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talking to the moon

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When Seonghwa first met Yunho, it felt a lot more storybook than real life. All of the cliches he'd ever watch play across the big screens. The slow motion. The violin music. How everything in the room became a blur and his eyes could only focus on Yunho. Their conversation flowed like the river that cut through their city. Easy, calm, free. There was something different about Yunho, something Seonghwa couldn't put a finger on. Maybe it was the way he moved through the crowd of the party, holding Seonghwa's hand so they wouldn't get separated, like he owned the place. Maybe it was the way his attitude didn't match. How he'd nervously scratch at the back of his neck or the way his cheeks would dust a beautiful red when Seonghwa called him beautiful. 

When Seonghwa first fell in love with Yunho, it felt a lot more like flying than a free fall. The first few months were golden, like sunshine. Endless days melded into endless nights together, getting to know each other on more than just the surface. Seonghwa wished it would never end, wrapped up in Yunho's arms. His home. 

And now, as he was seated in his Literature lecture, mind absolutely not focused on Literature, he was thinking about Yunho. 

It wasn't that the magic had ended.

No, Seonghwa still felt like he was melting into the center of the Earth whenever Yunho kissed him. 

But it was different. 

Strange, almost. 

Yunho had met Seonghwa's parents, enough times now that Seonghwa's mother often texted Yunho. He'd been over to their house, slept in the guest room, shared meals with them. He'd met Seonghwa's childhood friends, each of them immediately feeling his warmth and comfort. 

But to Seonghwa, Yunho's family life was a mystery. He never spoke about them so Seonghwa never asked. Maybe it was painful. Some horrid, tragic memory that Seonghwa didn't want to be the one to bring up. No one at their university seemed to know anything about him, either. When they started dating, Seonghwa's roommate treated it as though it was some sort of gold medal accomplishment. He had been the one to steal the masked man's heart. 

"Hey," A familiar annoyed voice cut through Seonghwa's thoughts, "Are you listening to me?"

He hadn't been.

Seonghwa turned to Jongho, a small and apologetic smile on his lips, "Sorry, what was that?" 

"This is why I deserve ninety percent of the credit on our group projects. We have three readings due on Monday and make sure you answer the review questions after the end of chapter seven," Jongho promptly closed his textbook, "Got that?" 

"Yeah, thanks." 

Jongho paused for a moment, giving Seonghwa a strange glance before the two began to pack up their things and exit the grand lecture hall. Jongho was a great roommate, an even better friend. He understood Seonghwa in ways that many didn't, and Seonghwa enjoyed the playful back and forth that he and Yunho would share when Yunho would come to hang out in their cramped dorm. Because of Jongho's incredible intuition, he always knew what to say. 

"Alright, that's it. Why do you look like someone just kicked a puppy?" 

Well, maybe he wasn't always the best with words. 

"Jesus, man." 

"You look sad! Like, really sad. What's wrong?" 

They found their usual spot in the bustling cafeteria, the small corner one off to the right, nestled neatly against the large glass window. 

"Don't you think it's kind of weird that Yunho never talks about his family? Or am I being weird? I've been too scared to ask him because what if something terrible happened, you know? I just," Seonghwa paused, gathering his thoughts, "I just worry that maybe he's hiding me." 

"You think he's hiding you from his family? Like a sexuality thing?" 

"I don't know!"

"Why don't you ask?" Jongho deadpanned, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

And maybe it was. 

"I'm afraid it will hurt his feelings." 

Jongho sighed, sliding a slice of pizza in front of Seonghwa, "You guys have been together long enough to communicate with each other about these things like adults. Plus, I don't think anything you do to that boy will ever hurt his feelings. He's disgustingly in love with you. I thought maybe the longing glances and the way his beefy boy attitude flares up whenever another person even glances at you for too long would fade after a few months but nope."

Jongho made sure to pop the as he spoke, "Still gross. Still protective like a guard dog. Just ask him, Hwa. At worst, you guys have a minor tussle over it, be angry for a few days, talk about it, and boom. Back to perfect. End of advice, eat your food." 

Seonghwa opened his mouth to say something, to say anything. But there was nothing. 

As it usually was with Jongho, he was right. 

It was as simple as a conversation. 

The two finished their meals in a comfortable back and forth, Seonghwa's mind much more at ease. He would be heading back to stay in Yunho's dorm for the weekend, as he always did. His boyfriend had the pleasure of having a single room and Seonghwa would've honestly just made himself at home there long ago if it weren't for the fact that living with Yunho would destroy his study habits and Jongho kept him grounded on most days. 

They parted, Jongho reminding him of the readings one last time, before Seonghwa made his way across campus, relishing in the sunlight and smells of spring. It was his favorite season. It didn't used to be, really. He would get annoyed with the pollen and swat away at all the bugs that came alive when the heat began to creep in. But then, Yunho. Yunho loved spring, loved to be outside. When the weather called for it, he would drive Seonghwa out of the city, into the fields. There, they would lay on blankets and pick flowers, swap their favorite songs and movies. He fell in love with the sunshine then. 

And there it was.

"Hey, babe! I was just about to call and see if you were on your way over." Yunho all but threw him into the room, not a second going by before he was swept up in strong arms. 

Seonghwa smiled into Yunho's shoulder, gripping the boys shirt a little too tightly, "Every Friday after class, you know that." 

"Yeah, can't hurt to double check though," Yunho let Seonghwa go, the other getting comfortable in the quiet room, "How were your classes today?" 

"Fine. Boring as usual." 

Seonghwa should've seen it coming. It started with the cock of an eyebrow. The changing of his seating position in his chair The intense stare. 

"What's wrong?" 

He had hoped they could at least have a nice night before he potentially ruined everything with this conversation. But Yunho was smarter than that, knew him better than that. 

Seonghwa took a deep breath in, seating on Yunho's bed across from the boy at his desk, "I was hoping I could talk to you about something." 

He hated how the air in the room shifted, became stiff along with Yunho's muscles. Seonghwa could already see the racing thoughts behind Yunho's eyes as he tried to keep a cool exterior, "Yeah, of course. You can always talk to me, Hwa. About anything." 

He didn't have time to rehearse what he was going to say but maybe that was for the best. This should be natural, it was just a simple conversation between two lovers. It shouldn't be anything more than that. But that didn't stop the shaking to begin in his hands and the rapid beating of his heart. 

"I've just been thinking a lot lately and I haven't brought it up before because I didn't want to hurt you but it's been kind of eating away at m—"

"Whatever I did, I'm sorry," Yunho spat out, fear lacing each word, "I'm sorry and I can fix it. I didn't even know anything was wrong, Hwa. Please." 

"No, oh my god. No," Seonghwa catapulted himself off the bed and took Yunho's hands in his, trying to calm the brewing storm before him, "No. I worded that horribly. I'm not breaking up with you, I promise. I'm sorry." 

Yunho exhaled loudly, nearly crushing Seonghwa's hands, "Jesus, babe. You really need to work on your phrasing."

They shared a laugh and then a kiss, quick and reassuring. 

"I'm sorry. I told you a while ago that you're stuck with me forever." 

"Happily. Now, come on. Just spit out what you want to say." 

Their foreheads were touching, warmth between them and all around them. Seonghwa was about to just forget it, ditch the entire thing. Nothing was worth losing this moment, he thought. But he'd already dipped his toes into the water, he needed to swim. 

"Why don't you ever talk about your family? Why don't you want me to meet them?" 

He whispered it. Maybe out of fear. 

Yunho's muscles tensed against him, only for a split second, before he pulled away. Seonghwa saw their entire relationship flashing before his eyes, seeing the end right in front of him. Yunho paced for a moment, leaving Seonghwa standing still like a rock, waiting to crumble at any moment. 

"It's complicated. More complicated than you know." 

"I figured that much but," Seonghwa swallowed nervously, "Can't you just tell me? I mean, we've been together for a year now, Yunho. Even if it's painful, I'll be here to listen to you." 

"It's not that." 

He was struggling, Seonghwa could tell. 

"Is it because of me? Because I'm, you know, like a boy? Because I understand that! And you know my family will always be here for y—"

"Hwa, no." It was Yunho's turn to cut him off, "It's not that at all. They're understanding, way more than most. We're just," He paused again, shaking his head for a moment, "My family isn't like yours. Isn't like anybody else's. We're different. You wouldn't understand."

"Well let me try to! You're not even giving me the chance. Plenty of people have weird families." 

"No. Just drop it, please." 

"I'm not going to drop it, Yunho. This is your family. And if they accept you and us and whatever, what else could the problem be? Why don't you want me to meet them?" 

"It has nothing to do you with you." 

They were both holding back, anger beginning to bubble up between them. This was the worst case scenario that Jongho had told him about. One that he never wanted to find himself in. He and Yunho had fought only a handful of times, each of those fights ending just minutes after they started. But nothing like this. Nothing to the point where Yunho was standing across from him, a hand running through his hair. 

"Why can't you just be honest with me?" 

"I can't!" 

"Oh, so what? We're just going to keep our relationship from them for forever? We can't do that." 

Yunho shook his head again, taking a seat with a sigh, "Why is this so important to you? You never talked about it before." 

He was calming the situation, his once steady tone now back to it's usual softness. The kind Seonghwa loved the most. He also returned to his seat, running a hand over the soft sheets of Yunho's bed, "I never saw it as a big deal in the beginning. Family is important to me. I want to know yours." 

"You want to see where I came from." 

Seonghwa let a small smile play on his lips, "Exactly." 

He wanted to hear stories of Yunho as a little boy. How mischievous but wonderful he must have been. If he had any siblings and the stories that they could share of treehouses and staying up well past their bedtimes. He wanted to see the house that Yunho made a home, the one that held his most treasured and special memories. The ones no one could take away from him. 

There was a long silence shared between the two of them, Yunho staring at the floor and Seonghwa staring at Yunho. It didn't feel scary anymore. Yunho was making a decision. The cogs in his mind were turning and Seonghwa settled with the thought that whatever he chose, however long it took, he would respect that. Something was holding him back, something far bigger than anything Seonghwa had imagined. 

The silence was broken by Yunho lightly taking his cell phone from his desk, "What are your plans this weekend, Mr. Park?"

Seonghwa smiled, "You tell me." 

 

 

 

 

He wasn't sure exactly where they were going.

He wasn't sure who Yunho had spoken to on the phone late last night. 

He didn't care. 

Because they were going home. 

Yunho's home. 

They'd been driving for a few hours now, Seonghwa's fingers still nervously fidgeting in his lap. He made sure to wear one of his nicer shirts, one that said "I'm put together and will take very good care of your son" without being too obvious about it. Yunho wasn't talking all that much, just focused on the road ahead of them, on the weekend ahead of them. 

Seonghwa cleared his throat, "Can I get like," He glanced at Yunho, "A breakdown of who I'll be meeting?" 

"I guess that's fair. I called my brother last night. Mingi."

Seonghwa perked up at this, "Your brother? Younger or older?" 

"Younger and it shows. He's a little shit. We can get a bit competitive, to say the least. His boyfriend, Hongjoong, will most likely be there as well. I haven't seen him in ages so I imagine he'll be chomping at the bit to talk your ear off about everything."

"Your brother has a boyfriend too?" 

Yunho smirked, "Runs in the family, I guess." 

They shared a laugh at this, the first in a while. It cut through the tension like a knife. It made the rest of the drive much easier. Yunho told Seonghwa more of Mingi, of their endless wrestling matches in the backyard, of their father yelling at them at all hours to please just play nicely. Of Hongjoong tending to their wounds and then promptly slapping them both upside the heads. But one character never entered the picture. Yunho's mother.

Seonghwa wanted to ask but he knew he was pushing his luck.

His questions would get answers. 

Sooner rather than later. 

Yunho's old car pulled into the driveway with ease. 

The land before them nearly took Seonghwa's breath away. Having no clue where they were, none of that mattered. It made sense now why Yunho dragged him to those fields during spring. The only structure to be seen was the brick red farm house in front of them. To the sides, to the back, nothing but expansive green. Sunlight danced off a large pond in the distance, the sounds of birds singing and a breeze blowing were the only things to be heard. 

"Yunho," Seonghwa breathed out, "Oh my god, it's beautiful." 

Yunho took Seonghwa's hand, stopping him from exiting the car, and Seonghwa looked into his eyes as he spoke, "I love you, Hwa. More than anything. No matter what happens with my brother and father, I hope you always remember that." 

He didn't have time to question that heavy statement, instead was just left to let it sink into his mind like a cinder block. 

"Well, well, well. Look what the cat dragged in." An unfamiliar voice called from the front steps. 

Seonghwa looked up as he and Yunho got out of their car, their bags abandoned for a later pickup. It was easy to see who it was, a smile breaking across Seonghwa's face as the boy collided with Yunho at full speed, the two boys now wrangling to get the other in a headlock first. Incoherent grumbles came from both and Seonghwa wished he had his camera, rarely seeing Yunho in this element. So comfortable, so free.

"Alright, alright! I give!" Mingi was the first to surrender, Yunho letting him go with a prideful smile. 

"Big brother always wins," A well placed punch to Mingi's shoulder, "Come on, meet Seonghwa." 

The nerves began to bubble up again but fortunately, they almost immediately disappeared at the sight of Mingi's smile. It was so warm, one of the warmest he'd ever seen, and kind. Inviting like a hug from an old friend.

"I can't tell you how tired I've been getting of hearing about you but never meeting you," Mingi pulled him into a tight hug, Seonghwa impressed by his strength, "I'm so happy you're here." 

"I'm so happy to be here." 

"I assume Yunho hasn't even told you that I exist until yesterday. So," Mingi pulled away but slug an arm around Seonghwa's shoulders, "We'll try to go easy on you tonight in terms of info dumping. Welcome home, Seonghwa." 

Home, it was. 

The farm house was cozy, a bit messy, and everything he was hoping for. 

Photos of Yunho and Mingi lined the walls, certificates from various sports and other schooling activities, memories that Seonghwa couldn't wait to hear about. Yunho led him down the hallway, Mingi chatting his ear off the entire time, to the bedroom that they would share. The one Yunho spent his childhood in. 

"Oh, sorry. I've been kinda," Mingi quickly picked up some items off the floor, "Kicking it in here while you've been away." 

Yunho set their bags down, cocking an eyebrow, "You can't sleep in your own room?" 

"Don't make me say it." Mingi rolled his eyes. 

"Say it." 

"No!"

"Come on!"

"Let's go, Dad is waiting for us." 

"Not until you say it!" 

Seonghwa was watching the exchange with fond eyes, his heart expanding rapidly in his chest. The bond between them was unlike anything he'd ever seen before. It was so strong, it felt as though it were a tangible object, something he could reach out and touch. Whenever the brother's eyes connected, it was like they were seeing into each other's minds. It was nothing short of beautiful, wonderful. 

"Fine, I like miss you or whatever." 

Laughter laced with love exited Yunho's mouth loudly as the brothers once again found themselves in a tangled mess of limbs and shouting, Seonghwa unable to control his own. 

"Yunho? Is that you?" A voice that commanded attention caused the two boys to immediately halt their actions, almost standing at attention. It would've been bizarre had it not been followed by Yunho's hand encasing his, a gentle tug, "Let's go. You need to meet my dad." 

This was the part where Seonghwa began to panic. Mingi was easy, he was a goofy little brother, someone Seonghwa could see as a friend. But this was his boyfriend's father, and Seonghwa could tell from the way that Yunho had talked about him in the car that his respect was something that meant a lot to him. He couldn't mess this up, it seemed like everything was on the line because of this meeting. 

"Ah, there you boys are. I thought I heard you two wrestling upstairs." 

Yunho's father, just like his voice, commanded the attention of the room. He was a large man, not overwhelming but enough to see where Yunho got his physique, with a wide smile and strangely gentle eyes. He was tall just as his sons were, making Seonghwa feel small in the room with all three of them. 

"Good to see you, Dad." 

Seonghwa took a small step to the side as father and son shared a hug, powerful and tight. It lasted a while, both Mingi and Seonghwa sharing a glance and an understanding not to interrupt. 

"I've missed you, son. It's been too long since you've been home. Introduce me to our guest, please." 

Yunho looked back at Seonghwa, motioning for him to come forward. It felt ritualistic, like Seonghwa was about to bow before a god and needed permission to step forward. 

"I'm Park Seonghwa. It's so nice to meet you, sir. Thank you for letting me stay in your home." 

He laughed, lightly like a breeze, before enveloping Seonghwa in a hug just as Mingi did, "I appreciate your pleasantries but it's not needed," He pulled away, heavy hands still on Seonghwa's shoulders, "I have to thank you for keeping my son healthy while he's been away. It's not like Jeong to leave their p– family and I was worried about him. He's lucky to have you." 

"Geez, pops. You never give Hongjoong that kind of praise." Mingi snorted, clearly a joke. 

"I give him his dues while he's busy tending to your various and mysterious wounds. And you rarely leave the house," A pat to Seonghwa's shoulders before he turned back to the kitchen, "So I rarely have to worry about you. Are you boys hungry? It was a long drive." 

Still reeling in shock from the words bestowed upon him, Seonghwa barely mustered up the energy to nod but somehow managed. 

"Is Hongjoong coming for dinner?" Yunho asked Mingi, who was quick to nod. 

"As if he'd pass up on the opportunity to meet Seonghwa. He wouldn't shut up about it last night after you called me. Literally kept me up all night last night." 

"Where does he live? I didn't see too many other houses around here when we pulled up." Seonghwa finally found his voice, gone for so long. 

"He lives in the city, actually. But spends most days here with us. We have a group of friends who live in a farm house a few miles down," Mingi exchanged a glance with Yunho that Seonghwa couldn't read, "You might get to meet them tonight too." 

Seonghwa smiled at the very idea, turning to Yunho, "Your childhood friends?" 

"They know all his dirty secrets." 

"They don't know anything," Yunho grabbed Seonghwa's hand again, "Come on, I'll show you around the land while they finish making dinner." 

"Shouldn't we help?" 

"As if Dad would put a guest to work," Mingi waved a hand, following the footsteps of his father into the kitchen, "You guys go ahead. I'll call you when it's ready." 

 

 

 

 

A night at the Jeong house was a night spent with strangers that began to feel more like family with every passing second. Seonghwa was able to soak in the beauty of their land just as the sun was beginning to kiss the horizon and he was wrapped in Yunho's arms. He was able to thank his boyfriend for allowing him to experience this, to be let into his life. But the question still lingered. What had taken him so long? Even upon meeting Hongjoong, Seonghwa still saw nothing out of the ordinary. 

They ate their dinner paired with loud conversation and laughter, stories of Yunho's childhood that Seonghwa had always pictured in his head. The subject of his mother finally came to light, the most tragic part of their timeline. They didn't get into details, Seonghwa would never ask. But he saw how their father's face became shadowed as he remembered her and that told him all he needed to know. She was loved, she always would be. 

Dinner passed and night fell, Seonghwa and Yunho's father bidding them a fun and safe night. Seonghwa endlessly thanked him for the dinner, for the weekend home, for everything. All he received was a smile. It was all he needed. 

"You might want to change into something more comfortable. The idiots are coming over and things get a little messy whenever they're around." Hongjoong offered up, Mingi nodding in agreement. Seonghwa wasn't sure what that meant, exactly, but he took the advice, Yunho following him to bedroom. 

"I can't see why you've kept me away for so long. Yunho, your house, this land, everything is so amazing." 

Yunho swapped his button up shirt for a plain white one, "The night isn't over yet." 

He didn't sound playful, joking. He sounded distant. Nervous. 

"I'm sure everything with your friends will be fine. I'm having a lot of fun so far." 

"Seonghwa," Yunho rarely used his full name, "What I said in the car, before we got out, I need you to remember that. Tonight is when it really matters." 

"What are you so nervous about? I've never seen you like this before." Seonghwa reached out, cupping Yunho's cheek with his palm. Yunho leaned into the touch, placing a gentle kiss to his hand. 

"I just want you to always love me. No matter who I am. No matter what I am." 

Seonghwa stepped forward, closing the distance between them with a kiss that said everything he could never articulate into actual words. Nothing would ever take that, that him, away from Seonghwa. 

With that, they left the room and went out into the night, Mingi and Hongjoong leading the way. Turns out that Mingi leading the way meant Mingi mostly walking backwards to keep talking to Seonghwa, bouncing around with excitement while Hongjoong made sure he didn't fall into any holes. They stopped in the middle of the field, everything illuminated by the vibrant stars that never showed themselves like this in the city. 

After a few moments passed, a distant echo rang through the air. 

"Is," Seonghwa paused as it happened again, "Is someone howling?" 

"That would be San and Wooyoung." Yunho flatly spoke, clearly still riddled with nerves. For reassurance, Seonghwa linked their hands, giving his a tight squeeze. 

It didn't last long. His grip wasn't strong enough.

Because in the blink of an eye, a blur passed by Seonghwa and Yunho was on the ground, two other bodies tackling him and writhing. 

Hongjoong was right. It was already messy. Clouds of dirt and clumps of grass went flying as Yunho did his best to subdue the two smaller bodies. 

"You can't call us while you're away at that –oof– fancy college of yours?"

"Not even a –ow, fuck– letter?" 

"Sorry about them." Seonghwa jumped at the sudden voice next to him, turning to see a sandy blonde haired boy with a bored facial expression, "They're all fucking morons. I'm Yeosang. You must be Seonghwa." 

"Nice to meet you. Is this normal for all of them? I've seen more wrestling in the past few hours than I have in my entire life." 

"Incredibly normal. Better get used to it. But no worries," Yeosang smiled as Yunho was the first to stand up panting as the other two lay on the ground, "Your boyfriend always comes out on top. Good to see you again, Yunho." 

"Same. You dyed your hair! It looks great." 

"What about mine?"

"Yeah, mine too." 

Yunho rolled his eyes at the two, now up from their defeated positions, "Yeah, sure, great. Guys, this is Seonghwa. Seonghwa, this is San and Wooyoung. Don't listen to a single thing these two tell you about me." 

"Listen to everything we tell you. We've been rolling with this kid since birth. Are you a we–"

"Seonghwa grew up in the city, guys. He's not from around here." Yunho was quick to cut Wooyoung off, a bite behind his words. 

"Are we going to sho–" 

"Why don't we build a fire for now?" Hongjoong piped up, San being the one to get the drop off treatment this time, as he clapped his hands together. 

The energy between the group was electric, just as it was when Mingi and Yunho connected. Seonghwa's eyes kept following each one, trying to figure out what it was. He wasn't sure he ever would. 

"No, come on. Yunho just got home! He's probably itching to run around, right buddy?" San didn't get whatever hint Hongjoong was trying to lay down and Seonghwa watched as Mingi's eyes darted between the two. 

"Yes. That's probably true but Seonghwa is new here! We should get him more acquainted with the group first." Yeosang said, nudging Wooyoung. 

He was tired of dancing around this. Trying to decipher Yunho's words. Trying to figure out what it was that happened every time Yunho looked at Mingi or San or Wooyoung. 

"Tonight is when it really matters."

"I don't mind." He spoke up, all eyes suddenly on him, "You guys just do whatever you used to do. I don't want to interfere." 

"Hwa, you wouldn't be i–" 

"It's fine, Yunho. Really!" 

Silence followed, still and a bit nerve wracking. 

"Give us a second alone." 

Immediately, the crowd dispersed, leaving Seonghwa and Yunho in the starlight. 

"What is going on?" He asked, giving Yunho no time to speak first. 

"I haven't been honest with you about a few things." 

"Are you guys in a gang or something?"

Yunho laughed at this, shaking his head, "More on the side of or something.

"Please just tell me. The air here, everything, it's so different. I feel like I'm existing in another world out here. Even with them. It's been two seconds and I can tell that they're the type of different that you were talking about. I want to know why." 

"It's nothing I can tell you."

"Yunh–"

A finger came up to his lips, pressing gently, "I have to show you. Cover your eyes," Yunho leaned in, his hands on Seonghwa's hips as their lips collided with force and love and life, "And remember that I'm just Yunho. I'm still me." 

As Yunho stepped back, Seonghwa hesitantly closed his eyes, trusting Yunho more than anything despite the racing heart rattling in his chest. He was scared, he was confused, but he was thrilled. Something in him, something that ignited within him as soon as his feet touched this land, told him that he was safe. 

The once still silence was filled with the sounds of shredding, cracking, noises that filled Seonghwa's stomach with unease and he almost stumbled on his feet. But then. It was over. 

It was quiet. 

Unearthly quiet. 

There were no words that told him it was okay, Yunho didn't say anything, but Seonghwa felt it. To open his eyes. 

As soon as he did, his back met the ground. It was like the sight before him seized his legs, knocked the wind out of him. 

"Oh my god." 

There was nothing else to say. 

Where Yunho once stood, his beautiful, soft, gentle Yunho. Was a wolf. 

A wolf unlike anything Seonghwa had ever seen before. He was massive, six, even seven, times the size of any regular wolf. Fur as black as the night sky above them covered his entire body, white, gnarly teeth poking out from whiskered lips. 

"It's okay, Seonghwa. You're alright." Hongjoong quickly appeared by his side, helping him up off the ground, "He won't hurt you. Look. Look at his eyes." 

On shaky legs with even shakier breaths, Seonghwa took two steps forward. 

His eyes. 

Swirling with life, with embers and golds. 

Yunho's eyes. 

"Yunho." He whispered, feeling almost embarrassed about the tears prickling at the corners of his eyes. 

"He'd never hurt you, Seonghwa. None of them would." 

"There's," He swallowed, eyes never leaving Yunho's, "There's more? Are all of you?"

"No. Just Yunho, Mingi, San, and Wooyoung. They're in the same pack. Mingi and Yunho's dad is the pack leader. Yunho is next in line to take it over. Their pack dates back farther than most of us can even comprehend." Yeosang appeared on Seonghwa's other side, reaching out to touch Yunho's face, "This is their land. We just got lucky enough to be invited to stay." 

Seonghwa stepped back again, shaking his head a few times. He was still in his dorm, clearly. It was maybe a Wednesday night. His mind was delirious from lack of sleep, too much studying. Seonghwa's imagination did always run a bit wild during those times. 

"This isn't real." He looked to Yeosang and Hongjoong again, "This can't be real." 

"He's never shown anyone. Never gotten close enough to anyone to trust them. He must really love you, Seonghwa. I know that he'd never force you into a life you didn't want, were afraid of. But just give it," Hongjoong lightly took Seonghwa's arm, tugging him closer, "Give him a chance." 

Give him a chance. 

The night breeze on his skin, the goosebumps that erupted, brought him back to the realization that this was not a dream. 

This was real. 

This was Yunho. 

His hand was shaking as he reached out, fingertips brushing against the black fur. It was surprisingly soft, warm to the touch. And the connection. The touch. It all came to him. It all made sense. His agility, his strength, his father's commanding voice and presence, his secrets. How many people has he pushed away because of this? How alone has he been? 

Seonghwa realized then that this was not his secret to be afraid of. It was Yunho's. 

As his fingers sunk deeper into the fur, finally touching the skin of Yunho's jaw, he took his final steps forward. Face to face with the wolf. 

Their eyes were locked, trapped in this moment for a lifetime. He looked terrified. The ambers in his eyes swirling with the vision of Seonghwa running away, never looking back. 

"You don't scare me, Yunho. You did, I'll admit, for a second there." Seonghwa laughed, cheeks stained wet with free falling tears now, "But I won't run from you. I'll never run from you." 

Suddenly, he was shrouded in black, Yunho's large face rubbing against his shoulder. It was the safest Seonghwa had ever felt. With his arms around the wide neck of the storybook beast he now knew to be his boyfriend, nothing in the world could ever touch him. Nothing but Yunho. 

He felt a nudging on his side and turned his eyes to see...

"Mingi?" 

The auburn haired wolf exhaled loudly out of his nose, shaking his head around wildly. 

"The one and only. San and Wooyoung should be here any m– Ah, yes," Yeosang sighed, "There they are." 

Two smaller wolves came barreling out of the woods, all howls and barks and playful nips to each other's necks. One was white and the other a deep grey, finally coming to a halt next to the other two. 

"They're a bit more rowdy than Yunho and Mingi. You can hear them coming a mile away." 

"How many are there?" 

"In Yunho's pack? Eleven." Hongjoong answered, giving Mingi's head a scratch, "All over the world? Thousands." 

Seonghwa took a page out of Hongjoong's book and placed his hand on Yunho's head, scratching lightly. It went over well, the wolf lowering his head and leaning into the touch. Just like he had in their bedroom. Yunho. Always his Yunho. 

"If werewolves exist, does that mean vampires do too?" 

Yunho growled at this, low and guttural. Seonghwa's eyes widened with surprise as the other three wolves bowed their heads down at the noise, backing away slightly. 

"Sore subject. There's a little bit of beef between those two. We can talk about it later." 

He had so much to learn. But at the same time, Seonghwa knew nothing would change. Maybe they would get to spend more time on the farm, take more trips out here to see them. To be free. But they would go back to college, Yunho would go back to classes, back to his dorm, still the same as he was before. Things might even be better. Brighter. He wouldn't have this burden to bare any longer, not have this weight holding him down. 

"So, my boyfriend is a werewolf." 

"Your boyfriend is a werewolf." Yeosang repeated, shoving Wooyoung away as the wolf licked up his face, "One is easy. Try having two." 

"I think I'll pass on that. This one is all I need." 

"Okay, gross." Hongjoong laughed, patting Mingi on the nose a few times, "Alright everyone, let's give them another moment of peace before you four run wild." 

San and Wooyoung darted off, Yeosang hot on their trails, while Mingi and Hongjoong took a softer approach, disappearing into the woods without a sound. 

Seonghwa and Yunho stood in the middle of the field, Seonghwa feeling like he was surrounded by magic. 

He placed both hands on either side of Yunho's face, scanning his eyes once again. 

"I'm sorry you've been hiding this for so long. I'm sorry that I was scared of you at first. But I love you. I'll always love you. Big, smelly, nasty dog or not." 

Yunho huffed at this, shaking his head around as Seonghwa laughed. 

"Sorry, I couldn't resist. You're so cute." 

Another low growl, offset by the dancing brightness of his eyes. He was playing with Seonghwa. Just like he always did. 

Just like he always would.

Seonghwa leaned his forehead against the thick black fur of Yunho's face. Again, feeling safe. 

But mostly.

Feeling home. 

"Forever and always my Yunho."