Kun walks out of his meeting with a weight off his chest. It feels like ages since he’s gotten multiple days off from work in China. He doesn’t even have to be back in Seoul at work until next Friday. He books his return flight for Tuesday. It gives him enough time to do something in Beijing and rest at home in Seoul. Everything is much more relaxed when he’s in Seoul but whenever he has assignments and projects in Beijing or especially Shanghai, it’s a marathon. He’s not sure what he wants to do exactly but he’s excited for the prospect of freedom, of getting space away from the stuffy models he’s been shooting day after day, week after week.
He’s grabbing a coffee when the idea strikes him, overhearing a group of Korean tourists trying to figure out which direction Tiananmen Square is. For as long as he’s been in Beijing, he still hasn’t gone and photographed any of the tourist attractions. It’s never been something that really struck his interest until he started traveling more.
He wants to do something for himself and revisiting his roots in street photography seems like the best way to mentally recharge. He wants to explore the streets like he used to. The more he thinks about it the more it just makes sense. The transience of the crowds. The potential of historical backdrops with a variety of different groups of people in the foreground.
He wants to feel like he’s capturing real moments again, not all of these artificially created ones he does for work.
He spends the rest of his day catching up on One Piece and napping before he meets up with Yangyang for dinner. He always makes time for him when he’s in Beijing, especially after Dejun and Kunhang moved to Seoul earlier in the year for school.
It’s a bizarre reminder at how fractured his life is right now. It feels like he has two different lives, one in Seoul that feels like his real life, and this weird in-between life whenever he’s in China for work.
It’s especially weird when it comes to Yangyang, Dejun, and Kunhang. He’s known them for a while because of Yukhei. He had gotten so used to seeing the three of them together, but now with Dejun and Kunhang in Seoul, it’s messed with how he compartmentalizes. It has, however, made him much closer to Yangyang, especially since he seems so lonely in Beijing without them.
“So,” Yangyang says in between mouthfuls of rice, “What are you gonna do with all your free time then?”
“I think I just wanna run around the city for a few days doing street stuff.”
“It’s been a while, right? Since you’ve done that kind of thing?”
“Yeah, it’s been ages. Kind of want to remind myself that I actually like doing this.”
Yangyang pauses for a second. “That sounds fun. I think would be good for you. You’ve seemed pretty burned out lately. Like every time I’ve asked you about work lately you’ve looked like you were ready to cry or something. And you would beg me to talk about school instead, you were that desperate to not think about it.”
“Yeah,” Kun agrees. “I love doing this, but it’d be nice to have some time to recharge. Plus, I don’t have to be back in Seoul until Thursday, so I booked my flight back on Tuesday.”
“By the way ge, I should be hearing about the transfer stuff soon, probably next week,” Yangyang says, looking tentatively excited.
“Good, I hope you get it,” Kun replies honestly. “I’ll never be able to escape you.”
“Never,” Yangyang grins.
When he gets to his Airbnb, he starts to look up tourist sites in Beijing. It feels weird to search, thinking of all the things he knows about Beijing—the hole in the wall with his favorite noodles, the different coffee shops he likes that make good Americanos, the streets he likes walking down because there’s something he especially enjoys about the aesthetic, the bar he got into a fight with his ex-boyfriend outside of because of how much he travels. He has all of these lived in, concrete experiences in Beijing but he knows almost nothing of the other side of it.
The number of lists is daunting, but he manages to find a promising looking one made by a photographer who included a few spots they enjoyed in each location listed. Kun weighs the pros and cons of each place for way too long before remembering he has days to do this. He settles on the Summer Palace after double-checking the weather.
Kun is nervous but he’s not sure why. He does this for a living but still, it’s weird doing it specifically for fun again. He carefully packs his backpack with his personal camera, a Leica that he splurged on after his first big campaign that he’s barely gotten to use recently because of how work has been running him ragged, flying between Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong non-stop for the last two months. It has an obnoxious bright pink neck strap on it that Yangyang gave him for Father’s Day as a joke that’s secretly his favorite. He deliberates for longer than he’d like to admit before he adds just one extra lens and his extra camera batteries. He’s more than tempted to take more out of habit but the thought of minimizing his kit for the day feels right.
He takes the subway to Beigongmen station. He sits with his backpack on his lap, his camera around his neck, with his headphones to fill in the silence. It’s startlingly reminiscent of what everything was like before he got his job, running around shadowing the few connections he managed to make and trying to take advantage of every second possible to photograph in case it’s the shot that finally gets his work looked at seriously.
It’s weird not going to work but he does his best to shake that idea. He needs to stop thinking about it. He instead tries his best to focus on the music playing. He gets to the station and ends up following the masses out onto the street and to the Summer Palace.
He stops at a coffee shop first, sitting and downing coffee while thinking about the different things he wants to capture. It’s one work habit he can’t break just yet, but he hopes he can sometime this week. He misses the freedom of being let loose with nothing but his eyes and camera.
The Summer Palace is beautiful. He finds a spot near Kunming Lake where you can view the bridge at an interesting angle and he hangs out around there for a bit, carefully framing each shot he takes. He longs for one of the lenses he left at home, but he makes do.
He loops around for a while, taking in all the statues and gates that are there. He looks for interesting angles, distinctive ways to capture the countless strangers moving around him while also creating an interesting backdrop of the sights around him. There’s something Kun finds particularly compelling about the contrast of the tourists gazing on everything with wonder versus the detachment of the locals just walking by.
Kun has a specific process for looking through photos he takes during shoots. It’s necessary for work that he picks out and edits photos as quickly as possible because of the turnover and he accidentally defaults to when he’s going through his photos from the day. Even doing that, barely sparing a second to look at his photos he notices him. He sees him again and again as if he’s the accidental focal point. He’s not sure how he managed to take so many photographs of this stranger without realizing it.
He’s gorgeous. Heart racing and skipping a beat beautiful. He’s small and his features are so delicate: the gentle slope of his nose, the assortment of studs and rings running down his ears, the gentle almost mischievous quirk at the corner of his mouth.
And here he is in so many of his photos, looking like an absolute god damn angel drowning in his giant yellow sweatshirt. He can tell he’s a tourist, the way he’s looking around in the photos, how he clutches his camera ready to lift it at any second.
Kun is in love. Even if he had noticed him then in person, only in an alternate dimension would he even consider approaching him, but there’s something about him that’s so captivating.
Kun wakes up early, earlier than he normally does in a daze. He stumbles out of bed, making himself a cup of coffee. The second he can finally think, he decides two things: he’s going to go to the Forbidden City today and he’s definitely going to try to keep an eye out for this mysterious tourist. It’ll be fun, like a side quest for the week. Even if there’s no guarantee he’ll find him, he’s worth a shot.
He hangs out in Tiananmen Square for a while. He people watches more than he photographs, observing the tourists. He takes advantage of his decent proficiency in English, eavesdropping on the inane conversation a group of Americans are having. He watches them all look around on their phones taking photos and moving onto the next area, not even sparing time to look around with their own eyes. It’s like they’re not even fully present. He doesn’t get it, how someone can fly halfway around the world and not even really look. It changes the way he’s going into this whole thing, making sure he actually sees what he’s looking at.
He’s walking past the Hall of Supreme Harmony when he catches a glimpse of a yellow sweater and his heart nearly skips a beat. But when he looks again it’s not him. He shakes it off, heading to a spot he found on Instagram when he was scoping out the Forbidden City location tag.
Kun focuses on just taking photos, not worrying about framing or lighting or subject or anything. He just thinks of the feeling of his camera in his hands and falling back in love with the weight of it. He’s not sure if he’s gotten anything good today but it feels so good to not have to be concerned about it.
He gets dinner with Yangyang again. He opens up more about how he’s been doing lately and Kun is relieved he decided to spend extra time in Beijing to see him.
“It’s weird,” Yangyang says. “I miss Dejun and Guanheng a lot and they miss me too, but they’re still together and I’m still here.”
“What do you mean,” Kun asks. He’s pretty sure knows what Yangyang is trying to say but he thinks that getting him to say it might help him.
“I guess it just sucks that I’m here alone,” he confesses. “They miss me, but they still have each other.”
“They really do miss you though, Yangyang,” Kun says, trying his best to comfort him. “I got dinner with them a few nights before I left Seoul. They constantly talked about you, Yangyang. It’s obvious how much they want you there with them.”
Yangyang frowns but he looks a bit more at ease.
“I really hope I get in,” he sighs. “I really miss them.”
When he gets home, he sends a message to Yukhei and Sicheng about meeting up. The three of them have a shared calendar so they can keep track of where everyone is, and he knows they should be landing in Beijing any minute now. To his surprise, Sicheng answers right away, letting him know that Yukhei’s busy but he’s free tomorrow afternoon.
He also goes through his photos. There are a few promising ones he flags for later, along with some he took of Yangyang at dinner. No mystery tourist yet though, not even hidden among the crowds. There’s always tomorrow.
He goes to the Great Wall early in the morning. He figures if a tourist comes to Beijing, they have to do the Great Wall. He hasn’t gone since he was a kid anyway, so he figures he’s long overdue.
It’s annoyingly crowded with way too many tourists. He knew it would be, but it’s somehow worse than he expected. He has his mini tripod with him so he just focuses on taking shots that he can merge and edit out all of the crowds. He feels almost jaded, walking around thinking is this really it? He knows what it means, its significance but it feels more like a spectacle. Like it’s only here for tourists to say they’ve been there.
He walks away from the crowd, far enough down that most tourists don’t go when he sees it for what it really is. Large and assuming, as far as his eyes can see. It’s amazing, and when he turns back to the crowd, he wonders if they understand just how monumental it is.
When he gets home, he realizes he didn’t even try to look for the mystery tourist. Instead, he was lost in the experience, the grandeur of it. He hasn’t felt like that in so long, maybe ever. He’s been so jaded by how much he’s been grinding to get where he is now that he hasn’t truly looked around him. It feels dumb to think, but he feels humbled in the best way.
He knows that he still wants to find him, though. He just doesn’t know what to do, or how to go about it.
It’s always surreal knowing that Yukhei and Sicheng are in the same position as him, constantly in a different place. He figures that maybe, out of all of his idiot friends, Sicheng might be willing to help. He takes advantage of having alone time with him while Yukhei is still working, meeting up with him at the hotel they’re staying at.
“Sicheng, if I tell you something can you promise not to laugh at me?”
“No,” Sicheng deadpans then grins widely, “But you’re absolutely going to tell me anyway.”
Kun rolls his eyes. What other choice does he have? He could talk to Yangyang or Yukhei about it, but they’ll just run wild with it and without a doubt end up embarrassing him somehow. Sicheng is the only one who has the potential to be actually helpful.
“So, when I got home from the Summer Palace the other day and looked through my photos, I noticed I had taken a bunch of this guy.”
Sicheng looks at him skeptically. “Show me?”
Kun nods and pulls out his laptop, opening it up to his flagged photos. He shows him one where you can clearly see the guy’s face. He’s looking up with an expression of awe, sleeves of his yellow sweater over his hands and a camera resting on his chest.
Sicheng immediately begins laughing.
Kun pouts. “What are you laughing at?”
“Oh my god,” Sicheng says in between laughs, “You’re in love with him, right? This mystery ass tourist that you just happened to take photos of?”
“Why do I tell you anything?” He whines.
“Because it’s either me, Xuxi, or Yangyang,” he replies smiling widely. “Those two would embarrass the shit out of you trying to find this guy, assuming he’s still running around Beijing. But I won’t, obviously, and you know that, which is why you told me today while he’s not here. Now, where do you wanna look tomorrow? I’m free basically all day, I just have a quick meeting with a director in the morning and Xuxi’s working all day.”
If Yukhei and Sicheng weren’t perfect for each other and if Kun wasn’t in love with his mystery tourist, he would probably propose to Sicheng right now for being the best.
“You’re my best friend, did you know? I’m deeply platonically in love with you.” Kun replies. “I was thinking maybe Jingshan Park?”
Sicheng smiles and nods, “Seems like it could be promising. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice anyway.”
“Great,” Kun says. “I’m taking photos of you too.”
Sicheng rolls his eyes. “Don’t you always?”
Sicheng agrees to meet Kun near a quieter entrance to Jingshan Park. He's there's for a few minutes waiting when sees Sicheng.
“Hey,” Kun says, putting away his headphones as Sicheng approaches him, “How was your meeting?”
“Fine, I guess. Low key, just filling me on what they’re planning for next year.”
Sicheng sighs, looking exhausted just thinking about it. “More traveling. It’s fine, nothing I have to commit to just yet. Come on, let's go rediscover your passion or whatever.”
They talk as they walk through the park, the area they’re starting in is fairly empty, not many people around. Kun doing his best to take photos but also enjoy the time he has with Sicheng.
They reach one part that looks particularly promising with enough space near them but with a view of the crowds of people. He imagines it’ll look good in the background of any photo he takes.
“I’m gonna start posing you,” Kun says. "Is that okay?"
Sicheng nods and listens carefully to all of Kun’s instructions, easily posing throughout the park.
“Sichengie,” Kun says after getting a few good shots of Sicheng stretching, struck with an idea, “Can you dance for me?”
Sicheng gives him a confused look before looking around and seeing if there are any people too close to them. “Right here?”
“Yeah, just for a little bit?”
Kun is not above begging but fortunately, Sicheng just nods and immediately goes into one of his routines, allowing Kun to get a bunch of photos. He’s one of Kun’s favorite people to photograph, obviously because Sicheng is stupidly handsome, but also because he’s so graceful when Kun can get him to pose for him. He eventually draws a large crowd around him, but surprisingly, he doesn’t stop.
“Look who’s popular,” Kun teases.
Sicheng laughs at him, looking content to just be dancing and Kun clicks the shutter.
After they leave the park, they meet up with Yukhei for dinner, Yukhei desperately wanting xiao long bao. They settle into a comfortable routine like they always do whenever they manage to meet up, whether it’s in Beijing or Seoul or even sometimes elsewhere. It makes Kun feel more at ease as if everything stops speeding around him and he can finally settle in. He wonders if the two of them feel the same way.
“What’d you guys do today,” Yukhei asks.
“Went to Jingshan Park,” Kun replies.
Sicheng answers for him. “Kun’s trying to rediscover his passion for photography and I helped him.”
“Are you sick of photographing my face?” Yukhei asks with a big grin.
Kun laughs. “There’s worse, I guess. I just missed doing it for fun.”
“Fair. When are you going back to Seoul? Sichengie and I going to Hong Kong on Monday and then Seoul Friday.”
“I’m not working until Friday but I’m flying back Tuesday night. Oh, that actually reminds me, can I ask you guys something?”
“Of course, ge. What’s up?” Yukhei replies, beginning to look worried because of Kun’s sudden shift in tone.
“So,” Kun starts, not too sure how to broach the subject without sounding too much like a mother hen. “I’ve seen Yangyang twice now and I’ve noticed that he seems a lot more down lately since Dejun and Guanheng have been gone for a while now. I got him to talk about it a little. Have you guys seen him yet?”
Yukhei frowns and shakes his head.
“You worried about him,” Sicheng says.
Kun nods. “Yeah. I think he’s okay but still, I’m sure it really sucks, and it just seems like it’s getting to him.”
“I’ll text him now,” Yukhei says, still pouting. “I was gonna see if he was free anyway, we don’t have anything tomorrow.”
Kun smiles, feeling more at ease, “Great. Thank you."
Once Kun gets back and settles in, he begins to look through the photos he took. Some of the ones of Sicheng are really promising. As he begins to edit one of them where Sicheng is laughing uninhibitedly, he notices something in the background. He zooms in and he wants to cry. It’s him, mystery tourist, taking a photo. Kun double checks it against the one he took at the Summer Palace. The earrings lining his ear match, and his nose has that same delicate slope. He also sees him again and again, in the background in a lot of the photos he took of Sicheng dancing, watching him intently. He groans in frustration.
He circles mystery tourist in the shot and sends it to Sicheng along with a zoomed-in version.
he was there (╥﹏╥)
He feels stupid that he’s actually kind of upset about it. What would he have even done if he did see him?
tomorrow!!! you’ll find him tomorrow!!
i believe in you!!!
Maybe Sicheng is right, Kun thinks as he switches to the internet and starts looking up museums. He settles on the National Museum of China. Even if he doesn’t find his mystery tourist at least he can look at art.
As much as he tries to stay positive, it’s hard.
He heads back to Tiananmen Square, taking photos of the crowds again before heading to the National Museum of China. He’s enjoying his visit as he slowly makes way through room after room of art. He finds himself lost in it. He occasionally picks up his camera, snapping shots of the architecture and the wonder that people experience looking art but for the most part, it stays dangling from his neck untouched.
Kun ends up finding a painting that he instantly falls in love with. It’s serene, showing a landscape with boats in the water and a beautiful poem delicately written. His hand twitches, begging for his phone. He pulls it out of his back pocket, taking a picture of the painting and the description as well.
“I remember you,” a voice says in accented Chinese, startling him. “You were at the Summer Palace on Tuesday; I think it was.” He looks down at Kun’s camera and gestures at it, “I recognized your camera and that strap. Also, your face.”
Kun is shocked. It’s him, the mystery tourist, in that oversized yellow sweater again. His pictures don’t even come close to doing him justice, he’s stunning in person. Ethereal. He’s a little shorter than him and slim in a way that reminds him of Sicheng. He can’t help how he just looks at him, trying to take him all in.
Kun finally finds his voice. “Oh. Yeah. Yeah, I was. Hi. I saw you there too. You were in some of my photos.”
He laughs, “Great, I love to be seen. I’m Ten. Look at art with me…?”
“Great, look at art with me, Kun?” he asks, smiling widely.
And really, who is Kun to say no to that?
In every conceivable way Kun imagined finding him, finding Ten, he never thought it would start with Ten approaching him. He imagined shyly asking him for a photo in Tiananmen Square. He imagined bumping into him at the Great Wall, and Ten asking him to take a picture of him there, assuming if he has an actual camera, he must be capable of taking a good one. But never this, never him being lost in his own world and taken out of it by him.
He finds out a lot about Ten. He’s a month younger than him, he’s Thai, learned Chinese in school and managed to stay pretty fluent in it, and he’s in Beijing for another day and a half.
“So, where do you live?” Kun asks.
“Seoul. My best friend and I own a dance studio.”
“Oh,” Kun replies, surprised. “I live in Seoul too? I end up in China a lot for work, but I’m based out of Seoul.”
Ten smiles widely at him, switching to Korean and sounding more confident of himself. “That’s good to know, Kunkun.”
They’re outside of the museum when Kun decides to shoot his shot. “Would you…Do you want to get dinner with me, Ten?”
He replies with a puckish smile, “Was hoping you’d ask that. Lead the way.”
Kun takes Ten to his favorite restaurant a few blocks from his usual Airbnb. It’s a little hole in the wall with dumplings that he dreams of whenever he’s away from Beijing. The only restaurant that’s come close to how good it is was a small place Yangyang once showed him in Taipei when they went together.
“Holy shit,” Ten exclaims after eating a dumpling. “This is incredible. I haven’t even finished it yet and I already miss it. I’m going to dream of this.”
Kun laughs and shoves another bite of noodles into his mouth. It's the best, and he’s relieved Ten thinks so too.
“What do you do for work, by the way?” Ten asks curiously. “You said you travel a lot for it, right?”
“Yeah. I’m a fashion photographer. I work with a lot of Korean and Chinese magazines, so I end up splitting my time pretty evenly between Seoul and Beijing. I go to Shanghai and Hong Kong a lot too.”
“Fashion? I wouldn’t have guessed,” Ten says, eyeing Kun’s shirt. “Then again, you are wearing Yeezys and an Off-White shirt. Who do you think you are? Every guy in their mid-twenties that’s looked at the HypeBeast website once?”
Kun laughs and shrugs, “I’m not going to take criticism from someone who looks like they’ve never owned an item of clothing that actually fits, Ten. But I do get a lot of stuff from work.”
“Hm, fair. I’ll give you that,” Ten acquiesces. He smirks and continues, “Could be worse, I guess. The goth hypebeast look works pretty well for you.”
Kun feels his face turn bright red and immediately changes the subject back to the food.
“Anyway, I love this place,” he says fondly. “I end up eating here a lot whenever I’m in Beijing.”
“I can see why,” Ten replies after finishing his soup. “This was insanely good.”
“I’ve been trying to replicate it, but I can’t get the recipe right.”
Ten’s eyes narrow suspiciously. “You cook?”
Kun is almost positive he hears Ten mumble “what a man” in English under his breath.
“What are you doing tomorrow?” Ten asks as they leave the restaurant. “It’s my last full day here and I wouldn’t mind spending it with you.”
Kun blushes. He feels like he's going to keep doing that a lot around Ten. “I’m free, what were you planning on doing?”
“Temple of Heaven in the morning and then I think I want to window shop or something. I’ve done enough running around. I wanna take it easy, you know?”
“You have a SIM card, right? I’ll give you my number. You can text me and we can figure out where to meet up and stuff.”
Ten hands him his phone and he adds his number. He hesitates for a second before also adding his Kakao ID to his contact info. It’s wishful thinking, but he hopes that things go well enough with Ten that he’ll need it.
“Text me when you get back to your hotel,” Kun says.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Kunkun.”
Kun smiles softly at Ten, turns around and leaves. He only gets a few feet before he hears Ten call out to him.
He turns around and tilts his head at Ten.
“You must know some good bars around here. Let me buy you a drink?”
Kun’s heart soars.
“Yeah,” Kun responds, “I know some places.”
They head back towards where Ten is staying and end up at a bar not too far from his hotel.
It’s not too crowded, still too early on a Saturday night for people to be out yet. The lights are dimmed, and the music is just audible over the noise of the crowd.
“Grab that table,” Kun says. “I’ll get us drinks?”
Ten nods, “Vodka soda, please.”
Kun relays the order to the bartender. As he waits for their drinks, he looks back at the table and makes eye contact with Ten. Ten absolutely beams at him. He manages to smile back before turning away, feeling a blush crawl up his face.
He’s not sure how he’s supposed to get over this. This whole situation still feels so surreal. Actually finding Ten, Ten wanting to spend time with him.
“I’m not sure how I ended up being the one who got us drinks,” Kun says as he hands Ten his drink and sits across from him.
“I’ll get the next round. Or coffee tomorrow, whichever,” Ten replies.
Kun sighs exaggeratedly, “You are so lucky you’re cute.”
Ten laughs brightly. “Cute enough to get an attractive goth hypebeast to spend an absurd amount of time with a complete stranger, right?”
Ten is a menace.
“So,” Kun says, “What do you think of Beijing?”
“I like it a lot. Maybe more now,” Ten says, biting his lip and looking at Kun with that puckish smile again.
Kun blushes, again. “You’re a menace.”
“You’re easy to fluster. It’s fun,” Ten replies with a grin, sipping on his vodka soda.
Kun walks Ten back to his hotel and they figure out details about where they want to meet. After Ten goes inside and Kun turns the corner, he actually processes what just happened. He can't believe it. He immediately messages Sicheng.
he found me!! (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ
tell me everything!!
I went to the national museum bc art, he approached me
his name is ten, he lives in seoul!!
we walked around the museum together and got dinner
i’m seeing him again tomorrow
we’re spending the day together ♡＼(￣▽￣)／♡
does he dance? I swear i’ve heard that name before
He said he owns a studio?
i’ve definitely heard of him
he’s a big fucking deal, i haven’t met him yet but his studio is super famous
fuck how did i not recognize him in your photos
Ten is already there, across from the Temple of Heaven when Kun arrives. He’s leaning against the wall, fiddling around with his camera. Kun can’t help but take photos of him and how the morning light is hitting him. He’s pretty sure today is just going to be him unable to do anything but take photos of Ten.
Spending time with Ten is just as easy as it was yesterday. He listens intently whenever Kun talks about photography, asking him all sorts of questions about cameras and lenses and accessories. Ten, in turn, tells him about what it’s like owning a dance studio and all about the types of things he does there.
“All of my knowledge of dance is pretty minimal,” Kun says, “Anything I know is from my best friend Sicheng, he does traditional Chinese dance professionally.”
“Oh, that’s pretty cool actually. I don’t know a lot about that,” Ten replies, “Does he live here?”
Kun shakes his head, “He’ll travel a lot to do performances, but he lives in Seoul.”
“Does he also do modern or hip hop or anything?” Ten asks.
“Yeah, he used to do it a lot more though, it's been a while. Actually wait,” Kun says. He scrolls through his flagged photos from Jingshan Park on phone, trying to find one that has him in the background. Once he finds a good one, he shows it to Ten. “This is you, isn’t it?”
Ten’s eyebrows rise in surprise. “Yeah, it is. I guess we really just kept missing each other, Kunkun.”
“That was Sicheng dancing. He was doing one of his routines.”
“He was breathtaking. If he’s ever looking for something more settled, you should send him my way.”
Ten’s question makes Kun think about how more recently Sicheng has been complaining about spending so much time away from Yukhei. “I’ll keep it in mind, he’s been less than thrilled with the traveling aspect lately, it's been getting to him.”
Ten smiles. “Well, you’ll have to introduce us.”
As they walk around, Ten ends up monopolizing all of his attention. He feels like a moth drawn to a flame, finding it almost impossible to take his eyes off of him. He photographs Ten a lot. Even when he tries to pay attention to what’s going on around them, the crowds, the architecture, anything else, his lens ends up back on Ten.
Kun takes a minute while Ten is distracted by the architecture to flip through the photos he’s taken so far. For the most part, they’re all of Ten. The only way anyone would even know they’re taken at the Temple of Heaven is if they look closely at the background.
“You’ve taken so many photos of me,” Ten notes as he appears suddenly next to him.
“I think you’re my muse,” Kun hears himself confess, honestly and openly.
Ten looks at him with an odd look, smiling in a way that he can’t quite decipher. Kun has never felt like an open book before but it feels like Ten has already read him cover to cover.
“I can think of worse things to be,” he says lightly.
Ten demands that Kun take him to Galeries Lafayette so he can window shop once they finish up at the Temple of Heaven. They weave in and out of stores, Ten making fun of Kun as he walks into Off-White, Balenciaga, and Burberry. Kun returning the favor as Ten tries on ill-fitting items of clothing in various little boutiques that pique his interest.
“I dance for a living,” Ten pouts, “I just need my sweats. Plus, I still look cute.”
Kun hands Ten the shirt he tried on in a smaller size. “It’s true,” he replies, “you do.”
Ten steps out in the smaller shirt, “Well?”
“It looks good,” Kun says, “You look good.”
Ten smirks. “Of course I do. Let me change back, I want boba.”
He walks Ten back to his hotel.
“I would invite you up,” Ten says with a wide grin, “But I don’t put out until the third date.”
“I’m back in Seoul on Tuesday,” Kun says.
“Does Saturday work for you?”
Kun nods. He might have plans with Johnny but honestly? Fuck him. “I put my Kakaotalk ID with my contact info.”
Ten smiles widely. “Great. I’ll message you when I get back then?”
“I’ll see you soon, okay? Saturday,” Ten says. He kisses Kun softly on the cheek and heads into his hotel.
Kun is frozen in place as his hand comes up to his cheek as his face gets warm. It feels like a promise.
Kun wakes up late on Monday, the fact that he’s been running around Beijing for days finally taking a toll on him. As he gets out of bed and stretches, he’s surprised at just how sore his body is and notes that he needs to make time to start running and working out again.
He grabs his phone, not bothering to look at it and heads into the kitchen to make himself a pot of coffee. Once he finally feels awake, he checks it, dreading the thought of having work emails to begin to deal with.
His inbox has several new emails and there’s a notification to check-in for his flight back to Seoul. There’s also a message from Yangyang, asking about meeting up again before he leaves but more significantly, he sees he has a new request on Kakaotalk. He can’t help the way he smiles when he sees that it’s Ten.
I assume you have a VPN
are we still on for saturday?
once I'm back in seoul we can figure out the details
can’t wait <3
Kun can’t wait either.