Taeyong flopped down onto his bed and gazed up at the ceiling. He let himself drift into his memories as his eyes traced the spider web of cracks that cut through the paint. Not much had really changed in the last four months except for maybe the gentle acceptance that he had moved on. Turning over, Taeyong buried his head into the floral smelling pillows before turning his face to the side and taking in his spotless room.
The dorms were currently pretty empty as NCT had some free time and most of the boys had gone home already. Taeyong eyed his packed suitcases by the door and wondered again if it was too late to just go home and curl up in his sister’s arms.
Feeling restless he huffed and turned back towards the ceiling. He couldn’t help but remember how it had felt to watch his boyfriend of seven months, granted most of that time had been spent apart due to schedules, pulling on his skin tight jeans to go clubbing. Without him.
Taeyong lay in the bed naked and sweaty with heavy breaths still heaving in his lungs while the other boy all but ran out of the room.
“Don’t go.” Taeyong whined and reached out a shaking hand to hook a finger in the black denim belt loop.
"Let go. My taxi is already outside.”
“Then tell it to go and stay with me.”
“I’m not playing, Taeyong, let go.” HyunTae yanked Taeyong’s hand away and continued getting dressed.
“Come on we barely get to spend any time together but when I’m here you’re always out with friends.” Taeyong propped himself up on an elbow and watched HyunTae pull on a designer trainer.
“I have a life outside of you, Taeyong. You’re an idol so maybe you don’t get it but some of us have other friends.”
“Look I don’t want to fight but your cum hasn’t even cooled and you’re out the door.” Taeyong frowned and pulled the sheet up to cover his chest.
HyunTae sighed and walked back over to the bed and sat down beside Taeyong. He took Taeyong's chin between his fingers and tilted his face up until their gazes met.
“If you don’t want to fight; stop talking. Every time you open your mouth you ruin the pretty illusion.”
HyunTae patted Taeyong’s cheek heavily before grabbing his wallet and phone off the bedside table and leaving without a goodbye.
Taeyong collapsed back into the bed and grimaced as the slimy substance between his thighs made its presence known again. He pulled back the sheet and headed for the showers to freshen up before any of the other members decided they needed something and forgot to knock.
Standing under the warm spray he pondered on HyunTae's words. He had been told a few times that beyond his nice face and body he wasn’t anything special and could even get annoying at times. The members made it quite obvious when his cleaning habits frustrated them.
Sighing he scrubbed at his brittle and damaged hair but couldn’t stop thinking. He had first come across HyunTae, stage name Gun, when the other artist had appeared in his news feed when his debut song, 'Takin' names', had made one million views in 24 hours.
Taeyong had been impressed and genuinely enjoyed the song. He had been even more amazed by the other boy when he found out he was openly gay and an active spokesman in the LGBT+ community. So when he had revealed he followed NCT, and Taeyong was his bias, Taeyong had wanted to meet him desperately.
They had met a few weeks later and after a couple of hook ups started officially dating. Although to protect Taeyong they had kept it secret.
Taeyong huffed. HyunTae was probably right about leaving. All they did was have sex and go their separate ways. Thinking on it more deeply Taeyong was actually pretty convinced that if they were to go on conventional dates they would have broken up months ago.
Shutting off the water Taeyong wrapped himself in a fluffy towel and padded back to his bedroom.
He had probably over reacted. He knew that HyunTae had to work as well as make his music because there wasn’t enough money coming in to support his singing from sales. It would make sense that HyunTae would want to make the most of his day off and go clubbing instead of staying in with Taeyong.
Taeyong shook his head at his gloomy thoughts and changed into his soft pajamas before siting cross legged on his bed. He reached for his phone and noticed several missed calls from Jongin.
After glancing at the time and deciding it wasn’t too late he dialled the number and settled back against his pillows to wait. Once the call connected the sounds of deep bass music thundered through the phone. Taeyong pulled it away from his ear and wondered for a moment if he had dialled the wrong person. Seeing the caller ID read Jongin he put the phone back up to his ear.
“Taeyongie is that you?” Jongin’s slightly slurred voice came over the line.
“Yes Hyung. You called me. I’m calling you back.”
“Hang on. Give me a minute to get somewhere quieter.” Jongin then yelled away from the phone to someone so Taeyong couldn’t make out what the exchange was but the sound of the dance music quickly faded.
Taeyong waited in silence for Jongin to continue and fiddled with a loose thread on one of his cushions with a frown.
“Taeyong you still there?”
“Yeah, I’m here Hyung.”
“Where are you?” Taeyong startled at the abrupt question and felt himself getting even more confused.
“At the NCT dorms. Why? What’s this about?”
“You’re not here?” Jongin sounded even more puzzled.
“No… where is here exactly?”
“Okay shit… well your boyfriend, Gun, is here.”
“Oh well I knew that." Taeyong leaned back as he understood the situation. "He left about half an hour ago to go clubbing.” Taeyong shifted in the bed as he remembered what exactly they had been doing.
“Oh, so you know?”
“Yeah Hyung I know.” Taeyong confirmed and felt warmth flood through his veins at the concern his Hyung was showing.
“O kay well as long as you know he’s in the club grinding on his music video dancer. Not something I thought you were in to but if you-”
“He’s what?” Taeyong felt his chest get tight and his breathing speed up.
“He’s…. wait you said you knew.” Jongin hesitated on the phone.
“I knew he was at the club. I didn’t know he was there with someone.”
“Well you could definitely say he’s ‘with’ someone.” Jongin said grimly.
“You’re kidding.” Taeyong felt himself drain of energy as the realisation of what was going on hit him.
“I’m sorry Taeyong. I shouldn’t have told you like that… I- shit. I’m really sorry.”
Taeyong quickly rubbed at the tears that were threatening to fall and took a deep shuddering breath to calm down.
“It’s okay Hyung. Better I know… but are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’m sure.” Jongin’s voice sounded resigned and pissed off.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Not right now Hyung.” Taeyong confessed.
“Do you want me to set him straight? Sehun, Kyungsoo, Chanyeol and Beakhyun are with me.”
“No, no you guys enjoy your night. I’ll deal with it.” Taeyong assured him but secretly wished he could take Jongin up on his offer. “Setting Kyungsoo Hyung on him might just end up in murder charges.”
“I know, isn’t he just so cute?” Jongin laughed and continued after a moments pause. “Okay well take care of yourself okay? Call me if you need.”
“I will. See you later Hyung.”
“Good night, Taeyong.”
After the call had ended Taeyong had to fight through his tears to find his boyfriend’s number and dialled it. It rang and rang and rang until Taeyong had to face facts that he wasn’t going to reach him. Tossing his phone to the side he curled up on his side and cried deep heaving sobs until he was so exhausted he fell asleep.
Waking up the next morning had been rough and Taeyong knew he looked like hell if the expressions on his members’ faces were anything to go by.
It wasn’t until after a long day of practise and interview training that Taeyong finally got the chance to actually talk to his boyfriend again.
“What is it Taeyong?”
“ Hi to you too.” Taeyong huffed and decided to head downstairs to a bench outside the dorms.
“I’m tired, what do you want?”
“I’m sure you are.” Taeyong said snidely.
“Taeyong!” HyunTae was getting angry and Taeyong knew he had to get to the point or he would be hung up on.
“Someone saw you at the club last night.” Taeyong spoke clearly to keep his hurt hidden.
“So? You knew I would be there.” HyunTae said after a slight hesitation.
“Yeah but you were also seen making out with your backup dancer. That’s something I think I would remember you telling me.” Taeyong couldn’t hold back the anger as he spoke the words and his voice shook pathetically.
“Seriously Taeyong? That’s what this is about?"
Taeyong remained stubbornly silent and refused to dignify that with an answer.
“Look, it didn’t mean anything. It was just a bit of fun.”
“If it didn’t mean anything why did you do it?”
“Don’t do this now Taeyong I’m tired.” HyunTae sighed and sounded completely bored of the conversation.
“No we are doing this now. Explain to me why or we’re breaking up.” Taeyong gripped the phone tightly and forced himself to breath once he put the ultimatum out there.
“ Excuse me ?” HyunTae choked out across the phone line.
“You heard me.”
“Listen Taeyong,” HyunTae laughed once he had recovered from the shock. “You have a nice face and a hot body but that doesn’t make up for you being fucking stupid and irritating. If you think you can find someone to put up with you other than me, then go ahead. There aren’t that many gay idols around.”
Taeyong was absolutely speechless as the words left his boyfriend’s- his ex-boyfriend’s- mouth. He couldn’t stop the gasp from escaping his lips and tears threatened at his eyes again.
“Nothing to say huh?” HyunTae taunted. “You’re just a dime a dozen slut Taeyong. You think I can’t replace you in a second? You think I wasn’t thinking of countless others as I fucked you into the-”
Taeyong hung up the phone as the tirade got too much to hear. It had hurt too much. To make matters worse Taeyong knew the other boy's words had a ring of truth to them that he couldn’t deny.
HyunTae was Gun, an openly gay and confident idol that had men falling at his feet all the time and Taeyong… Taeyong was just a fool that had been swept along. There wasn’t much chance of finding someone else in a company as tightly controlled as SM, especially out of NCT, and Taeyong sat there hoping he hadn’t just made a huge mistake.
“Youngie we need to go or we’ll miss the plane.”
Johnny’s voice pulled Taeyong from his memory. Taeyong blinked to clear the tears that had gathered there at the remembered words and slowly sat up.
“You okay?” Johnny paused where he had been about to leave the bedroom. His voice full of concern.
“Yeah Hyung.” Taeyong forced a smile and pushed himself up from the bed. “Just let me grab my suitcases.”
“I’ll grab the big one.” Johnny offered and effortlessly hoisted it into the air to descend the stairs.
Taeyong gaped in awe at how strong Johnny was as he was reminded yet again of the gentle giant’s capabilities. Taeyong grabbed his smaller carry on and followed Johnny out to the taxi waiting to take them to the airport.
“You got everything?” Johnny asked wiping his hands down the thighs of his jeans.
“Bit late for that isn’t it?” Taeyong joked.
“Maybe.” Johnny laughed. “We can always buy whatever we’ve forgotten once we get to the States.”
“What you’ve forgotten.” Taeyong muttered underneath his breath.
“Say that again.” Johnny growled playfully and picked Taeyong up from behind.
Taeyong laughed and struggled until Johnny put him down and nudged him towards the open door of the car.
“Such a gentleman.” Taeyong smiled as he climbed in and Johnny closed the door.
Taeyong found himself getting excited for the trip now that it was so close. It had been a while since Johnny had been back to the US and got to see some of his family out there. Taeyong was honoured that Johnny had invited him along.
Shaking his head to throw off the gloomy memories from earlier he focused on plugging in his phone to get a playlist going for the drive.
“Mum says she can pick us up once we get to Chicago.” Johnny informed him looking up from his phone.
“That’s good. You excited see her?” Taeyong asked.
“Yeah. It will be awesome to go home and see everyone.” Johnny had a wistful smile on his face as he remembered his mother and the countless childhood memories that accompanied her smile.
“I’m glad.” Taeyong found himself smiling back as Johnny’s bright eyes met his own.
“Plus I’m super stoked to show you everything. You’re gunna love it and my family will love you.”
Taeyong felt himself blush at the praise. It’s not like he was the boyfriend being introduced to the parents for the first time. He was just a friend, a colleague… yeah just a friend.
“Let’s just get there first.” Taeyong looked out of the window to hide his glowing cheeks from the older boy.
“Everything will be fine.” Johnny said confidently.
Around fifteen hours and one bumpy landing later Taeyong had to admit that Johnny’s laid back attitude was a balm while traveling. He hadn’t been allowed to stress about anything other than cleaning his little fold out tray when they had first sat down.
Johnny had taken care of the luggage and finding the gate with such ease that Taeyong had left him too it willingly. It was nice to have someone else run things for a while. Being a leader was rewarding but sometimes it was downright exhausting; this free time had come just on schedule for Taeyong.
They had gotten a few looks, both in Korea and in Chicago, that had Taeyong pulling his mask higher over his nose and lowering his hood but no one had approached them. Taeyong counted that as a definite win. He was fully ready to relax and enjoy the holiday to the fullest with his own personal tour guide.
Meeting Johnny’s mother was a surreal experience for Taeyong. On the one hand they were so similar with big smiling faces and soft, calming voices. On the other hand Johnny’s mother was absolutely tiny and seemed to bustle around her son checking him over.
Johnny had huffed but allowed the thorough exam with a fond smile on his face.
“Mum, this is Taeyongie.” Johnny stepped back and put his arm around Taeyong’s shoulders.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Taeyong bowed deeply in greeting.
“It’s good to finally meet you as well. Thank you for taking such great care of my son.” Johnny’s mother laughed.
“He takes care of me more than I take care of him. Your son is very thoughtful.” Taeyong confessed and saw happiness dance in the woman’s eyes.
“I knew I must have done something right with him.”
When Johnny’s mum had dropped them off at the hotel after making them promise to come by and visit for lunch sometime, Taeyong was ready to drop.
The room contained a single king size but Taeyong wasn’t even fazed. He had shared a room, and even a bed, with Johnny enough times to not be bothered by his sleeping habits anymore.
“I’m going to shower. You need anything?” Johnny called as he grabbed a towel off the bed.
Taeyong grunted from where he was lying on the bed and didn’t even open his eyes.
“Okay then. Don’t fall asleep yet. We should try and grab some food.” Johnny scolded him as he disappeared into the bathroom.
Taeyong lay still for a while as the water started running but knew if he stayed lying down for much longer he would, indeed, fall asleep. Forcing himself up he reached blindly for his phone.
He froze in shock as he saw a message displayed on the lock screen. The number was unknown but from the content of the message it could only be from one person.
Checking over his shoulder that Johnny was still in the bathroom he clicked on the message with baited breath.
I miss you. Let’s meet up some time. ;)
Taeyong felt his eyes widen as he read and reread the message to make sure he wasn’t imagining it. The message remained unchanged and Taeyong found himself getting angry.
After four months of silence. Of seeing HyunTae’s Instagram with countless men and the new music video. Taeyong was done. He was about to switch of the chat when a new message come through.
Come on Taeyong. u know u cn’t resist it. DDDD. I’m getting hard just thinking about u.
Fury surged through Taeyong and he felt the shame of being used by the other man resurface. There was no other way to think of their relationship. It had been sex with a glorified name and Taeyong was only annoyed he had wasted so much energy mourning the loss of it.
I’m not interested. Don’t contact me again.
Bitch. u’ll regret that.
Taeyong sighed and turned his phone onto silent before flinging it away to collapse back against the sheets. HyunTae really did have impeccable timing to text now; when Taeyong had finally moved on and stopped his moping.
A weight dipping down onto the bed beside him pulled Taeyong out of his sulk but he stubbornly kept his arm over his eyes. Taeyong could hear the rasp of a towel as Johnny began to dry off his hair as he waited.
Once the silence became too much Taeyong finally huffed and sat up to glare at the other boy.
“You’re getting my side of the bed wet.”
“I didn’t realise we had sides.” Johnny chuckled and Taeyong pushed at him in annoyance.
“You know what I mean.”
Johnny continued drying himself off before getting up to hunt around for a change of clothes in his suitcase. Taeyong watched him moving out of the corner of his eye but couldn’t help glaring at his phone where it lay face down on the duvet.
“Did something happen?” Johnny asked casually.
“No, why would you say that?”
“Taeyong-a?” Johnny turned to face Taeyong with a raised eyebrow.
Taeyong gulped and picked up his phone to fiddle with the case and avoid looking up at his friend. Not only way it extremely unfair how observant Johnny was when it came to Taeyong’s mood, but it was also that fact Johnny was naked and wet during the argument.
“Fine, something happened but it’s not a big deal.”
“Alright then; if you’re sure.”
Johnny turned back to his suitcase and pulled out a few dress shirts before laying them out on the bed. Instead of getting dresses straight away, and covering up his firm chest, Johnny moved over to the large mirror to mess around with his hair. Taeyong knew of a fact Johnny was doing it on purpose, it was a technique he had used the entire time they had known each other, and it was working. Why did it still work?
Faced with the wonderful image of Johnny’s bare back Taeyong’s mouth watered and Taeyong felt guilty at keeping secrets from the other, well secrets other than his enormous crush, especially when it really wasn’t a big deal.
“HyunTae texted.” Taeyong whispered.
Taeyong almost hoped that Johnny hadn’t heard him but from the way the other boy froze after he spoke it was obvious he had. Johnny turned slowly before returning to sit beside Taeyong on the bed.
“Are you okay?” Johnny asked gently.
“Yeah.” Taeyong shrugged. “I just wasn’t expecting it.”
“What did he want?”
“To hook up, I think.” Taeyong sighed and unlocked his phone to show Johnny the messages.
Johnny took the phone from Taeyong’s outstretched hand and scrolled through the messages silently. Taeyong fiddled with his fingers as he waited and couldn’t help but feel slightly pleased at the angry look that over took Johnny’s face.
“Fuck him. You could always have done so much better.” Johnny snapped.
“You’re just saying that.”
“No, I’m not.” Johnny twisted around to face Taeyong. “I mean it, Yongie. I never liked him.”
Taeyong felt the smile fall of his face at Johnny’s words. He remembered Johnny’s objections to his relationship with HyunTae very well; the other hadn’t exactly been subtle. His displeasure must have shown on his face because Johnny sat forwards and grabbed Taeyong’s hands in his.
“It’s not like that. You’re very special to me, Yongie, but I respected that you wanted to stop hooking up. I was just… hurt that you wanted to date him when we only fooled around. I didn’t mean it make it more difficult for you.”
“I know, Hyung.” Taeyong swallowed painfully around his words and tried to stop the tears prickling in his eyes. “I know.”