Kun was surprised by how quickly he, Ten, and Yangyang adapted to each other’s rhythms after they moved into a larger space. No longer were 7 men and 3 pets piled on top of each other in one apartment, bickering and yowling for food, playing rock-paper-scissors to determine the line for the bathroom.
Accustomed to the frantic pace that came with living with six other men, the slow, easy pace that Kun’s roommates favored was jarring at first; however, appreciation for Ten and Yangyang’s relaxed tempo soon overtook any of Kun’s worries that they weren’t maximizing every single moment of every single day.
It was enough simply to exist, to wake up and play with the cats for a few hours. To eat slowly. To watch the clouds in the sky.
Yangyang kept to himself more often than not, emerging when he had a schedule or wanted to watch a movie together in the living room. Ten moved more fluidly between all of their rooms, recharging as he needed. It was not uncommon for Kun to come home to find Ten asleep in his bed with the cats curled up beside him. Sometimes it would be too much of a bother to wake and move Ten, so Kun would slide in, settling into the space Ten had left for him. By unspoken rule, the trio had dinner together when they could, and this routine worked for them.
Though Kun thrived off social interaction, he got what he needed when he went into the studio to work and mess around with other producers and friends. Schedules permitting, he’d meet up with other NCT members when they had the time, and after a long day of laughter and friendly ribbing, he appreciated being able to come home to the relative peace and stillness.
Peace and stillness was not what he returned to this evening.
The sharp smell of smoke had tickled his nostrils as soon as he stepped out of the elevator. He should have known it was coming from their apartment. When he opened the front door, he walked into a cloud of gray smoke and coughed, eyes starting to water.
“Fuck!” Yangyang said from somewhere within the haze-filled apartment. “Uh! Ge, it’s fine. We just burned something—”
“Yeah, my whole arm!” Ten cried.
Kun dashed toward the sound of running water in the kitchen and saw that Yangyang was hastily using a cookie sheet to fan the smoke out of the window beside the stove. Ten, who was holding his arm under the faucet, turned to Kun with a tear-stricken face and slightly runny nose.
Kun exhaled. No active fire, just smoke. No blood, just tears. He refrained from making a quip about Ten’s freshly-bleached orange hair being mistaken for a fire. “Why isn’t the alarm—?”
“Turned it off,” Yangyang said. “Didn’t want to bother the neighbors…”
“Kun,” Ten whined. “It hurts so much. Do you think they’ll have to cut it off?”
“I’m sure they won’t need to amputate your arm, Ten,” Kun said, fortifying himself with a breath and moving closer to him. “Let me see.”
The smoke was already starting to clear. Ten sniffed, coughed, and extended his arm toward Kun, who switched off the faucet and took Ten’s wrist as gently as he could between his hands.
There was a streak of reddened skin over Ten’s forearm.
“Is that all?” Kun asked. Ten let out an indignant growl and tried to yank his wrist out of Kun’s hands, but Kun held fast and quickly added, “I know burns hurt worse than they look. I just meant, does it hurt anywhere else?”
“No,” Ten mumbled.
“That’s good. C’mon, let’s go to the bathroom. There’s a first aid kit. Yangyang, you good here?”
“All good,” Yangyang confirmed, still fanning. “Ten was the dumbass who reached into the oven without—”
“Say one more word, Yangyang,” Ten threatened.
“Love you.” Yangyang winked.
Under the brighter bathroom lights, the burn was pinker and shinier. According to the internet, though, it was still just a minor burn and only required a little bit of first aid and care.
“How much does it still hurt?” Kun asked as he rummaged through the cabinet under the sink for their first aid kit. He found the orange box and pulled it out, beginning to examine its contents.
Ten sat on the edge of the tub, the sleeves of his sweatshirt pushed up to his elbows. He was wearing the little black shorts he often wore to sleep. Holding his wrist out stiffly, he rubbed at his eyes with his other hand. “Like, not as much as earlier. But it keeps flaring up.”
“It’s good that you held it under cold water,” Kun said. “Oh, look! We’ve got burn ointment.”
Ten was quiet as Kun sat next to him and worked to clean and dress the wound. Halfway through, Louis came into the bathroom and leaped onto the counter to paw at the first aid kit and sniff at its contents. Kun picked him up and plopped him into Ten’s lap before he could knock the kit over, and the tension Ten was still holding in his body released with an audible sigh, his shoulders drooping as he sank his other hand into Louis’ plush fur.
Kun taped gauze over the burn. “What were you making, anyway? You could have just waited for me to get home.”
Ten’s eyes were on Kun’s fingers over his wrist. Louis purred in Ten’s lap. “I…wanted to make cookies for us. You were talking about your mom’s homemade almond cookies the other day.”
Over dinner two nights ago, a conversation about an interior design show Ten was watching had meandered toward childhood homes and favorite memories. Kun had reminisced about the cookies his mother would make for special occasions. Flat, thin, and sweet, they were both crispy and chewy, decorated with an almond in the center. The zing of orange zest that accompanied every bite made eating the treat a deeply satisfying experience.
He salivated at the reminder of his mom’s cookies, and his heart warmed at the knowledge that Ten had wanted to surprise him with something so dear to him. “Did you manage to make any?”
Ten shook his head. “I was taking the cookie tray out of the oven because I accidentally left it inside while it was on, and like. It was really hot. So I burned my arm on the edge.”
“Poor Tennie,” Kun cooed, finding Ten’s slightly furrowed eyebrows and pout adorable. Sometimes, Kun just really wanted to bite him. To eat him like a peach.
He had given in to the temptation a couple of times. By Kun’s needling and persuasion, Ten had acquired a taste for wine, and on some nights, they’d share a bottle and fall into bed together, blush-drunk and warm with fuzzy, indecipherable emotion. It happened more often now that they had more room to themselves.
His eyes lingered on Ten’s bottom lip.
“You’re so touchy,” Ten whispered, a small secret smile dimpling one cheek.
Kun chuckled and paid more attention to the way he was stroking his palm up and down the length of Ten’s forearm, carefully avoiding the burn, pausing every so often to massage the tendons of Ten’s wrist. He fell into the behavior naturally, and Ten often teased him for kneading him like a cat when they cuddled.
“Well, I like touching you,” Kun said, unabashed and unashamed. He pushed his hand over Ten’s arm, bunching Ten’s sleeves higher above his elbow to smooth his fingers over the firm curve of Ten’s bicep. “It feels good to touch you. Here, and here,” he said, tracing the soft line of Ten’s tricep.
Ten shifted, angling himself toward Kun, and Kun’s body responded in kind. The kiss was sweet and quick. Kun licked his lips when Ten pulled away.
A moment passed between them, and Kun watched the shy grin stretch over Ten’s lips. Ten was as sweet as any cookie he could possibly bake for Kun.
Unable to help himself, Kun leaned forward, closing his eyes. “Can we…?”
From the kitchen, Yangyang let out an unholy noise that made Louis hiss and throw himself out of Ten’s lap onto the floor. “Guys! Ge! Help? There’s a bird in here now!”
Ten’s forehead fell against Kun’s shoulder. “Ugh. I guess we should go help the baby.”
“Before Leon catches the bird, definitely.”
Ten straightened, nodded, and rose to stand.
Too fast. Kun still yearned for that second kiss.
He reached out and took hold of Ten’s wrist before he could run to Yangyang’s rescue. “Tonight,” he said. “Come to my room?”
It was a habit of Ten’s to bite into his bottom lip to keep himself from smiling too widely, and as Ten did this, Kun squeezed his hand in reassurance. No smile of Ten’s could ever be too wide for Kun.
Kun rolled over to slide his iPad onto the shelf of his nightstand, unintentionally dragging Ten with him across the mattress.
“It’s over?” Ten asked, groaning through a huge yawn and struggling to put himself upright.
The light from his sunset lamp made his room glow a fiery amber. Before Ten showed up after dinner and a shower, Kun had tidied up—straightened the stack of books on his desk, organized the cords behind his monitor and keyboard, shoved dirty clothes into the closet—and now noticed that the shirt he’d left dangling over the back of his desk chair was Ten’s. He wondered how many more of Ten’s things he’d find in his room if he searched.
“You slept through the last ten minutes,” Kun teased. He snaked his arm behind Ten’s shoulders and pulled him closer to kiss his temple.
“Did not,” Ten refuted.
“So was that a ghost snoring in my ear, then?”
“I did tell you your room was haunted.”
“Hm, you did.”
Kun buried his nose in Ten’s hair and molded himself to the shape of Ten’s body, hip to stomach, Ten’s shoulder under his arm. At the beginning of the movie they’d been propped against Kun’s pillows in front of the headboard, but as the movie played, they’d sunk further and further into the mattress, until they were nearly horizontal in bed.
Under the covers, one of Ten’s bare legs was thrown over both of Kun’s, also bare. The places where their skin touched felt charged with static; Kun knew that just a spark would set him aflame.
So he was a bit keyed up, wired with arousal. Ever since the kiss in the bathroom earlier this evening, Kun has been thinking about touching Ten, kissing him, making him feel good.
But Ten yawned and tightened his hold around Kun’s waist with his arms like a little boa constrictor, reminding Kun of just how much strength was hidden in the tight fibers of Ten’s muscles. He often forgot because of how cute Ten could be, especially in moments like this—cuddly, nuzzling his nose into the side of Kun’s neck.
“Want to sleep?” Kun asked, because even though he wanted to touch and lick all over Ten’s body, he was polite and considerate and very often put other’s needs before his own.
Ten blinked slowly, tilting his face up towards Kun’s. His grin swept lazily across his mouth. “No, I want to make out,” Ten said.
Ten’s leg shifted higher, thigh grazing Kun’s crotch, and Kun gasped like someone had clubbed him in the stomach. Ten giggled and brushed his thigh again over the same spot under the blankets. Kun, protected only by thin boxers, imagined he could feel every one of Ten’s individual leg hairs caress his cock.
“Actually, maybe we could skip making out,” Ten offered, pressing a tiny kiss to the sharp edge of Kun’s jawline. “You’re already getting hard, duizhang.”
Kun groaned and slipped his free hand into Ten’s shirt, finding his waist and kneading his fingers into the muscle there.
He loved the way that word rolled off Ten’s tongue. Duizhang. A heavy emphasis on the first syllable gave way to the softer second, its sound swallowed toward the end. The respect that was associated with the term, drenched in the honeyed sweetness of Ten’s voice, rendered a tone of insouciance that made Kun’s blood fizzle.
“I’m not,” Kun argued, even though he was. He could feel he was. He couldn’t help it; Ten got him going.
Ten wormed one hand under the covers and cupped Kun with his palm. “What’s this, then? Liar.” He squeezed, gently, while holding his lips close to the underside of Kun’s jaw.
Kun’s skin tingled pleasantly under his touches, and his arousal surged. He ground up into Ten’s hand, into that inviting, teasing pressure, grinning. “So I’m a liar. My bad.”
“You should apologize,” Ten said.
“I just did.”
“Sincerely.” Ten pushed the heel of his palm against the base of Kun’s cock. Even though it felt good and made Kun’s toes curl, Kun squirmed like he’d been rebuked, fingers digging into Ten’s side. “Try again.”
Kun’s stomach clenched in excitement at the soft command. He had wondered what direction their activities would head in tonight, and he was more than happy to let Ten take the lead. They had discovered early on in their experimental dalliances how much Kun enjoyed giving, and he was giving of everything—time, touch, gifts, affection. It triggered a feedback loop in his brain of offering and receiving pleasure.
"Baby," Kun growled, his voice a rumble as he played along, "I'm so sorry I lied. Especially when it's so obvious how hard you make me." He arched his hips up but kept himself from grinding against Ten's palm. Important that Ten felt he had the upper hand here.
Ten trailed slow kisses from Kun’s chin to his mouth. Just like earlier today, he left a feather-light peck on Kun’s lips before pulling away, leaving Kun crunching his abs in an effort to chase that tempting mouth for another kiss. Ten hummed and lowered his chin, denying Kun what he wanted. "Hm, you can do better than that."
Exasperation was easily the most common emotion Kun felt around Ten, but it was laced with deep fondness for this delightful, annoying man who could be both a buoy for Kun in the oceans of his hardest days as well as the storm that churned his waters when peace got boring.
Kun fell back against his pillow with a chuckle. Ten's skin was warm under the pads of Kun’s fingers. "You're right. I can do better."
He stroked Ten's side like a brush over canvas, painting him with his touch. Ten's trembling exhale was as good for the pleasure receptors in his brain as Ten’s palm still cupped around Kun’s cock. "No words can capture how sorry I am for lying,” Kun rephrased, laying it on thick and carefully pitching his tone to be more beseeching with every word. "Please let me make it up to you, Tennie.”
"How will you make it up to me?" Ten asked, chin propped on Kun’s chest.
Kun knew he was giving himself a triple chin trying to look into Ten’s eyes but quickly dismissed any worries that the image he was presenting to Ten was unflattering when he saw the curiosity and desire reflected back at him.
“I’ll worship you the way you deserve,” Kun said.
Ten grinned like a cat about to knock over Kun’s favorite mug. “All right,” he whispered.
Kun smoothly rolled them over in bed with a light grunt, hovering over Ten on his elbows and looking down into Ten’s glittering gaze.
“Hubba hubba,” Ten snickered.
“Quiet,” Kun laughed. “Don’t distract me.”
“Isn’t that the point? Aren’t you distracted by me?”
An easy opening. Kun took it, cupping Ten’s cheek in one palm and leaning down to kiss him. “Yes,” Kun admitted. “You take up all my attention whenever you’re in the room. I can’t keep myself from looking at you. Thinking about you.”
He sought Ten’s jumping pulse with his lips, kissing him there too, then humming with his mouth against Ten’s skin. Ten’s breath shuddered as his thighs went lax, allowing Kun to slot himself between his legs.
“I’m obsessed with the way you sound when I’m getting you off,” Kun said, kissing and nosing and sighing against Ten’s neck. Ten moaned sweetly. “Yeah, just like that.”
Kun worked his way slowly down Ten’s body, pausing and paying particular attention to the places that he knew were sensitive—behind Ten’s ear, just under his ribs, the taut line of muscle connecting Ten’s pecs to his deltoids. He ran his tongue over the black crescent tattoo around Ten’s left nipple and scraped his teeth over the damp skin, holding Ten down by his hips and shoulders when Ten bucked against him. Again and again, he worked his mouth over the tattoo as though he could replace the ink with his spit, until Ten’s skin was pink and a little raw to the touch there, and Ten was hard and whimpering, his hands making a tangled mess of Kun’s hair.
Kun helped Ten out of his shirt, discarding his own as well in the process, and then buried his nose in Ten’s armpit, inhaling his musk and feeling the scent travel straight to his balls.
“How can every bit of you be so delectable?” Kun murmured, lost in his exploration of Ten’s sweet spots. His own cock was pressed against his belly, hard as a rock, but more importantly, Ten was gasping and trembling beneath him. Kun felt he was chasing a fuse that was snaking through Ten’s body, and each kiss made Kun more insatiable, anticipating the inevitable explosion.
“Kun…” Ten groaned. “I...I…”
“You what?” Kun stroked his hands down Ten’s sides, admiring his sculpted waist, his trim tummy, the tiny hood of skin over Ten’s belly button. He kissed him there.
“Nothing,” Ten gasped. Then: “Just. Love you.”
Kun’s belly leapt into the air and, for a long, long breath, he hovered like an astral projection above himself, made weightless by surprise and elation. The confession was not novel, nor was it even very rare spilling from Ten’s mouth when they stole private moments together, and yet Kun felt new every time he heard it.
Kun had jumped out of an airplane before, and even that feeling of overcoming gravity was nothing compared to this.
“Hello?” Ten whined. “Say it back.”
“Love you,” Kun rasped. He cleared his throat, embarrassed, and began kneading the sides of Ten’s thighs. “I mean, I love you,” Kun said again, tone firm with conviction. Ten mewled happily and arched into Kun’s touch.
Kun rolled Ten’s thin shorts down his thighs and kissed his way down Ten’s stomach until he could ghost his breath over the base of Ten’s cock. From the nightstand, he pulled out a bottle of lube and drizzled it liberally into his palm.
Half-hard and curved to the left, Ten’s cock twitched when Kun pressed his face into Ten’s groin and mouthed at Ten’s balls.
Ten was so clean and smooth here, yet his skin was still fragrant with his natural musk, and Kun breathed him in, the scent making his head spin. He took Ten’s length delicately between his fingers, lifting it to lick a long stripe along the underside, from base to tip.
“Ah, Kun,” Ten moaned, hands fisting the sheets beside him.
“I’ve got you,” Kun said. He circled his lube-slick palm around Ten. “I’ve got you, baby.”
Pleasure looked good on Ten. Kun wouldn’t be surprised if, somehow over the course of the past two years, he had in fact trained himself to have a Pavlovian response to Ten’s pleasure with his own, and that was why Kun loved making Ten feel good. Cheeks flushed pink, eyes dark and glazed over, wet lips parted, Ten was mesmerizing like this. Kun watched with wide eyes and a slack mouth as each stroke of his hand around Ten’s cock drew Ten closer to climax.
Then Kun put his mouth around Ten’s nipple and sucked, tightening his fingers in a circle around the base of Ten’s cock, and Ten keened, heels slamming into the mattress to thrust his hips against Kun in protest.
Kun knew exactly what Ten needed to come. In a burst of speed, he stroked Ten’s cock with his palm tight—but slick and hot from the lube—around the shaft.
“Fuck!” Ten wheezed, and then he was coming in thick ropes over his own belly with a long groan. A stripe of his release splattered across Kun’s cheek, landed in Kun’s hair. The muscles of his abdomen jumped and shook with the force of his orgasm. Kun stroked him through it until Ten fell against the mattress, limp and panting.
Kun climbed over him, his hand that was still coated in lube already slipping into his own boxers to pull his cock out. “Good?”
Ten flopped his hand toward Kun’s face. He made a cute growly sort of sound before managing to cup his hand behind Kun’s nape and pull him into a wet, deep kiss. Kun felt his cock press against Ten’s belly, felt it slide into a slick stripe of spunk, and moaned into Ten’s mouth.
“So good,” Ten praised, pulling apart for a moment. “Go on. You earned it.”
Kun’s climax was lying in wait just behind his closed eyes. As soon as he began to rut against Ten’s stomach, it ambushed him, ripping his release out of him. Pleasure tingled all throughout his body. He was white noise. He thrust against Ten until the white noise fizzled into darkness, and he was too exhausted to do much more than rock his hips weakly.
Ten was playing with his hair when Kun opened his eyes.
“Wipes are in the drawer,” Kun reminded him, words muffled against Ten’s chest. He had somehow crumpled up into an oblong-shaped ball over Ten’s body. He felt shriveled like a raisin. In a good way.
“I know,” Ten hummed. “I’ll get them in a bit.”
“Okay,” Kun said. He closed his eyes for another moment.
In the morning, he was clean, dry, and naked under the covers. Ten snored beside him, head tilted up slightly as though even in sleep he was searching for Kun’s kisses. Kun obliged him, snorting when the light kiss made Ten hold his breath for a second before continuing to snore.
He reached over Ten to pick up his phone from the nightstand and began to search for almond cookie recipes. Maybe Ten would be up for trying again today.