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Hand In Unlovable Hand

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If someone had asked Sehun, What day do you think is mostly likely to dramatically change your life forever?, he probably would have said Thursday. He always seems to have bad luck on Thursdays. Even in school his timetables always looked worst on Thursdays. One time someone stole his bike on a Thursday. His first boyfriend broke up with him on a Thursday, which was also the only time anyone ever broke up with Sehun, because he was not going to go through that shit twice. Nobody breaks up with Oh Sehun. Oh Sehun breaks up with them. Usually on Thursdays.

But Sehun’s life doesn’t dramatically change forever on a Thursday. Nothing happens on Thursday.

On Monday he kicks Junmyeon out of his apartment for being a dick, on Tuesday he aces a small test for college, on Wednesday Jongin comes over with his dogs and one of them almost chokes on Vivi’s entire leg while they’re playing, on Thursday nothing happens.

Junmyeon had it coming, Sehun thinks. Not because he’s a bad person, but just because this happens all the time. They’ve been sort-of dating for so long now that Sehun always pretends like he lost track of it somewhere along the way. (He hasn’t. It’s been three years.) Even after all this time though, dating kind of seems like the wrong word for it, they can both agree on that. It’s more of an on-off thing, where they go soft on each other and do all that sweet couple shit for a week and then rip each other’s hair out the next.

In all honesty, Sehun thinks it’s fun. It’s nowhere near a serious relationship, but that’s fine, he doesn’t want one. He’s still in college -- he’s almost done, but for now he’s still a student, and he doesn’t want serious relationships where they talk about marriage and children and mortgages or whatever. He wants to have fun, and he thinks that finding new stupid reasons to temporarily break up with Junmyeon only to have hot make-up sex a week later at least once a month is fun.

Junmyeon doesn’t actually live here, either. He spends night and day here when they have their good phases, so they sort of share the apartment, but not really. Junmyeon has his own apartment to flee to, so Sehun doesn’t feel bad about throwing him out. Throwing him out again. He’ll come back. Junmyeon usually does.

So that was Monday. Nothing happens on Thursday, and then on Friday, Sehun’s life dramatically changes forever.

Looking back, Sehun will always think that it didn’t feel dramatic back then, not at the start, but maybe these things never do.

It all begins with him taking Vivi out for a walk after class. He has the rest of the day off and he takes him to the park just one block away from his apartment, plays with him for a while, then takes him back home once both of them are windswept and panting. There’s a little girl on the sidewalk in front of his apartment then, sure Sehun sees her, but he doesn’t pay her much mind. There are a bunch of families in this neighborhood, and he thought he’d seen all of their kids, but maybe the girl is just someone’s friend. It’s none of his business, Sehun thinks, and picks Vivi up to climb the stairs to his second-floor apartment.

He pulls him out of his harness and stashes it in the little dog cabinet in the hallway, watches him scoot off towards the living room and back to his toys, and has just pulled his own shoes off when someone knocks on his door. Bewildered, Sehun turns and just looks at it for a second. He doesn’t know anyone who would knock. He has a perfectly functional doorbell out there.

Maybe it’s one of his neighbors. Maybe they need something. Sehun is on okay terms with all of them, doesn’t really know any of them very well but also has never gotten into any fights (which is amazing, considering how loud he gets with Junmyeon sometimes), so that’s a possibility. Sehun throws a quick glance into the mirror right next to his door, runs a hand through his hair once, then he opens it.

The girl is looking up at him. The one from outside. She barely reaches Sehun’s hip, he realizes now. She can’t be older than five, maybe six.

“Hello,” he says carefully. There’s nobody else in the hallway, he can neither see nor hear anyone. No friends, no parents. That’s … weird. “Can I help you?”

“Where’s your dog?” the girl says, staring up at him with wide eyes and the hint of a smile.

“Uh, in the living room,” Sehun says. He’s starting to feel glad that it’s the middle of the day, otherwise this’d feel like the start of one of those horror movies Minseok makes him watch sometimes.

“Can I pet her?” the girl asks, actually literally clasping her hands together at him now. “Please? I love dogs!”

“Vivi’s a boy,” Sehun says automatically, which changes exactly zero about the brightness on the kid’s face. He doesn’t mind people petting his dog, especially if they ask this nicely. He’s just never specifically let someone into his apartment only to pet him. Except for Jongin, he supposes. He’s actually pretty sure that Jongin sometimes only comes by for his dog. Either way, he doesn’t want to look creepy letting a little girl into his apartment like this, but it’s not like petting his dog will take the entire day. He doesn’t want to upset her by saying no either, so he figures he can just let her in now, have her pet his dog for a few minutes, and then she can go back to her friends. Or whoever else she came here with. “Sure, come in.”

The girl smiles at him happily, toes her shoes off the second she shuffles past him, and then creeps through his hallway slowly, bending forward to peek past the doorways. “Which one’s the living room?” she asks, but Sehun is already pushing past her to open the right door.

“This way,” he says, and he’s about to ask her if she lives here, but Vivi is already hopping towards them curiously to sniff their new visitor. Sehun bites his lip and almost says something -- Vivi can be a bit gushy with newcomers and he doesn’t want to scare the child, but the girl is already calmly extending one hand towards the dog to let him sniff it, so all seems well. Vivi is wagging his tail wildly, gives the small hand in front of his face a lick, and then the girl starts petting his head, and Sehun stares a little.

He’s never seen a little child be this gentle with his dog. Sure, nobody’s ever actually hurt Vivi before, but a lot of kids don’t really know how to touch him right. The girl does. She’s petting his head softly and then scratching him behind one ear, and Vivi instantly looks like this is the best thing he’s ever felt.

“I love dogs,” the girl says again. Sehun smiles at them.

“I can tell. You’re very good with him. Do you have a dog at home?”

She shakes her head. “No. I just really want one. I don’t think I’ll get one, though.”

“Well, they’re a lot of work,” Sehun says softly. “You can always get one once you’re grown up.” Not for the first time in his life, he realizes he has no idea how to properly talk to children. Usually, he’s the youngest everywhere. The fact that she’s distracted with his dog and the two of them are interacting so calmly helps Sehun a bit, but he still has no idea what to do with this child in his apartment now. “Um, do you live here? In the neighborhood?”

“No,” she says again. Her eyes are still fixed on the dog and she’s still petting him, focused like it’s an Olympic sport. “Are you a grownup?”

Sehun can’t believe he’s saying this. “Yeah, I’m a grownup. I mean I go to college, but this is my own apartment and my own dog, and, uh, stuff.”

At this, she looks up at him, then briefly over her shoulder towards the hallway, then back at Sehun, her brows raised. “You have a lot of shoes for a single person.”

Truthfully, not all shoes in the hallway belong to Sehun; but also truthfully, most of them do. He can’t help but snort. “Yeah, I like shoes,” he says, and he really wants to try to get back on track and ask this girl where she came from now, but she’s quicker than him again. One hand still on Vivi’s head, she looks around some more, spotting Sehun’s open kitchen and staring at one of his shelves.

“Do you also like peanut butter?” she asks. Sehun follows her gaze with a mildly amused expression. Yeah, that’s a jar of peanut butter between some other stuff on that shelf. She doesn’t seem to care about the rest of his kitchen, only watching that jar while petting his dog.

“I do like peanut butter,” he says, happy to at least have a simple topic to talk about with this kid without feeling like he’s being completely inept. “You too?”

“I love peanut butter,” she breathes, still staring. “I wanna eat it every day. But dad doesn’t buy it that often.”

Ah, Sehun thinks. An opportunity. “Did you come here with your parents?” he asks.

“No,” the girl says. “Do you like smooth or crunchy?”

Clearly, peanut butter is still the top priority here. “This one’s smooth,” Sehun says, gesturing towards the jar. “But I like crunchy, too. So are you visiting your friends here?”

“No,” she says again, and an alarmed sting flares up in Sehun’s stomach. “I’m really hungry. Do you have toast, too?”

“Listen, I’m sorry for asking all these questions,” Sehun starts, feeling more and more exasperated, “but do your parents know you’re here?”

She turns her head to look at him, look him right in the eyes, and then says, slowly and enunciating every word very clearly, like Sehun is the baby here, “I’m hungry. I could really go for some peanut butter toast right now.”

Sehun sighs. “Look, why are you here?” he tries. Maybe she got lost. There has to be some sort of explanation for her showing up in this neighborhood if she really doesn’t live here.

“Because I wanted to pet your dog,” she says, frowning at him now. “Do you have toast?”

Well, this isn’t working. “Yeah,” Sehun says, resigned. “I do have toast. Come here, you can sit down at the kitchen table, I’ll put some in the toaster.”

The frown disappears as quickly as she climbs onto one of Sehun’s kitchen chairs. Vivi follows her, of course, making sure she keeps petting his head. Both of them are watching Sehun, the girl with a triumphant smile on her face, Vivi with his tongue out and his tail wagging, as Sehun pulls out two slices of bread, a knife, and a plate. This feels weird and he immediately wishes he had sent her back out instead, but he can’t really do that, can he? Sehun doesn’t want to be that guy who feeds strange children in his apartment without their parents’ knowledge, but something’s off about this one. Maybe she really did get lost, or maybe she ran away from home, something like that. Sehun’s stomach knots together at the thought and it’s really nothing he wants to be dealing with right now, but he can’t just throw her out. On the hopefully very off chance that something is wrong with this kid’s parents, he would rather give her a bit of shelter and some peanut butter toast and find out what’s going on instead of putting her back on the street. This particular neighborhood is pretty nice, but if she strays any farther, who knows what might happen to her.

“Do you play a lot of games?” she asks and Sehun looks up from the toaster, confused, to see her staring at his entertainment system in the living room, his PS4 on display with a bunch of games stacked neatly on the shelf above it.

“Uh, yeah,” Sehun says, “they’re kinda for grownups, though.”

She looks back at him with a perfect pout on her little lips and Sehun thinks he feels something inside him break like glass. What the fuck. “But I love games, too. I wanna play something.”

Sehun fights back his sigh. “I’ll find something later,” he mutters. He still has his 3DS somewhere, and there should be some Mario Kart on it, he’s pretty sure… Why exactly he basically just offered her to stay even longer and play video games in his apartment, he has no idea. For now, he focuses on the task at hand, which is getting the hot bread out of the toaster and pulling up the knife and peanut butter, but he doesn’t get very far with that, either.

“I can spread it myself,” the girl says, the second Sehun dips his knife into the jar. He stops then, throws her a glance, sees her scowling at him, and carries plate and jar over to the table instead with a silent smile.

“Sorry,” he says gently after sitting down across from her and watching her spread peanut butter on her toast clumsily. “How old are you?”

“I’m four,” she says. Sehun’s heart sinks somewhere into his stomach. That’s very young. Like, that’s very, very young. That’s too young for school, so that’s definitely too young to be outside on her own like that, and Sehun shouldn’t be doing this. He should get help from somewhere. For her. This isn’t his business and he is so not qualified to handle this, and she is four.

Sehun watches her wolf down two peanut butter sandwiches in complete silence, one hand always on Vivi’s head. Some part of him still wants to tell her to go back home and push her out the door afterwards, but he also still can’t bring himself to actually do it. Instead, he finds his 3DS and explains Mario Kart to her, and only when she’s fully immersed in the game does he pull out his own phone to text Jongin.

[04:38] you: bro

[04:38] you: im having an out of body experience

[04:38] jongout: What

[04:39] you: this kid knocked on my door and asked if she could pet the dog and now she won't leave

[04:39] jongout: Lmaooo relatable

[04:40] you: im serious though what do i do

[04:40] you: she says she's not here with her parents or friends she just. showed up

[04:40] you: what if she's lost

[04:41] jongout: Does she seem upset??

[04:41] you: no she's super chill

[04:41] you: like eerily chill

[04:41] jongout: Maybe you should make sure other people can see her too otherwise she might be a ghost

[04:42] you: this is not the time for jokes u jerk

[04:43] you: also she ate four slices of toast and half a jar of peanut butter im pretty sure she's real

[04:43] jongout: Hahahahaha

[04:43] jongout: Okay look if she really seems like she's lost or something like that you should call the police

[04:44] jongout: Someone's bound to be missing her

Sehun looks over at her, tongue between her teeth, both of her little hands clutching his gameboy, focused. Like she doesn't have another care in the world.

[04:45] you: what if nobody does

[04:45] jongout: That would be very very sad

[04:45] jongout: One way or another though you have to find out. I mean you can't just keep her

[04:46] you: yeah i know wtf i don't wanna keep her

[04:46] you: im too young to be a dad lol

He looks at his last messages, biting his lip, and closes out of the app quickly before Jongin can answer. Maybe someone else thought that too, he thinks, and feels guilt pulling at his guts. Maybe someone saw her and didn’t want to be there for her anymore, and Sehun isn’t a four-year-old roaming the world alone but he sure feels like one sometimes, and he knows the feeling of being pushed aside like he’s high maintenance.

She deserves someone who won’t push her away.

Sehun looks at her, back at his phone, back at her, back at his phone. Then he sighs. He’s gonna have to call him, isn’t he.

“You stay put, alright?” he says to the girl and gets up from the kitchen table with his phone in hand. “I’m just gonna call someone real quick.”

“Uh huh,” she says, not looking up. Sehun supposes that’s good. In a way. She’s busy, at least.

Junmyeon rejects his call almost immediately, so Sehun gives his phone an offended glare and dials his number again. He’s hovering around at the other end of the living room while the line beeps, watching the girl. The apartment has always been big enough for him and usually big enough for him and Junmyeon, but he still only has two rooms and doesn’t really want to go into the other one to talk, because then he wouldn’t be able to watch her anymore. He’s just going to have to try to be civil.

His call goes to voicemail and Sehun rolls his eyes. “Call me back assh--” he says automatically, interrupting himself too late. He tries to come up with a G-rated way to insult Junmyeon but draws a blank, huffing irritatedly. “I can’t swear right now, but just call me back. Soon. You… You anus.”

He’s pretty sure she doesn’t know what an anus is. Right? Four-year-olds don’t know the word anus.

She’s not listening anyway. Sehun’s phone vibrates in his hand a mere few seconds later and she doesn’t even look up.

“Hey,” Sehun says, raising it to his ear again, watching Vivi put his head on one of the girl’s legs because he’s not getting any attention right now.

“How may I help you?” Junmyeon says with his stupid work voice, like he’s talking to a client, and Sehun wants to reach through the line and strangle him for it.

Maybe he actually is closer to a client right now than anything else, though. Sehun wets his lips and says, “I need legal advice.”

“What did you do?” Of course, this time Junmyeon’s voice has dropped by a wary octave, and Sehun hates him for that, too.

“Nothing. You know, you always assume the worst of me, it’s really no wonder we never--”

“What did you do.”

Sehun sighs and runs his free hand through his hair. This is gonna get so weird. “At what point in time,” he says, “does it become illegal to keep someone else’s kid in your apartment?”

It’s silent for exactly four and a half seconds. Sehun counts.

“Did you,” Junmyeon says slowly, “kidnap a child?”

“Well that’s kind of what I’m fucking asking, isn’t it?” Sehun blurts out. “Uh… Fricking. What I’m fricking asking.”

“God, fuck,” Junmyeon says. Sehun can hear fabric rustling and imagines him loosening his tie and opening the top button of his shirt. “Whose child? Whose child is in your apartment?”

“I don’t know,” Sehun says quietly, feeling dumber by the second. Jongin was right, he should have just called the cops, but it still doesn’t sit right with him. “I tried to ask, but she doesn’t really want to talk about anything except dogs and peanut butter. She was alone when she knocked on my door and she said she’s not here with her parents, I… I don’t know. She doesn’t seem too eager to go back to them, Junmyeon.”

There’s a suggestion behind those words, and Sehun knows that Junmyeon gets it.

“You know how kids can be,” Junmyeon says slowly. “Maybe she’s just trying to act like she’s ready to be on her own--”

“She said she’s four,” Sehun cuts in. That shuts Junmyeon up. “So? What do I do about this without getting arrested?”

“I don’t exactly specialize in children’s rights,” Junmyeon says. “But I’m pretty sure you’ll just have to go to the authorities. Tell them what you told me. That should be all.”

Sehun grimaces, shifting on his feet. “And then what?” he says. “What are they gonna do with her?”

“They’ll try to find her parents, I’d assume. And if they really can’t find them, someone else will care for her.”

“Who, like, an orphanage?”

“I don’t know, Sehun. It’s possible she’d come to a children’s home at first, yes. But that’s all only if her real parents actually don’t show up, which I still doubt.”

Sehun doesn’t. Junmyeon always believes that people will be good, even after going to law school, which is an achievement in itself if you ask Sehun. He believes that people are good, even after dealing with Sehun, but Sehun doesn’t. He doesn’t believe in the girl’s parents and he doesn’t necessarily believe in the good hearts of some random police officers, either.

“Sehun?” Junmyeon says, wary again since Sehun hasn’t been saying anything.

“What?”

“Do you … maybe want me to come over? This has got to be tough on you.”

“No,” Sehun says immediately. He doesn’t want Junmyeon here. He just threw him out and it’s entirely too early for them to be crawling back to each other, especially if it feels like Sehun is doing more of the crawling. “I’ll deal with this. Thanks or something.”

“Just let me know if you need any more help,” Junmyeon says quickly, probably knowing that Sehun is rapidly losing interest in talking to him.

“Right. Bye,” Sehun just says, and hangs up.

He stands around in his living room for a few moments, watching his dog beg the kid for pets, watching the kid smash buttons on his 3DS. He could end this. Call the police right from where he’s standing, he still has the phone in his hand. Tell them to come here, maybe, so he doesn’t have to convince a girl he doesn’t know to come with him to a police station. Then he’d be rid of her and probably never see her again, never know what happened to her, either. What does he care, anyway? It’s not his business, she’s not his business, he has classes on Monday and wanted to use the weekend to relax, so what the hell is he doing?

Sehun has no idea. He just knows he’s not calling the cops. Not yet.

“How’s the game?” he asks, his phone in his back pocket, sitting down across from her again.

“It’s good,” she says. Sehun nods, playing with the peanut butter cap. His fingers itch to clean his kitchen table, but he guesses he should get something else off the table first.

“What’s your name?”

At this, she looks up at him over his 3DS for a second, barely longer. “Helena,” she says.

“Okay. Mine’s Sehun.”

“Okay.”

“Helena,” Sehun says, feeling his palms sweat. He wishes this wouldn’t be so nerve-wracking, but he has no idea how to talk to children, and he’s so scared of the answer. Some part of him still hopes that it’s all a misunderstanding and will turn out okay, that her mom is going to ring his doorbell any second now, but he barely believes it. This is going to turn out tragic, he thinks, and he’s not ready for it. “Where are you parents?”

“I dunno,” Helena says softly. There’s an uncomfortable lump in Sehun’s throat.

“Did you lose them?”

“No.” Helena shifts in her seat and Sehun realizes she’s not pressing any buttons anymore, only looking down at the screens without doing anything. “They didn’t want me.”

Sehun winces. Even if that’s exactly what he’s been fearing for a while now, he still wishes he hadn’t heard it. “How do you figure?” he asks. Maybe they just said something mean and she ran away, maybe this is all blown out of proportion. Maybe it’s fine. There’s still hope.

“Daddy took me to a playground and then he drove away without me,” Helena says and picks at one of the buttons with her fingers. “I know parents only do that when they don’t want us.”

Sehun’s insides are burning. He feels like someone just punched him right in the chest -- this is what he’s been expecting all along, what his pessimistic ass has been thinking about this whole time, but that doesn’t make it better. If anything, he thinks, it makes it worse. “What about your mommy?” he asks, his voice hoarse.

“She’s gone,” Helena says, so soberly it sends a chill down Sehun’s back. “I’ve never seen her.”

“I’m sorry,” Sehun says automatically. He sounds worse with every word, so he tries hard to keep his voice stable somehow. As eerie as it feels at first to see Helena this calm about things, Sehun really doesn’t want to upset her, so he figures he shouldn’t seem upset himself, either.

Finally, Helena puts the 3DS down and looks up at him quizzically. “For what?”

“Oh,” Sehun says and shrugs awkwardly. “It’s just something people say. You know, I’m sorry that happened to you. Your parents shouldn’t do that kinda sh-- uh, stuff.”

“It’s okay,” Helena says gently, like she’s the one comforting Sehun now. “Dad says it’s tough to keep me.”

He should have thought about that five years ago, Sehun thinks, but he doesn’t say it. “It’s not tough to keep you,” he says instead, forcing a smile. “I mean, look at me, right? All I have is a dog and some peanut butter, and you’re happy. It’s great to have you here, okay? Believe me. Your dad’s just a… just a…” Sehun breathes in, and smiles some more, and says, “Your dad’s just a doodoohead.”

Helena giggles, and Sehun feels like his insides immediately mend themselves back together and warm up his entire body. She looks down to pick at a bread crumb on the plate and says, “He is kind of a doodoohead.”

“When did he drive away?” Sehun asks carefully, now that Helena has seemingly stopped trying to avoid the topic. Some part of him is still telling himself to go to the police with this, now more than ever, so maybe he should at least gather some information before spooky policemen try to get it out of her instead.

“This morning,” Helena says. There’s a pout on her lips when she frowns. “I think.”

Sehun almost says fuck, but he keeps it to himself. “And what playground was it? Close to here?”

“Yeah,” Helena says, though slowly, sounding unsure. “I dunno. I was never there before.”

“That’s just mean,” Sehun says and sighs. “Listen…” He should tell her about the police. That’s what he thinks. He should just get on with it and tell her. You’re supposed to be honest with kids and you’re supposed to call the cops, so Sehun is going to tell her just that, and then do it. He wets his lips and he nods to himself and then he says, “If you want, you can sleep here tonight.”

Sure. Alright. That works too.

It’s not like anything will happen to her here. And it’s not like Sehun had any plans that were more important than a little kid’s safety. And it’s not like they can’t go to the police immediately tomorrow morning. It’ll be fine. She can sleep in his bed and he’ll sleep on the couch with Vivi. Helena must be exhausted after the day she’s been having; actually, Sehun is starting to feel a little exhausted himself.

But first, Sehun lets her play with Vivi some more while he cleans up the kitchen. Vivi is always happy to have a new playmate, and Sehun is already hoping it’ll tire both of them out.

Sure enough, Helena ends up sprawled comfortably over his living room couch, Vivi curled up in another corner. The dog is sleeping, the kid is not, so Sehun decides to just switch on the kids’ channel on TV. He doesn’t really have anything here to entertain children save for the dog and his 3DS, and he wouldn’t exactly know what to do anyway, but TV seems to make her happy for now. Eventually, Sehun sits next to her and watches too, finding that the loud, colorful entertainment does wonders to ease his anxiety about what he’s going to have to do tomorrow.

It’s not even eight yet when Helena falls asleep on the couch.

Sehun is worried he’ll wake her at first; he has never held a child in his entire life. But if she’s going to sleep, he doesn’t want her to stay in the living room where the dog roams freely and might wake her up by licking her face or gnawing on her hand at any point in time, so he has to try. He’s held animals, at least. One time he carried Baekhyun home from a bar and he didn’t wake up. He was significantly heavier than Helena of course, who is so light it makes Sehun feel almost uneasy, so the carrying part isn’t the problem. When Sehun shifts her in his arms, she makes a sleepy noise and grabs for his shirt, but that’s it. She doesn’t wake up.

She just stays in his arms with a fistful of fabric and her eyes closed and her face relaxed, and Sehun almost stumbles and falls in the hallway from staring at her. It sure makes him feel something. But he’s not going to explore that. Hell no. He’s taking her to the police tomorrow morning and he’ll never see her again.

Helena lets go of his shirt once Sehun lowers her onto the mattress, and immediately curls on her side instead. Sehun doesn’t realize he’s biting his lip until it hurts, stiffly pulling his blanket up to her shoulders, trying not to think about it all. About how he’s taking care of a child, actually literally taking care of her, because some stupid asshole decided she’s not worth his time anymore. Decided to make his kid think she’s not loved.

He leaves the door open when he goes back to the living room, throwing himself on the couch and pulling out his phone. Jongin messaged him again to ask how this thing played out, but Sehun doesn’t reply for now. He can tell him tomorrow, he guesses. His thumbs hovering over the touch screen, part of him wants to google more cases like this, but the mere thought of typing child abandonment into the address bar of his browser makes his stomach churn and he decides against it. He’ll just play games as quietly as possible until he falls asleep here.

It’s barely nine o’clock when Junmyeon arrives.

He has a key; of course he has, and of course Sehun tends to forget that he gave him one whenever they “break up”. In hindsight, he always thinks he should have taken it from him, but then he also figures that they only stay broken up for a week, two tops, so it’s not really worth the effort.

“Sehun?” he calls carefully from the hallway, and Sehun, alert since he heard the lock click, jumps up and races out to him.

“Shhh!” he hisses as a greeting, pulling Vivi back by the chest since he was about to jump Junmyeon. They can’t do that in the hallway. Not when the bedroom door is still ajar and they might wake Helena. “Be quiet. Come into the living room, if you really have to.”

At least, Junmyeon stays quiet now, just lets Sehun pull him along with a bewildered expression, which changes to suspicion once Sehun silently closes the living room door behind them. “Sehun,” he says slowly, “is she still here?”

Sehun doesn't answer; doesn't want to. He just crosses his arms defensively and stares at Vivi clambering back onto the couch. There's nothing he could say to make this sound better, is there? Junmyeon is going to give him a Stern Grownup Talk either way.

“Sehun, you have to go to the police,” Junmyeon says and Sehun huffs loudly.

“I'll call them first thing tomorrow. I know I can't just keep her.”

He looks back at Junmyeon just in time to see his eyebrows shoot up. “What, like you'd want to?”

“Someone has to!” Sehun hisses before he can stop himself. For a second, Junmyeon looks like he's about to take a step back, but then he just blinks at him in surprise and Sehun sighs. “I talked to her. After we hung up, I talked to her about her parents. I think her mom walked out on her, and her dad literally just put her on a playground and drove off. He told her she's tough to keep. She thinks nobody wants her.”

In the few seconds of silence that follow, Sehun watches Junmyeon soften. His shoulders relax, his features brighten just enough to make him stop looking like a lawyer. His voice gets softer, too. “Are you,” he says gently, “sympathizing with a four-year-old?”

The softness is nice and all, but Sehun doesn't appreciate the amusement in his voice. Sehun scoffs quietly, then he turns away so he can pointlessly pick invisible lint off his couch. “Look, life sucks when you're difficult to love,” he says. “She just needs someone to be there for her.”

“I'm not saying a little child should be left alone,” Junmyeon says, and Sehun takes solace in the fact that he at least sounds more careful now. “And it's horrible that her parents left her alone, and you're sweet for taking her in and all, it's just… I mean, you know it's not realistic. You've known her for a few hours. You have two rooms and all your friends are college frat boys.”

“I know,” Sehun says quietly. “God, I know, alright? I told you I'll call the police tomorrow morning. I just couldn't bring myself to do it tonight, is all. Hop off my dick, will you?”

“Sorry,” Junmyeon says, which is nice. Sehun still makes a show of sighing loudly when he turns back towards him again.

“What did you come here for, anyway?”

“Oh.” Now it's Joonmyeon who suddenly seems very interested in watching Sehun’s couch. “You just, uh, sounded really affected on the phone, and I thought she'd be gone by now and that you might be, you know, sad about it. I thought I'd offer my company, and some takeout if you want any.”

Something warm creeps up Sehun’s throat, like he's about to throw up a furnace. He hates when Junmyeon does that, honestly, hates when he's being sweet when they're officially still at war. Because it works, every single time. Ropes him right in like some sort of moron.

“I guess I wouldn't mind a pizza,” he says, less begrudgingly than feels comfortable. “We'll just have to tell the delivery guy to call one of us instead of ringing the doorbell or something, so Helena doesn't wake up.”

He has no idea why Junmyeon smiles at that. But at least he acts on his offer and orders pizza for both of them, Sehun’s favorite, with a polite message to not use the doorbell. When Junmyeon sits, Vivi immediately puts his head on his knee and Sehun silently curses him for this betrayal, but he doesn't say anything. His entire body is calming down more and more the longer they sit next to each other, even if they're silent, and by the time Junmyeon gets up to greet the delivery boy downstairs, Sehun feels sleepy and like things will be okay.

Into the silence between them and their pizzas, Junmyeon says, “You're not difficult to love. You make it fairly easy with everything you do.”

Sehun looks up and stares at him, half-chewed pizza still in his mouth, a string of mozzarella connecting him to the slice in his hand, hovering in mid-air. They're not… They don't love each other. That's not where they're at in their weird-ass relationship. They don't love each other, and if they do, they don't just say it over pizza while technically still being broken up.

“Yeah?” Sehun says weakly. “Like when I throw you out of the apartment because you wouldn't help with the laundry?”

“You threw me out because I was making fun of you and your cleanliness,” Junmyeon says, calmly, eyes on his food, like this is a regular dinner conversation. “I was being an ass. I deserved it.”

Sehun continues to stare. They don’t say they love each other, and they also don’t say that the other was right. It’s just not how they work. Not usually. But this time, Junmyeon turns his head as well and smiles at him.

“If you’re going to be taking care of children, I guess it’s about time I treat you like an adult.”

“Don’t tease,” Sehun says, mostly to keep himself from hitting him. His face feels warm. “I’m taking her to the cops tomorrow and then she’ll be gone.”

Junmyeon shrugs. “If you two bonded so well today, and if she doesn’t go away too far, you can still visit her. Anything to make her happy from here, I suspect. Her future social workers might want to have a look at you, but I’m pretty sure they’ll feel about you much the same way as me.”

“I don’t know if I’m ready to let some social worker fuck me against the kitchen counter, though,” Sehun says airily, and enjoys how Junmyeon chokes on his pizza. He shouldn’t be so shocked about that, really. Junmyeon was the one to suggest the kitchen. Sehun waits for him to calm down a bit before he adds, “Did some research on child abandonment, did you?”

“I may have,” Junmyeon says softly, and maybe it’s just the aftershocks of his choking, but Sehun thinks he can hear something cold in his voice, something vicious, something he always gets when he talks about an enemy in court he knows just how to destroy. “If they ever do find their family, hell awaits them, that’s for sure. But also, you know, social workers are going to be taking care of her, and they’ll be happy to know someone she likes, and who’s willing to spend time with her. It’s not like you’re gonna adopt her, but I’m pretty sure they’ll let you be a friend. If you want that.”

Sehun’s only answer, for now, is a vague hum. It’s not like Junmyeon was wrong earlier when he remarked that he’s only known Helena for a few hours, and the whole day has been kind of an uncomfortable blur. But he does like her, in a way, and yes, he does sympathize with her. He can’t help it. He’s always been proud and did his best to take no shit from anyone, not let anyone break his heart, and he supposes it made him a little complicated to deal with. He starts fights for the sheer drama of it, he gets mean when he argues, sometimes he even gets mean when he’s not actually trying to, he has astronomic expectations, and he’s just overall high maintenance. He knows that. And he’s too proud to change it, damn it, but it has made for some very lonely evenings of questioning himself.

It’s not the same as getting fucking abandoned by your father, of course. Sehun’s parents are alright. Maybe a bit distant and overall not extremely helpful with this issue, but they’re alright. Helena has it way worse than he does, but that doesn’t change that Sehun does kind of feel her. Because it’s a horrible thought to have, that you’re just too much effort for other people, that nobody is ever going to care for you because you make it too complicated for them. And if Sehun is feeling that way when he’s twenty-three and in college and in a stupid kind of unhealthy on-off relationship with a guy he actually really, really likes, then that’s his own fault and he’ll figure it out at some point.

But you just shouldn’t feel that way when you’re four. Nobody should feel that way as a child. And maybe it’s only been a few hours, but maybe that was enough. Maybe he does want to see her, just to make sure he stays true to his word. After all, he told her that it’s great to have her here, and what message would it be if he never saw her again after this? Little kids pick up on this stuff, Sehun thinks. If he wants her to think that people care about her, he better set a good example.

“I’ll just see what tomorrow brings,” he says to Junmyeon, because he’s sure as hell not about to explain all that out loud. Sehun picks at a piece of champignon on his pizza, then very carefully leans to the side so his shoulder bumps into Junmyeon’s as he licks his fingertips clean. “Thanks for saying I’m easy to love,” he adds softly.

“It’s the truth.” Junmyeon doesn’t miss a beat.

Sehun bites on his lip, throws him a glance from the corner of his eye, looks back at his pizza, takes a nervous breath. They don’t love each other. They don’t do or say that; and technically, Junmyeon didn’t say it. Technically, Sehun doesn’t have to say it.

But he does like him very much, very very much, likes that Junmyeon puts up with him and always comes back, no matter how ridiculous Sehun was to him, likes that he can make jokes while Sehun loses his mind over a bit of laundry, likes that he’s ready to give legal advice even when they’re fighting. Sehun grabs another slice of pizza and says, “You’re easy to love, too.”

Usually, he supposes, this is where the makeup sex deal would be starting again. They don't say a word about it, but they both know that there's a four-year-old sleeping next door and that Sehun is loud enough for five people if Junmyeon plays his cards right. Either way, Sehun is actually pretty content with nothing but a stomach full of pizza and Junmyeon’s warm body next to his. He's pretty sure that Junmyeon is going to go back home at some point since they only have the confines of his couch tonight and not an actual bed, but it turns out that he's wrong.

After Vivi has scampered off into his dog basket with a disgruntled noise, Sehun falls asleep on his back on the couch, one leg dangling off, Junmyeon fitting nicely in between them, head resting on his chest. It's heavy and everything smells like a mix of dog and pizza, but Sehun sleeps through until morning.

He wakes up with no weight on his chest and assumes that Junmyeon did go home, but once he turns his head he can see him bustling about in the kitchen, making a mess and some breakfast. Helena is next to him, standing on a footstool and spreading peanut butter on toast. When Sehun is orientated enough to sit up, he realizes they're both chatting away about Naruto.

“Good morning Sehun!” Helena chirps once she spots him moving, and Sehun automatically flashes her a smile.

“Morning. How did you sleep?” Sehun asks, getting to his feet slowly, which makes Vivi scurry towards him. The little guy still needs his morning walk, he assumes.

“I slept great! Your bed is sooo big!” Helena says and spreads her arms wide, poking Junmyeon in the arm with a butterknife and subsequently smearing peanut butter on his sleeve. Junmyeon accepts his fate quietly.

“Yeah, it’s pretty huge,” Sehun says and stretches. He’s still in yesterday’s clothes; honestly, he really wants a very long shower, but he supposes he has something else to do first.

He takes Vivi out for a quick walk before they have breakfast together, bunched around his small kitchen table. It feels surreal; Junmyeon and Helena get along well, and Sehun keeps watching them when they talk to each other, Helena telling huge-eyed stories about all the dogs she’s met in her life so far, Junmyeon clearly enjoying having an audience that actually laughs at his jokes. It feels nice and warm and homey, and Sehun tries not to think about what they’re going to have to do soon, but it catches up with him anyway.

Junmyeon is the one who ends up softly picking up the topic. He smiles at her and just tells her that they’re going to take her somewhere to get help, and that’s all it takes to get her to nod like she understands. Sehun knows he himself would have stuttered and stammered and tried to find a hundred ways around it, but Junmyeon is gentle and careful and it makes his head swim.

Quickly, Sehun at least throws on a clean shirt while Junmyeon is in the bathroom helping Helena brush her teeth with one of Sehun’s spare big grownup toothbrushes, then they’re off. Just like that.

Sehun has only been to a police station once before when somebody had stolen his wallet, and it was a very short visit. He didn’t even sit down anywhere because it was such a hopeless case, just reported it missing and left after five minutes. He never heard of them again.

This is different. They sit down, they get offered water. Sehun thinks he’d rather have coffee or a punch in the face. Helena looks around with polite curiosity before she leans in and asks Sehun if all of these people are detectives. Sehun says no and that they’re policemen, and Helena asks what the difference is, and she has both of her hands on his thigh to lean in close and Sehun has one hand on her back and feels like he’s betraying her.

Once the questions start, Sehun does most of the talking. They ask him a lot, of course, visibly trying to make sure that Sehun didn’t do anything to her and really just found her at his door, so Sehun is honest and doesn’t try to hide how lost he felt. Still feels. Even when they start to ask Helena rather than him, Sehun tries to answer for her because he doesn’t want her to stress out, feels uncomfortable with other people talking to her because what if they say something wrong, what if they hurt her, what if she cries.

But a few warning looks later, Sehun pulls himself together and lets Helena talk about her parents. She doesn’t know her father’s first name because she never called him by it, doesn’t remember their full address either, but the officer is positive that combining her bits and pieces is going to be enough for them to find the guy. Sehun is still wondering if he should ask what’s going to happen to her father with Helena sitting right next to them, when Junmyeon speaks up and asks the same question for him, his voice hard.

No mercy for anyone who pisses Kim Junmyeon off, Sehun thinks.

Officers start explaining what’s about to happen cautiously and kid-friendly. In a way, Sehun feels like that’s better for them all, because it might keep Junmyeon’s blood pressure low and besides that, Sehun’s world is still strange and unreal to him and he’s not even sure if he could really understand grownup terms right now.

It’s mostly like they already predicted. Professionals are going to take care of Helena while they look for her family and see how to proceed from there. After all, one of her parents might still want her back, the officer says, and both Junmyeon and Sehun scoff quietly, even though he stresses that they would still be checked up on regularly by child services. And if her parents really won’t want her back, someone else will take her in. And Sehun will be left to hope that they won’t be too far away, because if he wants, of course he can visit. Even the social workers who come to pick her up say that. If Sehun and Junmyeon have grown on her this much and would like to check up on her, they’re free to visit, one of them says, gaze flickering between them with that bright, all-teeth smile that’s very eager like she’s trying to not-so-subtly tell them It’s okay to be gay. Sehun knows the smile. The only familiar thing in the room right now, together with Junmyeon.

The worst part is yet to come.

Helena doesn’t want to go.

Sehun feels like someone is ripping his heart out when they try to make her say goodbye and all she does is run towards him for a hug, tears already gleaming in her eyes. He’s on his knees in less than a second, doesn’t care that he’s in the middle of a police station, he’s on the floor with a little kid he’s known since yesterday pressed tightly to his chest and she cries and Sehun feels like he’s dying. She didn’t cry through all of this, she didn’t cry when she told him about her parents, but she’s sobbing and shaking her head now and Sehun waits for this to be like the movies, waits for someone here to soften and say Okay, fuck the rules, take her with you, but it doesn’t happen, of course it doesn’t. He can’t have a kid. That’s bullshit and he knows. Sehun swallows the bile in his throat and carefully runs a hand through her hair and tells her that she has to go. And he’ll visit her as soon as he can, but she has to go. These people will be nice to her and it’ll all be fine, and she has to. She has to.

Outside, Junmyeon puts a heavy arm around Sehun’s shoulders. “You alright?” he asks softly while they walk to his car and Sehun almost wants to make a scene and shove him away just for the hell of it, because he feels horrible and wants to let it out on someone, but maybe Junmyeon was right. Maybe it’s about time they treat each other like adults.

“Not really,” he says.

Junmyeon pats his shoulder before letting go again to unlock the car and they both slide into their seats. “You’ll see her again in no time.”

With a vague noise from the back of his throat, Sehun shrugs. He’s trying to be careful with his optimism. Just to make sure. “Why’re you so good with kids, anyway?” he asks instead of an answer, because he needs a lighter mood or he’ll lean out of Junmyeon’s car door and vomit on the street.

“I’ve been putting up with you for three years,” Junmyeon says, so Sehun rolls his eyes and punches him in the thigh, pulling a laugh from him.

“And where did you get that stool from this morning? Was that in my apartment? I don’t remember ever needing a fuckin’ footstool for anything?”

“You know, just say that you’re tall, Sehun,” Junmyeon says, still chortling. Sehun has never considered his presence as healing as he does right now. “I got it from your broom closet, way in the back. It’s from when you were just moving in, I’m surprised you don’t remember. You wanted to paint the ceiling in your bathroom and kept slipping off the toilet lid trying, so you got a footstool.”

“Ohh,” Sehun says quietly. Other than being stressed out for three weeks straight, he doesn’t remember much about moving. “You’re right. Yeah, I kept wanting to give it to Kyungsoo afterwards, as a joke.”

“See? It’s good you didn’t do that, now it came in handy.”

“It’s also good I didn’t do that because otherwise I’d be dead now.”

“True,” Junmyeon says. He stops at a red light and leans back in his seat, drumming his fingers against the steering wheel, pondering something. “You know, Kyungsoo and Jongin have been talking about adoption.”

Sehun’s stomach flips. He shifts against the backrest and tries to imagine Jongin and his boyfriend meeting Helena. She’d get her dosage of cute dogs there, for sure. And the two of them have been going pretty steady for ages -- really, it’s been weird seeing them have a good, healthy relationship for almost as long as Sehun can remember while he and Junmyeon were bickering and hate-fucking twice a month.

“Yeah,” he says quietly. “But they said they want a baby, right? Like a really young one? Jongin said he doesn’t want to miss out on anything and stuff.”

“I know, but still,” Junmyeon says. “It means they’re open to the idea of taking someone in. If Helena ends up in foster care, maybe they’d want to be there for her. She’d still be close to you, I’m sure she’d have a great time with Soo and Jongin, and the two of them could have something like a parenting trial run. You know? Everybody wins.”

Slowly, Sehun nods. It does sound like it would benefit everyone involved. He wouldn’t want Helena to just be a trial run to someone, but he knows she’d be more to Jongin and Kyungsoo anyway, and he knows that Junmyeon knows that too. Both of them would be great with her, he’s sure.

But he suspects it’s still going to take a lot of time until decisions like that can actually be made.

“Hey, wait,” he says suddenly, frowning out the windshield. “Did you say you were in my broom closet? Way in the back? You ransacked it, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, you might not wanna go in there for a while,” Junmyeon says. Shameless. Sehun groans so loudly he thinks people on the street might have heard him.



Jongin steps off the footstool and looks up at the ceiling lamp he’s been trying to install. It’s not looking very good. Actually, Sehun is pretty sure he already managed to break it.

“Maybe you should just let Kyungsoo do this,” he suggests, knowing fully well that he himself won’t be of any use.

Sighing, Jongin regards the stool Sehun brought and nods in resignation. “Yeah, I guess. We’ll have to get the ladder from the basement for him, though.”

“See, if I said something like that he’d just magically materialize behind me and break my neck.”

“No, he couldn’t reach. He’d kick you in the back of the knees first,” Jongin says casually, and laughs at Sehun’s exasperated eyeroll. “Hey, I’m the one who sucks his dick, so of course I’m allowed to say this and you aren’t. It’s only fair.”

“That’s some weird fuckin’ logic,” Sehun says.

“Hey, no swearing in the future kids’ room.”

“You literally just talked about dick sucking?”

“Does that count as swearing? What else should I have said? I perform fellatio on him?”

“Yeah, why not. When I was on the phone with Junmyeon while Helena was there, I called him an anus instead of an asshole, I doubt kids know these words.”

“If you say so,” Jongin laughs and strolls out of the room, quite literally leaving the lamp hanging precariously as it is for now. “How’s it going with you two, anyway? You and Junmyeon, I mean. I haven’t seen you break up with each other for, what, three weeks? That’s gotta be some sort of record.”

“Maybe. I don’t keep count,” Sehun says, even though he knows that when they started being a thing, they managed to stay together way longer than that, before their hunger for drama got to them. He shrugs. “It’s going fine. He’s practically moved in again, hasn’t slept in his apartment for ten days or so. Talks about the case non-stop whenever he gets back from work.”

“Yeah, I can imagine,” Jongin says softly. “It’s been our number one topic here, too.”

Sehun’s glad that they pulled Kyungsoo and Jongin in. It's heartwarming to say the least, but it also really helps Sehun to prove to himself that he's not being completely irrational. Maybe he's being a little irrational, maybe they're all being a little irrational, but it could definitely be worse. They're all in it now; the former training room that Jongin and Kyungsoo are changing into a “guest” room now was still originally planned for a baby they'll hopefully get to adopt in the near future, but they immediately agreed with Junmyeon’s suggestion to foster Helena for a while if she needs it. As long as it takes, Kyungsoo said, with such sincerity that Sehun almost wanted to hug him and never let go.

And she will need it. Police found her father; turns out he told Helena that her mother had left them when in reality, she died when the girl was only a few months old. He's not interested in having her back. Or cooperating with the authorities. Or staying available or in contact. Junmyeon says he's probably trying to hightail the hell (Heck, says Sehun) out of town, but he also says that he'd rather make the guy eat his own dick (Junmyeon!, says Sehun) than let him escape.

Local police and social workers are handling the case, but they're letting Junmyeon help. Because he's so good with Helena, and good with his job, and probably mainly because he wouldn't have left them alone otherwise.

So everyone is helping, and Sehun doesn't feel as lost and alone anymore as he did when Helena first came to his apartment, and that's good. But most of all it's good because it gives Helena the feeling that many people care about her.

Sehun visited her several times during the first week, then tuned it down a little when her carers started giving him exasperated glances. He's welcome at the children's home because Helena clings to him like a koala and because the workers there are amused by how awkward he is with children, but he didn't want to seem weirdly overeager either. Now he frees his weekends for her, and sometimes she comes to visit his apartment during the day, and that's good enough.

She’s met Kyungsoo and Jongin a few times before and very obviously likes them, and today she’s going to come to their apartment for a change, not to Sehun’s. Just to see how she likes it here, how the couple deals with having her over, to test the waters. Everyone is very sure it’s going to go over well, but Sehun is still glad they’re doing all these careful tests. He wants everything to go right with this one. He really needs it to.

So since Kyungsoo is still at work, Sehun came over to help Jongin tidy the place up (he didn’t know ceiling lamps were part of today’s program, so they fucked that one up), while Junmyeon picks Helena up from the children’s home. He’s in the kitchen with Jongin when he can hear his car pull into the driveway and listens to them chatting through the open window as they walk up to the door.

“I’ll get it,” Jongin says quietly, while Sehun keeps standing at the sink, grinning stupidly to himself.

“...and that’s what a closing argument is,” Junmyeon says outside.

“Cool! You should tell them that it’s bad to lie!”

“Oh yeah, you’re right. Especially when they’re under oath.”

“Why would they be under oat? Did they spill oat on themselves? Do you have oatmeal in court?”

“No, no, oath. Not oat. An oath is, uh, when… Oh, look, there’s Jongin.”

“Hi Jongin!”

Helena runs up to hug Jongin, who automatically crouches down to let her, and Sehun leans against the sink and shoots Junmyeon a smile, and Junmyeon shoots him back a smile of his own that makes Sehun feel warm all over, and he wonders when his life started being like this. But he doesn’t wonder for long. Helena screeches his name and hops towards him, and Sehun knows exactly when it happened.



Sehun is in bed early that day. He’s not sure himself if it’s because today was tiring even if it was good, or because he and Junmyeon have a silent agreement that if they’re in bed before eleven p.m, they can spend half the night fucking. Maybe it’s a mixture of both. He is definitely tired and he doesn’t really think he’d actually last half a night, but he could go for a good climax, too.

Besides, Junmyeon has just been glowing these past few weeks.

There’s something otherworldly about him, Sehun thinks, quietly of course because he’d never say it out loud (not to Junmyeon at least), and it’s a new thing. Oh, he’s always found Junmyeon attractive -- of course he has, Oh Sehun doesn’t sleep with anyone he doesn’t consider absolutely gorgeous, anyone else is just not worth his precious time. And Junmyeon was handsome and hot and suave when they met and started being a thing, and then he was fucking delectable when he’d get pissed off with Sehun, when they were arguing and fucking and scratching and biting. He’s still all of these things. But he’s starting to be even more.

Maybe he’s just being dramatic, but these past weeks have been dramatic in general, Sehun supposes. Everything Junmyeon does now seems powerful and soft at the same time, a combination that makes him feel dizzy and his knees weak, but he can’t help it. He just has this enormous intimidating pull to him when his voice gets all firm and set because he’s talking about the laws concerning this case, which wasn’t even close to his specialty weeks ago, but that’s nothing that could stop Kim Junmyeon. He looks like he could have the whole world in his palm with one single finely tuned argument, but at the same time, he’s so fucking soft.

Because he’s doing this for a four year old child he didn’t know last month. He’s doing this for someone Sehun spontaneously took in and maybe kind of fell in love with on that first day. He’s doing this because he knows it would break Sehun’s heart if something happened to that girl, but he’s also definitely doing it for the girl herself. Just like that. He doesn’t even get paid because it’s not technically part of his job. He’s only in it to make other people happy.

Is it weird that he finds that hot? Ah, Sehun has been wondering. He’s also been not particularly caring that much, though. There are a lot of strange details about Junmyeon that Sehun secretly gets boners to, so this is just another point on a long, long list. Whatever.

Junmyeon is taking his shirt off.

Sehun is on his back in his bed, head propped up a little on the hands crossed behind it, and watches him silently. It’s one of Sehun’s favorite house rules that they always sleep in their boxers. Well, they go to sleep in their boxers and often wake up naked because they fucked somewhere in between, but the point stands. When Sehun goes to bed first, he gets to watch Junmyeon undress.

“I think that went well today,” Junmyeon says, his mind quite obviously somewhere else.

“Yeah, me too. She loves them,” Sehun says. He can watch Junmyeon’s naked shoulders roll as he works on his pants while talking about their day, no problem. Helena had fun with Kyungsoo and Jongin, and Kyungsoo and Jongin had fun with Helena. It was a good day. Sehun snorts. “Were you talking about law with her in the car?”

At that, Junmyeon laughs, stepping out of his pants. “Yeah. She started it, though. I think she finds it pretty interesting. You know,” he adds, trying and failing to neatly fold his pants and just throwing them over a chair instead, “not like you.”

Forcing himself to ignore the pants (Junmyeon has done worse before after all), Sehun raises his brows at him. “What, you think I don’t find law interesting?”

“Well,” Junmyeon says, swaying a bit as he slips out of his socks, “you always seem very eager to change the subject whenever I bring up work. I mean, except for the past few weeks, because of Helena, but any other day…”

Sehun laughs. Maybe he’s gonna have to bite the bullet on that one and just tell him. It might benefit them both tonight. “Because it’s hot,” he says. Junmyeon stands at the foot of the bed in his boxers and blinks at him. “When you get all authoritative and lawyery? That’s hot. So when you start talking about it at like two p.m when I still have homework to do, I change topics because otherwise I’d have to climb you then and there. I’d never get anything done.”

Junmyeon opens his mouth and closes it again. “Climb me?” he echoes.

“Like a damn mountain,” Sehun says.

“Well, then,” Junmyeon says slowly, crawling up on the bed now with his eyes trained firmly on Sehun. “Maybe I should whip out some lawyery jargon now, huh?”

“Maybe you should,” Sehun says quietly, mentally patting himself on the shoulder for staying on top of the blanket for now because like this he can watch Junmyeon come closer, right above him, caging him in inch by inch with his hands and knees on the mattress and to both of Sehun’s sides.

Junmyeon chuckles, and Sehun hears that slightly off tone to it that indicates he’s trying to get rid of his own awkwardness, but he’ll let it slide. They can try this. “I think I want to direct the jury to disregard my client’s enormous boner for my career,” he says. Sehun grins. He doesn’t exactly have an actual boner yet, but it’s not a bad start.

“So I’m your client?”

“What, would you rather be my enemy?”

“Aren’t I always?” Sehun says, watching Junmyeon’s face as he raises his hands off the mattress and scoots them up Junmyeon’s warm back, trying to feel every movement of muscle while Junmyeon settles above him. He leans on his elbows now, hips lowered, just barely brushing against Sehun’s. It’s mean.

“I would advise you,” Junmyeon says, face getting closer, “to answer with a statement, not another question, Mister Oh.”

“Fine,” Sehun says, already feeling a giggle bubbling up his throat. This is fun, but it’s not half as sexy as Junmyeon is trying to make it. Sehun guesses his lawyer hard-ons are only for real-life situations; what a pity. “I’m always your enemy.”

“So you plead guilty?” Junmyeon says, trying to act all serious on him, but Sehun is already snorting with ugly laughter before he even finishes the question.

“I’m sorry, I can’t do it,” he wheezes, using his hands on Junmyeon’s back now more to just hold on to something and keep himself from going into an actual laughing fit. Then he’s just awkwardly patting his back. “Thanks for trying, though. A real trooper.”

Junmyeon huffs loudly and moves one elbow off the mattress to flick Sehun’s forehead, earning himself a half-hearted glare. “You’re such a piece of work, you know.”

“Oh, yeah,” Sehun says between helpless breaths from calming down from his laughter. “You got yourself the most high maintenance bitch in the city, you know that.”

And there’s a pause, maybe for one second, maybe less than one second, but they both feel it. Sehun’s hands pause on Junmyeon’s back and Junmyeon’s gaze stops wandering, going back up to Sehun’s eyes and locking. Something pulls at Sehun’s stomach and he wants to slap himself for saying that, but Junmyeon smiles at him, and maybe he’ll find the right words to salvage this.

“I guess I did,” he says softly. “And you make it so much fun, and I miss it so much whenever we’re apart, and I wouldn’t want to change you for anyone in the whole world.”

Something else pulls at Sehun’s stomach now, something nicer and warmer, but not nearly as warm as his face. His lips quiver into a weird feeling smile and he scratches his nails over Junmyeon’s back mindlessly just to have something to do. “No shit?” he says, ever the romantic. Junmyeon laughs it off.

“The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me--”

He doesn’t get any further, because Sehun clasps one hand around the nape of his neck and pulls him down for a kiss. “I really don’t know why I find you so hot,” he mutters against Junmyeon’s lips between kisses, thumb brushing over the short part of his hair on the back of his head. “Fuckin’ dork.”

“You’re into men with power,” Junmyeon replies smoothly, not missing the opportunity to shift on his knees and push one of his legs up between Sehun’s.

Sehun snorts before he bites into Junmyeon’s lip and pulls on it with his teeth. “In your last case you helped a cute old grandma to keep her cats.”

“So?” Junmyeon says sharply, hiking his knee up so it digs in right beneath Sehun’s balls and pulling a surprised gasp from him. “That's still more power than you have and that's the point.”

“I don't know why you're trying to convince me that I'm attracted to you,” Sehun says, rolling his hips down against Junmyeon's thigh, “when I'm already half naked underneath you with my nails in your back. Are you that insecure?”

Banter comes easy, easier than weird lawyer roleplay, and it feels a bit like home when Junmyeon scoffs at him. If they've somehow managed to become a functional couple in regular life now, they can at least still be mean to each other in bed.

“You're the one who called me a dork,” Junmyeon says and dips his head down to finally mouth down Sehun’s throat, “and said you don't know why you like me.” Sehun thinks he has something to say about that, but with his lips still attached to the side of his neck Junmyeon shifts, putting his whole weight on his knees so his hands are free to grip Sehun’s hips and push them down, pressing his crotch flush against his thigh. “Just boosting your memory.”

“Fuck,” Sehun says to that. Eyes closed, he tilts his head back, trying to give Junmyeon as much room as possible, his hands scooting down to grab his ass instead. Almost immediately, he feels teeth in his throat, scraping and biting and Sehun writhes on his bed, heels digging into the mattress before he gets out, “N-No marks. No marks.”

“I know,” Junmyeon says softly and blows cool air against a wet patch on his neck which makes him shiver. “Not where they're visible.”

Somewhere, Sehun thinks that now that they're actually staying together for a longer time than usual it might be fine to have souvenirs from Junmyeon visible on his skin, up on his neck where people can see. But maybe he's going to have to file that thought away for later when he isn't trying to impress Helena’s social workers anymore. So for now, he just nods, a little frantically with the building heat in his guts, because Junmyeon is already sucking a mark down on his chest, and that's just fine too.

With Junmyeon being on a journey south, Sehun loses his grip on his ass a little quicker than he likes, leaving along with the warm, solid thigh he enjoyed pressed into his groin, but Junmyeon makes up for it. Sehun's hands are in his hair now and they grip hard when Junmyeon pulls the thin skin over his ribs in between his teeth and sucks, simultaneously dragging one of his hands down Sehun's torso and effortlessly finding a bulge to squeeze. Sehun only starts pulling at his hair when he feels Junmyeon chuckle against his skin.

“Are you already hard?” he says quietly, lips brushing over a nipple, like he can't feel Sehun's semi right in his palm over his boxers.

“Shut up,” Sehun says, voice quivering. He still bucks up into Junmyeon's hand shamelessly. “I bet you've been rock solid ever since I said lawyering is hot.”

“You really have to stop calling it that,” Junmyeon says with a deliciously low little laugh and pushes the heel of his palm down against him.

“What, hot?”

“No, lawyering.”

Before Sehun can say anything else (he’s rapidly losing his ability to think clearly anyway) Junmyeon comes up again and kisses him on the lips. Automatically, Sehun reciprocates, even if the movement feels weirdly soft for them. But while Sehun still thinks about uncharacteristic softness, Junmyeon shoves a hand down his boxers and wraps it around his cock, and Sehun ends up moaning loudly right into his mouth.

“There we go,” Junmyeon says softly, the words gentle in a scheming way, and Sehun thinks he can feel them bounce off his teeth and down his throat. Junmyeon likes it when he’s loud, Sehun knows that, and Sehun likes it when Junmyeon effortlessly steers him to do all these things he likes, and he thinks Junmyeon knows that, too.

And he doesn’t stop fucking kissing him. Sehun almost moans at the thought alone -- Junmyeon’s fingers closing tightly around him, squeezing softly before dragging up to the tip and smearing precum over his palm to wet his way back down, all while keeping Sehun’s lips sealed with his own, practically tying him to the bed only with his mouth. What he does eventually moan at, of course, is the pressure on his still hardening erection, feeling his own voice vibrate against Junmyeon. He bucks his hips up and almost chokes on air when Junmyeon licks into mouth, tries and fails to navigate his own tongue against Junmyeon’s, just ends up keening helplessly, trying to get more, more kisses, more friction, more of him.

Junmyeon doesn’t deliver at first and Sehun almost whines in frustration when he pulls back from him completely, until he realizes that it’s only to strip them both of their underwear. He doesn’t make a big show of it, which is probably for the better since Sehun has already laughed at him enough today, just yanks their boxers down and leaves them on the floor before fishing lube and a condom out of Sehun’s nightstand.

“Did you push this further into the drawer?” he asks, packet and bottle in one hand as he clambers back on the bed. Sehun hasn’t moved an inch.

“Yeah,” he says and clears his throat, shrugging. “Uh, just in case, you know, Helena ever rummaged around…”

Laughing, Junmyeon leans over and pecks him on the forehead, which Sehun thinks is fucking rude because he’s stark naked and rock hard and on his back on a bed and he should have better things to do. “You’re cute.”

“I’m fucking adorable,” Sehun replies, plucks the bottle of lube from Junmyeon’s hands and uncaps it, then grabs Junmyeon’s wrist to pull his hand closer and squirt lube onto it. “Which is why you should finger me instead of wasting time telling me I’m cute.”

“Can I finger you while telling you you’re cute?” Junmyeon asks, already diligently spreading the lube over his fingers.

“Acceptable,” Sehun replies and reaches behind himself to rearrange his pillows. He's going to get comfortable for this.

Junmyeon has called him a pillow princess on multiple occasions. Actually, even Kyungsoo called him one once, even if he's never slept with Kyungsoo. According to him, he could just tell from the way Sehun behaves. (He didn't actually say the last part, he just waved a hand towards him in a vague gesture as his only explanation.) Sehun never really tried to convince anyone otherwise, especially not Junmyeon. He could move more, and he could take more control and initiative and he's actually fairly sure he could have Junmyeon on his knees in a matter of seconds if he really tried. He's just not a particular fan of effort, usually.

And at this point, Junmyeon knows just how to work him. The less Sehun moves, the more Junmyeon turns into a tease, running his clean hand up his leg until it's right next to his crotch, nails scraping over his inner thigh so slow and deep he's fairly sure it'll leave marks, but not touching him where he wants him. When Sehun makes an impatient noise and jerks his leg away from his hand, he just repeats the motion on the other side.

Only when both of his thighs bear light pinkish streaks does Junmyeon settle properly between them to press his slick index against Sehun's asshole, but he's not done teasing yet.

The push is slow, unnecessarily slow because he knows Sehun could take more, and Sehun knows that he knows and he wants him to hurry the fuck up before he falls asleep there, but Junmyeon doesn't care. That finger takes its sweet time working itself in and out when Sehun could have gone for a second one ages ago, and no number of impatient huffs can change that, so Sehun has to take matters into his own hands for once.

Yeah, Junmyeon calls him a pillow princess. But he's also figured out how to rile him up enough to get him to move. Sehun raises his hips off the mattress and rolls them down on Junmyeon's finger, one fluid motion that has his own mouth fall open with satisfaction.

“I have to do,” he gasps, building a rhythm, properly fucking himself down now, “everything myself around here.”

Junmyeon doesn't say anything but just looks at him with this mixture of adoration and amusement, which is infuriating. He also doesn't do anything, not even moving his stupid hand now, just sitting back on his feet and watching Sehun's body as he rolls it down towards him. Sehun has half a mind to kick him in the face.

“More,” he commands instead and at least Junmyeon complies immediately and sticks out a second finger for Sehun to slam himself down on. Sehun closes his eyes and presses his head back into the pillow and only focuses on himself for now, since Junmyeon is being an ass and forces him to. He wishes Junmyeon was closer, wishes he had his shoulders to scratch and hold on to, hair to pull and skin to kiss, but the man decided to make him work for it, so Sehun’s just gonna have to make the most of this. He stretches himself like this, gyrates his hips every now and then to see if he can find his own sweet spot, but if asked he’d have to begrudgingly admit that Junmyeon is better at that than he is.

Of course, Junmyeon is not a complete monster. After watching Sehun struggle and furrow his brows in frustration for a bit, Sehun can feel him gently crooking his fingers inside of him, angling his wrist just this little bit differently, and Sehun doesn’t get how he fucking does it but the tips of his fingers brush over his prostate and he groans in relief.

“You ready?” Junmyeon says after a few more seconds, still unmoving, and Sehun can hear the smile in his voice. “Or are we just gonna keep doing this here for the rest of the night?”

“Fuck off,” Sehun spits, then he pries his eyes open just to make sure he watches Junmyeon’s face while he angles his hips and pulls them down slowly, off his fingers, just to make sure he can see Junmyeon’s stare towards the way his abs work around the movement. When Junmyeon snaps out of it and looks at his face again, Sehun shoots him his sweetest smile. “Or fuck me.”

Junmyeon laughs it off, but Sehun can see his composure waver a little when he shifts on the mattress to reach for the condom. The movement is a little too fast to be casual, his fingers a little too clumsy to be calm when he rips the package open, and Sehun’s gaze shifts over his body, chest flushed dark, cock hard and erect and weeping. He might play it cool, might enjoy acting high and mighty while Sehun is writhing on the sheets, but Sehun is perfectly aware of the effect he has on him.

It kind of goes both ways, though. By the time the condom is on and Junmyeon is slicked up and back between his legs, Sehun can feel his own cock throb and leak against his stomach. He feels like every inch of his skin is pulled taut over his body, like he’s about to snap in some physical way if Junmyeon doesn’t get in him anytime soon, if he can’t get nice and filled up in the next two seconds. Junmyeon still has this otherworldly pull to him and Sehun wants to touch, wants his hands all over that mindblowing body and he’s close to finally pushing himself up off the mattress and pouncing on him when Junmyeon acts just a second quicker.

His hands are warm on the back of his thighs, one of them still slick with lube and Sehun hates that, it’s gross and he flinches, almost complains about it but he gasps instead when Junmyeon pushes his legs up to his chest and he can feel the tip of his cock press against his rim. “Hurry up,” he mutters under his breath, and he reaches up to grab the back of his own knees and hold his legs up himself and that’s what finally pulls a weak groan from Junmyeon’s throat and his hips jerk forward. Junmyeon moans and Sehun gasps, but he still spreads his legs wider and cants his hips up to meet him halfway, let him know it’s okay to proceed, but all Junmyeon does for now is reach around him, grab his ass and take a deep breath.

“Do you have any idea how hot it is when you hold yourself open for me like that?” he says, words rushing out of his throat so quickly Sehun almost doesn’t understand him. He still sends him a smirk, even if the deep flush on his own chest might betray it a little.

“I do,” he says and carefully pulls his legs apart just a little more, just as much as is comfortable without doing any stretching beforehand. It’s completely unnecessary, really, it’s not like Junmyeon really needs the room, but maybe Sehun needs to see the dark look on his face and the way his adam’s apple bobs when he swallows.

Junmyeon wets his lips and Sehun can feel him grab his cheeks a little tighter, then he pushes forward more. He’s slower this time, inching inside until Sehun’s eyes fall shut and his mouth falls open, breath coming in shallow pants. He feels like he’s burning up around Junmyeon, the smoldering heat of his body in stark contrast to the cool trickle of excess lube he can feel traveling down his ass crack, and even that makes his head swim now, uncaring about having to change the sheets later. His only focus is on the way he’s burning, the pressure of Junmyeon’s fingers aching against his ass in the best way possible, the way he can feel himself work and stretch around his cock, the way he can hear Junmyeon grunt and groan above him.

“Get down here,” Sehun murmurs as soon as Junmyeon bottoms out, letting go of his legs so he can stretch his arms out towards him instead and make grabby motions with his hands. He needs something to hold on to, and he doesn’t want it to be himself. “Come-- Come here, fuck.”

The words quiver in his throat when Junmyeon does lean down and it shifts him inside of Sehun and he can feel his knees quake in mid-air. He wants him to move and he wants him to keep still at the same time, wants to salvage that feeling of being filled to the brim for a little more but also wants Junmyeon to pull back and drill in again, fuck him like he means it.

The mattress tips to both of his sides once Junmyeon supports himself there with his hands and Sehun latches onto him with both of his own immediately. Junmyeon’s head dips low again and Sehun moans at the teeth against his sternum, fists one hand in Junmyeon’s soft hair and rakes the other down his back. His legs find Junmyeon’s and lock around them, his heels pressing against Junmyeon’s hip just to push him in more, get him as close as possible, close every last inch of distance, and Junmyeon groans brokenly against his chest once Sehun can feel his hip press against his ass.

And he wants him to go deep like this, he wants to be able to still feel him tomorrow, remind himself that this is happening, that they’re somehow still together and things are going alright, so Sehun keeps him close and starts rolling his hips down again. Between them, his own throbbing cock is rubbing against Junmyeon’s stomach, and the longer he keeps going like this the more Junmyeon’s tip keeps rubbing against his prostate, pulling louder and louder moans from Sehun, until Junmyeon can’t take it anymore.

He detaches his mouth from Sehun’s chest, which is blooming with even more marks now and pushes himself up a little more on the mattress, throws his head back like he needs the fresher air above them, and then he pulls almost all the way out and drives himself back in.

Sehun’s breath comes out in a stuttered curse, half a moan and half a noise of surprise, even if this was kind of inevitable, kind of the whole point of this. But he can feel Junmyeon’s gaze on him, a question unasked in the air between them so Sehun nods frantically, one hand still buried in his hair and the other one clawing at his shoulder, making sure to leave something there, anything, to make this real. “Go on,” he breathes, almost automatically, knowing Junmyeon doesn’t actually need the assurance. He’s already back to moving, picking up a rhythm of ramming himself against Sehun’s ass, faster and harder with every thrust, and Sehun is still chanting. “Go on, fuck me, come on, come on, come on.”

Light bursts behind his eyes as Junmyeon keeps drilling into his prostate. The thin layer of sweat on Junmyeon’s skin is starting to make Sehun’s fingers slip, but he always finds some other part of him to grab and hold onto, keeping him close and always touched, legs still locked tight around him. Junmyeon is a mess above him, his previously styled hair a catastrophe of sweat and leftover hair gel and Sehun’s wandering hand, strands falling into his eyes, closed in bliss with his mouth hanging open. His entire face is slack except for his brows that are knitted together in concentration and pleasure at the same time, and Sehun thinks he--

(loves h--)

But Junmyeon shifts against the mattress and Sehun doesn’t get to finish that train of thought because the angle changes and one of Junmyeon’s hands is on his ass again and lifting him up just a little bit and Sehun almost shouts with how good it feels. Someone set his insides on fire and already he can feel the spasms coming, and already he’s way past trying to keep it together.

“Right there,” he rasps out, seamlessly going back to his hushed chanting, eyes pressed shut because he knows it’ll make Junmyeon smile, “right there, right there, fuck, touch me, touch me, I need--”

And above him, Junmyeon laughs, hoarse and and exhausted but it still knocks the breath out of Sehun. Junmyeon’s hand moves from his ass over his hip towards his cock and Sehun moans loudly, distracting himself from how much he loves to hear Junmyeon laugh, which admittedly comes very easy like this. Junmyeon’s hand is quick to close around him, moving in sloppy jerks of his wrist and Sehun is digging his nails into both of his shoulders now, his hips twitching helplessly in both directions, and he doesn’t hold back because with Junmyeon he never has to, so he presses his head back into the pillow and spills over himself with a long, blissed out sigh.

Junmyeon stops moving inside of him the exact second it starts to get uncomfortable, without Sehun having to say anything. Sehun blinks his eyes open and looks up at him, sweaty and softly illuminated by the weak light coming through his bedroom window, keeping still between his spread legs, both of his hands on Sehun’s thighs, one thumb rubbing soothing circles somewhere on the backside. Sehun manages some sort of lopsided grin and tries not to think about how beautiful he looks.

“Sorry,” he says instead. His voice is a disaster but neither of them care, and Sehun is pushing his quivering elbows into the mattress now to pull himself up a little. “I’ll make up for--”

“No, no, you stay right where you are,” Junmyeon says softly. Sehun throws him a mildly surprised look and drops back into the pillows. He winces a little when Junmyeon pulls out, watches him discard the condom and then lets him push Sehun’s legs back to the mattress softly, carefully, knowing how sensitive his whole body gets afterwards. Sehun lies still while Junmyeon smiles at him sweetly and gets up on the bed only to reposition himself. Oh. “You can still make up for it like this.”

Junmyeon is practically on his chest, knees to the sides of Sehun’s head, erection red and stiff directly in front of his face. He’s right, Sehun can pretty much stay where he is, and the position actually sends a small but distinct shudder of heat through his tired body. There’s something about Junmyeon changing course and not trying to coax Sehun out of his laziness for once but using his unwillingness to move directly to his advantage, and his advantage only. Sehun swallows, darts his tongue out to wet his lips, and slowly, barely, lifts his head off the pillow to lick a thick drop of precum right off of the tip of Junmyeon’s cock.

“Yeah, that’s a good boy,” Junmyeon breathes, and Sehun almost chokes on spit and precum because he’s never fucking called him that before, not in bed, but it makes his whole body feel hot and his hands fist in the sheets, so maybe he’s not going to make fun of him for it.

When his eyes flicker up, Junmyeon looks a little bit embarrassed anyway, but Sehun doesn’t say anything. The only thing he gives him is a silent smirk and Junmyeon relaxes, only to tense and groan again when Sehun proceeds to wrap his lips around him tightly.

Gently, Junmyeon slides one hand into Sehun’s hair, always more focused on running his fingertips over his scalp than actually gripping anything, and Sehun lets his eyes fall shut. “I’m gonna start moving now,” Junmyeon announces softly, so Sehun hums, easily relaxing his throat with how exhausted his body is anyway.

The angle is weird, not the best in terms of blowjobs probably, but it’s definitely enough this time. Junmyeon is already hopelessly riled up and Sehun is actually a little turned on again just from having him pretty much sitting on his chest shoving his cock down his mouth, and it’s a very effective combination. Sehun keeps his lips locked tight around him, his tongue pressed flat against his underside and now and then he sneaks in a quick lick against his tip, and Junmyeon doesn’t last a full minute.

He spills most of it down his throat, but some of it lands on Sehun’s chin and runs down his neck while he’s still busy swallowing. Junmyeon sends another smaller moan after the one he just released, then he heaves a very long exhale and leans back to actually, literally sit his ass down on Sehun this time. Sehun swallows one last time, licks his lips automatically and regrets it with the mingling tastes of dick, cum and residue condom now on his tongue, then he starts glaring and swats Junmyeon’s knee with one hand.

“Get off,” he says, or tries to. His voice sounds even worse now, barely even there, but he’s fairly sure Junmyeon got the message.

“I do believe I just did,” he says happily. Sehun promptly swats him again, this time against the inside of his thigh, making sure to create a good loud slap.

“I hate you.”

Junmyeon laughs, of course he does (and of course it’s still beautiful to Sehun’s dumb ears), then he climbs off of him a bit clumsily. He drops on the mattress next to Sehun, throws the lube back into the still open drawer and pulls out tissues instead. Automatically, Sehun reaches one hand out towards him to grab one, but Junmyeon smoothly maneuvers past his arm and wipes his own cum off of Sehun’s face himself. He’s thorough and gentle with it, still smiling, and Sehun is staring at him from where he’s lying, trying hard not to pay any mind to the twist in his stomach.

Once he’s happy with the clean-ish state of Sehun’s face (Sehun can tell it’s still slightly sticky and already knows he’ll stumble out of bed later to pee and wash himself properly anyway), Junmyeon throws the tissue away and slips under the blankets, pulling them up over Sehun too. He turns on his side and props his head up on one hand, leaning on his elbow, looks at Sehun, and Sehun looks back at him, and then Junmyeon says,

“I love you.”

The twist in Sehun’s stomach unwinds immediately and floods his body with warm instead. He gets the wild urge to smile as wide as he can and throw himself at Junmyeon, but he keeps still for now. He does smile, though. “Really,” he says, more deadpan than he planned, “I can still taste your dick in my mouth.”

It’s probably not what Junmyeon wanted to hear, Sehun thinks, and maybe it’s not exactly what Sehun wanted to hear from himself either. Junmyeon still laughs at it, but Sehun thinks that he has five seconds tops, maybe only three, to salvage this quickly before it becomes a bigger thing, before it grows into a matter of Junmyeon confessed and his asshole boyfriend Sehun couldn’t bring himself to, and he doesn’t want that, and most of all, Junmyeon doesn’t deserve it.

Maybe this whole thing about Helena really did make him grow up a little.

Sehun wets his lips for what feels like the hundredth time and looks up right into Junmyeon’s eyes. “I love you too,” he says. Something pulls at his throat, but he tells himself it’s just the blowjob. The corners of his mouth twitch into something more insecure, something he wouldn’t dare to let anyone else see. Quietly, he adds, “I’ve never said that to anyone.”

Junmyeon leans down and kisses his nose. He says he’s honored, and Sehun thinks he actually means that.

Sehun kisses him on the mouth and they stay like that for a while, kissing lazily, hands mostly to themselves save for Junmyeon’s fingers in his hair. Eventually, though, Sehun can’t stand the feeling of his own cum sticking his blanket to his naked stomach anymore and ushers a very tired Junmyeon out of the bed to announce that he needs to change the entire bedding.

For a second, Junmyeon only watches him in wonder. Then he tells Sehun that he loves him, again. This time, Sehun laughs and says it back right away.

 

***

 

“And then today during recess, Lee from my class said that if you give dogs chocolate, they explode!” Helena says and makes a big exploding motion with her hands. “So I told him that’s Bee Ess and he shouldn’t lie but he kept saying it anyway, and that’s why we have to sue him for lying under oat!”

“Oath,” Sehun and Junmyeon say simultaneously. Junmyeon laughs.

“I’m not so sure if that’s really legally possible in this situation. But I’ll check back with my colleagues at work tomorrow and then I’ll tell you what we find, Ma’am, is that alright with you?”

“Yes, Mister Dad, thank you for your efforts,” Helena says with mock politeness and bows her head which ends up making her hair fall forwards and brush breadcrumbs off her plate.

“Dogs still really shouldn’t eat chocolate, though,” Sehun says. “You know that, right?”

Helena rolls her eyes at him and makes a dismissive gesture with one of her tiny hands. “Duh, I know! Uncle Jongin told me it’s bad for them and they get a tummy ache.”

“That’s right.” Sehun nods. “Do you want another sandwich?”

“Yes, please!”

Helena can still very much make her own peanut butter sandwiches, but she also likes it way better when she doesn’t have to do anything and her dad does all the work for her. Junmyeon says she gets that from Sehun. She probably also gets the eye rolling and hand gestures and Duh from Sehun. Sehun does not know where she learned Bee Ess though. Maybe he’s going to have to have a stern talk with uncle Jongin.

Helena is six years old. Sehun is done with college, Junmyeon is starting to be a pretty big name in the business. He sold his apartment; Sehun gave up his own place, too. They don’t have a big house in the suburbs with a huge garden and a white picket fence, but Sehun can’t really see himself in one anyway.

No, while Helena was staying with Kyungsoo and Jongin for three months through her foster program, Junmyeon and Sehun got an apartment together, a bigger one. Helena helped pick it. That was very important, because she needed to have her own room in there. The big A-word was already very much on the table back then.

For a long time, Sehun didn’t even dare put the word adoption in his mouth. It didn’t sound like a real thing he could do. He had watched Kyungsoo’s and Jongin’s efforts and thought that that was nice for them, because they were grownups with jobs and a functional relationship and money and a house. They have a very little baby boy now and Sehun was beside himself with happiness for them when they got the good news.

But he and Junmyeon? Sure, Junmyeon had a good job, and Sehun got enough job offers in his last semester of college, too. They had been doing well for themselves, and somehow their relationship was still going very steady and without big throwbacks, they had even learned how to regulate their fights and have actual mature discussions instead of throwing each other out. But adoption still didn’t feel like something they should have been able to do.

But every time Sehun saw Helena, which was still steadily once every week, he wanted nothing more than to keep her. Give her a home, because they both knew they would work out. Everyone could see it and eventually all his friends were talking about how much they could see Sehun parenting that girl, but he knows that it was really him and Helena who knew best.

So one day in late winter Sehun let Junmyeon drive him to the children’s home and held his hand very tightly while carefully bringing up the subject with Helena’s carers. They said that they were starting to fear he’d never ask.

It was still a tiring process, from there. Sehun had no idea how complicated adoption could get, but Junmyeon was there for every single piece of paperwork, and seeing Helena’s face or hearing her laugh or touching her hand would always be enough to keep Sehun more than motivated.

And they made it.

They really made it.

Sehun lives with his boyfriend and their daughter and his dog, and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him, it’s something new each day and something to come home to all at the same time. Helena goes to school and makes friends and plays and laughs and sometimes Sehun asks her if she knows how much he loves her and Helena rolls her eyes so she looks like a mini version of him and stretches her little arms as much as she can and says, This much, and more.

Her father got what he deserved. That, too, was a long journey, but Junmyeon and everyone else involved in the case saw to it. Helena doesn’t like talking about him, but sometimes when she’s not around, Junmyeon still quietly says that he hopes the man is rotting. Usually, Sehun replies that he’s proud of him.

Sehun has no idea what the future will bring, how they’re going to handle puberty or high school or even college, but that seems very far away still and he’s convinced they’ll deal with it just fine, either way.

He also has no idea that Junmyeon plans on proposing to him in the spring. Helena is in on his plans. Someone will cry with happiness, but it won’t be her or Sehun.

There is a picture on their fridge, which Helena drew on her first day of school. They’re on the playground here in the neighborhood, with Vivi, and Junmyeon, and Sehun. She’s right there in the middle.

They’re all holding hands.