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“So — you’re telling me that I have to babysit a criminal?” 

There was no other way to put it, really. Seonghwa ground the pads of his fingers against his forehead, eyes closed. He’d been up for hours mulling over the final details — and yet here he was being told that he’d be guarding a key witness. There was nothing wrong with it; nothing at all! It just — it wasn’t his job . Not when he’d been running point on the whole investigation to begin with. 

“It’s not like that.” Hongjoong could spin it any way he wanted, could make any face he dared to.

He wasn’t doing it. “No.”

“He won’t testify if it’s not you with him.”

“That’s an oddly specific demand for a criminal.”

“He’s a particular guy. I watched him backwash into the same cup four times and then swallow it all in one gulp.”

The dark-haired man grimaces, glancing over at the much smaller ikrif. He has an immense urge to pull the two antennae that could easily be mistaken for long-forgotten rattails if it weren’t for having seen what happened when he did. Hongjoong laughed — nothing short of a cackle — at the other’s discomfort before hopping up on the desk.

“It’s really not that bad.”

“Then why don’t you do it?”

“I can’t.”

Seonghwa huffed, a scowl pulling down his lips as he sagged further into his seat. It caused the other across from him to laugh again, revealing rows of pearly white teeth. He wanted, very much so, to knock them in. 

“I can feel your hostility from here.” Hongjoong laid forward easily, hands propping up his head as he turned his gaze to the board covering the entirety of the wall. “It’s not like it’s the end of the universe.”

No; no, it wasn’t. But he wasn’t the effectively having months of work turned into an excuse for him to watch a criminal trying to skim some years off his sentence. And as advanced as their tech was, he didn’t put it past anyone to figure out ways to lie to them. Hwa closed his eyes, shutting out the numerous images tacked on the wall, the lines of thread connecting them. Old-school, they’d said. His unit had found some new joke to make with each line added, but he thought that the detectives and sleuths of old had been onto something. It was the tangible presence of a managed chaos that brought him clarity — and scored him this bust in the first place. They just needed this final key, and then it would be complete.

Another sigh dragged out of him as he stood. He ought to meet the man. He felt his fingers buzz, either from the lack of sleep he’d gotten the night previous or further vexation with the thought of sharing space with someone wanted intergalactically. He made sure to stop in for a quick mug of coffee chunks, chewing away at them like ice. They didn’t do much but fill his system with too much energy with nowhere to go, and he felt like an open wire. Tired, and easily provoked.

Reaching the interrogation room had never felt shorter. He’d wished it gone on longer. Wished he could have wasted time in the maze of the station, but wasting wishes like that could cost him when he lived on the edges of space. The man waiting for him was slight, and clad in a leather jacket that was just this side of too big for him. His face was obscured by his hair, bangs drooping down into his face, but it’s his smile that gave him away. Seonghwa had spent enough time looking at his smug mug shot to spot it anywhere. Almost sweet, nearly innocent; until his eyes came into view and fucked up that thought. 

Choi San was both a pleasant and unpleasant surprise. Pleasant, in that him being behind bars meant there was one less sector tavern riddled with holes from his definition of fun. Unpleasant in that it meant that Seonghwa would be subject to the wiles of his purported instability. Even left to his own devices in a small room, he’d found a way to make himself an annoyance. His leg bounced and shook the table, knocking it off balance and disconnecting its gravitational pull from the floor momentarily. The carefully wired streams of energy beamed between his cuffs flickered and then stabilized, only to do it again on repeat.

That could just be part of his nature as a starborn; the result of reckless abandon conceived in a human package that would explode once it expired. Fitting, for his line of work and probably something his employer had taken into account when he’d been slotted to join Orion’s Purgatory.

“Seonghwa!” The gunner’s expression brightened considerably when the officer entered the room, and he nearly leaped from his seat. If not for being pulled back immediately by yet another gravitational field. “Holy fucking shit; they actually got you.”

The officer’s brows rose and he turned to look into the two-sided mirror. “Yes, they did.”

“I can’t believe you’re here .”

“Yes, well, believe it.”

More leg movement. The table only managed to keep itself afloat for it with Seonghwa so close, feeding it energy to work with. He had left himself open to it, after all. 

“I know I kinda demanded that you be here, but it’s really nice to see you.”

“Is this a joke?” If it was, he wasn’t a fan of it.

The other blinked, freezing. He wrung his hands together before speaking. “N-no. I mean it.” His grin was shaky at best as he reached up to push hair out of his face.

“Whatever this is, I’m just here right now as a courtesy. I won’t be in your guarding detail until tomorrow, and then I’ll be at your side always for the next week.” Seonghwa turned his gaze down to his cup. The chunks were almost done. He hazarded another glance at San before knocking back a few more of the coffee chunks into his mouth.

“Aw, c’mon, Seonghwa. You don’t have to be so cold.” This time, he did succeed in getting up. Crossed the second gravitational field without a thought, and Seonghwa noted with much irritation that he’d made a show with being restrained earlier. “It kinda sucks when you give mixed signals like this.”

“Mixed?”

“Like you know, but you don’t know, when you do know.” A step too close, in his space.

“Step back.”

“It’s been years and you can’t even say how much you missed me? It really hurts, y’know?”

“Step. Back.”

“I get it; you have a reputation to uphold. Understandable; so do I, babe, but you got to come to terms with—”

Whatever he was about to say is lost as his body shakes. Limbs lock and unlock, convulsing in too quick a succession to really watch. Seonghwa’s own body felt like it’d been set ablaze, every part of him burning with the backlash of the current he’d released. The edges of his vision blurred as the lines of San’s body glowed.

 

“I knew you had some kick to you, but damn , it’s gotten stronger.” It’s said between bites of a too greasy burger. Seonghwa tried not to think of the little bits of burger flying out of San’s mouth, or the way he has his feet up on the dashboard of his craft. “You must have been really strung out.”

Seonghwa’s jaw twitched as he focused on keeping the craft on course.

Not even a full hour into their trip and Seonghwa was about ready to tear his hair out. San proved to be a terribly chatty travel companion, and even if he was supposed to be showing him the last bit of damning evidence they needed, he’d greatly appreciate it if the other would remain quiet. He was on the edge of turning them right back to the Ares station and leaving him in the hands of someone else. Maybe Wooyoung; they’d talk each other’s ear off. The jump they’d made had churned his stomach inside out, especially when he’d noted that they’d practically gone to close to the outlands of the galaxy. A few more planets and they’d be in the recesses of their sun system.

“Did you hear me?”

Seonghwa blinked. “What?”

“You’re passing it.”

The officer glanced to either side of the viewport, brows furrowed. Space debris and asteroids milled around them. “There’s nothing here.”

“Yes, there is.” San grinned, dropped his legs from the dashboard. “There’s always something here.” 

Seonghwa watched as San scarfed down the last bite of his burger, wiping his fingers on his pants before pointing at an empty spot in front of them. The other squinted at where the finger was directing him to.

“There’s nothing there.” Empty space was all he saw.

“Look closer.”

Seonghwa didn’t have the patience to argue with the other, so he attempted to do as told. Do as told; that felt weird to think of, but still. He squinted, tried to find what he was supposed to be seeing. It was a few long moments of staring that resulted in him finally getting it. A faint, but very much there, outline of a station.

“Is that—”

“Where we have our weapons stores? Yes. Outpost for some operations? Not anymore; they overhauled everything when you caught our Gamma sector.”

San looked entirely too smug, but Seonghwa was preoccupied. How much work had he done just trying to find the barest bits of information when it was all right there within reach? They couldn’t have been more than a couple hours out of the station’s reach. And it’d been here  the whole time. The officer’s jaw clenched as San sat back down in his seat.

“We going in or what?” San’s grin was nothing short of everything he’d ever heard it to be. He questioned the sanity of the man beside him, but Seonghwa wouldn’t entertain it.

“If it’s still under the cloaking, there’s a chance someone is still there and I’m not going in there with just you as backup.”

“What? C’mon, Seonghwa, it’s right there. You’ll lose your chance to get what you want.”

Seonghwa squinted over at the man now, brows furrowing. “You sound like you’re eager for a gunfight. Need I remind you that you’re still a criminal and I’m under no obligation to take your advice?”

“That’s not the point. You want to build a case — it’s right there. That’s why I’m here. To help you.”

“Can you — just stop acting like you know me? I don’t need your help, either.”

“But you need what I know and what I know is that there’s valuable information in there waiting for you.”

Seonghwa’s lips pressed into a thin line, gaze hard on the gunner. His point made sense, something he didn’t think the other man was capable of. But he couldn’t go based on just that. His stomach churned as he looked back into the no-longer empty space. He mulled over the possibility of what he could be missing out, weighed them against what he could gain. It was risk versus reward.

“Fine.”

The gunner was entirely too pleased. A grin stretched out over his face despite the possible danger they could be in. Seonghwa brought them in close to dock, but no response. Nothing; as if it truly were an outpost they had abandoned. It felt too easy and thus Hwa was thoroughly unsettled. It would be his luck if he were being led into a trap. His only consolation was that San was cuffed. They had to go old school, once more, because he was interrupting the flow of the gravitational set with too much ease for Seonghwa to even want to be around him.

The hull of the ship was dark and a maze of emptied shelves. Storage. San had said that they used it for storage. 

“See? I told you it would be fine.” San winked at him, leaning up against a wall.

Hwa scowled, not sure if he wanted to grace the other with a response. He watched as the man looked at something beyond his shoulder, face lighting up. Quite literally. A warm glow blurred his features slightly and he pushed off the wall. 

“I can’t believe they left it!”

The ‘it’ in question was what had Seonghwa stepping in San’s way. A blaster perhaps more than half the size of the gunner was situated on one shelf, as if on display. As if it were meant to be found. 

“No way am I letting you near that.” Hwa clenched his jaw as the other proceeded to attempt a side step, blocking him once more. “That’s practically handing my life over to you.”

The glow subsided as San spoke, a look of mortification on his face. “Wha — I would never hurt you, Seonghwa. What do you take me for?”

“A criminal.”

“That’s not all that I am.”

“Oh, no. Forgive me. You’re a criminal who trafficks your own kind.”

The glow disappeared completely, leaving San with furrowed brows and pursed lips. “I don’t.”

“Yes, you do.” Hwa’s near-permanent scowl only seemed to deepen. “Or have you commited so many crimes that you’ve forgotten?”

“No, I mean. I don’t. I don’t traffick starborn. That’s so..that’s so — wrong .”

“I’m so sorry to say that that, Choi San, is what you do.”

San threw his hands up, and Hwa flinched. Took a step back. It only served to agitate San further. “I know what I do and it isn’t that.

“Maybe you should ask Yang to explain it to you, then. I understand you’re not his right-hand man, but you’re among the longest-lived of his...associates.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Hwa cleared his throat, tried to remember all that he had seen while gathering previous records. “If I remember right, Orion’s Purgatory has to be one of the biggest names in starborn trafficking. They sell their victims to plants for the highest price that they can, where they’re used for energy. But you know this; the biggest plant you’re in affiliation with was near the namesake sector of your merry band of robbers.”

“That’s not true. Yang told me himself. I know he lies, but he’d never—”

“Lie to you? That’s a very tired line, San.”

His shoulders sagged. San dropped his gaze, uttered another defiant, “You’re lying.”

“There were two people who told you important people who’ve told you things; I, for one, have no use in lying to you.”

Seonghwa watched as it clicked. He thought he could even hear the gears working in the other’s head as he pieced things together for himself. What he expected was anger, maybe more disbelief. He did not, however, accounting for the tears welling up in San’s eyes. 

“You’re lying . Yang would never. He, he even saved me from traffickers, and I—” He swallowed, blinked back his tears as best he could. “I owe him my life.”

“That’s exactly what he wanted of you.” A beat passed. Hwa wasn’t sure if it was pity or a need for the other to see that he was right that had him talking again. “He wanted to come off as the savior that you needed to earn your loyalty. As long as you did as he said and didn’t question him, he could find use for you.”

It was those words that had San looking up at Seonghwa. Wide-eyed, he watched the realization sink in. Just in time with the ship rocking violently and a door bursting open. A flood of people rolled out. Members of the gang, no doubt. Seonghwa cursed himself for having been carried away by San’s ploy.

They were surrounded in a moment, blasters pointed at them. Seonghwa wondered what they would do. The publicity of his involvement in the case had been handled fairly poorly. For one, the public relations team had thought it wise to have his face plastered on every bit of media they could get it on. Something about him having a marketable face. That it would call for further cooperation from the general populace.  He didn’t have the same opinions, but that was why he wasn’t in the PR department. But that didn’t matter; what did was that his face was on every tablet, monitor, holoboard — you name it. What it meant, though, was that if they killed him now, it would break not just the morale of the public, but of anyone on the force. The station would be hard-pressed to deal with the investigation.

He cursed his luck, and San, for getting him into this mess. If he’d waited for backup. If he’d took a moment to think , he wouldn’t be in this situation. But, he couldn’t entirely blame San either as they roughly maneuvered his hands behind his back. The gunner was receiving the same treatment, albeit a little more gently. His peers would have been briefed on how delicate handling had to be with a starborn, especially when they could put up a fight in the way that San could.

One misstep and they could all just be shadows on the floor, ashes burned into the metal of the ship. 

“I never understood why he kept you around, but I think now I understand.” One of the members stepped forward, brows furrowed. “While you two were having a lovely heart to heart, I had time t’, y’know, put the pieces together. The whole energy thing — it makes sense. You’re a little weaker than most of the starborn we’ve seen. Or, well, you are now . And you won’t be able to pick up that fun gun of yours soon enough.”

San’s cheeks reddened; the only sign that he was still somewhat out of his trance of confusion. But he remained quiet, blessedly. Maybe Seonghwa’s luck hadn’t run out entirely. 

“We couldn’t use you as an energy source, but you had good aim. Precision. That we could use. And I did try to tell him there other things you could do, but he wanted that pretty face all to himself.“

When the officer looked over at San, he didn’t expect to see the other was his head bowed. But, it made sense. Why wouldn’t Yang use the man to suit whatever needs he had? Seonghwa scoffed, turning to face his captors. 

“Bossman says we can’t kill you just yet, so you’re just going to have to hang tight with the little star over there. But don’t worry; we’ve got somewhere nice and cozy for you.”

The definition of ‘warm and cozy’ for their captors was a small cell. They stripped Seonghwa of any weapons he had — a single blaster and a knife — before shutting the door and leaving them in relative darkness. Relative, because San had begun to glow feebly. Tendrils of light danced from his skin, illuminating the cell around them. Seonghwa took up residence on the other side of the wall, and the normally chatty San remained silent.

Was this supposed to be some sort of act? Seonghwa couldn’t be sure if it was really shock that had him so quiet, or it was another part of whatever plan he was in on. The silence separated them neatly, a chasm that could not be crossed. That is, until Seonghwa grew tired of the ruse.

“Do you really expect me to believe that you really didn’t know? That this all wasn’t part of your plan?”

San didn’t look up, but stirred for the first time to drag his knees to his chest. He looked so much smaller now. “It wasn’t.”

“Mhm.”

“I was just supposed to let myself get caught, and then tell you that I did everything that you’ve got him on.” His voice was smaller, weaker. Maybe a touch above a whisper. “Just another one of his lies.”

Seonghwa watched him a moment. “You’re dying.”

“What can I say?” San lifted his head to flash a rueful grin. “Starborn live fast, die faster.”

“You wouldn’t be dying if you weren’t a criminal.”

“That doesn’t correlate.”

“My, look at that big word. It sure does. You’ve been using that gun; it’s infamous within the force. It expends energy and you power it.”

“I recharge when I can.”

“Then why are you dying?”

“...Because I wasn’t supposed to survive past the trial.”

Seonghwa’s brows furrowed. “You were going to let yourself die? Why?”

“No loose ends.” San shrugged weakly, looking down. “I told you; I owe Yang my life. If he hadn’t saved me, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

“He didn’t save you. He’s killing you.” Seonghwa’s blood boiled. Yang had always been marked as a particularly manipulative man, but he’d never seen a true living testament to it. Now, there was San, sitting across from him and coming to terms with what he’d been coerced into.

“He — he did. He said so. He said they were going to turn me into stardust and use me to power a fuel cell for a shuttle or a colony. But—” The starborn sucked in a breath. “He was just stealing me from the competition, wasn’t he?”

Seonghwa didn’t have the heart to confirm it, to make known what San was finally getting. That the man he had trusted had no intentions of keeping him around. 

“When...did he take you?” The question got San to look up again. There was something in his expression that San couldn’t decipher, that felt almost familiar. 

“I was twelve.”

“Your file says you originate from Aurora.” It used to be a tourist trap, filled with sites designed to drain people of their funds and locals to keep them entertained. Seonghwa knew it well, considering he had grown up there. But it’s status changed when the first round of traffickers arrived, taking with it a good percentage of the starborn population — mainly children. “Did they take you from there?”

“They did. You know this, Seonghwa. You were there.” He sounded tired, weaker still. The light around him faded.

Part of him did know. Another part of him wished to remain oblivious. Wanted to hold on to the pure image of the boy he’d claim as his first love and the reason he was an officer in the first place. He wasn’t sure if he could rectify the smiling image of the boy with the intergalatically wanted criminal sitting across from him. So he decided he would continue to play dumb.

“I don’t know. There were so many people lost that day.”

“Yunho. He was taken, too. He...they sent him away quickly. Maybe less than a year after? I wasn’t very good at keeping track of time when they were charging us.”

Seonghwa’s stomach flipped. They’d found Yunho only a year or two ago. His family had been notified and a service held. A small part — to join the ones struggling in the moment — had suspected that they’d used San up completely, and that here would be nothing left. That they wouldn’t have gotten a chance to watch him turn into a wave of heat and light like they had Yunho. 

It wasn’t an impossibility. It would need to be a great coincidence for there to be two Choi Sans, born of stars and having existed on Aurora at the same time. It wasn’t unheard of. There were plenty of stories broadcasting on varying networks about the sensational twists of long-lost twins and families, or doppelgangers meeting on the street. That was the kind of story that sold, and Seonghwa wasn’t sure if he wanted to buy into this one. 

He swallowed and really looked up at the other.

“Is there any way I can help you?”

San cocked his head to the side, cheeks red. He couldn’t meet Hwa’s gaze as he spoke. “Could you...hold me? The current you’ve got going could help me stabilize for a while.”

It wasn’t an odd request. Again, something that made sense, but a part of Seonghwa wanted to violently reject it. Even if he did start to feel...something for San. This wasn’t his San, the boy that had left scars in his memory with his disappearance. This was someone else now. Grown up, life decisions made and they brought them back together.

Seonghwa stood, crossed the chasm of distance between them in two steps and slid down the wall to seat himself beside the gunner. Beside him, San was much cooler. He didn’t radiate the same amount of warmth that he remembered.

“Is this better?” He wrapped an arm around the starborn, pulling him closer. The other let out a hum, soaking the electricity Seonghwa gave off. His eyes fell closed.

He didn’t open them again, but murmured, “Maybe if-if we had more direct contact...”

“Like what?” Given the situation, there shouldn’t have been a smile on Seonghwa’s face. 

“A-a kiss?” San let it hang in the air, and Seonghwa considered it. “You don’t have to—”

Seonghwa’s lips tingled when they met San’s. The pleasant thrum of electricity passed between  their lips, the gunner whimpered as he turned to meet the other more. The silence was replaced with shared breaths and energy. The dull glow returned to San, a soft gasp leaving him as he pulled back.

“You’re not just doing this because you feel sorry, are you? Because if you are —”

“I can promise you that I’m not.” San didn’t seem to take it as being enough. He made to say something else, kiss red lips falling open before Seonghwa cut him off once more. “I’ve never once pitied you.”

When he was younger, he’d thought a lot about what would happen if he found San again. He thought about all the things he’d say. He’d tell him how much he’d missed his little star, watch the way the freckles on his neck glow. They were a perfect constellation that he could map out anywhere. And yet —

They were there, glowing in the cluster they had always done before. Perfect dots along his throat radiating heat and light. Seonghwa swallowed, looked up to the other’s eyes. His brows had furrowed. Seonghwa hadn’t been very secretive about his epiphany.

“Did you — did you remember?” San’s fingers slid down his chest, smoothing over the fabric he’d rumpled earlier. “Seonghwa?”

Rather than answer, he pressed their lips together again. Waited until San’s eyes fell close before he felt tears roll down his cheeks. He’d missed what was right in front of him the whole time. They parted a second time, but not too far. Seonghwa nosed at the other’s cheek, pressed soft kisses at the corner of his lips. The buzz of electricity had fallen away, leaving them in a cocoon of heartbeats and breaths.

“Is that better?” Hwa hoped he said it wasn’t.

“I need to feel you.” It came out like a sigh, longing and just right. And who was Seonghwa to deny the man he’d been in love with for so long?

Their movements were hurried, as if racing a clock. Trying to beat a record. Seonghwa maneuvered San on his lap, chest to back. It only occurred to him that they had little to work with in the way of lube as the other pressed back against his hardening cock. 

“Spit.” It sounded more like an order. San turned, dazed.

“What?”

“Spit in my hand.”

“Wha— oh . I. I have some lube. In the pocket of my jacket.” His cheeks were red as he turned away again, focusing once more on getting his too tight pants down to his ankles.

Seonghwa’s brows knit together. “Why?”

San remained silent, fiddingly with his jacket. As if he were trying to decide whether to take it off or not. Then he dug his hands into the pocket and produced the little lube packets that had come back into popularity recently. Quiet, almost too quiet, “Yang used to...he used to want me at any time. So, he said to be prepared. And it got to be a habit.”

The hands on San’s hips gripped tight. Seonghwa was sure he’d be leaving bruises, but he’d thought about doing that before, anyways. He said nothing, spreading San’s legs. “Well, now I want you.” He felt a shudder go through the starborn. “It’s a shame I can’t see you prep yourself, but can you do that, little star?”

San nodded quickly, ripping open the packets with haste. He smeared the lube over his fingers and Seonghwa could feel his knuckles brush against his thigh as San slipped his fingers between his cheeks. He wasn’t sure if the other was trying his best to be quiet, or if he was just quiet, but all Seonghwa could hear from him was breathy sighs and sharp intakes of breath as he opened himself up. He wished, very much so, that he could take his time to do it himself, watch him fall apart on his fingers. He wouldn’t admit to maybe fantasizing about it when he was still very much a horny teen. But it wasn’t much different from now.

San let a breathy sigh, a reminder that he didn’t have to fantasize anymore. That perched on his lap was his San, eager and willing. He might have made a joke about condoms if it didn’t die on his tongue as San looked over his shoulder at him and whimpered. Seonghwa sucked in a breath, lifting San up enough that he could undo his fly and start to pull down his own pants. 

“Wait, don’t.” He paused, glanced up at San. “I want you to keep them on.” He didn’t have to wonder why, because the other followed it up with, “You look really good in them.”

Seonghwa’s brow twitched. He pressed a kiss to the nape of San’s neck, earning him a contented hum from the man, before pulling his pants back up. With his fly unzipped, he had little trouble untucking himself from his briefs. San shuddered above him as he slicked himself up, pressing the tip to San’s eagerly waiting hole. He felt the other shake in his hands as he slid on, seating the man on his cock. 

The moan it pulled from him filled the cell, bounced off the walls and came back to them. But neither of them cared as Seonghwa rutted up into San. Harsh gasps and moans accompanied the scraping of Seonghwa’s boot heels against the floor. The officer set a careful rhythm, as though the other was delicate. Slow, unhurried to savor the moment. The tingle of electricity sat in the pit of his stomach, growing by the second.

Seonghwa angled his hips slightly, rewarded immediately by a broken sob as the head of his cock dragged along the other’s prostate. San scrambled to find purchase, fingers digging into Hwa’s thighs before thinking better and reaching for his hands. He felt one be guided to the other’s mouth, warm and wet when he sucked on his fingers. They linked digits with the other free hands, settling on San’s hip as Seonghwa rolled his hips up in a particularly slow thrust. 

More kisses were pressed at the nape of San’s neck, over exposed shoulder as the other’s back arched when Seonghwa had begun thrusting faster. The fingers that had held back San’s moans had slipped free, in favor of resting wetly on his other hip for Seonghwa to get a better grip. The brush of San’s elbow at his hand was the only indicator that he was stroking himself to completion, the other meeting his thrusts eagerly. 

It didn’t take long before San was coming, clenching around him and curling in on himself. It was a shuddering orgasm that took him, whole frame shaking as he came. Seonghwa wished he could see him. He pulled out, laying the other man on his back. San peered up at him through his bangs, chest heaving. A whine left him as Seonghwa slid home once more, seating himself deep in the other before he rocked his hips. 

“You’re so beautiful.” It was awed, responded to with a choked groan as San rolled his hips to meet the other. He sucked in a breath as he felt the coil of electricity bounce around within him. With San staring up at him, fucked out and pliant beneath him, Seonghwa came inside the other. San’s thighs twitched as he clenched around Seonghwa again, as if to drink up all that the officer had to offer. 

They remained that way a moment, Seonghwa bracing himself on his elbows over San. They traded breaths, heated but slow. Savoring whatever time that they had left together. Seonghwa had only just tucked himself back into his pants when the door slid open, hair clinging to his forehead with sweat. He’d resolved himself to a contented death knowing that at the very least he had found San again.

He did not, however, expect to be confronted with his junior. Jongho’s gaze flickered from Seonghwa to San, then back to Seonghwa with an alarming speed he did not know possible for the orys. Caught like a cosmic elk in the headlights of a speeding cruiser, he stared his superior down.

“Y-you’re alright?” 

Seonghwa wasn’t sure if he should laugh at the other’s  expression or be scandalized to have been caught in a compromised position. “Yes.”

“Good.” Jongho was still making a point to keep his eyes anywhere but on San.

“How’d you find us?”

“W-we tried getting a status update from you, and got no response. Then the signal went dead, so Captain thought it would be best to track your last known coordinates. We only realized you were here when, uh, there was a disturbance .”

Seonghwa glanced over at San. The other dropped his gaze to the ground, and it took a moment for Seonghwa to catch up what that meant. Oh. He’d always thought it was a joke when people said a starborn’s most intense orgasms could quite literally felt a planet away. A swell of pride hit him, and then a small scrap of metal that had laid off to the side was at his side. Sucking in a breath, he pulled it off him and it was his turn to look sheepish.

“He, uh, needed to recharge.”

“Uh huh.” Jongho nodded, satisfied with this explanation before he turned around. “Captain would like a debrief, but for the most part, we’ve managed to capture any remaining gang members that didn’t bolt when, uh, the gravitational tides shifted.”

With that Jongho nodded, inclined his head to San before making his own hasty retreat. The two fell silent, the cell door open and inviting. Seonghwa assisted the other in cleaning up as best he could, quiet in their work.

“Did you mean it?” Seonghwa had thought that he’d missed it, but looked up.

“What?”

“Did you mean it...when you said I was beautiful?”

Seonghwa smiled, slow and easy. “Of course.” He watched the constellation on San’s skin glow faintly as the other’s head dipped, bangs hiding his eyes. 

“We should get going.”

 

Hongjoong’s grin was disgustingly wide. Seonghwa grimaced. The two remained that way for the majority of the debriefing. Until Seonghwa felt the low of exhaustion catching up to him after months of being sleepless. 

“Sorry, am I boring you? Would have thought this would be interesting enough to keep you awake.”

“Haha.”

“Or would you rather be with your little star right about now?” 

Seonghwa didn’t grace the other with a response. Instead, he inquired, “What’s to happen to him?”

“If everything you explained is true, he could technically get off with a much lighter sentence.”

Now, he was awake. “Really?”

“Depends on how much you want to babysit.”

He turned to the sleeping San beside him. “I don’t think I’d mind it.”