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An active, curious child, Jongin’s parents dealt with his energy by enrolling him in various classes, finally hitting the jackpot when they put him in comfy tights and brought him to his first ballet class. Ever since then, at the tender age of three, becoming a ballerino has been Jongin’s only dream.

His journey started out rocky, to say the least. He trained at a lesser known school, which pushed him into relative obscurity even when he finally made it into Korea National Ballet’s corps de ballet. For a year and a half, no one recognised the full extent of his talent. But Jongin was patient – he kept his head on straight, practised as much as his body would allow, and accepted any and all jobs that came his way. But during that time, the stress he had placed on his body eventually led to a muscle strain in his lower back, and he had to take a few weeks off to heal. The panic he had felt over those weeks still, to this day, leaves a bitter taste in his mouth.

Blessedly, just before his twentieth birthday, he caught a break. During rehearsals for a contemporary production, one of the soloists tore his FHL tendon and was out of commission for over a month. Having learned the part on his own time, Jongin was able to step up to the plate and take on the role for the entire duration of the production. His seniors praised him for his performance and his dedication, and while he stayed in the corps for the rest of the year, he was given roles that, while for smaller productions, would still usually go to a dancer of a higher rank.

From there, things blossomed. He took on the role of Man/L’Homme in Eifman's Requiem, was the leading man in a couple of contemporary pieces, and topped it all off with the role of Albrecht in Giselle. Jongin rose steadily through the ranks, ending his fourth year at KNB as a soloist and starting his sixth as a grand soloist, following a critically acclaimed performance as Basilio in Don Quixote.

Now, twenty-four years after his first ballet class, Jongin is the company’s newest principal dancer. It’s hard-earned and well-deserved, something that his fellow dancers readily recognise. With a thick and fleshed out repertoire under his belt, Jongin has never been this proud of himself.

 

 

 


There’s a crowd around the bulletin board, dancers craning their necks to see if their names are printed on the single sheet of paper freshly pinned to the cork. Jongin stands a distance away from them, sports bag slung over his shoulder as he leans against the brick wall. He remembers when he used to be in those crowds just a few years ago, desperate for even the smallest role in a production, for the chance to fill out his repertoire. It’s a feeling that Jongin expects he’ll never forget, even decades after he retires from the industry.

He glimpses some happy faces, some despondent faces, and some faces completely void of any emotion – Jongin really empathises with the emotionless ones. As the huddle of dancers starts to disperse, those that walk past Jongin congratulate him wholeheartedly, some even stopping to shake his hand.

As a principal dancer, Jongin doesn’t have to worry about his name being up on the list – he’s pretty much guaranteed a lead role in any production. Sure enough, he approaches the board and sees his name right up at the top, with the roles Nutcracker Prince/Snow Prince/Cavalier printed next to it.

Right below his own name is one he does not recognise. He knows everyone in the company, so this comes as a surprise. Their director never mentioned any new hires or potential guest dancers over the past few weeks, much less a new principal dancer. The name looks vaguely familiar, but being in this industry means coming across a plethora of amazing dancers, so matching names to faces is nearly impossible unless you practice with them for six to seven hours a day.

Well, if he’s been cast, he should be nothing short of brilliant. Rehearsals start tomorrow, so Jongin will see who the mystery ballerino is in no time.

By the time he exits the building, the sun has long since dipped below the horizon and the sky is awash with rough strokes of dark blue. Jongin’s body is exhausted, his feet are aching, and there’s a low burn of constant hunger in his belly. But he feels good, feels satisfied with everything he accomplished today, and he can’t wait to go home and soak in his tiny tub for an hour.

After a few years in the company, Jongin was able to purchase his own apartment, something that felt absolutely surreal. It’s not grand by any means, just enough space for everything necessary. But it’s his own, a place he can relax in, soaking up all the peace and quiet that the night gives before the next hectic day begins.

He lives close to the company, a fact that he really appreciates when time is not on his side. On rare days, Jongin sleeps through his alarms and wakes up just in time to scramble into decent clothes before sprinting out of his door, managing to cover those few blocks in mere minutes. He may have woken up late, but he’s never late to practice. On the days before an opening show, he’ll stay back for hours to practice, only leaving for home when it’s after midnight and he has barely any energy left. Suffice to say, his home is his haven, a place where Jongin is able to leave his stress and troubles by the door.

He’s fumbling with his keys when his neighbour’s door opens. A sweet, little old lady lives next to him, her companion a sweet, little old corgi that has a piece of Jongin’s heart.

“Evening, Mrs. Lee!”

She smiles at him, her wrinkles on full display, and tugs on the leash in her hand. Edea comes padding out of the apartment, looking so adorably fluffy that Jongin feels his heart twist happily.

“Hi, sweet girl,” Jongin coos, hunching down and holding a hand out for Edea to lick. Her stump of a tail wags, shiny eyes gazing up at him lovingly as she nuzzles into his palm. “Evening walk?”

Mrs. Lee nods, twisting her key into her lock and pocketing the heavy keychain. They’ve been neighbours for over two years and Jongin still doesn’t know why she has so many keys.

“Her vet says she needs a little more exercise,” Mrs. Lee says, “she’s been putting on weight.”

“Well, I think you look adorable with a little extra weight,” Jongin tells Edea, fully aware that he sounds like a lovesick fool.

Mrs. Lee laughs. “I dread to imagine how much weight she would put on if she lived with you for a week.”

Jongin gives Edea one last scratch behind her ears before he rises and grins at Mrs. Lee. “Have a good walk,” he says. “Enjoy the weather before it gets too cold!”

Edea barks goodbye and Jongin watches her trot over to the elevators before stepping inside his apartment. Dropping his bag in the corner of the hallway, Jongin hangs up his jacket and takes off his shoes, wriggling his tired toes once they’re free of their confines.

He has a little over an hour of free time before he needs to shower and sleep – he has to be up early tomorrow for the cast meeting and he can’t afford to be late for that. It’s not ideal, but he’ll have to scarf down a microwaveable dinner in lieu of a healthy home-cooked meal. Jongin makes a mental note to meal prep as soon as he has some time to spare.

His hair is still damp when he falls onto his bed and drifts off to sleep. In his teens, he had a long, strung-out battle with insomnia, but nowadays, he’s too tired to let insomnia take over. A blessing in disguise, Jongin thinks, and promptly knocks out.

 

 

 


The studio is practically empty when Jongin steps in. He spots a handful of corps dancers stretching, the conductor chatting with someone by the piano, and Risa sitting against the mirrors as she twists her hair up.

“Hey, you. Your first production as principal – you ready?”

Risa was the first friend he made when he joined the company, her bright aura and infectious energy drawing Jongin to her like a moth to a flame. She’s an exquisite dancer, able to stay grounded and lyrical yet feather-light and sensitive at the same time. It didn’t take her long to make principal dancer, but her success never got to her head. She was always there for Jongin, one of the few who had a crystal clear understanding of what he was capable of, and she was always willing to laud his abilities.

They were together when Jongin’s profile was moved up to the Principal Dancers category on the company’s website, squeezed next to each other on one chair as they refresh the webpage like maniacs just to see his headshot appear right next to hers. After, she had treated him to a lavish four-course meal to celebrate his achievements, and Jongin had never been more honoured to call her his friend.

At one point in their relationship, they crossed the line of friendship and into something more – but despite their best efforts, things never really worked out. The days after their break up were a little awkward, but they cared too much for each other to let that destroy what they had. Besides, they have to work together, and a huge part of dance requires a connection.

“You know I am,” Jongin says, setting his bag down next to hers and pulling off his sweater. It’s chilly outside, still too early for the city to be warmed by the sunlight, and the cold has seeped through his clothes and into his bones. But despite the comfort, his sweater hides the lines of his body, and Jongin likes to scrutinise the movements of his muscles when he warms up.

“We have the opening night together,” Risa grins, her honey eyes wide with excitement. How she’s always so peppy and roaring to go at ass o’ clock in the morning will forever be a mystery to Jongin.

Extending his arms up and above his head, Jongin pulls his spine straight and savours the stretch of his muscles. “Yeah, breaking in the iconic pas de deux on the first night. No pressure at all.”

She laughs, sinking easily into a split and plastering her torso to the ground. While today’s meeting won’t involve any actual dancing, they all have practice right after, so the sensible thing to do is stretch in advance. As they stretch, they fall into an easy conversation – Jongin catches Risa up on their favourite TV show (she tends to fall asleep whenever she watches something in bed) and she updates him on what’s been going on with the guy she’s been seeing.

Dancers begin trickling in, the low hum of chatter in the room gradually ticking up in volume as the minutes pass. Once he’s done with the barre, Jongin moves away from it to give other dancers the opportunity to use it. He ends up seated in a chair by the front door, absently stretching out his toes as he scrolls through his email inbox. Risa is deep in conversation with Hyehan, another one of the company’s principal dancers, most likely about the roles that they’ll be sharing during the production.

He hears the doors swing open, but he doesn’t glance up until the voice of the artistic director booms throughout the room, grabbing his attention instantly.

“Listen up! I want everyone to extend a warm welcome to our principal guest dancer, Oh Sehun, for this year’s production of The Nutcracker. He’s flown all the way from Canada just to dance with us for this run, and we are very honoured to host him in our home for these few weeks. If all goes well, we may continue to keep him with us for the next couple of productions, so please show him the hospitality that I know we have.”

When Oh Sehun steps out from behind the director and lights graces the planes of his face, Jongin feels the world around him stagger to a dumbstruck halt. Sehun bows low, and past the loud thudding of his heart, Jongin distantly makes out uncertain but fluent Korean as the dancer introduces himself to the company.

Piercing eyes sweep across the room in a polite attempt to make eye contact with everyone – when their eyes meet, one single thought floats through Jongin’s mind. God, he’s stunning.

 

 

 


“Dude, you were practically drooling.”

Risa sounds absolutely delighted and Jongin already knows that she’ll never let him live it down.

“We have class with him after,” she continues, “will you be able to make it through it without being a smitten mess?”

The large studio is filled with hubbub as dancers collect their things and disperse to go to their respective classes. A glance through the windows informs Jongin that the sun is finally high in the sky, its warmth enough to melt away the overnight frost that clings to the glass. The meeting had taken almost an hour and a half – Jongin barely managed to pay attention throughout the entirety of it, much too distracted by Sehun’s presence just a few feet away from him.

They have ten minutes before class starts and it seems as though Risa plans to spend that time mercilessly teasing Jongin about his sudden, newfound crush.

“He’s a really good dancer, did you know? I did a quick YouTube search of him last night and stumbled across his performance in his company’s production of Chroma last year – damn, he was unmistakably the star. Hey, I’ll link you the video,” she offers with a grin.

Jongin lets out a pained sigh and makes for the stairs, climbing the two flights with a cackling Risa behind him the whole time. He pauses by the door to their dance studio, long enough for Risa to nudge him cheekily and say, “You have to go in at some point; you should start getting used to looking at him in the face, don’t you think?”

“You’re horrible,” Jongin grouses, giving her his best stink eye before opening the door and stepping in.

There are three sets of barres set up in the room and dancers are beginning to settle into their places by them. Morning classes run for seventy-five minutes, but with the two short breaks they get, it stretches out to just around a hundred. Apart from the corps, the rest of the company fits into this one studio along with the pianist and the dance master.

Saeji is kind, yet firm, and is by far Jongin’s favourite dance master that he’s ever had the privilege of learning from in his entire career. Once a principal dancer at KNB herself, she had taken on the job of dance master when she turned thirty-five with the dream of wanting to groom young dancers into the accomplished artistes she knows they can be.

Jongin didn’t get the chance to work with her until he was promoted from the corps, but he attributes a lot of his growth in the company to her. It’s always a joy to take her classes.

Distracted by a text from his mother followed by a struggle with his sweatpants, Jongin doesn’t notice Risa approach Sehun with an extra friendly grin plastered across her face. It’s only when he’s a few steps away from his regular position in the centre row does he register who he’s got next to him. It takes all of his willpower not to look below Sehun’s waist, especially not when it’s clear that he’s in very fitting ballet shorts.

“Sehun, this is Jongin,” Risa sing-songs, sweeping a hand down Jongin’s frame. “He’s one of the dancers you’ll be sharing roles with!”

Oh my god, he’s going to kill her.

But Sehun saves her life by holding out his hand with a soft smile. “Hi.”

“Hey,” Jongin manages. He hopes his tongue doesn’t die out on him and make him sound like a fool. “It’s a pleasure; I’ve heard a lot of good things about you.”

“Likewise. I really liked your pas de deux with Risa in your performance of Witness, but I think your best pieces are your contemporary solos.”

Jongin sets his hands down on the barre in surprise. “You watch my stuff?” It’s astonishing, because Jongin doesn’t have much time to choreograph his own pieces, and those that he has are uploaded onto YouTube where it would take a lot of searching to find.

A faint tinge of colour rises up in Sehun’s cheeks and Risa lets out a really unattractive snort, but before Sehun can say anything, Saeji calls for their attention and the last few stragglers hurry to their positions.

Jongin, too used to Saeji’s classes by now, tunes her voice out for a moment in favour of looking down at his feet as he goes through the movements. His gaze slides over to Sehun’s, in perfect third position, and it’s clear that the dancer is confident in his skills. Even in a new environment and under a new teacher, he follows the instructions easily, each movement strong and without hesitation.

“...fourth position, arm up and turn towards the barre,” Jongin hears when he refocuses on Saeji’s voice, “then fifth position, inside arm up and turn completely away from the barre.”

Pliés, battements tendus, battement glissés, ronds de jambes, fondus, battement frappés, petits battements, developpés, ronds de jambes en l’air, grand battements… It’s therapeutic for Jongin, running through all of those exercises. It comes to him as easily as breathing does, and sometimes he’ll find himself running through those very exercises when he’s at home, standing in front of the stove or the sink. Before he knows it, Saeji calls for a break.

There’s already a slight burn to his muscles, a nice ache that Jongin shakes out as he walks over to grab some water. He settles down onto the ground to squeeze in some extra stretching, one heel tucked into his groin and the other leg extended to his side, not wanting to risk an injury when he’s so close to his first production as a principal dancer. Risa joins him, rummaging around in her bag for one of those ridiculously heavy protein bars she loves.

“So?”

Jongin frowns at her. “So what?”

“What’d you think?”

“Of?”

She rolls her eyes and gestures across the studio to where Sehun’s deep in conversation with Saeji, weight resting on one leg as he warms up the ankle of his other foot. When Jongin glances over, he chokes on his mouthful of water and nearly coughs up a lung. That pair of dance shorts does wonderful things to the dancer’s ass, fabric clinging to toned cheeks and the muscular curves of his upper thighs. It appears that he’s not the only one who thinks so, for more than a few other dancers are also surreptitiously sneaking glances.

“Holy shit,” Risa wheezes, “I thought you were gonna pass out when you found out that he’d watched your solo pieces, but this? This is gold.”

“Okay fine, I think he’s hot as hell, but so what?”

Risa shrugs, leaning forward over her legs to press down on the toes of her pointe shoes. “I think it’s nice. You haven’t had many dates recently; you’re always too busy practicing.”

“I’m not going to date him,” Jongin mutters, switching his legs and making sure to kick Risa in the knee as he does so. She doesn’t even blink an eye. “Nutcracker only runs for a few weeks, and we’ll be busy the entire time before and during.”

“Isn’t there the possibility he might stay?”

Jongin shrugs. “Either way, I’m not pursuing anything. I just think he’s attractive, that’s all.”

Risa opens her mouth to argue, but Saeji claps her hands and calls for the first group of dancers to re-assemble on the floor for center-work. Jongin takes the opportunity to escape from the conversation, making his way to the front of the room, where he tells himself that he will spend the rest of class completely focused on the movements of his own body.

Alas, Sehun somehow ends up right beside him, and Jongin can’t help but study the lines of Sehun’s body as they go through the exercises. The man has amazing balance, Jongin notices, something that really shines during the adagio and turn combinations.

When they split up into genders and smaller groups for grand allegro sequences, Jongin makes sure he doesn’t end up in Sehun’s group. He can skate past the other exercises based on muscle memory, but when it comes to executing grand jetés and tour jetés that are up to Saeji’s standards, he needs to be able to focus. Besides, this way, he gets to take the time to fully appreciate Sehun’s lines and the power in his thighs when he’s finished with his own run-through. It’s a win-win situation, really.

Everyone is rightfully drenched in sweat by the time Saeji dismisses them. Bunching up the hem of his shirt, Jongin tugs the garment up and over his head as he makes his way through the crowd and towards his bag. One big downside of being a dancer is how often you have to do the laundry – he goes through one full load every three to four days.

After tossing his damp shirt into the big Ziploc he uses to store dirty clothes, Jongin takes a few minutes to let the chilled air from the air conditioner wash over his body and cool off the sweat on his skin. Then he pulls on a fresh shirt, retrieves his squished sandwich from the bottom of his bag, and nudges Risa out of the door. They’ve got fifteen minutes before rehearsals begin and Jongin really wants a cold drink.

 

 

 


The first week of rehearsals passes by in a blur. Jongin starts his days with an hour in PT for his back, which is followed by class, then six hours of rehearsals, then finally by an hour and a half of strength training at the gym. When Sunday finally rolls around, he finds himself lying in bed until one in the afternoon.

It’s getting bloody cold outside, the beginnings of winter starting to seep through the windows and leaving Jongin with a chill in his bones. He staggers out of bed, body sore and remnants of sleep still clinging to his eyes that a good wash of his face easily sweeps away.

A quick check of his messages informs him that his afternoon plans with his sisters have been postponed to another day – one has a child emergency and one has fallen ill. So he ambles over to his kitchen, feet snug in fuzzy slippers, and whips himself up a large egg white scramble stuffed with a bunch of fresh vegetables. Ah, and let’s not forget a huge, steaming mug of freshly brewed coffee.

Belly full, he does a quick clean up of the house before changing – it might be his day off, but he still has to rehearse. They have a contemporary production coming up after The Nutcracker and Jongin is in charge of choreographing a piece for it.

Swaddling up in a thick sweater and a scarf, Jongin grabs his bag and sets off for the company. It takes a few extra minutes to get there, what with the wind making his nose go numb and slowing down his steps. The cold, however, vanishes when he runs into someone at the front steps of the building.

“Oh, sorry –”

“Apologies, I –”

A pause, then Jongin clears his throat. “H-hey. I didn’t expect to see you here today.”

Sehun chuckles, reaching around him to open the door. “Yeah, wanted to squeeze in some extra practice.”

“Shouldn’t you be out having some fun? I heard you haven’t been back to Korea in almost ten years.”

The warmth that spills over them when they step inside is wonderful. Jongin sighs happily, rubbing his bare hands together and enjoying the brief tingle that ripples over his skin as his body temperature starts to rise.

“There’s always time for that later,” Sehun says. “But we’re on a schedule for this production, and I do want to do my best.”

“You’re very driven,” Jongin notes, leading the way to a studio he knows is always left empty on Sundays. The ventilation system is a little off and light bounces off the mirrors in awkward angles depending on where you are in the room, but Jongin’s come to enjoy its quirks.

“Well, I would like the chance to stay on with your company for a while,” Sehun admits, slipping out of his coat. They turn a corner and bump shoulders.

At that piece of surprising news, Jongin turns to look at the other dancer. “Here? But your company’s more prolific, isn’t it? Better opportunities?”

“I’ve been thinking about moving back, actually.”

They get to the studio – empty, as predicted – and Jongin slaps a hand against the wall, flipping on the light switches.

“Moving back? Why’s that?”

“Just felt as if it was time, you know?” Sehun strides over to a corner of the room and sets his bag down, making quick work of his clothes as he strips down to those damned dance shorts and a t-shirt. Jongin quickly averts his eyes and claims another corner, busying himself with his dance shoes until the sudden spike in his pulse returns to normal.

He heads towards one side of the room and sets a hand on the barre.

“Would you like to warm up together?”

Sehun beams, striding over with the air of a great masterpiece – it takes a lot of willpower for Jongin not to look at the muscles of Sehun’s thighs ripple with each step he takes as well as what’s between them. Those shorts really don’t leave anything to the imagination.

“Yeah, sure. Could we also run through the Cavalier’s part of the production?”

“Are you sure you can lift me?”

Sehun laughs, “We don’t have to do the lifts, I just want to make sure I have all the partnering down, especially for the first half.”

That means he gets to have Sehun’s hands on him – agreeing is the easiest thing Jongin’s done all week.

Two hours and forty-three minutes later, they’re both lying on the ground with hair clinging to sweaty skin. Jongin doesn’t even care about the sweat, not when he can still feel Sehun’s touch on his bare skin.

“Sorry,” Sehun pants, an arm flung over his stomach. “I never asked if you had your own thing to work on.”

“I do,” Jongin says. He turns around to gaze at Sehun’s profile, watching as a bead of sweat rolls down from his temples and disappears into his hair. “Perhaps you’d like to give me some input?”

They end up working together on Jongin’s contemporary piece – well, Jongin continues with choreographing and Sehun gives him his opinion, sometimes even suggesting a move here and there.

It’s dinnertime when they finally decide to call it a day. Rebundling themselves up takes much longer than de-bundling themselves, but they’re finally out of the studio at a quarter to seven.

“Would you –”

“Are you –”

Awkward laughter bubbles up in both of them, and Christ, Jongin feels like he’s starring in a romantic comedy. He gestures to Sehun and prays to every god imaginable that his face isn’t flaming like a bonfire. “You first.”

“Are you hungry?”

His stomach chooses that exact time to growl and Sehun laughs. “I’ll take that as a yes. Want to grab a bite?”

At least the embarrassment is worth getting what he wants. “Sure; I know a good place just around the corner.”

Dinner is nothing short of perfect – they grab tacos and Jongin learns that Sehun is able to eat an abnormally large amount of jalapeños – Jongin goes home that night with Sehun’s number newly saved in his phone. Before he can second-guess himself, he sends a text to Sehun the moment his door closes behind him.

You home safe?

He catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror that hangs at the end of the short corridor – there’s a healthy flush to his cheeks and his eyes are brimming with life. He certainly didn’t look like that when he headed out to the company this afternoon.

His phone buzzes and yanks his attention right back to it.

Hey! I’m just a few minutes away from getting home. Did you make it back ok?

Yeah, just got back. He pauses, fingers hovering over the keypad. I had a good day today, thanks for the company.

Likewise :) Hope the rest of your night goes just as well. See you tomorrow!

Although a part of him wants to screenshot the conversation and show it to Risa, Jongin also wants to make it through the upcoming week without her relentless teasing. So he decides to keep it to himself, at least for now.

 

 

 


As it turns out, that plan fails spectacularly before Monday’s class even begins.

He’s stuck in the middle of a heated discussion with Risa and Lien (one of the company’s grand soloists) over the potential live-action remake of One Piece when a familiar figure walks by. Glancing up, he’s smacked right in the face with Sehun’s blinding smile, and he can’t help tripping over a few syllables.

“Hi,” he croaks.

“Hey,” Sehun returns, and promptly walks into someone else.

Heat floods their faces – Sehun stutters out an apology and escapes to the other end of the room while Jongin fights the urge to hide behind his hands.

Risa snorts so hard her sinuses hurt. “Holy shit, you’re both so smooth.”

At least Lien isn’t laughing, Jongin thinks. She does, however, reach over to squeeze Jongin’s knee. “Disasters,” she says sympathetically, “but cute ones.”

Ugh, Jongin really needs new friends.

There is a silver lining though – after a whole week of exposure to Oh Sehun, Jongin’s starting to get used to the man’s presence. It makes classes and rehearsals go by a lot easier.

The second class ends, Risa descends on him like his worst nightmare.

“Something happened,” she says. “What happened?”

Jongin fits his hand over her face and gently pushes her away. “Ris, I love you, but that’s none of your business. I’m going to take a piss now – please don’t follow me inside.”

She punches him in the arm.

The spot throbs all the way to the bathroom, but the second Jongin pushes the door open and catches sight of the person standing by the sink, his arm suddenly feels as good as new.

Their eyes meet through the mirror and Sehun gives him a gentle smile.

“Hey, um, this might be a little random, but has anyone ever told you that your lines are exquisite?” He pauses, then pulls a face. “Okay, that’s a stupid question, isn’t it? I’m probably not the first,” Sehun laughs sheepishly, shutting off the tap and flicking water off his fingers.

“You clearly haven’t watched yourself dance.”

The sound of paper towels ripping echoes through the bathroom.

“You’re too sweet,” Sehun says, a hand on the door handle and a soft smile playing along the line of his lips. “See you in a bit?”

He’s gone before Jongin can reply.

 

 

 


The second week of rehearsals is coming to a close.

They’re running through the entire Grand Pas De Deux and right now, Risa holds all of Jongin’s attention – the balance and shift of her weight in his hands, the firm grip of her hand in his, and the texture of her shirt beneath his fingers when he spins her.

It’s a long piece, made even longer by the need to practice with each partner. When the dance master finally calls an end to the day, Jongin’s shirt is literally glued to his body and even his fingers are sore.

“I need three ice baths,” he groans, a sentiment that nearly everyone within earshot echoes.

The company has two ice baths in the building for the dancers, but Jongin doesn’t usually use them – he lives close enough to be able to set up his own ice bath at home. Today, however, he’s making a beeline for them.

He manages to nab one, stripping down to his underwear before stepping in. Keeping his breathing slow and even, Jongin sits back and lets the cold water shock the pains and aches away.

Minutes trickle by like grains of sand through the cracks between fingers, and before Jongin knows it, the timer goes off. He opens his eyes just in time to see a very naked Sehun walk around the set of lockers, towel in hand as he heads towards the showers. The towel just manages to hide the most important bits when he rounds the corner, but Jongin gets a full-on view of that muscular ass and impossibly long legs, and he’s suddenly very grateful to be in a tub of icy water.

Waiting until Sehun’s out of sight before he climbs out of the tub, Jongin sheds the rest of his clothes and grabs a fresh towel. A quick, lukewarm shower to slough off the sweat and he’s out of the stall, the towel wrapped around his waist and water dripping off his frame.

A little preoccupied with running through his mental to-do list for tomorrow, Jongin doesn’t notice Sehun until he gets his bag out of the locker and shuts the door. The other dancer’s dressed only in his jeans, a shirt in one hand as he dries his hair with the other. Jongin doesn’t miss the slow drag of Sehun’s eyes down his body, a sight that sends a bunch of exploding fireworks bouncing around in his skull.

He glances away before Sehun realises that he had caught him looking.

“Gonna take a day off tomorrow?”

“Hm?” Sehun finally pulls a shirt on over his stupidly fit chest and shakes the hair out of his eyes. “Yeah, that’s the plan. I’m gonna spend some time with the family, cook them breakfast – well, try to –, let them take me out like I’m a tourist in my own country, all that fun stuff. Might come by late at night to squeeze some practice in though.”

“You can’t cook?”

Jongin turns around to change and he hears Sehun fiddling with his things behind him.

“Sadly, I’m not the best in the kitchen. I can cook well enough to survive, but I doubt my family wants to eat grilled chicken every day, you know? Can you cook?”

Sticking his head through the neck hole of his shirt, Jongin grins proudly. “I’m bloody good in the kitchen.”

He zips up his bag and tugs a beanie on over his head.

“Really? Well, whoever you end up dating would be a lucky person.”

Hearing that, Jongin really just has to ask: “Would you like to come over for dinner? I’m planning on cooking tonight.”

 

 

 


The elevator doors slide open to reveal Edea, winter booties over her paws and a red leash around her neck. At the sight of her, Jongin immediately goes into embarrassing dog lover mode, crouching down to let her clamber all over his lap. Sehun, apparently a dog lover himself, does exactly the same and Jongin’s crush balloons even more.

“This is Edea,” he tells Sehun, “she’s the cutest corgi you’ll ever lay eyes on.” Turning his attention back to the dog, Jongin bops her on the nose and grins. “Look at your little booties,” he coos, scratching at that sweet spot behind her ear that has her stub of a tail wagging crazily. “All ready for your evening walk, huh? Guess all that fluff on your body will keep you toasty warm.”

The sound of a lock turning has them looking up. Mrs. Lee turns the corner and smiles down at the sight of two grown men crowding around her dog, Edea herself preening under all the attention.

“Well ain’t this sweet! Finally found someone to look after you, huh?”

Jongin’s face heats up so quickly he’s surprised he didn’t pass out.

“We’re not –”

“I don’t think he needs anyone to look after him,” Sehun interjects with a smile. “He’d be the one taking care of others.”

After a couple more minutes of chitchat, they bid Mrs. Lee and Edea goodbye. It’s only when Jongin slides his key into the lock do the nerves hit him – he’s letting one of the hottest men he’s ever met into his apartment. Shit, is it messy inside? Did he remember to do the dishes before he left in the morning? Are his plants half-dead? Did he leave yesterday’s underwear lying on the floor?

It appears as if the gods are on his side because Jongin enters his apartment to see 1) his plants looking beautifully green, 2) his dishes in the drying rack, and 3) no sign of any pairs of underwear on the couch, bed, or floor.

“Make yourself at home, yeah?” Opening the fridge, Jongin pokes his head in and scans the contents. “I don’t have any alcohol, but I do have some iced tea that I brewed. Would you like some?”

“Sure, that sounds great.”

After helping set the table, Sehun takes a seat and they fall into easy conversation as Jongin starts cooking. It’s so nice, the effortless way they pull laughter out of each other and the willingness with which they offer up details of their lives. Sounds from the TV provide a nice backdrop, homey and lighthearted, and despite the cold tiles beneath his feet, Jongin feels warm.

“Dinner is served,” he declares, setting two bowls down in front of Sehun. “Soba with sugar snap peas and carrots, along with a healthy serving of sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and greens dressed with a homemade tahini sauce.”

Sehun blinks up at him. “You made all of this? From scratch?”

Plopping down onto a chair, Jongin grins and picks up a pair of chopsticks. “Yup. I don’t have a lot of free time to spend on hobbies, so I got into cooking. Makes sense, right? A guy’s gotta eat, so I might as well learn how to cook delicious food.”

Sehun takes a large spoonful of the Buddha bowl and groans in satisfaction. “This is really good.”

“Yeah? Sometimes I meal prep; if you want, I could bring an extra serving for you when I do?”

It’s cute as hell, the way Sehun visibly lights up at the offer. Obviously, that means that Jongin has to go get more groceries tomorrow – it’s not on his agenda, but Jongin mentally updates the list and even underlines it (three times).

 

 

 


The first time Jongin brings Sehun lunch, Sehun blushes so hard he loses his balance and topples out of his grand plié. He holds the Tupperware as gently as he would hold a baby chick and that serves to wrap all of Jongin’s heartstrings up in a neat little bow. Right then and there, Jongin makes an early New Year’s resolution to cook for Sehun as often as he can.

Eating lunch together in a corner of the studio eventually becomes a thing, an hour out of their jam-packed days that they get to spend with each other. Not that either of them actually admits that that’s what lunch is really for, but everyone else knows better. Seriously, the entire ballet company has a betting pool going to see when they’ll finally get their shit together and go on an actual date.

Soon, Jongin thinks to himself every day as he tries not to melt at the sheer delight on Sehun’s face with each bite he takes. Soon.

As it turns out, ‘soon’ is on a particularly windy Thursday evening, eleven days before opening night. While most of the company has long since left for home, Jongin finds himself still in the studio along with a handful of other dancers, legs spread out into a full split as he presses them up against the flat of the wall.

His tights are clinging to his skin, the fabric damp with sweat, but as much as Jongin hates the feeling, he has to deal with it for a bit longer while he stretches out. He’d stayed back to fit more practice in and to squeeze in some time for choreographing, an idea that some of the other principals had as well.

Sehun’s off to the other side of the studio working hard with one of his partners, biceps and quadriceps flexing almost obscenely whenever he executes an effortless lift. Chest pressed against the floor as his hamstrings get an excellent stretch, Jongin can’t help but watch as the pair practice.

Like most others, Jongin tends to focus on the ballerina during the adagio of a pas de deux. It’s natural, for one’s eye to be drawn to her elegant movements instead of the danseur’s – indisputably important – understated support, but this time, Jongin’s eyes never leave Sehun’s frame.

Sehun isn’t even doing much apart from being there for her, but even so, he takes Jongin’s breath away. The man is grace and power personified, and maybe Jongin’s biased, but he is in the firm opinion that Oh Sehun is in a completely different league than any other male dancer he’s ever worked with.

“How long are you gonna sit there and stare?”

Rudely interrupted from his mooning, Jongin coughs in mild embarrassment and glances up to see Jaewoo, a fellow principal, leaning against the barre and staring amusedly down at him.

“I wasn’t –” Jongin averts his gaze and mumbles the last word, “staring.”

A snort, then Jaewoo’s crouching down and nudging him in the shoulder. “Please just do something about this. It’s driving us all nuts. Seriously, I’ll even split my winnings with you if you ask him out before opening night.”

Thoroughly red by now, Jongin shoves his friend away and relishes in the heavy thud of his butt against the floor. His blasted friend cackles as he rolls away and Jongin reluctantly eases himself out of his stretch.

“I’m outta here,” he hears as he fiddles with his earphones. “See you guys tomorrow.” The door clicks shut just as Jongin pushes the buds into his ears and cranks the volume up.

When he stops the music forty-five minutes later and takes in the rest of the studio, he realises that everyone else has cleared out except for a certain someone. Sehun’s sitting at the back of the room, legs stretched out and staring right at him. There are shadows playing across the plane of his face but Jongin can make out the sheer intensity in his eyes.

“Hey.” It’s amazing that he’s able to keep his voice even. “Still here?”

“How could I leave when you were dancing like that?”

Jongin tosses his phone and earphones into his open bag. “What?”

“You dance like a dream,” Sehun says, still on the floor. “And I would know because you’ve been in my dreams far too many times for it to be a mere coincidence.”

“Coincidence?” Jongin echoes. The lines of Sehun’s abs are faintly visible through the thin fabric of his sweat-soaked shirt and it’s making his head swim.

Sehun finally rises to his feet, the soles of his ballet shoes quiet against the floor as he strides over to where Jongin’s standing. Instinctively, Jongin takes a step back and the barre behind him presses into his spine, the brief pain ripping breath right out of his lungs – not that he had much left in there to begin with.

“So it has come to my attention that we’ve been, ah, dancing around each other for a while now,” Sehun murmurs, crowding in close. Despite the spike in temperature thanks to their physical proximity, a shiver ripples down Jongin’s spine. “What do you think?”

“I think,” Jongin breathes, “that I’ve been trying to figure out a way to ask you out ever since the first day I laid eyes on you.”

Sehun’s tongue darts out to wet his lips and Jongin’s eyes follow the movement.

“Can I –”

A little noise from the back of Sehun’s throat sounds like acquiescence to Jongin’s ears. Pulse on his tongue, he leans in far enough to capture a pink lip between his teeth, applying just the slightest amount of pressure as he tugs. It can barely be considered kissing, just gentle nips and the brushing of lips, but it’s more than enough to set his nerves ablaze.

When Sehun angles his head to the right and parts his lips a little more, Jongin takes the chance to hop past the line of ‘barely kissing’ and straight over into ‘making out’. Sehun readily accepts the slide of Jongin’s tongue against his own, enjoying the almost lazy movements of their mouths.

“How about that date?” Jongin asks between kisses, curling his fingers into the fabric of Sehun’s shirt.

“Of course I’d say yes, but I’m afraid we simply don’t have the time right now,” Sehun replies, tilting his head up to drop a kiss on the tip of Jongin’s nose. “Opening night is in less than two weeks, and we can’t afford to give up a whole night for a date.”

“Rain check?”

Jongin mouths at the junction of Sehun’s neck, marvelling at the natural scent of the man and the hint of saltiness left over from the sweat that once rolled down the curve.

“Mm,” Sehun hums. “Rain check.”

With that, they pull apart. It’s almost nine, and with a long day of practice ahead of them tomorrow, they really should be heading home by now. Something thrums in the air between them as they gather their things and make their way out of the building, crackling and sparking until it culminates in Jongin pushing Sehun up against the doors once they’re outside.

Light from a nearby street lamp fails to illuminate the entire space by the entrance, and in the depths of the shadows, Jongin kisses him again and again and again. Winter’s chill pales in comparison to the delightful shivers that he feels just from having Sehun's lips against his. 

“Keep doing that and I won’t be able to walk away,” Sehun groans, half-heartedly shoving against Jongin’s chest with a palm pressed over his heart.

“You’re not making a great argument here,” Jongin points out, but the responsible voice in his head has him taking a step away. Sehun gives him a fond smile.

“See you tomorrow,” he says, shouldering his bag and buttoning up his coat. “Have a good night, Jongin.”

It’s already great, Jongin thinks.

They part ways under the glow of the street lamp – Jongin waits until Sehun’s statuesque frame turns a corner and disappears from view before he heads home.

 

 

 


Tech week is a rush, the theatre constantly packed to the brim with people as everyone does their best to ensure everything goes smoothly. The Nutcracker comes together slowly but surely – the tech crew, the stagehands, the orchestra, and the dancers work together to build a ballet worthy to be remembered.

Jongin barely has any time to think about things that aren’t the ballet (i.e. a certain Oh Sehun). He’s either up on stage running through another dress rehearsal or he’s offstage practising, and whatever free time he somehow manages to dig out for himself is spent with the company’s physical therapist.

They’re halfway into the week when Jongin finally gets to spend some time alone with him. The director, wanting to speak with the orchestra alone, had given the dancers a full hour off. Jongin makes a beeline for his dressing room, practically salivating at the thought of taking a nap on the loveseat with soft music playing through his portable speakers.

The second he opens the door, however, taking a nap is no longer on his agenda. A shirtless Sehun is inside, freshly showered and crouched over his bag, back muscles rippling deliciously as he digs into it. Wait, are they sharing a dressing room? Have they been sharing a room all this time?

“Hey,” Sehun says, spotting him through the body-length mirror on the wall.

“Hi,” Jongin replies dumbly. “We share a room?”

Sehun laughs, mildly incredulous. “Yeah, we’ve been sharing a room since tech week started.”

“I… haven’t noticed. Wow. Sorry, it’s just been a really hectic few days and we’ve never been in here together at the same time – I would’ve noticed otherwise.”

He closes the door behind him and sinks into a chair with a groan, hunching down over his knees in order to tug off his ballet shoes. “God, my feet are killing me.” Propping his feet up onto the vanity table, Jongin flexes his toes and pulls them back, relishing in the stretch he feels running along the soles.

“I can massage them for you,” Sehun offers, finally pulling a shirt on.

Jongin pauses. “What?”

“Yeah, I learned a couple of years ago because our therapist was always busy and I have arch problems.” Sehun looks at him expectantly. “So? How about it?”

“Uh, yeah, that’d be great.” Jongin did not expect his one hour of free time to include a foot massage from the man he’s been drooling over for weeks. Needless to say, he’s a little dazed. “Let me just take a quick shower.”

It turns out to be a very quick shower indeed – he’s in and out of the stall in minutes.

When he gets back to his dressing room, he finds Sehun on the loveseat, a foot tucked under him as he scrolls through something on his phone. He is also, Jongin notes, wearing glasses.

He’s a mess by the time he bags up his used clothes and settles back into the seat he had recently vacated.

“You wear glasses?”

“Hmm?” Sehun gazes at him over the rim of the glasses and Jongin immediately feels heat rise up the sides of his neck. “Oh yeah, I don’t usually need them, but I like to keep the font size on my phone pretty small.”

He sets his phone aside and pats his thigh. “Come on then, let’s give those talented feet some relief.”

Still unable to wrap his mind around the fact that this is happening, Jongin sets a foot down onto Sehun’s lap and holds his breath.

The first touch of Sehun’s fingers against the sole of his foot has him sighing in pleasure. Years and years of dancing has really taken its toll on his feet, and with such a packed schedule year-round, Jongin can’t really give them the amount of rest and care that they deserve.

Sehun works quietly for a while, turning Jongin into a melty puddle in his plastic chair with every knead and rub.

Twenty-three minutes before their hour is up, Sehun’s hands drop away from Jongin’s feet. “How do they feel now?”

“Like they’re brand new,” Jongin admits, wriggling his toes and laughing when Sehun pinches one. “It’s amazing.”

“So,” Sehun says, leaning back and stretching out his arms. There’s a glint in his eye when he continues with, “Ready to hear what I want as payment?”

Jongin raises an eyebrow.

 

 

 


Somewhere in the back of his mind, Jongin hopes that the lock on the flimsy door to the dressing room will hold up – sometimes, it sticks and the lock doesn’t turn all the way. He hopes that it’ll hold up because he’s currently got a lapful of Sehun, the man mouthing at his pulse point as he slides deft hands up beneath his shirt. The glasses are safe on the table, away from any potentially flailing limbs.

“We don’t have a lot of time left,” Sehun says, “but I think it’s enough.”

Encircling Sehun’s waist with his hands, Jongin slips his thumbs past the band of Sehun’s sweats and brushes a chaste kiss along the shell of his ear. “For?”

Sehun doesn’t reply, choosing to slowly rid Jongin of his shirt instead. Jongin supposes that there’s really no need for an answer, not when clothes are steadily falling off their bodies and onto the floor, not when Sehun’s pushing him down onto his back with desire in his eyes, not when Sehun slots their mouths together and runs a hot palm up the length of his erection.

“Seventeen minutes,” he murmurs into the space between their lips, thighs firm and strong by Jongin’s hips.

“More than enough when it’s you,” Jongin says bluntly, reaching down to close a hand around their aligned cocks.

There are gentle fingers in his hair and he can feel Sehun’s heartbeat strong and steady over his chest. Each pull on their cocks has Sehun pushing into his grip and licking into his mouth, moans travelling straight from one throat to the other.

It’s slick and hot, and it turns out that Jongin is naturally skilled at playing the instrument that is Oh Sehun. At some point, he forgoes his own pleasure in favour of focusing on Sehun’s, working along the man’s length with steady strokes and extra pressure around the leaking head. He pushes a thumb over the slit, smearing precome all around the already glistening skin.

With his free hand, Jongin slips a finger between Sehun’s asscheeks, brushing past his hole before rubbing against his perineum. A few more pumps of his hand has Sehun coming with a muffled groan, spilling onto Jongin’s stomach and over his fingers.

Jongin kisses him on the forehead, a smattering of little pecks, until Sehun recovers enough to slither down the length of his body. Before Jongin can register what’s about to happen, Sehun is kneeling on the floor between Jongin’s legs, cheek nuzzling against the soft skin on the inside of his thigh. With a brief glance up at Jongin’s face, Sehun grasps the base of Jongin’s aching cock and wraps his lips around the head with no hesitation whatsoever.

“Fuck –” The syllable rattles to a stop somewhere in the back of Jongin’s throat, too startled to make it past the sudden dryness of his tongue. He sets a hand down on Sehun’s hair and drinks in the sight of stretched lips, fluttering eyelids, and hollowed cheeks.

He can feel the head of his dick slowly nudging down Sehun’s throat. “God, that’s good.”

Sehun hums in response, blown pupils flicking up to meet his gaze.

“You like this, huh?” His voice is rough, thighs tense from how much he’s holding back. “You like sucking cock.”

Acting on a hunch, he tightens his grip on Sehun’s hair and holds him in place. Sehun lets him, shifting his weight to accommodate what he suspects will happen next. Pulling back until Sehun’s all but licking at the flare of his cockhead, Jongin slowly feeds the rest of it back into Sehun’s mouth, gradually picking up speed until he’s steadily fucking in and out of that wet heat.

Blunt nails dig into the meat of his thighs as he makes full use of Sehun’s mouth and throat, chasing after the pleasure that Sehun so willingly gives. He comes with a shudder, the fast, steady pulsing of his cock mirroring that of his heart. Sehun pulls away slowly, lips red and spit running down his chin.

“Just in time,” he says, the rasp of his voice rolling through his abused throat.

They clean up quickly, changing back into their recently discarded clothes and ballet shoes before making their way back to the stage. There will be many things to talk about later, but for now, they have a ballet to perfect.

As he makes his way over to his position, Jongin can still feel the way Sehun’s nails dug into his skin, the crescent moons hidden by his tights but still very much there. He stretches out, heart skipping a beat when his gaze lands on Sehun just a few feet away doing the same thing. His lips are still obscenely red.

 

 

 

 

Opening night goes amazingly. Instead of blood coursing through his veins, Jongin lives off of pure adrenaline for the entire two hours and twenty minutes that the show runs for. A huge part of the buzz is the dancing, of course, but he also attributes some of it to the fifteen minutes he spends with Sehun in their dressing room during the intermission, mouths pressed together and messing up their stage makeup.

They return to the stage with racing hearts and Jongin fails to fight down the smile on his face for at least ten minutes.

Curtain call is surreal. He’s had plenty of them, sure, but this is his first one as principal and he wants to savour the moment. His parents are somewhere in the theatre – his mother’s probably going to frame the page of the program where his name is printed right below his picture.

He squeezes Risa’s hand, and when she squeezes back, Jongin realises that this is the happiest he’s ever felt in a long, long time. Up on stage as a principal dancer with lights pouring down all around him, getting to dance with his best friend and a man he’s pretty sure he’s falling in love with. What could be better than this?

The Nutcracker runs for a period of three weeks for a total of eighteen shows, going through Christmas and New Year’s. As show after show passes by, the adrenaline Jongin lives for doesn’t fade – it just switches sources. Each finished show means that Sehun’s time with the company is coming to a close, and Jongin hasn’t heard any news regarding a possible extension. So if he wants that date, he can’t put it off any longer.

On the Saturday before Christmas, Jongin strides into the studio an hour before the start of the evening show and walks right up to the object of his affection. The dancer’s busy stretching, one leg up on the barre with a pair of earbuds snug in his ears that Jongin unceremoniously pulls out.

“What – oh, hey –”

“Spend Christmas with me,” Jongin blurts, highly aware of over a dozen pairs of eyes on them.

Someone chokes on a mouthful of water.

To his credit, Sehun doesn’t seem to lose any semblance of his composure. In fact, he seems delighted, if the grin that’s spreading across his face is any indication.

“Does this mean that we are finally going to go on a date?”

Finally,” someone cries with a voice that sounds suspiciously like Lien’s – oh great, Risa’s going to hear about this in the next ten seconds.

Jongin coughs, ears burning. “Um, yeah, if you’d like?”

The grin softens into a smile that Jongin wants to keep for himself. “Of course. I’ll have to spend the day with my family, but I can meet up with you in the evening?”

“Okay.”

“Okay,” Sehun echoes, eyes crinkling.

The studio bursts into applause and Jongin is positive that someone has recorded the entire thing, but embarrassment doesn’t hold a candle to the joy currently bubbling up in his chest.

 

 

 


They have one show on Christmas Eve.

After the curtain call, the company’s artistic director gathers all the dancers into a studio for a little speech filled with Christmas cheer. They’re given two days off along with a little Christmas stocking embroidered with their names and filled with little chocolates and trinkets. The stockings are a tradition now, started seven years ago by one of the dance masters on a whim, and while they are more than a little cheesy, everyone not-so-secretly loves them. Jongin himself has kept every single stocking he’s received.

“This is cute,” Sehun comments, peering into the stocking curiously.

“You know what else would be cute?” Risa asks, cutting into the conversation. Jongin looks at her suspiciously.

She points upward and Jongin follows the line of her finger to see a sprig of mistletoe messily taped to the ceiling. As if on cue, everyone around them takes a few steps back, leaving Jongin and Sehun standing in the middle of a faux moat with mistletoe above their heads.

“Who –” Jongin starts, then promptly shuts himself up. Risa grins, phone already at the ready, and Jongin can’t help but pinch the bridge of his nose and sigh. Remind him why they’re best friends again?

“Well,” Sehun says, sounding horribly chipper, “I didn’t know this tradition was prevalent in Korea.”

When he opens his eyes, Jongin finds Sehun standing right in front of him, eyes twinkling and lips quirked.

“I haven’t kissed anyone under the mistletoe since I graduated high school, but I wouldn’t mind breaking that streak if it was with you.”

“Oh my god,” Risa hisses, “kiss him already!

Figuring he's got nothing to lose, Jongin does as he's told, fitting his hands around the curve of Sehun’s jaw and pulling him close. The tips of their noses brush for a heartbeat before they angle their heads and press their lips together, parting them just enough for a flick of the tongue. He tries not to think about the fact that the last time they kissed, he had his cock snugly down Sehun’s throat not too soon after.

Risa whoops and takes about a hundred pictures.

Sehun turns to her and says, “Send me those, would you?”

 

 

 


There’s a medium-sized Christmas tree in the corner of his apartment, glittering baubles and twinkling lights emitting a pleasant holiday cheer. He’d spent the afternoon at his parents’, spoiling his niece and nephew with a bunch of gifts and large mugs of decadent hot chocolate. His parents aren’t too big on celebrating this particular holiday, but everyone in the family agrees that the kids deserve a day where they can do nothing but eat unhealthy food and open presents. Besides, it’s nice to have the whole family together for a day.

The second he gets home, Jongin starts whipping up what he hopes will be the best Christmas dinner he has ever made in his life. He'd decided to go with a Western menu this year, fully aware that Sehun had spent many years in North America and has probably gotten used to their cuisine. Over the course of the past few days, he’d gone over the menu obsessively before finally narrowing it down to the following: feta and spinach tartlets for a starter, fully loaded sweet potatoes and roasted vegetables for sides, and porchetta stuffed with wild mushrooms and celeriac mash for the main. Most of the prep was already done the night before, so it doesn’t take long before Jongin’s really getting into the groove of things. If he has time, perhaps he’ll whip up a fresh salad and some personal apple pies as well!

By the time his doorbell rings, most of the dishes are ready to go. The pies are in the oven and he’s finishing up with the gravy, and the whole apartment smells heavenly.

He opens the door to reveal Sehun leaning against the doorframe, cheeks tinged red with the cold and a fluffy scarf hiding the beautiful curve of his lips.

“Hi,” he says, voice muffled against the wool. “Brought some wine.”

“I was hoping you would,” Jongin says, accepting the bottle and stepping aside to let him in. “I was halfway through cooking when I realised I didn’t have any.”

Sehun toes off his boots, unravels his scarf, and inhales deeply. “God, everything smells amazing. I think my stomach just rumbled.”

The second he hangs up his coat, Sehun crowds Jongin up against the wall and steals a kiss. “Mm, dessert always tastes better before a meal.” A couple of seconds tick by before Sehun’s laughing bashfully at his own joke and running a hand through his artfully mussed hair. “Merry Christmas, Jongin.”

“Merry Christmas,” Jongin replies. He drops a kiss on a cold cheek and a shiver zips down his spine at the chill on his lips. “Take a seat, dinner will be ready soon.”

 

 

 


Sehun practically licks his plates clean.

“You know, when you retire from dance, you should definitely start your own restaurant.”

He looks so satisfied with dinner that Jongin can’t help the surge of pride he feels.

“Yeah? Thanks, I was hoping dinner would turn out well.”

Sehun laughs, “Jongin, it’s so good that if my stomach wasn’t at the point of bursting, I would jump your bones right about now. But as it stands, I can barely move, so this will just have to be my token of thanks.”

He slides an envelope across the table, skillfully manoeuvring its path around the empty dishes.

“What’s this?”

“A Christmas present of sorts, I hope.”

“Sehun, I’m sorry, but I didn’t have the time to –”

Sehun waves his apology aside. “I know, don’t worry. Besides, this isn’t exactly something I could buy.”

Curious, Jongin flips the envelope open and pulls out a neatly folded sheet of paper. It’s crisp in his hands, the paper cool to the touch as he unfolds it and reads the words printed across its surface.

He’s a few sentences in when the words start to actually sink in.

“Wait,” he says slowly. “Is this – Are you –?”

“I’m staying,” Sehun finishes for him. “I’m going to finish up my contract with NBC as a guest dancer here, after which I’ll be on KNB’s roster. I may have to fly back to Canada for a show or two, but yeah, I’ll be here for the foreseeable future.”

His body moves before his mind does, bringing him to his feet and over to Sehun in record time. There’s a dull thud when his knees knock against the edge of the table but he pays them no mind as he leans down for a kiss, Sehun reaching up and meeting him halfway.

“Your reaction is a perfectly good present,” Sehun murmurs, toes curling happily when he gets another kiss in response to that statement.

“You’ve no idea how happy I am right now.”

“I think I do.”

It’s by sheer chance that Jongin’s eyes dart over to the window at that moment.

“Hey, it’s snowing.”

Unwilling to give up the chance to celebrate a white Christmas together, they venture out into the cold. Sehun’s fingers fit perfectly between his own, Jongin thinks. Their joined hands are tucked snugly into a pocket of Jongin’s coat, body heat managing to keep them warm as they stroll towards a nearby park.

It’s not a Christmas that you would see in a movie. No, there are cars rushing by, people are pushing and shoving, and the constant foot traffic is turning fresh snow into sludge, but Jongin thinks it’s already shaping up to be one of his favourite Christmases ever.

They manage to snag a bench – probably because no one else wants to sit on an iron wrought bench while it’s freezing outside –, huddling close together partly for warmth and partly due to overwhelming affection for each other.

With his free, gloved hand, Sehun pulls out his phone and brings up the camera app. He’s able to snap a few quick pictures of the two of them before Jongin can even react, humming contentedly to himself as he flicks through them, saving the ones he likes and discarding the ones he doesn’t.

“Like them?” He asks, turning the screen around to show Jongin.

“I like you,” Jongin says easily.

“Yeah,” Sehun smiles dopily. “You do, huh?”

They stay seated on that bench with snow drifting down around them until Jongin remembers that they’ve got pies waiting for them back home.

 

 

 


A Christmas movie is playing on the television, but they’re too caught up in each other to pay the film any attention. Lazy kisses, gentle caresses, cheeky tickling… it’s perfect. They’re cuddled up on the couch, under a fluffy blanket, and everything is perfect.

“Do you want to stay the night?”

Sehun pretends to give it some thought. “Would we be sharing a bed?”

“If you’d like.”

“In that case, I’ll take you up on your offer.”

They stay tangled up until the movie ends, and although their position isn’t the most comfortable one – they’re too tall to be cuddling on a two-seater couch –, Jongin is prepared to suffer through aches and cramps if that means he gets to spend every night with Sehun like this in the future.

He changes the sheets while Sehun takes a shower and he spends an embarrassingly long time dithering over whether to take out his bottle of lube and some condoms. It’s been a while since he’s used them, what with his insanely busy schedule and lack of romantic partners before the arrival of Sehun, and they’ve been tossed into the back of his dresser. In the end, he decides to move them into the drawer of his bedside table, still out of sight but within easy reach.

Sehun comes walking into the room with nothing but a towel around his waist, droplets of water skidding down the ridges of his abs and disappearing into the cotton.

“Got some clothes I can borrow?”

Okay, it’s not as if Jongin doesn’t already know how attractive the guy is, but this is something else. The lighting overhead serves to highlight the cut of his muscles and the faint glimmer of water over his skin, and Sehun somehow manages to make a wet mop of hair look good. Not to mention the fact that he’s practically naked in Jongin’s room.

“Yeah,” he croaks. “Let me find some.”

He’s digging through a drawer when Sehun sets a hand on his arm.

“On second thought, forget about the clothes.”

“What?”

Sehun leans in and nips at his earlobe, breath fanning warm and minty over his cheek. What a fucking tease. “Go shower, Jongin. I’m just gonna make myself comfortable in bed while I wait, yeah?”

 

 

 


The covers are draped artfully across Sehun’s torso, but there’s no mistaking what’s going on beneath them. Although his hand is obscured by the sheets, Jongin can make out the telltale movements of Sehun’s arm – the mental image has his mouth watering and his stomach churning.

“Come here,” Jongin hears, and he kicks the door shut behind him before walking over to the bed. Sehun presses a palm against his navel, fingertips feathering across his skin then dropping down to the knot of his towel. It comes apart under deft fingers, the cloth falling to his feet and leaving him very much exposed to the heated gaze of the man currently in his bed.

He gazes down at Sehun, drinks in the sight of bitten lips and dilated pupils.

“Closer.”

Sehun’s hand curls around the thickest part of his thigh and Jongin lets it guide him forward, cock filling out with every small step he takes until his knees hit the mattress and the head of his cock disappears into Sehun’s eager mouth.

It’s sweet, sweet pleasure, the way a clever tongue swirls around the flare and dips into the slit. Sehun shifts for a better angle and the sheets slide down his frame, exposing the slim curve of his hips and the erection that lies proudly against his stomach. Unable to resist, Jongin reaches down to trail a line from the root of Sehun’s cock up to the head – it twitches at his touch and a small bead of precome blooms from the tip. Jongin’s finger migrates to his navel, running up his torso before ending up circling a perked nipple.

When he flicks it, Sehun lets out a moan that Jongin feels, and he’s stunned to feel that he might come very soon if he doesn’t slow things down.

Gently, he eases Sehun’s mouth off his dick.

“My turn for some indulgence,” he says, throwing the covers over to the other side of the bed and settling down between Sehun’s thighs. One hand stays up on his chest, thumb and forefinger busy rolling a nipple between them as he mouths at the dip of Sehun’s pelvis.

He can tell that Sehun’s trying his best to stay still, to not squirm, to not buck up into the warmth and wetness of Jongin’s mouth as it inches down towards his taint.

“Is this okay?”

“Shit, yes,” Sehun grits out, fingers fisting in the sheets.

At that, Jongin slips his hands under Sehun’s knees and pushes them back towards Sehun’s chest. A pause, then he kisses an ankle, and Sehun literally throws an arm across his face to stop himself from whimpering.

“Please –” Sehun’s voice cracks when Jongin lays the flat of his tongue across his hole, dragging a wet line from it over his balls and up to the drooling head of his cock. Jongin bites gently at the curve of a cheek and closes his lips around the muscle, applying wonderous suction before laving sloppily around the rim.

Thumbs pry Sehun further apart, allowing for deeper access and a ridiculous amount of pleasure flooding his veins. A few more sweeps and a pointed wiggle of his tongue later, Sehun’s loose enough for a finger, something that Jongin gladly takes advantage of. He pushes his index in, slow and steady, licking at the tight skin around where they’re joined.

There’s a slick mess on Sehun’s stomach by now, cock flushed dark and desperate for release. He doesn’t touch himself, however, keeping his hands bunched around the sheets as he subtly tries to grind down on the digit inside him.

“I don’t think I’m going to last very long,” he says thickly, vision swimming when Jongin crooks his finger and causes his world to rattle.

“That’s good news for me,” Jongin murmurs, sucking a nice bruise into the flesh of Sehun’s inner thigh, “because I don’t think I would last either.”

It’s a challenge, keeping his finger inside Sehun’s velvet heat as he stretches out to grab the lube and condoms. But he manages, and it isn’t long before he slides another finger in, spreading them slightly to flick his tongue into the space between them. That nearly sends Sehun tumbling over the edge – it takes all of his willpower to hold himself back from orgasming right then and there.

“Inside,” he gasps, heels digging into the mattress. “Now, Jongin, please.”

“But –”

“Don’t care. I want to feel it.”

It’s hard to say no to that, especially since Jongin’s this close to coming untouched. His heart’s pulsing on his tongue and behind his eyes as he rolls on the condom, and he quite literally stops breathing when he pushes in.

“You’re so fucking tight, fuck –” Mind foggy with pleasure, he loses his balance for a second and pitches forward, elbows landing on either side of Sehun’s head and catching his fall. Instantly, Sehun reaches up and yanks him down for a desperate kiss, one that Jongin willingly gives until they’re forced to part for air.

It’s fast, hard, and completely out of rhythm, something that Jongin would find highly ironic if he wasn’t struggling to hold on to his sanity.

Sehun comes with a moan of Jongin’s name and a full-body shudder, nails digging into the flesh of Jongin’s back as he spills between their bodies.

“You’re perfect,” Jongin manages to choke out before he follows suit, emptying himself into the condom. This time, his arms fail to hold him up and he flops down onto Sehun’s body, tucking his face into Sehun’s neck. He can feel the fast thudthudthud of Sehun’s heart against his cheek.

“Let’s just,” Sehun breathes, winding his arms around Jongin’s middle, “stay like this for a while.”

 

 

 


They spend the entirety of the next day rolling about in bed, only stumbling out from under the covers to use the bathroom and for quick meals. The hours are filled with laughter, easy conversation, and kisses that are planted from head to toe. That night, when Sehun slides a cold foot between Jongin’s calves and snuffles in his sleep, Jongin can’t help but break out into a silly grin. He brushes hair out of Sehun’s face, his touch gentle and soft, and he wonders if he’ll still get to do this a year from now. He really hopes so.

The second they step foot into the studio on the 27th, they’re accosted by their fellow dancers. There are party poppers, cheers, and a lot of money being passed between hands – Jongin still can’t believe that people bet on them.

“So,” Risa says after the hubbub dies down and everyone refocuses on stretching for their morning class. “Are you guys official yet?”

Sehun had split off from him just a few seconds ago with the intention of tracking down his partner for the day, leaving Jongin sitting against a mirrored wall and trying to find his left shoe.

“We haven’t talked about that,” Jongin says, slightly distracted as he digs through his bag. When he finally finds his shoe, he pulls it out with a triumphant shout.

“Why not?”

“Dunno,” Jongin admits. “I’ve just been enjoying spending my time with him; when we’re ready to be official, we’ll be official.”

Risa settles down next to him and rests her head on his shoulder, watching as Jongin tries to slip on his ballet shoes without jostling her off.

“I’m happy you’re happy,” she says quietly, eyes sliding from Jongin’s feet over to where Sehun is standing across the room. Sehun laughs at something another dancer says and Risa can’t help but think about how good he looks with her best friend. “You deserve each other.”

“Don’t be sappy,” Jongin grouses, but he turns and kisses the crown of her head in wordless thanks.

“Hey, if you guys got married, your first dance would be amazing. I expect an actual performance, Kim. Two, maybe even three acts. Wait, can I be a part of the production?”

Jongin gives her his word. As they share a laugh, Sehun turns around and they lock eyes. He smiles, and Jongin smiles right back.

 

 

 


The weather is absolutely shitty on New Year’s Eve and the press of the crowd is unforgiving around them, but Jongin doesn’t care at all. Sehun’s gloved hands are cupping his jaw, the leather sticking to his skin, and all he can see is his own reflection in the depths of Sehun’s eyes.

Ten! Nine! Eight!

“Happy New Year,” Sehun says, just loud enough to be heard over the din of the countdown. He leans in a little more, the tips of their numb noses touching.

Seven! Six! Five!

“Be my boyfriend,” is what Jongin says in response, pulling off a glove just so he can feel the warmth of Sehun’s skin against his fingertips when he touches them to the curve of his neck.

Four! Three! Two!

“Is our anniversary really going to be on the 1st of January?” Sehun laughs, tugging affectionately on Jongin’s beanie.

One!

The kiss is simple and sweet, but it gets Jongin’s heart doing that stupid flippy thing it’s been doing for the past couple of months.

“Okay,” Sehun says. “I’ll be your boyfriend.”

“Happy New Year,” Jongin grins. For some reason, he doesn’t really feel the cold anymore.