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Something needs to end for something else to begin. Those are the words Sunggyu has been telling himself for the past few days, trying to convince himself he is fine. Except, in truth, he has no idea what's about to begin, if anything at all. And if something does begin, he doesn't think it'll be worth it.


He was hurt when Woohyun broke up with him but he knew the breakup was no threat to their friendship. They only started sleeping with each other a year ago, and at first it was meant to be a friends with benefits kind of a thing. It naturally evolved into something more, although they never confirmed it verbally. And then, it naturally ended.


There was no drama, just a calm conversation. And although it hurt, Sunggyu understood. He valued his friendship with Woohyun too much to start a fight over something he didn't trust in the first place. Love is capricious and fleeting; Sunggyu doesn't believe it can last forever.


Still, he thought things wouldn't change much, that he and Woohyun would still live together, room together, and bicker like an old married couple, as their friends put it. So when Woohyun told him he was going to move out, Sunggyu was shocked.


"It's just that…I feel I need a change of space," Woohyun explained, not meeting his eyes.


"Then we can find a new place together," Sunggyu tried to reason. "Maybe with single rooms, but—"


"No." Woohyun gave him a troubled smile. "It's not like I don't want to see you. You can come over anytime you like. I just need. I don't know." He shrugs. "Time and space to get used to us not being…" he trailed off but he didn't need to finish, Sunggyu understood. Not being together.


The way he felt about it, he and Woohyun had always been together. Sex or not, things didn't change. But it seems Woohyun felt differently.


Woohyun said he was going to move out at the end of the semester. Sunggyu tried his best to change Woohyun's mind during those few weeks, but making breakfast (inedible, as Sungyeol kindly pointed out), picking up his dirty socks and doing his own laundry didn't help. Woohyun made jokes about it, saying things like "good you're trying to learn to live on your own", but he never once said he regretted his decision.


And a few weeks later, Sunggyu was left with a half empty room and a completely empty heart.




***




When he walks into the kitchen, Bora is sitting at the table, dressed just in an oversized T-shirt, a cup of coffee in her hand. She doesn't look up at him or say anything, completely focused on the screen of her netbook. Sunggyu is thankful for that— his head is pounding so much he thinks he'd murder anyone who would as much as try to talk to him right now. He swallows a painkiller, drinks two glasses of water, then turns the coffee machine on and drops on the chair opposite of Bora.


Only then, she looks up at him. She immediately grins; he concludes he must look as bad as he feels.


"You went to the party at Hakyeon's?" He responds with a grunt, rubbing his temple, praying for the pill to start working fast. She snorts. "You do remember the new guy is moving in today, do you?"


Sunggyu stills. "Not tomorrow?"


"No. The welcome party is tomorrow," she responds, amusement ringing in her voice. Sunggyu groans. Right now the mere thought of consuming more alcohol is making him feel nauseous. "But he'll be here today afternoon." She sighs. "Poor guy. Coming here only to face the most vicious creature I've ever encountered, a hungover Sunggyu."


Sunggyu glares at her. "Shut the fuck up," he grumbles. She seems unfazed, her grin not faltering.


"You better clean your room up. You do remember he's going to sleep in there, right?"


Sunggyu groans again and hides his face in his hands. He doesn't want to clean. He doesn't want to meet new people. He wants to go back to his room and stay in bed until tomorrow. Alone.


Sharing a room with Woohyun was no issue at all. But with a stranger… He knows Myungsoo is a friend of Sungyeol's but he's never met him and he's still wary. Sunggyu gets along with people well enough, but social interactions exhaust him and there are few people he can stand seeing on daily basis for longer than a few hours.


If he could afford it, he'd rent the whole room by himself. He could also move out, but that was such a hassle, and besides, he really likes living with Sungyeol and Bora. After two years they're already used to each other, they know each other's habits and quirks.


Bora gives him a concerned look. "Do you need help?"


Sunggyu sighs and shakes his head. It's his own fault for forgetting and drinking too much. "I'll manage." He gives her a wry smile. "The room really needed cleaning anyway."


She snorts. "You must miss Woohyun."


"I don't," he mumbles but it doesn't sound convincing even to his own ears. "We see each other almost every day. He was at the party too. He kept plastering himself all over his new roommate."


"Is that jealousy I hear?" Bora cocks an eyebrow at him. "I thought you two were on good terms."


"We are, but…" he trails off, chewing on his lip. Talking about it is pointless. "I don't know. I'd better start cleaning."


She gives a warm smile, her eyes already moving back to the computer screen. "Good luck."




***




He's already done when the door rings. The room could still be cleaner, of course, but he's not going to wash the windows or the floors just because someone is moving in. He's tired enough as it is, and his head is still pounding, despite the pills he took. All he wants to do is sleep. Still, someone has to greet the guy.


When he opens the door, the man is leaning down to grab his case's handle— when he straightens up, Sunggyu freezes in surprise. Sungyeol did tell him quite a few things about his friend, but he never mentioned him being so intimidatingly handsome. For a moment, Sunggyu can't find his tongue— the man's eyes are beautiful and his stare is intense, captivating, and the small smile playing at his lips seems confident, almost flirty. He's carrying a guitar case on his back and somehow it only adds up to the overall chic image.


But then he speaks and the illusion dissolves. It's not that his voice is unpleasant— it's deep and warm— but the words are timid, and Sunggyu is observant enough to instantly feel like his first impression was off.


"Um, I got the right door, right? I'm supposed to move in here."


He actually gives a bow, not a half-assed one either, and Sunggyu feels surprised once again. He didn't expect Sungyeol's close friend to be so well-mannered. It's not that Sungyeol is rude to strangers, of course, but he's very relaxed about the age hierarchy. He's already completely dropped honorifics with Sunggyu. "I'm Kim Myungsoo, the new tenant. It's nice to meet you." He seems a bit stiff, that light smile permanently stuck to his face.


"Ah, you too," Sunggyu smiles back, remembering his own manners. "Sungyeol has told me a lot about you. Come in, come in." He holds the door open for Myungsoo, wide enough to pull the suitcase through.


"Thank you," Myungsoo says. "Is Yeollie not— Sungyeol hyung not here?"


Yeollie, Sunggyu repeats in his head. No honorifics with that one— but well, of course, those two are very close. Whether Sungyeol talks about his band, or just tells stories from hanging out with his friends, Myungsoo is always there, a constant in Sungyeol's life. It feels strange to meet him only now after all this time. But they all had separate friends and Sunggyu was perfectly content keeping it that way.


"He had to go somewhere." Sunggyu shrugs. "Probably wanted to avoid helping you unpack, that little shit," he adds with a snort.


Myungsoo doesn't respond to that, only huffs a noncommittal, obviously forced laugh as he carefully tugs the guitar case off his back.


"He said he'd be back soon, though," Sunggyu says, mostly to fill the silence as he watches Myungsoo remove his jacket and shoes. Myungsoo doesn't reply to that either. "You can hang it here," he points at an empty hanger and Myungsoo obediently hangs his coat on it. He's wearing a simple black shirt and matching pants; it's nothing special but somehow he makes it look very stylish.


He brushes his shirt to straighten it then gives Sunggyu a questioning look. "Um, the room is…?"


"Ah. Let me show you." He leads Myungsoo to their room. Cool air hits him as he enters; he's opened the windows after cleaning, to get rid of the stuffy scent of the vacuum cleaner. He walks to close them now, giving Myungsoo time to pull his case into the room. "Your bed is here," he points at the bed by the window. Woohyun is a little claustrophobic and he always preferred to sleep by the window. Sunggyu's own bed is placed next to the door, on the opposite end of the room. Thankfully the room is big enough for them to be able to just mind their business and not get in each other's way.


His mind suddenly is flowed by the memories of Woohyun always managing to annoy him anyway, by climbing into his bed and looking over his shoulder as he browsed the internet. Asking dumb questions. Cuddling up to him, his chin perched on Sunggyu's shoulder. Lips brushing against his neck and— "do you want to do something more fun instead?"


"Where do I put my stuff?" Myungsoo asks, pulling him out of his thoughts. Sunggyu points at the cabinet next to Myungsoo's bed.


"It's all yours. You can use the desk, too."


Myungsoo nods and then immediately begins unpacking. With mild interest, Sunggyu watches him pull out a guitar out of the backpack. He has some basic knowledge about guitars but he doesn’t know that model. The guitar looks pretty though, reddish brown with strikes of darker colours, the surface smooth and shiny.


"Was it expensive?"


Myungsoo jerks a little, as if surprised by the question, then once again gives Sunggyu that unreadable smile of his.


"Ah.. quite," he responds, shrugging. It's all he says, his attention back on unzipping his suitcase. Suddenly feeling like he's a bother, Sunggyu decides to move to the kitchen and make some coffee.


Seems like his new roommate isn't much for social interaction, and though Sunggyu doesn't mind that, the painfully awkward air between them bothers him a little. Just what did he get himself into? Is he going to live with someone who can't even exchange a few words with him? He remembers Sungyeol saying Myungsoo was funny— dorky, as he put it— and talkative. Maybe he's just tired? Or awkward with strangers? Either way, Sunggyu doesn't like that aloof aura he has around him. Sure, he's very polite, but he doesn't even know if it's genuine.


He's halfway through his coffee, scrolling through his SNS, when he hears the buzz of the main door unlocking. The kitchen is opposite of the front door so he has the perfect view of Sungyeol entering, ruffling his ridiculous cherry red hair with a scowl on his face.


"It had to start pouring just as I was going back!" he complains as soon as he sees Sunggyu. "My hair might start crying tears of blood again…"


"I cry tears of blood each time I see it," Sunggyu retorts.


"Shut up, it's hot." Sungyeol quickly gets rid of his jacket and shoes, then he walks through the hall and into the kitchen— Sunggyu's eyes are drawn to the big plastic bag in his hand. "I know the party is tomorrow," he says, placing the bag on the table, "but who says we can't start drinking today?" That said, he begins to take bottles of soju out of the bag. Sunggyu feels sick just from looking at them.


"I say we can't. I'm really fucking hungover."


Sungyeol shrugs. "That's great! Alcohol is the best hangover cure. Is Myungsoo already here?"


Sunggyu sighs but doesn't bother protesting. It's not like he has to drink too. "Yeah, he's in the room, unpacking."


"And you're what?" Sungyeol snorts. "Hiding here from him?"


"Yeah, I'm terrified," Sunggyu replies seriously. "His awkward silence powers are too strong."


"He's shy but he'll warm up to you." Sungyeol doesn't look concerned at all. He pulls the last soju bottle out of the bag— Sunggyu counts twelve in total— and places it on the table, before leaving the kitchen.


Sunggyu hears faint sounds of conversation and then rich laughter— sounds unfamiliar, must be Myungsoo's— resonating from the room, and he once again curses Sungyeol for disagreeing to room with Myungsoo instead. It seems like the perfect solution, and he's sure Myungsoo would prefer to room with his friend, too, but Sungyeol insisted he was fond of his single room, and his privacy.


He probably only needs privacy so he can comfortably jerk off, Sunggyu thinks bitterly as he puts the empty coffee mug in the sink. He can't blame Sungyeol, though— truthfully, he's going to miss that, too.




***




They really do drink that evening. Sunggyu hoped Bora would talk Sungyeol out of that idea, seeing she was supposed to study, but she agreed all too easily.


"I've studied enough," she said. "Work hard and play hard, right?"


Since the apartment has no living room and the kitchen is too small, they all gather in Sunggyu and Myungsoo's room. Woohyun used to complain about that, saying how that way all the cleaning falls on him, but nobody took him seriously. They rarely invited other people when they drank together— it was a deal they made when moving in together— so the mess was never too big. Sunggyu wonders if he'll have to clean this time. Myungsoo might be even messier than he is, who knows.


They decide to play a board game on the floor. Sunggyu doesn't intend to drink, he really doesn't, but it quickly changes to "just one drink" and from that to "just one more."


"I can't believe this," he sighs when Bora pours him his fourth. She just shrugs.


"Student life?" she says with a grin; he has nothing to counter that argument, so he just smiles back.


His alcohol tolerance is better than Bora's and Sungyeol's and soon he's laughing at their antics, watching them argue about the course of the game, playfully hitting and calling each other names. Myungsoo seems more relaxed with Sungyeol around, but he still mostly quietly sips on his drink. Sunggyu notices Myungsoo doesn't even look at him, mostly glancing at Sungyeol when he looks up from the game. He's shy at first, Sungyeol said. Sunggyu hopes that it's true and Myungsoo doesn't secretly hate him for some reason.


"I just came up with a new rule," Sunggyu says a few rounds later. "The loser will have to clean up."


"Hey!" Sungyeol glares at him; he's laughing though, so it hardly looks intimidating. "You're winning!"


"It has nothing to do with that!" Sunggyu protests indignantly, even though it obviously has everything to do with that. "I just thought it'd be fair that way."


"It's not a bad idea," Bora says. Sunggyu knew he could count on her— she's second, after all.


"I'm last," Myungsoo speaks up, pursing his lips just a little. Sunggyu finds himself staring, and he sees him blink drowsily, then rub his eye. They're just normal actions but something about Myungsoo makes them seem cute to Sunggyu. Maybe it's that white fluffy sweater he's wearing. Anyone would look cute in that.


"You okay, Myung?" Sungyeol asks and Myungsoo nods quickly a few times, still rubbing his eye. That's one fucking cute way of nodding, Sunggyu thinks. "Alcohol makes him sleepy," Sungyeol explains to them.


"I'm okay," Myungsoo protests. "Your turn now," he adds, and Sungyeol takes the dices.


They keep playing, but Sunggyu is distracted. He's not sure if it's the alcohol clouding his mind, making him feel things he shouldn't, but he can't help but keep noticing things about Myungsoo. His cheeks, flushed with the alcohol, and his shiny eyes, his dark eyelashes, the dimples appearing each time he smiles, his hands— bigger, less delicate than Sunggyu's own, but still beautiful.


"Looks like I'm going to beat you after all, hyung," Myungsoo says abruptly. He sounds smug but the smile he gives Sunggyu is sweet and for a split of a second, Sunggyu can't find his words again, both surprised that Myungsoo spoke directly to him— must be the alcohol, helping him relax— and mesmerized by just how fucking pretty he is.


The game really did take an unexpected turn, though; he's losing now, and with his character heavily wounded and no healing elixirs in stock, he has little chance to catch up anytime soon. Just his luck.


"Ah, I don't want to do this anymore…" he sighs, looking back down at the board.


"Don't be such a sore loser," Sungyeol grins. Easy for him to say, Sunggyu thinks. Sungyeol is winning now.


"Can you hurry up and win?" Bora interrupts. "I'm getting sleepy."


"Me too," Myungsoo mumbles. He cups his cheeks and slaps them lightly, then shakes his head. Sunggyu gapes. That's some weird technique of keeping yourself awake, but…


"You're so fucking cute," he blurts out. He immediately regrets it because seriously, what the hell, Kim Sunggyu? He fully expects Myungsoo to get creeped out but the kid just blinks at him and then smiles, giving that adorable nod again. He drops his eyes, though, and Sunggyu can tell he's slightly flustered.


"He is pretty fucking cute, isn't he?" Sungyeol snorts, pulling Myungsoo's ear. "That lame nerd."


"I'm not a nerd," Myungsoo frowns, swatting his hand away.


"Guys, guys!" Bora claps her hands. "Let's keep playing."


Sunggyu does end up losing, but when the game is over he's so tired he doesn't even care or have the energy to complain. They go straight to sleep; for a moment, Sunggyu contemplates the other bed, now occupied again, the covers rising and falling with someone's even breath, before sleep takes over him.




***




"I regret all my life choices," Sunggyu announces hoarsely as he steps through the balcony door. He's only wearing a sweater and a pair of boxers but the cold doesn't even bother him, the hangover making him feel unpleasantly hot.


Sungyeol snorts at him but doesn't respond, inhaling the cigarette smoke. Sunggyu unceremoniously pulls out the cigarette pack out of Sungyeol's jacket pocket.


"Hey!" Sungyeol gives him a glare, but there's no heat to it. "You keep stealing them. Buy your own."


"I'm quitting."


"Yeah," Sungyeol hands him a lighter, "I can see."


"Oh, shut up," Sunggyu grumbles, lighting the cigarette. "I'm fucking dying." He inhales the smoke and promptly frowns— it's some fruit flavored weak shit again. Maybe he really should buy his own.


"You know the party is today, right?"


"You gotta be fucking kidding me," Sunggyu huffs. "It's not like we invited anyone important, right? Let's do it some other time."


"Yeah, no one really important." Sungyeol gives him an impassive look. "Like Woohyun."


Sunggyu manages to show no reaction, ignoring the unpleasant pang in his chest. It's not like seeing Woohyun is a big deal; they see each other often enough, it doesn't matter. Yet, something must have shown on his face, or maybe it's the tension in his shoulders, because he hears Sungyeol sigh.


"You really gotta let go, hyung," he says seriously, leaning over the railing. Sunggyu doesn't respond— he's told both his friends enough times there's nothing to let go of. Apparently they aren't going to buy that, no matter how many times he repeats it. "You know what they say? That the best cure for love is another love."


Sunggyu snorts. "Bullshit."


"Maybe." Sungyeol leans down to kill the cigarette in the makeshift ashtray, actually an unused pot, standing on the balcony's floor. "Anyway, I keep forgetting to ask. Howon is going abroad for a scholarship next semester."


"Howon?" Sunggyu repeats blankly.


"Our band's vocalist? The lame one?"


"You're all lame," Sunggyu points out helpfully. "But you mean the I say ho you say ya guy, right?"


"Yeah." Sungyeol grins. "Anyway, he got into some dance school shit he's dreamed about since forever and we're left with no front man so I was thinking, maybe you could replace him for a while?"


Sunggyu laughs. "What, me? No way."


Sungyeol crosses his arms, cocking an eyebrow at him. "Why not? You said you used to be in a rock band in high school? You sing well? And you fit the rock band bad boy image well, what with all the piercings and bleached hair."


"My hair is fucking light brown and I only have a few piercings in my ears!" Sunggyu protests— honestly, Sungyeol should know there's a difference between being stylish and looking like some emo punk rebel kid. "And sorry but I'm too busy to play around like a little kid anymore."


"Don't be such an asshole," Sungyeol barks. "You know very well it's not playing around—" He cuts off and exhales heavily, shaking his head. "Never mind, I don't give a fuck what you think about it. Just don't ever say shit like that around Myungsoo, The Chaser is his fucking dream."


"I won't," Sunggyu responds quietly; he feels bad for making Sungyeol upset. "Sorry. But either way, I'm too busy."


Sungyeol shrugs and turns to open the balcony door. "Just think about it, yeah?" he says before he leaves. "I think you could use a change of pace."


A change of pace, Sunggyu thinks, putting the cigarette out against the railing. He probably needs more than that to feel like his life is going anywhere— it already seems to him that it's too late for so many things.




***




When he gets back to his room after a shower, Myungsoo is already up. The game has been collected from the floor, and the soju bottles are gone as well. Myungsoo is currently collecting the snack wrappers into a small plastic bag.


"Uh, I was supposed to clean?" Sunggyu says and Myungsoo freezes, looking up at him, a bemused expression on his face.


"Um, sorry? I thought— I wanted to—"


"Wait, wait," Sunggyu raises his hands, realizing it might have sounded like he's angry when really, he's just surprised. "I was just asking. By all means, don't hold back," he adds with a laugh. "I'm not a fan of cleaning. And you're doing a pretty good job."


Myungsoo beams at that, all dimples and crescent-shaped eyes, and Sunggyu chest warms at the sight. He has the urge to pat Myungsoo's head.


"I'll make you coffee. What kind do you like?"


"Black," Myungsoo responds immediately. "Thank you, hyung," he adds, warmth twinkling in those expressive eyes of his. Sunggyu decides it's not fair— Myungsoo's hair is messy, his face is swollen and he's wearing ridiculous Adventure Time pajamas but he still looks fucking adorable.


He also seems less tense than yesterday, but he's still quiet and very formal. Sunggyu briefly wonders if Myungsoo swears around his friends. But everybody does, don't they? And if you're in a rock band, and a friend of Sungyeol, it seems impossible not to.


"No problem," Sunggyu responds airily and when Myungsoo leans down to pick up a Pringles container, Sunggyu also concludes that the kid has an amazing ass.


Life, Sunggyu decides, is difficult and full of injustice.




***




He quickly forgets Sungyeol's proposition, but the thought resurfaces when he first hears Myungsoo play.


"You don't mind, hyung?" Myungsoo asks him and Sunggyu assures him that it's not a problem— acoustic guitar isn't a sound he minds, and Myungsoo and Sungyeol usually practice outside the apartment, wherever they do all the rock band stuff. Sunggyu sometimes wonders if it involves smoking pot and random hookups. It didn't when he was in a band back in high school but well, he was sixteen. Then again, Myungsoo doesn't seem like the type. Actually, he doesn't even look like a band member— his hair is black, neatly cut, no piercings, no tattoos, simple clothes.


However, once Myungsoo starts playing, Sunggyu has no doubt the boy knows what he's doing. It seems to be a ballad, and even with no vocals it's beautiful. Sunggyu loves music and hearing something like that is enough to make him feel nostalgic, grab his heart. He soon puts his book away, rests his head back against the wall, closes his eyes and just listens to Myungsoo play. Myungsoo doesn't comment on that, he simply keeps going through different songs, and when, an hour later, he's done, Sunggyu finds himself doubting his decision for the first time.


Maybe he should at least try? He misses it so much, just— doing music.


The thought stays with him for the next few days, and that alone is enough to distract him from work, but there's something else.


He finds Myungsoo incredibly attractive.


Of course, with how the guy looks, he thinks he'd have to be straight as an arrow not to find him hot, and well, even though he usually prefers girls, there have been exceptions. Like Woohyun. And now Myungsoo. He's not sure what Myungsoo's orientation is, though, and even if he is into guys, he's not sure he wants to try anything. It's ridiculous but Myungsoo seems too… nice, to just mess around.


Yet, that attractiveness of his is impossibly distracting and difficult to handle since they're rooming together. Myungsoo does simple things like quickly changing a t-shirt or stretching and it's already hard not to stare, not to imagine running his hand over all that pretty skin, not to wonder what Myungsoo would sound moaning his name—


He's really fucked. But he tells himself it's best not to act on it. Sexual attraction usually fades quickly, especially when you live with someone and see them on daily basis. It's bound to pass soon.


But then, there are times when Myungsoo looks at him, gives him that sweet smile and says, "hyung", and his insides twist, his heart racing, and he's afraid that whatever this is, it's not going to go away anytime soon.


And those are probably reasons why, when Myungsoo invites him for a gig, he can't bring himself to refuse.


"It'd be great if you could come watch me play, hyung," he says one evening as they sit at the kitchen table, munching on the pizza Sunggyu ordered. He gives Sunggyu a hopeful look and Sunggyu instantly knows he won't be able to say no. "Yeollie said you never wanted to come but," he shrugs, then looks away— is he flustered? "I figured that I can at least try asking."


Sunggyu tilts his head, giving him a suspicious look. "Did Yeol make you ask me?" Truthfully, even though over the past two weeks they grew fairly comfortable, Myungsoo is still rather quiet and stiff around him. He seems more relaxed around Bora, exchanging playful banter, even though he's still very respectful and always calls her "noona".


Myungsoo blinks up at him. "No— why would you think that? I just… wanted you to see." He bites his lip. "I mean, I do regularly make you suffer through my practice playing," he adds jokingly, "it's only fair that you see the real thing. But— if you don't want to, I understand…" He's smiling but Sunggyu can just sense the disappointment in the way his voice wavers a little. Sunggyu feels like he's just kicked a puppy. Or rather, a kitty.


"All right," he says, voice loud and sure, just to assure Myungsoo he really means it. "I'll come."


And if his heart tightens just a little when Myungsoo beams at him happily, he tries his best to pay it no mind.



***




His pulse is thrumming in his ears after the gig, it's as if he can still hear the rhythm of the bass and the drums pounding through his veins. He feels dazed by the lights and the mass of sweaty people surrounding him, and he makes his way through the crowd, aiming straight for the bar. He sits down on one of the empty stalls and orders himself a drink.


As he sips on it, he briefly closes his eyes and he can still see the image of Myungsoo on the stage, sweaty hair sticking to his face, his eyes shining with adrenaline and excitement, a bright smile on his face. He played the guitar like it was an extension of him; Sunggyu couldn't take his eyes off him.


And there was that moment when their eyes met and Myungsoo grinned at him, practically radiating happiness. Sunggyu's heart leapt in his chest, the fondness he felt for that passionate boy completely overwhelming him. It became hard to ignore his emotions. He has to face it— he probably has some sort of a crush on Myungsoo.


It's a strange realization. For so long, Woohyun was the only person he considered romantically. They never really went there, at least not officially, but Sunggyu's attachment to him was very strong.


But now… he still misses Woohyun, of course, that painful tug at his heart didn't go away. And yet, now, there's something else, too. Something hiding in the curl of Myungsoo's smile, the playful twinkle in his dark eyes. Something Sunggyu finds himself wanting to explore.


He's halfway through the drink when someone wraps their arm around him— he raises his head to see Sungyeol's grinning face.


"You came!" he shouts over the loud club music. "I saw you from the stage! Impressed, aren't you?"


Sunggyu wants to roll his eyes at him but in all fairness, he is impressed. "You were really good," he says seriously. "You have quite a lot of fans."


"Yeah. Pretty sure half of them are here for Myungsoo's face but," he shrugs, "as long as they have fun, it's all good! Anyway, hyung, wanna join us over there?" He tilts his head in the direction of the VIP area. "We're all celebrating!"


Sunggyu thinks of the way Myungsoo looked on stage, a picture of passion and beauty. He thinks of the other band members, Howon's undeniable charisma, Dongwoo's wide, happy smile, Sungyeol's relentless energy. He painfully misses that feeling, the rush of performing on stage in front of an ecstatic crowd.


Then he thinks of the classes he has tomorrow, the assignment he has to write, his afternoon shift at the 7-eleven. His perfect life plan, made to fulfil his parents' expectations.


"No, thanks," he replies. "I gotta go home."


Sungyeol's smile falters and he furrows his eyebrows but he doesn't protest.


"Okay… see you tomorrow, then."


After Sungyeol leaves, Sunggyu quickly downs his beer, feeling his face turn warm, his lips tingling with the familiar alcohol-induced numbness. As he gets up from the stool, he swears he can hear Myungsoo's deep, hearty laughter. He suddenly realizes Myungsoo never laughs that way when it's just the two of them. For some reason, the thought upsets him. His heart is heavy when he leaves the club and for the first time in a long while he feels the need to change something in his life.




***




Myungsoo is not there when he goes to bed but when he wakes up, he's in his bed, lying on his side with his hand curled in front of his face, the way he usually sleeps. Sunggyu doesn't bother staying quiet— he knows Myungsoo sleeps like a rock, especially after drinking.


He's almost ready to leave for class when something prompts him to stop and look at Myungsoo's sleeping form again. It's an adorable position to sleep in; it makes him look like a small baby. Sunggyu doesn't usually feel much protective of people, but something about Myungsoo just makes you want to baby him. Bora already does; she treats him like a younger brother. Maybe Sunggyu would too, if he didn't fantasize about fucking him so often.


Yet, he doesn't think about it now; the sight fills him with warmth, makes him want to lean down, pet Myungsoo's hair, make sure his dreams are happy and filled with love. That, on the other hand, makes him want to scoff at himself for being so sentimental. Myungsoo is a grown man and coming from a girl it's one thing, but it's unlikely he'd want to be doted on by a guy he lives with.


He leaves the room to make himself a sandwich for lunch, and when he comes in again to grab his phone, Myungsoo is already awake, sitting up on the bed, his hair tousled and a disoriented expression on his face.


"Hyung?" he mumbles, rubbing his cheek sleepily. "Are you going out?"


"Yeah, uh, you know it's Monday, right?" he asks with a wry smile. "Are you skipping today?"


Myungsoo shakes his head. "No, I'll go. The concert…" he gives Sunggyu a quick, unsure glance. "Did you like it, hyung?"


He looks nervous and once again, Sunggyu has the urge to pat his head. He firmly ignores it.


"I think you know very well that you were amazing," he says seriously. Myungsoo looks up at him in surprise, that familiar, polite smile already curling the corner of his lips up. Myungsoo is almost always smiling when he's with him, but he rarely laughs openly. He seems relaxed, but he hasn't fully opened up. It bothers Sunggyu a little, but also, he understands all too well. He's not the type to open up easily, either.


"Yeah, well," he rubs the back of his neck awkwardly but Sunggyu can tell how pleased he is with the praise. "We've been doing this for quite a while now."


"Your efforts paid off." Sunggyu pauses; there's a question at the tip of his tongue and for a moment he considers just saying it but then, he swallows it down. Maybe later. He still should think this through.


"Thank you, hyung." Myungsoo's eyes are twinkling happily as he looks up at him. "I hope you'll stay for the after party next time," he adds, a playful tone to his voice.


Sunggyu snorts. "Never said there would be a next time." He finally unplugs his phone from the charger and pushes it into his back pocket. "I gotta go. See you later, Soo."


"Hyung, wait." Myungsoo reaches to wrap his arm around his wrist. The sudden touch makes the blood rush to Sunggyu's face and he wants to laugh at himself; he's really screwed. "I was thinking… Yeollie told me you sing well. And Howon hyung will be going abroad soon—"


"Yeah, I know," Sunggyu interrupts, gently pulling his hand out of Myungsoo's grip. Logically he knows he shouldn't agree, that he should thinking over but— it's so hard to refuse when Myungsoo is looking at him that way. "Listen, how about I go to your band's next practice? When is it?"


"Tomorrow."


"Tomorrow, then. And I'll decide then, hm? I'm sure your bandmates would prefer to hear me sing first, too."


Myungsoo tilts his head, giving him a curious look. "And Yeollie said you'd never agree…" he says in wonder, but before Sunggyu has time to feel embarrassed, Myungsoo's face lights up in a bright smile. "Thanks, hyung!"


The image of that smile stays with him for the rest of the day.




***




It turns out everyone in the band is impressed by his vocal skills. Sunggyu would be lying if he said it didn't please him. But most of all, just singing itself, feeling like he's a part of the music the band creates— it makes him feel incredibly happy.


Sungyeol is surprised when he agrees to replace Howon. Myungsoo, however, seems just very happy. And once Sunggyu starts joining the practices, he gets to know Myungsoo's excited, passionate side more. They talk more often, as there's always some music or band-related stuff to discuss, and Sunggyu finally gets to hear Myungsoo laugh in that happy, unrestrained way. He thinks Myungsoo is beautiful when he laughs like that and all he wants is to stay close to him, watch him shine.


At the same time, though, spending so much time with Myungsoo is difficult on him. He still finds the boy incredibly attractive and having him around so often… Sunggyu ends up having to lock himself in the toilet to relieve the tension all too often.


"When you talk about him," Woohyun tells him during one of Sunggyu's visits, "you sound kind of like you're in love."


Sunggyu sputters at that, but Woohyun only laughs at his protests. Then he reaches to take Sunggyu's hand in his. It's one of those gestures that always have been between them, a little too intimate for friendship in most people's eyes. But it always felt right for them and it still does now, after all that's happened.


"I'm just glad," Woohyun says. "Because you seem happy. And because I can have my best friend back."


Sunggyu has no reply to that— he knows very well what Woohyun means and even now, it still hurts a little, the rejection. He believes that pang of pain in his chest will eventually cease to appear but he doubts he will ever stop loving Woohyun like he does now. It might completely turn into a platonic kind of love, but it will always be strong.


He doesn't say anything; he just gives Woohyun's hand a light squeeze and rests his head on his shoulder. They talk about many things afterwards but a big part of Sunggyu's attention is still focused on the warmth of Woohyun's hand nestled in his. He wonders if maybe, finally, some things are falling into place.


Maybe nothing has to really end for something new to begin.




***




It happens a week before the concert, when they're practicing one of The Chaser's ballads in their room. It's more memorizing the words and the melody than proper practice so they're sitting relaxed on Myungsoo's bed, leaning against the wall, close to each other.


It's a song about love, and something about the atmosphere around them makes Sunggyu too aware of how close they are. Maybe it's that they're alone at the dorms, maybe it's the tranquil stillness in the air, maybe it's that he can sense the scent of Myungsoo's shampoo, can feel the warmth his body radiates.


They're quiet for a moment after their finish, Myungsoo's fingers still picking at the strings of the guitar, gentle sounds filling the air. Sunggyu finds himself thinking how much he'd like to shift closer, pull Myungsoo into his arms, kiss him senseless.


"You sing really beautifully, hyung," Myungsoo says softly. His hand still its movements but he doesn't look up to meet Sunggyu's eyes. "Don't tell Howon hyung, but I think you're better than him," he adds; his tone is half-joking but the admiration is still there and it makes Sunggyu's heart leap.


"I hope the fans will think the same."


Myungsoo hums then leans over the bed to put the guitar on the floor. When he straightens up he's smiling, that cute smile of his, twinkling eyes and dimples, and Sunggyu just stares, captivated, feeling something inside him twist, the want, affection building up, determination suddenly growing inside him.


"Hyung, do you want to—"


Sunggyu never finds out what Myungsoo was going to ask, because in that moment he leans in and presses his mouth to Myungsoo's.


He's not exactly thinking at that moment, not really excepting anything, and he certainly doesn't expect Myungsoo to make that small, desperate sound and instantly shift closer to him, grip his arms, move his lips against Sunggyu's.


The surprise mixed with excitement makes his head swim. The kiss quickly becomes passionate— Myungsoo only pulls away briefly, to climb on his lap, cup his face and kiss him again, openmouthed and messy, all tongue and teeth. Sunggyu groans into the kiss, gripping Myungsoo's hips hard. He wants to touch— fuck, he wants to touch and kiss Myungsoo everywhere. He never thought Myungsoo also felt that tension between them but from the way he's pressing himself against Sunggyu, the way he's kissing him, so desperate and needy… The idea that Myungsoo wants him this much only turns him on more.


"Hyung, I—" Myungsoo whispers against his lips, rocking his hips down on him, making them both gasp, "Hyung, I want you, please…"


Sunggyu wouldn't be able to resist those words even if he wanted to. He's soon pushing Myungsoo down to the mattress, kissing every part of his body, making him whimper under him, just like he's wanted to do for a long time. He doesn't really understand the light of adoration shining in Myungsoo's eyes when he looks up at Sunggyu, runs his hands down his arms, pulls him down for more kisses. He doesn't understand, and it almost hurts, having someone look at him that way, making his heart pound against his ribs.


He's still astonished at how needy Myungsoo is, how he can't stop touching him, how he constantly pulls him down for more kisses, how easily he spreads his legs for him, how he moans and trembles in anticipation when Sunggyu prepares him. Sunggyu can't take his eyes off him; he doesn't think he could ever get tired of seeing him come undone.


When he buries himself in him, Myungsoo's whole body tenses; he pulls Sunggyu closer only to dig his fingers into his back, panting against his ear.


"Does it hurt?" Sunggyu asks, concerned. He prepared Myungsoo carefully, stretched him until he started to buck his hips against the fingers, impatient.


"It's just… I've never…" Myungsoo pauses for a soft moan when Sunggyu runs his tongue up his neck then bites at his ear. "I've only fingered myself before." Sunggyu raises himself up on his forearm to look at him. He's surprised— with how bold Myungsoo was he assumed that, surely…


Myungsoo meets his eyes, his gaze heavy. "But I really wanted to, with you, hyung..."


Sunggyu has no answer to that— he captures Myungsoo's mouth in another passionate, bruising kiss. Myungsoo whines then bucks his hips a little, making Sunggyu sink even deeper inside.


"Ah, it feels so…" Myungsoo moves again and Sunggyu gasps; the tight, warm muscles feel so good around his cock it's maddening. "Hyung, please…"


Sunggyu hooks his hands behind Myungsoo's knees and pushes them a little further up before he slowly pulls out, then thrusts in again. He soon finds a rhythm, and the pleasure builds up all too quickly. At some point, Myungsoo moans loudly and wraps his legs around Sunggyu's waist, and Sunggyu makes sure to keep angling his thrusts the same way.


"Touch yourself, baby," he whispers and Myungsoo wraps his hand around his cock and pumps it slowly. It's only a moment before he's coming, spilling over his hand and his stomach. Sunggyu soon follows, his hips stuttering as he rides out his orgasm.


Myungsoo whimpers when Sunggyu pulls out of him, and then wraps his arms around him, pulling him into a tight embrace.


"Hyung," he mumbles. "Hyung…"


Sunggyu doesn't say anything; he cups Myungsoo's face and presses a chaste kiss to his lips. They smile at each other afterwards; the tenderness in Myungsoo's eyes makes Sunggyu's heart clench. To him, it's too early for confessions, but the affectionate touches and embraces, and the calm, playful conversation they have afterwards, are enough for now.




***




A week later, he stands on the stage, with the band behind him and a crowd of people in front of him. The lights, the screams, the first notes of the first song, it all makes adrenaline pump in his veins. He's nervous, but also incredibly excited.


For a moment, thoughts flash through his mind— his life so far, mundane and exhausting. The sadness that seemed to never leave him ever since he chose pleasing his parents over following his dreams. His friends, especially Woohyun, who made his miserable reality bearable.


And then Myungsoo, music, singing.


He turns his head to the left and Myungsoo is there, looking at him with a bright, encouraging smile. Sunggyu smiles back; there are things he still hasn't told Myungsoo but he already feels them in his heart, pounding harder than the beat in his ears. There will be time for confessions later. He turns back to the crowd.


He takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, and sings.

 

 

 

 

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