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"You like Starbucks, right?" Baekhyun asks, feet propped up against the low table of the practice room. The cold air seems to get to him, he pulls his jacket closer around himself. "Caramel macchiato and what, raspberry syrup?"

"With soy milk," Taemin says. "Don't forget the soy milk."

Baekhyun crinkles his nose in disgust, eyes scrunching up. "That's so weird."

"No it's not," Taemin counters. "I like my coffee sweet. Some people don't like to suffer."

Baekhyun snorts, and that makes Taemin smile. "I suppose. But it's still weird."

"You drink prepackaged chicken breast shake," Taemin replies. "You don't get a say in what's weird and what's not."

"It's good for you," Baekhyun says, leaning forward on his knees. "Lots of protein."

"It tastes horrible, and you and Jongin will never hear the end of it from me."

Baekhyun laughs, then. Like the tinkle of bells, and the strum of a bass. Taemin grins, satisfaction running through him.

"Fair enough." He lifts his cap, runs long fingers to smooth his hair down before recapping it. Baekhyun zips up his adidas jacket, and pats Taemin on the knee. "Come on, let's get starting. The kids have been idling for too long."

"Cut them some slack, hyung," Taemin says, even as he follows Baekhyun to round up the others, "they deserve some break."

Baekhyun just smiles. "Don't get soft on your kids now, mother hen."

-

If Taemin was to be asked, when he first noticed it. He'd never say. He couldn't, more like. They'd always known each other. Through Jongin. By virtue of being in the same company. They're acquaintances. He's always been there, in Taemin's periphery. Another one of Jongin's members. The loud one, Taeyeon's ex.

But summer of 2019 put a personality to a face, and he'd grasped Taemin's hand, raised an eyebrow and said "You're on a diet? Not in my team, you're not." And he'd laughed when Taemin had spluttered and whined. Like bells tinkling, bass strumming.

He'd met Byun Baekhyun then, and became friends. Days turn to weeks turn to months. Taemin laughed at all his jokes, broke all of his diet rules for him, dove into pools with all his clothes on with him.

Now, over a year later, counting down the days of September, Baekhyun's pressing a cup of iced caramel macchiato into his hand with a knowing smirk. Taemin can't miss the fond look he gives Taemin when he'd uttered his thanks after even if he tried.

-

"I think it would be nice, retiring like this," Ten remarks, reaching up to adjust the shades perched on his nose. They're on another country, another fancy house with fancy benches. There's a pool. Ten managed somehow to drag him out to sunbathe. Taemin will get an ugly tan, but it feels nice to lie back and enjoy the sun on his skin for a while.

"You're too young to talk about retirement," Taemin counters, eyes closed against the morning sun.

"Honestly, with the rate I'm going right now, I feel like I'm prematurely ageing."

"Take a break," Taemin says, turning on his side, "don't run yourself ragged, now."

Ten flashes him a smile. "Don't worry about me, hyung. I'm just tired."

Taemin purses his lips, frowning, but Ten laughs.

"I just think it'll be nice to have a house somewhere that's always sunny like this," he elaborates. "To spend the rest of your days with, you know? With the person you love."

"I suppose," Taemin says, "but I think I'll miss Korea too much. I like the winter."

The ruckus coming from the balcony takes them away from the conversation. Baekhyun and Yukhei show up, pushing each other towards the pool and bickering like frat boys. Taemin tries and mostly fails to drag his eyes away from the slightly defined lines of Baekhyun's stomach. He'd started to work out again, and the results are showing nicely in his arms and chest.

Baekhyun catches his gaze, and winks. Taemin feels his face heat up, he pulls up his legs and sits up, tucks them under his knee.

"Your prince charming is here, I see," Ten mutters.

Taemin reaches his arm sideways and pinch Ten's stomach. Ten yelps. Taemin doesn't have to see him to know he's pouting. Something in Ten's words make his gut clench. Taemin has never needed to be saved by any prince charmings. He doesn't need to, not now.

Baekhyun's distraction means it gives Yukhei the upper hand, and soon he's pushing Baekhyun towards the pool, who tumbles in easily, screaming delightedly. He paddles his way across the pool, to reach Taemin and Ten.

"Hey," he says, pushing wet hair out of his face, sunlight bouncing off his cheeks. "What're you guys talking about?"

Taemin thinks about spending his retirement in his apartment back in Seoul, and Baekhyun's rough voice pressing a good morning into his skin.

"Nothing," Taemin says, "retirement."

"That's a little too early for you," Baekhyun says to Ten, frowning. "You're young."

Ten shrugs. "It's never too early to plan."

Baekhyun just laughs, then, bells tinkling.

-

"Ta-e-min-nie," Baekhyun singsongs, resting his head on Taemin's shoulder, makes himself fit there. Taemin stares at their reflection in the mirror.

"Tired?"

"Yeah," Baekhyun says in a breath. "I want to go home."

Taemin hums. "Have you eaten?" He asks instead, a hand going up to tangle itself with Baekhyun's soft hair, scratching at the nape, where Baekhyun likes it best. He can't do much about him wanting to go home, but he can do this, at least.

"Not yet," Baekhyun murmurs, eyes fluttering shut.

"What do you want to eat?"

"Chicken." He sighs.

"Okay." Taemin pulls out his phone. "I'll order chicken."

-

"Hey."

Taemin pauses, for a while. Takes in Baekhyun standing in front of his door, hair ever slightly but still handsomely ruffled from the wind. "Hyung, what are you--"

"Your manager couldn't pick you up today," he says, swaying on the balls of his feet, a hand shoved in his pocket, the other carefully holding a bag of Starbucks.

"So you..."

"Go shower," Baekhyun says, bypassing him completely to his apartment. "I'll make you breakfast."

-

The drive to SM is silent, but by not any means uncomfortable. Taemin watches the condensation on his Starbucks cup fall to the tissue around its middle, catches a droplet with his thumb.

"You know I have my own car, right? I can totally drive myself to SM."

Baekhyun shrugs, changes the gear of his pretentiously expensive Audi. "I know," he says, easily.

"Then why?"

Baekhyun looks at the road ahead and smiles. Private. Small. A secret that Taemin isn't meant to be privy to but is anyways.

Something catches in his throat, congeals down behind his sternum. Sticky like paint, red like one.

It's dangerous, that smile. Not for what it means, but because Taemin is afraid it might be echoed in his.

-

"Barbecue for dinner?" Baekhyun asks, rapping his fingers on the table of the practice room.

Taemin listens for the off-beat, the added 1/8 after every fourth count. He looks at Baekhyun's soft mouth, at a pink tongue darting out to wet red lips. At his eyes, the clear brown behind the corneas. Like stained glass. There's the same guarded secret in them, in the wry turn of his smile. Something he thinks Taemin doesn't understand.

Baekhyun pauses at the silence, hand stilling and rhythm stopping. "Taeminnie?"

"Sure," Taemin grins. He doesn't know what to do. "Barbecue sounds great."

-

It's always a merry affair, dinner with the boys. They're rowdy, hungry, happy. Reminds Taemin of a simpler time, a younger time. Baekhyun sticks by his side, thighs pressed together as he breaks up a fight between Jongin and Yukhei.

Taemin sits beside him, and congeals.

-

"You'll catch a cold like that," Baekhyun scolds him, puts a hoodie on top of his head.

Taemin squeaks, surprised, the fabric covering his eyes.

"Put it on," Baekhyun yells over his shoulder.

Taemin huffs but shoves his hands into the sleeves of Baekhyun's oversized hoodie, pulling it over his bare torso. It smells like Baekhyun. Detergent and a little bit of sweat. Taemin feels overly warm, doesn't know if it's from the hoodie or something else.

"You're a menace," Taemin mutters, walks over just to shove Baekhyun on the shoulder.

Baekhyun turns, grinning fondly. Amusement clear in the twinkle in his eyes. "Don't be like that," he says, taking Taemin's hand in his. "I adore you, you know that. I don't want you to get sick."

Taemin's breath catches in his chest, drops to his stomach. Baekhyun laughs at his silence. It's not funny, but he doesn't know that.

"Besides," he says, winking, completely unaware of the turmoil inside Taemin, "wouldn't want you to scandalize the kids."

-

The adoration burns.

It sears, scorches. Travels through the pores of his skin, seeps in like water on dry, cracked land. It burns, every single drop of it. Every single second of it. Yet he drinks it in, swallows it liter by liter like a parched man. It's never been like this, before. Never burned quite like this, before.

But Baekhyun lays a hand on the crook of his elbow, guiding. Touch gentle and eyes reverent, and Taemin burns.

-

"Hey," Jongin pinches his arm. Pouts. "You're distracted."

Taemin blinks, catches Jongin's arm retreating. He rubs at the spot Jongin pinched. "Sorry, what were you saying?"

"No, I'm not telling you twice," Jongin says, petulant. "What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing."

"Sure." He rolls his eyes. "Nothing has you staring off into space," he says. "You've been quiet."

"A guy can't be quiet now?" Taemin jokes, stealing a piece of cut beef from Jongin's plate. The thing melts in his mouth. Christ, he shouldn't have let Jongin drag him out for dinner. He always chooses the expensive places.

Jongin hisses, slaps his hand playfully, so Taemin stabs a piece of his potato in retaliation.

"You haven't been quiet like this in a while," Jongin comments afterwards, food eaten and two cups of coffee steaming in front of them.

Taemin hums, raps his fingers on the expensive wooden table. An off-beat rhythm after every fourth count. He stops when he realizes what he's doing, shoves his hand underneath his thigh instead. Jongin observes him quietly.

Taemin fiddles with the handle of his coffee cup. "Do you ever think about retirement?" He asks.

"Sometimes."

"When you think about it," Taemin says slowly, "do you think about spending it with someone?"

Jongin raises an eyebrow. "Of course," he says "don't you?"

Taemin swallows the lump in his throat. "Sometimes," he lies.

"Is this what it's all about?" Jongin asks. "Boy problems?"

Taemin considers rebuffing or outright lying, but he owes Jongin half a truth, at least. "Not just boy problems."

"Who is it?" Jongin grins, leaning forward.

"None of your business," he says, with finality.

"Ah, Baekhyun-hyung."

Taemin flushes. "No."

"Go for it," Jongin nods, "he's a good guy."

"I told you, it's not him."

"Don't think about it too much," Jongin plows through. "You'll regret it afterwards."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Taeminnie," Jongin says, exasperated. "Don't think about it too much."

Taemin bites his lip, leans back against the comfortable chair of the restaurant and groans. "Fine," he says, "whatever."

-

The thing about fires, is that it's pretty until it's not. Taemin burned, once. Let a fire consumed him whole, walked right into its orange-blue center without precaution. It left nothing alive, afterwards, not even himself, not even the flowers.

And even if Baekhyun's fire is different, it burns all the same.

Taemin's gotten too comfortable in the embers, now. It's time to extinguish it before it travels too far too fast. Up like ravines, he thinks. Or a metastasis. An infection. Something hard to get rid of.

-

"Ta-e-min-nie," Baekhyun singsongs, slings a familiar arm around his shoulder, breathes right into his ear. "I missed you."

Taemin shrugs the arm off, steps away from the circle of Baekhyun's reach. Doesn't notice it when his face falls, too busy staring at the others. At Taeyong helping Mark stretch. At Ten laughing at something Jongin said. "Missed you too, hyung," he murmurs.

He feels rather than Baekhyun hesitating next to him, the hand outstretched dropped back to his side.

Good.

"Well, I hope you had a nice weekend," Baekhyun says.

"I did, thank you."

Baekhyun pauses, waits for him to elaborate. Taemin doesn't. "Right," Baekhyun says again after a while. He clears his throat, averts his gaze. "Let's start, then."

This is what he wanted. Taemin tells himself, just watching as Baekhyun rounds up the members. Standing off to the side where he would usually help Baekhyun pull Ten to his feet, get Yukhei off his phone.  

This is what he wanted.

-

"Hyung," Taemin says, lowering the volume of the radio, and the AC. It's always too cold in manager-hyung's car. "If someone asks for my schedule, tell me first if it's okay to tell them. And if you can't pick me up in the morning, tell me before telling anyone else."

"Okay," his manager says. "Is everything alright?"

"Sure." The buildings pass in a grey blur outside, the clouds are rolling in. It'll rain, today. He should've brought a sweater. "Just want to be a little more self-sufficient."

"Okay, Taeminnie." He makes a turn, it's nothing as elegant as when Baekhyun does it. Taemin shoves the thought to the back of his mind. "You'll tell me if something is bothering you, right?"

There's a woman walking a corgi on the pavement outside. It reminds him of Baekhyun. Taemin's stomach rolls uneasily. "Of course."

-

16:13

from: stinky manager oAo

to: you

Baekhyun's asking me about your schedule

16:14

from: you

to: stinky manager oAo

don't tell him anything

16:17

from: stinky manager oAo

to: you

Ok

-

One too many times Taemin switches place with Ten at dinner and Baekhyun notices, after all. Stands before him with narrowed eyes, messy brown hair falling over them.

"Taemin, you..." he trails off.

"I'm what?" Taemin swallows. Baekhyun's heat sears him alive after weeks of not having it. Even when they're not touching. The scant centimeter between them doesn't matter, not when he could smell Baekhyun's detergent, see the faint scar on his right eyebrow, where he'd shaved a line on it in 2017.

Baekhyun's hand twitches beside him, like he's dying to reach out and touch. Taemin doesn't know if he wants Baekhyun to or not. Maybe he does.

Mostly he does.

But Baekhyun plays by other people's rules and Taemin's wall is a mile long and three meters thick. There are boundaries, and Baekhyun respects his too much to do anything about it.

"Nevermind." Baekhyun rocks back on his heels, steps back. He sighs, seems like he's made up his mind. Taemin feels cold to the core. "We'll be late, come on."

Baekhyun cocks his head, and turns around.

There are boundaries, Taemin thinks, watching Baekhyun's broad shoulders as he walks away. And there are people that makes you wish would break them with a sledgehammer.

-

Taemin wanted this.

He wanted this.

-

"You're being a little bitch," Jongin whispers, pressing on Taemin's back to help him stretch, leaning all his weight on him.

"What the fuck," Taemin groans, squirms to get away, but Jongin's hold on him is unrelenting. "Jongin, get off."

"Not until you stop being a little bitch."

Taemin exhales into his knees, folded as he is. "Jongin, it's none of your business, get off."

But of course Jongin doesn't, and they've been friends for fourteen years now. Taemin should have expected the fingers sneaking under shirt, and the arm slinging over his stomach to flip him over. And then they're scuffling like teenagers on the practice room floor.

Jongin wins, because he grew to be bigger than Taemin, and he's bodybuilding again. Jerk. He lays half on top of Taemin, a heavy arm slung over his chest.

"Make up or something," he murmurs into the crook of Taemin's neck. "He's sad and confused, and you're not being fair."

Taemin digs his fingers on Jongin's side just to hear him yelp. Jongin shifts, turns around, and lays on his back on top of Taemin.

"Jongin," he groans, "you're heavy!"

"Make up," Jongin says. "Promise me."

"No."

"Then talk to him," Jongin rolls off of him, sits up and cages him under his arms instead. "You're not being fair."

Taemin feels eyes on them. On their position. Taemin under Jongin. Brown irises through clear corneas. Like stained glass. He sighs. "I'll try."

Jongin purses his lips. "Not good enough, but it's a start, I guess."

-

Taemin waits outside of the studio Baekhyun is recording in, scuffing his shoes against the linoleum floor. A bag of cold noodles and pork cutlet in one hand. Baekhyun takes forever to record. His eyes widen when he sees Taemin leaning against the wall. He pauses, a hand holding the studio door open.

Baekhyun stares, Taemin stares back.

"Hyung," he says, voice thick with guilt. "I brought you dinner. I figured you haven't eaten, yet."

Baekhyun licks his lips. "Ah--yeah, thank you, Taemin-ah."

"You--have you, eaten yet?"

Baekhyun opens his mouth, and then closes it again. His eyes shift, looking at anywhere but Taemin. "Actually," he starts, "I have."

"Oh," Taemin says, "I see."

Baekhyun nods, still wouldn't meet Taemin's eyes. "Well," he says, drags the word out like taffy, full of hesitance and unsureness. "I have to go now, Taeminnie. I still have a schedule."

Baekhyun nods at him, a hand reaching up and stopping midway, aborting its movements. Baekhyun balls his hands into fists, and walks off.

Taemin looks at Baekhyun as he leaves, his fists clenched.

Taemin wanted this.

He wanted this.

-

Taemin stares at the pristine white ceiling of his bedroom. Silence echoing off the walls. It had been noisy when Baekhyun was there. He'd left his scent everywhere. Cleaned out Taemin's fridge in fifteen minutes and ordered groceries to be delivered. He'd laughed a lot, when he cooked. Whistled and hummed and sang.

Voice like bells tinkling, bass strumming.

Taemin looks at his bedside clock, the digits blaring 12:21 in stocky, red numbers.

Taemin doesn't want this.

-

He gets Baekhyun's address from Jongin, drives there on his suburban mom van. He doesn't call first, doesn't text, and almost feels guilty at the surprise on Baekhyun's face. Blinking sleep away from his eyes when he sees Taemin standing in front of his door.

"Taeminnie," Baekhyun says, voice rough from sleep. He shifts from foot to foot in his dark blue pajamas. "What are you doing here?"

"I wanted--" Taemin doesn't know what he wants, only knows what he doesn't want. "I just wanted to see you."

"I see." Baekhyun looks left and right, more out of habit than consciousness. He tilts his head, beckons Taemin in. "Come in, you'll catch a cold standing around with no jackets like that."

-

Baekhyun's home is exactly like Taemin expected. There's barely any mess. Everything is organized and put neatly in place, smelling faintly of sugar and pineapple.

"Make yourself comfortable," Baekhyun says. A delicate finger goes up to scratch his nape, the nail barely skimming over the mole on the skin. Taemin sees orange-blue. He wants.

It feels like possession, when Taemin pulls on Baekhyun's sleeve and kisses him. Barely getting past the living room to get to the kitchen. Baekhyun's lips open underneath him, soft and yielding. He tastes like sleep, like Baekhyun, like something forbidden and given at the same time.

Baekhyun groans into his mouth, hands settling on the dips of Taemin's waist.

"Wait," Baekhyun whispers, pulling away. Taemin ducks down to chase his lips, but Baekhyun turns his head. "Are you sure?"

"I'm sure," Taemin answers. "I want--" he cuts off, "I want--"

Baekhyun crowds him against a wall. Traps him in. Cages him. Taemin feels sparks under his skin, the intent need to burst.

"What do you want?" Baekhyun asks. Supernovas behind his irises. "You have to tell me, what do you want?"

"I don't know," Taemin whispers, tugs Baekhyun closer to him. He wants this. Wants Baekhyun. "I don't know."

Baekhyun stops, Taemin watches the movement of his Adam’s apple as he swallows, the rise and fall of his chest against Taemin's. He's gorgeous. Taemin wants him.

"Then I can't give you anything," he says. "Not until you know. I'm done playing, Taemin."

Taemin isn't playing, has never been playing. He goes home to an empty bed at 1AM in the morning and loses, anyways.

-

"When will you stop moping around?"

Jongin starfishes on top of him, pinning him to the couch. Taemin wonders if Jongin will ever get that he's much bigger than Taemin now.

"Get off," Taemin whines, shoves fingers under Jongin's armpits and tickles him.

Jongin yells, rolling off Taemin and falling to the floor. He sits up and leans his forehead against Taemin's arm, grumbling.

"Seeing you mope around makes me sad."

"I'm not moping around."

Jongin pokes Taemin's stomach with a finger. "You are. And so is Baekhyun-hyung."

"That's none of my business."

"It is exactly your business," Jongin presses. "Taeminnie, you deserve love again, after everything."

Taemin turns around, gives Jongin his back. But Jongin climbs into what's left of the narrow space of the couch and fits himself behind Taemin, looping two arms around him, pressing close. Like they used to do when they were younger.

"Don't stop yourself from being happy," he says, hand patting Taemin's stomach distractedly. "Yeah, Taeminnie?"

Taemin doesn't have the words to tell him that he never means to stop himself, that it just happens, sometimes. He never means to.

"You know, I was worried when you broke up with... him," Jongin finishes lamely. They don't talk about it in Taemin's home. Taemin refuses to. "But you recovered pretty okay, and I thought you'd be okay."

Taemin lets the silence hang before he says anything at all, hesitant to hear what Jongin has to say. A person who sees Taemin through and through and understands.

"But?"

"But evidently, you are not," Jongin says, "something is stopping you from being happy, and I think it's yourself. Give yourself a chance, Taeminnie," he murmurs. "Give Baekhyun-hyung a chance. You both deserve it."

Taemin pauses, closes his eyes. Jongin's words ring in his ears. It's been years and then some.

"Forgive yourself," Jongin continues, arms tightening around Taemin, "please," he adds quietly. "Please."

-

"Jongin said I should forgive myself."

It's probably not the best conversation opener there is. But it's been two weeks, and Taemin's desperate.

The line of Baekhyun's shoulders tense. He ducks his head down, fiddling with something on the granite countertop of the practice room. Taemin can't see what it is.

"Yeah?"

Even with his back on Taemin, Taemin knows his hesitance. Knows the slight pout he must wear. Taemin misses him dearly, like a hole shot through the center of his chest. His fingers itch to reach out and touch, to tangle with the soft hair at the base of Baekhyun's neck. Leech off his warmth and his clean detergent scent.

"Yeah."

"Then you probably should," Baekhyun says. "He said anything else?"

Taemin swallows. "He said I should give myself a chance."

Baekhyun nods, head bobbing. "Then you probably should."

"I should," Taemin murmurs.

Baekhyun leaves him with a nod, then. The familiar view of his back leaving Taemin. He knows that view too well, these days. He doesn't want to anymore.

So Taemin does what he does best.

He takes a chance. 

-

This, is familiar.

Taemin runs his hand over the soft padded walls of the studio. This is familiar. Studios and dance practice rooms. He'd spent whole lifetimes there. Would spend another lifetime there. Taemin calls for strength in familiarity, upon facing the unknown.

He opens the door to Baekhyun sitting in front of him, fingers tapping a rhythm on his thigh. A nervous habit. An off beat after every fourth count. 1/8 staccato. He doesn't seem surprised at Taemin's entrance. The studio is empty save for the two of them.

Baekhyun knows, and Taemin wants.

He watches Taemin step closer, almost burning when he asks.

"Have you decided what you wanted?"  

Taemin used to want everything, back when he was younger. Ambitious, his hyungs had called him. Almost bursting at the seams with the desperate need for perfection and approval. It was the only thing he knew, a principal learned and not developed throughout his life. Taemin used to want everything given and anything available to take.

Taemin wants different things, now.

It's easier than he thought, to grip Baekhyun's solid shoulder in his hands. To lean down and look for the barely-there hitch of his breath, look him in the eyes. It's easier to pretend it's okay to want good things for himself when Taemin knows the good thing wants Taemin too.  

"You," Taemin says with half a conviction, "I want you."

-

They find their way to Baekhyun's apartment somehow, and between the front door and the bedroom, clothes get discarded and kisses exchanged. Baekhyun's fingers fit on his sides and inside him. Opens him up with feather light touches and feather light kisses.                 

The fire burns brighter, stokes and simmers in his belly, licks along his skin. Taemin turns around, gets on his hands and knees on the bed because he still can't stand the way Baekhyun looks at him. Like he's in awe, like he can't believe Taemin's real at all.

Baekhyun drapes himself over Taemin's back, a long line of heat that sears, the head of his cock nudging Taemin's entrance.

"Shit--" Baekhyun groans, dirty hand tightening on Taemin's hip as he starts pressing in, the other flat on the bed for support.

"Come on," Taemin pants, wants, needs. Burns with it, always burns with it. "come on, hyung."

Baekhyun pushes in, his curses and breaths right on Taemin's ear, nose pressed against his temple. He takes his time, careful, a voice in Taemin supplies. He's being careful. Taemin hangs his head low, feels a sob build in his chest. Between the way Baekhyun's cock is stretching him open and the way Baekhyun is holding him close, he doesn't know if he can take this anymore.

"Taemin-ah," Baekhyun moans, desperate, like Taemin is his lifeline, the only thing keeping him together. "Taeminnie."

Baekhyun moves, draws his cock out to fuck back in. He uses his clean hand to coax Taemin's head to the side, pressing a kiss on his lips. Sweet, chaste. Swallows Taemin's moan with his tongue and his teeth and Taemin chokes on his own feelings.

"Hyung," he says when they part, looks sideways at Baekhyun staring at him. "Baekhyun."

He doesn't know what Baekhyun sees, only knows the gentleness of his hands when he pulls out and urges Taemin to his back, settles between his legs. Stares him down like Taemin's worth his time, his affection. He nudges Taemin to fold his legs, pressing butterfly kisses on the side of his knee, takes Taemin's hand in his and kisses the inside of his wrist.

Taemin feels dizzy, feels like suffocating. Lungs filled with the fire and desire of Baekhyun's sheer want and adoration.

Baekhyun hovers above him, rocks into him slowly. It's more the meaning behind the action than the action itself that has Taemin scrunching his eyes shut, has him reaching for Baekhyun, pulling him close. He's being treated like he's something precious, like he's breakable.

Taemin wants to tell him to stop, but what comes out is a soft moan when Baekhyun bottoms out completely.

Baekhyun breathes out wetly into his neck, draws his hips back and fucks back in. He fucks Taemin with steady thrusts, with precise, rolls of his hips. The occasional graze of his cockhead against Taemin's prostate sending sparks down his toes. The slaps of skin against skin loud in the too-quiet room.

He can feel every sensation, hear the tremble in Baekhyun's breath as he fucks into Taemin again and again.  

"Taemin," Baekhyun moans brokenly, hips stuttering. He braces a hand over Taemin's head, glassy eyes boring into Taemin's, red mouth parted open in pants. Taemin pulls him down, crushes their mouths together because he can't stand the way Baekhyun is looking at him. He rakes fingers through sweat-damp hair, tugs at the roots, and that sends Baekhyun careening over, stilling as he cums first into the condom inside Taemin's ass.

Baekhyun, even in his post-orgasmic haze, puts Taemin first. He pulls out sluggishly and resettles between Taemin's legs. He pushes clever fingers up Taemin's abused hole, rubbing insistently on Taemin's prostate, taking the head of his cock into his mouth.

Everything coalesces into one, the pressure in his belly snaps. Taemin cums, arching off the bed, into the wet, welcoming heat of Baekhyun's mouth.

-

In the aftermath of their fucking (for Taemin's stubborn insistence to call it anything but), Taemin makes the mistake of letting himself be swept away. Of letting Baekhyun cradle him close, press up behind him and sling an arm around his waist. Baekhyun sighs into his hair, fingers counting the spaces between Taemin's ribs. It lulls him into a semblance of safety, of security and things Taemin has not let himself want, in a while.

Taemin reminds himself that it's okay to want this now. He puts his hand on top of Baekhyun's, squeezing.

"Taemin-ah," Baekhyun rumbles into his hair. He shifts, snuggling further into Taemin, letting out another content sigh when he's managed to plaster himself completely against Taemin. It's so puppy-like and endearing, and comfortable, all in the same breath.

"Hm?"

"You're thinking."

Baekhyun presses a kiss right under Taemin's ear. He's not aiming for round two, just likes kisses and kissing, but Taemin's dick twitches in interest despite.

"That's generally what people do," Taemin replies drily.

"No," Baekhyun says, "you're thinking bad things."

"Oh yeah?" He challenges. "Like what?"

"Like thinking this means nothing," Baekhyun says quietly.

"Doesn't it?" Taemin asks, breathless despite himself.  

"No."

And he's suddenly turned around, his lap full of a frowning Byun Baekhyun gripping his shoulders.

"This," Baekhyun says, punctuates it with a drop of his voice, a wave of his hand back and forth between the two of them, "means everything."

Taemin's breath catches in his throat. The dizziness is back. He doesn't want to think. Doesn't want to fool himself into believing he'll be allowed to touch soft skin and hold soft hands.

But maybe he is. Maybe he is allowed this. Maybe he is allowed to love Baekhyun.

"Everything?" He asks.

Baekhyun leans closer, staring resolutely at him. "Everything." He's so close. Barely a breath away. Taemin can count every single mole, every single lash. "Let me in, Lee Taemin."

Taemin doesn't know how to tell him that he has, a cup of coffee and a car-ride ago.

"Yes," Taemin says, after a beat too long. "Okay."

Baekhyun pushes him back to the bed, soft lips against his, and Taemin settles on being reduced to ashes.

 

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