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i love me, i like it

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“Hi. Thanks for calling me tonight.”

At first, there’s silence, as usual. Yuta waits patiently, scrolling through the filled-out pre-call questionnaire in the meantime. Counts the seconds: one, two, three, four— “Do I have the right number?”

His voice is deep but he sounds young. Nervous, of course. Yuta smiles. “I think so. First time?” He can see that in the questionnaire, but they need at least something to talk about before Yuta gets right into it.

“Mhm. Yeah. I don’t really know how this works.”

“That’s okay. Don’t be nervous, I don’t bite.” Shit, maybe he wants me to? Yuta quickly scrolls down to see what the young man on the other end of the line had filled in for kinks. None of the boxes for painplay are checked. As Yuta skims through the rest of the list, there’s a very quiet, amused huff from the phone, then a soft rustle like he’s turning over in bed. So he’s in bed already. Great, maybe this’ll be quick and Yuta can go back to his marathon rewatch of Buffy.

“What’s your name?”

Yuta can see his name, or at least what he’d input into the questionnaire, at the top of the page: Winwin. Cute. “Max,” he replies. “What’s yours?” He’d left the survey question Other than your name, what do you want me to call you? blank.

Another pause, then he says, “Winwin.”

“Nice to meet you, Winwin,” Yuta says. Keeps scrolling through the list as Winwin says you, too. There’s really not a whole lot to work with here; he’s been vague about his preferences, clicked ‘versatile’ when asked to choose between top and bottom. Age range 18-24, pre-paid for this fifteen-minute session. Well, if he’s going to be this shy, then Yuta’s going to have to initiate most everything, but that’s what Yuta’s used to. Definitely prefers it to sitting there near-silently while some middle-aged businessdude rants about how he deserves to be degraded six ways to Sunday.

He’s about to open his mouth to start up on a generic ‘what are you wearing and how can I take it off you’ deal, but then he sees something he’d skimmed over before: under ‘likes,’ Winwin had filled in praise, being called good-looking, attractive, etc.

There we go. Yuta rolls his eyes, then says, “So how was your day, handsome?”

On the other end of the line, Winwin inhales, just a quiet hitch of breath against the phone. Yuta’s job is way too easy sometimes. “Um… it was fine. My classes are going okay.”

“Mm. I’m so jealous,” Yuta says, his voice starting to get softer. “Of everyone in your classes.”

“What? Why?”

“Because they get to see you,” Yuta murmurs. “How do any of them pay attention? With you sitting in the same room as me, I know I wouldn’t be able to keep my eyes off. Sorry, professor.”

“Well—” Winwin clears his throat slightly, and he’s probably blushing already. “I don’t… I don’t know about that. I keep to myself, kinda.”

“That’s even worse,” Yuta sighs. “Then I’d just be staring at you the whole time, waiting for you to say something, do anything. Just watching you. Wondering what you look like out of your clothes.”

Another very quiet huff and Yuta pauses, sitting up a little so his voice won’t be compressed by his slouchy posture.

“Too fast?”

“No— no, it’s fine,” Winwin says after another hesitation. “You’d… why would you— why would you look at me so much?”

As mean as it is, Yuta can’t help but think that this kid must have something seriously wrong with his face. Like, we’re talking very ugly. A Phantom of the Opera situation, something along those lines, or maybe face-mauled by a shark at a young age, or maybe he’s just still rocking braces and ultra-thick glasses and self-conscious about it. Yuta has talked to a few guys with self-esteem issues before, and being called pretty was just about all it took to get them shy and vulnerable, putty in the metaphorical hands of Yuta’s words, and Yuta could tell just by their voices what they looked like. Can’t quite get a read on Winwin, though. “Because you’re gorgeous, of course,” he replies, stretching his legs out and settling in.

“You think so?”

“I know so,” Yuta says. “And you’re so beautiful already, I can’t help but imagine how beautiful you’d be in my bed, hard, wanting me. I think if I saw you like that I’d never be able to get off to anything else ever again.”

Winwin takes in a shaky breath, and Yuta listens closely, waits to hear the tell-tale sound of a hand moving over skin, or at least just the click and zip of a fly being undone. Nothing yet. Yuta keeps going.

“There’s nothing you’re not good at, right? You can do it all. So I know you’d be so good like that, spread out under me, letting me kiss every inch of your beautiful body, take my time with you until my gorgeous angel is shaking and so ready for—” Yuta checks again, just to be sure, and he definitely put versatile. “For me to fuck him.”

It’s a risk but it pays off: now Winwin’s breath is even less steady, and Yuta can hear muffled movement. Probably just getting himself hard to start. Yuta can’t picture him, and at this point, he doesn’t really want to.

“But you’re so pretty,” he laments. “Almost too pretty to touch.”

An airy noise from Winwin. “No— you can— you can touch.”

Wow. He’s really into this and Yuta’s barely even started. Poor thing, he must have been repressing this for a long time. Probably a virgin, honestly, never even gotten the chance to tell anyone he likes being called nice things in bed. It’d be almost sweet if it weren’t so likely that he’s super ugly in real life. (Hey, Yuta’s never claimed to not be shallow.) Still, Yuta’s heard a lot worse from some of his clients, and he knows how sensitive all these guys are, how fragile, terrified of being laughed at or mocked (unless that’s what they’re into, naturally), so he doesn’t even let himself smile, just continues, “Okay, then I’ll touch. Where should I start?”

“My… I don’t know.”

“Neither do I, there’s too much I want to touch, if you’ll let me,” Yuta murmurs. “Is my hand even worthy of touching something as beautiful as you? I think I’ll start with your neck. Are you ticklish?”

Winwin hesitates before answering, “A little.”

Yuta knows it’s unconventional, making his conversational partner engage instead of just talking them through it, but he likes to make sure everyone’s participating and on the same page. Plus, obviously tickling is very tactile, and the faster he can get Winwin shivering, the better. “I won’t tease too much, then. I’ll just touch you. Feel your pulse. God, you’re so beautiful when you look up at me like that.”

Winwin swallows. Yuta can hear the click of his throat and the way he breathes in afterwards. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” Yuta says, quiet. “And your skin— I don’t know what I like more, looking at it or touching it. I can’t believe how lucky I am that I get to look at you, that you’re letting me touch you like this. I always wanna touch you so bad. Lemme see that gorgeous cock.”

“Okay,” Winwin whispers. Alright, good, he’s done playing coy and now he’s leaning into it. Yuta listens close as Winwin rustles around, then waits until Winwin speaks again, that deep voice a little hoarser than it had been before. “Okay.”

“Every part of you is so fucking drop-dead beautiful,” Yuta says. “God, even your cock is perfect. Might have to suck you off before I get inside you, I’m already drooling over you, mm, wanna taste. Is it okay if I’m sloppy? I can’t help myself, I don’t even know what to do with such a pretty dick for me to play with.”

“I like it sloppy,” Winwin says. Huh, interesting, not a virgin. Either that, or he’s got a really active imagination. That last part’s probably a given, though, considering he’s calling a phone sex hotline, which does require a fair amount of mental visualization.

“Gonna have to be sloppy, because if I’m on my knees looking up at that face, I’m really not gonna be able to control it,” Yuta admits. He’s not hard, nowhere near it, not even interested, but he sure knows how to make it sound like he is. “Will you put your hand in my hair? I love your hands.”

“Yeah—”

“I can’t believe how hot you are,” Yuta continues. If this were a real phone, not an iPhone, he’d be twisting the cord around his finger right now, but he settles for just adjusting how he’s sitting on the couch, stretching his free arm over his head with a sigh. “Not just pretty. Not just handsome. You’re so fucking hot, and yeah, I think about kissing you, but I also think about how you look when we fuck, when you’re on your hands and knees for me—” No response— “flat on your back for me—” Not that, either— “sitting pretty in my lap so I can see you from up close as I give it to you.”

That one. He likes that one. There’s finally a moan from Winwin, his breath a lot heavier against the phone. You know, this job can be really weird sometimes, but other times, it’s nice to know he’s making someone feel this good, that they’re trusting him with their most intimate secrets about what they enjoy, how they want to be treated. Even if they are probably hideous in real life. Oh, well.

“Being inside you feels so good,” Yuta purrs. “You’re amazing. There’s nobody like you— nobody makes me feel so fucking amazing when I’m buried deep inside, can you feel my cock stretching you open? Fuck, you look so hot taking it. Look at that pretty face, are you touching yourself, Winwin? Getting those pretty fingers wet, are you dripping all over yourself? Let me lick it up when you’re done, bet you taste as good as you look.”

Winwin makes a small, low noise. Yuta can hear that he’s jerking off, but he’s going slow, taking his time. Probably wants to savor how sexy he is. Yuta bites his lip to keep from snickering.

“Didn’t know they made boys like you anymore, no one has a face like that, and that body, God,” Yuta says, almost like a moan. “You’re such a wet dream come true. So gorgeous.”

“Am I—”

“What?” Yuta coaxes. Winwin’s hand is going faster now. “Are you what, beautiful?”

A harsh, breathy sound crackling right against the phone, right into Yuta’s ear. “Am I— am I the most— most gorgeous—”

“The most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen?” Yuta completes smoothly for him. “Yes. You really are. Like a painting. Like an angel. God wanted to make you extra beautiful, then overdid it. And now I get to fuck you. I’m so lucky.”

Winwin moans again, shakier, way less shy than he’d been about moaning at first, and Yuta figures it must be intentional, and over the year or so he’s worked this job he’s gotten pretty good at figuring out when someone wants him to comment on something, plus Yuta’s never been one to keep his mouth shut, anyway.

“And those sounds, the way you moan for me, just as pretty as the rest of you. Everything you do is so fucking beautiful, perfect, all I do is daydream about you and how pretty you are, your eyes, your mouth, your hands, your shoulders, your whole everything, Winwin, can’t believe I get to fuck the most beautiful boy in the whole world—” Yuta checks the timer he’d set on his iPad; five minutes left. He doubts Winwin will last that long at this rate. “Still with me, beautiful?”

“Please— please tell me more,” Winwin breathes.

Shit, man, there’s only so much Yuta can do without knowing what he actually looks like. He’ll do his best, though — he doesn’t bring in the big bucks for no reason, after all. “Want you in my lap so bad,” he says, letting his voice get rougher, like he’s all worked up just picturing it. “Then I can tip you out onto your back, spread you out under me, look down at that dollface while I pound into you, and when my gorgeous Winwin’s all sore the next day, will you let me lick you out and kiss it better?”

Heavy breathing. Winwin stammers, “Maybe.”

“But then again, if I do that, I won’t be able to see you,” Yuta says mournfully. Winwin’s noise in response to that is higher, even airier. Small and sweet. This really is a very sweet kink to have, if super arrogant and not based on anything in reality. Bittersweet, maybe. Poor guy. “I don’t want to miss a thing. What should I do?”

“You—” Winwin takes in a few breaths, swallows, doesn’t slow down as he keeps stroking himself off to Yuta’s voice. “You could— could film—”

“That’s right, I can film your pretty face, or do you want to hold the camera for me as I eat you out so I can watch it later, show me what I missed out on while I was between your legs? I bet the faces you make while I work on you are so hot, I wanna see those eyes rolling back, your sexy tongue in your mouth, gonna show me, hmm? Maybe we can watch it together so you can see how pretty you are, too.”

Winwin’s moaning again but it’s muffled now, like he’s trying to swallow it down, or maybe like he’s biting down on something to keep from getting too loud and thereby making himself unable to hear Yuta. He must be close. Three minutes left on the timer. Yuta’s done more with less, he can totally do this.

“If we make a video like that, are you going to watch it while you touch yourself, alone?” he says, voice starting to get syrupy-sweet, teasing, coy. “Look at how gorgeous you are while you come? How gorgeous you are all the time? Who am I kidding, I’m not good enough for you, no one is except you. You’re in a league of your own, you’re so beautiful, there’s nobody like you, never has been, never will be, you’re so fucking pretty, Winwin—”

Winwin makes a choked-off noise and there’s some more frantic rustling, then, finally, silence again.

Thank God. If this had gone on any longer, Yuta would have had to say some shit like ‘you’re the fairest of them all.’ As it is, he just hums, gently pressing his cheek against his phone like an affectionate nuzzle — it’s pretty easy to feel fond of someone after they boost his ego by orgasming just from the things he has to say. He’ll give Winwin his time, let him cool down, breathe it out, since it really had sounded like Winwin had stopped breathing there for a second, but now he’s back to panting quietly. Yuta stops the timer and leans back on his sofa, watching the shadow under his bedroom door move as his cat Peanut chases a toy around.

“Mm. How we doing, Winwin?”

Winwin clears his throat. “Can I pre-pay through the rest of the weekend, are you available?” After he comes, his voice is even lower, the pauses between his words even longer. It’s cute.

“Sure,” Yuta smiles. “By the way, you did great. I’m not just saying that ‘cause it was your first time. Same time again tomorrow? Go ahead and book it right after we hang up so you don’t forget, okay?”

“Okay,” Winwin murmurs. Yuta can’t tell if he’s sleepy or if that’s just what his voice sounds like when he’s not nervous anymore. “Thank you. Max.”

Cute. “The pleasure is all mine,” Yuta assures him. “Talk to you tomorrow, handsome. Thank you for calling me.”

“Good night,” Winwin says, rushed like he’d had to work up the courage to say it, then hangs up.

Easiest money Yuta’s ever made is through this job. He clicks ‘send customer satisfaction survey’ on the pre-call questionnaire results page, and at almost the same instant, his phone buzzes with a PayPal notification; Winwin has sent him a generous tip.

Yuta grins. Young, rich, and impulsive? Yuta loves him already. Even though he’s definitely hideously ugly in real life. Nobody’s perfect!

Speaking of imperfect people, Yuta’s got another call scheduled in ten minutes, and this is with one of his old regulars, and he’s really into public sex. Yuta hopes he’s not actually in public this time, because hearing him get accosted by a cop on more than one occasion wasn’t all that fun. (Although it’d been fun enough for Yuta to stay on the line and hear it all play out even though he probably should have hung up as soon as it started happening. Whoops.)

Winwin’s upfront payment for three more sessions, Friday Saturday Sunday, comes through shortly after. Yuta pities him, transfers the money to his bank account, takes some casual selfies to remind himself of his own attractiveness, pours a glass of ice water, and waits for the next few calls to roll in.

It’s not the most glamorous life, but someone’s gotta do it, right? Plus, it’s fun. It makes Yuta feel powerful, largely because he is. Like, who else could drive a grown man to erotic tears just by uttering “nipple clamps” in the right tone of voice?

The next morning, he wakes up late and only sees the notification on the way to work, his actual work. Winwin’s rescheduled their next few sessions, shifted them to later in the week. Beginner’s jitters, Yuta understands. At least he hadn’t cancelled; Yuta would have been worried about having offended him if he’d done that. The almighty algorithm that powers the hotline doesn’t like negative customer satisfaction survey responses or cancellations, naturally, and the better Yuta’s reviews are, the more work he gets, and the more money he gets as a result.

Honestly, sometimes he wishes he could do the hotline bling thing full-time, but it’s inconsistent work, even his regulars are irregular sometimes. So in the meantime, he has to wear an apron and serve paninis. It’s bullshit.

But he does have the evenings to look forward to. He gets some new clients over the course of the week, some one-timers, a couple women, which is as fun as ever. They always acknowledge the inherent weirdness of this whole situation, sometimes even take a few minutes just to chat before Yuta starts talking dirty. Winwin calls a few times. Compared to the rest of the shit Yuta has to talk about, those calls are positively chaste, just him singing Winwin’s praises, telling him how beautiful he is, how clever, how unique, amazing, gorgeous, inimitable, so pretty, so pretty it hurts to look at him. Yuta doesn’t doubt that looking at him is painful, actually, but not for the reason Winwin wants him to think so. Yeah, that’s mean, it’s petty, it’s cruel, considering Winwin is trusting him with this kink of his, but if Yuta’s not getting off on these calls — and he never does — he has to get some enjoyment out of it somehow or he’ll go crazy, right? It’s not like Winwin will ever find out, anyway. And what with how well he pays Yuta for his troubles, Yuta will call him whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

Work is work. Customer service is customer service. Sometimes it’s almost funny how little difference there is between his café job and his phone sex hotline operator job. Both involve catering to frustrated business professionals with too much money on their hands, and cream.

He likes it when he gets college students in both jobs, though; they’re way more polite and way less impatient, and they tend to laugh at Yuta’s jokes. There’s no way to predict who’ll call when in his hotline job, but it’s coming up on finals season at the local university, so the café’s been getting a lot more students lately, groups coming in by twos and fives, ordering iced coffees and veggie paninis en masse, and huddling up in the booths to go over their notes together. Ah, youth.

“You’re not that old,” Jaemin says, kicking the back of Yuta’s shin. “Stop moping.”

He’s right, Yuta only graduated two years ago, but still. “You don’t understand,” he sniffs, “how difficult my life is.”

Jaemin doesn’t even dignify that with a response. They’re just finishing up the lunch rush, but people are still coming in, and Yuta leaves the counter area to go bus some tables while Jaemin welcomes a few new guests.

Yuta stacks dirty plates and mugs in and on his arms, starting to carry them through to the kitchen, and it’s literally only by a miracle of fate that they don’t all tumble to shatter on the floor when the bell over the entryway rings and two young men walk in: they’re both handsome, but one of them is literally God.

Yuta’s jaw drops. What the fuck. What the fuck. Is he real? Is Yuta dreaming? He knows he’s staring, but neither of the young men have noticed him yet, and Jaemin is showing them to a table while Yuta stands there, perfectly motionless and trying to breathe. How does he look like that? How? What the fuck?

Someone nearly bumps into Yuta, which startles him out of his reverie long enough to run to the kitchen, fling the dirty dishes into a sink (“Hey, man, what the fuck,” one of the dishwashers says sadly), and run back out so he can keep staring. Please, God, please let him still be there— if he left in the twenty seconds Yuta was gone, Yuta will kill himself. But he’s there, sitting by the window with his friend, and Yuta’s heart is pounding in his chest and his eyes are huge and he has to keep reminding himself to breathe.

“Jaemin,” he says hoarsely. “Do you believe in love at first sight?”

“Well, first of all, I’m Taeil, so you’re already off to a bad start,” Taeil says.

Shit, the manager. Yuta forces himself back to consciousness yet again and stands up straighter, trying to make it look like he’s been working instead of planning his own wedding (mid-spring, wedding colors navy, brushed gold, dogwood). “Right. Sorry.”

“And for the record, I don’t,” Taeil says. “You’ll be okay.”

Yuta’s literally not so sure. After Taeil goes away to do whatever it is Taeils do, Yuta positions himself at a table with an excellent vantage point for boywatching, scrubbing the same spot with a barely-damp rag over and over and getting absolutely nowhere, but that’s not the point. The point is looking at him, that impossible creature, that vixen body and that celestial face, his mouth, his mouth— Yuta feels a little dizzy and has to lean heavily on one hand against the table to keep from falling over.

“London Fog for Sicheng,” Jaemin says from behind the counter, and the creature, the ethereal being, the love of Yuta’s life, unfolds his perfect, endless legs, stands up, walks that lithe body over to the counter to take the cup in his devastating hands and bring it back over to his table.

Sicheng. Sicheng. Yuta wants to write him poetry. His name is already in iambs. How can Jaemin look at him directly from up close like that? How dare he? The top two buttons of Sicheng’s shirt are undone and Yuta wants to press his face into the cool, smooth hollow exposed at the base of his throat and cry for several hours.

Then Sicheng’s friend leans in to talk into Sicheng’s ear, and Sicheng’s eyes — from this angle they look gold, made out of amber, Yuta’s the prehistoric mosquito trapped inside — slide over to look at Yuta, and Yuta goes bright red, drops the rag onto the floor, then drops himself onto the floor to try and pick it back up.

When he risks looking out again, peeking around the edge of the table, Sicheng and his friend are both getting notebooks out of their respective backpacks. Sicheng doesn’t look Yuta’s way again.

Yuta’s never felt this intensely about anyone before and it’s honestly a little scary; he doesn’t know what to do now. Go over and talk to him? Ask for Sicheng’s number, or write his own on a napkin and slip it onto his table? If he leaves without Yuta hearing his voice, without him looking at Yuta another time, Yuta will never be able to move on, never get over it, never get over him, never.

He spends the whole hour that Sicheng and his friend are at the café standing blankly and helplessly behind the counter, trying not to be super obvious about staring but knowing he’s not succeeding. One lady has to repeat her order to Yuta three times before he manages to understand what she wants, but it’s not his fault, Sicheng had just sighed and run his hand back through his hair and Yuta’s stomach had been so full of butterflies to the point that he felt physically ill.

“Stop staring, you’re freaking out the customers,” Jaemin hisses to him eventually, and Yuta, numb, just shakes his head.

“What did he say to you? Was he nice? I love him,” Yuta mopes. “I love him, look at him, I think I’m gonna cry.”

“Which one?” Jaemin says, craning his neck with interest, and Yuta squawks, offended.

“Fuck you mean, which one? Sicheng,” he says, lowering his voice down to a whisper, and he practically glows when he utters his beautiful name.

“Oh. You know him?” Jaemin says. “Or… what? What’s going on here? I’m confused.”

“No, I don’t know him, he just came in here fifty minutes ago and now we’re going to get married and be together forever, that’s my soulmate,” Yuta explains very fast and very quietly. They’re hiding behind the espresso machine so they can talk, but the urge to look out and stare at Sicheng some more is nearly overwhelming.

“Get some help,” Jaemin says kindly.

Yuta growls in irritation and does actually peek over at his table. He’s just sitting there, being the most astonishingly beautiful person Yuta has ever seen in his entire life, and Yuta stifles a lovestruck sigh. “So what did he say? Tell me everything.”

“Dude. He literally ordered a London Fog and a croissant. And spelled his name. That’s it.”

“Did he say thank you? Is he polite? How old do you think he is? I wonder what he’s studying for, I hope he gets a perfect score,” Yuta says. “He—”

“Yuta,” Jaemin says and puts his hand on Yuta’s shoulder. “Take a deep breath. Count to ten. Yes, he’s hot, but you’re being weird. He’s just a guy. Doing some homework. I think it’s something math-y, there’s a lot of numbers on his paper.” (Yuta makes an injured noise.) “You need to chill.”

Yuta does as he says, but falls off the wagon somewhere between 6 and 7. Sicheng is just unreasonably good-looking— it’s criminal. Every second Yuta’s not looking at him is a second wasted. He tries to lean back and catch another glimpse, but Jaemin’s hand tightens on his shoulder and keeps him where he is.

“Seriously,” Jaemin says. “Snap out of it.”

“Why,” Yuta pouts.

“Because if you freak him out, he’ll never come back, and you’ll never see him again,” Jaemin says, widening his eyes significantly. “But if you calm down, and if I comp him a refill, then maybe he’ll drop by another time.”

Oh, shit. Jaemin is so right. Suddenly Yuta is overthinking every single one of the past fifty minutes, worrying that he looked too long, walked too close, freaked him out. Fuck. If he scared Sicheng away, he’ll never forgive himself. He looks at Jaemin, panicked, and Jaemin rolls his eyes and pats him on the shoulder.

“You owe me one, okay? I’ll go ask him if he wants a free top-up,” he says, then leaves Yuta alone behind the counter to go approach Sicheng’s table.

Yuta, once again, peeks around it so he can watch the interaction. Jaemin walks up, asks if he can get them anything else, maybe refills, and Sicheng lifts his glorious head to see him. Yuta bites back a whimper. But then— but then— Sicheng’s friend shakes no and says, “We were actually about to head out, but thanks so much!”

Fuck. Nononononono. Yuta is frozen where he stands, and Sicheng is closing his notebook and slipping it into his backpack, getting up, stretching his arms across his chest— they must be tight after so long of sitting in one position. But Yuta can’t even enjoy the show, he’s too heartbroken over the impending loss of his reason and will to live. Jaemin clears off their table and starts bringing the dishes back to the kitchen, shrugging at Yuta as he goes past.

Sicheng zips up his bomber jacket. His friend holds the door open for him, and Sicheng goes out onto the street. Yuta’s still stuck behind the counter. Maybe Sicheng will look back over his shoulder, see Yuta standing there, dying with love for him, but he doesn’t. He just goes out, and he and his friend start heading away, past the café windows and out of sight.

There’s a lump in Yuta’s throat. Someone’s trying to order a peppermint hot chocolate, and they have no idea that Yuta’s just lost his one true love forever. He glumly punches the order in, stares out of the window at the space where Sicheng had just been, and sulks.

He’s in a daze the whole rest of his shift, the whole rest of the day. The next day, too. Googling Sicheng’s name didn’t get him very far, and neither did Googling “most beautiful boy alive please tell me who he is he’s a little taller than me and if I don’t kiss him by next week then why am I still on this planet.”

Yuta’s miserable. He’s pining. All he does is think about him, picture where he is right now, who he’s with, what he’s thinking, how he’s feeling. He haunts Yuta like a ghost for days, and Yuta sees him everywhere, knows he’s being insane for falling this hard for someone he’s never even spoken to, but he sees a perfect golden apricot at the grocery store and it reminds him of Sicheng so much that he nearly cries right there, right in the middle of the produce aisle.

He’s so head over heels for Sicheng that he’s tense and on-edge nonstop at the café for the next two shifts about the possibility of Sicheng coming back. Most of the people who come to the café only come once, he knows that, but they still get regular customers occasionally. Yuta would give anything, anything for Sicheng to come back. As a result, he’s a lot more dedicated to his work, showing up right on time or even early, staying late, spending more time out front, all in the hopes that maybe Sicheng will walk through that door and sweep Yuta off his feet.

His other job doesn’t motivate him as much in comparison, but he still owes it to his clients to do his best even though his mind is elsewhere. Talking to the guy who’s really into being smacked around and called a little bitch is fine, he just runs his mouth while Yuta sits there and eats fruit snacks and thinks about Sicheng. Some others require more attention, though, such as Winwin, who, in the two or so weeks since their first call, has become something like a favorite client; talking to him is fun and sweet and not as dirty as some of the other calls Yuta gets to do, so even though it takes effort, it’s usually lower-stress.

But not now. Yuta hasn’t talked to him since after seeing Sicheng until now; they’ve got something scheduled for tonight. Yuta’s apprehensive going into it about whether he’ll be able to focus on talking about how Winwin is so gorgeous when he’s only had one boy on the mind for the past four days. Still, money is money, and that’s as good a motivator as anything.

“How was your day?” he asks to start them off, same as he always does. He’s back on the couch, and Peanut is locked in his bedroom with a catnip mouse as he always is when Yuta’s working — Yuta’s not about to expose his baby son to some of the filth he has to say on these calls. “I’ve missed you lately.”

“Yeah, sorry, been busy with school,” Winwin says, and Yuta laughs a little, ignoring the flash of memory, Sicheng’s fingers around a black ballpoint pen as he wrote something down.

“You don’t have to say sorry. I’m here whenever you want me,” he says. “Being busy, hmm. Imagine that. Bet you could use some stress relief.”

“Definitely,” Winwin says, and Yuta can hear that he’s smiling. He’s really opened up over these past few sessions, and it’s cute, almost.

But Yuta’s impatient tonight. Wants to wrap this up quick even though Winwin paid for a full half-hour, just so he can go back to what he was doing before, namely listening to Enya and thinking about Sicheng. He thinks he knows how to make it happen. “Me, too,” he sighs. “Honestly, just picturing your pretty face makes me feel better.”

“Oh,” Winwin says. “That’s sweet. I’m— I’m glad.”

Yuta hums. “It’s so unfair that you have to be stressed. Someone with your looks? Why can’t you just drop out of school and be a model? I bet you get that a lot, people trying to scout you. Am I right?”

“Mm… it’s happened once or twice,” Winwin admits.

Normally Yuta thinks it’s kind of funny how self-obsessed Winwin is, but now it’s almost annoying. Like, the nerve it must take to find oneself attractive in a world in which Sicheng exists. He’s offended on Sicheng’s behalf.

“Good, that’s exactly how much appreciation you deserve,” he says, swallowing down his offense. “You should be a model, honestly. Just stand around being beautiful. I’d take your picture.”

“Yeah?” Winwin says, softer, and Yuta closes his eyes.

“Yeah. I could have the shittiest camera, worst lighting set-up ever, all the shots could come out blurry, and they’d still be gallery-worthy. You’re that beautiful.” Sicheng is so beautiful. Yuta shudders involuntarily as he remembers him, also involuntarily. No— no, we’re here to talk about Winwin, not Sicheng. Right. Yuta can do this. “If I saw you walking on a runway or advertising a perfume, I’d give your cause all my money without even thinking about it.”

“Sounds… irresponsible.”

Yuta laughs, making it sound breathy and light, like he’s already distracted by his own arousal. “Maybe, but how am I meant to resist you? With that face, you could make anyone do anything. Have the whole world wrapped around your pinky finger. I mean, even your pinky finger is so gorgeous.”

That makes Winwin laugh a little, too, but more importantly, it makes Yuta remember Sicheng’s hands again, then the rest of him. He’s so beautiful that it makes Yuta’s chest ache. It hurts knowing he’s out there right now, somewhere, breathing, and Yuta doesn’t have the privilege of looking at him.

Ah, fuck it, Yuta thinks.

“You have amazing wrists, too,” he says, picturing Sicheng’s. “And your arms. Why do you always wear so many layers, beautiful? Maybe I want to see you in more detail. You probably wouldn’t like getting ogled if you showed some more skin, but just— just seeing a little bit of your chest would be enough to drive me crazy.”

Winwin makes a soft noise to let Yuta know he’s listening, that he’s paying attention. But it’s definitely not about him anymore, not right now, and Yuta still has his eyes closed as he traces Sicheng’s shape in his mind, frustrated when he can’t remember exactly how his left ear looked, if he even saw him smile at all. Fuck.

“I think I could just look at you for hours,” Yuta goes on, which is true, he’d already spent the better part of fifty minutes staring at Sicheng but he could have done it all day, all week, if Sicheng would allow it. “There’d always be something new to see. You have that kind of beauty, you know? As soon as I think you’re done, you can’t get any more beautiful than you are right now, you— you turn, and your face catches the light in a new way, and it hurts, I don’t feel like I should even be allowed to see you sometimes, you’re so gorgeous.”

“I like the way you look at me,” Winwin rasps.

Did I ask? “Good, because I can’t stop looking at you, you’re so incredible,” Yuta says. Fuck, he wants to see Sicheng again so bad. His hair looked a little bleached; maybe he changes it up every once in a while? Yuta wants to see him with black hair, pink, Barbie-blonde, he wants to see him with morning stubble, with his hair slicked back or longer past his ears and messy, he wants to see him dressed up, dressed down— shit, he should be saying all this out loud. “Um— I— you’re so beautiful just the way you are, don’t get me wrong, but I really want to see every version of you. Like, if you dressed a different way one day, would fucking you feel different, too?”

Winwin breathes out slowly, then breathes in again. “What do you mean?”

“I’m so obsessed with you,” Yuta murmurs. Here he goes, about to start babbling about Sicheng’s out-of-this-world beauty, but he can’t stop himself. “I can’t get enough of you. I want to see you every possible way, just to have proof that you’re the most beautiful thing on this planet, which I know already, I know that, but I want to see it for myself. Will you show me? Will you wear a stuffy collegiate vest one day, then a cut-off tank top the next day, then short shorts, then business slacks? Let me bend you over, let you bend me over, put your hands on me, I want you to touch me so bad.”

That’s new. That feels different. Normally all Yuta does is talk about how he wants to touch Winwin, and Winwin’s normally the more passive participant here, just receiving Yuta’s verbal adoration. Yuta’s never really talked about wanting Winwin to reciprocate before, but now that he’s imagining Sicheng reaching for him, undressing him, brushing his hands through Yuta’s hair and leaning down to kiss him, he can’t stop.

“I want you to touch me,” Yuta repeats, amazed by the realization. He’s been thinking of Sicheng the same way, too, just a recipient of Yuta’s love, but of course he’d want it to go both ways — if Sicheng directed his full attention at him, he’d probably drop dead on the spot. He shivers just thinking about it, picturing it. “I wouldn’t be able to handle it if you touched me. If you looked at me. I’d just freeze.”

Winwin makes a soft, soothing noise, which is hysterically funny. As if he could help Yuta with his problem. But he’s also starting to sound like he’s turned on, like he’s touching himself, and then— Yuta’s mind just— replaces Winwin with Sicheng. It’s easy. He pictures Sicheng lying back in bed, not fully undressed yet, just comfortable, one of his hands running down his chest as he listens to Yuta— Yuta shudders again.

“Your mouth,” Yuta says, finally letting himself think about Sicheng in almost too much detail, so much he almost feels shy, like his mind can’t even handle the images. “Your mouth, it must be so soft. Your lips are so beautiful. I wish I felt bad about thinking what they’d look like bitten all red, or wrapped around my dick, but I don’t, I’m sorry. You’re too much. How can someone so angelic make me think such dirty things? You’re too much for me, Winwin.”

“Sorry,” Winwin says, and he doesn’t sound sorry at all.

Yuta’s still picturing him as Sicheng. If Sicheng saw how Yuta was dying over him, melting with love for him, and smiled, Yuta’s heart would actually stop. If Sicheng had a voice this deep, Yuta would come untouched in his jeans. “Don’t be,” he says, swallowing slightly to wet his suddenly dry throat. “I like it. I like that you know how gorgeous you are. You have to know, right? With a face like that, you have to know. You have to know what you do to me.”

“Tell me,” Winwin breathes.

“You make me feel like I’m dying when I look at you,” Yuta says. All he can see is Sicheng, and yeah, okay, he only saw him for an hour from afar, he knows this is crazy, but he’s infatuated, it’s just an innocent crush, happens all the time. He’s a Scorpio, he’s intense. “You’re so beautiful, I want to kiss your jaw, I want to pull your hair, I want to taste you. Who gave you the right to steal all the air out of my lungs, huh? Maybe I was trying to do something with my day, but now I can’t, all I’m doing is thinking about kissing down your thighs and marking you up with lovebites on your neck. Think you’d look so pretty like that.”

Fuck, he really would. The image of Sicheng, golden and gorgeous, spread out under Yuta on his bed, or even curled up with him on this couch, pouty-lipped and heavy-eyed and sensual, is enough to make Yuta suck in a shaky gasp. He’s starting to feel hot under the collar, and he unzips his hoodie a couple inches so he can breathe better. Then remembers he’s meant to be pleasuring Winwin and, going red, sits up straighter. Tries to focus himself again, even though he’s still thinking about Sicheng.

“Would you let me do that for you? I want to see every inch of you, your beautiful body, I want to kiss you all over, starting with that sinful gorgeous mouth, I really— really want to kiss you,” Yuta says, and now suddenly he’s breathless, too. “Want to kiss you for hours. Suck on your lower lip, lick into you, I want to feel your tongue, Winwin. Didn’t I tell you that I bet you taste as pretty as you look? Bet you kiss even prettier.”

“Come find out,” Winwin says, his voice like a rumble, and Yuta squeezes his legs together and gasps for air.

“I want to so bad,” he says. What the fuck is happening? Is he starting to get hard? No fucking way. He’s had this job for more than a year, he’s talked to hundreds of people, some of whom have shared some of his own kinks, and never once has it ever done anything for him. He can’t handle this, he can’t deal with this right now, he swallows again and tries to breathe. “Want you to kiss me. Will you kiss me while you fuck me? Sometimes you’re— you’re so beautiful that I can’t even do anything about it, I’m so helpless, it’s like staring into the sun. Hope you don’t mind if I don’t take my eyes off you for a second when we’re together. There’s just so much to see. You’re so gorgeous.”

Winwin moans, but in Yuta’s head it’s Sicheng, Sicheng’s hands giving up on teasing and moving down to undo his pants instead, his wrists had been so slim but his hands were pretty big, and Yuta can see them shaking a little as he unzips his fly. Yuta’s mouth was dry but now it waters.

“Show me,” he says, almost begging. “I want to see more of you— I need to see more of you. You just get better and better. Let me look at you, let me pleasure you, I know I’m not good enough to give you what you need but I’ll try, okay? You’re so beautiful, I just want to make you moan, baby, really, no being shy, let me hear that pretty voice, let me know I’m making you feel good. Don’t I make you feel good, when my gorgeous angel’s in my lap, when I’ve got my hands all over you since I can’t look at you enough so I have to touch you instead, can’t you feel me breathing against your skin, pulling you deeper onto me, I want to feel you, I can’t get enough—”

And this time when Winwin moans, Yuta can’t take it anymore; his hand presses between his legs and he feels that he’s hard, and he fumbles his hand down his sweatpants, groaning when he grasps at his dick. So far, over the course of the few conversations they’ve had, Winwin hasn’t given any real indication that he wants to hear Yuta having fun, too — some clients do, Yuta understands the appeal — so Yuta doesn’t want to get loud, but that had honestly been an accident.

He can’t believe it — he’s really hard, from one of his own conversations. It’s technically because of Sicheng, but it still counts, and Yuta curls his fingers around the thick base of his cock and strokes up, biting back another noise. “Winwin,” he says, labored, after a moment, not wanting to get carried away when he knows he has a job to do. “Beautiful. Fuck— fuck me, you’re so gorgeous. Is it okay if I touch myself when I think about you even when we’re not talking? I can’t get off thinking about anyone else anymore.”

“Want you to,” Winwin says. He sounds rough, and Yuta can hear him stroking himself, too, can see Sicheng’s fingers rubbing over the crown of his cock, and it must be so beautiful, Yuta can’t hold back a whimper as he pictures it. He wants to taste him so bad. He could make him feel so good — he could do everything Sicheng wants him to and then some. Fuck, if he could only get the chance. “Max?”

Yuta squeezes the base of his dick, squirms where he sits. “Yeah?”

“Are you— are you— are you jerking off right now?”

Fuck. He’s smarter than his kinks make him sound. “I’m sorry,” Yuta breathes. He rubs his thumb under the head and his whole body trembles. “I really couldn’t help myself, you really turn me on.”

Winwin makes a low, quiet noise. “That’s so fucking hot.”

Yuta’s never heard him swear before, and normally he wouldn’t care, but he’s so high on imagining Winwin as Sicheng that it makes him moan, his hand sliding up the shaft of his dick. “Yeah? I bet so many people get off to you and you have no idea,” he says, sounding breathy and for once it’s not an act. “You walk in a room and everyone’s head turns, right? I guarantee that more than half those people can’t get home fast enough, can’t get their hands on themselves fast enough. Like me.” That’s true. Yeah, he’d been in a daze on the afternoon that Sicheng had changed his whole life, but not in too much of a daze to keep from grabbing for his own dick the second he’d gotten home and locked the door.

On the phone, Winwin groans, and Yuta can picture Sicheng twisting his hand, his back arching up off the bed, those long, lean legs wrapped around Yuta’s waist, his beautiful head falling back against Yuta’s pillows. Out loud, out loud, shit, Yuta needs to be saying all this out loud—

“Pretty, beautiful, gorgeous, I don’t have enough words to describe the way you look, you make me so stupid, you’re stunning,” Yuta says. He’s trying not to slur, not to let his accent get too thick. How do people do this, have phone sex? With his hand down his pants, being able to maintain any sort of concrete narrative seems damn near impossible. “Fuck, I can’t decide if I wanna desecrate you or worship you, can’t decide what I want to do more to that beautiful mouth, beg it for mercy or cum across your lips, I think if you held eye contact with me for too long I’d just start crying, it scares me how bad I want you. I don’t even know you and I’d do anything for you. Just because you’re so beautiful.”

“Anything?” Winwin says. He sounds strained.

Yuta nods, desperate, squeezing his cock tighter as he strokes up and down. “Anything. Fuck— you wouldn’t even have to talk, just give me those eyes, and I’m yours. Forever. Just let me look at you, please just let me look at you, and I’m so yours.”

If Sicheng was confident like this, arrogant like this, a modern-day Narcissus, Yuta would die a happy man. With a face like that, there’s no way he has any self-esteem issues like Winwin so clearly does, and Yuta wants to see him satisfied, radiating contentment, knowing he’s at the top of the world because he fucking is. For now he has to settle for hearing the way Winwin moans, the noise low but then cut off, like he’s teasing himself. Yuta shudders.

“You’re going to have to physically beat me away to keep me off you, I’ll be wanting to fool around with you all the time, you’ll get annoyed,” he says. He tries to play it off as a joke, but now he can’t stop thinking about it, about whining into Sicheng’s neck, trying to unbutton his shirt, and Sicheng, proud and haughty and divine, just batting his hands away. Yuta can’t breathe. He strokes himself faster, his head falling back against the couch and his grip almost slipping on his phone. “I can’t help it, I’m so attracted to you, I can never get enough no matter how much you give me.”

Winwin encourages him, just a throaty sound to make Yuta keep talking, and Yuta’s losing it, it’s so fucked up to fantasize this hard about someone he’s never even spoken to, but Sicheng will never know and Yuta will live out the rest of his days alone thinking about him, so he may as well get used to it now, right?

“You’re so fucking beautiful,” Yuta says, whiny, because it’s so unfair that Sicheng gets to look the way he does and Yuta can’t even do anything about it. “I don’t understand how your face works. How someone that looks like you can be real. When I look at you I wanna— I wanna paint you, I want to write you a fucking sonnet, but I also want to choke on your dick, I don’t understand. Face that launched a thousand ships, that’s you.”

“And—”

At first Yuta doesn’t hear what Winwin says, he’s struggling to hold back another whine and his cock is leaking precome, his fingers slick as he strokes himself off. But then he realizes Winwin spoke and, bleary, he says, “What?” Fuck, this is bad, he needs to focus on his client, not on Sicheng, and he slows down his hand, taking in slower breaths.

“And I’m yours,” Winwin says hoarsely.

Yuta moans, his cock throbbing in his hand, and he tilts his head up, seeking desperately for a kiss that’ll never come. “Mine,” he breathes. “Mine to look at, mine to treasure, prettiest trophy in my case, look at you, gorgeous— will you be my arm candy? Let me show you off? All I’ll ever do is talk about you, I promise I’ll make it good for you, you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, such a beautiful angel, those eyes, your hips, everything about you— you’re so—”

Normally Winwin does sound pretty engaged, but tonight, right now, it’s almost like he’s even more encouraged by the knowledge that Yuta’s getting off, too. They’re both moaning, Winwin low, muffled against the phone, and Yuta finds himself straining to hear him better, hearing it as Sicheng, picturing a flush across his high cheekbones and his hair a wreck. He can’t even keep up with his thoughts to say them all out loud, it’s a lost cause, and later he’ll regret this and will send Winwin a private message to apologize, maybe give him a free session to make up for it, but right now he’s so hot, feverish, spreading his legs wide as he pumps his cock and thinks about Sicheng’s neck.

“I know you’d be so sweet,” Yuta moans quietly. “Maybe— I’d let you be cruel to me, I’d let you push me away and be cold, but I know you’re so sweet, you wouldn’t even want to. You’re so good. I’m crazy about you. You made me go crazy, you know that?”

“Yeah,” Winwin pants.

“I want to kiss you all over, your beautiful skin, I want to make you feel so good,” Yuta says, breath catching in his throat as he strokes himself faster. “Please let me make you come, please— I wanna see you lose control, wanna see your pretty hands shaking, want to see your skin painted white, want to see those gorgeous lips gasping for me, I want to feel that whole beautiful body against me while I make you feel so good, please.”

Winwin’s close, he can tell by the way his breaths are heavier but faster now, and Yuta’s so far gone dreaming up Sicheng that it only makes him get wilder. “More,” Winwin grates out.

Yuta will give him anything. “You’re like Adonis, you’re so perfect, I’ll never leave you, never, we should all be so grateful that you choose to show your face in public, nobody deserves to see beauty like that. I think I’m really gonna fucking lose it, Winwin, you’re so hot, it’s not fair, look what you’re doing to me, huh? You’re so beautiful, it’s really driving me crazy, I can’t control it, you’re so handsome, so pretty, I’ve never seen a face like yours, you’re completely unique, everything about you is so incredible, even the boring parts of you, I bet you have— sexy earlobes, I don’t even know, you’re just so beautiful all over. All over, everywhere, everything, I can’t believe how good you look.”

Winwin starts to come, and Yuta can’t, he can’t do this, he lets the phone drop to the couch so he can really ride this out, his right hand stroking his cock fast and tight and his left skimming up over his face, pushing through his hair, until he can almost trick himself into thinking it’s Sicheng, coaxing him through, watching him with those hot eyes until Yuta melts, shakes apart, comes all over his hand and the waistband of his sweatpants.

He lies back against the couch, panting, staring at the ceiling. His ears are ringing a little. He feels so good, but he knows that was bad, that was a morally bad thing to do, but he’s not sure if he regrets it. Sicheng… Yuta’s dick jumps with an aftershock and he exhales shakily, wiping his hand off on his pants.

Fuck, Winwin. Shit shit shit. Yuta scrambles to pick his phone back up and clutch it against the side of his head, blinking to clear his blurry vision and praying he didn’t hang up. “Winwin? Are you there?”

“I’m here,” Winwin murmurs.

Thank God. “Hey,” Yuta says, smiling warmly, pushing down the shame and guilt and worry he feels. He’ll unpack that later; right now he just needs to wrap this up, make sure Winwin had a good time even though Yuta was really slacking. “How we doing, babe?”

“Good,” Winwin says, as deep and slow as he always is afterwards. “You sound hot when you come.”

Yuta goes red, curling in on himself a little to hide even though he knows Winwin can’t see him. If Winwin wants him to get off on the calls, too, he’s prepared to fake it going forward, but that? Masturbating thinking about Sicheng, who he’s never spoken to, doesn’t know a single thing about, just some random college student trying to live his life, and using him as material for his sex work— that he’s not going to do again. That was bad. Really bad. Fuck.

“Hey,” Winwin says. Yuta snaps back to attention.

“Mm?”

“I… like talking to you,” Winwin confesses, quiet, low.

Yuta can’t help a small smile. He pictures Sicheng again, sated, affectionate, and that lump in his throat he’d felt when Sicheng had left the café comes back with a vengeance. “I like talking to you, too. You feel good?”

“So good,” Winwin says, then yawns.

“Sweet thing,” Yuta says, letting his eyes slip closed, and gently nudges his cheek against his phone almost like he’d nuzzle into the side of Sicheng’s throat, if he’d only let him. “Get some sleep. Call me again later this week, okay? If you want.”

“Yeah, I want,” Winwin mumbles. “Good night, Max.”

And he hangs up, leaving Yuta completely alone to reevaluate all his life choices and answer for his crimes.

That can never happen again, Yuta thinks grimly to himself as he gets up off the couch and walks on unsteady legs to wash his hands off in the kitchen. That’s enough. Yes, Sicheng is beautiful, but that was too much. Sicheng deserves better, Winwin deserves better, and Yuta doesn’t deserve any of it.

No more pining after him, no more fantasizing, that was enough. Yuta’s confident he’ll be able to do it. Winwin was his last call for the night, and after having a glass of cold water and letting Peanut out of the bedroom, Yuta puts on the evening news and thinks about the doomed future of this planet instead of giving any more of his time to Sicheng.

The next morning, he sleeps through his first alarm, which is a good sign; the past few days he’s bolted awake as soon as he heard Marimba ringing through the room in the hopes of getting to the café sooner, earlier, all just in case Sicheng decided to grace it with his presence. But he sleeps through the first one, hits snooze on the second one, and rolls up about fifteen minutes late, as usual.

“I’m a new man,” he tells Taeil, who just makes a noncommittal noise and hands Yuta a mop.

At this point, it’s become instinct to jerk his head up when the bell over the door rings, but he manages to train himself out of it after the first couple of times. Doesn’t even get disappointed when a group of college kids comes in and Sicheng isn’t among them. Talks and flirts playfully with the customers like he hasn’t done since the Incident, doesn’t burn any paninis, starts feeling more like himself again.

Jaemin shows up for his shift a few hours later, and Yuta swaps out with him so he can take his lunch break. He goes for a walk around the neighborhood, gets some ice cream to celebrate the start of his new Sicheng-free life.

It’s so nice! He doesn’t flip out every time he sees some random tall, slender youth with soft brown hair from afar! Going on this little walk puts him in such a good mood that he’s humming to himself as he walks back in. He smiles at Jaemin, takes off his jacket, and gets his apron from behind the counter, and then Jaemin says, “Aw, man, you just missed him.”

Yuta’s blood runs cold. “Missed who?”

“Your guy,” Jaemin says. “What’s his name? The guy you freaked out over last week? He was just in here.”

“Oh God,” Yuta says. Tears prick his eyes.

“Yeah, they both just got their drinks to go and— whoa. Are you okay?”

Yuta has gone completely pale, all the blood drained from his face, and is trembling a little. Is this some kind of joke on the universe’s part? If anything, it just proves that Sicheng is his soulmate, and now they’re star-crossed lovers, kept apart by a horrible twist of fate. And all because Yuta took too long to pick an ice cream flavor. He’s dizzy, so anxious that he can’t feel his knees, and shakes his head quickly to clear it. “I’m— yeah, I’m fine,” he croaks. “He wasn’t alone?”

“No, he was with another dude, I think the same one he came with last time,” Jaemin says. He looks concerned. “Yuta, are you sure you’re okay?”

Yuta really, really, really, really, really hopes that guy isn’t Sicheng’s boyfriend. Although at this point, Yuta’s far enough in his depravity that he wouldn’t even care if Sicheng had a boyfriend, he’d still lust after him and long for him no matter what. He presses the heels of his palms into his eyes until he sees stars and he can’t stand up straight.

“It was really him? You’re sure?”

“Pretty positive, since you were so weird about him the last time he was here,” Jaemin shrugs.

Yuta whimpers. Sicheng had been here. Minutes ago. Breathing the same air, seeing the same things. All thoughts of giving up on him and moving on with his life are completely forgotten. Jaemin was right, Yuta should get some help, but he wouldn’t even want to subject a therapist to the things he’s thinking right now. He almost wants to run back outside, stumble blindly through the streets until he finds him, but that would literally be crazy, so he stays put.

Instead, he looks around the café with brand-new eyes, seeing it the way Sicheng might, and it looks so different now that he knows Sicheng was just in this space. Life takes on a new color, and the familiar sticky stain on the counter, the wobbly tables, the chipped ‘open/closed’ sign hanging in the door, it all looks so beautiful and wonderful, since Sicheng deemed this café, of all places, acceptable for a repeat visit. Wow.

“I’m okay,” he says again for Jaemin’s benefit. “Sorry. I’m fine. I wish I’d been here— you should have texted me!”

“Eh,” Jaemin says. “He’ll be back.”

Yuta perks up. “You think so?”

“Yeah. He said he would be.”

Yuta still can’t believe that Jaemin has talked to Sicheng twice, and he himself, Sicheng’s future househusband, has talked to Sicheng zero times. “What exactly did he say?” Yuta demands. “Did he say anything about me?”

Jaemin wrinkles his nose. “Why would he say anything about you? I just told him to come back soon, like we’re supposed to say, and he was, like, ‘I will, thanks.’”

“He’s so dreamy,” Yuta sighs. He wonders what Sicheng’s voice sounds like; it’s probably not high, at least, but probably not as deep as Winwin’s, who has the deepest voice of anyone he’s talked to recently. But remembering Sicheng and Winwin in the same thought leaves a sour taste in Yuta’s mouth, so he thinks about something else instead. “Did he get a London Fog again?”

Jaemin nods, and Yuta heads over to the milk steamer. The next time Sicheng drops by, Yuta’s going to make him the best damn London Fog he’s ever had in his life, and then Sicheng will have no choice but to propose marriage on the spot. So he’d better start practicing now. Jaemin, used to Yuta’s antics, sighs but doesn’t say anything, just lets Yuta waste several bags of Earl Grey without intervening.

Sicheng doesn’t come back the next day, or the one after that, but Yuta’s not giving up hope. His London Fogs are perfect now, and he’s more than ready to be cuffed. Someday Sicheng will come back, and it’s gonna be soon, and when he does, Yuta is more than prepared.

In the meantime, though, life goes on. Winwin calls him late on a Thursday, and as soon as Yuta answers the phone, he can tell something’s different: Winwin’s hello is croakier, more congested, and Yuta smiles, pulling his legs up under himself on the couch and tilting his head to the side. “Are you sick?”

“A little,” Winwin says. “I’m okay.”

“Poor thing,” Yuta coos. “Flu season is the worst. Do you have someone to bring you soup? You’d better be all bundled up right now, or else.”

“Or else what?” Winwin says and sniffles, but he sounds like he’s smiling.

“Or else I’ll come tuck you in,” Yuta says. It’s not much of a threat, and of course he’s never met a client in real life, he definitely never wants to, and he definitely doesn’t want to meet Winwin. Yuta was already shallow before, but now that he’s seen the pinnacle of male attractiveness with Sicheng, how could any man ever compare? Even if Winwin isn’t horribly, hideously ugly — look, Yuta’s spent the past three weeks sweet-talking him on the phone and taking his money, he might be a little softer on him and his stupid kink than he’d been at first — there’s still no way he’s a walking sculpture the way Sicheng is. Yuta stifles a lovesick sigh. No more thinking about Sicheng tonight: he’s determined to be a good person for once in his life. “I mean, what if you lose your voice, who else am I gonna talk to on Thursday nights, hmm?”

“I’ll be careful,” Winwin says.

“Ugh, I bet you’re one of those people who looks good even when they’re sick,” Yuta says.

Winwin laughs, a wheezy, damp noise, then leans away from the phone to cough. “I don’t feel like I look good right now,” he says when he comes back.

“Mmm, but I know you do. Your hair’s probably all messy, and your eyes are big and glossy, pink cheeks, pouty lips,” Yuta croons. “How am I gonna keep from kissing you and getting myself sick, too? Then who’s gonna look after either of us?”

“I dunno,” Winwin says, then sniffles again.

“This is breaking my heart! Are you sure you want to tonight? I promise I won’t be offended if you don’t,” Yuta assures him. “I, like, never wanna jack off when I’m sick, so no pressure, okay?”

“It’s okay, I want to,” Winwin says.

Maybe the rush of endorphins post-orgasm will make him feel better at least temporarily, and Yuta doesn’t feel too bad about it since he’d said it was fine. Yuta rarely needs to be asked twice. So he gets into it, pretty generic stuff about how he’d been daydreaming about Winwin’s handsome face earlier, and things develop pretty easily from there.

If Winwin notices that it’s not as passionate as the last time, he doesn’t say anything. He seems pretty into it for someone who can barely breathe through his nose, and if anything, it makes his moans sound even cuter and hoarser. He sounds sweeter, more desperate, since he can’t talk too much since his throat hurts (he manages to tell Yuta that at some point), but below the waist, Yuta’s totally lukewarm. Thank fuck, the evil is defeated.

Winwin had liked it so much last time when Yuta had been in way over his head, so he plays it up a little this time, too, talking breathier, faking very realistic moans, sounding like he’s having fun but not being cartoonish about it. And Winwin had adjusted this session down from half an hour to fifteen minutes earlier today, probably in anticipation of not being able to talk on account of his cold, so things are over pretty soon, Winwin panting against the phone and Yuta idly kicking his legs back and forth as he waits for him to finish.

What a life. At least Yuta hadn’t thought about Sicheng more than twice over the course of that. On the other end of the phone, Winwin is very quietly apologizing, saying that was amazing as always but he should get some rest, and Yuta blows him some kisses in parting.

A few minutes later, Yuta’s phone dings with a notification of a tip, without an accompanying request for another session. Uh-oh. But Yuta tries not to overthink it; he probably just doesn’t know when he’ll get over his cold, and Yuta doesn’t blame him for wanting to lay low for a few days. He’ll be back. He likes Yuta and what Yuta does for him too much to not come back.

Yuta hopes Winwin actually gets laid one of these days. Sure, it means Yuta will be down a client, but he seems like a sweet kid, he deserves it. Even if he doesn’t get up the nerve to tell whoever he’s sleeping with about his preferences, Yuta still hopes he has a fun time, and if that doesn’t adequately scratch the itch, well. He knows what number to reach Yuta at.

Friday’s quiet, and so is the weekend. Yuta has Sunday off and doesn’t even spend it panicking about whether he’ll miss Sicheng; Jaemin is working, and he’s promised to text Yuta this time if Sicheng shows up. Yuta lives a twelve-minute impassioned sprint away, eleven if he really books it. Even though he’s trying to play it cool, he still wears jeans at home, even though usually he spends his days off completely buck-ass naked. He may be pretending to be unaffected, but he’s not pretending to have any sort of dignity.

But nothing happens on Sunday. On Monday, Yuta hasn’t given up hope per se, he’s just not really expecting things to be different. If he doesn’t get his hopes up, he won’t get disappointed, after all, and Yuta figures it’ll be all the more pleasant of a surprise when Sicheng inevitably comes back (because he will come back) if he’s not ready for it.

He’s ready enough to have done his hair and lined his eyes a little, but not so much that he looks like he’s showing off. So far, all the morning regulars have appreciated it, the busy businessmen, the occasional soccer mom, but the college kids don’t come until later in the day, so he’s relaxed, comfortable, back to his usual flirty ways. Burns one panini, though. Oh well.

The bell over the door tinkles and Yuta, without looking up, calls, “Hi, order at the counter then sit anywhere you like!”

“Thanks,” says a young man and Yuta feels it.

He feels it without needing to look up and see them. The hair on the back of his neck is prickling and there’s no air in his lungs. He doesn’t need to check, but he does anyway, and he lifts his head from fixing a broken tab on the cash register to see Sicheng, pink-cheeked and bundled up with a scarf around his beautiful throat, standing there by the side of his tall, less-handsome-but-still-handsome friend.

“Oh,” Yuta breathes. “Oh, my God.”

“Hey,” says the friend. Boyfriend? Yuta knows there are knives over by the fresh mint that he could use to threaten this guy if he gets too close to Sicheng. “You guys are serving lunch already, right?”

Yuta doesn’t answer. He’s looking at Sicheng, hungry, staring, and seeing him is an oasis in the desert, oxygen in outer space, a lucky day after years of misfortune. God, he’s so beautiful. Yuta distantly thinks maybe he should be freaking out right now, but all he feels is calm, and the inside of his head is perfectly silent and still. This is exactly where he needs to be, this is exactly who he’s meant to be with. Everything is right in the world.

That is, until Sicheng looks at him, and Yuta squeaks and almost reels back. He catches himself just in time, cheeks going red, and forces himself to look at Sicheng’s friend, plastering a tense smile on his face. He can see Sicheng out of his peripheral vision, and Sicheng is— getting his phone out? Texting? Who is he texting? Yuta wants to text him, thinks that even seeing his message go from ‘delivered’ to ‘read’ would be enough to give him such a potent erotic thrill that he wouldn’t need to physically orgasm for weeks afterwards. Oh, God. Here comes the mental chaos.

“Um…”

“Right!” Yuta says, standing up straighter. “Right, I’m so sorry. Long morning already, haha. Yes, we’re serving lunch. What can I do for you?” He’s suddenly breathless, and although he’d intended to direct a far more innocent question at Sicheng’s friend, not at Sicheng, it comes out all wrong and he goes right back to staring at Sicheng again.

“I’ll take an Americano and the club sandwich,” says the friend, sounding amused. “To go, and we’re kind of in a rush.”

Yuta fights back a sob. Stay, please, please please stay longer. Sicheng is still looking at his phone. Please look at me. “Americano and a club sandwich,” he repeats very slowly, then repeats it to himself again and punches it into the computer to get the total. “Can I get a name for your order?”

“Jaehyun.” He hands over a card.

Great, two tabs, not one, that’s a point for the not-boyfriend camp. Yuta swipes his card, gives it back to him, then trembles, steels himself, and looks over at Sicheng.

“And for you?” he asks, his voice soft, his face probably so stupidly open and adoring. How does he look like that? How?

Sicheng looks up from his phone. Oh, fuck, here it comes. He’s about to open his mouth and speak. Yuta’s about to hear his future husband’s voice for the first time. His heart is pounding so hard he’s worried he won’t even be able to hear him when he does finally speak, and then Sicheng—

Turns his phone around and holds it out to Yuta to show him the screen.

Yuta blinks. Blinks again. And leans in to see it. Hopes he doesn’t do anything stupid like lean in further and press his lips to the back of Sicheng’s hand, but no promises.

The screen says: im sick and losing my voice :( can i please have a chamomile tea with honey and lemon?

“Oh my God,” Yuta says, melting. That’s the cutest thing he’s ever seen in his entire life. He’s so, so in love, and he’s not even mad that all his practice London Fogs have gone to waste. “Of course. Of course you can. I don’t— I don’t know if we have any lemons in the kitchen, but if you give me a minute I can run to the juice place next door and steal one? Are you really in a rush?”

“We’re giving a presentation in half an hour, which is why he’s on vocal rest,” Jaehyun says, and when Yuta wastes precious Sicheng-staring time to glance over at him, he sees that he’s very much still amused as he watches this interaction play out. Fuck you, too, for standing in the way of true love, Jaehyun.

“I see,” Yuta says, speaking directly to Sicheng again, who is— oh fuck— oh, fuck, he’s starting to smile. “I can run really, really fast. I’ll get you your lemon, okay?”

Sicheng is fully smiling. He nods twice to say yes. Yuta can’t stop beaming, his whole face all lit up. When Sicheng smiles, he looks about five years younger, but still shy, and Yuta’s never loved anyone or anything this much in his whole life.

He wants to give the whole thing to him for free, he’d give him anything, but Sicheng’s already handing over a few bills, holding them by the very edge so their hands won’t touch. He doesn’t want to infect Yuta. Yuta could literally cry about that, right here, right now, but instead he just breaks his bill into change and spills coins into Sicheng’s cupped, waiting palm. They’re communicating without words and it’s so natural, so easy, it’s so right.

Sicheng curls his beautiful hand around the coins, and Jaehyun says, “Thanks,” turning away from the counter.

“My pleasure,” Yuta says, not looking away from Sicheng.

Sicheng smiles at him again, and that’s shy, that’s bashful, his eyelashes are so long like he’s a Disney princess or a baby deer, and Yuta wants to leap over this counter and pull him into his arms and never let him go, but Sicheng’s already going with Jaehyun to wait for their drinks, and Yuta knows his time is limited, so he tears himself away and sprints into the kitchen.

“Jaemin,” he half-shouts. “I need you to cover me for three minutes. They ordered an Americano and a chamomile tea and a club sandwich. I will be right back.”

“What’s going on?” Jaemin says with interest, taking one headphone out, and Yuta repeats that at the speed of light, and then he’s off like a gunshot, bursting through the back exit, almost tripping over the threshold out into the alley, skidding around the corner and onto the street, then bracing himself with one hand against the doorway as he sticks his wild, disheveled head into the juice bar, blessedly devoid of hipster customers for the moment.

“Jungwoo!!” he full-shouts. “Lemon!!!”

“What???” Jungwoo says, very very startled.

Yuta shakes his head and stretches out a hand desperately. “Throw me a lemon! It’s for true love!”

Jungwoo, bless his simple, sentimental, romantic heart, ducks down behind the industrial-grade juicer, grabs a lemon, and overhand flings it at full speed towards the door. And Yuta, with the unerring skill of the Seeker, snatches it out of the air, hurting his hand in the process as it collides a little too hard with his palm.

“Thanks,” he barely manages to get out before he’s off running again, deciding to go through the front door this time so he’ll be able to get back to Sicheng faster.

He slows down as he passes the windows of the café, but he’s definitely winded and can’t hide it, but what if Sicheng left before he could bring him a lemon slice for his tea? Jaehyun said they were in a rush, and that had definitely taken less than three minutes, but what if, what if, what if?

But there he is. Waiting with Jaehyun at the end of the counter while Jaehyun stirs sugar into his Americano. Yuta’s so relieved he could cry, and he holds up the lemon to show Sicheng, who smiles that radiant, incredible smile again. Yuta, flustered, almost skids over the recently-washed floor and trips and falls, but he somehow makes it back behind the counter in one piece to finish making Sicheng’s tea for him.

Jaemin is behind the counter already and he gives Yuta a knowing look. Yuta doesn’t have time for this, he’s a man on a mission, and he pushes his hair back with his forearm, then gets started on rinsing, then slicing up this lemon for his one true soulmate. His hands are shaking a little but he doesn’t cut himself, manages to slice the lemon into neat wedges, then drop one of them into the steeping tea. For good measure, he wraps the other seven-eighths of the lemon in a neat tinfoil parcel, and sets the cup and the parcel on the counter. Shit, he’s so out of breath from that run, but he’s about to have to talk to Sicheng again, so he takes in a deep inhale and smiles up at him, eyes all soft around the edges as Sicheng turns to look his way.

“There’s honey with the sugar, over there,” he says, pointing. This is the closest he’s ever been to Sicheng, who has just glanced over to see the sugar station, and he’s insanely gorgeous from this distance, from every distance. One of his ears is pointier than the other one, and Yuta probably looks so unhinged, just gazing adoringly at him, but there’s so much to gaze adoringly at! It’s amazing! He’s even better in real life than he’d been in Yuta’s fantasies, and that’s saying a lot. He’s so impossible.

Sicheng folds his fingers around the cup and mouths, Thank you. Sorry.

Yuta’s so lost, staring at his mouth. He really could see his tongue for a second, his teeth, and the intimacy of Sicheng speaking to him without sound, not even whispering, of Yuta understanding what he’s saying even though he didn’t speak aloud, is almost too much to bear. “No trouble whatsoever,” he assures him. His voice is much breathier than it usually would be, but he powers through. “I hope you feel better! Flu season is the worst.”

Sicheng goes very, very still. His eyes go wide. He looks stricken, and Yuta has no idea why, wants to beg him to find out what’s wrong, what he said, what he did to make his angel look like that, but Sicheng doesn’t look… angry, or upset, just washed over with blank shock, and Yuta is so confused?

“Are you okay?” he asks gently. Jaemin is coming up behind him and setting Jaehyun’s wrapped club sandwich on the counter, and Jaehyun takes it, then nudges Sicheng, who is still motionless.

“We gotta go or we’ll be late,” he reminds. “Go get your honey.”

His honey’s right here, shut the fuck up, Jaehyun. But for some ungodly reason, Sicheng goes along with it, nods numbly and turns away, walks on his model-long legs over to the table with the various drink accessories. Yuta watches him, of course, as he carefully squeezes two spoonfuls of honey into his tea and delicately mixes it in with a wooden stirrer, then pops the lid of the to-go cup on. He puts the tinfoil parcel with the lemon slices into his pocket, which makes Yuta’s heart do a triple back handspring.

But what did Yuta do? What did he say wrong? Yuta runs back over the interaction in his mind. No trouble… hopes Sicheng feels better… flu season… Nothing too weird about any of it. Yuta’s overthinking it, he knows that, but he can’t help worry about it, he knows he’ll obsess over it for days until he sees Sicheng again, what the fuck happened? Is Sicheng okay? Does he know that he and Yuta are going to be together forever and honeymoon in the Maldives? Shit, Yuta forgot to wish him good luck on his presentation. Fuck. He’s a failure of a future spouse. He has a horrible vision of divorce papers and kind of wants to cry.

And then Sicheng, a God amongst men, an ethereal creation the likes of which the world has never seen before, turns and smiles at Yuta over his shoulder.

Yuta’s instantly on cloud nine, all his worries and woes completely forgotten. He’s overflowing with happiness. He doesn’t even know what to do with feeling this good, he’s never felt this good before. “Good luck with your presentation!” he says, lifting his hand to wave. “Come back and see us again real soon!”

Sicheng gives him a prizewinningly beautiful thumbs-up, Jaehyun says, “Thanks!”, and together they go out onto the street and walk off, long, fast strides like they have places to be and things to do and countries to rescue and lives to change elsewhere.

Yuta braces his hands against the countertop and slumps down, his head immediately falling down to hang between his arms. He feels like he just ran a marathon. “I’m going to marry him,” he mumbles.

“I told you he’d come back,” Jaemin shrugs and pats Yuta on the back reassuringly. Yuta wheezes. “Are you gonna be okay?”

“I’m gonna be so good,” Yuta says, suddenly fierce, and jerks his head up even though it makes him dizzy to move so fast. “I’m going to win his heart. He will be mine. Just you wait.”

“Uh, okay,” Jaemin says. “Well, you owe me two, now. Don’t forget.”

“Uh huh,” Yuta says, no longer listening, going back to wedding planning. Sicheng had smiled at him. More than once— three times, if Yuta’s remembering it right. The most beautiful smile in the whole entire world, radiant and youthful and almost heart-shaped. Yuta pictures that smile at the end of the aisle and sighs wistfully.

Sicheng had come back for him. He came back! If last time he’d been weirded out by Yuta’s staring, it clearly hadn’t been enough to keep him away. Hell, maybe he even likes the attention. Yuta knows that if he looked like that, he’d definitely just bask in his own glory all the time and demand adoration and praise, kind of like Winwin does. Not for the first time, Yuta imagines if Sicheng had the same kind of arrogance that Winwin has about his appearance, and a delicious little shiver runs through him. That’d be so hot, but he knows it’s unlikely— Sicheng seems too sweet. So sweet, so shy. And like such a good student, considering he studies in cafés and goes on vocal rest before giving a presentation. And Jaehyun doesn’t seem to be his boyfriend, thank fuck.

Literally so much for being a good person. If Sicheng came back once, that means he’ll come back again, and that means Yuta needs to start making plans and schemes for how to get Sicheng to fall in love with him in return so they can have a wedding venue booked by the end of the year.

Last time, he’d been in a daze, but today he’s laser-focused, a racehorse with blinders fully on, and he doesn’t flirt with any customers or burn any paninis, fully on cold, precise automaton. Every second brings him closer to the next time he sees Sicheng — by this point that’s just an objective fact of life. But until then, it’s all excess, nothing important he needs to put any energy too; the only thing that matters is waiting for Sicheng.

At the end of his work day, as he’s hanging his apron up, he checks his phone for the first time in a while and sees that he got a notification from the hotline management app sometime around mid-day. Winwin wants to book a session for the end of this week, Friday night, and Yuta clicks accept, glad he’s feeling better.

And then he’s stricken with a thought. If being a good person has gone out the window, then Yuta may as well lean fully into being bad. It’s unfair to Winwin, but… why not use him as practice for when Sicheng comes back again? Yuta’s already thought about Sicheng once during phone sex with Winwin, and although that had felt bad morally at the time, now that getting with Sicheng is obviously a real possibility, Yuta’s going to need to prepare. And Winwin likes flattery, he loved it when Yuta had been thinking about Sicheng even unbeknownst to him, so if it’ll get Winwin off and help Yuta be ready for flattering Sicheng’s adorable ears off, what could be so wrong about that?

Just like after the first time Yuta had seen Sicheng, he’s like a man possessed, but unlike last time, he’s not frantic or anxious or jolting awake every morning and clattering around, bumping into his walls and tripping over himself as he gets dressed in his rush to get to work. No. Now he’s calm and exacting. Sets his alarm twenty minutes earlier than he’s used to so he has time to put in all his very-best earrings, the perfect gold hoops, brush his hair until it’s glossy, feed Peanut, then dress in whatever outfit he’d picked out for himself the previous night. He’s not quite irresistible, but he’ll be literally anything Sicheng wants to be— he’ll change his hair, his style, his voice, his personality, if Sicheng just indicates a vague preference in any direction. Yuta’s unstoppable, and he won’t be stopped.

He is, however, slowed down, because he was supposed to only work a half-shift Wednesday, but Jaemin cashes in one of his favors and so Yuta has to cover for him. That’s only a minor bump in the road, though, and it means Yuta’s chances of being there when Sicheng is are maximized. Not that Sicheng comes in at any point on Wednesday, but still.

It’s a long week. Sicheng doesn’t come back yet. Yuta’s not giving up hope, and his daily routine doesn’t get any less intense. But by Friday he’s getting impatient. It’s hard to tell if Sicheng is the sort of diligent student to study in cafés even on weekends, but with a face like that, and such a handsome friend, he probably has all sorts of parties to go to instead. Where is he? Why is he making Yuta wait so long? Yuta would wait forever, of course, but at this rate, it’s starting to feel like he really will.

However, Yuta’s got his date with Winwin tonight, which he’s actually been looking forward to. It’s been a while since they’ve talked, nearly a week, and he knows that all this Sicheng business aside, it’ll be a nice change of pace from all the freaky-deeky lawyers he’s been talking to lately.

Normally Yuta’s never nervous before a session, but there’s a lot riding on this one. Once again, he’s going to be thinking about Sicheng the whole time, and sure, that’s no different from how all he does is think about Sicheng all the time anyway, but this means more. He’ll be getting off on this and imagining Sicheng getting off on him, and it’ll be on purpose this time. Fuck. Yuta’s palms are a little sweaty and when his phone rings, flashing ‘Unknown Number,’ Yuta’s heart quivers anxiously and he counts one, two, three before picking up.

“Hi, thanks for calling me tonight,” he says. Embarrassingly, he’s out of breath already, and he tilts his head away from the phone so he can clear his throat.

“Hey,” Winwin says. Even deeper than usual, but not hoarse or congested anymore.

“How are you feeling?” Yuta asks. “You sound better, are you all better?”

“I am now that I’m talking to you,” Winwin says, then makes an embarrassed noise.

Yuta laughs, delighted. “Aren’t you just the cutest thing in the world? Careful or you’ll take my job.”

Winwin makes another noise, and Yuta pictures Sicheng’s sweet, shy face and sighs dreamily. This was a good idea for sure; already Yuta feels much more comfortable with the prospect of talking face-to-face with Sicheng the next time he comes to the café, not quite as overwhelmed and flustered. But the pause on the phone line has gone on for more than five seconds, which is against Yuta’s personal policy, so he adjusts his posture on the couch and leans his head back a little, cocked at a fun, flirtatious angle.

“I missed you a lot. Did you miss me, too?”

“Yeah,” Winwin says after a moment’s hesitation. “I— I had a lot of soup, just so you know.”

“Good!” Yuta says, smiling wide. “That must be why you’re feeling better. Doctor Max’s orders are never wrong.”

“Right,” Winwin says, and then there’s another semi-awkward lull.

Yuta sighs. This happens every once in a while; one of his clients goes off the air for a minute, and then when they come back, it takes a call or two to get back in the swing of things. And not everyone likes to chit-chat before diving in, and he knows Winwin is a little more reserved with things like that, so he figures he’ll just get them started. “Mm, I can’t wait for the weather to get warmer again. I bet you’d look great in shorts. Not that you don’t look great all the time, but those legs, damn. If I saw you on the street I’d wolf-whistle.”

“I… don’t know if I look good in shorts,” Winwin says hesitantly.

Yuta scoffs, offended. Sicheng would look amazing in shorts. “You’d look amazing in anything! But not showing your legs off is criminal! You know how I feel about your body, gorgeous. I wanna see it as much as I possibly can.”

“I do know that,” Winwin admits, softer.

“There we go. Glad we’re on the same page. Plus, pulling shorts all the way down and off is faster and easier than jeans,” Yuta points out very reasonably. “And you know I can’t keep my hands off you. Can’t stay away from you. You’re so gorgeous, baby, how am I meant to resist?”

“You’re not,” Winwin says.

Yuta pictures Sicheng blushing. Sicheng’s a little taller than him, so Yuta wouldn’t necessarily have to duck under even more to be able to coax him to show his pretty face again, but Yuta’s good at being flirtatiously annoying, he’d be able to get a reaction out of him for sure. Tickled pink by this idea, Yuta hums, eyelashes fluttering slightly as he pictures the scene. Sicheng tall, stoic, shy, and Yuta doting on him, bothering him and teasing him until Sicheng finally, finally cracks that beautiful smile for him. Someday. Someday soon. Yuta’s going to speak this into existence and make it fucking happen.

“Good, because I really couldn’t if I tried,” Yuta sighs. “I think it’s like… we’re matching magnets. You just pull me in. With that handsome face, your gorgeous body, your voice.”

“My… voice?” Winwin says, and he sounds genuinely surprised, not even bashful.

Sure, why not. Yuta contends that if Sicheng had a deep voice, as unlikely as that is given his doll-beautiful face, it wouldn’t just make him go weak at the knees, he’d probably just lose consciousness instantly. “Yeah, your voice is so hot,” he murmurs. “Seriously, I love how you sound. Just as gorgeous as your face, right? It’s so unfair that you have a sexy voice to match. Like, have one flaw, I dare you.”

“I didn’t know you liked my voice,” Winwin says.

“Silly,” Yuta scolds. “I like everything about you. I’m so obsessed with you, remember? See you whenever I close my eyes. I really think I dreamed you up, you’re so perfect, look at that gorgeous fuckin’ face. Everything about you is my favorite thing. Nobody’s better than you in the whole world, you know that? At anything. At being handsome, at being sweet, at being smart, at anything.”

Winwin hums very quietly, letting Yuta know he’s listening and interested, and Yuta, all caught up thinking about Sicheng’s warm eyes, exhales a faltering breath and gears up for another go.

“I don’t think I’ll ever understand how one person can be so handsome,” he says. “When I look at you, yeah, it hurts, yeah, I kinda wanna cry, but it also confuses my brain. Every single one of your features is so perfect individually, your eyes, your beautiful lips, your jaw, your eyebrows, your shoulders, your ears, your torso, but then add it all up and it’s even more perfect. How do you do it? What’s your secret? Even if I knew it I wouldn’t be able to do it. You’re so stunning. You stun me. I’m like a deer in the headlights when I see how beautiful you are.”

That’s the understatement of the century. The past few times Sicheng has looked at him, all Yuta’s joints have locked up, trapped in place until Sicheng let Yuta go. Yuta pictures what it would be like if Sicheng made eye contact with him while Yuta had his hands on Sicheng’s body, touching him how Sicheng deserves to be touched, and shivers a little, teeth pulling at his lower lip.

“Still with me?” he asks just to be sure. Winwin’s being even quieter than usual, and while yes, Yuta is just using him for his sinister Sicheng purposes, he does want him to have a good time.

“Yeah,” Winwin says. “Sorry— my throat still hurts a little.”

“That’s okay,” Yuta soothes. “That’s okay, angel. You don’t have to talk. I’ve got it covered, okay? Believe me, I’ve got enough to say about you to fill up, like. A whole day’s worth. So I’ll just tell you what I think about you, and you just enjoy it, beautiful.”

Winwin does another soft hum, and Yuta turns so he’s lying down horizontally across the couch. Normally he tries to stay upright when he’s doing a phone call so his voice sounds fuller, but he’s okay with the breathiness that lying down gives him, and he thinks Winwin will be, too. Now back to business. He closes his eyes, pictures Sicheng — easiest thing in the world by this point — and gets into it.

“I really do think about you all the time,” he says, a little softer, and his hand rests on his chest at first, then starts sliding down his body, ending up just above his waistband. “That’s true. I mean that. I’m always thinking about how gorgeous you must look, somewhere out there, and that there’s people looking at you and I’m not one of them— my loss, but their gain, right? You’re such a good person for actually going out and letting people look at you. Your beauty would make anyone’s day better. No, fuck that, their whole week. I know it would for me.”

It has, it does, and it will continue to for the rest of Yuta’s life. He slides his hand lower to grasp at himself over his sweatpants, and he’s not even half-hard yet but definitely a little interested, spurred on just by the thought of his Sicheng. He hopes Sicheng— no, Winwin, right— he hopes Winwin is touching himself already, too, and pictures him as Sicheng anyway, wearing dark pajamas and lying on his back, comfortable, sprawled out. Fuck, he’s so hot. Already, just from those very PG-13 thoughts, Yuta’s starting to fill out under his hand, and he rubs at himself lazily, humming at the back of his throat.

“Wanna get between your legs so bad,” he sighs, almost absentmindedly. “Wanna just— throw my arms around your shoulders and kiss you on that fucking sinful mouth. Why do you need such beautiful lips, huh? Especially since I can’t kiss them right now. Baby, when we kiss, when we fuck, I’m gonna need to keep taking breaks just to get an eyeful of you. No reverse cowgirl, no doggy, I need to see your face the whole time. If I can’t see your face I feel like I’m drowning. But then I feel like I’m drowning anyway when you look at me. Ugh, see what you’re doing to me, beautiful? I’m all confused. All turned around. You broke my brain by being so gorgeous.”

He waits, listens, and finally, finally hears a more ragged breath from Winwin. Good, Yuta’d been starting to get a little nervous, but that’s so hot, too, thinking about if this really were Sicheng. He’s so good, such a good, sweet person, and he’d probably feel guilty about being so turned on by himself, by his own beauty, and if someone like Yuta, if Yuta specifically, started going off about how gorgeous he was, he’d probably be tense and cagey at first, in denial, until finally he couldn’t hold back anymore and would have to give in to what he needed. Fuck, that’s hot.

“I can’t look at you without thinking about how bad I wanna fuck,” Yuta continues, by now very much at half-mast, picturing Sicheng sinking his teeth into his plush lower lip, his strong eyebrows furrowed, a light dusting of red across his beautiful cheeks. “Like, not to objectify you, how am I gonna objectify a literal god of beauty, but there’s just something about that face, the way your body moves, that makes me ache. I need you in my bed. Bet your skin’s so soft. Bet it would feel so good under my hands. Want to touch that beautiful, lean body all over, find out where you’re sensitive, what makes you make the prettiest noises. Gonna let me?”

Winwin’s breath is a little harsher now, and there’s a delay before he hums a yes. Yuta suspects he might have just nodded at first, then remembered Yuta couldn’t see him. It’s almost too cute to handle, too cute for this situation, when Yuta’s slipping his hand down into his sweatpants to stroke his cock properly, but thinking of it as Sicheng makes it better.

Sicheng. Ah, God, he’s so fucking beautiful. Maybe this is still some sort of boundary violation, but it only makes sense, it’s only logical — Sicheng’s the most beautiful person Yuta has ever seen, so why wouldn’t he think of him when he has to cater to someone who likes being called beautiful? There’s no more perfect reference, no one else even compares. It’s perfect. Just like Sicheng himself. Yuta’s so lucky, honestly.

“You look so good in every pose,” he muses. “Just sitting down, sure, but lemme see you with your legs spread, your back arched, your face all slack from how good you feel, you can’t even control it. But I know you’d still look good. Never a bad day, never a bad look, you’re too beautiful. My beautiful angel. Still all mine?”

Kind of a risk again, but Winwin moans very softly, and Yuta feels hot and liquid, his cock stiff in his palm. Sicheng— if Sicheng were his, Yuta wouldn’t even know what to do with that kind of privilege, that responsibility. Treat him like the treasure he is, probably. He rubs his thumb over the head of his dick and bites back a whine. Not yet; he’ll wait until Winwin’s more worked up to let loose.

“Yeah, I know you are,” he says, almost as an aside to himself. “Don’t even know what to do with how lucky I am for getting you. My trophy. My prize that I won for… I don’t even know. But now I have you, and you’re so beautiful, so perfect in every single way. Most beautiful, most wonderful, most perfect, and you’re mine. Everybody wants you, I guarantee that everybody wants you, but I’m the one that makes my pretty angel moan at night.”

Fuck, he knows Sicheng would have the most beautiful moans. Maybe a little hoarse, or maybe perfectly clear. Maybe he’d be quiet, and he’d only get noisy when Yuta’s really giving it to him. Or maybe he’d be loud the whole time, so enthusiastic about the pleasure he’s feeling. Either way, Yuta’s so eager to hear the rattle of Winwin’s aroused breath against the phone, imagining Sicheng, Sicheng getting hot, Sicheng flustered, hard, giving in to his desires, giving in to Yuta. Fuck, Yuta wants him so bad.

He can’t hold back. He strokes himself with more purpose now, doesn’t hold back his breathy groan, lifts his hips to fuck into his hand a little. “Gonna be fantasizing about you for the rest of forever,” he murmurs. “You changed my life, you know that? I really mean it. Never gonna be a day from now on that I don’t think about your pretty face, Sicheng. Not even just your face, but the way you move, the way you talk, the way you—”

“What did you just call me?”

Yuta freezes. His hand jerks back out of his pants and he sits straight up, his heart suddenly pounding. Fuck. Fuck. He has a strict no-apologizing policy, saying sorry only ever makes his clients uncomfortable and feel like they have to needlessly reassure him that it’s okay, but this is bad. Shit.

“Winwin,” he corrects, mind spinning to try and come up with a way to fix this. “Winwin. I just got distracted for a moment, but I’m with you, I promise—”

“I knew it,” Winwin says.

And hangs up.

Yuta can’t believe what just happened at first. He called a client by the wrong name, then the client said something cryptic and hung up on him? What tone had Winwin even said that in? Yuta, immensely confused, takes his phone away from his face and looks at the screen as it flashes ‘call ended,’ then fades to black.

Huh. What?

Back when Yuta first started this job, he’d never called anyone by a completely wrong name, since he’d never even intended to get off on these sessions himself, and so there was no need to picture someone more appealing instead of whatever bored, closeted CEO wanted to be begged for his big cock that week. But he had forgotten a few names, said something not quite right but similar, and the reaction had always been embarrassment on both ends, then an end of the working relationship. It hasn’t happened for a while, obviously, but he still remembers what it was like, how the conversation stuttered right after the blunder. This isn’t like that. This is just weird. What is going on?

Winwin’s tone hadn’t sounded aggressive. Not when he said “I knew it,” not when he’d asked Yuta to clarify what he’d just called him. More… confused, or shocked, and at the end, almost triumphant? Maybe Yuta’s reading too far into it, considering his voice is pretty deep, very nearly one-note sometimes when he’s not feeling a lot of strong emotion. At least, as far as Yuta can tell based on their very occasional phone conversations. He’s not claiming to be a Winwin’s Emotion Analysis expert.

But he is a pretty good judge of character. If he weren’t, he’d be shitty at this job, but up until lately, up until Sicheng, he’s been fantastic at it. Ugh. Sicheng has him all messed up, and now Yuta’s lost a favorite client, a reliable source of income, and probably offended Winwin pretty bad. There’s also the issue of his lessening erection, but that seems secondary right now.

Yuta sits on the couch for a while, trying to unpack what just happened. I knew it… knew what? That Yuta was thinking about someone else while getting Winwin off? Shit, if he could tell that, then that definitely wouldn’t be good. But he’d liked it so much the last time! Maybe it’s something else. That reaction was so strong, uncharacteristically so, and it almost maybe sounds like— almost maybe seems like—

Winwin and Sicheng—

No. Not possible. Not even possible that they know each other, for a very simple reason: next to Sicheng, anyone, even someone otherwise renowned for being good-looking, would be the ugliest of ugly ducklings with no hope of ever growing up into a swan. Yuta ignores that idea as pure and utter nonsense, then lets Peanut out of his bedroom and tries to focus on literally anything else for the rest of the evening.

Lost cause. He can’t stop thinking about it. He almost regrets doing the whole prepping-mentally-for-Sicheng thing, but even though he screwed things over with Winwin on accident, he still got valuable confidence out of it, which is good. But, despite everything, he does feel bad about doing this to Winwin, who’s a sweet kid and does deserve better.

Ugh, this sucks. And there’s not even anything he can do about it; there’s no way for him to reach out to Winwin directly, and he’s not about to use the “suggest new session” feature. That’d be so desperate, and if he really did offend Winwin, it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie, let him get over it on his own. They don’t know each other, after all. Winwin pays him. Yuta is providing a service. If Yuta had made someone’s coffee wrong at work, he wouldn’t send them an apology note, right? Same deal. Same exact deal.

So why does he still feel so shitty?

“At least I still have you, Peanut,” he mumbles to Peanut, who immediately loses interest in the feather Yuta was dangling in front of him and proudly stalks away to hunt a more appealing target.

Yeah, Yuta gets the message. He fucked up.

Still, there’s not a whole lot he can do about it right now other than just feel generally anxious and tense. He tries not to obsess over it, at least, and makes himself a small, semi-healthy dinner and bounces his leg nervously the whole time he’s eating. This makes Peanut try to attack his ankle, so Yuta stops eventually, and, still preoccupied with thoughts of Winwin, Sicheng, this whole messy business, takes a shower, picks out clothes to wear tomorrow (better safe than sorry), and heads to bed.

It takes him a while to fall asleep. He knows he and Winwin don’t really have any real responsibilities to each other, but it still sucks knowing he made someone feel bad when they’d trusted him. And he’s back to feeling like he’d taken advantage of Sicheng, who’ll always be none the wiser. All in all, not great. Pretty fucking bad, actually.

But there’s nothing he can do about it. He closes his eyes instead of just staring at the ceiling, counts his breath — in for four, hold for seven, out for eight — until he can’t keep track of numbers anymore and, finally, blissfully, he drifts off.

Doesn’t dream about much. Wakes up with his alarm and lies there motionless for a minute, then makes himself sit up and go through the motions. It doesn’t feel right to do the same razor-sharp focused morning routine he’s been doing for the past week for Sicheng’s benefit, but he does a modified version anyway, making sure his hair looks good (before he has to cover it up with his stupid work hat), his hoops are even, his skin is clear. At least this way he can pretend he’s just doing it in general, not only just in case Sicheng drops by. Yuta doesn’t even know what he’d do if Sicheng drops by today. He won’t, it’s the weekend, but Yuta’s stomach is in its typical knots as he walks to the café, taking the short route just in case.

It’s a cool morning. He wishes he’d worn a warmer jacket, and hugs himself around the middle as he walks with fast, long strides, almost too long for his legs. Jaemin is probably there already, since Yuta didn’t get as early of a start as he’s been getting lately, and that means Yuta won’t have to do as much of the morning checklist, thank God. His phone buzzes in his pocket and he checks it, heart leaping into his throat for no real reason, and exhales an irritated breath when he sees it’s just one of his other stupid regulars trying to schedule for next Tuesday.

Everything is so annoying. Where’s his knight in shining armor to save him from this life of monotony? Yuta puts his phone back in his pocket, zips his jacket up a little higher, and rounds the corner that’ll bring him right to the front door of the café.

He’s distracted thinking about the work day ahead, about what accent to try out on this new Tuesday call since he’s so horny for foreign exchange students, and about what he’ll say if Sicheng comes in at any point over the next few days, and so when he sees the café, and sees a lithe, elegant figure leaning back against the edge of the doorframe, at first he just thinks it’s a hallucination. He sees Sicheng around all the time anyways. Doesn’t mean it’s actually him.

It does catch him off-guard, though, and he blinks once, then twice, and still Sicheng is standing by the door. He’s not going away, and it really is him. Yuta would recognize that side profile anywhere. But— the café’s not open yet, and Yuta wasn’t ready, and—

Sicheng turns his head, that golden, beautiful head that Yuta’s been dreaming about for weeks, and looks right at him.

“You’re here,” Sicheng says in Winwin’s voice. “I didn’t know when you’d show up, and the guy inside said you were always early, and I’ve actually been waiting about half an hour, I didn’t know when you’d come.”

Yuta’s hands fly to cover his mouth. He stops walking, eight feet away from him, maybe more, and stares. No way. No way.

“I’m sorry for just hanging up on you like that,” Sicheng says, and takes a small step forward.

Yuta instinctively stumbles back, keeping the distance between them the same as it had been, and Sicheng politely stops walking, stays where he is. “It’s okay,” he says into his palms.

“Will you let me explain myself? I’m really sorry,” Sicheng says again, and he’s so earnest, it’s too much, it’s almost grotesque, that wide-eyed apologetic expression on his face. It’s Winwin’s voice, it’s really his voice, it’s really him, but in real life, not on the phone, it doesn’t sound as low; the tone is still deep, but the timbre is softer, younger. “I thought it might be weird if I just showed up at your work, but I didn’t know how else to find you. It’s… you know who I am, right?”

“Sicheng,” Yuta breathes. “Winwin. Oh, God. Oh my God. It was you. The whole time it was you.”

Sicheng nods. Yuta might be passing out already— he can’t take in a full breath, and he’s still covering his mouth, swaying where he stands. Sicheng is looking at him, overwhelming him with the complete and utter total of his attention, and Yuta’s like a butterfly in a display case, Sicheng’s eyes the pin holding him captive. Sicheng takes another step forward, cautious, and this time Yuta doesn’t shrink back.

Instead of explaining himself or continuing to apologize, Sicheng asks, “What’s your name? Your real name.”

Yuta’s tongue-tied. Sicheng is close, too close, and Yuta can feel that he’s melting, he’ll drift off to sea if Sicheng doesn’t let him hold on. This can’t be happening. This can’t be real. Winwin, sweet, narcissistic Winwin, has been Sicheng all along. His moans— his arrogance, that intense dark self-love, that was all Sicheng, this gorgeous creature in front of him right now, and it’s too hot, it’s too much, now Yuta understands. Winwin wasn’t obsessed with himself and with being praised for his good looks because he’s self-conscious — it’s the exact opposite. He loves himself because why wouldn’t he? Yuta as Max was probably the first person to ever truly appreciate Sicheng to the extent he deserves to be appreciated. Fuck. Oh, fuck, Yuta’s face is red, remembering the things he’s said to Sicheng, the things Sicheng has said to him. Mine. Yours. Holy God.

Then he realizes Sicheng’s waiting for an answer and he shudders to wake himself back up. “Yuta,” he says, gradually lowering his hands from his mouth. “My name is Yuta. I’m. God, Sicheng, I don’t know what to say.”

“Me neither,” Sicheng says. “But when I realized it was you, I thought I’d… you know. Give it a try.”

“Give what a try?” Yuta says, the breath rushing out of his lungs all at once. “Me?”

“Well, yeah,” Sicheng says. He glances away, and his face does something strange, like he’s chewing on the inside of his cheek. “Like… I meant everything I said. That’s, um, that’s what I…’m into. You’re the only one who knows.”

Yuta’s head is spinning and he’s losing it fast. If Sicheng doesn’t stop, Yuta’s going to say something he’ll regret. But he does know how to pick up on cues, knows what Sicheng is trying to imply, even though it seems so impossible, more than too good to be true. “Sicheng,” he says, hoarse, his mouth dry. “Sicheng, please, can I just—”

Sicheng gets it, assumes, as arrogant as ever, and takes another step until they’re closer, too close, and Yuta’s shaking hands can move up to touch him. Careful, delicate, at least at first, his fingertips barely making contact with the front of Sicheng’s sweater until he can’t take it anymore and has to grab firm handfuls of the fabric, clinging on to stay upright.

“Yuta,” Sicheng says, his voice lower. He has to tilt his head down to get closer to Yuta, and Yuta’s going to take all he can get until Sicheng makes him stop, so he presses his forehead against Sicheng’s shoulder, mouth open on a deep, shaky breath. That voice, and Sicheng’s body radiating warmth against him in the cool air of the street, and Sicheng so close. “Do you still want me?”

“You’re all I want,” Yuta breathes. “Oh, God, Sicheng, you’re all I want. You know that, right? I was waiting, I was waiting for you to come back for me, I kept dreaming about you, wishing you’d come back.”

“Wish granted,” Sicheng says with a fucking smirk on his face, Yuta can hear it, and Yuta makes a wounded noise, rocking forward onto his toes so he can press his body against Sicheng’s, rub his face in his shoulder, tilt his head up to try and breathe into his neck.

“You’re going to kill me,” Yuta says, his hands sliding up the front of Sicheng’s chest to loop around his shoulders, keep holding onto him. Sicheng made a big mistake letting Yuta do this— now Yuta’s never going to let him go. “I can’t believe I’m really touching you.”

Sicheng hums at the back of his throat, and Yuta feels it rumble through his chest, but it’s such a Winwin noise that it almost makes him laugh, on the verge of hysterics, but he manages to stay quiet. The hair on the back of Sicheng’s head is so soft, and Yuta combs his fingers through it, each new touch making him all the hungrier for more. He can’t get a read on Sicheng yet, this is too much all at once, he can’t tell if Sicheng is shy or cocky or trying to be overconfident to make up for shyness or if it’s genuine or if he’s happy to be there or if he’s just there out of pity, but there’s no real way to ask. Yuta’s not sure he’d want the answer, anyway. All that matters is that he’s there at all.

“Let me kiss you,” Yuta murmurs.

And Sicheng turns his head, seeking him out, and Yuta’s there already, pressing in as close to him as he can. Sicheng’s mouth is hot already, lips a little wet like he’s been biting at them, and Yuta moans quietly and clutches at him, helpless, and when he feels Sicheng’s hands moving to hold Yuta by the waist, he moans again.

Sicheng’s kissing him back. Yuta would have taken anything, a half-second’s worth of closed lips pressed together, but Sicheng’s beautiful, plush lips are moving against his and he’s letting Yuta in, so Yuta licks into him, greedy for every little scrap Sicheng throws him.

But this isn’t just a scrap. It’s Sicheng. Yuta’s soulmate, his life partner for the rest of forever, letting Yuta kiss him on the street, Yuta’s hands wound tight in Sicheng’s hair and their chests pressed together as Yuta leans up to kiss him again and again and again. Not quite bruising, but not quite messy, either, and not yet slick. Yuta’s going to work his way up to that. For now, he just tilts his head, kisses him another time, shudders at the feeling of Sicheng’s breath brushing over his lips.

“Can we go somewhere?” Sicheng murmurs, and Yuta, too overwhelmed by all the implications of that question, has to stop kissing his mouth so he can kiss his jaw, his cheekbone, desperate, almost doing all this unconsciously, just letting his instincts guide him as he explores the full extent of Sicheng. That ends up distracting Sicheng, too, and his hands are tighter on Yuta’s waist now as Yuta lavishes kisses over as much of his skin as he can, right in front of his ear, on the side of his neck, then up again onto his cheek, the corner of his mouth, and finally his lips again, where Sicheng is already warm and waiting.

Yuta could kiss him forever. When he first feels the slightest hint of Sicheng’s tongue, he groans, and yeah, they’re in public, they’re on the street, but Sicheng wants this, wants him to do this, just talking on the phone wasn’t enough— he really needs Yuta to show him how beautiful he thinks Sicheng really is.

Sicheng tilts his face to give Yuta more room, more options for where to kiss him, and Yuta’s eyes slip open to see that Sicheng’s are closed, and his princess-dark lashes are so long against his beautiful golden skin, and Yuta shivers.

“My apartment’s really close,” he says between kisses, lips pressing again and again to Sicheng’s skin as Sicheng leans into him, affectionate, enjoying it. “Do you— do you like cats? I have a cat. But he won’t bother us.” Fuck, they’re already an us. Sicheng had called them we just now, too. Yuta’s heart is ready to give out, but he still keeps kissing Sicheng.

“What’s his name?” Sicheng asks, turning to kiss Yuta on the mouth, Sicheng kissed him first, and he keeps asking questions like he really wants to know the answers (or possibly like he’s just checking if Yuta got the name ‘Max’ from his own cat), and Yuta is so weak, so in love, can’t believe that this fucking weird, stressful situation has resolved into something that was quite literally beyond his wildest dreams.

“Peanut,” Yuta says, and when Sicheng makes a very quiet huffing noise like a laugh, he suddenly can’t stop smiling, clinging onto Sicheng and beaming into the side of his gorgeous head.

He’s really going to take Sicheng home. It’s what he’s wanted for so long and it’s finally happening, and Sicheng wants it, too, and his hands are virgin-clumsy on Yuta’s hips but he’s not kissing like a virgin at all when their mouths meet again. He’s self-assured, confident, but he lets Yuta tug at his lower lip and pet his hands through Sicheng’s thick hair. Yuta thinks they might both be getting lost in it, but Sicheng wants to go somewhere, wants Yuta to take him, and so, as reluctant as he is to ever stop kissing Sicheng, he lets it slow down until they’re both just breathing against each other.

Then he remembers: he has to fucking work.

“Shit,” he says. “Shit. Fuck. Sicheng, I— will you wait for just a second? Please? Please don’t leave. I just need to ask about work and then we can go, okay? It’ll only be a minute.”

Sicheng nods and very, very slowly lets go of Yuta. Almost like he doesn’t want to. Yuta can’t stop, he presses up to kiss him again, and Sicheng makes a deep, low noise. “Hurry up.”

I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU, Yuta wants to say, but instead, he kisses him one more time, then wrenches himself away and speeds into the café.

“Jaemin,” he starts, seeing him behind the counter. “You know you’ve always been my favorite coworker, right? I was so happy when you started working here. I think you bring such a wonderful energy to—”

“You already owe me one, I’m not going to work alone all morning on a Saturday, are you fucking kidding me? I can’t handle the brunch rush alone,” Jaemin says. “Don’t even try it.”

Yuta’s lower lip quivers. He throws a glance back over his shoulder, and Sicheng is waiting there, his hair blown back for a second by the breeze. Fuck. Yuta’s ready to quit right now, fuck this job, if it means he can go home with Sicheng without any consequences. “Please,” he says, turning back to Jaemin. “Jaemin, this is real life, this is real love. I really think he might be the one. I’m not just being dramatic. I know I’m dramatic all the time and you don’t take me seriously, but he trusts me, he wants me, I think I really love him. Please, please just suffer through this one morning, and then I’ll cover for you whenever you want, I’ll let you use my Netflix, I’ll buy you multiple pairs of cool sunglasses, just— please.”

Jaemin makes a disgusted noise. Whether he’s more disgusted by Yuta showing so much emotion or by the prospect of doing all this extra work today, Yuta can’t tell. But then he sighs, shrugs, and says, “Okay. But you really owe me.”

“Thank you,” Yuta gasps, then bursts back out through the door and comes to a quick, unsteady halt by Sicheng’s side. “We’re good, we can go, let’s go?”

Sicheng nods, but doesn’t start walking. Yuta, caught up and breathless as he stares at him, can’t believe how much more beautiful he is in person and not just in Yuta’s fantasies, even more beautiful than the last time Yuta had seen him. Why isn’t he moving, though, don’t they have places to be, things to do? Yuta shivers, delighted, and then realizes with an even more powerful shiver of delight that Sicheng obviously doesn’t know the way back to Yuta’s place and is waiting for him to lead. Why that’s so adorable, Yuta isn’t sure, but it’s undeniable that he’s melting over it.

“This way,” he says and sets off the same way he’d come from, Sicheng at his side.

“Nice of him to let you leave,” Sicheng comments as they walk. His legs are longer than Yuta’s, but Yuta’s so impatient to get home already, get Sicheng out of his clothes, that they’re keeping up with each other perfectly. “Does he think I’m super weird?”

“Not weirder than me,” Yuta assures him. He can’t believe it, he’s talking to Sicheng, they’re side by side, shoulders brushing as they walk, and Sicheng is Winwin, his favorite client, the highlight of his week, sweet and polite and obsessed with himself. Yuta cannot blame him whatsoever. After all, he’s obsessed with him, too.

“I might still be contagious,” Sicheng says thoughtfully. “I got Jaehyun sick.”

Yuta’s eyes flash and he glances over at him. Sicheng’s expression is neutral, even blank, but Yuta gets the sense he’s being tested, and although he loves Sicheng more than anything else in this world, he can’t help but think that damn, he’s such a brat. “I don’t care,” he says, meaning both that he doesn’t care if he gets sick and that he doesn’t give any fucks whatsoever about Jaehyun, and reaches over to grab Sicheng’s hand.

The corners of Sicheng’s beautiful, pouty mouth twitch, and he lets Yuta slot their fingers together. “Just saying.”

“I wouldn’t care if you were seeing someone,” Yuta says, a little meanly. “That’d be your problem, not mine.”

“Figured,” Sicheng says. That smile on his face is starting to spread. “I’m not, by the way.”

You are now, Yuta wants to say. Think you’ll ever get rid of me? Ha. “Good,” is all he says, and he holds Sicheng’s hand tighter.

Just the feeling of their palms pressed together, skin on skin after so long of dreaming about him, longing for him, is unfathomable. Yuta has to keep reminding himself that that’s really Sicheng, his destiny hand-in-hand with him, a tall drink of water that Yuta’s about to down in one go. The walk back to his apartment has never felt longer, and yet it goes by so fast, and they don’t talk because they don’t have to. Yuta’s sure Sicheng has heard more than enough of Yuta’s voice, anyway.

“We don’t live that far apart,” Sicheng says as Yuta keys in the code to let them into his building, and Yuta’s cheeks go pink and his heart soars.

“Really? Come over all the time,” he says, hoping it comes off more as an instruction than a desperate plea, but it’s a coin toss at this point. He pushes the door open and pulls Sicheng in behind him, they’re still holding hands, and Yuta knows that they’re about to do a hell of a lot more than just hold hands but he can’t help that he’s blushing over it, as silly as that is.

He can feel Sicheng looking at him. Yuta’s so restless, he wants to be upstairs with Sicheng already, get rid of all this useless space between their bodies, and Sicheng can probably feel the impatient energy radiating off of him as they take the elevator up, because he laughs very quietly, leaning in against Yuta’s side.

Yuta’s fingers tighten around Sicheng’s. His hand is cool to the touch, his fingers perfectly smooth. “Third door on the left,” he says. He’d race Sicheng there, and if it weren’t for Sicheng’s mile-long legs, Yuta’s impatience might even get him the win.

But there’s no need. They’re there soon enough, and Yuta has to let go of Sicheng’s hand, biting back an upset whine as he does so, to unlock the door. Sicheng’s right behind him, so close, and when Yuta finally manages to shove his key in the lock and twist it until the door can push open, Sicheng’s going in just as fast as Yuta is, already grabbing him by the shirt and pulling him in until they’re kissing again.

Fuck, his mouth is insane. Yuta loves it when he feels Sicheng’s teeth against Yuta’s tongue, and they end up pressed against the door, Sicheng’s hands grabbing for Yuta’s shoulders and Yuta crowding up as close to him as he possibly can. Sicheng kisses like he knows he’s adored, like he’s just letting Yuta take what he needs, and Yuta doesn’t break away from him even when he feels Peanut winding around between their ankles, trying to get Yuta’s attention.

“Cat,” Sicheng says between kisses.

“He’s fine,” Yuta assures him and finally sucks Sicheng’s lower lip into his mouth, the sweetest summer fruit, until Sicheng groans quietly and pushes in for a fuller kiss. “You’re so— you’re so fucking hot.”

Sicheng makes another low noise. “Careful.”

“Why? I mean it, I really mean it,” Yuta says, and oh, no, once he’s started he can’t stop, he knows this. And yet he starts. He wants Sicheng to hear this — he wants to see how he’ll react. “I didn’t know you were you, but ever since I saw you, all I’ve been doing is thinking about you, and when we were talking on the phone, I was thinking about you, Sicheng.”

Sicheng’s lips falter against Yuta’s jawline briefly and when Yuta pulls back to see him, he sees that the tops of his gorgeous cheekbones are going pink. “Yuta,” he says, almost resentful, and suddenly Yuta has the power: before, it was just Sicheng taking advantage of how obviously weak Yuta was for him, but Yuta knows exactly what Sicheng likes. Exactly how to get him off. And he thinks he knows exactly what to do with that knowledge.

“Now I know why you turn yourself on so much,” he breathes, hands adoring as they run over Sicheng’s shoulders, his handsome, proud chest. “Is that why you called me in the first place? Nobody else was doing it for you? And of course you’re too polite to admit to someone that that’s what gets you going. So you decided to do it anonymously. Am I right?”

“So what,” Sicheng says, a little defensive, and Yuta’s never been happier to be wrong about someone being ugly in his life.

“So I’m so lucky it was me,” he purrs, kisses him again, can’t believe he’s lucky enough to get to kiss him now. “Has anyone ever felt the same way about you as you do about yourself? Hmm?”

It takes a moment, and at first they’re distracted by kissing as Yuta works Sicheng’s shirt out of where he had it neatly tucked into his pants, but finally Sicheng shakes his head. Yuta coos sympathetically, pitying him with all he has, and kisses the proud arch of his nose, his beautiful plush lips, the perfect curve of his cheek.

“That’s all going to be different now,” he murmurs, almost right up against Sicheng’s ear. His ear is almost too cute for the rest of him, and Yuta nips at his earlobe very lightly until Sicheng shivers. “Know why?”

“Why?” Sicheng says. God, his voice is so fucking low.

“Because I’m not just anyone, and I see you for what you really are, my beautiful, perfect narcissist,” Yuta says, licks the shell of his ear, laughs when Sicheng goes red and squirms away.

“I’m not,” Sicheng defends, his strong eyebrows pulled together in a frown. “I’m not.”

“No? But it’s hot that you are,” Yuta grins. “I used to— when were on the phone, I used to think about what it would be like if it were you, if you acted like that about yourself, if you knew. But if you’re claiming you don’t know, well. I can show you.”

Sicheng hesitates. Yuta can see him thinking it over, his cheek moving like he’s biting at the inside of it uncertainly again. But his hands are still warm on Yuta’s shoulders, and finally, he says, voice a little hoarse, “Show me.”

Oh, God, Yuta would murder for him if he asked. “But you have to show me you, first,” he coaxes, tugging at his shirt again. This is taking too long. “Didn’t I tell you that all I want to know when you wear all these layers is what you look like underneath? Let me see that beautiful body, Sicheng.”

Sicheng, gorgeous face a little pink, lets go of Yuta’s shoulders and peels off his sweater, then starts undoing the buttons of the shirt he’d had on underneath. Yuta makes an encouraging noise, his eyes big and hungry, and moves in closer to him, helping him undo the lower few.

“Why do you cover up so much?” Yuta pouts. “Are you worried people will stare at you and it’ll turn you on, knowing they’re finding you attractive?”

Sicheng doesn’t answer, only goes more pink, which means yes. Yuta won the lottery. Yuta must have saved several countries in a past life. Sicheng is blushing because Yuta’s guessing everything right, and he’s also letting Yuta strip him down, pulling his button-up off and leaving him shirtless in Yuta’s front hallway. Yuta can’t hold back an adoring, shaky noise when he finally sees Sicheng’s golden skin, his lean, toned body, and he puts his hands on him, leaning up for another deep kiss.

And Sicheng loves it. That sound Yuta makes, the reaction he has to him, Sicheng goes all quiet and expectant and so Yuta grabs for him, hungry hands sliding up and down his torso, the clean, cut lines of him down to the waistband of his trim jeans, as Yuta groans, pulling away from him just to see.

“Fuck,” Yuta says, admiring, adoring. “Where did you come from? How do you look like this? You’re unreal.”

“I’m real,” Sicheng says, and Yuta kisses him again, pulling on his belt loops until Sicheng’s narrow hips are pressed tight against his own.

“Touch me, feel what you do to me,” Yuta encourages, and Sicheng’s hand moves without him needing to ask twice, going down between them to palm Yuta’s dick through his jeans. Yuta, unashamed of how hard he is, pushes his hips forward into the touch, making a breathless sound, and Sicheng is wide-eyed and pink-lipped. Has the nerve to act surprised, like Yuta hasn’t been singing his praises for weeks, like Sicheng hasn’t known how Yuta feels about him this whole time. “You’re so beautiful— so beautiful. I meant it when I said you’re so beautiful that it just makes me think about how bad I wanna fuck you.”

Sicheng’s eyes are dark, and the way he tilts his jaw up lets Yuta know that what Sicheng wants is to hear more, for Yuta to really earn it. This is the kind of power struggle Yuta is totally down with, and if Sicheng wants to be worshipped — and he clearly does — then he’ll never find anyone better at worshipping him than Yuta’s about to be. Because all of a sudden Yuta remembers something and he wants to go back in time to thank himself for one very specific interior decorating choice he made, and he doesn’t know how he didn’t realize this the second they decided to go back to his apartment, but— this is truly a sign that this, what they have, is fate. The way Yuta’s room is set up — it’s like he always knew he’d get Sicheng, and now here he is, and now it’s just a matter of getting him there.

“God, look at you, I can’t get enough of looking at you,” Yuta breathes, his hands coming up to cradle Sicheng’s gorgeous face, thumbs rubbing over his high cheekbones. “I’m not just saying this so you’ll come to bed with me, but please let me take you to my bed, I’m so tired of just talking to you when I could be showing you what you look like.”

“What do you mean?” Sicheng says, suddenly blushing again.

Yuta makes a soft noise, brushing a golden strand of Sicheng’s hair back from his forehead, brushing his lips against Sicheng’s, can’t believe he really gets to do this, keeps his eyes open the whole time so he doesn’t have to stop looking at Sicheng even for a second. “You don’t have to be shy with me,” he murmured. “Will you promise not to be shy? I have something to show you, but you have to promise not to be shy. It’ll be worth your time.”

Sicheng stares at him, deciding, and somewhere down on the ground, Peanut meows. This is all happening too slow, Yuta’s so impatient, can’t let Sicheng slip away from him, so he steps back, grabs Sicheng by the hands, and tugs him.

“I’ll just show you, then,” he says, walking backwards. For once, Peanut will have the run of the apartment while Yuta locks himself in the bedroom, and he feels like it’s going to work out to everyone’s benefit. Sicheng is walking as Yuta leads, not taking those beautiful eyes off of him, and Yuta walks until he reaches his room, hip-checking the door open and tugging Sicheng inside.

Sicheng’s eyes go wide and his mouth falls half-open as he sees it, as it hits him. “Oh,” he says, and then— it’s like he can’t get naked fast enough, can’t pull Yuta close enough, his hands suddenly frantic and desperate as he yanks Yuta in and kisses him, eager to kick out of his jeans and start pulling Yuta’s shirt off, too.

“You like it? I knew you would, can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier,” Yuta says, then moans as Sicheng’s tongue goes in his mouth, kissing messy and eager. “You wanna see? You wanna see what you look like when you get fucked?”

Yes,” Sicheng says, breaking away just long enough to look over his shoulder and see the full-length mirror Yuta’s had leaned up against his bedroom wall for the past seven months. “Yes, Yuta, it’s perfect.”

Not so shy anymore. Probably doesn’t want to risk losing this opportunity either. Yuta meets him every step of the way, kissing back just as hard, grasps at Sicheng’s perfect body and pulls him down so Sicheng will be on top of him when Yuta falls onto the bed.

Sicheng settles into Yuta’s lap like it’s his birthright to be there, and Yuta kisses him so dirty, sucking on his tongue and pushing his jaw wider open with a thumb at the corner of his mouth, Sicheng nipping at Yuta’s lips on each breath, straining forward to kiss him deeper, pressing their bodies even closer together. They’re both down to their briefs by now, but Yuta has Sicheng naked seconds later, his hands grabbing perfect handfuls of that equally perfect ass until Sicheng is squirming against him, excited and breathless.

“You’re finally in my lap,” Yuta says, similarly breathless, and rides his hands up Sicheng’s sides, staring at the movement of his fingers on Sicheng’s skin. “Sitting pretty. Knew you would. Ever since I saw you that first time I haven’t stopped thinking about for one second— you’re so fucking gorgeous.”

“Not so bad yourself,” Sicheng says, folding his beautiful arms around Yuta’s shoulders and kissing him again, and again, panting hot into his mouth.

Yuta, shocked, almost forgets to kiss back. “What? Me?”

“I wouldn’t want this if I didn’t think you were hot, too,” Sicheng explains.

If Yuta’s heart gets any more full of love, it’ll burst. He pushes a leg between Sicheng’s and turns them over so he can get his beautiful angel under him on the bed, one hand fumbling out to pull open his nightstand. “You really think so?” he said, the seemingly very bare-minimum compliment hitting him way harder than it should, and Sicheng, dark-eyed and flushed a stunning pink, just nods.

Fuck. Yuta can’t hold back a bright smile, and he leans down to kiss him again, swallowing Sicheng’s resulting small noise and then moving down to press kisses over the long, proud column of his neck. He’s working his way up to feeling brave enough to actually look at Sicheng’s cock, but for now he opens the bottle of lube he’d just taken out of his nightstand. It’s a relief that he has enough left for this, if he had to leave this bed right now he’d cry, and he pours some onto his fingers and makes sure it’s warm, would never want to startle Sicheng or make him uncomfortable in any way, everything has to be perfect, perfect for his angel.

Just like him. Yuta can’t stop smiling. Sicheng is letting him do this because he refuses to settle for anything less than the best, since he himself is the best, and Yuta really isn’t worthy, he’s really not, but Sicheng thinks he’ll do the trick for now, he’s the best option for now, so Yuta’s going to give this his all. He lifts back up and kisses his mouth, those devastating plush lips, and Sicheng is getting impatient again; he spreads his beautiful long legs open and doesn’t ask out loud because he doesn’t have to — he knows that he’ll get whatever he wants, that Yuta will give it to him.

“Did you come back for me because you thought I was hot?” he says, and both of them have their eyes open so they can watch each other as Yuta slides his hand between Sicheng’s legs, pressing a finger into him, stretching him open. “Or because you liked the way I look at you?”

“Yeah,” Sicheng says, trembling, and his cheeks had been flushed a pretty pink before but with one finger in him, then two, he looks like the warmest sunrise, delicate, but also so fucking strong, melting beneath Yuta but not submitting. “Both.”

“I thought I noticed you noticing me staring,” Yuta agreed. He’s always been mouthy, and it was great to be able to make a living off of it, but it really started as a nervous habit — and he sure as fuck is nervous now, fingering the love of his life for the first time. “But I thought it was wishful thinking. You really knew, though, knew you were driving me crazy just by coming in— when Jaemin told me you’d been there and just missed me by five minutes I nearly ran after you, I would have gone so far just to see a glimpse of your pretty face, look at that pretty fucking face, Sicheng, have you ever even seen yourself when you come? Or is this going to be your first time?”

Sicheng’s breath is ragged against Yuta’s cheek. He sounds like Winwin, he is Winwin, and Yuta makes a soothing noise the way he does sometimes on the phone, nuzzling under the proud line of his jaw. “First time,” Sicheng admits, so low Yuta can barely hear him, and Yuta glows.

“Never let yourself feel it, did you? You poor thing,” he says, meaning it so fervently, would never dream of making fun of him now that he knows it’s Sicheng, what he looks like, how he truly is. “You were scared you’d like it too much. That there’d never be anybody for you other than you. But I’m just like you, see? I feel exactly the same way about you as you do. So you can just use me the same way you’d want to use yourself, and know that I think you’re just as beautiful as you do, as amazing, as gorgeous, so whenever you want to feel it but you’re too scared to do it alone, I’m here. I’m yours. Remember? Remember how I’m yours?”

“You—” Sicheng’s eyes have slipped closed and he’s rolling his hips in small movements down onto Yuta’s fingers as Yuta stretches him. “You didn’t know it was me when you said that, though.”

“But I wanted it to be,” Yuta reminds, and Sicheng shivers full-bodied. “I wanted it to be you. You changed my life so hard, Sicheng. I’m not even sorry for being so obsessed with you. Since you want me to be, right? You like it?”

Yuta hadn’t been asking totally seriously, since it was already pretty clear, but Sicheng’s answering nod is eager and immediate, and he whimpers when Yuta twists his fingers inside him and adds a third, making sure he’s still comfortable, loose and easy under Yuta’s touch. But they’re both getting more and more desperate again, that impatience coming back, and Yuta almost wishes they could share Sicheng’s glorious body, two minds, two consciousnesses, one vessel, so they wouldn’t have to waste time with prep and positions and moving around, so they could always be joined, always together, so Yuta would never have to be apart from him again. Maybe they’ll get there someday. Sicheng tips his head up so sweetly and Yuta kisses him, slick mouth on Sicheng’s cherry lower lip, and when Sicheng moans, Yuta answers him, higher but just as needy.

Knowing he’s giving Sicheng pleasure is better than getting himself off, better than any direct touch, but Yuta’s cock is starting to ache, and Sicheng is squirming so much more now that Yuta knows neither of them can bear it, being separated for much longer than they have to be. He makes a noise to warn Sicheng and draws his fingers out, and Sicheng shudders, trusting but impatient, and watches hungrily as Yuta finds a condom and strips out of his briefs, kicking them aside.

And then, before Yuta can get around to putting the condom on himself, his eyes slip low and he sees Sicheng, really sees him, his long, elegant limbs spread out, chest rising and falling with his breath, and his cock— his cock, holy God, ‘work of art’ doesn’t begin to describe it, just like the rest of him it’s long and narrow and flushed so perfectly at the head, and Yuta’s mouth waters, his eyes blur for a moment with pure unfiltered desire, and he reaches out for him, curling his fingers around his base and stroking up just to see how Sicheng will react.

“Ah— please,” Sicheng says, and his cock jumps in Yuta’s touch. Yuta’s in love with it. Other than Sicheng, it’s the prettiest thing he’s ever seen, and Sicheng must be able to see how badly Yuta wants to get off-track, because he presses a bony knee into Yuta’s side and shakes his head, starting to frown. “Later. As much as you want.”

“I’m holding you to that,” Yuta pouts, but he loves that Sicheng can read him, guess what he wants, and is back to smiling in another moment, sitting up and holding his hands out for Sicheng to take.

Sicheng pulls himself up and they curl into each other, kissing as Yuta tugs Sicheng into his lap, side-saddle this time, his legs horizontal across Yuta’s thighs. Yuta kisses him for as long as he can stand it, then very gently nudges him to get him to break away. When Sicheng moves away slightly, Yuta gestures with his eyes to the side of the room, and Sicheng follows his gaze, shuddering as soon as he makes eye contact with himself in the mirror.

“You didn’t forget, did you?” Yuta says, almost teasing, and helps them both move until Yuta’s sitting on the edge of the bed, feet braced on the floor, Sicheng in his lap, restless with his back against Yuta’s chest. “Look at yourself, angel. Look how beautiful you are already. See?”

He leans his chin over Sicheng’s shoulder and watches Sicheng’s eyes as Sicheng stares, hypnotized, at the slide of Yuta’s hand up the flat of his stomach to his chest, then down along his shoulder and his arm, curling around his wrist, lacing their fingers together then releasing. Sicheng’s hand stays suspended in mid-air but Yuta’s goes back down, walking down the smooth v-lines of his hips to his gorgeous thighs, carved from the softest marble, and they tremble under Yuta’s touch, sensitive.

“You’re beautiful,” Yuta murmurs. “You know that, don’t you? I don’t want you to look away from yourself for even a second when I’m inside you. I know I won’t look away from you the whole time, either.”

“Then— do it,” Sicheng says, struggling to get it out but tone decisive, and it’s so hot, so hot that he’s struggling with himself over this but his desire wins out in the end, he turns himself on too much to be able to overthink this, and Yuta presses his face into the back of Sicheng’s shoulder for a moment, then helps Sicheng up just enough for Yuta to be able to open up the condom package and roll it onto himself.

“You control the pace,” Yuta tells him, trying to keep his voice as steady as he can, at least for now. He won’t be able to once he gets in Sicheng, he’s sure of it, but somehow he doubts Sicheng will mind. Sicheng nods in acknowledgment and waits for Yuta to line himself up, and Yuta holds his breath and holds still, leaning his head to the side so he can watch as Sicheng starts to seat himself back.

Yuta’s thick, but that sound Sicheng makes isn’t in response to the sensation — at least, it might have been at first, but then he catches a glimpse of what his face is doing, that slack-jawed bright-eyed pleasure, and his cheeks go redder but he doesn’t look away. Yuta can’t take his eyes off, either. Sicheng’s concentrating, eyebrows pulling together, one quirked higher than the other, and his mouth is so red and so wet, soft breaths huffing out of him, and everything, everything is too perfect, the line of his neck, the arch of his waist, the dishevelment of his hair where he’d fallen back against the pillows upon first making it on the bed — he takes Yuta’s cock fully, and Yuta has to brace himself with one hand back against the duvet, the other curling around Sicheng’s hipbone to guide him.

“Oh, God,” Sicheng says breathlessly.

Yuta groans in agreement. Sicheng is so tight around him, it’s been so long since Yuta’s actually gotten laid, not just talked someone lonely through an orgasm or two, and Sicheng’s eyelids are fluttering but he’s keeping his eyes on himself, just as Yuta had told him to. Sicheng’s hip flexes under Yuta’s hand and he rocks back and forth on Yuta’s dick, a muffled, low moan rumbling through his chest, and Yuta squeezes his hip.

“Don’t be shy,” he reminds. “My beautiful— my beautiful baby. Don’t you want to put on a show for yourself? You’ve always known you look so good when you get fucked, now prove it to yourself, lemme see you.”

Sicheng ducks his head, panting, and Yuta is about to start begging him to watch himself when he sees what Sicheng is doing — he’s looking up at his reflection through those long, pretty eyelashes, almost coy, teasing himself, flirting with himself, and Yuta has a fucking front-row seat to a peep show so beautiful he definitely isn’t worthy of seeing it, but Sicheng chose him, chose him to be the one to help Sicheng with this, wants him there. Wants him. Yuta moans, braces himself back, fucks up into him, and Sicheng shudders, his hands flexing nervously at his sides until he takes that leap and touches himself, one hand splayed out on his lower stomach and the other dragging up from his chest to the side of his neck.

“That’s right, look at how fucking good you look, so fucking pretty, never seen anyone like you, your eyes, your jaw, your hands, every single feature is better on you than it’s ever been on anyone before,” Yuta encourages, and it’s so much like talking to him on the phone but so different now that Sicheng is fucking himself on Yuta’s dick and oh-so-shyly rubbing his hand up and down his own thigh, the movements of his body smooth and fluid and natural, like he knows how to fuck, knows how to make himself feel good. Yuta’s so jealous of everyone else who’s ever gotten to touch him that he gets dizzy on it, leans forward to be able to breathe in against his skin, remind himself that he’s there now, that he’ll never let Sicheng go if he can help it. “See? See what I mean?”

Sicheng nods on a breathless noise, leaning back against Yuta, and his eyes dart over to meet Yuta’s in the mirror for a second. “I look good?”

Fuck, Sicheng, you know you do,” Yuta moans. “My angel’s a fucking centerfold, you’re the hottest thing I’ve ever seen, not gonna even be able to talk if I keep looking at you. Sometimes I can barely talk when I just think about you and now you’re on me, I’m in you, and look at that face, look at how you can move your body— you’ll kill me.”

“But talking is— is your job,” Sicheng points out, almost pouty, or maybe that’s just his face. Yuta wants to learn when he’s making an expression or when his face is just resting, he wants to learn it all, he’s so greedy for everything about him, everything, all of it. Then Yuta lifts his hips, almost bounces Sicheng in his lap, and Sicheng’s head falls back for a moment, throat bobbing on a harsh swallow, and he’s staring at himself again in another second, as dazed and dazzled as he should be.

Yuta’s past the point of no return. Sicheng is too tight around him, wet enough and loose enough and feeling so amazing, and his whole body is aching with it, he can’t stop grinding his hips up even as Sicheng rolls himself down. “I’m gonna have to quit, I’m not gonna be able to talk to anyone else without thinking about you, it’s unfair,” he says, and Sicheng takes in a rough inhalation, tilting his head the other way to see what it’ll do to the planes of his face, how his jaw will catch the light like he’s trying to find a good photo angle. “Told you, Sicheng, you’re it for me, this is all I can do now, tell you how beautiful you are. That’s all I am now. I’ll quit, you’re all I have, there’s no one who could do it for me the way you do.”

“I think I like you a lot,” Sicheng says, gasping in breaths. “How— how do you feel about monogamy?”

Very positive. You can move in whenever you want,” Yuta offers instantly, similarly out of breath, fucking into Sicheng harder now. “I don’t care if you like me or if you just like the way I make you feel— you deserve to feel like this all the time, Sicheng, I’m yours and yours only, for life if you want it.”

“Good,” Sicheng says, and he’s fully leaned back on Yuta now, letting Yuta support his weight as he rolls his hips down and Yuta thrusts up. Yuta’s watching his face, and Sicheng is watching himself with so much undisguised fascination, letting his mouth fall further open on his moans, finally curling a hand around his own cock and stroking slow, every movement calculated to be as beautiful as possible, and Yuta can’t get enough, loves seeing what Sicheng likes to see himself doing.

“This is the only way you’ll ever get me to fuck you from behind,” Yuta adds, strained. “Only like this. So I can see your face. It’s so good you like being looked at because I love looking at you. You’re so pretty. So pretty, Sicheng. Why are you so pretty?”

Sicheng’s reluctant to say it, his cheeks go redder again, but finally he exhales shakily and says, “I don’t know, I— I just am.”

Yuta moans, and Sicheng moans, too, each one’s enthusiasm only making the other one more enthusiastic. It’s fucked up, this cycle they have going, where Sicheng’s getting off on himself and Yuta’s getting off on that, but at the end of the day, it’s Yuta’s cock that’s making Sicheng shudder, spread his gorgeous legs wider, arch up, keen quietly from the back of his throat and dissolve into shaky little moans when Yuta praises how beautiful he sounds, just as beautiful as he looks, as amazing as he feels.

This is Yuta’s first time fucking anyone in front of a mirror, but now that he’s with Sicheng, he knows he’ll never go back to anything else. He can see everything, the drive of his cock in and out of Sicheng’s tight body, the way his fingertips dig into the flesh of Sicheng’s hip, the flush stealing down Sicheng’s throat, how Sicheng’s eyes are glassy and fever-hot, the way he moans whenever he makes eye contact with himself. Small details, too, the pull of Sicheng’s fingers at the sheet of the bed, a strand of hair falling loose over his eyebrow again, the rub of his long thumb over the sensitive spot below the crown of his cock.

“Pretty,” Yuta says, hoarse, desperate, so close to coming but he doesn’t care, he’d stay on edge for hours if Sicheng wanted him to, he’d do anything for him, anything. “You’re so beautiful. Thank you for being in my life, you gave me everything, look at that gorgeous face— so pretty, you’re so fucking beautiful, most beautiful, most gorgeous, can’t believe I have you, the most beautiful boy in the whole entire world and you’re in my bed, don’t know how I’m keeping it together. Sicheng— fuck, Sicheng, you’re so beautiful.”

His words are barely coherent by now, but Sicheng doesn’t look like he can listen too well anyway, curled back against Yuta and quivering with each movement of their bodies together. Yuta strains up and forward to kiss him, the side of his neck, the back of his ear, nipping and mouthing however he can, desperate for any taste of him. Sicheng moans, that low, weak moan that Yuta knows means Winwin’s close, and that’s all Yuta wants, all he wants is to make this beautiful creature feel so good.

Sicheng has to come first. This is all about him, he’s so beautiful, trembling in Yuta’s lap just like Yuta’s always wanted him to, Yuta can tell he loves the feeling of being stretched open and spread wide while Yuta worships him with his hands and his words, and he looks so good, he looks so so good, beyond pornographic with that red fucking mouth and his heavy-lidded eyes and his long-fingered hand touching himself, the way his thighs shake on each down-thrust, and he meant it when he’d said he was Yuta’s, now Yuta gets to do this, next maybe he really will eat him out for an hour, he’ll get to see Sicheng gloriously fucked-out and dazed, and Sicheng’s already there now, his head lolling back for a moment and a low, desperate noise rumbling out of him, and— and Yuta comes, just from looking at Sicheng’s reflection in the mirror and the curves of his beautiful skin in his peripheral vision, didn’t mean to, hadn’t planned to yet, but all of a sudden he’s choking back a gasp and digging his fingers into Sicheng’s hip and fucking up, up into him, as he rides it out.

When he can see more clearly again, blinking bleary eyes that hadn’t once strayed from Sicheng, and he’s panting into the back of Sicheng’s shoulder, he feels— selfish, embarrassed, he came in minutes like a kid, like he’s the virgin, like he can’t do better. He looks up at Sicheng’s face, an apology ready on his breathless tongue, but finds that Sicheng is somehow so worked up, so excited, his eyes all alight, lips trembling on his harsh inhalations and his hands restless, tugging at his cock, skimming over his thighs, his chest, running back to try and touch Yuta, too. “Did you come?” Sicheng asks, squirming back to push himself deeper on Yuta’s dick while he can.

Yuta doesn’t understand at first. Why is Sicheng this worked up about how Yuta couldn’t keep himself together long enough to actually show Sicheng a good time? It’s not Yuta’s fault, he likes Sicheng too much, he was overwhelmed by the show he was getting— and then Yuta understands, only delayed by the post-orgasm fog making everything blurry. Before, Sicheng had only had words as evidence for Yuta’s interest in him; maybe some actions, that whole business with the lemon. But now, now that Yuta finally got the chance to fuck him and kinda blew it by getting too overexcited, now it’s undeniable. Yuta couldn’t stop himself from coming, because seeing Sicheng in the flesh, feeling him, had been too much, and now Sicheng has proof that Yuta’s meant every damn word he’s said. No wonder he’s excited.

“I did,” he confirms, a little hoarse. “I told you, didn’t I?”

“Told me what?” Sicheng whispers. He’s staring at his reflection, and even though Yuta’s mostly motionless, he’s still stroking himself off, slower now. Waiting for Yuta to talk to him. To tell him.

And now that Yuta’s mind is clearer, now that he doesn’t feel like he’ll shatter apart and die if he has to be separated for Sicheng even for a minute, he can actually do it. Again, he has the power, he knows what Sicheng likes. And it’s not a game, it’s not a struggle, this is his real life — day one. “Told you,” he repeats softly, his hands sliding around to rest on Sicheng’s hips. “You’re too powerful. I can’t resist you. Look what you did to me, made me go crazy for you. I’ve never been like this with anyone before. Nobody’s ever had this effect on me. I knew the second you walked in that you’d change my life.”

He slides his hands up Sicheng’s body, one hand pushing Sicheng’s away from his cock so Yuta can stroke him instead, the other just feeling his beautiful skin. Sicheng shudders, his hips pushing up into Yuta’s hold, and Yuta’s still inside him with no plans to pull out so long as Sicheng’s letting him stay there. While he starts to stroke him, Sicheng’s cock velvet-soft to the touch and straining hard, he presses his cheek to the side of Sicheng’s neck and fits his mouth to the soft curve of his shoulder. Right next to him, right above him, Sicheng breathes in all shaky, a half-formed word almost like please, and Yuta never, ever needs to be asked twice; he lets his teeth catch on his gorgeous shoulder before he lets go and hugs Sicheng closer against himself so he can talk right up against his ear.

“Look at that face,” he murmurs. “I mean it. That’s what I want you to do. Look at your jaw, look at your nose, the way your lips curve. Your eyes look so smart, they’re so expressive, so beautiful. I like you so much I think it might be more, Sicheng. I’ve never felt this way about anyone. I’ve never been in love before. But I think this is it.”

Sicheng makes a small noise and tries to look away, cheeks flushing redder, but Yuta’s other hand comes up to grasp him by his narrow chin and turn his head so he’ll face the mirror again. Sicheng moans in response, squirming, and Yuta kisses adoringly behind his ear, pets his hand down Sicheng’s throat once he’s sure he won’t try to turn away again.

“Look,” Yuta repeats. “There’s only so much I can say about you. You know it all already. Have you ever seen anyone who looks as good as you before? Hmm?”

Sicheng struggles, just a little, and his cock is so stiff in Yuta’s palm, the tops of Yuta’s fingers wet as Yuta strokes him faster, all up and down that beautiful curved length. Finally, he shakes his head no, and Yuta kisses the bolt of his jaw and Sicheng moans again, faltering, flustered, helpless.

“That’s right. No one looks as good as you. When Winwin would make me tell him about how handsome he was, I’d get mad, since I knew nobody could look as good as you,” Yuta says, and Sicheng loves that, the crazy cognitive dissonance of Yuta pitting two versions of Sicheng against themselves with the real Sicheng ending up the winner exactly what he needs to hear. “You weren’t jealous of yourself as Winwin, were you? That I was telling you how gorgeous you were but I didn’t actually have the privilege of knowing how you look, so I might have been praising someone else instead of you?”

“Yeah— yes, I was,” Sicheng gasps. He’s so restless in Yuta’s lap, trying to press his thighs together but then spreading them wider again the next breath over, and Yuta’s heard him make all manner of noises on the phone, low, slow moans and quiet breaths and quiet mumbled encouragements, but never has he heard him sound like this, so airy and needy and imploring. He’s losing it, Yuta realizes, and strokes him with even more purpose, dragging his thumb over the head on the up-stroke, not squeezing too tight, letting Sicheng grind up when he needs to thrust deeper.

“Don’t be jealous,” Yuta soothes. “Don’t worry. Look at that face. You think I’d ever be able to want anyone else after seeing you? You’re so hot. You’re so beautiful. Sicheng, you’re so beautiful, look how beautiful you are.”

“I am,” Sicheng says, and he’s so turned on that his voice is higher, whinier.

“You’re beautiful, or you’re looking?” Yuta says, very gently teasing, and that works, too, making Sicheng moan, his eyes slipping closed for a moment before he remembers to make himself look. “It’s so hot that you know you’re beautiful. Everything about you drives me so fucking crazy. Do you believe me?”

“I believe you,” Sicheng says.

“Are you beautiful?”

Sicheng moans, his back arching, his noises raspy and high and so plaintive, so sweet. “I’m beautiful,” he repeats, dazed.

Yuta makes a low noise, contrasting with Sicheng, and draws his hand up, twisting, coaxing his pleasure out of him. “So beautiful. Stunning. Out-of-this-world. Look at that pretty face. Lemme see all of you. You have such a sexy neck, your teeth are so hot, look at your chest, your dick, will you please fuck me later? Bet you look so fucking good on top. You look so good all the time.”

Sicheng’s trembling so much by now, and Yuta’s still inside him, softening but still hard enough to thrust up and give Sicheng something to rub down on, and for Yuta it’s verging on oversensitivity but for Sicheng it’s perfect, making him tighten and shiver and curl back against him. It seems like he wants something, he’s whimpering almost with purpose, and Yuta, so tuned into his wavelength, figures it out in another second and tilts Sicheng’s chin back again and leans forward and kisses him.

They kiss with their eyes open, both looking to the side, watching the mirror, watching as Yuta licks into Sicheng’s mouth and Sicheng rocks forward-back, forward to fuck into Yuta’s fist, back to let Yuta push deep into him again, and Yuta sucks at Sicheng’s thick lower lip and breathes, “You’re just so fucking pretty,” and Sicheng moans and presses against him so fucking desperate and starts to spill all over his hand, splattering over his own torso, Yuta’s hand working him fast and getting him messy, drips down to his thighs, until Sicheng’s done, every last drop out, and he’s gasping so beautifully against Yuta’s mouth, ragged cut-off soundbites, perfect music, a one-angel choir.

Sicheng kisses him, slick and slow and easy, until they end up back on Yuta’s bed, all tangled up together as close as they can possibly be. Sicheng is glowing, radiant, when they pull apart for air his beautiful eyes are so content, so sated, and Yuta can’t bear to be apart so he kisses him again, his hands pulling Sicheng closer as Sicheng holds onto him, too, brushing careful fingers through Yuta’s hair and letting Yuta gentle him down.

“I’d like—” Sicheng, mouth evidently dry, turns his head and clears his throat, and Yuta can’t stop smiling, waits patiently for him to finish. “I’d like to book another session.”

Yuta laughs, deliriously happy, and presses his forehead against Sicheng’s. “Really? Didn’t just want a one-off? I don’t usually do in-person, you know.”

“I know. But I think you should take a chance,” Sicheng says. As he catches his breath, the more he starts opening up, his personality coming back out, and Yuta can’t wait to get to know him, to find out all about what he studies, what he does, where he goes, what he wants. His sense of humor, his music taste, everything, everything. Can’t wait to argue with him over dishwashing habits and let Sicheng win every single one of their fights. Peanut already loves him, Yuta just knows it, and Yuta loves him even more.

“Were you thinking once weekly? Twice?” Yuta says, so happy, smiling so wide.

Sicheng hums very softly, turning his head to bump the tips of their noses together. “Daily, actually. If that’s okay.”

“Sicheng,” Yuta laughs, and if Sicheng had been beautiful when he was frowning, when he was coming, it has nothing on how he looks when he smiles.

“Well?”

Yuta kisses him again. Doesn’t want to pull away, not now, not ever.

“I think I can make that work,” he murmurs. “Sicheng?”

Sicheng makes an even softer noise to let him know he’s listening.

Yuta presses his lips to Sicheng’s temple, the slope of his nose, the corner of his mouth. Takes in a quiet breath and listens to the thrum of Sicheng’s heart under his skin.

“Thank you for calling me.”