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The Boy Next Door

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Yoon Jeonghan always thought he'd had it easy in life, he had a stress free childhood, his parents were happily married and now at the age of eighteen his high school life was very much just as normal as you could possibly get. He played sports with his friends, did his homework and practiced with his band three times a week. Jeonghan's life was just like him, hassle free, free of drama and that's just how he liked it.

"Aye! Yoon Jeonghan!" Choi Seungcheol shattered his peace -- that camel-looking bastard.

Seungcheol was the guitarist in their band and he was loud, very loud. If the guy wasn't strumming his guitar he'd be drumming on anything that had a flat surface. It drove Jeonghan insane but of course he didn't say anything because Mr. Choi Seungcheol was quite sensitive despite his macho man facade. If it weren't for their mothers being close friends Jeonghan would have never crossed paths with the rambunctious boy.

The two walked together through the school grounds with their instruments in tow and Jeonghan lowkey wanted to die. As much as he loved his bass guitar the bloody thing weighed a hefty amount and the fact that he had zero stamina didn't help his situation. Seungcheol's words of encouragement also just added to his annoyance as they walked.

"Come on, quicken your pace and feel the breeze mother nature has kindly offered," Seungcheol draped an arm over Jeonghan's shoulders.

"Mother nature can suck my toe," Jeonghan shrugged off the added weight of Seungcheol's arm.

They walked through the crowds of other students making their way home trying their best not to hit anyone with their instruments. Though in all honesty Jeonghan worried more about damaging his bass than the wellbeing of his fellow schoolmates. He'd broken his bass before in a tragic accident involving a bunch of freshmen and he'd been cautious ever since. Jeonghan cursed under his breath forgetting that they had to pass the sports oval in order to exit through the back gate -- the sports clubs were practicing, that meant the possibility of getting hit by a flying object multiplied.

"There he is, mom's favorite son," Jeonghan heard the annoyance in Seungcheol's voice.

Jeonghan followed Seungcheol's gaze over to the soccer field where a tall boy stood talking to one of the PE teachers. He was wearing their school's soccer uniform and he was handsome, very handsome. The boy sported a stylish cut and his bronzed skin indicated he spent a lot more time outdoors than Mr. Vampire-Seungcheol who got sunburnt the minute he arrived at the beach.

"Ah, your younger brother," Jeonghan said as he craned his neck to see the tall boy better.

Seungcheol had been complaining ever since his younger brother decided to move back in with him and his mother. Seungcheol's parents had gotten divorced when he was young and so his younger brother was under his father's custody. Now with his father getting remarried, his younger brother, Mingyu, decided to give the newlyweds their alone time. Seungcheol however hated the new addition to his household. Apparently his over achieving younger brother made his mother a lot more critical of him and his academic performance.

"I don't understand, what's so bad about him?" Jeonghan had yet to hear a proper reason for Seungcheol's dislike toward his brother.

"He's always making me look bad, the punk just loves sucking up to mom. He kisses up to her every chance he gets, what a joke," Seungcheol kicked the dirt at his feet.

"To be fair, you could put in some effort and snag something more than a passing grade now and again," Jeonghan said as they started walking again.

"That's easy for you to say, you still manage to get good grades even though you sleep through almost everything," Seungcheol slapped him on the shoulder.

"I'm quite amazing, aren't I?" Jeonghan shamelessly praised himself.

"Fuck you," Seungcheol said as he quickened his pace.

"Friendship is such a beautiful thing," Jeonghan teasingly said as he trailed after Seungcheol.

They walked to the bus stop taking the fifteen minute ride back to Seungcheol's house. Jeonghan groaned at the sight of the hill in front of them like he always did as they began climbing up the slope. They lived right next door to each other and everyday Jeonghan would curse his parents for choosing to move into a house that was at the top of a bloody hill. They walked slowly mainly because Jeonghan had zero stamina and also because their instruments weren't exactly ideal items to be carrying for an uphill trek.

"Think of this as mother nature's gym, we can get a whole leg workout getting home," Seungcheol exclaimed as he did lunges with every step.

"Mother nature is a whore," Jeonghan struggled with every breath, he hated that bitch.

Finally making it into the house he took his shoes off by the door and immediately headed for the kitchen where Seungcheol's mother stood in a pink apron. Her short brown hair was held back by a simple headband while her small hands busied themselves getting food prepared. The woman's face lit up when she noticed Jeonghan standing in the doorway.

"Jeonghan! It's good to see you sweetheart! How have you been?" Jeonghan was pulled into a tight embrace by Seungchol's mom.

"I'm great, I heard Mingyu's back," Jeonghan smiled down at the woman who he loved just as much as his own mother.

"Oh, yes! He's gotten so big, the last time you saw him was back when you and Seungcheol were still in middle school," Seungcheol's mother nodded.

"We'll be up in my room," Seungcheol shouted as he ushered his friend up the stairs.

"I'll call you down when the food is ready! Make sure to get Jeonghan a drink Choi Seungcheol!" She scolded her son.

"I know!" Seungcheol shouted back at his mother.

"Thank you for the hospitality Mrs. Choi!" Jeonghan said as they went.

"Okay, so Jihoon said he's free to practice tomorrow after school. He bought new drumsticks too so I think he'll be in a good enough mood to practice for more than an hour," Seungcheol said as they went into his room.

"New drumsticks again? What happened to his other ones?" Jeonghan asked.

"One of the basketball players on the school team talked shit about his height so Jihoon tried to skewer him with his drumsticks," Seungcheol answered.

"That sounds like Jihoon," Jeonghan acknowledged, not even surprised by the news.

"The scary thing is the principal didn't even give Jihoon a punishment for what he did," Seungcheol shook his head, a dumb smile playing on his lips.

"Would you want to piss off Satan?" Jeonghan raised a brow thinking of Jihoon.

"Remember when he stepped on my foot in primary school and told me to apologise?" Seungcheol asked.

"How could I forget? You ended up crying for half an hour," Jeonghan smiled.

They sat together on the floor practising on their guitars and looking over the music as well as the lyrics. Jihoon had thrown two copies down on their desks during first period and had told them to familiarize themselves with it before their next practice -- the guy didn't play around when it came to music. Jeonghan was determined to get Seungcheol to practice because the last time he'd forgotten the chords Jihoon had beaten Seungcheol with his own guitar. That was a memory he refused to relive.

"Where did Seungkwan say he was going today?" Seungcheol asked about their lead vocalist.

"He's out with the new kid Vernon from the United States, Seungkwan's convinced he's fluent after acing his English exam last week," Jeonghan answered with a yawn.

"Mom, I'm home!" A loud voice shouted from downstairs.

"Great, the golden child is home," Seungcheol rolled his eyes.

"I'm going to go say hi," Jeonghan stood from his spot on the floor.

"What?" Seungchol's betrayed expression watched him as he left the room.

Jeonghan ran a hand through his short blond locks walking down the stairs. He peeked his head into the kitchen where a tall boy stood beside Seungcheol's mother helping her chop up kimchi for the stew she was preparing. Jeonghan's presence didn't go unnoticed as Seungcheol's mother waved him over. Mingyu who was still cutting kimchi looked over his shoulder once meeting eyes with Jeonghan before looking back down at the cutting board.

"Mingyu, aren't you going to say hi to Jeonghan?" His mother smacked him softly on the shoulder.

"Um, hi Jeonghan-hyung," Mingyu said over his shoulder before he once again focused on the task in front of him.

"Why are you being so aloof? You used to be so close," his mother asked looking at her son.

"Mom," Mingyu whined, from where he stood Jeonghan could see the redness on the boy's cheeks even under his bronzed complexion.

"No, it's okay. It's been a long time, we haven't spoken in awhile so it's only natural that we're a little awkward around each other," Jeonghan said, he wasn't offended.

"That's true, the last time you saw Mingyu was when he was still shorter than you," Mrs. Choi acknowledged.

"He was really cute back then but it's nice to know he's grown to be so handsome," Jeonghan sat on one of the stools opposite the kitchen counter.

"He's actually quite the chef, just wait till your taste his kimchi stew," Mrs. Choi shamessly praised her son.

Mingyu who was busying himself with other tasks around the kitchen was looking in every direction but at Jeonghan. Jeonghan in return kept his eyes on Mingyu watching the tall boy waddle around like a lost puppy as he helped his mother make dinner -- he thought the younger boy's shyness was rather endearing. Mingyu's childhood habit of trailing his mother was still very much intact. Jeonghan felt his expression soften thinking about how Mingyu used to follow him and Seungcheol the very same way when they were younger -- Jeonghan truly missed it.

"What have you been up to Mingyu?" Jeonghan asked causing Mingyu to jump at the mention of his name.

"Um, not much, I play a lot of soccer. I joined your school's team today," Mingyu answered.

"I saw, I walked past the oval today with Seungcheol when we were heading home," Jeonghan nodded.

"Are you and Seungcheol practicing this week?" Mrs. Choi asked as she set the table.

"Yes we are, Jihoon composed a new song and he wants to make sure we all know it by the end of the week," Jeonghan said as he stood to help the older woman.

"When will you be performing?"

"Next week on Friday night, we're performing at the Thirteen Diamonds Bar again," Jeonghan answered.

"You boys are becoming regulars at that place," Mrs. Choi sounded rather excited about the idea of her son being recognised.

"It's our fourth time being called back to perform so I'd like to think we're doing a good job," Jeonghan smiled fondly as he brought over the cutlery.

"It's nice to know Seungcheol has you as a friend. That boy could have gotten into all sorts of trouble if he didn't have you around as his voice of reason," Mrs. Choi patted Jeonghan's shoulder.

"Mom, he literally threw a tantrum yesterday because we ran out of chocolate flavoured cereal. I don't think he's going to be a problem," Mingyu said as he brought over his pot of Kimchi stew.

Jeonghan felt a smile play on his lips as he got a full look at Mingyu for the first time since he'd entered the house. The younger boy was wearing his mother's pink apron which was much too small for his tall stature and his yellow house slippers were too narrow for his adult sized feet. The boy looked absolutely adorable. Even though he'd lost all traces of baby fat, the dark tapered eyes stayed the same.

"Pink looks good on you," Jeonghan smiled at Mingyu who immediately averted his eyes, ripping the apron off his chest and leaving it on the kitchen counter.

"Let's eat," Mingyu sat down at the table.

Jeonghan said nothing as he sat down at the table. Mingyu had never been able to take any form of teasing and seeing that the boy still acted the same after all these years made Jeonghan feel so nostalgic. It also made Jeonghan realise how much he'd missed having a younger brother around. Jeonghan was a single child so he'd always been jealous of those who had a sibling to interact with.

"Seungcheol! Dinner!" Mrs. Choi's tone sounding almost like that of a military Sargeant -- Jeonghan almost shat himself.

"Coming!" Seungcheol shouted before the sound of his booming footsteps made their way downstairs.

"Hey man, why didn't you come back up?" Seungcheol smacked Jeonghan on the shoulder.

"Because Mingyu and your mother are better company," Jeonghan answered as he handed his bowl over to Mrs. Choi who was scooping out rice.

"Get your elbows off the table," Mrs. Choi scolded her son while holding the rice scoop.

"How come you never yell at him?" Seungcheol looked across the table at his younger brother.

"Because he actually listens to me," Mrs. Choi stroked Mingyu's hair before scooping out a rather large portion of rice for her younger son.

"Don't have a favourite my ass," Seungcheol said under his breath as he began to eat.

"So Jeonghan, I heard you're getting rather popular with the ladies," Mrs. Choi giggled looking at Jeonghan.

"Popular? They follow him like sheep," Seungcheol scoffed.

"It still makes no sense to me that you refuse to get yourself a girlfriend. You're young, this is the time to enjoy the beauty that is young love," Mrs. Choi said.

"I think I'm good," Jeonghan answered before scooping a spoonful of rice in his mouth.

"Jeonghan isn't interested in dating mom, he'd rather be sleeping," Seungcheol teased as they ate.

"I have low blood pressure and zero stamina, Choi Seungcheol," Jeonghan reminded.

"You can't use that excuse for everything," Seungcheol rolled his eyes.

"If I'm dating someone, I need that person to be my lover as well as my caretaker. I'm doing everyone a favour by not condemning them to life as my personal assistant," Jeonghan pointed his chopsticks at Seungcheol.

"And yet they're still lining up to take that position," Seungcheol shook his head.

"Well you boys have fun, I'm heading out to the supermarket. I need to go get more cereal for Seungcheol or else he'll throw another tantrum tomorrow," Mrs. Choi finished her bowl and exited the room leaving the three boys to sit together.

"I need the chocolate cereal for my low blood sugar," Seunghceol defended.

"Oh please, you just like it because it makes your milk chocolate flavoured," Mingyu sneered as he scooped himself another serving of rice.

"Was I talking to you?" Seungcheol frowned at his younger brother.

"Okay, okay, relax," Jeonghan put up his hands very aware that tension was building between the boys.

"Why do you even bother with him? He's a complete moron, you're wasting your time," Mingyu said before standing up and retreating back into his room -- his bowl of rice left forgotten.

"Do you see why I can't stand him? He opens his mouth and the only things that come out are insults," Seungcheol slouched in his chair, his frustration clearly displayed.

"He may have quite a mouth on him but the kids sure knows how to cook," Jeonghan said as he polished off the rest of his food.

"He called me a moron," Seungcheol continued eating despite his anger.

"He's going through puberty, it's a sensitive time for him," Jeonghan shrugged.

"Why do I feel like you agree with him?" Seungcheol looked over at Jeonghan with lips pursed.

"Need I remind you of that time you stood waiting outside in my backyard when the glass door wasn't even closed or that time you got lost in the supermarket and I had to have them make an announcement over the loud speaker?" Jeonghan raised a brow looking at his friend.

"It's not like it happens often," Seungcheol defended.

"That happened yesterday Seungcheol," Jeonghan deadpanned.

"You really like to point out my flaws, don't you?" Seungcheol pouted.

"Well you go ahead and enjoy the rest of your meal, I'm going home. I need to shower and get my ass to bed," Jeonghan stretched before leaving the dining room.

"Wait, aren't you going to help me with the dishes?!" Seungcheol called after him.

"Nope, you're on your own," Jeonghan said with zero remorse as he slipped on his shoes.

Jeonghan walked one house over and was met with an empty household. His mother and father were always away on business so that left him alone by himself most days. In all honesty Jeonghan never really felt lonely or unloved, sure he missed his parents when they weren't home but he knew they had jobs to fulfil and they were doing it so that their family could live comfortably. He took off his shoes and flicked on the lights in the house before going upstairs. Similar to his personality, Jeonghan's room was minimalist containing only what he needed and nothing more. He had a desk facing a window, a double bed and a small coffee table where he spent most of his time practising his bass as well as reading before he climbed into bed. Jeonghan rewarded himself with a long shower everyday even when he was tired because the idea of bringing in grime and dirt onto his bed seemed sacriligious -- his bed was sacred and it did not deserve to be tarnished.

With a towel over his head and his skin still steaming from his shower Jeonghan decided to open the sliding door of his room and enjoy the cool breeze on his balcony. He stood with eyes closed as the wind dried his damp face, the droplets of water from his short locks feeling quite refreshing as it dripped down his neck. Jeonghan cocked his lead looking across the balcony at Seungcheol's house in curiosity seeing that the usual pitch black balcony opposite his had light shining from behind the blackout curtain. That was Mingyu's room if Jeonghan wasn't mistaken, he remembered having conversations with Seungcheol's younger brother through their makeshift telephone made from two paper cups and a string tied to each end. They'd sit on the balcony for hours talking about whatever that came to mind. Jeonghan smiled sadly to himself knowing that chapter of their life had ended. Just as he was about to retreat back into his room the balcony door on Seungcheol's house slid open. Mingyu dressed only in sweatpants came out, their eyes met but neither of them said a word -- the silence stretched out for quite a while.

"Hey stranger," Jeonghan finally broke the silence.

"Hey," Mingyu replied, arms crossing over a toned chest.

"It's been awhile since we've talked to each other like this," Jeonghan said.

"Four years," Mingyu clarified.

"I missed you when you were gone," Jeonghan found himself saying.

"You did?" Mingyu's eyes widened.

"Yeah, you were more like my younger brother than Seungcheol's, it was nice having you tag along with us," Jeonghan smiled at the memory of a young Mingyu joining them in their games of soccer and basketball.

"I'm sorry about earlier, I was being rude. I just...I just haven't adjusted to everything yet," Mingyu apologised.

"Are you busy right now?" Jeonghan cocked a brow.

"No, why?" Mingyu's brow furrowed.

"Come over, we can catch up and maybe play a game or two if you're up for it," Jeonghan suggested.

"Now?"

"Yeah," Jeonghan nodded.

"Give me five minutes," Mingyu disappeared back into his room.

As promised five minutes later Mingyu rung the doorbell on Jeonghan's door. Jeonghan let his friend's younger brother in, his face lighting up when he noticed Mingyu was wearing his yellow slippers from before. Jeonghan grabbed two cans of Coke from the fridge and an armful of snacks from the pantry before leading Mingyu up into his room. Mingyu stepped inside Jeonghan's room inspecting every corner of it as if he was genuinely fascinated by what he saw. Jeonghan allowed the younger boy to explore, admittedly he would've done the same thing if he was in an unfamiliar space.

"Your room's changed quite a bit over the years," Mingyu muttered looking at the bass guitar that sat in the corner.

"Yup, no more anime posters," Jeonghan laughed.

"When did you start playing in a band?" Mingyu asked as he came to sit next to Jeonghan on the floor.

"About a year and a half ago, our friend Jihoon needed people to help him out for a gig and before we knew it we were a fixed lineup," Jeonghan shrugged.

"Do you like it?"

"Quite a bit actually, the feeling you get when everyone in the band is joining together to make one cohesive sound is incredible," Jeonghan nodded.

"That sounds nice."

"What's been bothering you? You said you're having a hard time adjusting right?"

"It's just hard to feel included when everybody around you already has their own cliques and groups," Mingyu rubbed his face with his palm.

"Have you managed to make any friends yet?" Jeonghan handed a can of coke to the younger boy.

"No," Mingyu answered with a defeated sigh.

"Keep your chin up, people will warm up to you sooner than you expect," Jeonghan touched Mingyu's chin.

"Easy for you to say, people just gravitate towards you," Mingyu opened his can of coke, taking a long sip.

"Well maybe if you smiled more, people would see how handsome you'd look," Jeonghan poked a finger on each of Mingyu's cheeks pulling his face into a comical-looking smile.

"Hyung," Mingyu grabbed Jeonghan's wrists giving the older boy a warning look.

"You've gotten so handsome," Jeonghan smiled.

"Better looking than Seungcheol?" Mingyu's mouth pulling into a mischievous smile -- that was more like the Mingyu that Jeonghan remembered.

"You definitely have a lot more wit than Seungcheol."

"Seungcheol may be my brother but sometimes I feel like we aren't related at all, he's just so fucking annoying!" Mingyu exhaled with a sharp breath.

"Believe me, I know. You were lucky enough to be rid of him four years while I had to see him everyday," Jeonghan chuckled.

"Hey, hyung," Mingyu suddenly moved his face closer to Jeonghan's.

"Yes?" Jeonghan turned to face the younger boy.

"Remember that thing you always gave me?" Mingyu bit at his bottom lip looking down at his feet.

"What are you-" Jeonghan stopped mid sentence realising what the younger boy wanted.

Jeonghan was very much shameless when it came to showing his affection toward his dongsaengs. Mingyu being the closest thing he had to a younger brother had been the target of his affections. A kiss on the forehead was Jeonghan's way of showing his love and Mingyu was the lucky recipient. Originally Jeonghan had planned on stopping the act when Mingyu got a little older but the younger boy had thrown a fit when Jeonghan said he was ending their little tradition. Their forehead kisses continued until Mingyu moved away.

"Welcome back, Mingyu-yah," Jeonghan smiled as he held Mingyu's head in his hands and pressed his lips on the younger boy's forehead.

The two stared at each other, taking in each other's features gradually moving in closer and closer until their noses were touching. Jeonghan licked his lips causing Mingyu narrow his eyes before he closed the distance between their lips. The kiss was sweet, so very sweet. Mingyu's lips were soft and somewhat clumsy but Jeonghan didn't mind, he found that quite endearing. He savoured the moment until he was reminded of what it was that he was doing. He was kissing his friend's younger brother. No, no, no, no, no. He really shouldn't be doing that! Jeonghan pulled back from the kiss with wide eyes looking at Mingyu who wore the same expression.

"I have to go," Mingyu bolted up from his spot running a hand through his dark hair.

"Y-yeah, it's late," Jeonghan nodded not knowing what else to say.

Mingyu put on his slippers not noticing he wore them on the wrong feet as he exited Jeonghan's bedroom. Jeonghan sat still listening to the sound of Mingyu running down the stairs before a loud thud was audible.

"I'm okay!" Mingyu shouted from below before finally the sound of the front door opening and closing told Jeonghan that the younger boy was no longer in the house.

Jeonghan quickly jumped under the covers of his bed pulling the covers over his head. His face felt hot and his heart was racing. He'd just kissed Mingyu, Mingyu who was Seungcheol's younger brother -- and he'd liked it. If Seungcheol found out about this he would probably kill Jeonghan and wear his skin as a dress. Jeonghan didn't know what to do, what could he do? He was fucked.

Chapter Text

Jeonghan yawned as he walked through the gates of his school rotating his neck, the bones making loud cracking sounds as he made his way to first period. He'd had a rather sleepless night thinking about the kiss he'd shared with Mingyu. He only managed to fall asleep after the sun had begun rising which added up to a total of three hours of shuteye -- Jeonghan was exhausted.

He bowed to the teachers as he entered the school building and yawned extravagantly the minute he stepped foot into the classroom, he immediately felt even more fatigued if that was even possible. School was draining, that was a fact. Jeonghan went to sit in his seat at the back of the room letting out a sigh. He didn't even notice when Seungcheol came to sit in the seat beside him.

"Aye! Yoon Jeonghan!" Seungcheol's only had one volume and no mute button, he really wished his friend had a mute button.

"Hey," Jeonghan didn't even try to sound enthusiastic.

"Thanks again for leaving me to do the dishes on my own by the way, really appreciated it," Seungcheol griped before getting into his seat.

"Anytime, friend," Jeonghan felt a small smile play on his lips.

"Why did you invite Mingyu over yesterday but not me?" Seungcheol suddenly looked over at his blond friend whose face was down on his desk.

"I haven't seen Mingyu in four years, I see your ugly mug almost everyday. You do the math," Jeonghan defended, he felt sweat building on the back of his neck.

"Did you guys fight or something? He slammed his door on me when he came home last night," Seungcheol pushed.

"No, we didn't fight and like I said, he's going through puberty. Let him live," Jeonghan turned his head avoiding looking in Seungcheol's direction.

"Did you guys end up practising the new song?" Jihoon's voice caught Jeonghan's attention, taking a seat in the empty chair on Jeonghan's right.

"Sorry Jihoon, I was a little busy yesterday so only managed to squeeze in a hour of practice," Jeonghan looked up at the petite boy in front of him.

"It's fine, I'm not worried about you, I'm more worried about that fucker," Jihoon nodded over at Seungcheol who was trying to untangle his earphones from his earring.

"I'm working on it," Seungcheol looked over Jihoon with a nervous smile.

"You better or else you're going to have to start saving up for another guitar," Jihoon narrowed his eyes before unpacking his notebook from his backpack.

Morning classes passed by quickly like they always did, well to Jeonghan it did because he'd fallen asleep right after roll call for every period. It was already a good two months into the semester and he had only been awake for the tests. He walked with Seungcheol and Jihoon through the hall stopping by the neighbouring classroom where Seungkwan was. Jeonghan stuck his head into the room where the Jeju native stood talking to the transfer student. Jeonghan felt himself cringe at the sight of Seungkwan trying his best to speak English to the boy in front of him.

"I English-ie very well, correct?" Seungkwan smiled.

Vernon, the transfer student stared at his new friend with his head turned in confusion but nodded along in order to not hurt his friend's feelings.

"Yeah, your English is great," Vernon gave Seungkwan a thumbs up.

"Oi, Jeju Orange! We have band practice today after school, don't be late or you're dead!" Jihoon leaned over Jeonghan giving the Jeju native a look before he pulled Jeonghan along.

"What'd you call me?!" Seungkwan was about to follow Jihoon only to be stopped by Vernon's arm on his shoulder.

"Was that really necessary?" Jeonghan asked the shorter boy as they made their way into the cafeteria.

"Yes," Jihoon replied without an ounce of regret in his voice.

Jeonghan shook his head but didn't push the issue any further, him and Jihoon were on good terms and he didn't want to entertain the idea of possibly falling out of the boy's good graces. He didn't want to end up like that poor basketball player who almost got impaled with a drumstick. Jeonghan shivered at the thought as he went to go buy his lunch. The three of them walked over to their usual table by the large windows where their other friends had already gathered. Jeonghan sat down beside Soonyoung and Wonwoo who looked like they were discussing something serious until he actually got to hear what they were saying.

"She told me to stop calling her, so I stopped calling her. Then, she messaged me and asked me why I stopped trying to contact her," Soonyoung said between bites of his sandwich.

"Women are fucking weird," Wonwoo agreed as he swiped away the lettuce that had flung from Soonyoung's sandwich onto the book he was reading.

"So we've officially broken up but she's been sending me passive aggressive messages about how this whole thing was my fault," Soonyoung shoved the remainder on his sandwich in his mouth.

"Cheer up man, you'll find someone else," Wonwoo ruffled his friend's hair, his hand lingered a little longer than it needed to be.

Jeonghan looked over at Wonwoo with knowing eyes, Wonwoo immediately withdrew his hand and turned his attention back to his book. Jeonghan knew Wonwoo definitely had feelings for Soonyoung, the guy had revealed it one day in PE when he'd called Soonyoung cute during their class stretching exercise -- Jeonghan had been conveniently standing close enough to hear it. Jeonghan wasn't a bad person so he'd promised to keep that fact to himself although Wonwoo wasn't exactly subtle about his feelings, thank god Soonyoung was denser than block of wood.

"If only you could find yourself someone like Wonwoo," Jeonghan casually threw out before taking a sip of his orange juice.

"Jeonghan," Wonwoo threw a piece of lettuce in his direction.

"Man, if only you had boobs," Soonyoung rested his face on his hands looking down at Wonwoo's chest.

Wonwoo swatted Soonyoung's head with his book before getting up from the table. Soonyoung of course trailed right after the taller boy, draping his arm over Wonwoo's shoulders as they disappeared out the cafeteria door. Jeonghan shook his head looking over at Jihoon who was staring right back at him.

"How long do you think it'll take before Soonyoung realises he loves Wonwoo?" Jeonghan asked.

"I'd give it a month or two, Soonyoung's just about dumb as dirt,"Jihoon waved his hand.

"I'd argue but I have no argument," Jeonghan admitted thinking of the one time Soonyoung thought eggs were a vegetable.

Jeonghan took a bite of his kimbap looking around the cafeteria only to see Mingyu walking in. The younger boy looked rather lost as he walked around the rows of tables, unsure of where to sit or who to talk to. Swallowing his mouthful of food Jeonghan decided to push yesterday's incident to the back of his mind, he waved his arm in the air to catch Mingyu's attention. The younger boy looked at him with wide eyes but began walking over like a puppy who saw it's owner. Mingyu bowed at both Jeonghan and Jihoon but only gave Seungcheol a nod before sitting down. Jeonghan put on a smile trying his best not to make things uncomfortable.

"How was class?" Jeonghan asked the younger boy.

"Normal," Mingyu gave a single worded answer with downcast eyes, either his sandwich was really interesting or Mingyu just didn't want to look at Jeonghan.

"Seungcheol! Jihoon! Ms. Song is looking for you guys in the music room," Seungkwan shouted from the cafeteria entrance before leaving as quickly as he came.

"She probably needs us to tune the guitars again, the freshmen keep messing with them during her lessons," Jihoon let out a sigh, he hated the freshmen.

"Fuck me," Seungcheol balled up his napkin.

Jeonghan bit the inside of his cheek, he was alone with Mingyu. Fucking swell. He and the younger boy ate in silence doing their best trying not to acknowledge the fact that the awkwardness was building as time went on. Finally, Jeonghan set down his chopsticks with a clack and turned his full attention onto Mingyu who jumped at the sound.

"We're going to have to talk about what happened last night sooner or later," Jeonghan crossed his arms over his chest.

"Can we just forget that it happened?" Mingyu picked at the pieces of chicken in his sandwich.

"It doesn't change the fact that we kissed."

"It was a mistake okay? Let's just let it go."

"So you want to pretend that it never happened?"

"Yes," Mingyu nodded.

"Fine, then it never happened," Jeonghan shrugged before going back to eating.

"Just like that?" Mingyu pursed his lips.

"Yup," Jeonghan answered.

Before Mingyu could open his mouth the bell rang indicating that lunch had ended. Jeonghan gave a curt 'bye' to the younger boy and made his way to his next class. He went to the boys' locker room to get dressed for PE feeling frustrated that Mingyu wanted to sweep their little kiss under the rug but he was also frustrated by the fact that it affected him the way it did. Jeonghan had so many questions to ask the younger boy.

He stepped out of the locker room dressed in the school's sports uniform, a pair of blue tracksuit pants and a loose white t-shirt. He stood in line with the rest of his peers who were gathered around the centre of the oval. Jeonghan groaned seeing that the pudgy PE teacher was putting cones around the race track that meant only one thing, running -- Jeonghan was ready to throw in the towel. Looking to his left he saw Wonwoo dragging his feet across the field with his hands in his pockets and a frown on his face. The fox-eyed boy was just about enthusiastic about running as Jeonghan was.

"Any progress with Soonyoung?" Jeonghan asked.

"Nope, somehow I made less progress. I don't know how that's even possible," Wonwoo kicked the grass under his feet.

"Well I guess we've both hit a wall," Jeonghan patted his friend's shoulder.

"Why? What happened?"

"I kissed Seungcheol's younger brother yesterday," Jeonghan blurted.

"Come again?" Wonwoo's head snapped up.

"You heard me," Jeonghan ran a hand through his hair, his cheeks flushing.

"Does Seungcheol know?" Wonwoo pushed.

"Nope and he never will because Mingyu wants to bury this incident," Jeonghan explained.

"Might just be hormones you know, the kid might just be horny and doesn't know what to do about it," Wonwoo reasoned.

"I'd like to think that's the case," Jeonghan nodded as they sat cross legged along with their classmates on the grass.

"Okay, boys and girls split up, girls on the right side of the oval, boys on the left! We're doing sprint training today and you're all getting timed," the pudgy man in baggy sweats said as he waddled back and forth.

"Is participation compulsory?" Jeonghan raised his hand.

"Yes, Yoon Jeonghan," the pudgy man replied looking not at all enthused by Jeonghan's attitude.

"Well fuck me gently with a chainsaw," Jeonghan mumbled.

Wonwoo and Jeonghan stood next to one another on the track waiting their turn as the people in front of them did their sprints. Jeonghan despite his laziness was actually pretty fast, mainly because he had plenty of practice trying to run away from his mother as a kid to avoid getting his sassy ass beat. He did his sprint running the required distance and immediately found himself crawling on all fours once he'd heard the teacher call out his sprint time.

"Nine point two seconds, you pass," he announced.

"You can fuck right off you pudgy bastard," Jeonghan whispered under his breath as he sat back down on the grass.

"I'm dying," Wonwoo joined him only seconds later.

The two sloths sat side by side trying to regain their breath all the while ignoring everyone else who looked like they were doing just fine, how in the world was everybody not tired?

"Hey, I don't want to scare you or anything but there's a guy staring at you from the soccer field," Wonwoo whispered in his ear.

"What?" Jeonghan leaned his head toward Wonwoo.

"Over by the soccer field, there's a guy whose looking at you," Wonwoo repeated.

Jeonghan whipped his head around to see Mingyu dressed in the school's soccer uniform, from what he could tell Mingyu didn't look happy. Jeonghan turned his attention back to Wonwoo, whispering into his ear.

"That's Seungcheol's younger brother."

"The tree wearing the soccer uniform?" Wonwoo asked, head shooting up to look at Mingyu.

"Don't be so obvious," Jeonghan hissed.

"Well he's not bad to look at, can't say I see Seungcheol in him though. He doesn't look camel-like," Wonwoo bent back down.

"Is he still looking?" Jeonghan didn't want to check.

"He's gone back to playing ball," Wonwoo informed him.

"Seriously, this kid is doing my head in. What does he want?" Jeonghan fell back on the grass.

"Seems to me like he's interested," Wonwoo laughed.

"He's probably just confused," Jeonghan shook off Wonwoo's words.

"You free after school today?"

"I've got band practice," Jeonghan sighed.

"Good, because Soonyoung and I are going out for food and I refuse to have a third wheel," Wonwoo snapped his fingers, clearly he was ecstatic about a date with Soonyoung.

Jeonghan as per usual napped through the remainder of the day only waking in short intervals to move to the next classroom. He had the misfortune of sharing English with Wen Junhui, the foreign exchange student from China, who was praising himself shamelessly when the teacher asked him to describe himself using only English.

"Perfection, masterpiece, unbelievable, so gorgeous," Junhui's strong accent only adding to the bravado.

"He's handsome but if he were to get lost in an English speaking country he'd be dead," Minghao, the other foreign exchange student, whispered to Jeonghan.

"He can describe himself using this many words in English yet he doesn't even know many letters are in the alphabet," Jeonghan gazed at the Chinese boy who was still miraculously talking.

"He's pretty, not smart Jeonghan," Minghao reminded his friend.

When the final bell rang Jeonghan bolted from his seat, way too eager to get out of class. He stopped by his locker to grab his bass before heading to the music room where Jihoon was adjusting the high-hat on the drum set. Seungcheol was strumming chords on his guitar while Seungkwan was doing vocal exercises in the corner. Jeonghan joined the fray making himself comfortable on an empty chair.

"Okay, so here's the plan. We'll run through the new song once according to the sheet music I gave all of you, we'll make adjustments if things don't sound right and then we run through it one more time at the very end," Jihoon instructed his bandmates.

"We never end up making adjustments though," Seungcheol muttered.

"Excuse me?" Jihoon's head turned, his small stature didn't make his glare any less terrifying.

"Nothing, you're the boss," Seungcheol put up his hands, a sign of surrender.

"Can we just get this out of the way, I have to get home before dark. I have documented night blindness," Seungkwan complained.

"You just want to get home because you want to make it back in time for dinner," Sengcheol shot the band's vocalist a glare.

"Okay, and a one two three go!" Jihoon tapped his drumsticks three times before he began making the beat.

Their practice session lasted an hour and a half with Mr. Choi Seungcheol messing up on two occasions. Jihoon didn't even try hiding his annoyance, he ended up telling Seungkwan and Jeonghan to leave first while he stayed back to make sure Seungcheol learned his part. Jeonghan smiled devilishly as he left the room seeing that Jihoon kept a firm grip on his drumsticks while watching Seungcheol play his guitar. It looked like Seungcheol was going to be the next addition to Jihoon's collection of skewered victims.

As he walked down the stairs he was unlucky enough to run right into Mingyu. They had come from opposite ends of the building but managed to catch each other on their way out. Mingyu was clad in his soccer uniform, Jeonghan totally forgot that the soccer team had practice that day, fuck. Jeonghan gripped the strap on his bass with tight fingers before he pivoted in the direction of the exit.

"Want to walk home together?" Jeonghan asked, they had to anyway -- they literally lived next to each other.

"Y-yeah sure," Mingyu nodded.

Walking with Mingyu felt familiar but new all at the same time. Jeonghan noticed how the younger boy would try to keep his pace even with Jeonghan's but slowly fall back a step or two as if he was following a mother duck. Jeonghan found himself smiling, Mingyu used to do the exact same thing when they were younger. They made their way to the bus stop and got on their ride back home. They ended up having to stand because of the lack if seats. Jeonghan was up pressed against Mingyu's front.

"Sorry, I can't give you space even if I wanted to," Jeonghan gave Mingyu an apologetic smile, his back rubbing against the boy's solid chest.

"That's okay," Mingyu cleared his throat looking quite flustered in Jeonghan's opinion.

The bus came to a sudden stop at a red light causing Jeonghan to lose his footing but he was immediately caught by a strong arm around his waist. Mingyu had steadied him from behind. Once the bus began moving again Jeonghan noticed that the younger boy's arm didn't fall away, it stayed where it was around his waist. The younger boy's large hand firmly pressed against his stomach. Jeonghan looked up at Mingyu who was looking out the window trying to look oblivious. Jeonghan looked back down at his feet in amusement, Mingyu was precious.

"Thank you," Jeonghan patted the hand that guarded him from falling.

Mingyu didn't answer but from the little twitch on his lips Jeonghan could tell the boy enjoyed getting praised. They finally got off at their stop where Jeonghan did his routine cursing of his parents. He had to climb the fucking hill again. Mingyu looked over at Jeonghan with a curious look before smiling at the older boy.

"You have to go home somehow hyung," Mingyu teased.

"Let's fucking go," Jeonghan adjusted the strap of his bass.

As they made the uphill climb Jeonghan swore he could feel his soul leaving his body. By the half way mark he was already out of breath, if he hadn't exerted all his energy into sprinting during PE he might have had some extra fuel to make it back home without dying. Mingyu was fine though, fuck him.

"Hyung, who was that guy you were talking to earlier?" Mingyu asked, oblivious to the fact that Jeonghan was about to hand over his soul to Satan so he could make it home.

"You're going to have to be a little more specific there, bud," Jeonghan looked over at Mingyu.

"The one on the oval," Mingyu clarified, looking rather disturbed by the fact that there was more than one guy Jeonghan frequently talked to.

"Oh Wonwoo?" Jeonghan answered.

"Wonwoo," Mingyu said the name with a frown on his face.

"We're kindred spirits, other than Seungcheol me and Wonwoo are pretty close," Jeonghan said as they reached the top of the hill.

"How close?" Mingyu suddenly came to a stop.

"Why is that important for you to know?" Jeonghan turned around looking up at his friend's younger brother.

"Well, I...never mind," Mingyu stepped around him before walking straight back into his house without even a goodbye.

"For fuck's sake Mingyu," Jeonghan mumbled to himself before heading inside his own house.

Jeonghan spent the rest of the afternoon in his room putting off having to make dinner until his stomach began to protest. The growling soon became irritating even to his own ears. He pulled a hoodie over his head and slipped on a pair of sneakers getting ready to head out to buy groceries, from memory all he had in his refrigerator was a carrot and a carton of milk -- what the fuck was he going to make with milk and a single carrot? He walked out the house popping the key into the pocket of his sweatpants letting out a loud yawn, independence was hard.

"Hyung, where are you going?" Mingyu's voice called him from the balcony.

Jeonghan looked up to see Mingyu wearing his glasses holding a pen in his hand, chances were the boy was studying. The younger boy didn't even try to hide his curiosity.

"The supermarket, I need to buy stuff for dinner," Jeonghan informed.

"Give me a second, I need to go too," MIngyu disappeared back into his room before Jeonghan could even protest.

As promised less than thirty seconds later Mingyu came out from the front door dressed in grey sweatpants and a black hoodie. The younger boy looked decent until Jeonghan looked down at his feet seeing that his shoes didn't even match, he wore a blue sneaker on one foot and a black one on the other.

"Mingyu, shoes," Jeonghan simply said.

"What?" Mingyu looked down at his feet realising his mistake.

"Fuck," Mingyu said before running back into the house.

"You're more like Seungcheol than you think Mingyu," Jeonghan shook his head.

Mingyu returned wearing matching shoes and the two began making their way to the supermarket. Jeonghan was aware that Mingyu was doing his best to act casual but he would catch the boy looking at him as they walked side by side. Jeonghan was willing to play along a little longer. Walking inside the brightly lit supermarket they split into different directions to find what they needed. As he began walking down the aisles he found Wonwoo standing in the fresh produce section holding a ten pack of ramen in one hand and some soft drink in the other.

"Didn't you say you were going out to eat with Soonyoung today?" Jeonghan asked Wonwoo as he bent over to grab some potatoes from the display in front of them.

"Oh, you're here," Wonwoo's monotone dialogue told Jeonghan all he need to know.

"Did Soonyoung cancel?" Jeonghan asked as he put his bag of potatoes into his basket.

"He got a call from his ex, the bitch said she wanted to talk and apologise," Wonwoo scrunched his nose.

"So you decided to drown your sadness with ramen and caffeine?" Jeonghan looked at the comfort food he held in his hands.

"It's better than turning to alcoholism," Wonwoo countered.

"And overloading on sodium and sugar is better how?" Jeonghan curled up his upper lip at the boy's logic.

"Don't judge," Wonwoo gave Jeonghan a look.

"Hyung," Mingyu's voice called, slight annoyance detectable.

Jeonghan waved Mingyu over whose shopping basket was overflowing with various things. Jeonghan noticed that Mingyu's eyes were trained on Wonwoo with suspicion clouding his expression. When he finally reached them the younger boy stood behind Jeonghan looking at Wonwoo like a small child eyeing a stranger, only problem was it looked like a giraffe trying to hide in a bush. Wonwoo must have noticed Mingyu's hostile look because he immediately met eyes with Jeonghan who gave his friend an apologetic look.

"Wonwoo, this is Mingyu. He's Seungcheol's younger brother," Jeonghan gestured towards Mingyu.

"Hey, nice to meet you," Wonwoo said.

"Hi," Mingyu nodded.

"Don't mind him, he's just shy," Jeonghan didn't clarify who he was saying that to considering both of them were equally as aloof -- wasn't that just peachy?

"I'll see you in school, I'm just going to go home and reevaluate my life," Wonwoo began walking off.

"Want to just come over to my house? If you're going to sulk, might as well have some company right?" Jeonghan suggested.

"Yeah okay, it's not like I have a lover waiting for me back home," Wonwoo pivoted around.

"Wait, what?" Mingyu sounded almost offended by Jeonghan's suggestion.

"What's wrong?" Jeonghan didn't know what was the problem.

"He's coming home with you?" Mingyu's pupils shook looking at the older boy.

"You want to join?" Jeonghan raised a brow.

"Yes," Mingyu nodded without a second thought.

Jeonghan did his best to not burst out in laughter, was Mingyu jealous? They went through the checkout and Jeonghan watched as Mingyu scanned the various items he was buying, it was like looking at a middle aged mother buying her weekly groceries only the mother was tall, toned and had a penis. They walked the short distance back home with Jeonghan dropping his bags at the base of the hill, he forgot about the fucking hill.

"I give up, I'm not doing it! That fucking hill can go and fuck itself! I've climbed that fucking thing everyday for years?! Why the fuck is it so fucking steep?" Jeonghan had his little melt down before picking up his grocery bags again.

"You done?" Wonwoo asked nonchalantly.

"I'm good," Jeonghan replied as they began walking.

They were doing relatively well until they reached the top, that was when Wonwoo did a one-eighty looking over at Mingyu and Jeonghan with a look that screamed murder.

"Who the fuck decided to build houses here?" Wonwoo demanded.

"It's not that bad," Mingyu said, causing the two older boys to shoot him a look.

"I swear to Satan, Mingyu," Jeonghan said, life must have been so easy for someone like him who had long legs and a decent amount of stamina.

Mingyu went to put away his groceries in his own home while Wonwoo followed Jeonghan. The two went to the kitchen where they sat on the stools in front of the kitchen counter, neither of them wanting to actually cook. Jeonghan opened the fridge handing his sharp eyed friend a can of coke.

"He's definitely interested in you, did you see the look he gave when he saw you talking to me?" Wonwoo smiled as he took a sip from his can.

"Oh I saw," Jeonghan nodded.

Mingyu walked into the kitchen minutes later looking at the two older boys who were sitting shoulder to shoulder at the kitchen counter, his mouth pulling into a frown. Jeonghan slipped off his stool and began washing his hands, he needed to start on dinner or there wasn't going to be a dinner at all.

"You two okay with Japanese curry and rice?" Jeonghan asked as he began unpacking his ingredients.

"Yeah," both his guests said in unison.

"Good, because I only have enough ingredients for that," Jeonghan said.

"Hyung, let me help," Mingyu followed him in the kitchen.

As they prepared the food, Wonwoo remained in his seat watching the two interact with each other, it was like watching a married couple. Wonwoo had never felt more single than in that moment. He noticed the way the taller boy would look at Jeonghan but immediately hardened his expression when the older boy turned to look him in the eye. It was interesting watching the dynamic between the two. Wonwoo also noticed as time went on that Jeonghan was doing less and less and in the end it was Mingyu who ended up cooking the meal -- all Jeonghan did was peel a carrot. They ate in silence with Wonwoo watching Seungcheol's younger brother inhale his food like a vacuum, no wonder the boy looked like a tree.

"Thanks for the food but I need to get home," Wonwoo said after finishing his last spoon of curry.

"Still planning on sulking?" Jeonghan asked.

"It's either that or crying myself to sleep," Wonwoo deadpanned.

"Sorry about Soonyoung man, must be hard being in love with someone so dense," Jeonghan patted his friend's shoulder.

"Yeah," Wonwoo nodded before heading for the door.

"I'll see you in school," Jeonghan shouted.

"Bye!" Wonwoo shouted right back as he exited the front door.

"Whose Soonyoung?" Mingyu asked as he gathered the dishes into the sink.

"The boy Wonwoo has unrequited love for," Jeonghan answered as he watched the younger boy slip on rubber gloves.

"Wonwoo's gay?" Mingyu looked over at Jeonghan.

"Only for Soonyoung," Jeonghan nodded.

"I see," Mingyu turned around, the sudden relief in his voice telling Jeonghan he was happy that Wonwoo had someone else he was interested in.

"You've grown so much, I used to be able to rest my chin on your head," Jeonghan pressed himself against the younger boy's back, his arms circling Mingyu's waist.

Mingyu's hands halted, his body froze. Jeonghan noticed the sudden change in the boy's stance but he didn't let go. Instead, he rested his head on Mingyu's back. Mingyu continued to do the dishes in the end, not knowing what to do with the hyung who was clinging to him.

"Did you prefer the younger me?" Mingyu asked, his voice just above a whisper.

"Well, you were a lot more affectionate back then. I guess you could say I miss how close we were. I can't go around hugging and kissing you whenever I want to anymore," Jeonghan let go of the younger boy.

"Why not?" Mingyu suddenly turned around, gloves covered in suds.

"Teenage boys don't generally like having other boys doing those thing to them, Mingyu," Jeonghan said.

"I do," Mingyu removed the rubber gloves.

"Weren't you the one who told me to forget about our little kiss yesterday?" Jeonghan looked at him in confusion.

"I'm sorry about that, I just...I really missed you," Mingyu bit his bottom lip.

"Did you?"

"I know it probably sounds stupid but I really don't understand myself right now. I don't know if it's my hormones or what but I really like being around you," Mingyu admitted scratching his neck.

"Wonwoo was right, maybe it really is just puppy love," Jeonghan looked up at the younger boy.

"What if it isn't hyung?" Mingyu reached out to touch Jeonghan's hand.

"If you're willing to take the chance, we can find out," Jeonghan intertwined their fingers.

"What if it doesn't work out? What if we can't go back to what we already have?" Mingyu's face forming a mask of concern.

"Even if it doesn't, I don't think I'll ever be able to hate you," Jeonghan admitted.

"But you can't know that," Mingyu began to protest.

"We don't have to rush into anything, for now I think we should just see how things unfold. We don't need a title or even be committed to each other. Just come to me whenever you have something on your mind or if you're lonely," Jeonghan placed a finger on Mingyu's lips making the boy listen to his words. "We'll hang out, go out like guy friends if we're free and walk home together after school, sound good?"

"We can do that?" Mingyu's expression hopeful.

"Only if you agree," Jeonghan nodded.

"Okay," was all the younger boy said before letting out a relieved sigh.

"It's getting late, you really should be heading home," Jeonghan looked at the clock, it was ten o'clock and Mingyu probably still needed to do his homework.

"Walk with me to school tomorrow?" Mingyu looked over his shoulder as they walked to the front door.

"Sure," Jeonghan answered.

He watched the younger boy pull on his hoodie and slip on his sneakers. Mingyu pulled the hood over his head and stuck his hands into his pockets. He turned to look at Jeonghan for a second, mouth opening to say something but he quickly closed it. He shook himself before turning his back to the older boy.

"See you tomorrow hyung," Mingyu was about to leave but Jeonghan grabbed him by the arm.

"One last thing," Jeonghan said before pulling the strings of Mingyu's hoodie forcing the taller boy to bend down.

Jeonghan pressed his lips against Mingyu's giving the boy a quick peck before giving him a gentle push out the door. Mingyu stood at the threshold with a shell shocked expression. Jeonghan smiled playfully at the younger boy before he began closing the front door.

"Goodnight, Mingyu-yah," Jeonghan teased.

Mingyu stared at his hyung's door for several moments before he remembered that he needed to get his ass back into his house. He walked one house over and fumbled for the key. Making his way back in he said a quick greeting to his mother and ran upstairs, his face burning red from what had just happened with his hyung. He walked passed Seungcheol who was brushing his teeth, bumping shoulders with his older brother.

"Hey man, what the fuck?" Seungcheol choked on his toothpaste.

"Fuck you, you camel," Mingyu brushed off his brother's arm before slamming the door behind him.

He fell backwards on his bed and covered his face with his pillow. He's kissed Jeonghan-hyung a second time and he didn't know how but those lips were softer than they were yesterday, what kind of man had lips that soft? He batted his legs against the mattress unable to hide his excitement. He might be confused but the one thing he knew was in that moment he was happy.

Chapter Text

Jeonghan tied his shoelaces slinging his backpack on one shoulder and his bass on the other. He reminded himself to go get Mingyu before he left remembering the promise he made yesterday, only he didn't need to at all because the moment he opened his front door Mingyu was waiting for him. The boy looked pictureque until he put his full weight on the fence falling backwards onto his behind -- he was leaning on the gate portion of the fence. He got back up avoiding his hyung's eyes because of embarrassment.

"Good morning," Jeonghan greeted the younger boy, trying very hard to surpress his laugh.

"Morning," Mingyu replied as he dusted himself off.

As they walked Jeonghan noticed that Mingyu kept a reasonable distance between them, enough distance that they could fit another person in the negative space. The bus ride was interesting as well because Mingyu decided to give Jeonghan the same amount of personal space, it was like the boy was purposely trying to distance himself. They entered school grounds where Mingyu gave his hyung a simple 'bye' and walked away, Jeonghan stood feeling like he was missing something. Did he imagine what happened yesterday or did Mingyu suddenly just lose interest? Jeonghan didn't dwell too much on the matter because it was morning and it was way too early to be dealing with issues. Just as he was about to turn he saw a frantic Mingyu running back to him before quickly giving him a kiss on the cheek. The younger boy ran away again right after, his face burning red as he retreated.

"You really are confused about your feelings Mingyu," Jeonghan said in amusement.

He went to his locker putting away his bass and grabbed the history textbook he needed for the first class of the day -- in all honesty he was probably going to use the book as a pillow rather than for its intended use. Closing the door of his locker he was faced with Soonyoung and Wonwoo five lockers down looking rather angry.

"Oh my god! Why the fuck are you so nosy?! Why do you have to know everything about my fucking relationship?" Soonyoung gave Wonwoo's chest a hard shove.

"She's clearly just using you! It's not a healthy relationship! She only wants you back so you can keep spending money on her!" Wonwoo slammed his locker door shut, the sound echoing through the drafty hallway.

"I told you to stay out of it!" Soonyoung slammed his fist on his own locker door before walking away.

"Fine, go find yourself another friend while you're at it. I knew you were dumb but I didn't think you were this stupid!" Wonwoo yelled at the shorter boy.

Jeonghan leaned against the wall as he waited for Wonwoo to approach, he felt bad for his friend. Wonwoo looked up with tired eyes looking like he'd seen Satan himself. Jeonghan thought the boy needed either a good night's sleep or holy water, which ever one was easier to obtain.

"You saw it right?" Wonwoo asked his friend.

"I don't know if ramen and soft drink are going to help you this time, man," Jeonghan sighed.

"Why did it have to be him? I could've literally fallen for anyone but it just had to be that small eyed hamster looking bastard. He's in the same class as us yet the dumbass went in the opposite direction. He's going to have to come back this way," Wonwoo hit his head against a locker.

"If it makes you feel better, Mingyu ran away after kissing me on two different occasions," Jeonghan let out a groan.

"We suck," Wonwoo concluded.

"We suck so much," Jeonghan agreed.

"Come on man, class is starting," Jeonghan draped an arm around Wonwoo.

"Why does the universe keep plotting against us?" Wonwoo gritted his teeth.

"Because we're shit," Jeonghan said.

"We are, aren't we?" the sharp eyed boy didn't even try to defend it.

They sat together during history listening to Mr. Park who looked like a wrinkled up napkin. The old man loved talking about history but somehow he never managed to teach anything. He would start off with a topic related to the textbook but then go off on a tangent -- Jeonghan wanted to jump out the window just so he didn't have to look at the saggy bit of skin that wobbled at the man's throat every time he spoke.

"Gobble gobble," Jeonghan whispered over to Wonwoo who gave Jeonghan a smile.

Neither of them noticed Soonyoung from across the room who was watching their interactions. The small eyed boy sat slouched in his seat watching his best friend looking all too intimate with Jeonghan. Yes they just faught and yes he'd told Wonwoo to back off but did the guy have to replace him so quickly? When the class ended Wonwoo didn't even acknowledge Soonyoung as he exited the room, he was laughing about something that Jeonghan said.

"He never laughs at my jokes," Soonyoung was offended, how the fuck did the blond sloth make Wonwoo laugh?

Stuffing his pencil case and notebook into his bag, Soonyoung followed the two boys. He silently shadowed the two outside where they sat in front of the fountain. Soonyoung took advantage of the large statue that sat in the fountain's centre giving him a hiding place. He did his best to stay concealed all the while keeping his ears open. Conveniently, Jihoon was also sitting by the fountain forcing Soonyoung to beg the boy to stay quiet while he eavesdropped.

"I think I should give up," Soonyoung heard Wonwoo sigh.

"Are you sure? Without even telling him how you feel?" Jeonghan asked.

"I don't think I want to waste my time any longer," Wonwoo sounded disheartened. "You saw what happened this morning. I'm just a nosy friend to him, hell, I don't even know if we're friends anymore."

"I don't really know what I can say to make you feel better but I can offer you an ear. You up for some barbecue after school? My treat," Jeonghan consoled Wonwoo.

"Sure, that sounds better than instant ramen," Wonwoo nodded.

"Let's get to the next class before Mr. Kwon does, I heard he's got a new stack of detention slips on his desk and the guy's been generous with handing them out," Jeonghan grabbed Wonwoo's hand helping him up.

"That balding son of a bitch," Wonwoo quickened his walking pace.

"He literally has three and a half hairs left, I'm pretty sure that is beyond balding," Jeonghan laughed as the two proceeded to their next class.

Soonyoung hopped out from his hiding place with his jaw hanging open. From what he gathered from Jeonghan and Wonwoo's conversation was that they were definitely talking about him. That was when he snapped his fingers, he figured out what it all meant. Wonwoo was definitely replacing him with Jeonghan; and here he thought friendships were the only ships that didn't sink.

"Wonwoo you cheater!" Soonyoung shouted as he stomped away, round cheeks flaring red from both anger as well as the betrayal of having his best friend snatched right from under his nose.

Jihoon who sat twirling his drumsticks shook his head as he watched Soonyoung walk a good ten metres before turning back realising he was going the wrong way. He passed by Jihoon again who gave him a nod.

"Dumb as dirt," Jihoon shook his head at Soonyoung, his conclusion regarding the boy's intelligence still unchanged.

By the time lunch rolled around Jeonghan was beginning to feel a little better about his situation with Mingyu after watching Wonwoo's tragic relationship with Soonyoung -- or lack there of. Him and his fox-eyed friend went to their usual table in the cafeteria where Jihoon sat alone with headphones on his ears and a laptop open in front of him. The shorter boy gave both his friends a nod and went back to what he was doing. Jeonghan looked around the cafeteria to find his dark haired dongsaeng and was rewarded with the sight of the tall boy sitting with a group of students in his grade, he'd made some friends that was nice...until Jeonghan saw the girl that was hanging off his arm. Jeonghan watched as Mingyu and the girl spoke to each other, the girl stroking Mingyu's bicep and giggling up at him.

"Isn't that Mingyu being felt up by that chick over there?" Wonwoo followed Jeonghan's gaze.

"Yes it is," Jeonghan answered.

"Aren't you mad?" Wonwoo looked at his friend.

"I shouldn't be, we're not dating remember? I told him we can take things slow and if this ends up just being a crush we can go about our lives with no hard feelings," Jeonghan said trying to sound nonchalant.

"Doesn't it bother you just a little bit that he's chatting up a girl even though he kissed you?" Wonwoo pushed.

"It's not like I don't have any other candidates, if we don't end up together it's not the end of the world," Jeonghan reasoned.

"If only I had the same attitude towards Soonyoung," Wonwoo exhaled.

"It's been hard a little hard for me to think of Mingyu as a potential love interest if I'm being completely honest," Jeonghan rested his chin on his hand.

"Why is that?" Wonwoo asked pulling an apple out from his backpack.

"I've known the kid since he was a toddler and I just don't know if I want us to be anything more than friends," Jeonghan explained.

"You're scared you might end up hurting him because your feelings don't run as deep," Wonwoo guessed.

"Exactly," Jeonghan nodded.

The rest of the day was uneventful with Jeonghan keeping his mind occupied by doodling in the margins of his notebook during class. Occasionally he found himself thinking back to Mingyu and the girl he saw in the cafeteria. Maybe he cared more than he thought he did because Jeonghan felt his irritation build the longer he dwelled on the thought of Mingyu dating someone else. He shook himself and for the first time he began taking notes on what was being taught -- he didn't want to end up like Wonwoo who was constantly having issues regarding love. At the final bell Jeonghan pulled out his phone and messaged Wonwoo to meet him in front of the gates. He didn't have to wait very long before the sharp eyed friend of his came. Without saying anything Wonwoo took Jeonghan's bass by the strap and slung it on his shoulder before clinging onto his blond friend as they walked. Jeonghan was so confused, Wonwoo was acting strange.

"Play along, I'm trying something, this is my last ditch effort to get Soonyoung," Wonwoo whispered at Jeonghan as they headed for their promised after school feed.

"What are we doing?" Jeonghan asked.

"I think Soonyoung's following me," Wonwoo answered.

"What? Why?" Jeonghan was baffled.

"According to Jihoon, Soonyoung thinks I've replaced him with you as a best friend. I'll explain what I'm doing when we get to the restaurant, " Wonwoo promised.

They travelled the ten minute walk to the shopping district where they stopped by their favourite barbecue place; a nice little family owned place that had an equally nice waiter. They entered the establishment and were immediately met by Dokyeom, the son of the shop's owner. Jeonghan couldn't help the smile on his face seeing Dokyeom, the boy was like sunshine -- how could you be mad at sunshine?

"Hi, hyung! Just a table for two?" Dokyeom asked, the smile on his face could have saved humanity in Jeonghan's opinion.

"Yes, just us two today," Jeonghan smiled.

"I haven't seen you much at school lately," Dokyeom said as he poored them each a glass of water.

"It's a shame, I miss seeing your face," Jeonghan touched the younger boy's elbow.

"I'll make sure to find time to see you then," the boy touched Jeonghan's hand in return before disappearing into the kitchen.

"Bless that boy's heart," Wonwoo sipped his water.

"He's precious," Jeonghan agreed, Lee Dokyeom was a saint.

"To continue on from earlier, Jihoon said Soonyoung overheard our conversation at the fountain and he thinks I've given the best friend position to you after our fight. So here's my plan, I want you to pretend to be my decoy," Wonwoo looked dead serious.

"You want to use me to make Soonyoung jealous?" Jeonghan thought that was very cliché.

"Yes, that's exactly it," Wonwoo nodded.

"How do you know it's going to work?" Jeonghan asked as he poured himself more water.

"Because Soonyoung's outside hiding behind a telephone pole," Wonwoo replied with a straight face.

"Excuse me?" Jeonghan looked out the restaurant's window.

Low and behold just as Wonwoo said there was a tuft of orange hair sticking out from behind a telephone pole with bits of the boy's school uniform poorly concealed. Jeonghan pressed his lips together trying not to laugh while Wonwoo was massaging his temples at the stupidity that was Kwon Soonyoung.

"He's so dumb...I love him," Wonwoo sounded both amused and frustrated.

"I'm willing to play along if it means I can help you out with your situation," Jeonghan said as Dokyeom brought out their regular order.

"Should I call the cops? There's a guy spying on you two from across the street," Dokyeom whispered at his customers.

"No, it's okay. I know him...unfortunately," Wonwoo waved a hand at Dokyeom.

"Okay, if you say so," Dokyeom went back to serving other customers.

They enjoyed their meal and occasionally looked over to check up on Soonyoung who would change up his position from behind the telephone pole to popping out from the post box right beside it. Wonwoo tried his best to keep a straight face but the sharp eyed boy was very giddy at the idea of Soonyoung being jealous of his little outing with Jeonghan.

"Ready to head home?" Jeonghan asked his friend after swallowing down the last piece of pork belly.

"Let's go," Wonwoo nodded.

As promised Jeonghan footed the bill and the two exited the restaurant by thanking Dokyeom for the service. Wonwoo played the role of boyfriend again and carrying Jeonghan's bass for him until they reached the bus stop where they needed to part ways. Wonwoo continuously looked over his shoulder to see if Soonyoung was still following him and sure enough the hamster looking boy indeed was still tailing them.

"I wish you all the best with Soonyoung but I have to get home," Jeonghan clasped hands with Wonwoo.

"Thanks again man, I don't know if this will help or ruin my relationship with Soonyoung but it's all I got," Wonwoo gave Jeonghan's back a good pat before they went their separate ways.

Jeonghan managed to catch the bus that took the opposite way back to his house meaning he didn't have to climb the horrific hill, he'd never been more thankful for anything in his entire life. Getting off the bus he walked the remaining block back home. Just as he went past the gate he was met with the sight of Mingyu sitting on his doorstep in his sweats and his hands inside his pockets. The boy was leaning against the door with his eyes closed. Did the younger boy honestly wait outside his door waiting for him to come home? Jeonghan knelt down in front of Mingyu and shook the boy gently, trying to wake him.

"Mingyu-yah, what are you doing?" Jeonghan asked the boy with questioning eyes.

"Hyung, where'd you go?" Mingyu looked up at his hyung, still half asleep.

"I went out for food with a friend," Jeonghan answered as he and Mingyu went inside.

"Who?" Mingyu's tone suddenly alert.

"Wonwoo," Jeonghan answered casually.

"Just Wonwoo? No one else?"

"Yes, just me and Wonwoo," Jeonghan went to his room with Mingyu in tow.

Jeonghan settled his bass onto it's stand in the corner and placed his backpack on his desk. Just as he was about to turn around he found Mingyu in his personal space looking down at him with an all too serious expression. He tried to sidestep the younger boy but was stopped by Mingyu's sudden grip around his waist pulling him close.

"I change my mind, I don't want things to move slow," Mingyu whispered.

"What?" Jeonghan asked trying to create space between them.

"I realised something really important today," Mingyu stroked his hyung's short blond locks.

'What did you realise?" Jeonghan asked, shivering at the sensation of someone touching his hair.

"I want you all to myself," Mingyu answered, lips closing in on Jeonghan's.

"What happened to being confused and not understanding yourself?" Jeonghan put a hand up in front of the younger boy's lips preventing the kiss.

"I take it back, I take it all back," Mingyu continued to touch his hyung's hair.

"Give it some more thought Mingyu, you can't just change your mind every time you get a little bit jealous of Wonwoo," Jeonghan broke free of Mingyu's grasp heading for the door.

"Well maybe if you stopped treating me like a kid and actually saw me as a man I wouldn't be like this," Mingyu slammed his palm on the bedroom door preventing Jeonghan to leave.

"But in my eyes you are a kid Mingyu! I haven't seen you in four years and to have you suddenly go from the cute kid who lived next door to potential love interest is a pretty big change!" Jeonghan pivoted around.

"If that's really how you feel then we should just forget this ever happened, this time I won't bring it up again," Mingyu dropped his arm from the door.

"Just go Mingyu," Jeonghan crossed his arms over his chest facing the opposite direction.

"Fine, it'll be like I never came back," Mingyu slammed the door closed behind him.

Jeonghan fell back on his bed rubbing a hand over his face, he suddenly felt tired. Instead of starting his homework he decided to call up Wonwoo. His friend picked up after the third ring sounding just as tired as Jeonghan felt. The two exchanged unenthusiastic hellos.

"Something bad happen?" Wonwoo asked hearing the monotone sound of Jeonghan's voice.

"Mingyu happened," Jeonghan answered.

"What'd he do?"

"He was waiting on my porch when I came home, he asked where I was and I told him I was with you," Jeonghan explained.

"He got jealous?"

"Yup, I told him if he was only interested in me whenever he was jealous then we might as well just call it quits."

"What'd he say after that?"

"He said to pretend he never came back."

"That's heavy," Wonwoo felt bad for Jeonghan.

"At least we're ending it now before things get messy you know? Or at least messier than they already are."

"That's true, you would've heard an ear full from Seungcheol," Wonwoo let out a small chuckle.

"What happened with Soonyoung after I left?"

"He left after we parted at the bus stop. I don't know what that means but I'm guessing we'll find out tomorrow at school," Wonwoo answered with uncertainty in his voice.

"Are you able to come to my band's performance tomorrow night?" Jeonghan asked.

"I've never missed a show yet have I?"

"Thanks," Jeonghan was genuinely appreciative.

"I'll see you tomorrow, get some sleep and try not to let what happened with Mingyu get you so down."

"I know, goodnight."

"Goodnight," Wonwoo said as he hung up.

Jeonghan turned around to look out the window, he managed to catch a glimpse of Mingyu looking back at him through the drawn back curtains before the younger boy closed them, cutting off Jeonghan's view of him. Jeonghan stood still looking at the navy curtains wondering if maybe he'd been too harsh on the younger boy. Mingyu was young, Jeonghan needed to remind himself, he'd probably never had to deal with such emotions before and with the added complication of his crush being another boy must've been even harder to deal with. In the end Jeonghan decided he needed to apologise. He looked at his wall clock, it was only eight o'clock, still early enough to visit the house next door. He slipped on his shoes and went over to Seungcheol's house not needing to knock because Mrs. Choi told him to come and go as he pleased.

"Hi, Mrs. Choi!" Jeonghan greeted the woman who was watching her evening drama on television in the living room.

"Hello, Jeonghan! There's sliced mangoes in the fridge if you want a snack!" the woman said before turning her attention back to her show.

Jeonghan went up the stairs walking by Seungcheol's room where he heard loud snoring. It was eight o'clock and the lazy bum was already sleeping, typical Seungcheol. Jeonghan went down the corridor to the room on the very end, the light spilling out from under the door telling him Mingyu was awake. He knocked once and was given no reply in return, he knocked again.

"Go away Seungcheol, take your camel-looking ass somewhere else! You're my older brother so stop making me help with your goddamn homework!" Mingyu's low voice bellowed.

"It's me," Jeonghan said from the other side of the door.

"I don't want to see you," Mingyu's voice said after a moment of silence.

Jeonghan turned the doorknob, it wasn't locked. He stepped into Mingyu's room seeing the boy's long figure looking rather awkward in the single bed. His family probably didn't have time to buy him a proper one to replace it yet, his feet hung off the end showing his striped socks and the comforter too short to hide the tuft of hair that poked out the top. Jeonghan went over to the bed looking down at the younger boy who was doing his best to ignore his hyung.

"Hey, I'm sorry about earlier," Jeonghan said as he touched the hair that peeped out from the comforter.

Mingyu recoiled from his touch pulling the comforter higher over his head and turned his body away facing the wall. Jeonghan had never felt more guilty than in that moment. It took him back to some similar incidents that happened when they were children, whenever Jeonghan hung out with Seungcheol without Mingyu the younger boy would wrap himself in a blanket and sulk. He might have grown in size but Mingyu was still Mingyu. Jeonghan found himself sitting on the edge of the bed trying again to get the boy's forgiveness.

"I really am sorry, I should've been more considerate. You're having a hard time understanding your feelings and here I go contradicting what I said to you yesterday about taking your time to figure things out. I just don't want you regretting this and having us lose our brotherly bond. If you still feel like talking to me feel free to come over, we can talk and you can even sleep over," Jeonghan gave the boy's hair a final stroke.

Leaving the Choi household he went straight back to his room and began practising on his bass sitting on the floor. Jeonghan managed to get a good hour and a half of practice in before his bedroom door opened revealing a pyjama clad Mingyu holding a pillow in his right hand and a toothbrush in the other. Jeonghan smiled up at Mingyu and put away his bass for the night.

"I'm really sorry," Jeonghan apologised again as he walked over to the taller boy.

"I'm sorry too, I was being childish," Mingyu said looking down at his feet.

"Come on," Jeonghan nodded over at the boy urging him to come in.

"O-okay," Mingyu's cheek turning a bright shade of pink.

"Don't worry, we're not doing anything you'll be uncomfortable with," Jeonghan gave the boy a wink before directing the him to the attached bathroom so the boy could brush his teeth.

Jeonghan pulled the comforter back and got in, he went ahead and set his alarm as well as place Mingyu's pillow down beside him, the familiar smell filling his senses. Mingyu came back from the bathroom avoiding Jeonghan's eyes as he approached the bed. He sat down on the edge, his back faced towards his hyung. Jeonghan let out a sigh and decided to take matters into his own hands. He pulled on Mingyu's shoulders forcing the boy down on his back. Mingyu's eyes were wide with surprise as he looked at his hyung who was upside down from where he lay.

"Mingyu, chill," Jeonghan clapped his hands on Mingyu's cheeks.

"I'm trying," Mingyu covered Jeonghan's hands in his.

"Come on, get under the covers."

Mingyu did as he was told and climbed under the white comforter, the double bed Jeonghan had much more equipped for someone his size. The younger boy settled into his pillow very aware that Jeonghan was close. He could feel the warmth radiating off the older boy and the added clean crisp scent of his hyung surrounding him on the bed was intoxicating. He thought he was doing fine until he felt Jeonghan move closer, the older boy's left hand reaching up to caress his hair while the other was placed over his chest above his heart.

"I remember we used to take naps like this, you were so cute back then," Jeonghan ruffled Mingyu's hair.

"Sorry for growing up," Mingyu pouted.

"You grew up really well," Jeonghan comforted the boy.

"Not well enough because you don't seem to like me as much looking like this," Mingyu sulked.

"Are you honestly jealous of your younger self?" Jeonghan asked in amusement.

"Yes, yes I am," Mingyu huffed.

"Is there any way I can make it up to you?" Jeonghan asked.

"Yes," Mingyu turned to face the older boy.

"What do you want me to do?"

"Look only at me, forget everybody else," Mingyu had never looked more serious than in that moment.

"That's quite the selfish request Mingyu," Jeonghan stroked the boy's cheek.

"I know," Mingyu acknowledged.

"You're going to have to make sure you keep my attention then," Jeonghan smiled playfully.

"I'll die trying," Mingyu said with such conviction in his voice it made Jeonghan laugh.

"I believe that," Jeonghan cuddled up closer to the boy.

They laid together in comfortable silence for a long time until finally Mingyu gave into temptation and pulled Jeonghan into his chest. He relished in the feel of Jeonghan's smaller body pressed against his, they fit like two pieces of a puzzle -- it also didn't hurt that Jeonghan smelt like jasmine and sweet vanilla. Mingyu knew full well that he was holding another man in his arms but Jeonghan just felt so soft despite his toned body, it didn't make sense. In that moment Mingyu felt like he was experiencing pure bliss for the first time in his life. It wasn't anything sexual or dirty, they were simply enjoying each other's presence and savouring each other's touch. The intimacy was something he didn't know he was lacking until he was presented with it.

"Mingyu, whose champion are you?" Jeonghan whispered the question in Mingyu's ear, he'd been asking Mingyu that question for years.

"Jeonghan-hyung's champion," Mingyu replied with a nostalgic smile tugging at his lips.

"Go to sleep, Mingyu-yah," Jeonghan ruffled his hair one more time.

"Goodnight hyung," Mingyu said, the boy knocked out like a light right after.

Jeonghan stayed awake looking over at the boy next to him with a stupid smile on his face. He felt giddy like a teenage girl who finally got a text back from her crush. He leaned over to give his sleeping donsaeng a peck on his foreheard before settling back down on his side of the bed. Everything was perfect until Mingyu began snoring causing Jeonghan to let out a long sigh.

"I swear to god Mingyu," Jeonghan said before pulling the comforter over his head in an attempt to stifle the noise. It was going to be a long night.

Chapter Text

Jeonghan sat in the dressing room of the Thirteen Diamonds Bar with Wonwoo in tow as he tuned his bass getting ready for their performance. Jihoon had gathered everyone right after school so they could get rehearsals in before their actual set. The petite boy had been rather anxious after he found out there were talent scouts attending that night according to the bar's owner. Apparently a bar regular had posted a video of their band online and it had been circulating. Jeonghan was both happy at the recognition as well as slightly nervous -- Jihoon had been waiting for an opportunity like this for years, he wanted to make sure he didn't disappoint his friend.

"Are you fucking kidding me?!" Jeonghan heard Jihoon shout from the corridor.

"What happened?" Jeonghan asked.

"The keyboardist we usually play with called in sick," Jihoon gritted his teeth.

"Shit," was all Seungcheol could utter as he walked in the room.

"I curse the plague upon his house," Seungkwan pursed his lips before crossing his leg on the stool he was sitting on.

"I can play keyboard," Wonwoo who sat beside Jeonghan said.

"Are you sure?" Jeonghan furrowed his brow.

"I think it might work, we'll have to do some intensive practice but I think we can do it," Jihoon's desperation evident in his voice.

"You know what, let's just do it. I'm willing to risk it if you are," Jeonghan looked over at Wonwoo, Jihoon worked too hard for them to postpone all because of a missing keyboardist.

"I want to do it," Wonwoo nodded.

"Okay, Wonton, follow me," Jihoon pulled Wonwoo out of the room by his shirt.

"It's Wonwoo," the taller boy corrected.

"I don't care if your name is Xiao Long Bao! Now let's go and I'll teach you your part," Jihoon grumbled as they disappeared from sight.

"You and Mingyu have been attached at the hip lately, are you seriously beginning to like him more than me?" Seungcheol asked as he sat down beside Jeonghan.

"He's definitely a lot better to look at," Jeonghan teased his friend.

"Did you just call me ugly?" Seungcheol slapped the blond's shoulder.

"I didn't say that, you did," Jeonghan put up his hands in defense.

"I heard Soonyoung's coming to the show tonight," Seungcheol changed the subject.

"Soonyoung? He doesn't even know we're a band," Jeonghan looked at Seungcheol with a confused look.

"Apparently he found one of the promotional posters from the bar on our cafeteria table. I think Wonwoo dropped it so he found out from that."

"Chances are he just wants to see Wonwoo," Jeonghan shook his head, a smile colouring his face.

"Why would he want to see Wonwoo?"

"He doesn't know it yet but our little Soonyoung is experiencing his first crush," Jeonghan answered.

"Soonyoung the hamster likes Wonwoo the pessimist?" Seungcheol's mouth fell open.

"You didn't know?" Jeonghan admonished.

"I just thought it was a bromance," Seungcheol looked shocked by the news.

"They're not together yet though, Soonyoung's too dumb to realise his own feelings and Wonwoo's just Wonwoo. We're all rooting for them from the sidelines."

"Well I'll be damned," Seungcheol leant back on the sofa.

"Give it some time, just sit and let it all sink in," Jeonghan patted Seungcheol's arm before getting up to fetch himself a bottle of water.

He'd invited Mingyu to come see their show and the boy had been rather enthusiastic about seeing his hyung perform. Luckily since they knew the bar's owners they managed to get the younger boy in despite him being underaged -- as long as they didn't let Mingyu drink they were allowed to have the boy attend the show. Jeonghan felt even more nervous at thought of the younger boy seeing him on stage, he wanted to leave a good impression on the boy. When it was finally nine o'clock at night they were ushered out of the dressing room and directed backstage. They could already hear the bar's regulars gearing up to see them perform.

"Without further ado, please welcome back Seventeen!" The MC announced their band name.

Seventeen had been a temporary name they decided on because all of them were Seventeen when they formed as a group. They'd been talking about changing it on various occasions but they always ended up disagreeing therefore, Seventeen remained as their group name. Jeonghan honestly didn't mind the group name, it was a lot better than Seungcheol's suggestion which was 'The Squad' -- Jeonghan remembered clobbering his friend with his shoe just for even putting it out there.

"Okay, let's go!" Jihoon yelled to get everyone's spirits up as they entered the stage.

"Fuck yeah!" Seungcheol hollered.

They stepped onto the raised stage overlooking the bar with its expensive leather decor and dimmed lights. The audience turned in their direction, some looked familiar and some were strangers. It was a good mix of people and they were determined to put on a good show. From the crowd Jeonghan saw that Mingyu was sitting on a stool with a glass of Coke in his hand and Soonyoung sitting one stool over -- the boy only had eyes for Wonwoo. Jeonghan leaned over to Wonwoo who stood behind the keyboard notifying him of Soonyoung's presence. Wonwoo immediately looked down at his feet, a nervous expression painting his face. He was definitely not expecting Soonyoung to be there.

"To start off tonight we're going to bring the atmosphere up with a bar favourite. So here's our song Very Nice!" Seungkwan announced over the mic before adjusting the microphone stand.

"Look alive Wonwoo!" Jeonghan winked at his friend readying himself.

"And a one, a one two three go!" Jihoon tapped his drumsticks before the beat penetrated their ears, it was go time.

Their set lasted a good hour with everything going without a hitch, Jeonghan found himself looking only at Mingyu for majority of the night and Mingyu in return only had eyes for Jeonghan. He knew it was so cheesy to say but Jeonghan felt like there was no one else in the room but him and Mingyu. When they finished their last song, Don't Wanna Cry, the atmosphere had turned mellow. Jihoon was busy talking to the talent scout and Jeonghan was making his way over to see his dongsaeng who appeared rather uncomfortable sitting among the people around him -- Soonyoung was no longer beside him either. Mingyu was alone.

"Hey," Jeonghan smiled as he approached Mingyu.

"Hyung," Mingyu's voice sounded breathy, almost dazed.

"Are you okay? Are you sick?" Jeonghan's smile turned into a mask of worry.

"I don't know but I feel dizzy," Mingyu rubbed his temples, eyelids heavy.

"Let me see," Jeonghan pressed his palm against Mingyu's forehead, he wasn't warm.

Jeonghan looked over at the table where Mingyu sat and eyed the tall glasses that sat nearby. The two glasses made Jeonghan every suspicious. He took a glass in each hand and sniffed both, they both smelt vaguely of rum. Jeonghan looked back over at Mingyu who was beginning to sway as he sat, his poor Mingyu was given rum and coke instead of just plain soft drink. Mingyu probably had no idea he'd drunken alcohol.

"Mingyu, I'm taking you home," Jeonghan said as he helped Mingyu off of the stool.

He pulled Mingyu's arm over his shoulder letting out a grunt at the boy's weight as he went to find Seungcheol. He didn't have to look very hard as he found his friend at the pool table playing with a few of the other bar goers. Jeonghan stopped in front of the table calling Seungcheol's name until he got his attention.

"Oi! I'm taking Mingyu home, he's not feeling well!" Jeonghan shouted.

"Okay!" Seungcheol shouted back and accidentally poked Jihoon with the stick he was using to play pool.

"Choi Seungcheol," Jihoon's look could have killed.

Jeonghan hailed a taxi outside the bar and did his best to get a drunk Mingyu into the backseat before climbing in with him. Jeonghan quickly discovered that a drunk Mingyu was also a very touchy Mingyu. The entire drive back consisted of Mingyu burying his face in the crook of Jeonghan's neck while his large hands touched up and down Jeonghan's thigh. Once they reached their destination Jeonghan helped Mingyu out of the taxi and was heading toward Seungcheol's house when Mingyu stopped dead in his tracks.

"I want to sleep in your bed," Mingyu refused to move.

"Okay fine," Jeonghan rolled his eyes, drunk Mingyu was also a very demanding Mingyu.

They went inside Jeonghan's house taking twice as long as usual because the younger boy was too intoxicated to properly move up the stairs. Jeonghan was ready to pass out by the time they finally entered his room, Jeonghan was tired out of his mind. He released his hold on the younger boy allowing him to fall onto the bed. Jeonghan began taking off his sweaty clothes but just as he was about to slip on a new t-shirt be felt hot breath on the back of his neck. Mingyu had somehow gathered up the strength to stand up on his own.

"Mingyu," Jeonghan whispered as he felt the younger boy's hands roam up his bare chest.

"You smell so good," Mingyu mumbled as he licked Jeonghan's ear making the older boy flinch.

"Mingyu, stop.You're drunk," Jeonghan turned around pushing on Mingyu's chest.

Mingyu in response pulled Jeonghan close and directed them over in the direction of the bed. With one swift motion the taller boy managed to get Jeonghan on his back and onto the mattress straddling his hyung's hips. The only word Jeonghan could think of when he looked up at his dongsaeng was hunger, Jeonghan feared that he was going to be eaten by a ravenous Mingyu.

"Mingyu," Jeonghan gave the boy a warning as he tried to get up.

"Please hyung," Mingyu whispered in Jeonghan's ear.

"Are you seriously using that against me?" Jeonghan could never say no to Mingyu when he uttered the word 'hyung.'

"Please hyung," Mingyu repeated, the look he gave Jeonghan both sweet and seductive.

"You really know how to get your way, you brat," Jeonghan shook his head at the boy who hovered above him.

"Can I?" Mingyu's hands pulled at Jeonghan's jeans.

"The point of asking is to get permission before you do something Mingyu," Jeonghan deadpanned as he watched his jeans be slipped off in one smooth motion and thrown on the floor.

"Is that a yes?" Mingyu kissed Jeonghan's collarbone.

"Okay fine but if you regret this tomorrow then I refuse to take responsibility," Jeonghan said giving into Mingyu's antics.

"You're such a romantic," Mingyu's flushed face smiled down at him.

"To think I would be in this kind of situation with a boy who used to wet his bed at eight years old," Jeonghan held Mingyu's face in his hands.

"You're bringing that up now?" Mingyu's lip forming a small pout.

"Sorry, it's just so surreal that you managed to grow up so fast," Jeonghan smiled.

"We're only two years apart hyung," Mingyu whispered before sealing their lips together, he wanted to leave the small talk for another time.

Jeonghan was surprised by the younger boy's ferocity as they kissed, drunk Mingyu was a lot more upfront about what he wanted. He also had a lot more courage than sober Mingyu with the way those hands touched wherever they wanted on Jeonghan's body. The older boy found out rather quickly that Mingyu liked his behind. Why? Because they had weaseled their way into his underwear and were holding the smooth globes in each hand. Mingyu's eyes were half closed in ecstasy and his breathing was becoming ragged. Jeonghan mirrored the younger boy's need as he felt Mingyu's arousal rub against his.

"Tell me what I need to do hyung," Mingyu whispered in his ear.

Jeonghan felt a smile tug at his lips as he showed Mingyu the ropes. He was patient making sure the younger boy did everything he needed to. Jeonghan thought it was so strange to have Mingyu being the one preparing him because every time he'd look up the sight of a lustful Mingyu would catch him off guard. The sharp angular features so different from the Mingyu he knew growing up yet still so familiar. It also didn't help that the boy's overactive mouth would lap and nibble at his ear throughout the whole process.

"Hyung," Mingyu finally whimpered, his impatience showing in his voice.

"Go ahead, Mingyu," Jeonghan gave Mingyu's lips a quick smooch.

Mingyu didn't hesitate for even a second, the boy took the plunged and slipped into his hyung with one smooth motion. Jeonghan let out a groan, he wasn't expecting Mingyu to be so big. Mingyu didn't move right away, he might have been tipsy but he was still very considerate. After several moments Jeonghan gave the boy the green light and Mingyu was more than ready to oblige. The satisfied noises that escaped his lips told Jeonghan all he needed to know.

"Jeonghan," Mingyu's use of his name without the formalities sounded so possessive.

"Don't think, don't think at all," Jeonghan whispered in his dongsaeng's ear, the more you think the less enjoyable it was.

Jeonghan gave Mingyu full control, the boy's frantic movements and clumsy hands explored the curves of his hyung's body without restrictions. Jeonghan knew he was spoiling his dongsaeng but he didn't care, the boy was just so sweet to him -- it made giving in too easy. It didn't take long before he heard Mingyu's moan followed a long hard thrust. Jeonghan held onto the boy massaging the back of Mingyu's scalp as he settled onto Jeonghan's chest.

"I need more," Mingyu's arms wrapped around Jeonghan's waist.

"Your libido is definitely a thing worthy of envy," Jeonghan laughed as he touched Mingyu's jaw with his thumb.

"Please?" Mingyu asked as he rubbed his arousal against Jeonghan's behind -- he was hard again? That was fast.

"You really haven't changed. Taking advantage of your doting hyung whenever you get the chance," Jeonghan smiled as he stroked Mingyu's broad back.

"You created quite the little monster," Mingyu leaned in for a kiss.

"Little?" Jeonghan guffawed.

They're second kiss of the night was sweet and filled with light nibbles and bites. Jeonghan didn't remember when it happened but he found two bright red marks on the inside of his thighs. He looked over at Mingyu who turned away in embarrassment. Jeonghan didn't feel angry by the marks but rather impressed the boy managed to mark him in such a short amount of time. He might have underestimated his sweet Mingyu. They're activities continued until just after midnight when Jeonghan decided they needed to shower, he refused to go to sleep covered in sweat and semen even if it was with Mingyu -- he had standards.

"Come with me," Mingyu whined as he was pushed into the bathroom.

"Mingyu, you can wash up on your own! You have hands!" Jeonghan proceeded to push his dongsaeng.

"But hyung!" Mingyu's whining becoming even louder.

"Okay! Don't blame me when you get claustrophobic," Jeonghan gave in, he did that quite a bit these days.

As Jeonghan predicted they stood in the shower stall chest to chest. The position they were in was dangerous for two reasons, one was that every time they moved something would rub against each other and the second being that with every movement Jeonghan made to give himself more room resulted in Mingyu getting more aroused. With a quick shampoo and rinse they got out before it escalated to anything more (much to Mingyu's disappointment). Jeonghan lent Mingyu a pair of sweatpants which surprisingly fit the boy and a t-shirt from his closet. He pulled the younger boy over to the bed where he settled Mingyu between his legs on the floor while he sat on the edge of the bed. Jeonghan took his time drying off Mingyu's hair making sure to blowdry thoroughly because from memory he knew Mingyu got headaches whenever he let it airdry. To Jeonghan everything seemed so nostalgic. Mingyu seemed to have sobered up after the shower because he no longer slurred his words.

"You remembered," Mingyu reached up to hold Jeonghan's hand.

"Can't let you have a headache now, can I?" Jeonghan raised their interlocked fingers giving Mingyu's hand a kiss.

"I want to show you something tomorrow, are you free?" Mingyu looked up at his hyung.

"My time is all yours," Jeonghan nodded.

"Awesome," Mingyu smiled, that was the brightest smile Jeonghan had seen on the boy since he came back.

"You are so very precious," Jeonghan kissed his forehead.

They climbed into bed only this time Mingyu was no longer shy. Jeonghan laid on his back with Mingyu's body draped over his front, the boy's head resting on his chest listening to his heartbeat. It had been Mingyu's favourite position to be in whenever they watched movies or just resting after playing as children. Jeonghan felt the nostalgia fall over him again thinking about eight year old Mingyu dressed in blue overalls and a missing front tooth. Never in his wildest dreams did he think the small boy who was shortest in his class would grow to be so big.

"You're heavy," Jeonghan stroked Mingyu's face in the dark.

"Sorry," Jeonghan could feel Mingyu's mouth tug into a smile on his chest.

"I don't mind it at all," Jeonghan massaged the boy's scalp earning him a low purr.

_____________________________________________

Jeon Wonwoo shrugged on his jacket leaving the Thirteen Diamonds Bar after a good hour of mingling and playing pool with the band. He made it half way down the block when Soonyoung appeared from the shadows looking both flustered and angry. Wonwoo looked away with the intent of ignoring Soonyoung only the boy grabbed his arm forcing him to stop.

"Why are you ignoring me?" Soonyoung asked.

"Last time I checked we weren't exactly on speaking terms," Wonwoo yanked his arm out of Soonyoung's grip.

"Is this about the fight we had at school?" Soonyoung stepped around Wonwoo blocking his path.

"Let it go, Soonyoung. I don't want to see you right now," Wonwoo was getting frustrated.

"You'd probably prefer seeing Jeonghan right?" Soonyoung grumbled.

"I do actually," Wonwoo narrowed his eyes at Soonyoung.

"Why are you being like this? Why can't we fight and make up like we always do?"

"I need to get home," Wonwoo dodged the question.

"Jeon Wonwoo! Don't ignore me!" Soonyoung shouted.

"What do you want from me?" Wonwoo pivoted on his heel.

Wonwoo was shocked when he turned to see Soonyoung looking at him with tears running down his face and teeth gritted to supress his sobs. Wonwoo didn't hesitate, he closed the distance between them allowing his arms to wrap around the shorter boy. Soonyoung buried his face into Wonwoo's shoulder, his hot breath filtering through Wonwoo's shirt. It didn't take long before Soonyoung's sobs turned into a dull hiccup. Wonwoo felt Soonyoung's hands on his back in response to the hug.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Wonwoo apologized, in all the years he'd known Soonyoung he'd never once made his friend cry.

"Why were you so cold? Did you have to replace me so quick?" Soonyoung continued to cry into Wonwoo's shoulder.

"I'm so sorry," Wonwoo repeated.

"Stop saying sorry! Just tell me why you've been ignoring me! I know for a fact that you disliking my girlfriend isn't the real reason!" Soonyoung looked up at the sharp eyed boy.

"You really want to know?" Wonwoo asked.

"Yes!"

Wonwoo held Soonyoung's face in his hands, he bent down giving the pouty lips a kiss. He moved one hand to hold the back of Soonyoung's head forcing the shorter boy's head foward. He savoured the sweet taste of Kwon Soonyoung and inhaled the innocent scent of baby powder that seemed to cling to the boy despite being eighteen years of age. When they finally broke apart Wonwoo looked down at Soonyoung whose lips formed a mask of confusion as well as shock.

"There you go," Wonwoo said running his thumb over Soonyoung's lower lip.

"Wonwoo," Soonyoung mumbled.

"Now you know, goodbye," Wonwoo began walking away.

"Wonwoo wait!" Soonyoung called after him.

"Save it! I know you're disgusted! Just go!" Wonwoo shouted without stopping.

"Wonwoo! Stop and listen for once in your life!" Soonyoung caught up to his friend, his arms wrapping around Wonwoo's waist.

"What? Listen to how disgusted you are by me?" Wonwoo spat.

"I didn't hate it Wonwoo, I didn't hate that kiss," Soonyoung tightened his grip on Wonwoo.

"What?" Did Wonwoo hear that right?

"I didn't mind it Wonwoo," Soonyoung's hands were shaking.

Wonwoo turned around to face Soonyoung whose face was still flushed from crying. He met eyes with the shorter boy and the two stared at each other in absolute silence, neither knew what to say to the other. Soonyoung reached out to hold Wonwoo's hand, his lower lip was quivering, a sign that he was trying not to start crying again.

"What do I do? I've fallen so hard for you," Wonwoo swallowed the lump in his throat.

"Why didn't you just tell me your feelings? Why did you have to keep it all bottled up? I've told you so many times before that keeping things inside will only end up hurting you!" Soonyoung hugged his friend close.

"The thought of losing you was scary, I was willing to be just friends if it meant I got to keep you close," Wonwoo admitted.

"And in the end your emotions boiled over and you lost me anyway," Soonyoung shook his head.

"When did you get so smart?" Wonwoo smiled as he felt a single tear escape down his cheek.

"When did you get so dumb?" Soonyoung returned Wonwoo's smile wiping away Wonwoo's tear with his sleeve.

"Thank you," Wonwoo whispered as he pulled Soonyoung back into his arms.

"You're welcome, Jeon Wonwoo," Soonyoung allowed himself to be engulfed in Wonwoo's warm embrace.

"Just a little longer, I don't want to let go just yet," Wonwoo buried his face into Soonyoung's neck.

"Take as long as you need, Wonwoo," Soonyoung replied, his eyes closing as he inhaled Wonwoo's intoxicating cologne.

Chapter Text

Jeonghan woke up the next morning to an empty bed, he reached over next to him to find that the spot was cold. He slowly rose from his sleeping position only to lie back down feeling the soreness of his hips and the stiffness in his lower back. His behind was also sore for obvious reasons but he didn't mind the sensation all too much in all honesty. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and went straight to brush his teeth. Drawing the curtains he was able to catch a glimpse of Mingyu from his balcony window, the boy was throwing fists at Seungcheol and his older brother retaliated in response. Jeonghan dropped his toothbrush, was he seeing right? He quickly got dressed pulling a loose t-shirt over his head and a pair of track pants. He slipped on his sneakers and headed for the door making a beeline for the house next door.

The minute he stepped inside he was faced with the two boys at each other's throats. Jeonghan watched in horror as Seungcheol hit Mingyu in the stomach followed by Mingyu punching his older brother square in the jaw. Mrs. Choi was shouting hysterically for her sons to stop, Jeonghan ran past the boys and shielded the small woman from her two sons as they proceeded to throw punches.

"Get the fuck out of my way!" Seungcheol shouted.

"Apologise!" Mingyu snarled back at his brother.

"You started it first you little shit!" Seungcheol gave Mingyu one last shove, his younger brother hitting the wall with a loud thud.

"Come back and face me, you coward!" Mingyu shouted as he watched Seungcheol run out the front door.

"Mingyu," Mrs. Choi tried to talk to her son only the boy had already disappeared up the stairs, the sound of the door slamming told them Mingyu wasn't in a talking mood.

"Are you okay?" Jeonghan looked at Mrs. Choi whose hand was clutching her heart.

"They've never gotten along but I've never seen them fight like this," she said looking visibly shaken.

"I'm sure everything will work out, you know how we teenage boys are. Sometimes all it takes is an exchange of fists in order for us to get on the same page," Jeonghan comforted the woman.

"They were being civil up until Mingyu said some words about Seungcheol's guitar playing. Mingyu definitely pushed a button," Mrs. Choi walked into the kitchen and poured herself a cup of tea.

"I'll go find Seungcheol," Jeonghan said as he ran a hand through his hair.

"Be careful, that son of mine is the most stubborn person on the face of the planet next to his father," Mrs. Choi said as she saw Jeonghan out the door.

Just as Jeonghan walked out the front gate he heard the sound of a sliding door followed by Mingyu's voice calling him from the balcony, the boy looked at him with wide eyes and an open mouth.

"Hyung! Where are you going?!"

"To find your brother," Jeonghan answered.

"But you promised we would go somewhere today!" Mingyu shouted.

"That was before I saw you and Seungcheol almost rip out each other's throats!"

"But you promised!" Mingyu griped.

"Go back inside and think about what you did, I didn't agree to being a glorified babysitter. I thought you were better than this," Jeonghan turned on his heel, he was very disappointed with Mingyu.

"Hyung!"

Jeonghan ignored the boy and walked without a second glance back. He wandered around the streets to all the typical places he thought Seungcheol would go. Jeonghan stopped first by the park and searched for Seungcheol among the several people who were playing soccer but he wasn't there, he tried at the convenient store and once again he was disappointed. He bought two ice creams and an ice pack before he started searching again. Finally Jeonghan followed his gut and decided to go look at the basketball court just further up the road. Sure enough he found Seungcheol lying down in the centre of the court with one arm draped over his eyes and a basketball tucked under the other. He approached the boy slowly and plopped himself down beside him.

"How'd you guess I was here?" Seungcheol didn't bother opening his eyes.

"I looked everywhere else, this was the last stop," Jeonghan admitted.

"Guess you're here to tell me I should go home and make up with Mingyu?"

"For once I'm taking your side on this one. Mingyu shouldn't have said anything about you and your guitar. I know how much it means to you," Jeonghan said.

"Thanks man," Seungcheol rose up crossing his legs.

"Here," Jeonghan handed his friend an ice cream as well as the ice pack he got from the convenience store.

"Sometimes I feel like you're the only one who actually cares about me," Seungcheol smiled sadly as he opened the ice cream wrapper.

"If I didn't you'd have ended up in a ditch somewhere, that's for sure," Jeonghan unwrapped his own ice cream.

"Thanks for those kind words, Yoon Jeonghan," Seungcheol bumped their shoulders.

"Put that Ice pack on your face before you get any more swollen, you have today and tomorrow to recover before school starts on Monday. The teachers are going to have questions," Jeonghan took the ice pack out of Seungcheol's hands and pressed it onto his right cheek.

"Ow," Seungcheol mumbled but proceeded to eat his ice cream.

"Mingyu threw a mean right hook," Jeonghan said looking at Seungcheol's face.

"How bad is it?"

"Your nickname is already camel but now you have a hump to go with it," Jeonghan said.

"Fuck," Seungcheol sighed.

They sat together in silence with ice creams in hand. Jeonghan couldn't even remember the number of times they met at this spot. Whenever one of them had problems they'd meet at the basketball court and chat while eating something from the convenient store. Sure it wasn't anything special but it was how they had coped with bullying and dealing with their parents when they felt like the adults didn't understand them. When Seungcheol found out his parents were getting divorced they'd done the exact same thing, buy food from the convenient store and hung out on the basketball court. There it felt like they were in their own world, they could pretend to be somewhere else.

"Thanks for being there for me man," Seungcheol leaned his head against Jeonghan's shoulder.

"You're welcome, taking care of your dumb
ass is the least I can do in exchange for your mother feeding me," Jeonghan smiled.

"You really know how to ruin a beautiful moment," Seungcheol complained but kept his head on Jeonghan's shoulder.

"You up for a game of basketball?" Jeonghan asked.

"Asking me if I want to play ball is like asking a fish if it needs water."

"Why would you ask a fish a question?"

"Yeah okay, smartass," Seungcheol dusted himself off as he stood.

Their one on one game of basketball ended up lasting a good few hours because despite his laziness Jeonghan hated losing. Sure Jeonghan needed to take breaks in between and his arms and legs were tired but he had a good time. Seungcheol seemed to have enjoyed himself as well because the boy wore a smile on his face even when he missed -- Seungcheol never smiled when he missed the basket. When the sun began to set they decided it was time to call it quits...and also because Jeonghan's stomach was growling.

"Thanks again, I don't know what I'd do without you," Seungcheol had his free arm draped around Jeonghan's shoulders.

"Stop being so sentimental, I'm getting goosebumps," Jeonghan shivered.

"I mean it, Jeonghan," Seungcheol ruffled Jeonghan's hair and pressed their heads together.

"I know you do," Jeonghan said.

They finally reached home but unlike their usual exchange of casual handshakes or simple 'see you laters,' Seungcheol did something unexpected. He pulled Jeonghan into a hug, his arms wrapping around the blond's torso. Jeonghan stood still with eyes wide, that was new. After a few seconds Jeonghan found himself returning Seungcheol's hug, Seungcheol responded to the hug by resting his chin on Jeonghan's shoulder. They stayed in that position until Seungcheol decided to let go.

"I'll see you tomorrow for band practice," Seungcheol smiled walking towards his house.

"See you," Jeonghan waved as he went one door over.

Just as he reached the front door a streak of light caught his attention. He turned just quick enough to catch Mingyu looking at him before the boy closed the curtain of his balcony window. Jeonghan's mouth pressed into a thin line, that wasn't good. Chances were Mingyu could see him from there, the boy must've also seen the hug he shared with Seungcheol. Jeonghan entered his house and flung himself down on the sofa, why did everything involving the boys next door always have to be so complicated?

"Satan take me home," Jeonghan rubbed his tired eyes.

Jeonghan spent the evening by himself in his room, his bed feeling exceptionally empty without Mingyu taking up half of it. He sat reading a novel only to realise that he hadn't actually absorbed any of the words on the page, every time he attempted to read a paragraph his mind would wander. His mind was just filled with Mingyu, he was beginning to feel bad about breaking his promise but another part of him reminded Jeonghan that Mingyu had acted like an absolute turd towards Seungcheol. The boy had intentionally provoked his older brother and initiated the fight, Mingyu didn't deserve his sympathy right now. When Jeonghan was finally preparing for bed he heard the sound of a car pull up, blaring music resonating loud enough to be heard from inside. He opened his balcony door and saw that the car was parked in front of Seungcheol's house. Jeonghan watched Mingyu run out from the front door clad in all black.

"Mingyu! What are you doing?!" Jeonghan shouted.

"None of your business!" Mingyu shouted back.

"Mingyu! It's late, you can't just up and leave when you want to! You're a minor!"

"Watch me," Mingyu smirked before jumping in the car, the tyres screeching as the vehicle drove off.

"Bloody hell Mingyu," Jeonghan mumbled, where did the sudden rebellion come from?

Jeonghan closed the door and went back inside, he tried to ignore the fact that Mingyu had just jumped into a random car and driven off somewhere. Jeonghan told himself he wasn't responsible for what happened to the boy, he wasn't the boy's mother. However, a good ten minutes later Jeonghan shot up from the bed, he was worried. Mingyu had only been back for less than a week and the chances of him forging close relationships with new people seemed so very unlikely. In the end Jeonghan decided to play the role of an overbearing mother and grabbed his phone. He looked through his contact list and called Dokyeom remembering that he was in Mingyu's grade.

"Hey hyung!" Dokyeom answered.

"Hey Dokyeom, you know Mingyu right?" Jeonghan asked the boy.

"Yeah, Seungcheol's brother right?"

"Yeah, do you know who he's been hanging out with?" Jeonghan bit at his lower lip impatiently.

"Well he kind of just kept to himself the first couple days but I saw him hanging out with Daejong and his group of friends at school," Dokyeom answered.

"Oh fuck," Jeonghan cursed.

"Is something wrong?" Dokyeom asked.

"No, thanks for the info. Sorry for bothering you this time of night," Jeonghan said before hanging up.

Daejong was bad news, the guy had been involved in more illegal activity than Jeonghan could fathom. One of the most notable examples being his involvement in street racing as well as being a regular host of outlandish parties that acted as a cover for drug dealing. He also hated the guy because he and Seungcheol had played street ball with him and his "gang" and they'd turned to violence after refusing to pay up after losing the game and ultimately the bet made between teams -- what a little bitch. Jeonghan rubbed his face and let out a long sigh, he needed to find Mingyu and bring him home. He pulled on his sweats and a loose hoodie as well as his good sneakers, he wasn't taking any chances. Just as he'd stepped out of the door he was faced with Seungcheol who was taking out the trash, Jeonghan silently cursed.

"Where are you going?" Seungcheol furrowed his brow.

"Just out," Jeonghan pushed on trying to get past his friend.

"Hold up, hold up," Seungcheol raised his arm blocking Jeonghan.

"I need to go," Jeonghan was getting impatient.

"You're going after Mingyu aren't you?" Seungcheol accused.

"So what if I am?"

"Just leave him be, he'll come home when he wants to."

"He's with Daejong," Jeonghan said.

"Oh fuck," Seungcheol dropped the garbage bag in his hand.

"I need to go find him before he gets himself into something we can't bail him out of," Jeonghan ran a hand nervously through his hair.

"Give me two minutes, I'm going with you. He may be a little shit but he's still my brother," Seungcheol ran back into the house.

Jeonghan sat on the porch and waited, when the front door opened again he looked up to see Seungcheol holding a baseball bat in his hands. Jeonghan pursed his lips thinking about what Seungcheol intended to do with the baseball bat but decided it was better to stay ignorant. He stood up and simply nodded.

"I just checked with some of the guys we play ball with, apparently there's something happening down by the Han River," Seungcheol said looking up from his phone.

"I guess we're going to Han River," Jeonghan pulled out the keys he had in his pocket and gestured for Seungcheol to climb in his dad's car -- for once Jeonghan was actually getting an opportunity to use his license.

They drove the distance to the Han River and just as Seungcheol had said there was a small gathering of people. Jeonghan parked the car and sat scoping out the area. Jeonghan managed to recognise some of the people there, judging by the type of people that had gathered Jeonghan just knew they weren't up to any good. Jeonghan decided he needed to find out asap what it was that these people were doing here.

"Call Jihoon, I think we're going to need him." Jeonghan said to Seungcheol.

"He's already on his way," Seungcheol had called their friend before Jeonghan even needed to open his mouth.

They didn't have to wait very long, several minutes later another car rolled up right beside them with Jihoon in the driver's seat. Getting out of the car Jeonghan gave Jihoon a quick handshake. Jihoon was dressed in all black, he had a dusk mask over his face and drumsticks under his arm -- Jihoon wasn't playing around.

"Let's go," Jihoon took the lead and Jeonghan was all too eager to let him do it.

As they approached the small circle of people Jeonghan let out a gasp at the sight of Mingyu on the ground. As expected, they were greeted with Daejong's look of disdain followed by him walking up to them with his chest puffed out like the gorilla he was. Sure he was a good two heads taller than Jihoon but that didn't intimidate the petite boy for a second.

"What did you do to Mingyu?" Jeonghan shot daggers in Daejong's direction.

"Kid said he wanted to try hanging out with us, we just put him through the initiation process, that's all," Daejong gave them a sly smirk.

"We weren't planning on having a new addition to our group but once we found out he was Seungcheol's brother we decided to give him a chance," one of Daejong's friends said before moving to give Mingyu a kick in the stomach -- Jeonghan was ready to fight.

"You better get the fuck away from my brother before you lose your teeth," Seungcheol rotated his neck, bones cracking.

"You think you're so tough?" Daejong crossed his arms.

"Quit stalling and fight me bitch," Jeonghan rolled up his sleeves.

"I'm wishing you and your boys good luck, you're going to need it," Seungcheol gave his bat a practice swing.

All hell broke loose after that, Jeonghan being the person he was pushed Daejong aside right over to Jihoon to take care of. He turned his full attention to the one who kicked Mingyu and grabbed a handful of his hair. Jeonghan felt no shame in aiming for his family jewels nor did Jeonghan care about putting the guy in a choke hold. When the punk landed on the ground clutching his throat Jeonghan evened the score and kicked him in the stomach the same way he'd kicked Mingyu.

"I was supposed to be having dinner right now! Mom made me udon, I fucking love udon! Because of this bullshit my udon's going to have to be reheated, I hate reheating udon! It's going to be chewy as fuck!" Seungcheol shouted as he beat three people simultaneously with his bat, it was as if he was trying to tenderise them.

"If you get blood on my drumsticks, you're going to need more than an ambulance, you're going to need a fucking funeral," Jihoon bent over Daejong who was already on the ground with a bloody nose -- that was fast.

Jeonghan felt a blow come at his stomach and bent over in pain, he'd let Seungcheol and Jihoon distract him, that was his mistake. Jeonghan managed to recover quick enough to catch the fist that flew at his face. He threw back a punch in return hitting the pimple encrusted boy in front of him right in the nose, his nose making a crunching sound under Jeonghan's fist -- someone was going to need to head to Gangnam for a nose job.

"I swear to Satan, if any of you little fucks touch my face I will drown you in the river," Jeonghan's glare screamed murder.

Jeonghan allowed Jihoon and Seungcheol to handle the rest as he made his way over to Mingyu. He wanted to scream at the boy for being so stupid but he also wanted to hold the boy close, he was so very conflicted. He pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped away the sweat on Mingyu's brow and dabbed at the scratch on the boy's forehead. His handsome face was already slightly swollen from the fight he had with Seungcheol but now he had the addition of a bloody split lip. Jeonghan looked at the boy's hands seeing that they were bloody and scraped, definitely signs that he'd been fighting back.

"You're so stupid!" Jeonghan bit his lip feeling both annoyed and worried. "You tell me not to treat you like a child yet you go out and do something like this! Fucking hell Mingyu!"

"You didn't have to come," Mingyu's eyes opened so very slightly, he sounded like he'd been gargling rocks.

"If I didn't you'd probably end up being discovered as a floating body in the river during the morning news," Jeonghan raised Mingyu up and draped the boy's arm over his shoulder.

"I'm sorry," Mingyu repeated weakly.

Jeonghan helped the boy back to the car when he slipped Mingyu into the backseat and buckled his seat belt. Jeonghan ran back over to Seungcheol and Jihoon who were still fighting despite the fact that all the people at the gathering were down on the ground. Jeonghan being the petty person he was allowed his friends to continue with their activities until he felt it was time to stop.

"Okay, Mingyu's back in the car! We can go!" Jeonghan called over.

"See you kids at school," Jihoon said as he stepped on Daejong's back instead of walking around him, Jihoon also drummed a beat on the back of the boy's head with his drumsticks -- the boy was a savage.

"You little shits talked a pretty big game for a group whose so weak," Seungcheol poked at one of the boys on the ground with his bat.

"Thanks again for coming out, we didn't know who else to call," Jeonghan patted Jihoon's back.

"I had fun, call me any time if there's a fight," Jihoon said before climbing back in his car.

"Thanks Jihoon," Seungcheol waved.

"Practice your guitar you dumbfuck," Jihoon glared at Seungcheol before driving off.

"He's just a tiny ball of anger, ain't he?" Seungcheol mumbled.

"Hurry up and get in the car, we're taking Mingyu to the hospital," Jeonghan beeped the horn.

Their drive to the hospital was torture, he had to listen to a cocky Seungcheol recap every detail of the fight they had. Jeonghan turned on the radio to hide the sound of Seungcheol's voice but of course the loud mouth didn't feel hindered by it one bit. Reaching the hospital they both helped Mingyu into the building where he was whisked away. They sat in the waiting room taking advantage of the water cooler to hydrate. It didn't take long for the nurse to come back and notify them that Mingyu was ready for visitors.

"You go see him first, I'll go move the car so you don't get towed," Seungcheol took Jeonghan's keys.

"Thanks man," Jeonghan said.

Jeonghan walked down the hall into the room Mingyu was assigned. Walking inside he was faced with a battered up Mingyu with butterfly bandages holding the cuts and scrapes on his forehead and cheek. His knuckles were bandaged, blood slowly seeping into the white dressing and the cut on his lower lip only emphasised by his parched lips. Jeonghan frowned at the sight, never in all his years did he think Mingyu would get himself involved in such a dangerous situation. He slowly moved toward the younger boy with arms crossed, he didn't know what to say.

"Hyung, go home. It's late," Mingyu stared at the wall, refusing to look at his hyung.

"That's all you have to say?" Jeonghan's brow furrowed.

"What do you want me to say?" Mingyu's voice was monotone.

"Well, I don't know? Maybe a sorry, a thank you for finding you before you ended up dead?" Jeonghan's tone coming out sharper than he intended.

"Hyung go home," Mingyu's hand formed a fist at his side, blood drenching the bandages more than before.

"After tonight I think you and I should just put an end to this attempt at a relationship," Jeonghan found himself saying.

"What?" Mingyu's head snapped around finally meeting Jeonghan's eye.

"I don't think I can do this, every time we move one step forward we end up taking two steps back Mingyu," Jeonghan rubbed a tired hand over his face.

"But hyung-" Jeonghan put up his hand cutting the boy off.

"You put yourself in a very dangerous position tonight Mingyu, the fight from this morning was your yellow card and after this soiree with Daejong you've earned yourself the red card. I was willing to overlook the petty jealousy but this bad habit of picking fights and childish rebellion is just too much. If I'm going to be in a relationship I expect to be your boyfriend, not your babysitter."

"That's rich coming from someone who ditched me for my older brother today," Mingyu turned on his side, facing his back towards Jeonghan.

"Excuse me?" Jeonghan narrowed his eyes, did Mingyu just accuse him of cheating?

"I saw you today all close and intimate at that basketball court. Let's not forget that little moment in front of the house too," Mingyu spat.

"You spied on us?" Jeonghan clenched his teeth, anger building.

"You're not denying it," Mingyu looked over his shoulder before turning away again.

"If you're going to be like this then I'm just going to take my leave," Jeonghan turned on his heel.

"Go," was all Mingyu said in response.

"I'd say it was a shame this relationship didn't work out but we were never really together were we?" Jeonghan said over his shoulder before he walked away.

Jeonghan walked out of the hospital and into the parking lot where he crossed paths with Seungcheol who was on the phone. He got to hear the last bit of the conversation before Seungcheol hung up and from what he heard Seungcheol was informing his mother of Mingyu's whereabouts. From the way Seungcheol flinched he guessed Mrs. Choi was not happy. He took his keys back from Seungcheol and climbed in the driver's seat.

"You coming?" Jeonghan asked his friend.

"No, mom's driving here so I guess I'll just hang around until she arrives," Seungcheol shrugged with his hands in his pockets.

"I guess I'll see you around then, I need to get home," Jeonghan shook Seungcheol's hand through the open car window.

"Thanks again man, I might've woken up tomorrow without a younger brother," Seungcheol held Jeonghan's hand for just a tad longer than usual.

"No worries," Jeonghan gave his friend a weak smile.

"This little incident might just bring you and Mingyu a little closer."

"You think?" Jeonghan knew that to be anything but true but he couldn't tell Seungcheol that, it would have opened a whole other can of worms.

Jeonghan drove a good five minutes on the empty roads taking long deep breaths, he thought he as doing rather well until he reached a stop light. Slowly his vision starting to blur until he felt the wetness of tears falling on the steering wheel and on the back of his hand. He began driving again when the light turned green, wiping at his eyes with the sleeve of his hoodie. He felt so stupid, why was he crying? Him and Mingyu were never even together. He didn't know whether he was crying over losing Mingyu or if he was happy that the boy was safe; he was a mess of emotions. Once he reached his driveway Jeonghan cut the ignition and just sat behind the wheel biting onto his lower lip, maybe he had been over dramatic, maybe he had overreacted.

"I can't take it back now," Jeonghan mumbled to himself.

He got out, went inside the house and straight into bed, he didn't bother changing or do anything else for that matter. He was tired, he had a headache and he was hurting. Closing his eyes he prayed that his dreams were free of Mingyu, ironically the coldness of his bed without the younger boy made him miss Mingyu even more -- what a cruel twist that was.

Chapter Text

Jeonghan walked down the hall with Jihoon as they made their way to the last period of the day. It had been three days since their little scuffle and Jeonghan had very much pushed the memory to the back of his mind. He didn't want to relive a single moment of it. Seungcheol had been very vocal about his disdain for being yelled at by his mother despite not being the one who messed up. He also made sure to let Jeonghan know about how much pain he was in whenever he did something -- boy did Seungcheol love to complain.

"Look, it's turning purple!" Seungcheol hollered as he stuck his cheek in Jeonghan's face.

"It's the same colour it was yesterday," Jeonghan rolled his eyes.

"Mingyu, that little shit," Seungcheol grumbled as he put his ice pack back on his face.

"It's not his fault you bruise like a peach," Jihoon said looking back from the seat.

"I saved his ass and the kid still had the nerve to slam his door in my face when I offered him an ice pack," Seungcheol shook his head.

"You threw the ice pack at him, you didn't offer it," Jeonghan gave Seungcheol an unamused look.

"You and your brother are both so fucking juvenile," Jihoon turned back around in his seat.

"I second that," Jeonghan agreed.

"The fucker gets to miss school as well, how is that fair?" Seungcheol rested his head against the table.

"He hasn't been attending school?" Jeonghan asked, no wonder he hadn't seen the boy around.

"Nope, he's been running a fever and mom's been trying to get him to take his medication but the kid has been difficult," Seungcheol said.

"He's never liked taking medicine," Jeonghan smiled sadly, some things just never changed.
"You coming to the basketball game after school?" Seungcheol leaned over Jeonghan's desk.

"Not today," Jeonghan shook his head, he wasn't in the mood for anything lately.

"What happened? You've been missing in action lately," Seungcheol gave his friend a curious look.

"Nothing really, I'm just tired," Jeonghan said with a shrug.

"Get better soon because we need your ass to show up for band practice tomorrow," Seungcheol said before pulling out his notebook.

"Worry more about yourself, Choi Seungcheol," Jeonghan shot back just as class started.

After the final bell rang Jeonghan walked home by himself. Without the added weight of his bass on his back the journey home was actually bearable. Just as he was about to set foot into his front yard Mrs. Choi pulled into the driveway rolling down her car window. Jeonghan gave the woman a greeting.

"Jeonghan, you coming over for dinner?" Mrs. Choi asked as she climbed out of her car

"Sure, I'll put away my backpack and I'll come over to help," Jeonghan said, quickly he ran inside.

He went over to the house next door and headed straight for the kitchen where Mrs. Choi was unpacking the groceries. He busied himself with helping her prep for dinner and did as he was told. He was in the middle of chopping up some spring onions when Mrs. Choi gasped and ran out if the kitchen. She returned a few moments later grabbing her handbag and her car keys.

"I forgot to buy the meat, I'll be back Jeonghan! Just get the vegetables ready and put a pot of water on the stove!" Mrs. Choi shouted before she ran out the door leaving Jeonghan alone in the kitchen.

Jeonghan didn't feel all too bothered by Mrs. Choi's sudden dissappearance. He was more than capable of cooking until the older woman came back. He put a pot of water on the stove like Mrs. Choi told him to and continued cutting up vegetables. When he turned to grab a carrot from the fridge he noticed a small block of chocolate sitting on the top with a small piece of paper taped to it. The piece of paper read 'I'm really sorry' as well as a sad face drawn in blue ink. Jeonghan shook his head and pretended he didn't see it. He continued on with prepping ingredients, completely ignoring the small peace offering.When he turned toward the kitchen counter Jeonghan found a cupcake covered in blue icing as well as another note saying 'I'm really, really sorry' on it. Ignoring the cupcake Jeonghan reached over it to grab the cutting board and washed it in the sink. From the corner of his eye he could see someone peeking out from the corner, by the height Jeonghan easily identified it as Mingyu.

"If you're going to loiter around you might as well come out and help me," Jeonghan said in a casual tone.

While Jeonghan was cutting up the kimchi he heard slow footsteps approach the kitchen. Suddenly he felt a pair of arms circle around his waist and a chin rest on his right shoulder. Jeonghan looked down at his feet to see a pair of yellow slippers, Mingyu's yellow slippers. He proceeded with the task at hand completely ignoring the younger boy.

"I'm really, really, really sorry," Mingyu whispered tightening his grip on his hyung's waist.

"Let go," Jeonghan said coldly.

"Hyung," Mingyu whimpered.

"Go over there and peel the potatoes," Jeonghan gestured over toward the counter with the knife in his hand, Mingyu let go right away.

Jeonghan transferred the chopped kimchi into to bowl and placed it next to the other ingredients. As he worked he couldn't help but notice the sound of sniffling coming from Mingyu. The boy stood peeling potatoes as Jeonghan had asked of him but his back was hunched over and he sounded out of breath. Unable to hide his concern Jeonghan walked over to the younger boy and placed a palm on his forehead -- the boy was indeed running a fever like Seungcheol had said.

"Go to bed, you're sick," Jeonghan took the potato peeler out of Mingyu's hand.

"I don't want to," Mingyu whispered looking down at his feet.

"Disobeying really is your new hobby," Jeonghan turned away.

"Please don't say that," Mingyu grabbed his hand.

"Then go back to your room," Jeonghan recoiled from the touch.

"I'm sorry hyung," Mingyu said more time before he dragged his feet out of the room.

Jeonghan bit his lip trying very hard to remember why he was angry with the boy. He had to repeatedly tell himself that Mingyu couldn't just throw out a simple 'I'm sorry' whenever he did something wrong and expect that to be enough. Mrs. Choi arrived at that time allowing Jeonghan to keep his mind occupied instead of thinking about Mingyu, he very much thankful for the distraction. Allowing the older woman to take over the role of cooking Jeonghan set the table and chatted with the woman while she stirred the pot on the stove.

"Can you bring that small sachet up to Mingyu's room? He finally decided to take his medication yesterday so he might take it again today. That boy hates the bitter taste so much he'd rather stay sick," Mrs. Choi pointed toward a small packet filled with white and blue pills on the counter.

"Sure," Jeonghan felt his lips pull into a frown but did as the older woman asked.

Jeonghan filled a glass with water and palmed the sachet on the kitchen counter. He gave himself an inner pep talk as he went up the stairs and down the hall until he reached the last door. He gave the door three knocks before opening it. Stepping foot inside he saw Mingyu curled up in a ball under the covers, sniffling audible despite having his head covered.

"Mingyu, take your medicine," Jeonghan said as he approached the bed.

Instead of a response Mingyu curled himself in tighter. Jeonghan let out a sigh placing the glass of water in his hand on Mingyu's nightstand as well as his medication. Jeonghan tried pulling the covers back but was met with resistance, the younger boy wasn't going to make things any easier for him. In the end Jeonghan let out a frustrated sigh and turned away, if Mingyu was going to continue his childish tirade then he was just going to leave. He took one step before noticing a small tug on the bottom of his shirt. Jeonghan turned his head to see Mingyu's arm stick out from under the comforter, he was pinching onto the hem.

"I'll take my medicine," Mingyu said, voice muffled from under the covers.

"Good," Jeonghan nodded once.

Mingyu slowly unraveled himself from the comforter and for the first time Jeonghan got to have a good look at the younger boy. He'd avoided looking at Mingyu's face earlier in the kitchen and now being faced with the full reality of his condition Jeonghan felt his heart ache. The boy was a mess. Mingyu's lips were parched with the cut on his bottom lip now scabbed over. There was bruising on his left cheek as well as the butterfly bandages holding his cuts closed. Jeonghan didn't even want to think about the bruises the boy was hiding under his shirt. Unable to keep his cold exterior Jeonghan touched Mingyu's face shaking his head at the younger boy.

"You're so stupid," Jeonghan said as he inspected the boy's face.

"I know," Mingyu said, his hand covering Jeonghan's.

"Don't you dare do something like this ever again," Jeonghan looked Mingyu dead in the eye.

"Never again," Mingyu whispered.

"Do you have any idea how worried I was? You can't just leave without telling anyone about your whereabouts because of shit like this! If me and your brother didn't manage to find you, who knows what would've happened that night!" Jeonghan felt tears prickling his eyes, all of the emotions he'd been supressing suddenly finding their way to the surface.

"I won't do it again, hyung," Mingyu buried his head into Jeonghan's torso, his arms wrapping around Jeonghan's waist.

"You better bet your ass this won't happen again," Jeonghan said with absolute authority in his voice.

"I'm really sorry. I was being childish, I picked a fight with Seungcheol because I was jealous of the amount of time he got to spend with you. He got to be with you at school, at band practice and even on our days off. I let that jealousy get the better of me. I'm also sorry for running off on my own without telling anyone. After I saw you and Seungcheol at the basketball court and then hugging in front of the house I came to my own conclusions and got angry. I shouldn't have just assumed anything, I should've asked you instead."

"You've been doing some self-reflecting," Jeonghan rubbed the back of Mingyu's head.

"I had a lot of time to do it while I was sick," Mingyu nodded.

"You're finally growing up, the Mingyu from four years ago would never admit he was wrong," Jeonghan let out a small chuckle.

"Hyung, give me one more chance. I promise I'll make it right this time, if I use up this chance then you don't have to talk to me ever again."

"You don't have to go that far. To be perfectly honest I think I overreacted on my part as well. You weren't the only one who let your emotions get the better of you. We're both at fault, so let's put this incident aside and start fresh, shall we?"

"Yes, please," Mingyu let out a small sniffle.

"Come here," Jeonghan pulled the boy close giving his forehead a peck, he was careful to avoid Mingyu's injuries.

"Can I come over tonight?" Mingyu asked looking up hopefully at his hyung.

"Only if you take your medication," Jeonghan said.

Without an ounce of hesitation Mingyu opened the sachet and poured it onto his mouth, he chased it down with the glass of water looking over at Jeonghan like a puppy who was waiting for it's owner's approval. Jeonghan couldn't hide the smile on his face, Mingyu really was just precious. It just reminded him how much he missed having the boy in his everyday life. Without Mingyu everything just wasn't the same.

"Come on, your mom's probably done making dinner now," Jeonghan nodded toward the door.

"Does this mean I can come over?" Mingyu hurriedly followed Jeonghan out of the room.

"Let's see if your mom will even let you out of the house after that stunt you pulled," Jeonghan teased as they went downstairs, he heard Mingyu let out a sulky huff -- he didn't seem all too enthused about asking permission from his mother.

Jeonghan ate dinner together with Mingyu stuck at his side. The cut on Mingyu's lower lip made him sensitive to the heat that radiated from the food resulting in the younger boy having to blow on it to cool it down. Jeonghan found it rather entertaining looking at his tall and broad shouldered dongsaeng delicately sipping his soup and opening his mouth carefully to avoid reopening the cut on his lip. Mingyu struggled but he got there in the end, he was determined and that alone was praiseworthy.

"Mrs. Choi, is it okay if Mingyu sleeps over tonight?" Jeonghan asked the woman as he helped her do the dishes.

"Did he take his medication?" The older woman asked shooting her youngest son a look, Mingyu flinched.

"He did," Jeonghan confirmed.

"I'll allow it," Mrs. Choi said before turning back to the sink.

The sound of Mingyu's shuffling slippers was heard before the boy disappeared up the stairs. Jeonghan smiled looking down at his feet, he really, really missed Mingyu. He finished up with drying the dishes and waited by the door. Mingyu came down a few minutes later with his toothbrush and pillow as well as a change of underwear -- he knew the drill.

"Let's go before mom changes her mind," Mingyu ushered his hyung out the door.

"Let's get you warmed up, you're never going to recover if you keep moving around," Jeonghan held onto Mingyu's waist as they walked back to his house.

"I'm going to need constant attention," Mingyu said with a shit eating grin on his face.

"If you're expecting me to wait on you hand and foot you might as well sign a death certificate, Mingyu," Jeonghan gently nudged the boy with his shoulder.

"Ow," Mingyu coughed.

"Get inside before I send you back home," Jeonghan held the door open.

Mingyu immediately broke into a run to get inside the house and as Jeonghan predicted there was a loud 'oh fuck' that came out of Mingyu's mouth before a loud thud. Jeonghan looked into the doorway to see that Mingyu had skidded in his yellow slippers and landed flat on the hardwood floors. Jeonghan rubbed a hand down his face and let out a sigh. He had questioned why Wonwoo had fallen for someone as dumb as Soonyoung but now looking at Mingyu he completely understood why. Mingyu was so dumb, Jeonghan loved him.

"I'm okay...nope, I lied. I need help hyung," Mingyu said in a pained voice.

"I swear to god, Mingyu," Jeonghan ran a hand through his hair as he went to help his clumsy dongsaeng.

"The floors are slippery," Mingyu defended.

"Your fault for wearing 'slippers' on a slippery surface," Jeonghan said as he helped Mingyu up, only seconds after Mingyu was upright he fell back down a second time.

"Ow," was all Mingyu could utter.

"I'll wait for you upstairs, I'm not helping your fat ass up a second time," Jeonghan went up the stairs waving a hand over his shoulder.
____________________________________________

"Match point, we have five seconds!" Seungcheol shouted as his team scrambled to get the last point.

"Wonwoo! Go!" Soonyoung shouted as he passed to Wonwoo.

"Bitch move!" Wonwoo sidestepped a member of the opposing team slamming the ball into the basket just as the timer ran out.

"Game over!" One of the people gathered at the court announced.

"Fuck yeah!" Seungcheol shouted but immediately grimaced clutching his face, his jaw still hurt from being hit by Mingyu.

"Good game guys, except you Junhui," Minghao gave everyone a pat on the back and finally smacked Junhui upside the head.

"Hey man, what the fuck?" Junhui gave his friend a look.

"You didn't do shit for the team, you useless piece of decoration," Minghao said before walking off to grab his water bottle.

"Want to head out for some food?" Soonyoung looked over at Wonwoo who poured the remaining amount of water in his bottle on his head -- Soonyoung swallowed.

The shorter boy watched the water drip through Wonwoo's short brown locks onto his neck. His eyes followed the water droplets as they trailed down onto Wonwoo's collarbone and into the fabric of his shirt, the water made the fabric cling onto the taller boy's body -- Soonyoung looked away, a slight blush forming on his round cheeks. Soonyoung quickly gave his face a quick slap to calm himself.

"Sure," Wonwoo slung his backpack over his shoulder as they walked away from the basketball court.

Wonwoo was painfully aware that they had been awkward ever since the kiss in front of the bar. Sure they still went to classes and ate lunch together in the cafeteria but their usual banter just wasn't there. Instead they sat in silence or exchanged one word answers to each other's questions. Wonwoo didn't know what to do, he didn't know where they were in the relationship or if there was a relationship at all. All they did was kiss, nothing more than that. As they walked through the streets Wonwoo made quick glances over at Soonyoung who was gripping the strap of his messenger bag, the boy was holding so tight his knuckles were turning white. Wonwoo reached out to unravel the petite digits and held the boy's hand in his larger one.

"You okay?" Wonwoo asked as they walked hand in hand.

"I'm okay," Soonyoung whispered looking down at his feet, his fingers tightening their grip on Wonwoo's.

"Look, if you feel uncomfortable just tell me. I don't expect you to play along just so you don't hurt my feelings," Wonwoo stopped mid stride to look at Soonyoung.

"I'm not playing along," Soonyoung was still looking at his feet.

"Then why won't you look me in the eye, Kwon Soonyoung?" Wonwoo cupped the shorter boy's face with both hands forcing him to look up.

"You're really handsome," Soonyoung suddenly said, cheek burning red.

"What?" Wonwoo asked genuinely baffled.

"I think you look really handsome and I don't know how I feel about it. Ever since that kiss you went from 'my friend Wonwoo' to 'handsome guy Wonwoo' and my brain doesn't have the capacity to process any of this," Soonyoung looked like smoke was going to come out of his ears, the boy looked so confused.

"I look different to you now?" Wonwoo asked with a humorous look in his eyes.

"I don't know how to describe it, it's like everyone else is in the background but you're the highlight," Soonyoung tilted his head thoughtfully.

"I'm the highlight?" Wonwoo smiled down at Soonyoung.

"Yup," Soonyoung smiled back at the taller boy, eyes turning into small crescents.

"Well now you know how I've been seeing you these past several years," Wonwoo draped an arm around Soonyoung's shoulders as they continued walking.

"That long? You've been pining for years?" Soonyoung looked over at his friend incredulously.

"Do you remember the end of year academic assembly we had in fourth grade?" Wonwoo asked the younger boy.

"Care to jog my memory?" Soonyoung ask as they turned a corner.

"My parents were both too busy to attend and see me receive my award, it was the third time they'd missed it. You listened to me and told me you had a plan. I didn't know what you meant but I stupidly believed you genuinely had a plan to get my parents to attend. When the principal called out my name at the assembly I looked over at the seats reserved for parents and saw you sitting where my dad was supposed to be."

"Oh no," Soonyoung cringed, he suddenly remembered what happened.

"You were sitting there wearing a necktie with a fake moustache drawn on in black marker. Your dumbass decided to be my dad since my real one couldn't make it," Wonwoo bursted out laughing at the memory.

"I was seven," Soonyoung pouted.

"That memory might not be important to you but for me that was when I realized I wanted to keep you in my life. That was just one of the reasons that made me fall for you," Wonwoo pressed their heads together as they walked.

"I'm not used to this Wonwoo," Soonyoung twiddled with his thumbs.

"How am I different?" Wonwoo asked in curiosity.

"Maybe you haven't changed, maybe it's just my feelings towards you have changed and it's causing me to see things I didn't notice before. What if both of us have changed? Or what if-" Soonyoung was cut off by Wonwoo's finger on his lips.

"Deep breaths, Soonyoung, deep breaths," Wonwoo calmed the boy.

Before Soonyoung could say anything else he was once again silenced only this time it was by Wonwoo's lips. Soonyoung let out a surprised gasp but quickly gave into the kiss, Wonwoo knew what he was doing. He felt the taller boy's arms wrap around his waist pulling him in until they were chest to chest. They were both still soaked in sweat and Wonwoo's torso was still damp from the water he poured on himself earlier. Soonyoung swallowed, he was definitely being held by a man from the bulge that touching his thigh but he was not disgusted, not in the slightest.

"I really love those lips," Wonwoo said looking at Soonyoung's mouth which had formed an 'o' of surprise.

"We should start walking again or we'll never make it to the restaurant," Soonyoung turned away looking in every direction but at Wonwoo.

"Let's go," Wonwoo nodded but kept a firm grip on Soonyoung's waist as they walked.

"I like your lips too," Soonyoung said before breaking into a jog.

"Aye, come back!" Wonwoo chased after the shorter boy, from where he was Wonwoo could see Soonyoung's ears burning red.

"No!" Soonyoung shouted back at Wonwoo.

"If I catch you I get another kiss!" Wonwoo quickened his pace.

"No!" Soonyoung shouted again.

"Then run faster Kwon Soonyoung!" Wonwoo laughed as he did his best to catch up with the boy, he couldn't describe how happy he was in that moment even if he tried.

Chapter Text

Jeonghan sat in the library with a piece of paper in his hands, graduation was coming up in two weeks and he had yet to hand in the paper outlining what he wanted to do after school ended. Sure it wasn't a requirement but after seeing his fellow classmates handing in the papers he felt the pressure to do so as well. The principal had announced that what they wrote on the paper was going to be read out along with the reception of their diploma. Majority of his classmates had said they were going to university which was what he'd wanted as well but the more he played with the band the more he was straying away from his original plan. He leaned back in his chair only to be met with something solid on the back of his head. Opening his eyes he saw Mingyu standing behind him with a carton of strawberry milk in his hand.

"Hey," the boy said and placed the strawberry milk in front of his hyung.

"What are you doing?" Mingyu asked as he took a seat next to his hyung.

Instead of answering he pushed the piece of paper over to his dongsaeng and allowed him to read the paper. Mingyu's eyes scanned the paper before looking up at his hyung, he didn't look at all bothered by what that meant. Jeonghan kept his eyes downcast as he thought about him and Mingyu, once he graduated there was a slim chance that they were going to see each other especially if he decided university life wasn't the path he was going to take.

"You'll be going to university right? We won't see each other at school anymore but I'll still get to see you everyday after school and on weekends," Mingyu's smile only made Jeonghan feel more guilty.

The poor kid probably thought they were going to be teenage sweethearts and end up having a house with a white picket fence. Jeonghan knew that relationships between two people in different grades rarely ever worked out once one of them graduated. He had to remind himself that his dongsaeng was still going through puberty, his hormones were raging and the boy was going to be surrounded by people who would be more than interested in him, Mingyu was handsome it was bound to happen. Jeonghan's mind began spiralling down to darker thoughts as time passed, he had to shake himself out of it.

"You think I'm going to university?" Jeonghan raised a brow.

"Well, you definitely have the smarts for it, not going would be a waste," Mingyu said as he draped an arm around the back of Jeonghan's chair.

"Hm," Jeonghan looked absently at the carton of strawberry milk.

"And then after I graduate we can finally be a real couple, no more snooping around and no more keeping secrets," Mingyu looked around the library making sure they were alone before giving Jeonghan's temple a kiss.

"That's a whole lot of waiting," two years of waiting to be exact, Jeonghan didn't know if he was able to wait that long.

"I promise I'll make it worth it hyung," Mingyu rested his head on Jeonghan's shoulder.

"That's a big promise," Jeonghan said, his voice barely audible.

"Did you say something hyung?" Mingyu sat up.

"No, just talking to myself," Jeonghan lied.

The bell rang signalling the end of lunch, Mingyu gave him a quick peck on the forehead and ran out of the library. Jeonghan took a more leisurely pace and put the piece of paper in between the pages of his textbook. The more he thought about it, the less he wanted to entertain the idea of playing the waiting game until it was Mingyu's turn to graduate. He knew the younger boy had no intention of telling anyone his orientation or even if the boy knew what he identified as. He knew it was selfish to ask the boy to go public about their relationship when he wasn't ready but at the same time he didn't want to go on hiding things from everyone. Also, being a university student just didn't seem to appeal to him the same way it once did, he hated school so why condemn him to even more years of it once he had his high school diploma?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Seungkwan, a little higher on the last note. You're sounding flat," Jihoon pointed a drumstick at the Jeju native who looked rather offended.

"Flat? That was as sharp as sharp can get," Seungkwan countered.

"From the top!" Jihoon tapped his drumsticks completely ignoring Seungkwan's words altogether.

Jeonghan shook his head as he began strumming his bass. Band practice had increased in duration ever since Jihoon talked to the talent scout. He'd informed the band that if they did well in their performance tonight there was a chance they could actually be picked up by a label. Jihoon took the initiative and moved their band practice to his garage where they played until the petite boy was satisfied -- that meant hours on end even on their non-practice days. He'd kept interactions with Mingyu to a minimum not because he wanted to but mainly because he was too tired after practice and ended up passing out the minute he reached home. The more they prepared for the show the more Jeonghan was convinced that he wanted to do it for the rest of his life. Being surrounded by friends and music alone was a good enough reason. Jeonghan's head shot up when he heard the garage door open, he smiled seeing Wonwoo walk in with his backpack on his shoulder and a laptop under his arm.

"You finished?" Wonwoo asked.

"Yeah, give me a sec," Jeonghan said as he slipped his bass back into its case.

"See you at soundcheck!" Jihoon waved an arm over his head as Jeonghan exited the garage.

"See you!" Jeonghan shouted back.

"You want to grab something to drink? I heard Joshua's parents opened up an American style cafe down the road," Wonwoo nodded in the direction they were walking.

"Johua Hong? The one who has a bible on him at all times?" Jeonghan asked.

"Yeah, that Joshua," Wonwoo nodded.

"I hope they sell holy water, I feel like I need it," Jeonghan quipped making Wonwoo chuckle.

"They might, you never know," Wonwoo was way too smiley.

"Something good happen with Soonyoung? You've had that stupid grin on your face since this morning," Jeonghan asked his friend with a curious look.

"We went out for dinner after the basketball game last week, he called me handsome," Wonwoo looked down his feet with the smile still gracing his face.

"And here I thought you and Soonyoung would forever be walking parallel lines, destined to never meet in the middle," Jeonghan gave Wonwoo a congratulatory pat on the back.

"Thanks for the optimism, really appreciate it," Wonwoo scoffed but no resentment was present in his voice.

"How about your little situation with Mingyu? You guys doing okay?"

"We reconciled," Jeonghan informed.

"So you two back to being a couple?" Wonwoo raised a brow.

"We're more like friends with benefits at the moment, our relationship reached a standstill a while ago," Jeonghan answered.

"Are you going to tell him you're planning on pursuing music with the band?" Wonwoo asked as he looked at the cafe's menu.

"Not yet," Jeonghan sighed.

"Afraid he'll think you're abandoning him?"

"Yeah," Jeonghan gave a simple nod.

"Tell me everything, you've listened to all my problems so its only fair that I do the same for you," Wonwoo put down the menu.

"I don't know if a long distance relationship is going to work. He's sixteen, he has two years left to just be a kid and enjoy himself you know? Don't you think its a waste of your youth to be constantly abstaining from things because you have to stay loyal to someone who isn't there half the time? What if he comes to realise that he wants to experiment? What if my feelings change once that distance sets in? What if I find someone else?"

"That's quite the dilemma, Yoon Jeonghan. Remember when I was the one with the problems? Oh how the tables have turned," Wonwoo gave Jeonghan a sympathetic look.

"Love sucks, life sucks, I suck," Jeonghan rested his forehead on the table.

"You've always been quite the poet Yoon Jeonghan," Wonwoo said as he continued looking through the menu.

"Hey guys, what can I get you?" Joshua, their classmate, came over wearing a blue apron over his school uniform.

"I'll grab a long black and an iced Americano for Jeonghan over here," Wonwoo gave Jeonghan's head a ruffle.

"Sure, anything else?" Joshua jotted down their order.

"Some holy water and for the lord to answer my prayers," Jeonghan said with his head still on the table.

"He has issues," Wonwoo informed Joshua who politely nodded before walking off.

"I only have one issue and his name is Mingyu," Jeonghan mumbled.

"You can't put your dreams on hold Jeonghan, you've worked way too hard to let this opportunity slip away. Is Mingyu worth it? He's a good kid but again you can't choose him over your future."

"I have to choose one or the other but I lose no matter what I pick," Jeonghan held his face in his hands.

"Long black and iced Americano?" Joshua came back holding two takeout cups.

"Thanks man, god bless," Jeonghan said to the boy before getting up from his seat.

"I guess I'll catch you at school?" Wonwoo said as he sipped his coffee.

"Yeah, see you at school," Jeonghan said as he began heading in the opposite direction.

Jeonghan chewed on his straw as he walked, Wonwoo's words repeating over and over in his head. By the time he reached his house the straw was no longer in any condition to actually be used for its intended purpose. He went inside and sat down at the dining table, the table itself looked like something you would find in a show house considering no one ever used it. He rested his head on the cool surface of the table with his eyes closed, he wished he didn't have to think about the future but he was graduating and that meant the chapter of his life as a teenager was coming to a close. As much as he wanted to ignore reality he couldn't avoid it. Jeonghan let out a frustrated sigh trying to imagine how Mingyu would fit in the picture once Jeonghan transitioned out of high school but he just couldn't.

"Hyung, you home?" Mingyu's voice came from the front door.

"Come in, it's open!" Jeonghan called.

"Okay!"

Mingyu came walking in clad in sweats and the boy's face looked optimistic despite his injuries. He came to sit opposite Jeonghan at the dinner table. The younger boy looked curious as to why Jeonghan was sitting alone but he didn't pry. He simply sat and waited.

"Mingyu, have you thought about what will happen after I graduate?" Jeonghan asked not looking up.

"After you graduate? We talked about it last time in the library right? Weren't you just going to attend university like everyone else?" Mingyu tilted his head.

"What if I moved away? What if I chose to pursue something far away from here?" Jeonghan finally looked up.

"You're moving away?" Mingyu's brow furrowed.

"It's a possibility, I can't stay here forever if I'm given the opportunity to do something with my life," Jeonghan sat up in his chair.

"What kind of opportunities?"

"I want to continue playing with the band, we have a chance of actually getting scouted. If that happens I don't want it to slip away. I can further my education whenever I want, pursuing music is a whole other playing field," Jeonghan scanned Mingyu's face paying close attention to the boy's expressions.

"What are you trying to say?" Mingyu's expression darkened.

"I know you had the idea that we'll continue on with this secret of ours but I don't know if that'll work for me. I don't think it's fair," Jeonghan shook his head trying hard not to raise his voice.

"Fair to you or me?" Mingyu crossed his arms defensively over his chest.

"Both of us, Mingyu. I just have doubts, I mean, I'll be out of school pursuing something I want to do but you'll still be a student. You have so much time to just be a kid and enjoy yourself, don't you think it'd be a shame if you waste it being in a relationship with someone who isn't there? I'm the only person you've been with Mingyu, I don't want you missing out on all the things I did because you feel obligated to stay loyal while I'm gone. What if we both find someone else we want to be with? What if the waiting strains our relationship? The distance is only going to make it worse. We would have both wasted two years of our lives waiting."

"Where did this suddenly come from?" Mingyu asked his hyung.

"It's been on my mind for a while now, Mingyu," Jeonghan admitted.

"I think I'll head home," Mingyu suddenly stood, the chair legs scraped loudly on the floor as he did.

"Mingyu," Jeonghan tried to stop the boy.

"I'll see you around," Mingyu disappeared out the door without turning back.

"Damn," Jeonghan banged his head on the table, he'd fucked up just when they had found some common ground.

"Oi! Jeonghan! You home?" Seungcheol's head popped out from the corner.

"Hey," Jeonghan greeted Seungcheol, it sounded lacklustre even to his own ears.

"Something happen?" Seungcheol gave Jeonghan's shoulder a squeeze.

"Do you know what you're doing after graduation?" Jeonghan looked up at Seungcheol.

"If we get picked up by a label that would be fucking awesome, I know it sounds stupid but I think we could make it in the music industry. I'm willing to chase after it."

"Music," Jeonghan chewed on his lower lip deep in thought.

"You don't want to?" Seungcheol took a seat at the table.

"I love being onstage as much as you do, I'm just a little hesitant," Jeonghan put it as vaguely as possible.

"Understandable," Seungcheol nodded in understanding.

"You ready for the show tonight?" Jeonghan changed the subject.

"As ready as I'll ever be," Seungcheol shrugged.

"Tonight determines whether or not we stay together as a band, that's scary," Jeonghan stood from his seat.

"I have faith in us," Seungcheol smiled lazily with arms folded behind his head.

Jeonghan changed out of his uniform and opted for a pair of dark jeans and a simple white t-shirt under a leather jacket. He returned back to the living room to look for his bass but was surprised to see Seungcheol had already grabbed it. His friend had his own guitar slung on one shoulder while Jeonghan's bass occupied the other. Jeonghan gave Seungcheol a bewildered look but didn't question his actions.

"Think of this as repayment for putting up with me," Seungcheol said as they left the house.

"You're going to have to do a lot more than that before your debts are paid," Jeonghan said as they headed for the Thirteen Diamonds Bar.

Their leisurely walk to the bar did Jeonghan some good and helped in calming him. The weight of having his future ride on this performance was absolutely nerve-wracking. They met up with Seungkwan and Jihoon inside the bar, the two were bickering like they usually did. Jeonghan went straight to the stage to set up his bass, nervous fingers making the process take a lot longer than it usually did. He cursed himself as he tuned his instrument, he felt like an amateur who'd never touched a bass guitar before.

"Fuck the keyboardist, we don't need him. We're playing the sets without keyboard," Jihoon said throwing away the sheet music in his hand.

"You're still salty about it? He was sick," Seungkwan rolled his eyes as he sipped from his water bottle.

"Unless he lost his hands I expected him to be able to play," Jihoon narrowed his eyes at Seungkwan.

"And you wonder why people have a hard time talking to you," Seungkwan cocked a brow at the petite drummer.

Jeonghan felt a little better hearing the exchange of banter between his band mates, it felt normal. Jeonghan pretended like it was one if their other performances and blocked out the negative thoughts that threatened to sabotage him. This was about him, this was his chance and he needed to remember that he had to put himself first. If he wanted to continue on the path of music it meant he had to make some sacrifices. Thoughts of Mingyu did manage to find their way into his mind as he went through rehearsals but he was quickly able to distract himself thanks to the chaotic atmosphere that backstage offered. Jihoon was tapping on the walls with his drumsticks all the way leading up to the stage, Seungcheol's usual loud hollers were nowhere to be found and Seungkwan had drunken his own weight in water; they were all so very nervous.

"Let's make this one count, we can't fuck up tonight," Jihoon looked over his shoulder.

"We won't fuck up," Jeonghan said with a determined look in his eyes.

"Let's go!" Seungcheol shouted as they heard their name being announced.

"Let's cut to the chase, we'll start off tonight with a song called Still Lonely!" Seungkwan addressed the audience like he did every other show.

Jeonghan poured his heart and soul into their performances, he made sure he didn't miss a single chord. His fingers strummed the bass over and over until he felt like he was no longer the one playing the instrument. He only vaguely registered Seungkwan's voice announcing the different song titles as his mind itself was on autopilot. Jeonghan didn't even realise when their last song of the night had ended, he'd blacked out completely and only returned to Earth when he heard the roaring crowd cheering. He looked up to see that everyone else in the band was just as shell shocked as he was, they'd never had a response that loud before. Jeonghan turned around to look at Jihoon and found that the boy had tears streaking down his cheeks, Jeonghan smiled seeing the boy's usual tough demeanor take a backseat. They left the stage and entered back into the dressing room where Jeonghan collapsed onto the beaten down leather couch. He didn't realise how tired he was until he was sitting down. Jeonghan's heartbeat was loud in his ear and his hands were shaking, he was both happy about their performance as well as worried whether or not it was good enough.

"Hello, you kids back here?" A man's voice echoed through the hallway before arriving at the dressing room.

"Yes, sir! We're here!" Jihoon abandoned the bottle of water in his hands and went to greet the man.

Jeonghan stood up from his seat straightening his back. He bowed to the older man who was dressed in a well fitted suit holding a clipboard under his arm. He gave the band a once over before jotting something down on his clipboard. Jeonghan swallowed as the man pulled out a phone from his jacket pocket and took quick pictures of their faces before fiddling with the device for several more seconds. The man finally looked up at them with a smile on his face.

"Pledis Entertainment would love to have you boys under our care," he said as he handed each of them a stack of papers.

"What's this?" Seungkwan asked as he flicked through the pages.

"This is your contract, read through it and you boys can decide whether or not you want to move forward with us as your label. You just have to sign the dotted line," the man said.

"Thank you, we'll get back to you," Jihoon bowed as the man left the room.

"Sign the dotted line," Jeonghan mumbled as he and the band stood together in the room.

"I...I didn't think this was actually going to happen," Jihoon looked at the contract in his hands, he was trembling.

"Back to my house! We're celebrating tonight!" Seungcheol hollered as he called his mother.

Jeonghan watched as his friend informed his mother regarding them receiving the contract from Pledis as well as telling the woman to prepare a celebratory dinner. As much as he wanted to celebrate with his band he just couldn't bring himself to be happy. The contract was his golden ticket but...where did that leave Mingyu. He felt like crying but he swallowed the salty taste at the back of his throat and gulped down a mouthful of water instead. Jeonghan took deep breaths closing his eyes, it was only when he felt a hand on his shoulder that he opened them. Seungcheol's face greeted him, he looked like he'd won the lottery.

"We fucking did it man, we fucking did it!" Seungcheol yelled shaking Jeonghan's shoulders.

"We did it," Jeonghan returned weakly.

"Let's go bitches! Back to my place before the food gets cold!" Seungcheol ushered the band out of the room.

They returned back to Seungcheol's and as promised there was food laid out on the table. Mrs. Choi greeted them all individually and went to give Seungcheol her undivided attention, her eldest son was completely content with the amount of affection he received from his mother -- chances were that it was the first time in a while that he'd done something worthy of her praise. Jeonghan sat at the dining table watching his band mates celebrate, he just couldn't gather up the same amount of excitement as they did. He took a sip from his glass and caught a glimpse of dark hair from the corner of his eye. Setting down his glass he got out of his seat and went to follow the shadow that disappeared into the hallway. He followed the sound of footsteps upstairs and straight to Mingyu's room. The room was empty but the balcony door was open with the wind blowing the thin drapes back and forth showing Mingyu sitting cross legged outside. Jeonghan silently joined the younger boy on the balcony, he didn't say anything, he didn't know what to say to the younger boy.

"Congratulations," Mingyu said in a monotone voice.

"Thank you," Jeonghan replied just as lifelessly.

"Isn't this what you wanted?" Mingyu turned to looked at his hyung.

"It is," Jeonghan nodded.

"Then why do you sound like it isn't?" Mingyu's brows knitted together.

"I'll be leaving here, leaving home, leaving you," Jeonghan turned to look at his dongsaeng.

"I thought about what you said and you're right. If I was in your position I wouldn't want to give up my dreams in order to maintain a relationship, especially one that's kept secret from everyone else. We were a disaster from the very beginning, the amount of times we've fallen out and reconciled have been way too many to be healthy."

"We're polar opposites, it was bound to cause tension," Jeonghan acknowledged.

"But I was happy," Mingyu said looking up at the sky.

"So was I," Jeonghan said with a sad smile on his face.

"I'm glad I got to experience all my firsts with you," Mingyu's hand reached over to touch Jeonghan's.

"I'm sorry I couldn't give you more," Jeonghan felt a lump form in his throat.

"You were my first love," Mingyu whispered as he intertwined their fingers.

"I was?" Jeonghan felt the salty taste of tears at the back if his throat return.

"Loving you was so easy," Mingyu lowered his head.

"You must really regret falling for someone as selfish as me," Jeonghan let out a humourless laugh.

"You were never selfish in my eyes," Mingyu tightened his grip on Jeonghan's hand.

"I'm sorry we had to end things before they even began," Jeonghan raised their interlocked hands giving Mingyu's fingers a soft peck.

"Just don't forget me after you make it big, hyung," Mingyu pressed their foreheads together.

"I could never forget you," Jeonghan closed his eyes, tears finally spilling down his face.

"I'm sorry," they both said unison, it was as if they were mourning the relationship they never got to truly experience.

"Stay with me a little longer," Mingyu changed his position so that Jeonghan sat between his legs.

"I will," was all Jeonghan could utter.

"I don't know if I'll be able to hold you like this again," Mingyu kissed the nape of Jeonghan's neck.

"You'll find someone who will love you better than I ever will," Jeonghan reached up to touch Mingyu's cheek.

"You have no idea how much I want to believe that," Mingyu's voice was barely above a whisper, Jeonghan felt the wetness of tears on the back if his neck.

Jeonghan bit his trembling lower lip keeping his eyes on the sky, he didn't want to look at the younger boy. If he looked at Mingyu he would start breaking down even further. They sat there in complete silence, neither of them wanted to speak in fear of letting their cries be audible. Instead they held each other with the sound of cheers and celebration from downstairs dulling out the sounds of their suppressed sobs. Jeonghan knew it wasn't going to be the last time he saw Mingyu but he couldn't understand why his heart ached so much. Was he experiencing heartbreak? Was that what it felt like? To feel empty like he was missing something? Jeonghan hated it.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jeonghan closed the door to his closet throwing his last t-shirt into his suitcase. He went over to his desk where his high school diploma sat in a mahogany frame, he ran his thumb over the frame's intricate carving before putting it back down. Graduation was a straightforward affair, they'd called his name and he shook the principal's hand. His parents had both attended his graduation ceremony and had left just as quickly, sure he was disappointed that they couldn't stay longer but again they were busy people. The part that hurt him most was the small bouquet of lilacs that Mingyu had given him after they left the assembly hall. Jeonghan had allowed himself to cry freely that day, lilacs signified 'first love.'

Jeonghan took a final look at his room taking in the soft white interior. He hadn't even left yet he was already feeling homesick. He grabbed his bass from it's stand and slung it on his shoulder, the familiar weight of it made him less jittery. Jeonghan quickly went downstairs with his luggage in tow and slipped on his sneakers. With one more glance back at the house he locked the door and put the key into his pocket. It was going to be a while until he came back. The band were scheduled to move into their dorm and begin their training right away, from what he heard training was going to be rigorous but he was willing to take it on.

"Jeonghan! Let's go! " Seungcheol shouted from the car that was waiting outside his front gate.

"Coming!" Jeonghan loaded his luggage into the back and hopped inside the vehicle.

As he looked out of the window he was able to see Mingyu standing on his balcony leaning on the barrier. The boy's face held a pained expression but he forced himself to give Jeonghan a smile as he waved, in his hand was a small bunch of lilacs. As the car pulled away Jeonghan returned Mingyu's forced smile with one of his own, nails digging into his knee as he forced himself not to cry -- he was going to miss the boy next door.

"Take care of yourself, Mingyu-yah," Jeonghan mumbled as a single tear escaped the corner of his eye.

Chapter Text

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FOUR YEARS LATER ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Okay! No more schedules, that's a wrap! Back to the hotel boys!" The manager shouted before leading the way out of the building.

"Thank fuck," Jihoon said under his breath as he was unhooked from the microphone.

"Smile Jihoon, you can be a dick when we're in the car," Seungkwan shot the shorter boy a warning look.

Jeonghan rolled his eyes as he allowed the staff to take off his microphone. They'd been doing appearances in Japan after their concert and Jeonghan was just about done with having to answer the same questions over and over. They'd formally changed the band name from 'Seventeen' to 'SVT' upon debut and every time people would ask what it meant. Sure it was only natural that people wanted to know but after answering it across several countries over the course of four years it got old -- really old. Jeonghan still loved playing music but it was everything that went hand in hand with being in the public eye that he hated. Their careers as musicians had taken off rather quickly after debut, they barely had time to register what happened and now here they were on their second world tour.

"Get yourselves packed up boys, we're heading back to Korea tonight," the manager said from the shotgun seat.

"Finally," Seungcheol grunted as he leaned back in his seat.

"I swear to fucking god if they make me do aegyo again I might stab someone in the eye," Jihoon said as he tapped his drumsticks against the car door.

"If only our precious fans knew about this side of you," Seungkwan quipped earning him a hard whack on the head from Jihoon's drumstick.

"It's been four years, guys. Haven't you found some common ground by now?" Jeonghan sighed rubbing his temples, he was getting a headache.

"I try to be nice but someone just doesn't want to make the effort," Seungkwan pointed at Jihoon before turning around in his seat.

"It feels like we never left high school," Seungcheol laughed with eyes closed.

"Hm," Jeonghan agreed still rubbing his temples.

"Mom called me this afternoon, apparently Mingyu's going to be home the same time we are," Seungcheol said.

"Right," that was a name he hadn't heard in a while.

"He's playing soccer with the national team now, he got drafted last month by their coach. According to mom he'll be flying back from Brazil," Seungcheol informed.

"Haven't really talked to him since we graduated," Jeonghan admitted, his headache suddenly got a lot worse.

"We were busy making a name for ourselves these past few years, even I didn't get to see him much during that time. We always ended up missing each other because our schedules never lined up. While we were on break Mingyu would be away for a game or in training. I hate to say it but I miss the little shit," Seungcheol folded his hands behind his head.

"Good to know he pursued something he loved like we did," Jeonghan's lip twitched into a vacant smile.

"What are you planning on doing after we get back to Seoul?" Seungcheol looked over at the bass player.

"Go and visit my house I guess, I can't remember the last time I went back," Jeonghan said, he missed home.

"You know, we've been doing this for four years now and not once have I seen you get with anyone in that time. Why is that?" Seungcheol's gaze became curious.

"Nothing mattered more than our music," Jeonghan answered, it was partially true but of course there was the other reason for his lack of lovers.

"That's true dedication to one's art, Yoon Jeonghan," Seungcheol closed his eyes again not pushing the issue any further.

They returned to the hotel where Jeonghan packed up his belongings. He'd been living out of his suitcase for the last two weeks and he was ready to leave the jetsetting lifestyle behind for a while. He pulled on a loose sweater and covered his face with a dusk mask, this way he didn't have to smile in front of the cameras. He knew that fansites were going to be waiting at the airport and he wasn't in the mood to play along especially when he had a raging headache that was quickly becoming a migraine -- the thought of flashing cameras in his face made him nauseous. He met up with the rest of the band in the hotel lobby and climbed into their car. The ride didn't help Jeonghan's headache as Seungkwan decided that in the car was the optimal time to do vocal exercises while Jihoon drummed a beat against the car door -- Jeonghan was ready to end himself. When they finally reached the airport Jeonghan was the first to get out of the car, he didn't want to be in the noisy vehicle for a second longer. They made it past the hoard of fans and fansites waiting at the entrance making it into check-in rather quickly thanks to security. They went through all the proceedures and boarded the plane without a hitch -- they were very used to it at that point, they saw the airport more than they saw their families.

"Finally some peace," Jeonghan sunk into his seat on the plane with a tired sigh.

He loved his fans but he didn't know how to react when they tried to grab at him. The most memorable case he could think of was the time they'd gone through a crowd and Seungcheol came out of the mob with a bra on his head and a missing shirt sleeve because of a fan's unrelenting grip -- it wasn't funny when it happened but Jeonghan thought about the memory fondly. He stuffed his earphones in and reclined his seat, he needed some sleep even if it was a short flight. Since their tour started he'd gotten five hours or less of sleep each night. Never did he think that his lazy self would have such an eventful day to day life, he'd taken walking up the hill back home for granted -- living life the way he did at the moment was a lot more tiring.

All too soon he was woken to the sound of the pilot's voice over the speakers announcing they were getting ready to land. Jeonghan sat up in his seat with half closed eyes and buckled his seatbelt as instructed by the flight attendants. He swallowed multiple times to keep his ears from being blocked and braced himself as the wheels of the plane made contact with the runway below. Jeonghan pulled his dusk mask back over his mouth and nose and covered his head with the baseball cap he borrowed from Jihoon. He wasn't in the mood to be photographed fresh from sleep by the paparazzi or his fansites. He followed their manager and the rest of his band mates from the plane going through the systematic process of customs. Unfortunately the process took longer than expected due to their manager misplacing some of his band mates' passports so Jeonghan had to wait in a corner while they sorted it out. He was about to head to the vending machine to grab a drink when he bumped against someone.

"Sorry," Jeonghan and the person he bumped into said in unison.

"It's okay," Jeonghan said looking up, his eyes immediately widened at the person in front of him.

"Mingyu," Jeonghan breathed.

"Do I know you?" Mingyu asked, head tilted.

Jeonghan was surprised at the sheer height of the boy. Sure he was tall at age sixteen but now he was towering over Jeonghan. The younger boy was dressed in tracksuit pants and a matching jacket and by the number of people who wore similar outfits behind him Jeonghan guessed he was with his team. Mingyu still had the same bronzed complexion and the same penetrating gaze, even his playful boyish smile was still very much there. Jeonghan pulled the dusk mask down to his chin and looked up at the boy with a soft smile.

"Hey," Jeonghan said.

"Hyung," Mingyu's voice was lower than Jeonghan remembered.

"You look good," Jeonghan said pulling the dusk mask back over his face.

"You too," Mingyu reached out pulling Jeonghan's mask back down.

"Aye! Hey man!" Seungcheol's voice hollered as he ran out of customs.

Jeonghan stood back a few steps as Seungcheol swung an arm around his younger brother and ruffled his hair. The saying 'distance makes the heart grow fonder' was true in their case as the brothers seemed to be able to close the gap once they were forced to be apart. Sure Seungcheol still acted like a five year old but Mingyu had come to accept that that was how his brother showed love, by annoying the people he cared about.

"It's like a little reunion, come on! Group hug!" Seungcheol draped his free arm around Jeonghan.

"Not now, you camel!" Mingyu shouted before shoving Seungcheol's face away.

"See you at home," Seungcheol ruffled his younger brother's head one more time before dragging Jeonghan away.

Jeonghan gave the younger boy a wave over his shoulder as he let Seungcheol lead him off. Jeonghan pulled the brim of his hat down keeping his head lowered as they went past the arrivals gate and made a beeline for their company car that awaited them outside. The driver loaded their luggage and Jeonghan was about to grab the shotgun seat only Seungcheol was already sitting in it -- that camel-looking bastard. He grudgingly climbed into the backseat and stuck his earphones back in, he refused to listen to Seungcheol's voice for the whole drive.

When they finally reached home Jeonghan got out and waited as the driver handed him his luggage. Unlocking the familiar white door he immediately felt like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders, he was home. He left his suitcase at the bottom of the stairs and headed straight for his bedroom. Being faced with the familiar interior brought him back to a time when he was still a student. He walked over to his desk
to see his diploma sitting right where he'd left it, he swiped off the layer of dust and settled it back down. Pulling open the desk drawer he pulled out a journal and ran his hand over the smooth leather cover. Opening the book to a marked page he touched the pressed lilacs that he'd preserved within its pages. The small purple buds had grown to be his favourite flower and it was all because of the sweet boy who lived next door. Jeonghan set the journal down and went to the balcony where he stood letting the cool breeze caress his face. He look long deep breaths enjoying the quiet, it felt like he was eighteen again. Just before he was about to go back inside the door on his neighbour's balcony opened and Mingyu stepped out in the same attire he'd worn at the airport.

"Hey stranger," Jeonghan said while leaning against the barrier.

"Hyung," Mingyu breathed.

"Brings back memories, doesn't it?" Jeonghan asked as they stared at one another.

"Its bittersweet," Mingyu nodded.

"How've you been?" Jeonghan cocked his head.

"Good," Mingyu said, he wasn't smiling.

"You don't sound like you're good," Jeonghan said.

"I, well, I...forget about it," the younger boy began walking back inside.

"The door's open if you want to come over. I'd like to talk to you and catch up," Jeonghan told the younger boy before also returning inside.

Jeonghan unpacked his belongings from inside his suitcase and threw his dirty clothes in the laundry. Just as he was about to grab himself some water he heard the front door open followed by the sound of slippers shuffling across the floor. Mingyu appeared from the corner and Jeonghan's face lit into a smile at the sight of the yellow slippers on Mingyu's feet. Jeonghan set down his glass and walked over to the boy who wore an uncomfortable expression on his face as if he was having an internal battle with himself, his hands were clenched into fists. Jeonghan was about to open his mouth to say something but Mingyu's rumbling stomach interrupted him.

"Hungry?" Jeonghan chuckled.

"Yeah," Mingyu looked down at the ground, face turning red in embarrassment.

"You up for barbecue? I know a place where we can have all you can eat for four people," Jeonghan said as he walked around the younger boy.

"Four? But there's only two of us," Mingyu looked up with confused expression.

"I'll call up some friends," Jeonghan said and reached for his phone.

They walked the several blocks down the road past the supermarket they once used to frequent. Jeonghan made sure to keep a low profile with his cap pulled down and his dusk mask fully concealing his face. He would've looked a little less suspicious if it weren't for Mingyu who stood out like a sore thumb, the boy was tall. They reached the restaurant without a problem fortunately and Jeonghan lead Mingyu to a table very far away from the rest. When they reached the table, two people were already seated looking at the menu.

"Hey, long time no see. How was the concert?" Jeon Wonwoo stood to give Jeonghan a handshake before sitting back down.

"Good," Jeonghan answered taking a seat.

"I'd stand and greet you but I can't," Kwon Soonyoung sat beside Wonwoo with his leg propped up on a chair, an ice pack was wrapped around his ankle.

"You hurt yourself again?" Jeonghan looked at the boy with raised brows but in all honesty he wasn't surprised.

"Yeah," Soonyoung looked away with embarrassment colouring his face.

"Hey, Seungcheol's brother right? Mingyu?" Wonwoo asked as he held out a hand.

"Yeah and you're Wonwoo?" Mingyu returned the handshake.

"This guy's Soonyoung, you might've seen him in school," Wonwoo nodded over to the boy beside him.

"Hey," Soonyoung and Mingyu said in unison.

"How'd you injure yourself? Choreography again?" Jeonghan asked Soonyoung.

"No, he twisted his ankle while he was stretching. I told him to go home but he wanted to eat so I had to carry his ass here," Wonwoo answered as he reached over to touch Soonyoung's pouting lips.

"You said you wouldn't tell anyone," Soonyoung huffed before turning away.

"Wonwoo works with Woozi on composition and Soonyoung choreographs for the other Pledis artists," Jeonghan said as he poured himself and Mingyu a glass of water.

"You guys all work together?" Mingyu asked.

"Yup, ever since SVT debuted," Jeonghan said.

"So you're the tree Seungcheol keeps referring to," Soonyoung looked over at Mingyu.

"Soonyoung," Wonwoo gave the boy a look.

"Right, say it in my head. Got it," Soonyoung gave Wonwoo the 'okay' sign.

"I have to say I was surprised when Jeonghan said you'd be joining us, it's been quite a long time since I've seen you two together," Wonwoo began grilling the meat.

"I was as surprised as you were," Jeonghan looked up at Mingyu.

"It's kind of hot in here," Mingyu commented as he looked around unable to meet Jeonghan's eye.

"I'm going to the bathroom, make sure you eat," Jeonghan got up giving Mingyu's shoulder a squeeze.

"I don't know if you know but after you two parted ways Jeonghan dedicated every waking moment into his work. We barely saw him during SVT's first year of debut. I know it affected both of you but Jeonghan took it hard. He and Jihoon churned out song after song, it was as if he was trying to prove that what he chose was worth it."

"Why did he have to be so stubborn?" Mingyu furrowed his brow.

"You're equally as stubborn for not contacting Jeonghan during these four years," Soonyoung quipped earning him another look from Wonwoo.

"Soonyoung," the fox-eyed boy warned his lover.

"Right, in my head," Soonyoung smiled sheepishly before taking a sip of water.

"How did you two end up at Pledis?" Mingyu suddenly changed the subject, he was also genuinely curious.

"Near the end of the first year of debut I acted as the band's manager, I roped Soonyoung in since he was looking for employment and Pledis were desperate to find staff. They needed a choreographer so Soonyoung filled the spot. What started as a favour to Jeonghan turned into full time jobs for us. Pledis has been rolling in money ever since SVT joined the label," Wonwoo informed placing a piece of pork belly in his mouth.

"Why didn't he contact me during all that time?" Mingyu asked no one in particular.

"Pledis Entertainment were on the verge of bankruptcy, Jeonghan and SVT had to hustle as hard as they could. They had the weight of an entire company on their shoulders as well as the pressure of making a name for themselves. He had no time," Wonwoo smiled sadly at the band's humble beginnings. "Jeonghan practically lived at the company building."

"So that's why Jeonghan and my brother didn't come home that year," Mingyu mumbled to himself.

"I know it's not my place but all I know is that Jeonghan needs someone who can be his rock. He's independent and he loves being in control but he needs to learn that it's okay to be vulnerable. He's built up some pretty thick walls ever since he decided to pursue music. The only thing that really matters to him is his music and it makes me worry that things will continue like this. He needs a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, someone who can provide comfort."

"That's a pretty big role to fill," Mingyu took a sip from his glass.

"What'd I miss?" Jeonghan returned to the table.

"Nothing much," Wonwoo lied as he put more meat on the grill.

They ate the rest of their food with lighthearted banter between them. Soonyoung's stomach decided to tap out on the fourth serving of pork belly while Mingyu polished off everything in sight. Jeonghan watched in awe of the sheer amount of food he was able to stomach. Jeonghan footed the bill as he always did, he had a healthy bank account so he didn't mind it all too much. They said a quick goodbye to the couple and watched as the taller boy carried his lover over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

"Stop touching my ass!" Soonyoung complained as he was carried away.

"I don't want to," Wonwoo replied as he gave said rear a swift smack.

Jeonghan and Mingyu walked back to the house in absolute silence, the crickets seemed to be having better conversation than they did. It was when Jeonghan was at the foot of the hill that he let out a long sigh, he took it back he didn't miss the fucking hill one bit. Reluctantly he didn't complain and kept pace with Mingyu as they went up the steep slope. The tense silence made him completely forget how tedious the climb was. When they finally reached the top the younger boy looked at him hesitantly as if not knowing what to do. He took two steps toward his own house but quickly turned back towards Jeonghan's direction, he looked very conflicted.

"Come on," Jeonghan finally broke the silence nodding toward his own house.

They went inside and Jeonghan went to go grab two bottles of water from the fridge. He threw one over to Mingyu who caught it in his large palm. They stood at opposite sides of the room, neither of them actually wanting to be the one talking first. In the end Jeonghan decided to say something.

"Congratulations on being drafted, Seungcheol sounded very proud," Jeonghan said.

"Thanks," Mingyu didn't look him in the eye.

"I'm sorry for not keeping in touch," Jeonghan touched the younger boy's hand.

"It's partially my fault as well, life just got in the way you know?" Mingyu's fingers latched onto Jeonghan's in return.

"Just like we predicted," Jeonghan thought back of the night they had ended it.

"I kept up with all the news regarding 'SVT' and over these past four years not once have I seen any articles about your dating life. Why is that hyung?" Mingyu suddenly invaded his personal space.

"What are you getting at, Mingyu?" Jeonghan took a step back only to have the younger boy come even closer.

"Do you still care about me? Is there any space in your heart for me?" Mingyu whispered into his ear.

"Mingyu don't," Jeonghan reached up to touch the younger boy's face, his lower lip trembled as he looked up at Mingyu.

"You still love me right? I'm not going crazy am I? All those sad songs on your albums, I saw those lyrics hyung! I saw the credits! I know that you wrote them!" Mingyu gripped Jeonghan's arms.

"Please don't do this," Jeonghan's vision began to blur as he felt tears escape the corners of his eyes.

"I still matter to you, don't I?" Mingyu's voice sounded desperate.

"Please don't look at me like that," Jeonghan finally caved as he tiptoed to wrap his arms around the younger boy.

"Jeonghan," Mingyu's arms circled his waist.

"I'm so sorry, Mingyu-yah," Jeonghan kissed the boy's forehead.

"Shh..." Mingyu hushed him as he lead them up the stairs.

Jeonghan allowed the younger boy to lead him back into his bedroom and swallowed when he saw Mingyu locking the bedroom door. The younger boy turned around and closed the distance between them until they were nose to nose. Mingyu leaned forward and began his attack on Jeonghan's lips. The kiss was anything but gentle, it was hot, scalding and utterly breathtaking. Jeonghan felt like he was slowly being by devoured, the sheer ferocity telling him Mingyu wasn't going to be satisfied with just a mere kiss. Trying to hold onto his last bit of control Jeonghan turned around in an attempt to leave only to have Mingyu's arms trap him against his chest. Jeonghan let out a gasp as he heard the fabric of his sweater rip, Mingyu had torn it apart down the middle. The fabric fell into a pool at Jeonghan's feet. Jeonghan kept his eyes on the wall trying his best to ignore the boy behind him, he failed miserably. The boy pressed himself against Jeonghan's back, hand ascending from his abdomen to touch the spot above his heart.

"Don't run, not again," Mingyu licked the shell of his ear.

"What are you doing to me?" Jeonghan gasped as Mingyu bit at his earlobe.

"Making up for lost time," Mingyu continued his sensual assault on Jeonghan's neck licking and biting.

"We shouldn't be doing this, Mingyu," Jeonghan let out a moan as the boy's hands roamed his body.

"Give me one good reason why," Mingyu whispered.

"I can't," Jeonghan finally answered biting his lower lip.

Mingyu pushed him onto the bed straddling his hips. Jeonghan watched as Mingyu removed his shirt and jacket revealing a muscular torso, it was definitely the body of an athlete. Mingyu's eyes roamed the pale unblemished skin of his hyung and Jeonghan could have sworn he heard the boy growl. Jeonghan hissed when he felt Mingyu's finger enter him but he quickly relaxed as the boy peppered kisses all over his face. He could feel the boy slowly adding more fingers stretching him thoroughly making sure not to rush -- Mingyu was still so very thoughtful.

"I'm ready," Jeonghan whispered into Mingyu's ear, he didn't want to wait any more.

"Jeonghan," Mingyu mumbled as he slipped his full length into his hyung with a long forceful thrust.

Jeonghan let out a moan, he felt so full. He gripped at the comforter beneath him as Mingyu pushed into him over and over hitting the spot inside him that made him see stars. The younger boy's hands caressed and stroked at the most sensitive parts of his body while his lips took Jeonghan's mouth hostage. Mingyu's eyes looked at him as if he were the centre of the universe.

"You're even more beautiful than I remember," Mingyu's aroused voice only caused Jeonghan to react even harder.

"Harder," Jeonghan touched Mingyu's face running his hand over the smooth bronzed skin.

"I'll do whatever you want," Mingyu kissed the hand caressing his face, his pace increasing causing Jeonghan's toes to curl.

Jeonghan felt Mingyu grip his hips as the boy began to lose his rhythm, he was close. Jeonghan clenched onto the rigid length until the younger boy gave a final thrust. Jeonghan went with him giving out a scream of his own, he could feel the warmth from Mingyu's release filling him. Mingyu fell limp in his arms, the boy's head landing on his chest soaked in sweat. They were both breathing hard, they didn't move but stayed in that position basking in the afterglow. Jeonghan got up after regaining his breath and headed straight for the bathroom. He returned with a damp washcloth cleaning up their mess and also wiped down Mingyu who let out a small whimper, he was still sensitive in that particular area. Jeonghan climbed back into bed allowing the boy to reclaim the spot on his chest.

"I missed you, I missed you so much," Mingyu kissed Jeonghan's collarbone, the boy's finger drawing hearts on his chest.

"Letting you go was the dumbest thing I ever did," Jeonghan's voice broke.

"The day you left was...was..." Mingyu couldn't finish his sentence.

"Don't think about it, don't think at all," Jeonghan caressed Mingyu's lips with his thumb.

"I really love your music, now I understand why you were so adamant about pursuing it. It's beautiful," Mingyu looked up at his hyung.

"You were my muse. Everything I wanted to say to you was poured into those songs," Jeonghan stroked Mingyu's hair.

"I tried to move on but I just couldn't, I followed your band almost religiously. You have no idea how much hope I had for us when you named your first album 'Lilacs.' I know it couldn't have been a coincidence," Mingyu's voice shook.

"It took a lot of convincing but I won against management for that name," Jeonghan thought about the numerous arguments he had with Pledis.

"Please don't run away, I don't know what I'll do if you leave me again," Mingyu sat up pulling Jeonghan with him.

"But I'll have to leave, it's all part of being a musician Mingyu-yah," Jeonghan rested his head against the boy's shoulder.

"You don't have to give me all of you, I'll take a half, a quarter or even a fraction. Just let me be a part of your life again, please," Mingyu's lips pressed into his hyung's temple.

"I would never give you anything less than all of me," Jeonghan cradled the boy's face in his hands.

"Then give me all of you," Mingyu's hands clutched at Jeonghan's wrists.

"You deserve more than what I can offer," Jeonghan's words came out shakier than he expected.

"You said I would find someone who would love me better than you ever could but that was a lie. You're the only one who can love me right."

"How am I supposed to say no to you?" Jeonghan shook his head stroking the boy's face with his thumbs.

"Don't say no," Mingyu bent down sealing their lips.

The kiss this time was sweet, it felt like the one they'd first shared the night Mingyu had moved back home. It was slow and tender but the lips he kissed were no longer shy and clumsy, they now moved with a purpose. The two broke apart with foreheads against one another. Jeonghan felt his heart beat loud in his chest, only Mingyu had ever made his heart beat that fast.

"I still have my last chance right? I promised I wouldn't mess up. Since you were the one who ended it last time that means I still haven't lost my chance right?" Mingyu asked.

"You're not going to let this go are you?" Jeonghan touched the boy's face.

"No," Mingyu replied.

"So stubborn," Jeonghan said with a smile on his face.

"Kiss me," Mingyu demanded.

"And spoilt," Jeonghan added as he bent to the younger boy's whim.

"No more goodbyes please," Mingyu whispered into his ear and turned off the lights.

Chapter Text

"Jeonghan! Jeonghan! Are you listening?" Seungcheol clicked his fingers in front of his friend's face.

"Sorry what?" Jeonghan looked over at his band mate.

"What's wrong with you, you've been out of it all day," Seungcheol said as he tuned his guitar.

"Sorry," Jeonghan apologised again.

"Did something good happen? You've been smiling at your phone a lot lately," Seungcheol asked looking up from his instrument.

"I have plans tonight," Jeonghan smiled to himself.

"With who?" Seungcheol asked.

"Someone," Jeonghan answered in a casual tone.

"Someone? That's all you're going to say?" Seungcheol pushed.

"Am I not allowed to have some privacy?" Jeonghan raised a brow.

"You can do whatever you want but I'm just curious as to why you're keeping their identity from me," Seungcheol set down his guitar.

"I just don't want you to know, is that a crime?" Jeonghan tried his best not to sound defensive.

"Sorry, I'm being stupid," Seungcheol scratched his head with a sheepish smile.

"You got any plans tonight?" Jeonghan asked as he went to put on his jacket.

"Maybe, maybe not," Seungcheol looked up at Jeonghan.

"You give me crap about my love life but you really should worry about your own," Jeonghan said as he fixed himself up in the mirror of the practice room they were in.

"It's not like I don't try," Seungcheol watched his friend groom his hair in the mirror.

"Well try harder, the closest thing you have to a girlfriend right now is me," Jeonghan said as he began walking out of the room.

"That might not be a bad thing," Seungcheol said under his breath as he watched the elegant lines of Jeonghan's back retreat from the room.

"Did you say something?" Jeonghan looked over his shoulder.

"Have fun," Seungcheol waved turning his attention back to his guitar.

"See you," Jeonghan waved.

"Really wished you didn't have to go though, Yoon Jeonghan," Seungcheol sighed as he was left alone in the room, the sound of his guitar sounding hollow in the empty space.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jeonghan lowered his head as he entered the soccer training centre. He went straight through the wide hallway that lead to the field and immediately spotted Mingyu's team lined up in front of their coach. Jeonghan leaned against the barrier in front of the field giving his dongsaeng a wave, Mingyu directed all attention at him instead of the coach -- that earned him a quick smack to the back of the head from one of his teammates. Mingyu rubbed his head looking back at the coach but it didn't stop the boy from stealing glances here and there at his hyung. Jeonghan watched as the team shouted something before they began to disperse. Instead of going to the locker room immediately like his teammates Mingyu ran straight over and gave Jeonghan a kiss over the barrier first.

"Hey," Mingyu smiled into the kiss.

"Hey," Jeonghan smiled back.

"I'll be back in a minute, I just need to go clean up," Mingyu said as he bounced away.

"I kind of prefer you dirty and sweaty," Jeonghan looked the boy up and down, Mingyu swallowed as he ran into the locker room.

Jeonghan plopped himself down on one of the rows of seats that filled the area. He played around on his phone until a shadow blocked the light in front of him, he had thought it was Mingyu but that wasn't the case. A person he didn't recognise was standing in front of him wearing the team tracksuit. Their eyes met and the person smiled down at him.

"Can I help you?" Jeonghan asked cocking his head.

"You're Yoon Jeonghan right? SVT's Yoon Jeonghan?" The boy in front of him sounded very excited.

"Yes, I am," Jeonghan nodded.

"What are you doing here? Are you looking for someone?" The boy asked taking a seat beside him.

"I am actually," Jeonghan replied pocketing his phone.

"Oi! Taehwan! Piss off!" Mingyu's voice was hostile.

"Hey man, I'm trying to have a conversation over here," Taehwan shouted back at Mingyu.

"Go talk to someone else," Mingyu snarled.

"You ready to go?" Jeonghan looked up at the younger boy in amusement, his petty jealousy was still there.

"You were waiting for this dick head?" Taehwan pointed incredulously at Mingyu.

"You better move before you lose your teeth," Mingyu said aggressively as he slipped an arm around Jeonghan's waist leading him away.

"I'm a big fan, let's go out for coffee some time! You like pastries?! I know a place!" Taehwan shouted as they went back inside.

"You can eat them yourself!" Mingyu threw over his shoulder as he ushered Jeonghan away as quick as he could.

"He was nice," Jeonghan chuckled as they went over to his car.

"Don't ever let yourself be alone with him. That guy is the most irritating shit on the face of the planet," Mingyu grumbled as he climbed into the shotgun seat.

"I'm sensing some tension between you two," Jeonghan said as he started the car.

"We got drafted at the same time so I guess you could say we're rivals," Mingyu explained.

"You do realise you're the only soccer player I care about right?" Jeonghan looked over at the boy.

"I want to be the only person you care about," Mingyu pouted as they drove.

"You're slowly getting there," Jeonghan reached a hand over to touch the boy's face.

"Have you heard of Mizuya? They do some really good Japanese food," Jeonghan said as he continued navigating the roads.

"I'll eat anything hyung," Mingyu reminded Jeonghan.

"I was surprised when I saw you at the airport, you grew so much...especially in a certain area. I'm still sore you know," Jeonghan looked over at Mingyu who lowered his head, a sheepish smile on his face.

"Sorry," Mingyu whispered, cheeks flushed pink.

"I'm not complaining," Jeonghan touched the boy's chin and went back to looking at the road.

They drove for several minutes until Jeonghan turned the corner onto a relatively busy street filled with small eateries and restaurants. He parked the car a block away and pulled on the dusk mask he always kept handy in the glove compartment. Mingyu followed close as Jeonghan lead the way to a small building with a narrow staircase. It looked like a very suspicious place to open a restaurant but Mingyu trusted his hyung. They went up the stairs together and stood side by side as they waited to be seated. Surprisingly the inside of the restaurant looked chic and modern unlike it's exterior, with the romantic lighting and private booths he could understand why Jeonghan liked the place, someone like his hyung could go and eat without running into fans that way. Jeonghan allowed Mingyu to hug him as they stood, the younger boy peppering kisses on his hyung's temple. Jeonghan was brought out of his little daydream when he felt a small push on his back, he turned to apologise only it never manage to leave his lips. Jeonghan was faced with the sight of Seungcheol standing behind them. The two untangled themselves immediately trying to play it casual, Jeonghan quickly glanced over at Mingyu who looked completely fine unlike him who was sweating bullets.

"So you were having dinner with Mingyu? Here I thought you'd finally scored yourself a date," Seungcheol said.

"Hm," Jeonghan didn't know how to respond, he'd been caught.

"A table for three? Follow me," a waitress began leading them into the dining area.

Jeonghan had no time to protest and Seungcheol was already following the waitress, he gave Mingyu an apologetic look as they trailed along. The three of them were lead to a table behind a partition away from wandering eyes. They were seated around a circular table and the minute he sat down Jeonghan could feel a strange tension build in the air around him.

"What are you feeling tonight? Are you just going to order your usual?" Seungcheol looked at Jeonghan completely ignoring Mingyu.

Before Jeonghan could open his mouth the phone in his pocket began to ring. Checking the screen he saw that it was one of SVT's managers who was calling, he quickly dismissed himself leaving the two brothers at the table. Seungcheol and Mingyu looked at each other like two lions ready to fight each other for dominance, Jeonghan hoped the two brothers didn't kill each other while he was gone -- especially when they'd made so much progress in their relationship.

"I'd appreciate it if you went home," Mingyu said to his older brother as he poured himself a glass of water.

"I was just going to say the same to you," Seungcheol said looking up from the menu in his hands.

"Are you interrupting us on purpose?" Mingyu clenched his fist under the table.

"I was going to just order for takeout but after seeing you all up in Jeonghan's space I changed my mind," Seungcheol leaned back in his chair, arms folded behind his head.

"It's none of your business what happens in his private life," Mingyu narrowed his eyes at his older brother.

"So you're admitting there's something going on between you two," Seungcheol cocked a brow.

"So what if there is?" Mingyu challenged.

"He's too good for someone like you," Seungcheol sneered.

"What are you trying to say, you think you're better than me?" Mingyu frowned thinking about what Seungcheol was insinuating.

"If I knew you were in the picture I would have made my move a long time ago," Seungcheol pursed his lips.

"Fuck you," Mingyu glared at his brother.

"You think I didn't know? You practically idolised him since you were old enough to talk. Always trying to get his attention whenever you could, do you have any idea how irritating it was to have you tag along every time we hung out? When you moved back during high school I'd lost all of Jeonghan's attention. I thought I'd gotten him back after that but you showed up again to ruin everything. You can say what you want about me but I refuse to lose Jeonghan to you."

"I knew you didn't see him as just a friend, the way you looked at him, touched him," Mingyu thought back to the day he saw Seungcheol hugging Jeonghan in front of their house after they'd fought.

"I honestly didn't see you as competition in the beginning but somehow you weaselled your way in. Now I know why Jeonghan's been so guarded these past few years, it's because of you," Seungcheol tapped his fingers against the table.

"Don't you think you should give up? He's never going to see you as anything more than a friend," Mingyu gave Seungcheol a smirk.

"Don't be so cocky, you might have been attached at the hip for the past few days but just remember that I've been with him for four years without you in the picture," Seungcheol said leaning forward returning his sibling's smug look -- they'd never looked more like brothers in that moment.

"You really know how to get under my skin," Mingyu's cracked his knuckles.

"Go ahead, hit me. Jeonghan would love to see that," Seungcheol taunted his younger brother, drawing up memories of what happened four years ago.

The brothers both went back to being on their best behaviour when Jeonghan returned. Mingyu immediately slid his seat closer to his hyung shooting Seungcheol a warning look as they looked at the menu. Jeonghan didn't know how but the tension had gotten even worse when he got back to the table. He could feel Mingyu's possessive hand clutching his under the table while Seungcheol was continuously touching and fixing his hair -- he felt very overwhelmed. They miraculously managed to order their food and to Jeonghan's surprise the brothers hadn't killed each other in that mean time, sure they glared at each other but that was as far as the hostilities went. By the end of the meal Jeonghan was ready to leave and never speak of the failure that was his dinner date with Mingyu ever again. He had imagined the evening going a completely different way.

"Jeonghan can you drive me back to my apartment? I took a taxi here," Seungcheol said as they went down the stairs of the restaurant.

"Sure, I need to drop off Mingyu at your family's house first though," Jeonghan said as they walked down the street.

"What? Can't you drop him off first?" Mingyu asked as he stuck close to Jeonghan's back.

"Seungcheol's apartment is alot further away, I'd have to drive double the distance if I dropped him off first Mingyu," Jeonghan said unlocking the car.

"Shotgun!" Both boys shouted as they began fighting over the front seat, Jeonghan wasn't shocked in the slightest -- he saw it coming from a mile away.

"I'll wait," Jeonghan sighed and climbed into the driver's seat.

In the end Seungcheol managed to slip into the front seat leaving a defeated and frustrated Mingyu to sit in the back. Jeonghan looked into the rear view mirror to see his dongsaeng sitting with an unamused look on his face, the boy's eyes shooting daggers into the back of his older brother's head. As they drove Mingyu kept an eagle eyed watch over his brother, he felt the hairs on the back of his rise when he saw Seungcheol's hand reach out touching Jeonghan's hair and occasionally touching his thigh. Mingyu bit the inside of his cheek, the fucker was doing it on purpose. All too soon they arrived back at their family home and Mingyu grudgingly had to get out of the vehicle. He leaned into the open window on Jeonghan's side saying a quick goodbye because he felt uncomfortable allowing his older brother to see his interactions with Jeonghan. While they drove away he saw Seungcheol's hand waving at him from the window, Mingyu let out a frustrated growl before taking out his anger on a nearby bush.

"That fucking camel!" Mingyu shouted before entering the house slamming the door behind him.

As they drove Jeonghan was painfully aware of the hand on his thigh, he kept his eyes on the road pretending it didn't bother him -- even though it really did. It was when they were driving down an empty road that Seungcheol looked over at him and touched the nape of his neck.

"If I'd known Mingyu had his eyes on you I've would've swept you up years ago," Seungcheol said as he touched the baby soft hairs on the back of Jeonghan's head.

"Excuse me?" Jeonghan stepped on the breaks, wheels screeching making the seat belt mechanism lock against their chests.

"Ow," Seungcheol coughed as he loosened the seat belt.

"What did you just say?" Jeonghan asked, maybe he didn't hear that right.

"I would have kept you all to myself," Seungcheol said looking over at his band mate.

"I..." Jeonghan was speechless.

"I always kind of knew I had feelings towards you but I was too stubborn to listen to the little voice in my head. I knew Mingyu liked you but I was so confident that he wasn't going to be competition, I feel so stupid," Seungcheol laughed but there was no humour in his voice.

"You've had plenty of chances to tell me this, four years to be exact," they were together almost everyday onstage and off, Jeonghan felt his irritation build -- it was a lot to take in.

"I told you I was stubborn," Seungcheol ran a hand through his hair looking out the window.

"What am I supposed to do now?" Jeonghan mumbled, he didn't know whether he was asking the question of himself of Seungcheol.

"I already told Mingyu I have no intention of backing down without a fight, we'll just have to see who you end up falling for. Me or him," Seungcheol finally looked over at the bassist.

Jeonghan stopped the car in front of Seungcheol's apartment complex, they'd all moved out of their dorm the year before -- they left the cohabiting lifestyle far behind them. Seungcheol undid his seat belt hesitating for a split second before he turned back over to Jeonghan grabbing the back of the boy's head. With a quick lick of his lips he gave the bassist a quick kiss and a sensual touch on the cheek. Jeonghan tasted as sweet as he had imagined, the scent of jasmine and vanilla radiating from the boy was enticing. He got out of the vehicle and looked over at Jeonghan who watched him retreat with a shell shocked expression.

"I'm not giving up that easily Jeonghan," Seungcheol smiled cheekily over his shoulder as he disappeared into the apartment complex.

"I have to choose between a tree and a camel, fuck my life," Jeonghan let out an exhausted breath leaning against the headrest -- he already knew he wasn't going to be able to sleep well that night.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Wonwoo turned off the light in the studio he was in calling it a night. He knocked on the window to the studio next door giving Jihoon a wave, the band's drummer still very much engrossed in his work. He descended the stairs and went down the hall to the very last door to 'Studio C", it was the only room on that floor with the lights still on. Wonwoo cracked open the door leaning against the threshold as he watched Soonyoung dancing by himself in the room. Unlike his usual clumsy self the boy moved with effortless fluidity and power when he danced. Wonwoo didn't realise he'd watched the whole performance until the song ended. Walking into the room he gave Soonyoung a bottle of water and handed him a towel to dry off his sweat, the boy was soaked in it from head to toe -- Wonwoo didn't mind it one bit.

"Ready to go?" Wonwoo asked as he watched Soonyoung's Adam's Apple bob up and down as he guzzled his water.

"Yup," Soonyoung dunked the empty bottle into a nearby bin as he lead the way out of the building.

Wonwoo unlocked his car door climbing into the driver's seat and waited as Soonyoung took off his backpack and settled into the front seat. Bending over he made sure to secure the shorter boy's seat belt because his lover always seemed to forget no matter how many times Wonwoo scolded him.

"How's your ankle? Did the doctor give you clearance to start dancing again?" Wonwoo asked glancing quickly over at Soonyoung.

"Um..." Soonyoung's eyes darted in every direction but at Wonwoo.

"Soonyoung," Wonwoo's tone was firm.

"Sorry," Soonyoung pouted knowing he'd been caught.

Wonwoo drove them up to a gate and punched in the security number on the intercom. The gate groaned as it pulled open allowing their vehicle to pass through before closing again with a clang. He parked the car in the residential parking lot and draped an arm around Soonyoung as they made their way up to their floor. He punched in another code on their door and took his time removing his wristwatch and his coat by the door; Soonyoung however rushed right into their bedroom.

Wonwoo didn't think anything was off. He removed his shoes and threw his keys into the small bowl they kept on the hall table. He hopped into their other shower after hearing the water running from the one in their bedroom -- it was times like these that Wonwoo was thankful for having more than one bathroom. Fresh and steaming from the shower he pulled on his pyjama bottoms and a thin t-shirt, Soonyoung was already on the bed under the covers. Just as he joined his lover on the bed Soonyoung squeezed in behind him and covered his ears with a set of headphones.

"Soonyoung, what are you doing-" Wonwoo was hushed by Soonyoung's finger over his lips.

"I want you to listen," Soonyoung said as he clung to Wonwoo's back, his arms circling around the boy's broad back.

Wonwoo sat and listened as he was instructed, he listened to the song play enjoying the melody but let out a small gasp when he heard Soonyoung's voice singing, Wonwoo found himself closing his eyes. He listened intently reaching for Soonyoung's hand which was pressed flat on his chest. Wonwoo only opened his eyes when the song ended. Soonyoung then removed the headphones directing Wonwoo's head over to their wall clock which was only a few seconds away from midnight.

"Five, four, three, two, one. Happy Birthday Jeon Wonwoo," Soonyoung whispered into his ear giving the boy a soft peck on the cheek -- it was now the seventeenth of July.

"My birthday is the only thing you never seem to forget," Wonwoo smiled.

Wonwoo raised Soonyoung's occupied hand, he was holding onto his phone with the headphone cord attached to it. Wonwoo looked at the screen, the song he'd just listened to was titled 'Highlight.' He felt a lump form in his throat, Soonyoung was just precious.

"I composed it myself," Sonyoung knelt behind his lover resting his head on the taller boy's shoulder. "You're still the highlight of my life."

"If you're trying to make me fall for you then I have some bad news because that happened a long time ago, Kwon Soonyoung," Wonwoo turned his head pressing their foreheads together.

"Happy Birthday," Soonyoung repeated finally sealing their lips.

Though the kiss started off sweet Wonwoo quickly changed the mood pulling Soonyoung into his lap making quick work of Soonyoung's shirt throwing it over the boy's head. He buried his face into the boy's neck inhaling the sweet innocent smell of baby powder that had enthralled him so intensely over the years. The dancer let out a moan as he felt his lover's strong hands touch and fondle his chest. Laying the shorter boy down Wonwoo removed his pyjama pants as if it was an offensive object, Soonyoung was laid out bare on the navy coloured sheets -- Wonwoo could actually feel himself salivate.

"I'm actually quite scared you might end up eating me," Soonyoung reached up to touch Wonwoo's cheek.

"I just might," Wonwoo licked the boy's thumb sending a shiver down Soonyoung's spine.

Wonwoo was slow in preparing Soonyoung, he kissed the boy repeatedly as he waited for him to adjust. When Soonyoung finally gave him a nod Wonwoo slowly slid himself into the boy, Soonyoung clung to him hiding his face in his lover's shoulder. Wonwoo didn't move, he whispered reassuring words into the boy's ear like he always did. Soonyoung's pleasure mattered more than his.

"Wonwoo," Soonyoung whispered giving him the green light.

"I'm not hurting you right?" Wonwoo asked touching Soonyoung's face.

Soonyoung shook his head. Wonwoo began to thrust into the boy building up his pace gradually all the while peppering the boy's face with kisses and whispering sweet promises into his ear. The dancer's moans of pleasure only made Wonwoo more aroused. The dancer's forehead was slicked with sweat and his cheeks had flushed a bright shade of pink, Wonwoo reached up to wipe away the tears that fell from the boy's face -- Soonyoung's eyes seemed to always water when he was stimulated. Wonwoo kissed each eyelid as he continued to thrust into the boy over and over. He felt Soonyoung's nails digging into his back and the boy's hot breath in his ear -- Soonyoung was close. Wonwoo licked a line up Soonyoung's throat nibbling on the boy's earlobe as he gave a final thrust. Wonwoo roared as he heard Soonyoung's cry of pleasure following him into climax. He fell onto the mattress pulling a limp Soonyoung onto his chest, his lover was exhausted.

"To think I almost missed out on having all of this if I hadn't told you how I felt back then," Wonwoo said as he rubbed Soonyoung's back.

"Did you make a birthday wish yet?" Soonyoung reached out to intertwine their fingers.

"I have one wish," Wonwoo said running a thumb on his lover's lower lip.

"What is it?" Soonyoung braced himself on his forearm.

"Don't ever leave me," Wonwoo said, his face a mask of seriousness.

"Never," Soonyoung smiled at the taller boy pressing their foreheads together.

"You're the highlight of my life as well Kwon Soonyoung," Wonwoo said pulling the dancer against his chest.

Chapter Text

Jeonghan sat in a cafe with his iced Americano in one hand absentmindedly looking out the window. He was so distracted he didn't even notice when Wonwoo sat down in front of him. The sharp eyed friend of his had to snap his fingers multiple times in front of the bassist's face before he came back down to Earth.

"Oh hey," Jeonghan said, he sounded tired even to his own ears.

"Is there a reason why you're spacing out at eleven in the morning?" Wonwoo asked as he took a sip from his own iced coffee.

"I didn't sleep last night," Jeonghan admitted finishing off the rest of his coffee.

"Am I allowed to ask why you had a sleepless night?" Wonwoo looked curiously at his friend.

"Seungcheol kissed me last night," Jeonghan blurted.

"Come again?!" Wonwoo choked on his coffee.

"You heard me," Jeonghan banged his head against the table.

"Seungcheol? Our friend Seungcheol?" Wonwoo looked just about as shocked as Jeonghan was the night before.

"What does this mean? What about you and Mingyu?" Wonwoo adjusted his glasses.

"That's the thing, I am so fucking happy with Mingyu. I'm trying to figure out the best way to tell Seungcheol but I just know he's going to get hurt no matter how I break it him," Jeonghan cradled his head in his hands.

"Did you piss off Cupid in a previous life? Because your love life is more complicated than a mathematics equation," Wonwoo slurped the remaining amount of coffee from his cup, the straw made gurgling noises once there was only ice left at the bottom.

"I have to go and tell him befofe he begins to think he has a chance. The guy's a good friend but boyfriend? I just can't see it happening you know?" Mainly because he was infatuated with a tall bronzed soccer player.

"Damn, you got yourself the classic case of a love triangle," Wonwoo shook his head, a smile pulling at his lips.

"Where's Soonyoung? Doesn't he usually drop by around this time for coffee too?" Jeonghan looked around the cafe.

"He said he had some plans with a friend today," Wonwoo informed.

"That's nice," Jeonghan said, he wished he had the luxury of hanging out without fear of people seeing him in public -- being famous meant it was almost impossible to have some privacy.

"You ready to head back to the company building?" Wonwoo got up from his seat.

"Yeah," Jeonghan sighed, he couldn't avoid seeing Seungcheol forever.

They walked the two blocks back to the Pledis building and Jeonghan made a beeline for the studio upstairs. He peeped through the small square window on the door catching sight of Seungcheol on a swivel chair, he was holding an acoustic guitar in his hands. Jeonghan hesitated for a minute before he mustered up the courage to open the door. Seungcheol's eyes looked up at him and Jeonghan's mouth suddenly felt dry.

"Hey," Jeonghan managed to say.

"Hey," Seungcheol said in return, he set down his guitar.

"You free right now?" Jeonghan asked with hands in his pockets.

"I guess," the guitarist shrugged.

"You hungry?"

"I could eat," Seungcheol nodded.

"I know a place," Jeonghan nodded towards the door.

"Okay, let me grab my jacket and we'll go," Seungcheol nodded, the air around them was thick.

"Great," Jeonghan said before he went downstairs to wait for the guitarist.

As he waited at the foot of the staircase he could feel a sense of uneasiness fall over him, he didn't know how Seungcheol was going to react and he was very much dreading the outcome. Jeonghan was so worked up that he wasn't even in the mood to eat any more, he didn't know if he could stomach it at all.
__________________________________________________________________

"Okay! Okay! They're out! They're out!" Soonyoung tapped Mingyu's shoulder as they stuck their heads out from behind a nearby food stall.

"Go, go, go!" Mingyu hissed as they slowly began trailing after Jeonghan and Seungcheol.

"I'm telling you, just follow my lead and we won't get caught. We'll be silent, invisible like samurai," Soonyoung said.

"You mean ninjas?" Mingyu corrected as they pressed themselves flat behind a wall.

"What's the difference?" Soonyoung looked over at Mingyu, the dancer looked genuinely confused.

"Forget about that, just focus on the task at hand," Mingyu smacked Soonyoung in the back of the head.

"In the unlikeky chance that we get caught we'll have to pull a Naruto," Soonyoung said to the soccer player.

"Pull a Naruto? What language are you speaking?" Mingyu squatted behind a sandwich board in front of a cafe.

"We're going to make a run for it," Soonyoung explained.

"You could've just said that instead of 'pulling a Naruto'," Mingyu griped.

"Hey man, I'm just trying to help you out here," Soonyoung said as they continued to follow the two musicians.

Mingyu and Soonyoung had kept in touch after their four person barbecue dinner and the two seemed to get along rather well -- their personalities were scarily similar. When he'd called Soonyoung regarding his problem with Seungcheol liking Jeonghan, the dancer was all too eager to lend an ear. They'd scrapped their plans for lunch the minute Wonwoo had messaged Soonyoung informing him that Jeonghan was going to go talk to Seungcheol -- Mingyu had read the message over Soonyoung's shoulder by accident. His jealousy was triggered, sure he trusted his hyung but he didn't trust Seungcheol.

"Come on, come on! They're going inside a restaurant!" Soonyoung waved at the soccer player.

"I'm beginning to think snooping is not worth the trouble," Mingyu said as he followed the dancer.

Mingyu quickly scurried behind Soonyoung as they entered the restaurant and slid into a booth just behind Jeonghan and his older brother. Mingyu pulled his cap further over his face keeping a low profile. Luckily for them they were in the trendy kind of restaurant where you ordered off a screen so they didn't have to worry about making noise -- fucking bless technology. He listened intently on the conversation in the neighbouring booth all the while trying to keep Soonyoung from opening his mouth -- his companion was anything but quiet.

"Look, I am really flattered that you have feelings for me but-"

"Stop right there Jeonghan, nothing ever good comes after that kind of sentence," Seungcheol put up a hand.

"Mingyu and I started this relationship when we were back in high school Seungcheol," Jeonghan suddenly blurted.

"Oh fuck," Mingyu squirmed in his seat, his hyung was going there.

"It started that early on, huh," Seungcheol set down his glass of water.

"It was short lived, we broke up after I decided to pursue music with you and our band. But I can safely say the little bit of happiness I had with Mingyu left a deep impression on me, I couldn't get him out of my mind. I shut myself off emotionally after we parted ways."

"And you were miserable," Seungcheol acknowledged.

"You remember what I was like right?" Jeonghan asked.

"You only cared about our music," Seungcheol nodded.

"Do you know why? Because I was trying to convince myself that I'd made the right choice. I tried so hard to tell myself that what Mingyu and I had was just an innocent fling but...it just wasn't. He made me so happy," Jeonghan smiled down at the table.

"But you broke up, you didn't speak a word to each other in four years," Seungcheol countered.

"Because we were busy living our lives Seungcheol, I had SVT and Mingyu had soccer. Do you know what the amazing thing was?" Jeonghan clasped his hands together on the table.

"What?" Seungcheol asked.

"I still love him as much as I did four years ago. Even after all that time he and I left off like nothing ever happened. It was so easy," Jeonghan smiled sadly at the guitarist.

"Huh," Seungcheol looked down at his lap, his long eyelashes hiding the disheartened look in his eyes.

"That's my man," Mingyu whispered at Soonyoung.

"Shush," Soonyoung said, he was as invested as Mingyu was.

"You really don't have any room left for someone else in your heart, do you?" Seungcheol looked up at the bassist.

"I'm sorry Seungcheol," Jeonghan gave his friend an apologetic look.

"I guess I just have to live with the fact that I'll always be second to Mingyu," Seungcheol scoffed.

"Seungcheol, don't you dare twist my words," Jeonghan furrowed his brows.

"I'll see you around Jeonghan," Seungcheol got out of the booth without a second look back.

"Seungcheol!" Jeonghan called.

Jeonghan gulped down the remaining water in his glass before cradling his face in his hands. He didn't know what was going to become of their relationship now, do they just go back to being friends? Were they just band mates or were they just purely in a business level relationship? Jeonghan just didn't know.

"You guys can come out now," Jeonghan turned his head around.

"Hi hyung," Mingyu smiled sheepishly.

"It was all Mingyu's idea, I had nothing to do with it," Soonyoung said.

"You're a good friend, Soonyoung," Mingyu deadpanned at the dancer.

"Well you two have fun, I have to go," Soonyoung said as he slipped out from his seat, he did not at all sound guilty.

"Oh that's fine, it's not like you came up with this idea or anything," Mingyu watched as Soonyoung scampered off.

"Mingyu, come here," Jeonghan looked over at the athlete.

"Okay," Mingyu went over to sit in the spot opposite his hyung.

"Is this your new way of keeping tabs on me?" Jeonghan asked cocking his head at his dongsaeng.

"Are you mad?" Mingyu couldn't meet Jeonghan's gaze.

"I saw you when I exited the Pledis building, bright ass blue really isn't a colour you want to wear when you're tying to be incognito," Jeonghan reached out to touch the boy's face.

"So you're not mad?" Mingyu looked hopeful.

"Oh I am but I'm willing to look past it since you're only doing it because you care," Jeonghan's face lit into a smile, the boy in front of him making him forget all the bad in the world.

"You still love me as much as you did back then?" Mingyu continued to push.

"You really like the idea of me swooning over you, don't you?" Jeonghan touched Mingyu's fingertips.

"You didn't answer the question," Mingyu extended his hand to get a better grip of the long elegant digits in front of him.

"I might just love you even more than I did back then," Jeonghan smiled as Mingyu played with the ring on his pinky finger.

"It's kind of hot in here," Mingyu began fanning himself as his cheeks burned red.

Jeonghan looked around at the restaurant and pulled the dusk mask from his chin back over his face, he grabbed Mingyu's hand and leaned in close to his ear over their table. He felt like being a little reckless, he needed to distract himself from his predicament with the Seungcheol. He wanted some alone time with Mingyu.

"You want to go out?" Jeonghan whispered.

"Now? Where?" Mingyu asked, the boy's eyes wide with shock as well as anticipation.

"Come with me," Jeonghan had a mischievous look in his eyes, Mingyu could tell his hyung was smiling ear to ear even though his mouth was covered.

Mingyu allowed himself to be lead back to the Pledis building and climbed into Jeonghan's car. Jeonghan drove them across the city and parked in a deserted looking street. They walked a few blocks and stopped in front of a staircase on a side street leading downwards to a rather suspect looking doorway. His hyung seemed to always lead him to really suspicious looking locations. He followed Jeonghan nonetheless and to his surprise the inside was a wonderland of games and bright lights -- Jeonghan had taken him to an arcade.

"I've always wanted to take you to one of these," Jeonghan said as he pulled Mingyu over to one of the games.

The two of them immersed themselves in jumping around and enjoying what the arcade had to offer. Sure Jeonghan made them play all the scary shooting ones and yes he did scream like a girl for most of it but it was fun, he had Jeonghan's attention to himself and they both got a chance to do something that they hadn't done in a while, just be kids. They'd both transitioned from being high school students to being in training, him in soccer and Jeonghan in music. They were able to just forget about responsibilities and enjoy their free time, it was nice.

"Mingyu, over here!" Jeonghan waved his hand over his head.

"There?" Mingyu said as he walked over to where Jeonghan was.

"Come on," Jeonghan nodded toward the photo booth.

Jeonghan slipped some coins into the machine and pulled Mingyu into the booth. He closed the curtain to give them some privacy and touched the screen inside the machine. Mingyu had prepared to just smile but as the screen started the five second countdown he felt Jeonghan's hands on his face. Before he could react his hyung's lips met his followed by the flash of the camera. The second count down began and this time Jeonghan held his chin giving him a peck on the temple, the final picture was of them pressed cheek to cheek smiling at the camera -- it was cheesy, Mingyu loved it.

"Now we wait," Jeonghan said as the machine printed their pictures.

"This was the real reason why you took me here right?" Mingyu asked as Jeonghan handed him one of the two photo strips.

"Isn't normal to want pictures together with my boyfriend?" Jeonghan smiled at the soccer player.

"B-boy...friend," Mingyu stuttered looking down at his feet.

"What? Does that word make you feel embarrassed?" Jeonghan taunted his dongsang as he wrapped his arms around the boy's neck.

"I'm your boyfriend," Mingyu mumbled, his cheeks were flushed pink.

"You're cute," Jeonghan smiled as he tiptoed to give the boy another smooch.

Just as they were leaving Jeonghan felt his phone ring in his back pocket. Seeing Seungkwan's name pop up on the screen he picked up right away.

"Hello?"

"Jeonghan, have you seen Seungcheol? He was supposed to do a radio appearance but he never showed, he didn't show up for his recording session with Jihoon either and he never misses his recordings. Our manager can't get a hold of him either, are you with him by any chance?" Seungkwan asked, he sounded frantic.

"I haven't seen Seungcheol since this morning," that was odd, that didn't sound like Seungcheol.

"Seungcheol looked pretty upset according to Jihoon, apparently he stormed out of the building and drove away in his car. Do you have any idea where he might be?" Seungkwan was audibly distraught.

"I'll call you if I find him," Jeonghan said with a stress-filled exhale, he didn't want Seungkwan knowing too much.

"Hyung, where are you going?" Mingyu asked as he followed Jeonghan.

"Your brother's disappeared, he didn't show up for his schedules," Jeonghan sighed.

"He might just be loitering around somewhere," Mingyu said as Jeonghan unlocked his car.

"Mingyu, you and your brother are like two peas in a pod, you both do stupid things when you're angry. I need to go find him before he gets his ass in trouble," Jeonghan said.

"Name one time I've done something stupid while angry," Mingyu said looking flabbergasted by the accusation.

"Four years ago at the Han River," Jeonghan raised a brow at his dongsaeng.

"Touche," Mingyu said with a curt nod.

"I'll drop you off and then I'll go find Seungcheol," Jeonghan said as he climbed into the driver's seat.

"No, I want to go as well," Mingyu argued.

"Mingyu, get in this car right now or I'm leaving you here," Jeonghan said giving the athlete a look.

"I'm not getting in there unless you let me go with you to find Seungcheol," Mingyu crossed his arms over his chest.

"Mingyu," Jeonghan pressed his lips into a thin line, it was like he was arguing with a five year old.

"Hyung," Mingyu stamped his feet.

"I'm leaving you here," Jeonghan said as he started the engine and pulled out from his parking spot.

"Wait! Hyung! Stop!" Jeonghan pounded the breaks as Mingyu flung his torso onto the hood of his car.

"Mingyu what the fuck?!" Jeonghan lowered his car window looking at Mingyu in disbelief.

"Please let me go with you!" Mingyu said all the while clinging to his windshield.

"Get your palm tree-looking ass off my car right now! I'm not playing games with you!" Jeonghan honked his horn.

"No! I refuse!" Mingyu pressed his face into the windshield leaving imprints of his cheek and lips on the glass.

"Mingyu!" Jeonghan shouted, he resorted to turning on the windscreen wipers.

"Ow! Ow!" Mingyu exclaimed as the wipe blades swatted his face.

"Get off my car, you're making a scene!" Jeonghan stuck his head out the window.

To be fair there was only an elderly woman who was watching them from across the street but Jeonghan was using every excuse he could to get the soccer player off his car. In the end Jeonghan unlocked his car doors gesturing for Mingyu to get in, he didn't have the energy to argue any further. Mingyu rushed immediately into the passenger seat and buckled his seat belt.

"Behave yourself or I'll leave your ass in the middle of bum fuck nowhere," Jeonghan shot his dongsaeng a look.

"No problem," Mingyu gave him the okay sign.

"I swear to Satan Mingyu," Jeonghan shook his head.

They drove to all the usual spots Seungcheol frequented from his favourite restaurants to his favourite bars but they had zero luck. Letting out a long breath Jeonghan continued to drive around in hopes that Seungcheol would magically turn up. While he drove Mingyu's hand continuously found opportunities to hold his but Jeonghan pulled away every time, he didn't need that right now. He called Wonwoo and Soonyoung and even they hadn't heard from the guitarist.

"Seungcheol, where the fuck are you?" Jeonghan looked at his phone, he'd called Seungcheol nine times and he hadn't answered all nine calls.

By sundown Jeonghan was about to give up but his gut feeling was telling him not too, his gut was never wrong so he persevered. With a long sigh he thought of a final place to look, he took a u-turn and drove back in the direction of his house. Jeonghan skimmed by their neighbouring houses and past the convenience store down the road before stopping in front of the basketball court. He cut the ignition and looked out the windshield, the bright lights from the court cast long shadows along the faded painted lines of the concrete. Jeonghan squinted at the brightness to get a better look at the court and immediately caught sight of Seungcheol shooting hoops by himself. That was quite the sad sight. Jeonghan pulled out his phone and messaged their band group chat alerting them of Seungcheol's location.

"There you are you camel," Mingyu got out of the car and started walking over to his brother.

Jeonghan watched as Mingyu walked up to Seungcheol and promptly smacked the back of his head. The older brother shot his dongsaeng a glare in return and gave the younger boy a shove. Jeonghan got out of the car and observed as the two pushed and pulled all the while having a massive case of déjà vu -- they really didn't change.

"You'd think four years would change the way you two behave around each other," Jeonghan said as he sat on the corner of the basketball court.

"Jeonghan! Look at this clown, obviously I'm the better choice here! He hit me!" Seungcheol said pointing at the back of his head.

"That's because your troublesome ass decided to not answer your phone and cause trouble for literally everyone, especially me! I had an opportunity to have a date with Jeonghan today and you ruined it with your disappearing act!" Mingyu snatched the basketball out of Seungcheol's hands.

"My phone was out of battery and I didn't bring a charger! I don't have any control over my phone's battery life!" Seungcheol tried to get the basketball back.

"You skipped out on responsibilities like you always do, what kind of work ethic is that?"

"Don't talk to me like that you bitch-ass palm tree!"

"Who're you calling a palm tree?!"

"You! I called you a palm tree!"

"You two really are brothers," Jeonghan watched the two siblings bicker.

"Okay, let's settle this right here. You against me in basketball! First person to five points wins!" Seungcheol threw the ball hitting Mingyu in square in the chest.

"I'm not playing basketball with you!" Mingyu rubbed his chest giving his older brother a glare.

"What you're scared you might lose to me at something? Scared Jeonghan will see you fail?" Seungcheol said with a smirk.

"You're on," Mingyu said, he was a very simple creature.

"I'd appreciate it if you guys could get this over with as quick as possible, I have to get home," Jeonghan looked down at his phone, it was nine-thirty at night.

He watched the siblings run back and forth over the court in disinterest, neither of them were scoring and Jeonghan was getting tired. Fifteen minutes later he heard a grunt followed by someone sitting down next to him by the court. Jeonghan turned to find Jihoon beside him wearing a dusk mask over his face and his drumsticks in the front pocket of his hoodie.

"Hey, " Jihoon said.

"Hey," Jeonghan returned.

"So this is where the fucker ran off to," Jihoon said narrowing his eyes at Seungcheol.

"Still angry that he missed his recording session?" Jeonghan looked over at the drummer.

"Yup," Jihoon said pulling his drumsticks out of his pocket.

Jeonghan smiled turning his attention back to the court where Mingyu was breathing hard as he continued running around with Seungcheol. Jeonghan's eyes found themselves wandering down to the soccer player's shirt which was drenched with sweat. The bassist drooled a little looking at the contours of Mingyu's body through the sweat soaked material.

"Oi! Seungcheol get your ass over here!" Jihoon hollered.

"Oh hey boss," Seungcheol stopped mid stride.

"You really know how to create trouble for people," Jihoon crossed his arms over his chest.

"I didn't do it on purpose," Seungcheol gave the drummer a nervous smile.

"Get in the car, we still have to record your stuff," Jihoon nodded in the direction of his Jeep.

"Now? But it's late," Seungcheol tried to protest.

"I don't care if we stay in the studio until dawn, now get in before I beat your ass," Jihoon said as he climbed into the driver's seat.

"I'll be there in a second," Seungcheol said before turning his attention to Jeonghan.

"Make it quick," Jihoon said pointing a drumstick at the guitarist, he wasn't playing games.

"I'm sorry for how I acted earlier okay? I got caught up in my feelings. I just hope you know that I don't want us distancing ourselves from each other because of this," Seungcheol said, his voice sincere.

"I'm one hundred percent okay with that, you might be a pain in the ass but I've grown too used to having your annoying ass around," Jeonghan let out a breath he didn't know he was holding.

"You still have quite the way with words Jeonghan," Seungcheol said as he turned his back to the bassist.

Jeonghan gave the members of his band a wave as they drove away. He felt pretty good after his talk with Seungcheol. He whipped around to call for MIngyu but was surprised to find the boy lying on the ground with the basketball rolling away from him.

"Hyung, I have a leg cramp, I need you to help me up," Mingyu said as he lay in the court.

"Mingyu I swear to god," Jeonghan rubbed his temples as he walked over to the soccer player.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"You really have a talent for making people worry," Jihoon said as he drove.

"Sorry," Seungcheol said, his voice sounding as blank as the look on his face.

"What happened?" Jihoon asked giving the guitarist a side glance.

"Nothing," Seungcheol said looking out the window.

"You're not fooling anyone, Seungcheol," Jihoon said.

"Why can't I ever win? Why?" Seungcheol's voice broke, his breaths coming out shallow.

"You finally decided to tell Jeonghan about your feelings, huh," Jihoon guessed.

"I gave up, there's no room for me in his heart," Seungcheol rubbed his face.

"I told you that waiting was a stupid thing to do," Jihoon said as he stopped the car.

"I should have listened to your advice, you've been telling me the same thing year after year," Seungcheol laughed but there was no humour in it, it was a pained.

"And look where waiting got you," Jihoon didn't bother sugarcoating it, he didn't know how to sugarcoat.

At Jihoon's words Seungcheol felt his composure shatter. Tears began to fall freely. He didn't sob but simply stared out the car's windshield as the wet streams ran down his face.

"You're so stupid," Jihoon said before covering Seungcheol's eyes with the sleeve of his hoodie.

"I'm not disagreeing with you," Seungcheol said as he leaned into the soft material of Jihoon's sleeve.

"Let it out man, I won't judge you," Jihoon said as he leaned over from the driver's seat.

Jihoon grabbed the back of Seungcheol's head pulling the guitarist into his chest. He felt Seungcheol's hands grip the fabric at the back of his hoodie while his hot breaths warmed his chest. The drummer patted his friend's back allowing him to take all the time he needed.

"Let it all out," Jihoon whispered. "All four years worth."

Chapter Text

"A little higher please Seungkwan!" Jihoon shouted as he had their vocalist redo his part for the seventh time.

"There are limits to what notes I can reach," Seungkwan shot back sassily but continued to meet their drummer's demands.

Jeonghan sat idly on the floor of Jihoon's hotel room looking at Seungcheol who was devouring the fourth piece of pizza. They'd all travelled to the drummer's apartment after Jihoon had made it known that he'd hit an a epiphany. Jeonghan was exhausted by the third hour of deciphering the melodies Jihoon wanted into bass chords, he wanted to give his fingers a rest.

"Can we just do this tomorrow," Seungkwan complained.

"You two can go, me and Seungkwan are going to work on some things," Jihoon said waving he hand at Jeonghan and Seungcheol.

"Oh come on!" Seungkwan threw his hands in the air.

"Shouldn't have messed with Satan," Jeonghan mumbled giving the vocalist a pat on the shoulder before heading out the door with his bass in tow.

Jeonghan climbed into his car giving Seungkwan a final wave as he drove away. He had all the intention of driving home but just as he reached the halfway point of his drive home Jeonghan received a call from Mingyu. Jeonghan picked up right away.

"Hello?"

"Hyung, you free right now?" Mingyu's voice asked, there was music and chatter in the background.

"I am, why?" Jeonghan responded.

"You want to hang out?" Mingyu asked.

"Hang out?" Jeonghan raised a brow.

"Sorry nevermind, you probably have better things to do right?" Mingyu began to backpedal.

"Mingyu you don't have to feel bad about wanting to see me, where are you? I'll head there right now," Jeonghan said.

"I'm in Hongdae," Mingyu answered.

"Okay, text me the address and I'll be there," Jeonghan said before hanging up.

He made a u-turn and began driving into the direction of Hongdae following the GPS until he found a parking lot close enough to where he could walk to where Mingyu was. Jeonghan instinctively pulled his dusk mask over his face and walked up the flight of stairs leading to the hangout spot. The minute he entered Jeonghan was bombarded with loud upbeat music and other patrons who were laughing and drinking at the bar as well as sitting in the various booths around the bar. He began walking through the fray of people but before he even took more than three steps Jeonghan felt someone grab his wrist. Turning around he was faced with a taller boy dressed in jeans and a leather jacket, his face was familiar but Jeonghan couldn't actually remember where he'd seen the boy before.

"Hi, Jeonghan-hyung! Remember me? We met at the soccer field," the boy said running a hand threw his head of dark hair.

"Ah, Taehwan correct?" Jeonghan said pulling down his mask.

"Yeah, you here by yourself? How about you join me and my friends, we're over there," Taehwan nodded over to a group sitting in a booth.

Jeonghan looked over at Taehwan's group of friends, mainly females, who looked at him eagerly all the while waving. The bassist suddenly wanted to leave, Jeonghan could handle maybe one or two fans but a whole group? That was a massive no. He didn't want to get involved in a scandal especially when his band had settled into a comfortable place in terms of their career.

"I'm alright, I'm actually here to meet with a friend," Jeonghan said as he began looking around for Mingyu.

"He can wait, just come join us for a little bit. We can get to know each other and we can exchange numbers," Taehwan reclaimed his grip on Jeonghan's wrist.

"Look, I'd love to but I already have plans," Jeonghan pulled away from the boy's grasp.

"Hyung, I really think you should reconsider. A lot of people would love to be in your position right now," Taehwan's eyes beginning to show signs of irritation.

"Then you obviously don't need me," Jeonghan said to the boy.

"Hyung," Taehwan stepped around him blocking his path.

"Please move," Jeonghan's patience was wearing thin.

"You better do what he says," Mingyu suddenly appeared behind Jeonghan giving Taehwan's chest a hard shove.

"Don't touch me you animal," Taehwan swatted Mingyu's hand away giving his teammate a glare.

"You're here harassing Jeonghan-hyung yet I'm the animal?" Mingyu scoffed.

"Let's go Mingyu," Jeonghan looked up at the athlete trying to calm down his lover.

"So this is the person you were meeting up with, I was expecting someone high profile but it ended up being that bastard," Taehwan pointed a finger at Mingyu.

"What'd you call me?" Mingyu took several steps toward his teammate.

"Bastard," Taehwan spat.

"Pretty hurtful words there, guess that trust fund of yours really does wonders for your ego," Mingyu sneered.

"Watch your mouth Mingyu," Taehwan grabbed the front of Mingyu's shirt.

"Or what? You'll call your daddy?" Mingyu smirked.

"You motherfucker!" At that moment threw a fist hitting Mingyu square in the jaw.

"Mingyu!" Jeonghan shouted, his eyes wide.

Jeonghan watched in shock as the two soccer players went at each other's throats. He heard the shouts and screams as Mingyu was tackled to the ground by the bar before more punches were exchanged. Mingyu managed to kick his teammate in the chest sending him crashing into a nearby table. Taehwan in turn grabbed a glass bottle from the table and hurled it at Mingyu who ducked just in time. The glass bottle shattered upon hitting the ball sending bits of glass and alcohol splattering onto the ground. Mingyu slowly rose from his crouching position to touch his cheek which was now bleeding from a small cut, one of the small pieces of broken glass had managed to strike him. Jeonghan's vision immediately bled red -- he was out for blood, Taehwan's specifically.

"Are you fucking insane?!" Jeonghan fisted Taehwan's shirt in his hands.

"Fuck you as well," Taehwan shouted, it was obvious the boy was retaliating only because he was being backed into a corner.

Taehwan's fist rose aiming to strike at Jeonghan's face only it never managed to make contact with the bassist's face. Jeonghan had avoided the blow before sending his own fist into the athlete's jaw. Jeonghan was prepared to fight only he was stopped by Mingyu holding back and leading him away.

"My father will hear about this, you bastards!" Taehwan said clutching his face as Mingyu pulled Jeonghan away by the arm.

Before anyone had time to react two policemen entered the restaurant approaching them. Mingyu grabbed his hyung's arm hiding him behind his back as the officers walked towards them. Taehwan's expression immediately turned from one of hostility to one of vulnerability, the boy began to groan and hiss putting up an award worthy performance in front of the police. Jeonghan felt his anger bubbling up anew, he wanted to give the little faker a kick to the head.

"What's going on here?" One of the officers asked waving his baton at Mingyu and Taehwan.

"Officer, I was just trying to talk to a friend minding my own business and suddenly he came up and hit me! He's crazy!" Taehwan said between pathetic fake groans.

"You expect them to believe that?! You threw a fucking glass bottle at my head you psycho!" Mingyu countered while keeping Jeonghan hidde behind his back.

"We can talk more at the station, you two follow me," the other officer nodded towards the exit.

"You two better start walking or I'm going to have to do this the hard way and handcuff you both."

"Hyung, go. I can handle myself from here," Mingyu said giving Jeonghan's face a gentle touch.

"I'm going with you," Jeonghan said not letting go of the younger boy's hand.

"Don't, you have an image to maintain and getting involved in something like this might hurt your reputation," Mingyu said prying off Jeonghan's hand.

"I don't want to leave you like this, I threw punches too Mingyu!" Jeonghan's pupils were shaking.

"Trust me hyung, everything will be fine. I'll just have a talk with the police at the station and then they'll send me off on my merry way," Mingyu said giving his hyung a peck in the forehead before following the officers out of the bar.

"Call me the minute you're done," Jeonghan said giving Mingyu's hand a last squeeze as he got into the police car.

"What a fucking joke," Taehwan kicked the gravel under his feet before slipping into the vehicle also.

"Should've kicked him in the balls," Jeonghan mumbled to himself as he began walking back to his car.

Jeonghan dialled Seungcheol the second he reached his car and tapped his thumb impatiently on the steering wheel. The guitarist was notorious for being inconsistent when it came to answering his phone, sometimes he responded right away while other times not answering until the very next day. Luckily for Jeonghan Seungcheol picked up after the fifth ring.

"Hello?" Seungcheol's groggy voice answered before a rather loud yawn.

"Get your ass down to the police station in Hongdae, Mingyu's been arrested," Jeonghan said rubbing his tired eyes.

"What? Ah Fuck!" Seungcheol shouted before a loud thud was heard on his end of the line.

"What happened?"

"I fell off the bed, I'm good," Seungcheol said recovering from his fall. "Why the fuck did he get arrested?"

"His little bitch of a teammate tried to make a move on me so Mingyu tried to stop him, the dude decided to punch your brother and threw a glass bottle at him," Jeonghan could feel the heat of his anger burn anew.

"The fucking trustfund daddy's boy isn't it?" Seungcheol asked.

"How'd you know?" Jeonghan asked.

"The kid tried to get free concert tickets off me when I went to go see one of Mingyu's games last year, pretentious little fuck," Seungcheol said.

"Bring your wallet man, we might need to bail him out," Jeonghan said.

"Normally I'd call my brother a dumbass for getting arrested but I'm on his side for this, his teammate is an annoying little shit stain," the sound of keys jangled in the background as Seungcheol spoke.

"Thanks for the imagery," Jeonghan said.

"I'll be there in ten minutes," Seungcheol said and hung up.

"I'm having deja vu," Jeonghan mumbled, he was having flashbacks to the time he and Seungcheol went to find Mingyu at the Han river.

"The only time the three of us are on the same page is when we're knee deep in shit," Jeonghan shook his head as he began heading towards the Hongdae police station.

The bassist pulled into a parking spot just outside the station, it took him a while considering parallel parking had never been his strong point. He waited inside his car with the radio playing ballads for a little while before turning it off after the fifth song about heartbreak -- he really didn't need that right now. As promised just over ten minutes later Seungcheol's black car pulled into a spot behind Jeonghan's. The bassist got out giving his friend a casual handshake as they waited. `

"You'll be hearing from my lawyers! Do have any idea who my father is?!" Taehwan's irritatingly whiny voice echoed through the empty street as he and Mingyu came out of the station.

"Sorry about everything officer," Mingyu politely bowed to the officer in front of him.

"Don't let it happen again, you 're a good kid. I'd hate to see you becoming a regular face here at the station," the balding policeman patted Mingyu on the back.

"You fucking policeman are useless! I got assaulted and you did nothing about it, fuck all of you!" Taehwan yelled before he climbed inside the black town car that awaited him outside.

"Told you he was a pretentious little fuck," Seungcheol said as he watched the black town car drive away.

"Are you okay? What did they say?" Jeonghan grabbed Mingyu's hand.

"They let us go after giving both of us a lecture about behaving in a public space," Mingyu answered.

"Anything else?" Jeonghan pushed.

"Taehwan said he's going to get his father involved and..." Mingyu looked down at his feet like a frightened child.

"What?" Jeonghan lifted Mingyu's chin with his fingertips.

"The last time he got his father involved a teammate got terminated hyung, they kicked him off the team just like that without notice. I'm scared that might happen to me. His dad's a sponsor hyung," Mingyu bit his lower lip nervously.

"It'll be alright, you still have us backing you up," Jeonghan looked over at Seungcheol who gave a nod.

"We've bailed your ass out of all sorts of shit, this isn't anything new," Seungcheol said trying to lighten the mood.

"Come on, I'll take you home," Jeonghan began directing Mingyu to his car.

"No, he can go with me. I'm heading back home to see my mom anyway," Seungcheol said unlocking his own vehicle.

"You sure?" Jeonghan said looking back and forth between the two brothers.

"It's okay, we'll behave ourselves," Seungcheol reassured as he pushed Mingyu into the direction of his car.

"No need to push, I get it," Mingyu shrugged off his brother's arm.

"Okay, make sure you two get home safe," Jeonghan reluctantly said.

The bassist tiptoed to give Mingyu a quick kiss on the lips and hug. He stood leaning against his car door as he watched the two brother climb into the car across the street and drive away, he waved until they were no longer in sight.

Seungcheol could sense the discomfort radiating from Mingyu as they drove home. The tension was so thick Seungcheol felt like he could cut it with a knife. It was when they were beginning to drive away from the city that Mingyu cleared his throat looking over at his older brother.

"Sorry," Mingyu said.

"Sorry?" Seungcheol cocked a brow as he stopped at a red light.

"About Jeonghan," Mingyu said looking out the car window.

"You can't help how you feel," Seungcheol said as he continued to drive when the light turned green.

"Can you blame me?"

"You and I really are brothers," Seungcheol let out a chuckle.

"What is it about him that you like?" Mingyu suddenly asked.

"He was loyal and he was always there no matter what kind of shit I got myself into. It started that day you and I beat the shit out of each other. He found me at the basketball court, he gave an ice pack and an ice cream from the convenience store, it might not sound like much but it meant a lot to me. After he helped bail your ass out of trouble with Daejong by the river that just solidified my feelings for him," Seungcheol said.

"I see," Mingyu replied for lack of better words.

"What about you?" Seungcheol turned to face his younger sibling.

"It's exactly as you said in that restaurant, I've been idolising him since I was a kid. He was nice, he let me play with you guys even though you berated him for it. He put bandaids on my knees when I fell and he was there for me when I had trouble making friend at school. After I came back to live with you and mom I began to see him differently, he was patient and he was willing to go the extra mile to make sure I didn't feel alone."

"And let's face it he's very easy on the eyes," Seungcheol said rubbing a hand over his face.

"He is," Mingyu agreed.

"We finally agreed on something," Seungcheol shook his head, the corner of his lips tugging into a smile.

"It only took a lifetime," Mingyu said with a small chuckle of his own.

"Take care of him," Seungcheol said as they finally pulled into the driveway of their family home.

"I will," Mingyu replied with a nod.

"Now get out of my car, you smell like alcohol and sweat," Seungcheol immediately changing his tone to one of teasing.

"I got hit by a glass bottle you camel," Mingyu retorted but his words showed no malice.

"As if your palm tree looking ass needs more watering," Seungcheol said as he entered the house.

"Mom! Seungcheol's calling me names again!" Mingyu accused the second he passed the threshold.

"Mom! He's lying!" Seungcheol countered.

"Either you two be quiet or I'm kicking you out of this house," their mother shouted in return.

Chapter Text

Jeonghan sat at the circular table, the four musicians had been trying to figure out what they wanted to do for their next album but all their ideas so far had been shut down by the company higher-ups. For the first time they had no clue or even a direction in which they wanted to take their music, even Jihoon was strapped for ideas. Jeonghan leaned back in his swivel chair and rubbed his tired eyes, he was frustrated.

"What's wrong with us? Why is it suddenly so hard to come up with something?" Jeonghan asked of no one in particular.

"I don't know," Seungkwan crossed his leg over the other.

"I think deep down we know why, it's just none of us are willing to acknowledge it," Seungcheol said looking down at his hands.

"What are you talking about?" Jeonghan's knitted together.

"Think about it, the reason why we had so many comebacks and album releases in the last four years was because we loved what we did. We loved making music. Ever since our last album none of us even bothered to start on the next one, why? Because we've lost the passion we once had," Seungcheol said with a stress-filled sigh.

"I miss those days of just performing at bars," Seungkwan said with his head lowered.

"We all do," Jeonghan said.

"We were rookies with big dreams, we were chasing success and fame and we did whatever it was that Pledis wanted. Now that we've reach our goal I guess you can say that drive we once had just isn't there anymore," Jihoon said sticking his hands into his pockets.

"I'm going to be brutally honest here. I fucking hate it, I hate not having any privacy, I hate our hectic schedules and I hate not being able to make the kind of music we want. I don't want to sing about first love, I don't want to fucking play the same chords every song. I miss those days where we had control over what we created," Jeonghan blurted.

"You're not alone," Jihoon said giving Jeonghan an understanding nod.

"We worked so hard to get here yet I don't feel the least bit happy," Seungcheol said adjusting the cap on his head.

"I love performing so much yet the minute we step off the stage I just feel...sad," Seungkwan said swallowing to keep from getting emotional. "Don't get me wrong, I want to continue performing but all the restrictions just overshadows everything else."

"That's the main problem isn't it? We want to perform but we also just want to be free," Jeonghan patted the vocalist's head.

"This might sound crazy but-" Jihoon began to say but stopped himself. "Nevermind, forget it."

"What? What were you going to say?" Jeonghan turned all his attention to their drummer.

"What if we went independent? We have the power and the money to separate ourselves from Pledis now. Think about it, we have more than enough money to get legal help if it gets ugly, we have enough money if they want to settle and again we have enough money to fund our own future projects, sure the scale won't be as big without Pledis but we can do whatever we please. We fucking did all the work these past four years anyway. We don't need this place," Jihoon said.

"Go independent?" Jeonghan's mouth fell open, that didn't sound all too crazy.

"We won't have the company breathing down our necks, we can do whatever we want music wise and we don't have to adhere to the cookie cutter idol bullshit," Jihoon wasn't holding anything back.

"You're a fucking genius," Seungcheol said as he bent over and grabbed the drummer's face in his hands.

"Get your hands off me before I shove a drumstick up your rectum," Jihoon threatened, Seungcheol let go immediately.

"We just have one problem," Seungkwan cleared his throat.

"Which is?" Jeonghan raised a brow.

"Where are we going to go? We don't have anywhere to go if we leave here. We won't have a practice room or a recording studio, no PR team and no company to back us up," Seungkwan bit at his fingernails.

"Then we'll just go back to our humble beginnings," Seungcheol smiled.

"Back to practicing in our garages and recording in a soundproofed closet like we did in high school," Jeonghan draped an arm around the vocalist, he didn't seem all too concerned about the potential downgrade.

"Then how do you suggest we break this to the CEO? We're kind of their biggest asset," Seungkwan looked over at Jihoon.

"We'll give him one last parting gift," Jihoon said.

"Which is?" Jeonghan asked.

"We'll release a final album under Pledis, then we leave," Jihoon said with a smirk. "We'll make them as much money as we can and then we go. It'll soften the blow, they have other artists and they have other trainees. We're not the only ones keeping this company alive anymore, there are others."

"How long have you been planning all this?" Jeonghan smiled at the drummer.

"Ever since we signed this slave contact, this was just a small part of a bigger picture. Pledis was just a stepping stone," Jihoon said with zero remorse in his voice.

"You really are terrifying Lee Jihoon," Seungcheol shook his head at the drummer, his eyes holding an amused glint.

"Then I guess it's settled, SVT are going rogue," Jeonghan said, he was fucking excited.

"Just one more album guys, just one more," Seungcheol nodded at his band mates.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mingyu toweled off the sweat on his face neck throwing the sullied cloth into a nearby hamper. It had been a week since he'd seen his hyung, apparently him and the band were in the process of getting ready for a comeback. Mingyu was taking a sip from his water bottle when he noticed the television screen in the training centre lobby display an image of SVT. He turned on his heel directing all his attention to the screen as the female newpresenter spoke.

"SVT, the popular four member band under Pledis have revealed plans of nullifying their contract with their company after their August comeback. An official statement from the band reveals that they want to continue their careers under their own terms and creating their own sound."

"Hyung," Mingyu mumbled as he absorbed what he was hearing.

"You called?" Jeonghan's voice made the athlete jump.

"Hyung, the news! It said-" Mingyu was stopped by Jeonghan's finger over his lips.

"It's true," Jeonghan nodded giving the boy a quick pat on the cheek.

"Why?" Mingyu looked very confused.

"I'm doing what makes me happy," Jeonghan said looking up at his dongsaeng. "I want to be in charge of myself, I don't want a company managing my every move anymore."

They walked out of the training centre and Mingyu climbed into the passenger seat of his hyung's car. He was happy that his hyung knew what he wanted but a small part of him was worried, he was worried he was going to be left behind again. SVT was having their comeback and that meant he was going to see his hyung less than he already did. What was going to happen to them once the band started going independent? He was going to be anything but the main priority in Jeonghan's eyes, Mingyu just knew it.

"Hyung, why didn't you tell me about this?" Mingyu asked Jeonghan as they drove.

"About what?" Jeonghan said as they turned a right.

"That you're ending your contract with Pledis," Mingyu said.

"Because it doesn't concern you," Jeonghan replied.

"But why didn't you bring it up even once? Don't I get to know what goes on in your life?" Mingyu was getting annoyed.

"Why would you need to know about my business with Pledis? You're acting really weird Mingyu," Jeonghan's voice also showing his own annoyance.

"I just think it's normal to discuss things with your partner especially when it comes to such big life decisions like this," Mingyu folded his arms over his chest looking out the window.

"Why would I want to discuss this with you? I don't need to have you involved in every aspect of my life and I, for a fact, don't need your input on decisions that don't concern you," Jeonghan tightened his grip on the steering wheel.

"Don't concern me? Of course this concerns me, you going independent means we'll have even less time together. I don't get to see you very much as it is and even when we do see each other we have to snoop around like criminals. What's going to happen when my schedule gets filled up as well? What's going to happen to us?" Mingyu's tone was sharp.

"So that's what this is about, you're not angry about me not telling you about my plans to leave Pledis. You're angry because you think I'm going to cast you off to the side while I focus on my work," Jeonghan accused.

"You're going to be managing yourself from now on, you're guaranteed to push me away," Mingyu's mouth pulled into a frown.

"That's not going to happen, Mingyu," Jeonghan tried to reason.

"It is going to happen," Mingyu was adamant.

"How do you know that?" Jeonghan pulled the car up to the Choi residence.

"Because you've already done it once," Mingyu said looking over his shoulder before getting out of the car.

"Mingyu," Jeonghan called after the athlete.

"My team's getting ready for the upcoming season, I won't see you much or even at all. I'm not sure what'll become of us hyung, I don't know if I can keep waiting," Mingyu said just before entering the house.

The soccer player slammed the car door shut without even a goodbye. Jeonghan sat behind the wheel with wide eyes, he was speechless. What Mingyu just said hurt, it hurt a lot. While he drove back to his apartment he texted the band group chat and notified them he wasn't going to be attending their group dinner, he suddenly lost his appetite.

With a long sigh Jeonghan walked into his apartment dragging his feet. He kicked off his shoes by the door and threw his jacket onto the back of his sofa before grabbing a bottle of water from his fridge. He plopped down on the soft ivory sofa and turned on the television, the news immediately caught his attention. The female news anchor was speaking while two images floated on screen. One depicting Mingyu straight faced looking into the camera while the was other of Taehwan who had bandages on his face showing a scared expression.

"Kim Mingyu, a player for the national team is finding himself in hot water after fellow teammate Lee Taehwan revealed that he had been physically assaulted by Kim. According to the young athlete his teammate has had a history of violence with jealousy being the main motive for his hostilities toward Lee. Lee's legal team has made an official statement claiming they will be looking to seek justice for their client. Kim Mingyu may face charges of aggravated assault and potential termination from the team if Lee wins in court," the anchor said staring dead into the camera.

"That little bitch," Jeonghan's voice dripped with venom, he bit the skin on his bottom lip -- a nervous habit he never managed to overcome.

Jeonghan felt his heartbeat accelerate and he could feel nervous sweats build on the back of his neck as well as forehead. Just before he had a breakdown Jeonghan's phone rang, seeing Seungcheol's name on the screen he picked up right away.

"You saw it right?" Seungcheol asked without a hello.

"I did, the little shit wasn't bluffing," Jeonghan threw a cushion from his sofa at the television screen right where Taehwan's image was.

"What do we do?" Seungcheol asked sounding flustered.

"How do you feel about playing detective?" Jeonghan asked the guitarist.

"Hell yeah," Jeonghan could sense Seungcheol's smirk over the phone.

"I'll text you an address, meet me there in twenty minutes," Jeonghan said.

"I will," Seungcheol replied and hung up.

Jeonghan pulled his jacket back on and bolted down to his car. He quickly texted Seungcheol the address to the bar in Hongdae and started making the drive into the city. He pulled haphazardly into the first available parking spot and calmed himself as he climbed up the flight of stairs to the bar. He put on his brightest smile and began looking around for an employee. He zeroed in on a waitress who looked around his age.

"Hi, can I talk to you for a moment?" Jeonghan asked the petite girl.

"Um, sure," the girl's face carried a look of shock as well as awe.

"My friend was here last night and got assaulted by one of the other patrons. Is it okay for me to just grab a copy of the security footage from yesterday? It would really help me out," Jeonghan held the girl's hand pleading.

"My manager's on break right now so I think that should be fine," the girl's face flushed a bright shade of red.

"Thank you, you're a blessing," Jeonghan smiled as he was lead into a narrow corridor into a room that was just labeled as 'Storage.'

Among the shelves of packaged foods and drinks was a computer desk shoved into a corner. Three monitors filled the desk showing the different angles of which the security cameras were filming. Jeonghan quickly pulled out a thumb drive from his pocket and and plugged it into the computer. He browsed through the various folders finding the ones he wanted. He finally found the footage from the previous evening and highlighted the items transferring them to his thumb drive. Jeonghan tapped his fingernails impatiently as the files copied, the waittress who eas helping him was keeping lookout by the door -- she truly was a blessing.

"Okay," Jeonghan muttered as the last file finished copying.

He immediately went back out trying his best not to look suspicious. He turned to the waittress who was sheepishly holding out a pen and paper to him. Jeonghan smiled as he signed the girl an autograph, it was the least he could do after the girl snooped behind her manager's back to help him.

"Thank you so much," Jeonghan said handing back the pen and paper.

"You're welcome," the girl said before scampering away.

Jeonghan used that moment to take his leave and travel down the staircase back to his car. Seungcheol was waiting for him below leaning against the railing. The guitarist looked worried.

"I got the security footage from last night," Jeonghan said while waving the thumb drive.

"How'd you get that?" Seungcheol's expression turned to one of confusion.

"A smile and an autograph goes a long way," Jeonghan smiled.

"You really know how to use that pretty face of yours," Seungcheol shook his head.

"Let's go, we need to get to the training centre," Jeonghan said climbing into his car.

"Okay," Seungcheol said climbing into Jeonghan's car also.

"Didn't you drive here?" Jeonghan asked in confusion at the guitarist in his passenger seat.

"No, Jihoon dropped me off after we finished dinner," Seungcheol said.

"You two seem to be spending a lot more time together lately," Jeonghan said as he drove.

"He's nicer to me these days," Seungcheol said with a slight smile tugging his lips.

They traveled to the soccer training centre parking in the mostly deserted front parking lot. Jeonghan allowed Seungcheol to take the lead as they entered and hung back while the guitarist asked to see the coach as well as announcing his relation to Mingyu. They were directed down the hall and into a room on the right. Jeonghan looked around at the sterile white walls displaying various wooden plaques and shelves lined with trophies. Behind a dark oak desk sat a pudgy man in a tracksuit resembling Jeonghan's old PE teacher in high school -- the only difference was that this man had a moustache.

"What can I do for you gentleman?" The man asked.

"Hey coach, I'm sure you already know about the news regarding Mingyu and Taehwan," Seungcheol said.

"I am, Taehwan was just here about an hour ago with his lawyers," the coach set down his pen looking up at the two musicians.

"I don't know what they've told you but I can assure you Mingyu isn't in the wrong," Seungcheol defended his brother.

"Do you have proof? So far all I'm hearing are words but no concrete evidence," the coach clasped his hands on his desk.

"Oh we have evidence," Jeonghan said as he placed his thumb drive in front of the coach.

"What's this?" The coach palmed the thumb drive.

"Video evidence of Taehwan attacking and throwing a glass bottle at Mingyu, you may also notice him trying to hit me as well," Jeonghan said. "You can watch and see for yourself, the footage speaks for itself. I don't know about you coach but I think you should talk to Taehwan about calling off the legal proceedings. All of this bad publicity will reflect poorly on the team and it'll probably tarnish the team's reputation. Sure Lee Taehwan's family might be a sponsor but what if other team sponsors begin to pull out because of all of this drama? Think about it, in order to keep good relations with one sponsor you'll end up losing many others."

"And I'm not trying to brag or anything but my younger brother has a rather long list of other teams who would be willing to take him. You'd be losing out on a good player, coach," Seungcheol said playing into the man's fears.

"You really do strike up a good argument," the coach acknowledged leaning back in his chair.

"Because it's the truth, you and the team are going to suffer because some spoilt rich boy didn't get what he wants," Jeonghan crossed his arms.

"Also, need I remind you that Jeonghan over here was also assulted by Taehwan, if this gets out that Jeonghan was hurt by one of your players our fans will most likely be out for blood," Seungcheol said nodding over at Jeonghan.

"I'll get this sorted out, I assure you nothing bad will happen to Mingyu," the coach said as he began looking at the security footage on his laptop.

"Thank you," Jeonghan said, if something did happen to Mingyu he would raise hell.

"Goodnight," Seungcheol bowed to the coach as he and Jeonghan took their leave.

"You really do have quite the talent for striking fear into people," Seungcheol laughed.

"Desperate times call for desperate measures," Jeonghan replied.

"That brat doesn't realise how good he has it, don't you ever get tired of bailing him out of shit?" Seungcheol asked.

"No," Jeonghan answered nonchalantly.

"Really?" Seungcheol asked incredulously.

"Yeah, because bailing Mingyu out is a piece of cake compared to your troublesome ass," Jeonghan said as he climbed back into his car.

"How fucking rude," Seungcheol was offended but he let it go -- he was thankful to his sharp tongued band mate.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

TWO MONTHS LATER ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jeonghan stretched as he got out of the company vehicle, they'd decided to go from a final album to an additional concert tour as it was the only way they could keep a friendly relationship with Pledis. Everyone in the band had reluctantly agreed. So after a two months of nonstop of promotions they were on the final leg of their tour, Thailand.

Jeonghan followed the rest of the band into the elevator where they unceremoniously began to untie and unbutton the restrictive outfits they were given. Thailand was hot and the fact that the stylists thought it was a good idea to put them in thick tailored suits showed how little they cared about the band's comfort. Jeonghan felt like he was melting. Seungcheol had managed to sweat through his dress shirt as well as suit jacket and Jihoon's red hair dye was bleeding onto his white shirt turning it pink. Seungkwan was alive but barely.

"It's over kids," Seungcheol said as he shrugged off his suit jacket.

"I'm setting these clothes on fire," Jihoon said with a blank expression.

"I'm fucking burning, fuck this heat," Seungcheol said as he dabbed at his forehead with his sleeve.

"I need water," Seungkwan fanned himself in the corner.

When the doors of the elevator opened all four musicians piled out and disappeared into their respective bedrooms. Jeonghan stripped off his clothing leaving a trail of items in his wake. He let out a sigh of relief as the air conditioning blasted against his sweat slicked skin, he felt alive again. He pulled out his phone checking his calls and messages, he received one from Wonwoo.

"Hey, it's Wonwoo. Me and Soonyoung just landed in Thailand and we're currently in baggage claim and-" There was a rustling noise, "Soonyoung! Just wait for the suitcase to come back around the carousel! Don't follow it Soonyoung! Get your head out of there! Soonyoung!" More rustling was audible in the background. "I'll call you back, Soonyoung's on the baggage carousel! Soonyoung!"

Jeonghan looked through all his other notifications but found nothing from Mingyu. He and the soccer player had tried to reconcile after their exchange of words but neither party had the time to actually meet up and talk. Jeonghan was in the middle of promotions and Mingyu was getting ready for his upcoming matches. The bassist had made an attempt to go see his dongsaeng after he'd finished their album promotions but the concert tour had made it an impossible task. Just as he was about to jump into the shower Jeonghan heard a knock at his door. He quickly opened it revealing the guitarist dressed in a pair of shorts and a loose t-shirt.

"I got a call from my mom just now, Mingyu's plane landed in Thailand around three hours ago. According to her, Mingyu's team is staying in this hotel as well. I know you guys haven't been speaking but I thought I should let you know," Seungcheol said before heading back to his room.

"Thanks for telling me," Jeonghan smiled as Seungcheol walked away.

"I told you I was the better brother, you missed your chance Yoon Jeonghan," Seungcheol said as he entered his room.

"I know you're still hurting," Jeonghan whispered to himself.

Looking at his shower Jeonghan decided he needed to do something more to distract himself. He wanted to do something fun, something that would take his mind off Mingyu and also from the blistering heat. Even if Mingyu was in the same hotel chances were he wasn't in the mood to see his boyfriend who had neglected him for two months -- Jeonghan didn't even know if Mingyu was still his boyfriend or not.

In the end he chose to go and visit the private pool on the top floor of the hotel. According to Seungkwan it was pretty much deserted in the evenings because the one on the ground floor had a lot more entertainment surrounding it and by default made it more popular. Jeonghan however liked the idea of having a solo night swim. Pulling on his swim trunks he grabbed a towel from the bathroom and headed for the elevator. He took the short ride up to the top level and looked around, Seungkwan was right there was not a single soul in sight.

He set down his towel on one of the empty sun loungers surrounding the pool's edge and jumped right into the cool waters below. It felt amazing and he had the entire place to himself. Jeonghan swam around leisurely before allowing himself to float on the water's surface, the air caressing his wet face did wonders for him. It wasn't until he felt the top of his head touch the pool edge that he opened his eyes. Jeonghan was immediately faced with a pair of dark eyes looking down at him from above. Mingyu stood at the edge wearing his team tracksuit.

"Hyung," the boy breathed.

"Hey," Jeonghan said as he began pulling himself out of the water.

"I heard from coach that you provided the security footage from the bar," Mingyu looked down at his feet. "I wanted to say thank you, if you hadn't done that I don't know what would have happened to me."

"You're welcome," Jeonghan nodded grabbing his towel.

"Hyung, I'm...I'm..." Mingyu began to say but the boy couldn't find his words.

"I'll see you around Mingyu," Jeonghan said as he began walking away, he didn't feel like listening to Mingyu stuttering.

The bassist made his way back into his room without turning on the lights, the brightness from the city scape below was more than enough to give his hotel room the light it needed. Jeonghan picked up the wrinkled items of clothing he'd strewn around the room and threw them into a corner by a chair. He took a long shower washing away the smell of chlorine and scrubbed his body thoroughly. When Jeonghan finally got out he felt like he'd shed his skin, he felt so clean. Throwing on his oversized pyjama shirt Jeonghan opted for no pants, it was too hot anyway and he was alone so he didn't care. It was around ten o'clock when Jeonghan heard a knock at his hotel room door. With a furrowed brow he walked over and opened the door just a crack, he was surprised to find Mingyu standing on the other side.

"Hey," Jeonghan greeted the athlete.

"Hyung, can I come in?" Mingyu asked, eyes pleading.

"Sure," Jeonghan stepped aside allowing the boy to enter.

Mingyu entered the room and began eyeing the space inspecting everything before he turned to look at Jeonghan. The boy's eyes roamed down to Jeonghan's exposed legs and swallowed -- Mingyu kept his gaze at eye level after that. Jeonghan crossed his arms over his chest as he leaned against the wall.

"I'm sorry for not keeping in touch, I was being an idiot," Mingyu lowered his head.

"Hm," was all Jeonghan could utter.

"Thank you again for what you did, I'm still on the team because of you. Even though you were angry you went the extra mile to make sure my name was cleared. I really don't deserve you, I totally understand if you never want to see my face again. I'm really sorry, I'll go now," Mingyu whispered biting back tears.

Mingyu began to head for the door but the slow steps coupled with his hesitant posture told Jeonghan that the boy didn't actually want to leave. Jeonghan decided to take the lead and pushed the door closed before pressing himself against Mingyu's back, his slender arms circling the boy's waist. Jeonghan tiptoed to whisper into Mingyu's ear.

"Did you want to stay?" Jeonghan asked.

"Yes please," Mingyu nodded.

"Come here," Jeonghan opened his arms and Mingyu clung onto him immediately.

The younger boy clutched onto him for dear life while his nose was buried into the crook of his hyung's neck. He could feel the deep inhales as Mingyu took in his scent and the warmth of the boy's lips roaming his skin. Jeonghan allowed his own hands to rub his lover's broad back and slowly moving upwards to massage the back of Mingyu's scalp easing the tension he had. As time passed he could feel Mingyu slowly loosen up, the boy was like a noodle in his arms.

"You have no idea how much I missed this," Jeonghan said as he gave Mingyu a kiss.

"I made so many mistakes hyung, I keep messing up," Mingyu whispered as he touched Jeonghan's cheek.

"We both made mistakes Mingyu-yah," Jeonghan consoled.

"I'm sorry about everything, my mind keeps feeding me all these negative thoughts and I stupidly listened to them even though I shouldn't be."

"I should have been more transparent with you, you do deserve to know things especially about things that might affect our relationship. I was being inconsiderate, sorry Mingyu-yah."

"I'm surprised you're still willing to talk to me," Mingyu said.

"We're polar opposites, it was bound to cause tension," Jeonghan repeated the words he'd uttered four years ago. "But the amazing thing is that we always end up gravitating back to one another, we need each other. You're my other half, how am I supposed to live on when half of me is missing?"

"I'm scared one of these days I might say something that you won't be able to forgive."

"I'd like to remind you that I left you for four years without as much as a call Mingyu, if anything I've made the biggest faux pas between the two of us," Jeonghan said with a regretful sigh.

"Please forget about what I said, I don't want you to ever feel bad about following your dreams," Mingyu tightened his grip around his hyung.

"It's amazing how you can utter such sweet words all the while touching my behind without as much as an ounce of shame," Jeonghan said looking at Mingyu's hands which had snaked their way under his shirt, each globe was held in Mingyu's large hands.

"It's a really nice behind," Mingyu hid his flushed face in Jeonghan's neck.

"Would you like to stay here tonight?" Jeonghan asked.

"Yes please," Mingyu's muffled voice nodded into his hyung's shoulder.

"You're not letting go of my ass any time soon, are you?" Jeonghan asked as Mingyu began slowly inching them over to the bed.

"I'm not letting go ever," Mingyu pulled his shirt over his head revealing a toned bronzed chest.

"Promises, promises," Jeonghan whispered as Mingyu leaned over him.

Jeonghan made no move of protest as he let Mingyu take the lead, he liked seeing Mingyu being transparent about what he wanted. The bassist relished in the fact that his Mingyu no longer had issues making eye contact when they were intimate and he loved how Mingyu's curious touches still held such a gentleness despite being more possessive. Jeonghan gripped Mingyu's biceps hard as he was being penetrated, a reminder of how well endowed his lover was.

"Hyung," Mingyu licked at the shell of Jeonghan's ear.

"Harder," Jeonghan pulled Mingyu's face close licking his upper lip.

Mingyu trusted forward holding onto his hyung's ankles in each hand increasing his pace. Jeonghan reached up gently touching Mingyu's face through half closed eyes, Mingyu's rippling muscle was pulled taught as he loomed over the bassist. Jeonghan watched with fascination as Mingyu removed his hold on his legs and began touching his thighs. The athlete leaned in close kissing a line from his chest up until he was millimetres away from Jeonghan's face, their breath mingled in close proximity tickling the bassist's chin.

"I really missed you," Mingyu whispered before finally closing the remaining distance between their lips.

"I can tell," Jeonghan clenched onto Mingyu's length causing the boy to crumble onto his chest.

"Have mercy," Mingyu's breathing was laboured.

"Where's the fun in that?" Jeonghan chuckled into Mingyu's ear.

"Hyung," Mingyu whined as Jeonghan continued to laugh.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Come on! Go with me! Jeonghan said there's a pool on the top floor, it'll be fun," Soonyoung said as he pulled on his swim trunks.

"I don't swim Soonyoung," Wonwoo said as he laid spread eagle on the bed.

"Come on, we came all this way can't you just throw away your aversion to water just for tonight?" Soonyoung pleaded.

"I'm not swimming," Wonwoo said with eyes closed, the air conditioning was doing wonders for him.

"Okay fine, I'll just go by myself. There might be other people at the pool anyway," Soonyoung said with a sigh as he left the hotel room.

Wonwoo laid feeling himself fall asleep until Soonyoung's words began replaying in his head. He immediately shot up from his horizontal position, his glasses slipped off his face landing on the mattress. There were going to be other people at the pool, other people were going to see Soonyoung without a shirt. Fuck no, Wonwoo wasn't going to let that happen.

Wonwoo rummaged through his luggage finding the swim trunks Soonyoung had packed on his behalf and immediately ran out the door. He took the elevator up to the roof all the while tapping his flip flop clad foot impatiently until he heard the ding. He stepped out into the pool area and just as he had feared Soonyoung stood in front of a group of three girls chatting while one of them were touching his lover's elbow. Wonwoo walked over and draped a possessive arm over Soonyoung's shoulder, his face a mask of sullenness as he looked at the group of women.

"Hey Wonwoo, finally changed your mind?" Soonyoung looked up at him with a smile.

"Yeah," Wonwoo said giving the women a glare.

"Um hi," one of the girls said.

"Bye," Wonwoo replied.

"Um, we'll see you around Soonyoung," one of the other girls grabbed her friends as they began walking away from the pool.

"You won't," Wonwoo said to the women as he turned to face Soonyoung.

"Wonwoo, you were being really rude just now," Soonyoung pouted.

"I'm not sorry," Wonwoo said as he pulled Soonyoung into his chest.

"Are you going to swim with me or not?" Soonyoung asked looking up at his lover.

"Let's go," Wonwoo said grudgingly as he stepped towards the pool's edge.

He watched as Soonyoung whipped off his shirt and dived right in. His hamster looking lover doggy paddled his way into the centre of the pool where he floated with a giant smile on his face. Wonwoo caught sight of the boy's small pink nipples bobbing on the water's surface and he immediately got in. He swam as quick as he could over to Soonyoung holding him close.

"Wonwoo, what are you doing?" Soonyoung asked laughing at his lover.

"Making sure nobody else sees you like this," Wonwoo said holding onto the back of Soonyoung's head.

"Does that bother you?" Soonyoung wrapped his arms around Wonwoo's neck.

"A lot," Wonwoo admitted.

"Don't you worry, you're the only one who I have eyes for," Soonyoung reassured.

"I'm probably the only thing you can see in your limited line of vision," Wonwoo joked kissing each one of Soonyoung's eyelids.

"I'm sorry I don't have twenty-twenty vision," Soonyoung said touching noses with Wonwoo.

"You probably have ten-ten vision," Wonwoo said before laughing at his own joke.

"I'll give you that one, Jeon Wonwoo," Soonyoung shook his head with a chuckle continuing to hold onto his lover.

"You're the only one who will ever laugh at my jokes," Wonwoo swiped a tuft of hair away from Soonyoung's face.

"Happy anniversary, four years from today you and I were outside that bar yelling at each other," Soonyoung said giving a light chuckle.

"I'd do it all again," Wonwoo said, the sound of Soonyoung's laughter forever music to his ears.

"I love you," Soonyoung whispered.

"I love you too," Wonwoo whispered right back.

Chapter Text

Jeonghan sat inside his apartment strumming leisurely on his bass guitar. He'd been taking things slow ever since returning from Thailand and it was doing wonders for his sleeping schedule as well as his overall state of mind. Jeonghan didn’t really have much planned aside from the dinner that Seungcheol and Mingyu’s mom had invited him to. He was about to get up when his phone began vibrating from the coffee table in front of him, he leaned over from the sofa and picked it up. Wonwoo was on the other end.

"Hello?" Jeonghan answered.

"Hey man, did you and the guys get back safe?" Wonwoo asked.

"Yeah, we got home just fine. Seungcheol got his bucket hat stolen by a fan but that was more of a blessing than anything else, I hated that thing."

"That's good, me and Soonyoung are at the beach and-" Wonwoo suddenly started shouting. "Soonyoung! That's a jellyfish! Put it down! Put it down before it stings you! Where the fuck did you find a jellyfish?!"

"Hello? Wonwoo?" All Jeonghan could hear from the other end was loud noise.

"I'm here, I'm here. I feel like I'm babysitting an overly curious seven year old," Wonwoo sighed.

"Would you have it any other way?" Jeonghan quirked a brow.

"No, he's perfect," Wonwoo finally said.

"Have fun in Thailand and come back safe," Jeonghan said.

"Yeah, thanks Jeong-" another pause from Wonwoo. "Soonyoung! Leave the fucking jellyfish alone!"

Jeonghan heard the line go dead and placed his phone back on the coffee table. He was about to continue playing on his bass when he heard a knock at his door. He shuffled over to the door and looked out to see Seungcheol standing on the other side. He opened the door right away.

"You ready to head over to my mom’s house?" Seungcheol asked.

"I'll grab my jacket and we can go," Jeonghan nodded.

"Oh yeah, this was outside your door when I came," Seungcheol handed the bassist a bouquet of red roses.

"Are you sure?" Jeonghan looked sceptical.

"Yeah, Mingyu probably tried to be romantic," Seungcheol guessed.

"Mingyu would never give me roses, he knows I hate them," Jeonghan said as he took the bouquet off Seungcheol, they were the fourth bunch of flowers to arrive at his door in that week.

"Then who sent them?" Seungcheol asked.

"It's not the first time I've received gifts from an anonymous source," Jeonghan thought about past incidents concerning overzealous fans who had found his address.

"Might be time to move again," Seungcheol said eyeing the bouquet in his band mate's hands.

"You might be right," Jeonghan said with a sigh, why was getting privacy so hard?

"We better go now, mom's going to throw a fit if we're late for practice," Seungcheol looked down at his phone.

"Let's go," Jeonghan threw the bouquet of roses haphazardly onto his kitchen counter without as much as an ounce of care.

As he and Seungcheol headed down to the residential car park Jeonghan began noticing somethings that to him looked rather strange. He had a bad feeling in his gut when he saw that the front entrance to his apartment complex had been pinned open by a stack of boxes, the door wasn't supposed to be kept open -- that was why it had a pin pad so that only residents of the building could get in. Not knowing whether or not it was being kept open for a reason Jeonghan decided to continue walking with Seungcheol, maybe he was just being a little too paranoid. When the two of them finally got to his car Jeonghan's face fell upon seeing that a single rose tucked under the windshield wiper. He quickly removed the rose and noticed the small note hanging from the stem. There was no message, just a picture with a heart with a slash running through it.

"I really think you should move somewhere else," Seungcheol said looking over Jeonghan's shoulder at the little note.

"Get in," Jeonghan threw the flower on the ground treading on it as he climbed into the driver's seat, a sasaeng fan was nothing new.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jeonghan pulled into the driveway of Seungcheol’s family home taking a quick glance at his own house next door. As expected the lights were off, his parents still lead busy lives meaning they were never home. He got out of the car and even before he got to the porch Mrs. Choi flung open the front door running to him in a yellow apron and a hair roller in her hair.

“Jeonghan! It’s so good to see you!” Mrs. Choi’s greeting made him feel like he was a teenager all over again.

“You haven’t aged a day,” Jeonghan complimented the woman.

“You were always such a sweet talker,” Mrs. Choi giggled as she linked arms with the bassist leading him into the house.

“That’s fine, ignore me. It’s not like I’m your first born or anything,” Seungcheol griped as he followed his mother and Jeonghan.

Jeonghan smiled as he stuck his head into the kitchen, Mingyu was stood in front of the stove stirring something in a pot. The boy’s broad back looked amazing under his thin black t-shirt. The bassist quietly walked into the kitchen and snaked his arms around Mingyu’s waist before tiptoeing up to nibble at the boy’s earlobe.

“Hey,” Jeonghan whispered into Mingyu’s ear.

“Hey,” Mingyu returned grasping one of Jeonghan’s hands in his.

“This feels familiar, does it not?” Jeonghan asked as he looked at the pale yellow walls of the Choi household.

“Hm,” Mingyu turned around touching his hyung’s lower lip bending in for a kiss.

“Uh-uh your mother is here, behave yourself,” Jeonghan pulled away giving the boy a playful smile.

“Hyung,” Mingyu whined.

“Jeonghan, can you help Mingyu and cut up those vegetables for me?” Mrs. Choi asked as she went into the back garden.

“Sure,” Jeonghan said.

While he was slicing carrots and onions he noticed Mingyu giving him looks over his shoulder, the boy looked like a golden retriever begging for affection. Jeonghan found it rather amusing so he continued to ignore his lover. The bassist only stopped his teasing when he heard his lover let out a sigh.

“Come here,” Jeonghan turned opening his arms.

Mingyu catapulted himself into Jeonghan inhaling the scent of his hyung, the boy’s shoulders immediately sagged as Jeonghan rubbed his back. Mingyu closed his eyes as he felt his hyung’s hands massage the back of his scalp and gave a satisfied sigh as his lover’s lips pressed into his forehead. Jeonghan knew exactly how to ease away the tension in his body, he felt like a soft noodle in the older boy’s arms.

“Is my butt really that fascinating?” Jeonghan quirked a brow feeling Mingyu’s large hands on his behind.

Before the younger boy could answer the sound of Mrs.Choi’s footsteps prompted them to let go of each other. Mingyu went back to the stove and Jeonghan busied himself with cutting up the other ingredients. Mrs. Choi didn’t notice anything amiss as she took over for Jeonghan and set the small basket of cabbage she’d plucked from her garden. The bassist sat on the opposite side of the counter feeling a strong sense of déjà vu as he sat watching the mouth and son working together in the kitchen. He rested his chin on his hand watching Mingyu walk back and forth, images of a puppyish Mingyu with long awkward limbs and yellow slippers playing in Jeonghan’s head. The boy had grown up so much yet he was very much still the innocent boy who lived next door.

“Jeonghan, are you dating anyone?” Mrs. Choi asked, Mingyu dropped the ladle he was holding but quickly picked it up.

“I might be,” Jeonghan answered with a calm smile.

“It was about time, a handsome boy like you shouldn’t be alone,” Mrs.Choi touched Jeonghan’s hand.

“Thank you,” Jeonghan smiled giving a wink over at Mingyu whose cheeks were flushed a bright pink.

“So, tell me about this person you’re dating,” Mrs. Choi gushed.

“The person I’m with is warm, treats me like I’m the centre of the universe and is able to make me hate and adore them all at the same time. We’re polar opposites and don’t share any kind of common interest yet we can’t seem to live without each other. This person makes me so happy,” Jeonghan said all the while maintaining eye contact with Mingyu.

“You’ve completely fallen for them, haven’t you?” Mrs. Choi smiled as she passed Jeonghan the plates to set the table.

“Am I that obvious?” Jeonghan threw over his shoulder.

“Mingyu, are you sick? You’re completely red in the face,” Mrs. Choi touched her younger son’s face.

“No, I’m fine,” Mingyu turned away, his ears the same colour as his face.

Mrs.Choi shouted for Seungcheol to come down and the four of them ate in comfortable silence. Jeonghan was in complete bliss, the dinner and the warm atmosphere brought him back to a time when he was still a high schooler without any plans regarding the future. After dinner he’d offered to wash the dishes while Mrs. Choi went to go enjoy her television dramas. Mingyu stood patiently waiting by the threshold until his hyung was finished. Jeonghan was convinced he saw a wagging tail when he looked over to see Mingyu’s face light up.

“Let’s go,” Mingyu grabbed Jeonghan’s hand leading him up the stairs and straight for his room.

Jeonghan allowed himself to be pulled along, he stepped into Mingyu’s room to find the boyish interior was all but long gone. The dark blue walls were now painted a dark grey and the posters that used to occupy the walls were now lined with shelves of trophies. Mingyu’s tiny single bed had also been upgraded to a double to accommodate the boy’s massive build. The most endearing thing Jeonghan found in the boy’s room was the poster of himself on Mingyu’s closet door. The older boy also noticed the small stack of SVT albums that sat on the boy’s desk in between two wooden bookends, that was absolutely adorable.

“You have a poster of me?” Jeonghan asked his lover.

“Yeah,” Mingyu looked down at his feet.

“Thanks for supporting me and SVT,” Jeonghan chuckled.

“Can I show you something?” Mingyu lead him out onto the balcony.

“Sure,” Jeonghan said.

Mingyu pushed open the glass door, the cool breeze sent a slight shiver down Jeonghan’s spine. He watched the tall boy squat down pointing toward several tiny pots that lined the balcony. Small green sprouts popped out from the dark soil while small pieces of paper were taped to the pots with names written on them. Jeonghan looked over at Mingyu, he was totally enamoured by the sweet boy who was smiling at him.

“You see those two pots? The tall one is me and the pretty one is you. That ugly one on the end is Seungcheol,” Mingyu pointed enthusiastically at his plants. “They’re lilac sprouts, they’re still really little but I think they’ll be big enough to produce flowers by the end of the year.”

“Is that so?” Jeonghan said not taking his eyes off Mingyu.

“Why’re you looking at me like that?” Mingyu’s eyes darted around not meeting Jeonghan’s gaze.

“Everyday you give me a new reason to adore you,” Jeonghan leaned his head on Mingyu’s shoulder.

Instead of a reply Mingyu gave his hyung a peck on the lips before hiding his face in his hands. Jeonghan tried to pry the boy’s hands away but Mingyu turned around preventing it from happening.

“Do you want to stay at my place tonight?” Jeonghan asked his lover.

“Yes, please,” Mingyu nodded, his voice muffled by his hands.

"Grab a toothbrush and overnight bag, you know the drill," Jeonghan touched his lover's chin as he made his way downstairs.
"Oh hell yeah!" Mingyu quickly scrambled to stuff items into his gym bag.

The soccer player carelessly threw items into his bag and just as he was about to zip it up he noticed a light from the corner of his eye. He looked out the sliding door to the balcony only to see darkness. Mingyu could have sworn he saw the light turn on in Jeonghan's room across the way, did he imagine it? Too distracted by the thought of sleeping over at Jeonghan's apartment the younger boy threw away his suspicions and ran straight downstairs, he didn't notice the light in Jeonghan's room turn back on or the shadow of someone standing behind the curtain.

"You have to stop spoiling that son of mine, he'll never find a girlfriend if you keep coddling him," Mrs. Choi joked as she spoke to Jeonghan.

"I don't mind it if he doesn't find one," Jeonghan winked over at Mingyu who looked away in embarrassment.

"At this rate he might just marry you instead of finding himself a good wife," Mrs. Choi laughed.

"Are you asking me to be your son-in-law?" Jeonghan raised a brow at the older woman.

"Oh you love teasing little old me," Mrs. Choi giggled as she escorted the two younger boys out the door.

"I promise I'll bring him back in one piece," Jeonghan said as he waved to the older woman.

"You can borrow him as long as you want, that boy needs to go out a little more," Mrs. Choi waved.

"Tell Seungcheol I said 'bye'!" Jeonghan said as be backed out of the driveway.

"I adore your mother," Jeonghan smiled as he drove.

"She adores you too," Mingyu replied.

"Care to tell me why you look so down all of sudden?" Jeonghan reached over to touch the younger boy's hand.

"Mom's going to have more and more questions about my love life as time goes on, what if I slip one day and tell her about...about us?" Mingyu turned to him faced clouded with worry.

"Your mother is a kind woman and she loves you, sure it'll be a shock but I don't think she'll disown you for who you love," Jeonghan offered giving his lover's hand a gentle squeeze.

"How are you so sure?" Mingyu tightened his grip looking for comfort.

"Because I know I'd make the perfect son-in-law," Jeonghan answered, he was absolutely shameless.

"You're really something Yoon Jeonghan," Mingyu kissed the back of his lover's hand.

"I'm well aware of my value," Jeonghan winked.
The rest of the drive was in comfortable silence with Mingyu claiming his lover's free hand whenever he got the chance. The younger boy looked around with curiosity as they drove up to the front gate of his hyung's apartment complex. Jeonghan pressed in a code and the gate pulled open to allow their vehicle in. Mingyu watched his hyung drive into an underground car park and pull into an empty spot. Since he was in an unfamiliar place Mingyu followed the older boy like a lost child up the flight of stairs to the foyer. They rode the elevator up ten floors and walked down the wide hallway to apartment number four. Jeonghan opened the door stepping inside first and allowed his lover to enter.

Mingyu's eyes instantly began roaming the space. He took in the white walls and the clean interior thinking how much the apartment resembled Jeonghan's old bedroom back home. On the shelf by the doorway were the photobooth pictures they'd taken in the arcade and beside it were lilacs pressed into paper hanging in small ivory frames. Mingyu felt giddy knowing his hyung had kept his parting gift all those years ago. He was about to ask Jeonghan about the lilacs when he heard his hyung yell something from the bedroom.

"How the fuck did you get in here?!" Jeonghan shouted.

"Hyung, are you okay?" Mingyu quickly ran into the bedroom.

"Why are you with him? Why?" Lee Taehwan stood inside his hyung's bedroom holding fistfuls of clothing in his hand as well as other belongings that weren't his.

"Why are you in my apartment?" Jeonghan's voice was wary.

"Yes, why are you here?" Mingyu pulled on Jeonghan's arm hiding the older boy behind him.

"I loved you, I should be the one you're with! Not him!" Taehwan dropped the items in his arms and began taking slow steps toward them, his eyes zeroed in on Jeonghan.

"What are you talking about?" Jeonghan clutched onto Mingyu's shirt as his lover's former teammate approached.

"You fucker! You took him away from me!" Taehwan's gaze shifted over to MIngyu, then he lunged.

"What the fuck?! Are you insane?!" Mingyu shouted as he felt a blow against his stomach.

"He's mine! He belongs to me!" Taehwan snarled.

Jeonghan pulled out his phone and dialled for the police. The operator answered right away, thank fuck.

"Hello, what's you emergency?"

"I need the police to come to my apartment right now," Jeonghan said breathily.

"Can you tell me your situation?"

"Um, I have some dipshit who broke into my apartment and he's attacking my boyfriend!" Jeonghan was not calm.

"Can you tell me your location?"

"Apartment ten-oh-four, COEX apartment complex in Gangnam-ju," Jeonghan said.

"Thank you, a police car has just been dispatched and will reach you shortly," the operator replied.

"Thank you!" Jeonghan hung up right away.

Jeonghan ran back into the bedroom where Mingyu now had a bloody nose and Taehwan was very much overpowering his lover. The bassist launched himself into the fray holding Taehwan in a headlock until he loosened his grip on Mingyu. Jeonghan unfortunately found himself on the floor after Taehwan managed to break free, that put him in a very vulnerable situation. He could see the lust flash in Taehwan's eyes and immediately scrambled to get back on his feet. Grabbing Mingyu's hand Jeonghan pulled the younger boy out of the bedroom and straight for the door. He refused to be one of those dumb people that died in horror movies.

"So you received my flowers. Jeonghan-hyung, you should think this through. He's not worth it, I am. I'm the one who loves you," Taehwan's eyes were glazed over as he stepped into Jeonghan's kitchen and pulled out a knife from the kitchen counter.

Jeonghan watched as Taehwan picked up the bouquet of roses he'd thrown on the counter and promptly sliced off several stems with the blade in his hand. Jeonghan yanked at the door only it wouldn't open, it was jammed. He silently curse, he was actually going to die like those dumb people in horror movies -- fuck. Though he was flustered and scared out of his mind, he kept thinking of Mingyu. Jeonghan looked over at the younger boy who was in front of him creating a protective barrier between him and Taehwan even though his lover was shaking like a leaf.

"I've never liked you, always so cocky and arrogantly strutting around as if you're the best thing our team had to offer," Taehwan pointed the knife at Mingyu.

"I don't care what you do to me but just leave Jeonghan-hyung out of this," Mingyu's voice shook.

"You just love making me look bad in front of Jeonghan, don't you? Playing the knight in shining armour while I'm the bad guy," Taehwan was laughing manically.

"Police! Open up!" A loud banging from the other side of the door made them all freeze.

" Please kick down the door, there's a man in here armed with a knife!" Jeonghan shouted.

"You called the cops? You called the cops on me?!" Taehwan's hysterical laughter halted.

Taehwan launched himself forward. Mingyu closed his eyes bracing himself for the blow only it never came. The soccer player opened his eyes and immediately felt his heart stop, Jeonghan had escaped from the barrier he'd created and was wrestling with Taehwan holding the arm which occupied the knife.

"Mingyu, get that door open!" Jeonghan shouted.
Mingyu did as Jeonghan asked and began yanking at the door as the police continued to break it down. With a loud crack the door knob came right off and the door itself swung inwards. Mingyu ushered the officers inside and followed right behind. The athlete felt his blood run cold when he heard Jeonghan let out a scream. He ran over to the kitchen where an officer had Taehwan bent over the counter with hands behind his back. Mingyu could feel droplets of sweat drip down his brow as he saw a trail of blood on the cream coloured carpet, his eyes followed the trail until it stopped at Jeonghan's feet. His hyung stood clutching his arm while the second officer was knelt in front of him preparing bandages.

"Hyung!" Mingyu walked over with hand in front of him, he hovered them awkwardly not wanting to unnecessarily hurt the older boy.

"I'm fine," Jeonghan tried to put on a brave face.

"Um, when you're bleeding a river of blood you are not fine!" Mingyu shouted as he clutched the sides of his own head, he was panicking but he didn't know how to calm himself.

"Do you know that guy at all, any reason why he would attack you?" The police offer asked as he lifted Jeonghan's sweater to bandage his arm.

"He was my teammate, we used to play on the same team but he got kicked out," Mingyu answered for his hyung.

"I've been getting random bouquets of roses sent to my apartment lately so I just assumed it was an overzealous fan but it turns out Taehwan over there was the sender," Jeonghan hissed as the officer applied pressure to his cut. "I think he's been stalking me, the door in the foyer was kept open by some boxes today so that might be how he snuck in."

"Do you and the assailant have any bad blood prior to this incident?" The officer looked at both Jeonghan and Mingyu.

"He and I have never been able to see eye to eye since we were drafted. We got into a fight at a bar one night because he tried to grab Jeonghan-hyung. After that he threatened to have me removed from the team taking advantage of the fact that his father's one of our team's sponsors." Mingyu explained.

"All I can gather is that he's crazy-" Jeonghan's eyes widened as he pushed his lover to the side. "Mingyu!"

Taehwan had broken free of the officer's hold as he was getting handcuffed, the boy picked up the bloodstained knife from the floor and was coming in for another attack. Mingyu watched the scene unfold in front of him with a mask of shock on his face. Taehwan aimed the knife at Mingyu only Jeonghan was the one who fell to the floor, his hyung had taken another blow. The two officers launched themselves at Taehwan prying away the blade and quickly cuffing him before he could do anything else. Mingyu fell to his knees seeing Jeonghan lying limp on the floor.

"Hyung," Mingyu's voice came out as a mere whisper.

Jeonghan didn't respond.

Chapter Text

Jeonghan was frustrated, it had been a week since he'd been admitted into the hospital and already he was bored out of his mind -- being bedbound sucked. The doctors had told him that he'd been lucky that Taehwan was inexperienced with a weapon and didn't hit any vital organs. Jeonghan had burst into laughter when the doctor called him lucky, if he was lucky he wouldn't have been stabbed. Mingyu had cried his eyes out in the waiting room so by the time Jeonghan was allowed visitors his lover's face was a mess. Jeonghan personally thought his lover needed more attention than he himself did.

Jeonghan had explained to his lover that he'd passed out because he was anemic and not because he was dying. That didn't stop Mingyu from crying. In all honesty Jeonghan was more worried about whether his face was okay, nothing mattered as long as his face wasn't messed up -- that was his pride and joy.

"Hyung! You got stabbed and you're worried about your face?" Mingyu had given him a dumbfounded look.

"Yes," Jeonghan had answered, he had no shame in admitting it.

"Fuck," Mingyu had managed a smile despite tears still running down his face.

"You should know my character by now," Jeonghan had joked despite the sharp pain in his hip.

Seungcheol and Mrs. Choi had come to see him as well since he had her recorded as one of his emergency contacts. As expected the woman reacted the same way her son did, she was a crying mess. After the first few visitors Jeonghan was over people treating him like he already died, it was fucked. He rolled his eyes every time someone came in and made a huge fuss despite him only receiving a minor cut on the arm and a few stitches near his hip.

"A news outlet just described your situation as 'fighting for his life in hospital'," Seungkwan showed him an online article written with so much bravado it could have been an instalment of a television drama.

"I'm not dying!" Jeonghan shouted in frustration and immediately convulsed in pain -- he'd tugged at his stitches.

"Has Mingyu visited you at all?" Seungkwan asked as he looked over at the vase of lilacs by Jeonghan's bed.

"No," Jeonghan sighed, not seeing Mingyu sucked.

"Do you think he's blaming himself for what happened?" Seungkwan cocked his head.

"He probably is and he'll probably continue to blame himself, that's just who he is. The person he's hardest on is always himself," Jeonghan sighed.

"Did you see the news report yesterday? They searched Taehwan's house and found a bunch of SVT merchandise and albums in his room. The dude had photocards, posters and a bunch of shit he stole from your house. It was some creepy shit, hyung," Seungkwan shivered.

"I really don't want to think about that fuck-face right now," Jeonghan bit at his lower lip.

"Looks can be deceiving," Seungkwan said thinking of the clean-cut image Lee Taehwan wore as a guise.

"And here I just thought he was just some rich boy who was never told 'no,'" Jeonghan shook his head.

"You couldn't have predicted that he was batshit crazy, hyung," Seungkwan comforted the bassist.

"I know but it still sucks how things turned out," Jeonghan closed his eyes, his head began to throb -- the painkillers were wearing off.

"I should be heading off, I'll let you rest. We need you to heal up so we can start on the new album," Seungkwan walked over giving Jeonghan's shoulder a pat.

"Always putting music first, aren't we?" Jeonghan smiled.

"Of course," Seungkwan nodded and waved as he left Jeonghan alone in his hospital room.

Jeonghan shifted his position in an attempt to get comfortable only it was impossible as the stitches tugged no matter how he sat or laid. In the end Jeonghan gave up and stayed sitting up. He was about to call for assistance when he saw a tall figure just outside by the door. Judging by the broad back and dark hair it could've only been Mingyu.

"How long are you going to stay there Mingyu?" Jeonghan asked, the tall figure flinched.

Mingyu walked in carrying an array of bags and flower bouquets, he dumped the mass of items on the floor before walking awkwardly over to Jeonghan's bedside. The boy's face a mask of neutrality, Jeonghan couldn't read him at all -- that was rare, his lover wore his heart on his sleeve.

"The nurses told me to bring these to you, they're from your fans," Mingyu said eyeing the presents with disdain.

"Thanks," Jeonghan eyed the various 'get well soon' cards and notes attached to the gift bags and bouquets.

"How're you feeling?" Mingyu asked his hyung.

"As good as someone with a stab wound could possibly be," Jeonghan said with weak smile.

"I'm sorry," Mingyu's hands turned into fists at his sides.

"Mingyu, we've gone over this. It's not your fault," Jeonghan frowned.

"But it is! Instead of protecting you I froze and let him hurt you," Mingyu trembled.

"I don't want to hear another a word about this, it happened and yes it sucks but we're both alive and kicking. Stop making this so complicated!" Jeonghan felt his own anger beginning to surface.

"Hyung! This is just one instance of a crazy fan! What if next time you aren't as lucky! I guarantee you Taehwan isn't the only crazy obsessed fan, I just know there will be others!" Mingyu's voice boomed.

"How are you so sure there will be a next time? You can't expect me to live my life in constant paranoia because of this one incident," Jeonghan argued.

"Is it wrong of me to worry about your well being? I'm your boyfriend, I have every right to be angry when you think so lowly of your own safety," Mingyu paced back and forth.

"Mingyu, I'm more than capable of protecting myself. I'm not some damsel in distress who needs to be constantly monitored and saved," did Mingyu think he was that delicate?

"I'm not comparing you to a damsel in distress! Don't twist my words!" Mingyu shot his hyung a look.

"Then what are you trying to say?" Jeonghan fisted his blanket in his hands.

"I just think...I just think things would be easier if you weren't in the public eye. Maybe take a break from being a musician," Mingyu looked away.

"So this is what it's about, it all boils down to you hating me being a public figure," Jeonghan was livid.

"Can you blame me? Do you know how much it hurt when the police asked for my relation to you and I had to call you a friend?! Also, do you know how much it hurt to have to avoid visiting you just so I didn't raise any suspicions about our relationship?! I was worried sick!"

"You think you're the only one who feels that way? I've done my fair share of snooping and waiting as well Mingyu, it goes both ways. You may think you're the one getting the short end of the stick but just remember that I wasn't the one who ran away every time we got into an argument. Need I remind you that I have forgiven you for every shitty thing you've done so far, Kim Mingyu."

"You sure know how to manipulate a situation, hyung," Mingyu scoffed.

"I'm just stating facts," Jeonghan's tone was curt.

"You know what? You're right, I shouldn't be worrying about you. You obviously know better than I do, you're Yoon Jeonghan who can do no wrong. I dare say you don't even need me in your life anymore. You probably don't need an immature dongsaeng like me holding you down," Mingyu stomped toward the door.

"Just go," Jeonghan shook his head.

"We're polar opposites, it was bound to cause tension, right hyung?" Mingyu said over his shoulder.

Jeonghan didn't answer.

"If only you'd never chosen to be a musician," Mingyu turned away.

"I think you've managed to find something I can't forgive," Jeonghan said.

"Guess I used up my last chance," Mingyu's posture was rigid.

"We can finally stop hurting each other," Jeonghan's words were monotone.

"Goodbye, hyung. Get well soon," Mingyu hesitated for a split second hearing his hyung's words but continued walking away.

Jeonghan clutched his blanket with shaky hands with his chin tucked into his neck, he was biting back tears. He began to feel a sharp pain in his chest totally unrelated to his knife wound, his heart ached and it was hurting more than the knife ever would. Jeonghan silently chastised himself, he hated his brashness but he also hated Mingyu for blaming their failed relationship on his dreams of being a musician. There was no chance of reconciliation between him and Mingyu. Jeonghan quietly sobbed alone in his hospital room, the vase of lilacs by his bed his only witness. The bassist tried to convince himself he was okay but even he couldn't accept such a blatant lie.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
ONE WEEK LATER
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Seungcheol was in the middle of practicing with Jeonghan when he received a call from an unknown number. He hesitated for two rings before finally picking up. He was met with a low voice belonging to an older man.

"Choi Seungcheol?" The person on the other side asked.

"Yes," Seungcheol replied cautiously.

"This is Lee Hansoo, I'm Mingyu's coach," the older man said.

"Oh, hello, is there a reason why you called me?" Seungcheol asked.

"Yes, actually, it's about your brother."

"Mingyu? Is he alright?" Seungcheol put down his guitar, he turned on the speakerphone so Jeonghan could listen.

"Well, that is exactly why I'm calling. He's been quite problematic this past week and just earlier on Wednesday he got into a fight with one of the other players. This has been the fourth day he's missed out on practice and if this continues I'm going to have to put him on game suspension."

"Why are telling me about this instead of Mingyu?"

"Because your brother hasn't been answering his phone nor replying to messages. I don't know what's happening in his private life but I expect him to show up for for practice, it's his job," the coach said with a firm tone.

"I promise I'll talk to him, he'll definitely make it to the next practice coach," Seungcheol assured.

"I'll hold you to that, he's a massive asset to the team but even then I can't give him special treatment just because he can score a few more goals than his teammates," the coach grunted.

"Understood coach," Seungcheol said before he heard the older man hang up.

Seungcheol looked down at the phone in his hand and sighed, Mingyu was definitely the problem child.

"Mingyu, what are you doing?" Jeonghan mumbled to himself.

"Any idea why he might be acting like this?" Seungcheol looked over at his band mate who was massaging his temples.

"We had a fight when I was still in hospital and let's just say it didn't end well," Jeonghan sighed.

"You two have the most turbulent relationship I have ever witnessed," Seungcheol tried to lighten the mood.

"I don't think we're even in a relationship anymore, Seungcheol," Jeonghan admitted.

"Shit," Seungcheol looked taken aback.

"I need some air," Jeonghan walked out of the makeshift studio that was Jihoon's garage.

Jeonghan dragged his feet along the sidewalk with his head down and a dusk mask over his face. He'd been released from the hospital two days ago and even with the doctor's instructions to rest he just couldn't stand being in bed any longer. His favourite past time became a burden. Instead he'd taken up walking as a way of passing the time and also as a way to convince himself that he wasn't lonely.

Jeonghan had all of his things moved to a new apartment complex as he refused to live in the same place after what happened. The bassist didn't have any destination in mind when he went out for his walks, he let his feet carry him wherever and it worked out pretty well in the beginning only as the days went on he slowly found himself going to all the places Mingyu liked. He was about to head back when he noticed he'd walked onto the strip where Dokyeom's family restaurant was. Jeonghan turned on his heel and approached the familiar establishment looking into the glass window where Dokyeom was giving his customers the bill. Jeonghan smiled, it'd been a while since he'd seen Dokyeom. His body moved on its own leading him inside, Dokyeom greeted him politely like he greeted every other customer.

"Long time no see," Jeonghan pulled down his dusk mask giving Dokyeom a smile.

"Hyung!" Dokyeom sounded shocked.

"This place has been doing well, huh," Jeonghan said as he looked around at the familiar interior.

"Y-yeah, sorry I'm just a little surprised. I didn't expect to see you of all people today," Dokyeom scratched his head

"Understandable, is it too much to ask if I said I wanted to catch up?" Jeonghan looked at the boy who was nervously playing with the ends of his apron.

"No, not at all. You came just after the lunch time rush so I can chat. I'll just tell my mom I'm taking my break," Dokyeom ran into the kitchen.

Jeonghan went over to a table in the corner and waited. Dokyeom came back carrying two bottles of water, he'd taken off his apron. Jeonghan felt his mood improve seeing an old friend after so long, there was just something about Dokyeom that made people happy.

"Congratulations on everything, I knew you were going to make it," Dokyeom smiled.

"I'm surprised you didn't pursue music as well, you've always had an amazing voice," Jeonghan said steering the conversation away from himself.

"I have to take care of the restaurant, mom and dad need me. I can't just selfishly abandon this place because of music," Dokyeom twiddled his fingers on the table.

"But are you happy?" Jeonghan reached over to calm the boy's trembling fingers.

"No," Dokyeom shook his head.

"If you ever change your mind just give me a call, I think your voice deserves to have an audience," Jeonghan jotted down his phone number on the notepad Dokyeom used to take orders.

"Hyung, can I ask you something?" The boy asked while looking down at his phone number.

"Go ahead," Jeonghan nodded.

"Why'd you suddenly want to catch up?"

"I unconsciously wandered here, I saw you through the window," Jeonghan said.

"I overheard some customers talking about you being attacked by a stalker, is it true?" Dokyeom looked concerned.

"Unfortunately yes," Jeonghan nodded.

"Are you okay? Should you even be wandering around?"

"I'm fine," Jeonghan assured.

"Please take care of yourself, hyung," Dokyeom looked at him with worry in his eyes.

"I will," Jeonghan checked the time on his phone. "I should probably be heading home, I don't want to keep you for too long."

"I'll walk you out," Dokyeom got out from his seat.

Jeonghan smiled as the boy scurried over to the exit and held it open while he made his way out. The two of them stood outside the restaurant with neither of them actually wanting to say goodbye. Jeonghan thought of Dokyeom like his younger brother and even after so many years he still very much adored the younger boy.

"I stand by what I said, call me if you ever want to give music a shot. I would love you to meet with Jihoon," Jeonghan touched the younger boy's arm.

"Thank you," Dokyeom nodded.

"It was nice seeing you," Jeonghan opened his arms.

"Thank you for remembering little old me," Dokyeom happily allowed himself to be enveloped into the older boy's embrace.

"Please give it some thought," Jeonghan stroked the boy's head.

"I will."

Jeonghan smiled to himself watching the boy walk back into the restaurant and put on his apron. Just as he turned Jeonghan immediately stopped in his tracks, across the street was Mingyu. The soccer player was dressed in sweats staring at him from across the road. Jeonghan didn't know how long the athlete had been there but judging by the dark expression he wore it was probably long enough to witness his hug with Dokyeom.

"Hyung, you've already moved on?" Mingyu's voice sounded both hurt and angry.

"Mingyu, you're jumping to conclusions," Jeonghan frowned.

"I don't know hyung, I saw everything clear as crystal," Mingyu's hands formed fists at his sides.

"You're not even going to let me explain?" Jeonghan asked.

"I don't need an explanation," Mingyu turned his back on Jeonghan. "We're through."

Jeonghan felt ill, he could feel the blood drain from his face and his heart starting to ache anew.

"Fine," Jeonghan's voice broke, he felt hot tears streaming down his face.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mingyu chewed on his lower lip as he walked up the hill leading back to his family home. He had all the intention of heading straight back to his room only there was an obstacle in the way, Seungcheol was in their driveway with his band mate Jihoon sitting quietly inside a black Jeep -- Seungcheol didn't look amused. Mingyu tried to ignore his older brother only he was stopped by a hand on his chest just as he was about to reach the porch.

"Explain," was all Seungcheol said as he looked over at his younger brother.

"This doesn't concern you," Mingyu pushed away Seungcheol's hand.

"Dude, you're close to being suspended," Seungcheol blocked his younger brother from entering the house.

"So what?"

"So what? Are you hearing yourself? You're ruining your reputation with your coach and your team just because of a breakup?"

"Just stay out of it!" Mingyu shoved Seungcheol to the side.

"Don't fucking tell me to stay out of it you little shit! I get it, you and Jeonghan are broken up and it hurts but that doesn't give you an excuse to avoid obligations!" Seungcheol shook his brother by his shoulders.

"I still love him, hyung," Mingyu's shoulders slumped -- that was the first time in four years that he'd called Seungcheol his hyung.

"Then why are you telling me instead of Jeonghan?" Seungcheol furrowed his brow.

"I saw him with someone else just now," Mingyu's lower lip began to quiver.

"That's it? You saw him with someone and just ran with the idea that he no longer wants you? Did you even hear him out?" Seungcheol gave his younger brother a dumbfounded look.

"No but..."

"You've been pining after him for four years and suddenly you just give up? I'm just going to say this, if you choose to walk away from this you'll regret it for the rest of your life. You're never going to ever find another Jeonghan," Seungcheol looked Mingyu dead in the eyes.

"What if he doesn't want me back?" Mingyu's eyes were filled with worry.

"Beg, grovel, do whatever it takes to get him back," Seungcheol said as he got into Jihoon's Jeep.

"I said some terrible things to him, Jeonghan said he won't be able to forgive me."

"Then fix it, fix your relationship before I use this as my chance to snatch him away from you," Seungcheol shot his younger brother a look.

"You wouldn't," Mingyu gritted his teeth.

"I would," Seungcheol shot back as Jihoon turned on the ignition and reversed out of the driveway.

As they drove away from the house, Jihoon looked over at the guitarist with a serious look.

"You didn't mean that right?" Jihoon asked trying to sound nonchalant.

"Nope, you're the only one I have eyes for," Seungcheol leaned over to give the drummer a quick peck on the temple.

"You sly devil," Jihoon smirked as he made a right turn.

"The kid needed a nudge in the right direction," Seungcheol shrugged as he reached over to touch Jihoon's smaller hand.

"Get your hand off me," Jihoon said.

"No," Seungcheol replied.

"Get out of my car," Jihoon stopped the vehicle.

"I'll buy you dinner," Seungcheol offered.

"You can stay in my car," Jihoon started driving again.

"Love you too babe," Seungcheol chuckled.

"Fuck you," Jihoon replied.

Chapter Text

"I'm out of the country for just over a week and I come back to news of you getting stabbed," Wonwoo shook his head at the bassist who was picking at the food on his plate.

 

"I guess I've fallen out of lady luck's good graces," Jeonghan breathed out heavily.

 

"At least you still have Mingyu right?" Wonwoo asked but became increasingly worried when he saw Jeonghan hang his head. "Right?"

"No, we ended it," Jeonghan finally responded.

"What?!" Soonyoung shouted as he sat down with three iced coffees in his hands.

"Soonyoung," Wonwoo chastised looking around at the other customers in the cafe who were giving them strange looks.

"Oh right, use my inside voice," Soonyoung smiled apologetically and sat down beside his lover.

"Look, you're one of my closest friends and I care about you which is why I'm telling you that breaking it off with Mingyu is a big mistake," Wonwoo said as he took a sip of his coffee.

"Why do you say that?" Jeonghan arched a brow.

"Because you look absolutely miserable," Soonyoung offered and immediately had a doughnut stuffed into his mouth by Wonwoo.

"What Soonyoung means is that Mingyu made you happy and it showed, I haven't seen you smile this much in a long time Jeonghan and it all happened when Mingyu came back into the picture," Wonwoo said as he wiped the doughnut sugar off Soonyoung's lips.

"I agree with that statement," Soonyoung said as he chewed the food in his mouth.

"Huh," Jeonghan looked down at his coffee with disinterest.

"You two are so stubborn, is it really that hard to admit that you were wrong? Disagreements are bound to happen in a relationship but do you know what you can do to avoid shit like this? Communication, talk to each other and listen to each other. Don't keep your feelings all bottled up or it'll only serve as fuel for when you feel angry. You end up taking out your anger on the one you love and that's not fair to them," Soonyoung said as he reached over to hold Wonwoo's hand under the table.

"It was nice seeing you, I have a doctor's appointment to go to," Jeonghan got out of his seat, he was done with talking about relationships.

"Communication, Jeonghan. Don't forget it," Soonyoung reminded the bassist as he watched the musician's retreating back.

"I didn't know you were so wise Kwon Soonyoung," Wonwoo suddenly whispered.

"Why are you smiling at me like that?" Soonyoung asked his lover.

"Am I not allowed to look at the highlight of my life?" Wonwoo reached over to touch Soonyoung's lips.

"Awe come on," Soonyoung buried his face in his hands hiding his embarrassment.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Jeonghan-shi, I really think you should be resting, your wound won't heal properly if you keep moving around," the doctor gave Jeonghan a concerned look as he inspected the boy's injury.

"I don't have time to rest doc, I have things I have to do," Jeonghan sighed thinking of the album he and SVT were working on.

"Music can wait Jeonghan-shi, your health can't. Putting this much strain on your body just isn't good for it," the doctor adjusted his glasses.

"Yeah okay, I'll take it easy," Jeonghan replied, he couldn't argue with a medical professional.

"Make sure to get plenty of sleep, remember to take your medication and no rigorous activities -- that includes running and reaching for things in high places, you don't want to pull at your stitches," the doctor said as he escorted Jeonghan out of the clinic.

"Thanks doc," Jeonghan waved at the older man as he took his leave.

Jeonghan pulled on his baseball cap and covered the majority of his face, he zipped his hoodie up to his neck and began walking back to his apartment complex. Since the clinic was only a few blocks away Jeonghan saw no point in driving considering he wasn't going to find a parking space anyway. He turned the corner onto a strip of shops and restaurants and immediately cursed, he'd forgotten that the area he was in was more lively after sundown. Jeonghan lowered his head as he walked through the strip, he thought he'd cleared the obstacle until he heard a shrill screech from someone he walked past.

"Jeonghan?! Yoon Jeonghan?" it was a fan, fuck.

Jeonghan quickened his pace, he just wanted to go home. As if like a stack of dominoes he heard the chatter of people react to the girl's screech. Jeonghan tried his best to keep calm but anxiety got the better of him and he began to panic, the sound of footsteps following him only made him more antsy. He winced feeling the tug at his hip, he was doing exactly what the doctor told him not to do -- he was exerting himself and it hurt. He immediately regretted not taking his car. Just as he reached the end of the block Jeonghan was grabbed by his bicep and pulled into an alley. The bassist found himself pressed against a solid chest, the familiar smell of fresh cotton invading his nose. Jeonghan looked up with wide eyes to see Mingyu, the athlete was looking out at the street as the small cluster of people walked by before he released his grip on Jeonghan's arm.

"Thanks," Jeonghan said as he stepped away from the younger boy.

"Let me walk you back," Mingyu said looking down at the bassist.

"No, I'll be fine," Jeonghan began walking away.

"Please, I'll leave the minute we reach your apartment," Mingyu pleaded.

"Mingyu, I don't need you," Jeonghan threw out, Mingyu's hurt expression making him regret putting it so bluntly.

"Please," Mingyu repeated brushing off the older boy's cold words.

"Fine," Jeonghan said, he wasn't in the mood to argue -- they'd done enough of that already.

The air between them was both awkward and tense, it was so thick Jeonghan felt like he could've cut it with a blunt knife. Mingyu kept a one metre distance between them making it even more awkward. Jeonghan suddenly wished he'd never even left his apartment. They walked a few more blocks until finally Jeonghan saw his apartment complex -- thank fuck. He promptly punched in the security code for the front gate and turned to the younger boy who was balancing his weight from foot to foot, he looked like he didn't know what to do with himself.

"Thanks for walking me home, take care," Jeonghan said as he closed the gate behind him.

"Jeonghan-hyung-" Mingyu started to say only to stop himself. "Nevermind, goodnight."

Jeonghan gripped the bottom of his hoodie seeing the boy's slumped shoulders but shook himself out of it, they were broken up and he needed to accept that. Without a backwards glance Jeonghan walked into his building. He kicked off his shoes by the door and threw his baseball cap onto the sofa, he didn't expect to run into Mingyu so soon. The bassist poured himself a cup of tea and walked over to the living room to close the curtains only something from below caught his attention. Just by the gate of the building was Mingyu who was sitting on the ground with his knees pulled up to his chest.

"Mingyu, what are you doing?" Jeonghan gripped his curtain.

Jeonghan tried to ignore the younger boy below only it didn't work, the bassist slipped his shoes back on and made his way back down. Mingyu was sitting exactly where he'd seen him from the window, his face was flushed red and the sleeve of his grey hoodie was wet from with his own tears -- Jeonghan felt his heart ache.

"Come on," Jeonghan nodded toward the apartment.

He tugged at the hem of Mingyu's hoodie and lead him inside. Jeonghan pursed his lips as he listened to the sound of Mingyu's sniffles, he looked so vulnerable. They entered his apartment and the moment the door closed Jeonghan turned to look at the athlete. Mingyu looked back at him, the two stood opposite each other neither wanting to take a step forward.

"Hyung, I don't like being alone," Mingyu whispered breaking the deafening silence.

"You were the one who said we were through, Mingyu," Jeonghan reminded the boy.

"I know and I've regretted it ever since those words left my mouth."

"So I'm supposed to forgive you just because you've realised your mistake? It's like a never ending loop, I forgive you, we enjoy a brief moment of calm and then we're fighting again! This is not the kind of relationship I want! I don't want to constantly walk on eggshells waiting for the next storm to come," Jeonghan folded his arms over his chest.

"I don't want to make you walk on eggshells, I'm sorry for all the shit I've said and I know I can't take them back but please don't throw me away! I'm sorry for assuming things! I can't think straight when it comes to you," Mingyu began taking steps toward the bassist.

"Don't," Jeonghan put up his hand.

"You still want me right? When you said you didn't need me, you were lying right? Right?" Mingyu closed the space between them.

"Don't do this to me," Jeonghan whispered.

"We're miserable when we're not together hyung, you can't deny that," Mingyu touched Jeonghan's cheek.

"This isn't fair, why can't I hate you?" Jeonghan looked up at Mingyu, his own tears threatening to spill over.

"Because we're like the two ends of a magnet, we'll always return to each other," Mingyu bent his head so that his forehead touched the older boy's.

"Nobody has ever made me as angry as you, Kim Mingyu," Jeonghan shook his head reaching out to touch the boy's face.

"And nobody has ever tested my patience more than you, Yoon Jeonghan," the younger boy leaned into his hyung's touch.

"We are the true definition of a mess," Jeonghan began to lower his hand only to be stopped by Mingyu's palm around his wrist.

"And I'm completely okay with that, neither of us ever claimed to be perfect," Mingyu whispered in the bassist's ear.

"I don't want us to keep hurting each other, Mingyu," Jeonghan said, he still had his reservations.

"We hate as hard as we love, hyung. I know we're different and I know we almost never agree but what I do know is that we need each other. I don't want us to be strangers," Mingyu wrapped his arms around Jeonghan's waist.

"If we're going to give this another chance I want us to be more transparent with each other, don't keep your feelings to yourself Mingyu-- tell me exactly what's bothering you. I don't want us to constantly be guessing and assuming things," Jeonghan rested his head against Mingyu's chest as he relayed Soonyoung's advice.

"I'll promise to do that as long as you agree to one request," Mingyu said.

"And what request is that?"

"Don't be afraid to show me your vulnerable side, I know you're independent but it's okay not to be strong sometimes, hyung. You're not alone anymore, lean on me and let me share your burdens," Mingyu pressed his lips onto the older boy's temple.

"Okay," Jeonghan nodded as he felt his composed facade crumble away.

The athlete gave his hyung a tender look as he wiped away the tears that fell from Jeonghan's eyes. Mingyu couldn't deny that even when crying his lover was beautiful but he enjoyed seeing his smile even more. Mingyu's hand moved to unzip Jeonghan's hoodie and pulled at the hem of his t-shirt until he could see the diagonal line that marred Jeonghan's otherwise flawless skin.

"It'll heal," Jeonghan said as he looked down at his stitches.

"It won't happen a second time," Mingyu assured his lover.

"Because you'll be there to protect me right?" Jeonghan smiled.

"You don't think I could do it?" Mingyu pouted.

"I love you with all my heart but you can't fight for shit," Jeonghan chuckled and immediately froze, Mingyu mirrored his own shocked expression.

"You love me?" Mingyu asked.

"I-I do," Jeonghan answered as he touched his own lips, he'd never actually said it out loud before.

"I love you too," Mingyu smiled, his canines in full view.

"I've really missed that smile of yours," Jeonghan pulled Mingyu's face down to his level.

"Kiss me," Mingyu said.

"Some things just never change, huh," Jeonghan laughed as he gave into the younger boy's demands.

As their lips locked Jeonghan could feel the familiar sensation of callused hands enter from the bottom of his shirt. The curious fingers made their way up his spine delicately brushing by each vertebra into his they reached his shoulder blades. Mingyu leaned in to lick at the shell of his hyung's ear.

"Here is where your wings should have been," Mingyu's murmured.

"I am far from being a saint and we both know that," Jeonghan reached under the front of Mingyu's shirt to touch the perfectly toned abdomen.

"That won't stop me from bowing down at your feet," Mingyu was clearly aroused.

"What have I done to you? You were such an innocent soul," Jeonghan let out a sensual laugh as the younger boy backed him into the bedroom.

"Take responsibility hyung," Mingyu smirked as he removed his shirt.

"Oh, you don't have to worry about that," Jeonghan said as he allowed his lover to undress him.

Mingyu pulled Jeonghan's shirt over his head and gently shucked the bassist's pants away from his slender legs until he was bare. Jeonghan smiled to himself as the younger boy took extra precautions to make sure he didn't feel any pain. Mingyu's hands stayed clear of his stitches and the boy constantly looked up at him to make sure he was okay to continue. Jeonghan appreciated the thoughtfulness his lover was showing but he wanted Mingyu inside of him.

"I'm okay, go ahead Mingyu-yah," Jeonghan assured.

"Are you sure? You know we can wait until you're better," Mingyu said.

"I don't want to wait," Jeonghan shook his head.

Mingyu gave his hyung's forehead a peck and began to slowly enter Jeonghan's body. The older boy closed his eyes and let out a shallow breath at the familiar feel of the thick length as it moved deeper into him. Jeonghan wasn't the only one overwhelmed by the connection as Mingyu quickly curled over his body and buried his face into the crook of Jeonghan's neck. Jeonghan dug his nails into Mingyu's back and bit down on the boy's earlobe. Mingyu let out a hiss which quickly morphed into a moan as he felt Jeonghan's tongue lap at the spot he'd bitten.

"Hyung, if you keep that up I can't promise that I'll be gentle," Mingyu warned.

"I never asked for gentle," Jeonghan replied as he stroked the sweat slicked hair away from his lover's eyes.

"Have mercy," Mingyu breathed as he began to thrust into Jeonghan.

"I'm not giving you any sort of mercy, Kim Mingyu," the corner of Jeonghan's mouth curled into a mischievous grin.

"Jeonghan," Mingyu groaned as he quickened his pace.

Jeonghan latched onto Mingyu's neck and bent forward so their lips met. The bassist licked at the seam of Mingyu's mouth until he could feel the boy's tongue dance along with his. The older boy was fully aware of his lover's lack of shyness, it seemed that the boy no longer had any reservations when they were in bed together -- Jeonghan was loving every minute of it.

"You feel so good," the athlete groaned.

"Less talking, Mingyu," Jeonghan smiled up at the boy who was sweating profusely.

Jeonghan gritted his teeth as the intensity built, he let out a surprised gasp as the younger boy wrapped his hand around his member and began to stroke. Jeonghan bit his lower lip and looked up at the athlete through half-closed eyes, he'd created a monster. Mingyu grinned as he once again quickened his thrusts before fully burying himself into Jeonghan's entrance. The older boy didn't miss a beat and followed his lover into ecstasy. Jeonghan bit into Mingyu's shoulder causing the younger boy to shudder. The athlete collapsed onto the mattress to Jeonghan's left with a soft thud. The bassist laid touching his dongsaeng's damp hair.

"You do make me angry but you also know how to make me happy like no other," Jeonghan smiled fondly at the boy beside him.

"Hyung," Mingyu whispered.

"What is it?" Jeonghan asked.

"Can you go somewhere with me tomorrow?"

"Do I get to know where we're going?" Jeonghan propped himself on his elbow.

"Nope, that's for me to know and you to find out," Mingyu smiled as he ran a thumb over Jeonghan's collarbone.

"I'll go, I trust you," Jeonghan replied.

"That's all I ever wanted to hear," Mingyu said, his dark eyes beginning to close.

As he settled himself under the covers Jeonghan suddenly heard the rumbling sound of Mingyu's snores penetrate his ears. The older boy pulled the comforter over his dongsaeng and chuckled.

"Really?" Jeonghan looked over at the younger boy who was already deep in slumber.

Jeonghan simply stared at the angular features of Mingyu's face while the boy slept. In sleep his dongsaeng looked so much younger, all the hardness left his face leaving only the softness of a young boy. Jeonghan shook his head looking at his ceiling, he couldn't put into words how happy he was.

"Jeonghan-hyung said he loves me...suck on that you camel..." Mingyu mumbled in his sleep.

Jeonghan gave his lover a quick peck on his forehead and pressed himself against the boy's chest. Mingyu's arms instinctively moved to cradle the smaller body against him. The bassist began to drift when he felt a pair of hands slide over to grip his behind.

"Really, Kim Mingyu, really?" Jeonghan looked up at Mingyu who was sleeping with his mouth hanging wide open.

There was nowhere else he'd rather be.

Chapter Text

Seungcheol strolled leisurely from his mother's house in an attempt to walk off the massive meal he'd just consumed. Without having a company dictate his schedule Seungcheol found himself visiting his family home a lot more frequently. His feet lead him to the basketball court, it was like they'd been programmed to visit the location whenever he was in the vicinity. The guitarist looked up at the street lights as they flickered on to replace the sun which was quickly descending. As he approached the familiar cracked concrete slab he noticed a figure standing alone on one side of the court. Jihoon was shooting a faded looking basketball into the hoop, the rusted metal of the basket making rattling sounds as the ball passed through it.

Seungcheol stood watching the petite drummer from across the street with his head cocked to the side. Never in a million years did he think he would be sleeping with such a violent little human. He remembered drinking heavily one night with Jihoon and the next thing he knew they had woken up together in a bed...butt ass naked. They both had scrambled out from under the covers clutching at anything they could to hide their nudity and had promptly parted ways. Seungcheol vividly remembered how awkward their band practice had been after the incident -- neither of them could look each other in the eye.

The guitarist and drummer both pretended nothing ever happened and it seemed to be working out pretty well until the news that Jeonghan got stabbed broke out. Seungcheol had been a mess when he visited his band mate in the hospital and the only person who was able to calm him down was Jihoon. The two had sat in the waiting room together holding hands in silence until the doctor announced that Jeonghan was okay. That very same night Seungcheol had found himself back at Jihoon's apartment at an ungodly hour, they slept together a second time.

"How long are you going to stand there?" Jihoon looked over his shoulder at the guitarist.

"Hey," Seungcheol said as he walked over to the drummer.

"This place is looking a little worse for wear," Jihoon commented as he looked at the state of the court.
"Guess no one cares enough about basketball to maintain it," Seungcheol said as he looked at the faded white lines around them.

"It's a shame," Jihoon said as he made another shot with the ball in his hands.

"Can I ask you something?" Seungcheol grabbed the basketball.

"What is it?" Jihoon asked.

"What are we?" Seungcheol looked down at his band mate.

"What do you mean?" Jihoon cocked a brow.

"Are we friends with benefits? Are we just band mates? Or are we something else entirely? What are we to each other?" Seungcheol fiddled with the ball in his hands.

"I don't know," Jihoon answered.

"Would you be mad if I said I wanted us to be something more?" Seungcheol looked up from the basketball in his hands.

"I don't think you can handle me, Choi Seungcheol," Jihoon shook his head as he turned to leave.

"But you haven't even given me a chance," Seungcheol grabbed the drummer's hand.

"Find someone else to be your rebound because I'm not interested," Jihoon pulled away.

"You're not going to be a rebound I assure you," Seungcheol stepped around the drummer to block his path.

"I'm not a lovey-dovey kind of person, Seungcheol," Jihoon said.

"I'm not asking you to be," Seungcheol replied.

"You know how I am, you've been on the receiving end of my shortcomings for years so why do you even want the option of having me as a romantic partner?" Jihoon furrowed his brow, he was genuinely confused.

"Because you've been there through everything, Jihoon. You were always there when I needed you," Seungcheol smiled.

"Well yeah, it's all apart of the being in a friendship bullshit," Jihoon said, it was natural to be there for your friends.

"We're already close so why not take it up a notch?" Seungcheol reached up to stroke the back of the shorter boy's neck.

"You think you can keep up with me?" Jihoon questioned the guitarist.

"I'll die trying," Seungcheol nodded.

"There's no guarantee you're coming out of this alive," Jihoon warned the guitarist.

"You can give me as many warnings as you want but I'll still ignore every single one," Seungcheol smiled.

"You're so stupid," Jihoon shook his head looking up at his band mate.

"That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me," Seungcheol chuckled.

Before the guitarist could react he was pulled down by the collar of his shirt, his lips colliding into Jihoon's. Seungcheol's eyes widened at the sudden contact but quickly found himself immersed in the sensation of locking lips with Jihoon. The basketball fell from his hands and rolled along the cracked surface of the basketball court. Kissing Jihoon felt even better when he was sober.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Wonwoo," Soonyoung looked at his lover as they sat together on a park bench.

"Yes?" Wonwoo looked up from the book in his hands.

"Are slugs just homeless snails?" Soonyoung asked, his lips pouted in thought.

"That's your question?" Wonwoo set his book down in his lap.

"Yes," Soonyoung nodded.

Instead of answering Wonwoo lowered his head and hid his face in his hands. He could feel heat slowly rising from his neck, his cheeks felt hot. Sure he'd had plenty of time to get used to his lover's naivety but every once in awhile Soonyoung would say something that just so very pure. Wonwoo slapped himself before grabbing Soonyoung by the neck. The sharp eyed boy held his lover close and ruffled the soft locks of his hair that was now coloured a vibrant red.

"I love you," Wonwoo kissed the top of Soonyoung's head.

"Love you too," Soonyoung didn't know what was happening but he liked it.

"Homeless snails," Wonwoo chuckled hysterically.

"Well are they?" Soonyoung asked looking more confused than ever.

"They can be whatever you want them to be," Wonwoo continued laughing.

"I don't know how you've tolerated me all these years," Soonyoung said looking down at his feet.

"Tolerated you?" Wonwoo's laughter died down.

"I know I'm not the brightest light bulb but I'm thankful I have you to answer all my stupid questions. I feel like I'm getting the better end of the deal here," Soonyoung reached over to hold Wonwoo's much larger hand.

"I don't know Kwon Soonyoung, without you I would have lead a very mediocre life," Wonwoo tightened the grip he had on Soonyoung's hand.

"So you don't regret falling for me? Not even a little bit?"

"I regret not telling you my feelings sooner but not once have I ever regretted having you in my life. I'm thankful for your existence every single day," Wonwoo whispered into Soonyoung's ear.

"Thank you for being my highlight," Soonyoung quickly gave his lover a swift peck on the cheek before running away while covering his face -- he was still bad at being romantic.

"We've seen each other naked, why are you embarrassed about this?!" Wonwoo began chasing after the dancer.

"I don't know!" Soonyoung shouted but didn't stop running.

"If I catch you, you have to kiss me properly!" Wonwoo threatened, memories of the same scenario from their high school days flooding his mind.

"No!" Soonyoung shouted furthering the feeling of nostalgia.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Can you at least give me a clue as to where it is that we're going?" Jeonghan asked as he walked hand in hand with his lover.

"Nope," Mingyu smiled at the bassist.

Jeonghan and Mingyu had enjoyed a rather leisurely morning in bed together and only decided to get up when they got hungry. It was only after a hearty late breakfast that they finally left his apartment. Mingyu had looked all too giddy when they started walking and it made Jeonghan curious -- he hated being out of the loop.

As they walked Jeonghan began to notice the familiar surroundings, some of the area looked different due to new buildings and structures but many small businesses and houses stayed the same. When they finally stopped in front of their old high school Jeonghan looked over at Mingyu with confusion.

"Why are we here?" Jeonghan asked.

"I have something to show you," Mingyu smiled. "But first we have to jump the gate."

Jeonghan watched as Mingyu scaled over the tall metal gates and landed on the other side with a grunt. The boy looked back over at him with a smug expression as if waiting for a praise.

"Mingyu, the gate's not locked," Jeonghan said as he pushed the gate open and walked straight through. "Students stay to study until late, the gates don't get locked till midnight."

"Oh," Mingyu looked down at his feet, he was embarrassed.

Jeonghan shook his head in amusement as he was lead through the school grounds. It all felt so very nostalgic seeing all the things that were once part of his everyday life. They walked past the grass oval where he'd first spotted Mingyu and the building where his band met up for practice after school. Jeonghan felt Mingyu's warm hand on the back of his neck as he was lead further through the school grounds until they reached one of the older buildings tucked away by the sport equipment shed.

"Watch your step hyung," Mingyu said as they entered the old building.

"I've never been in this part of the school before," Jeonghan commented as he looked at the rundown condition of the building.

"This place used to be the old social science building but got put out of use when they built the one by the fountain," Mingyu explained as he continued leading the way. "I was helping a teacher retrieve some textbooks from the storeroom here and I found something pretty cool."

"What did you find?" Jeonghan asked as they reached the top of the staircase.

"I'll show you," Mingyu whispered into his hyung's ear.

The younger boy pulled out a key from his pocket and unlocked the worn wooden door in front of them. Jeonghan watched as Mingyu stepped out onto the rooftop behind the door and waited for him to follow. The bassist shielded his eyes from the rays of sun that poured into the doorway and moved to meet his lover. He let out a small gasp when he found that the entire rooftop was covered in small pinwheels. The colourful little wheels were tied onto the chain link fence surrounding the roof's perimeter by small coloured string. Jeonghan had thought the pinwheels carried small designs on its blades at first but was proven wrong when he got a closer look. They weren't designs, they were words. The bassist halted the small blades from spinning and read the words written on them.

"I made Jeonghan-hyung mad, I don't want him to hate me. Please don't let him hate me," Jeonghan ran his fingers along the sloppy handwriting, it was dated back four years ago.

Jeonghan moved onto another pinwheel.

"I saw Jeonghan-hyung at the airport today, I was happy. I want to see him again," Jeonghan felt a lump form in his throat, he went to read yet another message on a different pinwheel, it was from the day he'd moved into the dorm. "I watched Jeonghan-hyung leave today, it hurt. It hurt a lot. Please don't let him fall for someone else."

"You can go through all of them if you want but it's going to take you a long time," Mingyu pressed himself against Jeonghan's back, his arms circling around the older boy's waist. "There was only a handful of pinwheels up here when I found out about this place. They looked lonely so I began making my own, one turned into two and two turned into ten. Over time the number just continued to grow."

"Mingyu," Jeonghan said, he was at a loss for words.

"I read somewhere that pinwheels are used for good luck. I started making wishes ever since we kissed that night in your room," Mingyu swayed them from side to side.

"You've made a lot of wishes, Kim Mingyu," Jeonghan said looking at the huge collection of pinwheels.

"You can make fun of me all you want but I believe that they work, you're here in my arms and that's all the proof I need," Mingyu buried his face into Jeonghan's neck.

"I don't deserve you," Jeonghan reached up to ruffle the boy's hair.

"That's my line, hyung," Mingyu kissed the older boy's neck.

"I'm sorry for ever leaving you, forgive me," Jeonghan whispered, a single tear slid down his face and onto the concrete beneath his feet.

"There's nothing to forgive," Mingyu replied as he held Jeonghan's fingers up to his lips.

"Mingyu?" Jeonghan suddenly asked.

"Yeah?" Mingyu mumbled into Jeonghan's neck.

"Why does that one pinwheel say 'I hope all of Seungcheol's hair falls out?'" Jeonghan gave his lover a questioning gaze.

"Um," Mingyu looked away.

"I guess I can overlook it," Jeonghan turned around wrapping his arms around Mingyu's neck.

"Thank you," Mingyu pouted.

"Mingyu, whose champion are you?" Jeonghan asked looking at the younger boy's eyes.

"Jeonghan-hyung's champion," Mingyu answered as he bent down for a kiss.

"Don't you ever forget it," Jeonghan whispered into Mingyu's ear.

Mingyu locked up the door leading to the rooftop and safely pocketed the key, he was going to keep it a secret for as long as he could. They walked back to Mingyu and Seungcheol's family home where Jeonghan was lead straight up to his lover's room. The bassist stepped out onto the balcony and made himself comfortable on the landing. Mingyu promptly joined him by settling himself against his hyung's chest, Jeonghan didn't mind the extra weight at all.

"I like this," Mingyu said as he closed his eyes.

"I like it too," Jeonghan agreed. "Remember that first night I saw you across the balcony? You were standing out here with a towel on your head."

"Yeah, you invited me over and we shared our first kiss," Mingyu kept his eyes closed.

"Our relationship has been a roller coaster, ups and downs, unexpected twists and literally everything in between," Jeonghan smiled as he felt the cool breeze caress his face.

"I'd do it all again," Mingyu muttered.

"I've made a lot of mistakes in my life but there's one thing that I definitely don't regret," Jeonghan said.

"And what's that?" Mingyu looked up at the bassist.

"I don't regret falling in love with the boy next door," Jeonghan said as he touched Mingyu's bronze skin.

Mingyu had no words, all he could do was give his hyung a kiss hoping that it was enough to convey the amount of adoration he had for the older boy. They sat in perfect silence for what seemed like an eternity, Mingyu drifted into sleep leaving Jeonghan alone to enjoy the view from the balcony. The bassist pulled out his phone and called up Jihoon, the drummer picked up right away.

"Hello?"

"Hey, I have an idea for our next track title," Jeonghan said.

"I'm listening," Jihoon replied.

"Pinwheel," Jeonghan smiled as he looked at the small pink and blue pinwheels that stood side by side in Mingyu's flowerpots.

"I like it," Jihoon said thoughtfully.

"Should I even bother guessing who your inspiration for this song is?" Jihoon chuckled, he already knew it was Mingyu.

"I'll see you tomorrow for practice," Jeonghan said before hanging up.

Jeonghan ran his fingers through Mingyu's silky dark locks as the younger boy continued to sleep in his arms. He gave the athlete a peck on the temple and hummed a simple tune. They stayed together on the balcony, their only witness being the two pinwheels spinning in the gentle breeze.