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Epitome of Hiraeth

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While the world had its set of rules and frame of acceptable integrity, love had its own way of confusing the heart and warping the mind. Love and lust were not all that different, though the modern-day arrivistes and young upstarts argued that one shan’t confuse love over lust. Yes, one shan’t. But they were still not very different. They were dependent on one another. Where love was, lust lingered and where lust dominated, love waited, either to be awakened or to be forgotten.

Now. What was love? They said love was blind. Love was the unconditional acceptance of a person’s flaws and imperfections. Love was sacrifice. To some, love was God. Nobody could go on without loving, no matter how hard they try to put on a façade. You don’t go looking for love. Love comes to you. Love was the purest form of emotion a human could possibly feel. Love was a treasure that gave you courage to live on.

But it also killed. Love was more painful than death. It was ruthless. Love was unfair. It was romanticised and too real. Humans, precious, corrupt, fragile humans, were incapable of measuring the flaw in love.

The fatal flaw. Love was defiant.

Jongin mused in his thoughts as he continued to stare at the starless night sky, perched on a cold bench at the soulless train station. It was past midnight, no one roamed the station anymore as there were no trains running. The small, insignificant city droned miles away. A gust of biting wind tousled his hair and numbed his nose. He pulled his coat tightly around his trembling body and waited.

Where was he? Ah. Love. Yes. It was venomous.

He shot up to his feet with a start when he spotted Kai approaching the platform, clad in jacket outside a flannel shirt. His hair an unruly mess as always. His lips stretched into a familiar, loving smile that fluttered Jongin’s stomach.

Jongin looked around to make sure no one was there before he broke into a jog towards his brother. His twin brother.

They ran into each other’s arms, each other’s warmth and Jongin breathlessly buried his face in Kai’s chest to hear his heartbeat. Kai wound his arms around Jongin’s body and let out a soft chuckle into Jongin’s hair, his lips brushing Jongin’s temple.

“I have missed you,” he whispered and Jongin swooned.

“And I you.” They broke apart a little and Jongin cupped Kai’s face in his hands to bring their foreheads together. He caught his breath as Kai secured his arms around his waist. His hands on Jongin’s back burned into the fabric of the coat and all that Jongin could do to keep himself from breaking into a sobbing mess was close to nothing.

Kai then gently held a side of Jongin’s face, holding him as though his little brother was breakable. God, how Jongin had longed for his touch these past fourteen months while Kai was away working in the city and Jongin was forced to remain back home to care for their ailing mother.

Fourteen months of nothing but reminiscing Kai’s voice, his laughter, his kisses, and his kindness. And the fear of losing him.

In the village, they had no one. A drunk father, a sick mother, a deplorable household, a small room with a single bed to share, all had led to the development of a love that was unutterable. They had sought solace in each other’s embrace every night. When Kai left, Jongin was certain that his brother would find love in another. That he’d come to repulse Jongin and their unsanctioned, forbidden romance.

But his smile, his warmth remained the same. Jongin only realised that he was silently crying when Kai swiped his thumb along his cheekbone to wipe the tear away.

“I’m here with you now, Jongin,” Kai breathed out, taking Jongin’s rapidly reddening face in his calloused hands. They wrote letters, they phoned each other once in a while. But eventually, Jongin understood that he was being more of a hindrance than a comfort by distracting Kai from his work, from his life.

When Kai had called two days ago and had prompted Jongin to come visit him in the city, Jongin had hoped Kai’s love for him hadn’t died. Of course, it wouldn’t have. They were brothers, partners from the womb of their mother. Kai would love and cherish him came what may. But it wasn’t the same.

Kai glanced around them for a brief moment while Jongin gathered his thoughts. His broken heart finally felt like it was being stitched up. Kai pressed a thumb to Jongin’s quivering lower lip before he kissed it.

A gentle stroke of his lips sent Jongin’s senses spiralling again. And the soft brush of the tip of Kai’s tongue against his upper lip destroyed him.

Jongin had thought he remembered the way Kai’s lips felt, but no. This was the real deal. No matter how many times he tried to convince himself that he could get by just with the memory of Kai kissing and touching him, there was nothing better than actually being held in Kai’s strong arms.

Kai pulled back and smiled, carding his hand through Jongin’s hair. “It’s longer,” he remarked, pressing his lips to Jongin’s forehead before drawing him into an embrace.

Jongin curled his arms around Kai and took a deep breath, resting his face on Kai’s shoulder. Kai felt somewhat different. His body was tauter, his biceps were well-defined, and he looked considerably healthier than Jongin. His skin was also tanner and his jawline sported a fine stubble, only noticeable this close.

“I couldn’t breathe right without you back home,” he said, clenching Kai’s jacket at the back.

Kai shook against him, laughing. “And I thought you’d be happy with the extra space.”

Jongin withdrew from the embrace to frown at Kai. “The space was suffocating.”

Kai caressed his cheek and took his hand, intertwining the fingers together before drawing their clasped hands into one of his jacket pockets. He then lifted Jongin’s bag with his free hand.

“I suppose you’d want to see my grotty apartment,” Kai said as they wended their way out of the train station. Jongin smirked.

“Of course. I bet you are the one appreciating the extra space.”

Kai groaned. “I’d trade my bed for the one back home if you were in it.”

That made Jongin flush to his roots. He felt Kai’s hand tighten around his. “I will stay with you for a couple of days.”

“I wish you’d stay forever,” Kai sighed and Jongin’s heart skipped a beat. “I will come home this Christmas. Promise.”

“And then you’d leave again.”

Kai pinned his brother with a frown. “I must.”

Jongin nodded his head. He did not want an argument with Kai right now. Not one that he knew he’d lose. Kai’s grip was strong, he reckoned when Kai’s fingers tightened around his. The city must have toughened Kai up while Jongin remained the loose-limbed, sinuous, weak village mouse. What would Kai even in his scraggy twin brother anymore now that he was faced with a million different opportunities?

The thought alone caused his heart to sink. Perhaps he was selfish. Perhaps it was wrong of him to long for Kai, to want him to stay loving only him until the end of time.

“How’s mother?” Kai inquired when they’d climbed into the cab.

“She is…” Jongin started but trailed off. Kai squeezed his hand and sighed. The cabbie looked at them through the rear-view mirror and smirked in the amusement of being in the presence of twins.

They remained silent thereafter. Jongin used the opportunity to gawk out the window, at the city. It wasn’t a big one, but it was a city nevertheless. And it was crowded. It was bright. It was full of life.

He recalled the day Kai had took him to bed after their mother was asleep. He had brushed a lock of Jongin’s hair out of his face in their cold, dark room. He held Jongin in his arms and told him that he was to leave to the city soon and that he gotten a job. It had taken Jongin aback and the determination in Kai’s eyes had stunned him. He wanted to get out of there and Jongin could not blame him.

So, he had silently showed his support and cried into Kai’s chest before he came apart, letting Kai make love to him into the night.

 


 

“Welcome to my palace,” Kai said when he opened the door to let Jongin into the apartment. Jongin’s jaw dropped a little at the small, albeit neat space. Kai was surprisingly organised. It was either that or he had bothered to clean the place up a little for the arrival of his brother.

“This is amazing,” Jongin let out as he hurried to the window and glanced down at the city. “You have a great view!”

It took a moment for Kai to reply as Jongin continued to gape down at the colourful city, still awake at this ungodly hour. “Yeah, I do,” Kai muttered and Jongin turned around to see his brother staring at him with a pair of dark, yearning eyes.

Jongin bit his lip and lowered his head. He then moved to the kitchen and gasped, “You have a stove!”

Kai laughed. “Of course, I have a stove. How else would I cook?”

“I miss your cooking, by the way.”

“Well, I’ll cook for you tomorrow. Aren’t you tired?”

Jongin yawned as though on cue and nodded his head lazily. There wasn’t any decoration on the walls, but there were a couple of vases, a couch, and a small LCD TV on the wall. God, he had a TV! Kai sent home a lot of money once every two months, but it was mostly spent on their mother’s healthcare.

“The bedroom’s this way,” Kai said and led Jongin to the only room there was in the apartment apart from the bathroom.

Jongin took his coat off and surveyed the small room. There was a bed and a bedside table with a lamp turned on. The moonlight dribbled through the window, providing an intimate ambience that had Jongin’s skin crawling with excitement.

But at the same time, he trembled with worry.

He turned around to find Kai looking at him with a conflicted expression. He then swallowed and gestured to his bed. “You… should take a shower and… sleep on the bed. I’ll manage on the couch.”

Jongin’s breath hitched when he called Kai’s name. “Kai.”

Kai stood at the doorway, licking his lips. Their gazes locked and persisted until Jongin lowered his as his breathing quickened. Kai then walked into the room and turned the bedside lamp off. Jongin stood in the dark, blindly blinking for a moment before his eyes adjusted to the darkness.

“Did you think of me?” Kai asked in a low, deep voice that resonated within Jongin when Kai stopped a foot before him.

“You have no idea,” Jongin whispered. A breathy grunt broke from Kai’s throat as he raised his hands to hold Jongin’s face.

When their lips met, Jongin felt a familiar fire settle in his stomach, deep-seated. He broke all over again.

Kai’s hand snaked to cup the back of Jongin’s head as he deepened the kiss, luring Jongin’s lips into his. Jongin was delicate in Kai’s hands, he had always been. It was the one place he can surrender and trust to not be hurt.

Jongin whimpered into the tender kiss when Kai drew his fingers down his neck and began to slowly unbutton Jongin’s shirt. When Kai pulled away from the kiss, Jongin lurched forward, chasing for more, but he did not succeed as Kai tilted his head to pepper Jongin’s neck with warm, languid kisses.

Jongin’s hands flew up to clutch at Kai’s hair and shoulder as the latter lifted him from the floor, securing Jongin’s legs around his waist as he bore the younger to the bed.

Blood heated Jongin’s cheeks and several other parts of his body when Kai gently laid him on the bed before ridding Jongin off his shirt. Bared and defenceless, Jongin reclined on the bed and slid his hands up Kai’s hard abdomen as Kai started to peel his own clothes off, kneeling on either side of Jongin.

“Kai?” Jongin mewled in a tiny voice, splaying his hands on Kai’s chest. Kai leaned down and took Jongin’s lips again. The kiss wasn’t rushed, in fact, it was painfully cautious. Kai had always careful and gentle when it came to Jongin. He’d never want to inflict any pain on his brother, not the kind that Jongin would not want, anyway.

Jongin arched into Kai’s burning body when Kai’s teeth tugged at his lower lip a little before he quickly sucked it. Jongin all but clung onto Kai as the latter ran his hands down the sides of Jongin’s torso before his fingers gripped his hips.

Jongin drew his hands along the cleft of Kai’s back as their mouths gasped against one another, as their tongues swirled and teeth clattered. Jongin’s lips were swollen by the time Kai released them and lowered to strip Jongin off his pants.

It wasn’t something that was new, but it still made Jongin blush with embarrassment and lust. Everything felt new. It always did.

He had missed running his fingers through the soft strands of Kai’s hair. He had missed the warmth of Kai’s lips on his body. And God knew, he missed coming undone as he peaked, melting in Kai’s arms.

He clenched the sheets in his fists when Kai latched his lips to the inside of his thigh, kissing his way down. He burned and tensed up, bringing a hand to hold Kai’s hair as he was taken into Kai’s warm, eager mouth.

His breaths came out in short, raspy gasps as Kai’s tongue curled around his shaft. When Kai pulled back and trailed up Jongin’s body with kisses, Jongin panted and pulled his knees apart to feel Kai between his legs. Their mouths found each other again before Kai yanked the covers over their naked bodies.

Jongin obediently obliged when Kai turned him to lie on his side before taking his position behind Jongin. He heard Kai fumble with the bedside drawer and silently moaned into the pillow when he felt Kai’s hardness press against his rear. Kai kissed along the back of Jongin’s shoulder and neck as a hand rested atop Jongin’s waist.

“God, Jongin,” Kai rasped against Jongin’s ear as his hand furthered into the covers and palmed Jongin’s rear. “I want you.”

Jongin turned his head, just enough for their lips to meet in a sloppy kiss, and whispered, “Have me, then.” He buried a side of his face into the pillow.

This moment was enough. He could not ask for more, he was not entitled to. He wanted to give himself to Kai and all that he wanted in return was for Kai to love him with everything he had even if it were for one night.

One more night.

So, who decided what love was? Did it really come by a definition?

Their love was wrong. And Jongin was no coward to shy away from the harsh truth that he and Kai can and will never be together in many ways, but this was the only way that mattered the most. Not the sex, no. But the lovemaking. Even being held in Kai’s arms for the whole night would suffice. And just the memories of it will get him by each and every day.