I’m cold. Warm me up please.
Junmyeon’s face is half mashed into his pillow, lips pouting overdramatically as he snaps a photo and sends it off to Baekhyun to accompany the text. The bed sheets are tucked in tight around him and the heat is turned on in his hotel room, but there’s a chill that’s lingered under his skin since he’d stepped through security at Gimpo to leave for Tokyo that morning. It had left him trying to pull his blazer tighter in the meetings with his company’s Japanese investors, it left his legs bouncing restlessly under the table at dinner, and now it leaves him tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep because it’s uncomfortable and wrong and not home.
Home is with Baekhyun, where there’s no such thing as distance or space between them, where cold toes like to press teasingly against his legs and Junmyeon can pull Baekhyun tighter and tighter until the lines distinguishing one body from the other are blurred, nonexistent. Home is where Baekhyun can make Junmyeon shiver with just a nose pressed to his neck and Junmyeon doesn’t have to seek out warmth to counter it because Baekhyun’s hands soothe it all away. Home isn’t a cold hotel bed thousands of miles away, where there’s no Baekhyun next to him.
His phone vibrates with an incoming video call and despite having been with Baekhyun for so many years already, his heart still races with anticipation as he swipes to accept it. Baekhyun’s grinning at him on the screen, though his face is half hidden by a hoodie, Junmyeon’s hoodie in fact, and it makes Junmyeon’s pout deepen.
“If you’re trying to arouse my attraction for you that ugly pout is having the opposite effect.”
Junmyeon lets the pout slide off his face in favor of a glare. “That’s not fair. You wouldn’t let me pack any of your clothes. Why do you get to wear mine to sleep?”
“It’s punishment for volunteering to go on that trip and leaving me alone here.”
“I thought they were going to let me bring you along!”
“Still,” Baekhyun ignores him and as the phone shifts down a bit, Junmyeon can see his pillow stuffed through one of his tshirts and being hugged to Baekhyun’s chest. It makes a burst of warmth spread through his body and he can’t help but smile even as Baekhyun talks about teaching him a lesson and needing him to suffer so he doesn’t forget to appreciate what he has.
Junmyeon never forgets.
He lets his eyes fall to the window as Baekhyun tells him he’d ordered from Junmyeon’s favorite restaurant for dinner and ate it without him, adding in details that Junmyeon doubts are completely true and only there to make him feel guilty, like the soup being the best he’s ever tasted and the staff throwing in an extra portion of meat because Baekhyun had been abandoned (which could actually be true, now that Junmyeon thinks about it, because Baekhyun has a way of tugging on people’s heartstrings). The city lights are glittering, even through the thin hotel curtains, and Junmyeon gets up from the bed to push them aside.
“Hey,” He interrupts Baekhyun. “Can you see the moon tonight?”
Baekhyun looks at him suspiciously. “Are you going to do something lame?”
“No.” Junmyeon insists, but the sigh Baekhyun gives shows he’s not convinced. “Can you?”
Through the phone he can see Baekhyun move from the bed to the window, one arm still holding Junmyeon’s pillow against him. “Yes. It’s not quite a full moon, but close.”
“Same here.” He turns so his back is to the window, positioning the phone so the moon appears behind him. “Now we’re not so far apart.”
Baekhyun sighs again and turns so the moon’s behind him as well. He tilts his head and rests his cheek against the top of the pillow with a sad frown and Junmyeon tries to swallow the lump in his throat, tries to ignore every instinct he has to run to the airport and get on the next flight home. “I miss you.”
“I miss you too.”
“Next time you go to Japan, don’t forget to tell them you can’t leave me behind.”
“And that you’ll quit if they say no.”
“Um.” Junmyeon twists his mouth doubtfully and Baekhyun clicks his tongue at him.
“You suck. Give me a kiss and go to sleep.”
Junmyeon puckers his lips and kisses the screen when Baekhyun does the same, leaving a smudge behind when he pulls back with a soft smile. “I love you.”
“Love you too. Hey.”
Junmyeon pauses before he can end the call.
“Check the front pocket of your suitcase.”
Baekhyun ends the call before he can finish his question and he quickly crosses the room to where his suitcase is. The front pocket is small and never used and he feels warm fabric when he reaches into it, pulling out Baekhyun’s favorite hoodie, or, technically, Junmyeon’s hoodie that Baekhyun uses exclusively.
“Why did you put it in a place I wouldn’t look?” He exasperatedly asks his phone and gets silence as an answer.
He buries his nose in the fabric and breathes in the scent of home. It was no replacement for Baekhyun in his arms, not even close, but it would do for now.
Junmyeon becomes acquainted with the way Baekhyun’s body entangles with his before he even learns his name.
He’s sitting in the backseat of his brother’s car reading one of the university textbooks he’s packed for the family’s annual trip to the ski resort. With his brother driving this year, it meant more seats were available and his cousin Jongin had begged to bring a friend along. Wanting to be polite, Junmyeon moves into the back seat while they load up at Jongin’s house and he instantly regrets it as the heater doesn’t work quite as well as it did from the front seat. His jacket can’t stop the chilling tremble once it begins and he’s about to ask his brother to turn the heat up when someone bounces into the middle seat and wraps their arms around his, presses their cheek into his shoulder.
“Oh my god, it’s so cold I’m going to die!”
Junmyeon tenses because that’s definitely not Jongin’s voice and he risks a glance down just as the other person looks up at him. A hoodie, that looks suspiciously like the one Junmyeon had bought for Jongin’s birthday, partially hides him but Junmyeon can see enough smooth skin, droopy eyes and playful smile to make his stomach flutter inexplicably. His hands grip the edges of his book as he swallows hard, not used to having strangers in such close proximity.
“Hi, I’m Baekhyun. You must be Junmyeon. Let’s keep each other warm, okay?”
Junmyeon can only nod and the approval seems to make Baekhyun sink even further into his side, nose pressing against Junmyeon’s jacket and he can feel the faint hot and cold pattern of Baekhyun’s breath in and out against it. He shudders and tries to focus back on his book but the words keep blurring together because Baekhyun’s rubbing his hands up and down Junmyeon’s arm, making him shiver even more and causing Baekhyun to try even harder to warm him up. His arms tingle and the car feels so tiny and he’s so wrapped up in looking-but-not-looking at the person clinging to him that he doesn’t hear the snickers from the front seat.
If he’d thought Baekhyun would go off to play with Jongin once they arrived, he was wrong because Baekhyun’s like a magnet that, for some reason Junmyeon can’t figure out, keeps coming back to stick to him. Dinners become distracting with Baekhyun’s thigh fitted right up next to his and the fireplace doesn’t deter Baekhyun from leaning into him, something that makes his heart race because there are no thick coats between them anymore and every touch of Baekhyun’s fingers on his arm burns through the thin layer of his sweater. His fingers are so pretty and Junmyeon might have once or twice let them become entangled in his own, might have savored the way they fit together and kept his own nice and warm.
He isn’t sure if his presence has any return effect on Baekhyun though, other than something new to touch and play with. Baekhyun laughs at Jongin’s jokes while his fingers trace the veins on the back of Junmyeon’s hands, reaches out to stick his foot in Jongin’s face while leaning his entire weight onto Junmyeon, and feeds Junmyeon all of the things on his plate that he doesn’t want to eat. Junmyeon feels like Baekhyun is taking him for a ride on a roller coaster, making his heart climb into his throat with every intimate moment and sending it plunging back down with every teasing smile that Junmyeon can only label as playful, like a puppy showing affection to whoever gives it attention that day.
There’s a sledding incident on their last day though, when Baekhyun’s sled hits a lump of snow and sends him rolling down the rest of the way. He looks dazed and miserable, with his cheeks bright red from the cold and the snow melting fast in his hair and leaving it wet and dripping. There’s a deep pout on his face as he walks up to Junmyeon, who had been watching off to the side.
“I’m cold. Warm me up please.”
Junmyeon’s arms open wide and Baekhyun’s buried in them before he even has a chance to think about what he’s doing, and he closes his eyes, disappointed in himself for jumping right into the front seat of the roller coaster. It’s hard when Baekhyun fits so nicely against him though, nicer than anyone ever has, and he doesn’t bother to cover up the sigh that escapes from him when Baekhyun’s hands grip the back of his thick ski jacket. Time stands still, the shouts of his family going down the hill on sleds fade away, and he thinks that he must be imagining the small press of lips against his neck, except there it is again.
Baekhyun pulls back with a smile, not one that’s playful or teasing, just a smile, soft and warm and for Junmyeon’s eyes only, and then he’s off, running back up the sledding hill and taking Junmyeon’s heart with him.
Before, when he’d thought he’d be able to bring Baekhyun with him, Junmyeon had looked up romantic places to visit in Tokyo, and he spends his fifth night leaning against a railing and holding his phone up so Baekhyun can see the Rainbow Bridge lit up against the night sky. It’s November and he pulls his jacket a little tighter, sniffling a bit at the biting air but enjoying Baekhyun’s ooh’s and ahh’s over the scenery. Baekhyun, himself, is sitting at their favorite spot on the Han River, though he has a mouthful of warm fish cakes to keep his body temperature up and Junmyeon has nothing.
Junmyeon turns the phone back to himself and glares at Baekhyun’s puffed up cheeks, his stomach growling. “I’m going to hang up if you don’t have the decency to hide your snacks from me. I’m starving and don’t have any cash on me.”
Baekhyun swallows and opens his mouth up wide, sticking his tongue out as far as it can go to show there’s nothing left. “Happy now?”
“Yes.” Junmyeon lies, far from happy, and Baekhyun seems to pick up on it because he turns his phone away so Junmyeon can see the skyline reflected in the river. It’s a little misty as a nighttime fog rolls in but it makes Junmyeon feel a little warmer in a way that only home can. He’s spent hours sitting on the grass with Baekhyun tangled in his arms, some days tangled in Baekhyun’s arms, talking about the past and present and future, about street food and family dinners, and sometimes about nothing at all when the long days of professors and bosses took the energy from them. They don’t go there nearly as often as they had in the beginning of their relationship, mostly because it’s hard for that to compete with curling up together in a pile of blankets at home.
“Remember our first kiss?”
“Yeah.” Junmyeon smiles at the memory.
“I’m going to kiss you like that again when you get home. Like it’s the first time again.”
Junmyeon’s about to laugh and remind him it’s only been five days, but Baekhyun’s face is back on the phone and he looks small and vulnerable and alone, and Junmyeon misses him so, so much. His throat is tight but he manages to say, “Not if I kiss you first.”
“Hey, we’re alone.” Baekhyun whispers unnecessarily, seeing as they’ve been the only ones sitting down at the river for the last hour. Even though it’s spring, the after midnight hours still dip into the low temperatures and there’s a slight breeze at Junmyeon’s back that’s been dotting his skin with goosebumps for awhile. He would move, but Baekhyun’s sitting in front of him, back to his chest with Junmyeon’s arms blanketing him, and he doesn’t know how to do anything except tough it out so they can stay like this for a little while longer.
Baekhyun brings one of their clasped hands up and kisses the inside of Junmyeon’s wrist, lips soft and velvety and leaving behind a tingle that runs up Junmyeon’s spine. He tips his head back to look at him and Junmyeon’s reminded of that first day they’d met, of that carefree smile, except instead of leaving him tense and unsure, this time it encourages him to swoop down and steal a quick kiss from it. The look of surprise on Baekhyun’s face has him feeling smug, but in the middle of his self-pat-on-the-back, Baekhyun narrows his eyes at him. “I point out that we’re alone and that’s all I get?”
Baekhyun puts a finger to his mouth to shush him and gets up on his knees, turning around until his thighs are on either side of Junmyeon’s hips. “Making me do all the work. Is this how our relationship is always going to be?”
Junmyeon wants to respond, but Baekhyun’s fingertips are mapping out the lines of his face and the look in Baekhyun’s eyes is tender in a way that makes Junmyeon feel special, like he’s treasuring the slope of Junmyeon’s nose, the curve of his jaw, like the moment is as precious to him as it is to Junmyeon. When Baekhyun’s nose meets his cheek, he closes his eyes and breathes him in, smelling a mix of the barbecue tent they’d eaten at and grass and Junmyeon forgets what else because Baekhyun’s lips press against the corner of his mouth and he can’t breathe anymore.
Baekhyun kisses him so slowly, like time doesn’t exist in this little world they’ve created, and it lulls Junmyeon’s heart into a soft and steady rhythm, beating with content. He doesn’t want this to stop, doesn’t want Baekhyun to pull away, doesn’t want space to exist between them ever again, and he wraps his arms tightly around Baekhyun, pulling him as close against him as possible. He tugs Baekhyun’s bottom lip between his, sucking on it lightly, and relishes in the way Baekhyun shivers in his arms, the way Baekhyun’s hands grasp and pull his hair.
He pulls a hairsbreadth away and takes in the pretty view of Baekhyun’s eyelashes fanned out and runs his thumb across his flushed cheeks. “I think I’ll keep you.”
“Who said I was giving you a choice?” Baekhyun’s laugh is a puff of air that coats Junmyeon like a warm blanket and he does have no choice really but to let Baekhyun lean forward and kiss him again.
The tie around Junmyeon’s neck is too tight and he can’t stop fidgeting with it throughout the evening. The dinner party is meant to celebrate the end to a week of successful meetings between Junmyeon’s company and the investors, but it’s dragging on and Junmyeon has glanced at his watch enough times to count down the hours till he’s home on his own. He takes pictures of the different kinds of sushi being passed around and sends them to Baekhyun, but has to stop when he receives a picture of the other boy’s bottom lip overturned unhappily that he can’t bring himself to close.
Baekhyun usually likes the parties that Junmyeon’s company throws, using it as an opportunity to eat fancy food and drink wines that they can rarely afford a glass of. Junmyeon’s coworkers are constantly charmed by him and treat Junmyeon just a little better at the office because of it. Junmyeon, himself, likes the way Baekhyun’s eyes can never stop looking over the suits he wears, how Baekhyun’s fingers like to brush down the front of his tie, playing with it in ways that Junmyeon knows are test runs for how he plans to pull Junmyeon into the bedroom by it when they get home.
He sighs and slips the phone back into his pocket just in time to stand up with the others as his boss gives a final toast at the head of the table. Everyone turns to tap their glasses against each other’s and Junmyeon hands feel restless as he grips his glass tightly. The space around him feels empty and missing something and he forgets to sit back down, frozen in place as he stares at his hands. It’s been long enough already and he’s made it through enough of the week, the evening, to not feel guilty as he excuses himself from the table.
His boss is understanding and halfway drunk as he gives a hurried explanation, and Junmyeon rushes out of the hotel’s banquet room and back up to his room to pack quickly.
Junmyeon notices Baekhyun disappear out of the corner of his eye as he looks at the makeshift stage where his boss is giving a speech. The space beside him is suddenly empty but before he can turn around to see where the other has gone, he feels Baekhyun’s weight sag against his back and he chuckles quietly to himself. He knew Baekhyun had taken one too many glasses of wine, had told him in fact, but Baekhyun had insisted he could handle it. The lax and lazy way Baekhyun’s forehead nestles into the space between his shoulders, the deep sigh that penetrates his jacket and dress shirt tells him otherwise.
He reaches back with his hands and finds Baekhyun’s and laces their fingers together, the back of Baekhyun’s hands cocooned in his palms, warm and heavy. The speech continues on but Junmyeon hears none of it as the sounds in the room fade away and he can hear every breath Baekhyun takes as he sways them lightly from side to side. This is nice, the darkness of the room making the moment feel more private, intimate, secret because nobody’s paying any attention to them, nobody’s seeing the way they melt into each other as if they’re only one being, breathing as one, existing as one.
Baekhyun presses a kiss into his jacket and the words are faint, but Junmyeon can clearly hear the whisper of “I love you, Kim Junmyeon.”
The applause that breaks out when Junmyeon’s boss gives a bow on stage can’t compare to the thunderous approval Junmyeon’s heart is giving Baekhyun. He wants to turn around and kiss the other boy, but Baekhyun lets their hands fall apart because Junmyeon should be clapping along with the rest of the room.
Later, when they’re tangled together under the bed sheets, when Baekhyun’s eyes struggle to stay open and Junmyeon kisses them softly to encourage them to give up the fight, he whispers “I love you too, Byun Baekhyun.”
Junmyeon slips through the front door just as the sky is turning a pretty periwinkle and he leaves his suitcase by the door, carefully toeing out of his shoes and padding quietly across the cold living room floor in his socks. There’s a sign sitting on the couch, white poster board with bright red bubble letters, that reads Baekhyun’s Junmyeon and he laughs because only Baekhyun would have no shame in holding it up high at the airport for the world to see. He drops his jacket off at the bedroom door and starts to move toward the bed but stops because Baekhyun’s curled up on his side of the bed, sound asleep and clinging to the tshirt pillow still.
He shakes his head and goes around to the other side, slipping slowly under the covers and carefully trying to remove his pillow from Baekhyun’s grasp without waking him up. He tosses it over the side of the bed when it’s free and scoots over until he can rest his head on the other half of Baekhyun’s pillow. The hoodie is in the way, as always, and he pushes it back a bit and brushes away the stray hairs that fall into Baekhyun’s face. He lets his fingertips wander down to rosy cheeks, lets them get reacquainted with the smooth texture they’ve been missing for days.
Baekhyun stirs a little at the touch and Junmyeon feels cold toes kissing his legs before one leg swings over his hip and the line separating him from Baekhyun disappears. There’s a soft sigh when Junmyeon wraps his arms around Baekhyun and he can feel the other boy’s eyelashes flutter a bit against his neck where he’s burrowed in deep. “Go back to sleep.” He says softly into his hair, only closing his eyes after Baekhyun’s breathing evens out and pulls Junmyeon into slumber with him.
The chill that’s been haunting him all week disappears and Junmyeon feels warm again, so, so warm.