Seunghyun is half-drunk when he arrives back at the dorm, and he finds exactly what he expects: Jiyong, sitting at his desk with a line between his eyebrows and the bottom of a pen between his teeth as he stares hard at the papers strewn across the desk in front of him.
Youngbae is sleeping soundly in one of the two small beds in the room, and Seunghyun longs for his own bed in the attached one, where he can be relatively alone and watch a drama until he finally passes out.
But Jiyong looks up and twists his body to look back at him when he hears the click of the door shutting, that line between his eyebrows still there even as the rest of his face relaxes and he gives Seunghyun a halfhearted wave and a tired grin. And in one weak-willed moment, Seunghyun decides he can’t leave him like this.
Why tonight, of all nights, he decides this, he’ll never know – maybe it’s the alcohol in his system or the way Jiyong still manages to dredge up a smile at his arrival even when he’s clearly exhausted. Maybe it’s the fondness that’s been growing in his chest ever since he realized he would never be able to afford a single occupancy room even if there had been one available and gave in to the idea of having two roommates. It doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that he approaches Jiyong instead of merely waving back and going to bed. He puts his hands on Jiyong’s shoulders, far more touchy than usual with his roommates when he’s tipsy like this, and digs his thumbs into the tense space just under both sides of his neck. Jiyong’s surprised intake of breath doesn’t make him stop – if anything, it encourages him to keep going, especially when Jiyong slumps against his hands only a second later.
“You should be asleep,” he says, voice gruff and still a little bit wrecked from the only shot he’d taken that night. “It’s late.”
Jiyong’s voice is quieter than his when he responds, a little hesitant and a lot more aware of the fact the Youngbae is sleeping so near them as he says, “I’m trying to write something.”
“For school or for you?” Seunghyun asks, hands sliding across Jiyong’s shoulders to find new points of resistance to press against. He’s never given a backrub before, but he likes the way Jiyong grunts softly and lets his head fall back when Seunghyun starts working his fingers lower, thumbs rubbing slow circles into his thin t-shirt.
The curve of his neck is so exposed like this, and Seunghyun can’t take his eyes off of the way even the small amount of light coming from the table-top lamp makes his skin glow. It’s not the first time he’s looked at Jiyong and felt a tug in the pit of his stomach or thought the word beautiful, but it’s the first time he doesn’t push it back immediately.
“For me,” Jiyong says, quieter still as his eyes flutter shut. Seunghyun watches his chest rise and fall for a moment, hands back on his shoulders but softer this time, more of a stroke as he moves one to cup the back of Jiyong’s neck and feels him shudder. The position Jiyong is in now makes it harder to manage, the top of his head so close to touching Seunghyun’s stomach as he rocks a few inches closer without thinking, but it’s worth it for the way he can watch Jiyong’s throat work as he swallows.
Seunghyun doesn’t respond out loud, this time. He’s distracted watching Jiyong’s face as his hand moves back and forth, dipping down between sharp shoulder-blades before he moves it back up to Jiyong’s neck again. His soft skin and the buzzed edges of the hair at the nape of his neck are hard to resist even as Seunghyun wonders if he’s creepy for how much he’s enjoying this. He tells himself that it’s obvious Jiyong likes it too, at least, but he’s not sure that helps when the context of his own enjoyment is so different, something shameful.
But the line between Jiyong’s eyebrows disappears after a minute or two or ten, and that was his goal, wasn’t it? He can’t quite remember. His hands pause in their ministrations as he tells himself it’s time to stop, and he’s just starting to pull away when Jiyong’s arm shoots up like lightning.
His hand closes around Seunghyun’s and Seunghyun freezes, alcohol-addled brain seemingly at a pause for a few seconds, too – until Jiyong pulls both of their hands back down. His eyes remain closed, but there’s something strained about him again, and he doesn’t let go until Seunghyun has been dragged down a few extra inches, back bending forward. His hand ends up on Jiyong’s chest before he’s finally released, and Seunghyun leaves it there, splayed wide and unmoving.
When he can finally think, Seunghyun makes a stupid, questioning noise. He’s close enough now to Jiyong that he thinks he could count his eyelashes if his head weren’t so fuzzy, and he almost sways another couple of inches downward before he catches himself.
“It feels good,” Jiyong says, quiet and matter-of-fact like that’s going to be his only explanation for not letting Seunghyun pull away. His voice is rough. Seunghyun watches as he opens his eyes and blinks slowly, watches as his lips part with something like surprise when he sees how close he’s dragged Seunghyun. He even watches as Jiyong licks his lips, tilts his head forward again and breaks their eye contact, and then says, “Don’t stop.”
It’s Seunghyun’s turn to swallow, then, something about the way Jiyong says it making his throat go dry. He doesn’t move again until he feels Jiyong start to tense further, like he’s about to be the one to move away, and then – out of fear that this moment will end, or what he thinks may be an understanding of what Jiyong is asking for, or simply pure want on his end – he slides his hand further down, until it’s resting low on Jiyong’s stomach instead of his chest.
He feels it when Jiyong’s breath hitches, the muscles in his stomach going taut as he closes his eyes again, and it’s what lets Seunghyun muster up the courage to murmur, “Is this what you want?” This being Seunghyun's hand inching lower still, slow and careful. Even as his fingers tease just underneath the edge of Jiyong’s shirt he knows he sounds far more uncertain than Jiyong had, his heart beating too-loud in the small room. He’s surprised at himself. He doubts Jiyong isn’t surprised at him, too.
Alcohol has only ever been a temporary cure for his shyness, making him loosen up enough to say things he might want to say – normal things, though, and to strangers. Things most people should be able to say sober even when they don’t know a person well, like hello, or that the weather’s nice, or that he appreciates someone’s outfit.
Not things like I want to touch you.
But Jiyong saves him from having to admit he does when he nods, arching up into the hand Seunghyun has on him after a few seconds of suspense that have Seunghyun's throat feeling tight.
“Yes – come on,” Jiyong says finally, encouraging or pleading or demanding, but then Youngbae shifts on his bed and he freezes, eyes popping open and darting towards their other roommate.
Seunghyun stills too, although he knows he should be moving away from Jiyong. He holds his breath, stomach doing nervous somersaults, until a few seconds later when it becomes apparent that Youngbae isn’t going to wake up, and only then does he relax, breathing out short and harsh.
His eyes move back to Jiyong, only to find him staring right back, head tilted to the side and gaze narrowed.
“You’re drunk,” Jiyong says slowly, like he's just realized, something Seunghyun can’t pinpoint lacing his voice. He doesn’t seem half as shaken by Youngbae nearly catching them in a compromising position as Seunghyun is, and Seunghyun wonders briefly at that before it’s forgotten, lost to his mid-level intoxication and the equally potent drunkenness that seems to come with looking at Jiyong for too long.
“Only a little bit,” Seunghyun replies after a beat. He glances at Jiyong’s lips and then wets his own, trying to calm the anxious pounding of his heart. It’s both easier and harder when he’s looking at Jiyong instead of Youngbae – a different kind of anxiety, maybe, exhilarating and nerve-wracking in equal measure.
But Jiyong shakes his head, lips parting, and then tells him, “You should go to bed, hyung.”
It’s impossible to miss the way his eyes dip lower, too, fixated on Seunghyun’s mouth for a moment despite his words, and Seunghyun wants to call him out on it. He wants to say, You want to kiss me. You want me to touch you. Maybe ask if Jiyong wants to touch him, too.
But he doesn’t, because saying that would mean they can’t ignore this in the morning. They haven’t passed the point of no return yet, a point at which neither of them would be able to take this back. Seunghyun is drunk, only a little bit, and Jiyong is sober – but there could be any number of reasons for what’s happening, many of which don’t necessarily mean Jiyong wants him for anything more than a way to relax tonight.
If they stop now – if he doesn’t insist that it’s fine, that’s he’s not that drunk, that he wants this – then it can be over tomorrow. He won’t have to apologize or explain himself, and he knows he won’t request that of Jiyong. He can still live in this dorm, comfortable and content for the most part.
So Seunghyun, only a second more spared to look at Jiyong’s mouth up-close and wonder at how it might feel against his own, says, “Alright.”
When Seunghyun wakes up, not quite hungover but not quite well-rested, it's to catch Jiyong hovering awkwardly just outside of the doorway that connects his and Youngbae’s room to Seunghyun’s. He steps back, lips pursed in a frown, but then seems to notice that Seunghyun is not quite as unconscious as he’d been a moment before.
“Uh – I was just seeing if you were... awake,” he explains haltingly, looking far too embarrassed.
“I’m awake,” Seunghyun murmurs. His mind is fuzzy with sleep, but not fuzzy enough that he's not half-panicked already, the realities of the night before hitting him all at once. They'll ignore it, he's sure. They hadn't done anything that couldn't be brushed off. “I – did you need something?”
Jiyong’s mouth opens and then closes. Instead of answering Seunghyun’s question, he asks, “Do you remember last night?”
It's not exactly the brush-off of Seunghyun's dreams. He takes a moment to simply stare at Jiyong. “I wasn’t that drunk,” he says eventually, when Jiyong starts to look embarrassed again. Of course he remembers it, if they're admitting it happened. If they're admitting it was strange. “You would’ve been able to tell if I was that drunk.”
As he watches the stark relief that flashes across Jiyong’s face, it hits him: the question was an easy out. If Seunghyun had said no, they would have moved on as if it never happened. The fact that he asked at all must mean something, and sudden hope overtakes his panic and makes Seunghyun’s stomach clench as he sits up in bed.
“I know,” Jiyong says, rocking back on his feet. His mouth opens and then closes like he wants to say something else and decides against it.
Seunghyun just looks at him again for a long moment, blinking away the last remaining shreds of his tiredness. He’s never been a morning person, but it’s hard to stay half-asleep for his usual half an hour to two hours when Jiyong is shuffling around in his doorway like that, somehow uncertain and insistent in equal measure.
“I’m sorry,” Seunghyun says, just so all of his bases are covered – and then when Jiyong’s eyes shutter, he adds quickly: “I mean, if I made you uncomfortable.”
He doesn’t think he did. Jiyong wouldn’t be here, standing in his room, if he had. They would ignore it, or Jiyong would be saying that he doesn’t like men that way, or doesn’t want Seunghyun that way, and they would try to forget it ever happened. Any scenario Seunghyun runs through in his mind that involves Jiyong being uncomfortable doesn’t end up like this.
And then Jiyong is taking another step into the room, and Seunghyun knows with certainty that he’s right. That certainty fills his chest, heating him up from the inside out as he sits up and Jiyong says, tone closer to stubborn than anything, “You didn’t make me uncomfortable,” like he’s somehow offended at the thought.
“Sorry,” Seunghyun says again, and Jiyong huffs.
“Is this going to be weird?”
A pause, and then Seunghyun asks, “Should it be? I didn’t – it’s… I wanted to.” It’s a lot for him to admit, even given the situation, even given his confidence that Jiyong is here for a reason that doesn’t involve telling him off or letting him down easy. But it seems like something Jiyong needs to hear, so he makes himself say it. “I still do. If you do.”
Jiyong wastes only a few seconds making Seunghyun wonder what he's thinking before he turns around to shut the door. Seunghyun’s heartbeat is as loud as the click of the lock as Jiyong twists it, and he swallows hard, eyes on the planes of Jiyong’s back when it takes him a few breaths to turn back around.
“Right now?” Seunghyun asks as soon as he does, voice a little choked.
Jiyong gives him a searching look, but it smooths over after a second, his brows rising instead. “You don’t have class until later, right?”
Seunghyun shakes his head, overly-conscious of the fact that he’s still in his rumpled plaid shirt and jeans from last night and his hair is probably all over the place. He hasn’t even brushed his teeth yet. This is all too awkward to be sexy, and he means to explain all of that, say that maybe they can postpone, but what comes out is: “I have to go to the bathroom.”
A long moment passes wherein they both just stare at each other, Jiyong's face as blank as Seunghyun's must be right now, and then Jiyong is laughing, reaching up to cover his face in some kind of secondhand embarrassment or genuine amusement. Seunghyun is struck hard by his smile even as he grins too, sheepish.
“Sorry,” he says, and before Jiyong can protest the apology again, he adds: “I just woke up, so…”
And Jiyong waves his hand dismissively and fails to stop smiling as he tells him, “I’ll wait, hyung.”
"Okay," Seunghyun breathes, nodding. "Okay, cool."
Raising his eyebrows when Seunghyun proceeds to just sit there for another moment, Jiyong continues, clearly trying not to laugh again: "Well, not forever."
And that, finally, is what snaps Seunghyun into action.