and aching. He wants Taekwoon to fuck him. He wants Taekwoon to kiss his nose and tell him again how beautiful he is again. He wants to fall asleep and have Taekwoon there when he wakes, those oddly strong pale arms coiled around him, safe.

“I can’t,” Hakyeon rasps. “I’m sorry.”

He leaves Taekwoon on his couch, lips still parted around the pleas he’ll never utter.

 

Taekwoon is still on Hakyeon’s couch when Wonshik calls him.

“Where are you?”

Taekwoon just sighs.

“Okay, I’m gonna take that as a sign that you are with Hakyeon, so just listen, okay? Hongbin said he’ll let me try to date him, Taek.”

“Try to--?”

Taekwoon stands and begins pacing around Hakyeon’s apartment. It feels strangely familiar. It smells like Hakyeon. Fruity, clean, sweet. Like the candy-scented body sprays he always saw in his sister’s room. Like the candles his mother would light when the power went out. Five or six candles in each room, all a different sweet scent. Strawberry Peach Cotton-candy Cupcake Cobbler Linen in the living room. Creamy Frosting Pudding Pumpkin Coffee Pie Sand in the kitchen. All melding together in an overwhelming sensory overload of light and scent.

That’s how Hakyeon is too.

“Yeah, Taek, he invited me over, and he was literally jerking off to my CD. Like, I was not dreaming this, Taek. He was finger-fucking himself to my mixed tape. I swear to the Gods this really happened. And I got all excited, and we fucked, and he said he wants to date Ravi, I mean me.”

Wonshik sounds as if this literally just occurred, still heaving his breaths and wiping sweat from around his upper lip. Taekwoon wrinkles his nose, grossed out.

“Um,” Taekwoon says, rubbing the back of his neck as he searches for a reply. “That’s nice?”

“Taek, dreams can come true. I mean it. This is a motherfucking dream. Hongbin is the hottest person I’ve ever seen. He’s an angel. He’s a Botticelli painting. He’s Aphrodite but with a beautiful cock. He’s everything, Taekwoon.”

Taekwoon chuckles at the absurdity, but he’s also smiling at how positively gleeful Wonshik sounds. And not just in the post-coital joyful way, but in the way Wonshik always sounds when he produces something he’s utterly proud of.

“I’m happy for you, Wonshik,” he says, spotting an old book on Hakyeon’s desk that looks like a yearbook. He knows he shouldn’t snoop, but Hakyeon left him alone in his apartment, both aroused and confused, so he should be prepared for Taekwoon to take some sort of quiet revenge.

“I’m elated, Taekwoon. I’m in the fucking clouds. I’m above the clouds. I’m in white people Heaven where people wear robes and float with angels and drink from golden fountains. I’m up in the incense-filled afterlife of our ancestors, wherever that is, okay? I’ve left my body and entered pure bliss.”

“I’m not sure about the heaven with robes and fountains, but that’s nice, Wonshik,” Taekwoon replies, letting Wonshik ramble as he leafs through Hakyeon’s rumpled old yearbook, the spine bent and pages stained. It’s from what Taekwoon supposes was Hakyeon’s second year of junior high.

“But, Taek, listen: I think he wants to date Ravi. I mean, like, my badass hiphop persona. He called me a marshmallow prince , whatever that means. What does that mean?” Wonshik sounds like he’s running. Which he might be. Just to release all his energy. Wonshik does that. Taekwoon always feels like sleeping for an eternity after sex. He isn’t sure how Wonshik is still putzing around with so much energy.

“Marshmallow...prince?” Taekwoon repeats, pressing his lips together to keep from laughing. He’s flipping aimlessly through Hakyeon’s yearbook, though he does find Jaehwan pretty quickly. He looks almost identical, though Taekwoon can see now that the rumors of his nose job are 100% accurate. He has always been an attractive kid, clearly, but Taekwoon can sense a confidence in him now that must stem, in part, from finally ridding himself of one of the bases of his insecurity. On his face.

“Yeah, I guess, like, he’s saying I’m soft? I’m squishy? I’m sugary? I mean, does that mean Ravi is like...a steak king? A meat...emperor?”

Taekwoon shakes his head, rubbing between his eyes.

“Anyway, do you think I need to become harder? Tougher? Am I too easy?”

Taekwoon flips forward a few more pages and then finds Hakyeon. His bangs are combed down over his forehead, his eyes dark and dull, his cheeks sallow and paler than usual. He looks pained. Like someone had sat him down for the photo, shot a loved one in front of him, and then requested for him to smile. Taekwoon has never seen Hakyeon look so utterly wretched. The Hakyeon he remembers from his first kiss was clearly a bitter, cynical boy, but he was still bright and energetic. Still lively.

“I think,” Taekwoon starts, just to fill the silence.

“I knew you’d agree with me. I need to toughen up. I need to pull a Grease . Except I’m the blonde chick who buys leather pants and not the guy who joins the track team,” Wonshik cuts in, as Taekwoon knew he would.

“I’m not sure that’s--”

“Thanks for the advice, Taek. I’m gonna go buy leather pants,” Wonshik says, pleased with this new mission.

“I didn’t say--”

“You’re the best, Taekwoon. Hope you’re having fun with Hakyeon. Hi, Hakyeon! Okay, bye!”

Taekwoon heaves a weary sigh as the line goes dead. He is going to have to deal with this eventually, but for now, he’s busy staring at the salutations page in Hakyeon’s yearbook.

There are only a few signatures. Jaehwan, who wrote: HAKYEON, YOU HAVE TO STOP FALLING ASLEEP NAKED IN MY HOUSE. Followed by a few lines of: ANYWAY, I LOVE YOU [a few scribbles] AND YOU HAVE A CUTE BUTT (NOT AS CUTE AS MINE). SEE YOU THIS SUMMER <3 [there’s a crude drawing of what Taekwoon assumes is supposed to be Hakyeon’s butt with some hearts around it].

And then the other signatures are very bland, very basic, very see you in high school or it’s been fun or have a good summer!

Then there’s a note on the last page.

Dear Hakyeon,

Next year will be different. Next year we won’t be dark, ugly, quiet, unlovable. Next year he’ll love us. Next year we won’t have fat around our hips like an old man. Next year we will make them all love us. Next year we will make Mom buy us BB cream or we will steal it from her bathroom. Next year we will be beautiful. Next year we will make sure he never tells us we are too dark, too awkward, too clumsy. No one will ever tell us we’re unlovable again because we will never need their love again.

Suck it up,

Hakyeon

Taekwoon is holding his breath. He releases it, shaking and horrified.

He flips back to Hakyeon’s class page. Hakyeon’s eyes stare back at him, defiant in their misery.

I will never need your love .

Taekwoon slams the yearbook shut.

Time to go crash a baseball party.

 

Hakyeon has his legs splayed out over Eunkwang’s lap on the kitchen counter in the loft. His ears are buzzing faintly with tipsiness and heavy electronic music with very few words. Hakyeon is vaguely aware that he hadn’t shaved before coming to the party, since Taekwoon had been with him. He wonders if Eunkwang will feel the light stubble on his ankles and be repulsed. He wonders if he still smells like nicely-steeped herbal tea--like Taekwoon.

“You need another drink, Hakyeon?” Hyunsik asks, opening the fridge and popping the cap off some light brand of beer.

“Sure,” Hakyeon says, taking the proffered chilled bottle of beer and letting the light condensation along the sides seep into his palm. He hadn’t realized how humid the party was until he touched the cold glass. He hopes his BB cream hasn’t melted off in the heat.

Sungjae comes stumbling over to them, his face flushed and eyes wide with what appears to be genuine fear.

“Um, guys,” he says, hands quivering and fisted in the front of his shirt. “I think I got blue-balled and also experienced aggressive male territorialism?”

Eunkwang leans forward, enraptured. “What?”

Sungjae’s shirt is all wrinkled from his sweaty grip. He waves his hands around, unsure of how to explain. “The kid I was hitting on. Sanghyuk. We were in the bathroom--”

Canoodling ?” Peniel offers.

“Sh,” Minhyuk says, swatting at Peniel. “Let him tell.”

“We were in the bathroom, and then this guy broke in and kicked me out. Said Sanghyuk was his. He was in a rage. It was that--that guy--” he snaps his fingers, trying to remember the name, when he spots Hakyeon. “Oh! Your friend, Hakyeon, the one with the nose job.”

“Jaehwan?” Hakyeon says, shaking his head. “No way! Jaehwan doesn’t fuck freshman. Especially nerds. You must’ve seen wrong.”

Sungjae gesticulates wildly in the air. “No, it was definitely him. He called Sanghyuk his...his pond scum or something. He was crazy, I mean it.”

Hakyeon tosses his head back and roars with laughter. “There’s no way in hell Jaehwan laid claim to a freshman boy, Sungjae, I’m sorry. He has very... specific taste sexually, but he’s not desperate.”

Sungjae purses his lips, put off. “I mean, Sanghyuk isn’t just some nerd. He’s sexy and tall and--”

Hakyeon waves dismissively. “I’m sorry, Sungjae, but I think after all these years I know my best friend well enough to know he isn’t fucking some freshman virgin dork, no matter how sexy you claim him to be.”

Just then, a commotion in the back of the lofts, as the bathroom door swings open and a shirtless Jaehwan is tugging a tall, broad-shouldered boy behind him through the throngs of couples dancing.

“We can go to my apartment, and then I’m gonna fuck your dick so good--”

Hakyeon finds himself sliding off the kitchen counter and standing in front of Jaehwan at the loft doorway.

“Lee Jaehwan, what in the Goddess’s name is going on?”

Jaehwan looks like he’s just run headfirst into a brick wall. Behind him, the tall freshman, who Hakyeon can now safely declare is indeed Han Sanghyuk, is trying to surreptitiously zip up his jeans.

“H-Hakyeon, what’re you--”

“I fucked your nemesis, so now you go and fuck this...this virgin boy at a party I brought you to ? In front of all of my friends?” Hakyeon grits out, gesturing around, though only the baseball boys in the kitchen are watching them. Everyone else is still dancing and can’t hear over the music.

“This,” Jaehwan says, regaining his composure, “has nothing to do with you, Cha Hakyeon, as shocking as that may be to you. This is the boy who gives better head than you,” he adds, pulling Sanghyuk around in front of him. “And we’ve been fucking for months .”

Hakyeon’s eyes narrow. “And you didn’t...you didn’t tell me?”

“You weren’t going to tell me about Taekwoon!” Jaehwan huffs.

“Your nemesis is Taekwoon?” Sanghyuk repeats, incredulous, as if he can’t believe the little choir fluff kitten he’s always seen around could possibly rival Jaehwan enough to be labeled a nemesis. Which is a completely reasonable thought. “Also, why does everyone keep saying I’m a virgin?”

“Taekwoon is vicious and no one believes me!” Jaehwan spits, before remembering his actual argument, wheeling around to Hakyeon. “I can fuck who I want. I don’t need to tell you everything, Your Highness Cha Hakyeon.”

“But you’re supposed to be my best friend,” Hakyeon says, deflating.

“I repeat: Jung Taekwoon.” Jaehwan is puffing his chest out, feigning superiority.

“Taekwoon was a one-time thing, Jae, I swear! You’re my best friend, and you lied to me for...for months?” Hakyeon says, incredulous.

Sanghyuk looks like he had his head stuck out the window of a car on the highway, and he swallowed a lot of bugs.

“Me fucking some random freshman virgin is nothing compared to you fucking my actual nemesis.”

Sanghyuk bristles behind Jaehwan, pulling away. “You can’t call me a virgin if you are also talking about fucking m--”

“It was nothing,” Hakyeon whimpers. “I swear, Jae, Jung Taekwoon means literally absolutely nothing to me. You are my best friend. We fucked once, and it will never happen again, I promise. I mean it: Taekwoon is nothing to me.”

“Um,” Sanghyuk mutters, lifting a hand to point nervously at the door.

Hakyeon spins on his heel, and Taekwoon is standing in the doorway, lips pursed into a tight line that blanches at the seams. His chest is heaving, like he ran all the way here.

This feels like a movie, Hakyeon thinks, like a bad drama, like the kind his mom always watched. Hakyeon is the villain, the bad love interest who leaves everyone on a cliffhanger.

“Fuck,” Hakyeon says, reaching out desperately, trying to undo everything all at once. “Taekwoon, I mean. I didn’t mean. I mean, I just...I…”

Taekwoon doesn’t reply, just backs away from the door, and it swings shut. It’s as if he were never there.

Hakyeon feels the blood draining from his face, pooling in his heart, swelling it, pressing the cardiac muscle against his ribs, until Hakyeon is afraid his heart may pop on some sharp edge of bone.

“Oh God,” Hakyeon says, feeling everything pressing in around him, squeezing on his body.

“Go get him,” Sanghyuk says, as if it’s so simple. Such a virgin answer. “Hakyeon, go get him.”

Jaehwan slaps Sanghyuk’s arm. “Stop, no. Let him go, Hakyeon. Unless you were lying to me.”

Hakyeon turns back to Jaehwan, and Jaehwan can see the glassy dead look in his eyes, the one that consumed Hakyeon for all of junior high after his first boyfriend broke up with him. The one that stole his friend’s spirit for so many years.

Jaehwan rushes forward and grabs Hakyeon, shaking him lightly. “Hakyeon. Hey, hey, Hakyeon, stop. It’s me. Hakyeon, snap out of it.”

Hakyeon lets Jaehwan shake him, feeling the numbness spreading through him. He’d worked so hard to become impervious to this feeling, this rejection, this pain. He could be the villain, and it could be easy. But this hurt so badly. So so badly.

“Hakyeon, please. Please, Hakyeon,” Jaehwan pleads, cupping Hakyeon’s cheeks, squeezing, pressing, pinching.

“Go get him, Hakyeon,” Sanghyuk repeats, sounding nervous as he watches Jaehwan holding Hakyeon up. Hakyeon feels so small like this, like a doll, delicate and frozen.

“Hakyeon, what’s--”

“I like him, Jae,” Hakyeon moans, eyes sliding over to the doorway as it all comes together. “Oh, God, I like him so much.”

“What?” Jaehwan scoffs. “No, Hakyeon. No you don’t. What’s this about?”

Hakyeon wriggles in Jaehwan’s hold, fighting against the consuming numbness. “I like him. I like Taekwoon, Jae. I want him to like me. I want him.”

He pushes away from Jaehwan and steps towards the door. “I’m...I’m going to tell him.”

Jaehwan looks baffled, but Sanghyuk grabs his waistband and holds him in place.

“Go,” Sanghyuk says. “I’ve got him.”

Hakyeon decides he likes this virgin boy.

 

Taekwoon is halfway across campus, face frozen in the wind, nose stinging more with each bitter breeze that passes through him.

Hakyeon’s voice rings through his skull torturously.

He tries to think of something else. Something pleasant. Like babies. Or dogs. Baby dogs.

But then he sees Hakyeon again in his brain, the Hakyeon from earlier who had tenderly kissed his skin and told him he remembered their kiss, and then the prissy, uptight party boy Hakyeon who had declared in front of everyone that Taekwoon was a one-night stand worth nothing.

He rubs at his eyes, and is alarmed to find wetness on his fingers.

Ah, fuck.

Perhaps he should have expected this. All the signs pointed to how changed Hakyeon had become over the years. The shocked, elated look on fourteen-year-old Hakyeon’s face when Taekwoon called him pretty was a fluke. He had trained himself not to expect anything from anyone. He covered his natural skin with makeup far too pale for him, and he hid his frame beneath giant sweaters like a shell. He was walled away from Taekwoon with so many layers of protection.

Taekwoon should have expected Hakyeon’s rejection. The way Hakyeon pulled away from him earlier after sensing the intimacy of Taekwoon’s words...it all added up, but Taekwoon was blinded by the memory of how sweet Hakyeon’s lips tasted.

Taekwoon hears someone yelling behind him. The wind swallows the sound in its current.

But then: “Taekwoon! Fuck, you move fast! Taekwoon!”

Taekwoon freezes, and the wind surrounds him like a cyclone of ice. He huddles deep in his coat and waits.

“Taekwoon,” Hakyeon says, out of breath, coatless, hair rustled and spiky from the wind.

“What?” Taekwoon says, trying not to sound hopeful at all. “Come to remind me how little I mean to you? Or are there not enough people around? Shall I call some friends?”

Hakyeon rubs his face in his hands, his whole body quaking from the cold. His shirt whips around his tiny frame, baring slivers of tan skin under the bright yellow street lights. Hakyeon glows like supermarket fruit in the produce aisle, glistening with chemical sprays.

“I don’t know why I said those things,” he says. “They were all lies. You must know that, right? From my reputation, you have to know that I don’t seek out my hookups after we’re done, right? I mean, multiple times, Taekwoon, I wanted to see you. I asked you to fix my leaky ceiling. You think I would have asked Professor Mun to fix my leaky ceiling if we had fucked? I mean, I would probably be dead, either because he fucked me to death or because they kicked me out of school and my mom had slapped me so hard with a slipper that I instantaneously died, but you know what I mean, right?”

Taekwoon does not know. He doesn’t know what Hakyeon means at all.

“I,” Hakyeon stammers, his teeth chattering loudly. He looks like he doesn’t feel the cold at all, but his body is reacting to it. He looks like he may freeze over completely into a block of ice in front of Taekwoon. But he continues, “I like you, Taekwoon.”

“You like what?” the wind is loud in Taekwoon’s ears, and he’s sure he’s gone mad. Is this Hakyeon an apparition? Surely the Hakyeon Taekwoon knows would never leave a party, expose himself to the elements, and stand in front of Taekwoon on the sidewalk in the middle of campus to declare his feelings.

Surely not.

“I like you,” Hakyeon repeats, holding down the hem of his shirt as a particularly frigid gust of wind blows through them. His teeth are chattering so loudly, and his body is shuddering so violently.

“W-we should go inside. Go home, Hakyeon,” Taekwoon says. “It’s fucking freezing.”

“No,” Hakyeon says stubbornly. He steps closer, directly under a street lamp, and Taekwoon can see the hint of purplish red highlight in Hakyeon’s hair. “I’m not going anywhere unless you’re with me.”

“You’re drunk.”

“I had one beer,” Hakyeon says, petulant, stepping closer again. Taekwoon wants to back away. Hakyeon is a beautiful spectre, the loveliest shadow Taekwoon’s mind has ever conjured. “I’m coming home with you.”

“What do you want from me? I mean, really.”

Hakyeon reaches Taekwoon on the sidewalk, and Taekwoon sees all the goosebumps on Hakyeon’s pretty tan skin. He’s pretty sure ghosts and apparitions don’t get goosebumps, but he can’t be sure.

Hakyeon grabs the front of Taekwoon’s coat and yanks. Taekwoon stumbles forward, and Hakyeon fists his hands into Taekwoon’s hair. “I want you.”

Taekwoon remembers vaguely how chilled Hakyeon’s lips felt all those years ago, wet from the spring rain. He remembers how unsure and unskilled Hakyeon’s kiss was, but how lovely it had felt regardless. This kiss is similar.

Hakyeon’s lips are chapped and shivering wildly, but he presses them tightly to Taekwoon’s. Taekwoon feels like he can sense Hakyeon’s thrumming heartbeat in his mouth. It’s beating as wildly as his shivers.

“Take me home, Taekwoon, please,” Hakyeon says, lips shaking against Taekwoon’s as he pulls back slightly.

Taekwoon nods wordlessly, stepping away to start towards his apartment, and it is all happening damn quickly, but Taekwoon doesn’t know if he should question it when the boy he’s dreamed of since junior high is declaring his affection in the middle of campus during some kind of winter cyclone.

“My legs are icicles,” Hakyeon admits after a moment, as Taekwoon starts walking.

Taekwoon chokes out a laugh and moves to squat down in front of Hakyeon.

Hakyeon’s brows knit together. “What? No.”

“Get on, Hakyeon.”

“Nuh uh. No way. I’m not a child.”

Taekwoon stays squatting, back facing Hakyeon, and just from his posture, Hakyeon can tell he’s impatient.

“Get on.”

Hakyeon watches his breath float up to the sky in a cloud. He reaches his arms around Taekwoon’s neck.

Taekwoon lifts him up easily, starting to walk without saying anything. No comment on Hakyeon’s weight or how weak and useless he is. Taekwoon’s hands are warm through Hakyeon’s jeans where they’re holding him up. His back is strong and Hakyeon hates that his chest feels tight at the thought of how delicate he feels like this.

“Say it again,” Taekwoon murmurs as he treks down the sidewalk, his stocky brick apartment building at the end of the lane.

“Say i--? Oh.” Hakyeon flushes and drops his head to Taekwoon’s neck. “I like you?”

His words are hot breath against Taekwoon’s neck. Taekwoon shivers.

They don’t say anything as Taekwoon swipes his keycard to enter his building. Taekwoon doesn’t set him down even as he climbs the two flights of stairs to his apartment. Hakyeon feels a little like luggage on a pack mule. Taekwoon types in his passcode and carries Hakyeon inside.

“Once you put me down, I’m going to kiss you,” Hakyeon warns, forearms wrapped around Taekwoon’s throat.

Taekwoon’s hands grip Hakyeon’s thighs tighter where he holds him up on his back.

“I’m not going to stop,” Hakyeon adds.

Taekwoon swallows thickly, the sound audible. He releases Hakyeon’s thighs, and Hakyeon’s feet drop to the floor. He shucks his shoes off quickly and steps around Taekwoon. He touches his frozen fingers to Taekwoon’s jaw and pulls him down into a kiss.

Taekwoon kisses back as he slips his own sneakers off without breaking the kiss, leaving both pairs of shoes in the middle of the entryway.

He ushers Hakyeon back into his room, and Hakyeon tugs at Taekwoon’s coat, letting it slip to the floor along the way.

Hakyeon sheds his shirt, grasping for Taekwoon’s too, making a needy, irritated sound when the material catches on Taekwoon’s chin. Hakyeon’s skin is bitterly cold against Taekwoon’s as he presses their bodies together eagerly, licking into Taekwoon’s mouth as he promised he would.

The back of Taekwoon’s knees hit the edge of his mattress, and he tips back, landing softly, before Hakyeon climbs up over him.

“God, I want you so badly,” Hakyeon groans, his hands shaking as they try to undo the button of Taekwoon’s jeans. His fingers are bright red, still recovering from being bared in the cold.

Taekwoon watches him struggle for a moment, amused and aroused all at once, before he reaches down and unbuttons and unzips his jeans.

Hakyeon breathes out a moan gratefully, tugging Taekwoon’s jeans and boxers down all at once. “I want you so, so badly. Can you tell? I feel very obvious. I feel stupid. And young. I feel...I don’t know what I feel.”

Taekwoon brushes a hand into Hakyeon’s hair as Hakyeon leans down and flicks his tongue up the length of Taekwoon’s half-hard cock. Taekwoon releases a shaky breath. Hakyeon’s lips are cold, but the inside of his mouth is sweltering, burning, fucking amazing.

“If you keep doing this,” Taekwoon groans, eyes trained on the obscene stretch of Hakyeon’s lips around his cock as he takes as much of it inside his throat as he can, “I’ll never make it to the...fucking you part.”

Hakyeon flicks his tongue over the head, gaze hazy with want. “Can I tell you what I want?”

Taekwoon is almost afraid to ask, but he nods.

“I want you to tie me to your bed,” Hakyeon says, almost casually. “I want you to tie my wrists to your bedposts, and I want you to fuck me until I can’t move. Because I don’t feel like being bossy today.”

Taekwoon isn’t sure, but he swears he starts drooling, just dribbling onto his chin. He wipes at his lips nervously and clambers without thinking to the edge of the bed, seeking, seeking, fingers brushing abandoned clothing on the floor in the dark.

He grabs a thick wool scarf that he’d left in a pile that he’d meant to put on before he rushed out after Hakyeon earlier. Hakyeon offers his wrists, clearly unfazed, even as Taekwoon messily attempts to create a series of knots to bind his hands together.

Taekwoon maneuvers Hakyeon up in the middle of the bed, arms over his head, wrists bound in a makeshift handcuff system with the scarf. He rips Hakyeon’s belt from the loops and wraps it around the post running across the headboard of his bed and makes a loop around the scarf.

Hakyeon tugs, testing the strength of the belt, and he smiles, pleased with how sturdy it is, considering how honestly janky the system is. Well, it’s bondage for beginners, he supposes.

Taekwoon takes his time undressing Hakyeon, savoring each new inch of light brown skin as it rises up to meet his hands. Hakyeon arches under Taekwoon’s palms when he glides them over his bare ribs. He whines deep in his throat when Taekwoon kisses up the length of his long, toned legs, feeling the soft stubble of recent shaving under his lips. Hakyeon flushes, as if sensing exactly when Taekwoon becomes aware of his missed shaving spots, but Taekwoon shushes those thoughts by tucking Hakyeon’s knees up to his chest and spreading him open.

Hakyeon’s wrists grow tingly, but not painfully so. He knows the difference between nerve damage and pleasant tingles.

“Hurry,” Hakyeon groans, kicking at Taekwoon’s shoulder as Taekwoon touches his tongue to Hakyeon’s bare skin.

Taekwoon lifts his gaze, challenging. “You said you weren’t feeling bossy.”

Hakyeon stares back, just as strongly.

“You’re the one tied up,” Taekwoon reminds him.

Hakyeon ponders this almost glumly as Taekwoon takes his time opening Hakyeon up, readying him with his tongue, his fingers, the meager drops from a sample of peach lube that came with his box of condoms. It doesn’t really taste peachy. It mostly tastes like lube, but the scent is nice, and it makes Taekwoon want to take bites at Hakyeon’s skin that cause him to moan lewdly.

“Will you hurry up if I tell you how close I am to coming? If I tell you that I’m so fucking turned on right now that I think I might explode? Please, Taekwoon, please,” Hakyeon whimpers, kicking weakly with shaking legs, tugging at the restraints. “I wanted you to take me apart like this, and that’s why I asked you to tie me up, but now I remember why I hate being tied up. I’m going to lose it, and you’re just going to keep taking your sweet ass time--Good God, Taekwoon, please fuck me now, or I’ll die.”

Taekwoon lifts his head from where he’d been nipping at Hakyeon’s inner thigh as his fingers spread Hakyeon open wider.

“You’re so dramatic,” he says, and his tone is all endearment.

“Fuck me, or I’ll fucking die,” Hakyeon repeats, deadpan.

Taekwoon rolls his eyes, even though his heart is pounding like mad, his pulse like waves of noise every second as he wraps Hakyeon’s legs around his waist.

“Yes, yes, like that, okay, now, now, please,” Hakyeon mumbles, clearly out of his mind, which makes Taekwoon even more fucking turned on.

He wants to tease Hakyeon more, wants to make Hakyeon babble himself crazy for hours until Hakyeon can’t say anything at all, can only cling weakly to Taekwoon as their bodies rock together.

But Taekwoon is only human.

So he fucks into Hakyeon’s body in one smooth motion, his hands gripping Hakyeon’s hips, pulling their bodies tightly together.

Hakyeon arches up, arms dangling uselessly, lips parting on a choked moan.

Taekwoon wants to go slowly, wants to savor this more, but again...only human.

So he ruts into Hakyeon almost mindlessly, feeling the tightness around his cock, the slickness of sweat under his palms, the soft give of Hakyeon’s narrow hips. Hakyeon keeps releasing a slur of curses, praises, high needy noises, and Taekwoon lets them weave around him and seep into his skin.

Hakyeon tightens his legs around Taekwoon’s waist, his ankles digging into Taekwoon’s ass, urging him deeper. “I’m going to come,” he breathes, eyes trained intensely on Taekwoon’s.

“Come then,” Taekwoon replies weakly, his back aching and thighs shaking and release imminent as time stills around them. It’s only Hakyeon, just like it’s always been only Hakyeon.  

“Make me,” Hakyeon begs, his cock hard and leaking precome against his tanned, flat stomach.

Taekwoon grips Hakyeon’s cock and thumbs the head in smooth, gentle circles, and Hakyeon shatters beneath him.

His legs tighten and then begin shuddering, the muscles contracting, his ankles digging in deeper and deeper, his head thrown back as he shouts, starting off more softly and then crescendoing in an echoing yelp that fills Taekwoon’s bedroom. His come spills over Taekwoon’s hand, and Taekwoon keeps loosely stroking his cock as it softens, just to feel the soft skin in his hand, to feel Hakyeon’s body tightening around him from the inside, to hear Hakyeon shouting stop, it’s too much, fuck, Taekwoon, oh God--

Until Taekwoon buries himself in deep and comes to the weak, pleading sounds coming from Hakyeon’s throat.

So sweet and broken and lovely and his .

 

Hakyeon blinks weakly as Taekwoon unties his wrists and massages the lines the scarf had somehow dug into his skin with all the useless tugging against them. Hakyeon can almost see the weaved pattern knit purl knit knit purl in his skin. It’s kind of pretty. He wonders what it would look like on his thighs, his ankles.

“Hey,” Taekwoon says when he notices Hakyeon watching him intently.

“Hey,” Hakyeon replies, voice a meager rumble.

“You good?”

Hakyeon laughs, just hacking air in amusement. “I’m fantastic. And you?”

“Never better,” Taekwoon says, lips quirking into a wicked smile. “So you like me then?”

Hakyeon averts his gaze, embarrassed for a moment, before he looks back at Taekwoon. “Yeah, I guess so.”

Taekwoon touches a clammy hand to Hakyeon’s cheek. “Do you ask everyone you like to tie you up?”

Hakyeon smirks. “You should hear what I ask people to do to me when I hate them.”

“I’d rather not. How about people who ask you to date them?”

Hakyeon inhales sharply.

“I guess we can figure out something new. I’ve always wanted to try suspension.”




















Chapter Text

Wonshik can tell Taekwoon is exasperatingly bored. He has that look on his face that transcends boredom and enters the realm of sociopathic emotionlessness. He’s sitting on the little white plastic bench outside the dressing room, Wonshik’s discarded clothing items strewn across his lap.

“Okay, but how are these?” Wonshik asks, stepping out of the brightly lit all-white cube of mirrors.

Taekwoon’s eyes are violent slits.

“I could be in my bed right now. With Hakyeon,” he replies.

“You’ve been in bed with Hakyeon all week,” Wonshik whines, twirling for Taekwoon. “Just tell me how the pants are.”

“They’re...tight,” Taekwoon offers. He looks as though he’s trying to give an opinion without having to actually slide his gaze onto Wonshik’s body. He gives the briefest of glances. “For God’s sake, Wonshik, I can see the clear outline of your fucking scrotum.”

Wonshik looks back at the mirror in the dressing room behind him. “I know, right? I feel so Rolling Stone .”

“Is it Rolling Stone to expose your knobbly bits in public?” Taekwoon groans, covering his face.

“Obviously! I’m doing really well at being more aloof. You know, Hongbin doesn’t want a sappy marshmallow. He wants a hot hip hop star with all-black clothes and no funny business. Hongbin wants Ravi, the edgy seductive one. So I’ve gotta be edgy and seductive. Show a little bit of scrote you know.”

“Please don’t abbreviate scrotum to make it seem trendy and sexy,” Taekwoon groans again, just as his phone rings. “Oh, oh, fuck, thank God, Hakyeon. No, I’m still out with--oh, no, no that’s fine. That’s fine, totally. I mean, we’ll be back soon, but if you are heading out...yeah, no, I’m sorry. I’ll see you later.”

When Taekwoon hangs up, Wonshik feels Taekwoon’s murderous glare slowly shearing all the skin from his body as if with a purposefully dull blade, dragging the rusty serrated edges against Wonshik’s muscle just to hear him scream.

“I’m guessing Hakyeon is no longer patiently waiting for you back at your place,” Wonshik ventures, quickly shutting the dressing room door behind him and shucking off the leather pants. It is much more difficult to slip them off when Wonshik is perspiring nervously in the safety of the little mirrored cubicle. The leather becomes trapped at his ankles, and he hobbles around, slamming into the four walls protecting him from Taekwoon’s vengeance him until he hears a soft tearing noise.

“Ah, fuck me.”

 

With a bag of accidentally-torn-and-therefore-forcibly-purchased goods in hand, Wonshik assuages Taekwoon’s rage with an extra large banana milkshake and a baggie of steamy pork buns.

Taekwoon is fiddling with the volume knobs in Wonshik’s car when he asks, “Is Hongbin worth all this?”

Wonshik listens as the old Destiny’s Child album that had gotten lodged in his stereo system back in 2009 starts playing faintly in the background. “Of course he is. He’s an angel. He’s a work of art.”

“Uh huh, but do you like him? I mean, as a person? Do you even know anything about him?” Taekwoon sips daintily at his milkshake, lips pursed tightly around the pale yellow straw.

“Sure I like him. Being around him fills my belly with insects. What’s the phrase? Uh, moths? You know what I mean. We have a chemistry. A spark. I’ve never felt anything like it.”

Taekwoon grips the dashboard as Wonshik’s depressingly old car careens back onto campus. “A spark isn’t everything. And what about Chansik?”

Wonshik hates to admit that he’d honestly forgotten about Chansik. “Uh, I guess they broke up? Hongbin hasn’t mentioned him. I’ve been following Hongbin around all week--”

“Doting on him--”

Assisting him, and I’ve not once seen or heard about Chansik,” Wonshik finishes, ignoring Taekwoon’s remark. “And, look, I’ve been doing a good job so far of being Ravi. Er, Ravi-esque. I’m not doting on him, I swear. I’m doing some things for him, but I’m being very suave. Very charming and aloof. And no Chansik sightings. I have, however, seen a lot of Hongbin’s derriere, and that is reason enough to not complain.”  Wonshik leans closer to Taekwoon, eyes still awkwardly on the road. “It’s magnificent .”

Taekwoon huffs a sigh and shakes his head, sipping his milkshake silently the rest of the ride.

 

Hongbin hates him. He hates Ravi. He’s so sullen and moody and not nearly as obsessed with Hongbin as he should be. At least outwardly.

Wonshik shows up at Hongbin’s place at 6 with a bag of groceries and a pair of pleather pants so tight that Hongbin thinks he could sketch Wonshik’s shaft and ball sac by memory after seeing him in them.

“Brought the stuff,” Wonshik says, bypassing Hongbin at the door and heading into Hongbin and Sanghyuk’s little light wood and linoleum kitchen.

Hongbin narrows his eyes and follows Wonshik, putting more oomph in his step, pushing his sweatpants down lower on his hip bones, exposing the little strip of pale skin at his navel, the little trail of hair leading down to his cock.

“What are you making?” Hongbin asks, leaning over the island countertop to watch Wonshik unload the brown paper bag. He tries to lean enough to flash some collarbone, and maybe a little nip.

“Surprise,” Wonshik says, not looking up at Hongbin at all.

Hongbin hates this. Wonshik was practically worshipping at his altar before, and what? Now he’s “Ravi” and barely spares Hongbin a glance except when they’re fucking. Which, he means, is what Hongbin wanted, right? He wanted no strings attached--cold hard fucking.

After a moment of watching Wonshik silently chop carrots, Hongbin rips his shirt over his head and brazenly climbs onto the island countertop towards Wonshik.

Wonshik glances up, blinks slowly, glances back down at the carrots. “Careful, you’ll knock over the potatoes.”

“Fuck the potatoes,” Hongbin growls, swatting the netted orange bag of tubers onto the tile floor. He grabs Wonshik by the shirt collar and yanks him into a kiss.

Wonshik drops the knife onto the cutting board and sighs into Hongbin’s mouth.  

“Tell me I’m pretty,” Hongbin moans against Wonshik’s lips.

“You know you’re pretty,” is Wonshik’s reply.

“But tell me anyhow,” Hongbin says, clambering to sit in front of Wonshik on the counter, thighs spread around Wonshik’s waist, ready for him, ready for the praise and the touches. “Tell me how badly you wanna fuck me.”

Wonshik pulls back and nips down Hongbin’s throat, voice a hoarse murmur of hot breath on Hongbin’s skin. “I wanna fuck you so badly.”

Hongbin grins, but something still doesn’t feel right. The answers are correct, but the questions were--perhaps--incorrect?

“Uh, thanks. Good,” Hongbin says, pushing Wonshik away and sliding off the countertop. “I’m gonna shower. You just, uh, finish making the food.”

Wonshik looks flustered, which Hongbin enjoys, though not as much as he would have expected, as he walks to his bathroom.

 

Hongbin turns on the shower and lets the fog fill the bathroom as he perches on top of the toilet seat.

What the fuck was the matter with him? He got the hot dark side of the boy who clearly liked him, he got constant, enjoyably deviant sex, and he got a boy who silently obeys his commands.

He stands and opens the medicine cabinet, looking to sort the lines of bottles and tubes and tubs lining the metal shelves, just to calm his nerves. He spots the bleach and dye that Chansik once brought over to try to convince Hongbin to cosplay one of the girls from Final Fantasy.

He reaches for the box.

He only needs forty minutes. Then he will make Ravi crack.

 

Wonshik looks down at his watch, a big shiny metal piece that’s heavy on his wrist. He honestly kind of hates it, but his sister says it looks very urban and hip, which makes Wonshik urban and hip.

It’s been about thirty-five minutes, and Wonshik would never deign to question Hongbin’s ecological policies, but that’s a damn long shower. His mom gave him fifteen minutes max, and then his sister would barge into the bathroom and unleash a full bucket of bouncy balls over the top of the shower door, barraging Wonshik’s naked body with colorful rubber and screaming save some for the fishes.

He’s stirring a pot of samgyetang when he hears the bathroom door opening finally. And then Hongbin’s bedroom door squeaks open as well. Well at least Wonshik knows he didn’t pass out in there or get sucked down the drain like a wad of hair.

He turns back to the pot when he hears bare-footed steps on the hardwood. He doesn’t want to seem like he was expecting Hongbin, waiting for him. That’s too needy, too marshmallow.

He only needs this soup. The smell of ginseng and warm chicken broth. He only need this wooden spoon. This oven mitt.

“Is it ready yet?” Hongbin’s voice rings clear and bright behind Wonshik, startling him as he stirs, causing the soup to splash up onto his hand.

“Mm,” Wonshik replies, nursing a burned finger against his lips.

“Can I taste?”

Suddenly Hongbin is all up in Wonshik’s space, and even though the soup is steaming, piping hot in the air, Wonshik can still feel Hongbin’s heat near him. Wonshik looks up, Ravi mask in place, and oh.

Oh fuck .

Hongbin has on these impossibly tight light jeans and just a loose soft-looking white t-shirt, and his hair is still wet and curling at the ends, and it’s fucking pink . It’s like a pale cloudy pastel pink cloud has settled on top of Hongbin’s head. It’s so fucking cute. It’s so cute and so un-Hongbin that Wonshik doesn’t know what to do.

So he just grabs Hongbin around the hips and hoists him up onto the kitchen counter, slamming him back against the cabinets. Hongbin looks down at him, wide doe eyes and innocent pouty lips, cheekbones barely grazed by the fluffy strands of pink cotton curls.

Ravi wants to destroy him. Wonshik wants to pet his pretty face and tell him he’s safe. Ravi wants to tear the denim around Hongbin’s crotch to shreds and take him just like that. Wonshik wants to draw Hongbin a pastel pink bubble bath smelling of roses or vanilla and soak in the hot scented sudsy water together. Ravi wants to cover Hongbin’s nose and mouth with his hands so tightly that he can barely breathe and faintly scream as he’s fucked. Wonshik wants to serve him the soup and then bake him a pastel colored cake decorated like a unicorn.

Won-vi backs up from the counter and Hongbin and grips his hair in his hands and shrieks, the broken sound of a baby bird plummeting to the ground that does not attempt to flap its wings.

Hongbin stares at him, clearly unsure whether to be amused or alarmed. His lips twitch at the corners, but his gaze is sharp and concerned.

“You...okay?”

Wonshik ruffles his hair in frustration and stalks around the kitchen, knowing Hongbin is watching him intently the entire time.

“You’re fucking… cute ,” Wonshik grouses, leering at Hongbin up against the cabinets.

“Why is that a problem?” Hongbin asks, one corner of his lips lifting up, popping the single dimple into his right cheek.

“Because I’m trying,” Wonshik grumbles like a child whose birthday candles were extinguished by a strong breeze off the petting zoo, “to be Rico Suave.”

“I don’t understand,” Hongbin says, understanding everything.

“I don’t understand,” Wonshik says, not understanding anything.

“Is this like when the man in Grease tries to join the sports teams to be preppy enough for the blonde girl?”

Hongbin barks a distorted laugh and lets his head fall back against the cabinets, his perfect straight nose tipped up to the ceiling. “This is going to be a challenge, I guess.”

Wonshik thinks, Ah, Hongbin is challenging him. This is a test: of course it is! Hongbin wants to know that Wonshik will remain Ravi even in the face of bright pastel cotton candy pink!Bean. Wonshik feels strength rising in his bosom. This is a challenge even he, Kim Wonshik, can triumph over.

He steps in front of Hongbin, grabs him by the fluffy pink fringe, and yanks him down hard into a kiss.

“I will not be thwarted by this spell of enchantment you have attempted to cast over me, you rainbow forest nymph,” Wonshik growls, nipping at Hongbin’s lips.

Hongbin’s brows lift up under his bangs. “Uh, wha--”

“Now strip and turn around.”

 

Hongbin is disappointed when, post amazing fuck, they both come to realize that the rice Wonshik put in the rice cooker has crusted to the bottom and burned.

“It’s fine,” Hongbin says, “we can still eat.”

Wonshik looks as if he wants to let his features shift into a puppy pout, but he’s fighting it.

Instead, he shakes his head and tosses all the soup into the sink, the pot clattering loudly against the metal sink basin. Hot soup sloshes all over. Wonshik’s eyes widen in alarm, but he turns away. “I gotta go anyhow.”

Hongbin watches little chicken bones lodging themselves into his drain. “What the fuck? I was gonna eat that.”

“It isn’t even good.”

“We didn’t even need rice.”

Everything needs rice.”

“You should go.”

“I was planning on it.”

Hongbin is picking shreds of chicken from the basin of his sink when Sanghyuk comes home.

“Whoa, pink Bean! I dig it,” Sanghyuk cries, ruffling the fuzzy curls at the back of Hongbin’s neck.

“Hyukkie, I need your help,” Hongbin chirps, snapping off his bright yellow dish gloves and laying them flat along the side of the sink. “I need reconnaissance.”

“Oh, reconnaissance, that’s thrilling and seedy.” His features crumple. “ Wait , did you play without me? I told you I was waiting to level up for the mega-shield I saw online and--”

“No, you fucking dorkburger, for once in our lives I’m talking real reconnaissance. A real mission,” Hongbin hisses, shaking Sanghyuk by the shoulders like he needed to fetch the smelling salts. “I need to crack Kim Wonshik.”

Sanghyuk wrinkles his nose, displeased with this mission. “Have you tried, uh, talking to him?” Sanghyuk offers. “Maybe telling him that you want him to be less…”

“Hip pop? No. Then he wins,” Hongbin scoffs. “I have to always be right. He has to change to fit my needs on his own.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. He can’t read your mind, hyung.”

“He should at least try .”

“Is this why you went 90’s girl group pink? Because you want to look so sweet and innocent that he’ll crack and stalk and spoil you again?”

“Brilliant, right?” Hongbin knows. It was a genius plan. And it would’ve worked, too, if he and Wonshik hadn’t already established an amazing sexual rapport that distracted them from making any progress.

“So, what? You want me to go undercover? Figure out how to get Wonshik to surrender?” Sanghyuk asks, half incredulous, half pleased that Hongbin trusts him to perform such a seemingly important task.

“Undercover, yes!”

“You want me to talk to his friends?” Sanghyuk asks, typing notes into his phone.

“Friends, yes!” Hongbin raises his arms to the heavens.

“You want me to talk to his enemies?”

“Enemies, yes!” Hongbin’s arms wave to the rhythm of his excitement.

“You want me to talk to Wonshik?”

“Talk, yes!” Hongbin bellows.

“Communicate with my persuasive mind?”

“Uh, sure!” Hongbin’s arms drop, and he shrugs.

“My persuasive body --” Sanghyuk strokes his palms down his chest and undulates.

Hongbin grabs Sanghyuk by the shirt collar and leans in like a feral animal. “You do anything to Wonshik with that filthy body , and I’ll dismember it piece by piece, starting with your littlest toes and working my way up, you hear me?”

Sanghyuk types in: do not use body--will loose toes (he goes back, retypes: lose toes )

He nods, understanding.

Hongbin lifts onto his toes and pats the top of Sanghyuk’s head like a lap dog. “Good boy.”

Sanghyuk looks as if he wants to protest the nickname, but he also looks as if he’s glowing with pride.

 

Wonshik wants to call Hongbin. He wants to ask what he did wrong. He wants to ask if Hongbin is mad that Wonshik called him cute. He obviously meant sexy. Beautiful. Stunning.

But those lips. Those eyes. Those gently sloping ears like cream-colored porcelain teacups.

He really was adorable.

Sometimes.

Other times he made Wonshik absolutely furious. Like when he would rub at Wonshik’s stubble and stop their kisses until Wonshik returned fully shaved. Or when he would pinch Wonshik’s cheek during oral to urge Wonshik to work harder. Or when he would make Wonshik listen to Park Hyo Shin albums while they fucked, his luxurious man ballads filling Wonshik with a masculine, aching, single-tear sorrow with each thrust in time with the slow beat.

But even then. Even then, Wonshik adored Hongbin. These traits were what made Hongbin Hongbin.

Wonshik is sitting in the old radio room again, spinning the wrinkled leather chair around and around, focussing on an old band bumper sticker on the wall. He sighs.

There’s a knock at the door. As the radio room is now abandoned on campus, with only Wonshik ever visiting its four musty walls, Wonshik knows whoever is at that door is either dead or murderous.

Wonshik is prepared to die.

The door opens. Wonshik readies himself for the sweet release of death, meeting his old poodle again in heaven.

“Uh, are you busy?” Sanghyuk asks, peering into the dimly lit room.

Wonshik plants his feet, stops the chair’s spins. “Oh, no, hey.”

Sanghyuk strides in and glances around like someone in an expensive furniture store, wanting to appraise and appreciate each thing inside but afraid to break or buy anything.

“I hope you aren’t busy,” Sanghyuk says, finally taking a seat on the ripped and rumpled maroon fabric couch. It creaks under his weight, having not been sat upon in months, especially not by such a giant.

Wonshik gestures around the dark, empty room. “As you see.”

“Sorry, yeah.” Sanghyuk rubs the back of his neck.

“Did Hongbin send you?”

Sanghyuk’s cheeks go red, and he shakes his head frantically. “What? No. I came here because I wanted to see if you were making any, uh, new music?”

Wonshik knows he should be suspicious. No one gives a flying fuck if he’s making new music. But Sanghyuk looks so innocent, so virginal, so pure--

“I am, actually,” Wonshik replies, grinning like a damn fool and spinning around to the old desktop computer, jiggling the mouse to bring the screen back on and clicking on a short sound byte. It’s a high, reedy sounding backbeat. “I’ve been working on a few, but none of them sounded any good until recently. I think I was too ecstatic when Hongbin asked me to go out, and my music became sort of childish and out of character, and I’ve got this one where I take bits from old nursery songs and--”

Sanghyuk blinks at him slowly.

“And then there was this one where I just chanted his name over and over in a low tone voice and then rapped over it. And another where I used that goddamn Park Hyo Shin’s songs to make a comment on the toxic masculine way we show affection and--”

Sanghyuk clears his throat and shifts in his seat.

“What?”

“You really like him, don’t you?” Sanghyuk looks vaguely embarrassed.

Wonshik pauses the clip. “What? I mean, yeah. I mean, in a sex way. In a sexy way. Only in that,” he says, eyes wide and panicky, “uh, way.”

Sanghyuk rolls his eyes. “Hyung. Can I call you hyung? Anyway, hyung, listen. If there’s one thing I know in this world, it’s Hongbin. I know what kind of razor he uses on his butt hairs. I know what his contact prescription is in both his left and right eyes--because they are different. I know that he only likes to wear the padded sole socks because he has high arches. I know it all. And let me tell you something, okay?”

Wonshik nods. Sanghyuk beckons him to come closer. Wonshik walks the wheely chair over to the couch and leans in.

“Hongbin is a princess.”

Wonshik tilts his head.

“Lee Hongbin is a fucking princess, and he is lying about all this hardboy shit,” Sanghyuk whispers.

Wonshik draws back in his chair, feeling these words seeping in through the deep pores in his nose that never shrink no matter how many nose strips he uses. “I don’t understand. He made such a big deal about Ravi. About the...hard boy?”

“He likes Ravi because Ravi is unobtainable,” Sanghyuk says, waving his hand in the air dismissively. “Ravi would never love him back. Ravi would keep him at a distance.”

“But if Hongbin is a princess, that means he wants to be...he wants attention right? That’s what you mean, right? I assume you don’t mean he is a literal female descendent of royalty--though, who am I to say? I mean, biologically, I have closely inspected his genitals, and they are indeed a penis and such, but this is a new world, right? Hongbin would make a marvelous princess, I’m sure, but I think I am missing the point, right? What were you saying? Hongbin wanted me to be Ravi because I would stay at a distance? So he could continue...being Hongbin, whatever that means. What does that mean? I’m pretty perplexed, as I think you can tell.”

Wonshik swallows, his throat feeling dry.

Sanghyuk lays a hand on Wonshik’s knee.

And then, looking as if he’s laid a hand on a searing hot stove, quickly retracts it and settles it back in his own lap.

“Hongbin is with Chansik because he doesn’t have to do anything, be anyone.”

Wonshik ignores the present tense of that statement.

“They’ve been together for ages now. It’s not about love. It isn’t really about anything. It’s just a way for Hongbin to avoid having to make an effort. Having to worry about how someone perceives him. Having to worry about someone loving him back.”

“So when Hongbin and Chansik were previously together , you’re saying, Hongbin enjoyed their companionship because it was simple and effortless. And he enjoys my current company , here...in the present...because to him, Ravi is someone he can and must keep at a distance. Someone diametrically opposed to someone he would actually want to date.”

“Exactly.”

“So you’re saying, in essence, that Hongbin set me up for failure.”

“Uh, I mean, I wouldn’t--”

“You’re saying that Hongbin used Ravi the way he used Chansik. For easy, effortless relations that couldn’t lead anywhere, couldn’t even lead to anything bigger or better,” Wonshik grits out, rising to his feet and breathing heavily.

“Okay, but you won’t tell Hongbin, right, hyung? This is between us, yeah?” Sanghyuk asks, flitting around Wonshik as he grabs all his stuff and shoves it into his bag, shoves his arms back inside his coat sleeves, stalks to the door.

“Oh, I’ll tell him. I’ll give him a nice big piece of my mind,” Wonshik gurgles, in a fury.

“How about, instead, you just give him a nice big piece of your dick , eh?” Sanghyuk burbles in reply, following Wonshik out the door and down the path to their apartment. “Please, hyung, I’ll sell your albums on the street. I’ll dress in a big mascot costume and pander them to passersby. Please, for all that is good in this world, do not tell Hongbin what I told you--”

Wonshik stops walking for a moment, only about 80 feet from Hongbin’s building’s entrance. “And now is my time to give advice, you humongous cherub,” Wonshik says, grabbing Sanghyuk’s hands. “We can’t let this princess rule our lives. We have to be true . We have to put him in his place.”

Sanghyuk’s eyes sparkle under the rusty orange lamplight. An owl hoots--or is that a drunk frat boy calling out?

“Despite how it often seems to be true, the world in fact does not revolve around Lee Hongbin.”

“I mean, I never believed tha--”

Wonshik grips Sanghyuk’s hands tighter, squeezing in a way meant to be comforting. “Shhh, I know. I believed it too, once. But we actually revolve around the sun . Hongbin is not the sun.”

“Yes, I know.”

“You have to believe me , you fool ,” Wonshik howls, nearly crushing Sanghyuk’s phalanges. “We will make it through this. We will stand up to this princess and tell him we want the option to goddamn love him for all eternity . We will say: Lee Hongbin, you gorgeous land mermaid, we know you are afraid of committing. We know you are scared. We know you have been faking distance all this time to protect yourself. We know. We will say: Lee Hongbin, you glittery beacon of supernatural force and breath-taking beauty, we want to know we have a chance to love you and be loved back.”

“You…”

Wonshik drops Sanghyuk’s hands as that voice comes down like a rash of icy bullets piercing his flesh. He turns slowly.

Hongbin is standing in the walkway, holding his laptop bag in one hand, his eyes bright and terrified.

“Hyung.”

“Hongbin.”

Hongbin doesn’t move. Just stares.

“You...say...you... you ...you--”

Wonshik fists his hands into the front of his peacoat and feels the rough wool in his palms. “Hongbin,” Wonshik says, feeling the words like hot bile coming up the wrong pipe. “Did you hear all that?”

Hongbin’s cheeks are pink, his nose is red at the tip, making his face look like a blur under all that pink hair. Wonshik has never wanted to kiss him more.

“I’ve never seen him this tongue-tied,” Sanghyuk hisses behind a cupped palm. “I think this is a good sign.”

Wonshik remembers, then, that Sanghyuk is standing between the two of them like a garish third wheel that happens to be over six feet tall.

“Please leave,” he whispers back.

Sanghyuk gives him the okay signal and backs up into the shadows, whispering good luck, hyung .

Wonshik steps close to Hongbin slowly, as if approaching a wounded animal. Hongbin is shaking. Wonshik winds his arms around him and presses their chilled cheeks together. Hongbin exhales, his breath just as shaky as his body, like a branch that might splinter in too rough a wind.

“Break up with him,” Wonshik says, hugging Hongbin tightly. “Break up with Chansik. Please.”

Hongbin buries his face in Wonshik’s neck, his breath wet and frightened.

“We don’t have to put on a show for one another anymore, Hongbin. You know I’m not Ravi. Not all the time, at least. I can still fuck you that way when you want, obviously, but I also want to,” Wonshik searches his skull for the long list of things he has thought of doing with Hongbin, “kiss your eyelids while you sleep. I want to make you laugh by putting chopsticks in my mouth like a walrus. I want you to teach me how to play video games, and I’ll write a diss track to your Xbox Live haters. I want to commit each notch of your spine to memory with my lips, and I want you to do the same to mine. I want you to tell me about where you come from. I want you to tell me about where you want to go. Is that okay? Is it?”

Hongbin’s lips part, but all that comes out is a choked sob, a terrified wretched little moan.

“I know you use the way you look to keep people at a distance. I don’t know why. I’ll admit that your looks are what first attracted me, but do you think I would have put up with the bad boy role playing just to keep fucking you? Well, okay, maybe. Your ass is prime real estate, Bean. But that wasn’t why. I’m here because I’m drawn to you. I’m drawn to all this,” he says, gesturing from Hongbin’s shoes up to the crown of his head. “I’m drawn to whatever it is that makes light radiate out of you like one of those deep sea predatory fish. I’m drawn to that warmth that weaves up your spine and shines out your eyes. God, Hongbin, don’t you know that I look at you like you’re the codex I need to solve the riddle of this whole fucking world? Like you are the foundation of everything?”

Hongbin’s fingers probe the back of Wonshik’s coat, and he grips into a fold of the fabric.

“I need you to leave him and come to me. Please come to me.”

“Tell me I’m beautiful.”

“You’re everything.”

“Kiss me.”

Wonshik pulls back, touches his fingertips to Hongbin’s cheeks, wet with trails of tears, swipes at them with his thumbs. He cups Hongbin’s frozen cheeks and pulls him in, letting Hongbin feel his breath against his lips before pressing them together.

 

Hongbin has Wonshik against the door the moment it closes behind them. He’s frantic, tearing at Wonshik’s coat, his shirt, his belt.

“I want your skin.”

Wonshik acquiesces, stripping himself bare for Hongbin and standing in front of him, his arms still tan from the summer, his chest less so but still a deeper shade than Hongbin’s own.

“Take mine.”

Wonshik chuckles a little, reaches for Hongbin’s coat.

“Faster.”

Wonshik chuckles again. Strips Hongbin down. Hongbin presses their chests together and feels his own heartbeat in the space between their bodies. His breath sounds so loud in his own head.

“Take me. Do it.”

“Are you offering?”

“I’m demanding. Take me.”

Wonshik presses Hongbin down onto the mattress and spreads him open. He fits himself between Hongbin’s legs, and Hongbin feels the jarring cold of lube on his bare skin. Wonshik kisses his kneecap gently. This makes goosebumps rise even more sharply on his skin.

“Too slow.”

“I’m doing what I want,” Wonshik retorts, circling his finger over Hongbin’s entrance, eyes focused on every minute twitch of emotion that passes over Hongbin’s face as he does it.

“Which one are you now?”

“You need to know which name to scream?” Wonshik asks, slipping two fingers in.

Hongbin bites back a yelp, turns his head away. Wonshik crooks his fingers deep, pressing, somehow already knowing where and what Hongbin needs. Perhaps he had been committing this all to memory all this time, while Hongbin had been fighting to keep from retaining any memories at all.

“Who says I’ll scream for you?” Hongbin protests, trailing his nails from one of Wonshik’s shoulders, behind his neck, over to the other shoulder. Wonshik shivers, and his fingers quicken their pace.

“I’m willing to work for it,” Wonshik murmurs, kissing down the long column of Hongbin’s throat, biting into the juncture where his neck meets his shoulder.

“You’re going to have to work hard from now on,” Hongbin says as Wonshik breaches his body, as Wonshik wraps his warm fingers around Hongbin’s cock, as Wonshik fucks into him deeply, slowly.

“Now on?” Wonshik asks, stilling his thrusts, circling his hips while buried deep inside.

“Go on then.”

“Now on?” Wonshik repeats, excitedly touching their lips together, mixing the sounds of their panting breaths.

“Oh, fuck, Wonshik, more. Harder. Please .”

“No, seriously, now on ?” Wonshik stills completely.

Hongbin writhes and whines like an injured cat. “Dear God above, Wonshik, do not do this to me. As great as your dick feels just lodged in my--”

“You want me from now on?”

Hongbin drags his nails up Wonshik’s back sharply.

Wonshik groans, his hips rutting forward instinctively.

“I do know a few things about you,” Hongbin says, more to himself.

“Tell me, Hongbin.”

Hongbin looks up, sees Wonshik staring at him in that alarmingly private, open way that he does. He wishes he could cover Wonshik’s face with a pillowcase.

But he also feels so warm and wanted. Like Wonshik’s gaze can reach every nook and cranny of his body, behind all his organs, between his bones and ligaments, soaking into all his glands, changing the very core of him from the inside.

“I’ll scream your name, okay? From now on, I’ll just scream your name.”

Wonshik looks as if he wants to probe for a better answer, but he doesn’t.

He touches his fingers to Hongbin’s frizzy bangs and smiles, that dopey familiar smile. “Wooly.”

“Please don’t liken me to a sheep while you are supposed to be fucking me into comfortable sedation.”

Wonshik keeps grinning, twirling the hair around his finger. “You’re everything.”

“I’m just Hongbin.”

“That’s what I said. You’re everything.”

Wonshik flips Hongbin over and makes him grip the headboard, and it doesn’t even matter that Hongbin can’t see his face, can’t meet his eyes. Hongbin can feel the secure way Wonshik grips his hips. He can feel Wonshik pressing bruises into his pale skin. He can feel the occasional bleary kiss Wonshik presses between his shoulder blades as he fucks into him hard.

Wonshik comes first, his fingertips digging in deep, and the pressure, the sensation of feeling Wonshik pulsing inside him, brought to his release by how much he adores Hongbin’s body…

It makes Hongbin scream.
























Chapter Text

Sanghyuk isn’t sure how he got here: brushing his teeth in Jaehwan’s bathroom on a Wednesday morning before class. Jaehwan is standing beside him, inspecting his pores in the mirror.

“So,” Sanghyuk says, after spitting and rinsing with Jaehwan’s plastic cup. He can still see the toothpaste residue from when Jaehwan used it just minutes earlier.

“Mm?” Jaehwan hums, fluffing up his hair.

“Your pre-med banquet is coming up, right?” Sanghyuk asks, pulling a ball of lint from Jaehwan’s shoulder. Jaehwan smiles appreciatively. Sanghyuk’s stomach flips and sizzles.

“Yeah, next weekend, why?” Jaehwan taps BB cream over one of the many bruises trailing from his clavicle down his chest. The sweater covers most of them, but when the sweater shifts, the purple splotches are just barely visible under the collar.

Sanghyuk isn’t sure why he’s asking, honestly. He spotted the invitation weeks ago, pinned to the cork board hanging over Jaehwan’s desk in his room. FOR A MR. LEE JAEWHAN AND GUEST.

It’s just that...that and guest that’s been plaguing him every time he passes the crisp navy and gold invitation.

“No reason,” he says.

Jaehwan leans in and plants a kiss on Sanghyuk’s cheekbone. “I gotta go.”

“Bye,” Sanghyuk croaks as Jaehwan leaves him alone in Jaehwan’s apartment.

“What the fuck are you doing, Han Sanghyuk,” he asks his reflection, dropping his toothbrush back into the cup next to Jaehwan’s.

 

Jaehwan is at the campus cafe with Hakyeon. They’ve stolen the nice spot by the little gas fireplace, snuggled up on the mushy brown leather loveseat. Hakyeon is sipping some kind of latte made with lavender, because Hakyeon would drink flowers. Prissy biatch.

Jaehwan just has a cappuccino with soy milk because regular milk makes his tummy hurt. And bloat. And it’s also just gross to drink milk.

“So, Jae,” Hakyeon says, tapping Jaehwan’s nose with his pinkie.

Jaehwan wrinkles his nose, shifts so his legs are splayed out over Hakyeon’s lap. “Yes?”

“I heard from Taekwoon, who heard from Wonshik, who heard from Hongbin that--”

“Stop. Don’t. Don’t ever start a question like this again. I’m embarrassed for you.”

“From Hongbin that Sanghyuk is never home anymore,” Hakyeon finishes smugly, ignoring Jaehwan completely before he takes another long sip of his purple-tinged princess drink.

“Yes, because he’s fucking me. Why is that anyone’s business?” Jaehwan scoffs.

Out of the corner of his eye, Jaehwan can see that Hakyeon is eyeing him suspiciously, as if he knows something , which he doesn’t because there is nothing to know .

“Cha Hakyeon, need I remind you that you, as the school’s Most Frequently Visited Butthole have no right to talk to me about monogamy,” Jaehwan grumbles. “You’ve slept exclusively with Taekwoon for weeks now.”

Hakyeon tosses his head back, shifting his shiny dark hair out of his eyes. “Yes, because we’re dating.”

Jaehwan nearly spits his cappuccino, and it ends up just dribbling out over his bottom lip. “You’re...what?”

Hakyeon grins, cheeks flushing prettily. Jaehwan wishes he could aim his spit-take at Hakyeon, make him rub off his BB cream as he tries to wipe away the foam.

“We’re dating. Taekwoon is my boyfriend. We are exclusive. My butthole is his, as you would crudely say,” Hakyeon explains, stirring around the purple simple syrup that had settled at the bottom of his cup. .

Jaehwan climbs over Hakyeon on the loveseat, drawing attention from the other cafe patrons, but when they realize it’s just Jaehwan and Hakyeon, they look away. Jaehwan cups his hands around Hakyeon’s throat. A few whispers and pointed fingers in the background. Jaehwan shakes Hakyeon by the throat.

“What do you mean you’re dating?”

Hakyeon gurgles and claws at Jaehwan’s hands. “I mean we are dating, God, Jaehwan, can you let this nemesis shit go, please? Taekwoon is the sweetest g--”

“It’s an act, Hakyeon! He’s tricking you!” Jaehwan whines. “He’s vicious. He’ll smother you in your sleep.”

Hakyeon chokes on his laughter, which lasts for a few long minutes, while Jaehwan watches incredulously. The boy is lost, brainwashed, Jaehwan thinks. Lost to the virus that is Taekwoon.

“Let me tell you something, Hakyeon. I’m not proud of this, okay, so what I tell you doesn’t leave this room, got it?”

Hakyeon massages his throat where Jaehwan had jangled him around. He quirks a dark eyebrow and pouts. “Fine. What is it? Taekwoon stole your pencil once or something?”

“No,” Jaehwan moans weakly, staring out the window at the gray clouds rolling in, signaling the incoming snow storm. Just like the ice that had slowly consumed his heart. The ice of Taekwoon.

“He stole my dignity.”

 

It was his freshman year. Jaehwan had found himself invited to a post-acapella-group-tryouts party. (The acapella group would later be disbanded, but that is a story for another time, mind you). Most of the upperclassmen lived together in the same old brick townhouse off campus, so the party was in their cement-floored exposed-beam basement. It smelled like a sweaty old tennis court.

Jaehwan had met Taekwoon at the tryouts. He was a year above Jaehwan, but hadn’t auditioned his freshman year because he was afraid being in a club would interfere with his studies.

Jaehwan was smitten.

Taekwoon was gorgeous in an almost terrifying way. He still had baby fat around his face, but it just served to make his face look more boyishly handsome. His hair was long then, wavy around his face and dark. His eyes were gentle but feral, and all Jaehwan wanted was to record his voice and play it on repeat until he died of starvation.

Jaehwan had never met anyone who sang better than him. Not until he met Taekwoon. Taekwoon barely moved the entire audition, just stood under the spotlight and projected that tender falsetto sound, filling the air with gentle vibrating tones and making the hairs at the back of Jaehwan’s neck stand on end.

Jaehwan had never heard anything like Taekwoon.

At the after party, it was announced that the new members would have to compete for solo positions.

“Uh,” Jaehwan asked, raising a hand nervously. “How? More singing? Honestly, my throa--”

“No,” the acapella captain, a senior named Sung Si-kyung said, scoffing. “We’re going to give each of you a card. This card has your mission on it. Don’t reveal your mission to anyone. Whoever completes their mission before the end of the party wins a solo. Got it?”

Jaehwan held out his hands as a little white card dropped onto his palms.

LEE JAEHWAN: GET JUNG TAEKWOON TO KISS YOU

Jaehwan’s fist crumpled the card.

H-He could do this. He could seduce this tomcat sophomore boy with an angelic voice.

Easy.

Jaehwan had almost forgotten about the card when he started talking to Taekwoon, the two of them sitting on plastic folding chairs by the cooler of cheap beers and rapidly melting ice.

Taekwoon was quiet. His speaking voice was somehow even sweeter than his singing voice, if that were even possible. He spoke of his love for American R&B, some guy named Trey Songz, and his resentment for the fact that his school hadn’t really taught him any practical english, since he found himself mumbling through almost all his favorite songs when he tried to sing along.

“I’m from Changwon,” Jaehwan said, laughing. “My english prep was basically just watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s a few times when it rained. My teachers really liked whatshername. With the sunglasses.”

Taekwoon laughed. Jaehwan’s eyes widened a fraction.

It was like hearing a kitten sneeze. Alarmingly adorable. Frighteningly precious.

Fuck. Jaehwan was going to kiss this boy.

Taekwoon surprised him next by placing his warm palm on Jaehwan’s bare thigh. It still felt like summer at the time, the transition from summer to fall at the start of the school year. Jaehwan had coral jean shorts on because Hakyeon told him they made his summer skin look pretty.

Jaehwan swallowed and leaned in close. “I really like your voice.”

Taekwoon smiled, his eyes sparking--wild, fierce, brilliant. “Do you want to come with me somewhere?”

Jaehwan drew in a sharp breath. This was it. He was going to fulfil his mission and become a soloist and he was going to kiss the hottest guy in the club. Killing so many birds with one stone. So many birds just dropping dead at his feet. Except robins. He liked those.

Jaehwan nodded, and Taekwoon took his hand. It was colder than Jaehwan expected, his fingertips like frost as they slid down onto Jaehwan’s wrist, feeling his rapid pulse.

Jaehwan felt eyes on him as they left. He was proud. The upperclassmen would see how easily, how confidently, how quickly he completed their ridiculous mission. How could they doubt his ability to seduce Taekwoon? Jaehwan may not have looked like much, but he had been known to seduce his fair share of menfolk.

Taekwoon led him into what must’ve been the boiler room at the back of the basement. In one corner, the hot water heater sat, thrumming loudly, and box hiding the circuit breakers sat on the other side. Other than those two things, it was just Jaehwan and Taekwoon.

Jaehwan sauntered up to Taekwoon and ran his hands over Taekwoon’s broad chest, clad in a tight black t-shirt. Jaehwan was surprised by how much he wanted this. He wasn’t sure if it was the competition or if it was the fact that he’d wanted to fuck Taekwoon’s talent since the moment he opened his mouth or if it was the three shots of repulsive makgeoli he’d taken earlier. But Jaehwan wanted .

He wrapped his arms around Taekwoon’s neck, leaned up on his toes, ready to press their bodies flush, when Taekwoon pulled away. Jaehwan felt his blood freeze like liquor in the freezer--still rushing and pumping and fluid but cold, so cold.

Taekwoon shook his head, his loose waves shifting around his little round face. Wordlessly, he dropped to the floor, hands sliding down Jaehwan’s front, landing at Jaehwan’s belt. Jaehwan touched the ends of Taekwoon’s hair as he felt himself growing hard under Taekwoon’s gaze. Oh, fuck, this was gonna happen, wasn’t it? It wasn’t quite the order of events that Jaehwan had hoped for, but he wasn’t going to complain about a cum-flavored kiss later.

Taekwoon looked so determined, cheeks flushed, eyes predatory. He unclasped Jaehwan’s belt and flicked open the button of his jeans. Jaehwan watched, knowing something felt off, but not caring because Taekwoon’s fingers looked so pretty reaching to tug his pants down. So long and pale and gentle--

Taekwoon yanked his jeans and boxers down in one swift motion, and then Jaehwan was standing there in the boiler room with his half-hard cock out. Taekwoon looked up at him, his eyes dark and vicious, and it was right then when Jaehwan realized he’d been played.

Taekwoon kicked the door open from where he was kneeling, left leg jerking back quickly, filling the room with light. “I won,” he said aloud, his voice proud and heavier than Jaehwan thought was possible. The words rang in the open air, taunting Jaehwan with their soft dulcet tones. Only Taekwoon could make a taunt sound so euphonic.

Sung Si-kyung and the others stood in front of the open door, and Jaehwan was too horrified to cover his cock.

Taekwoon looked back up at Jaehwan, and he inhaled shakily, as if realizing what he’d done. But it was too late.

Jaehwan tugged his jeans up haphazardly and grabbed a fistful of Taekwoon’s hair. He leaned down and hissed the words that rose up like thick, sickening bile in his mouth.

“I hereby declare you my nemesis, Jung Taekwoon, and I will get you back for this.”

 

Hakyeon is staring at Jaehwan like he’s grown another two heads, and they’re both purple.

“I don’t,” he mutters, eyes blown wide with alarm.

“Believe it? Well, it happened. Your boyfriend exposed me to the entire acapella team. Mercilessly,” Jaehwan spat.

“I’m sorry,” Hakyeon says, shaking his head and waving his hands out in alarm. “I’m still stuck on the fact that you crushed on him. You crushed on Taekwoon.”

Jaehwan kicks at Hakyeon with a socked foot, since he’d slipped his sneakers off when they first sat down. He presses his sweaty toes against Hakyeon’s cheek. Hakyeon swats at him.

“You did! You crushed on him!” Hakyeon cries.

“You miss the point, fiend! Taekwoon is a cruel incubus who would unflinchingly sacrifice you for his own desires,” Jaehwan spits.

Hakyeon is still shaking his head in disbelief. “I can’t believe you wanted to kiss my boyfriend.”

Jaehwan rises up from the couch, hissing, jabbing a finger in Hakyeon’s direction. His heart is shuddering around inside his chest, pressing on his lungs. He’s drowning.

“You deserve each other, you vixen !”

 

Sanghyuk isn’t entirely shocked when he finds Jaehwan in his room that night after class.

Jaehwan tends to show up when Sanghyuk is trying not to think about him.

But this time, Jaehwan is blindfolded, naked, and laying in the middle of Sanghyuk’s bed. His breath is coming thick and slow and even. Sanghyuk thinks for a moment that he’s asleep, but then he turns his head in the direction of the door.

“Took you long enough,” he mutters in the same deep, even, throaty tone as his breathing.

“Uh,” Sanghyuk says, dropping his backpack and stepping to the edge of the bed. “Not that I don’t love sexy surprises, but to what do I owe this sexy surprise?”

Jaehwan just turns his face back to the ceiling and sighs. “Must you vex me? Can’t you just come jack off on my face and take pictures? Or put your cock in my mouth and tell me how lovely I look?”

Sanghyuk gags on a laugh. He slips Jaehwan’s blindfold down, and Jaehwan blinks at the sudden intrusion of light in his pupils.

“Jae,” Sanghyuk murmurs, “as much as I love to fuck your mouth, would you care to tell me what’s wrong?”

Jaehwan grabs the blindfold and tugs it back down over his eyes, shaking his head. He moves his fingers to his lips, pretends to lock his lips with an imaginary key, throws it away.

“I can’t fuck your mouth if it’s locked,” Sanghyuk reminds him.

Jaehwan lifts his knees, spreads himself open for Sanghyuk to see that he’s prepped, red and slick and ready.

Fuck .”

Sanghyuk tears his clothes off, his belt clacking loudly as it drops to the hardwood. He’s already on the bed by the time he realizes he accidentally left his socks on. Jaehwan would be horrified--they’re non-matching, navy and white stripes and red polkadots--but Jaehwan is blindfolded, so Sanghyuk doesn’t care.

Sanghyuk’s got a condom rolled down over his cock and two fingers deep in Jaehwan’s ass when Jaehwan’s phone begins to ring.

“Uh, Jae, do you need to get that?”

Jaehwan just frantically shakes his head, points to his tightly closed/locked lips, and thrusts himself down harder onto Sanghyuk’s fingers. Sanghyuk knows he should press this issue. Jaehwan has been coming to him for orgasms for months now, and Sanghyuk knows when the orgasms are fueled by a repressive urge to not feel. Well, not feel anything but orgasms.

“Please,” Jaehwan moans brokenly, and Sanghyuk feels a fist tighten around his abdomen, squeezing, pushing, pulsing his chest in its grasp.

Sanghyuk slaps Jaehwan’s cheek lightly. “Your lips are locked, remember? No talking.”

His hands go to Jaehwan’s hips, eager to flip Jaehwan over, because even with his eyes hidden, Jaehwan’s parted lips, throat long and pale, fingers grasping at the sheets…they make Sanghyuk feel...

“No,” Jaehwan cries, legs hooking around Sanghyuk’s waist. “I want it this way.”

Sanghyuk claps a harder palm to Jaehwan’s cheek. Jaehwan bites down on his bottom lip and whines, but his hips start rocking faster against Sanghyuk’s fingers silently.

“Good boy,” Sanghyuk says, stroking his thumb over the reddened mark on Jaehwan’s cheek.

Jaehwan hums, pleased, but his ankles are urgent and needy against Sanghyuk’s spine.

Again Sanghyuk tries to flip Jaehwan onto his stomach, but Jaehwan’s legs are tight around his waist.

“You’re being awfully stubborn today,” Sanghyuk tells him. He’s too fucking turned on to walk away now, but he really wishes he were the blindfolded one right now. He ruts himself into Jaehwan with his face tipped to the ceiling, but his neck begins to cramp, and it doesn’t even matter.

Jaehwan is making these sweet, sofuckingsweet, noises in the back of his throat, trying not to part his locked lips. He rocks himself up to meet each of Sanghyuk’s thrusts, and his nails are clawing at Sanghyuk’s biceps and shoulders.

Sanghyuk realizes, as Jaehwan’s hands hook onto the back of his neck, that Jaehwan is asking to be kissed.

With their lips centimeters apart, Sanghyuk can feel Jaehwan’s little moans like soft, angelic breath against his skin. The tightness of Jaehwan’s body, combined with those deadly whimpering mewls--

Sanghyuk isn’t sure he’ll make it if he touches their lips together.

Using all his strength, Sanghyuk unhooks Jaehwan’s legs from around his waist, and he shoves Jaehwan down, belly first, onto the mattress, fucking himself back into Jaehwan’s body before Jaehwan can even try to get himself flipped back over.

“I can get deeper this way,” Sanghyuk says, and it isn’t a lie.

Jaehwan just groans and grips the rumpled dark sheets, hiking his hips up obediently, and Sanghyuk licks sweat from Jaehwan’s spine as he wraps his fingers around Jaehwan’s cock.

Sanghyuk doesn’t want to show how wrecked he is. He would rather die than let Jaehwan know how affected he is. So he strokes Jaehwan in a tight fist, hard, quick, his thrusts just as rough and fast, and Jaehwan’s lips finally part in a strangled yelp as he comes, spilling over Sanghyuk’s fingers.

Sanghyuk feels Jaehwan’s body shuddering in his grasp, and his hips stutter erratically as his own release makes him moan a lot more loudly than he normally would.

Jaehwan shoves Sanghyuk off him after Sanghyuk collapses onto his back, and he pants heavily as he shifts onto his back again. “You never let me have what I want.”

Sanghyuk makes himself laugh as Jaehwan pulls the blindfold off. “We’re frenemies, remember? I can’t let you go thinking we’re friends.”

Jaehwan rubs at his eyes, still blinking into the light. “Is that right?”

“Obviously.”

“Hey, Sanghyuk,” Jaehwan says, as Sanghyuk stands and moves to pull his boxers back on.

Sanghyuk hums and doesn’t turn around.

His heart is still thrumming wildly. He feels like he’s drunk, like he’s lost. He feels like someone has injected him with enough caffeine to kill a person. Like he’s one of those lab rats who was forced to try Red Bull before it was approved for human consumption.

“Do you want to come with me to my pre-med banquet?”

Sanghyuk spins on his heel. Jaehwan is sitting up in his bed, his beautiful fluffy hair all mussed up and sweaty, his eyes heavy-lidded and sleepy. Sanghyuk rushes back onto the bed and grabs Jaehwan by the face.

“You mean it?”

Jaehwan barks a laugh, tipping his face into Sanghyuk’s palms. “What? You really wanted to go?”

“I -- I love free food and small talk,” Sanghyuk says needily.

“Hyuk,” Jaehwan says, using Sanghyuk’s nickname for the first time ever as if it’s nothing. “Did you know Taekwoon and Hakyeon were dating?”

Sanghyuk purses his lips. This isn’t quite the question he’d expected to follow Jaehwan calling him Hyuk for the first time.

“Is that why you’re here? Because you’re mad Hakyeon is dating your nemesis?” Sanghyuk asks.

Jaehwan draws back, shaking his head. “No. I’m here because I wanted to get fucked.”

“You come to me when you want me to fuck you so you can forget about things. Hakyeon things. School things. That time your dad called and said your turtle died.”

Jaehwan’s face crumples. “Hyungwon was a good turtle.”

“I know, Jae,” Sanghyuk says, sighing and tracing Jaehwan’s cheekbone with his thumb.

“Do you think Hakyeon is hot?”

Sanghyuk blinks slowly, knowing this is a test, this must be a test. “Uh, no.”

“Don’t lie to me,” Jaehwan warns.

Sanghyuk pulls back, looks askance for a moment. “Sure, he’s hot. Of course he’s hot. But why does it matter?”

Jaehwan gnaws at his lower lip and draws the blankets up over his legs, leaving his cock exposed, which Sanghyuk finds kind of adorable.

“I liked Taekwoon,” Jaehwan says, voice just barely over a whisper. “But he only ever saw me as a way to get a solo in acapella group.”

“We had an acapella group?”

Jaehwan narrows his eyes.

“Right, sorry. Uh, I mean, are you upset that Taekwoon didn’t like you, but he is dating your best friend? Or are you upset that your best friend is dating him, knowing you hate him?”

Jaehwan’s eyelids flutter, and he releases a weary exhale. “Hakyeon has always had this thing about him. This glow. He’s got his own gravitational force, I swear. And I never felt bad about being his best friend. I love Hakyeon. I mean, I hate Hakyeon, but I love Hakyeon. Anyway, it’s like...I thought there would always be that one guy who even Hakyeon couldn’t have.”

“And you thought that would be Taekwoon. Because he rejected you.”

“Because he’s empty! He’s void of all things pleasant!”

Sanghyuk touches Jaehwan’s fringe, tucks it back away from his face. “Hakyeon really likes him.”

“That’s another thing,” Jaehwan moans. “Hakyeon doesn’t like people. Hakyeon doesn’t date people. After Won Geun...Hakyeon swore he would never. But now he’s with Taekwoon, the one person I…”

Sanghyuk touches his lips to Jaehwan’s lightly, and Jaehwan shuts up. Wraps his arms around Sanghyuk’s head, deepens the kiss.

“Do you still like him?” Sanghyuk asks, the thought coming up and releasing into the air like noxious gas.

“What? No,” Jaehwan hisses, shaking his head, reaching for Sanghyuk again.

“Do you like me?”

Jaehwan’s arms drop to the bed. His gaze falls to rest on his own hands where they’re now motionless against the comforter resting atop his thighs. “I’m ... not sure.”

Sanghyuk’s eyes begin to sting.

“Do you like being with me?”

Jaehwan nods slowly.

“Do you like me, Jae?”

Jaehwan looks up, and Sanghyuk knows he’s fucked now. He’s fucked, and he’s fucking crying.

Jaehwan seems startled, but then a soft grin spreads over his lips. “Cute,” he whispers, reaching out to swipe at Sanghyuk’s tears with his thumb.

“Just tell me. Because, fuck, Jae, I think I really like you. I really like coming back to my apartment and finding you here. I like when we wake up and eat cereal silently in your bed before class. I like when you cry out my name, just my name, and it sounds so fucking sweet when you say it, Jae.”

Jaehwan tries to shush him, murmuring and cooing sh, shhh .

“No. No, I have to--I have to say it. I’ve liked you since that first damn time you looked up at me with those eyes and asked will you hit me ? Like you were so scared. So nervous that I would somehow shame you. Fuck, Jaehwan, you’re all I’ve ever wanted, even though you’re sometimes a heap of garbage. I even want you then.”

Jaehwan blanches, moves to take his hands away, but Sanghyuk grabs him by the wrists.

“Just tell me if you might. If you could. If one day you will.”

“Like you?”

“Just tell me.”

 

Jaehwan found Sanghyuk the first time in the basement of the science library, standing at the vending machine, deliberating over snacks.

Jaehwan was deliriously exhausted, having just spent the last 36 hours locked in one of the study cubbies, preparing for his first anatomy exam.

“‘S there grape in there?” Jaehwan asked.

Sanghyuk turned, jabbed a finger at the glass. “Soda or juice?”

“Juice,” Jaehwan said.

Sanghyuk bought it for him. Didn’t even ask. Didn’t say anything about it, just handed him the little can.

“How long have you been here?”

“About 16 hours,” Sanghyuk replied, still peering into the machine for his own snack.

“Did you know they sell condoms in there,” Jaehwan said. “Bottom row.”

Sanghyuk’s gaze dropped. “ Ah ,” he said.

“I dunno how old they are. They look pretty dusty, but I see them every time I come here.”

Sanghyuk turned, back to the glass front of the vending machine. “Should we see if it’s good?”

Jaehwan moved close, body pressed flush up against Sanghyuk’s chest. Sanghyuk had such an amazing voice. Nasal but deep. “I have an exam in two hours.”

“That’s plenty of time.”

Jaehwan hadn’t wanted anyone this badly in a while. Hadn’t felt every blood vessel in his body at once, hadn’t felt the air thicken around him as arousal welled up in his belly like smoke, hadn’t wanted to feel flesh against his own so badly. Not since Taekwoon.

“I like to,” Jaehwan started, swallowing his need down, but it kept rising up, daring his lips to part and share it. His body wanted this boy to know. Felt like he could tell him. Like he would be the one who would let his secret in like it was nothing, like it was okay, like it was good. “I like to be hit. Will you...will you hit me?”

Sanghyuk’s hand had moved up behind Jaehwan’s skull, sliding into the hair at the nape of his neck. “What else do you want me to do?”

 

“Yes,” Jaehwan breathes, coming back into himself, rising up onto his haunches, touching his lips back to Sanghyuk’s, feeling the wetness of his tears on his cupid’s bow.

“Yes?”

“Yes.”

Sanghyuk pulls Jaehwan tight to his chest. “And...am I still scum?”

“Maybe you’ve graduated from scum.”

“To?”

“I dunno. Just Sanghyuk.”

“Call me oppa.”

“And now you’re scum again.”









Chapter Text

It’s been awhile since Taekwoon was this drunk.

The school’s annual banquet for each major had their individual budgets slashed, causing the school to combine groups of them into one massive orgy of a banquet in the school gymnasium, instead of small private affairs at a nice artsy hotel downtown. There are banners from each banquet hanging from the rafters. CONGRATS, FUTURE DOCTORS! WE ARE THOREAU-LY IMPRESSED, LIT MAJORS! ENGINEERING IS OUR FUTURE!

Hakyeon is just as drunk beside him, blowing puffs of air up at his fringe to clear it away from his eyes as he surveys the room.

“I think Jaehwan has been glaring at us since we got here,” he says wearily, fiddling with the bottom of his pale pink blazer.

Taekwoon had found it adorable how Hakyeon showed up at his apartment in the full pink getup, nervously fidgeting and holding out a little pink pocket square for Taekwoon to wear to match him.

“Why would the school combine creative arts majors with pre-meds? It’s just cruel. The pre-meds are all leering at us pitifully, like they’re picturing our futures as bums under a bridge,” Taekwoon replies, though he immediately finds Jaehwan across the room, his arm wound around Sanghyuk’s, and Jaehwan looks absolutely murderous.

And Taekwoon knows murderous looks.

“He hates you, you know,” Hakyeon slurs, dipping his tongue into his little flute of fizzy strawberry champagne.

“He deserves to,” Taekwoon replies, finishing off his sixth--seventh?--glass of red wine. He knows his lips must be stained deep burgundy by now--his tongue too, maybe.

“You should apologize to him,” Hakyeon says, adjusting the little pink ribbon tied around his neck like a soft velvet collar.

Taekwoon just casts a brief glance over at Hakyeon and sighs.

Hakyeon grabs Taekwoon’s coat lapels and shakes them in his pretty tan hands. “I need Jaehwan to plan my future engagement party because he’s the only one who understands my color scheme, so he can’t hate me.”

Taekwoon lifts a dark eyebrow, which is clearly visible because he’d gelled his hair up out of his face. Hakyeon seems to have a fetish for Taekwoon’s forehead.

“Not anytime soon , obviously,” Hakyeon says, flushing and turning away. “Just in the distant future. He’s my only friend, Taek. I don’t want him to hate me forever.”

Taekwoon sighs again and grabs another glass of heartily poured red wine from a passing tray.

“Oh, hey. This is kinda weird.” Hongbin lowers the heavy thick plastic tray from his face. His hair is pinned back with a black bobby pin close to his ear, and his blazer is some kind of silky material that makes his whole body look like it’s glowing.

“Shit, Hongbin, I didn’t know you were working the banquets,” Taekwoon says, passing a grabby hands Hakyeon another flute of champagne. Hakyeon sips it greedily like an infant kitten for milk.

“Yeah. I take all the events on campus usually. Work study and all. That was the stipulation my family had when I told them I was going to do photography and law,” Hongbin replies, wrinkling his nose as if it itched from the inside. “Did Wonshik not tell you? He’s here too. Working the open bar, poor loser. There are a bunch of drunk pre-med girls dangling over the table to flirt with him. He’s so miserable.” Hongbin grins endearingly over in Wonshik’s direction.

Wonshik’s eyes are wide and horrified, as if he were facing down a firing squad, but he lifts a hand to offer a small wave.

“That’s my man,” Hongbin says, still smirking in sadistic amusement as Wonshik paws at the hands reaching for him across the bar.

“Uh,” Taekwoon garbles, “yeah. No, he didn’t tell me.”

“Probably for a reason,” Hakyeon whispers, leaning in conspiratorially. “He looks like he’s just shat himself.”

Hongbin seems to realize he’s been staring at Wonshik instead of serving drinks, so he nods at Taekwoon and Hakyeon and moves on.

“He scares me,” Hakyeon hisses between his teeth, afraid Hongbin may hear him and return.

“Yeah,” Taekwoon replies, still watching his best friend at the bar, his face drained of color, nervously spilling wine all over the crisp white tablecloth as the gaggle of pre-meds giggles at him. “But he’s real pretty.”

 

Jaehwan knows that drinking won’t solve any of his problems. He could list all the potential bodily dangers associated with imbibing liquor, could even tell you the exact metabolic processes that his body is attempting to go through in order to rid his body of the poison, but he also knows that this lingering, tingling, stinging bitterness feels even worse than potential liver failure forty years down the line.

“Hey,” Sanghyuk says softly, lips at Jaehwan’s ear. “Stop glaring at them. You’re going to set them on fire.”

“Good.”

“Jae,” Sanghyuk breathes, “Hakyeon is your best--and only?--friend. Can’t you just be happy for them?”

“I’ll be happy when I have my revenge,” Jaehwan replies, placing his empty white wine goblet down onto a passing waiter’s tray.

Sanghyuk feels irrational anger shifting around in his stomach acids.

“Well, Gods, why don’t you just go and fuck his best friend then?” Sanghyuk throws out bitterly, snorting a laugh at the stupidity of the thought.

Somewhere in the air between Sanghyuk’s lips and Jaehwan’s ear canals, Sanghyuk’s teasing warble of words twisted and flipped and caught fire and the smoky essence of his meaning eventually seeped into Jaehwan’s brain. So Jaehwan heard:

“Fuck his best friend.”

“What?” Sanghyuk asks.

“That’s it,” Jaehwan mutters to himself, eyes locked onto their target across the room.

“Jaehwan, no. That was a joke. Seriously. Jaehwan, don’t be absurd. Wonshik is with Hongbin; he’s not just going to fuck you because you offer.”

“Won’t he though?”

“No, probably not.”

“But he might .”

“The chances are slim.”

“But there are chances.”

“Jaehwan, this is not going to turn out the way you want,” Sanghyuk warns. He isn’t sure whether it is jealousy or protectiveness that makes his stomach acids churn.

Jaehwan turns to Sanghyuk, eyes open and needy and honest and aching , and Sanghyuk is unable to refuse him anything. Would launch nuclear weapons at the moon for him, if he wanted to watch it blow. Would stand there, holding the smoking gun in one hand and Jaehwan’s own hand in the other, as bits of the earth’s satellite came crashing back at them. He would.

“I need this,” Jaehwan moans, belligerent, and Sanghyuk’s heart presses against the sharp jab of his ribs, and he acquiesces, easy as flowing water.

“I’ll distract Hongbin,” Sanghyuk says, touching his palm to Jaehwan’s cheek, and he presses into Sanghyuk’s hand preciously.

 

Wonshik wishes he could sneak drinks under the table, but he’s far too uncoordinated for that kind of maneuver. Luckily the large groups of girls that had gathered around him have moved on to make toasts to their achievements over by the projector screen flashing images of them in lab coats with children in Africa.

Wonshik dips under the table for a moment of peace beneath the tablecloth. There’s a vent blasting hot air, and Wonshik sighs into its embrace. Then an odd scent catches his attention.

Wonshik lifts up the flap of an edge of the tablecloth to expose the vent to the light.

“Huh,” Wonshik says, inhaling deeply.

“Whatcha doin’ down there.”

Wonshik glances up just as Jaehwan comes to squat beside him under the bar table.

“Do you smell something weird?” Wonshik asks, gesturing vaguely at the vent.

Jaehwan leans in close to Wonshik’s throat, sniffs. “No, you smell great .”

Wonshik leans away, peers at the vent again, thinks he sees a bit of pink smoke coming from between the metal grates. “Doesn’t that seem a bit…” he says, gesturing vaguely at the thin metal vent.

Jaehwan smirks and traces the line of Wonshik’s jaw with his fingers. Wonshik barely reacts, which, even for Taekwoon’s weird best friend, is particularly weird. Jaehwan feels a tightness in his chest, the pinpricks of hurt, of rejection . It hits him like the skin of his chest meeting the surface of water, like a belly-flop slap.

But then Wonshik turns back to him and grabs Jaehwan’s wrist, grip tight. He’s breathing heavily, his thin but broad chest rising and falling rapidly with each painful breath. Jaehwan can see the pink smoke sucking up into Wonshik’s nostrils.

“Are you sick?”

Wonshik brings Jaehwan’s fingers to his lips, his pupils dark and blown out. He definitely looks stoned. Maybe since he’s a musician, he pregamed the banquets with some weed?

Wonshik’s tongue circles Jaehwan’s fingertips, each one, all the way to his pinky, which he sucks into his mouth, humming as if he’s found the cure to his ailment.

“While I’m glad this has gone entirely--almost too entirely--to plan, but I think we should--”

Wonshik shoves Jaehwan back against the wall under the table, and Jaehwan can feel the thick smoky air of the vent on his lips now, sees the edges of the pinky clouds in his periphery. When he inhales, it feels like he’s swallowing thumbtacks, sharp and metallic, and they hook into his larynx until he can barely breathe.

Jaehwan forces himself to focus, but his vision already seems to be growing cloudy. His blood feels swollen, heavy in his veins, something inside of him pressing up against his bones, against his flesh from the inside.

“Something isn’t right,” Jaehwan murmurs weakly, breath thick with something like need, like desperation.

“Yes,” Wonshik replies, shaking his head slowly, pupils dilating.

Beneath the thin tablecloth, Jaehwan grabs Wonshik and pulls him close, panting against his lips. “You feel it, don’t you?”

Wonshik looks like he’s fighting it, like he’s trying, at least. But his hands grasp at Jaehwan’s back, at the soft linen of his jacket.

“What is this?” Jaehwan gasps, lips brushing against Wonshik’s needily, gently, the contact like a scuba mask, aiding him in drawing breath, like the only breath he can draw is the one given from Wonshik’s mouth.

“I don’t know. But I--” Wonshik says, climbing over Jaehwan and causing him to slide onto his back, belly up and raw, “can’t stop myself. Is this...this is okay?” Both of them know it isn’t, but for the life of him, Jaehwan can’t remember why .

Jaehwan is nodding as he tears at Wonshik’s clothes, begging for skin, for the heat to burn up inside of him, to rise up into the atmosphere and free him from his need.

He can sort of hear the sounds of thundering footsteps around them, hurried shouts and slamming heavy metal doors, but all Jaehwan can focus on is Wonshik’s bare chest. Tan skin, so hot, so fucking hot against his palms, like pinching his fingertips around a lit match.

There’s a moment when Jaehwan sees Sanghyuk in front of him, sees his wide, dark eyes and sharp cupid’s bow over softly curved lips, his slightly rough fingertips lifting up the hem of Jaehwan’s shirt. But these lips feel different--thinner, looser, more demanding. Sanghyuk is always demanding, but he is also very intuitive. He knows when to tease. This kiss is all strength--hard, demanding, selfish.

Jaehwan manages to wrangle his tight black trousers down to his knees. With Wonshik on top of him, it’s hard to get them down any further. His skin feels like it’ll rend his organs to mush if he doesn’t get skin on his skin. If he doesn’t have fingers inside him, spreading him open, lips and teeth on his neck, his jaw, his chest.

“My skin hurts,” Wonshik groans against the shell of Jaehwan’s ear, nipping at the sensitive flesh there as his hands tug his own trousers down.

“I wanted to...I wanted…” Jaehwan slurs, skull filled with fog, “I wonder if this is the universe punishing me. Because I wanted--”

Wonshik doesn’t seem like he’s listening, his teeth scraping against the vein lining the side of Jaehwan’s neck. Jaehwan registers the sound of someone crying out, someone crying out for him, someone searching.

“He hurt me, he didn’t want, he didn’t want me and I--” Jaehwan babbles, as Wonshik hikes Jaehwan’s knees up to his chest. As Wonshik’s tongue traces down Jaehwan’s stomach, over the patch of hair leading down to his cock, touches to burning hot skin and makes Jaehwan writhe, nails scratching against the plastic-coated wood floor. His tongue dips in, out, in, and it isn’t enough.

“You smell different. You smell like lemon and sandalwood, but Hongbin is like, he’s like snow melting into spring and--”

“Please,” Jaehwan begs, arching up, tugging at the tablecloth hanging beside his head. It tumbles to the ground, along with all the bottles and glasses, and there’s so much shattering , and then there are footsteps, loud and insistent in Jaehwan’s ears.

“Jae,” is Hakyeon’s voice, soft, scared, from above them.

The table shifts, scraping like squeaky hinges away from Jaehwan and Wonshik. Wonshik lifts his head, moving his wonderful warm tongue and lips from Jaehwan’s skin, and Jaehwan nearly sobs.

“No, please, I need--”

Someone grabs Jaehwan by the hair and yanks him away. He moans, reaching for the hands tearing at his scalp, nails raking against whatever is impeding him getting what he wants, what he needs, why .

Jaehwan is tossed away, his scalp burning after being released. “What’s happening?”

Hongbin leers at him from above, his hair hanging limp and loose against his high cheekbones. His cheeks look red and flushed, teeth practically bared, feral.

“I don’t know what’s going on, but we should get out of here,” Hakyeon says, and it’s then that Jaehwan realizes they’re alone. The gym has emptied. There are broken glasses strewn around the floor, tables toppled over.

“They said something about a gas leak, about the vents,” Taekwoon is muttering, eyes darting for the shut doors. “But we tried to open the windows, the exits. They’re locked. We’re locked in.”

“With the leak,” Hakyeon adds, eyes wide, bloodshot, as he pants thickly.

Sanghyuk comes up behind Hongbin, who is looming over Jaehwan predatorily. “Don’t touch him. There’s clearly something wrong. It wasn’t him.”

Hongbin wheels around, nostrils lifted and angry as he draws in heavy, shaking breaths. He looks like he’s moments from collapsing. Or attacking.

“He’s got his pants down and was on my...mine ,” Hongbin grits out, fists clenched into his shirt, now tugged out from his pants, his jacket abandoned somewhere.

“Actually,” Jaehwan blurts, rubbing his bare back against the cool floor for some kind of relief, which he doesn’t find, though his searing scalp gives him brief seconds of clarity. “He was on me.”

Wonshik is tearing at his pants, his socks, his own chest. “It feels like there’s something on my skin. It feels like I can’t breathe unless someone, unless someone--. Someone, please.”

“See? It’s whatever is coming through the vents. Some kind of...I don’t know. Drug? Toxin?” Sanghyuk spits back at Hongbin.

“What do you know, huh?” Hongbin says, voice rising in volume, his tone near hysterical. “What kind of toxin makes someone jump someone else’s boyfriend?”

“It smells like burnt flowers and rust,” Jaehwan moans, trying to crawl his way back to Wonshik, the only person who seems to understand what needs to happen, what they all need now. “Let me go to him.”

“Don’t you--” Hongbin’s eyes are crazed, lost, as he rounds on Jaehwan.

Sanghyuk grabs Hongbin by the front of his wrinkled shirt. “I said,” he hisses, “don’t. Touch. Him.”

“What is this, huh? Are you mad he had my boyfriend’s tongue inside him? Are you jealous, little virgin Hyukkie? You want someone to tongue fuck you too?” Hongbin sneers, though he has to tip his chin up to meet Sanghyuk’s gaze.

Sanghyuk snaps, some kind of sharp trigger in his gut firing off, the echo filling his veins. Anger and arousal twisting together.

“Actually,” Sanghyuk finds himself saying, grabbing Hongbin at the jaw with his long fingers, his fingertips feeling like fire on Hongbin’s skin, “I’m not a goddamn virgin. Jaehwan and I have been fucking for months. And...And sometimes, when we fuck, which we do often , Jaehwan is so needy for my cock that he calls me ‘oppa.’”

Hongbin’s eyes widen a fraction, a flash of genuine emotion, before he pulls his head away from Sanghyuk’s hand and laughs. Bitter, harsh, biting. He draws in another shuddery breath. “As if.”

Sanghyuk pulls Hongbin in again, this time by the hair, like he’d grabbed Jaehwan earlier. “You want me to prove it?”

Sanghyuk doesn’t know why he’s doing this. Why his body feels like it’s been boiled, his shell removed, his soft, sensitive, weak insides bared to everyone.

Hongbin is looking up at him with wide, exhilarated eyes and pink parted lips, and Sanghyuk wants. He wants so many things at once. It’s like someone tore away whatever kept his desires wrangled up inside him, whatever held his composure. Like someone had torn away his spine, his bones, the pillars keeping him upright and secure.

“Yes,” Hongbin breathes through chapped lips.

Sanghyuk pulls Hongbin against him, pliant, his nails raking between Sanghyuk’s shoulderblades.

He keeps Hongbin mere centimeters from him, Hongbin’s panting breaths like soft rain against Sanghyuk’s lips. He can hear a light whine building at the back of Hongbin’s throat.

“Wait,” Jaehwan says, lips parted over Wonshik’s cock, swollen and slick with spit. “M-my...mine?”

Sanghyuk feels an ache in his chest, but his entire skeleton feels like it’s aching, and he can’t think anymore about what the different types of aches mean. He turns away, and Jaehwan’s eyes cloud over once more as he takes Wonshik deep into his throat, mouth producing obscene noises with each movement.

“Call me a virgin one more time,” Sanghyuk dares Hongbin, shifting his gaze back. The sight of Jaehwan’s pretty wide mouth stretched over Wonshik’s cock has Sanghyuk feeling even worse. Feeling like he’s wound even tighter. He can feel his own cock hard under his tight black dress pants.

Hongbin struggles weakly, though still pliant under Sanghyuk’s grip in his hair, his struggling clearly just for the sake of being annoying. As is his way.

Vir...gin …”

Sanghyuk licks into Hongbin’s open mouth, and it tastes familiar in a way that makes Sanghyuk feel guilty. It’s the taste of someone he knows, knows perhaps better than himself. Like damp air and new grass. Like budding trees and faint vanilla and energy drinks.

Hongbin surprises him by latching onto Sanghyuk’s now sweat-soaked shirt front--when had he gotten so sweaty?--and nipping at Sanghyuk’s bottom lip. Well, more than nipping. Biting.

Sanghyuk staggers backwards, toppling over a fallen chair, and the two of them sprawl out onto the floor. The pain shocks Sanghyuk for a brief moment, where his eyes wander over to Jaehwan, who is stroking Wonshik’s cock and guiding it to his entrance, a high keening coming from his throat.

Hongbin grabs Sanghyuk around the hips and throws him onto his belly, wrestling with Sanghyuk’s trousers. With an inch of skin bared above Sanghyuk’s waistband, Hongbin bites down.

Sanghyuk cries out, kicking Hongbin off him, so he can clamber into Hongbin’s lap, grab Hongbin around the back of the neck, force his cheek against the hardness in Sanghyuk’s trousers. Hongbin’s gaze is sharp, furious, but he licks his lips, opens his mouth, sucks on the fabric over Sanghyuk’s cock.

Sanghyuk hisses between his teeth, holding Hongbin’s head steady as Hongbin mouths at him desperately, eyelids fluttering.

“Call me hyung,” Sanghyuk groans, thinking of the time when he’d first played Hongbin in League of Legends, back before their families even had computers in their homes, back when they’d sneak to internet cafes to play, back when Sanghyuk spent his entire allowance for a year just so Hongbin, after losing and owing Sanghyuk a favor, would call him--

“Hyung.”

Sanghyuk’s cheeks pull tight.

Hongbin reaches for Sanghyuk’s belt.

“W-wait,” he says, blinking rapidly, as if trying to see through torrential rain. That’s how it feels. Like he’s trapped beneath an open cloud, and his body is soaked, and everything is so hot . Sanghyuk wants the rain to cool him down, cool everything down, but the water is even hotter. There is no relief. Everything is drenched and hot and Sanghyuk can barely breathe through the droplets on his lips, his tongue.

But when Hongbin reaches to pull Sanghyuk’s cock free from his boxers, Sanghyuk feels a moment’s reprieve.

“Do you remember,” Hongbin says, words slurring together, “when you walked in on me?”

Sanghyuk shakes his head because the motion feels like the only one he can manage, but he really does remember.

“I was sixteen, and you came over to show me the new Shonen Jump, and I was...I was just spread eagle in the middle of my bed, three fingers deep in my own ass, and do you remember what you said?”

Sanghyuk is still shaking his head, but Hongbin is tracing the underside of his hard cock now with those familiarly soft, gentle hands, and it feels like torture.

“You said, ‘When I need a favor, I’m going to remember this.’”

Sanghyuk finds himself laughing, a euphoric cough of joy belting from his mouth as Hongbin takes his cock head between his lips and sucks.

“Is that what you’re saying then? This is a favor for me?” Sanghyuk asks, running his tongue over his chapped bottom lip and sighing at the sensation of Hongbin’s tongue pressing at his skin. Sanghyuk pulls Hongbin back by the hair, and Hongbin whimpers, deprived. He shakes his head free of Sanghyuk’s grip and takes him deep again.

Jaehwan liked to get his face fucked. Hongbin liked to fuck you with his face.

“Oh fuck ,” Sanghyuk moans, collapsing back so he’s balanced on his elbows, Hongbin’s head in his lap.

Hongbin pulls back, a trace of precome glinting off his bottom lip. He licks it away.

“Consider us even,” Hongbin says, breathless and rutting against Sanghyuk’s leg.

 

Hakyeon, after careful consideration of which oddly-fornicating pairing to separate, is pulling Jaehwan off of Wonshik, which makes the two of them hiss between their clenched teeth.

“Jae, stop. What are you doing?” Even as he says the words, Hakyeon can feel the heat of Jaehwan’s skin sinking into his blood, and it makes him shudder.

Taekwoon is slapping at Wonshik’s cheeks, even though Wonshik is crying, “I’m listening, I’m listening!” Taekwoon seems to be taking solace at the touch, even though it is in the form of his palm against Wonshik’s pink cheek.

Jaehwan pushes away from Hakyeon, and Hakyeon nearly sobs at the loss of warm contact. His blood feels like lit gasoline, like there’s a burner at the base of his spine, boiling all his cells, his muscles.

Hakyeon wants to crawl after him. Wants to grind himself against Jaehwan’s thigh like they used to do in high school when they were too lazy to remove clothing. When Jaehwan told Hakyeon off-handedly that he had a cute ass, and Hakyeon said thanks, let me suck you off; I’m bored .

Jaehwan tackles Taekwoon to the floor, his whole body sprawled heavily on top of Taekwoon, who is panting audibly now, almost struggling for breath.

Taekwoon turns his head to Wonshik, as if the only thing he can think of in the world at the moment is continuing his round of slapping.

Jaehwan has tears in his eyes, a few of them seeping down onto his high cheekbones, hovering on his cupid’s bow like condensation.

“Jae--” Hakyeon croaks weakly, reaching for him. His best friend, his first true friend, in pain--

Jaehwan buries his face in Taekwoon’s shirt, tugging the material up to cover his most of his head. Taekwoon looks lost, shifting his gaze to Hakyeon, even as a hand reaches for Jaehwan’s hip. The bare skin against his fingertips appears to shock him, like a little jolt throughout his entire body, and Taekwoon gasps, arching up.

The contact makes Jaehwan, in turn, whimper and grind his hips down against Taekwoon’s.

Taekwoon’s lips part, and his breath sounds like Hakyeon’s name.

Hakyeon drops down onto his knees beside his best friend and his boyfriend.

He touches a hand to Jaehwan’s cheek, and Jaehwan practically purrs. He touches his other hand to Taekwoon’s cheek, and Taekwoon’s eyelids flutter shut.

“I want to watch you,” he says, stroking his thumb over their lips, their jawlines. “Can I watch you?”

Taekwoon shivers, goosebumps pebbling his pale skin, and Hakyeon leans in to flick at the raised skin at Taekwoon’s shoulder with his tongue. Taekwoon bucks up again, and Jaehwan hisses at the feeling of Taekwoon’s dress pants against his bare cock.

Hakyeon helps pull Taekwoon free of his clothes, now soaked with sweat, and he tosses them aside. Taekwoon keeps glancing at him, checking to make sure everything is okay, even though Hakyeon is placing Jaehwan into Taekwoon’s lap, Hakyeon is prepping Jaehwan with his own fingers, knowing just how to twist and scissor to get Jaehwan ready, to make Jaehwan cry out and jerk in Taekwoon’s lap. Taekwoon’s fingers are pressing bruising marks into Jaehwan’s soft, white hips as he watches Hakyeon fuck Jaehwan with his fingers, as he watches Hakyeon suck a mark behind Jaehwan’s ear, where he’s sensitive.

Jaehwan is crying again, babbling nonsense, rutting himself back onto Hakyeon’s fingers.

“Hakyeon,” Taekwoon says, his high, angelic voice lilting as he murmurs his name.

“I know, Taek, I know.”

And he does.

Hakyeon feels mere seconds from bucking his hips against the floor, anything, anything for contact. But the mother in him, the guardian, the leader, makes him tend to his friends’ needs before his own.

Hakyeon forces himself to crawl himself away, focussing on Jaehwan as he seats himself over Taekwoon’s hard cock, fresh tears on his cheeks as he rocks his body down.

“H-Hakyeon,” Taekwoon moans, and Hakyeon feels his heart swelling up like a tide against his ribcage.

Jaehwan is shaking his head as he rocks himself down again and again. “Just once. Say my name, just once?”

Hakyeon clenches his hands into fists as he watches. “Do it,” he says.

This is what Jae needs. This is all they can do.

Taekwoon tips his chin up, defiant for a moment, but when Jaehwan drops his hands to Taekwoon’s chest, flat palms over his nipples as he fucks himself down harder, Taekwoon cries out, “Jae--Jaehwan.”

Jaehwan sniffles, a triumphant smile spreading over his lips.

Hakyeon finally gives up, wriggles out of his own clothes, the pink material sticking to him and making its removal quite difficult. He’s in the middle of struggling out of his boxers when Wonshik reaches him, cheeks crimson and hair spiked up with sweat.

“Are we the leftovers?” Hakyeon mutters.

Wonshik looks between his boyfriend, who has his hips up, cheek pressed to the cold floor as Sanghyuk thrusts into him, and Hakyeon’s boyfriend, who is being ridden, his gaze lost and wild as he grips at Jaehwan’s flushed hips.

“We don’t have to,” Wonshik says, but Hakyeon knows they are beyond having to do anything.

“I feel like we’re being pranked,” Hakyeon says, drawing in shaky breaths as Wonshik reaches a tentative hand for Hakyeon’s cock, hard and leaking precome against his stomach.

“I don’t think it was gas,” Wonshik agrees, licking his lips as he grips Hakyeon tight in his fist and strokes.

Hakyeon jerks his hips up, whining, clawing at the ground. “What is it, then? We’re just high? Just drunk? ‘This was bound to happen anyhow?’”

Wonshik shrugs, eyes glued to the flushed head of Hakyeon’s cock as he swipes his thumb over the slit. “I heard some chem engineering kids talking about making a sex drug. Some kind of...horny smoke bomb. Could be possible. I dunno why they’d let it go here though.”

Hakyeon wants to laugh at the absurdity of it--chemical warfare with sex?--but all he can manage is a garbled groan as Wonshik positions himself over Hakyeon and grips their cocks together, stroking skin against skin.

What else could it be, Hakyeon wonders, making him crave the touch of Taekwoon’s best friend? Making him crave the sight of his boyfriend being ridden by his best friend?

Wonshik must feel the same, as he lifts his head to watch Hongbin shaking beneath Sanghyuk, fighting to keep his ass up, begging please let me come, let me come, let me come, Hyukkie--hyung--

Hakyeon drops his head back, eyelids growing heavy, his body rocking in the rhythm of Wonshik’s hands moving over their skin, listening to the sounds of these boys, his friends, his people, breathless whimpers and the sound of slick skin against skin.

“Maybe being poisoned isn’t so bad,” he whispers as Wonshik bites at his shoulder, his throat, marking him like Hakyeon belongs, belongs to these boys.

“Definitely a story for the grandkids,” Sanghyuk calls out as Hongbin spills his release onto the floor beneath his body, his whole body quaking.

Hakyeon feels that laughter bubbling up in his chest again.

Taekwoon meets his gaze as he flips a spent Jaehwan onto his back and ruts into him until his own body stills, his lips against Jaehwan’s jaw as he comes.

Hakyeon comes with Wonshik chuckling against the shell of his ear as well, deep-voice rumbling, “Now I know why you are who you are.”

Hakyeon’s head fills with steam, vision blurry, as he arches and cries out, coming hard and languid between their bodies.

“You wish.”

And then they black out.

 

When he comes to, Taekwoon is in the school infirmary.

All of the infirmary beds are taken, curtains pulled back, so Taekwoon can see the faces of his friends.

Friends . Oh fuck.

“Taek,” Wonshik says, hoarse, leaning over, arm extended, fingers playing with Hongbin’s sleep-limp hand in the bed beside his own.

“Hey,” Taekwoon replies, and he finds he has no other words to say.

Then Taekwoon realizes Hakyeon is curled up at the foot of his bed like a puppy, snoring softly.

“I was right,” Wonshik says, grinning as a sleeping Hongbin tangles their fingers together unconsciously.

“The chem engineering kids actually made a sex bomb.”

“Sex...bomb?”

Jaehwan gives a soft snort in his sleep, and Taekwoon remembers. Remembers the tight heat of Jaehwan’s body, the plushness of his lips, the way he’d begged for Taekwoon to say his name.

But Taekwoon realizes he doesn’t care as Hakyeon stirs, snuffling against the rough white infirmary blanket in his unflattering infirmary-issued sweats. He peeks up tiredly at Taekwoon with a gentle smile, the kind only Hakyeon can manage after being bombed with an aphrodisiac and subsequently fucking Taekwoon’s best friend.

“Hey there, stud,” Hakyeon whispers.

Taekwoon coughs on a laugh.

Hakyeon smiles wider, his light filling Taekwoon’s line of vision, nearly blinding him.

“If Hongbin wakes up, can we agree to try to convince him the ‘hyung’ thing never happened?” Sanghyuk pleads weakly.

“I’m surprised you would want him to forget that,” Wonshik mutters.

Sanghyuk shifts in his cot, wrinkling his nose. “He’ll smother me in my sleep.”

Wonshik drops his head back against his hard pillow and chuckles. “Oh you will be lucky if it is in your sleep, Hyukkie .”

Sanghyuk groans and rubs at his face. “He liked it.”

“Yes, we get it, you have a magnificent cock, capable of taming the shrewish Bean,” Jaehwan rasps, rolling over, awake now. “We were all there. We get it. You had your hyung moment, scum. It’s over now.”

Sanghyuk sniffs bitterly.

“Who said I was tamed,” Hongbin grumbles, lifting his head, his hair fluffy and poofed up and dark at the roots.

“No one. No one said anything,” Sanghyuk splutters, looking to Wonshik. “Tell him, Ravi. Tell him we had agreed to forget the whole thing.”

Wonshik purses his lips, considering. “I dunno. I rather like the memory. I had a good time, from what I can piece together, despite being at the mercy of sex poison.”

Taekwoon reaches out to card a hand through Hakyeon’s hair. Hakyeon tips his head a little to give Taekwoon easier access to the soft, dark strands.

“It felt like fucking on speed,” Jaehwan says. “Though I have no idea what that feels like. I imagine it is like being sex poisoned.”

“I’m sad my pink suit got wrecked,” Hakyeon whines, Taekwoon’s nails scratching against his scalp.

“It wasn’t the only thing that got wrecked,” Wonshik adds, eyeing Hongbin, who scoffs.

“No one will ever wreck me.”

“Sure, baby.”

Hakyeon turns his head, looking over at Jaehwan.

“Are we best friends again?”

Jaehwan puffs his cheeks up, rolls his eyes up to the ceiling. “I suppose so. You’re no better than me now.”

Hakyeon harumphs. “Agree to disagree.”

“You wore a pink suit in public.”

“You cried on my boyfriend.”

“You liked it!”

“You bet I did,” Hakyeon says, waggling his eyebrows.

The nurse walks in, her cheeks flushed rosy pink, her eyes glued to her chart. “Ehem, so, boys. The school has agreed to burn the footage of the... event ...if you all sign this waiver that says nothing happened, and there was never a gaseous aphrodisiac leakage in the school gymnasium.”

Wonshik meets Taekwoon’s gaze, mouths the word footage???

Taekwoon’s gut twists.

“Could we, perhaps, get a copy of that before you burn it?” Jaehwan inquires, raising his hand.

Sanghyuk splutters and throws his pillow at Jaehwan’s face.

“I’ll take one too, actually,” Hongbin adds, and Wonshik shoots him a glare. “What? I’m curious.”

The nurse now has the chart lifted to hide her entire face as she quickly spits, “Dear God, heathenous youth!” and rushes from the room.

“I think we know the new name of the choir club, eh boys?” Jaehwan says.

“As the official face of the club,” Hakyeon replies, sitting up and cupping his own cheeks to display them for the room, “I now dub us Heathenous Youth .”









Chapter Text

Ten Years Later: 

“Love, are you ready to go?”

Taekwoon looks up from his meticulous folding of one single button-down shirt.

“I--”

“Just put it in the bag. We have to go,” Hakyeon says, grabbing the shirt away from Taekwoon and crunching it up into a ball, before shoving it into their shared leather duffle. “No time.”

Taekwoon pouts down at the now-wrinkled material of his black shirt and watches Hakyeon hastily zip up the bag.

Hakyeon, now in his thirties, is still as devastatingly beautiful as the first time Taekwoon saw him, Taekwoon observes, almost bitterly. Wouldn’t it have been grand if Taekwoon could give up this needy, childlike sunshine being, instead of getting sucked into his gorgeous orbit like a fool?

“Well?” Hakyeon asks, tossing the bag into Taekwoon’s arms. He stumbles back under the weight of all of Hakyeon’s cosmetics. Age has not helped Hakyeon reconcile his need to micromanage his own skin, though he has resigned himself to being tan. Now he has the wrinkles to battle. “Get the car started, so I can check in with the sitter before we go.”

“Hakyeon, please. She’ll be fine,” Taekwoon mutters, grabbing the car keys off the counter, body tilted sideways as he lugs Hakyeon’s crap.

“I know she’ll be fine. I’m worried about the sitter ,” Hakyeon groans, going through his checklist of things for the sitter to remember before they leave. 1. No sugar before dinner. 2. No sugar after dinner. 3. Just put her in front of the TV and let her watch whatever she wants if it means she will sit still. 4. She cannot be intimidated, so just pretend you know she is your Queen and leader. 5. She really likes cartoons about dogs. 6. Remember she is five and YOU ARE IN CHARGE!!!

“Eunbyeol,” Hakyeon coos, “Byeolie, my pretty star, the light of my life. Your fathers are leaving.”

The little girl glances away from her mermaid Barbie film for a brief moment, her little pigtails swinging against her pillowy cheeks. “Have fun, Daddy. ‘N don’t drink alcohol. Teacher lady said it is bad for you.”

Hakyeon flushes and nods. “You are correct, my genius daughter. Alcohol is very bad. Good thing neither of your dads ever drink. That would be very bad for them.”

Eunbyeol shoves a handful of grapes into her puffy pale cheeks like a rodent, and grins at the praise.

Hakyeon places a kiss on her forehead and pulls back to murmur, “Please do not scare away this sitter; she is the last choice we have, and she is a very nice girl.”

Eunbyeol tilts her head and thoughtfully chews her grapes. “I didn't do it. You did,” she says, and Hakyeon knows it is entirely the truth.

In the garage, Taekwoon honks their car horn, so Hakyeon kisses Eunbyeol one last time before rushing to the car.

“I give it two hours,” Taekwoon says, pulling out onto the street.

“That’s generous,” Hakyeon sighs, massaging his temples.

 

The hotel room is clean but sparse. There are two double beds and a cot in the corner, with little other furniture. There’s a small boxy television mounted atop an old laminate table that also features the “room service” menu (ramyun packets and beer) and an old Bible.

Wonshik drops their bag down onto one of the double beds and shrugs off his coat.

“Babe, have you heard from Taek?” Hongbin asks, emerging from their tiny adjoining bathroom with a towel coiled around his pale hipbones and another drying off his shaggy dark hair.

“He said they’re in traffic. I think that’s code for ‘the sitter has already called in a panic,’” Wonshik replies, tugging on Hongbin’s towel to pull him close. He kisses at the droplets of water spilling down Hongbin’s abdomen, feeling the muscles tense beneath his lips. Hongbin has grown softer with age, but his body still brings Wonshik to his knees in the way only Hongbin ever has.

“We did bet them their child would be a menace, and we didn’t even need a prize, because the knowledge of how evil their child is is all the prize we need,” Hongbin says, letting out a pleased huff of breath at Wonshik’s lips as they dip lower and lower, tracing over where the edge of the towel meets his hipbones.

“To be fair, Eunbyeol is a great kid, usually. She is just…”

“Like Hakyeon?” Hongbin finishes, as Wonshik undoes his towel and pulls Hongbin onto his lap at the edge of the bed.

“So glad we decided to just get lots of french bulldogs instead of children,” Wonshik says, wrapping his fingers around Hongbin’s soft cock and stroking loosely. Hongbin shudders in his lap, fingers curled around Wonshik’s shoulders.

“We agreed on one french bulldog, Wonshik. The one that we have. The one that you so-maturely named Butt --”

“It’s cute,” Wonshik argues, circling his thumb around the head of Hongbin’s cock. “Because he’s all chubby and wrinkly like a...butt.”

“You used to be so good at dirty talk,” Hongbin muses, tracing the side of Wonshik’s throat, feeling the fuzz of untrimmed hair at the base of his neck.

Wonshik narrows his eyes and tightens his grip. “I was never good at dirty talk. Ravi was.”

Hongbin scoffs and tries to look annoyed while Wonshik jerks him off with cruelly slow motions. He is unsuccessful.

“I hope Hakyeon and Taekwoon are late because we call dibs on any bed that is not the cot!” Jaehwan crows, kicking the door open behind Hongbin’s back.

“Fuck,” Hongbin screeches, knocking Wonshik over in his quest to burrow beneath the tightly tucked sheets of the hotel bed. “For the love of--Can we fucking knock like adults?”

“Sorry,” Sanghyuk drolls, rolling his eyes as he steps in behind Jaehwan. “We didn’t know you would start fucking in the first five minutes of being here.”

“If I recall,” Hongbin sneers, just his head peeking out from beneath the sheets and comforter, “you used to keep me up at all hours of the night with your incessant fucking.”

“Those days are over,” Jaehwan replies, “And Sanghyuk and I are perfectly happy as just friends.”

Sanghyuk’s cheeks flush, and he drops his backpack onto the free bed. “Friends who intimately know the geography of one another’s testicles.”

“I mean, don’t you know Hongbin’s ballsack well too? It’s a friendship thing,” Jaehwan says, neatly unzipping his fancy brown leather satchel to hang his pressed shirts and suit jacket up in the closet.

“We all know Hongbin’s ballsack well,” Wonshik replies. “Doesn’t mean anything.”

Hongbin reaches his arm out to swat at Wonshik, aiming a nice sounding smack to his spine.

“Good to see that even after getting engaged finally, you two are just as ferocious...ly...in love,” Jaehwan observes. “So what’s the plan for the night? Rehearsal dinner? Cheers to all of our success?”

“Think anyone’ll congratulate Taek for his arduous career as stay-at-home Dad to Korea’s most adorable yet more frightening child?” Sanghyuk jokes, and, right on cue--

“Say one more thing about my starlight baby Eunbyeol, and I swear,” Hakyeon cries, throwing his and Taekwoon’s five-pound bag at Sanghyuk, who catches it at his abdomen and stumbles backwards onto the bed. His fall wreaks havoc on Jaehwan’s neat piles of clothing.

Sanghyuk stares up at Jaehwan, cheeks still tinged pink from before, and Jaehwan lets himself observe for a moment the face of the man he left behind in his search for a career. Sanghyuk has always been boyishly handsome, but now he is simply handsome. Sharp-jawed with his soft, wide nose and dark, deep-set eyes. Jaehwan inhales shakily and throws his mussed up stack of trousers at Sanghyuk’s face to hide it.

“Traffic?” Wonshik asks, as Taekwoon shucks off his shoes at the door, his jaw still tightly clenched from tamped down road rage.

“You have no idea,” Taekwoon seethes. “And then the babysitter--”

Hakyeon slaps his tan palm over Taekwoon’s lips and laughs into his pale ear, “Hah hah! The babysitter called to say what an absolute delight Eunbyeol is being so far, right, my love?”

Taekwoon shifts his gaze to Hakyeon’s face and nods, haunted.

“Parenting is so rewarding ,” Hakyeon says with no emotion.

“I mean she loves us ,” Taekwoon whispers under his breath.

“She bit your neighbor,” Hongbin says, huddled in a pile of blankets now.

“Our neighbor said Hakyeon was too dark and should invest in a parasol,” Taekwoon reasons, shrugging. “She’s protective.”

“Like a guard dog,” Wonshik mutters, and Hongbin nods from his shelter of sheets beside him on the bed.

“We aren’t all satisfied merely rearing a stupidly-named canine,” Hakyeon scoffs, tugging off his sweater to change into his dress clothes for dinner.

“Butt is a great name for a dog,” Sanghyuk says, and Wonshik beams at him. They exchange brotherly nods.

“Say the two imbeciles of the group,” Jaehwan adds, and Hongbin nods solemnly in agreement.

“When do we eat,” Taekwoon grumbles, and Hakyeon murmurs at him gently, palming at his soft, pale cheeks and kissing his little nose.

“Aren’t you supposed to stop being gross once you’ve been married and procured a spawn?” Wonshik asks, nose wrinkled in disgust.

“When do we eat ,” Taekwoon groans, cheeks squished between Hakyeon’s warm palms.

 

“We’re so happy you are here for us. So many people! It’s like...where did all these people come from? People just for us, baby,” Jongin slurs, already tipsy from the three glasses of congratulatory champagne from the first couple toasts. Kyungsoo is seated beside him, face dropped into his palms, heaving embarrassed breaths.

Kyungsoo reaches an arm up from under the table to grip Jongin’s trouser leg while Jongin chugs the rest of his drink, and Kyungsoo yanks him down into his seat.

“I think that’s enough now, dear,” Kyungsoo hisses, rising up in his place, his face still bright pink, eyes wide and rimmed with purple. “What my incredibly inebriated future husband means to say is that we are grateful you all took time out of your busy schedules to come celebrate our wedding. We haven’t seen a lot of you in some time, and it means a lot that you all still have no lives and can easily make time for me, I mean, us.”

“That’s our Soosoo,” Hakyeon coos under his breath, sniffling a little.

Wonshik, meanwhile, is drunkenly kneading his head into Jaehwan’s shoulder, as Sanghyuk watches from the opposite side of the table.

Hongbin, beside Sanghyuk, is dismissively rolling his eyes until he hones in on where Sanghyuk’s gaze is trained. Beneath the table, Hongbin draws out his phone and sends a series of messages.

My Angel [7:45 pm]: wonshik

My Angel [7:45 pm]: i think we have a mission

My Angel [7:46 pm]: get off the jaehwan u dnt kno where its been!!!!!

 

Hongbin, in reply, receives:

My Slave [7:47 pm]: babywatchutalkbout

My Slave [7:47 pm]: uso preytt i wil l flolw u 2 teh end o t he wlrod

 

Sighing, Hongbin turns instead to Hakyeon on his other side.

“Do you know if Jae is seeing anyone?” he whispers, and Hakyeon freezes, cold potatoes brought to his lips.

“Romantically?” Hakyeon replies, waving his wine glass around in shock. “God, I don’t think Jaehwan has shown anyone his dick in years. Maybe his doctor? If he even sees the doctor anymore. Medical school destroyed his sexual urges. And his desire to see any doctors. ”

Hongbin flickers his gaze to Jaehwan, who is patting Wonshik’s pale cheeks and muttering at him to get him to wake up and remove his face from Jaehwan’s shoulder. Sanghyuk does not look away.

“I think we need to get him and Hyuk back together,” Hongbin murmurs.

Hakyeon dribbles white wine down his chin.

“What? Hongbin, it’s been years,” Hakyeon hisses. “I don’t think they ever even said they love one another. All they did was frickfrock relentlessly. We all saw it. A lot . Because they never locked the door . One time Jaehwan butt-dialed me during sex, and left a fifty minute voicemail of sex noises.”

“I know! We all heard it! But...Just look at them,” Hongbin hisses back.

At the moment, Sanghyuk is picking at his dry chicken, and Jaehwan is unabashedly, drunkenly leering at him. Sanghyuk looks up for a moment, and Jaehwan quickly drops his fork down onto his plate, loudly startling everyone. Sanghyuk then drops his fork as well, where it clatters and spatters bits of chicken around.

Hongbin side-eyes Hakyeon.

Hakyeon shuts his eyes and sighs. “I hate when you’re right.”

Wonshik, somehow hearing this, drunkenly stumbles to his feet, knocking into the table, and all the wine glasses spill over onto the tablecloth like dominos. “My Bean is always right!”

Jaehwan stands up beside Wonshik as red wine drips down into his lap. He shrieks as it seeps into the expensive fabric.

Sanghyuk, hearing the noise of Jaehwan’s pain, jumps over the table and grabs all the napkins in sight. He crawls over to Jaehwan on the table and begins dabbing at Jaehwan’s crotch.

“Stains,” he murmurs, shaking his head.

Jaehwan, with eyes twinkling as he watches Sanghyuk’s shaky hand pat at his damp trousers, shudders with desire.

Hongbin slits his gaze back to Hakyeon.

“Oh, it is so on.”

Chapter Text



Back at the hotel, Sanghyuk is out on the balcony, inhaling the thin smoke of his cigarette, when Taekwoon steps out with him.

“Eunbyeol would be very disappointed in you,” Taekwoon says, leaning against the cold metal railing. “She learned smoking is bad in school, and she talks about almost nothing else.”

“Wait till she learns that doing it in the butt is bad for you,” Sanghyuk mutters, tapping off the ash, so it flutters down the ten stories to the ground.

“I don’t think she will ever learn that,” Taekwoon replies, snagging the cigarette and stomping it under his hotel slipper. “Ever.”

Sanghyuk reaches for his box of cigarettes, and Taekwoon kicks it through the bars of the balcony, the two of them watching it plummet downward.

“What if that hits someone?!” Sanghyuk cries, peering over the ledge.

“Then I guess you’re a murderer,” Taekwoon says, smiling gently in a way that in no way matches his words.

“But I didn’t even--”

“So you and Jaehwan,” Taekwoon cuts in, eyes on the line of firetrucks racing on the street below, bellowing their horns and sirens.

“Sorry, what?” Sanghyuk splutters. “I don’t think I heard you over the--”

“You. And. Jaehwan,” Taekwoon repeats slowly, voice no louder. “Are you gonna be okay sharing a bed?”

“I’d rather share with him than your psycho octopus of a husband,” Sanghyuk replies. “I swear the last time we shared a sleeping space, he grew ten other limbs just to latch onto every part of my body to spoon.”

Taekwoon shrugs, the corners of his lips lifting up in a grin. “He’s a cuddler.”

Sanghyuk shakes his head slowly. “Regardless. I will be fine with Jaehwan. We broke up ages ago. And it isn’t like I’m so sexually deprived that I’ll jump him or something.”

“I’m not concerned about you jumping him,” Taekwoon says, eyes suddenly serious, and Sanghyuk suddenly wishes he were inside that box of cigarettes that tumbled to the cold, hard cement below.

 

Jaehwan is brushing his teeth when Sanghyuk walks into the bathroom to snag his own toothbrush. Jaehwan glances over in the mirror, toothpaste lining the rim of his lips.

Sanghyuk resists the urge to wipe it away.

With his mouth.

“How is the clinic practice going?” Sanghyuk says instead of latching onto Jaehwan’s minty lips.

Jaehwan spits and resumes brushing. He was always such a perfectionist.

“It’s okay,” he says around the toothbrush. “Kids are fun. Except when they’re dying. Or bite you.”

“The dying ones deserve to bite you,” Sanghyuk replies, holding the toothpaste in his mouth until Jaehwan steps aside to let him spit in the sink. He feels the urge to brush again like Jaehwan did, just to keep himself by Jaehwan’s side a bit longer.

“You never brush twice,” Jaehwan says, as Sanghyuk begins brushing again.

“I started,” Sanghyuk lies, wincing as his gums begin to ache.

Jaehwan squints at him as he dips his lips beneath the faucet and swishes water around before spitting again.

“What are you doing now?”

Sanghyuk flushes and tries to spit to speak, but he dribbles toothpaste down his chin. Jaehwan’s lips twitch.

“I’ve been traveling mostly. I got laid off at my last job, so I decided to travel for a bit with the money I had saved up. Went to Spain. It was nice,” Sanghyuk replies, suddenly self-conscious of the fact that Jaehwan has been saving children’s lives, and he has been drinking a lot and riding on boats with hot foreigners.

Jaehwan whips his shirt over his head, and Sanghyuk is frozen momentarily at the sight. Jaehwan’s chest, still soft, still so pale and smooth, and his narrow waist that rounds out just the slightest bit at his hips, where the waistband of his boxers shows over his shorts.

“Um.”

“I need to shower,” Jaehwan says, bending to turn the hot water on, and Sanghyuk backs himself into the mirror to get as much distance between himself and Jaehwan’s ass as possible.

“I know you’re trying to seduce me, Hyung, but you’ve gotten old,” Sanghyuk says with as much bravado as he can manage, while also picturing Jaehwan spread out over his lap, pale skin arched up to Sanghyuk’s resounding slaps of palm.

Jaehwan wheels around, smirking as he plays with the hem of his boxer shorts, teasing them down a few centimeters, and Sanghyuk throws his toothbrush at him and stumbles out of the room.

 

“This is weird,” Wonshik whispers to Hakyeon in the pew of their church seat.

“Shh,” Hakyeon mumbles, dabbing at his eyes with Taekwoon’s mint green pocket square.

“Hakyeon loves weddings,” Taekwoon replies, shaking his head wearily. “Just let him have this.”

Wonshik turns to Hongbin, who is still staring with narrowed eyes at Jaehwan and Sanghyuk in the pew in front of them. Sanghyuk and Jaehwan are both sitting so rigidly, backs hard against the wood bench of the pew, and neither of them has reacted in any way to the oddity of the wedding ceremony.

Chanyeol is standing at the front of the church, though he is most definitely not a priest. Kyungsoo and Jongin are seated in the middle of a circle of their eleven other friends, who are all donning dark robes and chanting.

“What on earth are they even saying?” Wonshik hisses.

“It sounds like…. careless careless shoot anonymous ?” Hongbin replies. “I’m gonna be real with you, babe, I think Kyungsoo is in a cult.”

Hakyeon smacks the backs of both of their heads and continues sobbing into his pocket square. “Love is beautiful in all forms.”

“Even the...potentially blackmagic form?”

At the end of the chanting, Jongin crawls over Kyungsoo and begins furiously making out with him in front of everyone.

Hongbin watches as Sanghyuk and Jaehwan both glance at one another and then quickly glance away.

“My love, are we sure we are supposed to stay for this?” Taekwoon whispers at Hakyeon’s ear.

Kyungsoo is arching up beneath Jongin as Jongin bites hard into his neck, and the two of them howl softly to one another.

“You know, maybe we should hit the bar,” Hakyeon replies, and the six of them swiftly move out from the pews and rush to the adjoining reception room.

There’s a bit more howling in the background.

“I really hope that blackmagic isn’t contagious. I’ve had enough strange sexual poison to last a lifetime,” Wonshik says, grabbing two glasses of wine from the bar. Hongbin reaches for one, but Wonshik just begins pouring them both into his mouth in quick succession.

Hongbin shrugs and grabs two glasses of his own.

“Operation reunite the fuckwads begins,” Hongbin says, after polishing off both glasses and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

“Is this such a good idea,” Hakyeon asks, sipping his champagne daintily. “People break up for a reason.”

“I mean Wonshik and I broke up like fifteen times,” Hongbin replies, leaning over the bar. “Two glasses of white. If you could add a little vodka in there, that would be great. Trying to get some people drunk. Thank you kindly.”

Wonshik draws in an annoyed breath and rubs between his eyes. “We didn’t break up.”

“Yes we did!” Hongbin cries, grabbing the extra-spiked wine glasses and heading over to where Sanghyuk and Jaehwan are chatting with Yixing.

“If you are referring to those times you post-coitally told me if I didn’t work harder, you were going to dump me, then that doesn’t count,” Wonshik hisses.

“I’m referring to those times when I texted you we’re over so I could play Overwatch in peace for a few days,” Hongbin says, grinning as he places the glasses in front of Sanghyuk and Jaehwan. “Drink up, boys. We’re already two glasses in. Catch up time.”

Hakyeon has found Kyungsoo and is asking him about the intricacies of their wedding ceremony, with Taekwoon holding onto his hips from behind, protectively. Kyungsoo is holding a wad of napkins to his profusely bleeding neck bite as Jongin kisses the top of his little head.

“I have an idea,” Wonshik says. “Get them drunk first.” He kisses Hongbin’s cheek and rushes off to the DJ booth.

Sanghyuk blinks for a moment at the glass. Jaehwan picks it up and begins chugging from it without a word of protest, but Sanghyuk looks worried.

“Drink it. Now,” Hongbin orders, still smiling pleasantly.

Sanghyuk grabs the glass with both hands and brings it to his lips.

“That wine is terrible,” Jaehwan says, after finishing his glass. “Tastes like pure gasoline.”

“Strange,” is Hongbin’s reply.

 

Roughly twenty minutes and two more glasses of vodka Chardonnay later, Jaehwan is unbuttoning his shirt and letting it drape loosely from his shoulders. Sanghyuk is wildly gesticulating while explaining Spanish cuisine to Minseok and Yixing, pointedly making sure not to look over at Jaehwan’s prominent, slightly sweat-slick clavicles.

“The thing about paella is that--”

Jaehwan suddenly stands. He looks over at the DJ booth, where “Abracadabra” by Brown Eyed Girls is now blaring.

Sanghyuk stands as well, eyes wide and hopeful.

“Our song,” he says.

Wonshik, over by the DJ booth, gives Hongbin a comically exaggerated thumbs up. Hongbin turns away and sighs into his wine glass.

Sanghyuk clumsily seeks out Jaehwan’s wrist and drags him onto the dance floor.

“Did he just say that is their song,” Minseok asks, eyebrow lifted as he watches the two of them stand awkwardly in the middle of the dance floor alone, their thighs spread wide, hips bowing backwards and forwards to the beat.

“Oh, it is. I have no idea why, but I used to hear it blaring from Sanghyuk’s room all the--”

“Wait. What in the fucking hell is--”

Sanghyuk has grabbed Jaehwan by the hair and yanked him forward against his chest. Jaehwan, hips still swaying rhythmically, is breathing hard against Sanghyuk’s lips, their noses centimeters apart.

“It’s happening,” Hongbin murmurs pleasantly.







Chapter Text

Sanghyuk remembers only a few months ago, at his sister’s kid’s elementary school graduation, hearing a song he somehow knew the words to. He wasn’t sure how, only that he could sing along. Not every word, of course, he stumbled a few times, but it was like relearning something he realized he’d forgotten but was at one point important to him.

 

Jaehwan’s body pressed up against the brick facade of the wedding hall, his pale throat arched with his head tipped back--this is something Sanghyuk never thought he would have to remember.

 

But just like that song, that familiar melody his brain could somehow conjure up as if from the base of his spine, stored there until needed, his knowledge of Jaehwan’s body is suddenly at the tip of his tongue as he nips at Jaehwan’s throat.

 

“Sang--hyuk--” Jaehwan bites out, tearing at Sanghyuk’s suit jacket, shoving it down his arms until it slips onto the dirty soiled concrete ground of the alleyway. Sanghyuk knows the air is scented with garbage and the humid acrid air of boilers and air conditioner units, but all he can smell is the warm dusting of cinnamon and vanilla at Jaehwan’s neck, trailing up behind his softly curled ears.

 

“Are we really gonna fuck for the first time in like ten years in a dirty alley?” Sanghyuk groans against the shell of Jaehwan’s ear.

 

Jaehwan slips his hand down Sanghyuk’s front, his palm warm over Sanghyuk’s abdomen, and then he’s pushing into Sanghyuk’s trouser pockets.

 

“No, we’re going to take advantage of the free room,” Jaehwan murmurs, pulling free the hotel keycard from Sanghyuk’s pocket.

 

“How are we ge--”

 

Jaehwan touches his fingertip to Sanghyuk’s lips and holds up his phone, showing a ride-sharing app page. “Already got us a car. Be here in two. Get your coat.”

 

Hongbin, at the bar, leans in to flick his tongue over Wonshik’s ear lobe.

 

Wonshik squeaks and pulls back. “Did the red wine make you frisky again?”

 

Hongbin shakes his head and grabs a tequila shot from Chanyeol’s hand just as he’s about to shoot it. “We did it!”

 

Chanyeol frowns and reaches for another shot from the bartender.

 

Wonshik, suddenly both frightened and aroused, grabs the new shot from Chanyeol’s hand and does the same. “We did it?”

 

Hongbin grabs him and presses him up against the bar. Chanyeol slinks to the left, away from their tightly-pressed bodies.

 

“Jaehwan and Sanghyuk just left to go get it on at the hotel,” Hongbin says, grinning triumphantly.

 

Hakyeon, across the reception hall, lifts his glass. “Here, here!”

 

Taekwoon, beside him, grabs the glass and puts it down on the table, shaking his head. “No more.”

 

Hakyeon grabs Taekwoon’s wrist and holds it up as a toast. “Here, here!”

 

Taekwoon lets his wrist be jangled around and softly whispers, “cheers” as Hakyeon sucks Taekwoon’s fingers into his mouth like a drink.

 

Chanyeol grabs the bottle of tequila from the bartender and tucks it under his coat, sneaking grumpily away from Hongbin and Wonshik as they grind against the bar table.

 

 

The ride-share driver grimaces at them the entire car ride: Jaehwan in Sanghyuk’s lap, hands fisted in his soft dark hair, his cock hard against Sanghyuk’s stomach. Jaehwan’s breath hot against Sanghyuk’s lips as he laps into his mouth and whimpers, “God, I want you so badly. I haven’t been fucked so good in so long, Sanghyuk, please, please.”


Sanghyuk is a half second from stripping Jaehwan bare in the back of the Mitsubishi when they pull up in front of the hotel.

 

“Give me five stars, and I won’t report you for indecent activity in my car,” the driver calls out as the door shuts behind them.

 

There’s a nice old couple in the elevator with them, gazing lovingly into each other’s bespectacled eyes and holding wrinkled tan hands.

 

Beside them, Sanghyuk has a hand on Jaehwan’s ass, gripping, as Jaehwan pants quietly and presses back against his touch.

 

“You two have a good night then--be safe!” the old woman coos as the doors part and Sanghyuk and Jaehwan sprint down the hall.

 

In the hotel room, Jaehwan starts stripping down immediately, yanking at his tie, until Sanghyuk grabs his wrists to stop him.

 

“I haven’t seen you in ten years. Let me enjoy this, yeah?” He climbs up onto the bed and waves for Jaehwan to continue.

 

His tie goes first, dripping down to the floor in a puddle of silk. Then his jacket, sliding down his arms and landing atop the tie on their stained cream-patterned carpet.

 

“Slower,” Sanghyuk demands, pulling his own jacket back off.

 

“I don’t have that much patience,” Jaehwan whines, flicking the buttons of his white shirt open and exposing the pale but flushed pink skin of his collarbones. “I just want you to touch me.”

 

“I will,” Sanghyuk replies, eyes following the baring of Jaehwan’s chest, his navel, the narrow swell of his hips. He palms at his cock through his trousers and imagines his lips tracing every inch of Jaehwan’s body.

 

Jaehwan reaches for his belt, and Sanghyuk’s breath catches.

 

Jaehwan, hearing the sharp intake of breath, teasingly pulls at the leather, his fingertips gliding along the waistband of his dress pants, over his hip bones.

 

“How are you just as beautiful now as you--”

 

“Oh shut up,” Jaehwan scoffs, yanking his trousers and boxers down and kicking them aside onto the radiator, which groans and hisses.

 

“Or what?” Sanghyuk asks, as Jaehwan climbs up onto the bed and pins him down against the brownish pink floral bedspread.

 

“Or nothing, so put up or shut up,” Jaehwan says, flicking open the button of Sanghyuk’s dress pants and tugging them down his slim hips until he can kick them away onto the floor. Jaehwan runs his hands over Sanghyuk’s stomach and up to his chest, feeling the heated skin under his fingertips.

 

“I just realized you’ve been calling me by my name,” Sanghyuk breathes, pulling Jaehwan’s body down to grind against his own. He can feel Jaehwan’s cock against his stomach again, leaking and swollen, sliding against his navel as Jaehwan circles his hips.

 

“As opposed to what?” Jaehwan whines, pulling away to take Sanghyuk into his hands, stroking slowly, gripping hard, in that way he always did that made Sanghyuk come undone so quickly.

 

“Don’t you remember? You always called me ‘Scum,’” Sanghyuk groans, hips lifting up to rut his cock between Jaehwan’s soft hands.

 

Jaehwan tips his head back and barks out a laugh. “Fuck, you’re right. Scum. Scum, scum, my freshman scum.”

 

Sanghyuk grits his teeth and flips Jaehwan onto his back. “No. Say my name like you did before.”

 

“Scum,” Jaehwan repeats, glaring up at Sanghyuk with hooded eyelids, bucking up to rub his cock against Sanghyuk’s thigh.

 

“I will leave you here hard, naked, and alone in this shitty hotel room,” Sanghyuk threatens.

 

Jaehwan holds his hand out in front of Sanghyuk’s face as he leans in for a kiss.

 

For a moment Sanghyuk feels bitter resentment clawing at his intestines, remembering that night before Jaehwan’s graduation when he’d held Jaehwan’s face in his hands and begged, “I’ll wait for you.” And Jaehwan, turning his face away as he smeared his tears along his cheekbones, had replied, “That’s stupid.”

 

He remembers tasting the salt of Jaehwan’s abandonment on his lips as they kissed, as Jaehwan rode him slowly, as if he thought he could sustain them there in that space and time forever. Sanghyuk remembers trying to hold in his orgasm as long as possible while also wishing it was all over, that he was free from this, free from Jaehwan, and when he finally orgasmed, it felt like everything that had ever been inside him had spilled free, and he was hollow.

 

Now here he is again, with Jaehwan’s halting palm in front of his face, and he sits back on his haunches and lets the sharp twinge of rejection settle over his bare skin.

 

“Where are you going?” Jaehwan chuckles, reaching up under the pillow to grab three packets of lube. “I just wanted to make sure we were headed somewhere. We used to always get so caught up.”

 

“We wouldn’t realize we were lubeless until we were already so close to coming that it didn’t matter anymore,” Sanghyuk replies, breathless again as Jaehwan tugs at his hand to drip lube onto his fingers. “Did you plan this?”

 

Jaehwan laughs again, that bright, full sound that always rang in Sanghyuk’s ears in those moments before he’d fall asleep. “This is Wonshik and Hongbin’s bed,” Jaehwan whispers.

 

Sanghyuk stares at the lube now trickling down his wrist. “I hate you.”

 

“Just fuck me already, Han Sanghyuk ,” Jaehwan teases, lifting his legs and parting them around Sanghyuk’s hips.

 

Sanghyuk has three fingers in Jaehwan when Jaehwan finally snaps and kicks at Sanghyuk’s chest with a cold foot. “Please, hurry up, before the others get back--”

 

Sanghyuk shoves Jaehwan’s knees up to his chest and pins them in place with his forearm as he continues fucking his fingers into Jaehwan’s body. “You made me wait ten years, Lee Jaehwan, you can wait another five minutes.”

 

“I didn’t make you!” Jaehwan cries, scratching his nails hard down Sanghyuk’s back. Sanghyuk arches into the touch, remembering all the nights he would have to fall asleep on his stomach because his back stung too much from the red welts Jaehwan would leave behind. “I said it would be stupid to wait, and it was stupid.”

 

“No one ever fit the way you fit,” Sanghyuk grits out, “and no one ever pissed me off the way you piss me off.”

 

Jaehwan huffs, turning his face away as he gnaws at his bottom lip. “Like you didn’t fuck anyone for ten years.”

 

“I didn’t say that,” Sanghyuk grumbles, slicking up his cock and thrusting into the tight heat of Jaehwan’s body. Jaehwan moans and shudders, running his hands through his own mussed up hair, spiking it up in a sweaty mess. “I said no one ever fit the way you fit. Around my cock. In my arms.”

 

“Don’t get all sappy, Sanghyuk, please--just fuck me,” Jaehwan whines, reaching for his cock, but Sanghyuk swats his hand away. He whimpers, the sound cracking and desperate.

 

“If you didn’t miss this, then why are you here?” Sanghyuk asks, breathing heavily against Jaehwan’s throat as he peppers it with light kisses.

 

“Because you’re hot. You’re ten years older, but you don’t look a day over fucking twenty, and you have a phenomenal cock, okay?”

 

Sanghyuk pulls Jaehwan’s legs back around his body and feels Jaehwan lock them behind his back, using that hold as leverage to rock in to meet Sanghyuk’s thrusts. He bears down over Jaehwan and takes Jaehwan’s cock in his hand, gripping at the base in that way that Jaehwan hates but also loves. The way that would stave off his orgasm for hours, until he was squirming, aching, crying, and so beautiful.

 

“You’ve been avoiding me and acting like we’ve always been just ‘pals’ for years now, Jae, please,” Sanghyuk says, knowing he sounds desperate, clingy, whipped, but unable to help it. “Just tell me the truth.”

 

Jaehwan begins shaking his head against the sheets, just tossing it from side to side, his eyes brimming with tears as Sanghyuk runs the pad of his thumb over the head of his cock with his fist still tight around the shaft.

 

“Why is it so hard? Don’t you see how happy our friends are? We could have had that, you know? We could have a-a dog or a fuckin’ menace child or even just a little flat together, you know?” Sanghyuk pants, feeling the tears stinging at his own eyes. The heat pooling in his gut threatens to overwhelm him, his hips snapping forward erratically as Jaehwan continues bucking up from the mattress to get Sanghyuk as deep inside him as possible with each thrust.

 

“We’re not like them. We’re different. We’re different, we’re diff--”

 

Sanghyuk shuts him up by pressing their lips together, and he tastes the salt again, that familiar bitter biting flavor behind Jaehwan’s warm lips. But Jaehwan is gripping at Sanghyuk’s back, pulling him closer, parting his lips and trying to fuse their bodies together.

 

“Because shit like this,” he croaks, turning his face away from Sanghyuk’s lips again. “It doesn’t last. Our friends are stupid to think it does. We have some good sex, okay? But that’s enough.”

 

Sanghyuk feels his tears slipping off his chin, and he watches as they land on Jaehwan’s cheek. Jaehwan turns back, eyes wide and open and scared. He looks so frightened, fragile, and soft, and Sanghyuk halts the movement of his hips, hands moving to Jaehwan’s cheeks to wipe his tears away and coo, “Hey, hey, it’s okay. It’s okay. This can be the last time. I won’t ask you for anything.”

 

Jaehwan kicks his heels into Sanghyuk’s tailbone, keening, “No, God, don’t stop, it isn’t over, don’t stop.”

 

Sanghyuk fucks back into Jaehwan’s body, slowly, gently, and Jaehwan’s eyelids flutter, tears spilling down his cheeks and chin and neck. Sanghyuk’s lips trace the lines left in Jaehwan’s tears’ wake, licking them away from his warm skin.

 

“Hey, sh, it’s okay. I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Sanghyuk breathes, lips gentle against Jaehwan’s skin. “Do you want to come? Do you want me to make you come?”

 

Jaehwan nods, but his hands are still scrambling at Sanghyuk’s back, clawing at it, his lips parted as he continues whining pitifully. Sanghyuk slips a hand between their bodies and strokes hard at Jaehwan’s cock, and Jaehwan is practically screaming now.

 

“I don’t want it to end,” he pleads, legs shaking around Sanghyuk’s body. “Don’t let it end.”

 

“What do you mean? You want me to tease more?”

 

Jaehwan moves his hands to Sanghyuk’s hair and yanks, and Sanghyuk goes down to touch their lips together.

 

“What is it, Jae? What is it?”

 

“You feel so good,” Jaehwan cries, back arched, their chests pressed flush. “I want this forever. I want it forever, okay?”

 

Sanghyuk’s core goes hot, his muscles aching from being in this position much longer than he has been in years, but Jaehwan is right. It feels so amazing. Perfect, really.

 

“You want this forever, or you want me?”

 

Jaehwan cries out, shaking, before spilling over Sanghyuk’s hand with a soft, “Can’t I have both?”

 

Sanghyuk comes with Jaehwan crying in his ear, begging “can’t I? Please, can’t I?”

 

And Sanghyuk can’t get his body to do much else except drop down beside Jaehwan’s, pull the blankets over them both, and hold Jaehwan’s shuddering body against his own. “I’ll give you anything.”

 

“You know I...back then,” Jaehwan pants, and Sanghyuk simply nods.

 

“I know. I did too.”

 

 

 

“Oh for fuck’s--”

 

“Please, Hongbin, we’re on FaceTime with Eunbyeol, and that kind of language is--dear sweet Goddess in Heaven,” Hakyeon squeals, and Taekwoon quickly snatches the phone away from his tan hand to mollify their now-shrieking daughter.

 

“It’s okay, baby. Hakyeon Appa just saw something dirty in the room. But we’re okay. Everything is okay,” Taekwoon murmurs lovingly over the phone before slipping back into the quiet of the hallway.

 

“Why in our bed though,” Wonshik grumbles, racing Hakyeon to the now-available double bed, and easily overtaking him when Hongbin joins in the fight.

 

“Because we had the lube, dearest,” Hongbin reminds him, shoving Hakyeon towards the little cot. “You were late anyhow, Hakyeon Appa .”

 

“Does this mean they’re together or are we going to have to scheme to get them back in love every ten years?” Wonshik sighs, tugging all of his clothes off and sliding under the blankets with Hongbin. “Because I just don’t know if I’ll have the energy at forty.”

 

“You better have the energy,” Hongbin gripes, rubbing his hands over Wonshik’s now quite prominent five-o'clock-shadow.

 

Taekwoon returns to the room and hands Hakyeon back his phone. “She’s asleep now. She thinks we found trash in the bed.”

 

“We did find trash in the bed,” Hakyeon scoffs, placing his phone under his pillow on the cot and pulling fully-dressed Taekwoon into bed with him. “But at least this trash will stop pining after each other every reunion.”

 

“Think they’ll babysit?” Taekwoon mumbles sleepily against Hakyeon’s neck as he winds his arms around his belly from behind.

 

“You want them frotting in our marriage bed?” Hakyeon gasps, affronted.

 

Jaehwan and Sanghyuk both lift their heads, rubbing at their eyes.

 

“Please,” Sanghyuk groans, voice hoarse.

 

“Some of us are trying to sleep off an emotional sex reunion.”

 

“Of love,” Sanghyuk adds, shifting his weary gaze to Jaehwan’s face.

 

“Yeah, yeah,” Jaehwan says, tugging Sanghyuk back down into bed. “Of love. Also, your cock is still inside me, and it’s starting to--”

 

“Oh fuck,” Sanghyuk hisses, shifting a bit. “Sorry, love.”

 

“It’s okay....love.”

 

Hongbin and Hakyeon both throw their decorative sham pillows at Jaehwan and Sanghyuk’s bed.

 

“Something gross always happens when we’re all together.”