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Blood, Water

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Seonghwa turned a corner, eyes seeking that distinct head of silver. There were a lot of people in the building, more people than he’d expected, and they milled around in groups of twos and threes. The walls between the busy people and paintings were a muted gray, frustratingly similar to the head Seonghwa was looking for. How could he have lost him? He’d been right there, right next to him—


Seonghwa turned, tension running off him as he saw that beautiful face, eyes bright with a hint of amusement. Hongjoong walked towards him from the other side of the room, lopsided grin on his face.

“Were you looking for me?” he asked. “Sorry, I didn’t realize I’d left you behind.”

“It’s okay,” said Seonghwa. And it was. He was with Hongjoong, they were together. Everything was okay.

They wandered the gallery together, lingering at pieces Hongjoong liked. Seonghwa didn’t understand much about art but it was always a joy to hear Hongjoong talk about it, to hear him when he was focused and enthusiastic and enjoying himself.

“You know a lot about art,” said Seonghwa. When Hongjoong looked at him with raised eyebrows, he added, “It’s really cool.”

“Uh, thanks,” said Hongjoong, cheeks going pink in embarrassment. It was stunning. “I don’t really, I just know some stuff…”

“You know a lot more than me,” said Seonghwa earnestly. 

Hongjoong mumbled another thanks and looked away, ears and cheeks dusted with red.

If Seonghwa stopped to think about it, he marveled at how he was with Hongjoong. Hongjoong was the most interesting, fiery, incredible person he’d ever met. Yes, he could be frustrating and painfully stubborn, but it was another side of his charm. It was another thing that made him uniquely Hongjoong.

And he wanted to be with Seonghwa. He wanted to do this, walk around art galleries with him, look at him and talk about the paintings and their details with him.

After what had happened, it was still a little surreal to Seonghwa. 

He knew, logically, Hongjoong had no reason to forgive him for hiding the truth for so long. And yet Hongjoong had. They’d moved past it, they were still together, and it didn’t feel exactly like reality. 

When they’d made a trip around and Hongjoong had doubled back to look at the ones he’d particularly liked, they found themselves near the front door and ready to leave.

“Most of these are for sale,” said Seonghwa. 

“Do you want one?” asked Hongjoong.

“No,” said Seonghwa. He hesitated, and then said slowly, “But if you do…”

“I don’t,” said Hongjoong with a laugh. “Come on, let’s go.”

They went outside, where it was cold enough for Hongjoong’s breath to frost in the air. Seonghwa wrapped his scarf around his neck and pulled it up to cover his mouth.

“I thought you didn’t feel cold,” said Hongjoong, grinning as he noticed.

“I don’t,” said Seonghwa. He had to work harder to enunciate every word so that Hongjoong could understand clearly. “I don’t breathe, Hongjoong. When it’s cold, you can tell.”

“Oh.” Hongjoong blinked up at him, and then turned away, embarrassed. “Right.”

“You can still understand my words, right?” asked Seonghwa. He chuckled. “It’s kind of a pain.”

“Yeah, I hear you,” said Hongjoong. “So you’re like this every winter?”

“Every winter,” said Seonghwa. “It’s a payoff of sorts, because winter also means more hours of night.”

Hongjoong nodded, thinking it over. “We shouldn’t spend too much time outdoors, then,” he said.

Seonghwa felt his heart warm and soften. We. “I don’t mind,” he said.

“I can’t see half your face,” said Hongjoong.

“I didn’t know you were so desperate to see my face,” said Seonghwa mischievously.

Hongjoong laughed and shoved him. Seonghwa let himself get pushed away a moment and then swayed right back to Hongjoong’s side.

“So,” he said slowly. “I know you’re an artist and maybe I shouldn’t ask but…”

“I am not an artist,” insisted Hongjoong. His cheeks and ears were red, perhaps from the cold, but Seonghwa liked to imagine because of him. “I just… draw sometimes.”

Seonghwa sighed. “We’re not bringing up this argument again,” he said. “I just wanted to know if you were working on the painting I asked you to do for me.”

“That?” Hongjoong looked at him, grinned. “Of course. Or you thought I threw it out when we were fighting?”

“Well…” Seonghwa hadn’t really been sure. For a few terrible nights he hadn’t thought of them as fighting, but broken up.

“I didn’t,” said Hongjoong with a laugh. “I’m working on it, little by little. You can’t rush art.”

“I know,” said Seonghwa. “I was just a little curious.” He hesitated, and then asked, “I’m guessing there’s no chance of me seeing it…?”

Hongjoong threw his head back and laughed. “Oh, no way.”

By now they’d walked up to what looked to be a park of sorts, but much smaller than the one near Seonghwa’s house. It had many flowerbeds, bare at this time of year, circular and rectangular patches of dry earth lined with pebbles painted white. They walked up paths paved with small white stones flattened by a thousand shoes, until Hongjoong made his way to an empty bench. Seonghwa slid in beside him, close. Hongjoong let him, and Seonghwa treasured the press of Hongjoong’s small body against his. He really was made to fit against Seonghwa’s side like this.

“Have you ever had a painting made of you?” asked Hongjoong.

“A long time ago,” said Seonghwa. “Taehee-noona had me sit for a painting when she first bought the house. I think it’s still there, in the extra room.” He grinned, shook his head. “It was terrible. I had to sit like that for hours, I couldn’t even move my face.” 

He thought of that painting, and of the matching one of Taehee that had hung in the hallway upstairs for so long. Seonghwa had put them, and so many of Taehee’s things, in the extra room. He wondered if that had been wrong of him, packing away Taehee’s possessions, all the traces of her life, like she hadn’t lived in that very house so many years. He wondered if she would have been upset if she had been alive, or if she would’ve understood. Seonghwa couldn’t live like that, faced with reminders of her life, her death, tearing him down in his own home. 

“Sounds like hell.” 

Seonghwa blinked, returning to the present. To Hongjoong, his silver hair falling over and into his bright eyes, the way his features carried his expressions. “It was,” he said. “It’s one of the reasons I didn’t ask Wooyoung or Yeosang to get theirs painted.” He snorted, trying to imagine Wooyoung sitting still for an hour straight.

“How did you guys end up together?” asked Hongjoong. “I know you talked a little about it before, but you never really said how you ended up becoming a—a coven.”

“Convenience, mostly,” said Seonghwa. He saw Hongjoong’s eyes widen with surprise, and smiled. “They were struggling, trying to find safety and security. I was all alone in the house after Taehee-noona’s death, and I needed company. It worked.”

“So you were like, what, roommates?” Hongjoong looked perplexed. 

“If so, they were the worst roommates,” said Seonghwa, grinning. “They had no money for rent, or anything, really. They didn’t own much more than a few sets of clothes and makeup.”


“It’s how they lured humans,” said Seonghwa. 

As soon as the words were out, he realized he’d made a mistake. Hongjoong’s expression darkened, and his body stiffened against Seonghwa’s. “Lured,” he repeated.

“They had to,” said Seonghwa. “People weren’t as open to the idea of being bitten as they are now, and for vampires less well-off like them they had no choice. They were near starvation when I found them hanging around one of the hotspots that popped up and disappeared every few weeks. As far as I know, they never killed anyone.”

As far as I know. The vampire-hunting years had been merciless, and desperate. Seonghwa had survived them in relative comfort. He didn’t think it his place to ask or judge Wooyoung and Yeosang for whatever they might’ve had to do. All he could do was hope they hadn’t had to do it.

Hongjoong looked at him, eyes sharp, and for a moment Seonghwa was scared he would pick up on his phrasing and poke more about Wooyoung and Yeosang’s doings. But he didn’t. Instead, he said, “You’re close with them. Wooyoung… and Yeosang.”

“Yeah,” said Seonghwa. He put an arm around Hongjoong, because he could, because Hongjoong let him. “I half expected them to leave when it was safe. But they didn’t. We became kind of a family.”

Hongjoong leaned into him. “You’re so different.”

“Me and Wooyoung? Or Wooyoung and Yeosang?” Seonghwa laughed. “I guess.”

“You and Yeosang, actually,” muttered Hongjoong.

“I think Yeosang and I are actually pretty similar,” said Seonghwa. “When you get to know him better, you’ll see.”

He waited. He waited to see if Hongjoong would pick up on that, on Seonghwa’s expectation and hope that he’d get closer with his coven, his family. Seonghwa wanted to be with Hongjoong for a long time, and that meant Hongjoong knowing the others, and them knowing him. Yeosang, and Mingi, Jongho. Wooyoung. 

“Doesn’t seem like it,” said Hongjoong.

Seonghwa accepted that. It would take more time, then. He was alright with that. He had time. With Hongjoong, he was more than willing to wait until he was comfortable with getting to know the others, with getting the others to know him. 

“Can I kiss you?” asked Seonghwa.

Hongjoong started, and looked up at him with wide eyes. “Wh—right now? Here?”

Seonghwa nodded.

Hongjoong glanced around, checking if there were any eyes on them. He disliked being watched. Seonghwa wondered if Hongjoong knew how beautiful he was, how difficult it was to not look at him. 

When he was satisfied, Hongjoong nodded. Seonghwa pulled his scarf down with his left hand while the other went to the back of Hongjoong’s head. 

The kiss was brief, too brief, like it always was with Hongjoong. Seonghwa could’ve kissed him for hours. He stayed close, even after they’d parted, eyes taking in every detail of Hongjoong’s ethereal face.

“What?” asked Hongjoong softly, smile playing on his lips. 

“Nothing,” murmured Seonghwa.

“It’s like you always have something you wanna say to me,” said Hongjoong. “Whatever it is, you can tell me. I can’t promise I won’t be mad, but I’ll try.” He grinned.

I love you. It must’ve been obvious on his face, but Seonghwa couldn’t say it, not yet. Instead he smiled, shook his head, and then leaned forward to kiss Hongjoong again.




Yunho opened the door and was greeted with Yeosang’s smiling face. 

“What—What are you doing here?” he asked, surprised.

“I came to see you,” said Yeosang. “Can I come in?”

“Yeah, of course,” said Yunho. He moved away from the doorway, let Yeosang enter. “You should’ve called or something. Hongjoong-hyung could’ve been home.”

“I had a feeling he wouldn’t be,” said Yeosang.

“Well, you were right,” said Yunho, shrugging. “He went out some time ago.” 

Only the table lamp was on in the living room, and Yunho went to switch on the others before Yeosang stopped him with a hand and a smile. “Don’t bother, I don’t mind the dark,” he said. “And I’m only stopping by to give you this.”

He hefted a shopping bag in front of him and Yunho took it. “For me?”

“Yeah, for you,” said Yeosang. “Not from me, though, I’m only the courier.” 

“It’s…” Yunho looked up from the bag. “Mingi?”

Yeosang nodded.

He had a soft, warm smile on his face, but Yunho felt himself heat up in embarrassment at the sight of it. “I’m so sorry,” he said. “You came all the way out here because—he—for me—”

“It’s no problem,” said Yeosang. “I’m glad to have a reason to leave the house. Do you want privacy?”

He motioned to the bag, and Yunho felt the heat spike. “No, it’s cool,” he said. “I’m sure it’s—it’s cool, it’s fine, he…”

“Just open it before you explode,” said Yeosang, grinning.

Right. Yunho should do that. He hefted the bag, found whatever was inside was moderately heavy. And had no sharp corners—he didn’t see any poking at the material of the bag. Yunho reached into the bag and pulled it out.

It was an owl. A figurine of a snow white owl, with curved beak and golden eyes. Every detail had been put into it, down to the edges of the wings and the feathers, the ridges of the talons sitting on the platform of rich wooden brown.

“Hedwig,” Yunho murmured to himself. 

The owl had been one of Yunho’s favorites in Harry Potter. He’d told Mingi that once, in the middle of one of his super long monologues on the series. Mingi had remembered. He’d not only remembered, he’d gone out of his way to get this for Yunho, and then sent it to him through his friend. 

Yunho looked up at Yeosang. “Thank you.” 

“Like I said, no problem,” said Yeosang. “Do you want me to take anything to him?”

“I don’t—I didn’t get him anything,” said Yunho. Shit. He should’ve gotten Mingi something, he should’ve prepared—

“I think,” said Yeosang slowly, “you can just give him something you wear. So he’ll know your scent.”

Yunho gaped at him. “Is that—okay?”

Yeosang nodded.

“Wait here a sec,” said Yunho.

He ran to his bedroom. It was a mess, because San hadn’t cleaned recently, and he was the only one in the house even close to neat. Yunho went through his clothes, looking for something good. For the first time he wished he had an army of stuffed animals like San. Mingi would probably like one of those.

But all Yunho had to offer was a plain sweatshirt, soft and gray and in good condition. He folded it as well as he could (which wasn’t that well) and then returned to the living room with it. 

He offered it to Yeosang, embarrassed, and Yeosang put it in the bag he’d brought. The Hedwig figure was sitting on the table nearby.

“Okay, thanks,” said Yeosang. “Mingi is going to be over the moon getting this.”

“No, thank you,” said Yunho earnestly. “You didn’t have to do this.”

“Like I said, no problem,” said Yeosang. He paused. “I like you.”

“Uh…” Yunho didn’t know what to say. “Thanks?”

“No, stop,” said Yeosang with a laugh. “I like you, because you like Mingi. You care for him as he is. That makes you a good guy to me.”

He looked sincere, and it touched Yunho. “Thank you,” he said.

“You’re welcome,” said Yeosang. “Well… I guess I’ll get going now.”

“Hey, you don’t have to go so soon,” said Yunho. “You wanna hang out for some time? I’m stuck alone until San comes back anyway.”

Yeosang hesitated, but eventually smiled and said, “Okay.”

They watched TV together. Yunho considered Yeosang a kind-of friend, sometimes talking to him over the phone or when he appeared in one of his video calls with Mingi. He was quiet, but quickly warmed up to Yunho, and before long was covering his face and batting at him with his too-long sleeves as he laughed.

“No, go back,” said Yeosang, tugging at Yunho’s arm as he flicked through the channels. The drama they’d been watching had gone to commercial break. “I like that song.”

It was a music program, and a female idol group was performing. Yeosang watched avidly, following along with their hand motions apparently subconsciously.

“I didn’t know you were such a girl group addict,” said Yunho, grinning.

“I am not,” said Yeosang, so indignantly Yunho burst out laughing. “Really,” he insisted. “I’m nothing compared to Seonghwa.”

“Can you do the dance?” asked Yunho.

Yeosang side-eyed him. “Maybe.”

“Okay, you gotta teach me,” said Yunho, jumping up. He grabbed Yeosang and pulled him to his feet. “Come on. From the start of the chorus. Like this, right?”

“You can’t be serious,” said Yeosang, laughing, but he got into the starting position.

They got a few moves down before Yunho misstepped and brought his foot down right on Yeosang’s. Yeosang yelped and started bouncing on one foot, and Yunho tried to apologize but he was laughing too hard.

“I’m okay, I’m okay,” said Yeosang. “Wow, you could at least ask.”

“Are you okay?” wheezed Yunho. 

Yeosang burst into laughter, covering his mouth with both hands. Yunho grabbed him by the shoulders to help steady him just as there was a click and the front door opened.

San entered the apartment, and then stopped dead in the doorway as he spotted the two of them. 

“Yeosang-ssi?” he said finally.

Yeosang sobered up and stood straight. “Hello.”

“Oh, hey,” said Yunho. “You’re back early.”

“Class ended early,” said San, stepping in and out of his shoes. “Yeosang-ssi, I didn’t know you were coming over.” He glanced at Yunho. “And to… meet Yunho?”

“Just came to drop off something,” said Yeosang. “I should probably leave now.”

“Aw, no, stay,” said Yunho, slinging an arm around Yeosang’s shoulders. Yeosang looked at him, and then at San.

“Yeah, you should stay,” said San with a bright smile. 

“Well, alright then,” said Yeosang.

He sat down, ending the impromptu dance lesson, and Yunho did too. San left to shower and change. 

Yunho changed back to the drama they’d been watching, and they watched in silence for some time. Then San came back, freshly showered and hair still damp, and sat on Yeosang’s other side on the couch.

“Don’t you want something to eat?” asked Yunho. “I think Hongjoong-hyung made something before he left.”

San shook his head. “I’ll eat later,” he said. “I wanna watch whatever you’re watching.” He smiled.

Yunho shrugged, and went back to the drama.

The show had just come back from another commercial when Yunho’s phone started ringing. He grabbed it off the table and checked the caller ID, smiling when he saw who it was.

“I’ll be right back,” he said. San looked up and smiled with a nod. Yeosang nodded too, eyes still on the screen. 

The kitchen was blindingly bright after the dim light of the living room, and Yunho’s eyes stung for a couple of seconds after switching on the lights. He rubbed them as he picked up the call. “Hey.”

“Hey,” said Mingi. “So, uh, you’re home, right?”

He sounded nervous, and Yunho grinned. “Yeah, why?”

“No reason,” said Mingi, more nervous than ever. “So, hey, funny question—”

“Did Yeosang come over? Yeah, he did,” said Yunho with a laugh. “Thank you, Ming, I love it.”

Mingi let out an obvious sigh of relief, and Yunho laughed again. “I’m glad you liked it,” said Mingi. “It’s smaller than they wrote online and I was kinda worried, it’s not that special.”

“It is special,” said Yunho, and to him it really was. “You didn’t have to.”

“I just thought you should have something,” said Mingi. “We can’t do a lot of the stuff other—other people do, but I can still give you things.”

Yunho smiled and shook his head, even though he knew Mingi couldn’t see. For a moment he thought of bringing up the possibility of them meeting, but decided against it. That was a serious thing, and he didn’t want to upset Mingi with it now. 

Instead, he said, “Thank you. I really like it a lot.”

And he heard Mingi laugh sweetly on the line. Yunho thought he would float away from the sound of it. 

“I’m glad,” said Mingi, and Yunho could hear the smile in his voice. “You said you were sad when the owl died, right? You have her now so you don’t have to be sad anymore.”

Yunho grinned. “So you’ll give me things every time I even talk about being sad.”

“Totally,” said Mingi. “Think of me as your ideal man, Yunho.”

“You already are,” said Yunho, and he grinned even wider when he heard Mingi squeak. “I actually have something for you.”

“Yeah?” Mingi sounded excited. “What is it?”

“It’s with Yeosang,” said Yunho. “You’ll get it tonight.”

“Really?” A loud rustle on the line as Mingi moved. “I can’t wait.”

San walked into the kitchen and motioned to Yunho just as Mingi started talking excitedly about his gift. “Ming, sorry, I need to go,” said Yunho, while San walked up to him and leaned against the counter. “We’ll talk later?”

“Yeah, of course,” said Mingi. “I can’t wait to see what you gave me!” 

“I hope you’ll like it,” said Yunho, smiling. “Bye.”


And then Mingi ended the call, and Yunho put down his phone. “What’s up?” he asked San.

San didn’t waste any time. “Yeosang,” he said. “You’re friends with him. How?”

“What do you mean, how?” Yunho didn’t understand. “I talked to him? Aren’t you friends with him too?”

“Not exactly,” said San carefully.

“What?” Yunho was taken aback. “You and Yeosang aren’t friends? You talk about hanging out at his house all the time.” 

“Yeah, and he’s usually there,” said San. He glanced at the open kitchen door. “But I get the feeling he doesn’t like me,” he continued in a lower voice. “And, like, he never said anything but I can tell. I don’t know what to do. How did you get him to like you?”

“I don’t know,” said Yunho. “He just—likes me. Because I like Mingi.”

“I like Mingi too,” said San exasperatedly. “And Wooyoung, and Seonghwa-hyung and Jongho. Why doesn’t he like me?”

Yunho shrugged. “I guess you gotta ask him.”

San glared up at Yunho, and then turned away sulkily. “I tried really hard,” he said. “I was friendly and warm. Then I thought maybe I was too much and being annoying, so I cooled down. But he still won’t like me—he refuses to like me—and I’m getting kinda sick of trying.”

“This really bothers you, huh?” asked Yunho. Enough for San to bring it up while Yeosang was sitting in the next room.

“Of course it does,” said San. “He—he’s Wooyoung’s…” He trailed off, like he couldn’t find the word, and then rallied. “If he doesn’t like me, if he really, really hates me, then… Wooyoung…”

“You think Wooyoung would break up with you?” Yunho couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Because of—Yeosang?”

San didn’t say anything, but his answer was obvious.

“Dude, Wooyoung wouldn’t break up with you over anything,” said Yunho. “He’s crazy about you. And you know Yeosang would never ask him to. He’s a really nice guy.”

“I know,” murmured San.

“I’m sure he’ll warm up to you,” said Yunho. “It’s impossible to not like you, San. Even when you’re annoying you’re sweet.”

“You think?” San looked up at Yunho with big eyes.

“I know,” said Yunho wisely.


The deep familiar voice drew Yunho’s attention. He looked up at the doorway, at the figure standing just inside it, and froze.

It was Yeosang. But he looked different.

He was white, white like powder and paint and snow. His skin was so white it was almost reflective. It made his eyes stand out golden in his pretty face, his birthmark redder than ever on his cheek.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, and then glanced at his hand and smiled. “Oh. Never seen a vampire under bright light before?”

That was the thing. Yunho had, but he hadn’t known it was a vampire then. He’d thought it was just a home invader wearing too much powder or makeup.

A home invader Hongjoong had rushed in to save, and then held hands with. 

“I have some errands to run, so I have to go,” said Yeosang. “Thanks so much for letting me stay a while.”

Yunho nodded blankly. He couldn’t talk.

“Thank you for coming,” said San. “You can come over anytime, we’d love it if you came.”

Yeosang smiled, and San saw him to the front door, bright and bubbly. Yunho stood where he was. His brain was too busy screaming at him to move his feet.

Vampires. White under kitchen lights. Hongjoong-hyung’s boyfriend. White under kitchen lights. Then Hongjoong-hyung’s boyfriend—

Yunho ran into the living room. “San!”

San had just locked the door, and turned back to look. “Yeah?”

“Dude,” said Yunho. He was sure he was going to explode. “Dude. Fuck. Yeosang, he—in the kitchen—”

“What, the paleness?” asked San. “He’s right, vampires look like that in bright lights, especially under those ugly fluorescent bulbs. Woo has to wear makeup to go shopping.”

“Shit,” said Yunho. Then it was true. Of course it was true, he believed Yeosang, but it was true—

“Hey, calm down,” said San. He grabbed Yunho by the upper arms. “What happened? Why are you freaking out?”

“It—damn it, San.” Yunho took a deep breath. “I’m gonna tell you something. You can’t tell Hongjoong-hyung. Ever, ever, ever.”

“What is it?” San’s brow furrowed. 

Yunho took another deep breath. “Hongjoong-hyung’s boyfriend is a vampire.”

San screamed.

Yunho didn’t even try to stop him. He kind of wanted to scream too.

“How do you know?” demanded San, shaking him. “Why didn’t you tell me before?”

“I didn’t know,” groaned Yunho. He told San about it all, the incident with the boyfriend in the kitchen, how his skin had looked just like Yeosang’s. “I didn’t understand then,” he said. “I was so stupid, oh my god, I thought—I thought he was goth or something—”

San looked like he was going to scream again, but held it in. “I can’t believe it,” he said.

“Me neither,” said Yunho. He’d never have believed it in a hundred years. Hongjoong? Dating a vampire?

“That bastard,” San hissed suddenly. “That’s why he didn’t want us to meet him. He knew I’d be able to tell.”

“Hey, hold up,” said Yunho. “We don’t know he knows.”

San stared at him in disbelief. “Are you kidding? Of course hyung knows!”

“He might not,” said Yunho. “I didn’t know vampires looked like that in kitchens. Maybe Hongjoong-hyung doesn’t know either. I mean, how would he know?”

“They banged, Yunho,” said San flatly. “You should be able to tell the dick you’re sucking is room temperature.”

“Oh, my god, shut up!” yelled Yunho. He did not want to think about Hongjoong—oh fuck now he was thinking about it— 

“It’s the truth!” San yelled back. “Wooyoung’s dick is room temperature, Mingi’s dick—”

Yunho clamped his hands over his ears. He did not want to hear this.

“—Yeosang’s is room temperature,” San kept yelling, undeterred. “And so is hyung’s boyfriend’s! Hyung knows!”

“We don’t know that,” said Yunho, desperate to change the topic. 

“If hyung doesn’t know, he’s denser than a brick,” said San flatly. “You can hide it for a couple of weeks, sure. And then when someone asks why you’re not eating? Why you never go out during the day? Even you caught on to Mingi, and you never met in real life!”

That made sense. It made a lot of sense. But Yunho refused to believe it. “He can’t know,” he said. “You saw him, he didn’t even wanna eat the stuff Seonghwa-hyung sent over.”

“I saw him,” said San. “And you saw his boyfriend. It’s obvious, if Hongjoong-hyung doesn’t know he is the dumbest, most intentionally blind—”

The click of the front door cut through the air, and both Yunho and San froze.

The door opened and Hongjoong walked in.

“Oh, you’re both here,” he said, closing the door behind him. “San, did you eat?” He leaned down and started taking off his shoes.

San whipped his head to face Yunho. Ask him, he mouthed.

No way, Yunho mouthed back. What am I supposed to ask? 

“What are you guys doing?” 

Hongjoong had taken off his shoes, and now looked at Yunho and San in confusion. Yunho and San exchanged a glance. 

“Nothing,” said Yunho, squeezing the word out.

“Okay then,” said Hongjoong, but he didn’t look totally convinced. “San, you ate, right?”

“Not yet,” said San. He was handling things much better than Yunho, who desperately wished he could disappear. “Going right now. You, hyung?” 

“Yeah, sure, I could eat something,” said Hongjoong. “Yunho?”

Yunho tensed up. “I’m good,” he said. “I’m just… gonna go to my room.”

“Okay,” said Hongjoong. “Wait for me a sec, San, I’m just gonna change and shower.”

“Hyung, you didn’t eat on your date?” asked San innocently. “Does your boyfriend not like food?”

Hongjoong stopped. “Huh?” 

“Just asking,” said San, still in that innocent voice. “It’s like you always eat after coming home. You guys never go out for dinner? Or lunch?” 

Yunho fled before he could hear Hongjoong’s response. As soon as the door was closed and he couldn’t hear Hongjoong’s answer—Hongjoong’s excuse—he collapsed on his bed. He wished he’d never found out about Hongjoong’s boyfriend. He wished he’d never told San, who it seemed was set on digging a confession out of Hongjoong, or at least making him squirm. 

Yunho groaned and stretched out flat on the bed. He was really not made for this.