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midnight's dream

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Park Jihoon is a lot of things.

 

He’s smart. He’s cute and good-looking. He’s determined, driven.

 

He’s a gamer, a dedicated student if the subject permits it. He is someone who considers, who loves, who asks and thinks and sometimes talks too much.

 

And he is, for lack of better word, stubborn. Personally, he prefers the term persistent , or thorough. Not a quitter. Whatever.

 

So it doesn’t come as a surprise that, when someone steals a kiss from him that leaves him breathless for days, he won’t stop until he finds out who kissed him in the first place.

 

This is how it happens:

 

It’s a Saturday night, somewhere mid-March, when they all gather in Sungwoon and Minhyun’s tiny shared apartment. It’s perfect for the two of them. It’s not too far off campus, has a kitchen that’s big enough to cook a proper meal (much to Minhyun’s liking), and a place to store all their other equipment (thanks to Sungwoon, obviously).

 

Sungwoon’s bedroom had turned into a spare room ever since the two had gotten together a few months back and Sungwoon had promptly decided to migrate to Minhyun’s room permanently three weeks into their relationship. It gave them more space, and a reason to be closer to each other. They didn’t really have anything to complain about.

 

That is, until they have to try fitting about fifteen more people into their living room space.

 

“No offense,” Jihoon starts as he navigates to the small kitchen to get another drink, “but next time we should meet up at like… a place where all of us can actually fit.”

 

“And where’s the fun in that, Hoonie?” Sungwoon shoots back, raising an amused eyebrow.

 

He cringes at the nickname, but decides to let it slide because Sungwoon looks more than a little tipsy and he’s not too sober himself. He’s seen Sungwoon drunk and ready to fight someone. He’d rather not deal with that tonight.

 

He opens the cooler and takes out a beer with a name he can’t even pronounce. It’s probably Dutch or French, or something. It doesn’t matter as long as it tastes good.

 

“First of all, I think it would spare Minhyun quite some stress. Since he’s the one who actually cleans the house and all that, Woonie.

 

Minhyun, who was talking to Seongwoo on the other side of tiny kitchen, turns his head at the mention of his name and lets out a hearty laugh at the scene in front of him. Sungwoon lets out an exasperated sigh before raising a finger at the other. “You come into my house, judge me for my laziness—” he starts sternly, but Jihoon notices how he’s trying to contain his laughter and not slur his words at the same time. Minhyun must notice too, because he starts laughing even harder, to which Sungwoon spins and directs his attention to his boyfriend once he finds his balance, “And you, Hwang! Don’t enable him!”

 

This time Jihoon starts full on laughing as well as he sees Sungwoon walk up to his boyfriend before standing on his tip-toes to meet eye level. He slurs some words Jihoon can’t hear, but if Minhyun’s booming laugh is anything to go by, it must be either really ridiculous or really adorable.

 

Jihoon tries not to gag at them when Minhyun takes Sungwoon’s cheeks and gently squishes them. Woojin walks in then, and raises an eyebrow at the three of them. “I’m not even going to ask.” He walks over to the fridge and picks out the first beer he gets his hands on.

 

“Don’t even bother,” Jihoon responds, clinking their cans together as a silent toast before taking a sip from his own drink.

 

“For fuck’s sake! Both of you, get the hell out of my out of my kitchen!” Sungwoon tries to sound as annoyed as he can when manage after being kissed by Hwang Minhyun. He grabs Jihoon by the shoulders and spins him around ballet-style. The annoyed façade falls entirely when he giggles briefly, before starting to push him and Woojin out of the kitchen and back into the cramped living space.

 

At that moment, Donghan decides to round the corner and Jihoon nearly faceplants himself right into the older boy's chest. They both stop abruptly to avoid the collision and Jihoon is vaguely aware of Woojin and Sungwoon both slamming into him from the back, before cursing something about broad shoulders and friendship and manners, or whatever. Jihoon nearly topples over from the impact, but Donghan reaches out and holds his arms. “Oh.” He gives them a look. “Hi?”

 

“Hello yourself,” Jihoon greets, feigning to have lost balance a little longer than is necessary. Donghan doesn’t let go after he stands up straight again, though. “How come you’re here?”

 

The other boy giggles, nodding his head towards the living room. “Taehyun,” he says, like that explains it. It kind of does, actually, because Sungwoon’s best friend comes over enough you’d think he lives here instead of Minhyun. Taehyun's friends are Sungwoon's friends and vice versa, so it's no surprise his little friend group is here too. Donghan included.

 

They would have stood there for another while if it hadn’t been for Woojin peeking over Jihoon’s shoulder to see what made him stop in his tracks. He grins when he sees that it’s Donghan. “Sup, Donghan,” he says, bringing two of his fingers to his forehead in an odd, semi-drunken salute.

 

“Hey Woojin,” Donghan greets back. When Sungwoon lets out a disgruntled noise, he adds, “And Sungwoon hyung,” before looking at Jihoon again.

 

“Heard you were having some fun without me in the kitchen.” He laughs and looks a little dazed.

 

“I would never ,” Jihoon puts his hands up and smiles. “Sungwoon was just scolding me because I accidentally called him lazy.”

 

“Damn, again?”

 

Sungwoon groans again as he goes to stand behind Jihoon. “Yeah, again . Now, if you’ll excuse me, I was just on my way of kicking him out of my house.”

 

Donghan giggles at that. As if. “Now, now, let’s not get too harsh here,” he says, grabbing Jihoon by the wrist and dragging him to his own side, “It’s still early. I’ll make sure he behaves for the rest of the night, pinky promise!” And God, okay, maybe that does make Jihoon’s tipsy heart flutter a little. He looks at the beer in his hand and contemplates for a second before downing it in one go.

 

He scrunches his nose at the burning feeling in his throat, before nodding sweetly. “I’ll be nice!”

 

“You better be!” Sungwoon replies, before he burst out into a grin. “Now, shoo ! Out of my kitchen, you heathen!”

 

Donghan quickly ducks past Sungwoon and Woojin to grab two beers from the table before leading Jihoon into the corner of the living room. He sits down on the couch and pats the seat next to him, motioning Jihoon to sit down as well before passing the beer to him.

 

“I literally just finished my beer,” Jihoon mentions, as if it matters. He takes the can anyway.

 

In the corner of his eye, he spots Woojin plopping down next to Taehyun on couch on the other side of the living room. Jihoon looks at him for a second, and the younger raises his eyebrows before tilting his chin towards Donghan. Then, he smiles in the kind of suggestive manner only Jihoon understands of his best friend. Jihoon just shakes his head in response before turning his attention to the beer in his hand, then to Donghan.

 

Donghan seems to have been oblivious to the exchange. Good; Jihoon doesn’t need questions.

 

*

 

To be honest, their friendship is a little complicated.  

 

Donghan and Jihoon had met at the beginning of the semester, right when Jihoon was starting college. Donghan had to repeat a class from the previous year and had ended up as Jihoon’s partner for one of the group projects. They had some things in common and got along pretty well, and by the end of the project their meetings only ended up in them playing games in Jihoon’s dorm. 

 

From there on, things progressed. They weren't as close as he wishes they were, though. At least not the way he was with Woojin or Daniel, or the way Donghan was with Hyunbin and Kenta. But they were friends nonetheless, close enough for Jihoon’s friends to become Donghan’s and vice versa. They went from mere project partners to somewhat friends to, well, friends, to this.

 

‘This’ being the fine line between friendship and something more. At least, for Jihoon.

 

He doesn’t know when he had started to feel this way about the other. There is not a specific moment he can pinpoint where his feelings for Donghan became more complicated than they should have. He just remembers looking at the older one day and his heart doing things they shouldn’t be doing to just a friend.

 

He hadn’t said anything about it, because what was there to say? But he did become more aware, it seems. More nervous too, even though Donghan had never given him a reason to.

 

Every touch, every smile, every inside joke they giggled to each other between lectures or when they were studying with just the two of them in the library together — Jihoon became so much more conscious of them, analysed them all.

 

So here they are. On Sungwoon and Minhyun’s couch, both boys nursing a beer, and Jihoon silently thanking the buzz around them to keep his thoughts in place.

 

They talk for a while, about school and assignments, about the dance club, about Yongguk and Hyunbin and how one of their cats clawed Donghan’s arm. “ Look” , he says, pointing at it. “Battle scars.”

 

“Shut up.” But Jihoon is laughing, eyes crinkling. Donghan gives him a look, a little fond but full of amusement as well. Jihoon feels the older’s eyes on him, lingering longer than usual. He’s thankful for the drink in his hand — it makes it easier to attribute his flushed cheeks to that.

 

At one point, after what feels like hours later, Jihoon gets up to get himself some water. It’s getting way too late for his liking, considering he has a meeting for a seminar in the morning. He’s not even halfway to the kitchen, there’s the sound of glass breaking. Then, darkness.

 

Daniel yells an exasperated, “What the fuck! ” before Sungwoon screams something from the other side of the door. Jihoon can’t see a thing, and only hears the murmurs and frustrated groaning from everywhere in the apartment. He thinks he hears Minhyun yell, “Sungwoon dropped his drink on the extra power socket so we’re having a short circuit, hold on!”

 

Before Jihoon can respond with a snarky comment at Sungwoon’s expense as he usually would, he suddenly feels himself being turned around. He sways for a second, nearly losing his balance. For a second he thinks someone’s bumped into him, although far as he knew no one was in his immediate surroundings. But then he feels two hands on his cheeks. The motion is gentle, thumbs caressing Jihoon’s cheekbones.

 

It’s too dark to see, and Jihoon curses himself for drinking enough that his other senses aren’t working perfectly anymore. He recognises the cologne from somewhere, but he can’t pinpoint who it is.

 

When he feels someone's breath on his lips, he freezes momentarily. The moment seems to last forever, and Jihoon doesn’t know what compels him to lean in first.

 

It doesn’t last long. Jihoon feels himself being pulled closer by whoever it is that’s kissing him. He feels himself holding on, too. Leaning into it, relishing in it.

 

When the person pulls away, Jihoon finds himself chasing after another kiss. But it’s too late, and he’s not fast enough. Before he realises it’s happening, he loses grasp of the other person, and someone who sounds an awful lot like Sungwoon yells “Got it! Here we go!” before the lights turn back on.

 

Once his eyes have gotten used to the light being on again, just mere seconds later, he looks around and finds himself standing alone. For a moment, he thinks it might have been a very, very vivid day dream.

 

His eyes scan the room as he absentmindedly runs a finger over his lips, and yeah, they’re a bit swollen.

 

His mind races at lightning speed, and somehow he only seems to come up with one thing.  A question. What the fuck just happened.

 

“Earth to Park Jihoon! Helloooooo,” a voice speaks into his ear. It’s enough to have Jihoon jump out of his daze. Donghan is standing next to him, waving his hand in front of Jihoon’s eyes. “Are you okay?”

 

Jihoon looks at him for a long moment, unconsciously licking his lips. He doesn’t notice the way Donghan’s eyes focus on the motion, before quickly looking anywhere but at Jihoon.

“Sure,” the younger says, “I just feel really tired all of a sudden?” It’s an excuse, but he had been complaining about having to head home in a while anyway. His eyes scan the room around him, eyes going from Donghan, to Woojin, to Hyungseob, and so on. Nothing seems off, but Jihoon knows he’s just been kissed, he’s sure of it. By who, though, remains a mystery. There’s nothing he sees that could give away any indication of who it was.

 

At that moment, Sungwoon stumbles out of the kitchen with an apologetic look on his face. It’s enough to snap him out of his daze. The older looks at Jihoon and changes his expression defensively. “Don’t say anything, you asshole. I will have Taehyun kick you out for real.”

 

Jihoon regains enough composure to shoot a remark back. “I was just leaving, you toddler. Some of us have responsibilities beyond causing a short circuit at their own house.”

 

He vaguely hears Donghan huff next to him — a held-back laugh.

 

In front of them, Sungwoon casually raises an eyebrow, but his eyes are on fire. “You demon ! Watching the same shit you’ve been watching and beating Woojin at useless video game related knowledge aren’t responsibilities!” he says, before jumping forward and putting Jihoon in a headlock and rubbing his knuckles on the top of his head.

 

“Stop! Stop!” Jihoon cries, but he’s laughing and he hears Sungwoon laugh too. The older lets him go, pushing him towards Donghan who catches him by his arms. “Get home safe, yeah?” he says, and Jihoon nods and smiles at the hint of caring in his hyung’s voice.

 

Donghan gently wraps an arm around his waist, then, and bids his goodbyes as he’s navigating them both to the door. Jihoon catches Woojin and Taehyun giving them a look, and manages to shrug before they disappear from his sight. He really does feel tired, suddenly.

 

“Let me walk you home,” Donghan says, and Jihoon is too busy with his own thoughts to realise Donghan lives on the other side of campus where Jihoon lives.

 

*

 

“Nope. Hell no. Absolutely not, Park Jihoon.”

 

“But—” he tries, before Jisung rolls his eyes and tuts him back into silence the way parents do to little kids.

 

“Jihoon. I’m not helping you with your,” he raises his hands to make air quotes, “campaign to find out whoever kissed you at Sungwoon’s house.”

 

After Jihoon had gotten home last night, he’d spent some time tossing and turning instead of sleeping. He had concluded a few things.

 

  1. He had definitely kissed someone. Or been kissed by someone. Whatever.
  2. He doesn’t know who kissed him.
  3. He’s determined to find out.

 

He’d made a list of who it could or couldn’t have been and weighed the yes’s and the no’s against each other until he had eventually fallen asleep some time later. But still not having figured it out by the next afternoon, he decided to turn to what he thought would be his one source of support: Yoon Jisung.

 

To no avail, it seems, judging from the way the older is sitting across from him with arms crossed. Jihoon hadn’t even explained all of it.

 

“I’m not making a campaign, Jesus! I just want to know !” he hisses, before lowering his head and resting it on the table.

 

Across from him, Jisung takes a calm sip from his iced coffee. Asshole.

 

“Knowing you, you’ve already mind-screened every possible person it could have been. Why don’t you just, I don’t know, ask them?”

 

Jihoon perks up. “Ask them? Ask them? Hyung, someone kissed me in the middle of a power outage when I couldn’t see for shit. Clearly, whoever it was doesn’t want to be found out.”

 

“Then why are you going to be looking?” Jisung asks, as if he doesn’t already know how stubborn Jihoon can be.

 

“I have a right to know, too,” Jihoon shrugs, a little bit exasperated. He must look a little helpless, too, because Jisung is silent for a second before he says: “Okay. I’ll try to see if I overhear something from one of the guys. Any preference on who you want it to be?”

 

The last part was meant as a joke, but Jihoon unintentionally flushes when his mind unhelpfully supplies him with a single name.

 

“Would it matter?”

 

Jisung just shrugs in response and leaves it at that.

 

*

 

Reluctantly, Jihoon finds himself following Jisung’s advice. Not before he’s thought it all over, though.

 

He asks Woojin first.

 

“What are you even saying to me right now,” the other deadpans when Jihoon plops down next to him a week later, and says, “Hey, quick question, did you kiss me when we were at Sungwoon’s apartment the other day?

 

Jihoon gives him a quizzical look. “Guess not, then.”

 

“I don’t even want to know,” Woojin says, going back to the game on his phone. Then, he suddenly seems to change his mind. Letting the game die out and closing the app, he turns to Jihoon. “Wait, okay, yes, I do,” he starts. Followed by, “What the hell , Park Jihoon?”

 

The older just shrugs. “Listen, when the power went off, someone just… fucking kissed me? I don’t even know.”

 

Woojin raises both his eyebrows at that. “And you think… that I would have…”

 

“I don’t know !” Jihoon answers, “I have no clue who it could have been, so,” he waves his hand in the air, “I figured I’d ask around, yeah?”

 

The other boy nods. “As much as I love you, Jihoon, I wouldn’t do that. You’re my best friend, you know I’d be honest if I had feelings for you, right?”

 

“Right,” he says, because he realises that it’s probably true. “Do you have any idea who it could have been, though?”

 

The younger shrugs, but the gesture is hesitant. It looks like there’s something else he wants to say.

 

Jihoon picks up on the other’s body language. “What is it?”

 

“I don’t know, I just feel like you might already know who it is. If you think hard enough…”

 

For a second, his thoughts shift to a glimpse of ashy blonde hair and soft eyes. Jihoon shakes the thought away. Donghan doesn’t like him like that.

 

And yet, he can’t rationally come up with someone else.

 

He starts regretting wanting to find out so badly.

 

There are so many unanswered questions — ones he’s not sure he’s ready to know the answers too. He’s desperate to know who kissed him, to find out what it all meant, what it could mean in the future. But he’s scared too. Because what if it was a mistake, what if it’s something the person regrets, what if it’s something Jihoon is going to regret finding out about?

 

He thinks about what to do next but comes up empty-handed. For a while, he thinks of letting it slide, but he can’t forget. Stubborness gets the best of him in the end, he has to know.

 

Time passes and he gets swept up in coursework and deadlines, so he momentarily forgets sometimes.

 

But he still asks Daniel. He asks Sungwoon if he’s heard anything. He asks Jinyoung.

 

He even asks Samuel, who wasn’t even there.

 

He doesn’t ask Donghan.

 

Woojin had suggested it to him a few times, in a way as subtle as Woojin can get (read: not very subtle). Jihoon had tried to not let it get to him, because he hates having hope and having it crushed later on.

 

Something changes, though. Either that or Jihoon is really losing his mind. It’s just that whenever Donghan is around these days, things feel different, charged . Maybe it's because he can't stop assuming, hoping, wishing

 

But time passes, and when nothing happens the next time they gather in Sungwoon and Minhyun’s flat on a rainy Friday night, Jihoon decides to just try and let it go. He was right, Jisung was right; whoever it was, didn’t want to be found out. It didn’t matter if he left Jihoon’s breathless for days and with a confused heart. And that’s okay, it has to be.

 

*

 

Surprisingly ( ?)  the discovery still comes, though. In the form of a semi-drunk confession near his birthday. Almost two months post kiss-in-the-dark.

 

It’s a complete and utter accident, too. Jihoon had pretty much forgotten about it at that point. Not completely, though. It’s a lingering thought, sometimes. Especially when he’s hanging out at Sungwoon's, or generally when he's around Donghan or whenever Woojin brings it up on rare occasions.

 

It’s a Friday night when Daniel and Woojin drag him out to a party near their dorms. “Everyone is going to be there!”

 

“Who is everyone? It’s nearly finals season, hyung.” It’s a weak protest, but Jihoon knows all too well it's no use rejecting Kang Daniel.

 

Everyone . All of us and Yongguk and Kenta and Hyunmin and Hyunbin and Eunki and Hyungseob and Donghan and…” Daniel trails off excitedly, naming literally everyone he knows, as Jihoon just sighs and lets him be dragged away.

 

Jihoon doesn’t recognise the place they are too well, but it can’t be too far from where he lives. It’s quite dark, and unwillingly brings his mind back a few months, to Sungwoon’s home. Then, someone bumps into him rather harshly and he forces himself to shake it off. He doesn’t get to wonder how he’s going to get home that night, because Daniel being the Good Hyung™ he is, is already pushing him to the bar and pouring them some shots.

 

This is an established fact: he doesn’t do too well when alcohol is involved, but he’s beyond caring at the point where he realises this. This brings him to his current predicament: vision a little blurry, surrounded by his friends, and feeling a little desperate.

 

So, when at one point, what feels like centuries later, Sungwoon turns around and yells a Hey Taehyun! over the booming music, something sinks in his chest. Because Taehyun means Taehyun’s friends, which essentially means Donghan.

 

It’s definitely a mix of the alcohol and the darkness of the place, he’s sure of it, but suddenly he thinks he should still ask him. Liquid courage and all that, he supposes. He spots how their group of friends is coming over to them, smiles bright and seemingly a little buzzed as well.

 

Jihoon greets them absentmindedly, thinking he needs to be as casual as he can despite his heart beating in his throat. He makes a bit of small talk with Hyunbin, even though they’re not particularly close.

 

But then Donghan smiles at him, and Jihoon stares for God-knows-how-long before he feels himself being pushed forward by what is probably Woojin or one of Donghan’s friends. He trips over his own feet and nearly ends up on the floor, except Donghan catches him right on time.

 

The being casual part? Totally nailed it, by the way.

 

The situation feels eerily familiar, and by the look Donghan is giving them, Jihoon almost assumes he might be thinking the same thing.

 

Before he gets to ask, though, Donghan drops his hand from Jihoon’s bicep to his wrist. “Hey. Do you want to dance?”

 

Jihoon nods absent-mindedly and lets him be pulled away. He knows he shouldn’t, knows that this can’t end well at all. He’s tried it — getting rid of his feelings. He’s tried so hard especially after that kiss because he never found out who it was and he got tired of hoping. But with Donghan dancing with him, always making sure they’re touching somehow, he realises he never stood a chance.

 

He feels Donghan’s hands on his hips, and turns around facing the other. “Donghan,” he starts, but the other just smiles at him and locks eyes with him.

 

“Donghan,” he repeats, louder.

 

They’re still just dancing, staring at each other, face and bodies too close for comfort.

 

And then, Donghan flicks his eyes to Jihoon’s lips very briefly. Holy shit.

 

His rationality may be a bit slower than his actions, although he feels like his heart knows damn well what it’s doing when he leans in slowly, bringing his face closer, closer, and impossibly close to Donghan’s. He waits, then, a little dizzy and feeling like he might stop breathing any second.

 

Donghan doesn’t pull back. Rather, he is the one who closes the distance between them.

 

It feels familiar, kissing Donghan, and to his own surprise Jihoon feels like this is the answer to a question he’d been too afraid to ask. They pull back, catching their breaths, and Jihoon faintly hears Noh Taehyun wolf whistling in their direction. When he looks at them, Kenta seems to try and close his hand over the elder’s mouth, looking mildly horrified at his actions.

 

There’s a tug on his wrist, then, and Jihoon looks up to find Donghan smiling at him. “Let’s get some air for a second, it’s too warm in here.” He lets himself get pulled outside, through a garden he’s not familiar with, until they reach some secluded place where there’s no people.

 

Jihoon feels himself lean against the wall and Donghan stands before him, cupping his jaw and locking their eyes together. He looks a little scary in this light, but his eyes are soft, softer than he’s even seen them. Nothing like the Donghan he’s hung out with before, making casual conversation or telling each other jokes over their long forgotten study notes.

 

It makes his heart flutter nonetheless.

 

“Finally,” he mubles after a second of staring, leaning in to capture Jihoon’s lips again. Right before Jihoon can kiss him back, something occurs to him. The younger stops him with a baffled, “Wait, I have to know. Back at Sungwoon’s apartment, you kissed me?”

 

It’s a little too dark to see, and his judgement is too clouded to make sure, but Jihoon thinks Donghan’s face heats up a bit. Then, the older nods. Suddenly, he looks so shy, and Jihoon wants to slap himself to make sure this is even happening.

 

“Why? Why didn’t you just tell me?”

 

Donghan shrugs, but he looks a little apologetic. He pulls back a little. “I don’t know. I was a little drunk. I— We… You …”

 

“You’re a little drunk now, too,” Jihoon points out, swaying a little bit himself.

 

The other laughs at that. “Yeah but, you know, liquid courage," he says. How ironic, since this is exactly what Jihoon had been thinking about. "And the guys’ kept teasing me and,” he shrugs, “I wanted to. I thought you might have wanted to, as well. And then someone made the power go out, so it was my chance.”

 

Jihoon blinks at him, barely aware of Donghan’s wrapping his arms around his waist. “That’s not like you. Whenever you’re around the others you’re so open and, I don’t know, not shy.”

 

Donghan groans and leans in closer, bringing his lips to Jihoon’s ear. “But I like you and I didn’t know what to do with that,” the older speaks, and Jihoon shivers but not from the cold. “I heard you asked all the others, but never me.”

 

“I just thought it would be good to be true,” Jihoon says, and he doesn’t know why he’s whispering.

 

Then they’re kissing again, somehow. It lasts longer, Jihoon relishing in the taste of Donghan’s lips, how their hands are intertwining, letting go again, running through the strands on the back of his hair. “I want to get to know you better like this, Jihoon,” Donghan murmurs against his lips. “I want to take you out on a date, see where that takes us. I want to know what it's like to be in love with you one day.” He emphasises his statement with another peck on the other’s lips.

 

Jihoon’s doesn’t remember the last time he’s felt this breathless. Not even at Sungwoon’s apartment, when confusion was the only thing he had felt. It’s quite dark now, too, and the situation feels sort of similar. But knowing it’s Donghan who’s kissing him, knowing it was him last time — it feels a little magical, a dream. “Let’s do it,” he says, pulling away.

 

“Okay,” Donghan smiles and runs a hand through Jihoon’s hair, fixing the mess he’s made. “When?”

 

A laugh. Jihoon thinks his eyes are twinkling, it couldn’t be any other way when he’s feeling like this. “How about now? There’s this really nice ice cream parlour that’s open until at least 3AM and I’m dying to get out of here. It shouldn't be too far from here.”

 

When Donghan just gives him a dumbfounded, happy nod, Jihoon laughs again. He grabs the older boy by the hand, tugging him away. “Let’s go, then.”

 

They go, they have their ice cream, and they kiss some more.

 

It was their first time, but it won’t be their last. It becomes something frequent, some sort of weird routine they call theirs. They go too often, either of their friend groups will remark, just make it official already . And they both laugh at that, a little shy, cheeks dusted pink, knowing that they really should.

 

But it’s nice. It’s nice that they’re taking it slow, trying to see what works for them. Jihoon thinks he might finally ask Donghan to be his boyfriend soon. Very soon. So soon that calling each other boyfriend becomes a part of their little routine, too.

 

But no matter what, the best part of it all is still the part where Donghan kisses him. Or the part where Jihoon kisses him first, that too.

 

The best part is that it doesn’t matter if they can call each other boyfriend or not, because their feelings are clear.

 

It doesn’t matter if it’s when they’re a little drunk, or a little tired, or completely sober and energetic and a little needy. It doesn’t matter if it’s dark or not, day or night. Knowing Donghan is here, arms around him, hands holding him steady, it’s enough.

 

The future will be theirs, they have all the time in the world, and it’s enough.