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“You have to switch with me,” Taeyong says a little breathlessly as he pins a large envelope containing x-rays to Yuta’s chest. “Room 12.”

“Whoa, slow down, what’s the emergency?” Yuta asks. Before the envelope drops to the floor, he splays his hand flat against his chest to keep hold of it.

“I passed by the entrance, and Jaehyun’s there. Herpes.”

“Are you… avoiding him?”

At that, Taeyong’s face splits into a grin. He seems fevered, a glint to his eyes that’s mischievous. “I wanna tell him myself ,” he says. “Anyway, room 12? Please? Patient has a sprain in his wrist but thinks it’s a fracture.”

“Fine,” Yuta grumbles. He saunters over to room 12, ready to explain that sprains are nothing to worry about as long as he doesn't overwork his hand. There’s a joke somewhere in there if the patient’s up for it. Yuta knocks on the door then walks in, saying, “You’re in luck, it’s just a spr—Oh, fuck.”

“You’re not the other doctor,” Doyoung points out. Petulantly, if Yuta might add, because he’s a fucking asshole.

“Dr. Lee kind of has another emergency to attend to,” Yuta says. “Unfortunately, it seems to be more important than you are at the moment, so.”

Doyoung narrows his eyes at him, leaning on the wrist that Yuta hopes has the sprain on it, but judging from the way his other arm hangs off his side, limp and swollen, it’s probably not. “Can you at least try to be professional?” he asks.

“What are you talking about?” Yuta asks, tone all light and artfully puzzled. He takes out the film of x-rays from the envelope and places them on the backlit screen—as he feared, there was no sight of a hairline fracture in the carpals. “I’m totally professional.”

“Okay.” Doyoung nods, his neck all tense. “So did I break anything?”

“How about my heart, Doyoung?”

“You said you were going to be professional!” Doyoung nearly shouts. He’s driven to standing up from the sheer scandal of it all, his face brightly flushed.

“Then fucking sue me!” Yuta fires back. “And no, you have a fucking sprain because you’re a fucking moron. Just take some painkillers, and you’ll be fine.”

“You’re not gonna put the bandage back on?” Doyoung asks.

Yuta is so close to taking the bandage and choking Doyoung with it, but he puts on a smile. “Of course. How could I forget?”

“You’re a dumb unprofessional asshole, that’s how.”

“If you sue me, I can plead self-defence,” Yuta warns, his smile still plastered on his face. He picks up the bandage and steps closer to Doyoung, who seems to shy away like he just knows Yuta would use it against him.

“Or you can get me Dr. Lee’s number and we’re even.”

That… is so funny. No wonder Doyoung’s acting like a spoiled brat who didn’t get his ice cream. “Wow, okay,” Yuta says with a laugh. “I mean, it’s not like I’m trying to get in the way of you two because I’m jealous—I just have to tell you right now that Taeyong’s not interested in flaky, cold-hearted robots.”

“How about you let him tell me that himself?” Doyoung suggests with his own patronising smile. “We were having a good conversation.”

“So good that he pretty much dumped you to me when something more interesting came up?” Yuta points out. Somewhere, in the very distant back of his mind, a voice (most likely Taeil’s) is whispering to him to tone it down or to at least nip it in the bud so Doyoung can pay and leave and a new patient could use the room, but Yuta’s frankly having too much fun watching Doyoung splutter as he finishes wrapping up Doyoung’s wrist by closing it with the metal hook. “Anyway, just follow how I wrapped the cast. I’m sure your smart ass will figure it out.”

“Thanks,” Doyoung grumbles, swiftly taking his arm back as soon as Yuta had lifted his hands off of it. “I have absolutely no idea why they let you be in the ER,” he then says with a sniff. “You’re impossible and rude and—”

“Come on, Doyoung, be fair. No one else who’s been here broke up with me the week before finals and left me to fail all my exams.”

“That was purely your fault, not mine,” Doyoung tells him with a haughty resolve.

“Even you would have to admit that a breakup would have a psychological impact on academic performance,” Yuta argues. On the prescription pad, he writes down for Doyoung to take painkillers twice a day for two weeks, then gives him the slip. “If the painkillers don’t work, send me a text to the number on here. As much as I want to see you suffer, I’m obligated to prescribe you new ones.”

“Thanks, but I’ll just look for Dr. Lee again.”

“I have absolutely no idea why they let you come to the ER,” Yuta mocks, dropping his voice to mimic Doyoung’s annoying, condescending tone. “You’re impossible and rude and inconceivably transparent—”

“Good bye, Yuta,” Doyoung says finally. He’s already standing up, so all he has to do is walk over to the door and maybe slam it in Yuta’s face, but he doesn’t, maybe because that’s too dramatic, even for him.

“I’m waiting,” Yuta says with a cross of his arms. “Make a left at the end of the hall. You need to pay before you leave.”

 

 

“So Jaehyun really does have herpes?” Yuta confirms with Taeyong after their shifts were over and they had ducked out of the emergency wing’s back exit to smoke. Seeing Doyoung after seven years of radio silence was enough to put a damper on his mood, so Yuta snuffs his cigarette out after the second puff.

Taeyong, on the other hand, seems deliriously happy. “Blisters and everything. Serves him right.”

Yuta congratulates him then switches topics. “That was my ex in room 12,” he says.

“Oh, wow. He was flirting with me, I think.”

“You think?” Yuta bursts out laughing. It felt weirdly nice to know that Doyoung is as awkward as ever, though he has to admit that Taeyong makes being awkward practically a demand because of how good-looking he is. “He said you guys had a good conversation going on,” Yuta goes on to goad.

Taeyong frowns, looking down at his cigarette. There’s already a crease between his eyebrows from how much he scrunches his face together, but no amount of chiding seems to make him stop. “I guess so? He was likeable, and I really didn’t mind,” he says finally, “but knowing he’s your ex just makes all of this awkward.”

“No, no, I don’t mind at all,” Yuta tells him. “That was a college thing, and he’s clearly moved on.”

“You sound awfully bitter,” Taeyong says, a wry smile tugging at the corner of his lips. Yuta feels like he’s under scrutiny, not unlike the way he felt the first time he met Taeyong all those years ago in medical school, with his wide, deep eyes that seemed soulless yet always appraising. It didn’t take long for all of that to break down, mostly by Taeyong, who pretty much only needed a friend, but still—those first few weeks were uncomfortable.

“I’m not,” Yuta says, resisting the urge to squirm the longer Taeyong looks at him, waiting for some kind of telltale sign. “I’ve moved on, too.”

“I see.” Taeyong throws his cigarette to the ground and squashes it with his shoe to get rid of the dying embers. “Besides, he only had a sprain. It’s not like you’ll have to see each other ever again.”

“I hope you’re right,” Yuta grumbles. He’s itching for a smoke now, but with Taeyong done with his avowed once-a-day stick, it’d have to wait till after dinner, which reminds Yuta… “Where do you wanna eat?”

Taeyong thinks on it for a while before answering, “I kinda want to cook… Is the supermarket still open?”

With that, they head for the supermarket that isn’t really close to their apartment but is definitely on the way, and Yuta hugs the bag containing the short ribs close to him. His phone keeps buzzing, but with Yuta’s hands tied, he doesn’t get to see the messages till they get home and Yuta dumps all the groceries on the kitchen counter for Taeyong to sort through. 

Not that Taeyong is infallible, but him being wrong was very annoying. They don’t work, Doyoung’s message reads off his phone. Yuta adjusts the lighting so the harsh glow doesn’t bounce off his screen.

“For someone who was top of his class, you’d think he wouldn’t be so dumb,” Yuta says out loud to Taeyong, who was mixing up a marinade for the short ribs in the kitchen. You have to wait for them to kick in, Yuta responds, almost unhelpfully, while walking to kitchen island to perch himself on the stool and watch Taeyong cook, dipping a finger into the marinade before Taeyong can slap his hand away. It’s sweet, has a good savoury backbone, but there’s too much salt for Yuta’s liking, and he tells Taeyong just as much.

“I don’t think you’ve ever talked about him,” Taeyong says as he pours water into the marinade to dilute it then adds rice syrup and a bit more grated ginger. “How bad was the breakup?”

“Bad enough that Taeil thinks I have repressed emotions surrounding it that manifest in ugly ways whenever I get stressed,” Yuta half-jokes. Taeil doesn’t know why, just that Yuta gets ugly sometimes, and being a psychiatrist as well as a friend, he’d offered unsolicited advice numerous times, numerous enough for Yuta to maybe consider taking it. Not that it was always about the breakup, or ever.

“Yuta,” Taeyong chides. He pours the marinade over the short ribs and massages it into the crosshatched scores he made on the meat.

“Okay, the thing is that it was so long ago I can’t even remember the exact details anymore,” Yuta tells Taeyong, facing him square in the eye. “It’s just… When I saw him earlier in the ER, something inside me just…”

“Snapped?” Taeyong offers. While the meat’s resting, he goes on to prepare vegetables for a side dish, blanching spinach and stalks of asparagus till both are a bright, almost fluorescent, green.

“More like blew up.”

“Ah.” Taeyong doesn’t say anything much after that, too busy cooking to maybe form real sentences with his brain and mouth, but Yuta finds he doesn’t really need whatever it is Taeyong would’ve said. By the time Taeyong’s finished and plated, fluffy, white rice piled into bowls and all, they move on to talk about other things.

 

 

They really don’t work, Doyoung insists come the morning, making Yuta scowl into his coffee. Taeyong had gone to the hospital already for his shift, so Yuta’s left lounging at home with coffee and fried rice Taeyong made using the scraps from dinner. The achievement of the day is that Yuta fries an egg to go along with it; the yolk’s more cooked than he prefers, but it’s good enough.

Fine. My shift starts before lunch, Yuta texts back. Already he can tell that the painkillers do work but Doyoung’s always loved being an ass and this was his backhanded way of driving them towards a confrontation…

…which shouldn’t happen in room 13 of an emergency room, by the way. They’re probably breaking all sorts of rules.

“Why are you so concerned about that?” Yuta demands. “You’re the one who came here on the pretence of me giving you ineffective medication.”

“I was hoping you’d be on break,” Doyoung says with a shrug. “Besides, I’m a lawyer. It’s my job to care about rules.”

“Oh, you’re a lawyer? Makes sense since you’re annoying and never quit.”

“Thanks. It’s how I win cases.”

“I’m sure you just talk everyone to death,” Yuta brushes off. “Or, you know, make them settle just so you’d shut up.”

Doyoung lets out a long and loud sigh, closing his eyes and reaching up to massage his temples. “Are you insistent on being this childish, Yuta?” he asks.

“Make it quick, Doyoung. I have actual patients.”

“Fine. I’m sorry. Breaking up with you before finals was bad timing on my part.”

“Is that all?” Yuta asks. He clicks his pen. Twice. Then he scribbles the name of a placebo on the pad—might as well make Doyoung pay for his time since he’s already here. “That’s nice, thanks.”

At that, Doyoung seems to loosen up, like the ruler taped to his spine has been removed. “Really?”

“No,” Yuta shoots down. “You never even told me why you had to break up with me, you know.”

“It’s a long story, and you—”

“Yeah, yeah, I have patients.”

“What time does your shift end?” Doyoung ends up asking. He keeps glancing at his watch, this little field trip to the hospital probably eating into his lunch break or something. Yuta would feel sorry for him, especially since the hospital’s waiting times tend to border on preposterous, but Doyoung’s here on his own accord and for no good reason, so. Suck on an ice cube in the office, Doyoung.

“Eight.”

“Can I pick you up for dinner? Please? My treat.”

“Fine,” Yuta says slowly, “but only because you’re paying.”

 

 

When he lets Taeyong know he’s going out for dinner with Doyoung, Taeyong just tells him, unhelpfully, that he had gone ahead to the bar with Taeil, so don’t wait up for him either. Then Taeil texts him a reminder to not be an asshole by deliberately picking an egregiously expensive restaurant for them to eat in despite knowing that Doyoung could damn well afford it, if the crisp suits he’s worn to the hospital were any indication. Yuta doesn’t reply to either of them.

Five minutes past eight and a black car pulls up by the entrance of the emergency room. Yuta had just finished smoking by then, which Doyoung notices because he walks over to Yuta with a frown.

“You’re still smoking,” he points out, an accusing finger pointed at the butt Yuta had just put out on the trash can.

“Yes, I know.”

“Does being a doctor not change things for you?” Doyoung asks.

“Was it supposed to?” Yuta challenges. Doyoung looks at him like he seriously wants to say something but he doesn’t and just walks to the car, Yuta following close behind, trying not to get too comfortable in the plush leather seats of Doyoung’s impeccable car.

“Do you like French food?” Doyoung asks.

Yuta doesn’t really have a formed opinion on it, but he can’t let Doyoung know. “It’s fine,” he answers.

“There’s this place not far from here,” Doyoung suggests. “It’s pretty intimate, too, so we can talk…”

“Like I said, Doyoung”—he always worries, worries about big details, small details, sometimes nothing important at all, and Yuta wonders if it’s something Doyoung could grow out of—“it’s fine.”

Doyoung shuts up, clear tension in the set of his jaw. The rest of the car ride, all twenty minutes of it, passes by in silence save for the jazz crooning from the radio. “Here we are.”

“What do you recommend?” Yuta asks after they’ve been seated and handed out menus. It’s definitely intimate, soft music and warm lighting. The tables are all lined up by the windows and spaced far apart for privacy, mostly because everyone else appeared to be on dates with a bottle of champagne to celebrate their love. In any case, Yuta’s only concerned with whether the duck confit or the coq au vin would be a good choice.

“I do like the duck confit,” Doyoung says. “The cassoulet’s nice, too, but it’s a lot heavier.” Once they get their orders in, Doyoung leans a bit closer to Yuta, steadying himself with his elbows placed on the table, hands folded together almost like he’s praying. “About that… I’m really sorry, you have to know that.”

“I forgive you,” Yuta says with a nod, “but I still don’t understand.”

“I was just… I was a scared kid, you know? You were graduating and I wasn’t sure if we were gonna last when we’re so far away from each other.”

“You know what, Doyoung? I take my forgiveness back,” Yuta spits, wanting to get out of there, but his word vomit keeps him rooted to his seat. “You didn’t trust in me enough, in us. I would’ve done everything to keep us together, but now I know that you back off as soon as things become inconvenient.” Doyoung winces at the accusation but Yuta deep down knows he’s right because Doyoung doesn’t bother arguing. At the same time, Yuta wants to sink down into his seat and hide from his own dramatic spiel.

“I’m so sorry, Yuta. Please,” is all Doyoung manages to say.

Yuta shakes his head and leans away from the table so he can cross his arms. “Tell me why I should even give you the time of day after knowing all of this,” he says.

“I know I made a mistake, but that was seven years ago, and—and I’ve had time to grow up,” Doyoung tells him. By that time, the wine had arrived, and Doyoung pauses to take in a deep breath of the wine while Yuta swirls his inside its glass. They can’t continue the conversation till Doyoung tells the waiter the wine is okay, but he’s taking an awfully long time to do so, tasting the wine by sucking in a breath after taking in a sip.

The atmosphere is so stupidly tense that Yuta can’t help wondering if this had gone on for too long. Maybe they should stop, go home, and keep it at that?

“It’s fine, thank you,” Doyoung finally tells the waiter, who leaves the bottle of red on the table them leaves them alone. “I’m sorry,” he says again to Yuta.

“I forgive you,” Yuta says.

“I mean it.”

“I know. You never knew how to say sorry, you fevered asshole.”

Doyoung laughs at that, and it seemed like the tension drained away from Doyoung’s shoulders and the crisp edges of the table. “I deserve that,” he says with a hand that runs through his hair, freeing it from the pomade’s grip. “You look good.”

“Thank you. It was a light day at the ER today,” Yuta says, unable to not smile at the praise Doyoung gives him. Then, just to tease, he says, “Do you still want Taeyong’s number?”

“Dr. Lee?” Doyoung eyes Yuta’s phone the way a cat eyes a new toy, eager, slightly anticipating, but he shakes his head.

“No?”

“No.”

Yuta shrugs then takes a sip of his wine. Though he’s loath to admit it, Doyoung looks good, too—he’s less nervous, especially around his eyes, and he’s finally grown into the proportions of his body. Was it the time they spent away from each other? Sometimes, Yuta feels stupid that it took him forever to get over a two-year relationship, maybe because— “I really liked you,” Yuta blurts out while Doyoung was mid-chew, making him choke and reach for his wine. “Fuck.”

“Can we get through the rest of this dinner unscathed?” Doyoung asks weakly as he wipes his mouth with a napkin.

“Fine, fine. No more awkward confessions,” Yuta promises. “The food’s really good.”

“I agree. It’s always a treat to come here,” Doyoung says. He pours Yuta more wine then asks if they should open another bottle. They definitely shouldn’t, Yuta knows that much, no matter how tempting (Doyoung picks a good wine, fuck him), so he says no. At that, Doyoung nods then just pours the last of the bottle into his own glass.

 

 

“Can you drop me off at my house?” Yuta asks once they’re back in the car.

“That was the plan,” Doyoung says drily as he starts the engine, the car coming to life with a low hum.

“Oh, your devious bony ass isn’t taking me home?” 

“Just say you want me, Yuta. That’ll save us all,” Doyoung sighs.

“I don’t want you. You can record that for the deposition,” Yuta says. “You can also put on the record that you’re projecting all your desires onto me.”

Doyoung snorts. “Funny. On second thought, I do want Taeyong’s number.”

“He knows about you,” Yuta warns, air lightening up his tone. “He’ll block the number if I ask.”

“Are you afraid we’ll end up together?” Doyoung asks as he pulls out of the driveway and into the street.

Yuta sinks into his seat then tells Doyoung to make a right at the next corner. “Doubt it.”

“Is he your boyfriend?”

The thought is so funny—having lived with Taeyong for so long has definitely made Yuta think about whether or not they were going to fall in love, whether that was going to sneak up on the two of them and then magic happens, but Yuta’s decided that if the feeling had never come, then it probably never will. Besides, Taeyong had a pretty face but not a pretty personality. “We’re not dating,” Yuta admits. “I doubt we ever will.”

“But do you like him?”

“He’s cute, like when you bring home a puppy and it takes a while to get used to you but it eventually gets attached, but no.”

“Are you seeing anyone now?” Doyoung then asks.

“No.”

“How about in the past?”

Yuta laughs, if only to hide how he hasn’t really seen anyone since Doyoung aside from flings here and there. “You don’t get to ask this question. Next,” he deflects, and Doyoung thankfully leaves him alone about it.

Unsatisfied with what’s playing on the radio, Doyoung flips through the stations before deciding to shut the thing off. The silence makes his next question seem so loud: “What do you mean, you really liked me?”

“It’s a pretty straightforward statement, Doyoung.”

Liked.”

“Well, it’s not like I was gonna hold on to you forever.” Yuta scowls. “Can we stop circling around this? We’re too fucking old.”

“Fine.” Maybe it’s the stoplight, but Yuta thinks Doyoung’s gone a pretty shade of red, only ruined by the sourness of his face like he’s about to vomit. “I miss you.”

“Please don’t say that,” Yuta says quietly. Heat is creeping up his face, too, and his hands have gone clammy. “Uhm, make a left here, then it’s three blocks down.”

When they arrive at Yuta’s apartment building, Yuta finds it hard to unbuckle his seatbelt and bolt the fuck out of there, heart beating like a wild drum. Doyoung’s quiet, typing up a text or an email on his phone, and when he sends it, he says nothing more than, “Here you are.”

“Yeah,” Yuta says. Still, he’s frozen, and if he can listen to the blood rushing in his ears more carefully, it sounds suspiciously like I miss you, too. “Thanks for dinner.”

“No problem.”

“And for… you know, saying sorry.”

“That one was way overdue,” Doyoung says, and he’s not wrong. Three, four years ago, Yuta would’ve begged him back if he heard those words from him, kissed the living daylights out of him as if the time and distance were nothing. “Can I ask you something?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you ever…” Doyoung’s voice trails off as he takes a swallow. “Do you ever… miss us?”

“Do you?”

“Yeah.”

There’s precedence, something Yuta’s afraid of. In a whisper, he says, “Me, too,” and waits tor the world to end.

It doesn’t, but Yuta wishes it would, because Doyoung just laughs and goes, “I knew it.”

“You’re insufferable as always,” Yuta sighs with a roll of his eyes. “Taeyong won’t be home soon. Do you want to come inside?”

 

 

Doyoung acts like he’s right at home, even calling for Yuta to help him in the kitchen as he fixes them both with coffee. Yuta only laughs and sinks into his couch, digging his toes into the cushions, then sits properly when Doyoung comes, holding onto one of the mugs awkwardly because of his sprain.

“Thanks,” Yuta says appreciatively as he reaches for the awkwardly held mug with both hands, letting the sides warm him up nicely.

“No thanks to you,” Doyoung grumbles. He sits beside Yuta, his own kind of warmth, too. Yuta wants to lean into him, so he does, smiling when Doyoung freezes then melts.

It’s weird, this revisitation of old habits, of a nervous college student Doyoung still learning what touch can mean for him. Doyoung sets down his coffee on the table and tries to wrap his arm around Yuta’s shoulders, thumb rubbing soothing patterns on his arm like Yuta had just ran off to Doyoung’s room in the dorm after a bad exam or a failed paper.

Yuta feels the dumbest he’s felt in years. And somehow, he thinks it’s a good feeling.

Doyoung presses his lips to the crown of Yuta’s head then pulls back just as quickly but not getting far enough because Yuta grabs him by the tie and kisses him square on the mouth.

“Mmph—” Doyoung tries to say something, maybe something along the lines of What the fuck are you doing? but when Yuta caresses the back of his neck, it just turns into a soft groan against Yuta’s mouth. He leans in, trying to get Yuta on his back, and the coffee, now lukewarm, spills.

“Shit,” Yuta groans as he pulls away, pulling at the fabric of his shirt to inspect the stain. “Taeyong’s gonna kill me.” Doyoung sits back and watches as Yuta takes off his shirt to wipe himself clean then at the spilled coffee on the floor.

“Is there a stain?” Doyoung asks.

“Shirt, yes. Sofa, no.” Yuta bursts into laughter before pulling Doyoung close to him again, this time settling himself on Doyoung’s lap, and Doyoung places his one good arm around Yuta’s waist to keep him steady. “Hey, sexy,” he says, breathless.

“Hey yourself,” Doyoung tells him back.

“I did,” Yuta replies with a grin before leaning in.

They kiss again, more urgently, Yuta’s hands cupping Doyoung’s face, fingers searching for what’s familiar, which is everything, still, and it makes Yuta feel so warm. Doyoung slows them down, drawing out each kiss so he could suck on Yuta’s bottom lip, probably satisfied with himself that Yuta lets out a moan every time, without fail. So Doyoung tries a bit harder, this time skating his hand on Yuta’s bare chest, thumb teasing at his nipple. Yuta arches back, giving space for Doyoung to map out his body with his mouth instead.

“God, fuck,” Yuta breathes out. Doyoung says nothing but only pulls Yuta even closer to him, and Yuta responds by pulling on Doyoung’s hair.

“You’re so pretty,” Doyoung sighs, murmuring it against Yuta’s bare skin. “I missed how pretty you are.”

There’s a retort on the tip of Yuta’s tongue but it flies away when Doyoung reaches a hand up to run through Yuta’s hair, bringing him back down so their lips could meet. Yuta squirms against him, grinding down on Doyoung’s hips till he can feel how hard Doyoung is, and he laughs.

“Tease,” Doyoung grumbles.

“I’m not letting you off the hook this easy,” Yuta says. “Tell me more about how much you miss me.”

Doyoung scoffs but surprisingly complies. “My firm had a trip to Osaka,” he says, eyes searching Yuta’s face for any telltale expression, “and everything there reminded me of you.”

“As it should.”

“You’re hard to forget, you know that? I had a hard time dating after college.”

“I mean, your personality’s not exactly a winner,” Yuta teases. “But… it’s just been flings for me, too.” He stops to give Doyoung another kiss, smiling when Doyoung tries to chase after it when he pulls away to say, “Tell me more.”

“Do you like doing this?” Doyoung asks.

“Very much.”

Doyoung frowns but Yuta kisses him on the nose so he can continue. “I know I snapped at the ER yesterday, but it was… it was really good to see you,” he says as Yuta hums, eyes slipping shut as Yuta plays with his hair and the curve of his cheekbones. “You looked so hot as a doctor.”

“Did I turn you on? Make you forget about Taeyong?”

“Just barely,” Doyoung teases.

“He is really pretty,” Yuta concedes. When Doyoung only nods, Yuta smacks him on the head. “You’re supposed to tell me I’m prettier.”

Doyoung shrugs. “I thought it was obvious.”

Yuta rolls his eyes but kisses him anyway, making up for lost time—just this, just kissing, breathing through their noses so it doesn’t have to end. He clings to Doyoung, whimpering when Doyoung buries his face into the crook of Yuta’s neck, hoping that the space between them (or lack thereof) is directive enough for Doyoung to just keep going.

“…phone…” Doyoung eventually points out.

True enough, Yuta’s phone is vibrating hard on the glass side table, making the whole thing shake and clang. Yuta lets out a groan and picks it up. “Hello?”

“Are you at home?” Taeil asks through the phone.

“Yeah.”

“Oh, good,” Taeil sighs in relief. “Taeyong drank way too much. I’m taking him home now.”

As Taeil spoke, Doyoung tried to sneak his fingers on Yuta’s sides, making Yuta swat them away. “Is he passed out?” Yuta asks.

“No,” Taeil says. He puts the receiver away from his mouth as he tries to coax Taeyong into staying awake before bringing it back to his mouth and asking Yuta, “Did we ruin your date?”

“Not really,” Yuta says.

“So you didn’t bring him home?”

Yuta flushes red. Was he that obvious? “What made you think that?” he asks into the phone with a lowered voice. By that time, Doyoung had taken it upon himself to lap at Yuta’s neck.

“It’s hard not to think otherwise,” Taeil says simply. “Anyway, I’ll see you soon.”

He hangs up and Yuta puts his phone back on the table. “God, Doyoung, you need to chill,” Yuta says with a laugh. He meets Doyoung’s mouth one more time before climbing off of him. “You should go home.”

Doyoung’s eyebrows knit together. “Why?”

“Taeyong’s drunk and I have an early shift tomorrow,” Yuta simply tells him. Doyoung opens his mouth, as if he was gonna offer to stay but just stands up, running his one good hand down the side of Yuta’s arm as he kisses him, Yuta grinning when they separate. “Can’t get enough?”

“How soon can I see you again?”

“Unless you have another injury tomorrow—don’t get any ideas, you fucking freak—how does the weekend sound?”

“Perfect. I’ll see you, then.” Doyoung’s smiling, and wow, maybe Yuta’s gone soft over the years, nearing thirty and only just becoming stable with his life. He still can’t afford to live alone, but maybe Doyoung already has, and Yuta can only feel happy that life seems to be falling in place, whether or not it’s certain.

“See you, sexy,” Yuta greets, slapping Doyoung’s butt on the way out. Some minutes later, Taeil shows up with a barely conscious Taeyong and helps Yuta bring him inside to Taeyong’s room.

“I saw a Mercedes Benz just leave,” Taeil notes. “Was that Doyoung?”

“I don’t know anything about cars,” Yuta says with a shrug as he more or less forces water down Taeyong’s throat, Taeyong weakly protesting. “Was it black?”

“Yes. How did it go?” Taeil does notice Yuta’s shirtless, but he can’t quite piece together in his mind that it turned out to a mild night, especially with how focused he is on getting Taeyong to pee.

“It was… nice. We’re seeing each other again.”

“That’s good. I mean, with you, it can really go one way or the other, so I’m glad it turned out like this.”

Yuta scoffs at that, but he’s glad, too. “God, what did you give him?”

“The bastard didn’t eat a lot for dinner, and we only had the usual.” After a while, Taeil says, “I give up. He’s impossible.”

“You should go home,” Yuta says. “I can handle him.”

“I don’t have clinic tomorrow, so it’s fine,” Taeil says. “And knowing you, you’d leave him like this as soon as I go.”

Yuta laughs. “You really think that lowly of me?”

“I don’t think lowly of anyone; I’m just pointing out what’s true,” Taeil says. By sheer strength alone, the two of them manage to bring Taeyong to the bathroom, where he (thankfully) makes himself pee. “God, we’re old.”

“We can’t drink like we’re in college anymore,” Yuta says sadly.

“I feel like I’m going to have liver failure,” Taeyong groans quietly. They head to the living room and let Taeyong sit up, giving him more water till he can drink it himself. It’s only then that he registers Yuta. “How’d your date go?”

“Horrible. I’m never seeing him again,” Yuta lies.

Taeyong seems to ponder on it for a while. “Hmm, that does sound like something you’d do.” Taeil laughs at that but corrects him and Taeyong is genuinely shocked by the news, shocked but happy. “Really?”

“Don’t get excited,” Yuta chides. “You can’t afford a two-bedroom without me.”

“I’m just happy for you,” Taeyong says, words still coming out slowly, but Yuta’s touched nonetheless.

“Thank you,” Yuta says as he places a kiss on Taeyong’s head. “How are you feeling?”

“Shit.”

“Well, he’s talking, so I guess I can leave now,” Taeil says. “Can I grab a water from the fridge?”

“Help yourself,” Yuta says. “Thanks.”

“Of course.” When Taeil leaves, Taeyong faces Yuta with an easy, lazy grin.

“Did you two have sex?”

“I don’t put out that easily,” Yuta scoffs. Taeyong only raises his brow. “Okay, maybe I do, but he had something to prove to me.”

“Did he?”

Yuta smiles. “He already did, but don’t tell him I said that.”