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Oneulkkajiman (오늘까지만)

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-

 

Lee Taemin, twenty-six years old and a seasoned world artist, has no idea exactly how he got himself into this sticky mess. Sticky as in he’s sweaty, panting, and hard as a rock in his boxers, having woken himself up by moaning the name of one of his absolute best friends.

It’s embarrassing frankly, because it emulates those terrifying mornings when he was younger and his body still developing - when he’d wake up with sticky underwear and then have to frantically wash them in the bathroom sink.

If he could, he'd stay in bed forever, he'd pull the covers over his head and never come out. But he's got things to do, he's got schedules in the afternoon and in the evening he's got practices to go to. Taemin feels the temptation of calling his manager telling him that he's sick, to text Jongin and say that he can leave without him. But he knows that's not a thing a responsible adult does.

So he slowly gets out of the bed and makes his way to the en suite bathroom instead, gives his erection the stinky eyes as he takes his clothes off outside the shower. Apparently not even the bone shaking horror he had experienced from waking up in this state, by who he had had a wet dream about, had lessened the arousal. Taemin decides it's for the best to not think about that particular fact for too long.

Once he's washed, brushed, and dried - and after he's applied the ten step morning beauty regime his dermatologist has ordered him to do - he finds himself standing nervously by his bedroom door. Out there, on his couch, sleeps Jongin. The very same longtime friend he'd had an incredibly erotic dream about. A dream where he'd been begging on all four. Just thinking about it made all the hairs on his body stand up, and he's not entirely sure if it's a bad feeling.

"Get a grip," he tells himself, and squares his shoulders, takes a deep breath, and walks out into the hallway leading to the living room and the kitchen.

Taemin usually likes the warm colors in his living room, likes how in the evening it feels like his own little cocoon. Right now he wishes it was all stark white and cold so he wouldn't feel the heat rising from his skin like heat from an ondol heater.

The sight that meets him when he gets closer to the couch is just what he was afraid he'd see.

Jongin, blissfully unaware of his friend's crisis, is sleeping on his back, the blanket only covering his legs. He's wearing a T-shirt, but during the night is has ridden up so that his stomach is on full display. Taemin's eyes get caught on the faint trace of hair that would grow from his navel down below the edge of his sweatpants if they didn't all get waxed on the regular. Taemin's sweatpants, he thinks and has a hard time swallowing, as he thinks back to when they went to sleep the night before after their late dance practice. Jongin hadn't had extra clothes with him, so he had borrowed the sweatpants and the T-shirt from Taemin.

The amount of warm and tanned skin on full display makes Taemin's mouth water - and then the self-loathing hits.

"Jongin-ah," Taemin tries to say, his voice raspy and breathy from un-use.

He clears his throat and pads forward on naked feet to give one of Jongin's legs a shake.

"You need to get ready if we're gonna have time for breakfast," Taemin says, this time his voice, holds.

Jongin, tall, strong and undoubtedly handsome, slowly stirs as Taemin gently shakes his leg. He blinks, yawns, and stretches his body as if a cat. The T-shirt rides even further up and Taemin can make out the shape of his pecs. He withdraws his hand from Jongin's leg as if burnt by the mere sight.

"What? Already?" Jongin asks and Taemin takes two steps backwards, almost stumbles on the low glass coffee table.

"Ye-yes, it's almost nine," he says and realizes he's holding the hand that had touched Jongin's leg pressed onto his chest.

Jongin curls up on the couch and the blanket slips down from his legs to the floor. Taemin's eyes follow its path and snaps up from the pile it creates on the floor to Jongin's toned body. He blinks, and stares.

Sometime, during all these years they've known each other, his admiration of how good-looking Jongin looks has turned into something more. He doesn't know when, or how, or how he hadn't noticed - but now he sees and he can not not see. For a second he feels dirty, to have these reactions from watching someone he could call his best friend. Someone who should be able to trust him with everything, even with his body. To not have it drooled over like this. But Taemin has never been good at denying himself things, always gives in to his favorite foods, even when he's on a strict diet. He gives into his ambitions, his selfish thoughts, his greed to be a constantly better dancer or singer.

As he looks down on Jongin who's trying to delay the moment when he has to stand up and get ready for the day - he has the terrifying thought that he doesn't know what to do if this is yet another thing he can't deny himself.

 

-

 

"You've been weird all morning, Jongin says as they're sitting in the breakfast restaurant that is the very reason Taemin is now stuck spending most of the day, and not just half of it, with the man he's discovered he's lusting over. The reason for why Jongin has stayed over in Taemin's apartment last night.

It had seemed like a good idea at the time, when Baekhyun had described it, how great the eggs were and how you get a free refill on coffee. Both of them had been incredibly hyped about going there the next day, they were the only ones without a morning schedule. If the younger members were disappointed they couldn't come, they hid it expertly after years of experience with working in the highly hierarchical Korean entertainment industry.

Now, Taemin thinks it was the thing that set if all off. Jongin has been so excited he'd hugged Taemin a bit too tightly, and at the time he had thought that the reason to why he blushed had been because he'd lost a breath. But now that he remembers it, he knows it's because Jongin has leaned in so very close, had breathed on Taemin's exposed neck, and had talked so enthusiastically and recklessly that his lips brushed over and over against Taemin's skin.

It wasn't Jongin's fault, poor unsuspecting Jongin. But Taemin had never thought about how a man's lips would feel on his skin before. Yet now he knew - and he knew he has secretly liked it. Alot.

The food is good, the eggs perfect, the potatoes perfectly fried, the breakfast sausages crispy and tender... but Taemin is too caught in his own head to appreciate the food as much as it deserves. Instead he mulls things over, again and again, and tries to figure out if maybe he's still just dreaming.

"Hey," Jongin says and snaps his fingers in front of Taemin's face, dragging him back to reality, "you zoned out on me, are you sure you're okay?" Jongin asks. He looks worried, his eyebrows drawn tightly together. Taemin feels his heart clench, wants to go back to sleep and wish upon a star that he doesn't wake up with these feelings again in the morning after.

But that's not very realistic.

"I'm just tired," Taemin says quietly, his eyes diverted back down at the food.

He really hasn't eaten much of it, he's mostly pushed it back and forth with is fork on the artisanal porcelain plate.

"You sure? You'd tell me, if something was wrong, hyung? Right?" Jongin asks, and Taemin winces. Tries to hide it. Fails miserably.

"Hyung?"

"It's nothing, please Jongin-ah, I just couldn't sleep last night," Jongin raises his eyebrows with worry, leans forward. Taemin holds his hands out, waves them to show that it's not a big deal.

"Don't waste your food, let's eat, alright?" Taemin says and smiles his very brightest smile, impales a piece of mushroom on his fork and happily munches on it to prove how not a big of a deal it is.

He even moans a bit and jumps in his seat with joy.

"It's delicious, just like Baekhyun-hyung said!" he adds.

Jonging, warm-hearted and soft, smiles back and nods, visibly calmed by Taemin's display of happiness.

"It's the best breakfast I've had all week!" he agrees.

Taemin eats all the food on his plate almost on autopilot, can't remember what the bread tasted like or if he had any coffee at all. At least Jongin's face doesn't show traces of worry anymore, he smiles and jokes, and glows in his very special way, as if all is forgotten.

Their managers pick them up on a one-way backstreet behind the restaurant, and Jongin pats Taemin on the shoulder before he walks over to the car that is going to take him to a photo shoot downtown.

However, fate seems to like playing tricks on Taemin, because last minute he turns around and brightly declares that he’s “going to drop by his apartment before dance practice at the company building and pick up the herbal tea his mom blends for him to help with sleep. I’m gonna make sure you get some sleep tonight, hyung.”

Taemin, knowing his friend well enough to know that he has just invited himself back into Taemin’s apartment, almost screams right there on the open street. He knows he’s too weak to tell him no.

 

-

 

Usually, with the types of meetings that fill his afternoon, the hours would crawl by. This is now a normal day, not even close. With the dread of having to sleep in the same house as Jongin again resting deep in his stomach like a burning coal, the meetings flash by at ultraspeed. Before he knows it, he's also had his chicken breast salad lunch, and done his half hour on the treadmill.

It's been most of a day, but it still feels like it's too soon when he walks behind his manager to the practice room. Like way too soon when his manager opens the door and Taemin spots Jongin doing warm-up stretching with Ten on the other side of the room.

He's so... bendy, Taemin thinks and stares.

"Baekhyun-hyung is late," Taeyong tells him in after bowing as a greeting. Taemin welcomes the distraction from Jongin's butt as he's stretching with legs straight and hands against the floor.

"He'll think of it as if we're early," Taemin says with a smile and pats Taeyong on the shoulder. Taeyong, unfazed, smiles back and the smile is ten times more bright - the younger kids sometimes scares Taemin with their level of sincere level of passion.

"Jongin-hyung said you'd say something like that," Taeyong says and Taemin's eyes immediately snap to where Jongin is now walking over towards them while grinning widely.

"I said he'd say something cute. That's not cute, that's just Taeminnie being Taeminnie," Jongin said as he reached them. He slung a warm and naked arm over Taemin's shoulders for good measure. A golden, well-toned arm.

"And I'm not cute," Taemin agrees with a nod.

Taeyong, unfairly faced with two of his seniors agreeing on something, doesn't back down. He just laughs and crosses his arms across his chest.

"You two are inseparable, I'm jealous."

Jongin laughs and pulls Taemin closer, and Taemin at least tries to laugh.

Inseparable.

They had been hanging out a lot lately, but Taemin had chalked it down to Jongin just wanting to hang out with some other people than the EXO members between concerts or other group schedules. They always talk, several times a day, but recently they've spent the night at the other's place more often than not. To make it easier on their managers they usually end up at Taemin's place though, which is closer to the company buildings.

But it doesn't have a guest room.

"I don't share," Jongin says with a playful tone that Taemin is far too acquainted with. He can hear the smirk on his voice without even looking.

"Shut up," Taemin says and wriggles free from under Jongin's arm. His whole side is on fire from being pressed against Jongin's tank top-clad upper body.

Luckily, before Jongin has time to react, the practice room door flies open and Baekhyun walks in with his arms held out widely.

"Have you guys missed me?"

 

-

 

Their choreographer hadn't let them slack off even if Taemin honestly thinks they're ahead of schedule. He preferred it this way, to dance until he's so spent that all his thoughts are focused on what he's doing, and not on what had happened that morning.

When they’ve run through the choreography more times than he cares to count, he finally feels at peace.

It doesn’t matter how good Jongin looks, damp with sweat, face dead serious as he focuses on his lines and angles in the mirror in front of them. If anything, Taemin knows how to function while dancing.

Which is why, when practice ends, and they all sit or lie slumped on the cool floor, he gets surprised by the fact that the attraction to his friend remains but stays low and unobtrusive. He feels sated, and can without worry let Jongin pull him closer as he sits between Jongin’s spread legs, and let him lean forward onto Taemin’s back. Jongin’s head is resting on his shoulder when the managers pop in from wherever they were hiding during practice and start collecting the boys one by one to taxi back to dorms and apartments.

Jongin lazily points to Taemin when his manager arrives as the others leave, and Taemin’s manager has to patiently wait while they untangle their limbs and saunter across the floor before he can walk them to the company car.

It’s not until when they’re back at Taemin’s apartment, and they’ve both showered - separately - that the memories of the morning hit Taemin’s like a train.

He’s returning from the en suite and his fifteen step beauty regime for evenings, and finds Jongin walking barefooted in his kitchen wearing nothing more than a pair of black sweatpants.

“I’m making mom’s herbal tea,” Jongin says as he spots Taemin coming around the corner. When Jongin smiles, then a smile automatically appears on Taemin’s face - yet he doesn’t feel like smiling at all.

Jongin’s abs are not flexed, neither are his arms or any of those muscles and expanses of flesh he can’t take his eyes away from. It doesn’t matter, if he looks soft around the edges instead of cut with a diamond, because his body looks even better than in Taemin’s dream. He has to swallow several times before he can speak, and it’s harder than he’d thought it would ever be to take his eyes off Jongin’s nipples.

“Thank you,” he finally manages to say, and really hopes he doesn’t look as stricken as he feels.

There’s two mugs with tea steeping on the counter. Steam is slowly coming from the electric kettle.

“It’ll just be another minute, hyung,” Jongin says, his voice low and warm. It’s almost always that low, and always, always that warm when speaking with Taemin. Yet now, after the dream of a horrible fate, it sends sparks from Taemin’s skin down into the lowest parts of his belly. He feels the burn of it, slow and smoldering.

Taemin hates it. And loves it.

He had never pegged himself as a masochist in his previous attempts at relationships, but now he’s discovering what is undoubtedly arousal caused by this impossible situation.

Jongin, wonderful and loyal to a tee, is one of the most straight guys Taemin knows. Shame comes rolling like a wave across the shore, and he has to look away, has to lean on the kitchen island to stop his knees from buckling underneath him. Because Jongin, completely unaware of the way Taemin is lusting over him like a teenager, is just trying to be the kind of friend he is - he is making Taemin a mug of his mother’s herbal tea so that Taemin can get a full night of sleep.

What makes it even worse is that the tea is delicious, that Jonging lies down to rest his head in Taemin’s lap when he’s emptied his mug while they’re watching a drama on the couch. That Jongin falls asleep with Taemin’s hand gently and slightly trembling stroking the bangs away from his eyes.

Taemin thinks that apparently this is the cross he’s supposed to die on.

 

-

 

And just like that a dangerous and one sided dance develops between them. Jonging’s love for his friend spills over in the oddest ways, the odd ways Taemin usually felt so warmed by. Now they burn him with a desire so strong he sometimes can’t function on anything other than autopilot.

Jongin stays over when he’s in Korea, and Taemin clenches his jaw so hard his teeth ache when he gets treated with Jongin’s bare legs, his bare stomach, or the length of his back, every morning. There are more dreams too. Some are slow and sensual, some hot and desperate - and what they all have in common is how much Taemin longs to be touched by Jongin’s hands.

When Jongin gives him a hug, or when he has his arm on Taemin’s shoulders, it’s almost like a pleasurable torture. It’s not just the sounds of Jongin’s voice, the feel of his body, or the kind words he never runs out of - it’s also his scent. Whenever he stays over at Taemin’s place, he sleeps on the couch which he has proclaimed is the best in Korea, and the pillows, the blanket he uses... they all undeniably smell like him now. Taemin avoids his couch, and can’t stay away. In weak moments he finds himself with his face buried in one of the pillows or the soft woollen blanket taking deep breaths of the intoxicating scent.

It’s just where he ends up one late night when he’s back from a photoshoot and a late dinner with the crew, tired to his bones.

“Taeminnie?” A voice says him from somewhere behind him. A voice he knows very well.

That burning coal that has been settled in his belly for all these weeks past, suddenly lodges itself in his throat.

He’s too afraid to turn, doesn’t want to see Jongin’s face.

“What are you doing?” Jongin asks, and his hand comes to rest on Taemin’s shoulder.

What does he say? How on earth is he going to explain this without sounding like a pervert? Hey, my best friend, I just realized a couple of weeks ago I’ve got a hard-on for you and now I’m smelling the pillow you use to get a fix.

Jongin would punch him straight on the nose and he’d understand it.

So instead he stays quiet and hopes that if he doesn’t move then maybe this will turn out to be a very bad dream.

He figured out what the clenching feeling in his chest is - it’s fear. Fear of losing his friend. He’s so deadly afraid every breath he takes shakes him to the core.

“Hyung? Are you- are you crying?” Jongin asks, and he grabs Taemin’s arm so he can turn him around. Taemin complies, and keeps shaking as Jongin’s arms comes to settle around him in a hug. Now he really is crying, his heart on the verge of bursting with all of it.

“No,” he sobs, finally finding his voice.

“You are crying,” Jongin says softly against his ear, “do you wanna talk?”

Taemin shakes his head and abandones the pillow in favor of burying his face in the crook of Jongin’s neck - the smell of the real thing is heady and intoxicating.

“I would never laugh, and I won’t make fun of you, no matter what it is,” Jongin tries again. “You can tell me anything.”

Oh how Taemin wishes that was true, but the second he’d tell Jongin about his awakened desires he knows he will see the shift in Jongin’s eyes. Just like he’d seen the shift in the eyes of the girls he’d tried dating when they realized he was a handful straws short of a straight man. And he doesn’t want to see that look in Jongin’s eyes, he thinks he’d rather jump from the Namsan towers.

“...or we can just watch a silly movie,” Jongin says, and Taemin feels the tension drain out of his body. Jonging must notice, because he leans out of the hug and holds Taemin at an arm’s length to study his face. A face Taemin is sure is ugly and swollen from the salty foods and the shoju shots from earlier - and from his tears just now.

“You should take a shower, and get rid of that photoshoot makeup. You’ll feel better afterwards,” he says, and Taemin’s heart is filled to the brim with love.

Oh fuck. Love.

 

-

 

Their one sided dance gets a bit more complicated whenever they’re in the middle of preparations for their SuperM debut. Especially when Jongin reverts back to old habits, and Taemin joins him in them because he can’t resist. They stay many late hours in the practice rooms to perfect every millisecond of the choreos. Then Jongin disappears to LA, and Taemin is left alone to deal with the wreckage that his life has turned into.

“You look like Jonginnie stole your best pair of jeans and spilled a whole tupperware of kimchi on them,” Moonkyu says when they’re sharing a moment of down-time together after schedules. Their managers are off doing some other important work and Taemin has booked a private room at their favorite barbeque place. It’s a desperate attempt at distraction.

One which his friend can apparently see straight through.

“It’s not like that.”

“Then how is it? You’ve been joined at the hip for a couple of months now, and everytime he goes abroad to work on EXO schedules you look like you’ve lost the will to live,” Moonkyu says with the kind of nonchalance that has always frightened Taemin to the core.

He’s also probably very right.

“I’m just a bit nervous, there’s a lot hanging on this debut,” Taemin says.

“Bullshit, you love it,” Moonkyu deadpans while he stuffs a huge ssam wrap into his mouth and starts to chew.

“Okay, I do,” Taemin agrees. There’s no point in arguing when his friends know him this well, “it’s just new, having to be a friend and a co-worker at the same time. With Jongin-ah I mean.”

Moonkyu nods, seemingly buying the fib.

“You’re nervous about screwing things up between the two of you?”

“A little,” Taemin starts, but changes his mind when he looks Moonkyu in the eyes, “a lot”.

It’s the truth after all, but in a way that is easily digested for people who don’t know, and will hopefully never know, the context.

“Then you should tell him, then both of you know what you’re worried about, and he’ll know how to deal with it if things go south,” Moonkyu says, and it sounds to temptingly simple. Only it really isn’t that simple at all.

“Okay, I will,” Taemin says instead of the truth.

 

-

 

When Jongin eventually does come back, Taemin finds him one morning, head buried deep in his fridge in search of something.

“Ya! You should at least text me when you come over! What if I’d walked out here completely naked!” Taemin berates him and playfully shoves Jongin away from the fridge.

Jongin, wearing a dangerously thin white tee and a pair of well-worn jeans, looks like a whole meal. Taemin is suddenly parched.

What makes it even worse is the way Jongin grins with his wicked smirk that is usually reserved to the fans or a very pretty girl he’s got in his sights, and looks Taemin over from toes to head.

“Then it’d be an extra happy morning,” Jongin says and cocks his head as if he’s challenging Taemin to argue.

Taemin is frozen to the spot, unable to think or feel or to force his mouth to shape words. Was Jongin serious, or was there something crucial in this situation that Taemin had missed? There must be something he hadn’t picked up on, because no matter how loving and clingy and adoring Jongin could be - he had never made an overture like this one.

The tension mounts until Taemin almost can’t breathe, then Jongin reaches out to gently push his hand against Taemin’s shoulder.

“Hey, don’t look so horrified. My ego might not survive it and then what about our big US debut?”

“As if your ego would care about me,” Taemin says on an exhale. He’s glad he’s wearing his robe over his pajamas because he’s not sure what his body is up to. He definitely can’t trust it.

“Maybe it’s all it cares about?” Jongin replies, and he’s taken a step closer. The grin is gone, and Taemin is relieved to see a soft smile on Jongin’s lips instead. He’s got such plump lips, such sharp jaw. His eyes are so warm and inviting. Taemin could lean just a few inches forward and he could put his hand on Jongin’s neck and bury his fingers in the short hair there.

Taemin could kiss those lips, he could open his mouth and let Jongin take whatever he wanted, could die against those slightly chapped lips.

“Your girlfriends will be very disappointed,” Taemin says, managing to find a hold of his sanity just at the nick of time, right before crumbling under the desire to kiss his best friend.

Jongin laughs, and the spell is broken.

“I’ve never met anyone as interested in my girlfriends as you are, Taeminnie. Should I just send the next girl I like along to you and save us both the trouble? You can inspect her yourself,” Jongin says, still laughing.

Yes, Taemin thinks, and I’ll tell her to stay the fuck away from you. Because you’re mine.

 

-

 

He’s not proud of it, but before sleep that night, with only one room between him and Jongin, he gives in to the want and the desire that’s been building all these weeks.

It’s not like he can help it at this point, he can’t deny how much he wants Jongin, or how much his heart aches for him. Just their hugs give him so much pain and joy it’s indescribable. Since he can’t have the real deal, then maybe, if he releases some of the pent up tension he’ll get over it quicker.

Because he will have to get over it somehow, it will eventually become impossible to work so closely together otherwise - and Taemin’s fears his heart is actually going to receive some everlasting damage.

So Taemin squirms a bit on the bed so he can push his pajama bottoms down his hips and off his legs, throws the blanket out of the way, and wraps a hand around his half-hard cock.

He starts with soft strokes, building a pace slowly so his body has time to adjust. The slight chill of the air on his naked skin is sending shivers down his spine. He thinks about Jongin, smirking at him a bit more lewdly than he had that morning, and his cock twitches in his hand. He's hard and leaking now, the blood rushing to his groin in an instant.

He imagines Jongin's larger and warmer hand instead of his own, stroking him like this. Imagines that he'd stroke his thumb over the head, find the slit and gently rub against it. His back arches off the bed at the mere thought, and suddenly he's embarrassingly close to coming. He can feel it, the pleasure pooling in his lower belly with every stroke, ready to spill over. It only takes the thought of Jongin's lips on his throat, and the scent of his skin, and then Taemin comes so hard his toes curl and his mouth opens in a silent scream.

As he lies there, warm cum on his hand and stomach, body jolting as he strokes himself through the aftershocks of his orgasm in a daze, he knows he's only made things worse.

 

-

 

In Taemin's defence, he does a really good job at acting as if he hadn't imagined Jongin's hand stroking him to completion last night. Or that he'd woken up before dawn, stretched himself open with his fingers, and that he'd come with his fingers jammed against his prostate with Jongin's name silent on his lips.

He's quite positive it doesn't show. At least ninety percent sure.

Maybe not so sure after Baekhyun has sent him the umpteenth searching look during their meeting with some of the production directors for the North American tour.

"Dude," Baekhyun tells him as he catches him during a short coffee break by the vending machines in the break room.

"You look like you've face-palmed with the stylist noona's blush palettes."

Taemin's eyes unconsciously travels to Baekhyun's bubblegum pink hair.

Baekhyun takes it as him resisting to answer.

"I know you've got a full schedule as is, we all kinda do, but you gotta tell me if it gets too much for you. Or tell Jongin," Baekhyun continues.

The vending machine next to them makes a whirring noise as if to agree.

Things gets exponentially worse as someone comes walking down the hallway behind them and Taemin's spider senses tell him it's the man in question. The spear he's gonna die upon as he impales himself on it.

Kim Jongin, casually sexy in that special way he pulls off so effortlessly, is sauntering towards them. Taemin sighs and turns back to Baekhyun, who's now looking between Taemin and Jongin as if he's watching a tennis match.

Taemin's eyes widens in horrified realization.

"NO, hyung. No," he says, and tries to catch his eyes with his.

"What?" Baekhyun says with a grin on his face.

"What?" Jongin echoes, as he comes to stand next to them.

If Taemin ever needs inspiration for acting in a horror movie, then he's got plenty to draw from in this moment. Now he's the one having to divide his attention between the two EXO members, his eyes flitting back and forth between them.

"Uhm, Baekhyun-hyung was just telling me how..." Taemin panics and point towards Baekhyun's head, "he thinks he's going bald!"

Jongin, sweet darling Jongin-ah, bursts out laughing and throws an arm around Taemin's waist for support.

"Hey, don't be rude to your elders," Baekhyun complains, but he's still grinning at Taemin.

When they're back in the meeting rooms, Taemin's phone vibrates against his leg. He only has to look over at Baekhyun to know it's him that's furiously typing under the table while acting like he's fully attentive.

So how long have you been thirsting for dance boy's cock? the message reads. Taemin wishes he was dead.

In his despair, he completely misses how Jongin is also looking down with a frown at his own phone.

 

-

 

The rest of the day rushes by in a whirl of desperation, fear and guilt as his manager guides him from schedule to schedule. The practices are the worst, he can't stop sweating even though he's chilled to his bones. Every time Baekhyun opens his mouth he's sure the apocalypse is nigh, and his muscles complain with the constant stress.

He almost doesn't even listen when Jongin, worry clear on his face, tells him he should skip going to the gym tonight and just go home and get some sleep.

"Yeah, take him home and put him to bed," Baekhyun says with a dead serious face, "and try not to keep him awake all night."

The four younger members look with confusion between the three of them.

"They live together?" Lucas asks Ten with what can only best be described as a stage whisper.

Taemin hits Baekhyun on the shoulder, not hard though, and stomps off. He's had enough of this for a lifetime, and he's going to go home - alone.

He thinks that Jongin has actually taken the hint, but as messages his manager to ask if he can get the car ready, he both feels and hears Jongin come running after him.

"Not now," Taemin says maybe a bit more irritable than he had planned, and wants to wince at the sound of his own harsh words.

Jongin grabs him by his arm, and they both stop.

"Don't take it personally, sometimes his jokes go a bit overboard. I know you don't like-" Jongin visibly blanches and shakes his head, changes tactics it seems, "I'll order chicken. My treat."

As if guilt hasn't already corroded every single organ in Taemin's body, it now bubbles up again.

"Come on, let's go," he says, and smiles a genuine smile. He loves Jongin and his big heart, his soft hands on his arm, his big worries eyes and the way his slightly sweat-damp bangs fall into them.

He doesn't have it in him to take his hand back as Jongin grabs it. Definitely can't stop himself from intertwining their fingers together. He looks over at the other to gage his reaction, and he only happily smiles back. Taemin wonders what sacrifices he must've made in his previous life to deserve a friend like him in this one. He already knows of the sacrifices he's going to have to make now, the things he's going to have to lock away in his heart if he's going to be able to move on.

Maybe it's the same sacrifice he makes in every life, over and over again, so that he can give Jongin the happiness he deserves. So that he can save him from the betrayal of Taemin fingering himself until he came this morning, dreaming that it was Jongin's fingers in his body.

Jongin, true to his words, orders four whole chickens and then beats Taemin six times in Forza Horizon 4 while they're waiting. Taemin growls and sighs and acts as if he cares that he's lost, but truthfully he doesn't care one bit. Instead he tries to decipher the looks Jongin keeps sending him.

"What?" he asks when Jongin his been looking at him for a while when he thinks Taemin won't notice.

"Nothing," Jongin says and quickly looks down at the controller. Fiddles a bit with the trigger buttons.

"Spit it out," Taemin says, trying to keep the tone in his voice light and joking. In reality, he's deadly curious.

"It's just something Baekhyun-hyung said," Jongin says and shrugs.

Taemin stays quiet and waits, anticipation pouring out of his every pore.

"He said you'd told him about a girl you like, and he thought you had fallen in love with her. So... I don't know, I'm just curious to see how you look when you-"

"When I'm in love?" Taemin finishes the question for Jongin in genuine surprise. This was not was he had expected. He spots something in Jongin's beautiful face that he can't categorise, but his gut instinct acts on it.

"You know how I look when I'm in love," he ads.

Jongin's eyes go big and round in surprise, "when? who?" he asks.

Taemin laughs, he can't help himself but the situation is so hilariously colluded and complicated. He turns to sit so he can face Jongin properly. Acting on instinct yet again.

"This past month or so," he says.

He almost misses it, but Jongin looks almost angry at first, before she schools his face into cool indifference.

"Taeminnie, you haven't had time to date, I've been here all the time and we've both been working like crazy. Don't tell me it's a porn actress or something yucky like that," Jongin says and yes, Taemin can see it in his eyes now.

It's jealousy.

The realisation is almost a religious experience. Taemin had pegged Jongin as someone who's frustratingly straight, and he definitely hadn't picked up on any attraction he might feel towards him. But then again he hadn't realized he had the hots for his friend either until he'd woken with a hard cock moaning his name.

"It's not a porn actress, stupid," Taemin says and swallows all his fears and anxieties as he reaches out and holds Jongin's cheek in his hand. His face is warm and slightly blushed under his golden tan, his eyes still big searching.

"You mean-" Jongin starts to say, but then Taemin moves his thumb to stroke Jongin's bottom lip, and he falls quiet.

That can definitely not be construed as a friendly gesture.

Jongin takes a breath that makes his whole body shudder, and Taemin's body mirrors the reaction. It only takes Jongin a few seconds to collect himself, then he reaches up to take Taemin's hand. He moves it so he can kiss the palm, and Taemin hears himself saying Jongin's name but doesn't hear anything but the furious beating of his own heart.

It's Jongin who pulls him closer, and it's Jongin who kisses him so gently that Taemin almost burns to a crisp right then and there. His lips are just as soft as he'd imagined them, just as determined and searching. He opens his mouth for Jongin, and moans when Jongin angles his head and licks into his mouth. Not even his wildest dreams had prepared him for how passionately Jongin kisses him, for how much he had wanted it and how much he needs it.

"Hyung," Jongin says after pausing to breathe with a voice so low and intoxicating that makes Taemin's jeans feel painfully tight.

"Yeah?" he replies, just as out of breath.

"The chicken is here," Jongin says and then bursts out in a laugh that seems to bubble up from deep within. Taemin doesn't feel insulted, because he knows what Jongin looks like when he's in love - and this is it.

 

-

 

Needless to say, after Jongin has collected the boxes with chicken and squeezed all four of them into Taemin's fridge, they forget all about the food. With the kind of confidence Jongin seems to produce from thin air, he picks Taemin up where he's standing between the kitchen and the living room and carries him down the hallway to the bedroom.

"Hey," Taemin starts to say, but thinks differently as he feels the arousal flare. Well, he thinks and wraps his arms closer around Jongin's neck, apparently he has a thing for being carried too.

A newfound knowledge that deepens when Jongin throws him down on the bed, and he feels so incredibly turned on he doesn't even know how to react. He sits up with his weight on his arms behind him, and just stares at Jongin. The other is reaching behind himself to pull his shirt off, and then his jeans follow. When he's down to his boxers there's not really any question of if he wants this as much as Taemin does - the evidence is clear for anyone with eyes to see.

"You too," Jongin says before he comes crawling up the big bed on hands and knees, stopping between Taemin's spread legs. He stands on his knees, and Taemin marvels at what he can see under the white boxers he's wearing. He'd always suspected it, has seen glimpses, but never while erect. Jongin is big.

Taemin jolts free from whatever power had held him still earlier, and starts tearing of his own clothes in such a hurry that Jongin has to catch his leg before he kicks him in the stomach.

"Don't laugh," Taemin whines.

"I'm not allowed to think you're cute?" Jongin asks and releases his leg. He also takes mercy on Taemin and helps him with the jeans. Then Taemin is naked in front of him, because the boxers had sort of followed along with the jeans.

Jongin moans and lets his eyes travel all over Taemin's body.

"I take it back, you're hot, Taeminnie."

"Talk about the pot calling the kettle black," Taemin jokes, and reaches out to pull Jongin down on top of him.

Jongin kisses and kisses and kisses him until Taemin doesn't know where he ends or where Jongin begins. The kisses are hungry and possessive and just the right amount of aggressive to have Taemin rutting his naked erection up against Jongin's boxer clad hip. Jongin's hands mapping the muscles in his stomach, the rise of his pecs and the hardness of his nipples, weren't really helping.

"God you're sexy," Jongin moans has Taemin takes a bit of command and starts kissing down his jaw towards his throat.

"Fuck me," Taemin hisses out in response as Jongin's hand has sneaked its way down his side and underneath him to one of his cheeks.

Jongin pulls away a little, so that Taemin is left chasing his neck with his mouth until he has to give up and lie back down on the bed.

"Taemin... are you sure? I'm fine with just, with this," Jongin says, his brows knitted in concentration. "I love just feeling you."

"I've waited for this for so long, I want you inside me a month ago," Taemin says, and pulls Jongin back down so he can kiss Jongin slow and sensually for good measure. There doesn't seem to be any doubt left in Jongin when they pause to breathe, forehead against forehead, minutes later.

"Do you have, stuff?" Jongin asks.

Taemin motions towards the bedside table and scoots over so he can reach the drawer. When he returns with the bounty of a bottle of lube and a condom packet, Jongin is looking at him with such softness that for the first time that night he actually blushes.

His heart, never having slowed down from the confession on the couch, skips a beat.

"I didn't tell you," Jongin starts, "how long I've had a crush on you."

"No, you didn't," Taemin says and feels his breath stolen from him as Jongin beams down at him, as he lowers himself to slowly leave a trail of kisses from Taemin's neck down to one of his nipples.

"From day one, from when I saw you that first time," Jongin confesses between kisses.

It's too much to process, all of Taemin's senses are on fire, his body thrumming with the electricity of Jongin's skin on his - and now this. He arches off the bed, the moan rising from his throat as he throws his head back.

"Fuck!" he says through gritted teeth and shakes as Jongin licks his left nipple with broad strokes.

"You like that, don't you. That I've wanted to kiss you and to tell you I love you for that long," Jongin asks.

Jongin has eased off to remove his own boxers, and Taemin gets the first eyeful of his hard and flushed cock, the dark pubic hair around its base, and the softness of his balls underneath it. A jolt of desire shoots through him as he imagines it, long, straight and perfectly thick, buried deep inside him.

"Yes, I want to have been your first crush on a boy," Taemin says a bit out of breath, and Jongin gives him one of his wicked smiles in return.

"You were, and you are."

Any amount of time is suddenly much too long until Taemin can feel Jongin inside him, so he shoves the bottle of lube into one of Jongin's hands and turns around so he can spread his legs and make it easier for the other to reach. A move that Jongin doesn't seem to have been ready for, because he gasps and freezes. Taemin can feel his hesitation on how to proceed roll off of him in waves.

"You start with one finger and then add one more when I tell you it's fine. I'm right here, I'm with you," Taemin says, and leans on his elbows so he can turn his head to look at the man he apparently loves, and trusts.

Wow, he thinks, that sounds a bit weird to admit. But it feels so incredibly right too.

Jongin nods, and opens the cap of the bottle so he can pour some out on his right hand fingers. With newfound determination, and that confidence that is so very Jongin-esque - he then gently traces Taemin's opening with a finger, before gently pushing it inside beyond the puckered hole.

Taemin's head hits the mattress underneath him.

He's still a tiny bit used to it from that morning, just enough that the feeling of pleasure hits him straight away. He pushes his legs even further apart as the rest of the world and the rest of his body slips away from his mind. The only thing he can feel is Jongin's finger, slowly easing its way inside of him, pushing against the sensitive walls.

"Hyung-" Jongin says with a moan somewhere an eternity behind him, "do I-"

"Another," Taemin says as he pushes back to follow the finger as Jongin pulls it back out again. When he feels two fingers enter him, he can't even control the way his body shudders and shakes. He's got tears in his eyes, feels them sting in his eyes.

"Yeees," he chokes out, gyrates his hips backwards to force the fingers deeper. There, there, his mind screams at him, and there he finds it. His prostate sends burning spikes of pleasure all the way from his balls to his feet and to the scalp on his head.

"There, that spot," Taemin says, and Jongin is not slow to pick up on the neediness in his voice.

Byt the time Jongin manages to fit four fingers inside him, he's sticky and messy with too much lube all the way from his ass down the inside of his thighs. His arms gave out underneath him a long time ago and he's on his stomach with only Jongin's free hand on his hip holding his lower body steadily up off the bed.

"How much more?" Jongin asks, his voice strained with arousal.

"It's fine now, I'm ready," Taemin says but it comes out muddled and slurred, his mouth uncooperative against the sheets.

"I want to see you."

Taemin nods, and then feels the fingers pulled out of him leaving him raw and open. But it gives him the opportunity to roll over. Jongin looks like a Greek god, carved to perfection, as he stands on his knees before him, one hand on the base of his hard cock. He's already rolled on the condom.

"Come here," Taemin says and scoots up the bed so he can rest his head on a pillow, and so he can brace himself against the headboard.

Jongin follows, his eyes dark with want.

Taemin has never liked having sex in the dark, and now he's glad the bedside lamps are lit, because he'd never want to miss the sight of this. Of how Jongin looks at him like he's the most desirable thing in the world.

When he's positioned himself between Taemin's spread legs, tip of his erection against Taemin's opening - all he needs his a look and then he presses in. It's slow, and the burn before the head is inside is so delicious that Taemin can't stop the whine that escapes him. He wraps his legs around Jongin's back to pull him closer.

The slide is tortuously slow, but a look at Jongin's face and the reason is clear. He's not the only one desperately clinging to whatever sanity there is left. When he finally bottoms out, he almost collapses forward and catches himself on his arms on either side of Taemin. They kiss, over and over again, until Taemin can't control his need anymore.

"Move," he commands, and Jongin complies.

The thrusts are slow at first, "you're so tight" comes the explanation. Taemin retorts by moaning into Jongin's ear over and over again about how good his cock feels inside him.

It's sticky, sweaty and desperate by the time Jongin can thrust harder and quicker, and when a thrust hits very close to Taemin's prostate the pace deteriorates further. Taemin's hips meets his every thrust, and Jongin can't take his eyes off the way Taemin's face is lit up by pleasure every time.

"You're beautiful, so perfect, so good to me," Jongin keeps babbling and manages to get one arm free from where they had ended up around Taemin's back. He reaches for Taemin's erection out what seems like instinct, and Taemin doesn't know if he moans or screams as his long fingers close around his weeping cock.

He's so close, he so tightly strung, that all it takes is a couple of strokes on his oversensitive cock, and then he feels the orgasm rushing towards him. The build, relentless and electric, doesn't prepare him for the way his body gets shook by it. Jongin's long and hard erection against his prostate, his hand pumping his cock - it's all too much. He comes with a sob, his body arched and shaking. Wave after wave hits him, keeps him shaking and blind behind the white static in his eyes. He can feel Jongin's hips stuttering, and the way the trusts pick up speed. He hears the low and guttural moan when Jongin comes too, and forces his eyes open to see it. Jongin always looks beautiful on stage, but Taemin thinks it pales in comparison to how he looks right now.

Afterwards, with Jongin collapsed on top of him and still inside of him, they lie together. Taemin has his arms around Jongin's neck, holding him tightly as he shivers with the aftershocks of his orgasm.

"I love you, so so much," Jongin whispers as he kisses every inch of skin down Taemin's throat that he can reach.

Taemin blinks furiously but there is undoubtedly tears in his eyes.

"I love you too," he manages to say even though his throat his so tight with the feelings overwhelming him that he can hardly breathe.

 

-

 

"We should've done this earlier, we've wasted all this time," Jongin exclaims later after they've cleaned up a bit, and after a late-night snack of fried chicken. They're back in bed, a pile of sated and tired limbs tangled together.

Taemin laughs, and pokes one of his nipples. His head is resting against Jongin's chest, his hand returns to lazily tracing Jongin's abs.

"I mean it," Jongin says, "I'm the one that's been pining after you for ages. Do you even know what the Move choreography did to me?!"

"I didn't mean to," Taemin says and peeks up at Jongin's dead serious look.

"No, but you meant to do that to the fans, there was intent."

"I'm sorry, my sweet sexy man," Taemin says and leans up so he can kiss his chin where he can feel faint traces of a stubble.

Jongin seems appeased.

"You really do think I'm sexy?" Jongin asks with a pout.

Taemin reaches over and grabs a pillow to hit him over the face with.

What on earth had he done in his previous life to deserve the love of a perfect, silly, passionate, talented, confident, devilishly handsome and entirely adorable man like this?

 

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