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From the lifeguard hut, Sehun could see the same damn group of guys as always skimboarding, poorly, close to some small children, who kept lurching back into the waves away from the boarders, their parents oblivious some thirty feet away. At first they’d had only one board to share between them, but now, day three of week two, most of them had their own. Some were getting brave enough to face the board into the breaking waves and eat salt water as a reward. One of those small children couldn’t be more than five years old. He doubted five year olds and skimboards mixed with particularly good results.

He didn’t want to have to call them out. They had all just graduated high school with Sehun. They were the kind of acquaintances he’d known for years but never talked to. One had been in his science class sophomore year. One was the guy he’d had an enormous, distracting, embarrassing crush on all four years of high school. Awkward post-high-school meetings were not what he’d planned when he’d accepted the job.

They really were close to those children. And they had no control over their boards. Sehun blew the whistle. Of course, tons of people turned around, but none of the skimboarders. He waited. It looked like they’d heard him, because they stopped boarding for a couple seconds to communicate, mainly with minute head shakes and hand waving. They kept going. Sehun huffed and blew the whistle again, louder and longer. Nothing. Some woman with burnt salami skin in a ridiculous floppy hat glared at him. Sehun flopped his book face down on the floor beside his chair and marched to the surf, weaving between face-down tourists and family tents. He hoped the red and white lifeguard uniform would earn him a little respect even if nothing else did.

He’d planned to walk within ten feet off them and blow the whistle again, but they noticed him long before that, picked up their boards, and waited for him to show up. The kid from science class was clearly gearing to run at a moment’s notice. “What do you want? We’re not doing anything wrong,” Kris Wu whined. He’d dyed his hair blond for graduation and the roots were just beginning to show. Sehun hated how hot under the collar that made him.

“You’re about to murder the kids. Could you move down the beach a few meters so they’re not—”

“Dude!” Baekhyun Byun said, “I know you! You’re the gay kid with the weird voice that lives in a sand dune!”

Kid didn’t even know his name. That kind of stung. Sehun gritted his teeth as the group erupted, half the boys squealing gleefully and the other yelling indignantly.

“His name is Sehun Oh!” someone finally said, and then turned to Sehun and asked, “right?”

“Yeah. Please move further down the beach.”

“Why don’t you make the kids move?” Sehun had always been unreasonably fascinated with Kris’s eyebrows. He swallowed heavily and tried to channel his frustration into being threatening.

“I will throw you off this beach.” Probably didn’t work, if Kris’s harsh smirk was any indication.

“Guys, he’s right. We should move,” said brown beach hair, dark, sleepy eyes, and full lips. Sehun had never seen this one before.

“I’m just fucking with him, Jongin. Of course we’ll move.”

Brown haired sleepy-eyes looked beautifully worried. “You shouldn’t do that. He’s the lifeguard.”

“Nah, we know him. He went to high school with us, right Sehun?”

“We’ve never talked.” Sehun was not bitter about that. Not at all. Maybe just a little.

“Ok. Salty,” at that, the kid from science class snorted loudly like that was a joke Sehun wasn’t in on. “We’ll move. Jeez.”

Sehun felt his lips doing that thing where they pressed together really tight and made him look like grumpy cat.

“Thanks,” he bit out, and then turned to go back to his chair, being especially careful not to trip over a towel or a plastic shovel in case one of the assholes was still watching.

 

Sehun loved lifeguarding. So long as he didn’t fall asleep, he was free to sit in the breeze for hours, read a book, and gather salt and sunscreen as he listened to the crashing breakers and the confused mix of children and seagulls.

Today he had A Walk in the Woods open, because Bill Bryson is fucking hilarious, and taking his head up out of the leafy depth of the Appalachian trail and seeing the ocean made a really great contrast.

Except he was having a hard time concentrating. A crew of beach hicks had pulled up to his left about an hour ago, the kind with “Salt Life” stickers plastered over every object they owned larger than a cooler, and set up two tents with a full seating area and a grill. And they had been blasting country music at top volume as they grilled their hotdogs.

Sehun stared listlessly off at the blue distance and wondered how quiet the world would sound if he was three meters deep in open ocean, empty darkening blue below him and the glinting sun above, nothing but water and brine and blessed silence. Maybe a couple jellyfish.

Someone blasting trap music pulled up to his right. He rolled his head over to the side and saw the crew of guys from the day before pull up looking set for a party, blankets included. The music was coming from a cooler. Their cooler had a fucking stereo in it. They had girls along this time, and the guys were being extra exuberant as consequence, arms flailing, feet kicking. Kris tackled that guy from science class to the ground so the girls could giggle at them as they applied sunscreen with way too much careful stretching and rubbing. That guy with with sleepy eyes and beach hair was wearing light pink swim trunks. Sehun knew better than to gape at those honey-toned abs. Every person in that group knew he was gay. They’d be looking for that.

They spread out their towels and turned up the music. A responding swell of volume came from his left. Something about tractors and beer. Sehun closed his book and tossed it on the floor.

After a few minutes, Kris walked away from where he’d been killing the Frisbee game, gorgeous body on full, distracting display in those swim trunks, and turned up their music too. Diplo and Luke Bryan were never meant to do battle. Sehun closed his eyes and imagined himself flying. He would just flap his arms, shoot out over the ocean, and then drop like an anchor down into the watery depths to enjoy some goddamn peace and quiet. Maybe a shark would eat him and he wouldn’t even care as long as the shark didn’t try to sing about its pick-up truck first.

When the guy with a mustache like Hulk Hogan and a confederate flag bandana started howling along to the music right in the middle of no-man’s land in front of the lifeguard hut, Sehun straight up put his head in his hands and let a couple tears of horror spring to his eyes. Everyone else within hearing distance had the luxury of picking up and leaving, but Sehun was stuck there in between two of America’s most horrific musical inventions, big-money popular country, and trap fucking noise.

“Hey, lifeguard.” Sehun turned his head to the side to see sleepy-eyed beach hair leaning under the railing and smiling up at him. He was a little more tanned than the day before. “How’s it going in here? Are you ok?”

“Its so loud.”

“Aha, yeah, sorry about that.” He giggled like the din of two cultures clashing violently was something funny and not something that needed escaping. His cheeks got chubbier when he smiled. It was beyond precious. “Anyway, hi. We met yesterday.”

“Yeah, I remember. You’re, um, who?”

“I’m Jongin, and you’re Sehun Oh? That’s a pretty cool last name.”

Sehun nodded, carefully bringing his head out of his arms as he realized he was having an actual conversation with the cutest guy he’d ever met.

“I’m just Jongin Kim. Pretty common. I hear you live on the beach?”

Sehun snorted. Of course the guys had told him he lived on the beach. He’d come to school with salty hair smelling like sweat and seaweed every day until he’d found out that people thought he was trying to be a stereotypical surfer dude. The dyed blond hair and perpetual tan hadn’t helped. Sehun had gotten rid of both senior year. “Do you live in the city?” he asked. “I know you’re not local, but the guys seem to know you.”

“My family rents a house on the beach every summer so I’ve known these guys for years. They’re here all the time, so they’re fun to hang out with. You live on the beach too, though, so I’ll probably be seeing a lot of you, especially since we’re both here every day.”

“You’re staying on the beach? Where?”

Jongin pointed down towards the south end with the really big houses.

“Ok. I’m up by the lighthouse.” Sehun pointed in the other direction.

“Cool. We should visit. When do you get off work?”

“5:00.”

“Ok. We’ll probably still be here by then. You should join us.”

Sehun thought that was a terrible idea. There was Baekhyun, who’d called him “the gay kid with the weird voice” only yesterday; Jongdae, who got arrested at a party senior year; Chanyeol, known for his loud voice and for biting people; Yongseon, who ran for class president, and her pose of three, two of whom had tried to pick Sehun up as a gay best friend; Yixing the known drug dealer; Junmyeon, who’s family owned the biggest house on the island and ran the yacht club; and then Kris, the asshole on whom Sehun had been nursing his unfortunate crush for years. Sometime during junior year Kris had drunkenly told the crowd at a party that he felt uncomfortable when gay guys got too close to him, and Sehun had felt sick and hurt enough to leave and never put himself in a social setting with Kris again. Sehun was always way too obvious with his feelings. There’s no way Kris wouldn’t find him out.

“I might have to go home, actually. I’m sorry.”

Jongin looked genuinely disappointed. “Are you sure you can’t come back down at some point? We have bonfires out here on Friday nights.”

It would have sounded fun with a different group of people.

“I’m good.”

Jongin frowned, but pulled himself up under the railing to sit beside Sehun’s chair. Sehun noticed Kris and Junmyeon whispering together and watching them, smirking excitedly. He felt uncomfortable.

“So tell me about yourself,” Jongin said.

“Uhh…”

“Come here often?” Jongin said, wiggling his eyebrows. Sehun snorted.

“Seriously, though. What do you do for fun?”

“Spend time on the beach, play video games at my friend’s house, walk around the town, Skimboard…” Sehun side-eyed Jongin for a reaction.

“Do you really? Are you good?”

Sehun felt suddenly awkward and hoped it didn’t sound like he was blowing smoke to sound cool. “Um…yeah, decently good, I guess.”

“You should join us the next time we go skimboarding.”

“I wouldn’t want to butt in.”

“Oh, c’mon. We’d all love to have you along.”

Sehun was sure he hadn’t been able to hide his doubt. Sure enough, Jongin looked curious. Before he could ask, though, the Hulk Hogan look-alike cranked the music again and all conversation got washed out to sea on the riptide of heavy guitar and twanging accents. Sehun sank further in his chair. Someone turned the trap music up right on the lead to the base drop. As it hit, Chanyeol raced up into the life guard’s hut and started fist pumping over the side towards the country music. Baekhyun and Jongdae also rolled up under the railing to rave under the low roof. Jongin cackled. Sehun stared listlessly out at the sea and wished he could teleport straight down the bottom and get crushed by water pressure. He probably wasn’t allowed to let people do shit like this in the hut while he was on duty.

Chanyeol started fist pumping at Sehun, but backed off fast when Sehun fixed him with his most advanced level bitch face.

Yongseon and Wheein joined the rave. If anyone decided to drown now, they were screwed because Sehun couldn’t see anything. He was about to start blowing his whistle and go ape-shit on the entire competition when Kris lurched up the steps and gave him a friendly slap on the chest, yelled “Wassup, Sehun!” and screwed up his hair. Sehun was so startled he jerked and ended up half-sideways in his seat as his whistle bounced into his lap. Kris wrapped an arm around Yongseon’s waist and joined the rave. Sehun didn’t miss her pleased expression when she saw who was behind her. She was petite and smiley, bursting with personality. Sehun’s heart was having a little trouble deciding between jealousy and bitter disappointment.

When he could no longer see the ocean or hear the waves past the pounding bass and roaring banjo he picked up the whistle and blasted. It took a good ten minutes and a lot of yelling to get everyone back to their respective camps with their music down. (“I understand your right as Americans to assert your music taste, but not over the lifeguard stand, it’s a safety hazard,” he said to one group, and “You’ll get me fired,” to the other.)

“Don’t be such a stick in the mud,” Kris said, and Sehun gaped for a moment, because he’d been adventurous to the point of driving his parents gray for his entire life.

“This is my job! I’m getting paid! What if someone drowned!”

“Calm down, dude. Do your lifeguard thing. We’ll get off your back.” The group had started moving their stuff further down the beach, weaving between bright knots of towels and umbrellas. “C’mon, Jongin. He’s just a beach bum. Not worth your time.”

Sehun felt his heart lurch painfully.

“I’m staying here for a bit,” Jongin said.

Kris and Jongin had a quick stare-off. Kris snorted and said, “Ok, whatever you want, dude,” and then grabbed Yongseon’s bag for her and strolled away.

“I’m sorry. He was really rude.”

“Why are you apologizing? You didn’t say it.”

“It’s kind of my fault we’re over here though.”

That was not enough to distract Sehun from how smacked-in-the-face he felt, but it was interesting. “How so?”

Jongin shuffled around awkwardly. “Well, I may or may not have called you cute yesterday while telling the guys to stop being mad about you doing your job and stopping us from bowling over those children, and the guys may or may not have gotten really excited about setting us up, so they insisted we come over here so I could hang out with you a bit. I’m sorry they got carried away and made your job harder.”

The words made sense, but Sehun was having trouble processing them. “S-setting us up?”

“Yeah. I’m bi. You’re gay. They thought it was really exciting.”

They thought it was exciting. Sehun didn’t know what to make of that. “You sure they weren’t making fun of you?”

Jongin barked out a laugh. “Yeah, I’m sure. I’ve been friends with some of those guys for years. They’re very supportive, but sometimes they act like me liking guys is a funny kink and end up being insensitive. They don’t get it.”

Jongin’s tone was still affectionate. Sehun wondered how he could be so adorably cheerful about it. Sehun didn’t normally have any problems with his own looks, but next to this perfect human he felt a little like a troll. “You said I was cute?”

“Well, you are,” Jongin said, eyes low under his lashes, “And you seem cool. The guys need to give you more of a chance.” Jongin stared nervously at him under his bangs.

Sehun tried to hide his embarrassingly huge smile by pulling the neck of his lifeguard t-shirt up over his face. “Thanks,” he muttered, and Jongin giggled and tugged his shirt back down. “The guys make me uncomfortable, though.”

“But they’re such great guys! You’d love them!”

“Even Kris?” Sehun asked. “Is Kris supportive?”

“Yeah.”

“But he’s homophobic,” Sehun said, trying to kick the shake out of his voice.

Jongin scooted forward earnestly. “He’s not, though. We’ve talked about it.”

Sehun felt a horrible lump of hope bloom in his throat. He couldn’t allow that. He couldn’t wonder if it was possible.

“I’m sorry,” Jongin said, noticing Sehun’s distress, “I shouldn’t have…I don’t know. Should I go?”

Sehun pulled himself together quickly and shook his head. “I’m sorry. He’s just…said some things in the past, I guess. I’m glad to hear he’s changed.”

“If you came to the bonfire you could get to know him.”

“No thanks. I’d go if it was just you there though,” Sehun said, and then kicked himself for how creepy that sounded.

Creepy or not, Jongin smiled widely and stayed for another hour, and the conversation never went slack. Jongin had a weird sense of humor and an odd taste in TV show, but they figured out that they both danced and listened to the same music, and by the time Jongin left, Sehun almost regretted deciding not to go to the bonfire that night.

 

Saturday should have been crowded, but it stormed in the busiest part of the afternoon, a huge grey-blue wall of clouds sweeping down from the north and dumping buckets of water all over the sand. Sehun shivered happily through it, his spare towel wrapped around his shoulders, and then got a nearly empty beach on which to watch the sun break in the distance over a steely ocean and slowly spread towards the land, strips of bright blue opening in the frothy grey sky. He looked forward to summer storms over the ocean all year.

Jongin and Jongdae visited him sometime in the mid-afternoon when the sand had nearly dried. Jongin was just a little bit more tan than he had been the day before, so he must have found the sun between now and then. Jongin was evidently kind of shy outside of one-on-one conversation and let Jongdae do all the talking. Jongdae very pointedly kicked Jongin in the shin and then asked Sehun if he had a boyfriend. Sehun asked him if he’d been arrested since that last time. The answer was no, both times, but Sehun got to watch Jongdae slump and color as Jongin smiled into his arm and made suggestive eyes at Sehun.

“Low blow, dude. Didn’t think you’d go there.”

“I am merciless.”

Jongdae snickered. “No offense, but I’m not even surprised. You’ve got a total bitch-face.”

“Ugh, don’t remind me.” Sehun pulled his towel up over his head.

“I bet you’re actually totally nice. You’re like the exact opposite of me. My face is totally sweet but I’m mean as hell.”

Sehun snickered. “Yeah, you say that, but I saw you helping that girl up when she fell down during the musical.”

“Damn, my cover’s blown.”

“Your cover was blown the minute you decided to do the musical.”

Jongdae laughed again. “Dude, why did we never hang out in school. You’re totally cool.”

Sehun smiled. “Thanks. I dunno.”

“Come hang out with us this evening. We’re all eating at Spanky’s and then going to Junmyeon’s house for a pool party.”

“What? No way! I don’t know anyone.”

“You know all of us!”

Sehun grimaced.

“Oh, its because you know all of us. I see.” Jongdae shrugged. “I bet they’d love you. You should come hang out with us.”

“That’s what I’ve been saying,” Jongin said.

“Well, we thought you just wanted that because you think he’s cute.”

Jongin blushed and pouted. “That’s not why! Have some faith.”

“I am cute,” Sehun said, “Doesn’t mean I’m not fun.”

“Come eat with us!”

Sehun shook his head. “I’d be really awkward. I’d rather not.”

Jongdae and Jongin protested. Sehun would not be swayed.

 

On his way to Kyungsoo’s house that evening Sehun glanced the crew going into Spanky’s and caught site of Jongin’s beach fluffy hair, his bright smile as he talked to someone in a Vineyard Vines shirt that must have been Junmyeon. He felt the odd urge to go join them.

Kyungsoo was waiting for him with a TowerFall competition set up on his PS4.

“You’re as pale as I am,” Sehun said.

“I haven’t seen the sun in weeks.”

“You live on the beach! Enjoy it!”

“Why would I do that when I have air conditioning and xbox? You’re not tan either. I though you were working as a lifeguard.”

“70 SPF, and plenty of shade, and I wear shirts in the sun.”

“Why?”

“Don’t want to tan this summer. I like how light my skin looks with the dark hair.”

“Fair enough. Pun intended.”

Sehun threw a controller at him. They settled into playing, keeping the conversation to a low level of shit-talking.

As Kyungsoo messed with the controls some thirty minutes in, Sehun said, “Kris Wu and his friends keep causing problems on the beach and I have to deal with them.”

Kyungsoo looked away from the TV for a moment to indicate that he cared, and then went back to staring. “That sucks. Do you still have a crush on him?”

“Has he gotten any less hot?”

“I wouldn’t know. I haven’t seen the sun in weeks.”

“No, he hasn’t. Remember he dyed his hair blond for graduation? It looks so good. He has a cute friend that keeps talking to me and trying to get me to come hang out with them.”

“You should. Might help you get over being so tied up around him.”

“I’m worried I’ll just give myself away. I don’t want to spend any time around him; he makes me uncomfortable and self-conscious, but I really want to be closer friends with Jongdae and the cute guy because they’re cool. It’s a dilemma.”

“Jongdae. Really?”

“Yeah, he’s fun.”

Kyungsoo hummed and fired up another game. They played in silence for a bit.

“You need to get over that crush, dude. Even if anything were to come out of it, and nothing will, he’s an asshole.”

“I know.”

Sehun lost for the fifteenth consecutive time and threw his controller off his lap. Kyungsoo giggled quietly and then lay down with his head in Sehun’s lap, one arm hugging his knee.

“Thanks for guy talk, Kyungsoo.”

“No problem.”

“I’m always here to talk girls if you need it.”

“I probably won’t. Not for another few years. Maybe at college…”

“College is this fall. Go get you a girl. You’re going to need help functioning when I’m not around.”

“Maybe I’ll just find another gay best friend.”

“Don’t you dare. I’ll get jealous. I’m all you get.”

Kyungsoo smiled into his thigh and went to sleep. Sehun wished they still did the same kind of shit they used to, exploring the marsh on the inland side of the island, daring each other to jump in other people’s pools, ripping up and down the sidewalks on cheap skateboards, vandalizing people’s bumper stickers, smoking blunts as they walked down the beach because they were young and stupid. Now he spent one or two nights a week at Kyungsoo’s house playing video games in silence. High school had done them both considerable damage. Maybe he needed a few more adventurous friends. Jongin seemed like just the kind of excitable and adventurous he wished he still was. Jongdae too. Next time he should go do whatever they wanted him to.

 

Sehun took his day off to lazily drift down the beach towards the pier on his skimboard, making most of the distance in easy glides along the shallow waves or more exciting jumps into the breakers. Small children pointed and shouted. Very gratifying.

Eventually he caught sight of the same crew as always doing their spastic skimboard practice in the surf. He picked up his board and walked further up on the beach, not wanting to give them the satisfaction of knowing he was showing off for them, because he would be.

Jongin caught him on his way past.

“Dude! Nice board!”

It was, too. Fiberglass and hella expensive. It had cost him two months of mowing lawns freshman year to buy. It was a gradient of blue and pink like a sunset, inky black tropical flowers over one edge. He’d decorated the top with stickers, his own huge “Salt Life” logo, some “life is good stickers, one of those location bumper stickers with the abbreviated name of the island.

“Thanks. It’s custom.”

“You going somewhere? Come board with us a little.”

Sehun hesitated just a moment, then agreed and followed Jongin to the breakers.

“Pretty board,” Kris said, “Is that your sister’s?”

Sehun ignored him completely and greeted Jongdae instead. Kris guffawed like an idiot.

“You gonna try to skimboard?” Baekhyun said.

“try—?”

“It’s not that hard, you just have to throw the board down so it slides and then run and jump on—”

“I know how to skimboard, Baekhyun.”

“Oh. Ok, sorry.”

“Watch this!” Chanyeol yelled, and then made a brave attempt at riding a breaker. He got up on it, hit it at a good angle, but then never followed through and ended up on his back as the wave washed his board back to shore. Sehun snickered.

“Go for it! Do something cool!” Jongdae yelled as he skimmed away, nearly taking out a pregnant woman climbing out of the water.

The waves really were perfect, little breakers curling right up close to shore, rolling Chanyeol slowly back onto the beach. Sehun backed up, easing the knot in his stomach. He was very consciously showing off now, and Kris and Jongin were both watching. He took off, threw his board under his feet, and slid in just as it the wave broke. White froth foamed under the spinning board and he rode the top, spun, jumped as it flattened out, and then coasted for a little, crouched low and twisting across the sand for style points.

The guys had all but collapsed. Chanyeol was running in circles with his hands on his head. Baekhyun had fallen over. Jongdae was chanting “OH SHIT,” as Jongin giggled and looked heartwarmingly proud. Junmyeon and Kris looked stunned. Yixing looked completely unfazed, but then he always did.

“That was incredible!” Chanyeol screamed.

“I would never have expected that,” Yixing said like he’d expected it.

Sehun couldn’t help his own grin.

“I expected it,” Jongdae said. “Remember when he used to come into school smelling like seawater every morning? This is his turf! Teach us everything!”

“You’re our god now,” Baekhyun told him, “And to think I thought you were gay.”

Sehun’s mood soured real fast.

“I am gay, Baekhyun. What the hell does that have to do with anything.”

Baekhyun shrugged awkwardly, “I just didn’t think gay guys did shit like this.”

“That’s kinda…”

“That’s kinda sexist, Baekhyun,” Kris giggled.

“It was a little homophobic,” Jongin said.

“No it wasn’t because I didn’t mean it to be insulting.”

Sehun rolled his eyes and escaped back into another wave, jumping off the crest and twirling in the air. The guys on shore whooped and yelled. Sehun felt better feeling the praise from a distance.

They did want actual instruction eventually, which he was shit at. Kyungsoo was much better than him at teaching rowdy children begging for tips. Kyungsoo had even kind of been friends with Chanyeol and Baekhyun. Sehun considered promising to call him up and drag him out to teach them, but knowing the reclusive Kyungsoo, he would refuse.

Eventually the boys stopped asking questions and watched him skim out, ride the crests, and skim back in, sometimes doing tricks, sometimes riding the break long enough that he had to pick up his board and jog back.

Jongin began to pick up tricks, managing to get onto a breaker a couple times, but Sehun skimmed past him tumbling off the board into the churning surf more than once, pink swim trunks and a wet mop of hair. Sehun could’ve kept going all day, but the boys walked back up the beach to their stereo cooler after an hour and he followed.

“Can I borrow a towel?”

“You didn’t bring a towel?”

“I was gonna board down the whole beach and then board home. Why would I?”

Jongin handed one to him and Sehun stripped his shirt off and spread it out in the sand to dry, and turned around to find Jongin running his eyes up Sehun’s chest with his eyebrows raised, smirking slightly, leaning slightly to the side to see better. The smirk was new. He went from beautiful boy-next-door to sultry sexy god really fast.

“Uh.”

Jongin met his eyes and nodded. “Nice.”

Sehun blushed. “Um, you too, I guess.”

“Just make out already,” Baekhyun said.

Sehun ignored him and started reapplying sunscreen.

“70 SPF?” Jongin asked. “Why?”

“Don’t want a tan.”

Jongin looked absolutely scandalized. “Dude, 15 is the highest I’ll go. Tans are awesome. How else are you going to show people you spent your summer on the beach?”

“Dude, I’ve lived here for eighteen years. Why would I need to?”

Door opened by his mad skimboarding skills, the guys weren’t too bad to hang around with. Sehun eased into the conversation, and before the afternoon was over they had him laughing harder than he had in a while. Over the course of the afternoon Jongin kept quietly inching closer over the sand till he was practically under Sehun’s arm. Sometimes his hand brushed over Sehun’s side. Sehun’s fingers itched to touch those curls, maybe run lightly across those tanned shoulders. He ignored the urge. Kris was right there. Everyone would giggle and tease like he was doing something weirder than the way Kris’s beautiful hands wandered over Yongseon.

The beach started emptying out around 5:00 pm and Sehun realized he’d spent a full six hours with these boys, listening to Jongdae and Baekhyun tease the surprisingly bashful Jongin as Chanyeol threw sticks at Kris, Yixing, and Junmyeon’s private conversations. Jongin stayed by Sehun’s side, mostly quiet except for a steady stream of giggles as Baekhyun poked at him.

“Sehun, do you have a boyfriend?” Baekhyun asked

“It’s funny, because Jongdae asked me the same thing a few days ago. I wonder why?”

Jongin flopped back in the sand with a sigh and Baekhyun snickered.

“No, I don’t have a boyfriend. You interested?”

“Ah! No!”

Sehun snorted. “You know I’m kidding, but you’re getting super defensive anyway. Calm down. Would it kill you if I was interested in you?”

“Of course not!” Baekhyun said. Sehun studied him for insincerity and found none. He relaxed a little.

“I mean, it’d be a little awkward, since I’m not gay, but I wouldn’t mind.”

“No, it’d be flattering, right?” Sehun asked softly.

“I guess?” Baekhyun said, and Sehun tensed up again. He glanced at Jongin and found him sitting up on an elbow, eyes tracking anxiously between Baekhyun and Sehun.

Jongdae rolled over and said, “I’d love it if you were into me, Sehun.”

“I wouldn’t,” Sehun said. “That sounds awful.” Jongdae snickered, little kitty lips curling up in what should have been a cute expression if he wasn’t so devious.

“What’d be so bad about it?” Jongin asked.

“You know how there are some people just suck to crush on?” Sehun said, neck heating as he said it because Kris was sitting ten feet away, “That’s you, Jongdae.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re an asshole.”

“True.”

“Have you ever crushed on any straight boys? Either of you?” Baekhyun asked.

Sehun and Jongin both got very quiet, smiles fading.

“Ack,” Jongdae said. “That’s a yes on both sides.”

Sehun felt his cheeks grow hotter. He’d felt awkward bringing up people that suck to crush on, and now crushing on a straight boy was in the air. In the background, Chanyeol bit Kris who responded by throwing shoes.

“What happened?” Baekhyun asked.

“Well, nothing, obviously,” Sehun said. “He was straight.”

“That’s why I stick to girls most of the time,” Jongin said, “There’s a higher likelihood that they’ll return the feelings.”

“Lucky you,” Sehun murmured.

Junmyeon walked over to their group. “We’re going to head to my house for dinner.”

As everyone got up, Sehun just lay back in the sand with his hands behind his head. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow. I’m on duty again.”

“You’re not coming with?” Jongin asked, leaning close to him. Jongin’s lips were very distracting from that angle.

“Nah, I gotta get home. If I wait and eat with all of you it’ll get too dark to board back.”

Jongin looked heart-crushingly disappointed, but nodded and let him stay as they left, stereo cooler leaving shallow tracks in the sand behind them. Sehun breathed a sigh of relief as Kris’s and Baekhyun’s voices faded, but immediately missed the rest. He lay there in the sand for a while, soaking in the feeling of ‘I hung out with Kris and it wasn’t awkward,’ and ‘the assholes from school think I’m cool,’ and the heady, excited knowledge that someone hot was actually interested in him, if Jongin’s constant stare and easy flirting were any indication. The golden-hour glide back down to his house only felt a little lonely.

 

The crew stopped by the lifeguard hut mid-afternoon the next day to invite Sehun to dinner at Spanky’s again, and after he’d agreed, they wandered off, cooler still dragging. When Sehun got to Spanky’s that evening, though, he found only Jongin.

“Everyone else backed out.”

“Oh.”

“It’s not you,” Jongin said as if reading Sehun’s mind. “Junmyeon’s parents grabbed him, Kris, and Yixing for a show downtown. Chanyeol and Baekhyun got too high and had to stay home, and Jongdae is just a jerk. Don’t worry about him. I don’t have any of the girl’s numbers, so it looks like its just you and me.”

“You got more tan again.”

“Yeah! It’s really coming along! Look at this.” Jongin turned half around and pulled his shirt awkwardly off his shoulder to show the significantly darker skin there. Sehun steeled his nerves and ran a pale hand over the soft skin. Jongin’s smiled happily.

“Your skin and your hair will be the same color soon. I’m liking the sticky-briny look, by the way. You look kind of crazy. That’ll dread if you’re not careful.”

Jongin wrinkled his nose. “I don’t think I’d look good with dreads.”

“You wouldn’t.”

Sehun had been friends with the owner of Spanky’s forever, had even worked here the previous summer, so they let Sehun in even though he wasn’t wearing shoes and they got seated quickly. They ordered mostly in silence, and then Jongin huffed and stared Sehun down.

“What?”

“Why are you so cautious and defensive around the guys?”

“I’m not! Where is this coming from?”

“Yes you are! I want to know!”

Sehun sighed. “In high school they were kind of intimidating, ok? That’s all it is. And people tended to be really rude about me being gay, among other things, so I’m naturally defensive whenever it comes up, and with those guys it comes up a lot. Maybe you can explain that. Why do they find it so fascinating? And why doesn’t it bother you?”

“Ok. Yeah. Legitimate gripe. I don’t know. I have a wall to put up, because I can still do the whole girls thing. I feel like they’ve accepted the idea of gay guys but haven’t gotten used to it yet and they find it fascinating, for some reason. So you’re really interesting to people like Baekhyun who are naturally way too curious for their own good and have absolutely no filter.”

“I don’t want to be a spectacle for them.”

“You’re not. They’ll get used to you.”

“And until then? Do I have to just shut up and deal with all the bullshit?”

Jongin looked at him for a long minute and then shrugged a little. “If you think its worth it, then I guess so. I think it is.”

Sehun pursed his lips and crumpled his straw wrapper. “I’m sorry for snapping. I guess they do make me tense.”

Jongin put his head down on the table, eyes looking up at Sehun through his lashes, lips pouting. Sehun blinked a little. No human should ever have the right to look that beautiful.

Jongin smirked. “You look a little star-struck there, Sehun. I’m pretty, right?”

“What?”

“I know it. You should see my sex faces.”

Sehun blushed and rubbed the heels of his hands over his eyes. “You always act so sweet. Why do you have to pull this shit?”

“Look, look.” Jongin sat up and tipped his chin back, eyebrows scrunched upwards slightly, one side of his bottom lip between his teeth. Sehun felt a small rush of heat in his gut and snapped his eyes away. Jonging snickered.

“Don’t do that in public,” Sehun said, cheeks burning. “Did you practice that in the mirror?”

“You know it!”

Sehun snickered.

“Your expression is sexy all the time though,” Jongin said. Sehun could feel his face twist up into half a grin that he was trying to hide, his lips pulling down weirdly as his eyes scrunched up. “The brooding thing really works for you,” Jongin said, “That face, the one you have right now, not so much.”

Sehun laughed out loud, jerking back in his chair.

“Oh yeah. The smile is nice,” Jongin said, “You should do that more. That’s the kind of smile girls fall in love with. Or boys,” he corrected quickly.

“So you’ve crushed on a straight guy, Jongin?” Sehun asked, because what better way to kill the mood.

Jongin snorted. “Yeah. Your friend Kyungsoo.”

Sehun lurched forward, “Wait, what? How do you know we’re friends? How do you know Kyungsoo?”

“Jongdae told me you were friends with him. I told you I come here every summer, right? Couple of years ago he was working at that ice-cream shop? I used to go there every day to hang out and stare at him. He was so cute. So much fun to talk to. I actually asked him out eventually, but he turned me down. He was very polite, very apologetic. It hurt, but he was so sweet I couldn’t blame him. He never told you?”

“No,” Sehun sat back and wondered why his best friend wouldn’t tell him something like that, then smiled. “He must have figured you didn’t want him to spread around that he turned you down.”

“God, he was great,” Jongin said.

“He still is. You should come with me to visit him some time.”

“That’d be fun.”

“It won’t be awkward?”

“Nah, I think I’m over it. I’m just worried he won’t remember me.”

“He probably will.”

“What about you? You said you’ve crushed on a straight boy.”

Sehun stared at the table for a long moment before taking a deep breath and muttering “Kris.”

“Oh,” Jongin said softly. “Holy shit.”

“Yeah.”

“He’s such a jerk to you. I’m so sorry.”

“Yeah.”

The food arrived and they ate in silence for a bit.

“There are some girls behind you,” Jongin said, “And they keep looking at this table and giggling.”

“Well, there’s a guy behind you that keeps making eyes at me, but he might be going for the table of girls.”

Jongin turned right around in his seat.

“Don’t look!” Sehun squeaked.

“Too late,” Jongin said, “I think he is looking at those girls, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s looking at your pretty face.”

“Are you always this flirty?”

“Only when there aren’t hormonal teenage boys who react strangely to homosexual flirting around.”

Sehun dropped his French fry. “Wait. Do they still ship us?”

“I think so.”

“Did they all bail so we would eat dinner together alone?”

Jongin threw his breaded shrimp back into the basket and put his head down on the table. “Assholes!” he yelled.

Sehun laughed again, and the guy behind Jongin was definitely staring at him, but looked very confused about it. Sehun didn’t even have the presence of mind to be embarrassed with Jongin kicking the table under him.

After dinner they chatted about beach things for a little while, and then exited the shop and stood for a minute in the sunset, enjoying the palm trees and the steady rush of waves over the dunes. The beach boho shops were still alive around them, bar hopping groups just beginning to get noisy. “I love this place,” Jongin said. “Sometimes I feel like this beach is more of a home than my actual home is.”

“It’s a great home,” Sehun said.

Jongin abruptly wrapped himself around Sehun’s side and nuzzled into the underside of his jaw with his rough, fluffy hair still stuck in a wind-whipped frenzy.

“Thanks for having dinner with me and enjoying it even though we got tricked into it.”

“Well,” Sehun said with a smile, “I never said I enjoyed it.”

Jongin looked up with his best kicked puppy expression and Sehun melted immediately. “I’m kidding. I’m sorry. I enjoyed it.”

Jongin smiled and hummed happily against Sehun’s shoulder. “They were right. You really do smell like ocean. That’s awesome. Will you come to the bonfire this Friday?”

“Sure.”

Jongin’s smile was bright and beautiful, cheekbones pronounced. Sehun hugged him back and took advantage of the closeness to tug at Jongin’s beach hair.

“Seriously, how many days has it been since you washed this? You’ve gotta be careful with that stuff. I once went for two weeks on the beach without washing it and we had to cut it all off before I went back to school. You have to wash this.”

Jongin’s eyes slipped shut and he hummed happily. “Nnnnnot if it means you’ll keep playing with it.”

Sehun took his hands off. “You weirdo. How about this. I’ll play with it more when its clean and my hands don’t come back feeling sticky.”

Jongin giggled as Sehun wiped his hands off on Jongin’s shirt, loving the solid lines underneath.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Jongin.”

“Ok. I’ll see you then.”

Sehun stopped by Kyungsoo’s house on the way home and found him curled up in bed under a tent of blankets with his computer open.

“Have you gone outside yet?”

“I got the mail this afternoon.”

“Kyungsoo this is not healthy. You have to get outside. Please come have ice cream with me tomorrow? I’m worried about you.”

“No need to worry about little ‘ole me. I’ll come get ice cream. Sugar Shack?”

“Sugar Shack? What else is there?”

“There are, like, three places.”

“There’s only one Sugar Shack. Kyungsoo, when you worked there, did you ever meet a guy named Jongin?”

A slow smile spread over Kyungsoo’s face. “Yes I did.”

“And he asked you out?”

“Yeah. Is he back in town?”

“He’s the guy I’ve been hanging out with for the past few days with all the other guys from school.”

“He’s cute as fuck. You two should date.”

“Ugh. Everyone thinks so. All they guys we hang out with are trying to set us up just because we’re both into men. I don’t want to give in.”

“Oh forget them,” Kyungsoo said, “He’s so sweet and really funny. And beautiful.”

“He is that.”

“Date the fuck out of that guy.”

“Soo, I barely know him. We’re friends. Please stop trying to force this on me. I’m still dealing with Kris feelings.”

Kyungsoo studied him for a moment, and then nodded. “I’m here to support you with whatever. You know that. Just know that I ship it.”

Sehun leaned forward to rest his forehead thankfully on Kyungsoo’s knee and only then glanced at Kyungsoo’s laptop screen.

“Oh, dude. Are you watching porn?”

“Yup. That’s porn.”

“Shit. I’m sorry. You know you could’ve told me to wait outside while you finished, right?”

“Nah, don’t worry about it. I wasn’t jacking it or even hard, really. I was just exploring porn hub because I got bored.”

“You got so bored that you literally started watching porn for the plot.”

“Think of it as character study.”

“What? No. Soo, you need to get out of the house more. As your best friend, I am declaring this a critical state of emergency. I’m extending ice cream tomorrow to skimboarding and a long walk on the beach.”

Kyungsoo snickered and closed out of at least three tabs of porn hub and shut his laptop. “TowerFall?”

“Shadow of Mordor.”

“Ok, but I get first turn.”

 

Kyungsoo emerged from his house the next day like a turtle leaving the nest for the first time, blinking in the sunlight, skin shiny with sunscreen, his skimboard clutched tightly to his side.

“How are your unused legs holding up?”

“They’re shaking, Sehun. They’ll give out any minute. I think I’m getting sunstroke. Let’s go back inside.”

Sehun grabbed the edge of his board and pulled him down towards the beach.

“We’re wearing matching shirts,” Kyungsoo said.

They were. Sehun’s had put on his white surf shirt with that famous Japanese wave painting on the front, and Kyungsoo had on the same in black. They’d bought each other those two summers ago because Sehun had gone through a brief fashion frenzy and went nuts about the three-quarter sleeves and artwork.

“It’s going to be hot for black,” Sehun said.

“I’ll be wet. Are we wearing matching suits?”

Thank heavens, no.

“Our boards are from the same company.”

“We’re gross. Kyungsoo, why are you wearing shoes?”

“Dude, unlike you, who have been strolling around this tourist trap with bare feet for weeks, my feet are soft and vulnerable. I’ll leave them at your house.”

Kyungsoo completely botched his first skim into the waves and got soaking wet much faster than expected. He let the waves shove him up onto the sand and lay there staring at the sky. Sehun slid up right beside him after a warm-up bank against a wave. “Get up and try again! You’re so out of practice.”

“Look. Someone’s flying a kite shaped like Darth Vader’s face. Let’s go steal it.”

“Kyungsoo. I am currently a better skimboarder than you. Only you have the power to set the record straight.”

Kyungsoo shot out of the sand and ran down the shore to grab his board.

Sehun regretted saying anything. Within ten minutes of warm-up Kyungsoo was quite literally boarding circles around Sehun, splashing him with arcs of foamy green water. Sehun may have spent every evening out skimming in the surf, but Kyungsoo had skipped a week of school once just to get a move right, and braved the water during the two-month cool season around January every year when Sehun pretended it was winter and stayed inside to play video games. Ah, south Georgian winter.

When Sehun got tired of watching Kyungsoo practice flips he skimmed off south towards the pier and Kyungsoo followed, bouncing along the break of a wave behind him and riding the crash along the sand until it sank back into the surf and stranded him.

He picked his board up under his arm and ran alongside Sehun. “Where are we off to, ringleader?”

“There’s three chicks in bikinis staring at you.”

Kyungsoo looked down Sehun’s nod to see a cluster of girls strolling in their direction higher up on the sand, studs glinting in their navels, bejeweled sunglasses angled towards them, bright white smiles visible against their tan skin.

Kyungsoo smiled. “Well that feels good. Not my type though.”

“Me either.”

Kyungsoo snorted. They passed the girls without exchanging anything more than a quick smile.

“God, they were hot.”

“Speaking of hot, I think that’s Jongin up there.”

“Where?”

“The really tan guy lying on the red towel. He’s getting darker every day, but I recognize those shoulder blades.”

They walked up next to him. Sehun stood for a moment to enjoy the view, long planes of smooth, tan skin, and Jongin’s peaceful sleeping face. Kyungsoo set his board down quietly before lying down in the sand right next to Jongin’s towel, face to face. Jongin opened his eyes and shot up onto his hands. “Kyungsoo?”

“Yup.”

Jongin fell right off his towel.

Kyungsoo refused to do anything else before ice cream. He dragged Jongin and Sehun all the way down the strip and up the street, a good mile or so, still damp from the ocean and shoeless with their boards under their arms. Jongin tried to walk without shoes for a few seconds and then realized how hot asphalt got in late June and quickly put his shoes back on. Jongin and Kyungsoo kept up a running report about their lives all the way down to the shop. “I was head of the dance team last year!”

“I beat my high score on Mario Kart,” Kyungsoo countered.

“We went to this really cool dance competition in New York and won.”

“I played through Shadow of Mordor in under a week.”

“Graduated with honors.”

“Beat Sehun in smash bros for 25 consecutive games.”

Sehun huffed indignantly.

“I won prom king—”

“Blew all my money on the new Nintendo 3DS just to play animal crossing.”

“—and my date won prom queen.”

“I’m doing really well in Fallout.”

“Dude, what happened to you?”

“High school happened to me. What happened to you?”

“H-high school?”

“My high school was glitchy.”

They entered the Sugar Shack and had a moment of silence in line as they relished the special greasy air of Sugar Shack lunches and customers wearing too much sunscreen.

“I love that window,” Kyungsoo said, gesturing towards the slanted, tinted window visible along one side of the kitchen area. It faced right out into the parking lot. “It’s mirrored on the other side, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of people that check their hair the moment they get out of the car. I liked standing on the other side and watching people make an idiot out of themselves posing in the mirror. Then they’d come inside and realize it was a window and look so dead inside.”

“I remember that window,” Jongin said, “The first time I came here I made some sort of ridiculous pose and you were still laughing when I walked in.”

Kyungsoo giggled, “And you just looked me dead in the eye and said ‘your welcome.’”

“It was love at first sight,” Jongin said.

“I get that a lot,” Kyungsoo said, “That’s why I don’t leave the house most of the time. It’s me having mercy on all the people that would be falling at my feet otherwise.”

“I meant you falling in love with me, but ok.”

“Oh yeah. That did happen. And then I realized how vain you were and cancelled the wedding.”

While they were distracted giggling at each other, Sehun stepped in front of both of them and ordered. Neither noticed.

In the booth, Jongin slid in beside Kyungsoo and took a giant bite lick right off the top of his ice cream cone, tongue dragging and then flicking up at the end to catch the top. Sehun couldn’t blink away from Jongin’s mouth even as Kyungsoo yelled and curled protectively in around his ice cream

Jongin and Kyungsoo reverted to speaking in quotes from an obscure Youtube series and Sehun felt like the awkward chaperone on a date.

“Where are the guys today?” Sehun asked, if only to get the conversation back to something he could understand.

“We just didn’t get together today. We’re spending all day on the beach tomorrow, though. You should come hang out, both of you.”

“I’m on duty.”

“I’m avoiding anything or anyone that reminds me of high school.”

“Kyungsooooooo!”

“I’ll go if Sehun goes.”

“I just said I’ll be on duty.”

“Will you come to the bonfire on Friday?”

“Will Sehun be there?”

Jongin looked at Sehun, big eyes shining with hope. Sehun gulped and nodded.

“Ok. I’ll come.”

Jongin squealed and hugged him, sneaking another large suck at Kyungsoo’s ice cream. Kyungsoo just barely dodged it. “Not my cookie dough!”

Sehun felt like he was babysitting two toddlers on a sugar high all the way back down to the beach. Jongin would not let go of Kyungsoo’s waist, and Kyungsoo had resorted to trying to get him off by running him into telephone poles and random cars. They set off two car alarms and knocked over three trash cans before Sehun got them unlatched, and then had to break up a skimboard fight. He saw a woman up ahead stop, stare, and then pick up her son and cross the street to pass them on the other side. Kyungsoo sat down on a bench because his feet hurt and Jongin picked him up and carried him, yelling and punching, all the way down to the beach. Sehun followed at a distance and wished he were Kyungsoo’s size so Jongin could pick him up and carry him down to the beach.

Back down by the water, Kyungsoo gave Jongin skimboarding pointers. Sehun practiced jumping off waves for a while, finally landing a jump that must have been a meter tall and looked around excitedly to see if Jongin had seen it. He was down the beach watching Kyungsoo do backflips. Sehun sighed and went back to the waves. He skimmed slowly through the tourists flocking the waves down the beach, through a crowd of shrieking little boys, past a class from the aquarium trawling the sand, past two people smoking under the pier that he thought might be Kris and Yixing, down one last long stretch and ended up at the sandy strip that stretched way out in a crescent along the entrance to the river past the south end of the island.

There were only a couple crowds of people down on the end, and he stopped and wondered why he was all the way down there, staring across at the empty shore of a neighboring island across wide, brown river. He and Kyungsoo had swum there once. They timed it poorly, got caught on the other side while a wicked strong current brought the tide back into the river, and had stayed there overnight, not daring to swim back through the pitch-black water. They'd slept in the cold sand, cuddling up close to each other. He would have loved to tell Jongin that story, but Jongin hadn’t followed him, and he hadn’t expected him to. He also hadn’t expected to care. He sat down and let the wind and sun dry his hair before he got up to skim slowly back.

By the time he got back, they were a quarter mile further up the beach and Sehun almost thought they’d gone inside.

Jongin saw him first, caramel waves bouncing down his forehead towards his eyes. “You two are wearing matching shirts,” he said by way of a greeting.

“They were a mutual gift a couple years ago,” Sehun said, “I think they’re pretty cute.”

“Where were you?” Kyungsoo asked as Sehun sat down in the sand. “I thought you’d gone home.”

“Went down to the end of the island and back.”

“All the way down to the south end?”

“Yeah.”

“Why?”

“I felt like it, I guess.”

Kyungsoo flopped down on the sand beside him and pulled Sehun’s head down onto his shoulder. “Don’t run off like that. I didn’t know why you’d left without telling us.”

“I’m sorry,” Sehun said, curling one arm around Kyungsoo’s waist and closing his eyes. Kyungsoo kept one hand scratching lightly at his sandy hair. Jongin hesitated and then sat down beside them.

As Kyungsoo and Jongin continued to chat, Sehun fell asleep, woke a little when he fell off Kyungsoo’s shoulder, and then drifted off again when Kyungsoo shifted him to lie across the sand, back pressed against his legs, one hand still rubbing sweetly across his side.

He dreamed that he was in the sugar shack with Kris, and Kris refused to let him order ice cream for him. “It’ll taste weird if you order it,” he kept insisting, “Jongin has to do it.” Sehun couldn’t understand.

When he woke again the sun was much lower in the sky and Jongin was going home to eat dinner. He gave the very sleepy Sehun a pat on the head. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Mhrrmyeah. I’m….on duty.”

“I know. I’ll see you.” Sehun sat up and stared at his ass as he walked off. Those were some nice pink trunks. Very slim fit. Kind of short.

“Come to my house for dinner?” Kyungsoo asked.

Kyungsoo’s mother fed them what looked like deep-fried macaroni bacon balls, buttery corn bread, southern style green beans, and fried chicken.

“Open a restaurant!” Sehun yelled at her, not for the first time.

“Tell that to Kyungsoo! The macaroni balls are his!”

“My god, Soo! Open a restaurant! Beat out all the fake southern soul food places! Make the best god damn low country boil in the county! Take over the Crab Shack!”

“Those are two slightly different genres of food you’re talking about. That’s traditional southern soul food, collard greens and fried chicken, vs coastal south food, oyster roasts and steamed shrimp, kind of a Forrest Gump thing.”

“I don’t give a shit. Paula Dean’s got nothing on you.”

“I’ll be honest. I have no idea where she fits in.”

“Old South decadence.”

“Buttered biscuits and grits. Got it.”

“You’re not a peppy white woman though.”

“Seafood, then. Or maybe North Carolina style BBQ. Baked beans and pulled pork with vinegar-based sauce.”

Sehun moaned and leaned way back in his chair.

“Or maybe I’ll really throw this place for a loop and make shrimp gumbo and Po’ boys and hire jazz musicians to play out on the sidewalk. Serve a lot of bourbon.”

“Throw some alligator in there.”

Kyungsoo wrinkled his nose. “Too chewy. That’s really backwoods. I might as well start serving palmetto hearts, muscadine jam, and moonshine.”

“Hey. I like alligator.”

“You always were a weird one.”

“Gotta eat it before it eats you.”

“I wanna try eating snake.”

“And I’m the weird one. Jeez, Soo, why the hell would you want to do that? Talk about backwoods. What kind of snake?”

“Python.”

“That’s not even indigenous.”

They settled down to Far Cry 4 after dinner. Sehun took thirty minutes to destroy a radio tower while Kyungsoo lay on his lap and played Animal Crossing, sleepy music and the garbled speech of adorable animals a steady undercurrent to the automated weapons onscreen.

As Sehun wondered how he was going to retrieve the controller he’d chucked halfway across the room after dying again, Kyungsoo turned the volume on his DS down and looked up at Sehun. “Can we talk about you wandering off today?”

“Why? We’ve both done that before.”

“We both wander off when its just us boarding, but that’s because its us. You’ve never done that when we’ve been hanging out with someone else. And its Jongin. I thought you liked him.”

Sehun deliberated for a minute. “I don’t know. You and Jongin were closer than I expected. I was going to just spend a day out with my best friend, and then Jongin was there and I got shut out.”

“I’m sorry, but are you sure that’s it?”

Sehun fidgeted. “Ok fine. I think I was more put out about Jongin. You two are such good friends. I was kind of jealous.”

“Really jealous, if a three hour trip off on your own is any indication.”

Sehun was silent.

“I ship it so hard.”

“Shut up!” Sehun said and hit him with a couch pillow.

Kyungsoo chuckled “Ok, ok. Gotta go sell this old furniture to Tom Nook now.” He turned up his 3DS volume and went back to the game. Sehun stared blankly at the controller lying on the ground for a while, and then pulled himself awkwardly up on the couch and lay on his side, his legs under Kyungsoo’s knees and one arm slung over his chest, the other under both his and Kyungsoo’s head as he watched Kyungsoo play above him. Kyungsoo never moved a muscle to help, too busy with his little person in his little town. Sehun had loved cuddling like this ever since he got taller than Kyungsoo in tenth grade and found he could curl his lap around Kyungsoo’s legs and still cage him in with his wide shoulders. It made cuddles perfect. Kyungsoo said it made him feel small, but also that he didn’t mind if it was Sehun.

“There’s a bug on that tree.”

“Oh shit. Thanks.”

Kyungsoo snuck up and caught it. “Fuck. Just a cockroach.” Then, “You need to figure out what you want with Jongin. Maybe if you go out with him you’ll get over Kris.”

“The best way to get over someone is to get under somebody else, huh. That might not be a bad idea, actually.”

“Go get him, tiger.”

 

Jongin didn’t come see him at the lifeguard hut the next day. Sehun saw him waving as he passed in the distance with the whole crew. The girls were with them, which was probably why they didn’t feel like stopping by to see him. It kind of hurt just a little. He avoided them all the next day, sticking to the north end of the beach all on his own, but that night Kyungsoo came and got him for the bonfire.

“Aren’t you ready?”

“No…”

“Now who’s an apathetic stay-at-home? Here’s your favorite bro tank. These black shorts will work. Put em on.”

The moon was below the horizon, so for almost a mile they walked in complete darkness under a handful of stars, guided by a distant light on the pier, the sound of the ocean to their left, and the orange glow of a fire flickering dimly in the distance. Kris’s was the first face Sehun saw as they walked up in the warm night, his beautiful smile and strong eyebrows, head thrown back as he laughed. He glowed orange in the firelight, and Sehun still wasn’t used to that blond hair.

But then Kyungsoo nudged him towards the nearer side of the fire. Jongin’s jawline glowed sharp in firelight, a depth of shadow under his cheekbones, his lips. His eyes sparked against the flames. His brown curls caught red and auburn, and where Kris glowed orange, Jongin glowed bronze, chocolate and red gold in the firelight. Sehun felt very orange, and probably fifty shades of red after Kyungsoo gave him kind of an obvious push straight down onto Jongin’s lap.

“We’re playing truth or dare!” Jongin said, moving over so Sehun could crush in beside him.

“Why.”

“Its fun!”

“No.”

Jongin snickered.

“Yixing!”

“Truth.”

“Are you high right now?”

“You just wasted a fuck… I mean a dare—turn—truth thing.”

“He’s so fucked up,” Kris said.

“Yixing, its your turn.” It took another ten minutes for Yixing to dare Jongdae to kiss a sassy girl named Hwasa. Jongdae had no problem with that, but Hwasa did. She made him kiss her foot. He found a way to make it absolutely lecherous anyway.

Sehun watched Kyungsoo pick up a conversation with some kid he’d never seen that looked even more cat-like than Jongdae. “Sehun!” Baekhyun yelled, “Truth or dare.”

“I’m not playing. I hate this game.”

“Stick-in-the-mud Sehun!” Kris yelled, “Salty stick-in-the-mud Sehun strikes again.”

“Fuck you.”

Baekhyun didn’t push it. The game moved on. Sehun started to enjoy the back and forth of it, Junmyeon singing Beyoncé and dancing, Chanyeol admitting to doing anal with his last girlfriend, then Baekhyun gave Junmyeon a lap dance and it was his turn again.

“Sehun. Truth or dare.”

“Not playing.”

Kris snorted.

“Kris, truth or dare,” Baekhyun said.

“Truth.”

“What was your final grade in statistics. Numerical.”

“55.”

Everyone snickered.

“How did you graduate?”

“I didn’t need those credits. I was taking computer science too, and I passed that. Turns out it can count for math too. Sehun, truth or dare.”

“Not playing.”

“Ok, Baekhyun,”

“Truth.”

“Have you ever had elaborate and extensive sexual fantasies about someone here?”

Baekhyun was very quiet for a minute.

“Yep.”

Everyone cackled and demanded to know who.

“That wasn’t part of the question. Sehun, truth or dare?”

Sehun hesitated, then shook his head.

“Kris, truth or dare?”

“Truth.”

“Have you and Yongseon had sex yet?”

“Yup.”

Sehun couldn’t stomp down the sick swooping in his stomach as Yongseon giggled and whacked at him. He looked very pleased with himself.

“Sehun, truth or dare,” Kris said.

Chanyeol said, “Sehun, choose something so they’ll stop choosing each other.”

Sehun said nothing, but he almost did.

“You’re just going to make it worse for yourself the longer you don’t say anything. Baekhyun, truth or dare,” Kris said, his eyes never leaving Sehun’s.

“Dare.”

“You’re supposed to say truth, and then I ask you who you’ve fantasized about.”

“Dare.”

“Do a strip tease.”

Baekhyun giggled and scurried to the center of the circle where he did the most awkward looking dance Sehun had ever seen and slowly took his clothes off as everyone howled and scattered. With his skinny ass stripped down to his boxers, Baekhyun walked over and stood right in front of Sehun.

“Turned on yet?”

“…no?”

“Truth or dare, Sehun.”

Sehun almost said truth, but he had a nasty feeling that anything Baekhyun, or anybody else asked would have to do with him being gay, and Kris, his one and only huge, consuming crush, sat right across the circle. His breath caught in his throat.

“Kris, truth or dare?”

“Truth.”

“Would you have sex with Moonbyul?”

Moonbyul and Yongseon, sitting right next to each other, gave each other rather excited looks. Kris looked nervous.

“If I say yes, Yongseon will kill me. If I say no, Moonbyul will.”

Both girls immediately protested.

“Ok fine. Yes.”

The girls had been telling the truth. Yongseon did not attack, both did. Yongseon for saying he’d sleep with someone else, Moonbyul for saying he’d cheat on her best friend. Sehun was sure they’d both have attacked him had he said no, just for labelling her as undesirable. Lose/lose. The group loved it.

When things had finally calmed down, Kris looked right across the circle. “Sehun, truth or dare.”

“Dare,” Sehun said, stomach churning.

A loud “Oooooohhhhhh,” went up around the ring.

Kris stared at him for a long moment.

“Kiss me.”

Sehun felt shock snap through him. He dimly registered yelling around the ring, mostly excited screeching. Sehun glanced at Kyungsoo, who had his best “I’m so sorry,” expression on. Jongin touched his elbow beside him. “You don’t have to.”

He did though. Kris would only think less of him if he didn’t.

“Have you ever kissed anyone?” Kris asked.

Sehun shook his head, wondering if that would get him out of it.

“Damn. Sucks. You gonna come do this or not?”

Kris had nothing to lose. He was so confident about this, Yongseon was so obviously what he loved, no one was ever going to think he was gay. He would get nothing out of this, and he wasn’t going to lay it on anyone else. This was all a challenge for Sehun. Sehun watched him raise a coke to his mouth and drink, casual as anything, and then leaned back on his elbows and waited. Jongin was still touching his elbow. Sehun wondered if he would be jealous.

He stood up feeling gangly and awkward and scared, walked on jelly legs over to Kris, who reached up with one hand and pulled him down to sit on his lap, knees straddling Kris’s thighs. “Lips. You know what I want.” Sehun’s hands shook. Kris looked like he was having fun.

Sehun sat there for a moment, desperately trying to keep his poker face, as Kris, beautiful Kris, smirked below him, face tipped upwards, waiting. Sehun bit the bullet, took Kris’s face in his shaking hands, and kissed him gingerly, eyes blinking closed, adrenaline pumping through him. Kris’s lips were so soft under his, so soft. He couldn’t help but linger.

As he pulled away, Kris’s eyes flashed wickedly up at him. He grabbed him by the back of the neck. “Not enough.” He yanked Sehun’s face back to his and kissed him roughly, lips insistent and strong against his, all finessed experience to Sehun’s weak fumbling. Sehun struggled to keep up without thinking, his hands gripping Kris’s broad shoulders to stay balanced. Kris gripped the hair at the nape of his neck and Sehun wanted to melt, lips pressing back. Kris was so close, his scent so strong. His thighs bumped the insides of Sehun’s knees as he leaned back a little more, drawing Sehun closer, and Sehun felt blood pumping south with the adrenaline and his throat betrayed a small, desperate moan.

Kris’s lips twitched upwards against his, and Sehun, suddenly painfully aware of all the screeching people around him, tried to pull away, eyes snapping open in terror, but Kris still had his lower lip caught between his teeth and hand on the back of his neck. For one long, heart-dropping moment, Sehun stared into Kris’s very smug eyes, and then Kyungsoo forced Kris’s jaw open, releasing Sehun, and then straight up kicked him in the chest, knocking him back onto the sand.

Sehun stumbled around the fire back to his seat by Jongin and sat down heavily. First kiss done. There it was. Great teenage benchmark passed. Finally. It had even been a guy. It had even been Kris. It took all his control to keep from crying. He felt like his stomach was turning sour. Kyungsoo had gone back to his seat amidst all the still-screaming kids, but Jongin had already wrapped his arm around Sehun’s, fingers clutching his. Sehun took a deep breath as he squeezed back.

“Sehun, its your turn to pick someone.”

He copped out. “Kyungsoo, truth or dare?” His voice was surprisingly steady.

“Truth.”

“How many hours a day do you play Animal Crossing?” Everyone laughed and Sehun felt the mood relax.

“At least two, but usually more.”

The game moved on and Sehun watched the questions circle around the ring. He couldn’t look at Kris, but no matter how funny the dares or how interesting the truths, he could still hear Kris’s laugh across the ring. He felt sick with nerves.

“Jongin, truth or dare,” Chanyeol said, and Sehun clutched his hand a little tighter.

“Go skinny dipping in the ocean. You have to stay out there for five minutes.”

Jongin immediately hopped up and skipped down towards the water. Sehun stayed there feeling cold and alone for a minute, before his head snapped up. “Wait! Jongin can’t stay in the water!”

“Why not?” Chanyeol asked, perturbed.

“Sharks hunt at night.”

“The only sharks here are, like, bonnet heads and stuff. They don’t bite.”

“That’s in the river, dumbass!” Kyungsoo said. “We get bulls and tiger sharks out here!”

Sehun got up and ran down to the water. When he felt the sand grow flat and damp beneath his feet he stopped and started yelling for Jongin. No response. He looked around quickly now that his eyes were more used to the dark. The impression of firelight stretched just far enough across the sand that Sehun could see a pile of clothes ten feet down. He and Kyungsoo had known since they were three that you can fuck around on the island and in the sunshine all you want, but swimming in the ocean at night is the easiest way to end up dead by morning. Cursing, he stripped off his clothes and ran into the hot summer water.

He needed sunlight. Each breaking wave nearly knocked him over. He kept pressing forward, still shouting. They’d caught a freaking great white offshore just the year before. Alligators up out of the marsh were more likely. Something brushed his ankle and he shrieked. Jongin bust into laughter beside him.

“Jongin! Holy shit! Don’t do that! We have to get out of the water! There are sharks around here.”

“It’s the risk. That’s what makes these things fun,” Jongin said, voice drifting further out to sea.

Sehun followed. “This is too much risk. You’re not supposed to fucking go in the sea at night. What if there’s a riptide! You’d never know which way to swim! No one would ever be able to see you. There are sharks!”

“Oh c’mon. What’re the odds?”

“I don’t care about the odds.” The waves reached halfway up Sehun’s chest now, and he was losing his footing. He wasn’t quite sure which direction to swim. “Jongin, please come back!”

Something touched his side and he nearly jumped out of his skin in terror, arm lashing out.

“Sehun! Calm down, its me.”

Sehun groaned, sagging with relief. “I hit you. I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok,” Jongin giggled, “Why’d you come out here to get me if you’re so scared? Are you skinny dipping too?”

“Y-yeah. It’s dangerous. You need to get out. Sharks.”

“Sehun, calm down. We’ll be fine.”

“No. Not safe.” Sehun’s voice sounded strained and high, even to himself. He was strung too tight. His nerves were still there, the underlying panic of feeling Kris’s lips twitch knowingly beneath his when he’d fucking moaned, the very present panic of being out in the ocean at night. He felt embarrassed, harassed, and miserable. Kris knew. Kris knew and didn’t give a shit about him. Jongin had seen everything and knew exactly why Sehun was freaked out. Jongin was still gripping his arm. Sehun gripped it back and breathed for a moment. He realized the ocean was loud, it was dark, and Jongin was hanging onto him. Jongin was safe. He let himself cry.

“Are you ok?” Jongin asked.

Sehun cried a little louder.

“Sehun…”

They stood there for a moment. Sehun could still faintly feel the phantom press of Kris’s lips, utterly wonderful and humiliating.

“I’m so sorry, Sehun. I’d hug you, but we’re both naked. Do you want me to walk you home?”

“No,” Sehun said, “I’ve got Kyungsoo.”

“Ok.”

He stood there and gripped Sehun’s arm as Sehun pulled himself together and breathed deeply for a bit.

“I fucking hate that piece of shit,” Sehun said.

“I’m sorry. I get why you didn’t want to hang out with all of them now.”

“I think he knows.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Not your fault.”

“I shouldn’t have forced you into this.”

Sehun snorted. “What makes you think you could force me to do anything? I hang out with everyone because you’re there.”

Jongin was very quiet for a moment.

“Sehun?”

“Yeah?”

Jongin’s arm tugged on Sehun’s for a minute, and then Jongin’s mouth collided with his cheek. Sehun jumped and gasped.

“Sorry,” Jongin whispered, and then moved to Sehun’s mouth. Sehun tensed up and tentatively kissed back, his hand gripping Jongin’s arm tightly. It was nothing like his first kiss. It was gentle and cautious, careful and slow, as cautiously soft and beautiful as Jongin was. Kris’s lips had been warm and soft, but Jongin’s lips were salty-wet and so plush, each gentle press pillow-like. After a minute, Jongin pulled away. “I’m sorry,” he said again. “Your first kiss really sucked and I wanted to give you a better one.”

“Thank you,” Sehun said, “Please do it again.”

Jongin breathed deep and leaned in, releasing Sehun’s arm to grip Sehun’s bare waist, his thumb stroking calming circles against the skin there, and pressed their mouths together again, hot in the cool air, teeth biting gently, tongue sliding languidly against Sehun’s lips. Sehun pulled Jongin just a little closer, heart thunking, one hand on the arm around his waist and the other on Jongin’s other smooth shoulder. Jongin let him hang on for a minute before letting go, and now that Sehun was standing still and not panicking, he was cold. He needed Jongin’s warm lips back but didn’t know how to ask.

“Please hug me.”

“Dude, we’re both naked.”

“I don’t care.”

Jongin pulled him in and gave him a tight half side-hug, hips angled away. Sehun hooked his chin over Jongin’s shoulder and wrapped his arms around him. Jongin shifted to slide his arms tighter around Sehun’s body and Sehun felt something that was probably a dick brush against the outside of his thigh. Jongin jumped. “Sorry.”

He was so cute. Sehun pulled his head up and kissed him again, mouth missing by a couple centimeters, but Jongin giggled and helped him line up, tongue sliding hot and wet over Sehun’s salty lips. Sehun thought ‘fuck it,’ and stopped trying so hard to angle his hips away, letting them collide with Jongin’s hip. Jongin jumped again, but his arms pulled tighter around Sehun’s waist, his own hips turning shyly back towards Sehun.

Sehun realized this was the furthest he’d ever gotten with anybody, kissing and rubbing dicks with Jongin out in the ocean at night. His Biggest Moment had gone from nothing, to Kris practically mocking him, to something sweet and wonderful in the waves in a matter of twenty minutes. Sehun felt tingling nerves all through his body making his fingers shake and his stomach clench, lips pressing hot and deep against Jongin’s, who’s arms felt tight and safe around Sehun’s waist.

“God, I wish I could see you,” Jongin murmured against his mouth and Sehun moaned a little, something pitchy and desperate. Sehun felt himself flushing hard. Jongin tangled his tongue with Sehun’s and Sehun had to hold on tight. One of Jongin’s hands slid warm and feather light down Sehun’s back and down to brush over the curve of Sehun’s ass. Sehun pushed back with a gasp, needing more pressure, the touch drawing heat right down into his dick, and Jongin complied, palm and fingers rubbing teasingly across his cheeks. The other hand dropped down to help. It was so overwhelmingly new and good, each slide of skin on skin sending waves of aching pleasure through Sehun’s whole body.

Sehun hung on, his face nestled into Jongin’s shoulder as he distractedly mouthed at the skin. The water really was too cold to keep up a boner, but damn Sehun was trying, especially when Jongin used the grip on his ass to guide his hips tight against his own.

Sehun followed Jongin’s jawline back down to his mouth and kissed him breathlessly. Jongin kissed back hard, one hand coming up to steady Sehun’s waist.

“You’re shaking all over, babe,” Jongin said against Sehun’s mouth, and Sehun’s pulse picked up at the endearment. “Are you ok?”

“I—”

They got swamped by a wave. Saltwater went up Sehun’s nose and he pulled away to rebalance and figure breathing out. Jongin was giggling. Sehun felt cold and overwhelmed. He missed Jongin’s touch already, but Jongin seemed to think the moment was gone.

“Dude, that’s the worst! Cock-blocking wave. Are you ok? C’mon, five minutes is probably over. We should go back. I can’t believe you were actually so worried that you ran out here.”

“I’m terrified of the ocean when its dark. My parents told me so many stories about sharks and drowning. Jellyfish, getting hit by boats, getting sucked out to sea by a riptide or down the river and smashed into an oyster bed. And I’m a lifeguard,” Sehun said between violent shudders. “I have literal training and a salary to freak out over ocean safety.” He wrapped his arms protectively around himself, wishing they were Jongin’s. Or Kris’s. Or even fucking Kyungsoo’s at this point. He needed some love. He also needed to get out of the fucking water.

“Ok. You’re right. I’m sorry I worried you,” Jongin’s voice, though soft, was already bobbing away towards the firelight on the beach and Sehun followed out into the freezing breeze.

He shook himself off and then started pulling his clothes on, fighting the way they clung to his wet body. Jongin walked up close, already dressed, as Sehun struggled to figure out if his shirt was right side out or not.

“So we kissed,” Jongin said.

“Was I any good?” Sehun asked hopelessly.

Jongin laughed a little, “Honestly not bad for a beginner.”

“So pretty bad.”

“Not great, but you were also shivering really hard.”

Sehun slumped hopelessly.

“I can’t wait to tell the guys,” Jongin giggled.

“No,” Sehun said a little too fast. Jongin was quiet. “I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of thinking they got us together,” Sehun added quickly. “And there’s Kris,” he added softly, and more honestly.

“Ah,” Jongin said. “Yeah, I get it. I won’t say anything.” Sehun felt hands on his shoulders and then on his face, and then Jongin was pressing a kiss gently to his mouth again. “Thanks, Sehun.”

“Th—for what?”

“I dunno. For the kiss? For letting me touch your butt?”

Sehun snorted.

“Cuz damn boy, I wanna see you in skinny jeans. That thing is nice.”

Sehun laughed out loud at that, a little bit of warmth coming back into his twisting chest.

“Let’s go dry off and heat up.”

They walked back towards the fire. “Are you wearing a shirt?” Sehun asked as they got closer and Sehun could see that bronze-gold glow off his skin again.

“Nah. I used it as a towel. Did you just put your clothes on again? You’re soaking wet!”

“Dude, I do this all the time,” Sehun said uncomfortably, not willing to admit that the shirt towel was a really good idea, and usually when he just threw his clothes back on again it was sunny out and he dried off fast.

Back at the fire Sehun did not follow Jongin back to their seat. He crammed in next to Kyungsoo. “I wanna go,” he murmured over everyone loudly welcoming him and Jongin back.

“I told you they weren’t eaten by sharks!” Baekhyun yelled as Chanyeol sobbed, “Oh thank god I was so worried I’d killed you,” and clung onto Jongin’s ankle. “Sehun, thank you for saving him.”

Jongdae jumped on Jongin and imitated taking a huge bite out of his leg. Sehun felt disturbingly possessive.

“You sure you don’t want to warm up?” Kyungsoo asked, “You’re freezing.”

“No, I wanna go.”

“Ok.” Kyungsoo said goodbye to a couple people sitting nearby.

Sehun said a brief goodbye to Jongin, who looked a little distressed to see him go. “I’ll come talk to you on duty?”

“Yeah. I’ll see you then.”

He hazarded one last glance at Kris across the circle and saw Kris already watching him. Kris blew him a kiss, smirking. Sehun walked away.

 

Thirty minutes and one very cold, silent walk down the beach later, Sehun identified his house by the distance to the lighthouse, the few lights still on in the windows, and the shape of the treeline barely visible against the distant low glow of the city. “I kissed Jongin in the water.”

Kyungsoo stopped walking. “What?”

“Yeah.”

“Good?”

“Wonderful. He’s so cute but it feels like he knows what he’s doing. I’m still really torn up about…what Kris…” Sehun felt the tears coming on again.

“You need a hot shower. Come on.”

Kyungsoo cleaned Sehun’s room as he washed off and warmed up, presented him with his favorite pajamas when he got out of the shower, and combed his damp hair as he sat on the floor at Kyungsoo’s feet and leaned his head on his knees. They didn’t need to talk about it. Kyungsoo probably knew exactly how he felt.

“How would you like me to murder him?” Kyungsoo asked.

“Red hot poker shoved up his ass.”

“Wow. That’s worse than I thought.” Kyungsoo pulled him up onto the bed and let him curl up across his chest.

“I want a boyfriend, Kyungsoo.”

“I’m not enough?”

“You don’t kiss me. Kris kissing me was terrifying. Jongin kissing me was also terrifying, but wonderful. I want more of that. How many girls have you kissed, Kyungsoo?”

“Like, seven.”

“That’s a lot.”

“Not really.”

“I’m so lonely.”

“You could always date Jongin,” Kyungsoo said.

Sehun felt something hot and wanting uncurl in his gut.

“Do you want him to kiss you again?”

Sehun sighed and shuddered a little despite himself. “He groped my ass, Soo.”

“Oh shit. Weren’t you both naked?”

“Yeah. It felt so good. I wasn’t expecting that.”

“Baby…” Kyungsoo murmured, hands running through Sehun’s hair.

“Yes mom?”

“It’s weird. I really felt like I could keep you sheltered from all this shit.”

“Kris…” Sehun whispered.

“That was heartbreaking to watch,” Kyungsoo murmured back.

“Thank you for pulling him off me.”

“You looked like you were about to cry or pass out.”

“I think he knows.”

“I think you’re right.”

Sehun let despair rock through him. “I thought he was homophobic. He kissed me.”

“Depends on how you define homophobia. Ok sure, he’s fine with kissing guys now and he’s accepted that, goodie for him. But if he thinks its ok to use your sexuality against you and then get a kick out of it when you react, that’s still homophobia. It’s still disrespectful and demeaning.”

“I hate this. It hurts. My heart hurts.”

“Shh.” Kyungsoo ran a hands through Sehun’s hair and one in soothing circles against the back of his shoulders. “You’ll be ok.”

 

Baekhyun came to talk to Sehun before Jongin did.

“Hey dude!” He ran up and stuck his head and arms under the railing.

Sehun looked at him cautiously. “Hey Baekhyun, where’s everyone else?”

“I’m just with Chanyeol today. He’s down wiping out in the surf. Can you give me any weird tips?”

“um, speed? Try to get on your board as fast as possible.”

“Ah ok,” he glanced back down at the waves, contemplatively, “And about yesterday, I’m really sorry about dragging you into the game. I didn’t know about you and Kris.”

Sehun swallowed down a lump in his throat. “Didn’t know what about me and Kris?”

“Um, how you felt about him. I can see why you didn’t want to join in.”

Sehun put his book up over his face. “Does everyone know?”

“Um, yeah. Kris said something about it last night after you left.”

Sehun took a deep breath, and when that didn’t help, he took a few more. Baekhyun gently patted his ankle. Sehun looked down. “I’m sorry,” Baekhyun said again, and he looked genuinely really sorry.

“It’s ok. What would you have made me do?”

Baekhyun barked out a short laugh, “Ahhhh, kiss Jongin, actually.”

Sehun smiled a little. “That wouldn’t have been half as bad. I should have caved to you instead.”

Baekhyun looked relieved. He stayed there for a minute, staring out at Chanyeol, who had just done a dramatic summersault off his board and into the sea. Baekhyun chuckled. “Hey Sehun…”

“Yeah?”

“Can I talk to you about something?”

“Sure. What is it?”

Baekhyun turned back around and looked up at Sehun for a moment, and then shook his head. “Never mind.”

Sehun really hoped he hadn’t been about to say something else about last night with Kris at the bonfire because if so, he really wanted to know what it was. Baekhyun walked back down to the surf to help Chanyeol pick himself back up yet again.

When Jongin arrived, he had the full crew in tow. He stuck his head under the railing, laughing, “Sorry, Sehun, I couldn’t shake them.” Sehun smiled, his heart warming a little at the sight of Jongin’s messy beach curls, and then dropping as Kris slid in next to him, Yongseon dangling from his shoulders.

“Hey cutie,” Kris said, and Sehun’s stomach lurched with hope and foreboding. “Was last night good for you, babe?” He wiggled his eyebrows. “Just how long have you wanted to do that?”

Yongseon giggled and punched at him a little. Jongin’s smile slid off his face. Sehun knew his own face was as blank as it always was.

“Dude, stop,” Jongin said, “I told you that wasn’t ok.”

Kris raised a perfect eyebrow at him and then mimed a little kiss towards Sehun and skipped off. The rest of the group followed. Yixing and Jongdae were definitely passing a dry vape back and forth, eyes suspiciously red. That was, after all, the only safe way to get high on crowded beaches.

Jongin crawled up next to Sehun’s chair. “Why is he such a jackass?” Sehun asked softly.

“I don’t know. He seems really happy about your crush, btw. He’s been smug as shit all day.”

“Look at him,” Sehun said softly, watching him stroll down towards Baekhyun and Chanyeol, Yongseon still hanging off his arm. “He’s so gangly and graceless. His sense of humor is terrible, he’s dumb, lazy, apathetic, and mean.”

“Hey, he’s your crush, not mine.”

“Ugh. I hate him.”

Jongin propped his chin up on the arm of Sehun’s chair and gazed at him through his fluffy bangs. “So, cutie,” he said softly, “was last night good for you, babe?”

Sehun blushed and pulled his book up over his face. “Don’t use his fucking line! That’s so gross!”

Jongin giggled. “I wanna touch your butt again.” His hand snuck into the seat, wiggling under Sehun’s thigh, who jerked out of the way, squished his butt into the back of the seat and wacked at Jongin’s hand like it was a cockroach, giggling.

“Enough about me, how’s your crush on Kyungsoo doing?”

“I’m over it.”

“Really?”

“He’s way too straight and not romantic enough.”

“Ugh. How do you just get rid of a crush like that? I’m so jealous.”

Jongin squeezed into the chair beside Sehun, and Sehun was glad they both had such thin hips, but the shoulders were a problem. He ended up half crunched up under Jongin’s arm, slouching in the chair. Jongin pulled his phone out and started playing Candy Crush, screen barely visible even in the bright shade of the hut. Sehun split his time between watching Jongin’s progress and staring out at the beach. Kris was out in the water with Yongseon. She hung onto him like they would both die if she let go. Sehun felt the familiar aching in his chest. Chanyeol fell over again in the foreground.

“Stop staring at them,” Jongin said. “He’ll get even more unbearable if he knows you’re jealous.” Sehun pulled his eyes reluctantly away and looked down at his legs tangled with Jongin’s. Sehun’s pale skin made Jongin’s look even darker. He glanced at their stomachs to see Jongin’s skin next to his own white swim shirt.

“Checkin out my abs?”

“Checkin out your skin tone. Damn, you’re gonna get skin cancer.”

Jongin snickered.

“Your abs are nice, but mine are nicer,” Sehun said.

Jongin immediately pulled Sehun’s shirt up. Sehun froze up, eyes wide. “Dude, go shirtless more often. I need to stare at this for a bit.”

Sehun’s cheeks burned. Kris was back up on shore and coming towards them. Sehun shoved his shirt back down and pulled his knees up.

“You’re adorable,” Jongin murmured, lips against his hair. Sehun blushed.

Kris walked right up the steps of the lifeguard hut, Yongseon still wrapped around one of his arms, and stared down at them cuddling in the chair. “Wow, you two are gay.”

“Yes? And?” Sehun said. Kris smiled and Sehun had to look away.

“I know Jongin wants you. Bet he got real jealous last night.”

Jongin was still smiling up at Kris, but his eyes were narrowed.

“Yup, there it is,” Kris snickered. “Really, you two would be perfect. It’s too bad I’m so much more interesting than you.” He reached down and patted Jongin’s face. Sehun wanted to say something to defend him, but his throat felt closed.

Yongseon punched him in the shoulder. “Don’t be like that,” she said, but she smiled.

“I’m leaving now because I feel like a third wheel in here. I’ll see you around, cutie,” he said, rubbing Sehun’s cheek affectionately. Sehun’s heart swooped. He reflexively pressed into it just a little, eyelids drooping.

“Wow,” Kris murmured, “That’s a reaction. And I thought you hated me. This is so much better.”

Sehun pulled into himself, cheeks on fire, voice stuck in his throat. He felt just about ready to dig down into the sand and never come out.

“Kris, stop,” Jongin said. “You don’t have to be an asshole about it.”

“Just because its not you he’s gagging for” Kris said, but he stomped down the stairs and left Sehun’s head reeling from shame. Jongin said nothing but, “Don’t listen to him.” Sehun nodded and leaned heavily over to his own side of the chair.

“Can I please tell him that we kissed? He keeps saying you don’t think I’m good enough for you, like you’re some cold bitch.”

Sehun shook his head. “Don’t tell him.”

Jongin huffed and went back to Candy Crush.

Eventually he quietly left Sehun to stew on his own thoughts. For the next few days Sehun locked himself in with Kyungsoo whenever he wasn’t on duty. He kept his eye out for Jongin whenever he was in the lifeguard hut, but for days, he didn’t come. Sehun tried not to think about how badly he missed him.

 

Baekhyun found him first again. He was dressed in blue shorts, boat shoes, and a short-sleeved plaid shirt. He looked like money. No skimboarding that day by the looks of it.

“Hey Sehun. Lookin bored.”

“Yeah. Haven’t seen anyone in days. Is Jongin out of town or something?”

“I haven’t really seen him around either. He’s spending his time going on dates with that other guy in our class. You know Zitao? Apparently they’ve been friends with benefits for a couple summers now.”

Sehun felt like he’d been sucker punched. Zitao had been the other Asian, dyed blond, tall, thin, gay guy in their class, Sehun’s antithesis. They’d always absolutely hated each other.

“I thought you two were a thing. What happened?”

Sehun swallowed down the lump in his throat before speaking. “I guess we weren’t a thing.”

“Oh. Ok. I misjudged that then. I haven’t seen you in days, though. We’ve all been asking about you.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I miss having you around. Jongdae and Chanyeol do too. I don’t know about anyone else. It’s made the group kind of tense.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No, its not your fault. It’s because half of us blame Kris and half of us don’t.”

“Ah.”

Baekhyun pulled himself up into the lifeguard hut and settled in the corner. Sehun looked at him in surprise and hoped the conversation wasn’t about to turn into a borderline offensive gay interview.

“Is anyone else around?” Sehun asked, hoping against hope for Jongin. Maybe he could talk him into ditching Zitao.

“Nah, just me. A lot of the guys are getting high at Junmyeon’s house right now, and I just wasn’t in the mood for it.”

Sehun looked down at Baekhyun for a minute, completely mystified as to how to handle this loud kid who always looked like he was pulling some sort of prank, eyes sparkling mischievously. They’d never talked in school. He was pretty sure Baekhyun was part of the large group that laughed at Sehun for always leaving sand in his classroom seats at school. Sehun still didn’t trust his curiosity. They stared at each other for a moment, and then Baekhyun trailed off into giggles.

“I’m sorry,” Sehun said with a little laugh. “I’m kind of awkward.”

“No, no. Not a problem.” His hand trailed nervously into his messy dark hair. “Actually I kind of do want to talk to you about something specific.”

“Is it the same thing from a few days ago? The thing you said never mind about?”

“Yeah. So you’ve been gay since high school, right?”

Of fucking course. Sehun dropped his book on his lap. “I’ve been gay since always, Baekhyun, and why do you bring that up every single time you see me?”

“No, no listen. I want to know how you figured out you were gay.”

“How’d you figure out you were straight? I don’t know. Guys turn me on in ways girls don’t, and that’s all there is to it. Why do you need to know?”

Baekhyun bit his lip and looked out at the beach to avoid Sehun’s face, hand fidgeting in his lap.

“What, Baekhyun?”

“I’m so confused.”

“What’s to be confused about? My sexuality?”

Baekhyun laughed nervously. “No, mine.”

Oh.

“Baekhyun, in the truth or dare game, who in the group have you had sexual fantasies about?”

Baekhyun stared guiltily up into Sehun’s face for a long minute and then said, “You’ll laugh.”

“N-no. Baekhyun, no. I would never. This is serious.”

“Chanyeol.”

“Your best friend. Oh.”

“Have you ever had a crush on Kyungsoo?”

Sehun smiled a little. “Yeah. Back in sophomore year I had a thing for him for a little while.”

“What did you do?”

“Nothing. And then it faded, because while we make great friends we probably wouldn’t have made great boyfriends.”

“Ok. That’s a problem because I’ve been trying to let this fade for a solid four years now. He’s perfect.”

“Shit. You’re so straight though.”

“I don’t know.”

And all the times Baekhyun has seemed obsessed with the fact that Sehun is gay became suddenly clear. “Are you into girls too?”

“No.”

“So you’re gay.”

“I don’t want to be. It seems so hard.”

Sehun couldn’t disagree. Kris and fucking Zitao were stuck in his head. “You’ve been best friends with your crush for four years. That’s hard too.”

Baekhyun snorted. “Literally. The amount of inappropriate boners I’ve had over the years. I flirt with him all the time too, and every time he brushes it off because he thinks I’m joking it hurts a little. I feel creepy sometimes, because he thinks we’re so platonic so he does all this shit like take off his shirt and sleep in my bed when he’s at my house, or borrow my clothes, or hug me, or bite me, and he doesn’t think anything of it, but meanwhile my heart’s racing and I’m hard and I just want to touch him and it makes me feel so weird and creepy. And I can’t tell him. I can’t do it. I’ve tried. I’m so sick of this. I keep wanting to do something about it, but I’m so scared.”

“Baekhyun. I’m sorry.”

“What should I do?”

“I have no idea.”

Baekhyun sat looking dejected in the corner.

“Are you wearing eyeliner?” Sehun asked.

“Thought I’d wear it outside for once,” Baekhyun nearly whispered, “Since I’m not seeing any of those guys today.”

“You look good.”

“Thanks. I know.”

Baekhyun stayed with him all day and then went out to dinner with him in the evening. He eventually restored Baekhyun’s good mood by telling him stories about all the worst times Kyungsoo had destroyed him playing video games.

“I’d never played Halo before,” Sehun finished one story, “and he killed me nineteen times in ten minutes.” Baekhyun’s makeup looked much better when he laughed.

Sehun walked Baekhyun to his car, and halfway there they ran into Jongin and Zitao openly making out by the crowded pier. Sehun felt his chest cave in. Zitao’s had his arms draped lazily over Jongin’s shoulders, their hips pressed unashamedly together. Jongin’s hands were in Zitao’s back pockets, almost like how he’d held Sehun in the ocean, but Zitao seemed unfazed and at home where Sehun had felt lost and overwhelmed. He felt a lump grow in his throat.

Zitao had dyed his hair black since graduation making them look the same again, but now Zitao looked even older, and intimidatingly gorgeous, make-up flawless, a new piercing in his lip, ripped up blue skinny jeans despite the heat, and a tank top that revealed way too much pale skin down his sides. He didn’t look pleased at being interrupted.

“Hey, Sehun. Haven’t seen you in days,” Jongin said.

“I’ve been lifeguarding. You didn’t visit me.” His voice sounded a little too high.

“Sorry about that,” Jongin giggled as if it were no big deal, “I’ve been a little busy.”

At that Zitao smiled a bit. Sehun wondered if his eyes were naturally winged like that or if it was just eyeliner.

“Since when were you two friends?” Zitao asked, nodding at Sehun and Baekhyun.

“Since today,” Sehun said as Baekhyun said, “About two weeks ago.”

Tao raised his eyebrows. “Ok. Awkward. Baekhyun, your eyeliner is smudged. Did Sehun do your make-up?”

“You know I don’t wear make-up,” Sehun said, turning to Baekhyun to help him fix the smudge. Baekhyun looked hotly embarrassed.

“Neither do straight boys,” Zitao said, nodding at Baekhyun. “You should though. You both need it.”

Jongin looked completely lost and a little distressed. “I take it you all know each other?”

“No.” Zitao said shortly, rolling his hips a little against Jongin’s to distract him. It worked.

Sehun felt like throwing something at Zitao. He also felt like curling into a little ball on the sidewalk and screaming. He ushered Baekhyun quickly past, refusing to look back at them.

“What a jerk. I hope he doesn’t tell anyone about the eyeliner,” Baekhyun whined. Sehun couldn’t respond. Zitao remained in his head like a bad taste. He needed to sit down and hug something.

At the car, Baekhyun opened the driver’s side, and then was rather surprised when Sehun opened the passenger’s side and got in. “Sehun, what—”

Sehun leaned forward and put his head in his hands, frantically trying to keep from crying.

“Oh, shit. Are you ok?”

“I fucking hate that guy!”

“Jeezus.” Baekhyun got in quickly and started rubbing Sehun’s back.

“Jongin kissed me at the bonfire.”

“Oh shit, what?”

“In the ocean. After…Kris. I wanted more. I don’t know what he wants. Why the fuck would he go out with fucking Zitao of all people when I’m here? That guy is fucking shitty as fuck. I thought he wanted me.”

“Hold on, I have a pillow you can punch. Let me grab it.”

Baekhyun held the most hideous pink corduroy couch cushion up against the dashboard and Sehun punched it a few times. It felt good. Before Sehun got out of the car, Baekhyun put a hand on his arm. “Please don’t tell anyone about…anything.”

“No, no, don’t worry. I won’t. We’ve gotta stick together. You either, though.”

“My lips are sealed. Do you want me to drive you anywhere?”

“No. Walking helps me feel better.”

Not fifty meters down the sidewalk he ran into Jongin and Zitao still attached at the mouths in front of the pier and really wished he’d asked Baekhyun to drive him. Jongin’s deep tan stood out even darker against Zitao’s arms than it had stood out against Sehun’s a few days ago. He tried to pass by without stopping, but Jongin pulled away from Zitao and came up to him. “Dude, are you ok?”

“Fine,” Sehun said, not looking him in the face.

“Got dumped?” Zitao asked, a lilt to his voice like he found that funny, damn that question felt right on the money with Zitao sliding up close next to Jongin like that.

“He’s a friend, dipshit. He went home.”

Zitao snorted. “At least my date is out of the closet. Baekhyun’s a little troll. Honestly. Damn you’re pathetic.”

Sehun smacked him. Jongin jumped a foot in the air. Zitao yelled in shock and pain, one hand up to his face. Sehun went for him again. Zitao ducked and punched him hard in the face. Sehun had completely forgotten he did wushu.

“Catfight!” someone yelled.

“Holy shit, Tao,” Jongin said.

That fucker had a nickname for him and everything. The pain in Sehun’s mouth was getting worse with each second. He felt blood run down his chin. He looked up from under his bangs. Zitao was distracted by his cheek again, so Sehun nailed him in the stomach.

“Sehun, stop!” Jongin yelled.

Zitao punched him in the face again, twice. “And that’s for all the shit you said about me in high school,” he wheezed.

Sehun snorted, even though his face hurt like shit and he was leaning against a trash can for support, head reeling.

“Both of you fucking stop!” Jongin said, getting between them.

“Bitch has it coming to him,” Zitao said shortly.

“You’re a fucked-up, vain, pathetic slut, and I hate you,” Sehun said, voicing slurring.

“Sehun!” Jongin yelled, sounding half panicked, half offended.

Zitao ducked past Jongin, pulled Sehun in by the hair and punched him under the ribs. Sehun could do nothing in return but collapse to his knees on the sidewalk and try to rake air into his lungs, arms trembling.

Zitao knelt down in front of him. “Don’t call me a slut just because I got all the guys in high school and you got none of them. Who’s pathetic now, you prude? Maybe if you’d figured out how to bathe yourself and quit dressing like a lifestyle beach idiot. There’s a reason no one wants you.”

“Oh my god, Tao! Why would you say that?”

“Jongin, you have no idea how much we hate each other,” Zitao said blithely. “Please stay out of this.” Zitao stood and wiped his bloody hand off on Sehun’s shirt. Sehun rocked back to get away from him, but the damage was done.

“Jongin, lets go.”

Jongin stood there for a minute. “I’m friends with him too, Tao,” he said, hesitantly.

“Him or me, Jongin.”

Jongin hesitated a second too long.

“Fuckin go,” Sehun slurred.

Sehun watched his feet shift a little, like Jongin was leaning towards him, then Zitao yelled, “Leaving!” and Jongin turned and followed him quickly away.

Sehun leaned against the trash can for a few minutes, one hand clutched over his bruising stomach, the other over his ripped up heart, too mad to care about the people staring at him. There was blood running down his neck onto his shirt. His nose didn’t feel broken, but there was blood everywhere, his teeth hurt, and his eye was swelling shut. The blood might be coming from his lip too. Eventually he stood and walked the mile to Kyungsoo’s house, ignoring the gasps and stares of people on the sidewalks.

Kyungsoo opened the door when he knocked, and looked completely blank for a full second before his mouth fell open and he yelled “Oh shit!”

Shockingly, Kyungsoo was not home alone. The cat-like guy from the campfire was sitting in Sehun’s spot on his couch with an x box controller in hand. A half-smoked bong sat on the table.

“Sit here and hold still. I’ll get some stuff.”

The guy with the controller stared at him for a good ten seconds before saying “Hey, I’m Minseok. I’d shake your hand but I think that’d be a biohazard.”

“I’m Sehun.”

“Oh yeah, you were at the fire, right?” Minseok asked. “You were the one that wouldn’t play the game and then ended up making out with that guy.”

Sehun nodded, gesturing for the bong.

“Hell no, you don’t,” Kyungsoo said, returning with a first aid kit. “Not until the blood’s off.”

Sehun sat still and let Kyungsoo clean him off and patch him up. Minseok took a hit off the bong and watched with his absolutely huge eyes. It was disconcerting. Sehun wasn’t sure he was human. He wished he were gone so he could rant to Kyungsoo.

“Who hit you?” Kyungsoo finally asked.

“Zitao.”

Kyungsoo dropped his cotton ball. “Why the hell were you even near that guy? What set him off?”

“He’s hooking up with Jongin. That’s why Jongin hasn’t been around for a few days. I slapped him. I forgot he knows how to fight.”

“Holy shit.” Kyungsoo went back to cleaning him up. “You should slap Jongin too. He should have higher standards.”

Kyungsoo had gotten all the way through putting bandages on his face and was beginning to clean off all the blood before he spoke again. “But Jongin kissed you. I thought for sure you two were going to happen. Why’s he running around with someone else?”

Sehun shook his head, not trusting himself not to cry. Kyungsoo gave him a new shirt and let him curl up on his bed with the bong and a bag of ice as he sat back down beside Minseok to keep playing.

“What do I owe you for this?” He asked Kyungsoo.

“It’s Minseok’s.”

He turned to the adorable cat-like usurper sitting in his place on Kyungsoo’s couch.

“Dude, nothing. You just got beat the fuck up. You can take as much as you want.”

And Sehun was not about to waste a gift like that. The usurper was welcome to stay.

 

The next morning Sehun woke with his face throbbing in the summer heat. He grabbed a blown glass bowl off his windowsill and went out into the kitchen to find some painkiller. “Mom, do we have any weed left?”

“There should be some in the kitchen.”

He filled up from the communal jar next to the sugar and flour and started his day by sharing a bowl with his concerned mother. “My god, Sehun, your face!”

“Ran into Zitao.”

“That bitch. You know, that little asshole is just like his mother.”

After a hearty breakfast of fresh tomatoes and powdered donuts, he found his dry vape buried under a pile of random shit on his desk.

“I’m going for a long walk on the beach to smoke.”

“On the beach? Sehun, you have a job.”

“I’m taking the vape.”

“If you get caught, you didn’t get it from me and I have no idea you smoke,” she said.

“Love you too, Mom.”

Sehun stood out on the beach for a good ten minutes, just staring at the blue blue blue blue blue blue sky that ended sharply white against the texture of the ocean. No clouds. It was nearly noon and the beach was filling up. So many bright colors. It was like a sandy field of butterflies. Sehun strolled down the beach in a meandering path, feeling very asleep. The pain in his face felt muted. He knew it was there, he even kind of felt it, but he didn’t care.

Down by the pier someone was flying a purple octopus kite and Sehun stared at it long enough to forget the little cartoon octopus that also looked like a jellyfish wasn’t in a bright blue aquarium, wasn’t actually real, and he was looking up, not down.

“Sehun? Is that you?”

“Huh?” He blinked up. The octopus was speaking to him.

“Sehun!”

His neck hurt. He thought about moving it. He moved it. Suddenly he was on a bright, crowded beach and Kris Wu was walking towards him like a glowing angel of gorgeousness. “Holy fuck,” he said, stumbling a little and sitting down. His leg touched something hard. He picked it up while still staring at Kris. His dry vape. He’d dropped it. He clicked it on and took another hit.

“Hey cutie, who punched you in the face?”

“Hey gorgeous, you look really good with blond hair.”

Kris’s eyebrows flew up his forehead. Sehun stood up.

“You have a bruise on your cheek.”

“I do?” he reached up and touched his cheek. It hurt. “Should’ve looked in the mirror this morning.”

“Yeah, your shirt’s on backwards.”

Sehun took a long contemplative drag at the vape and then blew it out right in Kris’s face. “You know, I think that’s aesthetically where I am right now.”

“Yixing, the kids got a dry vape and he’s super fucking high!”

Yixing jogged over. “Oh, let me see!”

As Yixing inspected it excitedly, Sehun looked back up at Kris.

Kris smirked. “You’re staring at me.”

“You’re nice to stare at.”

“Wooooow, bold, coming from silent little Sehun.”

“Oh shut up, prick. Your eyebrows are cooler than you are.”

Kris’s hand flew up to said eyebrows, mouth dropping open a little.

Baekhyun suddenly appeared. He’d probably walked there. Sehun hadn’t noticed. “Sehun, what happened to you?”

“Zitao punched me a few times.”

“What?” Kris yelped.

Baekhyun looked alarmed. “Sehun, Zitao’s right over there.”

Sehun glanced down Baekhyun’s finger and saw Zitao and Jongin coming towards them. Jongin’s sleepy eyes stuck in Sehun’s foggy mind like an imprint of the sun.

“Fucking great,” he said, “Fucking fantastic.”

Yixing handed his vape back to him and he dropped it because it had gotten fuzzy in his fingers. By the time he had figured out how to bend over and grab it, and then had done so, Zitao and Jongin were right next to him. Fucking wormholes.

“Looking good,” Zitao said, laughing and pointing. Sehun stared at him blankly for a moment and took another long hit off the vape.

“Sehun,” Jongin said, and Sehun glanced at him once, just long enough to see Jongin’s beautiful lips, his angled eyebrows, the way his hair was a little damp and curling salty against his temples, and then turned and walked off, vape to his lips again.

“Oh my god, this is so good,” Kris said.

Jongin followed him a few steps and made him turn and face him. Sehun could see Zitao looking pissed off over Jongin’s shoulder. “Sehun, why are you mad at me?”

“You are fucking the shittiest piece of fuck on the planet.”

“Do you mean Zitao? Are you jealous?”

Sehun blinked and took another long hit. He should probably slow down, but holy shit Jongin had gotten it right in one shot. What a genius. “Yeah.”

Jongin had the nerve to look frustrated. “No, you can’t be jealous.” He dropped his voice almost to a whisper, “You don’t get to be jealous when you’re too obsessed with Kris to tell anyone you kissed me.”

Sehun blinked. “Dude, I am way too high for this conversation. I don’t understand what that has to do with you fucking kissing me and then ignoring me like it meant nothing when it meant everything and going off with the shittiest twink on the island.”

“No, that’d be you, Sehun.”

If Sehun had been sober, that probably would have stung, but he was high, so he just said, “No, pretty sure its him.”

“Scuse me, you two, but I have to take a picture of Sehun’s red as fuck eyes,” Kris said, sliding in with his phone.

“Ok, you’re officially the shittiest twink on the island,” Sehun told him. “You’ve beat out both Zitao and me for that title. Congratulations.”

Kris put the phone down. “Scuse me?”

“I really hate you. You’re hot, but I hate you. And Jongin’s a better kisser than you are and I’m talking to him right now. Please leave.”

“What? No he’s not? How would you even know that?”

“I will slap you.”

“He will,” Jongin said, “I’ve seen him do it.”

“Tell me how you know that!”

“Everyone’s asking me things and I’m too high! I need Soo! I need to go home! Where’s Baekhyun?”

“I’m here,” Baekhyun said in a small voice.

“I trust you. Please protect me.”

“Someone needs to walk him home.” Jongin said.

“This,” Sehun said, circling a finger in the air as he hung himself around Baekhyun’s neck and took another hit, “is not. My first rodeo. I’ll walk home on my own. Nobody talk to me. Except Baekhyun. Baekhyun can talk to me.”

“When did you two become such close friends?” Chanyeol asked.

“Yesterday,” Sehun said. “Jealous?”

“A little. Baekhyun doesn’t let me hug him like that.”

Baekhyun stiffened just slightly against him.

“That’s because I’m cuter than you,” Sehun said.

“It’s because he’s high as shit,” Baekhyun said.

“You’re pretty,” Sehun muttered into his hair.

Baekhyun snickered a little.

“This is funny as fuck,” Kris said.

“Let’s take him to my house,” Jongin said. “It’s the closest.”

“Yeah, let’s do that,” Baekhyun said, struggling to hold Sehun up.

Jongin’s house. Fuck. “I wanna go home,” Sehun whined. “I didn’t want to see any of you people today. Except Baekhyun.”

“Got a crush on Baekhyun now too, huh?” Kris asked.

“Nope. I only get crushes on hot assholes who are too dumb and full of themselves to function properly. Lucky you, dickbags,” he said, pointing his two fingers at Jongin and Kris.

“Wow,” Kris said, and actually looked a little taken aback. Jongin’s face was twisting up in a way that would make Sehun hurt if he wasn’t so proud of himself.

“Surprise, I do hate you, Kris. You were right all along. OW FUCK, THE SAND IS EATING MY TOES.”

“Let’s get him inside,” Junmyeon said.

Sehun forgot to talk because he was hanging on to Chanyeol and Baekhyun’s hands for dear life. The sand was about to avalanche down into the ocean and take all of them with it. All the houses at the edge would crumble into the sea like in Inception. They finally got into Jongin’s very big, very bright house full of high ceilings and wrought iron décor. Very southern. Sehun could have fit his house into this one six times if he were constructing it in a video game.

“It’s a super expensive maze,” he murmured as they helped him crawl up yet another set of stairs.

Jongin had his own wing of the house. They put Sehun on Jongin’s bed, Jongin’s bed where he’s probably had sex with Zitao, which did nothing to make Sehun feel more comfortable, and went out to his private living room to hang out. Baekhyun and Chanyeol stayed with him for a little while, Baekhyun’s fingers tangling gently with Sehun’s hair as he stared at the way the white curtains moved in the breeze like they were underwater.

When he woke up he was starving and his face hurt like shit again. Jongin’s room looked very different now that he was sober. It was obviously a resort room, all beachy pastels and seashell paintings without too many personal touches, but Jongin’s wavy blue skimboard leaned against the French doors on the closet and Sehun would recognize those pink swim trunks anywhere. He walked slowly out to try and find people. Junmyeon was sitting in his living room alone.

“Where is everyone?”

“Oh, Sehun! You’re finally awake! Everyone went to dinner except Jongin and Baekhyun and they’re down in the game room.”

Sehun’s heart flopped over a little.

“He has a game room? That’s pretty sweet.”

Junmyeon smiled. “Yeah, they’re fun. My dad had ours renovated last year. I’ve ordered pizza for the four of us. Shall we go down?”

Jongin was really good at pool. Baekhyun had five balls left and Jongin was going for the eight. As Sehun walked up he hit it in and Baekhyun let out a long, defeated sigh.

“You good now?” Jongin asked him.

“I was always good. You guys don’t realize how much I love getting super high and wandering around on the beach till I pass out in the sand. Sometimes Soo and I do it together. It’s fun.”

“You would burn so bad.”

“I’m wearing very heavy duty sunscreen.”

“You thought the sand was eating your feet. You were worried it was going to avalanche into the ocean.”

“Ok, the high got kinda rough there at the end.”

“Yeah. Tao went home, btw. He’s mad at me now, thanks to it getting out that I kissed you.”

“You’re welcome?”

“Half of me is happy you let the cat out of the bag, even if you were super high. Half of me wants to give your face another bruise. I know you hate Tao, but I’ve known him for years and I was having fun with him and didn’t appreciate you antagonizing him.”

“Antagonizing him? That’s all we’ve been doing to each other for, what’s it been? Almost nine years now? If don’t want me to antagonize him, don’t let us near each other.”

Jongin leaned on his pool cue, mystified. “Why do you hate him so much?”

“First it was because I was the poor little sandy kid who lived in a shack and he was the kid who got a new phone every month. Then it was because he was the other tall, skinny, pretty, pale, Asian, gay kid with blond hair, except—,”

“You had blond hair too?”

“Yes. Except he’s so mean, but people actually slept with him and no one ever gave me a second glance. He’s everything that I am, but worse, and somehow he’s desirable, but I’m not.”

“Sehun, you are desirable.”

“Says who? Certainly not all the guys that Zitao took home during high school, including every single guy that I ever started flirting with. Every single fucking time I thought I might actually get a boyfriend Zitao would just snatch them up, sleep with them, and then none of them ever cared about me again. And you’re number five! Holy shit! He’s done the same thing with you.”

Jongin swallowed. “But you acted like you didn’t want me.”

“Didn’t want you? Wh—How did you get that idea?”

Junmyeon and Baekhyun both put their pool cues away and quietly left the room.

“After I kissed you, you didn’t want to tell anyone about it, and then you left. And the next day you weren’t flirting back, and you didn’t defend me against Kris, and then you got really moody and I thought you regretted it. Yesterday on the pier you told me to fucking leave. I don’t know. It just seemed like you were too wrapped up in your feelings for Kris to make room for me.”

“Oh. I’m sorry for blaming you. That’s all legitimate. Misunderstood!” He said quickly when he saw Jongin’s face fall, “But I can see where you would get all that.” He took a deep breath. “Well, I don’t know if I’m too wrapped up with Kris to be good for you. The entire reason I didn’t want to tell people was just because I didn’t want him to know, but I don’t regret kissing you. I really want to do it again. Seeing you go after Zitao kind of really hurt.”

Jongin’s beautiful eyes widened in concern. “I didn’t know.”

“It’s ok.”

Jongin stared at some point below Sehun’s face for a minute, thinking. “Ok, here’s the deal. I really am worried that you’re too into Kris still. He has way too much of a hold on you. I was prepared to drop you forever, even if it did suck because you’re pretty perfect.” Sehun nodded, disappointment gnawing at his chest.

“Some of the stuff you said to him on the beach while you were high though, that was excellent. You just need to channel that energy while you’re sober.”

“Might be getting easier. If he manages to ruin my chances with you, he’s worse than Zitao. I can’t believe how hard it is to just let him go.”

“You wanna play pool until the pizza gets here?”

“Sure.”

They were finishing pizza out on the back deck when the rest of the group got back, this time with Yongseon, Wheein, Hwasa, and Moonbyul in tow. Hwasa was draped off Chanyeol’s arm, laughing at his jokes and steering him around, all graceful curves and commanding presence. It worked absolutely perfectly with Chanyeol’s goofy charm. Sehun glanced worriedly at Baekhyun, who seemed totally preoccupied with something else.

Sehun started off sitting on the arm of Jongin’s deck chair and moved further and further into the seat with him, first stretching his legs across the chair, then Jongin’s lap, practically lay on him, then finally tucked himself close in under Jongin’s shoulder, his head pillowed on his shoulder.

Maybe Sehun was imagining it, but Kris’s overwhelming hold on his attention didn’t stop him from adding to the conversation. His old fear of being found out was finally irrelevant, and Kris seemed much less inclined to tease after everything Sehun had said on the beach. His mood improved every time Kris spoke and he didn’t care, every time he managed to respond to Jongdae’s jokes without worrying about what Kris thought. Sometime during the evening he became distracted and completely forgot about his Kris problem.

Because Hwasa sat on Chanyeol’s lap, right beside Baekhyun. She was incredible, always ready to defend her opinion, always had the best joke, and Chanyeol looked at her like she had the stars in her eyes. By the end of the evening she had her face buried in his hair and they’d retreated from the group conversation, murmuring easily together as he wrapped his arms around her waist and she dropped kisses on his cheeks. Baekhyun’s poker face was excellent, but when Sehun walked him back to his car at the end of the night, he hugged his punching pillow close to his chest and cried.

 

On Friday, the whole crew pulled up right beside the lifeguard hut blasting trap music from their stereo cooler and set up like they were about to have a rave on the beach. Someone had brought tent. Someone else had brought lasers. They played the music quietly for Sehun’s benefit, occasionally jumping up into furious mini-raves nearly on mute as everyone whisper-yelled to the music. Baekhyun, Chanyeol, Hwasa, and Jongin climbed up into the lifeguard hut to violently jam out as quietly as possible. Sehun threw them out because he was laughing to hard to do his job properly.

Mid-afternoon found him sitting idly in the hut with Jongin, Baekhyun, and Chanyeol sitting in with him, though Chanyeol kept leaning through the railings to chat with Hwasa. “No Zitao?” Sehun asked Jongin.

“Nah, she dumped me,”

“Sh—pfft.”

Baekhyun snickered. “Good. Zitao’s a bitch. I’ve never talked to him but he was so rude the other day.”

“It was just because you were with me. Don’t take it personally.”

“Oh yeah, Baekhyun, why were you wearing eyeliner?”

“uuum,”

Chanyeol chose that inopportune moment to jump in. “You were wearing eyeliner? Why?” Baekhyun looked a little caught.

Sehun said, “I, um, thought he’d look good in eyeliner, so we went into town and found some. He looked real good.”

“Yeah, he did,” Jongin said. Baekhyun gave Sehun’s ankle a subtle squeeze of thanks.

Chanyeol looked really curious. “Baekhyun, we’re putting eyeliner on you before the bonfire tonight.”

Baekhyun had his trademark rectangular grimace on, and he looked a little red, but he nodded.

Kris was down by the water with Yongseon. She was wearing a tiny sky-blue bikini today, and Kris couldn’t keep his hands off. He carried her out into the water, strong arms holding her effortlessly against him, and they sweet traded kisses in the waves. Sehun tried to imagine himself in her place, and couldn’t. Kris being sweet was something he’d never experienced. He realized it would feel uncomfortable if he did.

Jongin scooched up to sit between Sehun’s legs, fluffy beach hair tickling the inside of his knee under the red life-guard trunks. The red looked better against his darkening skin than Sehun’s milky-white thighs. He looked up at Sehun, eyebrows pulled together, and trailed one hand up Sehun’s calf to rub distracting circles in the soft skin under his knee.

Sehun groaned, “Don’t do that. Hard-ons are real awkward in these trunks. Trust me. Doesn’t work out.”

Jongin smirked, facing going from sweet as anything to pure sex in under a second, leaned forward, and bit him. Sehun gasped and yanked his leg away. As Baekhyun and Jongin cackled, Sehun pulled his knees up to his chest and hugged them close, cringing when he felt his dick go a little harder in his pants.

“I’m at work! You dipshit! What if you gave me a boner and then I had to go save a small child from drowning? People would think I was a super kinky sex offender!”

Baekhyun nearly fell down the stairs. He heard Chanyeol run into something from laughing too hard behind him. Jongin just giggled and smirked up at him. The smirk helped nothing. Sehun stared resolutely at the sky beyond the dirty white roof. Jongin reached in and dragged the back of his knuckled quickly from under Sehun’s ass up between his legs, brushing over his balls before Sehun kicked him hard in the shoulder mid-flail.

“AH! Now you’re just groping me! Get out of my hut!”

When Kris and Yongseon walked back up onto the beach they found Sehun roughly beating Jongin, Baekhyun, and Chanyeol out of the lifeguard hut with his red safety float.

“What the hell happened?” Kris asked.

“I just groped him. He took offense.”

“He took offense? Figure you’d enjoy that, Sehun.”

Sehun went after him with the safety float next.

“I liked you better when you wanted to get in my pants,” Kris said while dodging float shots.

“Sucks, bitch.”

Kris got out of range looking disgusted.

Yongseon stood to the side in her blue bikini, grinning. Sehun met her eyes and they had an odd moment. “Props to you for dealing with him all the time,” Sehun said, and handed her the float. She laughed and took it.

He looked back out at the chaos from the lifeguard hut. Yongseon hadn’t taken any shots at Kris, but she had given the float to Moonbyul, who was going after him like she was getting paid for it. Kris looked harassed.

Jongin joined him in the chair, squishing himself into his favorite place behind Sehun’s shoulder and tucking and hand up around his waist. Sehun relaxed against his sticky, salty skin and scanned the water. Unlikely day for riptides.

“Coming to the bonfire tonight?” Jongin murmured right into Sehun’s ear, and Sehun nodded.

 

“Sehun, truth or dare.”

Sehun took a swig from his beer can. “Truth.”

“Have you ever had a crush on a girl.”

“No.”

“Aww,” Jongdae said. “I was hoping for something good there.”

“I’m really gay.”

“I know that now.”

“Actually, does Miranda Kerr count?”

Jongdae paused a moment, thoughtfully sipping his own beer. “No. Because I’m totally straight but I have a huge crush on Chris Pine. Like, huge. Your turn, Sehun.”

Sehun smiled. “Kris, truth or dare.”

“Truth.”

“Fuck, marry, kill. Yixing, Junmyeon, Yongseon.”

“Shit.”

“Choose wisely.”

“Fuck…Yongseon, Marry Junmyeon, kill Yixing.”

Yixing and Yongseon were both very offended. Junmyeon was very embarrassed. Kris looked like he wasn’t enjoying his evening anymore. Sehun smiled.

“Kyungsoo,” Kris said, “We haven’t heard from you yet. Truth or dare.”

“Truth.”

“When did you find out Sehun was gay, and have you ever worried that your gay best friend had a crush on you?” Kris said, pointing at Sehun with his beer bottle.

“That’s two, but I found out in ninth grade, and he did have a crush on me at one point.”

Sehun spit beer down his chin. “How do you know about that?”

“I could tell.”

“What?”

“I wasn’t worried. I knew you’d get over it.”

Sehun’s head reeled. Most of the circle was snickering and Kris looked a little doubtful and surprised.

“Minseok, truth or dare?”

Now that was something that bothered Sehun, even though it shouldn’t. He wasn’t used to Kyungsoo having any other steady friends, but the usurper just kept popping up around Kyungsoo with weed and cute smiles. He was friendly, though, and gave Sehun and Kyungsoo time to chat whenever they needed it, so Sehun figured he should probably get over it and make nice.

Over to the side, Baekhyun’s poker face was struggling a little, which might have something to do with the slightly smudging eyeliner that he and Chanyeol had found earlier. One hour in and he had three empty beer cans beside him. It was not hard to see why. Chanyeol had Hwasa in his lap right next to him, and she leaned sensually back against his chest, lips tilted upwards, a hand brushing under his chin. Baekhyun clutched his knees close to the hoodie Chanyeol had lent him and pulled the hood around over his face for a second when nobody was paying attention, eyes soft. Sehun’s heart hurt.

Minseok twerked for his dare. He was alarmingly good at it. Kyungsoo fell right off the log he was sitting on. The game moved on.

“I like these,” Jongin murmured, threading his fingers through the holes along the thigh of Sehun’s skinny jeans. Sehun pressed gently back against Jongin’s chest behind him.

“Good. I wore them for you.”

“Isn’t sand getting into your pants?”

“A bit. I really don’t mind.”

“Did you wear this for me too?” he asked, hand sliding easily into super low arm holes of Sehun’s tank top, fingers gliding over his ribs and down towards his navel. Sehun shivered and nodded. He pushed his feet into the cool sand with a sigh, grounding himself as he lay back against Jongin’s shoulder and brought the beer back to his lips, senses a little fuzzy around the edges, except where he could feel Jongin’s fingers trailing easy as anything through the dips in his abs.

“So pretty,” Jongin whispered in his ear. His fingers brushed low along the belt line of Sehun’s jeans and he squirmed, tingling pleasure racing down into his dick.

“Sorry,” Jongin said with a snicker, hand travelling back up to flick at Sehun’s nipple. Sehun twitched, gasping.

“Jesus Christ! Get a fucking room, you two!” Kris yelled.

Sehun opened his eyes to make sure Kris was yelling at them and not where Chanyeol now had his fingers dipped down just an inch or so into Hwasa’s shorts. Kris’s eyes were, in fact on Sehun, so Sehun gave him a couple very expressive fingers and dropped his head back onto Jongin’s shoulder.

“Baekhyun, truth or dare,” Jongdae said.

Baekhyun looked up from where he just picking up his fifth can of beer. He considered for a moment, then shifted slightly and nearly fell over. “Better be truth,” he slurred.

Jongdae snickered. “Ok then WHO in this circle have you had elaborate sexual fantasies about. And I don’t mean just a once off, curious thing, because if so, then I’ve had sexual fantasies about everyone here. (“oh, come on, Jongdae.” “Seriously?” “Gross.” “Me too, dude!” That last one was Wheein.)”

“Oh shit, you remembered,” Baekhyun said, hands clutching his beer protectively to his face.

“Hell yeah, I did. Who is it?”

Sehun tried to catch his eye, signal to him, somehow, that Baekhyun should lie and say his name and not Chanyeol’s. Baekhyun stared at the sand, beer raised to his lips. Everyone waited breathlessly.

“Chanyeol,” he said, voice steady. He calmly popped open his beer can as loud and excited shock went around the circle. Sehun’s stomach dropped a little. Baekhyun wasn’t looking at anyone. He drank his beer and stared at the fire. Sehun saw Chanyeol’s stunned face, saw him turn with a laugh towards Baekhyun, then kind of freeze when he saw that Baekhyun wasn’t kidding. Sehun saw Baekhyun say “I’m sorry,” into his beer and Chanyeol stared at him for a moment, eyes comically wide, mouth still stuck in a smile that now looked more like a grimace. He pulled back and blinked as the group continued to yell.

Sehun dimly heard “Well, there goes that friendship,” from Kris across the circle.

Baekhyun stood suddenly, unzipping the hoodie and letting it drop beside Chanyeol, and stumbled towards Sehun who got up quickly and guided him away from the fire. Baekhyun led him out into the sand lit by the full moon beyond the circle, leaning heavily on Sehun’s support.

“Baekhyun, what do you need?”

“Just, air, I need…” Baekhyun got a fair distance away and sagged onto his knees.

“Don’t listen to Kris, Baekhyun, he doesn’t get it.”

“I want…” Baekhyun started crying helplessly, hunched over himself, clutching his arms and shaking.

Sehun wrapped himself around Baekhyun as best he could and pressed his face into his back. “You’ll be ok, Baekhyun. Chanyeol’s not an idiot. He’s not going to freak out over this. You’ll both be fine.”

“God this sucks. I hate this. They w-were all l-laughing.” Baekhyun pealed off into more frantic sobs and Sehun’s stomach twisted.

“Baekhyun, I’m so sorry.”

“I want him. I want him so bad.”

“Baekhyun…”

“It h-hurts.”

Sehun hugged him around the waist and pulled him close. He felt so small in Sehun’s long arms.

“Baekhyun!”

Sehun whipped around to see Chanyeol’s tall form silhouetted against the fire as he came towards them. Baekhyun sat up and turned towards him, not bothering to stifle his sobs.

“Oh shit, Baekhyun.” Chanyeol let out an unsteady laugh that also sounded close to tears. “You’re a mess, dude,” Chanyeol said, and draped something around Baekhyun’s shoulders. The hoodie, Sehun realized. “You shouldn’t take that off. You get so cold. There you go,” his deep voice murmured soothingly as he zipped Baekhyun into the hoodie, fumbling in the moonlight. He sat down in the sand and pulled Baekhyun into his lap. Baekhyun went, pressing himself close to Chanyeol’s chest as he drunkenly struggled to get his arms through the sleeves. Chanyeol’s over-large hoodie fit like a robe on him. “It’s ok, dude. Just breath. You’re so drunk.”

“He was serious though,” Sehun murmured over Baekhyun breathless sobs.

“I know, I know. Sehun, can I talk to him alone for a bit?”

Sehun felt a strong urge to cry with Baekhyun. “Ok.”

“Thanks.”

Sehun stood and made his way back over to the fire, flopping back in front of Jongin.

“What was that?” Jongin asked, already winding a hand up into Sehun’s shirt, fingers splaying up across his stomach.

“Not my business to say, dude.”

“How did you get involved?”

“Baekhyun talked to me about it.”

“About what?”

“Being attracted to Chanyeol?”

“Is he gay?”

“Not my business to say, dude.”

“Ahh…”

Jongin was quiet for a moment, watching Junmyeon dare Moonbyul and Wheein to kiss. They did, then turned around and dared Yixing to kiss Junmyeon. Eye for an eye. Yixing got really into it.

“Will they be ok?” Jongin asked.

“I don’t know. I hope so.”

Sehun found it hard to stay worried for long with a beer in his hand and the game circling around the group.

“Hwasa, truth or dare?”

“Dare.”

“Let one of the guys in the circle grab your boobs, full skin-on-skin contact.”

“Sehun, get over here.”

“No fair! He’s gay!”

“Yup. I’m not letting the rest of you fuckers near me.”

“Happy to help,” Sehun muttered, standing and walking over. “Please keep Chanyeol off my back for this.”

“I think he’s sufficiently distracted right now,” She said and adjusted her shirt. Sehun, giggling, gently grabbed her boobs.

Definitely gay. No sexual thrill here. They were just…kind of soft and squishy. And very warm. The circle cackled loudly around them. Hwasa’s cheeks were bright pink. “Hey, these are nice. I want some.”

“You really don’t.”

“They feel so nice though. I’m kinda jealous.” He removed his hands rather reluctantly.

“Did you enjoy that?” she asked.

Sehun was blushing now. “I mean, a little.”

“You’re a little half hard in those skinny jeans.”

“That’s Jongin’s fault,” he said, blushing harder. “I didn’t get anything out of that. Don’t worry. They’re just nice.”

Jongdae was rolling around in the sand and having trouble breathing next to them, tears rolling down his cheeks. “Sehun you’re so cute! This is the most awkward conversation I’ve ever heard!”

Sehun went back to his seat feeling flustered. “I kinda get why people like boobs now,” Sehun told Jongin, who giggled and tightened his arms around Sehun’s waist.

“Still gay?” Kris yelled across the circle.

“Never gayer!” Sehun yelled back.

“Hey Jongin!” Hwasa said, “Truth or dare!”

“Dare.”

“Bite Sehun.”

Sehun tensed, but had no time to prepare before Jongin bit down hard on his neck. Sehun gasped, feeling pain, but also, dimly, his dick getting interested. Jongin eased off and sucked hard on the bite. Sehun let out something between a yelp of pain and a moan.

“This whole circle is just going to turn into an orgy before too long,” Wheein said.

“Sex in the sand?” Moonbyul squeaked. “Ow!”

“Jongdae, truth of dare.”

“Truth.”

“Have you ever given someone a blowjob?”

“Fuck you, I’ve told you this already. Yes.”

“Who?” Sehun asked.

“Sehun, please don’t kill me for this. Zitao.”

“Fuckin bitch,” Sehun muttered and Jongdae cracked up.

“Truth or dare, Sehun,” Jongdae said.

“Why am I involved with every single thing now? Dare.”

“Take off your pants.”

Sehun blanched as the ring went crazy.

“Jongin, I can’t do that,” he said quietly.

“You have to. It’s the dare.”

“No, I really can’t do that. Illegal. Public Indecency and all that. I have a job here, you know.”

“Sehun, you asked for a dare. Take off your pants.”

Jongin I’m not wearing underwear. Stop laughing!”

“Jongdae, you have to change my dare. Sehun’s going commando.”

Everyone bust out squealing and laughing while Sehun covered his face with his hands.

“Ok, Sehun, give Kris a lap dance.”

“I really will kill you, Jongdae,” he said, already standing up. Yongseon had abandoned Kris’s lap and was sitting expectantly off to the side as Kris sat there wearing the exact same challenging expression as he had when he told Sehun to kiss him. This time, Sehun felt no panic. He smirked. What Kris didn’t know is that he’d been giving Kyungsoo lap dances whenever he wanted a turn at the game controller for years, because he’d learned that nothing got Kyungsoo to give up faster than the threat of his best friend getting him hard. Sehun was good at what he did.

He turned around with his feet on either side of Kris’s spread thighs and his butt hopefully pretty close to his face, and dropped his ass down smoothly into his lap, long legs folding easily on either side of him, back arched, eyes locked on Jongin’s. Jongin’s jaw dropped. Kyungsoo was hunched over on his log, shoulders shaking with laughter, eyes peeking through his fingers. Sehun winked at him and started doing doing the slow, filthy grind that was Kyungsoo’s (least) favorite move, hands trailing up the insides of his own thighs for Jongin to watch.

Behind him, Kris said “what,” in a rather quiet voice. Sehun glanced sultry over his shoulder to see Kris staring at his back with one hand over his mouth, eyes wide. He gave Jongin one last wink, and the turned around quickly, pulling his limbs in so as to not slam Kris in the jaw with his knee. He rested his arms on Kris’s shoulders, his knees in the sand on either side of him, and dropped his crotch onto Kris’s to rock them together in tight, hot circles. The friction was intense through one layer of jeans. He could only imagine how it felt with Kris’s basketball shorts.

He pulled his most feminine, fucked-out smolder onto his face, eyes hooded, staring up under his lashes, mouth open. Kris had just put both his hands back on the sand to steady himself, and had nothing to cover his stunned expression. He could feel Kris beginning to get hard, so he threw his head back to bare his throat and let out a pornographic moan, his hands running up into Kris’s hair. His knees slipped wider as he dropped more pressure between their dicks and tugged Kris’s hair.

Kris brought a hand up to shove Sehun off, but Sehun caught it and quickly brought it to his mouth, sucking two of his long, thick fingers into his small mouth and swirled his tongue between then. He guided Kris’s hand further back into his mouth till he could feel his throat starting to protest and squeezed his eyes shut, concentrating. His hips never slowed. Kris’s fingers twitched in his throat and he moaned hard around them to keep himself from gagging.

Kris abruptly gasped, yanked his fingers out of Sehun’s mouth, and crawled out from beneath him. He collapsed in the sand and left Sehun sitting there with his knees spread wide and his dick half hard. To his right, Junmyeon and Yixing lay in the sand laughing hysterically, eyes wide on Sehun. To his left Yongseon also lay in the sand, eyes wide, mouth open, looking like she’d just experienced the single best thing in her life. The rest of the people in the ring were somewhere between those two extremes, but everyone leaned away like a shock wave had hit them. Kyungsoo applauded. Sehun stood up with a variation of the bend and snap, putting his hands on the ground and popping his ass up into the air, legs spread, and then arched his back to straighten up. He gazed triumphantly at Kris lying absolutely destroyed in the sand, feeling absolutely light and free, and then turned to look at Jongin over his shoulder.

Jongin had both his hands over his face. As Sehun came and sat back down in front of him, Jongin curled his arms around Sehun’s shoulders and hugged him hard.

“How’d I do?”

“You’re always so shy. Where the hell did that come from?”

“Am I sexier than Zitao?”

“Definitely sexier than Tao.”

Kris was still lying on his back on the sand, Yongseon and Junmyeon playfully trying to revive him.

Jongin reached both hands through Sehun’s sleeves to rest them on his chest, fingers rubbing slowly over Sehun’s nipples. “You’re so fucking hot. It’s your turn, babe.”

“Wheein, truth or dare?”

“Truth.”

“How many people have you had sex with.”

She giggled a little. “Just my girlfriend.” She pointed at Moonbyul, who leaned back in the sand with her hands behind her head, nodding like she knew she was the shit. Reactions ranged from “what? You two are gay?” to “aw, they’re so cute,” and “Fuck. There goes that plan.”

Sehun closed his eyes and relaxed as Jongin felt him up and kissed distractedly at his hair, palms running so slowly up and down his body, thumbs stopping to flick at Sehun’s nipples with every other stroke. People ignored them and the game bounced back and forth across the group. Sehun drew his knees up, half to get his hot feet away from the fire, half to hide the growing bulge in the front of his jeans.

Above him, Jongin’s eyes were glassy, beautiful lips parted. Sehun drank his beer with his head tipped way back to give him something to look at. Sure enough, one of Jongin’s hands left his shirt to trail gently up his neck. Sehun left his head tipped way back, slouching and shifting sideways in Jongin’s arms so he could lay his head against the crook of one of his elbows. Jongin pressed his fingertips gently into the bite he’d left earlier and Sehun’s eyebrows furrowed as the pain sent shivers of want through him. Jongin kissed his forehead gently.

He was dimly aware of most of the group shrieking about something and Kyungsoo singing Taylor Swift. Jongin pulled his shirt up under his arms and the warm breeze felt so good against the trails Jongin’s touch had left against his skin, completely exposed to the firelight. “Want people to see you,” Jongin whispered. Someone close by said “whoa,” and Sehun felt his cheeks flush. Jongin’s hand never stopped on his chest, fingertips tracing gentle circles across his body. Sehun breathed shallow and fast, chest straining up towards Jongin’s light fingers.

Jongin pressed gently into the bruise Zitao left on Sehun’s stomach, and Sehun let out a pained moan, quickly choked off in his throat. His body tensed and relaxed randomly as Jongin’s teasing touches played up and down his body and over his neck. His dick pressed up tight to the inside of his jeans. Jongin’s pressed up against his back.

“So beautiful,” Jongin murmured, and pinched a nipple right out in the air where anyone could see. Sehun gasped a little, body tensing, dick throbbing. Maybe he could come like this, right in his pants with everyone sitting around to hear him moan. “Jongdae is staring at you,” Jongin said quietly.

“Fuck yeah, I’m staring at him,” came Jongdae’s quiet voice from near above Sehun’s head, a little off to the side. “Holy shit that’s hot.”

Sehun blinked his eyes open and stared up at Jongdae’s face, his hooded eyes, then Jongin’s fingers pressed at the bruise on his cheek and his eyes fluttered shut as he moaned. He heard Jongdae huff out a small, breathless laugh. Jongin leaned forward and latched his mouth onto Sehun’s, filthy and languid, tongue fucking deep in past Sehun’s lips. Their second kiss. Sehun pressed back, tongue tangling with Jongin’s.

It was also his second kiss in this circle with so many people nearby, but this time it was Jongin and not Kris, and it didn’t matter who was watching, or if anyone was watching at all. Wheein and Junmyeon sang loudly as they tangoed for a dare, Minseok and Moonbyul’s voices talked softly over the sound of the fire. Sehun could hear Kyungsoo humming “Moon River” at the full moon. All the while he held back whimpers as Jongin’s fingers dragged promisingly back and forth across the soft skin just above the hem of his jeans, and Sehun panted desperately against his lips, swallowing whimpers.

“I wanna touch you,” Jongin whispered. “I wanna suck you off.”

“This just isn’t fair, guys,” Jongdae said beside them. “If you two keep this up I’m just gonna pull my dick out and jack off right here and nobody wants that.”

Jongin smiled as he bit Sehun’s lip and pulled gently, fingers dragging against the shell of Sehun’s ear and circling the tender skin around Sehun’s bruised stomach. Sehun twitched, spine arching, abs tensing. Jongin rolled Sehun’s head to the side to take the ear in his teeth, tongue flicking. The familiar tenor of Kris’s voice rumbled from across the crackling fire and Sehun bit down on Jongin’s arm to keep from whimpering. Days ago he’d been afraid Kris would find out that he’d kissed Jongin right after him, and now Jongin had his body captive under his fingertips like a puppet right in Kris’s sight.

Jongin tongue flicked wet and hot over Sehun’s nipple. Sehun’s head snapped back over Jongin’s arm, pleasure throbbing hard down into his dick. Jongin bit down and he yelped. There was a quick moment of silence around the ring and Sehun realized, as everyone stared, just how close to the edge he was, orgasm like a string tugging in his gut. “I’m gonna cum,” he whispered.

Jongdae openly groaned. “Ok. That’s it. I’m hard. Thanks Sehun,” he said.

Jongin pulled away and gently tugged Sehun’s shirt down. Sehun whined pathetically, orgasm ebbing away, and opened his eyes to see Jongin’s beautiful, flushed face and pouty lips. “We should go somewhere else,” he said, “Just gotta grab my board and my stuff.” Sehun nodded and rolled sluggishly off his lap, face burning. He sat up in the sand, and casually made sure his dick wasn’t sticking out of his pants or anything equally embarrassing. He was sweating a little. Kyungsoo was giving him a significant stare. Out of his periphery he could tell Kris was looking right at him. He stood on shaking legs and let Jongin guide him off into the silvery moonlight. They passed Chanyeol and Baekhyun sitting together facing the ocean, talking quietly, Chanyeol holding Baekhyun close with an arm wrapped around his shoulders.

“I’d offer my place,” Jongin said, “but my parents will freak the fuck out if I come home like this with you, and I already told them I’m staying with Junmyeon. Can we go to yours?” Sehun just nodded and began leading him that way. Jongin’s hand dropped into Sehun’s back pocket. They got another thirty meters before Sehun pulled him up short and kissed him hard, hands tangling in his soft hair. Jongin’s board thumped to the sand.

“I want you,” Sehun said and loved the way Jongin’s breath hitched and the way his fingers tightened in Sehun’s pocket. “Touch me,” he murmured. “You have to keep touching me.”

Jongin pushed his hands up Sehun’s shirt again, rubbing hard up his back and over his sides. He grabbed his board and pulled Sehun into a slow walk again, one hand still stroking up and down his side and over his ass. The touch was torturous. His cock ached against his jeans. Commando was a terrible idea.

“How far till your house?” Jongin asked.

“Mile. Mile and a half. Something like that.”

“Holy shit we’re never going to get there.” He pushed Sehun quickly forward. Sehun’s dick hurt. His ass actually ached to get rid of the jeans. Suddenly, he turned and pulled Jongin quickly up the beach.

“Sehun, what?”

“Can’t wait. Lifeguard hut.”

“Holy shit you are so fired,” Jongin giggled.

Sehun grabbed his spare towel out of the storage box at the back of the hut. He pulled it out and spread it out next to the chair as Jongin lay his board carefully against the railing, slung his drawstring bag off his back, and then yanked his shirt off his head. He turned, met Sehun’s mouth, and licked in. He tugged Sehun’s fly open, freeing his dick, and shoved his hands down over his ass. Sehun’s knees went a little weak and he moaned loudly, body arching into Jongin’s.

“You’re a virgin, right?” Jongin asked, palms kneading steadily at his cheeks.

“Yeah.”

“Have you ever stuck anything in your ass?”

Sehun’s face got very warm very fast.

“Yeah.”

“Ok good. I brought lube and a condom. You wanna do that?”

Oh. This was happening. “Fuck yes.”

Jongin pulled Sehun’s shirt over his head and then slowly peeled his skinny jeans off, kissing down Sehun’s legs as he went. And then Sehun was standing naked in the lifeguard hut with the light of the full moon glowing over the beach, bright enough to see Jongin’s individual curls where he stared up at him from down next to his dick, his hands trailing lightly over Sehun’s ass. “Watching you give Kris a lap dance was hot enough, but knowing you were commando when you did it…” Jongin gave a low whistle and ran a thumb right along the base of Sehun’s dick. Sehun’s hips bucked forward and Jongin giggled and pressed a kiss to the tip. Sehun gasped, heat surging into his gut.

“You’re so sensitive. I love it.” He lowered his mouth and began licking into Sehun’s slit, and damn did those plush lips feel good closing over the head of his dick. Sehun covered his mouth to stop the moans. Jongin sucked him down quick and easy, tongue drawing swirls along the underside. Sehun whimpered as Jongin sucked and bobbed his head. He let Sehun get right to the edge and then pulled off. “How fast are you going to come, Sehun?”

“Fast as you’ll let me,” Sehun whispered. Jongin smiled.

“Lay down, babe. I gotta give you some love first.”

As soon as Sehun lay down Jongin latched his mouth onto a nipple, fingers circling the other, and then moved up to suck hard at Sehun’s sensitive neck, hickeys overlapping with the one around the bite and trailing down to his collarbone.

“More,” Sehun murmured. He wanted people to see. Jongin complied, and each stinging mark brought Sehun up closer to the edge. Again, Jongin pulled away at the last second.

“Not yet,” he murmured, pulling back to kiss the insides of Sehun’s thighs. Sehun groaned and stretched out on the towel, knees dropping wide.

“You’re so pretty, babe,” Jongin said, “I wanted you like this the minute I saw you.” He mouthed at Sehun’s balls and the base of his dick. Sehun groaned, basking in the praise, and pulled his knees up just to do something, to act on the coiling tension in his cut. He heard Jongin shuffle out of his swim trunks and then the cap of a bottle popped over the dim sound of the surf. Jongin’s finger touched his ass, warm and wet, and Sehun gasped.

It felt so different with someone else’s fingers. Jongin’s finger thrust up deep inside him, knuckles brushing against the sensitive curves of his ass, and Sehun thought he felt his dick swell harder against his stomach. He whimpered. Jongin kissed the pale, smooth dip of skin under his hip and thrust again.

“You’re a little stretched already, Sehun.”

“Did this yesterday,” he whispered. “Couldn’t come. Had to quit and jerk off.”

“I’ll get you there, babe. Don’t worry.” Jongin added another finger, and there was the stretch Sehun was always afraid to push past. But Jongin thrust slowly and powerfully forward, and each thrust and twist lessened the burn until only a searing, aching pleasure remained. Sehun was right on edge.

“Gonna come,” he whispered.

“Not yet, beautiful.” Jongin drew his fingers out and then pressed ever so slowly back in with three, bringing the burn back, officially more than Sehun had ever put in his ass before. Sehun gasped and panted, teeth gritted.

“Ha—hu-hurts, Jongin, it hurts, hng”

“Relax. I’ve got you.” He smudged a distracting kiss to the center of Sehun’s dick, sending a jolt of pleasure right down into Sehun’s toes, orgasm abruptly close again, but Jongin pulled away and Sehun’s hips jerked helplessly, searching for those lips again.

Jongin sucked a hickey into his inner thigh, letting Sehun come down a little, then rubbed his fingers upwards into Sehun and brushed against a spot aching inside him. Sehun threw his hands over his head and gripped the floorboards with his fingertips, keening, legs twitching. Jongin moaned lowly into his hip. “Fuck, Sehun, you’re so fucking hot right now. I wanna keep you like this for hours.”

Sehun whimpered in response. He wanted that. He’d been on edge for so long, but he wanted to stay there, twitching around Jongin’s fingers with the sea wind tingling on his hyper-sensitive skin, dick aching with pleasure on his stomach.

Jongin thrust a fourth finger in and Sehun convulsed beneath him, short, high moans hanging on the end of every harsh breath. Jongin scissored and stretched and Sehun’s back arched. He felt one of Jongin’s hands trailing up his stomach and arched into it, fingers pulling desperately at the floorboards. Jongin’s fingers reached one of his nipples and began rubbing over it in gentle circles. Sehun positively writhed, muscles tightening as he felt his orgasm coming on, and then Jongin froze. Sehun hung breathlessly right at the tipping point for just a moment, and then, again, it faded.

“Jongin! Gnng, ah—move! The fuck are you doing?”

“Making it good for you, babe.” He jabbed at Sehun’s prostate and circled his fingers hard at the same time, and Sehun rocketed back up to the edge again, hips stuttering, high whines frantic in his throat. Jongin stopped rubbing and pulled his fingers out, nearly sending Sehun over the edge at the feeling of his knuckles dragging past the rim.

He sobbed. “Where’d you go?”

“Gotta get this condom on. Sorry. Nearly ready.”

Sehun opened his eyes and lifted his head a little to watch Jongin’s form against the silvery night, his fluffy hair catching strands of moonlight and glowing a little. He sighed. Jongin lined up, then stopped moving again and just stared down at Sehun. “So fucking sexy, Sehun. You have no idea.”

Sehun covered his face.

“No, sweetheart, Sehun, baby, please put your arms back over your head. You look so good. Wish Kris could see you spread out for me now. Straight ass sucker has no idea what he’s missing.”

Sehun groaned and lay his arms flat on the ground above his head. Jongin rubbed his thumb in circles over the hickey he’d put on Sehun’s hip, pressing gently, and Sehun groaned low, eyes slipping closed. Jongin’s other hand trailed tantalizingly up his chest, brushing over Sehun’s nipple every few seconds, and Sehun shook all over, dick straining against his own pleasure. He felt impossibly hard, impossibly close. His legs trembled where they lay wide on either side of Jongin.

Jongin’s dick nudged at his entrance and he shuddered, thrills of arousal thrumming up through him. His hips twitched to try and bring Jongin closer. He looked down to where he was propped up on Jongin’s strong thighs, looked up to where he could just barely see barely see Jongin’s beautiful eyebrows pulled together, the way he bit his bottom lip as he stared at Sehun’s body begging for it. He was tormenting himself just as much as Sehun by stretching this out into wonderful, agonizing pleasure. He whispered, “Let me come. Please Jongin, please let me come.”

Jongin took a deep breath, carefully gripped Sehun’s slim hips, and thrust quickly into him in one swift motion, bottoming out, and with wonderful aim, slammed over Sehun’s prostate. It was as if he’d punched all the pleasure in Sehun’s body into his dick all at once. Sehun’s vision whited out and he came with a wreaked moan.

Jongin gasped and leaned over Sehun, his head hanging between his arms. “Fuck, Sehun, so tight.”

Sehun came down gasping for air, aftershocks still trembling through him every few seconds and making him tighten down on the dick still in his ass. He shuddered harder for a moment, and then finally relaxed, boneless. “Jongin, holy shit. Wow.”

Jongin just whimpered. Sehun closed his eyes for a moment and waited to see what would happen next.

“Fuck,” Jongin said. “I was going to keep you on edge a little longer. Didn’t think just pushing in would do that. What happened?”

“You hit my prostate, I think.”

“Shit.” He didn’t move. “I don’t wanna get out,” he whined. “Feels so good.”

Sehun wrapped his shaking legs around his waist. “Don’t go. Use me.”

“Sehun…”

“Do it, Jongin. This is my first time. I don’t want it to end in one thrust. Just do it.”

Jongin took a deep, unsteady breath, and then adjusted his stance over Sehun and pulled slowly out. Sehun took a long breath. Jongin punched in quickly and Sehun arched and moaned. Jongin began a steady, rolling grind, each smooth thrust of his hips rocking Sehun against the floor. Sehun moaned low and deep at the satisfying ache of oversensitivity throughout his abdomen, the way his softening dick responded sluggishly to the onslaught of pleasure in his core. He couldn’t help but smile.

“I get it now,” he murmured. “I get why people love sex so much.”

Jongin laughed softly and pushed Sehun’s legs gently back, folding his pliant body easily in half so he could press in harder and faster. Sehun’s legs hurt a little, but the throbbing pleasure building in his dick was too good to let him focus on anything else.

Then Jongin’s length started sliding over Sehun’s aching and oversensitive prostate with every thrust. Sehun nearly choked on air. He tensed immediately, body twitching with every quick brush against it.

“Am I hitting something?” Jongin asked, voice gravelly with mischief. Sehun responded with a sobbing whimper. Jongin’s dancer hips rolled on steadily, never changing pressure or pace, and Sehun could do nothing but lay there with his hands tightened into fists, arms tensed above him, Jongin’s hands pressing his legs far back towards his shoulders. Sehun was dimly aware of his back arching, his head pressing hard against the wooden floor.

“Touch yourself, baby,” Jongin murmured above him.

Sehun reached down, fingers trailing past the bruise under his ribs and through the cum getting tacky on his stomach. He gripped his dick and his spine twisted as he cried out, the pressure painfully too much on his already aching, stinging cock. He gave one experimental tug and then yanked his hand away. “C-can’t. Jongin—ah! Hurts.”

“Shh, sorry, sorry. Don’t do it then.”

Sehun’s hand clutched as the mess on his stomach. Jongin rocked steadily against him and Sehun wondered if his prostate could go numb. He whimpered. The edge was approaching remarkably fast yet again. Sehun wanted it to get there so his shoulders could stop shoving painfully into the wood. He wanted it to never end so the wonderful aching throughout his ass would never leave.

Jongin’s hips stuttered for the first time and Sehun reached up with wet, cum-covered fingers to rub teasingly over Jongin’s nipple. Jongin gasped harshly and nearly collapsed onto Sehun. Sehun pinched just to hear Jongin’s confused moan. He reached towards Jongin’s face and painted streaks of white cum gleaming in the moonlight down his cheek. Jongin caught the fingers in his mouth and came three thrusts later with a deep moan, tongue catching the cum between Sehun’s fingers.

Sehun heard a tiny moan leave with his pleased sigh. Then Jongin pulled himself out of Sehun and ducked down, and Sehun had just a moment to gasp before Jongin’s hot mouth sealed over Sehun’s throbbing dick and he swallowed him all the way down and kept swallowing, throat working. Sehun keened in short, high bursts way up in his throat, oversensitivity twisting his spine and head against the hard floor. Then Jongin swept his fingers through the rest of the cum on Sehun’s stomach and thrust them back up into Sehun’s tight heat, his own cum as lube, and with a few expert flicks, found his prostate. Sehun wailed.

Jongin chuckled, and the heady vibrations around Sehun’s cock shoved him over the edge. He didn’t even have time to warn Jongin before he came.

When the world came back into focus, Jongin was still coughing a little, cum sliding down his chin.

“Mother fucking shit. Holy fuck. God damn. Jongin, that was fucking amazing.”

Jongin chuckled. “I’m gonna go bury this condom in the sand. You sit still for a little while.”

“Dude, there’s a trash can right behind the hut.”

“Oh that’s convenient.”

Jongin stumbled down the stairs. Sehun forced himself upright, flinching at the way his back and legs smarted painfully, and scooted down the towel so he could sit on the stairs and lean on the railing.

Jongin came back around, dark skin gleaming in tantalizing highlights in the moonlight. He sat down on the steps and Sehun stared at the bright white standing out against Jongin’s face.

“You’re so tan. That jizz looks great on you,” Sehun said, and he knew he sounded a little breathless.

“That’s why I haven’t wiped it off yet.”

Sehun stared a minute. Those dark eyes, those cheekbones, every inch of Jongin’s face was made for sex. Sehun regretted that he hadn’t been able to see him properly. Next time.

He leaned over and licked the cum off Jongin’s cheek, fingers pulling gently at his hair. Jongin breath stuttered and he folded in happily against Sehun like he had when Sehun had tugged his hair outside Spanky’s over a week ago.

“Why,” Jongin said, taking Sehun’s face gently in his hands, “does anybody ever go after Tao when you’re around? You’re so much more fun.”

Sehun giggled and threw his legs over Jongin’s, leaning in for a slow kiss. “Even though I’m sandy and I smell weird?”

“You smell awesome, Sehun. You smell like beach. It’s so much better than the tacky cologne he wears.”

“That probably shouldn’t make me as happy as it does.”

“I’ll tell you you’re better than Tao any time you want to hear it.”

Sehun took some time to cuddle close. Jongin’s fingers trailed up and down his bare legs, skimming over the edge of his ass and down his thighs, tickling at the inside of his knee. His eyes drifted closed.

“Look. You can still see the fire,” Sehun said, pointing to where it flickered in the dim moonlight down the beach, throwing shadows way across the sand until they faded into the dusky blue of the beach.

Jongin opened his eyes and glanced at the distant group. “You wanna go back?”

“Nah. I don’t think I’d be able to look Jongdae in the face.”

Jongin snickered. “Your place then?”

They held hands all the way down the beach. He wore Jongin’s briefs and carried the skinny jeans because his dick really couldn’t take denim. He kept giggling, “I’m wearing your underwear in public.”

“You just had sex on the beach, sweetheart. I don’t know why you’re giggling about underwear. How often do you go commando?”

Sehun blushed. “A lot. Zitao was right, you know. I’m a mess.”

“No, you’re a beach bum is what you are.” He pulled Sehun in closer so he could nuzzle clumsily at the side of his head as they walked. “Might be why I like you so much.”

“No, I’m really a mess. Look, I still have dried cum on my stomach.”

“And I have some on my nipple. Thanks dude. And my face is still a little sticky. So is my dick. Lube is gross.”

“When we get to my house, let me grab my board and we’ll go wash off in the ocean before we sleep.”

“I thought that was dangerous, Mr. Lifeguard.”

“We won’t go in deeper than the breakers. You’ve never boarded in a full moon before, have you,” Sehun said, “I wouldn’t mind getting eaten by a shark if it means I get to board on a full moon.”

They walked up the decrepit boardwalk and onto the end of the Sehun’s palm-lined street choked with live oaks and prickly pear. Jongin nearly walked right past his house, but Sehun grabbed his hand and took a left through a little gate half buried in the sand and led him to the back stoop piled high with beach chairs and broken plastic buckets. Sand had crept around the walls like snow drifts over the years, so the house looked short, all worn boards that used to be white and were now the color of driftwood. They shone the same color as the sand in the moonlight.

“Holy shit, this is your house?” Jongin said as Sehun took him inside, where the air was cooler and the floor just a little less sandy than the beach. The woven rug had given up its hold on the hallway years ago.

“Yeah. It doesn’t really have a game room and I don’t have my own wing. It’s sandy all the time, freezing in the winter, an oven in the summer, and books turn to mildew because we keep our windows open most of the year, but it’s comfortable.”

“This is the best house I’ve ever been in and holy shit its dank in here.”

“Yeah. My parents must have smoked while we were out.”

“Your parents,” Jongin said, stopping short in the doorway to Sehun’s room, “Are awesome.”

Sehun laughed. “They’re even bigger beach bums than I am.”

“This house is like a magic beachy hobbit hole. You’re like a beach sprite or something.”

“I do live in a sand dune.” Sehun stripped Jongin’s briefs and his shirt off and rummaged around naked for a moment before he found his swimsuit and pulled it on. He turned around to find Jongin openly leering. “Don’t be creepy,” Sehun said.

“I am never not going to take an eyeful of dat ass whenever you show it to me.”

“Grab your board. Let’s go.”

Sehun knew better than to try fancy tricks in the dark, and he knew better than to even let Jongin try anything special. The full moon did not give enough light for proper sense of direction and balance. They splashed into the waves, and without the sun glinting harsh off the water it felt like skimming on air currents. But Sehun’s everything was beginning to ache. Eventually, he stripped his swimsuit off, threw his board up on the beach, and just lay in the sand right at the tide line, legs in the sea and waves pushing shallow pulses of water past his hair. He stared at the sky.

“Star watching?” Jongin asked him.

“Moon’s too bright. Come lie with me.”

Jongin took his suit off too and curled up against Sehun’s side, one leg thrown over his waist.

“Round two?” he murmured, his cock nudging suggestively against Sehun’s thigh.

Sehun giggled and nudged gently back. “In the sand? Ow. No way. Just cuddles.”

It wasn’t perfect. The alternating switch between warm waves and the cool night breeze ended up being pretty chilly, and strong waves made it hard to breath. Thankfully it was slack high tide or Sehun was sure they’d be shifting up or down the beach every ten minutes to compensate the changing waterline. Jongin wrapped on arm tight across his stomach and pillowed his head on his chest.

“My butt keeps sinking deeper into the sand,” Sehun murmured.

“It’s wrecking my hair,” Jongin replied. They didn’t move.

“D’you think we’re clean yet?” Jongin asked.

“You know this water is filthy muddy, right? It comes right out of the marsh. We’re probably not covered in jizz and lube anymore, though, so that’s something. Something tells me you want to move.”

“Babe, I know this is your natural element or whatever, but I’m not used to this and I’m kind of uncomfortable.”

Sehun giggled and pulled himself out of the clinging sand to face Jongin, propping his head up so he wouldn’t drown on passing waves. “Really? You don’t enjoy getting slowly sucked down into the beach as you cuddle with me?”

“There’s sand in my ass.”

Sehun rolled back onto his back with a contented hum, spreading his legs and letting the next waves wash cool against his sandy butt and rush with soft pressure over his dick. “Yeah, mine too, but the water feels really good on my junk.”

“Oh, fuck, you’re right.”

“I love doing this.”

“...How often do you do this?”

“Used to do it a lot. I came like this once when I was, like, thirteen.”

“You are actually really freaky, aren’t you? That’s, like, public masturbation.”

“I was thirteen!” Sehun said, covering his face. “I was so ashamed of myself!”

Jongin’s hand drifted down between Sehun’s legs to stroke down the crease between his cheeks and Sehun shuddered as the hand created an extra current of rushing water sweeping over his cock. He was half hard already. “Please don’t. This is saltwater. It’ll hurt.”

“I won’t get the water up anywhere it shouldn’t be. I’m just touching your butt. No big deal.” His finger pressed ever so gently against Sehun’s still swollen hole and Sehun’s hips jerked, head falling sideways in the sand with a gasp. Jongin’s fingertips ghosted upwards to wrap gently around his dick. Sehun hissed and pushed his hand away.

“Too soon. Still hurts. Salt water makes the friction worse, not better. Trust me on this.”

“Pfft, you’ve just done everything out here, haven’t you?”

Sehun pulled himself up, blushing. “I have needs just like everyone else. Its not my fault I’ve spent approximately half my life on this beach.”

“I’m not judging. Can we go inside? I don’t want to sleep out here.”

“I love sleeping out here.”

“I’m cold.”

They ended up walking back up the beach a few minutes later. His mother poked her head out the door with a pipe and lighter in her hand as they rinsed off, naked and kissing hungrily under the outdoor shower.

“Boys—”

“Jesus Christ, Mom, don’t scare me like that.”

“—its 3:30 am. Why are you in the shower?”

Jongin was hiding behind Sehun and it was adorable.

“We have to rinse off before we sleep.”

“Well…Ok. Wait, that’s not Kyungsoo. Who is that?”

“Mom, why would I be making out with Kyungsoo?”

“That’s why I was so confused.”

“This is Jongin. He’s, um, visiting for the summer.”

“Cool. He’s welcome any time.”

“Thank you.” Jongin squeaked.

“Don’t mention it. Goodnight, boys.”

“Goodnight Mom.”

They dried off and curled up in bed together, naked skin still smelling a little like sweat and seawater, hair still damp, fingers tangled together on the sheets.

 

Sehun woke before Jongin and rolled off of him, feeling sticky and flushed. He flinched immediately. His legs ached. Sehun guessed he had some nasty bruises on his shoulder blades and along his spine at the base of his neck, maybe his elbows and hips too if the pain was anything to go by. The windows were open and the room was already summery hot, light slanting in through the yellowing curtains and over the sandy floor. His bare-beamed ceiling glowed from reflected sunlight. Seagulls laughed dimly in the distance above the muted roar of the surf.

Jongin murmured beside him and Sehun got to watch him open his deep brown eyes slowly for a moment and then close them again. Sehun leaned forward and shyly kissed his cheek right under under his beautiful cheekbone, then trailed kisses like freckles across his nose. His face felt a little sweaty from sleeping under Sehun. He sighed happily, but didn’t open his eyes, so Sehun continued placing kisses all over his face till he got to his mouth and kissed his full lips gently, just sweet little pecks, careful of morning breath.

“Good morning,” he said, and Jongin smiled under his mouth, eyes still closed. He stretched his arms over his head and Sehun pulled back, breathless, to watch the way his sleepy face relaxed further, eyes still closed. He stopped moving and Sehun realized he had drifted off again under him. He pushed the sheets back on the bed and shuffled down Jongin’s body, kissing a meandering trail across his nipples, down over his ribs and on his abs. He licked lightly at the sharp tan line along Jongin’s hip, and Jongin stirred with a full body shiver. Sehun took a deep breath and let his tongue trail over Jongin’s dick. He tasted like the saltwater and sunshine.

Jongin let out a breathy whimper and arched his shoulders up, arms coming down to grip loosely at the pillow. “Sehun…”

Sehun had never given anyone a blowjob before. Nerves fizzled in his stomach, but he continued licking and kissing until Jongin was hard, and then took Jongin’s cock in his hand and sucked it between his lips.

“Oh my god,” Jongin murmured, and Sehun looked up to see Jongin’s eyes slivered open and staring down at him. “Keep going,” he slurred, eyes sliding closed and open again.

Sehun closed his eyes and sucked, pushing his mouth further down. It was harder than he’d expected. He breathed through his nose and pushed further, realized he wasn’t going to get very far without his throat, and that it was too early in the day to try any new tricks, so he brought his hand to stroke the base of Jongin’s dick. Jongin groaned softly.

Sehun got lost in it for a little while, concentrating on the pull of his cheeks around the hot, wet skin in his mouth, the little breathy noises Jongin made, almost like sighing.

“Fuck me,” Jongin murmured.

Sehun pulled off. “What?”

“Lube. In…in my bag. Floor. And condoms. Fuck me.”

Sehun, eyes wide, slipped off the bed and opened Jongin’s bag. He grabbed out the small bottle that looked like hotel shampoo and tossed it on the bed, then grabbed one of the condoms and checked it to make sure it was the right size. It was. He turned back to the bed to see Jongin already with slick fingers, sliding one lazily inside himself. His breath caught. Jongin’s eyebrows twitched closer together, lips pouting, eyes closed. Sehun climbed back on the bed between Jongin’s spread thighs and stared down. Jongin moaned softly, thrusting gently.

Sehun jerked off, unfocussed, as he watched Jongin add his index finger and begin a slow scissoring, twisting thrust, breath deep and even like it wasn’t even affecting him, but the way his eyebrows screwed up and his neck tensed said otherwise. Sehun slid the condom on and grabbed the lube, still watching Jongin, waiting for him to be ready. Jongin’s fingers sleepily slowed to a stop and Sehun giggled and gently pressed one of his own lubed fingers in beside Jongin’s, who eyelids cracked open with a moan of surprise. Sehun thrust in slowly, breathless again at the tight heat.

“Sehun,” Jongin murmured again. Even without the deep tan on the rest of his body, Jongin’s skin was darker than Sehun’s fingers, and Sehun loved the mix, his pale fingers and Jongin’s tan one’s pressing into golden skin.

When Jongin’s fingers stopped again, Sehun pulled them out and replaced them with two more of his, thrusting gently. Jongin lay boneless on the bed and moaned, so quiet in the morning air.

“Jongin…”

“Hmmm?”

“I’ve never done this before.”

“Yeah,” he said, “I know. That’s ok.”

“What if I’m bad?”

“I’ll love it anyway. I’m ready.”

Sehun took a deep breath, pulled Jongin’s deadweight hips up onto his thighs, leaned forward, and pressed in, surrounding himself with incredible, delicious heat. There was no resistance. Jongin didn’t tense or gasp, wasn’t too tight to move.

Jongin let out a long, moaning breath. “Oh my god,” he whispered. Sehun couldn’t pull his eyes away from where Jongin’s head lay on the pillow, his arms splayed out on either side of him. Sehun got all the way in and dropped to his elbows over Jongin’s body, his forehead on his chest, moaning lowly. Jongin brought his hands up to scratch calmingly at Sehun’s scalp. “Go,” he murmured, and Sehun rolled his hips back and thrust them forward.

Jongin drew in a breath as Sehun did it again, trying to find a rhythm. He picked himself back up on his arms so he could see Jongin’s face, beautiful against the white pillow in the bright light glowing through the room. Jongin’s arms dropped back onto the sheets by his head and he opened his eyes and looked up at Sehun, sleepy eyes blinking, hair swept back off his forehead, lip pulled between his teeth. “Fuck, Sehun,” he murmured.

“You’re so beautiful,” Sehun said.

Jongin moaned helplessly and his eyes closed, head falling to the side, skin slowly flushing further. Jongin’s eyes drifted open again and he saw Sehun’s room in the light for the first time, the way the bright colors on the mounted skimboards glowed against the bare wooden walls, the tins of seashells he’d found on the beaches, the palm tree posters and string lights. His eyes widened a little.

“It’s so beachy in here. It suits you. I love it.”

Sehun giggled breathlessly as he pumped his hips a little faster, forcing a beautiful moan out of Jongin’s throat, sweat glistening along his hairline.

“Keep it slow,” Jongin murmured, so Sehun slowed his hips to long and powerful thrusts that rocked Jongin against the bed. Jongin groaned brokenly low in his throat, shoulders tensing as his head pressed into the pillow. His breath finally picked up a little, chest rising and falling a little faster than Sehun’s rhythm.

“This,” Jongin said, then paused to moan, “is the best thing I’ve ever woken up to—ah,” he trailed off, gasping and whimpering as Sehun leaned close over him, pressing his hips up higher and thrusting in harder. “So good,” he whispered, and Sehun leaned down to suck on his throat. “Don’t stop.”

Sehun’s legs ached, reminding him of having this beautiful boy leaning over him in the moonlight. He pushed through it, keeping the same pace. The damp morning heat had crept in with the breeze and the sunlight, but Sehun loved humidity, even as he felt sweat run down his spine. Jongin lay completely pliant on the sheets. Sehun angled his hips higher until he felt Jongin jerk a little under him and his breaths became gasps high in his chest, tiny moans falling from his lips every few seconds.

He finally tensed up a little, back arching weakly off the mattress, and Sehun picked up speed. Jongin panted roughly for a few seconds, eyebrows tight, and then stopped breathing, lungs full, spine arching harder, his head thrown back. Two quick gasps escaped, and then Jongin’s hips jerked gently and he came with a sigh and a quiet moan.

Sehun lowered Jongin down so he wasn’t hitting his prostate anymore, and then brought the pace way back down to watch Jongin shiver and groan with each slow pulse, fists clenching.

“You should cum on me,” Jongin murmured, and Sehun groaned. He pulled out, stripped the condom off his aching cock, and kneeled over Jongin. He jerked off quickly, staring down at Jongin’s hooded eyes, the way he smiled deliciously up at Sehun, lips curled, hair messy, fingers curled around the sides of the pillow. Sehun let the orgasm build steadily, and Jongin slid and hand over his hip to slide over Sehun’s ass, and Sehun tightened up and came all over Jongin’s chest. He slumped down, hands braced on either side of Jongin’s head. Jongin sat up and kissed him, pressing his face against Sehun’s and nuzzling sweetly.

“Clean me up?” he said after a few minutes. Sehun nodded and got out of bed. His legs nearly gave out the moment he put weight on them, but he got tissues and and trash can over to Jongin and then went to the bathroom to clean himself off and get a washcloth. He heard his parents making coffee in the kitchen and poked his head around the corner.

“Are there any eggs left?”

“Nope. Just ate ‘em.”

“Fuck.”

“There are two brunch places open for another hour and half if you want to take your, ah, friend out to eat.”

“K. Thanks.”

He came back to find Jongin lazily fingering himself.

“You wanna go another round?”

“Nah. Just feels good. There’s still lube down there.”

“Here. Switch.” Sehun threw him the washcloth and reached between his legs as he climbed on the bed. He gently twisted two fingers in and curled them, not so much thrusting as just moving and letting Jongin feel it.

“Ngguuh, how’d you like your first time topping, Sehun?”

“Amazing. Can we do that all the time?”

Jongin hummed and nodded, carefully wiping himself down with the washcloth.

“Do you want to go eat brunch somewhere?”

“Can’t we stay here?”

“There’s no breakfast food.”

“There’s sleep,” Jongin said. “And your fingers in me.”

Sehun poked his prostate to make him jerk and gasp, “Too soon.”

“I know. We should go eat.”

“I need to sleep. Getting fucked knocks me out.”

“You were nearly asleep when we were fucking.”

“I love morning sex,” Jongin said, rocking back on Sehun’s fingers in little shuffles. “It’s supposed to be calm as fuck so I don’t have to react. I can just lie back and enjoy it like I do when I’m masturbating.”

“But you did almost fall asleep at least once.”

“Yeah, but that was before I felt your dick in me. That was so good. Also, you need to give me a lap dance at some point. That one you gave Kris last night was incredible.”

“All a show for you, babe.”

Jongin stayed quiet for a minute, his fingers laced behind Sehun’s neck, eyes closed, rocking gently on the fingers inside him. “Sehun, am I hotter than Kris?”

“Fuck yes.”

He pulled Sehun’s face down and stopped rocking so he’d know he was serious. “Are you sure?”

Sehun pulled his fingers out and kissed him. “Yes, I’m sure. In fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t care about him much anymore. Its kind of hard to care about him when you’re around.”

Jongin smiled. “Proud of you,” he said, and kissed him deeply for a few seconds, then backed off with his nose wrinkled. “We both need to brush our teeth, and I’m half hard again, baby. Do you wanna go shower?”

If Sehun’s parents hadn’t heard Sehun and Jongin having sex the first time, they certainly heard Jongin fucking Sehun against the shower wall, his moans loud whenever Jongin latched his mouth onto last night’s hickeys. By the time they got out the parents had vacated the house leaving only plan-b pills for then to laugh over. They ate sandwiches naked in the kitchen and then Sehun dressed Jongin in his own spare clothes and walked him home.

“I need to spend more time in this house,” Sehun said as they climbed the shining, dark wood staircase with wrought iron railings that spiraled onto the second floor. “This place is awesome.”

“I’m betting you’ll be over here a lot,” Jongin laughed, “but promise me we can spend just as much time in your house. That place is just the kind of house I’ve always wanted to stay in when he come out here.”

Sehun snorted. “What’s so great about it? It’s a five-room, matchbox of a shack and its sandy. People don’t tend to like those things.”

“It’s a cute little cabin in a sand dune. It feels like part of the beach itself. This house isn’t even on the same block as the waterfront, and it still feels like we’re constantly trying to keep the beach out with the amount of sand that collects everywhere. I’d rather just live in a house like yours.”

“I hate to tell you this,” Sehun said as they entered Jongin’s airy, blue-carpeted room, “But I get sand everywhere. People at school used to make fun of me for leaving sand at every desk I sat in.”

Jongin laughed, sitting on the edge of his bed. “I know. The guys told me about that. And after you took a nap in my bed when we brought you back from the beach there was sand in it.”

Sehun blushed and ran a had through his hair nervously, then dropped it when he realized he was probably just shaking sand onto Jongin’s carpet. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I haven’t changed the sheets. I like it. Being with you is kind of like being with the beach itself, and I love that about you. You’re my own beach sprite.”

Sehun hid his smile behind his hand and crawled over Jongin, kissing him down into the mattress. They fell asleep lying together in Jongin’s sandy sheets.

 

On their way down to the beach in mid-afternoon, they found Baekhyun hovering outside an ice cream shop, make-up freshly applied, holding his phone in both hands and bouncing up and down nervously.

“You getting ice cream?” Sehun asked.

“Waiting for Chanyeol. He wanted...he wants to talk to me about things when I’m sober and he was supposed to meet me here ten minutes ago. Holy shit, those are some hickeys. Wow. On both of you.” He poked gently at the purple splotches poking out of Sehun’s collar.

“It’s Saturday. Traffic’s really bad. Don’t stress it.”

“Can you both, I don’t know, sit in the shop here or something? I’m worried I’ll need someone to hug me after this is over. You know, if he. If he doesn’t want to see me again.”

Sehun hugged his head into his shoulder and nuzzled into his hair for a second. Baekhyun took a couple deep breaths, fingers still preoccupied with the aching purple marks on Sehun’s neck, and then he backed away, nodding. “I can do this. I’m gonna hold it together no matter what he says.”

Baekhyun didn’t hold it together. His knees gave out the moment Chanyeol kissed him. Chanyeol swooped him up into his arms and kept kissing him until Baekhyun was crying too hard to continue.

Sehun got a little teary-eyed as he watched from the back of the ice cream shop, which made Jongin smile and hold him close. Most of the people in the shop either ignored them or raised some eyebrows, but two huge, tattooed, hot-dog-tanned men with polarized sunglasses and fishing hats patted Baekhyun on the head and gave Chanyeol a thumbs up as they passed, so Sehun figured that more than made up for it.

They all met Kyungsoo and his friend Minseok down on the beach. Sehun, and Kyungsoo took to the waves. Jongin did a pretty good job keeping up, skimming out into the breakers and often making it back to shore without falling down. Chanyeol would have joined, but Baekhyun climbed into his lap and pinned him to the beach to actually talk instead of just kiss.

Out in the water, Sehun gave up on skimming across the rushing waves when he was too happy to concentrate on his board. He grabbed Jongin and pulled him out into the gentle ocean and stayed there, Jongin on his lips, nothing but summer above them.