it is one of their better nights. it is devoid of long rambles on the wrongness of their relations, on dangers of fraternization and betrayal of their families and business empire, devoid of rough, frantic coupling, either preceded or followed by rivalry.
for once, his little friend's mind seems to be at peace.
a great part of his ever-present tension is discarded with his polished suit, which is always a reminder of their different positions and yet equality in society. without its numerous implications, huening kai is just a young man; paler, quieter, less carefree, but still his best friend, with whom he had shared room, thought and heart, back in boarding school.
they both had changed a great deal in the last seven years. soobin had grown from a gangly, awkward school boy into a tall, strong man, straight from a high-cut magazine, down to dyed purple hair, dark eyes, and an uncompromising fierceness. his friend had changed less, at the first glance – his face was still all boyish beauty, the kind to make ancient greeks swoon and flutter, and it retained its sweet smile that often made people forget he was actually as tall as his well-known rival. his bestfriend however had developed several new smiles; fake ones, deceiving ones, frightening ones. and there’s a screen of ice for his eyes, that hid them more often than not, like an arctic ocean, always frozen but for a few rare summer days.
this is one of those rare summer days, and soobin is in heaven – or so he feels, grinning from ear to ear, as there is no reason to restrain his joy. there are no witnesses, nobody to interrupt them in the middle of this winter night. kai's secret penthouse is always a hint colder than pleasant, but they have a blanket, and each other's body heat. not to forget the mind-shattering pleasure, drugging them like hard liquor.
soobin's arms tighten around the other man, and he is thinking: "mine. mine alone." nobody else gets to see ever so charming heir stripped of all acts and cunning pretenses, relaxed and sated and happy – god, he looks happy, soobin thinks and feels the odd urge to do an undignified little dance. this is the smile from kai's untarnished youth, proof that the young boy he fell in love with, and still in love with desperately, is still in there, somehow. it is becoming more and more rare, and recently he started to fear never seeing it again.
"that was wonderful," soobin whispers once they stop kissing, not missing the opportunity to bestow little kisses upon his friend's neck and ear, stretching to reach the corner of his soft mouth and lingering there, feeling it curl up in a smile.
silky hair tickles his cheek as his lover nods a yes, "...like grape juice..." the mumble is barely audible.
soobin lets out a small chuckle of delight. it is, to him, the most adorable habit he ever came across. on the edge of sleep, his cute little friend will occasionally utter entirely random things as an answer, quite unrelated to the question raised. years ago, so late in the night it had been early in the morning, his opinion on some political business atrocity had been expressed in a sincerely embarrassed voice: "but i don't know how to bake bread..." soobin was prone to giggling, outright girlish giggling anytime he remembered. granted, they'd been fourteen and thirteen years old. and kai had sworn to court-martial his ass if word ever got out. but soobin would never divulge their secrets. to anyone. not until years later, a star-lit moonless night in the middle of a cornfield in jeju, in a distant, absurd future.
right now, soobin doesn't even know whether jeju is an island or a state, nor does he give a damn. "are you comparing me to grape juice?" he asks, adoring mirth in his voice.
slitted eyes open to reveal swirling pools of dark almond. "hmm. your hair and us…. it made me think of grape juice."
"i... our... being together made you think of grape juice?" soobin hesitates, choosing the best way to phrase it. the wrong words have proven disastrous too often, sparking hurt you wouldn't suspect – until it ran you over.
"yes," kai says again, smiling serenely, still perfectly relaxed and happy under his caress. he hasn't tensed up, thank god, not even for a moment, and soobin would've felt that, lying so close. skin on skin, it is as if they become one being, one love, as they were meant to be. their hands entwine, and soobin's hand trembles, all too conscious of his power to crush these elegant long fingers into a pulp of bruised flesh and bone fragments. it is too easy, he knows, having done it before, to others. shivering, he places another kiss on his friend's ear.
"grape juice," he whispers, playfully, though his disappointment is real. "gee, thanks."
"just like that, yes."
"grape juice on a hot summer day. expensive, decadent, and the best thing you can imagine..."
soobin can imagine better things. "it's february," he remarks, matter of fact.
"i was thinking of our summers, when we still were in school. you visited me over holidays, for a month. remember?"
long, lazy days of horse-riding, hiking, always to one lake or another, swimming naked and lying together in green grass, drying under the noon sun, never letting the other out of sight. it had been perfect, a paradise. the last summer of their innocence. you bet he remembers the best month of his life. soobin nods, and inhales the scent of his hair, almost smelling the grass stalks and evaporating lake water.
"we'd lie in the grass, watch the sky for hours, and i was thinking about grape juice, how it was the only thing missing from making that day perfect."
nod. "a glass of cold grape juice. we can't get any closer to perfect happiness."
it is ridiculous to be jealous of a beverage, but soobin can't help it. "that what you need?" he asks, playfulness concealing his hurt poorly. "that's what you're wishing for, right now?" his heart seizes at the answering smile, luminous in its warmth, love even.
"that's the point, you. understand," the pliant body twists in soobin's arms, to face him; one leg slides between his, and cool hands frame his face, capturing his gaze irresistibly. he knows this feeling of being under a spell very well, by now, and resistance is futile. "if all i can wish for, in this precise moment, is a glass of grape juice, have i not reached perfect happiness already?"
"huh?" soobin asks, intelligently.
"if all i can wish for," kai reiterates, still smiling lovingly, "while being with you, is something so trivial as a glass of grape juice – then i am truly happy, no?"
"and you need grape juice to be happy?" soobin frowns, painfully feeling his inability to hold metaphysical discussions. he just doesn't do talking when it’s something absurd and out of mind like this. "am i not enough for you, you can't go without stupid grape juice?"
though, soobin can’t even hold his amused smile. it is impossible to be angry, when he looks at you like that.
"that's what i'm trying to get across, silly." soobin opens his mouth to protest, and a slim finger presses against his lips, snuffing out his protest. "i can go without grape juice. and while i imagine it to be delicious, it does not lessen my happiness one bit. i can wish for nothing else but a glass for grape juice, since all my other wishes, anything i could ever want – i have it." his hand caresses soobin's slightly long hair, which stubbornly stick up, defying regulations. "i have you."
soobin swallows, and his heart seizes again, painfully, but it is a pain of bliss. this feeling is always prevalent between them, an attraction so strong it hurts, it hurts terribly, torturing them – yet they cannot stop. oh, they try, kai especially, only to cave in the next day, and fall even deeper. one day they will reach the ground – and smash, but not yet, not today... today there is still a place for happiness.
"i'm all you could ever want?" soobin asks, just to be sure. "what about that good deal you've been going on about?"
again, the finger on his lips silences him. kai smirks, and it's a smirk of the present, one to be seen in daylight, over the black coat's leather collar.
"i'll get it," he states, confidently. "i can get anything i want in this world. even this country is within reach, but you..." again, he is that boy only soobin ever gets to see, beneath the strong façade of the young conglomerate heir. "you, i need." his voice breaks, and his hands clutch at soobin's hair, pulling him closer, desperate. "need you, binnie..."
soobin complies, without a thought, only driven by an answering need, kisses him hard, and thank god, kai is kissing him back, just as desperately, wildly, unrestrained, and his cherry lips will be a bit swollen tomorrow if he keeps this up, and nobody will know but him. their tongues are caressing each other, mimicking their bodies pressing together, and this is perversion and a shame on both of them and their families and their fiancees and endless responsibilities. but until morning, they don't give a shit.
in the light of day, their happiness will fade like the fragile sculptures of frost. soobin will get dressed, and pretend nothing happened last night, and they are just old childhood friends, whose relations have to adhere to their respective ranks. and kai will play along – maybe. maybe not. what's one more mark of treason in his file?
for now, they are happy in their brief freedom, and relish their closeness, saying what they always say, when lying in each others’ arms. the words haven't changed since they were children.
"i love you, forever and ever."