Actions

Work Header

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Work Text:

---

KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER

---

It's never been a secret that for many years in SHINee's early history, Minho and Kibum absolutely hated each other. Even if they tried to cover it up, those around them knew, because they had eyes and ears. The venom used to be there even when they had the most minimal contact. Over time it became more tiring than it was worth to continue their feud and at the same time pretend it wasn't true, so several years ago they ran out of steam and just gave up hating each other. It simply took too much effort, and then more effort to hide it too. They might still hate each other, but it is too much work to do it actively. So now they are friends, and they've been friends for the same amount of time as when they had been only pretending. Enough joy and shared moments over the years had driven the animosity between them underground, and it wasn't likely to ever resurface. Until... Jonghyun happened. And his death shattered everything they had taken for granted. In life. As a group. As idols. About friendship.

Since in an instant the world had flipped upside down, why shouldn't Kibum hold onto Minho for dear life? It was him or the toilet bowl, and he'd had enough porcelain under his cheek before Minho picked him up off the floor. So now seemed like a perfectly fine time to cry into Minho's arms.

"Why him...?" Kibum asks for the millionth time, his voice ragged and pitchy from tears, his words obscured by Minho's chest.

They'd cried in front of each other plenty of times, but never this heartwrenching, crippling, absolutely devastating sadness. Having Kibum in his arms, bawling into his t-shirt and feeling like if he let him go, they might both wither and vanish into dust—this is new. Maybe they can be more open and honest around each other from now on. In this moment it feels that way.

Minho is trying to be strong. His mind had jumped straight into triage mode after he'd heard the news only hours ago, and by now has thought of the ramifications long enough to get a good idea of how this would all play out. There will be a funeral, a public relations and rescheduling nightmare, a public outcry of support, and then a comeback to capitalize on Jonghyun's death. He knows that Taemin and Jinki are in similar states to Kibum right now—immobilized by grief—but are too far away to gather together until tomorrow. Until then, he's come to Kibum's assistance, making Kibum's apartment his first destination. The boy is like a delicate flower encased in a fiery shell, so even if he acts bitchy, the truth is—and Minho knows by now that it is endearing—he is quite fragile on the inside. Hence all the crying.

"Who's going to help me with my vocal training now...?" Kibum whines and sniffles. His tears have soaked a wet patch on Minho's t-shirt and maybe he's calmed down enough to find it uncomfortable, because he finally lifts his head.

"Thinking of yourself already?" Minho jokes to try and lift his mood.

Kibum swats at his bicep and resettles himself to lay down with his head in Minho's lap and just stare upwards at the ceiling. "No, I'm saying what are we going to do without him?" He takes a few deep breaths, and the sputtering in his chest calms further.

Minho lays a soothing hand on his belly. "I don't know, but we'll figure it out." Then keeps having to clench his own eyes to keep tears at bay. He had a hard enough time stopping, and now that Kibum has just stopped crying also, it's not a good time to start up again. He's trying to be strong. He needs to be strong. There are so many who are going to need a pillar and Minho plans on being that person. He sighs instead, and tries to divert the conversation slightly. "Remember when he tried to reenact the ramen snack commercial and fell flat on his bum?" Minho smiles gently while looking down at Kibum. "Aren't you glad we have that on film?"

"He looked so cute, even then..."

A night crying on the bathroom floor has turned into an early morning of reminiscing about their early days. It's turned into a good time to admit things they'd previously left unsaid.

"I was nervous around you at first," Minho admits, partially out of the blue, partially out of a sudden need to express feelings. Partially out of a need to change the subject, to preempt another wave of fresh tears. "I thought, there's going to be a time when he forgets to be professional and steps a toe out of line..." They're talking about how one of Minho's initial complaints towards Kibum had been about his sexuality. They'd been young but Kibum had been very honest about it to the members, and Minho had told him something along the lines of, "If I ever catch you eyeing me up, I'm going to murder you." Kibum remembers the malice he had said it with.

"Because all gays must be attracted to you, right Minho?"

"What? I was young. What did I know? Except, you've been the most professional person I know. And even then, it pissed me off when you'd yell about schedules that ran even a minute past time. You still do that shit and it drives me insane." Yes, more things Minho hates about Kibum, but now they can talk about it as if it's another lifetime.

"So you think professionalism is the only thing keeping me off your dick?" Kibum laughs.

"—Not what I said, at all!" Minho's eyes go wide in exasperation. He smacks Kibum's chest half-heartedly and Kibum actually makes to get up, but Minho shoves him back down. "Don't say stupid things." He has to fend off a few more flying arms in revenge for his words before Kibum settles down again.

Of course, they can't help but fight. They've been doing it as long as they've known each other.

"Yeah, you just tell me when you feel too many gay vibes then, yeah? So I can leave," Kibum says haughtily, but the words are laced with sarcasm and Minho flicks him on the forehead for it.

"I'm perfectly comfortable with you. It's been over a decade now." Minho sighs and lets his head fall backwards onto the toilet lid. Staring at the ceiling of Kibum's bathroom tonight has made a thousand and one feelings flood through him. "In fact, I admire you for a lot of things." Maybe he feels bad for how he treated him in the past, so he expounds. Maybe such an overwhelming loss makes him want to say things out loud before it's too late. Even if they're small things. Things that don't need to be said. "It's admirable how low-profile you've kept your relationships. Much more than all the rest of us. I wonder how hard that must be..." His voice drifts off. Maybe he's putting his foot in his mouth by saying stupid things.

Kibum is watching him intently, wishing he could see his face. He even reaches a hand upwards, wanting to clutch onto the front of his shirt again, but he doesn't; just squeezes his hands between his thighs and bites his lip. Kibum is soft to compliments and this is the first time Minho has said something so touching to him.

He has to ruin this. "It's not hard when my boyfriends aren't dicks. Maybe your girlfriends need to learn a few things."

"My girlfriends are none of your business."

"They're as perfect as you are, aren't they?" Kibum laughs.

Of course Minho whips a look down at him, angry scowl on his face, before he softens again. For the first time ever he thinks he'd seen a glint of something in Kibum's eyes. It's gone so quickly Minho is sure he'd imagined it, but he redoubles his rebuke anyway. It's his primary defensive strategy upon unfamiliar territory and puts the fight back on his terms. "I can't help it if I'm attractive." He means it in the way he always means it. He knows he is, he says so, and sometimes he even believes it. It's also a great device to move this conversation away from his lackluster love-life. "I'm like a magnet. They love me. Flaming Charisma Minho," Minho says with a wink.

It doesn't impress Kibum. At least not on the surface. "You're so damn full of yourself. Not everyone is attracted to you."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. I'm not. Remember? I exist." Long ago Kibum had put Minho on his off-limits list and that's where he'd stayed. Except tonight, now, as he's unexplainably breaking his own no-flirting rule. If anyone would even call this flirting. Kibum would call it a mistake, a slip-up. He's naturally a flirt and he's so emotionally tired that he's forgotten not to act that way around Minho. Thankfully Minho doesn't notice.

"What do you mean you're not attracted to me?!" Minho practically yells. "You've had a decade of first-hand knowledge of how attractive I am! I was short-listed for our group because of my damn face! Visual! VI. SU. AL! Before I could rap or dance at all." Kibum bites his lip rather uncharacteristically. "Not to mention that you've seen more of me then the others thanks to our acting."

"Just 'cause I've been clustered together with you for years doesn't mean I like you. I might be sick of you actually!" he protests. Kibum rolls off his lap then and Minho catches him by the forearm when he gets up, because no one ever walks away in the middle of a debate with Minho. He's the most competitive person on the damn planet and everyone knows it. Which is another reason Kibum hates his guts. Because he has his own pride and he won't step on it for Minho.

"No one is sick of me, Kibum. Don't lie." The nerve Minho has in complimenting himself so unashamedly has always boggled Kibum's mind.

Kibum snarls at him and snatches his arm out of his grip. "Does it even matter? You just said earlier that I drive you insane." He gets up on his feet but Minho follows him into the living room.

"Heaven forbid you do one extra thing that isn't in the script!" he yells.

And Kibum yells back. "Why should I? I'm not getting paid for it!"

"This is why I hate your guts."

"Oh my god. How many times have we gone over this?" Kibum rants, and then switches subjects. He's tired of fighting but still wants to land a few last punches. "Oh, and you're not that good looking."

"Yes, I am. Everyone knows it. Maybe you're blind." Minho laughs and plonks down on Kibum's couch while the other stands with a hand on his cocked hip, right in front of him. The pose is super gay.

"I'm not blind," Kibum replies.

Minho looks back at him, at how his hand rests on his hip and the upturn of his defiant eyebrow, and again it feels like something, just for a millisecond, is different. Even if he's seen this bitchy side of Kibum a million times already. Even if it's one of the most annoying things he does. Maybe it's Minho's lack of words that make the difference. For once.

When it takes Minho too long to retort, Kibum gives up his stance, huffs, and declares, "Never mind. I'm going to bed."

"Wait," Minho tugs him back right as he turns away. He's looking at the floor, at Kibum's stupid socks peeking out from under his jeans. And his timid voice is a surprise for both of them. "You don't hate me, do you?"

Kibum doesn't look back, just tugs his arm away, because for chrissake they've touched too much tonight. "I don't hate you," he says with a tone that belies that maybe he actually does, and leaves.

Minho has no idea what to think. His mind is a whirlwind, between Kibum being a bitch and Jonghyun being fucking dead, and he's promised himself to be strong and not cry anymore. So he just doesn't think, because that's the only option he deems safe.

Minho sleeps on Kibum's couch. Kibum wakes him in the afternoon and hands him a beer. What better why to wake up to a nightmare than to drink away reality? Just because it's another day doesn't make their friend less dead. Yes, drinking was in order. Minho runs a weary hand through his sleep-tousled hair, pops the cap off the bottle and clinks Kibum's to cheers. Maybe he can drink himself back to sleep. He wishes, but deep down knows he won't even do that. He's too responsible and this isn't the right time. Instead, his eyes follow Kibum around to make sure he's ok, as he sips slowly from his bottle.

"They set the date for the funeral already," Kibum tells him as he looks at his cellphone in hand. "I hate this," he snarls and launches his phone into the couch by Minho's side. At least it wasn't a wall where it would have shattered.

Minho gets up and takes him by the hand to lead him to sit down. They sit together in silence for a while, but their hands are still together. Minho thinks it's more comfortable to drink and hold hands in silence because they've said everything that needs to be said and from now on there would only be cursing.

"I don't hate you," Kibum says out of the blue, after long enough that the air between them has become awkward.

"I don't hate you either," Minho confirms. He empties the last drops of his beer and puts it down on the side table. Kibum reaches over him and puts a coaster under the bottle. This action makes Minho laugh. The idiot had actually reached all the way across the couch, stretched over Minho himself to place a damn coaster under an empty beer bottle. This is the kind of tedious thing Minho absolutely hates, but this time he's laughing. "I used to hate you, but I can't hate you anymore."

"Yeah? You like me now?" Kibum is leaning into his space, wiggling his eyebrows in fake seduction and Minho pushes him away. "You're no fun."

In immediate retrospect, now that he's done something stupid again, Kibum realizes he needs to keep his flirting in check. He doesn't actually want to be flirting with Minho, and if he has any more slip-ups the other might notice. He sits back and resigns himself to just drinking his beer. When he empties the first, he goes and returns with two more bottles, one of which he hands to Minho, clinks with him, and resettles at his side.

They're drinking on empty stomachs, so Minho doesn't finish his second beer. He's thinking of what he should say at a time like this. His feelings from the night before are still raw; he still feels like while they're in this bubble it's a good time to say all the small meaningless things he's ever thought about; just because he really doesn't hate Kibum, and because it's fair to tell him at least once.

"I think you're probably one of the best idols out there," Minho says. Again, it's been much too long a pause in the conversation. "You could have had the biggest scandals and yet I don't even know what your personal life is like. After all these years..."

"You want to know about my love-life suddenly?" Kibum huffs. "It's not that exciting."

"It's not?"

"It's not."

Minho doesn't understand why he's interested in knowing more about Kibum suddenly, but if he were to guess, he thinks it must have something to do with keeping your friends close, while you have the chance. "Why?" he asks. The word had just slipped out, but surprisingly Kibum replies a real answer.

"Because, being gay isn't all that great."

"Oh?"

"It's not like I can date whoever I like, even secretly. Remember what you told me? You'd murder me? Many guys are even worse."

"I didn't mean it."

"Yes, you did. Back then you did."

He feels bad about it but Kibum is right. "I'm sorry..." Minho tries to say before Kibum cuts him off.

"—Don't be. You were right. You were the first person I put on my off-limits list and it was a good lesson. You helped me learn to swallow whatever pride and feelings I have. You call it professionalism. I call it survival."

Minho doesn't know what to do with such a confession. He'd never really thought about what it must be like for Kibum. Thankfully, Kibum keeps talking so that Minho doesn't have to.

"You know, Jonghyun was the only person I ever told anything to. We used to talk late at night and it felt normal, and it wasn't weird to share... stuff... with him."

"Stuff? You mean sex stuff?"

"Yeah. I think he's the only one I could tell that kind of stuff to," Kibum sighs heavily. "And now he's gone."

"You can tell me."

Kibum smiles a sad smile, doesn't realize Minho is watching him. "Thank you, but I can't. The way he was, felt like I wasn't saying some dirty secret. It felt like I was just talking about my day, like normal guys. I know how guys talk casually. That was how it was."

Minho watches his friend's mouth as he takes another sip of beer. It's nearing the end, and there's condensation on the bottle that has dripped more than once onto his pyjama pants. He feels guilty for all the years he hadn't paid attention. "You can tell me, I promise. Tell me why I'm off-limits."

Kibum frowns and turns on him. He must have said something wrong. "Because you're a dick and I don't like you."

"Is that really why?" Minho looks back at him with wide eyes.

"Because you don't get it at all." Kibum sits back. "It's ok. You taught me to be careful when I was young and more naive. I should say thank you."

Hearing this doesn't sit right with Minho. "Help me understand," he says quietly. Maybe after all these years he can make some of it better.

"It's simple. No matter who I like, I just double back and say to myself, nope, I don't like them, and I walk right past. No other choice."

A lump rises to Minho's throat, suddenly afraid to ask what naturally comes to his mind, "Me?"

He shouldn't have said anything actually, but thankfully Kibum doesn't seem upset. "Not you, dummy."

"Oh." Minho feels let down and he doesn't even know why. Kibum gives him a questioning look when he realizes Minho's odd behavior. "Why not me?"

Kibum frowns. "I don't know. I just don't like you," He shrugs.

"Oh," Minho repeats.

This makes Kibum snort with a short laugh. "Say that again and I might think you want me to like you."

"Oh."

"Oh?"

"—No. No. That's not what I meant, I just mean, oh." Minho looks away and sits just an inch farther from Kibum. He can feel his ears on fire, and hopefully Kibum won't notice. What's in his mind? No idea. He's blanking over how he should be processing any of this. The only part that's nice is that Kibum is talking to him. Minho doesn't think they've ever had a conversation like this, in all the years they've known each other. "I'm glad you're telling me stuff about yourself."

Kibum eyes him more carefully. He might be halfway to drunk, but he can tell Minho is being oddly timid. "Listen, are you ok?" he asks, and comes closer to feel his forehead. Maybe Minho wasn't feeling well. "You're being too nice today."

"I'm always nice," Minho replies. "Don't make me feel bad about it."

"Oh," Kibum says this time. Maybe they are starting to understand each other just a bit better.

There's another pause in the conversation, and when it starts again, Minho asks, "So what kind of stuff did you tell Jonghyun that you can't tell me?"

"Stuff you don't need to hear." The reply is curt because there's no way he's about to talk to Minho about his sex-life. Or lack thereof.

"So you talked about your boyfriends, and he talked about his girlfriends. I don't see the big deal."

"Of course you don't see the big deal. You're Flaming Charisma, means you're drowning in girlfriends!" Kibum laughs, but it doesn't reach his eyes. There's jealousy in his words, and it makes Minho only more determined to understand.

"So you're trying to tell me Jonghyun hasn't had that many girlfriends. I already knew that."

"No, dipshit. I'm saying I haven't. There was only one. And a million disappointments. A million broken dreams. Jonghyun understood broken dreams."

"You've only had one boyfriend in ten years?"

"In ever. But of course that's the part you understood," Kibum huffs in exasperation and leaves to put away all their beer bottles. Even the one Minho didn't drink. He returns and Minho has a wide expression on his face, like he's seeing Kibum for the first time and it makes Kibum uncomfortable. "Don't look at me like that. I knew you would be like that."

Minho adjusts the look on his face into something more normal. "I'm not being like anything. I'm just surprised."

"Of course you are. Did you think I was a slut?"

Minho purses his mouth, turns over the words he wants to say before he says them. "Uh... maybe. But no. I guess I just didn't think. But... but, how? One guy in ten years. Maybe more. Were there others?"

Kibum wants to hide now. He really doesn't want to talk about this. "One. It lasted about a year. That's it."

"When?"

"I'm not telling you because it doesn't matter."

"Then who? Do I know him?"

"That also doesn't matter. I don't want to talk about this." He turns back to the kitchen. Though he had decided that was the last of the drinking, he comes back with a bottle of vodka, and takes a gulp straight from the bottle before sitting back down next to Minho.

There's something wrong, dangerous about this scenario, and Minho is aware enough to know it. He takes the bottle away from Kibum and stows it on the sidetable away from Kibum's reach, no matter how much the other male tries to reach for it. No matter how much he whines. Minho takes his hands and tries to settle him. "I'm sorry. I didn't know anything."

"It's fine."

"I'm still sorry. You're talking about it now and I can't imagine what it's like."

"Don't worry about it. Just hand me the vodka."

"No. I think that's enough. We can't be hung over. It's bad enough."

"We don't have to be anywhere today. Don't act like—Never mind. Just hand over the vodka."

Minho ignores this. "Do you want another boyfriend?"

"I want you to give me the vodka," Kibum says again, pissed off this time, so he makes another reach over Minho's body to almost reach the bottle, but Minho takes his hands back. "I don't want a boyfriend. I want Jonghyun back. Or to drink myself to oblivion." He struggles against Minho until he ends up straddling him to gain more leverage. Too bad Minho is still stronger and is able to restrain Kibum's flailing limbs. "Let me go."

"Do you mean that?"

"Yes, I want to drink—"

"—No. I meant, don't you want someone?"

That's when Kibum throws him a deathly look. "You're an insensitive shit. Of course I want love. But who the fuck is that going to be? Why do you think this is so easy? Haven't I been talking all day about how shitty it's been so far? You think because you suddenly have ears now, everything in my life is going to be rosey-peachy?" His words are harsh, and very close to Minho's face, where it's obvious he's hurt.

Minho feels the stab of those words and lets the pain linger because he knows he deserves it. He doesn't let it show however. But he can see now how deeply Kibum has been hurting for so long. It's like a door has been opened and he can see the other side of reality. Maybe it's really just a crack in the door though, because the more Kibum says, the more Minho realizes how little he understands. This is a small step, just a small look at all the stuff between the lines that no one pays attention to. He wants to pay attention to it now. Doesn't want to drift through his life anymore. Wants to know more. Doesn't want to scare Kibum. So he takes a deep breath.

"I'm sorry. Jeez, don't take it that way. I'm trying to make you more optimistic. And trying to keep you from the vodka." Partial lies. Kibum shoves him hard in the shoulder and tries to get up, but Minho pulls him back into his lap. "I'm sorry. I'm trying. Please understand. I miss him too." His thumb massages into Kibum's palm and Kibum's anger melts away.

"Go away, Minho," Kibum says quietly. So shallow it's barely audible. "It's easier when you're a dick. You're right that everyone falls in love with you. And I'm lucky that I know you're actually awful and annoying." His voice rises until it becomes a whine. "Fuck, I drank too much, I think."

"Did you?"

"I really bloody hope I did. Hand me the vodka and then I can drown in it. I'm not thinking straight anyway. At least give me a good excuse." He says these things, but no longer has any fight in him. He lays his head in the crook of Minho's neck, like some kind of surrender. "You're being really nice today."

"I'm always nice."

"You're a dick."

"I promise I'm not."

"Yes, you are."

"Why are you so sure?"

"Because I've known you for a million years and you are."

It doesn't feel good to hear these things said so softly into his neck. Kibum's breath is making his skin prickle. He wants to prove himself but also feels something else happening between them, something more than realization about the past. He trusts Kibum to not step over any lines, but it scares him a little that suddenly he's aware of where the line is and that they're rather close to it. For the first time ever.

Where is the line? He pets over Kibum's hair and tries to clear his head. Why is it so foggy anyway?

He can see the sky outside getting dark again. Tomorrow they'll have to see people, Minho thinks. He thinks so much, about nothing, that he doesn't notice when Kibum actually falls asleep on him. He's surprised when he realizes it, but doesn't move him. Having his friend breathing so peacefully, because he can feel and hear him, makes Minho feel like they can all get through this. He just needs to be strong, and they can get through this.

He falls asleep with Kibum in his lap, to the sound of his breathing into his neck. He wakes up on the same couch, except he's horizontal and Kibum is tucked under his arm. There's a blanket over the both of them.

In retrospect, maybe that was the line. But as Minho wakes up, he doesn't know it yet. He thinks it's nice that Kibum is sleeping. Sleeping is better than being awake right now.

He slips out of his apartment and goes to check on the rest of the members, now that everyone is back in Seoul. But first, he needs a coffee. Lots of coffee.

During the memorial service, they're all walking around like zombies. Minho is pretty sure no one around him has eaten any real food since they all got the bad news. Only coffee, because they're all sad and jumpy, with red eyes and still only half-awake. He happens to be seated next to Jonghyun's sister, and on the other side of him is Kibum, who slips his hand into his and Minho holds it. He's not sure who looks more dead, but he feels dead inside. He tells himself to hold it together.

He gets to hold Jonghyun's nameplate while the rest carry the casket. He feels like his feet weigh more than his whole body. If it's so hard just to walk, how must it feel to carry their friend's body?

He's keeping it together, but his thoughts are a daze. It's a gaseous mix between Jonghyun and Kibum and the life they're leaving behind and life from now on. Like he barely knows where he is anymore.

He's in a black car after the service, and Kibum is holding his hand again. When Kibum gets out of the car, Minho follows, because he doesn't want to let go of his hand.

He feels antsy during the two seconds Kibum lets him go to unlock his front door. The second they're back in Kibum's apartment, Minho takes him into an embrace he never wants to let him out of. He's strong, but he needs someone too, and Kibum feels like the right person right now.

Kibum doesn't say anything, so they just stay, hugging. No words. No need for words. Kibum's head falls into the crook of Minho's neck again. It's a new comfort, a dangerous comfort, but it's a comfort Kibum needs right now. Today has been too hard. It feels good to be held. He needs it. He needs it so much, he's willing to admit it. He's fragile and Minho is helping him stay in one piece rather than shattering into little fragments and dirtying his hardwood floor.

When Kibum starts to vibrate in his arms, Minho can only say, "Don't cry. Please don't cry."

"I can if I want to." It's not that he actually wants to, but today has been too hard.

Kibum's breath is shaky on Minho's neck and he can't pretend he doesn't feel it. "Don't cry, or I'll cry too."

"You can if you want to." Kibum raises his head to look him in the eye. He's whispering and neither is sure why but it feels better that way. The sun has gone down and neither have bothered to turn on proper lights. There are stars in both their eyes, glitter from glassy eyes with unshed tears. "Minho, it's gonna be ok."

"Who are you trying to convince?"

Kibum bites his lip and this time Minho is watching him so closely. He holds him closer and Kibum's eyes go wide. He brushes his thumb over Kibum's lip and Kibum lets it go, but Minho's hand lingers. Minho's eyes are trained on Kibum's lips and Kibum's eyes are sparkly and wet, suddenly wide with fear at being so close. He can feel this is too close, he can feel the line under his toes.

"Can I stay here tonight?" Minho asks. The funny thing is that he's still looking at Kibum's lips, still has his hand on his cheek, the other around his waist, and it's like he's asking something completely different. Not just sleeping over as friends.

Kibum can't imagine anything more with Minho, anything past the line he feels so acutely right now; and he knows his friend is also torn over Jonghyun, even if he's acting just a bit better than the rest of them... both these things might be true, but Kibum still feels terrible saying, "Yes." It really feels like more. Why does it feel like more? He doesn't want more. After all these years it feels like for a second Minho is actually his friend, a real close friend, maybe he can open up to him; and at the same time it feels like that's being snatched away from him. So when a tear runs down his cheek, he thinks Minho doesn't understand. It's even worse when Minho wipes the wetness off his cheek and watches him with a curious, gentle look on his face. "Why?" Kibum sobs.

It's not obvious what he's asking. Truthfully, Minho has no idea. He just replies whatever he feels he needs to. "I want to be with you right now."

Doesn't he know what those words sound like? How can he not know? He leans his forehead against Kibum's and waits.

"Don't play with me, Minho." Kibum wants to hold on to someone. Wants someone to hold him. And as much as he doesn't want that person to be Minho, if it's sincere, he wants it more than anything.

"I'm not playing," Minho breathes.

Kibum has no idea what's going on right now. He must be misunderstanding this thing between them. He can feel himself change. He can feel how he wants to curl into Minho's body. He feels insane for having thought of kissing Minho just now. But that can't possibly be reality. No, Kibum is obviously misunderstanding something. There's no way he can step over this line. Not even if Minho's arms are wrapped around him and his lips are an inch away. "Are you trying to kiss me right now?"

Minho swallows heavily. He feels guilty but it's true. He doesn't even want to admit it, but it's true he's been getting closer to Kibum and he wants... that right now. He knows his head is foggy and not processing consequences properly right now. What if he says yes? Does it matter? "Yes," he says. Does it mean he's actually going to do it? Isn't it ok to admit it?

Maybe it's not ok, because it's Kibum that pushes him away, and holds his hand over his mouth as if he were going to be sick. "Minho..." he whispers. It's accusing, as if he's saying "how could you?" Instead he follows it up with, "Think a little before you speak." Still, he sounds disappointed. "You get the couch." He turns away.

"Wait," Minho rushes after him. "I don't want the couch."

"Then get out, and go back to your own apartment," Kibum rounds on him. His voice is still low, but it has a hiss to it that betrays how hurt he feels. Minho shouldn't be saying these kinds of things, it doesn't matter if it's the truth or not. It probably isn't. Kibum shouldn't be feeling anything anyway.

Minho hugs him again. "I'm sorry. God, I'm sorry. Let me stay. Don't leave. Don't tell me to go."

"What do you want from me?"

"I just want to be near you right now. I can't explain it..." Minho says, his nose is pressed to the soft skin of Kibum's neck, and it feels like he misses him. He just misses him, even if Kibum is right under his fingers. He knows these feelings are coming from so many things: wanting to protect him, wanting to make up for lost time, wanting to make up for shitty things he's said to him years ago, hurt from losing a member, not wanting to lose another, finally understanding a little bit of him, wanting to know more of what he keeps locked in his heart, remembering that Kibum isn't the anti-Christ because he's been friends with him for years now... he just wants to be near him. Why should it be that bad if they were to kiss? Because a million years ago he was young and stupid? Did he hurt Kibum that badly?

Minho remembers a day that everyone else probably forgot. He'd been teasing Jonghyun, pretending to get close, and then as casually as breathing Jonghyun had kissed him. A peck on the mouth and then went back to what he was doing. He'd probably done it to stop Minho from being annoying. But Minho remembers that day. The sky hadn't fallen. It was such a small thing. It didn't mean anything sexual. Was it different with Kibum now? He remembers how Jonghyun had cradled Kibum so many times backstage, when they were both a pile of tears, and he thought it was natural and fine.

He wants more than that right now. He needs a friend like that. He feels a hole in his heart and wants to fill it with Kibum. Why him? Because Kibum needs someone to love him. Minho wants to be that person, at least for right now. Why is he overthinking this? Why on Earth is he overthinking this so much? Because if he thinks about it any more, then he's not going to do this. He's going to walk away, just like Kibum had told him, and then they can both cry alone. This shouldn't be an overwhelming giant thing. It shouldn't. He pulls Kibum closer.

Kibum can't. He just can't step over the line. It's been too many years. Minho is off-limits. He doesn't like him. He wants him as a friend.

Minho pulls him into Kibum's bedroom, sits on his bed, and pulls him into his lap. Kibum is apprehensive about what's happening right now, but it's more than obvious this is leading somewhere. He's straddling Minho, and again he's biting his lip because of nerves. He can thank Minho for one thing: he's not thinking of the grief he feels over Jonghyun in this moment. He knows it has a lot to do with why they're here like this, but right now his focus is on Minho.

Minho takes his hand and massages his palm in his fingers. "I promise I haven't been like this with anyone else. Just you," Minho says.

"Why me?"

"You can understand the difference between love and sex, right?" Kibum gives him an apprehensive look, and Minho raises his hand to his mouth and kisses lightly over his fingertips. "Kibum," he breathes over his fingers, and it makes Kibum's skin tingle, from his fingertips, all the way down his spine. He still doesn't fully understand what Minho wants. He knows however, that if an attractive male acts like this with him, he might just react to it. He's not sure Minho understands what he's doing to him right now. Minho is still nuzzling into his hand, kissing lightly into his palm. It's soft, and so sensual that it's suffocating.

"Are you this gentle with girls?" Kibum asks, over a heavy lump in his throat. He's trying so hard to not get aroused right now. He's sure it will disgust Minho.

"Yes." Minho pulls him closer, lets himself fall backwards and takes Kibum with him so Kibum is laying over him. He holds him close, and nuzzles into him, just under his ear. Kibum can feel the ghost of lips on his neck. "Don't you want me to be soft with you?" Minho's hand is pressing into the small of his back.

"Minho..." Kibum breathes, so close to a moan, because of how Minho is handling him. "You're pissing me off right now."

So Minho kisses his neck, still softly, but it's definitely a kiss this time. "Is this better?"

"This is literally the worst haircut you've ever had," Kibum replies. It's a non-sequitur so that he doesn't have to answer Minho's actual question. He's pretending he didn't feel Minho's lips on his neck for a split second, but of course he did and it was pure adrenaline. Fight or flight, but he doesn't know which. Also because his hands are in Minho's hair.

Oh god, Kibum, just don't get hard, he prays.

"Ok," Minho says. There's a smile on his lips. "Ok." He rolls them so he's on top, facing Kibum squarely and can see the look on Kibum's face—like he's about to be kissed. Minho can admit he likes being like this above him, but the fact that Kibum still hasn't made any moves towards him, and the fact that he maligned his hair (it's shorter than it's been in a while, true) means some of the pain has worn off already. He sighs. Backs down. Maybe he doesn't need to be healed by having Kibum in his arms. So when Minho leans close for a second, all he does is peck Kibum on the cheek, give him a light smile and then roll off him. "Let me sleep here," he says, and doesn't wait for Kibum to reply, just makes room for himself under the covers.

Kibum feels completely winded. He has no idea what caused his magical escape, but won't question it. He practically runs to the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth, and by the time he gets under the covers with Minho, the other is fast asleep and snoring. He chooses to sleep as far away from him as possible.

In the morning, he cooks them breakfast, and Minho seems to be out of whatever mood he was in the night before, but he's unusually quiet. He leaves as soon as he can, by the look of it, before they can even talk about what happened, or what didn't happen between them last night.

---

A month later they can't avoid or side-step each other anymore. Comeback preparations are starting. Of course, Minho had been right—SM wants not only a posthumous album, but a SHINee reunion too, and fuck anyone's feelings, because death is the only way out. As proven all too acutely.

Minho corners Kibum in the toilets.

"Stop being weird around me."

Kibum stares at him for a moment; very sure he doesn't want to talk about this, but also sure he's bottled it up long enough, and now is as good a time as any to fight about it. "How the fuck do you expect me to do that when you were this—" his index and thumb are pressed together, "—close to kissing me?"

"Leave it alone. Please. I was weak." Even as he says that, his hand goes flying into the wall behind Kibum's head. It's the wall of the metal stall and the sound reverberates loudly through the empty washroom. He doesn't want to be reminded how stupid he was one night.

"Flaming Charisma Minho is never weak," Kibum snarls back at him.

Minho steps closer to him. "I'm sorry he's dead," he says with a hiss. "I'm thankful you were there for me when I didn't know what to do with myself. Now let it go."

They're fighting again. They're definitely fighting again, because both their voices have that whisper-yell tone that the other absolutely hates.

"Start eating better. You're thin as fuck."

"Don't stick your nose in my business," Minho hurls back.

"At least this comeback is good for something. They gave you a better haircut."

"You jealous you lost the idol hair lottery this time?"

"No! I chose this!" Kibum is practically snarling now, "—You know I chose this."

"It's better if you said the hairstylist messed up."

Kibum huffs in disbelief. "What crawled up your ass today? I liked you better when you weren't a dick."

"You want me to be nice and when I'm nice you want me to go away." The venom is gone from Minho's voice at that statement, though it's still rushed as if it were censure.

"You were about to kiss me."

"I was. Now my head is back to normal so let it go."

"You—"

"—I don't want to kiss you."

"Why not?"

"I just don't."

"So you magically felt like it and now you don't feel like it anymore?"

"Yeah, that's right," Minho says, as if it's a perfect justification.

"You can't play like this with me..."

"I'm not playing!" Minho slams his palm into the metal stall again, making Kibum jump.

"You're a dick," Kibum declares and pushes him away.

---

It's just their bad luck that there's a part of new choreography that creates some mildly sexy interaction between them. Nothing other groups haven't done before, but totally new and definitely weird to see Minho and Kibum shimmy together for a full two seconds.

Kibum is pissed about it which automatically means that Minho is pleased. He's even milking it for all it's worth. Shawols will be pleased but Kibum isn't.

So of course they're fighting again.

"You want to maybe look a bit more lively than a limp fish when I have my hand on you?" Minho says with a challenge in his eye.

"Why should I?"

Kibum half expects Minho to say it's because he's attractive. Instead he says, "Because you're an idol. Act like it."

"Nice excuse. If you want to paw at me, I don't need you doing it both on stage and off. I'm at my limit," Kibum retorts. In truth, he's been feeling these last few weeks, ever since they got too close, like an onslaught on his emotions. He doesn't want to get close again, not in any circumstances, not even for some choreography. He'd tried to keep his voice low, since the other two members are on the other side of the practice studio, but he's pretty sure Taemin had turned his head their way. "Stop pushing me," he concludes, even quieter this time, and walks away from Minho.

Like there's such a thing as walking away from Minho. "Then I take it that means you won't fuck up our part of the choreo anymore, yeah?"

Taemin and Jinki definitely throw them odd looks this time and Kibum hides his face.

Practice goes well, even though Kibum is still not being as sexy as Minho wants him to be during "their" portion. Jinki and Taemin make themselves intentionally scarce afterwards, so they can have time to work out their issues on their own; the way they've been left to fight so many times in the past. The rest just don't get in the middle of it because Kibum and Minho somehow always find a way to get over it and act professional after they've had a row at each other. So the others think this is the same as before.

It's not the same as before.

"Stop coming on to me."

"I'm not. It's choreography."

"It's more than that."

"That's wishful thinking, Kibum."

They're walking circles around each other, the way predators stalk prey. "Not from me it's not."

"Still got me on your off-limits list?"

"I think you took yourself off that list."

"So I'm not off-limits anymore?" Minho smirks. Kibum's eyes go wide—he hadn't meant to admit that. "Good, then you should have no problem doing the damn choreo properly." Kibum is backing away from him though. "C'mon now. I've seen you do Born To Shine. You have it in you, what's your problem?"

"You are, you dumb shit."

"Don't call me names."

"I've called you plenty worse. Do you have selective memory?"

"I like Flaming Charisma. Call me that," Minho taunts. He steps closer.

"Take this seriously!"

"I am."

"Get away from me."

"I think I should just kiss you and get this over with." Kibum stops in his tracks, his face flushed a color so bright he can feel it in his toes. And Minho smiles, glad his words have such an effect; too busy to wonder why that pleases him so much. In the moment, he tells himself it's just provocation, competition. Just playing. Thrilling. "I'm starting to think you'd be good in bed. Kind of feisty. Maybe a little kinky." Kibum looks away.

"Stop. I'll do the choreo," Kibum says, completely defeated. He wants to shut down that train of thought immediately, by whatever means necessary. The fear shows on his face.

So Minho also softens when he reaches him, puts a hand on his shoulder. "Do you actually not like me?" He hadn't meant to be so vulgar; he just wanted a reaction from Kibum.

"I think it's painfully obvious you want me to like you and I swear I'm trying not to—so stop pushing me."

"I want you to like me?" Minho parrots. "You already do."

"I don't. I promise I don't like you. It's only recent. Stop pushing. You're making me feel like this, and—"

"—You think I'm flirting with you?"

"You are. Aren't you? I'm not crazy."

Minho thinks about it for a while, moves his hand to Kibum's nape and pulls him just a fraction closer. "I am. I admit. Is that bad? I can't help it. But you need to do the choreo properly."

"Minho~" Kibum whines. "What are you doing?~ You're pissing me off..." He stamps his foot too, completely exasperated. He feels trapped. Before, he would have pushed Minho squarely, called him even more nasty names... that was before. He doesn't think he can push Minho now because he's not being the same. The Minho from before would never have held his head this way—gently—never been this close this way. This is tearing Kibum's nerves into little shreds. He has no idea how to get away. He knows that if Minho were ever to actually kiss him, he'd melt into a puddle of lovesick teenager. He does that. Minho doesn't need to know that.

"I think I like you. It happened. Ok?" Minho doesn't even think before saying something like that. It's the truth, but it hasn't yet been processed by his mind properly.

"Not ok, Minho!" Kibum breathes through his nose, his mouth pursed in anger. Minho's fingers are still dancing on the back of his neck. "Don't you get it? You miss him. You're taking it out on me."

"Maybe. I honestly don't know. You might be right. I still want to kiss you though."

"I don't know what's worse at this point, since you've dragged it on for so long. Make a decision. Literally any decision and then leave me alone."

Minho frowns, moves his hand to Kibum's cheek. "Don't be angry with me."

"You're pissing me off."

"What's new?"

"Look, I don't like saying this, but you're smarter than this. Use your head a little and snap out of it. I'm not right for you. I never will be since I'm a guy. You like girls."

"S'not about that, I told you."

"Then do something. The suspense is killing me."

"Don't talk. You talk too much." Minho admonishes, though he really doesn't seem to mind how much Kibum is fighting him since Minho is smiling, and likes caressing his hand through his hair.

Minho just watches the emotions running over Kibum's face. He's not moving closer or farther and it's deathly wracking to Kibum's nerves. It's been minutes and he's still waiting in limbo with Minho petting him. "What are you waiting for?" Kibum whispers.

"I'm trying to think about how angry you'll be with me if I do. You won't leave the group, but you might not speak to me again also."

"I'll speak to you."

"Would I hurt you really bad if I do that and nothing more?"

"I don't know. But I think you're really confused about what you want between us."

"Am I?" Minho asks. It might be true.

"I think so," Kibum says. "It's weird being so close to you suddenly. I don't get it. I don't know how to behave. So maybe you're the same. But I think we should go back to what we had before."

"Or maybe I'm a little in love with you," Minho says. He's been watching Kibum's eyes and falling into him, in a way. Kibum is more than a challenge. He's intriguing. Maybe they can be friends. Maybe they can be closer. Is that bad? He feels that way sometimes when they get close these days. When his mind wanders off and lands on Kibum.

"You don't even know me."

"So tell me more."

"Minho. What the hell is wrong with you?"

"Did you say that to yourself when you first figured out you liked boys?"

"Maybe. But you're not gay."

"You're right. I only like you," Minho says. His words are gentle and they're melting Kibum's heart, completely against his will.

"Even if you do, we're not a thing that can happen. I don't know why you're even trying. You were smarter ten years ago."

"It was more than ten years ago." Minho's words feel dreamy. Like they're not being thought through before they exit his mouth, like pure feeling only. Kibum is trying to stay in reality and not get sucked in.

"Yeah, see? We've known each other for longer than that even. What's it been? Fourteen now?"

"Something like that. Half our lives. Which is why I don't want to ruin something I just found. I feel like I've just found you," Minho says warmly. Kibum can't help curling his face into Minho's hand. He's a sucker for compliments. He doesn't understand why Minho is behaving like this but the more he does it, the less he feels the need to fight it. It takes a while before Minho continues, but when he does it's even more softly. "You're so freaking gay."

Kibum frowns. "Is that supposed to be an insult?"

"You're cute when you're angry."

"Is that why you've been laughing at my misery all these years?"

"You're witty too. It pisses me off that you don't let me win."

"So you like fighting me? That's productive. Fine. I'm not doing the choreo anymore. We're changing it. You can put your hands wherever you want and I'm just going to look up at the ceiling."

"Sounds fine," Minho chuckles. Funny enough, that really is how that part of the choreography turns out. "As long as I get to touch you."

"Minho~" Kibum whines again. He's going crazy from how close Minho is, how he keeps dragging this out. He still hasn't kissed him. "Kiss me already."

Minho looks into his eyes. He's still afraid. That's why he's dragging this out. He looks down then, no longer able to look at Kibum when he says something like that. "Should I take you out on a date first?"

"No. You're a massive idiot. We're not going to date."

"We're not?"

"Bloody hell!" Kibum wails and finally throws off his loving hands. "I'm going home."

Minho laughs but lets him go.

---

The four remaining members of SHINee lay on their backs on the dance practice room floor, resting for just a few moments later that week.

Taemin kicks Kibum in the shin. "You wanna tell us why you and Minho are fighting this time?"

"Minho has a crush on me," Kibum replies easily.

Taemin and Jinki laugh themselves silly, before it dies down and Taemin insists, "No, really, what is it?"

"He's got a crush on me and can't figure out if he wants to kiss me or not."

There's another round of hyena-like laughter before Minho cuts them all off and not even Kibum had expected it. He'd only spoken up because he was hoping it would sound like the ridiculous joke this obviously was. But then Minho goes ahead and says, "It's true."

They stare at him for a moment, before Taemin and Jinki burst into laughter again. "Good one. You nearly got us."

Minho decides not to push it. He knows it sounds stupid that he has a crush on Kibum. But the more he thinks about it, he's realized that maybe it's true. Maybe that's what his feelings are.

And it is stupid. He just doesn't know what to do about it.

---

"Listen," Minho pulls Kibum aside one day, "Would it be really bad if I led you on like this but didn't actually do anything about it?"

"No. It would be fine. It's the best of all the bad outcomes now. Even better would be if you would stop bringing it up." Kibum pulls away from him and keeps walking like they hadn't said anything to each other.

Minho considers this.

---

"Tell me what to do..." Minho corners him a couple weeks later. Comeback promotions have started, which means they've been crammed together with no privacy, and it's been driving Minho insane. He can't remember the last time he felt like this about a girl. It's paralyzing his mind. He feels differently about Kibum. His mind keeps drifting off to think about him. He just doesn't know what to do. Doesn't even know if he should kiss him. Sometimes he wants to. Other times he remembers how stupid it would be to cross that line. He hasn't even gotten around to thinking about any consequences. The minute he gets a chance, he's hovering in Kibum's space, and now he's breathing down his neck not just figuratively, but literally. "I don't know what to do."

"Bloody hell, Minho. You're like a leech. You're even more annoying. At least leeches can be removed."

Minho doesn't mind when Kibum says these kind of things. He's been hearing it from him for half his life. He thinks by now, especially now that he's considered it, that he would miss it if Kibum were ever to stop being bitchy. Still, it's an odd curiosity how nice it feels having his face in the other male's neck these days. He wonders if this is enough for him, or if he really should take that plunge and make more out of this. This is so nice though. Kibum smells like... Kibum. He likes playing with him, massaging his fingers into his shoulderblades and neck. He definitely feels possessive by now. "Tell me to kiss you again."

"No way."

"Say it again. I liked it."

"You're toying with me again and I'm going to punch you really hard if you keep it up."

Minho laughs and lets him go.

---

Minho was really counting on Kibum to either hold his ground and keep him in check, or to be the one that finally initiates a kiss. These are contradicting wishes, but Minho is hoping for both of them at once. The more he thinks about it, the more he thinks he's being really unfair. Kibum is gay and he knows it. Just because they've been friends for half their lives doesn't give him the right to play around with him like this. Either Kibum doesn't like him or he's got nerves of steel.

"You like me, right?" Minho says to him one day.

"I don't like you."

Minho pulls him into a washroom and pins him to the wall suddenly. Kibum's head is spinning from having Minho act like a jealous boyfriend towards him. "This is crazy, right?" Minho says. There're stars in his eyes as he looks down at Kibum.

"You're crazy. I'm fine. Let me go." If he hadn't known Minho for so long, he would have been so swept up by him; he's attractive and smart, and crazy apparently. Actually, Kibum never thought Minho would act like this with someone. He's wondered about Minho, what kind of lover he would be, several times these last few weeks—how could he not?—but he still didn't think Minho was this kind of guy, the throw me around in passion kind of guy. Yet here they were, Minho has his shoulders pinned to the wall, his nose under his ear again, so Kibum can hear his breaths.

He's still not doing anything though. Just riling Kibum up.

"Give me time. I'll kiss you," he says lowly. Then touches his thumb slowly down Kibum's throat and to his collarbone, making Kibum's breath hitch.

"Minho..." Kibum wants to protest, but the name comes out of his mouth more like a moan. He closes his eyes, trying to take it back. He can't and Minho only makes it worse when his fingers dig into Kibum's scalp, and Kibum's breath gets stuck in his throat.

He likes watching Kibum, likes smelling him, likes petting him. Maybe this is enough for Minho—he's trying to figure it out. He fists one hand in Kibum's hair, and the other hand runs down his front. It's exploration, but not really, since he even knows what's under here; because they've been together for so long. It's more like Minho is trying to find his own limit. Wants to understand his own feelings through touching. Kibum pushes him off when his hand reaches his navel—because for god's sake, this was Minho and that was not where his hands belong. Kibum doesn't even want to think about Minho's hands on him. However, this doesn't discourage his friend, who takes his arms and holds them captive above their heads; and Kibum stops fighting. The will to resist is momentarily lost in him. How can Minho act like this? He's looking right at him, all dark eyes and hooded lids, and Kibum can't take this kind of torture. When Minho squeezes his wrists, Kibum whimpers and Minho's eyes go wide—because he doesn't know what to do with that, or with Kibum anymore. He's stunned and suddenly feels out of control, so he lets him go. The moment ends.

When it's safe, Kibum opens his eyes, scowls at Minho and pushes him farther so he can escape as quickly as possible.

---

Minho admits to himself that that last time was a bit much. He hadn't meant to make Kibum feel... aroused? Was he? Is that what he'd done? He can hear Kibum's whimper like a broken record looping in his mind.

Kibum's arms, trapped above his head. The way he smelled. The way he sounded. It makes Minho's blood rush. He's scared—both of how much he liked it, but also because he doesn't know what to do. His actions have consequences. Like Kibum falling apart under him.

God... how had they gotten here? Minho knows he's been teasing the other male. Knows it's obviously not just teasing. But—but... how?! Why does he like Kibum? What on Earth is he supposed to do about it? They're teammates. They're males. They're idols. There's no relationship that can realistically happen.

Minho wants to bash his head over with a brick for having driven them into this impossible corner. He feels bad for treating Kibum this way. He's amazed again at Kibum's stamina; his ability to keep his wits and turn him down. Anyone else would have fallen into his arms by now.

He wants to know what Kibum feels. And not just superficially. If they could get past all the stupid fake words they've been hiding behind for years, and he could know the truth, that would make it easier. But then he thinks—just because Kibum is gay, doesn't mean he likes him. He really wants to pound a brick into his own brain now. How could he be this stupid? To fall for a friend? A male friend. One who was just starting to trust him, probably, after all these years. Kibum had finally let him into his world. A little. And this is how Minho repays that trust?

He feels sick with himself.

The next time he sees Kibum, he buys him coffee but doesn't say a word to him.

---

Except now he's started avoiding Kibum, which is even more crazy—because Flaming Charisma Minho doesn't avoid anything, he takes challenges on head-first. And it's not good. Not good. Very bad. Because they have choreo to practice and perform, and MVs to film, and reality shows, and guest appearances, and Minho is supposed to smile and act like a normal person. Which Kibum is doing, because Kibum is a normal person. Unlike Minho, who's a monumental moron.

The only thing he knows how to do is keep buying Kibum coffee. Because god forbid he talk to him.

---

"Can I ask you why on Earth you keep buying me coffee? Because you've put one in my hand every time we've seen each other for the past weeks," Kibum whispers at him when they get a moment backstage one day. "Not that I mind—I mean, thank you, but I'm pretty sure there's an ulterior motive."

Minho bites his lip and looks around. The room is packed with busy people but no one is paying attention to their conversation. "It's because I'm sorry, and I don't really know how to say it," Minho whispers back. He feels like shit still and wishes he could run away, but knows that's not fair, so he stays. He should answer at least the basics, he owes him that much. When he puts the pieces of his brain together, Minho vows to tell him more.

Kibum sighs. "What are you sorry for? Do you even know?" Minho shrugs, and Kibum sighs again. "Listen. Do you like me?" Minho's eyes flash with panic, "—Because it's ok if you do." And he's pretty sure that kind of consolation only makes things worse, but who's he to say it's wrong? He watches Minho look around nervously again, and drops his voice even more. "Really. I've watched you torture yourself these last few weeks. I'm not really sure why, or what's bothering you, and I'm not really sure how to help or what to do about it. I'm just taking a stab in the dark. I'm sorry if I'm misunderstanding. But I just—ugh. I just wanted to say, it's ok."

"It's ok?"

Kibum nods, but the look on his face is pained. Thankfully, they get called for their stage just then, which means they can stop talking now. Instant relief.

---

Kibum could really use a handbook titled, What To Do If Your Straight Friend Likes You. Honestly, he'd read it from front to back, because he's been thinking and can't come up with another reason for why Minho's brains have been turned to mush lately. Jonghyun's death was like falling into a blender, yes, but Kibum thinks this is more than that by now. Minho hasn't accosted him lately, but that weird vibe is still there, and he can feel it so damn acutely every time Minho hands him a coffee—which, by the way, is new and weird between them—and he can't help but think of an awkward teenager trying to sort out his romantic feelings.

So maybe Minho likes him. What the hell is Kibum supposed to do about it? He can't bloody do anything about it, he thinks. If anything, he's supposed to calm him down and keep him away. They're male idols. Precarious friends. Their relationship already teeters dangerously. Especially now that one-fifth of them is gone. He just has to go on as normal. Place bandaids over wounds and be strong. This is just a weird blimp in the road and Minho will get over it, and stop giving him sorry-coffee, and that'll be good.

And Kibum can pretend that for a moment, he didn't feel like maybe something good was finally happening in his life.

---

Minho needs to talk. Needs to blurt out a bunch of things. Maybe Kibum will even hit him. He thinks he deserves it. So he's standing on Kibum's doorstep, and though it takes him several minutes, he finally presses the doorbell.

It's the middle of the night. Their last schedule ended mere hours ago, and there's another one in the morning. He'd seen Kibum then and he'll see Kibum in the morning, if he was patient enough, but Minho isn't. So he's ringing Kibum's doorbell again, likely waking him up for no good reason, but here he is.

Kibum answers the door wearing a robe and sleep-disheveled hair. Yup, he'd woken him up. When he sees Minho, he groans. "Ugh. What the hell do you want?" He rubs the heel of his hand into his eyes to wake up better, and though his words are harsh, he nonetheless leaves the door open for Minho to walk in.

They sit on the couch in silence, Kibum half asleep, as Minho tries to gather words. He'd come here in such a rush, a million thoughts firing in his mind, but now it's blank. And he's even more sorry for wasting Kibum's time. He remembers Kibum yelling many times before about how he needs his beauty-sleep. He feels lucky and special to gain his audience during this time, but again, it makes him feel worse. "I don't know what to say," he ends up saying.

Kibum rolls his eyes. "You came all this way and have no idea why?"

"Uhh..." Not really. He did have things he wanted to talk about, but now he either doesn't know how to find the words, or he's second-guessing himself and doesn't think it's ok to say them anymore. "I'm sorry," Minho says. He's looking down at the floor, very aware that he sounds nothing like himself. He's not shy. He's not a coward. He's not intimidated by anything. Before this. Before Kibum has tied and tangled all his words and feelings.

"Ok," Kibum replies, "You know what? It's late. Just come to bed. Maybe you came to sort out your feelings. I don't know. But we should sleep. We have like three hours before we need to be in hair-makeup." He takes Minho's hand and drags him to the bedroom. Not unwillingly, Minho follows.

It's easy, comfortable, the way Kibum drops his robe, leaving him in a t-shirt and underwear he'd been sleeping in, and gets under the covers. Minho leaves his own pants on the back of a chair and follows suit. It's easy being in bed with Kibum. He doesn't make it weird at all.

Minho thinks he's too calm now, and his mood is coming from Kibum, who's being perfectly normal and calm, even after having been imposed on at such an hour. Minho had come here buzzing with energy, practically vibrating in his own skin, but now that he's here, he's too calm and it's Kibum's fault. Kibum doesn't do or say anything—just lays at his side, probably asleep the second his head hit the pillow. It's not in an avoiding kind of way either. Just a normal "let's sleep" kind of way. Like old friends, who are tired from a long day. Minho wonders if the situation had been reversed, if he'd be so calm. Should he feel so much peace right now? He doesn't deserve this. If Kibum had been the one with feelings for him, he'd have cursed and reported him to management or something. Probably punched him too. Many years ago. Maybe things have changed. How about three months ago? Before Jonghyun. What would he have done if Kibum had feelings for him? Would he have been this calm and let him into his bed?

No. He knows himself. He wouldn't have been this good, no matter how highly he thinks of himself. But Kibum—high and mighty and proud—and arrogant and annoying and insufferable—and Minho shouldn't get carried away—Kibum, he isn't cruel, not beneath it all.

That's why they're here maybe, so calm and comfortable. That's how Kibum is so strong maybe. Minho should have given him more credit all these years. Kibum is like a rock. Annoyingly stubborn, but right now, it's a blessing. So he takes his hand under the blankets, twines their fingers, and falls asleep. He doesn't remember what he wanted to say. He's too happy to remember right now.

When they wake up, Minho is big-spooning Kibum, an arm around him, and it feels nice—foreign as it may be—and he wishes he could stay like this longer; if it wasn't for the blaring of Kibum's alarm-clock. Kibum reaches out a hand to whack at it until it stops.

"'Morning," he says, and Minho replies by squeezing him tighter around the middle. "It's five. We have to be out of here in twenty."

"I know," Minho mouths into his shoulder blades. "I know..." It feels like he'll lose something if he lets go though.

Kibum sighs. He's not about to question this. Friends or not, this is nice. Whatever Minho is feeling, it's sincere, and Kibum likes sincere. Likes having someone hold him.

For five more minutes. Just five more minutes. They can't afford any longer, and Kibum doesn't want to ruin it with words after, even when they share a look that says they should talk. They can talk some other time.

---

Minho follows him home after three schedules after that. Imposes himself as a house-guest. He's not a bad one, since he buys food, and cleans up after himself, even more so than Kibum, but the timing is weird. Because it's always after a schedule, late at night when they're tired, and he sleeps over in Kibum's bed, holds his hand under the covers, and then they rush out in the morning together, with barely time to grab coffee before their next schedule. They're on shared schedules because of comeback promotions and so they've been spending almost 24/7 together.

Kibum waits for it to stop, so they don't have to have an actual conversation about it. He doesn't really want to admit that having company has been nice, even if it's been unusually quiet between them. Minho follows him but keeps his space. Doesn't do more than hold his hand, or hold doors for him.

On the fourth time this happens, Kibum lets it happen but decides they're gonna talk about it this time. He's a little tired of changing in his own bathroom after his nighttime shower. Not that he used to avoid Minho when changing before, but he doesn't want to give any wrong impressions these days. Also, Minho has been borrowing his towels and half of them smell vaguely of his perfume now. He can't wait for a few hours of time so he can do laundry, but that's beside the point.

"Minho," Kibum calls when Minho steps out of the bathroom, the trapped steam comes billowing out around him. He's wearing the t-shirt and underwear he's likely to sleep in. He expected that Kibum would have been in bed by now, but since he's not, he joins Kibum in the livingroom. "Listen, I don't want to sound like I'm kicking you out—I'm really not—but you don't plan on moving in with me or anything, right?" Kibum laughs, trying to keep the conversation light. Especially because he wants a few deeper answers, and he's planning on getting to it finally.

Ah. So they were going to talk. Ok, Minho can talk.

"Only if you want me to," he winks seductively, some of the mischief that Kibum is used to, returned to him. But then follows it up with a laugh, and, "Don't worry, I don't actually plan on it." It feels easy enough to talk so far. He sits at Kibum's side, takes a sip of his friend's hot drink to find out that it's tea, and then settles back, waits for whatever Kibum wants to say to him.

"Right," Kibum starts. "Well then, what is it that you do want? Why are we going home together?"

"'Cause I like you. I want to spend time with you."

Kibum quirks an eyebrow. "More time than on all our schedules?" Minho shrugs. "You haven't hit your head—fallen down any stairs recently, have you?"

"You're doing that passive aggressive thing again," Minho accuses, but there's a smile on his face nonetheless. "You want to ask why I like you. If it's real. If I'm pulling your leg. Why. How. Etcetera."

"Right. Obviously. So you gonna actually tell me then?"

"I don't know why I like you, but I'm pretty sure I do," Minho shrugs. "I just know I can't stop thinking about you. If it scares you, I'm sorry. If I came on too strong, I'm sorry. If I didn't figure it out fast enough... I'm sorry. I'm actually clueless about what to do about it, so here I am." He throws his palms to the sky and laughs. "It is what it is, I guess."

"That's it?"

"Yeah, basically."

"You're a moron."

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure you're right this time. Don't get a big head over it."

"Only you could—" Kibum starts, with a snap to his voice, likely about to curse at him for being self-centered, but then quits and sighs. "...So you like me. Ok. That's fine. I can deal with that."

"Wanna let me in on what to do about it?"

"You think I know? Like there's a magic cure? I walk past 99% of the people I've ever liked. I don't know." Kibum throws him a nasty glare, before refocusing his attention on his tea. Needs to calm down and find a way to kick Minho out of his apartment so they stop doing this walking home together like teenagers thing.

Maybe it's naive, but Minho has no problem saying, "So what happens if you don't walk away?"

Kibum's drink ends up in his trachea and he coughs, tries to pretend he's not choking, but ends up coughing more. "—Ugh. Don't be a moron," he says when he's recovered enough to speak.

"I'm serious."

"I'm not going to pretend you're not talking about you and me, so let me make this easy for you: You're straight. End of story. What's gotten into you?"

Minho smiles, because he kind of likes it when Kibum is all riled up. For many years, that furrow in his brow has reminded him of all their years together, how many fights they've had, but somewhere down the line he'd started finding comfort in the routine, and these last couple weeks he's started to find it cute. So yeah, he thinks Kibum is cute when he gets angry like this, but not too angry, just enough to trade some slurs. "Maybe I feel a deep need to prove that every single person on the planet loves me. Including you," he says; then bursts into laughter because he's obviously kidding.

He receives a harsh punch to the humerus. Should have expected that.

"If you're gonna be a dick, then you can leave."

Minho takes his hand though, doesn't really want to be evicted, so they can return to being mature. "I don't want to leave, ok? I just—wonder... if maybe, you might not walk away this time? If maybe you like me too, or want to try?"

Kibum is looking at him like he has three heads. Minho is being serious, but he knows how it sounds. He's hardly spoken three sappy words like this to Kibum their whole lives. He really can't blame him for that funny look on his face. Kibum opens and closes his mouth a few times, but doesn't say anything. In the end, he frowns and shakes his head.

"I'm serious," Minho assures.

"I'm pretty sure that's true. Unbelievable as it is."

"So, what then? Can I stay?"

Kibum huffs. "No! You can't stay! Are you insane, Minho? I need you to snap back to normal, ok? I like having you soft and sappy... I don't want to say it, but since you're saying embarrassing things, then there you go. But you can't like me."

"You said it was ok though..."

"Ugh! Ok, I did," Kibum smacks a palm into his forehead. "Right. I did. Ugh." He looks livid at himself for getting caught in his own contradictions. With both hands rubbing nervously into his face, he pauses, then returns to being calm. "Yeah, ok. You can like me. Just, please don't involve me in it."

Minho laughs. "That sounds ridiculous!"

"—You know what?" Kibum hisses, "You try living like me and tell me how fucking funny you find it then!" He rounds on him, and Minho actually moves back because Kibum is baring his teeth.

"Ok, not what I meant, at all..."

"—Yet you seem to think this is funny," Kibum glowers at him. "I get that you have feelings that you don't know what to do with or can't explain. That's fine. What I'm saying is that you have no idea what you're diving into if you follow them. You don't even seem to know what you want, so do yourself a favor and just redirect your attention. You're probably traumatized. I am too. It hasn't worn off. It never will, but we'll deal with it."

"I'm not talking about Jonghyun," Minho frowns. "And I'm not asking for acceptance into the gay lifestyle club. I just want to know if there could be something... just a bit more, between us? Is that so bad?"

Kibum shakes his head. "You don't get it."

Minho chooses to talk over that part, "—Do I have to bring you flowers and go out on dates with you? Because I will. But I don't really know what's appropriate, or maybe you'd get mad at me... I don't know..."

"Minho. You're talking about dating me and you're so scared you can't even kiss me. I don't think all the pieces have clicked together in your brain yet."

"—So can I then?"

Kibum stares at him. Blinks a few times. Needs to remind himself that this is reality, not a dream world with rainbows and butterflies. "N—no," he stammers finally. But he swallows so thickly afterwards that it felt like a really bad lie. His mouth feels like chalk suddenly, so he finishes off the last of his tea because he can't look at Minho right now.

Minho takes the cup from him and places it back on the coffee table, then takes his hand and moves closer to him. He asks more clearly this time, "Can I kiss you?"

His heart is racing as he looks at Kibum, who looks stunned and frightened, and it's only making him more nervous, but he knows what he feels. He wants to try. He doesn't know anything afterwards—Kibum is right about that—but he wants to try. He feels something there between them. He's not just imagining it. Kibum has been so... enigmatic these last few weeks. He just knows he wants to be closer. Wants to find out how much closer he can get before getting burned. Because he knows there are consequences. ...But it's Kibum. They know each other by now, don't they? Well enough for Minho to trust him. To want him... God, his heartbeat is hammering out of his chest, because Kibum isn't moving away, he's not answering, but he's waiting.

Minho swallows and comes closer, puts a hand on his nape and pulls him closer too. He feels like this isn't his own body or something. Can't believe he's going to do this—

His lips touch Kibum's. He puckers gently into a soft kiss, lets it linger, and then pulls away to see his reaction.

Kibum's bottom lip is quivering slightly, and he can't read the look in his eyes, but it's haunting. Minho massages a thumb along Kibum's neck, under his ear, but his hand starts shaking so bad that he pulls it away. Halfway in the air, he makes a weary fist, then shakes off the nerves and places it back on Kibum, on his cheek. Doesn't want to part. Wants to pet him. "I'm sorry, I'm nervous," Minho says. Then with a shy upturn of his lips, admits, "I still like you. Can I take you out?" He can feel the adrenaline in his veins, it's making him vibrate and his heart wild, but he can take it. It's ok. It was good. He wants to kiss him again.

God, he wasn't even a quarter this nervous the first time he kissed a girl. And Kibum still has that ambiguous look on his face.

"I—I can't believe you did that," Kibum says finally. Everywhere in his brain that he'd ever found comfort in during this thing with Minho lately, it was because he didn't think Minho actually would take that kind of step. He thought there was safety in that at least. Small comfort as it may have been. But now he's scared, actually scared of the future, because this makes it too real, and he has nowhere left to hide. He knows what his own feelings are: He's not in love, but in three seconds he'll give his heart away because it's Minho. Minho, who's like an annoying brother to him; someone he can't imagine his life without; who he trusts despite hating his guts. Minho is so loveable despite all the things he hates about him. If Minho wants him, how could he refuse? He knows him. And this is breaking his heart just thinking about everything he'll lose. Because Minho is basically perfect. [Insert superfluous swearing.] And now he's here and being even more sweet and hopeful, with that damn look in his eyes. Kibum knows it's not a lie, but he doesn't know how long it'll be there. And then what? When Minho decides, he can't be in a relationship with another man? Because there's no way that won't happen. What then? He bites his lip to help keep his emotions in check, and needs to say something, he knows he needs to say something... "Minho... I... I don't want to hurt you. But..." And Minho is looking at him with such a wounded puppy face that Kibum doesn't want to kick him. He tries to rephrase. He sighs, and pulls Minho's hand away from his cheek. "You're asking a lot of me..." Tears finally reach his eyes. "This means a lot to me, I don't think you understand how much, ok? I can't do this without feelings and stuff, and I have a feeling I'm about to get my heart broken really bad... Minho, ok? You're my friend. Don't do this to me."

When a tear runs down Kibum's cheek, Minho wants to wipe it away but Kibum pushes his hand away, and stands up. Needs to put a bit more distance between them. It's gotten too deep too fast. He can't deal with it, needs more air.

"You're turning me down?"

"I'm..." Kibum swallows thickly, around the heart beating in his throat, constricting his airway as self-protection. To tell him to shut up. "...Not. Just... I feel like I'm making a really big mistake, and I don't know how I'm gonna recover from it," Kibum says. He's looking at the floor, can't look back at Minho even though he can feel his eyes on him. It's not safe. He doesn't have that kind of strength. He's waiting for Minho to walk away. Please just walk away. If Kibum no longer has the strength to walk away, then Minho has to. That's how this works.

Minho walks closer. Yeah, he understands what Kibum is saying. He's asking him to gamble his heart on a whim. Because Minho isn't gay, he doesn't like boys, he only likes Kibum, but he's not even sure how much or what to do with it... Still, he walks closer. "Let me try. I feel something... something, ok?" he says. He can't explain it, but something. He tips Kibum's chin up with gentle fingers, no longer as shaky, and captures his lips in a kiss. A better one, now that he knows the world doesn't shatter because he's kissed Kibum. In fact, kissing Kibum makes him feel like the world is open to him. All of it. All the untouchable parts of it. He wants to touch those places. He pulls Kibum closer, holds his cheek and the small of his back, tries to coax the fear out of him with his kiss. And Minho knows how to kiss, even though he was a nervous wreck minutes ago, he knows how to kiss. And Kibum opens himself to him, lets his mouth be plundered, meets his lips and tongue, and pushes him back so they fall into the couch with Kibum on top. Mouths still joined, followed by wandering hands, still in safe places, but nonetheless, touching, exploring over their clothes.

Minho pulls him into his lap, and Kibum lets himself crowd into his body. If Minho can feel his erection by now, hard between them, then let it be a signal for him to stop. So he understands the situation a bit better—that this is what happens when you push for something you shouldn't want. And as if it's on cue, Minho breaks their kiss. Holds him apart to look into his eyes and Kibum raises his eyebrows, like "how was it?"

"You're really hard..."

"Yeah..." Kibum would say more but has no idea what. Part of him still wants to scare Minho away, so reality can return, but the other half... really likes kissing him. He hasn't felt something real in so long. And that look on Minho's face, like "oh, right, men have dicks"... it's stupidly cute. He wants him to stay. Don't run away, stay here a bit longer...

Minho places a hand under Kibum's shirt, touches over his abdomen and Kibum shivers, falling closer into his body, lips closer to Minho's again. There are words in the back of his throat that he wants to say, but the more Minho touches him, the more he forgets what they are. He's pulled into another kiss and he wraps his arms around Minho's neck. His tongue is still shy, but every time they touch, curl together, Kibum feels it in his toes practically. He's so sensitive. Hasn't kissed like this in years. Sad as that may be. He can't help it how much he wants this now that he's here, being touched and held, can't help rocking his hips slightly against Minho, and of course Minho notices and stops kissing him again.

He lifts at Kibum's shirt, indicating, "Can I take this off?" Kibum nods and lets Minho strip him so he's left in just his underwear. He feels really exposed, but Minho doesn't look scared yet. Anxious, tentative, curious, more like. He touches lightly over Kibum's skin when it's available to him, and Kibum watches him, follows his eyes as they travel over his body. Kibum is nothing to look at, he thinks, but Minho's reactions are priceless. As his fingers travel over new areas, it's like there's a sign on his forehead that says "can I do this?" He looks really unsure of himself, unlike anything Kibum is used to seeing him like. He's pretty sure Minho does not behave this way with women. He's managed to touch from neck to navel with a shaky hand, and then he finds a steady grip on Kibum's flank, and that gives him more confidence. He pets down Kibum's side, more like an anchor, to just hold him and look at him.

"You ok?" Kibum can't help but ask, having noticed that Minho avoided his nipples. Maybe it's too much for him.

Minho looks him in the eye again. "I—we," he corrects, "should go on a date. I want to do this right."

"Oh."

"Do you have time for that anytime soon? I feel like... I'm not behaving—I don't know—how..."

Somehow Kibum understands that his uncertainty is about etiquette. Shouldn't I buy you dinner first before I sleep with you?

"Depends."

"Don't be coy with me. Just tell me."

"Minho... I... I mean, what do you want?"

"What do you mean?"

"Do you want to sleep with me? What's bothering you?"

"Not yet. This might sound stupid, but I need time before that..." Minho bites his lip and shrinks away. "No, I... was wondering how I should do this properly. Like, you're my friend so I don't know if we should just stay in, or go out. And tell me if I should treat you differently than a girl. Should I take charge, or...? I want to do this right. I want to make you happy, but I don't really know how to do that. After all our years together, it feels like I don't know the most basic things about you..." He steadies himself and pulls Kibum closer, plants his nose in his neck, and seems to find comfort in it because he wraps his arms more tightly around Kibum's body, so they're flush together. "I don't want to hurt you. I really don't."

"I know."

"I feel like I might, and I don't want to. I don't want to take advantage of you, I hope you don't feel that way."

"I don't." Kibum has to calm down though, because the way Minho talks, it's making his heart flutter, and he feels really childish about it. Minho kisses his neck, hands softly caressing his back and Kibum melts into him. So Minho kisses him more, down his neck, across his collar bones, until Kibum bristles, with a breathy moan that makes Minho's fingers sink into his flesh. And Kibum realizes he shouldn't let himself get so carried away. They're not ready yet. So he pulls away. Also because he's embarrassed for being so turned on from so little.

"Do you wanna go to bed?—To sleep?" Minho asks. Actually sleep, he means.

When Kibum climbs off his lap, he can tell he's embarrassed, trying to hide an obvious erection in tight underwear by turning away, self-consciously putting his shirt back on. Minho wasn't hungry and lustful when they kissed, maybe that's why he wasn't hard, but seeing Kibum in this state is doing something to him now. Kibum's large t-shirt falls below his hips, covering his bum and his groin, and Minho feels like he misses the view already. Even if he's only seen it for so little. He doesn't want to stare though, so he takes Kibum's hand and takes him to the bathroom. They brush teeth, and smile awkwardly at each other a few times in the mirror. Kibum taps a few face-products into his skin, the way he's seen him do from afar several other times, but this time Minho watches more closely. Minho thinks it's crazy that they've finally kissed. He's not sure what else he wants, but he wants that closeness again. He can't wait to get into bed and wrap his body around Kibum. He's staring, a dopey look on his face when Kibum waves a hand in front of his face.

"Bed time, right?"

Minho snaps out of it. "Right. After you." He follows Kibum to bed. If its possible, this might be even more silent then the other couple nights he's slept here. He almost wishes they were fighting again, so he could hear Kibum speak. When they settle in however, it's ok that it's silent. It takes Minho a few minutes to find the courage to get closer. He puts an arm across Kibum's body, under his shirt and touches skin. Then pulls him closer by the flank, puts a leg over him also, and rests his head in the crook of his neck. He likes this the best, loves pressing his nose into his skin and being glued so close. It feels safe and good here. "This ok?" he asks.

"M'hmm," Kibum replies. But it doesn't sound so sure.

"I'm not scared, ok?" Minho says. His fingers trail over Kibum's sternum, a lazy up and down, as he breathes into the skin of his neck. His leg winds between Kibum's, effectively turning him into a full-body pillow. He hopes Kibum is comfortable like this, because in Minho's opinion this is really nice. "Sweet dreams," he says blissfully, before yawning and falling asleep almost immediately after.

---

In the morning there's no time to act differently than before. It's only when nighttime comes again, when their schedule is over and other people have left them alone does Minho think once more about what he's started. He'd kissed Kibum, pretty heavily, last night.

He catches up with him as he climbs into a company car, and gets in with him. Minho tells the driver to go to a take-out place Minho knows is still open at this hour and Kibum grumbles because he knows Minho's plan already. He thinks.

"Pick up some wine too, if that's how it is," Kibum says, his voice is rather sour but Minho has had a million years of dealing with his snarky attitude so he knows he can iron it out.

He smiles in return. "If that's what you want," Minho says, low enough that the driver doesn't hear. He slips his hand onto Kibum's thigh to squeeze lightly and Kibum throws it off, looking completely affronted and unable to throw a fit because they're not completely alone yet. Minho is ok with it though, he knows they don't look dubious in any way, so he places his hand back on Kibum's thigh. "We finished filming so easily this time, don't you think we should drink to that?"

"You're an ass," Kibum retorts, chin in the air, and Minho laughs.

Nonetheless, he follows Minho around as they order food, and then for the three seconds it takes to buy a bottle of wine too. Kibum might be miffed but he notices that Minho has bought a rather expensive bottle. The car drops them off at Minho's place this time and Kibum reluctantly follows along.

Minho lives on a higher floor than Kibum, which makes for an agonizingly long elevator ride. It's too quiet, and Minho is being the kind of nice that's infuriating. Like servers and hosts are. So polite. Kibum is almost seething with anger by they time they get inside his apartment, and he's not even sure why. He's been to Minho's apartment before, by the way, many times. It's cleaner and more chic than his own place, just like he remembers it. It has larger windows too, because Minho makes more money, and being reminded of this only makes Kibum more angry.

Minho takes his hand and pulls him to the kitchen, and Kibum follows like a puppy on his heels—but it feels inside like a lamb to slaughter instead. He can feel himself falling into a fantasy so fast. How was this even possible? This was a date, Kibum isn't dumb. A date with Minho, and then he would sleep over.

He watches Minho transfer their food to nicer plates. Normally he would protest and say it's a waste of time, that it's more stuff to clean; but it's Minho's apartment, and if he wants to do unnecessary dishes, he tells himself it's none of his business to bitch about that. Though, normally he would. Minho has classy wine glasses too. He pours a taste for Kibum, lets him ok it, and then pours both their glasses to the proper amount. Don't think that Kibum can't tell when he's being seduced, because Minho has never poured a drink like this for him in his life. Other than the times before when they'd gotten drunk on soju in the back of nameless restaurants that catered to idols' privacy. No, this was different than that.

They eat, and Kibum tries to watch his manners, the way he notices Minho doing, but then his previous anger takes over and he can't stand all the silent pleasantries anymore.

"Are you like this with girls?"

"Yes. Does it bother you?"

"Yes."

"Do you want to do something different?" This question might bother Kibum more than the fact of how obvious this date is.

"No."

"Did they cook the noodles the way you like them?"

Kibum wants to throw his dish out the window suddenly, this is so insufferable. "Yup."

He'd expected more pleasantries from Minho, but instead he drops his chopsticks and comes round the table into Kibum's space, takes his chopsticks from him too, and wipes his mouth for him with a napkin. The way Minho looks at him makes his belly flip, so he looks away and gulps too much of the wine.

"Did I choose a good bottle?" he asks when Kibum looks back at him. He's so close now that it's clear this isn't casual banter. His voice is low and he places a hand under Kibum's ear, cradling his head, thumb pressing into his cheek. Kibum nods. "Good," Minho says, and leans in for a kiss. He wants to soothe this tension between them, so he kisses like a textbook, everything is perfect, until Kibum is whining into his mouth and suddenly he bites his lip harshly and Minho pulls away. Hand flying up to his lip to make sure he's not bleeding. "You bit me," he says. "Did I do something wrong?" Kibum is looking back at him with the same angry eyes as before.

"Nothing. Absolutely nothing."

"Then why are you angry at me?"

"You're so fucking perfect it's annoying the hell out of me," Kibum says, and his nostrils flare when he says it.

Minho can't help but laugh. "Oh good. Ok. That I can deal with," Minho waves him away and goes back to his side of the table to finish eating. "You had me worried."

"You're a dick."

"You've been saying that to me for as long as I've known you. It's ok. I thought I'd actually upset you for a while there."

"I am upset! Why do you think I bit you?!"

"Because you..." Minho tries to answer but then realizes that this maybe doesn't explain everything and thankfully Kibum interrupts when Minho runs out of words.

"—Because you're treating me like your date! What is this?"

"You are my date. Don't ruin it."

"Minho, we're not dating. This isn't happening. It doesn't work like this. You can't decide we're dating and then suddenly the rainbow springs forth and unicorns gallop into the sunset."

"You have a wild imagination," Minho says, but it doesn't seem like he's amused this time. He doesn't understand why Kibum makes it all so hard. "But we don't have to date if you don't want to."

"I don't want to be here."

"Why not?"

"This isn't us. This is weird..." When Kibum realizes that Minho doesn't believe him, he keeps talking, "We're not supposed to be doing this."

"Why not?"

"Because," Kibum bites his lip and downs the last bit of his wine. It was good, and if he wasn't intent on disillusioning Minho right now, he'd have poured himself some more. He wants to stop at because, and have that be the only reason he needs. It should be obvious why not, he shouldn't be grasping at straws trying to dissuade Minho. But the truth is Minho really isn't doing anything wrong and it just really pisses Kibum off, that of all the guys he's been with (not many) the one that treats him best is Minho. Ugh. Minho. It just pisses him off so much. "We're Shinee Key and Shinee Minho. We aren't dating."

"Because we're idols?" Minho is looking at him with peaked eyebrows and a snarled lip that's practically disgusted with how weak his defense is. "Idols date all the time. I'm not about to shout it to the world that we're dating, if that's what you're afraid of."

"It's bound to get out."

"We've barely kissed and you're worried about dating rumors? I think you're a bit too hasty, no?"

"You're not thinking at all," Kibum hisses at him.

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but I get the feeling you're more scared of the fact that we're both guys, than I am."

"Yeah. For god's sake, why aren't you freaking out about that?!" Kibum plants his hands on the table and leans towards him. Bingo.

Minho just shrugs. "Maybe I'll have a crisis of conscience someday. You want to get me there faster?"

"No. I want you to realize this can't happen a little faster."

"I don't get why you think this is so strange, us together. I admit, I don't have anything figured out, and I feel a little like I'm getting pushed into commitments I don't yet feel ready for, but at the same time, I'm trying. Why aren't you?"

"Why are you trying so hard? It's easier if you don't and we can go back to normal."

Minho looks at him and actually feels hurt. He swallows and his voice becomes more timid. "Do you really not like me at all?"

"I answered that already."

"I'm pretty sure you didn't. So maybe this is why you're pushing me away. If that's the case, I get it. I like you, you don't like me. And we can forget any of this ever happened. If that's what you want." He's studying Kibum's face and can tell already it's not what he wants. "Is that what you really want?"

"Y-yes," Kibum says, but he can't even look Minho in the eye because of how obvious his lie is.

"You're a terrible liar. Am I pushing too quickly then, is that it?"

"No..." It's really difficult to keep talking now. His energy has disappeared from his will to fight into digesting food, and Kibum really just wants Minho to hold him and then they can fall asleep. Their schedule tomorrow starts later, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want to get to bed. This is precious time to sleep in during a comeback, it's completely unheard of. Actually, it's only because the first schedule of the day had been moved over last minute. But bedtime is calling Kibum's name. Why is he still fighting with Minho?

Maybe Minho is ok with letting the conversation dwindle to nothing. It wasn't productive anyway. He knows this mood of Kibum's, it's unlikely to produce any truths. So silence is better. Silence is ok. It's not unpleasant.

He clears the table while Kibum picks at the carpet and pillow and anything else so he doesn't have to meet Minho's eyes. He says, "Thank you," for the food however, and that's about it.

He follows Minho to the bathroom and accepts the toothbrush that gets placed into his hand. Minho even puts toothpaste on the brush for him, as if he's a toddler who can't do these things for himself. But Kibum is just in a trance and doesn't understand what's happening between them. Why is Minho like this? Why is he playing house with him? Doesn't he realize it's only going to hurt in the end? He's asked himself these things so many times today and maybe it's because the words are only in his head that they don't have answers. But he doesn't feel strong enough to say them out loud. He's said other forms of these things, but if he said it so directly... he doesn't actually want to hurt Minho. Doesn't want to be the person that pushes people away when he actually wants them near. Though he insists to himself that he wants Minho to leave him alone.

He brushes his teeth and pats some acceptable face products into his skin, whatever he found in Minho's bathroom that he recognizes. Minho waits for him, watches from the doorway.

"You're cute," he comments, and Kibum ignores him. When his face is baby-smooth, Minho pushes the fringe out of his eyes, pets over one of his eyebrows and smiles softly at him. "Don't fight me so much."

"You wouldn't know what to do with your life if you didn't have me to yell at."

"That might be true, you know," Minho admits, but realizes that sounds overly greasy, so he adds, "But don't flatter yourself."

"So... bed time?"

"No shower?" Minho asks.

"Isn't this in the wrong order then? Do you want to? Go ahead."

"Will you join me?"

Kibum's eyes nearly fall out of their sockets—"No, Minho!"

Minho has a western shower—the kind that's a nicely tiled cubicle with rich colors and chrome finishes, where you stand and wash under the running spray like a classy person; not all the other kinds where you either soak the entire bathroom, or crouch, or stand in a bathtub, not even the plain white showers. Somehow Minho's shower is sexier, and the thought of being there with him is daunting.

"Not for anything, just, I want to be there with you..." Minho says and comes closer. Pulls off his own shirt, and starts unbuttoning Kibum's also. When it gets embarrassing that Minho is undressing him, Kibum pushes his hands away and takes over. He steps out of his underwear and enters the shower first, and can feel Minho's eyes on him. What is that boy thinking?

As promised, Minho gets in with him, just as nude, and Kibum can't remember when the last time he saw Minho this naked was. Sometime when they still lived together at the dorm maybe. Years and years ago. Before they'd even made up probably. Though, he's seen plenty of Minho's upper body throughout the years. (Only thanks to the number of backstage changerooms they've shared, because both of them are the modest kind of idol.) He's not as built as he once was. He's rather lean these days. Probably a good thing, otherwise Kibum would have felt completely inadequate next to him. He pulls his eyes away before Minho can catch him staring.

They maneuver around each other, and it's not the easiest thing keeping his eyes off Minho, especially when Minho himself seems to be making no efforts to look away. As Kibum reaches to wash his back, Minho pushes his hands away and takes over without a word—pulls the loofa they're sharing out of his hands and runs it over his back for him, then hands it back when he deems him clean, and continues just running his hands over his shoulders and neck. Minho has finished first, but remains, just to keep a hand somewhere on Kibum's body, to feel that connection, and maybe it's getting in Kibum's way, but he really doesn't care.

Honestly, being this close to Minho is making Kibum really antsy. He's dragging it out, taking way more time than necessary washing up, but he's run out of places on his body to wash, and Minho is still behind him, hand playing down his spine peacefully. Kibum doesn't want to turn around. He can predict a kiss, warm and wet, water beating down on them, and it would be too much to handle.

He doesn't have to turn around though, because Minho pulls in close to him, since Kibum has stopped moving and is just staring at the faucet in front. He wraps arms around him and rests his hands on Kibum's abdomen, and kisses his neck from behind. This is too much, Kibum moans lightly, and light as it was, he's pretty sure Minho noticed, because his hands move up to Kibum's pectorals and cup him as if he had breasts. He can't help but wonder if Minho has done this with a girl before. Probably has. After all, he's done this with his old boyfriend. And then they ended up fucking in the shower. Fuck. That was not a memory he needed right now. Not when Minho is kissing under his ear, fingers tentatively playing over his nipples. He whimpers low in his throat from how Minho touches him, and he's hard in no time flat. God, he's so sensitive. He just needs to start fucking more often and then he won't be hard from the first damn stimulus. But of course, these thoughts are only worse for the erection he has no hope of hiding anymore.

The odd thing perhaps is that he can feel Minho against him now. Oh. Minho is at least a little hard because Kibum can feel his length touching on the small of his back, just above his tailbone. Oh... oh, no. No, he's not ready for this. How on Earth is he supposed to escape now? He doesn't think any sex is about to happen, but something is inevitably about to happen because this situation is too charged right now. Kibum wonders at first if he should turn around and kiss Minho properly, or turn around and touch him, but ends up just touching himself, fisting lightly in a lazy rhythm that matches with how Minho is mouthing on his neck and caressing over his chest. Minho takes it slow, really slow, probably because he's getting used to being with a boy? Or because he wants to be slow with Kibum? Who knows, but it's agonizing, and only makes Kibum more turned on. Thoughts center on his pleasure as he jerks himself off really obviously now. And if Minho has his eyes open—though Kibum can't see him—then he must be watching the way Kibum's hand moves over himself.

Yes, Minho is watching him. Leaving small kisses to his shoulder, eyes trained on Kibum's dick, fingers only just brave enough to touch weakly over his nipples. But he feels like Kibum likes it when he does, so just to test his theory, he takes one in his fingertips finally and Kibum moans, before he swallows the other half of it and it turns into a whine. Minho hums into his neck, and pushes himself flush against Kibum so he can feel him too, fully hard, against his back. He sucks once and then bites down onto Kibum's neck and Kibum moans deeply. Minho is watching him, he knows he's close, just feels a little strange being the one who caused it. Also wonders about himself, if he should do anything about it. It's easier when he doesn't have to decide, when Kibum loses the will of restraint and turns around, dark eyes on his, and grabs him forward into a searing kiss, with too much tongue. Yet Minho has no room to complain, because Kibum has grabbed his body close and with his other hand wraps around both their dicks to fist them together.

"Ohh," Minho moans into his mouth. Oh, he hadn't expected this. He has no idea why not, but... oh. They're together and Kibum is in control, and the way he's rubbing them both is perfect, so Minho kisses him and surrenders to how Kibum is handling him. He's surprised to find himself so turned on, surprised even more when Kibum comes right over his dick, panting into his mouth, and Minho thinks he must be stupid to be surprised by this but he is. And it's sexy. He's holding Kibum close to him now that he's not pumping them together anymore, holding some of his weight as he recovers and then pushes his tongue back into his mouth for a sloppy kiss. He wants to say something but Kibum beats him to it.

He takes hold of only Minho this time, slick with come that isn't his, and asks, "Can you come?"

Minho swallows thickly, and nods, eyes locked on Kibum's. The slide is so good right now. Trust another male to know what they're doing with dick. He wants to laugh at such an asinine realization but can't. Kibum has taken to kissing over his neck and throat, and over his collarbones. He's not soft, like Minho had been earlier, either.

Minho holds on to his hips, too focused on his impending orgasm to register much else. When Kibum kisses into his mouth again, in a way that's really lewd, he comes over his fingers and Kibum works him through it, keeps kissing his mouth even though Minho can't right now, and breathes with him as his heartbeat returns to some semblance of normal. Minho fidgets at the end of it, slightly, enough for Kibum to know he's too sensitive and stops touching him, holds his nape instead and then Minho complains, "Did you just put come in my hair?"

"Does it matter? We're in the shower. Move back a foot and rinse it off."

Minho doesn't reply. He's not sure what to feel now that they've shared this together. No, he doesn't care about come in his hair, that was just the first thing that happened to reach his mouth. Either way, he pulls them both under the spray again to rinse off and then turns the water off. He pulls Kibum out of there and hands him a towel. He really has no idea what to do now, just watches Kibum and maybe he'll have some answers.

"Bed time?" Kibum asks.

"Ok," Minho answers, because that's the best he can do.

The thing about this time though, is that they're fully naked when they end up in bed together. Kibum isn't staying on his side of the bed either. As soon as Minho gets in, he gets on top of him, straddling him and resumes kissing him deeply, like they had in the shower, but now rolling his hips into him also.

Minho whines from the contact. It's too much. This feels like sex. Maybe Kibum can sense this because he lets up. Still sits on him but their bodies are no longer flush and grinding together. Kibum rests on his elbows and talks into his mouth, "You ok?"

When Minho doesn't immediately reply, Kibum pulls back a bit more, and finally Minho answers, "Too much, I'm sorry." His voice is rather small so Kibum gets off him completely and gives him space. In the next instant Minho feels lonely and curls back into Kibum's side, turning him into his body pillow. He still wants him close—doesn't fully understand, but knows at least this.

"Did I scare you?" Kibum asks. Again, Minho doesn't answer, so Kibum just says, "Don't worry about it. I'm sorry. Sleep, ok?"

He tries to calm his breathing and not think, but he can't not think. He doesn't have words, but he has a mess of thoughts. At least half an hour passes before Minho realizes that they're both still awake. He'd touched over one of Kibum's nipples and his breath had jumped in the tiniest way. He can hear all of Kibum's breaths because of how he's resting against him, and now his breaths are out of rhythm, like he's trying to control his heartbeat, but Minho can hear that too. Kibum is definitely awake.

"Can I touch you?" Minho asks. Kibum turns to look at him, they share a glance before Minho winds his hand down his front, and cups him. Kibum throws his head back, his breathing impatient suddenly, like it wants to exit his body too quickly. Just because Minho is touching him. And then Minho wraps his hand around his shaft and Kibum grows hard beneath his fingers. He feels so stupid getting turned on from something so small, Minho is barely touching him, just exploring his body. But now that he is hard, Minho tugs him gently. Not enough to really achieve anything, but enough that it's not awkward to have his hand on him whilst doing nothing. After a while he loses interest and apologizes, and moves to touching other parts of Kibum. Minho seems to just like touching, not necessarily sexually. He likes petting him and licking over his skin, but doesn't seem to want much more. It's driving Kibum insane tonight.

"You're turning me on, you know that, right?"

"Sorry," Minho mumbles again and stops touching him. Just rests at his side, the most innocent of contact still between them, only an elbow digging into Kibum's ribs, and his knee against Kibum's thigh.

Kibum sighs. That's not what he meant to have happen. Still, maybe it's a good time to fall asleep finally. He won't complain.

---

When Kibum wakes up, he's alone in Minho's bed and can hear him talking on the phone in another room. Likely with one of their managers.

He pads out of the bedroom and finds him in the kitchen, phone on his shoulder and cooking eggs. Minho gives him a smile when he sees Kibum awake. Then nods towards the table where there are a bunch of other breakfast foods that are already waiting for him. Kibum smiles in return.

He would be mad, angry like last night when dinner had been too perfect, but today he finds it really sweet that Minho is cooking for him. He can't remember the last time someone cooked for him. So he sits and waits for Minho to finish his call.

He's started munching on small bites of salad, while pretending to wait to eat together, but doesn't have to wait long. Minho lays down their plates now that the stove is off and his phonecall is over, and sits across from him. "Did you sleep ok?" he asks.

Kibum nods, and smiles shyly. It's been so long since he'd been intimate with someone. He doesn't want to say it out loud because it might be too awkward, but even with whatever nervousness there was between them last night, Kibum had liked it. He hopes it was ok for Minho too. Especially since he's sure that had been Minho's first time with another male. But again, doesn't want to bring that up. "Thanks for cooking," he says instead.

"I hope we can do this again," Minho replies and it's not what Kibum was expecting to hear. He looks up at him, but also unexpectedly Minho seems to be hiding his face behind his coffee mug. This isn't like him at all. The Minho he knows isn't shy.

When he points this out, Minho snaps out of it. "Hey, you're not shy, are you?" Kibum says, and Minho shakes his head, takes a big gulp of coffee to get back to normal.

"I'm ok," he says. "Promise." He'd been thinking of how Kibum had taken control last night. Girls don't do that normally and he knows he'll have to adjust.

After breakfast, they check emails and watch an episode of a Kdrama that's on TV, cuddled together on the couch, and then the day moves on like any other.

---

It takes Minho several days, several of which have split schedule, where his schedule doesn't line up with Kibum's, before he finds the time to get together after work again.

He texts him: Hey, are you home?

Yes, is Kibum's reply.

Good. I'm coming over.

Kibum lets him into his apartment just a few minutes later, and tells him, "I'm watching a good episode. You should join me." When they sit down together, Kibum curls himself into Minho's side and unpauses the Kdrama episode he'd been watching.

Minho watches with him, feels content to rest his mind and touch lazily over Kibum's side, until he figures out which Kdrama it is that they're watching. "Hey, isn't this that really cheesy one, where the doctor and patient end up together?"

"He ends up with the patient?!—Not the nurse?" Kibum turns on him briskly, then hits him harshly in the shoulder. "Ugh! Thanks for spoiling it." He rubs a hand over his eyes, and shakes his head in disappointment.

"Sorry. Did I really ruin it for you?" Minho grimaces. He thought Kibum must have known the ending to this one; it's an old one.

"Yeah... Never mind," he says with defeat in his voice. "Don't worry about it. Make it up to me with breakfast again." It's so casual the way he says it that Minho barely notices the significance of it. Does that mean it's ok to treat him like a boyfriend?

Boyfriend? That word sounds terrible in his head. When it reaches the end of his tongue it sounds even worse, so he swallows it down before it reaches the outside world. "Sure. Breakfast," Minho agrees, and pulls Kibum into his side again so they can keep watching the show that he's just spoiled.

It isn't the same anymore however, because Kibum's attention is no longer on the TV. It seems to be on playing with the buttons on Minho's shirt—though because Minho's brain is slightly foggy again, he's only just noticed this.

He looks at the time. It's getting late. "Do you want me to stay over?"

"Stay," Kibum nods. He's still playing with Minho's shirt buttons. There's something he wants to say, now that the floodgates have opened and he knows what it's like to be intimate with Minho. At least a little. He wants more of it and wants to ask for it, but hasn't put together a sentence that doesn't make him sound desperate. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he's still praying that Minho will come to his senses and stop looking for something more than friendship between them, but that's not what he's thinking about right now. Right now, he's imagining them in the shower, with his lips wrapped about Minho's dick and he wonders if that would be "too much" for Minho. Probably is. He should just keep it to himself.

It's then that Minho pulls his face up and directly into a kiss. Maybe he'd read his mind. He's not about to question this, just straddles Minho's lap and continues kissing him, adds tongue, presses his erection onto his abs. He knows this is what got him in trouble when they'd been naked in bed, but they're not naked now.

He rolls his hips a few times to test how Minho reacts and it's not bad. Minho is still kissing him and the hand on his hip pinches into him tighter. Actually pulls him down tighter. There's a second where Kibum reaches down to position themselves better, so when their hips roll together it's really good pressure. Good friction, even with all their clothes in the way. Kibum pulls away from Minho's mouth, needs to breathe better, wants to focus on grinding together and how turned on he is again. Why is it so easy to get like this? He puts his hands over Minho's shoulders and throws his head back in pleasure.

Minho's eyes meet the design on Kibum's sweater: Photoshopped pink cats playing with scissors—and his brain hurts so much that he blurts out, "Don't wear this again." He pinches the clothing to indicate. Honestly, he hadn't been thinking, he was thinking about how good Kibum looks when he's riding over his dick, but his brain isn't functioning properly, obviously.

"Why not?" Kibum expects him to say something sexy maybe, considering their current activity, but no. Minho even pushes him further away for a better look.

"It's the ugliest sweater I've ever seen. And we lived though that plaid nightmare a few years ago."

Kibum hits him. "Dick. My cousin gave this to me."

"—Your cousin hates you."

"—And for the record, I liked the colorful plaid concept. I ok'd it with the stylists."

"More reasons why I hate your guts," Minho returns smugly.

"You know what?—Next comeback, I'm gonna make sure she puts you in this sweater. I'll personally dry-clean it and deliver it to your dressing room." Kibum stands up from Minho's body and takes off his pants instead of taking off his sweater.

"You're evil."

He's wearing nothing but the ugly pink-cats sweater when he sits back onto Minho's lap. Minho tries to take it off of him but he resists, because Kibum really is evil like that. "Yeah, go ahead, keep saying shit about my fashion."

"It's terrible. You know that transparent handbag you like? It's a fad and it looks idiotic."

Kibum shrugs this time. "I'm gonna find a way to revenge because you said that. Mark my words."

"I think I prefer you naked anyway." Minho has his hands under his sweater, petting his sides, and up to his nipples. His thumbs rub over them and Kibum bristles. "Will you take off this ridiculous sweater? It's horrid."

Kibum laughs. He really wanted to protest and torture Minho some more, really wants to, but the way Minho is looking at him makes him change his mind and throw it across the room immediately. He's left naked in Minho's lap while Minho is fully dressed and he feels like a meal about to be ravished. Oh god, he hasn't had someone look at him like this in so long. He's so hard for him he's practically leaking and Minho can see all of him now, how his dick twitches when he rolls a finger over his nipples, and how his breath hitches in his throat, and Kibum can feel him hard in his pants as well. He bites his lip and starts rolling their hips together again, throws his head back and rides over him the way he had before Minho and his stupid sweater comment interrupted them.

Minho is watching him. "You look good like this," he comments. "Naked. Turned on, I mean. Not just cause you ditched the sweater."

"I figured," Kibum replies. Still snarky, even in moments like these. But really, that kind of compliment goes straight to his dick.

Kibum has built himself up to a frenzy rutting on Minho's lap, mostly of his own making since Minho is only touching over his skin. He can see Minho watching him closely, seemingly apprehensive about what more to contribute to what's happening between them. Again, Kibum doubts that he's this way with girls. The more they're together like this, the more Minho sits back and just watches Kibum pleasure himself over him, especially now that Kibum has a hand fisted over his own dick and the other slung over Minho's shoulder. His moans are getting louder.

"Is it ok if I just watch you?" Minho says after a while. Kibum gives him a strange look but nods, and continues jerking himself off. He's biting on his lips and looking right at Minho. "What are you thinking about?" Minho asks, because he's curious. At those words, Kibum moans whorishly and crumples into his body, mouth panting now just under Minho's ear.

"You... god... I'm thinking about you. Is that ok?" Then he lets out a whine from deep in this throat and his next words are a ragged whisper. "I—I'm... gonna come..." And he does, over the front of Minho's pants and shirt, he's not even careful. Minho can feel his orgasm course through him because he's touching over his spine. His body trembles as he comes down from his high and he lays over Minho, breath still heavy and hot on his neck, and just as Minho predicted: it would be like an assault on his sexuality. Kibum is sexy, in a powerful, intriguing way that pulls Minho into him.

Minho feels like he's the one that has to recover from that kind of display afterwards. He's still hard in his pants, but feels no need to alleviate it. Instead he's caught up in thoughts of Kibum versus past girlfriends and many lovers, and can't say he's ever reacted this way to anyone else's orgasm before. He's kind of shocked stupid. Maybe it's because it's Kibum, who he's known since they were young trainees. Maybe because he finally sees him vulnerable. Maybe because Kibum has always been a little exotic and rebellious in Minho's opinion. Maybe because he can feel him falling with him down this rabbit hole. Maybe a combination of these things, but he's both scared and turned on, and it's new and thrilling. One part of his brain says "take it slow", while the other says, "just jump". Jump to what? Let Kibum lead?

"M'mmm," Kibum hums into his skin and it feels like honey. "That was good... Can I help you with yours?"

An enticing suggestion, but he's not ready for that. "Not yet." He wraps Kibum's legs around him instead, and picks him up, carries him to the bathroom. Then lets him stand again and takes off his own clothing. "Let me borrow something to wear in the morning, yeah?" Minho says, and dumps his clothes in the laundry basket.

"Sure," Kibum agrees. He's interested to see what Minho does next, now that they're both naked. Minho pulls him into the shower. Except that Kibum's shower is a little small for two people, so they're pressed together and Minho runs his hands through Kibum's hair and over his body. Lathers them up and seems to wash them both at the same time, as if they were one body, and it's not really that sexy, but it feels good to have Minho take care of him. Afterwards, Minho towels both of them dry and Kibum has a cheesy smile on his face. When they're done with the bathroom, Kibum kind of expects that the rest of their night is just going to be sweet and nothing else heated is going to happen between them because of how relaxed and slow Minho is being. But then Minho picks him up, so Kibum wraps his legs around him, and carries him to the bedroom, both of them still naked.

When Minho drops Kibum onto the bed, he climbs over him and kisses him passionately, and it's new for Minho to be on top. It's melting Kibum into the mattress to have him actually taking charge for once, and he's more than happy to have him between his legs pressing their bodies flush. He wraps his legs around him even, to make sure he doesn't go anywhere. When Minho's kisses travel to his jaw and neck, and then collarbones, Kibum stretches out beneath him because he loves being worshipped like this. It becomes obvious once again however, that Minho's focus is not any kind of sexual gratification, but just intimacy.

"Minho?" Kibum says eventually, even though Minho's face is still buried in his neck, leaving licks and kisses along his jugular. "Do you... uh, do you like being like this with me?" It might be artless to ask, but he gets the feeling that they might be moving too fast for Minho, who hasn't been with any males before Kibum.

Minho looks him in the eye then, with a raised eyebrow, says, "Yes," in an oddly matter-of-fact tone, and then as if to prove his point dives to take one of Kibum's nipples into his mouth. And Kibum's heart jumps into his throat from it. He squeezes Minho tighter between his legs and tries to roll upwards into him. Minho moves to his other nipple also. "I take my time with people I like," Minho says. As if that's enough explanation. His hands move over Kibum's thighs, upwards to his bum, and Minho sits up to look at him as he pets him this way. "Is that ok? Or do you have something else in mind?"

Kibum bites his lip and suddenly feels a bit selfish. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe Minho really is ok with being with him, a male. He wishes it weren't so hard to ask such an embarrassing question. He's dying to ask "why me?" "how are you ok with this?" "I know you, you're straight. Like, really really straight." And then after all that, "why do you love me?" Because it's obvious Minho's feelings are much more love than lust. In the end, Kibum says, "Don't leave, ok? Stay with me."

Minho smiles kindly, "I'm right here." And his hands splay over Kibum's abdomen in a reassuring way.

Their night turns into warm cuddles and soft touches and they fall asleep spooning.

---

Almost a handful of nights like these later, they're naked in Minho's bed this time. It's probably time that they fall asleep already, because Minho has an early schedule, but they're still chatting and touching.

Kibum has his head tucked into Minho's chest and a leg slung over him, as he listens to his heart and pets over a nipple, and down to his ribs, and waist, and holds him close. They haven't done anything more tonight than kiss, because Kibum secretly feels a bit awkward having Minho only pay attention to him. So far the pattern has become that either he jacks himself off and Minho watches him, or Minho plays with him lightly until Kibum takes over and comes all over him, or Minho just kisses and touches him, even if he's on top. He's only made Minho come that first time in the shower and he's starting to wonder if he should push more or less, in order for more to happen between them.

They're talking about a movie role Minho had been offered, so Minho is excitedly debating the pros and cons of it, describing the plot and whatnot; but Kibum's mind is wondering if he should take Minho's nipple into his mouth, because it's right there, and he's been looking at it for almost half an hour now. So he does, lifts his head and gives it a lick, doesn't even look at Minho to see his reaction, but indeed Minho stops talking about the movie script. When he's lavished both his nipples and seems satisfied with how Minho's breathing has picked up, he comes up to his neck and starts kissing along his jaw line and up into his hair. He's trying to be seductive and subtle at the same time, taking the "slow" approach since that's how Minho plays and maybe that's the safest way to approach this. He licks over the shell of Minho's ear, and says something he's wanted to say for a while now: "Can I blow you?" Keeps his voice low, but steady, even though some of his neediness comes through. He feels like the opposite isn't a possibility right now, but maybe this would open Minho up for a little more. Because what guy doesn't like getting a blowjob?

When he sits up to look at Minho's reaction, he sees the hand over his eyes, and the lip caught in his teeth and—shit. "Did I make a mistake? Should I not have said that?" Kibum rushes to say.

"No—no. It's fine. You're ok." Minho looks at him, hand in his hair this time, pushing his fringe back. "You want more from me, right?"

Kibum shallows. "Not if you don't." He straddles him, hands resting on Minho's shoulders. "It's ok if you don't want more. I was just wondering."

"Can I tell you something?—That's my move too. What you just did... start kissing over her breasts, neck, face, and then move below," Minho says. He's got a cryptic smile on his face when he suddenly flips them and kisses Kibum's mouth. His voice drops lower as he speaks between their lips. "If I want sex... I'd go down on her... and then finger her, as foreplay." Minho sweeps his tongue into his mouth several times as he talks. "Is that... what you wanted to do?" More kisses. "Hmm?"

"Not exactly." He wasn't planning on doing more than blowing him, thinking it's obvious Minho's not about to bottom.

"Good," Minho replies. But since Minho doesn't say anything more after that, Kibum is left wondering if that's supposed to mean he doesn't want to get blown or fingered or what. It's surprising however when Minho takes his dick in hand and starts giving him the kind of handjob that's meant to get you hard and prepared for more. His mouth travels to his neck again—probably Minho's favorite place on Kibum's body, considering how much time he spends nuzzling into it—and then lower.

He sinks down between Kibum's legs and pushes his knees up, so he's not just kissing over his abs lightly, but taking the time to stroke him properly, taking his kisses lower, with a full view of what he's doing. The lights are on. Kibum is hairless and hard, his fingers clutching sheets, afraid that this will somehow stop, because this is the most proactive Minho has been with him. Minho doesn't stop. Instead, when he reaches low enough, he licks a stripe up Kibum's shaft. He plays the taste over his tongue and seems to decide it's good enough to warrant taking the head into his mouth, sending a shock up Kibum's spine that makes him arch off the bed and whine prettily. This encourages Minho onwards. He may not have given a blowjob before, but he's had plenty given to him, and so he knows how this works. Technically. It's not as bad as he ever thought it would be, just weird having such a shape in his mouth. He's known some girls that can do crazy things like take dick down their throat, but he's not about to try any of that, just sticks to the basics. He's doing something right, because every time he chances a look up at Kibum's face, he's either panting, got his lip strained between his teeth, or he's looking down at him with wide eyes that can never keep eye contact for long before his head flies back and he arches off the bed again. He also seems to have a dirty mouth, because he's sworn randomly a handful of times.

Kibum plays over his own chest and nipples, riling himself up further, his breaths getting more needy as Minho works him with hand and mouth, sucking him very well in Kibum's opinion. Minho should know by now that Kibum has a dirty mouth, whether they're in bed together or not. Kibum's been swearing at him for years like it's a pastime, so he's not sure why it surprises him now, but it's likely their scenario mixed with the low tone, the way he draws out the words, which sound more like air than language.

He can feel Kibum's high, knows he's close, so he chances to lift his head for a moment and asks, "I don't want sex tonight, but will this be enough?"

Kibum's reply comes with a needy whine, as he nods and Minho takes him back into his mouth, creating a vacuum and pressure that pulls him over the edge. "Oh god... I'm gonna—" Kibum warns. His voice is pitched and though he meant to warn he's at his climax, he can't get the word out so he pushes lightly on Minho's forehead, but Minho keeps his mouth on him, still lapping and swirling his tongue over the head. Kibum whimpers, spilling onto Minho's tongue, his name said as another warning of no avail because Minho doesn't move off him; instead takes all he has and swallows it.

"Mmm. You taste pretty ok actually," Minho tells him afterwards, and it's an extremely strange compliment in Kibum's opinion but it makes him feel amazing. He crawls back up Kibum's body, falling between his legs and kisses him briefly on the mouth. "Better than me, I think."

"What?" Kibum nearly chokes. "Y-you've tasted yourself?"

"If there's a guy in this world who hasn't, at some point or other, I'd be very surprised."

"True..." But still.

Then Minho makes himself comfortable using Kibum as a pillow, and Kibum is too satisfied to remember to protest that this wasn't his plan for tonight, or make any further comments. The afterglow is like a soft cloud ushering him into sleep and away from capable brain function.

Somehow tonight has still ended up being about Kibum, and his amazing orgasm, and not Minho... again.

In the morning, he'll watch Minho sleep for a few minutes, replaying the night before in his head, seeing Minho bobbing his head between his legs. Christ. Who would have thought that Minho would give him a blowjob?

---

"I wanna make you come," Kibum tells him a dozen nights later. There had been over a week between them where schedules didn't permit them time to see each other and luxuriate in bed, so this is technically the next available opportunity.

The time since they'd last been together has gone by in a blur where anytime Kibum thinks about Minho, he remembers the feel of his mouth on him, and how powerful his orgasm had been. Words he should have said come to him in retrospect: "Thank you." "That was amazing." "I can't believe you did that." "I wanted to do that to you instead." "Where did you learn how to suck dick, because that was really good for a first time." And, "Thank you for breakfast," because again Minho had cooked for him in the morning. It might not be much for Minho, but it makes Kibum feel special and fall head over heels for him. Way more than he should feel for a friend.

They're at Kibum's place tonight, and it feels easier here on his territory where it doesn't feel so much like he's imposing on Minho's hospitality. Because when they're at his place, Minho is entirely too nice and boyfriendy.

As intended, so far, Kibum is between Minho's legs, over him, a hand fisted over the both of them, stroking them together. It feels like tonight he might get his wish because Minho looks pretty blissed out under him, enjoying the rhythm Kibum has created. Of course, they're gonna need a bit more to get anywhere, but at least he's hard and letting Kibum pleasure him too.

"Tell me what to do. I want to do it for you," Kibum says. He ducks down to kiss Minho's sharp jawline. Just to make the loving intention a bit more clear.

"Always so bossy, Kibum," Minho tsks jovially. As a redirection. It's not a real answer. "Even when you want to be nice."

"I am nice!"

"You have your moments," Minho laughs. He's just kidding. Kibum has been an angel practically, since they've started being close and lovey this way.

"Minho... You didn't tell me what you want. Will you tell me?"

Again Minho deflects. "Tell me what you think about when you think about me."

"Conceited."

"You know me best," Minho winks.

An appreciative hum comes from Kibum, half way to a moan. He's thinking about the things he wants to do with Minho's body. Ever since Minho had kissed him, he's taken him off every off-limits list that ever existed in his mind, and his imagination has run wild like he'd never allowed before. After all, never in his wildest dreams did he think he'd ever fall into this kind of relationship with Minho, but here they were, so maybe dreams come true. And he's been lusting over him since. He'd very quickly forgotten his unease over how it's not a good idea to be dating Minho, and any consequences. As he knew of himself, his heart was on a platter for him almost immediately after the dam fell.

"M'mmm... I think about... I think about how your dick would feel inside me, your arms around me, pushing into me... the sweat on your body..." Kibum closes his eyes, transported into his imagination again. When his strokes become sloppy, Minho moves his hand away and takes over, but this time he's only holding Kibum, only working his pleasure, and Kibum falls forward, arms on either side of Minho's head, breathing into his face.

Minho flips them, but lays at Kibum's side this time as he fists over him, mouth nuzzled under his ear. "Keep talking," he says.

"I—I want to feel so many parts of you... if you'll let me. And... mmmm!" Kibum's voice becomes pitched from the way Minho is curling over his head, thumb rubbing over the frenulum before stroking back down. "Fuck me... god... any way. Fast or slow. However you want. I wanna make you come and I don't know how... you won't let me."

"I'll let you."

Kibum whimpers. "Yeah?"

"How am I supposed to fuck you? Step by step," Minho asks. He kisses over Kibum's collarbone.

"Fingers. Fingers first..."

"Yeah? Does it feel good?" He sits up so he can pet over Kibum's side at the same time as keeping a steady rhythm on his dick.

"Minho... have you tried it before? Touching there?" Minho shakes his head, and Kibum whines, throwing his head back and a hand over his eyes. "Of course you haven't..." he says. "God... I don't think I should be saying this to you, I'm afraid I'll scare you... but you should try one day. Get some lube and start with a finger. You'll know how it feels when you find your prostate."

"I have lube," Minho says nonchalantly and places a kiss on his navel. The intention behind this declaration is unclear and Kibum is too scared to ask if he wants to try. Either way, he forgets what he's saying when Minho's hand picks up the pace, when his kisses fall into the nook where leg meets body. Minho's face is too close to his dick, he can feel the heat of his breath so close, his hand too skilled—probably because he's not unfamiliar the equipment—and this mixture has Kibum at a peak.

"I'm close—" Kibum says, but he's coming before he even thought he would, spilling over Minho's hand, the wetness, working him through the high, and he might have forgotten his name by the end of it if it wasn't for Minho.

"Kibumie..." The cutest pet name Minho has ever used with him. A very rare occurrence.

Kibum looks down at him, laying low on the bed below Kibum's legs. His hand is sticky with Kibum's come but he's still holding him gently as he grows soft, knows the other male would be prickly with overstimulation if he were to hold him tighter.

With his other hand he pushes Kibum's legs higher up, knees in the air, and kisses lightly over the back of his thigh, runs a hand over the same skin, up to his knee and back down again, to show he wants Kibum to keep his legs apart as he plays lower. His wet hand follows the drip of come to his balls, touches lightly, but runs his fingers lower. He looks up for a moment to see Kibum's wide eyes staring back at him in anticipation. Over his perineum, he pets, makes sure he has enough lubrication on his fingers when he feels over Kibum's opening, now slick from his own come. Kibum keens when he touches there, he can feel the rush up his spine, and so he brings his hand to his mouth to keep in any sounds.

Minho smiles gently at the reaction. He's curious how else Kibum will react if he takes this further. He's certainly not protesting so it's a sign that this is probably ok. He massages over the opening, and when he thinks Kibum is ready, pushes a finger past the ring of muscle into him. Kibum makes no sound, but with the way his fist is in his mouth Minho is guessing he's biting down on it.

"Let me hear you," he says as he feels deeper inside him. "I wanna know I'm doing this right."

So Kibum drops the hand from his mouth and grabs the sheets instead. He nods quickly, already becoming hard again. Minho's finger has passed by so close to his prostate. And even though it's just come, there's enough wetness for him to easily add another finger. He doesn't need to be told when to do it, he can feel Kibum can take it.

It's tighter now, the squeeze with two fingers makes Kibum moan lowly, and he's still nodding lazily, biting his lip because Minho just needs to—"Angle up a bit," he breathes. And Minho does it and god... Kibum whines like it's painful, but it's not. It's sinfully good. It's been months since he's fingered himself, and even longer since he's put a vibrator up himself, and he feels so uncoordinated to have this kind of stimulation again. He's panting in no time, reaches a hand to stroke over his shaft as well. Minho's fingers on his prostate as he jacks off. God... if Minho keeps that up, he'll come twice in one night. He's massaging inside him perfectly.

"You like this?"

"Harder. Fuck me harder," Kibum's voice has an obvious strain to it. He moans when Minho picks up the pace of his fingers, driving them deep into him, repeatedly, fucking him as requested. He can't believe Minho is doing this to him but now's not the time to look a gift horse in the mouth.

"Want anything else?"

"You can get inside me... Otherwise this is... perfect."

Two fingers it is. Minho watches him, taking in all his needy sounds and blissful expressions, too wrapped up in pleasure to notice that Minho is shallowly rutting against the mattress to the same rhythm. Kibum is whining, and panting and then drops the hand from around his own dick and pulls at Minho. "Come up here," he says. "Kiss me and fuck me, I'll come."

Minho crawls up his body on request, straddles one of his thighs oddly and he bends to kiss him on the mouth, and keeps his fingers rutting inside his body, though the angle isn't as good. Kibum's hands end up in his hair, their kiss becomes a string of licks into Minho's mouth as he craves contact and love, and he rolls his hips into Minho's fingers as if they were actually fucking.

He doesn't need to touch himself again, he's already sensitive from the first high. He comes like that and Minho kisses him through it, swallows any nonsense words Kibum says also, and finally lays him down and eases his fingers out of him gently. He splays his hand through the new come on Kibum's abdomen, working it up his body as if it was lotion, admiring him in his afterglow. Kisses his cheek and eyebrow.

"You're sexy," he says.

"You're good at making me come," Kibum replies breathily, and pushes Minho's hand off him. He looks him in the eye, tries to be serious, but Minho has an innocent look on his face like he's not the damn guilty culprit responsible for all this mess. Kibum rolls them and gets on top of him, tries to use the wetness between them to jerk Minho off as well, and Minho lets him for a while, before distracting him with kisses, and wandering hands up his spine, and then he flips them again so they're back where they started and Minho still hasn't come.

He folds his body into Kibum's side when they stop kissing, hardness pressing into Kibum's thigh, but only makes mild attempts to rub against him.

Kibum feels like there's an elephant in the room, wants to shout "why won't you let me help you come too?!" But he has a feeling that Minho would say something like "not tonight".

And as if he were reading his mind, Minho says, "Tonight was nice," with a lazy smile as he lifts his head from Kibum's chest to look at him for a moment. Kibum's heart melts, but at the same time he knows that means they're done for the night. Sleep time now.

Not that he has any energy left to question Minho's distance and reluctance after coming twice. He's so limp and sated that once again he lets it go.

In the morning though, Kibum has the energy for a fight, even if asking this will turn into one. It's ok, it's about time probably. Here goes nothing:

"Can I ask you something? And please don't sidestep it this time," Kibum says over a rushed breakfast. Minho gives him his attention, and Kibum continues. "I get the feeling you're avoiding or ignoring your own—needs, when we're in bed. ...Why? Don't deny it. What are you doing?"

Minho's eyes take on a soft look, and he takes a few seconds just looking back at him before replying. Probably deciding on his words. "I'm falling in love with you, I think," he says, that same soft look having traveled to the upturn of his lips.

"Oh." Kibum's face flushes scarlet immediately. That's not at all the answer he was expecting, and it's so sweet he can barely stand it. He hides his face, otherwise he'll rush over to Minho and cover him in kisses.

They don't have time to talk more about this. Minho winks at him, and gets up to put dishes in the sink.

Technically, if Kibum really wanted, he had a handful of minutes to reply, but in that moment he could only stare after Minho as he busied himself in Kibum's kitchen, puppy eyes following his movements.

He loves me?

---

They're in a waiting room just hours later and Minho's words are eating at Kibum's conscience, filling him with riotous butterflies. And the longer he has to spend acting normal as stylists and handlers and managers run circles around them, he feels like he might puke if he has to keep everything inside.

So he stands after the hair dresser is done with his hair and goes to hold Minho's hand, who can tell that something is bothering him. "You ok?" he asks Kibum.

"I don't feel well. Come to the washroom with me." That's the best excuse Kibum can find.

Jinki gives him a concerned look when they walk out the door, but Kibum nods back at him to assure him it's not bad.

Unfortunately the washroom isn't private. There's two other men in there when they walk in, and now the silence between them is dragging on in an absurd way. Thankfully no one else pays them any attention, but it's eating into the time they have before they have to be on stage, just waiting and looking at each other anxiously by the sinks.

"Is this about what I said this morning?" Minho asks. Though they're not alone yet, at least they don't know this man who's washing his hands between them, so he's not likely to care about their vague conversation.

"Yes," Kibum admits. His hands dive into his pockets to keep from trembling.

"Should I not have said that?"

Kibum shakes his head, trying to be less awkward as the last stranger finally walks out and they're left alone in the bathroom. He pulls Minho towards the back, where they're probably more suspicious but at least out of eyeline from the door, should anyone else walk in. He can take Minho's hand into his to hold for a moment, and says, "I'm glad you did." He feels so young, talking like this, all clandestine in the corner of a washroom. There would be a bright pink color over his cheeks if there wasn't so much foundation on his face right now.

"Then what's wrong?" Minho's voice has gotten quiet too.

"You're so... different. I don't understand how you can like me," Kibum says as he studies the buttons on Minho's shirt. Too shy to look him in the eye just yet.

"I won't lie. I ask myself the same thing pretty often," Minho says, and gives him a soft smile when Kibum looks up into his eyes.

"So then, what's the answer?"

Minho shakes his head and pulls Kibum into his chest. For a moment it feels like Minho might dodge the question, but then he says, "I'm in the process of giving up all pretense that I know what's right in life. It could just blow away like the wind in the next second." His voice seems a little broken, and Kibum's heart reaches for him. "With you it feels like I'm not building a sandcastle at least. Like even if I make mistakes, the wind and sea won't wash you away from me so easily. I hope you feel it too." He gives Kibum a gentle squeeze, and kisses the top of his head. "Don't take that away from me."

Kibum has no words to reply to something like that. Doesn't know if it's love or trauma that's causing Minho's words. Has no time to process deeper meanings.

The door to the washroom opens then.

"Bummie. Minho~" Jinki calls in, his voice filtering into the washroom as he steps through the door.

"Here!" Minho replies.

"There you are. Call time is like, now," Jinki says when he finds them. They've had time to separate from being so close, so when they follow him back out of the washroom, nothing between them looks suspicious.

---

As much as Kibum wants to be with him, near him, envelop his body around him, blow him, fuck him, touch him—anything—he can't quite pluck up the courage anymore to push Minho out of his comfort zone, and it's been like this for weeks. Their time in the bedroom is loving, sweet, but so casual, that it's mostly just making out. A few light touches, Minho's hands caressing him, and then Kibum rubbing himself all over Minho's body until he climaxes. Minho makes no efforts to join in the pleasure. Kibum is starting to wonder if this is simply because Minho is straight.

Wonders if this is the kind of relationship he's set himself up for. How fair is that to Minho?

One night out of many, they're at Minho's apartment this time. They've had plenty to drink and ended up naked in bed together. Minho's hands are as exploratory as ever; unafraid tonight of grabbing handfuls of Kibum's ass as the other ruts his hips down into him, with his breath ragged in his ear.

They've had too much to drink. It had been a shit concert this evening; some special event that treated them like a common rookie group. So Kibum feels a hunger to sate and anger that needs washing away. A shower wasn't enough. Maybe Minho feels similarly.

Minho hands him a bottle of lube that hasn't made an appearance before and Kibum doesn't question it. Minho tells him, "Can you touch yourself? Can I watch?" He feels a finger down over the cleft of Kibum's ass and Kibum falls forward to kiss deeply into his mouth, panting already. He nods afterwards, can't wait to do what Minho wants from him.

Kibum is straddling over Minho. When he sits up over him, he can see, rather than feel, Minho's hardness and he licks over his lips at the sight. Minho pulls two of Kibum's fingers into his mouth, licks over them with intention on his face and then gives Kibum back the hand. His tongue had been between his fingers, Kibum thinks, for just a moment, but Minho snaps open the lube and delivers a good amount of that slippery gel to those same fingers, and Kibum almost forgets how to think. His mind is a little foggy with alcohol anyway. Minho makes his intentions very clear when he pushes Kibum's hand to start touching over himself. He wants to watch Kibum do it for himself.

That's perfectly fine. He's so turned on by having Minho as his voyeur this way that Kibum rests a hand backwards, pulls his knees up, and shows Minho exactly how his fingers circle over his entrance. He's already twitching and clenching and Minho can see his little hole contract and pucker. When Kibum finally sinks one finger into himself, Minho feels his exhale as if it were his own. Pushes him to sit back on his thighs and give himself an even better view. Kibum makes a small sound in his throat and tries to catch Minho's eyes, but they're focused on Kibum's hand. Two fingers then. It's too easy, they slip right in because of the lube and Kibum goes straight for his own prostate, moans out deeply in appreciation. For a few minutes he forgets that Minho is under him, watching him, that he's doing this for Minho to watch him; he's too distracted by fucking onto his own fingers. It feels so good. But then Minho takes hold of both their dicks and rubs them together and Kibum comes down to some kind of reality. It's too much suddenly, he'll come if he has to endure this for long. Can't have the stimulation from inside and outside when he's built himself up so much, so he pushes Minho's hand away from him. So for the first time in a long time, Minho just jerks himself off. He's always happy to lay back and watch Kibum play.

"Watch me take more fingers," Kibum says. He doesn't know what he's building to, just knows he doesn't want to climax yet. So he takes four fingers into himself and the stretch is something he's missed so much. It's both too much and not enough; it reminds him of what's missing. A few movements in and out of himself and suddenly he doesn't want to tease his feelings so much, just his body; so he stops before the tingling feeling leaves him. He pulls his fingers out and sits over Minho's dick, rubbing his slippery asshole along the shaft. This is perfect right now, just the way it is. He's practically trembling from the need to have something inside him though. Can feel it like an ache inside himself now that he'd felt it for a moment. Minho has been watching his face, along with his actions, and feels this want radiating from him. Pulls him forward and Kibum lets himself be pulled away from how he was luxuriating in the feeling of Minho's dick under him. Kibum gets pulled into a kiss instead, with too much tongue and Minho seems more breathless than normal. He's back to gripping handfuls of Kibum's ass.

"You're so sexy," Minho says, and Kibum whines into the air between them, eyes closed, trying to make some kind of meaningful contact between their groins again. Minho helps him out by reaching for his own dick, drawing his knees up, and rubbing himself over Kibum's entrance. Kibum looks back at him and finds the right position to rub back along his shaft again. He's expecting something, Minho can see it in his eyes. So Minho asks, "Do you want me? Here?" A light squeeze of Kibum's thigh is enough to show he means sex.

"Yes... so much. So much," Kibum replies. He's not sure why Minho is asking. With anyone else it would be obvious, but he's not sure Minho wants actual sex, that he's not just asking about sex.

"Then can we? Are you ready, or—?"

"—Yes," he hurries to say. "Right now?"

"Right now," Minho confirms. He hands Kibum the lube, and Kibum makes it as far as popping the lid open before he changes his mind about needing more. Minho eyebrows peak at this, so Kibum explains.

"You should feel at least once how tight I can be for you." The words feel like a punch to the brain. Minho lets him do whatever he wants. Kibum even drops his voice lower to say, "I want to feel you..." He's moved up so Minho's tip is right there, ready, and when Kibum lets the head breach his body, says, "...so big." He places a hand on Minho's chest for leverage, taking care to sink onto him slowly. It's blissful feeling his body open up to someone else. He moves agonizingly slow, enough to make Minho wonder if this is normal, but he doesn't disrupt Kibum. His body is so tight over the first part of his dick already that he wonders if Kibum is doing this right. It feels like he can't possibly fit into him like this.

But this is exactly what Kibum wanted to feel—just for a while wants to feel the burn, just a little, before he gets sore, just because it's been so long since he's felt this tight. Also because he's a little drunk and doesn't think Minho will complain if he uses him a little. He wants to pleasure himself on his dick a little, so he takes it slow, feels the drag of his walls as he sinks lower over him, and keeps himself a little tighter than he normally would. Sweat prickles at his hairline from the effort. He feels so full; he's pushing himself. Even though he's been coming in bed with Minho for a few months now, he feels deprived of seeing the limits of his own body. He misses this. Wants to show off a little bit, drive Minho a bit crazy with a good visual. He's showing off exactly how they join. Payback for never (rarely) letting Kibum make him come as well. This time, this has to make Minho come with him. Kibum will fuck himself on him until they both come in a slippery pile of limbs and sweat—Kibum will make sure of it, so a slow start is just fine.

"Feel ok?" Kibum asks. Minho has a lip trapped between teeth and wide eyes as he concentrates on letting Kibum keep control. He's trying to keep his own control. He nods.

"You're incredibly tight. You sure this is ok?"

"I feel amazing... I feel so full." He tries to squeeze around Minho when he bottoms out, but he's stretched too taught for his muscles to work properly. Needs to loosen up a bit before he can regain that function. Minho groans anyway. "Watch me," Kibum says. He's gotten used to putting on a show for Minho. At first it felt strange but now it's a rush. It's been many nights now that he's pleasured himself for Minho's eyes. This isn't that different so far, in that regard. But he wants more this night. So he starts a low rhythm that has Minho rubbing the exact right spot inside him. With eyes closed and mouth ajar from the sensation of slow sex, he just lets that feeling wash over him. Wants to rub over Minho's dick until he can't take it anymore. Until his breathing is ragged and Minho is tired of watching. This feels incredible.

Minho reaches for Kibum's hip and nape, and Kibum doesn't see it coming when Minho flips them. In an instant he's on his back, with a ravenous Minho breathing down on him. "Can I—?" Can I take over?

Kibum needs more lube by now but he's not about to interrupt. Maybe Minho doesn't notice. So he nods and Minho holds one of his legs under the knee and props the other over his shoulder. Right, Kibum forgot that Minho might actually know how to fuck. The first thrust feels like he's being torn in half and they both swear, but Kibum keeps nodding so Minho keeps going. He tries to relax more. These aren't shallow thrusts. Nothing like how he was working himself before. Now he's tense and the new power is explosive to his nerves. These thrusts take Minho nearly out of Kibum's body before slamming back into him and Kibum's heart feels like it's being pushed into his throat, holding on for dear life. He scrambles to hold on to the bedframe above himself so his head doesn't go smashing into it. Oh god... Minho knows how to fuck. "Yess~" Kibum whines. He's gonna come untouched tonight, he can feel it already.

"Ok?" Minho asks. He wants to make sure he's hitting the right spot. Kibum understands, but his only assent is a string of swears. Yes, Minho has the right angle. Wants him to keep thrusting just like that, because it's making Kibum's hole numb and his legs weak, as electricity builds inside him. His moans are starting to be embarrassingly loud.

Minho lets him rest for just a second, as he hikes his bum farther up, and Kibum manages to say, "Just like that." He's out of breath. The words are mostly air. He makes grabby hands for Minho to kiss him once before resuming such a punishing pace.

Kibum knows he's going to be really sore in the morning. Probably more than he's ever allowed himself to be before, but this is worth it. Seeing Minho over him, the strain on his temples, feeling the drag between them, the glint of sweat on his brow from the exertion, from an intense fucking—he's on the edge and can't wait to fall over. Anything will do it now.

When Minho tells him, "I'm so close," it's enough for Kibum to fall into the white heat of his own climax, and thankfully it pulls Minho with him. Frozen for a moment, before his body contracts around Minho, Minho fucks him through both their orgasms. It's unreal how much better this high is than any other, and it makes Minho forget to pull out. Kibum, forgets his own name in that moment, the only thing he feels is Minho—having him come inside him is a bonus. Minho gives him a last few thrusts, powerful as ever at the end, and then falls over him, quivering breath; but catching himself on his elbows, and panting into Kibum's ear. "Fuck... I didn't pull out," he groans.

"I'm not a girl," Kibum reminds him. He clenches lightly around Minho's member, still inside him, moves a little, and says, "M'mm... I can feel you..."

"I didn't even touch you..."

"You fuck so well... it was enough."

Minho pulls out then, and Kibum winces when his hole clenches around nothing. Finally he feels the sting of not having used enough lube, the numbness will wear off soon. The feeling is mixed with the warmth of Minho's come dripping out of his hole as well, and he smiles up at Minho, completely satisfied.

Minho doesn't seem so sure of himself though; ducks his head and reaches to grab some tissues. Kibum senses this tension and grips him by the wrist before he can wipe anything away.

"Tell me how I look right now. Tell me." He's looking for Minho's eyes, but Minho's eyes are roaming Kibum's spread body. Knees bent, legs open for him, covered in shiny lube and both their come. "If I look good to you like this, then fuck me more often."

His tongue is too sharp. The alcohol has worn off but the high of sex is still making his body tingle with afterglow. It's perhaps too courageous to say such things, but Minho understands why Kibum is saying this.

"You look good. I promise." Their eyes meet for a moment, to show sincerity, before Minho looks back at his glistening hole and his spread thighs.

"How red am I?" Kibum clenches again, feels the same burn. He knows he'll feel it for a few more hours at least. Minho's gaze darkens when he sees more come drip out of Kibum's quivering entrance, raw and puckered from a rough fuck.

"Very red," Minho replies. And then touches the come slipping out of him, massages it back onto the opening, trying to soothe the ache he knows must be there. Kibum moans at the stimulation. That's sexy. He can take this, Minho could keep petting him this way, he thinks. But instead Minho starts cleaning him off too soon. "You needed more lube. I'm not dumb. I could tell."

"I don't care. It was so good..." Kibum replies. He watches Minho, and when he's done with the tissues and Kibum isn't sticky anymore, he pulls him back over his body and wraps his legs around his waist. "You're not angry at me, are you?"

"I'm not," Minho speaks into his chest.

"Why don't I believe that?" Kibum laughs. "Did we rush?"

Minho sighs, shakes his head. "No... No, it was incredible," he says. But his face isn't as enthused about their sex as he was during sex.

"You sure?"

"Never felt anything like this before," Minho assures.

Kibum is too tired to argue over this tonight. So he lets Minho curl into his side, and lets them both fall asleep, even if there's an unnamed elephant in the room with them.

In the morning, Kibum has more energy to fight over Minho's sour mood and shitty excuses of, "Nothing is wrong."

"I don't believe you. The only reason we even fucked is because we were drunk."

"Can't argue that," Minho laughs, but it doesn't reach his eyes.

"Tell me. Just tell me, Minho. What is it you want? What am I not doing? What am I doing wrong?—I'm head over heels for you and can't figure you out in bed at all. You say I'm ok, but are you? You don't let go—you're holding back in a way that I can't figure out and I know you're not like this with other—previous girlfriends or whoever. ...Is it me? Just tell me!"

Minho redirects the questions. "Was that really ok...? To be so rough with you? I didn't mean to."

"It was fine. It was perfect. Obviously it's not gonna be like that all the time. I know it was a bit rough. Is that what this is about?"

"Yes and no."

"Who are you worried about?"

"Neither of us? ...Both of us?"

Kibum's eyebrows launch into his hairline. "What on Earth is that supposed to mean?"

"I promise I'm just trying to adjust to being with you," Minho says through gritted teeth, on the last of his nerves.

"Is it that difficult?" Kibum scoffs impudently, on the edge of laughing.

"Yes, actually. I never would have fucked a girl like that!" Minho slams a hand down and the noise echoes between them. "I would have needed a condom, for one. I would have needed her wet from rubbing her clit. I wouldn't have been sucking her dick. I wouldn't need to be told where her G-spot is. I wouldn't be borrowing her clothes. It wouldn't be her leading, because I wouldn't be constantly wondering if it's ok to treat her certain ways, that may or may not emasculate her, or myself. What's equal? What's ok to not be equal? I wouldn't have been worried about how every action changes our friendship and what the balance is. I wouldn't have been so unsure of myself. I wouldn't have been so unsure of her limits, what she wants, what feels good on her body! I wouldn't need to learn so much because none of it would have been new!" With every sentence, Minho's voice had gotten louder, until his last words were practically yelled back at Kibum, and it's left Kibum with a wide, dopey look on his face. Flabbergasted at Minho's outburst.

"Oh."

The only thing he can think of to say. Minho's inner thoughts were strangely charming. Not even Kibum would have expected it.

"I'm getting used to being with you. So just shut up and don't make it such a big deal. I'm not holding back but I'm a bit embarrassed at feeling like a damn teenager again, and pissed off that I have to say all this," Minho says angrily. He's getting closer to hiss at Kibum. "Not only that, but I've known you since we were barely teens—like a brother and the bane of my existence forcibly contracted to my side since then—so forgive me if it's a shock to see nearly two decades of my life flash before my eyes every time we're naked together."

"But... but you want to be with me? Still?"

"I want to be with you. We're adults. We can handle it. I promise I'll give you better sex next time." Minho is staring down at him like it's a threat. This is more the kind of Minho that Kibum has been used to for years, so it's actually comforting in a way. He smiles and pecks Minho on the cheek. The matter is settled. "Good. Now try not to trample my nerves so much and let me deal with things."

"Apparently you suck at dealing with things. But I finally believe you and I'll hold you to that promise of more sex," Kibum winks.

Minho throws him cut-eye and chooses to look at the time finally. They're running late. This conversation is finished anyway. Minho feels too raw from having bared his soul too much, but deals with it by down-playing this for the rest of the day. He just needs time to settle his feelings in order. Without Kibum being so damn nosy—another thing he has to get used to. Because with a girl he'd, 1. Never have opened up like that, 2. Never have needed to open up like that because there wouldn't have been a problem in the first place! Ugh.

He regrets making a scene over something he should be dealing with on his own. Maybe Kibum disagrees but he doesn't care.

---

When Kibum thinks back on their fight, he finds his heart full like never before. Even after yelling, Minho still seems to have faith—dare he say, unwavering faith—in them being together. He'd yelled, but in his matter-of-fact way, never doubted a future, a next time, for them together. Minho apparently doesn't need much reassurance of either of their feelings and commitment, not like Kibum has needed, and this also is heartwarming. He tells himself he'll do something really nice for Minho, as a thank-you, soon.

He's also learned that maybe it's ok to say some things that he'd previously thought were obvious.

The next time he catches Minho's hand on the small of his back, he makes sure to whisper to him that he likes it there. "Don't pull away." Minho's heart finds a little peace from being given concrete direction on what's best.

---

"Do you like being inside me?" Kibum asks while they're cuddled together, talking late into the night.

"I love it. Just don't be so hasty and rough on yourself next time. I'm impressed no matter what."

"I wasn't trying to impress you—"

"—You weren't?"

"Maybe a little," Kibum rolls his eyes. "I wanted it a little rough. A little sting is good on the first fuck after a long time—for me, at least. Makes me more sensitive. I don't always feel such a tight stretch. I didn't want to scare you or anything though. I can take it."

"How rough can I be with you?"

Kibum hums, low in his throat as he thinks, and the sound goes rumbling through Minho's body as well. "I can take a bit more. Especially with more lube. Consider it a balance."

"More lube means I can fuck you harder."

"You betcha," Kibum laughs. "Sometimes it's good with a little less though. Depends what I'm feeling. But it's not like we have to do only what I feel like. If you want to press my face into a pillow and fuck me raw... well, I might bitch at you for it but I'm not gonna break up with you for it. Just uh... maybe don't actually do that. I haven't done that before."

Minho's eyes are wide, letting it all sink in. But since he's paying rapt attention, Kibum has no problem talking more about what he likes and doesn't like.

"I'm ok with literally any position, depending only on mood. And I don't always have to come. You can get me back next time and vice versa. Which is why I find it frustrating when you won't come for me." A blush colors Minho's face, but since it's dim in Kibum's bedroom with only a lamp on, it's not so apparent. Kibum talks right over it anyway. "We don't have to be super equal by the way. For example, if you're really not into exploring yourself—with me topping, that's ok. I like both but it's not necessary, so don't push yourself that much."

"You like both?"

"Well, duh. ...Or maybe I shouldn't say duh. Some men do have a preference, but I don't. I like both." Minho visibly gulps. Right, this subject... Kibum smacks him over the arm. "I told you not to worry about it," he says.

But Minho still wants to ask, "One day... maybe. Maybe. Ok? You can help me? T-top me?" His voice breaks slighty over words he's unfamiliar with; then tries to quickly recover his facial features as if he wasn't saying something embarassing. In his defense, he's trying.

Kibum rolls his eyes. "Sure. I'd love to. But you have more pressing matters to sort through," he laughs. "Like, maybe you can figure out how to not be so awkward about—about I don't know what even."

Minho's blush deepens and Kibum never thought he'd act this way, but maybe it's some leftover chivalry. "You don't actually want to see me?... I'm not the—" Minho hesitates over his words, "—pretty one. I know you're—"

"—Are you treating me like a chick again?"

"I'm afraid I might be..."

"Yes! I want to see you! God... spread out. Get comfortable. Touch yourself. Sweat. I want to know what makes you feel good. I want to hear you. I want to lick every inch of your body—fuck, I'm getting hard just thinking about you..." Kibum chuckles and presses a forming erection into Minho's thigh. 

Minho seems to still want to know about Kibum instead. "Tell me what else you like."

"I don't know. Probably the same things you like. Hand jobs. Blow jobs—Oh! Actually there's one thing," Kibum sits up to look into Minho's eyes, wants to see his reaction at telling him this juicy detail. "I own a vibrator," he says, and winks. "'Kind of a thing since I've been single for most of my existence." He's not upset to admit it, but loves seeing Minho's eyes go just that bit wider at hearing such a thing. He watches him bite onto the inside of his cheek. "It goes inside me," he explains, thinking he might need to and indeed he needed to explain something obvious.

"Oh."

"You'll understand if you ever touch yourself there."

"Show it to me one day?"

"I can show it to you now," Kibum replies and leans over to search under his bed for something. Most likely, it. Yes, out it comes after some moving around of whatever storage is under Kibum's bed.

It's white and smooth, and a little narrower than a dick. Hard plastic by the look of it. Classier than Minho would have imagined, but still daunting. "Don't look so frightened. I'll think you've never been inside a sex shop before."

"Of course I have," Minho replies around a croak in his throat. Does once count? He buys his condoms at the convenience store usually.

"Right. You just hold this end, slip inside and angle whichever way you like. Little button right here controls the speed and type of vibration. If I'm really really open, it might fit in beside you—" Minho's eyes look a little too scared for Kibum to keep talking about this particular object though, so after he gives him a concerned eyebrow, he puts away his toy and settles back under Minho's arm. "Or you can pretend I never said anything about it," he laughs, trying to make the suddenly tense atmosphere a little less awkward.

Minho however, is thinking back to the first things that made him interested in Kibum's personal life. The first things that opened the floodgates between them. When Kibum said how tough it is for him; about the consequences of not fitting into a straight man's world, especially as an idol. How Minho had been so ignorant of Kibum, who had been so close yet so far for so long. He turns to plant a kiss to his forehead, heart overflowing for him. "I love you," Minho says.

Kibum gulps. Not really sure how to reply at first, but decides quickly there's no need to worry about being honest. "I love you too," he replies. He feels a weight lifted off his chest.

"I'm sorry I never paid attention to you before. I'm sorry for not noticing anything about you."

Kibum raises an eyebrow. "I wouldn't be that deep about it. You were perfectly fine. I don't know what you expect you should have done differently."

"I should have paid attention. Like Jonghyun did."

"I assure you, it would have been very weird talking to you back then. It's still a little weird now," Kibum jokes, again trying to lighten the air between them. But Minho isn't ok with his easy acceptance. He'll spend a very long time trying to make it up to Kibum, secretly. He dives into his mouth for a deep kiss, rolls to lay over him and takes a hand in his to twine their fingers together as they kiss. Needs to show him some love right now.

"What do you want right now? Pick something and I'll do anything to make you happy."

"First, don't sound like you have to save me because I'm fine," Kibum assures. "And two, uh... just touch. And make sure to come all over me."

Minho doesn't question it. He kisses over Kibum's chest and reaches to his dick, already half hard and strokes him. Kibum makes him join them together, and lets Minho play however he wants. He's gotten both of them hard in no time, worked up to a frenzy, and with the way he's kissing and biting over Kibum's neck, Kibum is anxious to see what Minho does next.

Except he's left eyerolling only seconds later because Minho asks, "What should I do?"

"Literally anything as long as you come."

"Tell me anyway."

"I'm beginning to think you're stupid."

"That was supposed to be sexy. But ok. Never mind..."

Kibum rolls his eyes again. "I have no idea why girls find you sexy," he teases. Minho gives him a light punch in the arm and Kibum laughs. "No hitting in the bedroom."

"Not even when you deserve it?"

"I never deserve it. I'm a freaking angel," Kibum laughs.

"Right. You want me to fuck your thighs or you want to open up for me so I can fuck you for real?"

"M'mmmm~" Kibum moans in appreciation. "Now you're talking." He pulls Minho down for a kiss. "Can you fuck me? Slow and deep?"

"And me?—It was kind of a mistake that I came in you last time."

"Hmm... I don't know. I would have yelled at you if it was a bad thing. It's kind of sexy having hot come inside me though. It might turn you on to know that I can feel it in me. Not something I've done much, but you can decide. Surprise me."

"Uh-huh. Where's your lube?"

"Under the bed. One sec—" Kibum pushes him off and goes in search of the necessary item. He places the tube in Minho's hand just a second later and flips over onto his front for him. "Prep me?"

Minho gets over the shock of having Kibum's ass in the air as quickly as possible. Tries not to stare but it's impossible, and Kibum is looking over his shoulder for his reactions. He knows Kibum finds this funny. So fine, he can finger him like this if this is how he wants it. He lays a decent amount of lube over two fingers and over Kibum's hole, and Kibum shudders from the cold temperature at first.

"Cold."

"Do you care?"

"Not really." So Minho enters one finger into him and Kibum hums his approval. "Two. Faster."

"Chill. I'm not looking to relive how raw you were last time."

"Hardly going to happen again. Don't be a baby."

So Minho gets him back for that remark by rubbing right over his prostate and Kibum goes howling and clutching at the pillows around him. "Yeah, I thought so," Minho snorts.

"Dick."

"Just wait for it."

"I'm not going to beg."

"I'm not going to ask you to. I just want to finger you properly."

Kibum rolls his eyes. Partly from Minho being a bit too thorough with the prep, and partly from how thorough he's being with his prostate. Which might be the same thing, but it's not. Kibum bucks backwards onto Minho's fingers, feeling more wound up and more annoyed also that Minho isn't moving this along a little faster.

Still, when those fingers leave him, he misses them immediately. Kibum pushes his face into a pillow to try to alleviate some of his frustration, knows he needs to calm down before Minho pushes into him so he doesn't squeeze his brains out. He breathes deeply, "Wanna try it this way?" Kibum offers. "You can get really deep like this."

"Sure," Minho agrees. He adds more lube, then hikes his hips up and holds him steady, massages the head of his dick over Kibum's hole for a few moments to make sure he's ready. "You good?"

"So good." So Minho surprises him by sinking all the way into him on one full push. "Fuuuuuckkk~" Kibum keens. He's bottomed out and Kibum's lost all the air in his lungs. He had not expected that.

"You ok?" Minho laughs, as he pets the small of his back.

"Bastard. Yeah, fuck, it's good." The slide is tight but smooth, so Minho knows what he's doing now. The request had been for slow and deep, so he makes each thrust count, making sure to really snap his hips and he can see Kibum falling deeper into lust each time. He falls flat eventually and his weak moans each time become more audible as Minho fucks him deeper into the mattress. Minho's lips land on Kibum's shoulder. Kisses over his skin and into his hair, and can feel Kibum's frustration. He's nearly pleading.

So he pulls out and flips him, gathering his legs up around his neck, folds him double and sinks back into him—bottoms out in one fluid thrust like before and this time Kibum's face isn't partly hidden in a pillow. The noise Kibum makes in response is utterly undignified. Plus, he's so on the brink from how wound up he is, that his nails dig into Minho's skin. He gets about two seconds respite—which he unwisely uses to threaten that, "Minho, I'm gonna get you back for that one day,"—before which Minho lands another punishing thrust to his prostate. "Fucking hell," Kibum breathes. "I'm gonna come so fast like this. Slow down."

"You sure?" Minho asks, but indeed lessens the rate of his hips. Takes a moment to kiss Kibum's ankle. Kibum still whines.

"No. You're right, faster. Just make sure to come with me." Kibum reaches for himself to stroke along to whatever Minho does to him.

Minho has had plenty of sex in his life. So this part of sex with Kibum is no mystery. He can give it to him at whichever pace and power Kibum wants. He links Kibum's arms up around his neck and hikes his hips up further onto his lap. He can rock into him this way, very close, very deep, and it has him waiting for Kibum to fall so he can fall with him. He chooses to come in him, keep him close—had loved feeling the contractions of his body around him while at his peak and feels it again this time. Kibum's mouth is frozen around a silent moan, and his insides quake around Minho, as he fucks him through their shared climax. He comes down from the heat with many nods and then kisses him as soon as possible, joins their lips, more for the sake of twining their tongues and breathing together.

Kibum shudders from over-sensitivity after the high, and Minho chooses to kiss him more passionately before pulling out of him. "Your body feels amazing."

"Glad to be of service," Kibum winks. "You're not too bad yourself." He lowers his legs—which feel like jelly for having been up so high—and can once again feel Minho's come slipping out of him as his hole clenches on nothing. He feels empty but satisfied to still have a part of him. Oh, he can get used to this. This makes him feel both loved and slutty and he's really ok feeling like this with Minho. He spreads a sticky hand over his own come over his belly and moans lightly. "I can get used to this," he says.

"Yeah?" Minho smiles. "Good."

---

Kibum does something cheesy when their 6-month anniversary rolls around. Technically it's been 6 months since Jonghyun's death, but he's trying not to think about what he's lost, but about what he's gained.

He's bought Minho flowers and his face is absolutely scarlet when he shows up on his doorstep with the bouquet and dinner.

Minho can't hold in his surprise when he opens the door and he's shoved backwards quickly, flowers pressed into his chest. "Here. Happy six months," Kibum snarls.

"We've been together for six months already?"

"Time flies, eh?"

Minho settles his surprise and smiles. No girl has ever bought him flowers (other than fans). This is embarrassingly sweet, but he wouldn't turn it down for the world. Especially since he can see the embarrassment burn all the deeper on Kibum's face and it feels like justice for all the times this man has ever pissed him off so bad he's wanted to tear his hair out. He pulls him into a happy kiss. "And you brought food too?" Minho asks, smile as wide as his whole face.

"I did."

"You're so sweet. If I'd known you could be this way, maybe I'd have fucked you sooner."

Kibum nails him with a quick fist to the ribs. "Watch your manners, you dumb oaf." They're both joking though, and Minho doesn't even retaliate. He just wants to kiss him.

"Happy six months to you too. I'm glad you remembered, because I didn't."

"More straight-guy shit I have to put up with, I see," Kibum retorts, but of course, he's just kidding again.

The beauty of their relationship is that somehow they haven't lost the will to bicker with each other at every available moment. Their fight is there at every corner, as it was before, and maybe the only time it's toned down is while they're in the bedroom, too busy getting high on each other's bodies, to remember to be dicks to one another. But they're both much happier being together than ever before.

For Minho, the other side of the world has opened up to him and he finally feels complete.

For Kibum, the world has become smaller—somewhere warm and cozy to curl into. No longer vast and something to fight against. He's gained a home for his heart, knowing that he's safe with Minho.

They both know now that they'll be just fine together.

"I really love you, Kim Kibum," Minho says as he nuzzles into his partner's hair.

"I love you too. Now shut up and let's eat."

---

 

 

THE END.