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No One Said It Would Be Easy

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Yes but Minghao wanted the awkwardness. He wanted cold, long stares and two people bumping into each during their first wedding night because, goddamnit, they were two strangers who knew almost nothing about each other. (Except that their two families are very rich and this marriage will make them even more rich.) Well, maybe he didn’t want it, but he sure as hell expected it. He expected lingering silence and talks about how discreet they should be when they cheat on each other.

Instead, he gets… domestic. He gets up on his first morning as Kim Mingyu’s husband to find his new husband making him breakfast. It’s domestic. It’s terrible. It warms Minghao’s heart until he can’t breathe anymore, let alone say thank you in the poor Korean he still remembers from his faraway university days as a language major.

Mingyu doesn’t seem to mind. He puts rice and kimchi jjigae in front of Minghao and he smiles, so bright and blinding Minghao starts eating only to have an excuse not to look at his brand new husband anymore.

~

Mingyu is tall, handsome and he looks so much like a model that Minghao’s nose scrunches up in disbelief in front of such gratuitous beauty. He looks like he could wear a trash bag and turn it in the best item of a fall-winter collection of a famous brand.

Minghao hates him since the first moment.

Their first meeting happens inside an expensive restaurant at the presence of two set of parents, two secretaries, a couple of office managers and not less than six lawyers. It’s a political marriage, and had Minghao not fought about it with his parents for the last eighteen months, he would have probably gotten up and left in front of all his people and his fiancé. Unfortunately, Minghao has long accepted his fate, so he stays. He stays and meets Kim Mingyu, handsome extraordinaire, who looks like he could weep the floor with Minghao’s broken heart if Minghao lets him get too close.

Minghao hates him because he’s impossibly hot and charming and he even looks like a funny boy, someone Minghao could crush on for days, and that is absolutely not fine. Because he could’ve worked with an ugly husband, with an unattractive husband or with a boring husband, someone whose presence he could’ve learnt to endure until it was routine, but he doesn’t know if he can work with someone who looks like the main character of a shojo manga. Does that make Minghao the heroine of this story? Is destiny playing with him? Fuck this cliché plot, fuck the author and fuck Kim Mingyu. (Well, wouldn’t he like to, really.) Xu Minghao will kick them all and escape this madness before he goes crazy.

He can’t marry this guy, he decides during their first meeting, knowing he’ll have to marry him anyway. There’s no way he can get used to Kim Mingyu, there’s no way he can learn to bear Kim Mingyu’s presence, and that leaves Minghao with only two options. Falling for him or hating him. Minghao chooses the second option and purposefully ignores the way Mingyu tries to reach to him, to know him better. He also tries to ignore the way his heart clenches at Mingyu’s hurt puppy eyes, because this is a war he can’t afford to lose. No one said it would be easy, after all.

~

Minghao is a stubborn kid. Mingyu doesn’t look like a stubborn kid. He’s soft and mellow, with the easiest, most infuriatingly fascinating smile, sharp and crisp, like autumn wind still carrying the taste of summer in its wake. Mingyu doesn’t look like a stubborn kid, but Minghao immediately finds out Mingyu can be just as stubborn as Minghao is.

He’s devastatingly stubborn. Childish, petty, the lalala i can’t hear you kind of stubborn. It makes Minghao so fucking mad. They argue until Minghao can only stomp his feet on the ground, throat too raw to keep shouting, switching from Korean to Chinese after a while because at this point what he’s saying has stopped mattering altogether, he just wants to shout louder than Mingyu.
They argue at breakfast about breakfast, Minghao wants western food and Mingyu can only cook Korean style breakfast so Minghao proposes to go to the coffee shop and Mingyu insists that they stay at home because he cooked and he is Minghao’s husband so Minghao should only eat what he made. Well, he is so fucking pretentious. Every argument eventually escalates into an argument about Minghao refusing to see the obvious point. Well, fuck Mingyu, Minghao doesn’t need his fucking point just like he doesn’t need his terrible attempts at trying to make this work.

Because, in the end, they’re the same, he and Mingyu. Minghao is sure Mingyu went to their first meeting to the same idea Minghao had. Meeting the guy, marrying the guy, bearing with the guy for the rest of their lives, the end. Just like Minghao, he immediately realized there was a big flaw in his perfect plan, and it’s the annoying truth that Kim Mingyu and Xu Minghao cannot just live the rest of their lives simply bearing each other’s presence. They’re like gunpowder and fire, ready to burn at the first touch. They’re the same, he and Mingyu, they can’t coexist pacifically in the same room, they can only hate each other or fall in love with each other. To Minghao’s utter and abysmal horror, Mingyu has stubbornly decided to fall in love with him.

~

So that’s it. That’s how it is. A war of attrition, in which the strongest weapons are patience and stubbornness. A trench warfare in which they both live in the same trench. Minghao enters this marriage with the absolute belief he and Mingyu will hate each other in less than a month. There’s no other possible outcome, he thinks. That was before he got to know the menace known to the world as Kim Mingyu.

~

They share a bed but they’ve never kissed, or hugged, or touched beyond the overly cliché, “Give me the salt” scene, with their fingers meeting and Minghao quickly snatching his hand away because even tiny contact that made his heart leap in his throat. It’s not fair, really, because Mingyu does look like a shojo manga prince, roses and sparkly glitter appearing at the corner of Minghao’s eyes when his husband smiles, and his heart makes dugeum dugeum when their fingers meet. Everything is horrible. Minghao regrets that fateful yes every day of his life.

They haven’t kissed but they have gone on dates. Minghao has been tricked into going on dates with Mingyu. It’s their honeymoon, apparently, and since they’re obviously not spending it breaking the bed, Mingyu takes Minghao around. Sightseeing, he calls it.

They go to the aquarium and to the amusement park, Mingyu sticking to textbook dates until he decides to drive Minghao to the countryside, trying to heal his constant frown with the magic power of sunlight and nature. They break a tire near a farm and Mingyu tries to change it himself because he’s a showoff and Minghao laughs until he has no breath and he has to call the tow truck himself to collect them because Mingyu is being too stubborn and he refuses to ask for help.

They spend the rest of the day lying on the hood of the car like cats in the sun, playing never have I ever, and it could be the magic power of sunlight and nature, but Minghao smiles and doesn’t try to jump at Mingyu’s throat, not even once.

When he laughs for the first time at something stupid Mingyu has said, made even more stupid by his pitiful attempt to say it in an easy Korean so that Minghao can understand it too, he turns around to see Mingyu staring at his face. He looks… starstruck, like there’s nothing else he would like to see for the rest of his life. He’s so smitten it’s not even pretty or romantic, just stupid, but, oh god, Minghao thinks he’s adorable, and then he wants to kill himself but he’s already smiling because Mingyu’s expression is so stupid and fond and Minghao’s expression is probably the same. That’s when he realizes he’s fucked, completely, absolutely fucked, and a little gross too, and that Mingyu might be even more stubborn than he expected. Oh fuck, Mingyu is winning.

He almost regrets that Mingyu doesn’t try to kiss him, even though it’s clear he wants to. He probably thinks Minghao would punch him and that’s exactly what Minghao would do. He’d enjoy the kiss and then punch him. On principle.

~

After the tow truck arrives, the get in the car and fight for the whole ride home. Minghao wants a cat, Mingyu wants a dog, chicken or jajangmyeon for dinner, who of them would top during an eventual sexual intercourse that, Minghao repeats this many times, will never happen.

They order jajangmyeon that night. Then, since they’re still hungry, they fucking order chicken and Minghao is so tired of arguing that he doesn’t even protest. He would do it on principle but screw it. He knows Mingyu can shout for other three hours, minimum, and he really wants to sleep, even if that means being cuddled by Mingyu during the night. He wakes up in Mingyu’s arms and he wants to knee him in the balls but Mingyu is holding him too tight and, oh my god, is that his morning wood? But then Mingyu gets up and actually tries to make western breakfast and he’s putting so much effort into this that Minghao can’t help but feel a little moved by this whole marriage ordeal and by Mingyu’s obvious puppy crush on him. The following day, Mingyu brings a home a kitty and a puppy and dares Minghao to say anything on the matter. Minghao doesn’t.

~

“He’s fucking conquering you,” snickers Junhui from the other side, and Minghao can feel the laughter in his former roommate’s voice and he wishes he could instantly teleport back to China so he could kick Junhui too. “I can’t believe it, he’s wooing you, Minghao, and you’re falling for it.”

More choked laughter. “I never thought I would live to see this day. I’m booking a ticket for Korea, I have to meet the man who’s making a honest man out of you and hold his hand or something.”

“If you come,” whispers Minghao, poisonously, “I’ll tell him we used to fuck back in the days and he’ll poison your porridge. I know he would.”

Junhui laughs but it sounds a little strained. The fear doesn’t prevent him from really buying a train ticket to the suburbs of the capital the next time he’s in in Korea for a meeting with the higher-ups of his company. He appears on the lawn of Minghao’s new house two weeks after the phone call, looking amused as fuck as he shakes the hand of an unsuspecting Mingyu.

By now, Minghao and Mingyu have fallen into a routine. Mingyu does something atrociously domestic, Minghao can’t take it, they fight, they fight, they fight, Mingyu does something atrociously domestic and also unknowingly hot. Minghao wants to fuck him but he’s still keen on hating him so he tries to fight him but in the end he gives up and he pretends he’s not thirsting for Mingyu’s dick as much as Mingyu is thirsting for his dick because he, unlike Mingyu, still has a dignity.

Junhui, like the obnoxious, attentive fucker he is, smells the sexual tension as soon as he steps inside the house. Minghao doesn’t like his knowing smile. He also doesn’t like the way Junhui’s eyes rake appreciatively on his husband’s backside. His husband. Minghao’s. He almost growls, low in his throat, and as soon as Mingyu goes to make breakfast Junhui laughs in his face so hard he almost falls from the sofa. “Calm down, tiger, I’m not here to steal your man.”

“He’s not my man, I fucking hate him.”

“If that helps you sleep at night.”

“Wen Junhui, I fucking swear, say another word and I will tell him we used to fuck and then he’ll have to protect my honor and it won’t be pretty.”

“Won’t you protect me from your hubby’s rage?”

“You’re an ass and I hate you.”

“Ah, where did my little baobei go? You used to be such a cute little brother to me and now look at you. Sexual abstinence looks awful on your complexion.” Junhui leans on the sofa and steals a lewd glance at Mingyu, who’s happily making seafood spicy soup in the kitchen. “He cooks. Fuck, I’m so jealous.”

Minghao smirks in triumph before he realizes he’s supposed to hate his husband, not feel proud of him, and now it’s Junhui’s turn to sneer.

“You want his ass.”

“I do not.”

“You do.”

“I DO NOT.”

“Lunch is ready!”

Before he leaves, or, more accurately, before he is kicked out of the house by an angry Minghao, Junhui turns to his best friend.

“Look, I’ll be honest with you. Your husband is the fucking eight wonder. Stop wasting time you could happily spend having the best sex of your life.”

“Maybe he sucks at sex,” he says, with a pout. Junhui sends him a sardonic glare. “Stop being a stubborn brat. You used to be so cute, what happened with you?”

Minghao slams the door in his face.

~

Minghao’s fall is not something that happens. Not as he’s aware of it, anyway. He just wakes up one night and Mingyu is spooning him, one leg between Minghao’s legs, one hand under Minghao’s shirt, curled protectively around his chest. Mingyu’s breath is heavy and humid on Minghao’s neck. Both the cat and the dog are sleeping on the bed, though both Minghao and Mingyu hate when the pets sleep on the bed. Minghao sighs heavily and Mingyu stirs in his sleep.

“What now?” he says, his voice thick with sleep.

“Your fucking pets are sleeping on the bed.”

“How come they’re my fucking pets only when they do something bad and they’re your babies when you want to pet them?”

“They can’t sleep on the bed,” insists Minghao, and Mingyu tightens his hold on him.

“Stop being impossible, I won’t have you getting up and fighting with the pets in the middle of the night only because you’re slowly running out of reasons to fight with me.”

And it’s true, it’s fucking true. Minghao is running out of reasons. Mingyu has made so many compromises, just to adjust to him, and what he couldn’t do, Minghao found himself naturally doing it himself. They’ve found a way. Mingyu has found a way. And Minghao didn’t even realize.

“You wish,” he only says. “Fucker,” he adds, for good measure, but he leans back in Mingyu’s warmth and purrs happily when Mingyu kisses his neck with a big smile.

~

“I fell in love with you the moment I heard you talk,” says Mingyu, the following morning, during breakfast. Just like that, like he wasn’t sharing a meaningful confession, but a National Geographic trivia. He puts down his rice bowl and he just drops the bomb. “I mean, not love love, that came probably that time we broke a tire in the middle of the fucking fields and I was too angry and stubborn and you had to call the tow truck to save us and you didn’t know enough Korean and you had to try four times before I told you the right words.”

He takes his breath, looking at Minghao anxiously to gauge his reaction, to give him an outing if he needs one. Minghao doesn’t need one, thank you very much. He’s not a coward, he can stay and receive Mingyu’s confession like a man.

“But, you know, the first time I saw you, I just… I heard you talk, and you were cute. I thought, fuck, oh my god, he’s cute. Fuck fuck fuck. And then i thought. Oh my god, he’s so mean. And he hates my guts. It’s impossible, Kim Mingyu, don’t even think about it. But I’m a stubborn fucker and I like to challenge myself, so I decided I was going to court you and win you.”

Minghao snorts. “And look how well it turned out.” He meant it to sound ironic, he really wanted it to sound ironic, but Mingyu raises an eyebrow and Minghao is forced to look around and notice all the fucking stupid proof of their gross, domestic relationship splattered around the house. Their dog sleeping on the cat’s tiny pillow and their cat sleeping on the dog’s house like a king. The mugs with their names they painted themselves on a date at a ceramic shop in Insadong (Mingyu made Minghao’s and Minghao made Mingyu’s). Their shoes mixed together at the entrance, their toothbrushes lying together on the same glass in the bathroom. Mingyu wearing Minghao’s underwear and Minghao wearing Mingyu’s hoodie. The skin of Minghao’s neck where Mingyu kissed him yesterday night still burns.

“I would say I won,” says Mingyu, the smug bastard, with a smirk. “But the truth is that you won, since I’m obviously the best husband material you will ever find in your life. And I lost. My mind. For you.”

Minghao knows when to admit defeat, at least.

“They say Jeju is amazing this time of the year.”

“Are you asking me out on a date?” says Mingyu, and Minghao is fucking trying to be romantic, he really is, but Mingyu wiggles his eyebrows and Minghao tries to choke him with the pillow and then the pets jump on them and they all end up cuddling on the floor like a big family.

~

(“I can’t believe you fell in love at first sight with me because of my voice.”

“Why can’t you believe it? You sounded cute.”

“I sounded silly and stupid. And now you sound like a creep.”

“Actually, you were really cute, but I wasn’t thinking about that when I first met you.” There’s something Mingyu’s voice, something teasing and dangerous, and Minghao turns to face him, curious to find out what it is. It’s mischief. Mingyu smiles his most naughty smile. “I only thought about how cute you would have sounded, moaning in that voice while I fucked you.”

In retrospect, Minghao thinks Mingyu totally deserved that kick.)

~

They kiss for the first time in Jeju, during their second unofficial honeymoon. No one has ever said the word honeymoon but they secretly both refer to it as honeymoon and, most importantly, they both know the other knows it’s a honeymoon. So it’s not a surprise that they kiss since it’s technically a honeymoon.

What is surprising is that Minghao is the one initiating the kissing.

They go to the beach, they hold hands - Mingyu takes his hand and Minghao pretends he’s offended and makes a weak attempt to break Mingyu’s hold but gives up in less than three seconds.

They walk on the beach and then Mingyu starts to run in the water and it’s fucking autumn bordering on winter, the water is freezing and Mingyu is still holding Minghao’s hand and they both end up with cold feet and wet shoes. Minghao curses and kicks his shoes and socks away before he jumps on Mingyu’s shoulder and they both end up in the water.

When they emerge, wet and spluttering and shivering and laughing so hard Minghao’s lungs feel like they’re going to collapse and Mingyu’s smile is so wide his face looks like it’s going to break, Minghao kisses him.

It’s not shy, it’s not sweet, it’s not even tentative or romantic because Minghao thinks they’ve beaten around the bush long enough to destroy it completely and now there’s nothing between him and Kim Mingyu. Minghao doesn’t kiss like he’s falling or losing, he kisses like he’s conquering. He conquers the taste of salt on Mingyu’s lips, he conquers Mingyu’s smile, he conquers the warmth of Mingyu’s hands on his neck when he breaks the kiss to breathe and Mingyu doesn’t let him get away, but he immediately pulls him back on his lips. Mingyu is solid and warm against Minghao, a stark contrast with the cold water splashing on their shins. Minghao kisses him, again and again, and it’s a kiss that tastes like victory and not like defeat.

They kiss until they can’t feel their lower bodies, and they collapse on the beach under the cold October sun, still kissing, still chasing their own warmth, and Mingyu looks impossibly hot and Minghao really can’t wait to find out how his husband looks like as he comes.

Mingyu laughs, breathless and excited, and leans down to peck at Minghao’s lips, so cute and sweet, and Minghao wants to bite at his lips and tear blood instead, but Mingyu stops him.

“See?” he says. “You might be stubborn, but I’m way more stubborn. I won.”

Minghao freezes, for a moment, his instinct telling him to stomp on Mingyu’s balls and leave him there to freeze to death. Instead, he blinks, faking innocence, and pouts, and he sees Mingyu’s breath itch and his Adam’s apple go up and down as he swallows, breathless.

“Did you? Really? Because, in my opinion, I’ve definitely won.”

And then he kisses him again, before Mingyu can add anything else. It really doesn’t taste like defeat, and even if Mingyu has, in fact, won, Minghao only has to kiss him until he forgets about it, until he is the only real winner. It will take a lot of time. No one said it would be easy, after all.