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Why Don't you Do Right?

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When Jeonghan takes to the stage, there’s a palpable coil of smoke in the air all around him. Thick white-grey clouds of it are rising up from the sea of round tables, mingling in the near darkness of the Purple Rose club. It doesn’t quite reach the art deco ornamentation on the ceiling, with its cracked gold paint and damaged plaster – but nobody besides Jeonghan ever bothers to look up. On the ground floor of the Rose, crystal glasses are washed and polished into glittering transparency until they are beautiful enough to pass for Venetian antiques. The booze is always good, the bottles always uncorked, the boys always ready for a good time. If anyone cared to raise their heads and take in the unchecked dampness, the fading grandeur, they would’ve seen the club for what it really was: a farce. A place to build dreams and indulge the filthy fantasies of the worst sorts of people. All in all, Jeonghan thinks to himself, it’s not entirely unlike its owner.

Seungkwan is in the crowd tonight, making the rounds. He’s a spider at the heart of an intricate web, pulling at the chords; Jeonghan knows he’s looking for secrets and catching them like they’re flies. There’s a big catch tonight and Seungkwan is worming his way towards the corner of the club where Jeonghan can just about make out the silhouette of a man. He’s very still and slightly unreal, cast in chiaroscuro shadow like a mob boss from the pictures. Except Jeonghan knows that every one of the Rose’s valued customers are gangsters in the truest sense, and very capable of putting a bullet in his skull. He watches as Seungkwan leans into the man’s ear and whispers something before pointing at the stage. At him.

Jeonghan finds himself drenched in limelight. It catches on the white and red satin of his evening dress, and he imagines it lighting up his face too, casting his red lipstick and sleek eyeliner in golden light. The patrons are drinking him in, deeper than their whiskeys and Manhattans. This is what they’ve come here for; the Purple Rose catered to unique tastes and Seungkwan made sure his establishment offered the very best in cabaret. Jeonghan eases a hand around the microphone as the band begin to play, each note snaking around the next with a slow, sultry rhythm.

He sees Seungkwan offer him a confident smirk before stepping off into the shadows once again. As Jeonghan begins to sing, a lamp turns on at the rear table and his eyes lock with a dark, heavy-lidded gaze. So this is him, the youngest crime boss in the city; the man with the million dollar smile that closes million dollar deals; the Prince of Diamonds himself, Choi Seungcheol. Jeonghan has done his reading, but no dossier could have prepared him for thick, plush lips and eyes that seem to undress him onstage. The song continues, and Jeonghan runs a provocative hand down the length of the mic stand.

You had plenty money 1922, you let other women make a fool of you…

Choi Seungcheol tilts his head to the side and takes a drag from a cigar. It’s almost a little unnerving being watched with such hunger, but Jeonghan can’t ignore the pounding of his heart. It races when he thinks about the man in the crowd – about what he’s going to do to him. Or rather, what he’s going to let be done to himself.

Why don’t you do right, like some other men do? Get out of here and get me some money too…

He tries his best not to feel intimidated; not to dwell on the stomach-churning feeling of insignificance as he takes in Seungcheol’s broad shoulders and the way his legs are spread apart as he sits. Jeonghan focuses on the lyrics of the song, the heady drumbeat that simmers at its core. He has a job to do, and it doesn’t matter how impossible the whole thing seems: he has to get it done.

Jeonghan wills himself to look more carefully. There’s a certain power in watching and being watched, and whilst he may not have money or brutish physical strength, he’s nothing if not cunning. No matter what trouble he’s in (and oh, he does like to attract trouble) Jeonghan always lands on his feet. He’s a cat with nine lives that’s made it from a tiny slum house to the most exclusive and notorious gentleman’s club in the whole damn city. And what is this man to him? Just another ladder to climb, another fortunate opportunity. Another stranger to depend upon.

So he looks: the song is nearly at an end, but Jeonghan has time to notice the untouched Bourbon, the quick-moving eyes. He’s sober; more so than Jeonghan would have liked. He keeps looking and he sees the glint of a watch worth more than the house Jeonghan was raised in. There’s another figure beside his mark, a shorter man that lacks Seungcheol’s imposing presence. The right-hand man – the guy with the gun.

Breathy, Jeonghan reaches the end of his performance and the club offers its applause. There are one or two wolf whistles, but none from anyone worth noticing. Jeonghan blows a kiss to the man at the back table and it goes all but ignored, besides a brief raise of a dark eyebrow. He’s cocky, Jeonghan thinks, and finds himself somehow relishing the thought.

There’s a gap at the side of the stage, an exit revealing the inner workings of the club. In the dim recesses of the Purple Rose, Jeonghan can see Seungkwan standing amongst the ropes and levers of the rigging system. Always the one pulling the strings, he gives Jeonghan a nod and smile before Jun brushes past and joins him on the stage.

‘Wasn’t he wonderful, everybody? There’s a reason we call him Angel,’ Jun says with his stage voice, running a hand along Jeonghan’s spine. ‘I’m afraid we’ve had a very substantial private bid for our Angel tonight, so unfortunately he’s already spoken for.’

Jun appears to anticipate the muttered dissent and pulls the crowd of men back in with a flash of his pure white smile. It’s titanium white, untainted and unreal, a colour on a painter’s easel. He winks, and Jeonghan knows Jun has them wrapped around his finger.

‘Gentlemen, gentlemen! The night is still young, and we’ve got far more incredible acts to show you-‘

Jeonghan takes it as his cue to leave. He sways off stage with the distinct feeling of two dark eyes following his every move.

-

By the time Jeonghan reaches the VIP table, there’s a small group of men surrounding it. Two new lackeys had arrived whilst he was freshening his makeup; both wearing trilby hats and neatly cut black suits with thin grey pinstripes. Jeonghan is surprised to see all of them are shrugging on their coats. Seungcheol’s is long and black, its collar lined with fur. It fits nicely around his tux and makes it look as though he’s been out to the opera, not a high-class den of vice.

‘Are we leaving already? You’re not going to buy me a drink first?’ Jeonghan asks, hope and trepidation in his voice.

‘Sorry, baby doll. I’d rather go someplace more comfortable.’

Standing, Jeonghan is surprised to see that Seungcheol is the same height as him. He has the body of the street brawler he once was. Jeonghan had made a careful note of that page in Seungcheol’s file, the one that laid out his rough teenage years. Mad Dog, they’d called him; an underground boxer that preferred his fists to any firearm.

The other men stand at a respectful distance, silent and attentive. Seungcheol really was every bit the king – not merely the Prince his title promised. And the Blood Diamonds were well on their way to running the city, reaching out and taking control from their underground gambling ring to greasing the palms of city officials. Why, then, did Choi Seungcheol seem utterly and completely charming?

‘Mingyu, Jihoon; you two go ahead. Chan will drive Jeonghan and myself to the apartment uptown. If you’d be so kind.’

Jeonghan is taken aback by the strong scent of cologne and cigar ash as he finds himself suddenly draped in Seungcheol’s winter coat. A large, warm hand leads him out to a sleek black car.

Chan wastes no time starting the engine and Jeonghan feels his heart flutter at the swiftness of it all. He’s used to long nights sitting at the bar, voice dripping with honey as he sweettalked his way into favour – and maybe into somebody else’s bed. This feels like a business transaction, no matter how polite his temporary owner is. Seungcheol seems entirely at ease with his purchase of Jeonghan’s time – Jeonghan’s body – and the thought is as thrilling as it is repellent.

They sit next to each other in the backseat, and Seungcheol becomes immediately attentive and curious as the car drives away from the prying eyes of the bar. There’s still a distance between them – a huge chasm of power – but Seungcheol no longer looks as though he’s being scrutinised. He leans back against the leather interior, his hand only a few centimetres away from Jeonghan’s own.

Congenial and attentive, Seungcheol asks him about himself. Did you go to college? Do you like going to the pictures? Is that your own makeup? How old are you?

Almost every answer is a practiced lie. Jeonghan is almost growing frustrated with the slowness of it all, but he’s been in the game too long to let Seungcheol’s body language go unnoticed. He can see past the good manners, the questions that hardly require an answer; Jeonghan sees past it all and what he finds is desire.

Seungcheol is holding back. It’s a veneer, a restrained front bottling up a flood of darkness that Jeonghan finds himself suddenly wanting to taste. He’s had bad men before; he knows how it feels to be treated like prey. Danger is intoxicating, and Jeonghan tries as hard as he can not to get drunk on it. Not when he needs his senses more than ever.

Knowing very well that it’s a bad idea to wake a sleeping bear, Jeonghan finds himself turned on enough to tease Seungcheol. He wants nothing better than to break him.

‘Enough about me. I’m more interested in what you want.’ Jeonghan trails his fingers down the front of his satin gown. ‘Shall I take a guess?’ He pretends to deliberate. Across from him, Seungcheol holds his breath. ‘Do you want my pretty mouth around your cock?’

Seungcheol looks angry. But he doesn’t break.

‘Damn, blondie. I was just trying to get to know you first.’

Jeonghan feels a smile tug at his lips. This was what he lived for; the back and forth, the dance that came before all of the sweat and colliding bodies. Although that certainly had its benefits too.

‘Don’t worry, I’m used to men that get nervous. If you’re worried about your performance, it helps to talk first.’

Jeonghan’s voice is dripping with sarcasm, and he all but feels the change in the air. They pull up to an expensive apartment block and Seungcheol throws the car door open before marching over to Jeonghan’s side and pulling him out. He has a quick temper. Jeonghan likes that in a man.

When he finally gets a good look at him in the elevator, Jeonghan can see Seungcheol’s smug expression. There’s a good distance between them, but Jeonghan can still feel a tightness around his wrist from where Seungcheol had grabbed him. He’s as strong as he looks, and Jeonghan is clearheaded enough to be disturbed by his physical dominance. If things take a turn, as they so often did, Jeonghan would be completely helpless. The elevator stops at the penthouse suite – one way in, one way out. Guards at the apartment door. Windows shut and curtains drawn.

Inexplicably, Jeonghan thinks of Wonwoo. It’s a bad time to dwell on him, he knows, but he can’t help it. He remembers the other man’s long fingers sliding the file across the table; the way he’d looked at Jeonghan with concern, with fierce faith.

Not waiting for permission, Jeonghan helps himself to a strong vodka tonic at Seungcheol’s minibar. It calms him to keep his hands busy screwing and unscrewing bottle caps. The drink ice cold against his throat and warm as it seeps into him. He finishes it in one go and turns to see his host watching him from the couch.

The whole room is immaculate and decorated tastefully with gold accents and delicate furniture. It’s entirely unlike Seungcheol who, Jeonghan suspects, is rough and self-made, wrought like iron. He briefly wonders if its difficult being a crime boss attracted to men – perhaps Seungcheol’s life is doubled and full of deeply-held secrets – but the thought leaves as quickly as it arrives.

Jeonghan knocks back another drink, this time a vodka double, and feels himself getting tipsy. He’s not supposed to drink on the job, least of all when his mark is completely sober, but he needs a little liquid courage.

The alcohol helps to clear the trepidation from his mind. It eliminates his good sense too, as Jeonghan finds himself stepping over to the couch and perching on top of Seungcheol’s thick thighs.

‘What’s wrong?’ he asks. ‘Is this not what you had in mind when you spent a thousand dollars on me?’

Jeonghan begins lazily undoing Seungcheol’s bowtie.

‘A thousand?’ He chuckles. ‘You can’t possibly think you’re that cheap. I’ve certainly gotten a lot more than I bargained for; my rent boys don’t normally come with an attitude.’

Jeonghan stops in his tracks and slaps Seungcheol hard against the shoulder.

‘I’m not a rent boy.’ A distant, slightly more sober part of him worries he’s overstepped a mark, but Jeonghan feels Seungcheol harden beneath him. He grinds forward, the friction pleasant on his own cock too. Of course this glorified street fighter would have a thing for pain.

Despite being right in his estimation, Jeonghan is still surprised when Seungcheol grabs his offending hand and pulls him into a hard, deep kiss. He feels his wrist bruise as Seungcheol kisses him sloppily, urgently. Jeonghan is a little dizzy when he finally pulls away, only to be greeted by the sight of his own lipstick smeared on Seunghcheol’s thick lips. It’s a messy, faded red that stains the centre of his mouth. Jeonghan wonders how much of a wreck he must look in comparison, and the thought turns him on more than it should.

Seungcheol leans in again, the force of his eagerness almost throwing Jeonghan onto the floor. But Jeonghan holds firm and pushes the other man back against the couch, a warning glint in his eyes. He knows he’s playing with fire and it’s only a matter of time until he gets burnt, but for now Seungcheol appears to be enjoying the novelty of being pushed around.

Jeonghan finishes loosening Seungcheol’s bow tie and throws it on the floor. In his white shirt and matching waistcoat, buttons undone at the neck, Seungcheol’s toned upper body and biceps make Jeonghan lick his lips involuntarily. Curious and drunk on his own sadistic impulses, Jeonghan traces a nail along Seungcheol’s exposed neck. He receives a flash of mistrust and a look that can only be described as a warning, but Jeonghan feels electric inside of him. With a quick, cruel motion he scores a scratch into Seungcheol’s skin. At first it’s a thin, dark line, then it thickens with redness until a small trail of blood is seeping down onto his undone collar.

Something inside Seungcheol snaps and Jeonghan thinks yes, this is what I’ve been waiting for. In an instant he’s over Seungcheol’s shoulder and being carried into a darkened bedroom. When he’s thrown down onto the bed, the mattress is cold beneath him and neatly made. He can hardly make out the other man; he’s a slowly moving figure in the almost-blackness of the city night, a phantom watching in the shadows.

‘I think I’m done with playing,’ a deep, steady voice says.

A lamp is switched on and Seungcheol is standing by it, his waistcoat lying in a heap on the floor. The blood on his neck is drying quickly and as angry as he looks, Jeonghan can see Seungcheol’s painful hardness pushing at the confines of his belt. He’s taking his watch off slowly, deliberately and Jeonghan feels himself grow impatient, brattish.

‘Take that dress off.’ The command is so casual, Jeonghan takes a moment to process it. A moment too long for Seungcheol, who reiterates his demand;

‘Dress. Off. Now.’

Jeonghan moves so that he’s kneeling on the king-sized bed, his knees a little weak from supporting himself on Seungcheol’s lap. He tries to give Seungcheol a defiant look, but it’s useless; any pretence of respectability had been abandoned the moment Jeonghan drew first blood. So he stands up off the bed and undoes the clasp of his gown, letting it fall around his feet in a pool of shining white and red satin. Jeonghan is left in silk panties, stockings, and suspenders holding them up. His torso is bare and he feels so incredibly naked, but there’s a confidence in his vulnerability. Jeonghan enjoys the way Seungcheol’s eyes slowly drink him in, a hint of surprise just evident in his slightly parted mouth.

The way the garter belt fits tight around his waist, is enough to stop even the Prince of Diamonds in his tracks. Seungcheol is momentarily frozen as he uncuffs his shirt sleeves and rolls them up his forearms. It’s exactly the shift of power Jeonghan has been hoping for; his choice to perform in women’s clothes and women’s lingerie is one he finds empowering. Jeonghan’s androgyny is a tool, his distaste for gender roles a weapon.

Seungcheol is rolling up his sleeves again now and Jeonghan notes his silence, the way his jaw is set firm. He’s restraining himself again, but Jeonghan can’t seem to figure out why – is he afraid of what he might do? Ashamed of his own arousal? Wanting to somehow lighten the mood, Jeonghan notices a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes and a matchbook on the bedside table and decides to help himself. Seungcheol’s illicit wealth is so obscene after all, he would hardy miss one measly cigarette. The match crackles into a burning flame and meets the tip of Jeonghan’s cigarette with ease. His lungs breathe in the smoky warmth and he exhales it through his nose.

Contrary to what many believe, there’s an art to smoking: a skill. Done right, it can be a language of eloquent hand gestures and breathes; Jeonghan can pull men in with the permeating smell of tobacco, he can coil around them swift as smoke, instilling within them a red-hot need for more.

Now is the time to ask questions. That’s what Seungkwan always taught him – get them while they’re hot, don’t give a john time to cool off and think about his actions. The promise of sex is as addictive as nicotine, and there’s nothing like the promise of a good fuck to loosen someone’s lips. But Jeonghan isn’t only taking Seungkwan’s orders now. Wonwoo’s briefing was firm but gentle; this wasn’t going to be one of Jeonghan’s usual honeytraps, this was long haul. This was deep and intimate and designed to hurt in all the worst places.

The silence has gone on too long and Jeonghan is calm enough now to remember why he’s here in the apartment of the most dangerous mob boss around. Seungcheol has to be broken, made soft and vulnerable in the palm of Jeonghan’s hand.

‘What’s wrong, Mr Choi? Never seen a boy in lingerie before?’ Jeonghan asks, making a smoke ring and lying back on the bed. He makes a mental pact with himself not to become a horny mess again, but the way Seungcheol is unbuckling his belt has Jeonghan biting his lip.

‘You’d think by now I’d have seen it all, but you’re full of surprises.’ Seungcheol, more confident now, bridges the gap between them and takes the cigarette out from between Jeonghan’s lips and tags a deep drag on it.

‘Then why are you standing there whilst I’m lying on this comfortable bed? Are you scared you might hurt me? I guarantee I can take whatever you can give.’

It’s meant as joke, a little teasing to ease Seungcheol into whatever it is he’s about to do, but Seungcheol takes it as a challenge. Jeonghan is picked up off the bed and hauled against the bedroom wall, his legs wrapping around Seungcheol’s waist. Jeonghan’s mouth parts and it is filled with smoke exhaled from Seungcheol’s lips as he kisses him deeply. Jeonghan can feel eager hands pressing hard against the flesh of his thighs and the force of it is almost enough to undo his suspenders.

He’s trying so very hard to remain detached, to keep his head clear, but Seungcheol is doing everything right. Jeonghan’s always liked it more than a little rough, and he lets out a moan of surprised pleasure when he feels Seungcheol’s mouth on his neck, biting and leaving a row of hickeys on his jugular.

‘You’re driving me crazy, Jeonghan.’

Seungcheol is so, so good with his mouth and he’s determined to kiss every part of Jeonghan’s bare torso. It’s almost more than he can take, and Jeonghan kicks his legs a little in frustration, wanting to be let loose and regain some control.

‘Not yet, baby. Don’t forget who’s in charge.’ Seungcheol’s voice is low and authoritative, slightly choked from arousal. He lets go of his hold on Jeonghan and then, with a careful firmness, pushes him down onto his knees. Jeonghan is grateful the carpet is a thick one.

Seungcheol’s hand is soft and reverant in Jeonghan’s hair, and it’s in that moment that he realises he was right about Seungcheol’s duality. There are disparate, unreconciled parts of him that clash and contrast with every passing moment. The tenderness of Seungcheol’s hand stroking Jeonghan’s blonde hair, the look of awe – almost affection – on his face is just as real as his rough embrace, his desire to take exactly what he wants, regardless of the consequences.

Jeonghan takes it as a cue to unbutton Seungcheol’s pants and pull his briefs low enough to get to his dick. There was no hesitation, Jeonghan was far too gone to play coy and demure; he licked up the length of Seungcheol’s cock before taking it in his mouth. The blowjob was messy and Jeonghan felt his own painful hardness go untouched – he knew better than to do anything without Seungcheol’s express permission. When Jeonghan pulls off Seungcheol’s dick he looks up to see him smoking the cigarette from earlier, eyes fluttering shut in satisfaction. Irked by Jeonghan’s sudden halt, Seungcheol pushes him back on his cock, this time keeping a hand in his hair as he sucks. Amazed at his own happy compliance, Jeonghan moans slightly and feels saliva drip down his chin as he takes Seungcheol in as deeply as he can. The taste of precum spreads across his tongue and he swirls it around the head, eliciting a cry of pleasure from Seungcheol.

Jeonghan is almost used to the abruptness when he feels himself being picked up once again. Seungcheol falls on top of him as they crash onto the bed, Jeonghan doing his best to unbutton Seungcehol’s shirt and throw it off. When Seungcheol removes what’s left of his clothes, Jeonghan has a moment to take in the other man’s form. This is Seungcheol’s truest self, vulnerable, exposed and unguarded with layers of fine clothes. Underneath his suave exterior is the body of a fighter – thick with muscle, broad and wrought with scars. Jeonghan’s eyes follow the tone of his muscle, noting knife slashes and the fading memory of recent bruises until he reaches a small, rough entry wound. Right on Seungcheol’s heart. Its position is as improbable as it is intriguing, the absurdity of it reminding Jeonghan of kitschy cartoon cherubs firing arrows into lonely hearts.

He reaches out a hand to touch the scar and as he does, Seungcheol’s body presses down on top of him. The moment was too intimate, too risky, and Seungcheol’s deep kisses serve as a reminder that Jeonghan exists tonight as only a body – a body to be used and thrown away. Seungcheol’s hands leave bruises on Jeonghan’s own skin and there’s an intoxicating heat between them that feels like the heady bliss of a blazing summer afternoon. Winter lies somewhere forgotten in the moments before their bodies collided; an afterthought to the ecstasy that unfurls in Jeonghan’s stomach when Seungcheol finally wraps a hand around his dick.

For a moment, he feels everything and remembers nothing. Seungcheol is a force, a sun – a vibrant, dying star around which everything orbits in perfect harmony – including Jeonghan. The feeling of Seungcheol on top of him throws his mind into disarray; he feels like a broken compass, needle point edging in erratic chaos.

Then there is nothing. Seungcheol moves off of him and walks a few steps from the bed. In December darkness he is a shadow again as he reaches inside a drawer and moves carefully to kneel between Jeonghan’s open legs. He can’t see Seungcheol clearly – and oh, he almost misses those soft brown eyes – but he can feel him. Jeonghan twitches at the sensation of a mouth placing kisses against his thighs. Seungcheol’s lips are tender at first and then become violent, urgent, as he switches to leaving love bites on his tender flesh. Jeonghan can’t keep quiet as Seungcheol places a hickey right at the top of his thigh, the stinging sensation masking the feeling of lube covered finger pushing through his entrance.

Choi Seungcheol is not the type of lover to stop and wait. The word “careful” is not in his vocabulary. But still, Jeonghan understands the covenant of trust between them – he knows Seungcheol wouldn’t hurt him. Couldn’t hurt him. At least, not in a way Jeonghan didn’t enjoy immensely. And so he barely lets out a whimper when Seungcheol pushes in two more fingers. He doesn’t react when Seungcheol begins moving his fingers and stretching him out. Jeonghan almost maintains his resolve until he feels an indescribable wave of pleasure inside of him.

‘God—’

He brings a hand up to his mouth to stifle the desperate sound of his voice. Seungcheol’s fingers turn sadistic, eliciting crude sounds from Jeonghan that get more and more needy.

‘Stop playing around!’ Jeonghan snaps, dangerously near his limit. ‘I need your cock. I need it now.’

‘I thought you’d never ask, blondie.’

Jeonghan can see Seungcheol smirk in the dimness of the room, and he wonders if he enjoys the power play as much as he enjoys the sex. It doesn’t take long for him to rip open the condom packet. He’s all confidence when he positions himself on top of Jeonghan and pushes himself inside. Seungcheol waits only a few seconds before he starts moving, lingering momentarily with his lips just inches from Jeonghan’s. It seems as though he’s about to lean in and kiss him – but something switches on in Seungcheol’s brain and he lowers his head to the crook of Jeonghan’s neck and begins a careful rhythm.

Pleasure comes like a pool of warmth in his stomach, pinpricking with a dull electric intensity as Seungcheol rolls his hips and presses into him. Jeonghan can feel breath against his neck coming in slow and ragged. Then Seungcheol speeds up. Jeonghan has always been the kind of man that likes it rough; when Seungcheol fucks harder he more than reciprocates, leaving scratches of pleasure on his back.

Jeonghan has learnt to drag sex out, to make it long and intimate and oh so personal. He is trained in tricking secrets out of drug lords, making pets out of mob bosses; but when Choi Seungcheol grabs hold of his dick, Jeonghan entirely loses himself in the moment. Euphoric and strangely ashamed of himself, Jeonghan spills out on Seungcheol’s hand and his own stomach.

The obscenity of it seems to send Seungcheol over the edge too; his hips stutter as he presses himself deep inside Jeonghan until he stills. There’s no space for intimacy in Seungcheol’s line of work – nor in his own – but when Jeonghan feels the other man swiftly pull out and lie beside him, he swears he can feel a heavy gaze on his face.

Jeonghan can’t bring himself to look at the man next to him. It’s all he can do to breathe and stare up at the ornate ceiling, feeling the sweat on his body turn damp and cold in the winter chill. If he had forgotten who he was before, he remembers now: Jeonghan is painfully aware of every dark crevice and corner around him. There are secrets in the shadows lying in wait, ready to be prised open and raided like presents on Christmas morning. There’s one lying right there next to him, a figure of indistinct possibilities and chances.

This is the part where he’s meant to leave. He can feel the expectation of the parting heavy in the air between them; perhaps the first words of dismissal are already lingering on Seungcheol’s lips, ready to be born into the darkness, their finality undeniable. But Jeonghan has a job to do, and he’ll be damned if he doesn’t do it right – whatever the cost.

‘Is it okay if I stay the night?’