Chapter 1: The Prologue
Soonyoung wakes up around 9 am just like he does every morning, one of his many alarms ringing by his bedside table.
It’s later than most Korean office workers and aeons later than anyone in the entertainment industry on a working day. Although management told him there really is no reason for him to work so much, Soonyoung still feels his blood overflowing with excitement, making it impossible for him (and for his biological clock) to get any more sleep.
No matter how much Jihoon tells him to sleep more, Soonyoung simply deems 6 hours more than enough. Too many even, especially on a Monday morning.
The sun is seeping kindly, almost shily, through his bedroom windows and blinking lightly Soonyoung can feel his lips morph into a happy grin, his sharp slanted eyes curving into a sleepy and puffy eye-smile.
He gets up, goes to the bathroom (heavens forbid a famous choreographer like him got caught having bad skin condition) and gets dressed in a hurry already looking forward to the day. Not even the piercing winter cold (somehow managing to enter his apartment despite the heavy heating) can somehow nick at his good mood.
Soonyoung rips the phone from the charger without bothering to check if the battery’s full; it’s not as if there are no chargers at the agency anyways. He’s received a few texts overnight. From Wonwoo asking him when he and Jihoon we’re planning to drop by his studio. From his mother, just asking if he needed any homemade food if he was ever gonna find himself a special someone - if not if he could just give her the go and let her set him up with her friend’s daughter - and to make sure to say hi to Jihoon for her.
Last but not least he got a bunch of texts from Jihoon himself.
His best friend had wished him a good night a few hours earlier, a few minutes after Soonyoung had already fallen asleep and then again a good morning only to proceed into threatening him to lock him out of the building if Soonyoung had just dared to show up to work anytime before 10 am.
Hypocrite - thinks Soonyoung reading the usual rant about how much of a workaholic he is and how he ought to rest more - you slept after and woke up before me, Hoons. You’re the one who needs rest - he says to himself as he runs down the stairs of his loft.
But as always Jihoon can read Soonyoung’s mind and the latter huffs, rolling his eyes and grabbing his keys before hastily wearing his jacket.
From: my hoons (^ 3 ^)
before you text in all caps about how I sleep less,
remember that unlike you I take breaks
during the day and I have like,,,
three different couches in my studio.
To: my hoons (^ 3 ^)
Pfft. No can do Hoons.
I mean, it’s monday after all ;)
we can just nap together later <3
The cold February wind reinvigorates him, chilling him to the bone and there’s a small grin on his face as he replies.
Soonyoung pushes the door of the cafè across from his apartment building with force, still wondering why they make doors so heavy in the first place and the warmth that invades his skin is the only thing that makes him realise that yeah , it is awfully cold outside.
He waits in line, double-checking whether or not Jihoon has read his messages.
The little numbers in yellow boxes next to his texts never leave and for a moment Soonyoung actually wonders if his best friend might have forgotten.
It’s Monday though and after years of friendship, Jihoon simply can’t forget about Mondays.
He’s not allowed to - he thinks with a frown. Soonyoung could actually slap him if he forgets.
Either that or cry, or maybe both and then proceed with slapping him with his butt like they used to do with Seungkwan and Jeonghan back when they were trainees.
It’s a funny thought, but at the same time extremely serious and he tells Jihoon so over text.
Chuckling at his own words he ends up in front of the cashier just in time for his stomach to grumble loudly, there’s snickering behind him and he turns to give some kids - who were obviously skipping class - an embarrassed bow matched with a small glare. Jihoon always told him he had split personalities and to get himself checked.
“Let me guess. The usual?”
His neighbour Jisoo greets him with a teasing smile, probably giggling to himself over the symphony coming out of Soonyoung’s stomach. The younger nods and moves to the side - a move he had rehearsed over the years - watching as Jisoo raises his finger to call one of the employees - a new one it seemed - to take care of the rest of the orders.
Ah, the perks of owning the place you work in - he thinks as the man in front of him dusts his hands over his apron and leans over the counter in a gossipy manner.
“So…” Jisoo says with a dangerous smirk. “Jeonghan heard you coming in late last night.”
“I didn’t know Jeonghan had moved back in. Wasn’t he living with his mystery boyfriend ?” He replies, stressing mockingly the last two words.
The older turns his back on Soonyoung to take care of his order, but for a second the younger could swear he saw him tense up.
“Not anymore,” Jisoo answers curtly.
“Good for you hyung.” The sentence was only meant to be thought, but it comes out loud for some reason, muttered and quiet, but the small blush on the other man’s face shows clearly that he heard.
“Anyways,” Soonyoung says with a fake casual cough “you evil twins really need to stop speculating. I was out late for work purposes.”
“Ahhh, let me guess. You and Woozi working in the studio all night again?”
There’s a knowing tone, that tone that he swears Jisoo picked up from his flatmate and Soonyoung doesn’t feel bad for implying things about the older’s feelings anymore. He’d gladly imply more if it helped to swipe the knowing grin on his friend’s face.
He settles for nodding with a smile, purposely ignoring the teasing tone.
“No fling whatsoever? Some hot dancer guy you just accepted in your crew because he was hot? Or one of those starry eyed rookie idols you work with?”
Soonyoung rolls his eyes wondering if Jisoo is ever gonna start worrying over his love life instead of other people’s.
“Yeah, you’re right. Who am I kidding? You wouldn’t be here ordering your beloved Monday couple breakfast if you had a fling last night.” The older continues with a dramatic sigh. His face is painted with fake compassion, but his eyes are sparkling with mischief.
“Hotcakes and a double ham and cheese french toast, with double cheese. Just as Jihoon likes it.”
Soonyoung snatches the paper bag almost violently, feeling the heat in his cheeks grow more intense. Jisoo cackles loudly behind him demanding for the younger to at least say goodbye properly.
“Bye Joshie!” he screams, a smile easily back on his face.
(Because he’s a simple man and if his LA hyung calls him ‘Hoshi’, how can he not smile and rhyme it with Joshie?)
He gets to the agency while on the phone with Wonwoo - who’s landed in the first hours of the morning and declares to have planned to spend the whole day recharging in the form of cuddling cats in Jun’s cafè - as they try to find an empty slot in both their schedules.
“ Look, I just came back from Japan, Soons. I can’t slouch. I literally have one day and then I’m expected to work my ass off again, cuz apparently having a Japanese Tour is synonymous to “vacations” according to my CEO. He’s already asking me when I plan to release the next mixtape!”
Wonwoo’s distressed voice is tense and high - as high as a man with Wonwoo’s cave deep tone is able to - and Soonyoung can hear Junhui happily reminding their friend to take a deep breath and to ‘ look at Lily, she wants you to pet her. Don’t you want to pet her, Wonwoo?’.
His friend exhales slowly and the soft sound of purring brings a smile to Soonyoung’s face as he steps out of the elevator.
“Okay, man. Well then, I’m not sure? I mean we talk almost every day and I’m not gonna hog your free day to talk about business. Hit us up when you feel like it. Jihoon says the collaboration isn’t going anywhere. They really want you for this feature, so I’m sure they won’t mind.”
Soonyoung walks slowly, occasionally stopping to bow at the staff of the floor. He takes his sweet time towards the very last door in the hallway, passing a few rooms filled with voices softly resonating from inside them. Probably idols and trainees having vocal classes.
“ Oh if it’s only that, organisation issues and whatnot, I’ll try to talk to Wooz over the phone,” says Wonwoo - whatever Jun was doing with the cats to calm him down seemed to be working.
“I thought you guys wanted to work on the song or the actual performance since you wanted to tag along.”
“Nah, I just want an excuse to roam around.” He answers brightly.
“So what’s your plan for today?”
By now Soonyoung is stalling. He arrived at the company earlier than expected and Jihoon wasn’t kidding about not wanting to see him at work before 10 am. He still has twelve minutes to go.
“ Nothing much. Probably hang around the cafè until closing hours and then grab dinner with Seungcheol hyung at the PC rooms.”
Soonyoung hums in approval, though he doesn’t really approve of either activity, he and Wonwoo always had different ideas of stress-relief so he doesn’t try to persuade him.
“And Mingyu is cool with you spending all your day at Jun ’s cat cafè and your evening with his cousin?”
“First thing first. Cheollie-hyung was my friend even before I knew he and Mingyu were cousins. Second. To hell with Kim Mingyu. Idiotic prick.”
He hears a cat hissing - Wonwoo himself he thinks with a grin - and a strange sound that could easily be Jun half choking and half cracking up, followed by something that sounds a lot like ‘ You don’t mean that Won, now don’t stop petting Loki.”
“What now, Wonwoo?”
Soonyoung’s voice is amused rather than annoyed, and truthfully he finds the ‘mostly love with a sprinkle of hate and a lot of pettiness and stubbornness’ relationship really endearing. Better than no relationship at all, at least.
“It’s nothing. I just can’t believe he’s such an idiot, you know? Like… Get in mind when you already know how stupid certain people are? And then you talk to them and you’re actually baffled by how stupid they are?”
Soonyoung can picture Wonwoo, in a baggy sweater that gives him sweater paws, round specs on his pointy nose and his eyes squinting at nothing.
“I can’t believe you actually use the word ‘baffled’ .” He replies, fully knowing an unprompted explanation is on his way. He likes it and even after years of knowing each other he never takes it for granted. How Wonwoo is really closed off, but not with him or Jun or Jihoon.
“ Mingyu! The idiot.”
There’s yet another exhale on the other end of the line. “We haven’t seen each other in two months with the Japan Tour and all and he asked me my plans for when I came back and I thought it would be funny to mess with him.”
Soonyoung leans on a wall, a few meters from Jihoon’s studio and smiles when he hears Wonwoo shuffling around, the soft noise followed by a whispered ‘ no wait, I wanna pet you while I talk’ - probably meant for one of the cats and not for Soonyoung.
“ I told him I was gonna spend the day with Jun, you know how whiny and jealous he gets when it comes to Jun . You know what happened?”
“He actually got mad and you got madder because you guys get competitive over stupid shit?”
“No, he didn’t get mad! He wasn’t even slightly upset or disappointed that my first wish back in Seoul was seeing Jun!”
“Isn’t it nice though? That he’s finally okay with you and Jun hanging out all day with no one else around?”
“No! I mean kinda? But not like this!” there was hissing and screeching and Jun clearly sighing in the background.
“Jeon Wonwoo, you’re supposed to pet them softly, not give them one of your awful massages. If they scratch you I’m gonna laugh and hide the med. kit from you.”
Soonyoung glances at the digital clock of his phone. Only 5 minutes to finish Wonwoo’s story then hang up to go and have breakfast with Jihoon.
“So what do you mean, Wons?”
“The idiot said he was okay because he has plans, all day! The nerve.” The huff is full of disdain and frustration and Soonyoung knows what question Wonwoo is aiming for.
“Let me guess. Eunwoo ?”
There’s groan and with that he’s sure he hit the bullseye.
“ Jungkook . And they’re going to watch a movie at the mall and Mingyu said it’s important cuz he owes ‘Kookie’ that since the last two times they hung out ‘Kookie’ paid for everything.”
Maybe there’s something wrong with Soonyoung, but personally he found the way Wonwoo is stressing certain words with utter distaste to be quite cute. Then again he has a soft spot for his friends and everything they do is always cute to him.
“Okay, but I don’t see the problem.”
“ The problem is that when your almost-boyfriend comes back after months away you don’t tell him you have other plans with your best bud on his single day off.”
“But you told him you had plans with your best bud on your single day off.”
“ Yes, but I was joking!”
“Did you tell him that?”
There’s silence on the other hand and Soonyoung straight out laughs at him, not caring about the probable pout in Wonwoo’s lips.
“Did you even tell him you only have today free of schedules?”
Wonwoo’s voice came grumpy and low and truly adorable sounding.
“Plus I don’t see why you get so jealous over Mingyu’s friends. They’re like… so straight sometimes I forget Mingyu plays for our team.”
“Look you don’t know how it feels like to see articles about your hot-model-almost-boyfriend going out with idols and knetz saying they look great together, okay?”
Even though he knows Wonwoo’s worries and doubts are real, Soonyoung chuckles and with one last glance at his digital clock he rushes his goodbyes.
“Listen to me, you overgrown kitten. Mingyu has liked you since before you even met. I can’t even count the times he mentioned you in interviews as a celebrity he looks up to and I know you’re scared cuz even if the industry accepted him, you’re still media-wise closeted.
But still... don’t you think it’s time to cut it with this ‘almost-boyfriend’ bull?”
It’s hypocritical at best to be saying this, he knows. Still, he does think that even introverted, shy and antisocial Wonwoo can be braver than him when it comes to romance; he hopes so at least.
“Grow a pair. Ask him to be official. I mean... not tabloid-official, but like... private-life official ?”
Wonwoo falls silent as the clock struck 10.05 and Soonyoun hangs up the phone with one final ‘Good luck, love you Won’ as he knocks on Universe Factory’s door.
Soonyoung looked around the place three times in the past minute, not because he’s in a hurry. Just because Jihoon's studio ( Woozi's - would correct him the younger, because in this field it’s always better to separate private life and business) is actually not that big.
There is no trace of his best friend; no warm aroma of coffee and with earl grey - because Soonyoung is trying to cut down on caffeine and Jihoon cares enough to remember.
It makes him feel things. Bad things.
Sure , he tells himself, sitting down for a moment and hating how used his body is to the soft cushions of the couch, there had been times before when we had skipped Monday Breakfast but never without a warning and never in the past four months .
Even when they were away for Chuseok, they still video-called at 8 am to eat together. It was far too domestic for a pair of friends and maybe Soonyoung isn’t supposed to be so attached to the tradition, but it’s them and he liked them .
People in the office were starting to call us the New Monday Couple, he thinks, sadly glancing at the food gone cold he’s holding in his hands.
I should have learned from Song Jihyo sunbae, I bet she felt a bit betrayed too…
Maybe it’s because the last time, while they were sitting next to each other in front of the mixers and Soonyoung purposely left his fingers lingering over Jihoon's, the latter looked at him with hopeful eyes. So different from the usually apologetic smile that means " I know, but you know we shouldn't."
Maybe it’s because he doesn’t have anything else to look forward to for the day and the whole thing about having breakfast together was for them to have something to anticipate even on boring, hellish Mondays. Something that made Mondays more bearable, enjoyable even.
Maybe it’s because breakfast with Jihoon on Monday mornings doesn’t just make the day bearable, it makes his whole week.
Maybe it’s because it’s Jihoon and Jihoon would always make things better.
But Jihoon on this cold Monday isn’t in his studio with drinks, waiting for Soonyoung to arrive with food as per usual.
The way to his practice room - not technically his but he was the one to use it most and now everyone else asked for his permission to use it if needed - was short. Too short for the dramatic walk Soonyoung is set on doing, so once inside, he lets his backpack fall with a loud thud and keeps going in circles with a frown on his face, the paper bag from the cafè still in his hands.
He takes one last breath and looks at himself in the mirror, forcing an energetic smiley expression on his face. He still had so much to do if he wants to finish his new personal piece before his 3 pm class with the Source Music girl group and he was going to make it with or without Jihoon’s emotional support.
His eyes travel over the surface of the mirror trying to recall where he left and then he sprints to the stereo system and almost knocks over a paper bag. Soonyoung tilts his head in confusion because his paper bag is still in the middle of the room and dear lord, he thinks, if he has to scold Chan again for the third time in 5 days to fucking clean up after himself he’s gonna lose it. But as he lifts the paper bag up, he catches sight of a small sticky note.
I’m on a video call with some guys in America.
You can start without me if you want, but if you touch my ham and cheese I'm breaking your ankles, Kwon!!
There is no sign nor name on it, instead, there’s a small scribble that’s probably meant to be a very rushed heart and next to it a little doodle of a face going “noot noot” and Soonyoung only has one person in his life obsessed with that doodle so his face falls. Not in disappointment, but the opposite.
He opens the bag to find two take away cups and even if they aren’t as hot as they must have been half an hour ago, they still fill Soonyoung’s heart with warmth.
He has just enough time to take two steps towards the door before it slung open.
Woozi walks inside the practice room with no rush, apprehensive creases on his forehead and eyes far away, serious and sombre but it only lasts a second before his eyes reach Soonyoung’s and suddenly he lets his professional persona go and he’s back to being Jihoon.
Soonyoung lets his eyes rest over his friend's milky skin.
The younger is wearing a baseball hat, the one Soonyoung got him in Busan last summer, teaching a dance workshop right across the arena Jihoon used to play in in highschool.
It’s an obnoxious neon orange colour but Jihoon wears it anyway and it always makes Soonyoung feel funny things in his stomach.
There’s a small smile on Jihoon’s face as he tells Soonyoung about his video-call with a Korean-American rapper that wants to work with him on his next album, walking to grab the paper bag in the middle of the practice room.
Only once they were halfway to the rooftop Soonyoung understands where they’re going. Also some time on their way there Jihoon must have reached for the other bag and now Soonyoung is too busy smiling to himself, maybe even blushing to bother about the air around him getting colder.
He was wrong and he almost can’t believe he was so quick to lose hope. Jihoon remembered and got him his favourite tea and was taking him to their spot to eat breakfast because Jihoon is Jihoon and Soonyoung is so relieved he kinda tears up.
“Are you okay, Hosh?” he asks after they’re both done with their food.
They’re sitting at the very edge of the building, with their legs crossed. Not exactly the safest place to be but it’s their place and even if they fell - as sometimes jokes Soonyoung - they’d fall on the last floor’s terrace. They’d get away with a broken bone but nothing more.
“Yeah, why?” he answers, more as a natural reflex than anything. He turns his head to look at Jihoon, studying how his breath comes out in little fogged up breaths piercing the cold, chilly air.
“I don’t know. You seemed out of it all morning.”
There’s a hint of worry in his voice and it makes Soonyoung a tiny bit happy.
“I thought you forgot,” he explains, looking at the view of the city covered in heavy fog and mist.
Soonyoung leans back on his palms with a content sigh and whether it’s proxemics or Jihoon doing it on purpose, the younger follows his lead and leans back as well.
Soonyoung almost wonders if Jihoon feels the same spark as their finger touch over the concrete, but he knows there is no use in wondering. He knows the answer already.
“Humf…” Jihoon shakes his head and even without looking at him, the older man knows he has one of his unimpressed smirks on his face. “As if I could ever forget.”
He can’t bring himself to react, but his heart does a wild somersault he can’t stop. It brings a bitter smile to his lips for some reason and his fingers slip a little closer to Jihoon’s, not enough to be seen as an actual, premeditated skinship if anyone came out on the roof. But enough to be meaningful to both of them.
For the nth time in the past year - a year of hidden touches and lingering stares and inside jokes and falling asleep on Woozi’s couch admiring him as he worked - the little, happy smile he always has when his Hoonie is around, falters.
Is this everything they can have? Everything Soonyoung can aspire for them to be? Wouldn’t it be better for both of them to just go back to being just friends?
But then Jihoon looks up and his teeth are pearly white, his hair a pale blonde mirroring Soonyoung’s and his dimples are out as he smiles and like that he knows that he’s okay with waiting forever for Jihoon to be ready.
“Monday mornings with you are my favourite time of the week, Soonyoung.”
He simply can’t move on. Not after taking so long to realise that he was falling in love with the one person that has been next to him through it all. He can’t give up now, not with Jihoon looking at him like that, speaking to him like that.
Hellooooooo thereeeeee ~~~
I hope you enjoyed this very first chapter of a plot i kinda promised myself to write years ago ... Not sure if anyone will ever bother to read this, but if you do I am so happy you've given me some of your time to read this. I truly hope you liked it and it would mean lots to hear your opinions in the comment section!
Chapter 2: The Life
It's a normal day in Hoshi's life.
Balancing between his choreographer career and Kwon Sooynyoung.
Between being ambitious and being in love. Between sadness and giddiness brought by his best friend.
Between needing more and knowing better.
Between hatred for himself and hatred for Jihoon.
Between love... No.
There is no balance in his love for Jihoon.
From dawn till dawn again. There is just love, lust and everything in between.
And one single note of despair every time he falls asleep.
Jihoon is looking at him through the windows with a torn expression and Soonyoung can’t stop frowning, which is unusual considering just how weak he usually is for the younger.
He blames it on the lack of sleep and the fact that it comes from having his apartment invaded by Jeonghan and Jisoo, who spent the night either flirting or throwing food at each other. He still finds it annoyingly devastating how much he can’t handle them when together. Jisoo alone is a blast. Jeonghan alone is the nicest, most supportive friend he has. Together?
Just the idea sucks all strength from his body.
Also, they were being awfully cute and it was just a bitter reminder of how Jihoon ditched their movie night to work .
Looking at his friend now, it’s obvious how little sleep he’s gotten in the past three weeks and it sincerely worries Soonyoung at times. But Jihoon’s like that and when inspiration strikes him, he just writes and composes and then writes again.
In the past two weeks, Woozi mostly worked on Wonwoo’s new album.
It had been fun at first. There was nothing Hoshi liked more than working with the people he cared about, but it quickly grew boring when the two of them got so deep into music discussion and analysis and management reprimanded Hoshi for hanging out with them instead of working with the backup dancers.
And just a week ago, when all songs were recorded and all stages learned, Jihoon had promised to make it up to him. He bought Hoshi a tiger shaped macaroon, next to a mouse one for himself, and told him they would spend some quality time. And Soonyoung had so many plans, with Jun, with Jisoo, with Jeonghan, with Chan.
Everything they could do before Soonyoung would have to follow Wonwoo in his promotions to make sure all performances were done just the way he and Won had crafted them.
But in the end, just after Soonyoung happily fell asleep with his head on Jihoon’s shoulder while watching stupid comedy movies together, Jihoon ended up locking himself up in his studio again.
He apologized, of course. Soonyoung shrugged it off.
The talent and passion Jihoon had, the spark in his eyes whenever he put on his “Woozi” mask, was part of the reason Soonyoung lo- liked - him so much. Still, it did sting a little bit.
One moment he woke up with his body (in pain) tingling with warmth from the way the two of them had fallen asleep on Jihoon’s couch, the moment after Jihoon was nowhere to be seen, yet again working.
Soonyoung has to keep his mind from wondering if it’s more than just a coincidence. The way Jihoon pushes him away just when Soonyoung thinks they are getting somewhere.
But he tells himself it can’t be. Jihoon has been freer in his mannerism lately, more open in showing his affection and he even smiles (sometimes, when he thinks no one’s watching) if people make jokes about their tight bond.
So Soonyoung tells himself that it’s just a matter of music. And music always comes first to Jihoon. His career and passion are his life.
Music was and always has been how I process my thoughts. Just like dancing is yours.
It’s why I’ve made it my priority. Why I would do anything to protect what I have. What we have. --
The words Jihoon told him years ago ring in his head for the nth time this month. They sounded so full of affection back then, so genuine, making him feel so special to see Jihoon so raw.
It’s why we work so well together. You get it, you get me. It’s why our relationship is perfect as it is.
The choreographer didn’t quite understand back then that Jihoon meant to say that he was and still isn’t planning on ever being more than friends. Because he has to protect what they have, their careers and friendship, from everyone else.
He’s not sure why these thoughts are bugging him again, why they keep knocking on the front wall of his brain every now and then but his eyes start to water.
It’s even more frustrating than usual. There was once a time when his eyes got wet because he didn’t know whether or not his feelings were reciprocated, but now…
Now he just knows, he knows Jihoon feels the same way.
It’s in the way Jihoon wakes him up by brushing his hair back whenever he’s napping. It's in the way he smirks to himself when they wear the same outfit and the way he worries when Hoshi stays to practice till the early morning. The way he always asks him to be his demo voice even when Woozi is a far better singer than Soonyoung, just so they can spend time together.
But as always, whenever things seem to move forward, Jihoon stops to take a few steps back.
There’s the sound of a door closing and Soonyoung feels moist spots on his arms. He’s not sure when he started facing the opposite wall, his arms crossed and head bowed down and apparently fucking crying. But he is and he readily wipes the tears dry and turns with a smile.
Bumzu walks in and sits next to Woozi, who’s still on his phone and still has a dazed look on his face, but at least now he’s not looking at Soonyoung meaning that the latter has a few seconds to clear his voice and put his shit together.
The recording goes well, or at least that's what Woozi tells him even if Soonyoung can see the slight disappointment in his eyes and the way Bumzu looks unsure on whether he should be letting Soonyoung go.
In the end, he still steps out of the booth, feeling a bit down himself. He doesn’t leave though.
He stays back, watching the pair work and mutter and play tracks he’s heard before in passing. He dozes off sometimes when Bumzu stops the music and starts talking about this American label that’s working with a few rappers that Wonwoo’s friends with.
He misses the way Jihoon sometimes glances at him with a bothered expression and a deep frown.
There’s a lingering sadness inside Soonyoung, and he’s not too sure whether it comes from the recording session or the discouraging limbo Jihoon keeps him in.
Then, a deep sigh catches his attention, louder than everything else.
Soonyoung has just enough time to look up and realise that he’s the one that made the sound before his eyes meet Bumzu’s worried look.
He’s not sure if he’s imagining it, but the older man seems to look at Woozi for a second before smiling sadly at Soonyoung.
Jihoon is still rambling with his hands flying around, his voice still soft though because Woozi is always so composed.
“Well, an unknown number texted me the other day. A guy named A-Coops, I think. I’ll try and ask Wonwoo if he gave my personal number away or something. I’m gonna fucking ki--”
Bumzu waves his hand for Woozi to stop, and actually cuts him off. “Hey, Hosh.”
Soonyoung tries to sit up straighter, but ends up putting too much weight on his numb hand and fumbles forward.
There’s a silent, burning tug on his heart when he sees Jihoon’s arm twitching slightly in his direction as if for a moment Jihoon actually wanted to move and make sure Soonyoung was okay.
Is his heart churning because Jihoon cares so much to even move at all or because he wishes that for once Jihoon would stop hesitating?
“Jihoon said you want to hang around and experiment a bit with singing,” Bumzu says, calling for his attention again. “And we were thinking about which demos we need and stuff like that.”
Jihoon has been talking about him then, thinking about him during work hours. The bitterness from a second before gets replaced by warmth in less then a second and Soonyoung can almost smile at how weak he is for his friend.
“He says there’s still time to work on this one and already has someone else to work on the recording, but I kinda like it already. The lyrics are still not finalised but I just wanna see how it works for now.”
There’s a ting from his back pocket and Bumzu tells him he just sent him the track while handing him a few papers with scribbles and notes.
He almost starts reading it through, but his eyes catch sight of Woozi, staring at the pages in Soonyoung’s hands.
The choreographer knows just how much Jihoon hates letting people read lyrics that aren’t ready yet and unless Hoshi is actively participating in writing he’s not allowed to hear anything beyond in-progress tracks.
He tries to smile, asking with his eyes if it’s okay for him to take the papers handed to him. Jihoon hesitates a little and even after he gives one single, reluctant nod, he keeps staring at the lyrics sheets as if he’s not sure if he should let Soonyoung read them.
“I think you’ll like it,” he says after a while “it’s a bit of a sad song. More on the singing than dancing. More up my alley than yours.”
Somehow they end up on their way to Soonyoung’s apartment, breath hot against the cold mid-February air and they talk about the weather the way only two friends who talked about literally anything else can do. Soonyoung complains about missing spring even if it’s just around the corner while Jihoon dreads the arrival of the allergy season.
Moments like these, Soonyoung likes to focus on the distressed frowns and the way the night lights make him even paler than Jihoon already is.
“If it was for me we could have a short summer, a longer autumn, a normal winter and a second autumn cuz spring sucks.”
Soonyoung hums in that way Jihoon loves to hate, the kind that’s teasing and amused, quickly laughing at the way Jihoon shoves him with his shoulder.
They fall in a peaceful silence only broken by occasional cars passing. Their hands brush one against the other so many times that Soonyoung’s heart has simply stopped missing beats and is just dying inside altogether.
That is until his heart jumps directly in his throat as Jihoon takes his hand and guides him to the convenience store just in front of his building.
Jihoon almost let's go and Soonyoung almost lets him. Maybe it’s how dazed he's been all day or how confused he is, but there’s something so domestic in watching Jihoon pick up a couple of beers and a mint ice cream, knowing exactly where things are in the store next to Soonyoung’s place.
The very brief moment their hands cease to have skin on skin contact, he quickly takes Jihoon’s hand again, interlacing their fingers together and squeezing it tight.
And he skyrockets over the moon when Jihoon looks a little shocked, confused even, but lets him do it. Only until they reach the counter though because then they could actually be seen and that’s a nono.
Soonyoung sometimes wishes not to understand, but he does. He knows and agrees that it’s a risky business to be outed.
When you’re a celebrity, like Mingyu or that other singer guy Soonyoung read about, you can still hope for a small chunk of your following to still love you even after you come out.
But people like them, who are in show-business, but not really… They’re not worth the risk.
They’d make a few articles, k-netz will bash them for being openly gay and no one will ever want to risk getting their careers linked to them.
And if like Jihoon, or Soonyoung himself, you care about your career, then you need to decide whether or not admitting your sexuality, getting into a relationship, or even just acting upon your own orientation is worth it.
They have their friendship. And it’s one of the best things in Soonyoung’s life.
So no. Risking their friendship, their faces and their careers is not worth a simple “what if we could be more.”
Not for Jihoon.
And not for me , he forces himself to think as his hand yearns to be held again, just for a second, in front of the cashier and the two other customers of the convenient store.
Just for a second, his treacherous mind says, one small second of reassurance that you don’t hate the idea so much.
They walk in silence, Jihoon whistling in the night unaware of the sudden change in Soonyoung’s mood. The older has to print an easy smile on his face the moment they reach the elevator.
It’s not Jihoon’s fault their country is so harsh with people like them.
It’s not Jihoon’s fault if he’s still working up the courage to come out to his parents, who keep stressing him about getting a girlfriend and giving them grandchildren (even if Jihoon is still in his early twenties).
It’s not Jihoon’s fault if Soonyoung doesn’t have the guts to directly confront him about what he wants them to become.
Whatever sadness Soonyoung feels is easily forgotten once again, and he doesn’t really know if it’s him being too volatile in the heart or maybe just Jihoon’s presence.
They have a midnight snack that resembles a very late dinner; they talk about work and Soonyoung almost suggests listening to that song Bumzu told him about but Jihoon looks dead tired and in a blink of an eye they find themselves on the couch.
Soonyoung lets the mint ice cream they bought melt a little, playing with it and pushing it around as Jihoon has a dazed look on his face. The younger takes another sip of his beer, his eyes unfocused, looking at the tv screen. Soonyoung has finished his long ago and actually gulped down another half of a new bottle.
He’d never admit it, but drinking so quickly might have just done something to his head, he thinks giggling to himself, still pushing the ice cream around with his spoon.
Jihoon finishes his beer as Peter opens the sunglasses case Tony left him and Soonyoung amusedly notices how Jihoon is paying attention once again to the movie.
He always did have a thing for Tom Holland.
They continue like that for a while. Soonyoung finishes his third bottle and Jihoon his second, melting a little more into the couch every few minutes, a little bit like the dancer’s half-forgotten dessert.
When MJ and Peter are being all cute and sweet on the bridge, Jihoon has his head on Soonyoung’s lap and there’s a little, adorable smile on his face that catches the older off guard. His spoon is suddenly forgotten mid-air as Soonyoung fails to breathe, looking at this Jihoon: sleepy, contented and resting on his thighs.
So sweet, so relaxed, so breathtakingly comfortable that Soonyoung can almost pretend he’s his .
And then something drips on the side of Jihoon’s face and dear god this was meant to be wholesome but the moment that white-ish drop hits his skin, Jihoon gasps and it feels too much like one of those dreams Soonyoung pretends not to have on a regular basis.
The spoon drips another two drops of liquid mint ice cream and Jihoon now has his face turned to him and Soonyoung has to be possessed or drunk or anything but he actually moves a hand over Jihoon’s chest, lightly, to tell him to stay put for a second.
He almost loses it when the other actually remains lying on his lap.
Soonyoung's hand leaves the other's chest to travel to the side of his face, thumb quickly cleaning it from the melted ice cream.
He hopes Jihoon is too into whatever is happening to notice the nervous bobbing of his Adam apple as he raises his thumb to his mouth, eyes locked to him.
There’s a short intake of breath from the younger as he does and Soonyoung tilts the spoon he’s still holding in his right hand.
The drips come one after the other, precisely on the corner of Jihoon’s slightly agape mouth. The sight makes the older twitch in more ways than one and, by the flash of something strong in his best friend’s eyes, something that Soonyoung is sure is lust, Jihoon wants this just as much.
But still, a part of him waits for the other to snap out of it, to block his hand as it caresses his face.
Jihoon doesn’t, not even after the spoon falls to the floor with a clunking sound and Soonyoung shifts his legs, silently telling him to get up from his lying position.
The moment the younger gets up, he’s kneeling on the couch facing Soonyoung and his eyes are searching for something. Soonyoung’s are too and this time when he feels like getting lost in Jihoon’s dark irises, he feels a little spark in his heart telling him that Jihoon is getting lost in his as well.
The younger leans forward first, his hand moves to put his weight forward, in that spot on the couch that is just between the older’s open legs and Soonyoung gasps at the sudden movement.
He wants to close his eyes from how incredibly alive, yet so close to dying he feels in this very moment. But if this is gonna happen he wants to see it all unravel in front of him.
And a second later it all falls apart and maybe he really should have closed his eyes.
The sight changes in the blink of an eye.
The look Jihoon is giving him goes from lustful and dazed to panicked and fearful.
There’s an explosion on tv. That's what breaks Jihoon out of his trance.
Suddenly, the movie is loud in Soounyoung’s ears and it casts an ominous red light on the side of Jihoon’s face as the latter snaps out of his daze.
The hand resting between Soonyoung’s thighs snaps back, so as the rest of Jihoon’s body as if violently pushed back by an invisible hand.
Soonyoung doesn’t understand what happens exactly.
Sometime later tho, his phone dings and lights up in a dark living room.
The movie has been over for a few minutes now, the ice cream spilt over the little table by the side of the couch, the beers are long forgotten.
The last memory he has of his best friend is him rushing out, face distraught and avoiding his eye, his left hand clutching his few belongings as he alternated putting on his shoes and rubbing the corner of his mouth harshly as if to clean it.
It takes Soonyoung a minute to actually look at his phone and his whole chest feels like a crystal box getting shattered when he does.
From: my hoons (^ 3 ^)
I’ll be working with Won tomorrow so I’ll be busy all morning.
It’s your day off, so maybe you should rest a little.
I’ll text you when I can.
I’m off to sleep.
You should sleep too.
That’s far too many texts in one go. But it’s the only thing that hints to something being off in his best friend. Everything else, the content, the word choice, the tone.
A small cloud with intermittent dots shows on his screen and he patiently waits with a blank expression and an equally blank mind for the next text to come. A final good night maybe.
It doesn't come and Soonyoung is only left reading five utterly casual texts.
Everything is normal and Soonyoung is not sure whether or not to be relieved.
Jihoon won’t address what just went on in Soonyoung’s apartment. It means their friendship is safe, it means he doesn’t hate him for what was happening, what could have happened.
Jihoon won’t address what just went on in Soonyoung’s apartment. It means they're still stuck in this stressful limbo.
Soonyoung doesn’t think he can sleep, not immediately at least.
He actually cleans up, writes himself a note to ask Mingyu for tips on how to make sure the melted ice-cream doesn’t permanently ruin his wooden furniture and even manages to laugh at the comedy program that’s airing at 2 am on JTBC.
He hops in the shower at 2.30 am, just because and it’s both good and bad because he loves hot showers after a long day. It feels like a warm hug, a loving embrace ready welcoming him, saying you worked hard today, you deserve all the warmth in the world.
But today no amount of scorching water seems to warm his insides and flashes of Jihoon and his smile and the ghost of his gasps are loud in his ears.
When he falls to his bed, Jihoon is still there, behind his eyelids, and the echoes of what they almost did bounces around his brain.
If he just blocks the image of his best friend running away, he can almost feel a semblance of warmth in his blood.
So even if he knows he’ll feel like shit as soon as it’s over, he lets the memory play but shapes it differently so that when Jihoon leans closer he doesn’t let the chance go.
He takes it in his hands, takes Jihoon in his hands and doesn’t let him go.
When Jihoon whispers in his ear he loves him, letting himself unfold in Soonyoung’s arms, the latter arches in his bed. Like every time it happens, he goes to the bathroom, cleans himself up and stares at his reflection in the mirror wondering what he’s doing with his life, with his heart.
Soonyoung falls asleep a few minutes before four and this time when he wakes up at lunchtime the next day, that mix of feelings in his body is still as strong as when he closed his eyes.
And he stays like that for the whole week, not sure what’s stronger.
Hating Jihoon for not being brave enough to try.
Hating himself for not being strong enough to handle it.
Loving Jihoon enough to understand.
Loving his job enough to make it his priority.
Soonyoung tells himself he’ll choose sooner or later; what to do, what to say, what in general.
Either that or the Universe will choose for him.
And so the Universe Factory chose.
Hellooooooo thereeeeee ~~~
I was meaning to update this last week, but uni is a "beach" so that plan failed (among many others) I surprisingly love writing SoonHoon and unsurprisingly love angst so im sorry hehe,
There will be some more explicit/mature scenes later on in the story so im trying to ease myself into writing those kind of things and im not sure about the result but i can only hope practice makes decent lol ...
As you can see the first chapters are more of setting and the actual plot will start next time! I will try to update monthly (supposedly the second Tuesday of each month) but I'm not totally sure yet so I'll just try and get back to writing as much as I can before exam season starts.
If you're reading this, I just wanna say I am so happy you've given me some of your time to read this. I truly hope you liked it and it would mean lots to hear your opinions in the comment section!
Chapter 3: The Confession
Soonyoung wants to move on. Jihoon wants to talk.
Soonyoung can't move on. Jihoon wants to talk.
Soonyoung wants to confess. Jihoon wants to... confess too.
Soonyoung thinks they might be on the same page for once. But maybe not.
After that eventful night, Jihoon clearly takes more than a few steps back in their relationship and for the first time in forever Soonyoung is actually glad he does. They never mention it in the passing weeks and before long it’s nearly spring.
Soonyoung is busy with Wonwoo’s comeback as well as overviewing a new girl group that’s meant to debut in a few months and overworking sounds better than overthinking, so that’s what he does.
He still pines for his best friend, though. It’s almost a habit and some people, Jeonghan mostly, might even consider it a bad one, but he’s managed for a couple of years now so he guesses he’ll just continue like this.
The choreographer decides to wait for Jihoon to approach him first, which in itself is strange because usually, when things get weird, it takes a few (painfully nonchalant) meme texts from Soonyoung for them to get back on track as if nothing happened. Whether they fight, flirt or just generally grow a bit distant, it’s always Soonyoung that caves in first and tries to make things better.
But this time he’s, first things first, extremely busy and second, extremely done with Woozi’s shameful and panicked look whenever they cross paths in the company building.
It’s such an uncharacteristic behaviour for the older, that it is actually very him-like .
The genuinely gemini anger and bipolarity finally snapping.
Hoshi scoffs when he first realizes it, finding it interesting how one night (and a very stressful couple of weeks) are making him reconsider a lot of things in life. And when he next sees Jihoon lingering outside his practice room (but never actually walking in, like the other five times he caught him) he is so upset with the younger he actually ends up texting Jeonghan.
To: Hannie Hyung <3
u know what
Im getting over him
He sees the reply coming up immediately and smiles knowing he chose the right person to text for an instant reply.
(Also, Wonwoo and Jun are biased and would have probably called bullshit on him.)
From: Hannie Hyung <3
Not that i don’t approve, but you’ve said this a hundred times
what prompted this?
To: Hannie Hyung <3
hes frustrating and hes doing that little push
and pull thingy he does whenever we get too comfortable…
I just feel so stressed and done and maybe ur right about letting go
From: Hannie Hyung <3
I think i missed the part where you guys got “too comfortable”
but does this mean i get to hook you up with my cousin?
shes a fan of wonwoo too if u really wanna let go ;)
To: Hannie Hyung <3
and Won has a boyfriend
He gets called out for being close-minded and Jeonghan starts his own little rant about poly relationships and threesomes that are far too detailed to be made up. Soonyoung is kinda disgusted, a little confused and a tiny little bit intrigued.
Not that he would ever admit it.
Also, he feels a lot lighter. But then Jeonghan asks him if he’s serious and he doesn’t answer for a good three days.
Of course, in those three days, Jihoon actually texts him and a lot of shit hits the fan.
Counting that Jihoon is always the one hesitating, and Soonyoung is always doing, the latter chokes on his beer when his best friend texts him from the other side of the room, asking for Hosh to step outside with him.
They’re at the celebratory dinner for Wonwoo’s rather fruitful album and promotions and Soonyoung promises himself to only drink one beer because it’s his first time touching alcohol since that night and he has work in the morning.
The text he receives is concise and short, very Woozi like, not very Jihoon. Though Soonyoung doesn’t really know what good differentiating the two personas does; it’s all a mess in his head anyway.
The resolution he had that very morning during his conversation with Jeonghan is still strong( ly unsure ) in his chest and as he reads he almost slips his phone back in his pocket, but he makes the mistake of actually looking for Woozi with his eyes.
Not surprisingly, he finds the younger one immediately; after all, it’s his favourite hobby: Jihoon looking .
Jihoon has a light blush on his face, probably due to the shot glass he’s playing within his left hand. He also has a pleading, nervous look as he meets his eyes from a few meters away.
It’s the kind of look Soonyoung is so exhausted of being whipped for. He gives a single nod and a tight-lipped smile as Chan tugs on his sleeve questioning where he’s going.
Soonyoung just shakes his head twice, once for his favourite dance crew member and once for Wonwoo who’s raising an eyebrow, eyeing between his choreographer and his producer.
It’s chilly outside, but not overly so, reminding Soonyoung just how close spring is. They sit right at the step of the restaurant, kind of blocking the way. It’s not like anyone would actually enter at this time in the night and the only ones inside are the people they’re with.
He pretends the breeze is why his skin prickles and his blood chills, not the intense gaze Jihoon is wearing in his glossy eyes.
“Are you mad at me?”
It comes as a whisper.
But it comes and Jihoon actually looks resolute despite the trembling phrase.
A little voice that sounds a lot like the ever-wise Joshua tells him that he should take this chance and seek for closure, finally confronting his best friend with whom he is so pathetically in love with. Because for once he can plainly and easily see the guilt in Jihoon’s face and tone. Not to mention, though not directly, Jihoon is actually admitting to having done something that could upset him.
It’s not much, but it could be enough for Soonyoung to latch onto if he truly wants answers and development.
The problem is that he’s not sure he does, he understands at that very moment.
Jihoon looks beautiful, with his pale, perfect soft skin, under the streetlights and he looks almost ready, almost defeated and he says it again.
“Are you mad at me for running away?”
It’s more explicit and now it’s both Jisoo and Jeonghan in his head, telling him to seek closure, to seek confrontation. So he does what he does best because no matter how much he says he wants something to change, change scares him shitless.
“Why should I be mad at you?” he says with a happy-go-lucky grin.
He’s stupid, he knows. And for a moment Jihoon looks disappointed. As if for the first time the younger didn’t want to leave him wondering as if he wanted to actually talk about all of it.
But Jihoon just faces the cars passing and doesn’t try to press the conversation further. They stay like that for a few minutes until Jihoon stands up and stares at him.
“You’re my best friend. You know?”
It feels strange to hear it even though those words have been exchanged between them so many times before. But there’s something sad and final and beat in Jihoon’s tone. As if it’s painful to say.
“I know. And you are mine.”
Jihoon walks inside without waiting for him.
Soonyoung stays outside to stare at the flickering light of the shop on the other side of the road. It takes him a few seconds, but when he dozes off, the perfectly crafted smile falls and his face goes blank, asking himself if pretending nothing happened was the right thing to do. Maybe Jeonghan was wrong and maybe he and Jihoon were made for each other, with the way they were both so awful at confrontation, they really did match.
But most probably, Jeonghan was right and Soonyoung was just pretending to be looking for closure, too unsure whether to face Jihoon but at the same time too scared to look anywhere else.
In the end, he remains sitting outside, cold until he’s offered a ride home from one of his dance crew members. Jihoon waves him goodbye with a smile and Soonyoung closes his eyes, resting his head against the window.
The mixed feelings in his heart are almost comforting.
He wakes up well-rested, for once. The regret of not talking clearly with Jihoon comes knocking on his door a few times but he doesn't let the torn thoughts in and focuses on his daily tasks.
When Soonoung opens his phone, he finds himself in front of his texts to Jeonghan, the ones about moving on and he allows himself to remember how they were the last thing he read before going to sleep the previous day.
He still hasn't answered the question the older gave him. He's not sure if he will, honestly.
He quickly picks up his calendar, slips into his Hoshi trademark energy to deal with his day and rushes to the company for his new class. It should make him upset, he thinks, because it's early morning on a Monday and he's supposed to be spending it with Jihoon now that they’re talking again, but with how things have been going (and how many mondays they skipped) he's actually not that dispirited.
If anything, it feels almost like a new start, he thinks as he texts Jihoon.
The younger answers swiftly and promptly, agreeing to turn their Monday breakfast into Monday dinner.
Without noticing, the thoughts of regret get left behind along with the ones of moving on.
It might be because of the sun peeking in between fluffy clouds, or the new shoes that were delivered to him at dawn and he's already wearing. Or maybe it's the veiled knowledge that he dodged a heavy and dangerous conversation the night before.
Whatever it is, he walks to his dance class with a bounce in his steps. And the good mood stays up till lunch break.
Hoshi stares at the ceiling for a good ten minutes after his class. His 12.00 am meeting got cancelled and he has time to rest and do nothing, so even if it’s pretty early for lunch he orders some food and waits for it to get delivered.
He eats while planning with his sketch/notebook by his side, writing down formations and moves and ideas as he listens to his playlist of songs to check out. It’s fun and refreshing to just put songs, not really remembering what he inserted in the list, and getting carried away by creativity.
His mind is still on 5 Seconds of Summer’s Thin White Lines and he keeps tilting his head to the side, not quite satisfied, wondering if maybe it’s something more Chan-like than Hoshi-like.
The first notes of the piano catch his attention mostly because it’s not something he’d save on his “to listen” playlist. The song sounds weird for the first few lines, with a mellow, sort of sad melody and no words, just some humming.
Hoshi unlocks his phone to check the title, LSM_loveletterballad in total minimal Jihoon style. It’s that song Bumzu sent him days back, the still unfinished demo his hyung told him to “play” with. He almost laughs at how kind Bumzu is, at how he threw Soonyoung a bone (a seemingly truly, deeply not-done-yet one) to entertain himself a little bit.
The smile turns into a relaxed expression as an unknown voice hums and sings random words about pining and yearning. The words come and go every now and then, more as to mark and accompany the melody than as actual lyrics, but every now and then they get clearer and make sense. Probably the little bits of lyrics that are final.
Halfway through the song Hoshi’s ears actually pick up a very familiar voice, a voice he could recognize anywhere, and Woozi sings about something beautiful.
Memories apparently, fragile and beautiful, that he yearns for.
The first vocalist answers, turning the demo track into some sort of duet. They sing about love, sad love it seems. They whisper words of waiting and waiting for their loved ones to ask them to stay.
It hits far too close to home and he has to try twice to get his password right, but as soon as he unlocks his phone he looks for his conversation with Bumzu and opens the lyrics document he was sent.
Soonyoung scrolls past a few notes and the highlighted parts that in Jihoon-style mean “things to think over and elaborate” ; he focuses on the parts in bold. The lyrics that have been written and decided already.
The song is most probably ending, slowing down to a painfully sad melody as the two voices sing the words he’s reading.
I love you. Say yes.
Soonyoung is on his feet in a second, looking over and over again at the lyrics, not even truly reading because his mind is in total chaos.
It’s the song Jihoon looked uncomfortable showing him, the one “more up his alley”.
Did it mean more than just a random demo? Was he reading too much into it?
It couldn’t be, right?
It had to make sense. It made sense.
It was why Jihoon had been trying to talk to him, why he was trying so hard yet at the same time he seemed always so panicked to be around Soonyoung.
Oh , how it made sense now.
He kept pacing around the room, trying to be more logical, trying to understand if he was building his hopes up unreasonably. He even cleans up after his lunch and collects all of his things, still with his thoughts on that beautifully pining love song.
Gosh, even unfinished it made Soonyoung tear up and purely feel, he thinks, taking the elevator and not really knowing what he was doing.
Hell, he felt so bad. So guilty.
Jihoon was probably trying to put all of his feelings into not only beautiful words but a beautiful melody as well. And all the while, Soonyoung was actually thinking about giving up?!
He thanks his weak, whipped heart for not actually managing to move on from this situation, because now he was gonna get closure. And with closure, a new beginning.
Yes, Jihoon. I’m saying yes. I love you. Yes.
He repeats these words in his head for a whole minute as he realises that his feet are taking him right there, to him.
And just as he picks up the pace to reach the Universe Factory he catches a glimpse of Wonwoo’s red hair in one of the rooms they use for meetings.
He giddily remembers how Jihoon had to meet up with the rapper this morning and hopes to find him right there more comfortable about throwing Wonwoo out the room than anyone else.
The older stops at the door, before either of his friends, can see him. They have their backs on him, sitting closely together in front of a computer and he almost clears his throat but something in their sombre, three-quarter expressions bothers him.
Despite always being more on the serious side, especially when together, something in the gloomy and dreary aura they emit makes him fidget on the spot.
Wonwoo is saying something normal, though, nothing that seems bad if you look at the content. But the tone he uses chills Soonyoung’s excited blood.
“Have you told him yet?”
Jihoon shakes his head silently and draws a tired sigh from the taller man.
“You said you would tell him last night, Jihoon.” Wonwoo sounds disappointed, but still soft-spoken.
“You can’t keep it in forever.”
The choreographer’s brain jumps to conclusions, completely disregarding the sad tone and a little spark of happiness seems to settle in his heart thinking they must be talking about him.
Had Jihoon been planning on confessing?
He worries for a second, hoping not to have hurt Jihoon for not wanting to talk clearly, for pretending that all was fine. But it was really all going to be alright.
Soonyoung was going to anticipate him and confess first and then kiss him and hold him in his arms.
Everything would be fine.
“I’ve been trying to talk to him for weeks. But…” Jihoon sounds tired and stressed and as much as Soonyoung knew Jihoon loved him too, he never really imagined that he was putting his best friend through so much pain.
He falls silent as Wonwoo prompts him to explain. The producer takes off his hat to run his dainty white hands across his scalp twice and then over his eyes. The rapper on the other hand turns to Jihoon a little more and Soonyoung instinctively takes a step back to hide.
“Something happened a few weeks ago.” Jihoon sighs and Soonyoung knows immediately what he’s referring too.
“Jihoon, we’ve been over this…”
“I know, I know. But I stopped it, okay? Before it got too much, I stopped it.”
Jihoon’s soft and whispered words rung like sirens in his ears.
Soonyoung should leave. He thinks he won’t like whatever they’re getting at.
He’ll leave and listen to that ballad again and at dinner, he’ll confess and everything will be okay. Yet his feet stay glued to the floor.
“You shouldn’t have let it start to begin with, Woozi!” Wonwoo’s voice was distressed, pained.
“We talked about this. New Year's resolution: sort out your feelings and choose, remember?”
That little that Soonyoung could see of his face showed those exact feelings as well.
“You chose to move on and to put some distance.”
When the rapper talked again, his voice was a few decibels lower but still as emotional.
“I know it’s hard, but it’s hurting you and him and to be honest I feel like shit too, whenever he talks about you and I have to pretend .”
They stay silent, but Soonyoung is smart enough to connect the few dots he has.
… you chose to move on… repeats his mind, staring at the back of Jihoon’s head.
“I fucked up, okay?” says Jihoon with a broken sigh. He sounds like he’s about to cry and it scares Soonyoung so much because he never cries.
“I love him, Wonwoo. I do ,” he said with so much emotion.
But that emotion sounded like pain and regret and Soonyoung’s heart broke regardless of the words leaving his best friend's lips.
“I thought I could do it. Put some distance, but right after he came back from the holidays … I don't know."
Funny enough (it's not really funny at all), Jihoon does sound like he has no clue.
"We went ice skating and I'm not that good and he helped, held my hands and all. It felt good."
Wonwoo has understanding eyes, yet he shakes his head and Soounyoung gives himself a few seconds to smile at the memory before batting the tears away.
"I wanted to be selfish. I was selfish. I told myself I could just keep going like this, for just a week."
"Let me guess, the week turned into a month?" Even from behind, Jihoon reeked of guilt and the pain in Soonyoung's chest got stronger.
"What then Jihoon, you let yourself indulge in this and lead Soonyoung on, for what? To hurt him? To hurt yourself ?"
Wonwoo's words were like a slap on both his friends’ faces and Soonyoung felt a tear roll down his cheek just as Jihoon leaned to rest his head on the table.
"What kind of future can you see, Jihoon? It can only hurt the two of you… unless you change idea..."
It was only a small bait, one Soonyoung hoped Jihoon would take, but also knew better.
"No. No, there's no other future."
At that very moment, something in Soonyoung broke, but Jihoon kept going. "We both know there can't be."
"Maybe, but I still think you should talk."
There were sighs, but Soonyoung was far too focused on crying as silently as he could.
"Soonyoung knows. Even if I don't tell him. He knows I can't give him more than this. Saying it out loud…"
Somehow the emotion in the younger' s voice doesn't help, it only makes listening more painful.
"Explicitly telling him that no matter how much I care and love him, I can't… I won't give him more than what we already have.”
The older wishes he could see his face, even if it would make his world crumble even more.
“It'll only hurt him. I don't think it's a conversation I can have. Not now, not as I still love him."
He thinks he deserves to see Jihoon as he admits all these things. The pain isn't a problem for him, he doesn't think he can be more broken than he is already.
"I'll tell him and explain everything, but once I’m definite on moving on. It's the only way I can imagine having the guts to say it in his face." He hears an ironic, almost hateful scoff, the ones Woozi lets out when he feels particularly dissatisfied with himself.
"Maybe he'll have moved on too, by then. He'll be happier, won't even care. Maybe he'll be in love with someone who can treat him better."
Jihoon turns his head to Wonwoo, who tries to give him what seems to be a hopeful smile. Soonyoung thinks it looks like a grimace.
"It's your choice, Jihoon. Maybe you're right. Some time apart will help you." He says standing up and while placing a hand on Jihoon's hunched shoulder he adds.
"You should tell him about that quickly. Two weeks pass in a flash. You're seeing him tonight, right?"
Soonyoung doesn't have time to wonder at what the due time might mean, because they look like they're about to leave.
He rushes away to the opposite side of the hallway and enters an empty janitor room. Only when he hears utter silence, besides the buzzing white noise of the ventilation system, he lets a hand softly come to his face to wipe away the dry tears.
The choreographer sits on the floor for almost two hours, almost surprised by the fact that no one finds him, but he doesn't have the strength in himself to let his brain stray away from replaying that awful conversation in his head.
He feels so distraught he can't fathom any other sentiment besides tiredness as he spells every word that's been said.
When he emerges from the room. it's still sunny. It shouldn't be strange, it is after all still 2 pm, but for some reason he hoped it would be cloudy and grey, to fit his mood. Right now, the weather only makes him more miserable, like a big, great " we're all doing great while you aren't".
He laughs, maniacally, to the point that he almost sounds happy to his own ears. The almost creepy smile stays on his face when he gets on the elevator as he remembers why he was there.
Soonyoung thought Jihoon loved him. He thought Jihoon wanted to confess and to be with him to real. He chuckles, his eyes watering again.
What a complete, idiotic fool.
He thought Jihoon loved him and he was right. Maybe it would have been better if he was wrong.
Being rejected by someone who doesn't love you right now sounds better, more logical, more comprehensible than being rejected by someone who loves you.
He thinks he could pick himself up from the pain of not being loved, but not being loved enough… it's a sting he never imagined to hurt like this.
In his daze, he manages to write a text to the management asking for a few days off, a sickness he says. They don't question him, a perk of being a company favourite (or because his almost-crying, rough voice truly sounds sickly) and before he hangs up he remembers his dinner. He asks to deliver the message to Woozi, asks them to tell the producer he won't make it to their schedule. They say they'll take care of it and Soonyoung's heart eases at the idea of not having to hear Jihoon's voice nor see his number. He chokes on his breath, getting inside the taxi as if in a trance.
The tears in his eyes latch to his lashes until he's in the safety of his room.
He doesn’t eat, doesn’t move, at times it feels as if he doesn’t breathe (it sure feels like it).
He falls asleep what feels like days later, sensing the time passing only by the game of shadows the setting sun plays over his bedsheets. When he wakes up the day later he still doesn't eat.
He works up the strength to send one single text though, before going back to sleep.
To: Hannie Hyung <3
Yes, I'm sure this time.
HEYA! IM SORRY THIS IS STILL ANGSTY.
But yeah, I'm so sorry if you guys hoped for them to clear things out, but things aren't that easy and once you start to NOT talk things out, you just start avoiding talking things out.
Jihoon is set about his opinion and the closeness he feels toward Soonyoung is exactly why he can't and won't ever have the courage to do and be more.
This was something I knew since the very start but I admit that I was tempted to make this a lot shorter (and completely change the plot) because making them suffer hurt me too... But I still believe this is more realistic and truer to the internal struggles of both characters. They love each other so it's hard to step back, but avoiding it turns it in its own way toxic. At this point, i felt there wasn't really a way for them to have a fresh start as a couple.
from now on soonhoon are still very much one of the most important (if not the most important) relationship in the fic, but i also can state that they won't be the endgame. they both need healing from a pain they've been ignoring for so long, but their love for each other is still very much real and very important so even if they're not the romantic ship in this, i hope you'll still read how it goes for them! <3
I feel lighter now that this first part is done, mostly cuz i can change the tags and warn people without spoiling. i hope no one feels played by the fact i didn't say it before, but we're still very much early on the story so hopefully, you won't hate me too much.
ps. this was meant to be the second half of chapter two and the first half of chapter three but i word-vomited so now it's a chapter on its own (you can see the chapter count went from 17 to 18 lol)
anyway i hope you'll take some time to leave kudos and comments if you liked this (even if you don't! i don't mind constructive criticism!!! hehe)
see you next time (might be even before Christmas if uni doesn't k word me*crossing fingers* )
Chapter 4: The Rooftop
Soonyoung and Jihoon finally talk and once again it's not what Soonyoung is expecting.
Broken hearts don't necessarily mean broken friendships and even if it hurts, they have to make it okay.
Soonyoung wakes up very sweaty, but the moment he kicks his duvets off of his body he gets struck by regret.
It’s that time of the year where one day it’s spring and the other it goes back to being winter.
He huffs thinking why he had gone to bed so covered when he already had a gut feeling that it would be sunny and warm in the morning.
“Stop kicking and get the blankets for the floor.” drawls a soft voice from a little above his head.
Oh, that’s why. Because Jeonghan is perpetually cold, especially in bed. Something Jisoo considered very important to remind Soonyoung of every night for the past 5 days.
Which is, coincidentally, the same amount of days that the younger has been taking as “sick days” (Lord bless Jeonghan’s sister who actually provided him a fake real doctor certificate for some bowel system problem).
Jeonghan only meant to drop by to steal some of Soonyoung’s mom’s homemade kimchi and instead had found a heartbroken, runny-nose and puffy-eyed Soonyoung and decided to look after him the whole day seeing it was his day off.
His neighbour didn’t ask questions, which the 96liner was glad for, and was smart enough to connect his friend’s poor state to the very definite text he got the previous day. Instead, he orders some food (he can’t cook to save his life) and texts Joshua to drop by after work with the complete series of Step Up movies.
The dancing cheers him up but by the time they reach the third movie, with Joshua asleep on his couch, he bursts to tears at almost every Camille and Moose scene, blabbering about how movies make it look like the best-friends-to-lovers trope is actually nice.
The following four days are spent just like that, with Jeonghan and Jisoo dropping by as soon as they get off work and the older of the two spending the night to make sure someone’s there for Soonyoung, in case he has the sudden need to cry.
But now his certificate isn’t valid anymore and he’s already worked out a new schedule with management in order to make up for the lost classes and meetings. Work is unavoidable.
It will keep him overly busy for the next week and a half, but it’s better this way.
The more he has on his plate, the less time he has to get into one of his moods where his eyes decide to engage in waterworks. Not to mention, it’s also less time he has for Jihoon.
It’s bad , the mature part of him tries to remind him.
He's aware he's being immature, cowardly and selfish, only prolonging something that's meant to end painfully. He's seen first hand how the situation seems to haunt Jihoon just as much.
But apparently, Jihoon has been immature, cowardly and selfish for a little over two months now, so he has all the rights to take a few days of pushing back.
Still, as Jeonghan wearily watches him hop on a bus, he thinks he'll eventually face Jihoon by Monday at best. After all, he had brushed off Jihoon all throughout his 'sick leave' telling him not to drop by, not to worry and just postpone the Monday dinner back to the original Monday breakfast.
Actually, he's pretty sure he'll face Jihoon on Monday, regardless of whether or not they'll bump into each other before that.
Jihoon asked to meet him at the rooftop on the next breakfast dat-- appointment. And that had to mean something.
Monday comes in the blink of an eye and the fresh March wind blows in Soonyoung’s face as he opens the heavy door to the rooftop. Jihoon is already there, with his feet dangling from the railings, shoulders slouched. He emits ominous vibes and Soonyoung can’t stop the slightly disheartened exhale.
Soonyoung doesn’t make any noise as he walks up to the producer, careful steps and breath stuck in his lungs. He sits rather naturally in the spot his body recognizes as his, and only once his butt touches the cold concrete and his feet dangle dangerously close to Jihoon’s own, he realises how much their vicinity now feels unfamiliar.
It’s a disruptive thought that makes him shiver visibly and it startles Jihoon from his trance, suddenly taking off his eyes from whatever far away building he was staring at.
“Are you cold?”
It’s impossibly soft and low, with just a slight mention of movement from his shoulders, as if he was ready to take off his very thin jeans jacket and give it to Soonyoung. It’s a small movement but it’s there and as heartwarming as it is, it still makes the older feel anxious and tickly inside his own skin. It’s like his own body has stopped knowing how to interact with his own best friend and the usual thumping of his heart only makes him confused.
Soonyoung sighs and looks at the sky, knowing he should start the conversation and break the ice, otherwise they’ll just stay put doing nothing for the rest of the evening. But Jihoon doesn’t take his bait about the spring weather and simply stares at the side of his face with a deep frown.
“Are you okay, Soonyoung?”
He actually chuckles, finding the question somewhat unexpected and so complex in its simplicity. Was he okay? The answer was that no, he wasn’t, and if he really wanted to finally confront his best friend he should say it out loud.
Jihoon takes his initial silence for a negative response.
“You should have let me visit, I don’t have much to do this week. You could probably take another few days off and I could come over and help, if you need.”
It’s a heart-wrenching thought, so domestic and caring, very Jihoon in its own way. Though the younger is really not that vocal about these things, usually. The idea should make him smile, but every time Jihoon isn’t speaking, the memory of what he overheard drowns out everything else and he just feels so bitter.
“There’s no need. I’m doing better now.”
Better doesn’t necessarily mean good , yet it still feels like a lie because he’s not sure if he actually feels less shitty than before. But at least he stopped crying, so probably yes.
“You still should have let me see you. I’m your best friend after all.”
Soonyoung doesn’t know how to reply and so he doesn’t. A couple of seconds pass with nothing but calm breaths, birds chirping, flying by, along with sporadic honks and traffic sounds.
“I had so many things I’ve been meaning to tell you.”
Jihoon sighs, his left hand leaving the metal railing to rub his eyes and cheeks tiredly. Soonyoung notices the tips of his fingers are slightly reddened, matching the light colour on his tired face.
“Well, you can tell me now, Jihoonie.” he says lightly, trying to summon a small smile on his face and in his voice. “That’s why you asked me to come here, right?”
He even dares to dangle his feet with a little more strength, actually wanting for his foot to bump against the producer's.
He spies a small smile, only for a brief second before Jihoon’s face gets covered once again by guilt, but it’s enough to make him a tad lighter in the chest.
He braces himself for whatever the other will say. Painfully wonders how Jihoon will confess leading him on, how he will address their mutual feelings and still the incapability to give Soonyoung more. Just seeing Jihoon take a long deep breath feels like a pointy, sharp arrowhead slowly piercing the skin of his ribcage. He braced himself for the stinging pain.
And when the words fall out the arrow in Soonyoung's chest turns into a knife, speedily and violently stabbing him in the back.
“I’m leaving for America.”
It comes really loud.
Not quite shouted, but stronger and louder than Jihoon's usual tone and volume. As if he had been gathering the will and strength to say it out loud, miscalculating the actual output of the words.
In a quite satirical coincidence, there's a loud car horn just a few moments after, reminding them that below them life goes on with little regard to their drama-worthy problems.
"What?" Says Soonyoung with a genuine bemused smile.
His brain is a few beats behind his heart, still thinking it must be a joke and overloaded with questions on what does America have to do with the heartbreaking things he heard days before.
Jihoon steals a few glances his way but when he actually speaks up he settles for glaring with a concentrated frown at his swinging feet, nervous near Soonyoung's limp and still ones.
"I got an offer some time ago. Some people Wonwoo used to work with moved to New York to start a new company. Something about bringing South Korea in the American industry. Collabs with western artists but with our own flavour to it. Create something truly global, you know? Showing there's more to Korea than just overly saturated Pop music videos."
Soonyoung nods and tries to take in what he's hearing. His best friend must realize how this is taking him by surprise and he waits a few seconds to talk again.
"They heard some of my stuff, the things I do for Wonwoo, that edm pop track I did last year, IOI's Downpour . We talked a bit. A lot actually."
Soonyoung dares to slowly lift his head, eyes taking in slowly all of Jihoon.
"The way they see music… It's the way I see music."
As he speaks, his body lets go of the tension, little by little, and a small smile appears on his lips, his eyes crinkling for a faraway thought that seems to make him happy.
"They want to work with me. I thought it would be a long-distance thing, but they're pushing me to go there. And I told them I'd think about it."
He shrugs in that nonchalant way that gives away how rehearsed it is. How much he actually cares about all this stuff he's lying down on Soonyoung.
"I think I want to go."
Soonyoung is still not truly wrapping his head around what he's been told. It's not what he was expecting, yet it hurts just as much. The shock, though, must be keeping him from the pain, because even if he knows he's hurt, knows that the moment he'll be alone he'll feel the pavement caving in, he feels like he's floating far away from it all. Head completely numb and lost, as if he was watching up to the sunlight, five feet below the water surface.
"When did they tell you?" he asks slowly.
“Around last fall. But they were pressuring for an answer these past few months and I only recently said yes.”
Jihoon’s voice is calm and final and if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s known him for a very long time, Soonyoung would probably miss the hidden guilt in his steady voice.
“And you said yes without even telling me.” he mutters almost to himself, not a question, just a statement made to wrap his head around the sudden urge to feel bitter.
“Bumzu knew and thought I should have made the decision alone, not get influenced by others. I only told my parents and they seemed to agree that it was a nice opportunity.”
You also told Wonwoo. But not me. And Bumzu knew. So why not me?
He thinks with tears slowly climbing up to cling on his lower lashes. He bites his tongue, scared of everything he’s thinking and feeling. This wasn’t what he expected, yet it hurt just as much. If not more.
There’s a long pause in which they both end up looking at their dangling legs and Soonyoung feels himself leaning a little to his side, angling his body towards Jihoon, like the usual emotional masochist he is. He hopes for something, though he isn’t really sure what.
“Is that all Jihoon?” Soonyoung asks after taking a deep breath.
He had been preparing for confrontation about what they felt for each other. Maybe getting rejected the same evening of finding out the man he loved was about to leave the country wasn’t the best option, but you can’t break a broken heart and maybe he just needed for his world to crumble altogether at this moment rather than slowly, little by little.
“Yeah. That’s … that’s what I wanted to tell you, I guess.”
Jihoon leans towards Soonyoung for a second when he starts to speak but in the end, he moves away. Even his eyes move from their feet to somewhere up above them. For a second, Soonyoung wonders if he actually catches Jihoon batting his eyelids and the meaning behind the gesture make him more angry than sad.
“Are you sure?” he asks with a scoff that doesn’t match his unshed tears. And with the same glistening eyes Jihoon looks at him dead in the eyes, begging him to stop.
“100% per cent sure.”
They stay silent after that, staring ahead, for so long that Soonyoung almost forgets he’s there with Jihoon. His ears never stop ringing until Jihoon doesn’t ask him again what he’s thinking about America. Calmly, as if they weren’t just about to cry like idiots.
“Okay.” He relìplies. Not sure what he means, because nothing feels okay and even without the lingering romantic love between them, he would still hate the idea of his best friends leaving.
He can feel the producer’s eyes on him. Staring, or maybe even glaring at his side profile.
“That’s it? Okay?” Jihoon asks again.
A little part of Soonyoung tells him he should say something, show something, because even if he was expecting some sort of closure, confession or any kind of acknowledgement of their romantic predicament, Jihoon is still his best friend. He’s still leaving and this is probably hard for him too.
But a bigger part of him is not willing to be so whipped and weak and thinks Jihoon really needs to be treated like a stone-cold jerk.
“Yeah.” He says flatly, with a single curt nod.
“Soonyoung I’m leaving for months.” He says with a hurt, cracked and a little bit scandalized whisper-shout. “Is ' Okay' really all you have to say?”
The feeling of a hand falling on Soonyoung shoulders pierces through his skin and burns him like freezing ice and he turns his hand, willing to remain scowling.
“100% per cent sure.” he says, ending his mocking line with an equally taunting smile.
An incredulous look, a shake of the head, a scoff and Jihoon looks away, just in time for Soonyoung’s expression not to break.
“Humpf!” he scoffs “Sometimes I forget how immature you can be…”
It’s not even a mutter or a whisper. Just a simple statement that Jihoon doesn’t try to mask. Soonyoung’s not sure if Jihoon’s behaviour, this fight, is helping him process the whirlwind of emotions he’s feeling. The love, the heartbreak, the anger, the sadness, the betrayal. But his body and blood are boiling and he can’t help but snap.
“OH, you want me to be immature?” Soonyoung asks facing Jihoon and reaching to have the younger look at him. “I’ll be immature, Jihoon.” He says angrily, shoving him. “I hate you.”
There’s a silence, shorter than the ones they’ve lived through today, but still long enough for Soonyoung to see the emotions in the other’s eyes. Anger, sadness, guilt, anger once more, ending with determination and a deep inhale.
“Can you stop being childish for once?”
“No.” He speaks a little slower and a little lower. More collected, but still pissed.
“At least, I don't lie to myself. If you want me to stop acting like this then stop being a hypocrite.” Soonyoung says with a sardonic grimace.
“At least I'm old enough to know when it’s time to stop running away.” He adds firmly.
Jihoon rakes a hand through his hair, rolling his eyes.
“I’m not running away, Soonyoung! This is a job offer, a great one!”
It breaks him a little to see just how oblivious Jihoon can be and he understands why he’s so mad. It manages to crack his wall of anger and leave him with disappointment.
He can understand not telling him about America. Not at first at least.
It’s a choice that Jihoon should make on his own and so he did.
It’s everything else that’s been left unsaid that hurts him.
The reason why Jihoon could tell Bumzu and Wonwoo, but not him. The reason things have been strange and falling apart lately. The reason their friendship doesn’t work as it did anymore. The whole reason Soonyoung took a week to work up the courage to actually face Jihoon. Face their feelings. The ones Jihoon still refuses to face.
“I’m not talking about America, Jihoon.”
When they’re eyes meet, Jihoon looks shocked but he keeps his eyes locked with Soonyoung’s. The latter can feel his anger turn in small moisture at the brim of his eyes the more they stay silent and staring at each other. Like a distorted mirror, so much like him yet also completely different, he can see the younger’s eyes fill with unshed tears as well.
Soonyoung finally comes undone like that, not finding the strength to keep it together anymore. The tears fall silently, not like he’s usual bawling and sobbing and ugly whining, this time is calm and composed, but never-ending until the breath runs short in his chest.
Jihoon’s hand reaches forward to rest over his, lightly, scared, expecting to be rejected.
Soonyoung doesn’t move though and after a few seconds he manages to relax and the weight of Jihoon’s hand over his becomes more firm. He takes a deep breath and dries his tears as he can.
It’s a slow, whispered apology and it’s sincere, he can hear it, but Soonyoung still asks:
It takes Jihoon by surprise, it’s obvious by the way his back straightens in his peripheral view and his hand trembles over his. He almost retracts his hand but the choreographer won’t let him, turning his palm to hold on to it tightly.
“I - just… I’m sorry.”
Soonyoung turns to look at him and the only thing he sees is panic. He can’t help the tired sigh as he turns away. The scoff he tries to let out comes out as a pained wail.
“Wow, you can’t even say it” he says under his breath.
Jihoon’s hand is sweaty under his, something that only happens when the younger is truly nervous and on edge, but it tightens in Soonyoung’s just for a second, before the producer speaks up again.
“I’m sorry. For not telling you anything, about me... about us, this.”
By the very first start, it sounds a little more sure than before and to the very least Soonyoung can appreciate the fact that he’s trying.
“I… I know we should talk but I can’t. Not now, not like this. It’s selfish and wrong I know.” he says with raw desperation that is so unlike Jihoon, yet so in his chords whenever Soonyoung is involved.
The smaller turns towards his best friend, bringing their joined hands closer to his chest.
“But please, not now Soonyoung. I’m sorry. You deserve to be treated better. You… always will deserve better.”
The man addressed stays silent. It’s the most honest they’ve been to each other in a while, the most real. And it hurts, it really does, but it also makes him feel a little better. Jihoon isn’t really coming clean, but it’s a start and even if something in him breaks, something also heals.
Jihoon tugs on his arm, asking for his attention, with a red face and tired eyes; knowing Soonyoung enough to understand that the older is still processing the level of “pissed” he is right now.
“Look I know I’m not in the position to ask you this but don’t be mad. Not for the next few days, at least. After that, you can send me all the hate texts you want. Call at every hour of the day to scream how much of a coward and idiot I am. But for now, please don’t be mad.”
It’s such a soft voice that Soonyoung finds himself looking in his eyes with a small smile and nods.
“I only have a week before the flight. I really don’t want to waste our time together.” whispers with a mirroring calmer and softer look.
It takes a couple of seconds for that last sentence to sink in and when it does Soonyoung yanks his hand away from Jihoon and groans. This is getting so frustrating, he wonders how he managed all these years on the roller coaster ride that is his best friend.
“ A week?!”
The smile on Jihoon’s face shifts awkwardly and there’s that guilty look again, but it’s less pained.
“You’ve known for months and you waited until the last seven days to tell me?”
Somehow Jihoon’s guilt and sheepishness make him more frustrated and he actually sprints up on his feet.
“Please, I’m sorry!” Jihoon turns a little, as much as his legs in between the iron railings allow him, and reaches to tug on Soonyoung’s pants.
The air has gotten visibly lighter since just moments ago, but it’s not enough to let Jihoon off Soonyoung’s hook. If anything, Soonyoung is only less heartbroken because he’s a lot more annoyed.
“And you don’t want me to be mad at you?” He asks sardonically yanking his foot back and away from his best friend’s reach. “ Jihooooooon! How am I supposed to wrap my head around this in so little time!” he groans as he starts pacing.
“I understand that things… I know shit keeps happening and maybe it’s my fault for letting it happen-”
Jihoon moves back to get his legs off the railings and turns on his bum so that he sits facing the choreographer, not getting up but crossing his legs and waving his hands in the air and asking him not to blame himself. Soonyoung ignores him completely.
“But you should have told me, I’m supposed to be your best friend!”
They fall silent for just a second and their eyes meet. Soonyoung standing and Jihoon sitting.
“I’m supposed to be your best friend…” he repeats as a tear falls down.
Unlike before, he can taste the saltiness of the watery drop before it reaches the corner of his lips and the other’s fall hard and fast and when he manages to bat his eyelashes enough to clearly see Jihoon, he’s surprisingly shocked to see that Jihoon is crying too. More composed, more silent, but there are obvious streaks on his cheeks as well.
The smaller reaches a hand forward and Soonyoung falls on his knees with a sob.
They end up sitting crossed leg one in front of the other, the older reaching out to touch and play with the younger’s nimble, long fingers. They always did that, even before Soonyoung started putting romantic meaning to the act, when they were genuinely just friends, they held hands and played like this. It made them feel stronger being one with the other, before it started making them feel weaker.
“I’m so sorry. I just… I didn’t know how to tell you.”
There’s sincerity in his voice, a voice that sounds too good for the amount of pain it brings Soonyoung. But it’s honest and Soonyoung is tired of being angry and sad, so he accepts it.
“We seem to not know how to tell each other anything, anymore.” he sighs. “When did we get like this?” he asks both Jihoon and himself.
The other only sighs, so heavily that the air exhaled reaches down to their cold fingers.
“Promise me you’ll talk to me. It doesn’t have to be everything, every day. But just a little bit, whatever you’re comfortable with.” Soonyoung says leaning forward to search Jihoon’s gaze.
“If we don’t communicate now, how are we supposed to survive three months apart?”
The smile on his face is tentative at best, but it’s the only thing he can summon in his tired, broken state.
And when Jihoon replies, he wears his best smile as well.
“No, it’ll be everything. Little by little, I’ll tell you everything.”
“Okay then, let’s make the best of this last week. Shall we?”
HEYYYYYYY! FINALLY we are done with the last angsty chapter. we will see how Jihoon leaving will take a toll on Soonyoung, but it will def be less heavy and sad as this.
Jihoon and Soonyoung are first and foremost best friends, they're love for each other is real and genuine and even if romantically they won't work I still want them to be each other strength. What makes them weak and fragile romantically (not communicating) almost destroyed their friendship but they're talking now and with the little time they have, they're going to focus on their friendship and the good that comes from the two of them together.
It's only pushing aside the problems and issues but I felt it would be more real to see them still somewhat turning to look another way. I really hope that this chapter came out decently. it's the one that took me the longest to write and half of it was written in early December while the latter part just a few hours ago. I hope it still flows well and makes sense.
PLEASE leave kudos if you like it and share your opinion! I would like to understand how you guys are viewing this and if it's lacking something or any kind of constructive criticism you might have. We still have a long time to go ( I actually had to add a chapter cuz this turned out longer than I meant) so please let me know what you think might happen after this!!! <3
Chapter 5: The Departure
Jihoon leaves him beautiful words.
And it's time for both of them to just go on.
Soonyoung swings his legs left and right, fingers moving up and down the tabletop and mindlessly playing with some things he can't exactly name.
Woozi is moving behind him, with his wireless pods, talking to someone on the phone, and packing up stuff.
The reality of his departure should have reached the older a few days ago now, or at the very least a few hours, but honestly the more the time approached the less it felt real.
The whole week had been a whirlwind of things to do, both choreographer and producer with their big share of matters to take care of, but every night the two would have dinner together. They went to the movies or just hung out in one of their apartments.
On less filled days, Jihoon would drag him to the gym, grumbling about maintaining a good workout regime even without him. It was all strangely normal, exception made for that one single Saturday where they went to Busan at 5 am in the morning to say goodbye to Jihoon’s family and Soonyoung tagged along.
They even went to the zoo in the afternoon before hopping on a train to the capitol.
In his heart, Soonyoung did not feel much of a difference. His breath kept getting caught in his lungs when Jihoon stood a tad too close and his eyes lingered on the younger more often than not, yet it didn’t hurt quite as much, not when he was with Jihoon. There wasn't enough time left for him to do so.
He did feel fairly empty as soon as they parted ways and there were so many things he still wanted to do with the smaller man, but only in the safety of his room did he allow himself to hurt. Soonyoung had expected all the regret, remorse and sadness to hit him sooner or later, a couple of days from the flight or maybe even on its eve. However, on the last day of Jihoon’s work in Seoul, Soonyoung felt simply empty.
A little under the weather, but not sad or distraught, just lost .
He listens to Jihoon talking, without really taking in what the younger is saying since it’s not really meant for him. Instead, he busies himself with observing his now bare surroundings. The neon lights are still on and so are some speakers. One single desktop screen is still in its place but covered by a cloth to avoid dusting. Even the mini-fridge is unplugged and left open.
A small, light knock comes, followed by a round, puffy face peeking in and cocking his head to gesture them to come outside. Soonyoung signals Jihoon as well and takes a small (but freaking heavy) backpack on his shoulders just as the younger takes another couple of bags.
Dinner is easy and light, none of them particularly emotional too shed tears.
Bumzu does a bit of a father figure speech to which Jihoon simply nods staring into nothingness, though the tight hug at the end of the night tells Soonyoung just how grateful his best friend is for the older man.
Wonwoo mentions something about texting him if “Coops” gets annoying and gives him pats in the back with an awkward, but fond smile. Jun fakes cry, recites a never-ending list of souvenirs Jihoon must get him if he wants to even dream of setting foot in the country again and hugs the daylight out of his producer friend until he gets shoved away. Soonyoung doesn’t say his goodbyes and when they part that night, there’s only a genuine smile, a wish for nice dreams and a timely wake up in the morning.
The choreographer finds himself tiredly dragging his feet across his apartment and in his sleepy state he fails to notice the single tear streak that manages to make his way across his cheek when he falls asleep.
Soonyoung meets up with Jihoon in the late morning, in front of the latter’s apartment.
He looks tired, Soonyoung notices. Like he has a hangover which he knows Jihoon doesn’t have unless he’s drunk alone the previous night.
The two friends barely talk, exchanging small smiles that mean nothing and everything at the same time.
They eat the breakfast Soonyoung bought on the way and slip in the taxi with heavy sighs.
He tries to ignore the little glances his best friend gives him, sometimes worried and sometimes scared because he really is trying not to be overly depressed by this temporary goodby. In the end, he looks back at the producer and with a bright smile he reaches out to hold his hand.
Instinctively Jihoon’s head snaps to look at the driver and though his hand flinches, he doesn’t try to move away. When the old man at the wheel glances their way they are met with warm, kind, unjudging eyes.
They stay like that with Soonyoung once in a while striking a conversation with the driver and humming along with the radio, hand still tightly gripping Jihoon’s. It’s peaceful and almost happy if it wasn’t for the Incheon International signs indicating where they’re heading to.
And with a bitter, cynical smile Soonyoung lets Jihoon’s hand go as they step out of the vehicle, but not before feeling the younger’s hand trying to wriggle away and cracking his heart just a little.
Soonyoung remains calm though because today is not about that and as much as it weighs on his heart he’s okay if it won’t be about that for a long while. He cares too much to be bitter. He realises on their way in that he doesn’t really know much about travelling and that his purpose here is of moral support more than anything. That said, the way Jihoon keeps looking at him like he might disappear tells him that moral support is exactly what Jihoon needs.
So every once in a while Soonyoung smiles and pats his back (his head too, when he feels like being annoying), making random comments about people coming and going.
When the moment comes, they stand face to face a few meters from the gates.
Jihoon looks like he’s really really pissed, which happens only when he’s actually mad or when he’s trying to keep himself from crying and so Soonyoung doesn’t let him start, scared that Jihoon might actually try to say the g word.
“It’s not goodbye, you’re gonna come back,” he says quietly, tentatively moving his fingers closer to where Jihoon’s are limp by his side.
Their hands brush against each other, comforting, just for a few seconds until Jihoon pulls his hands in his pocket, with a pained, guilty look. It’s a reminder, a hurtful one, that even if things between them will be on hold for a while, there is very little chance for them to have the ending Soonyoung’s been dreaming of.
“You can’t get rid of me so easily,” He says with a shaky voice.
“I’ll call when you least expect it so that you don’t forget about me. You’re my best friend , forever.”
The stressing of those two little words means so much to both of them, though maybe sparking different emotions. With innocent, genuine surprise Jihoon replies.
“That I’ll call or that you’re my best friend?”
Soonyoung’s smile grows bigger and bigger until the smaller smiles back, just a couple of seconds and when the older giggles, Jihoon’s smile falls.
“Soonyoung?” he starts with a whisper “ …. ‘m sorry.”
The choreographer sighs without meaning to
“Jihoon… I get it, it’s okay,” he says smiling sadly, but Jihoon can’t stop.
“Still… I’m sorry. When I get back..”
“Yeah, we’ll talk when you're back, don’t worry.”
Soonyoung had hoped not to hear any mention of that. To not talk or even think about it, because there’s so much to be said and no time left.
“... I’m sorry. I wish I could say more.”
“Jihoon stop , really. It’s okay.”
Soonyoung brings his hand to Jihoon’s cheek, his small, sad smile turning into a wide mischievous grin because he refuses to cry right now, and with all his strength he pinches his cheek. The effect is exactly what he wanted and Jihoon jerks away with a glare, to which the taller replies with a light push on the shoulder, telling him to “ just go already.”
The other takes a step before looking back, only one because even when he’s being dramatic, Jihoon isn’t that dramatic. Then Soonyoung is getting hugged, and for a wonderfully short moment, he feels Jihoon’s strong muscles caging his ribs.
“You’re my best friend.” the latter says taking a couple of steps back and Soonyoung can’t stop the smirk on his face.
There’s a moment of silence when Jihoon just stares at him in the eyes with finality before saying quietly:
“ I love you. ”
“I know that, too.”
Right there he feels his eyes water a little bit, but his smile stays on faltering only when Jihoon tears up a little as well.
“ Jihoon ,” Soonyoung whispers, giving his best friend another shove on the shoulder, nodding him towards the gates.
Jihoon reluctantly turns, mouthing “See you soon.” and he shouts an embarrassingly loud “ Soonest ” knowing that Jihoon is smiling at that.
It doesn’t make sense, but the two of them rarely do and it’s okay.
In the end, he’s okay.
Having loose ends means that at least sooner or later Jihoon will come back to tie them up.
He hails a taxi, but the driver this time is an austere looking man that doesn’t seem to be in the mood for chit chat, not that Soonyoung is himself.
He stares at the city, bustling with life on a spring afternoon, and opens his phone looking for the kakaotalk conversation with Jihoon. He’s not tech-savvy enough to even know if Jihoon can actually get those text messages once he lends in America but he tries anyway.
I forgot to say it back. <
See what you leaving the country did to us already? Lol. <
You became sappier than me. But yeah ... <
I love you <
For the first time in a long while the words don’t weigh on his heart like a death sentence and they don’t make his eyes rain as he rests his cheek on his pillow.
Turns out kakaotalk works even in America so the first thing he sees in the morning is a reply to his text. A stupid grammar correction (“ > *than I” only further proving that Jihoon spent too much time with Wonwoo) and his new American number saying something about calls and video calls.
Soonyoung will probably have to ask Jisoo more about it because he doesn’t get it.
He thinks about messaging Jihoon again, as he pushes the door to his preferred practice room and greets Chan with a one-arm hug. But last night’s “I love you” feels heavier now, more than it did when he sent it and he feels a wave of something squeeze his lungs.
He lets it be, for the time being, having work to do.
The first day is spent like that, looking at the convo trying to understand what to send, cuz he wants to say something and yet it’s not like he actually has things to say.
He has to thank the 96line group chat, in the end, sparking up a random conversation about Mingyu’s painter friend that Soonyoung doesn’t understand. And apparently, neither does Jihoon given the rows of confusing emojis he sends.
With the help of basic maths and bubbly feelings induced by an active chatroom, the choreographer spontaneously opens Jihoon’s chat and asks him why he isn’t sleeping. The producer replies bury the evidence of Soonyoung’s (true, genuine, deep) three little words far away from the latter’s eyes so that he can go on comfortably.
After that, for the whole duration of Jihoon’s first few days in America, they go back and forth at random moments of the day until it seems like Jihoon is finally getting adjusted to the star and stripes timezone. The texting goes from quick and easy, as if Jihoon was just across town, to asynchronous, pointing out the reality of the distance and crushing Soonyoung’s lungs a little bit.
Alas, Soonyoung has to make due and keep his happy-go-lucky facade even when he misses his friend terribly, to the point he almost calls in the middle of the night, his night, even if he knows Jihoon is at lunch, getting a tour of New York by his new co-workers.
He only lets his finger linger over the number, deciding in the end that it would be simply not fair (and that he is still not strong enough to face the reality of the ocean between them, let alone strong enough to deal with hearing the voice he’s been trying not to miss for the past five days). And so, yeah, for the first seven days he doesn’t call and Jihoon doesn’t try to either, not by voice nor by video and it all works fine.
Soonyoung could even say that he’s fine. If it wasn’t of course for the times he rushes to the studio, hoping to find Jihoon there. Or the times he stares at the Han river from his apartment and cries a little. But he’s never been caught yet so all’s good.
Jihoon “sounds” fine too, but after 10 days Soonyoung realises there’s really no depth in their conversations. It’s not more than a list of random things they see and do through the day.
The cat that looks like Jun or the awful tuna sandwich Jihoon ate. The latter never really mentions how he feels about his new job, his new life and Soonyoung can’t blame him. He realizes he’s done the same after all, talking about the coffee stain on his new blouse, Jeonghan and Jisoo making things official, but nothing about how the company feels, how he feels with Jihoon not there.
It’s safe, if not a little bit empty.
He cries the night after he realises and for the first time since the three little words he texts Jihoon something raw.
I kinda miss you, jiworm. <
Sorry if it’s random. <
Jihoon is not supposed to be awake, it’s only 6.30 in the morning and according to all the time knowing him, Soonyoung knows that’s a full three hours into the younger sleeping schedule, yet he replies and the little dots showing up make him cry harder.
> No it’s okay…
> I miss you too, idiot.
The little dots come and go for a full fifty seconds and it brings a smile to Soonyoung’s lips, imagining Jihoon’s frown typing and backspacing. For someone often so direct and blunt, it felt unreal and silly to see those three dots coming and going, insecurely.
Just type it and send it already, tofu. <
He types one-handed, using the back of his left hand to rub over the tracks of his already dried tears.
> Choose a nickname, idiot.
Did I wait a whole minute to be sent little dots and an insult, rice bowl? <
The little dots come again and Soonyoung sends another set of encouragement messages until Jihoon asks him if he listened to it.
It’s random and unrelated to anything they said, either that night (morning for Jihoon) or on the earlier days, so the older sends a few " ???" in reply.
> The song, Soonyoung. The one I gave you.
> I was waiting for you to bring that up, I thought maybe you didn’t want to talk about it.
Isn’t that why you said you missed me?
Soonyoung knows nothing about a song and he doesn’t know what to say, so he says nothing and after a couple of endless seconds Jihoon answers his own texts.
> It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about that.
> I get it
> I knew I was overstepping, writing that and leaving you to deal with it, so it’s fine.
Another set of words comes a little later as if Jihoon took a little more time formulating his thoughts.
> I just felt guilty I guess, about leaving without ever telling you more. About me and you. Maybe I made it worse with the song and all, but I wanted you to know. I’m sorry.
The only thing he can reply is not to say sorry, because even if he doesn’t fully comprehend he will never blame Jihoon for trying, even if it might hurt him.
Jihoon apologizes anyway.
> We should be talking face to face, but I can’t even do that.
I’m sorry if I made things harder with that song.
I never even heard it tbh <
where did you leave it? <
> You don’t have to listen to it.
Did you mean it? Whatever it is in that song. <
Then I want to hear it. Where is it? <
Jihoon hid it in the front pocket of his backpack, the one he had on when taking Jihoon to the airport. Soonyoung never uses it, so it turns out that it was a little too good of a hiding place.
Jihoon keeps typing and backspacing, hypnotizing Soonyoung with grey dots once more so the latter actually asks for Jihoon’s permission to listen to the song. Explicitly asking if Jihoon has changed his mind. It takes Jihoon ten minutes to answer in which Soonyoung almost falls asleep clutching the pen-drive in his hand. He wakes up to a confirmation text and yet another apology.
It takes him another day to listen to it, in which Jihoon doesn’t text him.
He guesses they're both waiting for Soonyoung now.
He takes it to work and it burns in his sweatpants pocket for the whole day to the point he pats his thigh a few times throughout his classes to see if it’s still there. At dinner, when he’s supposed to leave, he gets dragged by his own feet to Jihoon’s studio and as he stays there for a good hour and half until his stomach is grumbling and his legs are tired of spinning him in place on Jihoon’s old chair. Then, he’s forced to admit it’s time to listen.
A lonely piano greets him, surely leading to something richer but it takes him back for just one second, to a different song that had once made him feel so hopeful.
It’s the longest 3:58 minutes of his life.
Soonyoung doesn’t cry. Not until he reaches home and he listens again, on his own in the safety of his bed. In secret, even if it’s what Jihoon keeps telling him not to do.
Soonyoung doesn’t have the strength to reach out the morning after, even if he knows he shouldn’t leave Jihoon waiting like this.
He types the words he wants to say five times throughout the day, trying to formulate the right words but they all sound wrong. Chan, somehow growing older and wiser by the day, sips on his water calmly after they finish a new choreography and tells the senior choreographer that whenever he feels like he can’t text what he means it’s because whatever message he wants to get through is meant to be said and not written.
It’s a strange and hard concept for Soonyoung’s overly tired and emotional brain, but he kinda gets it as he dwells on it during the day and he turns off his phone until his schedule is over. It doesn’t mean that he’s immune to thinking about all the things he wants to tell Jihoon, but it’s difficult to put the words together when he can’t even sort out the feelings.
Soonyoung’s touched and hurt at the same time. The words Jihoon left behind for him are beautiful, yet their beauty doesn’t hide the pain they bring, they highlight it. It’s a love song that’s for sure, but it’s also an I’m giving up on us song.
Soonyoung loves it so much it hurts or maybe it hurts him to the point of making him think pain for love.
He wants to blame Jihoon for being such a coward, for leaving him with nothing but empty words, waiting for a blurry future. At the same time he wants to thank Jihoon for turning the mess that they were, still are, in art and for giving him something at all, along with the promise of coming back.
He naps the whole afternoon, as soon as he gets home up to when Jeonghan calls his landline to drag him out and have dinner at the minimarket down the road, surely with the intent of talk Soonyoung’s ear off about how much Jisoo seems to tiptoe around him lately.
He’s almost right in the sense that Jeonghan does talk about Soonyoung’s favourite barista-hyung, but mostly to brag about how they jumped each other the previous night and it’s only a matter of time before his Jishuji will cave in and ask him to be his boyfriend officially.
The whole thing is delivered in such a flamboyant Jeonghan style that Soonyoung can’t even have it in himself to feel bitter or awkward. But as he steps back into his apartment he does feel a little bit jealous.
It had always been so easy for those two. For Shua hyung and Hannie hyung.
All the lovers they had through the years hold nothing against the love they had for each other and it was visible, palpable and in their own not-always-subtle ways shown.
It simply doesn’t seem to be Soonyoung’s narrative, he can only guess. He’s been made for dramatic and emotional and torn. He entertains himself with the thought that maybe this makes him much stronger than anyone else. With a smile, he grabs his phone and embraces his plotline made of sung words, silent emotions and postponed conversations.
Jihoon’s face greets him in all his just woke up glory and the older doesn’t bother with greetings. Soonyoung almost smiles for sadistic reasons he doesn’t like to linger on when the producer looks a little panicked when he starts with “I heard the song. A beautiful song, really…. honest, it seems.”
“ Soonyoung… ” The cruel pleasure in knowing he makes Jihoon as nervous as Jihoon makes him leaves as a defeated feeling in his chest falls over his lungs.
There’s the sound of a tv in the background, from Jihoon’s new place and the sound of a firm American accent is proof of their distance. That and the yellow, sunny lights coming from the windows.
“No, don’t ,” he says curtly yet softly, stopping Jihoon from what probably was another apology.
“I don’t really want to talk about it. I just called to say that I did listen. And that I like it.” he says honestly. “I didn’t want to pretend I haven’t listened on repeat for the past day and a half… You told me not to listen in secret.”
“Soonyoung, I’m sorry. That song…”
“No, not now . Not like this. I know what that song means. And I’m cool with it. It’s the only thing I wanted to say. If you have anything to add we can wait.” says the older with a clear and set mind, one he isn’t sure he actually has or is faking.
“We’re not doing this with miles apart dividing us. Whatever you want to say can wait another few months, I’m sure. Let’s just take this time to think and… move forward. Clear our heads. When you get back, we’ll talk.”
He doesn’t really look at Jihoon, glancing around the four walls of his apartment as if the words he wants to say are floating around him. With a final deep exhale he smiles, maybe a bit awkwardly, but genuinely. Chan was right, in the end, what he wanted to say just came out.
There’s a strange, positively awkward moment in which they both stay silent and Jihoon looks relieved, probably still taking in what the choreographer had just told him. He fumbles through his next sentence, gesticulating mid-air like he always does.
“Oh, okay. If- if that’s… Maybe I should go…”
It’s actually cute, in a normal-Jihoon endearing and not a whipped-Soonyoung kinda way, and as the younger pushes his seat further away from his table the older realises that Jihoon is unsure on whether or not Soonyoung actually called for something besides telling him that.
“Don’t be stupid now Ji,” he cuts him off with a chuckle, “It’s 10 over here, so it’s like…. 8 in the morning, you’ve got nowhere to go yet. Just stay and tell me about your new life while you have breakfast.”
“You know, I don’t like eating alone.” Jihoon doesn’t seem too convinced, but he’s fallen back to his seat, so Soonyoung knows they’re only a light shove away from not awkward grounds.
“Cool, then I’ll eat with you,” he says with a cheeky shrug. He moves to the fridge to get whatever leftover he has there and tells Jihoon to follow his example.
“Didn’t you have dinner already?” Says the younger, not with much fight in his voice, and with unexpected gratefulness he takes note of Jihoon’s breakfast consisting of rice and soup. The Americans and their cereal haven’t gotten to him just yet.
They bicker a little more about whether or not Soonyoung should be eating again so late, which is just a pretence ‘cause Jihoon used to be the one always trying to convince Soonyoung to have midnight snacks after work.
It takes another minute or so of prying before Jihoon gives up and they move on to some other things that Soonyoung has been dying to talk about.
“So if we’re done talking about food and pleasantries… How’s work?”
Thank you so much for reading this chapter!! I hope you guys like it and if you feel like it please leave a comment, I would love to hear a feed back from you all!
This was meant to be a much more "ship" long fit, but I'm growing attached to Soonyoung's POV and i feel like rushing it to be a ship fiction might take away from his character so Im focusing on him a lot more but I really should start updating more often if I hope on finishing this by the end of 2021.
Anyways I feel like the pacing for this is a bit slow but I hope you guys don't find overly slow, it should pick up a little from now on though im trying to shift the pace gradually too not suddenly rush it from one chapter to another.
Do tell me what you think may happen from now on!! I'm not particularly good with creating drama and all but I hope the emotions and torn feelings make up to it hahahaha
BTW GO ON YOUTUBE AND STREAM DINO'S DANCEOLOGY! AND WISH THE BABE A HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Chapter 6: The Party
Soonyoung aches to move forward with his life, like Jihoon.
But Jihoon sounds like he's doing more than moving forward.
He shakes the feeling away with a beer and some company.
Still, I’m believing in time
Because everyone says it’s medicine.
Time is everything. It is medicine and gold.
It’s the mantra that keeps on replaying in his brain.
The sad (and to a certain extent, bitter ) knowledge that his best friend is moving on with his life made of work and new people, makes Soonyoung adamant to do the same. It gives him purpose.
He's still not sure of what kind, but it's there.
The following two weeks after hearing
“Don’t Listen In Secret”
(he tells Jihoon it should be the title, but the younger seems uncomfortable so he drops the subject) are filled with an abrupt need for movement and passion and life in its whole.
He thinks they’ve always been latent in him, but lightly overlooked in favour of the anxiety and struggle of his romantic predicament.
Now, with Jihoon away and the promise of closure tied with him, Soonyoung suddenly feels the will to move .
Not necessarily move on. Actually, most definitely
His emotional nights crying over Jihoon's songs, the two meant for him, could testify to that. But maybe, moving forward .
Jihoon was gone, they chose to talk once he got back and that gave the choreographer some time for himself. He wasn't sure what it meant, but the way Jihoon spoke about New York made him ache to have something to brag about too, something that lit up his eyes the way Jihoon's ones did over the phone camera.
Calls with Jihoon are a bi-weekly thing now since both of them are getting busier with the lining up of late-spring and early-summer events: on Mondays (because Mondays are their thing) and on either Friday or Saturday. Of course, they text every other day, if not every day. It’s a little strange, to say the least, and it does take a bit of adjusting to the rush of mixed up feelings, but Jihoon always came with a lot of confusion so he just takes what he can get.
And if he doesn’t think too much, all in all, he’s happy .
People seem to notice Soonyoung's little mood surge. He’s not fully sure at first, but sometimes people glance at him strangely, only for a second before smiling happily at him and their bewildered faces as he strolls and skips around the studios bring an even brighter smile to his lips.
Soonyoung gets a confirmation when he sees Wonwoo. He gets a tight-lipped, yet real smile and a shove on the arm followed by an “I’m glad to have my best friend back” . Soonyoung just rubbed his bicep wondering when exactly Wonwoo had started hitting the gym and asked him ironically if he had missed Jun going somewhere and coming back.
Joshua, sweet, nice, at times a little too much of a worrywart Joshua, still keeps an eye on him; every once in a while telling the younger not to feel obligated to be okay and happy and active all the time . As much as Soonyoung can understand where he comes from, he was and still is set on taking life as it comes.
If this is the start of a roller-coaster of weeks where he feels like shit and weeks where he feels like a god, then he’ll simply try to live his better days as fast and brightly as he can until the next blues come along to slow him down.
Jeonghan kind of sides with his boyfriend, but with a more optimistic view, telling him that if he relapses in a fit of depression and self-pity he is very much required to tell them about it so they can try to trigger the bright Hoshi back out.
“It’s like you’re finally getting a warm sunny day after an entire year of clouds,” he says genuinely and even if Soonyoung is not so sure about what he means, as the spring settles in more firmly, he does feel like the Sun is ready to shine on him with a refreshing breeze in tow.
His (favourite) hyung is so very fond of this driven, energetic Soonyoung that he hogs all of his free time, inviting himself even on his meetups with Jun and Wonwoo or visiting him over lunch break (although that may be for his very obvious inborn desire to either baby or piss off Chan). Jeonghan even supports his Tiger agenda and for the first time in two years of using ‘ Hoshi’ as a stage name, it seems to stick to both him and other people.
Soonyoung leaves the windows open despite it being very chilly.
The late nights of late March are still quite closer to a February cold air than a fresh, April one but he needs and likes it this way. He forgot to ventilate the place and his building is going through a weird period of technical difficulties in the ventilation systems so every once in a while he comes back to his room smelling stale.
Also, it’s invigorating and it’s keeping him awake as Jihoon talks about some work stuff.
He smiles nodding along, thinking about how it took them almost a month of distance for Jihoon to stop apologising for stealing a few hours of Soonyoung’s sleep.
He reasons that Jihoon always stole a lot of his sleep even when they were in the same city but he keeps the half-joke to himself. Even if their friendship and situation are much more stable than a mere month ago, the choreographer is well aware of the fact that Jihoon isn’t much of a fan of his playful jabs.
Jihoon finishes a final, excited rant about how much he bickers with his boss/co-worker and there’s a smile on his face so that Soonyoung doesn’t actually think he’s serious and he mentions a few new names this time around, Nathan, Jamie, Kino, and another five or so names that Soonyoung forgets the moment he hears them.
It’s nice to see Jihoon happy about socializing, even if Jihoon pretends he’s not ( “Dear God, you should hear Vernon and Coups-hyung. No wonder their friends with Wonwoo, their jokes are so lame!” ).
The producer probes with a bashful smile about news from his side of the world, probably already regretting letting so much excitement and emotion show and Soonyoung feels his heart physically squeeze at the sight. He needs to force his brain to stop stuttering at the thought of how undeniably cute the scene is.
The older gets halfway through his week, talking about seeing Seungkwan a lot more because Bumzu is helping their dongsaeng with a few OST’s he’s been given. Jihoon wears a proud smile that most probably mirrors his own as Soonyoung goes on talking about all their friends. The producer demands to be sent a few videos, both of the new choreographies he and Chan are featuring in (Soonyoung is pretty sure his best friend secretly streams Dino's Danceology daily) and of the routine for Wonwoo’s upcoming concerts.
The clock on his phone blinks brightly at him, a white 02.15 that instinctively brings his eyes to the drawn curtains, hinting at their distance, but as painfully sad as it is, it’s beginning to hurt less and less. Their friendship has never been quite as strong, with the scheduled calls and hours of dedication into being there for each other without being physically there.
Soonyoung asks Jihoon about his plans for the next few days in which they won’t get to talk to each other, slowly and unsure of his words, mostly because he hates saying the words. Usually, it means the call is coming to an end.
Jihoon just manages to take in a breath when the door bursts open and a head peeks in before slowly letting themselves inside Jihoon’s studio.
A guy that Soonyoung doesn’t recognize (which means it could be anyone since Soonyoung has never seen any of Jihoon’s co-workers due to his best friend’s lack of social media) talks with a strong Daegu accent that takes the choreographer aback.
For some reason, he’s always expected them to talk in English.
He even imagined Jihoon with his cute, short, broken phrases or talking in the magical language of music. It never occurred to his mind that the people Jihoon worked with were Korean.
He focuses on the voice so much that he only gets a small, vague glimpse of what the man looks like (and maybe he doesn’t want to look at him if he’s as hot as he sounds).
Soonyoung averts his gaze as the guy says something about Vernon being “late 'cuz he wrote some lyrics on napkins while we were at the cafè this morning and now he won’t stop working until it’s in a perfectly set demo. I’m giving him another twenty minutes before we leave without him.”
Jihoon chuckles and tells the guy he would never because everyone has a soft spot for Vernon and no one would want to leave him behind.
Soonyoung turns his face to the camera just in time to see what must be a weird exchange of glances. There’s a fondness in the unknown man’s eyes that implies a sort of mental dialogue and Jihoon must be saying something with his eyes as well.
When the intruder closes the door behind him with a chuckle, something feels very tight in Soonyoung’s chest and he pretends not to notice the slight colour in Jihoon’s milky cheeks.
it,” he says with an amused shake of his head.
“That’s the plan for the next few days.” continues the producer waving to the door behind him. “Vernon and Jamie made a list of cool places to see and eat at so S.Coups thinks it would be a great bonding activity to go and visit them all.”
The small smile on Jihoon’s lips, the kind that hides an inside joke that Soonyoung can’t grasp. For the first time, his mind tells him he should be scared of just how nice Jihoon’s life in New York is. If it’s nicer than his old one in Seoul.
And as a coping mechanism, some really strange and petty revenge (that probably won’t even make Jihoon upset), when his friend asks what he’s doing until next Monday he says:
“Actually nothing, nothing all weekend. But I can’t call you on Monday night. I’m going to a party .”
Despite the popular belief that he’s a wild, party animal, Soonyoung does not enjoy parties.
He’s not sure of where the rumour started although Jun tells him it’s most definitely because of how easily he gets drunk and how renowned he is for being loud when with friends.
But people tend to forget that one last detail: “with friends.”
He’s not particularly fond of the awkward get-to-know each other small talk that happens when he's still sober, but the presence of strangers also makes him particularly self-conscious at the idea of embarrassing himself as a first impression.
This is why he hopes to try to get away with it and not attend Jeonghan’s party.
After all, he’s turned out the older’s invitation twice already, so a spur-of-the-moment lie to Jihoon cannot bind him to attend.
The first time his hyungs tell him about it, it’s two weeks earlier than the set date because Joshua is far more sociable than he lets on and he’s now dating a guy who’s far less sociable than he lets on, so they have to plan this well or Jeonghan might ditch his very own party.
And of course, Soonyoung is only half listening, browsing on a site Jun linked him that has really cute tiger plushies and it doesn’t sound that bad so he easily agrees with a smile that's hoping for loud karaoke and tons of alcohol.
And he stays on board with it for a while, until Jun mentions
to which Wonwoo nods, saying the two should start getting along and that maybe the cafè owner will finally meet the man of his dreams among Mingyu’s friends.
Soonyoung laughs when Jun jokes about the man of his dreams being Mingyu himself (Wonwoo does not appreciate the joke which makes the other two men laugh harder as true friends would) but then he does the maths.
Mingyu’s friends are not in the direct circle of Jeonghan so that means he doesn’t know them and maybe the party doesn’t sound as good as he hoped.
Thus, he makes a shitty excuse to Jeonghan about work and how Monday doesn’t sound really smart for a party. And it makes sense because Soonyoung is right about that, but Jeonghan still sulks about it for a whole two days (which is a lot considering they’re neighbours).
Soonyoung tells him a firm no again when his entire Label gets a couple of days off for reasons he’s too frustrated to investigate, precisely on Monday first and Tuesday second of April.
Jeonghan tries to tell him that he should de-stress: that all his hard work, no matter how driven, now needs an output and a party with new people is the perfect solution.
Get drunk. Maybe get laid too. ( “My cousin won’t be there, but I have hot friends! ”).
It would sound tempting if only Soonyoung wasn’t exactly that kind of guy and if his idea of de-stressing wasn’t the complete opposite: a warm bubble bath and k-drama binge-watching while drinking hot cocoa.
Jeonghan lets him off the hook with a pout, just half a day before his late-night video-call with Jihoon.
So on Sunday ( very late ) morning when he wakes up, the choreographer is pretty set on ignoring the words he told Jihoon and spend Monday night not going to a party. There’s no way Jihoon would actually find a way to let Jeonghan know Soonyoung said he was planning to attend. The two weren’t close after all, despite all the mutual friends they had.
Obviously, he had failed to consider that Joshua was friends with Jihoon, that he called the younger every Sunday morning and, just like his lover, he had an annoying love for gossip. (Seriously, how much can the universe hate him to make Joshua mention the party and for Jihoon to tell the other that Soonyoung said he’d go as well?!)
In the end, when he begrudgingly accepts (more out of fear of the diabolic couple ratting him on Jihoon), he expects to just spend the night in a corner sulking. But of course, he’s wrong and Jeonghan is right.
He gets drunk. And maybe he gets laid.
Soonyoung arrives at the party fashionably late (read ‘unwillingly forced by twenty spam texts from Jeonghan, wondering where the hell he is’ ) and nods Joshua away, seeing how many people try to tackle the older man on the path from the doorway to the living room.
He finds Wonwoo and Chan scowling in a corner, their muttered words too quiet for his ears. He knows for sure that is where he plans to spend the night.
The senior choreographer grabs a beer from a small table filled with food and alcohol that is right beside his two friends (he can easily guess it to be the reason they’re there in the first place; Chan’s hidden alcoholic inclinations acting up) and musters a sarcastic smile, taking the bottle with his fingertips and getting in his perfect “ Seungkwan ” stance.
“Well, hello my friends!”
Wonwoo smiles, peeping at him for a second before bringing back his attention to Chan, who on the other hand mumbles “Not the time, hyung.”
Soonyoung somehow finds his dongseang’s grumpiness a source of happiness and laughs following the younger’s (burning) gaze. At the end of it, he finds the very same man he was imitating, along with a tall, long-limbed puppy-looking man. Both were wearing matching baby pink button-ups and matching dyed blond hair. Oh , and of course, equally whipped, enamoured faces that explained the utter disgust and hatred on his baby choreographer’s face.
“Oh.” he whispers before sitting down, a warm hand on Chan’s shoulder for moral support “New guy?”
Chan doesn’t look away from the couple, but Wonwoo clarifies for him, with a voice that sounds unsure on whether he should laugh it off or feel bad for the younger.
“Dino here says he’s a new actor; does web dramas apparently. Screaming fifteen years old or cooing ajummas aren’t the only ones he hypnotised.” says the rapper with a stupidly suggestive eyebrow-raise.
Soonyoung stops a chuckle just as Chan takes a very worrying, very large gulp of something suspiciously-smelling-stronger-than-beer in his paper cup and, with what he believes are his ISFJ-senses, Jeonghan power walks towards them.
His lean, slender body finally cuts Chan’s eyes from throwing daggers at his best friend turned one-sided love (and yes, Soonyoung vaguely catches the similarities).
The party host starts rambling on how Soonyoung has more or less half an hour to get in a party-mood before Jeonghan will have to take charge and make him socialize (which sounds much more terrifying than it should, coming from the older).
Soonyoung throws his hands up in surrender, reminding his neighbour he’s been sitting for a mere 2 minutes but the other just shakes his head, now staring disapprovingly at Chan and taking the paper cup from the youngest's hand.
“Stop being a black hole of bitterness, kid. Last I checked, they’re just hanging out so not all hope is lost. Just... do something or you have no right to be upset.” Jeonghan remarks in his direct, honest ‘hyung’ voice before taking a sip from the cup. His mouth and nose twist in revulsion at the taste and he turns to Wonwoo for last.
“And dear god, I thought you were here to support him, stop poisoning my son with alcohol, dude!”
Wonwoo screams after him to stop treating Dino like a baby which only upsets Chan more because people are now throwing them curious looks, including Seungkwan. The youngest of the trio groans, shoving the rapper's shoulder but his skinny body does very little against the newly built, wide torso and Wonwoo shoves him back right into Soonyoung’s arms.
“Don’t worry about that, Channie.” Soonyoung says in his aegyo voice, grabbing his friend by the cheeks “No one really thinks you’re Jeonghan’s baby. You look and act far too much like me and Wonwoo, to be his.”
There’s a mirroring utter disgust in both Chan and Wonwoo’s face and he grabs it as an opportunity to smirk wider.
“See the resemblance is uncanny! You take just after us, my pumpkin!”
Soonyoung almost pouts when the youngest stands up, visibly not cheered up by his hyungs antics, but he catches Wonwoo gagging scornfully and he’s not one to miss a chance to tease his friends.
“Stop being homophobic Wonwoo,” he says hopping on Dino’s now empty seat and hooking his arm around his friend’s “time to get out of the closet!”
Wonwoo only scoffs, with a knowing smirk that means he’s gonna talk back:
“I have a boyfriend, dumbass. If anything I'm being Hoshi-phobic. ”
“You think you’re so witty, huh?” replies Soonyoung, poking his friend’s sides.
“Talking ‘bout mah boi Gyu.” he adds with a dramatically seductive whisper “Shouldn’t you be in a locked room trying to have some good one on one fun with your boyfriend?”
“His boyfriend is having some good one on one fun with Jun .”
Changkyun and Yanan are standing right in front of them with matching shit-eating grins on their face, obviously entertained by Soonyoung’s double-take and Wonwoo’s blushing face.
He stutters trying to find the words, head-turning from the two standing men and his friend. When no words come out of his mouth, Changkyun (one of Wonwoo’s colleagues) hands him a plate of pizza slices and elaborates.
“The idiot is for some strange reason upset that his two boys are getting along and so he ditched them in the kitchen. ‘Cuz ya know… that’s what mature people do.”
Wonwoo points his finger in what should be a warning (doesn’t look like one truthfully).
“I am plenty mature! And I didn’t ditch them. I’m testing how long it takes them to notice I’m gone!”
“And how’s that going?” genuinely asks Soonyoung.
“I don’t know!” He exclaims distressingly before taking a calming breath.
“I sat down next to Dino literally three minutes before you got here so what’s it now? Fifteen minutes? I was trying to advert my attention by focusing on Chan’s woes but you ruined it… What are they even talking about?!”
Wonwoo looks in front to meet Changkyun and Yanan’s unimpressed eyes.
“I thought I told you to check on them!”
Changkyun chuckles menacingly (or maybe he’s just happy, Soonyoung never learned to differentiate his expressions) before poking fun at the man next to him.
“Jun started flirting with one of your boyfriend’s friends and Yanan dragged me out of the kitchen.”
“I dragged you out the kitchen ‘cuz Jisoo hyung was getting pissed at you for eating all the pepperoni pizza!”
“It was not me! It was that DK guy! Second, just admit you like Jun!”
“Kyun, just because I’m Chinese doesn’t mean I have a crush on our other Chinese friend, stop your personal agendas …”
Wonwoo has to lightly kick his friends’ shin to get their attention back, while Soonyoung starts people watching while sipping on a beer and nipping at cold pizza. He barely registers Changkyun saying something about Mingyu looking for Wonwoo like a lost puppy and Wonwoo patting his back, before leaving him alone.
After that, the choreographer spends a good twenty minutes eating and drinking on his own, studying the crowd inside the apartment. It's pretty much a gathering of somewhat famous people, which doesn't really surprise Soonyoung.
Both Jeonghan and Jisoo had been trainees once upon a time and they remained friends with a lot of people who did end up in the entertainment industry, both thanks to Jeonghan’s modelling career and Jisoo’s brief but intense acting career. Even now as a barista, Jisoo’s crowd included band members and idols alike.
He sees a few guys he worked with. Jungkook , in particular, brings a smile to his face. Despite being an idol he's extremely awkward at things like this and Soonyoung can relate. And some others ring a bell in his mind but not loud enough to bring a name to his lips.
Some time along the way Dino comes back, looking less upset but far drunker. Soonyoung makes it his personal goal to assure that his favourite dongsaeng doesn't end up in a hospital, even if it means stealing the younger’s shots and downing them himself.
The choreographer manages to stumble to the bathroom, with a dizzy but still working head and, after a good five minutes of staring at himself, he succeeds at peeing and washing up before walking out somewhat looking sober (he hopes).
He stands near a wall, just looking around.
In a corner he sees Wonwoo and Mingyu, swaying in the dark and whispering to each other, and Soonyoung feels a light tug in his heart, hoping to see them standing proudly next to each other in front of paparazzi, in the near future.
They’re so in love, so good together, so right .
A kind of right Soonyoung once hoped for himself.
His mind runs away to a pale, tiny producer across the planet. Maybe he’s in an underground, cool bar, eating delicious, American food with cool, delicious Scoops.
Soonyoung shakes his head violently to erase that thought, but it makes his head pound hard and he has to blink the headache away, trying to refocus on the living room.
Just across from him, he sees Jeonghan and Jisoo and between them a guy who kinda looks too sweet to voice out how uncomfortable he is between the couple.
Soonyoung’s neighbouring hyungs are deep in conversation with Sungkwan and his new guy, sitting on a loveseat across from them, with their backs on Soonyoung. And seeing them all together, Soonyoung recognizes the nice-looking man as that one musical guy that came out some time ago.
But again, he is far too tipsy to recall his name or to be truly certain that’s him.
Soonyoung stares at his pointy nose for a while, wondering how he never knew he was friend’s with either Shua or Han and, embarrassingly so, just as he stares the man looks up and meets his eyes.
He’s too caught off guard by the other's eye-smile to see Jeonghan notifying the exchange, with a curious and dangerous look. Before he knows it, the eldest calls for his name with an enthusiastic wave, which prompts Seungkwan to do the same.
The stranger (beside Seungkwan’s new boyfriend, who Soonyoung plans to completely ignore since you know? loyalty .) smiles at him with a single, shy wave and the choreographer blushes as he makes his way across the room.
He can only hope his clumsy stumbling seems natural as if he's having trouble moving in between the dancing bodies and not betraying how he’s still not that sobered up.
He honestly doesn’t remember much after Jeonghan’s casual yet seemingly scripted introduction, with just enough nonchalance and lack of details about his friend to leave Hoshi wanting more. Then again, he’s not precisely focusing. He just noticed a quite adorable little mole on the man’s cheek and completely bypasses whatever Jeonghan says his name is.
In a tipsy (to not say drunk ) state Hoshi’s pretty sure he introduces himself brightly, in the most extroverted way he can, and with the pretty smile the stranger gives him (and the laughter of his friends) he thinks he made a great impression.
The great impression lasts for the rest of the night.
After a while they’re side by side (or maybe Jeonghan shoved them together, he can’t recall), talking about things Soonyoung forgets moments after saying them and laughing to themselves. The man drinks beer every few sentences he says and when Hoshi ends up with a dry throat, he reaches for the bottle to take a long sip. He can feel the other’s eyes on his lips.
“That’s the last one,” the man says, looking like he’s having trouble refocusing on Soonyoung’s
. “You’re looking a bit better than two hours ago, but I don’t think Jeonghan will like me much if I get you drunk again.”
“I wasn’t that drunk !” He says with a playful ( flirty ) shove on the man’s chest.
His voice is much more stable, but he’s still too tipsy and carefree to pinpoint the other’s name (and it’s probably rude to ask him again after chatting for so long, so he refrains from doing so.)
“You looked a joke away from passing out in Joshua’s guest room.” the other replies with a charming chuckle.
“Well, I feel much better now, so don’t worry.” Scoffs Soonyoung and for some strange force tugging at his stomach, his eyes level on the man’s cupid bow, where traces of beer make his lips attractively moist. “In fact, I could stay up all night. ”
He’s not sure what takes over him. Maybe the alcohol, maybe something else .
Soonyoung reaches for the unfinished beer bottle, he wraps his fingers around the man’s hand, slowly bringing it to his mouth, and never lets their locked gazes fall. He takes another long sip and releases the top of the bottle with a sigh.
The singer downs the remaining alcohol in a second, right after Soonyoung lets go of his hand and, without saying goodbye, they’re on the elevator to the choreographer’s apartment.
Another month and another chapter! I am honestly sorry about how slowly these come, I'm trying my best to write as much as I can these days to at least update every three weeks in these next few months but I just can't seem to find enough time...
Still, I hope you enjoy what little I have to offer.
This time we see things moving a little, hopefully in a way you didn't expect. We also introduce some new characters and see some that were only mentioned before... And of course, we have the mystery man (I'd like to see if you can guess it, you probably can).
I'm very happy about this, I feel like this and the next two chapter will help set the story in motion and clarify where Soonyoung stands now that he plans to "move forward".
Next chapter will be more on Soonyoung emotions/thoughts (seeing the rating of this fic I will skip on the nsfw bed-action) and I hope to have it up before the end of March (?)
Please leave kudos and comments if you liked this/have some questions/criticism. <3 Seeing you interact with this is very fulfilling!
Chapter 7: The Counsel
The morning after, Soonyoung goes to that one judgement-free place and sorts out what he feels.
Not considering the muscle pain and sore skin due to slowly blossoming bruises, Soonyoung wakes up feeling okay. He’s not great , obviously. He did stay up deep into the night and his body can feel the difference between touching himself and sleeping with someone; but his head is all good to go.
Good enough to only take a minute to understand why he’s strangely not hangover (the gym session on his bed burned away the faint traces of drunkenness that lingered after the sobering two hours of flirting), why his body aches, and why there’s a warm, limp arm across his torso.
There’s a particular feeling, something tender and soft that has him shivering in a good way at the notion that he slept with someone. More than the deed itself, the idea that the man had decided to stay instead of running away in the middle of the night tugs at the most sensitive parts of his heart.
But once he’s up and evaluating where his clothes are and what to do next, he also understands that there is one, itty bitty problem in still having the man naked and in his bed.
And it is that they are in his apartment, so he can’t exactly leave and sooner or later he’ll have to face whatever it is you face when you wake up after a (honestly breathtaking and quite remarkable) one-night stand.
The whole thing, the only pure physical attraction thing, isn’t something Soonyoung can navigate very well, always more prone to choose his love interests according to how he
But then again he isn’t exactly dealing with a love interest. Just a guy he slept with.
The thought reassured him and bothered him at the same time.
Soonyoung isn’t even sure when the last time he had sex with someone was, let alone a non-commited sexcapede and the settling feeling in his stomach warned him he was literally clueless on what to do.
He stands in his boxers, in front of his bedroom’s doorway, for a good five minutes staring at the man’s (tanned, sexy and maybe just a little bit scratched), until the man shifts in his sleep, bringing an arm to his face and showing off his stupidly attractive bicep.
The shift actually also shows off something else much lower on the other’s body and the sight brings shivers to his gut and shame to his heart for reasons he chooses not to dwell on. Not now, with the man still sleeping in his bed.
Soonyoung grabs his clothes and rushes down to his living room and only when he’s in a distance his brain can classify as safe, he actually gets dressed.
He should probably take a shower, with how sweaty he was just before falling asleep but the absence of stickiness on his skin reminds him of how nice his companion for the night had been. All the rough and passionate sex was preluded by sweet, careful foreplay and just as thoughtful aftercare.
It’s just what a decent person should do, a part of him reasons, but still Soonyoung feels in debt for how well the night went. Why it meant so much that his sex partner seemed to care was a dangerous ground to explore and how he ends up thinking about another person makes him feel even more in debt.
Because, maybe, physical attraction wasn’t the only thing that pushed him into inviting an almost stranger into his sheets and it had to do with how he felt a bit left behind, from time to time lost and most of the time lonely.
His stomach grumbles just as his brain tries to formulate a nice enough gesture that could show his gratefulness? enjoyment? thankfulness for being a great shag and distraction from how much i miss my best friend whom i love and is moving on without me?
And so, even if he's dirty, wearing last night’s clothes and unkempt, Soonyoung stumbles out his door in search of a decent breakfast and non awkward ice breaker - good morning to greet the singer who’s still lying asleep in his apartment.
A part of his brain doesn’t consider that he didn’t leave a note, that he left a (let’s face it) stranger in his house and that people tend to wake up at a certain point. So obviously, he takes his time to walk up to the register and order, losing more than a few moments to panic over what to order.
By the time he’s coming out of the cafe, across the street he sees the singer walking out of his apartment.
He looks so... normal that for a moment Soonyoung isn’t sure if he was right, the previous night. If he’s really that famous musical singer. Thinking back at it now, he doesn’t remember the man ever introducing himself as DK and he was never that into musicals so maybe he simply remembered the wrong face.
Maybe he had been wrong all along and actually did take a rare non-celebrity friend of Jeonghan’s home. Still , a stranger and still , a questionable action on Soonyoung’s part.
He’s internal musings caused in him a late reaction to the sight, only realising what was going on a few moments later.
The man walks along the sidewalk, looking disheveled, with a disposable mask Soonyoung’s pretty sure was stolen from his apartment and a hickey high on his neck. He looks confused (maybe upset but Soonyoung refuses to acknowledge it) and he hops in a taxi before the choreographer can say anything.
Seeing the man leave feels bitter, a sentiment he refuses to parallel to another kind of leaving, but if a one night stand can make him feel like that then maybe there’s something else that Soonyoung is avoiding. Something he’s been burying and that’s now found a reason to resurface.
Stepping inside of his building, there’s a strange emptiness in his chest, disconcerting at best, and he barely registers Jeonghan in the hall, whistling behind him asking about his night and why he left so early.
The look on his face must give away his mixed and blurred thoughts and when the older asks him if everything’s all right, he just hands him his still warm to-go breakfast and apologises.
“I went out to get us breakfast, but your friend left as soon as he woke up”.
He leaves Jeonghan with breakfast and before he can get to the elevator he turns around and calls a cab.
The taxi ride makes Soonyoung conscious of two things. First, his body is still sore and admittedly a little gross from last night (if it also brings back sinful, tantalizing memories that are probably gonna be engraved in his mind for the next month or so, he won’t admit). Second, he’s in dire need of a friendly, unbiased opinion and maybe a little bit of affection.
In the city traffic it takes more than he’d like to reach the cafè which gives him enough time to rethink his actions. He’s not really sure he’s regretting it, but he’s not sure he’s proud of it either. At best, he feels just as lost as last night when he chose to get drunk. At worst he feels just as lost as when Jihoon left, not sure if he’s moving on in the right direction, not sure if he’s moving at all.
A caress of familiarity and comfort comes to embrace him as soon as he opens the door and he finds himself in front of one of his closest friends.
Despite seeing Jeonghan and Jisoo pretty much every day of every week of the month and despite spending most of his lunch breaks with Wonwoo, he hasn’t forgotten how, before moving to the other side of the river and giving up on dancing, Jun was probably the one he spent the most time with besides Chan and Jihoon.
And even now, with his chinese former dance partner hidden away in a cat-cafè in Itaewon, Soonyoung still tries his best to make time to go see him, especially when he needs to
Not only Jun had his own way of understanding both the loudest and quietest parts of Soonyoung, like a good gemini soulmate, he also had this non-judging, open and honest face that made him want to be non-judging, open and honest as well.
And with all he needs to unload it was the only reasonable choice, seeing how Wonwoo was always a little Jihoon-sided (the rapper was to Jihoon what Jun was to Soonyoung) and how Jeonghan’s perception of the abroad producer had slowly deteriorated through the years of painful pining.
Still, as much as Soonyoung knows he can be comfortable in this cream-colored, feline-filled walls, he can’t fight the instinct to flee when Jun emerges from the back of the cafè with a perfectly arched brow and a small grin that’s testing the waters to decide whether to twist in a teasing smirk or a comforting smile.
After a couple of scans through the dancer’s not too tidy form, the chinese man settles for the latter.
“You look good.” starts the younger amicably, to which Jun chuckles brightly.
“Definitely better than you, man.”
“I don’t remember seeing you leave last night? How are you so put together?” he asks and the glint in his friend’s eyes tells him they both know he’s procrastinating, but he lets it be for now.
“You don’t remember me leaving ‘cause you and Dino were busy emptying a bottle of rum by yourselves in an attempt to not look like bitter singles.” he says with an amused shake of the head. “Which made you look even more bitter and single.”
“As if you weren’t bitter and single yourself!” Soonyoung scoffs, sitting on a bar stool and clearly eyeing a few pastries.
He gave his breakfast to Jeonghan in his confusing and a little upsetting reality check.
“Single, maybe but not bitter. Junhui boy is always ready to mingle!” says the mere-days-older man as he puts a few delicacies on a plate.
The choreographer doesn’t wait for the plate to touch the counter-top before snatching a fish-shaped red-bean paste bun.
“Yeah, Changkyun told me you were getting chummy with a dancer guy? One of Mingyu’s friends?” he says with a smirk.
“Care to share which one of the too-cool-for-you bunch?”
“Tall, handsome, with a very cute giggle.”
Soonyoung nods sarcastically at the vague description that could literally be anyone of the model’s friends.
“Mingyu sure got himself some pretty people around him.”
“Yup. Comes to think, funny how he ended up dating Wonwoo.” Jun’s chuckled words bring an even louder response to his lips.
“As if you didn’t have a crush on him when you guys first met!”
He expects a blush or a fervent denial but Jun only smirks with a challenging gaze before saying: “Back atcha!”
And that gets him red in the face, laughing at the mention of a secret he’s not sure anyone beside Jun ever knew about.
They share a touching, genuine happy look for a few seconds before Soonyoung runs a hand in his not quite decent bed hair and that gets Jun to look over his figure once again and with a calm, inviting tone asks:
“So, care to share why you came here looking like a mess?”
“It’s nothing really, just… needed to let out a few things.” He says with a sigh as Jun gestures for them to move to the back of the cafè, carrying with him a tray of various foods. “I don’t know where to start yet, though.”
“Let’s go chronologically then, yeah?” says the older as he plops down on a cream cloured bean bag. “Last night at the party or earlier?”
Soonyoung takes up the space right in front of him, gingerly taking in his arms a cat he recognizes as Lily.
“Earlier I guess.” The shrug of his shoulders is everything but nonchalant.
“I called Jihoon on Saturday night, like always.”
Jun nods along, with a mutter of understanding.
“And we talked like always. About daily life and about work and what we do and it was all good until this man walks in and he is so hot, Jun! But in a laid back way like those guys that don’t understand how hot they are and he was gonna have lunch with Jihoon because apparently that’s what Jihoon does nowadays. He goes out and sees cool new places and I’m still here. Stuck.”
His voice grows heavier and his words run faster until he’s rambling.
“And I wanted to do something like that too, kinda.
Like, I wanted to have something to talk about, something exciting and different from the usual routine and I told him I was going to the party even if I didn’t want to.
So I go to the party, but I feel bitter ‘cuz I’m not sure I wanna be there and every time I’m not drinking I’m thinking about how fun Jihoon’s new life is and how he’s moving forward with his life and I wonder how long it’ll take before moving forward becomes moving on and eventually… leaving this life behind.
Leaving me behind.
Cool, fun, open New York instead of old, judgemental, strict Seoul. Hot Boss instead of silly co-worker. I felt like shit all night until I didn’t anymore, but now I feel like shit again.”
“Why did you feel like shit, Soonie?” Jun’s voice is neutral, with his gaze fixed on the ground, Jun seems to be searching for an actual remedy for all of Soonyoung’s woes. The latter had always appreciated how uncharacteristically serious and understanding Jun could be. “Were you.. Perhaps, jealous?”
He instantly wants to deny it, but he thinks better of it and slowly nods before letting out a humm of acceptance.
“And were you … are you jealous of his Boss being around Jihoon or Jihoon having a new life?”
“I-I” he stutters, taken aback by the question. It wasn’t something he ever considered, only ever took his feelings as they were, already too tired of them to even wonder of their depth.
“It’s okay, Soons, just think it over. We have all day.”
In the end, he thinks it’s both.
He explains to Jun that the Coup guy is really cool, and if he tries and recall the little things Jihoon had told him, he’s also funny in a lame (in the Jihoon's gergo it reads cute ) and they share similar work ethics as well as a deep love for ballad music despite their genre of specialization for work.
On the other hand, he’s finally coming to face with the fact that all greatest adventures in the past few years, Soonyoung had lived with Jihoon by his side and likewise Jihoon. And suddenly the younger had all these new happenings and experiences and the choreographer was still exactly where he was at the beginning of this year, only now without his main source of moral support.
And basically, no matter how Soonyoung kept himself busy, he still felt as if he paled in contrast. As if he was aimless without and compared to Jihoon.
Jun munches on a few biscuits as the other speaks, but his face is darkened in thought and his lips purse into a thin, pensive line every few bites, listening but never cutting him off.
“And I can’t even talk to him about it, because that would be just wrong and awkward and even if it wasn’t it’s not exactly the kind of subject I ever brought up comfortably with Hoonie.
Telling him I’m jealous of Coops wouldn’t really be smart on my part. I mean, it’s not like I have any right to. Plus, with the way Jihoon left I say I have a very low percentage of probability to ever have the right to be jealous.
Of course, I can’t tell him about being jealous about his life or his new job or anything about that, because… you don’t know Jun” he says with a sigh.
“He took so long to open up about it, to talk about more than just how busy and loud New York is. And now he finally tells me about it confidently and I can’t just tell him it upsets me because then he’ll close up again and I already miss him so much and even if fourty percent of the time I envy him, the other half of the time I’m so, truly proud and happy for him.”
Soonyoung takes a deep breath, lips dry after all that talking, and sips on the mug of latte he hadn’t even noticed before. Then, he sighs again when he notices Jun with still an enquiring expression, knowing there is more to it.
“And cherry on top, I can’t tell him about what happened last night either because I feel like I’m emotionally or physically cheating on him, even if
we’re not even together!
Still, it’s not like we don’t both know we loved each other just a month ago, still love each other right now, I believe.
So it’ll hurt him? Or disappoint him? Or make him uncomfortable?” he groans, pressing his palms to his face and missing the increasingly more confused face Jun is making.
“I mean… I’m kinda hurt and uncomfortable and I’m the one who did it. But then, if I don’t tell him I feel like I’m cheating on him as a friend? You follow?” he asks with a real, torn frown on his forehead.
Jun brings his open palms in front of him, as if he could stop time, and Soonyoung noticed the half lost, half intrigued expression on his face.
“Wait up! We were still talking about how you felt over the video call and suddenly you’re onto something you still didn’t explain.” he says gently.
“What happened last night?”
Soonyoung feels his face heat up, redness spreading from under his shirt onto his neck and cheeks. The older man lets him but some time and the choreographer pets the cats while glancing at Jun with an embarrassed and ashamed grimace.
“I may… had a one night stand?
Soonyoung brings up his gaze to meet a wide-eyed, eyebrows raised Jun and the few moments of silence are broken by the latter’s long whistle, followed by a small smile and a hearty chuckle.
“You?” he says incredulously, still grinning.
“Doing something like that?”
“Can you please stop smiling, I’m having a crisis here. ”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry” he says, giving one last chuckle before squaring his face into seriousness once again.
“I just… wasn’t expecting it. You’re not exactly the type.”
“I was drunk, okay? He was a stranger, sure, but he was fun and seemed harmless. And suddenly we’re in my place. I’m not even sure I remember how we got there.”
It’s only a half-truth, though. He does remember most of it, but he still tries to hide the (unfamiliarly pleasurable) memories behind the excuses of alcohol, which isn’t fair both to himself and to Jun who is suddenly wearing a very concerned look on his face.
“You shouldn’t do something like that drunk, Hosh. Not with a stranger, at the very least. It’s not only out of character, but also a safety and career hazard.”
“Well, I wasn’t
drunk…” Soonyoun thinks of leaving it like that for a moment, but this is Jun and he trusts him.
“Honestly, by the time I was leading him to my apartment I was pretty much sober. But it’s easier to digest, if I say that I was drunk instead of admitting it was out of jealousy, right?” he admits in a low mumble.
“Hey… easy there. Don’t get even more mopey and depressed on me. You know I can only handle so much.” jokes Jun, trying to lighten the mood.
“How exactly did it happen and why was it out of jealousy?” he continues, guiding Soonyoung through his own thoughts.
“I- I saw Gyu and Won and they’re the perfect couple you know? And I used to think one day, Jihoon and I would be like that too. And so I imagined myself and him instead of Gyu and Won until my mind betrayed me and it pictured Jihoon with that Scoop guy instead. How they must have been together right in that moment, having fun, while I was drunk and lonely.
The moment I try to stop my train of thoughts, there’s Jeonghan with Seungkwan and Jisoo and this other pretty guy that I don’t know. That Jihoon probably doesn’t know either. And he’s damn attractive and also funny and he’s so loud that I can’t hear any of the thoughts about Jihoon. A man so happy that it made me wanna be happy with him.”
Soonyoung is smiling a little to himself and Jun catches him. The memory of the night, when not tainted by his insecurities, is genuinely nice and enjoyable.
“Was it nice?” questions Jun.
“Was what nice?” he replies, still distracted by his own musings.
“What the-'' he starts almost scandalised. He was never the one to kiss and tell.
“Just answer, man. No need for details, just.. Was it nice?” Jun sometimes had these moments of bluntness that made him both very entertaining to be around and very unpredictable.
With a slow, bashful and red face Soonyoung nods.
“Was it consentual?” continues to probe his friend.
“Dear gosh, Jun. Yes!” he says honestly appalled by the idea of anything different.
“Was it weird, strange or regrettable in any way?”
Soonyoung stops to think about it, making Jun’s face darken for a second, before shaking his head no. He realises that the more he thinks about it rationally and honestly, despite how confused, guilty and even a bit ashamed he felt in the morning, he doesn’t regret it.
Albeit out of character for him, it was spontaneous and for all it’s duration, from the first hello to the moment he fell asleep it felt… right. Even now, after unloading his heavy thoughts on Jun, with a clearer mind of what he did and why he did it.
He regretted the reasons that pushed him to do it, not the fact that he did it.
Right after he tells Jun, the latter smiles at him, the way you would to comfort a child.
“Look, everything you feel right now makes sense and it’s valid with the way you always felt on the fence with Jihoon. This whole thing with him gone and both of you navigating life away from each other? It makes sense if it’s making you more sensitive about everyone he interacts with and everyone you interact with.”
It’s such a serious and well put conclusion, in both feelings and words, that for a moment Soonyoung could pass his friend for a native Korean speaker.
“But everything you did last night? Also completely valid. You needed a distraction, you found one and you took it.” he said with a shrug and a smile.
“So you don’t think I made a mistake? That I did something wrong?” asks Soonyoung with a small voice.
“Honestly? No.” he replies with fond, understanding eyes.
“We don’t slut shame in this house. You met a cute guy and you took him home. It was good, consensual and safe. Just a one night stand you’re not even planning to see again.”
The older man raises an eyebrow at the last sentence as to ask for a confirmation and Soonyoung shakes his head vehemently.
“Nono, he left without even saying goodbye, which in hindsight I’m really glad for. I’m good.”
“We’re good, then. No need to feel guilty.” Jun leans forward to pat his thigh, realising a light sigh.
“You and Jihoon are good friends and you both chose to both move forward despite the loose ends.”
He speaks with a casual, carefree voice but his eyes stay focused, showing he isn’t taking this as a joke.
“Don’t get me wrong, I do think you could have handled this better and that you still have a
of things to work on. But among these things, you really have to work on how to digest negative or scary feelings without hurting your friendship.
I get that you have some strange romantic loyalty to Jihoon, but he rejected you. He told you he loved you and still rejected you, telling you he’d explain 'one day'.
I’m not one to take sides. I support him if that’s what he thinks is better and I’m one hundred percent sure you’ll clear up anything you left behind.
But I also support you, Soonyoung. You don’t need to chastise yourself over so little.
Tell me you don’t feel guilty.”
Soonyoung finds himself nodding. Although he isn’t fully convinced yet, Jun can be very charming.
“It’s no one’s fault. It was a nice night that
I wanted …
I really liked.”
He says with a growing smirk.
“I don’t have to answer to anyone about it. It was kinda cool to let go.”
!” Jun excalims, standing up and stretching his body.
“Now you just need to sort out if you want to tell Jihoon.”
As they go back to the counter, Soonyoung’s smirk falls a little, more out of indecision than guilt. “What do you think?”
“That it’s not my decision to make?” Jun replies with a shrug, taking out a printed menu from under the counter.
“Yes, I get it but still. What do you think?”
“I think that if you want to tell him because you’re friends, then go ahead. Just say it or stay vague if it helps, too. But if you don’t want to, then that’s cool as well.”
He says and with a last sigh he trunks the menu from a thai place a few blocks from there.
“You and Jihoon are just friends.”
Soonyoung stays to play with the cats (Jun included) long after lunch and by the time he gets home, with a bear hug and a bag of pastries, he feels a lot better. He plans on following Jun’s advice of not overthinking and the very last one about keeping busy, not out of competition or spite or impostor syndrome, but because it feels good to be happy.
“If you feel so down and left behind and you have an uncontrollable fear of missing out just ... Think that Jihoon had to change continents to make his life feel fresh. Channel your inner competitivity! Make your life brand new with what you have right here, right now.” He says with a challenging eyebrow raise.
“What are all your other friends here for if you keep living life according to Jihoon?!”
When he does tell Jihoon he stays vague and casual.
It’s Friday night and they won’t have much time because Soonyoung has brunch in the morning and Jihoon has work.
They don’t talk much about themselves.
Jihoon talks about projects and a new artist that wants to sign with them and Jamie keeps flirting with which Kino finds unprofessional but S.coups finds it hilarious. Soonyoung talks about how much of a pity it is that Wonwoo and Mingyu haven’t gone public yet. Because Won only ever uses neutral pronouns and half of his fans already expect him to come out anyways according to online research. Jihoon doesn’t seem uncomfortable for once and he doesn’t argue about the industry being the way that it is, which kinda surprises Soonyoung positively.
All in all, it’s a nice and chill conversation if you ignore the painful rant Jihoon mutters about how Chan and Seungkwan will never actually get together because some things just don’t work like that. Chan is obciously too scared to confess and Seungkwan is so focused on literally everything else.
But Jihoon is quick to redirect the conversation to the party (the main reason they were talking about their two friends in the first place) and asks him how it went for him.
“It was nice! Not my cup of tea at first, to be honest. Too many people, Jun was flirting around, Wonwoo was with Gyu, Chan was moping.
It was kinda lonely for the first few hours. Then I drunk a bit.” he says with a giggle that Jihoon reciprocates with a fond smile.
“And then Hannie hyung introduced to a frie--- a few friends.” He says with a tone he can’t recognize himself.
“And I kinda clicked with one in particular, he was really ... funny.”
“That’s nice.” Jihoon murmurs as if deep in thought, face unreadable.
“Yeah, he… He kept me company all night.”
The shadow of mixed emotions in the producer’s eyes show how he caught the innuendo.
They move one easily to a different topic right after and it leaves Soonyoung wondering.
Maybe a different reaction would have felt lighter on his chest.
OOOOOOOKAY! AS PROMISED a new chapter by the end of the month!! (i'm still updating on the second tuesday of april, too)
so this is like the longest chapter for now, which really says a lot about how carried away i get when talking about feelings!
Anyways i hope you liked it <3
If I'm completely honest the last chapter didn't seem to get much of a reaction and it is a little scary, but still if you're still reading it already means a lot!
I've been a little down because of it, so I'm trying to write more and also other works to not overthink it too much.
All in all, despite not feeling like this is one of my better works, I'm still very happy and driven for this so I'll just keep on going lol
BUT if you guys have anything to say, comment or ask or even criticise please fire away! I'd love to get feed back.
A few notes from this chapter:
I always feel like Jun is a wonderful person to turn to irl, which Hao mentions a lot, because he is genuinely nice and caring and also very reliable in his own way. There is definitely an emotional depth in him that often goes unseen by his character (funny, 4D) and I like to think Soonyoung and Wonwoo in this story easily go to his cafè when they need to hide.
Another thing, there will be more mentions of sex and all that, more or less explicit (but never too much, I'm planning to keep this with it's original rating). Just wondering if anyone is interested in seeing the NSFW bits of the story (in the far future as a behind the scenes series) or nah...
AS ALWAYS THANK YOU SO MUCH! KUDOS & COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS APPRECIATED <3 <3
Chapter 8: The Aftermath
Soonyoung suspects and has secrets.
He also has breakfast with Jeonghan, goes to work and runs into an acquaintance.
The following two weeks go by pleasantly and are filled with things to keep Hoshi occupied.
He’s packed with so much work and projects that the three most called numbers on his phone are his boss, the manager of a girl group he’s choreographing for and Dino.
The initial workaholic sprint is long gone and the Gemini trademark mood swings settle for a midground of work-related passion and life-related nonchalance, which leaves him positive at best and neutral at worst.
He still hears from Jihoon twice a week and the conversations are genuine and fun, but texting without a schedule has gotten scarce and syncopated considering they can’t answer as promptly, with all the work they both have.
A month and a half into their life as long-distance friends, the half envy and half-fascination of each other’s life are fading, so now seeing Jihoon talk about work doesn’t leave him wondering or bitter, just a little bit nostalgic on how they used to do those things together.
Or to be honest, how Jihoon used to do that with Bumzu while he lounged around in the Universe. But still, together.
It's when he thinks of that that the distance pains him more.
He doesn’t always keep it to himself though.
Soonyoung voices it with just enough tranquillity not to pressure Jihoon, but enough emotion to let him know exactly what he means when he says seeing him in the studio brings back memories. He usually diverts the conversation right after, asking if Jihoon still stays up till late even in New York and the latter kindly plays along.
Nights like those are spent with cola in both their hands (because Jihoon only drinks at company gatherings and because Soonyoung gets drunk far too fast; a reminder he finds particularly awkward lately) and they sip every time a pregnant silence settles in.
Only once they hang up, they exchange honest “I missed you” through text. Which, truthfully, means “I miss you”, in the present tense because they’re still across the globe one from another.
Parties and alcohol remain a big no on his part, at least for now. Especially on the days where Soonyoung wakes up with a vivid echo of the things he said and did (and all that was said and done to him ).
As guilty as he feels admitting it even to himself, a good thirty per cent of the time, he dreams Jihoon taking the place of that man even if Jihoon is much shorter and much paler. It’s a shock when it first happens because he always imagined himself domming the younger and not the other way around. Yet, the new experience left him with a newfound appreciation of bottoming that was always latent in him.
Whenever Soonyoung reigns back the hormones riding on those sinful visions, be it memories of that night or fantasies of Jihoon, his conscious mind feels a bit torn.
Once, he almost admits it to Jihoon. They talked about being more open since their problems usually came from not communicating clearly about things that bother them. But there’s no easy way to tell your best friend you have trouble getting over them because memories of a fling often borrow his face.
And even if he feels like they’re getting to the stage where they can talk about anything, he’s not sure if that 'anything' includes the feelings they're both trying to move on from (and all they come with.)
Soonyoung could and probably should ask Jihoon about it (if they can talk about feelings, not about the fantasies), on the other hand, he certainly doesn’t want to have that uncomfortable conversation. They constantly swing between being on the same page and reading two different books.
Soonyoung has gotten used to guessing which option they’re in at which time (and most times he guesses wrong).
As of right now, they are both so close and so far, and it has nothing to do with living in different countries.
Jihoon constantly steers clear of some of his questions. Questions of his life in detail, besides wor. At best he responds with vague answers that go hand in hand with a sort of pained and painful look, reminding how bad of a liar the younger has always been.
“I’m going out tomorrow night.” “It’s good.” “I’m having fun.” “I met some cool people.”
Yet, when Soonyoung casually mentions his co-workers, not as a question but as a casual comment, it’s like the producer can’t help himself. There’s always a genuine smile Jihoon can’t quite keep at bay and it easily proves how they're no more coworkers but friends.
(Soonyoung hates admitting that some.. one name is more recurrent than the others and logically he makes excuses about S.coups being the boss and founder of SVT entertainment as well as a producer. It’s natural for him to be more present in Jihoon’s stories than young, cute and awkward Vernon. Plus, Jihoon would tell him if it was more than friendly respect, right?)
Jihoon seems and is very happy.
His projects bring a passion and energy in him that truly shows how fit he is for the career he chose for himself. He speaks with freedom and directness that it’s almost as if nothing ever happened between them. Just a pair of friends who never had feelings for each other and never stood on the uneven, unlabeled ground. As if Soonyoung (for whom Jihoon, technically, had strong feelings for a bare month ago) never even alluded to sleeping with another person.
Soonyoung is probably overthinking it, as always. Or maybe Jihoon genuinely feels like that. He moved on easily with all that’s happened in his life. Probably doesn’t even remember about it.
All that internal turmoil and fretting on sleeping with another man, only for Jihoon to overlook it unconcerned.
He has to remind himself he had wanted to tell Jihoon and for the other to not be upset so technically he’s gotten what he wanted.
Besides, he hasn’t seen Jihoon so carefree and at ease with him in quite some time. Possibly since before the feelings for each other started years ago. Asking him why he wasn't remotely shaken by Soonyoung "sleeping around" would have definitely broken this peace.
Once more, the conclusions he gets from this awareness scare him.
So he follows Jun, who is an unexpected master of life, and his orders to not get caught in his personal mind-labyrinths and mazes of guilt trip (for which, by the way, the older has taken a liking into sending him motivational snaps with his cat-cafè aesthetics as background).
Soonyoung is a "go big or go home" kind of guy, he reasons on his own. (Read: often gets overwhelmed by situations and ends up either freezing or saying too much.)
If he tried to unravel all the loose ends asking why Jihoon is sometimes secretive or worse clearly state his sexcapade because "he can’t quite grasp the concept of casual physicality and is hurt by the idea that Jihoon doesn't care" he’d probably end up revealing the not-so-morally-correct fantasies. That would reach a new level of awkwardness even for him and Jihoon.
‘Maybe if ever Jihoon comes forward with the admissions I dread, yet I’m starting to expect.’ he thinks with a scoff and a grumble of a stage name.
For the most part, in the following weeks, Soonyoung’s life goes on smoothly. As Jun suggested, he simply tries to change his point of view, not forcing himself to do things for any other reason besides his benefit (or at least he tries).
He hangs out with Chan and Seungkwan pretty much every time the latter invites his boyfriend along (his name is Bin, just Bin almost ironic since the only other person with a mono-syllable name Soonyoung knows is Chan).
Chan openly jokes about their relationship, at times not even in a nice way, but Bin smiles politely while Seungkwan insults the younger’s hatred for romance. Soonyoung honestly doesn’t understand if the singer is being purposely blind or genuinely oblivious to why Chan is so catty with his boyfriends.
On Tuesday mornings he starts seeing Jeonghan, fully planning on making it a regular thing, eating breakfast at the counter because the older doesn’t believe in rushed meals (it’s mostly so he can shamelessly flirt with Jisoo during work hours).
The April air gets gradually warmer and warmer, slowly turning the cafè into a flowery jungle which Soonyoung can only appreciate with a happy smile as Jeonghan dreads allergy season and even worse, the slowly approaching early summer. (Jeonghan always did like complaining over things ahead of time).
Most of the time they talk about nonsense and daily, trivial stuff because even when they don’t get breakfast together they still live in the same complex so they see each other close to always.
They even talk about the singer-guy. More precisely Jeonghan tries to talk about him, giving the choreographer unsolicited information as if he was a vendor and referring to him by name. Hoshi refuses to acknowledge said name because: first, they’re in public talking about a public figure; second, a "first-name basis" means a "friendly basis" and he is still set on taking the one night stand as a one night stand.
He also refuses Jeonghan’s invitations to set them up for a date (reasons being the aforementioned), with bulging eyes as the older squeals HOSHI~YA! and Jisoo amusedly shakes his head at them.
Jeonghan still tries to promote his friend until they have to say goodbye because he’s stubborn like that.
“He’s cool and funny and you guys clearly get along.”
“I get along with a lot of people.”
“But you don’t have sex with a lot of people,” he says with a smirk as if he has won already. “You don't, right?”
Soonyoung just laughs and slaps his chest playfully, definitely more at ease with the idea now than he was right after the party.
“I don’t, but I’m not letting spontaneous decisions pull me into something I don’t have the energy for.” he says casually and honestly.
“And I don’t have the energy for anything remotely taxing on my brain or heart.”
“A pity, though. You guys must have been… good together” Jeonghan mutters almost to himself. (Almost, because he steals a glance in the other’s way, to see his reaction.)
“He told you that?” he asks with a scoff. “Did he also tell you he left without saying anything?”
Jeonghan frowns. “Well … we didn't talk about that, but I guessed. He was very blushy when I mentioned you.”
(At this he actually hears Jisoo scoffing in an almost insulting way before disappearing behind the counter, which kind of piques his interest.)
“You did … mumble something about it, that morning. But when I saw him, he was very convincing in telling me you fled your apartment and he woke up alone.”
Soonyoung opens and closes his mouth for a few seconds, trying to formulate a thought, no doubt looking like a trout while doing so.
He never really thought about that, because in his mind he knew he was only out to get breakfast and although he admittedly took more than usual he couldn’t have been gone that long for the singer to think he had run away, right?
Then again, waking up in a stranger’s bed must have been a little awkward, even more realising you’re alone there. Soonyoung would have probably jumped to the same conclusion and would have wanted to get away from there himself.
“I was out to get breakfast!” he says with a defensive tone, cutely matched with a pout.
“I get it, tiger.” Jeonghan chuckles and pats his head. “Jisoo and I ate that breakfast, remember?”
Soonyoung must still wear a frown because after a few seconds after they dust off their pants and the older one blows a flying kiss to Josh, Jeonghan sighs.
“Hey, it’s not like it’s a big deal! You said you don’t care about seeing him again after all.”
“Just because I don’t wanna date him, it’s not like I want him to think I’m some rude guy that gets dick and runs after.”
“He topped you?!” The older one sounds almost scandalised but fortunately, the street is empty and Soonyoung doesn’t need to kill his friend, only glare and shove him a little.
“Okay yeah, right. Not the point.” Jeonghan says to himself, still looking kinda shook.
“Anyways, Hosh, don’t worry. If it makes you sad or anxious about what he thinks of you, I’ll make sure he knows about the breakfast thingy.”
Soonyoung smiles at Jeonghan, completely missing the mischievous smirk on his lips.
“Or,” he says while trying to grab a taxi. “You could tell him yourself! On a date?”
The choreographer rolls his eyes and finishes it with a pointed stare, his hands coming up to shove his hyung on the chest and into the car.
“I’m not gonna see your friend again, okay?”
As (un)expected. Famous last words.
Sure, it’s not like he considers himself lucky as Jeonghan but he’s never been quite like Seungkwan either, or worse, Mingyu.
There’s little to be said about the following 4 hours of his day. It was perfectly uneventful, with work dominating his time aside from a little sandwich break at 1 pm sharp.
Hoshi is pretty chill, knowing he has nothing planned for the afternoon aside from a meeting and few hours of closed doors personal practice.
And right in between the two schedules his nice day shifts when he hears a peal of vaguely familiar laughter. He doesn’t get it at first. When he steps out of the meeting room it’s loud and clear, probably just stepping out of the elevator. Soonyoung has just enough time to hear a feminine voice and a male, embarrassed yet charming laughter, and the sound of approaching steps and then he’s pulling his hoodie on and marching in the opposite direction.
After a few seconds, when he reasons that the two voices he heard must be in the same hallway as him he slows down, confident he’s now too far from them to be recognized from behind and trusting a slow natural walk to be less eye-catching or suspicious than a fast march.
He still hears them quite well though with the rest of the place empty working as a soundbox for their words.
It makes him shiver in a bad and good way, to hear the voice again when he swore to never see the man again. Usually, when he thinks about him, it’s in a far different environment and for very different purposes regarding activities that happened after the party. But still, he did spend hours talking to the guy and laughing along, so he recognizes the sound even when he hopes to be wrong.
The first thing he feels is panic and it keeps him buzzing until his “nonchalant” walk brings him exactly where he was supposed to head anyway his private practice room.
The moment he steps foot inside he runs to the mixer, facing the wall and thinking hard. Jeonghan had mentioned that his friends had found the night … nice? And that he had talked and asked, although casually, about Soonyoung. Could it be that he was there for Soonyoung?
No, probably not… He's a singer visiting a record label. It makes sense for him to be here.
Even if he does mostly musicals nowadays.
Well, then again maybe he simply isn't keeping up with news and he was going to release something new. So maybe he isn’t there for him.
But he works for a different label, why would he go into a different one for business purposes.
The voices still reach his ears. One voice is Nana’s, he realises now. Always too helpful and a streak for gossip. The other one is him.
They must be still a little further down the hallways, but he can hear them, having forgotten to close the door when he decided to hide in the practice room.
He could just rush to close it now, but he doubts it’ll be any help if the singer is really there to see him.
He doesn’t have time to think about how to brace himself when a phone goes off. There’s silence, then Nana replying too quietly for Hoshi to hear. The steps stop too. Nana apologises a little louder, so Soonyoung figures she’s probably not addressing the phone, but the man she was walking with.
“It’s okay you can go, actually you’ve done even more than you should have.” says the kind, rich voice.
“Aww, everything for a dongsaeng of Raina.”
“Still, thank you,” he says in a tone that hints at bashfulness.
“I’ve been meaning to come all week but I don’t have his number and I wasn’t sure where to go to find him. Some of my friends know him, but I didn’t want to bother them for something kinda personal.”
The choreographer feels his heart squeeze in his chest in a way that can only signify terror or love.
Right now it's the former. What kind of person goes looking for a one night stand in their workplace?
Obviously, it had been good. Fun.
And Soonyoung may or may not have had fantasies about doing it a second time, more than once, if they ever met and he hadn’t been a friend of Jeonghan’s. But those were fantasies. Fantasies he didn’t care about much aside from jerk off material. He genuinely didn’t think of getting to know the man better in the romantic sense.
However, he can’t stop Nana from talking and Hoshi braces himself, even praying to be for some miracle wrong, as he crouches next to the mixer set, pretending to be busy with setting up music.
“Well, I’ll leave you then. He should be at the end of this hallway.” says the candy-sweet female voice.
Soonyoung tries to wrap his head around the whole thing and wonders how to turn the man down without making a scene or a fool of himself. When the small knocks come, he snaps toward the door instinctively.
“ What are you doing here?” asks the choreographer without planning it.
The singer in front of him looks confused and glances around between the hallway and Hoshi. He looks like he’s trying to formulate an answer but he can’t find the words and a huge grin breaks on his face. More dread settles in the older’s chest at the view.
Admittedly, it’s one beautiful smile, innocent and happy, but right now it troubles him to no end.
How dare this (gorgeous) man come looking for him?
Who goes hunting for a guy he doesn’t know and with whom he slept once?
There’s a pregnant silence that makes Hoshi a little uncomfortable, but the happy face stays there looking back at him as if he couldn’t believe his luck. For some reason, the softness in his tone makes Soonyoung snap.
“You! … you’re DK!” he says with a scandalised tone, pointing his finger accusingly.
“The musical actor!”
His words are said just as the younger man lets out an excited “Hello there!”
To be fair neither greeting sounds particularly smart. But the singer’s soft wave was at least calm and polite while he just blurted out, quite accusingly as well, an obvious statement that took the former aback.
Hoshi doesn’t give the other time to process things before questioning him.
“Why are you looking for me?” It’s just as he says it that he realises how condescending and arrogant it sounds and he feels the tip of his ears getting warmer.
“Actually, I’m here to talk…”
“You said your name was Seokmin!”
There is a small voice in his brain that admonishes him, reminding him that conversation implies listening to other people’s replies, but he’s too flustered and all over the place to pay it too much attention.
DK looks around for a second as if to make sure Soonyoung is talking to him, before making a bemused face and going along with the other’s continuous jumping from one thing to another.
“Yeah, because it was an informal party? And it’s not a national secret that my name is Seokmin?” He says tentatively, with a raised brow and trembling lips that seem unsure on whether or not to smile.
“Well... I was half-drunk!” again, honest but not necessarily the smartest comeback. The little upward curve taken by the younger’s mouth makes him particularly red-faced.
“Well, I wasn’t exactly sober, but I still managed to recognise you even when you said your name was ‘Tiger Gaze’”
“I’m sure I said Hoshi…” replies Hoshi after a small pause to try and recall if he really did say that. (He said those words precisely.)
“No. You said ‘Tiger Gaze’.” the downright teasing colour in his voice doesn’t go unnoticed by the older and he leans back against the wall behind him, with an unimpressed roll of the eyes.
Who came looking for a guy he slept with once and then teased them?
“Yet, you still took me home,” he grumbles.
“1st. You took me home.” chuckles the other taking a few steps further inside the practice room.
“2nd. It was cute. You’re cute."
The redness invades his chest and goes up to blend with the blood colouring his ears.
“Whatever, I’m not cute.”
They just look at each other for a few seconds and DK has a bit of a hopeful smile, clearly waiting for Soonyoung to say something. When he doesn’t, the singer takes another couple of tentative steps in his direction.
“Look, about that night. I was just wondering-”
Hoshi doesn’t like the way he starts and he sighs, stopping the man’s sentence.
“About that night… Honestly, I don’t know how it happened!” He says, honestly and recalling the mixed feeling he had waking up.
“And the day after was so confusing. I’m really not the type to do something like that. Like ever.”
A flash of panic passes and settles in DK’s eyes.
“I swear, it was consensual! I asked you! You sounded sober.” DK’s arms come up mid-air, waving no in the air and then stopping above his head in surrender.
“I really would never.”
The dancer almost coos at the sudden change of character, from somewhat confident to panicked. It makes him in equal parts amused, soft and apologetic for wording it as he did.
“I know, I remember. And I know I wanted it, then,” he says with a little scroll of his shoulders, lips smiling but eyes sheepish.
“What I meant is that I'm not the type to do things like that. And at the same time, I’m happy it happened like that: casually.”
Hoshi gathers all his inner strength to lock his eyes with DK’s, not an intimate way, but as a certainty. A proof of his genuine mindset.
“I don’t want anything else to happen. We barely know each other and the other night isn’t enough to make me want something serious.”
The silence that comes right after is deafening and Hosi almost fills it with an apology. Until DK laughs.
“Is that why you’re so tense?” he asks in disbelief, still laughing and, looking around as if he’s trying to find hidden cameras or something.
“Geez, chill man.” He says after catching his breath.
“I mean, sex was… fantastic. Beyond doubt.” the smile that lingers is innocent and cute and really, really not fitting the words being said.
“But I don’t want a relationship either!”
“Oh.” In total Hosh fashion, he responds at the best of his eloquent vocabulary.
“Are you sure? Isn’t that why you’re here?”
The reaction DK gives him is comical at best, the kind that looks faked on tv.
“What! No! What?!” He laughs loudly, resonating in the room like a very young Santa Claus.
“What kind of person goes looking for a guy he only slept with once!?”
Soonyoung feels the redness coming back up again (had it even left in the first place?), but strangely he doesn’t feel strange or called out or awkward and, although a second late, he joins in the laughing. All the tension is gone now and he takes time to breathe easy.
“I gotta meet up with a guy that works here,” DK says pointing behind his back at the hallway.
“Plus, if I wanted to meet you, I would have done something less… stalkerish. Like talking to Hannie hyung or Mingyu.”
The words are delivered with a friendly expression that makes him feel extremely at peace as if they’re old friends catching up.
“Promise, I’m not hunting you down.”
Hoshi smiles back and it pushes DK’s eye-smile to curve deeper.
“I’m happy to see you, though.”
“Seriously?” He doesn’t say it in a bashful way, more like embarrassed.
He had jumped to conclusions and almost attacked DK for nothing and here the guy was, being kind and easy-going. He was so mortified, he couldn’t even blush more.
“Yeah, you’re cute and nice. Mingyu says we’d get along, in real life.”
Soonyoung looks down, this time shyly, but in his mind, he agrees with Mingyu. After all, intimate activities aside, the party at Jeonghan and Jisoo’s was the most fun he had in quite some time. DK had been a great part of the reason why.
“You never know” The chuckle coming from the singer makes him look up just as DK smirks through the following words, eyes locked on him. “Great sex could lead to a great friendship.”
It’s cocky in a way that is sexy and not annoying (a difficult thing to pull off according to Wonwoo); a flash of insecurity passes too quickly for the dancer to catch.
“Ugh. Please don’t” He says with a groan, palming his red cheeks.
“Y- You don’t want to be friends?”
Even without looking Soonyoung is sure the younger is talking with a pout and he almost laughs at his duality.
“No, no. I’m cool with being friends. After all, you know Han hyung and Gyu too. You’re cool.” he says, making sure his smile resounds in his words,
“I meant... the other thing.”
“That sex was great?” he asks, with child-like wonder and an equally innocent smile.
“Stop it please.” Hoshi whines, hiding his face behind his fingers.
“Why? You said you remember…. If you remember…” he lets the sentence hang, unfinished, still with the genuine happy expression.
“Whatever.” he grumbles, “you don’t deserve an opinion. You fled right after,” he states matter-of-factly.
“I didn’t flee! Not right after and not even in the morning!” DK looks shocked and offended (and for a moment at loss for words.) “I woke up in an apartment that wasn’t mine, with no trace of the owner. You’re the one who fled. His own apartment, too.”
DK shook his head at him, mockingly the way a snotty seven-year-old spoiled girl would do and Hoshi couldn’t keep the cackle of laughter in.
“I was out to get you breakfast!”
Hoshi is almost used to it now, to the swinging images of the singer: cute, cocky and comical. And sometimes all three at the same time.
“My fridge is always empty. I wanted to at least feed you, after… you know?”
“Oh.” DK’s face is unmistakably more relaxed and pleased at the modesty in Hoshi’s speaking, but a bit of cuteness lingers. “So… I wasn’t so bad that you had to run away from home, huh?”
“You’re kidding right?” For a heated fraction of a second, his mind replays his first orgasm induced by something that wasn’t his right hand and he shudders.
“You said it yourself. Sex was…”
He blushes just one last time and the singer takes pity on him
“Gosh, you’re cute,” he says laughing. “ But yeah. It really was great.”
Just at the end of the sentence, Bumzu’s head peeks inside the practice room telling them (DK actually) that Nana said she sent him to his studio. But he wasn't showing up, so he was getting worried.
Before he knows it, Hoshi is waving goodbye at the two, already half engrossed in talks of music. As he gets out the door, DK turns around and shouts at him.
“See you around, new friend!”
He frowns to himself on his way home, unsure about what exactly happened.
Jeonghan texted him and apparently DK already informed him they ran into each other.
The confusion is short-lived though, as Soonyoung tries to follow through with his plan for a more carefree mind. The whole conversation was a little bit like the night with DK. Unexpected and as if he didn’t know what was going on most of the time. But at the same time, not wrong.
DK had called him “New friend”. Even if it felt a bit like an empty promise (he had only seen him twice in years of having mutual friends, he wasn’t confident he’d see him again soon), it was nice to hear him say that.
He did lack opportunities for new meetings outside of his job.
Regardless of whether or not this new friendship would grow, “New friend” sounded really nice.
Hellooooooo thereeeeee ~~~
FINALLY! We get to see the mystery man, although I suppose it was pretty obvious from the party alone.
I'm dead tired now as I write this cuz I'm in the middle of a house re-styling, so I only got to write very late at night and even now it's almost 1 am on a school night so I'm pretty much brain dead. I just realised that the plot only starts to thicken here and so I'm a bit scared and sorry if the past seemed slow and uneventful.
Hopefully you still enjoyed the work so far and hopefully you'll enjoy what's to come.
Please, if you can, take some time to write down a comment or hit a kudo. Feedback is always welcome and it helps me understand how you feel about the story <3
Chapter 9: The Dinner
Hair dye, gay bars and midnight snacks.
Soonyoung is somewhere along the Han River, basking in the spring air and listening to cicadas as he waits for inspiration to strike him.
After half an hour scrutinizing the clouds and trying not to fall victim to a food coma (he had lunch as soon as he realised his creativity wasn’t cooperating) he jolts in his place, but not due to unexpected ideas.
He frowns in confusion at the ID calling him, trying to do the math before giving up. Jihoon never calls at night time.
It’s something after midnight, from where Jihoon calls and, by the looks of it, it’s nothing more than a butt-dial.
The idea makes him snicker like a kid and he decides in a split second that he won’t be hanging up, not before trying to scare the hell out of his best friend.
Even if muffled, Soonyoung can still hear some noises as Jihoon appears to be walking around.
Only a few seconds after things become quiet, when Soonyoung can hear very little besides the rubbing of the inside of his friend’s jean pocket, the choreographer lets out an obnoxiously loud “HELLO!”. (It earns him a few annoyed stares and a worried look for a middle school boy walking a few meters from him.)
He laughs again (at normal volume this time) when he catches the faint indications of a man cursing and the sound of said man retrieving the phone from his back pocket.
The first thing he understands (supposedly after Jihoon takes his phone out) is that there’s some background noise as if the producer was a few rooms from a raging party.
He raises an eyebrow Jihoon can’t see and the second thing he hears is the latter, very confused.
“Soonyoung?” he asks in disbelief. “You scared me, you idiot. My entire buttcheek vibrated.”
They laugh, probably both wrinkling their noses as they do, until Jihoon calms down.
“So what’s up? You never call at this hour, can’t believe I actually managed to answer it with my ass...”
The last part whispered but still quite understandable on Soonyoung's side of the call.
“Well, you didn’t,” the older chuckles as he turns the call to a video one. “You called with your ass!”
Jihoon has a little smile on his face and he’s holding the phone so close to his face, it’s pretty much the only thing he can see. The background noise gets a tiny bit louder and the question of what’s going on is quick and natural.
Jihoon sits on his studio’s sofa and steals a few glances to the door, shaking his head as if to brush it off, but the noise gets louder as said door opens.
He can’t really see it, but Soonyoung hears a deep and easy-going voice telling Jihoon to “get back there, hyung!” and then it awkwardly apologizes noticing the producers is on a call.
When he lays down on the couch, Jihoon has an extremely sweet smile, the kind that means good, good mood and it makes Soonyoung raise an eyebrow. “Just Vernon” answers loudly Jihoon, chuckling.
The door has been left open, calling for Jihoon to get back to the ruckus outside.
Or for other people to walk in.
This time, with Jihoon’s new position, Soonyoung can steal a glimpse of the hallway outside of the studio.
And as expected, Mr CEO Coups appears in a muscle tee, flexing unnecessarily his stupid, huge biceps and emitting unintelligible hype sentences that are halfway between squealing and screaming. When their eyes meet on the screen (for a strange split second) he grins and waves like a kid.
Soonyoung almost likes him for that.
The older man tells Jihoon to come back outside, and just video call there, (something about the more the merrier and celebrating something), but a woman with bright purple hair and a nose piercing grabs him by the ear and tells him to mind his business and leave Jihoon alone.
The latter just glances back and forth between Soonyoung and the scene behind him, waiting for them to leave with a smile on his face.
(It says a lot about how much he must have clicked with his team if all the chaos isn’t making him scowl). A smaller girl, looking particularly young and probably mixed, apologizes and smiles at Jihoon’s soft “Thanks, Sofi'' before politely closing the door.
The producer doesn’t wait for Soonyoung to ask and confirms that they’re celebrating a new, big project. Only now, a few minutes in, when the younger shakes his messy hair Soonyoung catches a faint trace of blue and grey.
He gapes at it for a second and Jihoon downright giggles at the reaction, calling it a “spur of the moment decision” to celebrate and “a better choice than a tattoo” which apparently Vernon and Jaime did.
They talk a little more, about the big thing Jihoon’s label is so excited about (a parade in mid Spring) and Soonyoung mentions his own new collaborations and plans. But every once in a while Jihoon glances at the door, making his hair catch the light in a very captivating way and Soonyoun would be lying if he said that, as they talk, the sight of his blue locks makes something in him tick.
Still, he knows when a conversation is getting dragged for no reason, so with an excuse of a new choreography needing his attention, he lets Jihoon enjoy his celebrations.
Soonyoung complains about the little amount of work he has on his hands while munching on a roll of kimbap (one of the really yummy ones Jeonghan’s mom does) and the plastic little smile he gets in return makes him sheepish.
Jisoo and Jeonghan have been incredibly busy for the better part of the month. The latter travelling back and forth from China and Japan for brand and commercial deals, while the other is expanding his Korean coffè empire throughout the country.
Soonyoung does feel a tad guilty for being upset over free time and for taking the couple’s rare overlapping day off. Still, it’s true that through the week he’s concluded a pair of projects and has yet to start new ones.
He changes subject fast, not wanting to get on the bad side of a sleep-deprived Yoon-Hong household. The three of them eat quietly, throwing in a few comments at the news (when Soonyoung came by surprise they were watching morning dramas and cleaning the house, the TV kept running throughout his visit).
Hoshi sits on the floor with his friends on his left, on the sofa.
When he turns to make a joke about the latest scandal, he’s met with the tender scene of Joshua running his fingers through Jeonghan’s hair.
It’s calming, a quiet and real sign of love, very much like his two friends. Not a frequent sight, with the way Joshua and Jeonghan mostly showed their love by annoying the hell out of each other.
It makes Soonyoung’s heart shiver a little, but he distracts himself by noticing how unusually black Jeonghan’s hair is.
A flash of bluish-grey comes to mind, and Jihoon voice calling for spur of moment decisions make him tilt his head in question.
“Do you think I should dye my hair?”
The older of the two lifts an eyebrow at the abrupt statement, not moving an inch away from his boyfriend and actually gripping Joshua’s wrist to keep his fingers in his hair.
Soonyoung turns on his butt, fully facing his friends before he elaborates.
“See, I’ve been considering what Jun said. About trying new things and I thought that maybe a change of style could help!”
Jeonghan smiles a little, with a slight nod that seems to approve of the idea, but of course, Soonyoung has to talk and ruin the good feedback.
“I was thinking how I’ve been accepting new musical projects but that’s not really exciting for me. I mean Jihoon and I worked on far more interesting things in our careers, so I wanted something different.
Now, you’re black after a whole year of hair dye and even Jihoon dyed his hair. So why not me too?”
The choreographer is too much into the idea to notice the unimpressed look the two lovebirds share, telepathically agreeing on the obvious reasons Soonyoung hides.
“But I’m still reflecting on the colour. I want something new, something unexpected. So definitely not blond and I wouldn’t go for blue either, I’d be matching with Jihoon and that would be a little awkward, right?” He says with an unsure smile, looking up from his excited hands tapping on his thighs.
The blank, almost judging frown Jeonghan wears causes him to tilt his head like a confused puppy (or a cub, tiger cub). Jisoo shakes his head at the youngest’s obliviousness and (lack of) self-awareness.
“You know… ever since Jihoon left you’re kind of like Belle’s magic mirror.”
The Korean-American knows he’s little familiarity with western fairytales and explains with a sigh, leaning forward to rest his elbow on his knees.
“I mean, it’s like I get to see exactly what’s going on to Jihoon in New York.” He states, not really helping in making things clearer for Hoshi.
“Yes, you’ve gotten a lot better than the first month. And I see you’re not doing it out of depression or jealousy to the point I’m starting to think it’s more of a natural instinct. I don’t know… Maybe ‘cause you’re so used to doing things with him?”
Jisoo searches for his eyes and Soonyoung feels the equal need to reciprocate and run away from those honest, doe eyes.
“It’s like you’re copying him, or like… trying to keep up with him.
If Jihoon is getting new events or collaborations or anything, you actively seek new projects. If he goes out with friends, you tag along with Seungkwan and Chan. And now he dyes his hair and, guess what, you have the sudden spontaneous idea of a style change.”
Somewhere along the lines, Soonyoung stopped looking at Joshua in favour of staring at the little stain of soda on the older’s jeans, but the latter’s following silence makes him look up, wondering if he’s done with the lecture.
“Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to see you with a purpose and you’re definitely looking better now than in March. But are you doing it because you want to or because you feel pressured to?”
“I talked about it with Jun. He said something similar and I thought I got it...”
Soonyoung bites his lips in thought and the words flow from him a little confused, more to himself than for his hyungs.
“I promised I would try and live my life without worrying about Jihoon. And I think I do now, you know?” He adds with a little pout. “I go out with you, with the guys, I work. But when you put it like that... I’ve been trying to not get influenced by him, but it’s not like I can do much.”
He sees Jisoo’s head twitch a little, recognizing that Soonyoung isn’t completely wrong when he says it. “We work in the same field. Jihoon was the one that always made sure I didn’t do stupid stuff so we’ve always made decisions together. Literally from which jobs to accept down to which Jjampong place to order from.
Plus, there’s only so much an entertainment employee can do without damaging their public image.”
He gives a little tense laughter, despite having no reason to, but his face isn’t the only one strangely bright.
“That’s it!” Jeonghan says snapping his finger. “Do that!”
“Something that will ruin my public image?” He asks with a confused face.
“No! Something stupid!” The eldest says as if it’s a wonderful idea.
Soonyoung isn’t the only one with a slight frown, but when Jeonghan excitedly claps his hands Joshua nods at him with a supportive smile.
“Look it makes sense! Stupid as long as it’s not dangerous and career-ruining doesn’t necessarily mean bad! Plus by stupid I mean spontaneous, like… like that thing you did.” he says with a suggestive smirk. “If Jihoon has been your safety net all these years, try and do something without thinking, without his voice in your head playing Jiminy Cricket!”
Hoshi blinks at him for a few seconds before muttering: “Jimin what?”
“Jimin nothing, Hosh” chuckles the younger of the couple, while his boyfriend sighs “What Hannie means is that you should be more spontaneous. Baby steps and plans for new things are good. But the best things come from sudden, unexpected decisions!”
Soonyoung probably doesn’t look too convinced, so the older man prompts him further.
“How did you decide you wanted to drop out of idol training?”
“I was going to order a combo meal and a dessert for my birthday and one of the staff told me off.” he still feels the urge to pout at the memory.
“Yes, and after an hour you were in the president’s office set to leave. God, you even had Jihoon leaving with you for a decision you took in like a minute! And now how did you decide to audition in the first place?”
“I was bribed with ice cream.”
Jeonghan’s eyes scream “See!!” as he vaguely gesticulates to the whole form of Hoshi.
“All the best things you did were honestly questionably logical or safe and they all ended up in great results!”
Soonyoung nods pensively, not finding particular lies in his hyungs words. To think of it, even when he chose to start dancing with no background when he could have simply continued with Taekwondo, he decided overnight despite everyone else thinking it was reckless and a pity for his athletic career.
One glance at the couple brought a small smile on his lips and a happy shrug complemented by an understanding nod.
Soonyoung doesn’t have much time for spontaneous acts aside from taking a solo date with himself at the zoo. It’s a great adventure that ends up with buying everything that has tiger prints in their souvenir shop, but it’s not as exciting and life-changing once he’s done.
However, he’s starting to grasp the whole spontaneous thing. Regardless of the stomachache that he got from changing Thai restaurant, he and Chan laugh about it days later. Jihoon gives him a disapproving look when he tells him one night, which almost makes Soonyoung proud.
The scales are getting even and the world is healing now that he gets to debate with Jihoon about all the questionable things he can and will do.
The first big decision, or more precisely unplanned event, arrives as the month comes to its end in the form of a dinner. Or actually, what he does after said dinner.
Soonyoung gets to Mingyu’s place relatively early, bringing a sweet potato cake and all his most genuine congratulations to the couple, one officially a Giorgio Armani Ambassador and the other achieving a 3-minute sold-out tour. He gets so excited and loud with his greetings that he misses entirely how Jeonghan calls it a triple celebration dinner.
The few people that are there with him (Jeonghan, Jisoo, the hosting couple and Jun) all end up waiting for the other guests sitting in the living room.
They talk about everything and nothing until Wonwoo mentions being upset over not having an American tour, due to the poor organization of his schedule for the year.
Mingyu looks torn between supporting his boyfriend and enjoying the idea of not being on different continents for months on end; it makes him resemble a pouting, lost puppy. Jeonghan on the other hand complains about how a person can even fathom going on tours for so long, already looking tired at the mere idea.
“It’s tiring alright, but it’s just… It’s thrilling you know? And it gives you so many different memories that I can’t even explain.” sighs the rapper “plus I’ve got some people I wanted to see. Coups hyung will nag me about it as if it was my choice…”
Soonyoung always forgets that Jihoon’s new co-workers are Wonwoo’s friends but he has little time to assimilate the phrase before Jeonghan asks him if he’s talking about “Mr Sexy Boss”.
Although having thought himself that Scoups was quite attractive, the choreographer can’t hold back the shocked, whiplash expression, looking at his hyung as if he had serious problems. He dares a look in Joshua’s direction when a startled silence falls in the room and a whole second later the Capricorn stares questioningly at Wonwoo.
“So is it Mr Sexy Boss?”
Wonwoo chuckles half-covering Jun’s muttered “wow they’re a weird duo” and Soonyoung starts to get over it as his same-age friend starts a whole monologue about his relationship with the older (feeling surprised at the lack of jealousy on Mingyu’s face, who's showing a deep fondness).
“Well, he loves babying you, especially if it's the nagging part. Cheol hyung only bugs you ‘cuz you’re his favourite...” says the model with a warm smile.
“From what I've heard, I wouldn’t be so sure on the favourite part.” teases Jun propping his feet on the table.
“Yeah, can’t say I’m surprised. Cheol hyung plays all macho and cool but as soon as he meets someone with a … strong personality let’s say, he gets very easy to handle and play with.”
“When you put it like that I can see why his dynamics with Doyeon are the way they are,” laughs Mingyu “and why he’s so fond of Jihoon hyung.”
Soonyoung doesn’t necessarily hate the cute description, although it does leave him a little ... Bitter? Taken aback? Upset? At the notion that everyone knows about how close Jihoon is with his boss. So it wasn’t just something he imagined.
The dancer is stuck in his own mind for barely seconds but it’s enough for the other five men to shift the conversation to LGBTQ+ matters and it brings back Soonyoung’s attention to the discussion at hand.
“Wait how did we get to this topic? I’m lost.”
“Oh, we were just saying how Jihoon has been sending very cool stuff to Won lately. About online communities and Korean movements. It was really unexpected at first, but now with the fact that he’s working for the New York Pride it kinda makes sense.”
Soonyoung barely understands what Mingyu is talking about, but he tries to keep a straight face to not show how disorientated he is. He obviously fails and Wonwoo explains to him with a bemused expression as Jun throws him obviously half pitying half worried glances.
“Yeah, you know the big project he has in June?”
Soonyoung knows and he also knows that Jihoon never really mentioned THE New York Gay Pride, only a parade in a couple of months.
(He pretends not to be confused at why Jihoon left out that little, huge detail.)
Soonyoung moves his eyes to Mingyu who looks eager and happy to add: “Yeah, he actually invited Wons and me to go visit, he’s been sending lots of clubs and gay bars that are really not his style!”
To make Soonyoung feel even more out of place, his most trusted Jisoo hyung nods along, showing how he too was aware of all these things.
“Yeah, I got surprised too. I called him once and he answered hangover because he went to ‘an LGBTQ+ ally karaoke bar that throws gay-only nights’ “ Jisoo has an amused raised eyebrow as Jeonghan chuckles along. “I’m telling you, his words not mine!”
“I gotta say, it’s not really like Jihoon to go in those places. I knew he was doing the Pride thing and that was a plot twist already!” mutters Jun, God bless his soul, the only one that seems as surprised as Soonyoung. “Wasn’t expecting him to go from lowkey in denial to gay bar on a Monday.”
Soonyoung’s deep nod (as well as his deep frown) goes unseen as Wonwoo shrugs telling them he’s nothing but happy to see Jihoon embracing himself a little more.
“I think it’s Vernon,” he says with an earnest expression, both caring and thoughtful, “that kid’s always been a fierce promoter of equal rights. I think he’s being a good influence.”
There are a few reflective nods around the room, somewhat casting a serious air around the six friends.
“Yeah, I heard Jihoon talk a lot about him.” agrees Josh. “By how he talks of him, Vernon seems to have had a great impact on Hoonie.”
“You can’t not love Nonie. Talented, open-minded, calm and easy-going. Not surprised they get each other so well.” Wonwoo is quick to smile. “Forget about Jihoon, without me in the picture I’m pretty sure Vernon is Coups hyung’s favourite. He’s been letting the kid drag the whole company to New York niche places.”
“If the kid even got Jihoon in a gay bar, he must be Jihoon’s fave too.” jokes Jun.
Soonyoung can picture it. Scoups in his usual casual chic, black clothes and Jihoon in his baggy gym attire, smiling fondly at the company’s youngest producer with parent-like affection.
It makes his nape selfishly tingle a little, thinking about how he’d much rather have Jihoon back to how he was a few months ago, maybe less open, but with him instead of Scoups.
And the universe punishes him as soon as he thinks of it, letting him drown in guilt as Jun points out that Jihoon must be more comfortable there because no one knows him. Because he doesn't have to be scared about the media ruining his career.
And his heart breaks down with shame, even more, when he catches Wonwoo’s hand squeezing Mingyu’s, as the younger whispers that ‘yeah, it must be nice’.
The heavy mood gets cut abruptly by a ring that shakes Soonyoung to the core and the newly appointed Armani face lets out a steadying breath, clasping his hands together.
“Oh, that must be the guys!” he exclaims excitedly.
Unpromptedly they all move to the kitchen, both because it’s closer to the entrance and so they can start setting up the table. Mingyu whistles around, joking like a child with Jun while Wonwoo waits by the door.
Soonyoung still goes back to the strangely sombre talk they were having, mixed feelings resurfacing at all the things he knows and doesn’t know of the new Jihoon; all the things he wants and yet feels guilty for wanting.
And Jeonghan, the constant force ripping him away from his Jihoon-centered thoughts, brings him back to the present with a chilling question.
“Hey, I just realised. This is the first time you see Seok since you guys had sex, right?”
Hoshi chokes on air before he can even wholly seize what Jeonghan is referring to, taking several seconds to understand who “Seok” is. When he finally connects the dots, at the same time as he hears a loud laughing sound, he nods and bites his lips to avoid thinking of that weird exchange at his company.
There’s a round of clapping and happy congratulations as Mingyu’s friends make way inside the apartment, spilling one by one inside the kitchen.
Jeonghan gets stolen mid-table-setting by a clingy Joshua which makes one of the newcomers (Minghao maybe?) roll his eyes, but Soonyoung is easily distracted by Wonwoo patting the back of a man that’s making him tense in… Anxiety? Anticipation?
Whichever it is, it makes his brain quick to pick things up and, by what his eavesdropping skills tell him, Seokmin is part of the celebration program (a new musical he can only assume).
Hoshi busies himself just as he feels the two of them moving; he grabs as much silverware as he can and straight-up flees to the wide, low table they set in the living room.
He essentially glares at the table as he places each pair of metal chopsticks where they belong but his senses still catch the endearing sight of blue socks with an almost unnoticeable hole on the big finger.
“Hello there, friend…”
The voice is teasing and low, like whispered mocking, but when the choreographer raises his head with a tense face, what greets him is nothing but a friendly and polite smile, turning his own expression into genuine, if not a little awkward.
DK starts arranging the bowls around the table with no further word to the choreographer, exchanging regular small talk with Jun and giving Hoshi the time to process how strangely calm he is. With the one night stand dating back a month ago and having already tackled the matter with Seokmin himself, he actually realises that he’s pretty cool with it.
Sure, he had a bit of a nervous reflex when the man walked in the room, but seeing how the singer is not mentioning it further and how no one is giggling or pointing fingers at them, he feels like all is good. He is good and Seokmin too.
Throughout the dinner (a small, chill thing of mostly homemade dishes prepared by Mingyu) they don’t really interact (unless you count bursting to laughter in sync). He does dare a couple of glances, curious and subconscious, that make him notice little details of his face and mannerism, reminding him of their previous meetings.
And of course, with Hoshi’s luck, whenever his mind stirs slightly into tainted memories, Seokmin turns his way to meet his gaze, with a bright innocent smile. (Almost as if he wasn’t capable of all the things he did to Soonyoung that night)
The two of them get to talk after dinner when Jeonghan and Jisoo are busy ordering dessert and Jun is talking to Minghao and Yugyeom.
Wonwoo is discussing (explaining) English Medieval Literature with Mingyu and DK when Eunwoo offers to clear the table. Of course, Mingyu helps and of course, as a secretly jealous boyfriend, Wonwoo tags along.
That leaves DK and Hoshi in a very short-lived silence.
They talk about the younger’s new musical, Excalibur, and he enjoys the way the former brags about it with fake confidence just to blush like a little kid when Hoshi agrees with Seokmin's incredible singing skills.
In little time, Seokmin is teasing him with cultural questions about Arthurian literature (he pretends not to know that DK learned most of them seconds before, from Wonwoo) and in a blink of an eye, they’re faking British accents with very wrong English sentences until they start speaking in distorted Korean.
They laugh as if they knew each other for months when in reality they’ve spent collectively less than 24 hours in each other’s company.
And only after 15 minutes, when the rest come back to the living room, Hoshi notices how little space there is between him and the singer.
He coughs softly sitting up straighter and a few centimetres away from Seokmin. The latter, ever so sweet, reaches for a glass of water and scoots closer to give it to him and even if Hoshi knows Jeonghan is watching them with a conspirational smirk, he can’t help but blush a little.
Hoshi doesn’t scoot away again, actually feeling pulled to the singer’s warm body and without caring of the questioning look Jun sends him he goes on joking around with DK.
He claims he's full and not in the mood for sweets when the cakes come and when the three men of the night blow the well-wishing candles. But when he notices crumbs of blue icing on the corner of Seokmin’s lips he instinctively lifts his hand up.
He realises what he’s done only after cleaning the icing and when Seokmin turns to look at him questioningly he pauses. There’s a switch in the singer’s eyes, daring Hoshi to continue and continue he does, smiling sweetly as he brings his finger to his mouth.
When they turn their attention back to the group of people at the table, Hoshi sees that their little exchange went mostly unnoticed except for the neutral, almost worried look Wonwoo gives him.
It’s almost warning him, but he gives it little importance as Seokmin very clearly starts flirting with him. And Wonwoo’s look loses even more power when Jun calls for his attention from the other side of the table, eyes darting between the choreographer and the singer with a knowing glint.
Hoshi just shrugs, a peal of bubbly laughter forming in his lungs at the little source of fun that comes from playing along with DK. It’s almost too easy falling into a balanced tiki-taka: saying how intense DK’s eyes are and how loud his voice can be due to his career. It’s followed by implying how good Minghao and Jun are with their bodies seeing their martial art past only to remind him that as a dancer Hoshi is good too. Then, poking fun at the couples for displays of affection and a half mentioned disinterest in relationships.
It sounds like an innocent warning, a happy-go-lucky ‘we’re flirting but in a friendly way, right?’, but Hoshi prefers seeing it as the root to an idea or two.
It’s a little after midnight when Joshua offers him a ride home since they live in the same building.
“I’m not sure actually.” He answers stealing a glance at Eunwoo, Jun and Yugyeom hopping inside Minghao’s car.
He pleasantly notices how Seokmin stays back, close enough to hear him.
“I was getting a bit hungry.”
Both Jeonghan and Joshua look tired and unamused, expecting Hoshi to drag them along but he beats their complaints.
“Hey Seok!” he says with a smirk, eyes never leaving his neighbours.
“You up for a spontaneous trip for some beef ramen?”
Seokmin steps closer to the three with a confused face. “You still have space for food?”
“Yupp, these two are too old for midnight necks. You wanna come?” Hoshi turns to face the younger for just a second, biting his lip trying not to stress the word 'come'.
Still, the innuendo isn’t lost and Jeonghan chokes on air as the aura coming from Seokmin shifts into something more playful, standing a little straighter and a little closer to the choreographer.
“You think I have space for snacks?” says the singer with amusement and Hoshi is too set on his idea to back down.
“I think you wouldn’t turn down some meat right now.” He says challengingly.
“Okay, okay.” Cuts in Josh, taking a few steps back with a self-satisfied look, “we’ll leave you to your ... nightly activities, then. Just make sure to get home in one piece, please?”
And by the time Jeonghan’s car is out of sight, there’s a warm hand on his left buttcheek, pushing him toward a taxi that’s not heading to a ramen place.
I've got little to say about this chapter tbh! just very excited to have it done! I think it's the longest chapter to date, but I'm happy with the progression and with dropping a few pieces of info necessary for later things...
hope you guys are enjoying the story and hopefully, it's not too slow or too predictable. The long gap between chapters is mostly due to uni business and exams period is on its way but it shouldn't influence the chapter posting so please look forward to SeokSoon's new friendship hehe.
Little FUN FACT: I chose Blue for Jihoon new hair colour cuz 1) he looked hella good in Home;Run and 2) in the story although not mentioned it's a sign (mostly to himself) that he's embracing his homosexuality, which is the core of his new life in New York
Chapter 10: The Deal
Hoshi and DK are officially friends
Hoshi wakes up with a gut feeling that it’s far too late in the day and the warm, high sun coming from the windows proves him right.
He almost expects a headache at the notion that he just woke up naked in a bed that isn’t his, but he remembers after a few seconds that he was as sober as one could be the previous night.
The fight or flight instinct kicks in as he notices the light humming coming from outside the bedroom and with a little shiver caused by a glance around the room (a mess of sheets and clothes) he jumps up to retrieve his lost garments.
Hoshi moves hastily and loudly, not really caring for subtlety as much as he cares for getting away, still quite frightened by the idea of confrontation just like the first time.
He doesn’t stop moving once, not until he is standing at the front door where he slows down to pick up his jacket, slip in his shoes and check his phone.
Not surprisingly, the choreographer is otherwise gifted when it comes to multitasking (read pretty fucking awful) and he pauses on the floor, squatting down after not tying up his shoes, to reply to a text from Wonwoo asking if they’re still up for lunch.
“Sure, I have nothing to do until 5 pm today.” he types with a focused tongue peaking from his thin lips and with comical tardiness he realises that the words he just typed have been spoken cheerily a few centimetres above his head.
Hoshi turns on his feet, meeting two very defined, slightly hairy shins. The sight makes his neck snap upward and the blinding smile he finds is the final push that makes him fall to his butt.
“Good morning, hyung!” he says with the kindest, sweetest voice, but there’s a sparkling light in his eyes that’s in equal part mischievous and accusatory. “Going somewhere?”
Hoshi’s brain is too busy shrinking in guilt at being caught trying to escape to formulate a proper answer and simply lets the younger (who by the way has not bothered to put anything on besides his boxers) lead him to the kitchen.
Of all the things his mind could pick up, the only thing he has the heart to think of is how he’s stepping inside the house with his shoes on (something his mother would reprimand him for hours on end).
The wonderful smell of something cooking has his mouth drool and his stomach grumble, a loud reminder that his body is quite spent and tired. Paired up with the front view to DK’s broad and lean back, it has Hoshi blush a deep red.
The younger chuckles, whether he heard Hoshi's body’s call for help or simply due to the situation the older is not sure, but at the very least it doesn’t sound teasing. It’s actually quite comforting, friendly, almost familiar (a recurring feeling with the singer).
They stay silent for a few minutes, the time to let the younger finish preparing their breakfast (bacon, pre-made pancakes and tuna rice balls in a plastic container that looks like the ones his own mother sends).
“Good morning, hyung” repeats DK with a sigh after pushing a full plate towards the older. The mirrored greeting comes with a soft, slightly cracked voice, but the younger pays it no mind, already moving on to address the elephant in the room.
“Was I good last night?” He says the same way one would ask about the quality of Seoul’s air in the morning. Of course, Hoshi chokes on his food at that.
“What kind of question-”
“Just answer, hyung!” DK’s expression is cheery with a slight bashfulness that feels so in character with the funny guy he joked with at dinner, yet completely different from the guy that had him pinned against the mattress just hours earlier.
“Was I good to you last night?”
Hoshi reluctantly nods, mostly out of modesty rather than uncertainty. And the smug, yet good-natured grin he gets in reply signifies that DK already knew.
“Then why do you always run away after?” he asks genuinely, no trace of grudges in his voice, but a shadow of doubt in the lines on his forehead (a very attractive forehead with his hair messy and pushed back Hoshi’s mind notices).
“It’s just strange I guess.” The choreographer shrugs, playing with his food and looking at the table.
Still, sincerity comes easier with DK, something he can’t explain but his mouth seems to fully embrace.
“I know it’s already happened twice, but I still don’t know how to behave in this situation.”
“Well, me neither” huffs the younger “but I didn’t run away last time and I even made you breakfast now, which I think is the correct way to deal with having sex with a friend.”
Hoshi physically feels his face morph in ten different expressions in a matter of a few seconds, varying from shyness, confusion, surprise and amusement.
And despite the awkwardness taking some time to completely wear off, he lets himself take a few bites of a rice ball (he was never a sweet breakfast kind of guy) while rising an eyebrow at the singer, who happily munches on his food muttering to himself praises for the hard work.
When the other feels Hoshi’s eyes on him, he tilts his head in confusion, silently asking What?.
“You barely know me.” He starts with a light tone, now mostly finding the whole thing funny instead of pressuring.
“I still have no clue on how you say certain things so easily.”
“You mean the sex part?” questions DK, scrunching his nose as if in thought. “Or that we’re friends?”
“Both, I guess”
Hoshi always found shrugs kind of rude, especially when coming from younger people (*cough* Seungkwan *cough*), but when DK does it, it feels easy going and carefree.
“My…” DK seems to weigh his words for a second, a dark cloud over his face for a split second, “Minghao thinks two of the reasons my last relationship went bad is because I take thing too seriously, let things get to my head, and because I’m always too careful to address things as they are.”
The choreographer frowns a little, not sure if he has any right to ask for further explanation, but it sounds familiar in a way so he doesn’t need to wonder too much. Also, DK doesn’t seem eager to let the sombre air settle.
“Secondly, I think I know you enough to be your friend,” he adds brightly.
“You barely know me” Hoshi argues with a shake of the head.
“Well seeing that we slept together I think you can at least say we’re somewhat close.”
“Technically it makes far more sense for people to sleep with strangers than with friends. Hence I’d put you in the former category.”
To be honest, Hoshi does feel very close to Seokmin although knowing nothing about him, but it’s fun and light to bicker and see the friendly glint all over the singer’s face.
“Some friends have sex together!”
The laughter Hoshi tries to suppress comes out as a giggle, instinctively covering his ears due to the volume of the other man.
“Geez, DK! Tone it down. Do you want your neighbours to know?”
The addressed man looks a bit embarrassed and smiles sheepishly before going back to canalize his attention to his food.
The silence is comfortable and whenever his brain wakes him up with questions of what the hell he’s doing, he just has to look at DK to calm down again. It’s a new situation for both of them, so if the younger (who by the way has a lot more to lose if people knew of their two night-stand) is so chill then maybe so can he.
Still, he doesn’t crave to overextend his stay. When the table is cleared and DK goes to find a shirt to wear (Hoshi forgot to mention his lack of clothing only because he was thinking of the matters at hand, not at all because he found the sight appealing), the dancer checked if he had all his belongings and waited by the entrance.
“I guess this is a-” he starts when he spots DK.
“A: See you soon, yeah.” finishes the latter.
He lets out a strangled, strange noise, a mixture of a cough, scoff and laughter.
“Are we planning another dinner with Mingyu or Jeonghan?” he wonders, knowing they don’t really have other ways of contact.
“Nope, but I got your number. So, like, we can hang out sometime?”
The tone is only half a question, sounding more like an excited statement. With the history of their times hanging out, Hoshi isn’t sure what kind of proposal it is.
“Why?” sounds like the most neutral question he can go for.
“Because we’re friends”
“Seriously, man. I’m not sure if you can describe us as friends,” he says, only now realising that DK truly was genuine at breakfast.
“We only met three times, two of which ended with...” he adds, raising both his eyebrows in a suggestive manner and a tight-lipped smile.
“Us having sex, yeah I know that.” finishes unnecessarily the singer, by now Hoshi learned to stop blushing at it.
“Friends don’t have sex together.”
DK’s eyes turn mischievous again as he mutters “Some friends do!”.
A treacherous part of his brain actually smiles at the (second time in an hour) veiled proposal.
“Is that the kind of friend you want to be?”
There’s a flash of realization in the singer's eyes as they fall silent for a few seconds. Hoshi knows they’re both wondering, both weighing down options.
“I -“I didn’t mean it like that, I swear. But…” DK licks his lips slowly, not seductively but almost self-consciously. “Now that you say it. I don’t know. Maybe?”
Hoshi on the other hand needs more time to consider it although the fact that doesn’t immediately turn down the idea with a series of scandalized and disgusted faces is telling enough.
“Look, I meant it the other time when I said I don’t want a relationship” explains DK, body shifting in a more comfortable stance and looking straight in his eyes. “But I was never a one night stand guy. Still don’t know why we ended up where we ended up, in all honesty, But I met you and I did what I did.”
Hoshi’s eyes roll back both in amusement and incredulity at DK’s honest yet carefree explanation.
“You’re fun to talk with and you’re also, like, ... really hot. If neither of us likes one night stands then maybe it doesn’t have to be like that, right?”
It’s logical in a way. They both enjoyed it but they both don’t want relationships.
Jisoo’s voice rings in his ears as he lets his chin drop and raise in a tentative nod. Spontaneous.
“We can just try it out.” The singer continues to convince him, or maybe himself. “I’ve never been in a ‘friends with benefits dynamic so if one of us gets strange about it then we can just stop. I’d still like to be your friend though.”
Hoshi stills for a second, trying to keep his face both kind but neutral, trying to find the voice to agree (which a great part of his body seems eager to do).
“Otherwise you’ll go back to being the fun guy I had a great time with twice .”
Hoshi finds it quite endearing how talkative DK is. Very few people can outshine him in that field.
When the choreographer finally speaks it’s to say:
“It’s been nice, true. Both times. But still… I don’t know you.”
DK’s face falls, not visibly but just enough to signalize he’s a little disappointed.
“Maybe, if we took some time to get to know each other in less compromising positions I could consider… furthering our friendship?” finishes Hoshi with a cheeky grin.
It takes them a little less than a week to find a way to meet up and it’s kind of thrilling despite agreeing in the innocence of their next meeting.
With both their careers in full swing, it’s difficult to find a time and place especially when Seokmin’s fame is by far more tricky to avoid.
So in the end they settle for a shopping mall a few hours away from the city, an old one that youngsters don’t really hang at anymore, and that according to Mingyu (who apparently was very curious about why DK was asking) has a theatre that’s pretty discrete when selling tickets to celebrities.
They go there separately and plan to leave with different cars as well, only to meet up at a small Korean restaurant in Seoul for dinner, strategically far away from both their apartments.
Soonyoung forces himself not to dress up, only throwing on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, not even bothering to put on his new shoes and settling for some almost worn down sneakers.
He’s never been fond of driving but this time he borrows Joshua’s car and by the time he’s supposed to meet DK he’s only half an hour late.
The younger one doesn't seem to mind, calling him to ask where he is and after laughing at Hoshi’s impairment in anything technologic even offers to stay in line so the older doesn’t get bored while on his way.
They talk about random things, mostly DK people-watching at the mall and making up scenarios together on why
the lady with a huge pink tote bag
is chatting up every person she can meet eyes with.
Once again, as Soonyoung ends the call to focus on parking, he smiles at how at ease he feels interacting with DK.
The latter is waiting for him by the side of the escalator, shoulders leaning back to rest on the structure, seemingly playing with his phone.
By the looks of it, DK hasn’t really bothered to dress fancy himself as well. He still looks fifty shades of handsome even in his washed down trousers and an oversized t-shirt.
At the same time as the singer looks up to greet him when Hoshi is mid-way through waving at him, his heart jumps out of his chest in shock because some random tall dude is suddenly wrapping an arm around his shoulders and squeezing with too much vigour.
He’s still clutching his chest when DK reaches them and after taking in the apologetic smile on his face. With his unparalleled slow reflexes, Hoshi finally manages to collect himself enough to process the Chinese, lean, tall man by his side. It’s Jun .
“Bet I scared the shit outta you!” he says doubling over in laughter and after a second suddenly standing still. He coughs as if to collect himself and wears an awkward smile looking somewhere behind Soonyoung.
His friend tries to casually stand straighter and lets go of his grip on him, walking over to the fourth guy. It’s almost hard to recognize him, dressed in simple, casual clothes and with a facemask on, but after a few seconds, he realises that it’s definitely Minghao.
The two stand a few meters from where Hoshi is and only when DK tilts his head in their direction, Hoshi understands that the two aren’t just casually saying hi.
They’re gonna hang out, all four of them.
It’s a hard-to-process thought, harder than expected, mostly because he was pretty sure Jun had no interest in Minghao besides being friends of friends with a common background. Seeing the way Jun seems to not be able to handle himself around the younger, Soonyoung thinks he might be wrong.
They walk in twos, Jun clearly trying hard to make Minghao laugh or even just look at him instead of the clothes from the shops they pass by.
DK only wastes half a minute to explain to him that he ran into the two during the short time it took Hoshi to park and get inside the mall and that Jun’s self-conscious attitude made him feel bad for leaving him alone with his own friend.
They part ways shortly after in the end, Minghao changing idea at the last minute and dragging Jun to shop instead of watching a movie with them. But of course, Hoshi only realises it when he gets inside the theatre and suddenly it’s just him and DK.
From then on, the rest of the evening flies by with not many words during the screening and just a few comments on the movie as they make their way to the parking lot. It’s almost disappointingly normal, which in a sense is better because DK is (going to be) a friend. The lack of butterflies or first date awkwardness and nervousness means that despite the initial timidity due to how they got to know each other, now DK is truly not much more than a general friend.
It’s when they sit at the table that he suddenly remembers Jun and Minghao and that he never texted his friend to know if they were still in the mall.
But DK is a step in front of him and reassures him that Hao got home safely, driven up to the main gate by Jun himself.
“ Wow!” He says mostly to himself, already sweating due to the heat of the grill (even if it was Seokmin the one grilling) “I don’t know why, but I never expected Jun to be one of those super attentive boyfriends.”
The singer chokes on air and when he finally gets a breather he scoffs at Hoshi.
“I wouldn’t know. Jun and Hao aren’t dating so…"
“Yeah, well that’s where they’re getting at anyways. I mean did you see how cute and nervous Jun was earlier.” Hoshi half whispers like a 14 year old sharing gossip with her friends over lunch break. “I’m sure Hao will soon lose his cool facade!”
DK frowns then he looks at a spot in the ceiling and then to thirty other directions, every time with a different face.
“Is that what
saw?” he asks with a confused pout.
“What did you see?” questions the choreographer.
“I saw a fidgety, scared Jun trying to get into Minghao’s good graces, while Minghao was rather unimpressed.”
Described like that, it does fit the mental image he saved from a few hours back and it’s even more confusing than before.
“Oh, so Jun isn’t interested in Minghao?”
Technically it’s the exact thing that Jun said himself but then again his friend did mention a tall, cool, dancer he was interested in, so what was the truth?
“I don’t know much. Honestly these days I have been a bit busy with personal affairs.” responds DK with a meaningful smile and a vague gesture to the table and Hoshi.
“But according to Mingyu, Jun got very chummy with Yugyeom both at the party in April and at dinner the other night. But he somehow fucked up, said or did something that Yugyeom misunderstood.”
DK sighs, sitting more comfortably and placing the cooked meat bites in front of Hoshi.
“If you read between the lines, I think your friend is trying to get into Hao’s good side to fix things up. Hao is the dangerous one in our group, you know?”
Hoshi nods, wrapping meat and kimchi in a lettuce wrap as he absorbs the new information, but he must still look a bit lost or maybe even disappointed because DK laughs.
“It’s okay, hyung. You didn’t really know the whole story, so maybe that’s why you misunderstood.”
Hoshi manages to smile, but not fully.
He wonders if it’s really because he didn’t have the entire picture or if he’s just bad at reading the signs. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time. Maybe it won't be the last time either.
Every update my summaries get worse and I’m truly sorry for that, I just can’t seem to understand what to say.
Anyways thanks for reading up till now!! I hope you guys like this!!
Fun fact this chapter was rushed and written in the past two nights (thank god I already had the outline done) because the last weeks of classes killed me. I had the biggest writer’s block that fortunately was kinda pushed through by the fact that i already knew what was supposed to happen, still, it took me an embarrassing amount of time to understand how to go from point A to point B.
It’s more of a stepping stone to go further into the story and maybe give a few pointers that are important to understand the following things.
I do hope the new chapter was still decent and fun to read. <3
PLEASE LEAVE KUDOS AND COMMENTS IF YOU ENJOY THIS STORY <3
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