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I want you, I'll color me blue

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taehyung [02:49]
hey dude are u awake
sry in advance if u don’t have your phone on silent and this wakes u up
shit i hope this doesnt wake u up
actualky u know what just ignore this
nvm!
ok goodnight sweet dreams
<3
lol
sorry again

 

Jeongguk squints at his phone, watching the messages pop up one after another. After the final “sorry again bro,” Taehyung types for a long time, three little dots blinking next to his name. Then the dots disappear. Reappear. Disappear again, this time for good. Jeongguk waits, but Taehyung doesn’t send anything else.

 

jeongguk [02:51] 
Uh
Are you okay
 
taehyung [02:51] 
oh!!
yup! totally fine
no worries
you were sleeping right
sorry man go back to sleep
 
jeongguk [02:52]
No i’m awake now
Whats up
 
taehyung [02:52]
nothing srsly go bck to sleep
 
jeongguk [02:52]
Where are you
 
taehyung [02:54]
in bed
 
jeongguk [02:54]
Dude u have ur location shared with me u realize i can check right
 
taehyung [02:54] 
then Why Did You Ask
 
jeongguk [02:55]
Are you at the pool?????
It’s almost 3am what are you doing at the pool
 
taehyung [02:55]
vibing
 
jeongguk [02:55]
Are you drunk
 
taehyung [02:56]
djfdjfjdfj no oh my god
i’m just. i couldn’t sleep ok
so i’m chilling here
it’s rly calming you should try it sometime
 
jeongguk [02:57]
Ok, I’m On my way!
*omw
 
taehyung [02:57]
I DIDN’T MEAN RIGHT NOW

 

Jeongguk doesn’t bother replying. He fumbles around in the dark for a pair of pants, stuffs his feet into his loafers, and slips out of his suite. The Jijang Mountain Ski Resort is massive—luxury inns, lodges, and private residences, multiple pools and saunas, nine separate slopes. Jeongguk’s family is staying at the same inn as Taehyung’s, which is how they met. Somehow only a week ago.   

 

The gym and indoor pool are on the below-ground floor. One silent elevator ride and Jeongguk’s heading down the wide, dark hallway toward the pool, which is definitely not open to guests after eight p.m., there are like fifteen signs.

 

But of course he finds the door unlocked.

 

He slips inside. It’s about ten degrees warmer in here than in the hallway and even darker. The only source of light is coming from the underwater pool lights, the water itself reflecting in silvery patterns on the walls.

 

And there’s Taehyung. Sitting at the edge of the pool, legs in the water. He turns around when the heavy steel door falls shut behind Jeongguk.

 

“Shouldn’t that door be locked?” Jeongguk asks. His voice echoes faintly.

 

“What, have you not sweet-talked your way into an employee keycard yet? Amateur hour.”

 

Jeongguk rolls his eyes. He thinks maybe Taehyung doesn’t realize that not everybody has that magic power, the one where all he has to do is look at you a certain way, with a certain darkness in his eyes, and it makes you want to give him anything. Everything.

 

Instead of replying, Jeongguk pads over to join Taehyung at the edge of the pool. Taehyung’s wearing nothing but a big, loose T-shirt and boxers, his sweatpants abandoned on one of the bamboo lounge chairs. It would be weird if Jeongguk kept his pants on. A normal person would take their pants off in this situation without thinking twice, so that’s what Jeongguk is going to do. He shimmies out of his jeans as quickly and gracefully as possible, tossing them onto one of the chairs, and lowers himself down beside Taehyung, keeping a careful person-width between them. The water is warm when he dips his legs in, underwater lights making his calves and feet look unnaturally pale. Tinged aquamarine blue. He breathes in and the thick, humid air tastes like salt.

 

He looks up and Taehyung is watching him.

 

“You didn’t have to come,” Taehyung says.

 

Jeongguk shrugs one shoulder.

 

“You should be asleep, dude. Isn’t your mom dragging you to that local porcelain exhibition thing tomorrow morning? Today morning?”

 

“In like four hours, yeah.” The museum was all the way down the mountain, a two-hour drive. Jeongguk’s mom told him to be ready to go at seven.

 

“You should be asleep.”

 

“So should you,” says Jeongguk. They’re both speaking quietly, but their voices are still echoing off the walls a little, the way everything echoes in places like this, hollow dark places with water. “Why aren’t you?”

 

It’s Taehyung’s turn to shrug. “Couldn’t turn my brain off,” he says, eyes on his lap. “I tried to get some work done, because god knows I wouldn’t be able to this weekend, but I couldn’t concentrate. But I also couldn’t sleep. So. I came here.”

 

“And you texted me.”

 

“And I—yeah.”

 

It feels important. It feels like that means something. But Jeongguk does this: he finds meaning where it doesn’t exist. Jimin once said it’s because Jeongguk is a romantic. Privately, Jeongguk thinks it’s just because he’s dumb and wants the world to be nicer and more magical than it is. Maybe Jimin would say, Same thing. But when Jeongguk thinks romance, he thinks candlelight and expensive wine and beds strewn with red rose petals. He thinks Titanic. He thinks Dramatic Lead Crying in the Rain. He thinks bells. He wants some of that, but in a distant way. It doesn’t feel relevant to his everyday life. This is what feels relevant: six days ago, crowded elevator, Taehyung pressed against his side. Three days ago, late night in front of the big hearth in the common area, nobody else around, sharing a blanket, knees touching, talking, getting sleepy, leaning sideways. Resting his head on Taehyung’s shoulder. Closing his eyes. Taehyung on the slopes, a spray of snow, laugh shattering the frozen air, Taehyung in the lobby dressed to kill, Taehyung in a hotel bed bent over the room service menu, whining I don’t want sea urchin with a light dressing of Jeju orange and pine nut, I want pizza.

 

Jeongguk is dumb and wants the world to be nicer and more magical than it is. He wants everything Taehyung does, every sidelong glance and casual touch, to mean something. He wants a lot.

 

“’M gonna...,” he mumbles, and slides off the edge of the pool into the water.

 

It only comes up to his chest here, but he takes a breath and ducks under anyway, letting the water close over his head. Eyes squeezed shut, a moment of silence and perfect stillness. Then he breaks the surface again and the world pours back in. Wet hair in his eyes. His mom keeps telling him he needs a haircut, keeps wrinkling her nose at his long dark curls. He shakes himself out like a dog and runs a hand through his hair, pushing it back up off his forehead.

 

This is a saltwater pool, not chlorine. His lips taste like the ocean.

 

Blinking water out of his eyes, he turns to Taehyung. “You coming?”

 

“Yeah,” Taehyung says after a pause, and follows him in.

 

Taehyung doesn’t go all the way under. He stays near the edge, one hand curled over the lip of the pool. His eyes are big and dark and fixed on Jeongguk’s face.

 

Jeongguk swallows. He feels anxious with those eyes on him, all shifty and restless. Is he being awkward? Should he say something? Probably someone else could have Taehyung laughing right now. Someone else could make him forget about whatever was keeping him up so late. Jimin would offer hugs, Namjoon would offer a listening ear, but Jeongguk’s chickening out. Freezing up.

 

“Do you wanna play a game?” he blurts, too loud.

 

Taehyung blinks. “Like what, Marco Polo?”

 

“No, like, I don’t know, Truth or Dare.” It’s the first game that comes to mind, but the second he says it he wants to cringe. He’s twenty-three. He hasn’t played Truth or Dare since, what, freshman year of college? And that was Truth or Drink at Jimin’s birthday party, and it was just a joke, just their core group winding down and being silly at the end of the night.

 

“I don’t know how many dares we could do in here,” says Taehyung.

 

“Okay, how about Truth or.....” Jeongguk looks around. “Truth or Step Back. Like, take a step back toward the deep end.”

 

“I like that,” Taehyung says. “Very low stakes. I don’t wanna get my hair wet, though.”

 

“You don’t have to. It’s just a game. Just wanna get your brain to think about something other than—whatever you were thinking about. Right?”

 

Taehyung looks almost surprised. “Oh,” he says softly. “Yeah. Thank you. Um—thanks, man.”

 

“You first then.”

 

“Why me first?”

 

Jeongguk leans back a little, waving his arms like slow wings underwater, feeling the water pressure in his cupped palms. “Just ‘cause. C’mon, dude, think of a truth.”

 

“Okay, okay, thinking.”

 

Taehyung pushes off the edge and makes his way over to Jeongguk, stopping an arm’s length away. His shirt is pale yellow, not see-through, but clinging to his chest and collarbones in a way that means it doesn’t need to be. He’s lit pale blue from below, caustic white light reflected on the underside of his chin. It’s dark all around them, but the pool is this pale glowing jewel. Fractals of light on the walls. If the water were any cooler, Jeongguk would shiver. He still might.

 

“Got it,” says Taehyung. “Okay, Truth or Step Back?”

 

“Truth,” says Jeongguk.

 

“What’s your favorite memory?”

 

“Out of—all of them?”

 

Flicker of a smile. “Yeah, all of them.”

 

“I thought you were just gonna ask me about the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done or whatever.”

 

“Would you rather talk about the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?”

 

“No,” Jeongguk says quickly. “No no, I’ll do this one.” There are too many embarrassing things to choose from. Like 99% of his interactions with Taehyung, for example, which is maddening, because Taehyung is one of those people who don’t do embarrassing things simply by virtue of being un-embarrassable. He drifts through life like some sort of beautiful golden jellyfish, completely removed from such base human concepts as shame or self-consciousness. Jeongguk is a lot more confident than he used to be—he’s no longer the kid who would fall silent for days at a time, muted by anxiety—but he’s not that. He’ll never be that.

 

Taehyung’s grinning at him.

 

Taehyung’s—oh. Taehyung’s grinning at him.

 

“...What?” Jeongguk asks. “Wait. Sorry. What? Did you say something? I kind of zoned out.”

 

“I could tell,” Taehyung says. “You do this... face.”

 

“Face?”

 

“Yeah, like....” He makes his jaw go all slack, staring into space with huge, blank bug eyes.

 

“Oh my god,” says Jeongguk, horrified. He turns away, covering his face with both hands. “Oh my god.”

 

“No, no no no, it’s not a bad thing,” comes Taehyung’s voice from behind him. “No, hey, I’m sorry, I don’t think I did it right. It’s not bad, it’s cute.”

 

Jeongguk shakes his head, trying to think of a chill way to say, Sorry, I need a few more seconds to deal with the fact that the single most stunning human being I have ever met thinks I look like a lobotomy victim. And like, it’s fine. It’s totally fine and he will get over it. Ten years from now, he will probably not even think about this moment more than three times per day. It’s just that right now he needs to have a quick crisis about it. That’s all.

 

“Hey,” Taehyung says, from much closer this time, and long fingers wrap around Jeongguk’s wrists. Gently, he pulls Jeongguk’s hands away from his face. He’s moved to stand right in front of Jeongguk, water lapping between them. “Hey, I’m really sorry. I wasn’t trying to make fun of you. It’s cute. Your face, I mean. Your thinking face.”

 

“Cute?”

 

“So cute.”

 

They’re so close together now. Taehyung’s grip shifts on Jeongguk’s wrists, but he doesn’t let go. He brushes his thumbs back and forth over the delicate skin just below Jeongguk’s palms, where the veins are. The pulse. His touch is feather-light, soothing, careful. Soft touch. Soft boy. Jeongguk feels dizzy.

 

“You don’t have to do your truth,” says Taehyung. “You can have a free pass if you want. Because I was mean.”

 

“You weren’t mean,” Jeongguk says quietly. “You’re not mean.”

 

“I was insensitive. I should’ve just said, ‘You do this face. I love looking at it.’”

 

Jeongguk swallows and Taehyung’s drop, catch, on the movement of his throat. “Um,” he says, and thank god his voice comes out steady, or at least something close. “Um. Favorite memory. Maybe just—home. Busan. When I was little. The beach in summer. My brother and I made dribble castles. You know, with wet sand, how you just...? We had contests for who could make the tallest castle and he let me win a lot. And we dug around trying to find abalones. We never found any, that’s not where they are. We just found pretty shells.”

 

“That’s a good memory.”

 

“Thank you,” Jeongguk says. “Um. Truth or Step Back?”

 

Taehyung smiles all lopsided. “Step Back.”

 

“What, you got something to hide?”

 

“Depends on what you were gonna ask me.”

 

“Step back, then.”

 

Still holding Jeongguk’s wrists, Taehyung takes a big step back, toward the deep end.

 

“No fair,” Jeongguk protests. The water’s at the base of his throat now. “You can’t take me with you, that’s not how it works.”

 

“Oh, my bad,” says Taehyung, and takes another step back, dragging Jeongguk along.

 

“Now you skipped my turn!”

 

“I’m a rulebreaker.”

 

“You are not,” says Jeongguk. He’s biting back what must be the biggest, dopiest grin. “You are not. You’re a mama’s boy. You’re a nerd.”

 

“Why can’t I be everything?”

 

Because I’m beginning to think you are. “Because—because.”

 

Taehyung hums. His eyes flick over Jeongguk’s face, considering, and then he lets go of Jeongguk’s wrists. Jeongguk tries not to look visibly disappointed. He lets his arms drop into the water again, fingers finding the hem of his shirt where it’s floating, drifting, around his navel. He pulls it down, smoothing it out over his lower belly, but it doesn’t stay.

 

“Truth or Step Back,” says Taehyung.

 

Jeongguk looks up again and is surprised to see Taehyung hasn’t moved away. They’re not touching anymore, but he’s still right there, so close. Jeongguk’s brain starts doing the hyperdrive thing: If Taehyung were someone else, some other friend, would this be weird? Would Jeongguk notice the closeness this much? Is he the only one noticing it? Is Taehyung like this with everyone?

 

He knows Taehyung’s into guys, or at least has been into at least one guy—he mentioned an ex, casually dropped a he, him. He also mentioned the ex was older. Twenty-eight to Taehyung’s then-twenty-one. It was fine at the time, he said; it was only later that he realized maybe it was weird. That maybe it wasn’t as fine as he thought.

 

It’s funny how they’re playing a game of confessions but everything Jeongguk’s dying to ask—Are you into guys in general, are you only into older men, could you ever be into me—is completely off-limits. Inappropriate. You can’t ask stuff like that. It has to be offered. Jeongguk knows how it works: knows how to feel someone out, read between their lines, decide if he feels safe, decide if he trusts them, casually drop the he him, the ex-boyfriend, establishing himself as This, silently asking Are you?

 

Maybe that’s what Taehyung was doing. When he mentioned the ex. But maybe it wasn’t. He’s so open about certain things, it’s hard to tell. Maybe he was offering, but maybe he was just being honest because that’s what he is; who he is.

 

“Truth,” says Jeongguk.

 

“You’re brave,” says Taehyung. “Okay. Worst hookup.”

 

“What?” Jeongguk squeaks.

 

“You said you wanted embarrassing.”

 

“I said I was expecting it, not that I wanted it!”

 

“You don’t have to answer,” Taehyung says, voice lowering into something more serious. “You can step back. Or not answer and also not step back. Whatever you want.”

 

Jeongguk wrinkles his nose. “You really are a rulebreaker.”

 

“No, it’s just that my rule is ‘Jeon Jeongguk can do whatever he wants.’”

 

“Oh.” Jeongguk ducks his head, cheeks hot, but they’re standing so close together his wet hair skims Taehyung’s jaw. He straightens up, murmuring ah, sorry. Taehyung just hums and reaches up between them, brushing Jeongguk’s bangs away from his forehead. He tucks a long curl behind Jeongguk’s ear, fingers light and wet on the curve of Jeongguk’s neck, and then pulls away again, hands slipping beneath the water, turning pale pale blue.

 

There’s a tug in Jeongguk’s belly, way down deep. An ache, warm like the water. Hot.

 

He’s supposed to be answering a question.

 

“Worst hookup,” he says, because god knows Jeon Jeongguk has never backed down from a challenge. “Okay. It’s not that interesting, just warning you in advance. Um. It was my junior year of high school. There was this, um—,” and of course that’s when he realizes: he hasn’t actually offered this yet. Taehyung gave him the he him, the I was young and stupid, he was a lot older, but Jeongguk never actually gave anything in return. “This boy,” he mumbles, skin prickling hot all over, avoiding Taehyung’s eyes. “Um. He was a senior. From another school, but we went to the same cram school. So I saw him a lot. And we started, um. Doing that. Not a lot, but like, pretty often. He lived close to the school and his parents worked really late, so yeah. And at first it was just, um, beginner stuff, but one night we decided to—you know. All the way. So we did, and it was like—fine, I guess. That wasn’t the bad part. But then his mom came home early. She didn’t catch us or anything, we were already done. But it was so awkward. He told her I was a friend and we had this whole conversation about like, what I was studying, what I wanted to do in uni, stuff like that, and it was so obvious Seojun and I knew fuck-all about each other, and the whole time I was sitting there thinking, Twenty minutes ago your son was inside me. I was so scared I was going to like, lose my mind and say it out loud. And it was my first time doing that, and I’d—you know, been the, um, the receiver, and it hurt. I was making small talk with his mom and it hurt. I was sitting on a wooden chair.”

 

Taehyung makes a low noise.

 

“That was the last time we ever messed around,” Jeongguk says. “We barely even looked at each other after that. I think we were both pretty traumatized. So. Yeah. Worst hookup.”

 

“Jesus Christ,” says Taehyung.

 

Jeongguk realizes far too late that Taehyung was probably looking for a funny story. “Sorry,” he says in a rush, embarrassed all over again. “Sorry, that was—way too much, sorry. I can think of a different one.”

 

“How many bad hookup stories do you have?”

 

Oh, great, now the beautiful boy thinks Jeongguk’s bad at sex. “Not that many!” he says. “Not that many. A normal amount. And I—I have good stories, too.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah.” Too breathy.

 

“Tell me a good one, then.”

 

Jeongguk bites his lip. Shakes his head. “It’s your turn. Truth or Step Back.”

 

“Truth,” says Taehyung.

 

“What were you thinking about earlier? When you couldn’t sleep?”

 

Taehyung stares at him for a long moment.

 

Then takes a step back.

 

“Sorry,” Jeongguk starts, worried he’s crossed a line, but Taehyung doesn’t look upset. If anything he’s almost smiling, this faint, tiny thing, sweet and secretive.

 

“I’ll tell you later,” Taehyung says. “I will. Okay?”

 

“Okay,” says Jeongguk, and shivers.

 

“Are you cold?”

 

“Yes,” he lies.

 

“Do you wanna get out?”

 

“No.”

 

“C’mere, then.” Taehyung beckons and Jeongguk, helpless, cuts through the water toward him, until they’re close again, their feet almost overlapping on the bottom of the pool. Taehyung gives Jeongguk’s shoulders a quick squeeze and runs his hands down Jeongguk’s upper arms like he’s trying to bring the circulation back. Jeongguk almost feels bad, because he’s really not cold, but Taehyung’s hands are big and warm and wet, sliding over his bare skin, and it’s all he can do to not shiver a second time. He wants those hands on his hips. His waist. His thighs. Everywhere. It’s humiliating: how much he wants from Taehyung. How much he would give. How eagerly he would give it.

 

Taehyung’s hands drift back to his shoulders and he squeezes again, fingers digging into Jeongguk’s muscles. It feels so good Jeongguk’s startled into gasping, eyes fluttering shut. A pause, and then Taehyung does it again, deeper and more purposeful, thumbing at the muscles just above Jeongguk’s collarbones. Trapezius, Jeongguk remembers distantly. He tips his head back. He always stretches after he works out, but this area is hard to stretch and impossible to foam roll, and it gets tight.

 

“Ah, right there,” he breathes when Taehyung’s grip shifts on his shoulder. “Right there—yeah. Sorry, I mean, you can stop. You don’t have to—oh.” He blinks up at the faraway ceiling, dazed and boneless. “Oh, shit.”

 

“They literally have a massage parlor here,” Taehyung murmurs. “What’ve you been doing, huh?”

 

“Didn’t know I was this tight.” He’s practically slurring. “Oh. Oh. Okay, okay, you can—you can stop.”

 

“Do you want me to?”

 

No, of course not. But also yes, because his boxers, clinging to his skin underwater, will hide nothing. “Yeah.”

 

Taehyung lets go immediately. In the absence of his hands Jeongguk really does feel cold. It takes him a minute to come back to himself, head lolling forward, muscles aching in that bone-deep, satisfying way. He kind of aches all over. His mouth feels like it’s never been kissed before. He wants Taehyung to touch him again. Anywhere.

 

Without thinking, he finds Taehyung’s hands in the water and guides them back up to his shoulders. He can hear Taehyung’s intake of breath. He’s staring at the hollow of Taehyung’s throat, the dip of his collarbones, the smooth tan skin flecked with droplets of water. Taehyung’s hands are hot hot hot through the thin, wet material of Jeongguk’s T-shirt; when he spreads his fingers, his thumbs are on Jeongguk’s bare skin again and Jeongguk squirms, wants, aches, presses up into it.

 

“Guk,” Taehyung says, and Jeongguk lifts his head. 

 

They’re so close he can feel Taehyung’s shaky exhale on his chin. On his lips. Even in the dark, lit only from below with ghostly light, Taehyung is something past beautiful. The curve of his jaw, the length of his throat, broad shoulders, solid chest, wiry-strong in some places and soft in others. Honey-colored hair shaken out over his forehead. Dark eyebrows, darker eyes. He was created to kiss and be kissed, Jeongguk’s sure of it.

 

“It’s my turn,” Jeongguk says into the quiet. “I pick Truth. Here’s a good hookup story: Family trip to this hot springs resort in Shikoku. There was this guy. Kept seeing him around. You know when you look at someone and they look back and you just know? That you want each other?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“That. For two days. I still remember—in the springs. He passed me on the way to his friends. Touched my knee underwater. For like a second. It was nothing. But I thought about it for hours. You know when someone touches you and it’s like your whole body is awake?”

 

“Yes,” says Taehyung, and brushes his thumb over Jeongguk’s collarbone, just once.

 

“He found me that night. It was like something out of a movie. We didn’t even talk. He just gave me this look and I got up and followed him. To his room. And—and there was all that buildup. All that, like, anticipation.” He tilts his chin up, meeting Taehyung’s eyes. Watching Taehyung watch him. “He fucked me slow,” Jeongguk says. “For hours. I thought it would be hard and fast, but it wasn’t. He spread me out on the bed and—and ate me out and nobody had ever done that before. I came like that. Then he fucked me. Real slow and deep. I felt him for days.”

 

“Is that how you like it,” Taehyung says.

 

Jeongguk nods. “I like it hard, too. But I really like when people—take their time.”

 

“You wanna be taken care of.”

 

“Yeah,” Jeongguk whispers. “But I can take care of you too, though.”

 

“Me?”

 

“I—,” he falters. “General you. You as in anyone.”

 

“I see.”

 

One of Taehyung’s hands has moved to the back of Jeongguk’s head. He’s playing with Jeongguk’s hair, winding wet curls around his fingers. It’s nothing and then it’s not. It’s nothing and then he’s sinking his fingers into Jeongguk’s hair and tugging gently, just enough to make Jeongguk tip his head back further, baring his throat.

 

“Tell me what else he did,” Taehyung says in his ear. “Tell me how he fucked you.”

 

Oh, god.

 

“Deep,” Jeongguk gasps. “He—I was lying on my stomach and he—took me from behind. I remember he had an arm under me. He pushed one of my legs up, like, as far as it could go, and he fucked into me like that. So slow. Almost too slow. I... I cried a little.”

 

“Just a little?” Taehyung’s hand tightens in Jeongguk’s hair.

 

Then he bends down, nose skimming the patch of bare skin on Jeongguk’s shoulder where the collar of his shirt is stretched out. Nose and then lips. The first kiss isn’t a kiss. It’s just Taehyung’s mouth hovering over Jeongguk’s skin, a flicker of warmth. It’s his other arm wrapping around Jeongguk’s lower back, pulling him in. It’s the way he nuzzles into the crook of Jeongguk’s neck and draws in a deep breath through his nose.

 

“More than a little,” Jeongguk says, dizzy.

 

“You smell like the ocean,” says Taehyung.

 

I taste like the ocean, too. He almost says it.

 

Instead, “Taehyung.”

 

“Mm?”

 

Taehyung’s lips on his neck.

 

“Tae—Taehyung.”  

 

Taehyung straightens up. He’s breathing quick and shallow. He searches Jeongguk’s face, gaze hot and dark, all pupil. “Is this okay?” he asks. “Are you okay?”

 

Jeongguk nods so hard his entire upper body moves with it. “Yes,” he says. “Yes, it’s just that first, first you have to—I want you to—Taehyung.”

 

Somehow, Taehyung understands. The hand in Jeongguk’s hair shifts to his face, fingertips light on his jaw, on the soft spot just below his ear. Taehyung’s thumb sweeps across Jeongguk’s bottom lip once, twice, and Jeongguk makes a breathy, cut-off noise, the kind of noise he’ll probably get embarrassed about later, and then Taehyung’s leaning in, brushing their noses together. Moving his thumb and finally, finally, replacing it with his mouth.

 

Jeongguk’s whole body is awake.

 

He arches into the kiss immediately, throwing one arm around Taehyung’s neck and letting his mouth fall open, too impatient to take it slow despite all his dirty pretty words. It’s Taehyung and Jeongguk wants him everywhere. Wants him deep, wants him now, wants him desperately, wants to know if he tastes like the ocean, too. Wants to taste the salt of him. And thank god, Taehyung seems to be on the same page. He wraps both arms around Jeongguk’s back, crushing Jeongguk to his chest, their wet shirts sticking weirdly, not that Jeongguk cares. Not that Jeongguk cares about anything other than Taehyung kissing him hard, kissing him fierce and messy, mouths open, lips catching over and over again, obscene little plucking sounds in the silence, saltwater splashing between them as they move together, echoing off the walls. Jeongguk moans against Taehyung’s lips and that echoes, too.

 

“Your mouth,” Taehyung breathes, and kisses him, and kisses him. Underwater, he runs his hands down Jeongguk’s sides. Jeongguk’s shirt is rucked up around his ribs, leaving his stomach exposed, and Taehyung palms at the naked curve of his waist, grips him there, tugs him impossibly closer.

 

Jeongguk has never kissed like this.

 

Never been kissed like this.

 

He rakes his fingers through Taehyung’s hair, leaving streaks of wet. He takes Taehyung’s face in his hands and holds him steady while he tilts his own head, sliding their lips together at an angle, making an offering of himself, shivering when Taehyung takes it. When Taehyung takes him, takes his mouth, opens him up with deep swirls of tongue, kisses him lush and wet and then lighter again, lingering, nipping at his bottom lip. Taehyung trails kisses from the corner of Jeongguk’s mouth to his ear, sucks Jeongguk’s earlobe into his mouth. Drags his open mouth down Jeongguk’s throat until Jeongguk’s whining and tugging at his hair. Then, laughing breathlessly, he comes back to Jeongguk’s lips, coaxes his mouth open again, slips back inside.  

 

Later, Jeongguk won’t remember how or when it happened, but one moment his hands are in Taehyung’s hair and the next they’re under Taehyung’s thighs, drawing first one leg up and then the other to wrap around his waist. Taehyung isn’t light but the water makes him almost weightless. Jeongguk’s holding him up, face tilted up to kiss him, Taehyung a dark curve over him, bending down. His arms around Jeongguk’s neck. His thighs tight around Jeongguk’s waist. He’s rocking into Jeongguk, sweet, helpless movements of his hips, and Jeongguk can feel him. The swell of him through his wet boxers, hot and heavy, pressing into Jeongguk’s stomach.

 

In the darkness, in the water, Jeongguk feels separate from reality. There’s nothing outside these walls; the pool is floating in space, suspended in some Matrix-style nowhere. The only things that exist are him and Taehyung and the water. Only three things exist, so of course Taehyung’s mouth is a revelation. Of course Jeongguk’s never felt like this before. Of course his heart is glass at the end of the glassblower’s pipe: glowing, white-hot, expanding into a new shape. He doesn’t remember moving, but suddenly Taehyung’s back is hitting the pool wall and he’s making a tiny, startled noise into Jeongguk’s mouth and then a louder, breathier one when Jeongguk heaves him up onto the ledge. Jeongguk follows immediately, vaulting out of the water and crawling over Taehyung’s body in a single movement. Taehyung falls back and Jeongguk just barely manages to get a hand under his head before he cracks his skull open on the tiled floor, but Taehyung doesn’t even seem to notice, just arches up into him, hands flying to his shoulders.

 

Jeongguk lowers himself down, bracing his elbows on either side of Taehyung’s head. For the first time since they started kissing, he gets a good look. At the wreck of Taehyung’s mouth. Wine-red and kiss-bruised, messy, smeared like paint. Taehyung is visibly trying to catch his breath. He swallows and Jeongguk hears his throat click.

 

“You wanna know what I was thinking about earlier?” Taehyung says.

 

His voice is low and rich. Smoky. Well-kissed.

 

Unable to form words, Jeongguk nods.

 

“You,” Taehyung breathes. “This. Just this. How much I wanted to kiss you. I was thinking about kissing you. Imagining what it would look like. Feel like.”

 

Jeongguk’s arms give out. He catches himself before actually crushing Taehyung under his weight, but ends up with his face buried in the crook of Taehyung’s neck. Taehyung’s arms come up to wrap around his back, one hand smoothing over his spine. It’s such a familiar touch. Somehow more intimate than the kissing. It’s how you’d touch a partner, someone whose body you know like your own, someone you touch all the time, absentmindedly, in every way. Not just sexual. Someone you love. Who you want to touch sweetly.

 

“Wanted you to kiss me,” Jeongguk whispers, lips catching on Taehyung’s skin. “The whole time. Since the first day.”

 

A week ago. Somehow only a week ago. When Jeongguk’s mom had returned from the slopes glowing, saying she’d run into an old friend from university, what are the chances. When Jeongguk introduced himself and Lee Eunju said she had a grown son around his age. When she said, He’s probably off playing in the snow with his little cousins. When she spotted him, Yah, Taehyung-ah! Come here!, when Jeongguk turned around and saw him and was struck dumb.

 

Oh my god, he remembers thinking. Oh my god.

 

“The first day?” Taehyung asks.

 

“First second.”

 

Taehyung’s hand pauses in its circuit up and down Jeongguk’s spine. When it starts up again the circuit changes; his hand lingers at the small of Jeongguk’s back. Slides briefly over the curve of his waist.

 

“Me too,” Taehyung murmurs. “Wanted to kiss you the whole time too. ’M sorry it took me a minute.”

 

It’s completely ridiculous that they’re having this conversation lying on the cold, puddly floor of an indoor pool. Even in the humid air Jeongguk’s wet T-shirt and boxers are chilly, sticking to his skin. It’s the same sensation as seaweed wrapping around your ankle in the ocean. Nothing about this is comfortable or pleasant.

 

Except for Taehyung, under him.

 

Jeongguk leans down.

 

He brings their mouths together slowly. The initial haze of desperation has cleared a little, and now Jeongguk tracks all the details he missed the first time: Taehyung’s nose pressing into his cheek, the flutter of eyelashes, the way Taehyung’s bottom lip is slightly chapped from the dry mountain air. His skin smells like saltwater and boy. His hair smells like almonds. He keeps pulling away every few seconds to look at Jeongguk’s face. Like he wants to remember it. Like that’s the best part of this. The fact that it’s Jeongguk.

 

At this point, Jeongguk would normally be kissing his way down someone’s bare chest. Fumbling with their belt. Not losing himself in their mouth, in the stutter of their breath on his lips. Part of it is that he doesn’t actually want Taehyung to fuck him on the floor of a public indoor pool, but mostly it’s that he just loves this. Could do this for hours, just this and nothing else. Taehyung’s fingers in his hair. Taehyung’s lips parting beneath his own, a flicker of tongue. It feels like fucking. A full-body ache. It feels like Taehyung is already inside him, has already taken him apart.

 

Between kisses, Taehyung murmurs, “I could do this for hours.”

 

Jeongguk almost laughs. He presses their foreheads together, takes a moment to steady himself.

 

“Don’t get me wrong,” says Taehyung, and tilts his chin up, catching Jeongguk’s mouth once, twice. “I do want to fuck you. Or be fucked by you, whatever you want. Your call.”

 

Sometimes arousal feels like a hunger pang. A deep pulse behind his navel, between his legs. Sometimes it feels like someone is plucking at a string inside him. Sometimes it feels like being hollowed, scraped out, his lower belly aching, hips twitching up into nothing, body restless and wanting. To be filled.

 

“So yeah, like. You are stunning and I want to do everything with you. But also, I don’t know, I could just kiss you all night. Or—it’s probably like four a.m. at this point. I could kiss you all morning. You know what I mean.”

 

“Yeah,” says Jeongguk. “Yeah. Yes. Me too. This is—it’s never felt like this before.” Taehyung is silent beneath him and he panics. “I mean—sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant....” He scrambles for a way to turn It’s never felt like this before into something with even a modicum of chill. Taehyung has probably felt like this before. “I meant....”

 

“You can mean it like that,” says Taehyung. “You don’t have to. But I’d like it if you did. Because same.”

 

Jeongguk closes his eyes. “I meant it like that,” he whispers.

 

“Same.”

 

A new question surfaces: What happens after? After the holiday ends? Three days from now, Jeongguk will be back at work. He and Taehyung are both based in Seoul, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to see each other. Jeongguk knows how flings work. Business trip flings, vacation flings. One night stands. He’s done them before. Byungwoo, Hanbin, Sanghoon. Weiguang in Beijing. Jaewon, one of the only other Koreans at a gallery launch in Chicago. Thuyết in Shikoku, in the hot springs.

 

They always had fun. Usually just for one or two nights. Byungwoo for three months, right after graduation. That was it. That was the longest. Three years ago, now. They called it off when Byungwoo caught feelings for a girl he knew; Jeongguk wished them the best and felt nothing. Marathoned Goblin and rewatched Kimi no Na wa for the thousandth time and wanted, quietly, to love. To be loved. Just not by Byungwoo.

 

By—

 

“Taehyung,” he says. “Do you wanna come back to my room? With me?”

 

He winces as soon as he says it. With me, yes, obviously. But Taehyung doesn’t tease him. Just smiles, eyes bright in the darkness, and says, “Yes.”

 

 

They kiss in the elevator.

 

In the hall outside Jeongguk’s suite: Jeongguk swiping his keycard with shaking fingers, Taehyung pressed up against his back, nosing at his hair.

 

In the entry well. Jeongguk doesn’t even flip on the light. They step inside and the door closes behind Taehyung and they’re facing each other, a couple feet apart. Blue moonlight from the windows at Jeongguk’s back.

 

“C’mere,” says Taehyung, and draws Jeongguk into his arms. Again familiar, again intimate. Just holding him. Jeongguk was expecting a kiss, but Taehyung just—holds him. Pulls him close. Jeongguk lets his fingers curl into the front of Taehyung’s shirt, lets his forehead drop onto Taehyung’s shoulder.

 

He shivers, a twitchy little thing.

 

Taehyung huffs a laugh against his ear. “Cold?”

 

“Yeah.” This time it’s true.

 

“You wanna shower?”

 

Jeongguk hesitates. It’s dumb. It’s not like he brought Taehyung up here for a fully-clothed cup of tea. They’re going to fuck, or at least fuck around, they’re going to see each other naked. Showering together shouldn’t be a problem. But maybe Jeongguk thought he’d have more time. To get over his nerves. To get used to the idea of Taehyung seeing him naked. He’s not self-conscious about his body; it’s more the concept of nudity itself, the experience of being spread out, flung open, laid bare. He wants Taehyung to kiss him and slide his hands up Jeongguk’s shirt and lay him out like that. He doesn’t want them to just strip down in the bathroom.

 

“By yourself,” Taehyung clarifies. “We can take turns. You mind lending me some clothes?”

 

“How are you so good at that,” says Jeongguk, and immediately wants to die.

 

“Good at what?”

 

“You know. When I’m....” He pulls back and makes his Zoning Out Face the way Taehyung did it earlier, eyes wide and glazed over.   

 

“Oh no,” Taehyung says. He reaches up to cup Jeongguk’s face in his hands, squishing his cheeks a little. “No, I told you I did it wrong. It doesn’t look like that. You don’t look like that. You just look sweet.” He kisses Jeongguk. Murmurs against his lips, “Sweet boy. Sweet pretty boy. You’re so good.”

 

Horrifyingly, that makes Jeongguk’s eyes sting. He focuses on kissing Taehyung back, opening up for him.

 

I really like you, he realizes. Not that he didn’t know already, but for some reason this is when it sinks in. Like really sinks in. This moment, holding each other in the dark entryway of his suite. This moment, kissing a boy who thinks he is sweet and pretty and good and isn’t afraid to say it, not the way Jeongguk is. Afraid. Of this moment. I really like you. I just really, really like you.

 

He opens his eyes and his vision is blurry. Thank god Taehyung’s eyes are closed, brow furrowed as he kisses Jeongguk so well. So slow and soft and dizzying.

 

Jeongguk breaks the kiss. He ducks his head so Taehyung won’t know he’s a wreck. Just a big dumb embarrassing mess of feelings. “Um. I’m gonna shower. I’ll be quick.”

 

Taehyung raises an eyebrow, smiles all greasy. “Take your time.”

 

“Ah.” Jeongguk pinches him lightly on the arm and dances away before Taehyung can catch him. “I’ll be quick!”

 

The bathroom is huge, ornate, white marble floors and a wide, sunken bathtub. A rain shower. A literal chandelier overhead, which seems silly. True to his word, Jeongguk showers quick, even including the time it takes to clean inside himself. It’s been a while since he’s done this without a douche. It’s uncomfortable. Middle finger, nothing but water to ease the push inside. He cleans as thoroughly and efficiently as possible, luxuriating under the hot water for only a couple extra minutes. Then he dries off and pads naked into the en-suite bedroom, throws on sweats and another loose T-shirt.

 

Taehyung’s in the kitchenette when Jeongguk emerges. “Hey,” he says, smiling. He’s turned a light on, so Jeongguk sees for the first time the full extent of the damage: the redness of his mouth, his light hair streaked with dark where Jeongguk ran his wet hands through it. “You want tea? There’s jasmine, plum, ginseng. Uh, citron. Some sort of black.”

 

“Jasmine. Thank you.”

 

Taehyung pours Jeongguk a cup, steam rising in front of his face, and then goes to shower. Alone in the kitchen, Jeongguk curls both hands around his cup, letting the warmth seep into him. There’s a near-empty cup by the sink. The dregs are the rich amber of citron tea. Smudges of melted honey at the bottom. Taehyung likes fruity tea over herbal, Jeongguk thinks. He puts honey in it. Likes it extra sweet. 

 

Jeongguk stands there, taking small sips of his tea, staring off into space. Thinking of nothing in particular other than Taehyung. He can hear the shower running. Imagines Taehyung beneath the fall of water, warm bronze skin, tall and solid and beautiful.

 

He looks down and notices his hands are trembling on the teacup. Is he really that nervous?

 

When was the last time he felt nervous before sex?

 

The intrusive thoughts pour into his head like black oil. He hasn’t slept with anyone for, what, eight months? Nine? More? What if he forgets everything he’s ever learned? What if he’s bad in bed? What if he’s awkward? What if he’s good, and does everything right, and Taehyung still doesn’t want him a second time?

 

He said it’s never felt like this before, Jeongguk tries to reassure himself. He said he could kiss me for hours. He said he’s been wanting to kiss me this whole time. He called me stunning.

 

Taehyung isn’t the type to say things he doesn’t mean. The type to use lines. But what if he did mean all of it, just—temporary?

 

The shower cuts off.

 

Jeongguk sucks in a breath. He has like two minutes to figure out if he can do this. If he can fall into bed with Taehyung and have him only once. If he can have him without knowing where they stand.

 

Younger Jeongguk would have done it. Would have kept his mouth shut, gone along with whatever his partner wanted, even if he thought maybe the hurt would last longer than the good.

 

The bedroom door opens and Taehyung slips out into the small living area, weaving between buttery leather armchairs, nearly cracking his shin on the corner of the hearth. Like the rest of the resort, Jeongguk’s suite is furnished to look like some sort of Western-style winter wonderland dream cabin, all rich colors and cashmere throw blankets, the hearth framed in bare stone. The faux fire is off right now, only the blue pilot light flickering in one corner. As he passes, Taehyung grabs the remote. The flames bloom to life.

 

“Hi,” Taehyung says, joining Jeongguk in the kitchen. He’s wearing the sweats and henley Jeongguk laid out for him. “Thanks for the clothes.”

 

“Couldn’t just let you freeze.”

 

“Mm.”

 

They’re gazing at each other.

 

Jeongguk can feel his heartbeat in his ears. This happens a lot. When he was little, he had a habit of clapping his hands over his ears whenever he got anxious. To muffle his own pulse.

 

He doesn’t do that now. Instead, he sets the teacup down. Taehyung’s eyes follow the movement, and it isn’t until he frowns that Jeongguk realizes his hands are still trembling.

 

“Hey,” Taehyung says, moving closer. “Guk. Jeongguk. Are you okay?”

 

Jeongguk nods. Too late, too robotic.

 

“You know I don’t expect anything, right?” Taehyung says, softer. “Seriously. I can leave, it’s fine, I won’t be upset. Or we can just sleep. Whatever you want, yeah? I’m good with whatever you want. Remember my rule?”

 

“It’s not that,” Jeongguk says haltingly. “It’s not—that I don’t want to. I just. Um.”

 

God, this is going to be so humiliating. A big part of him wants to say never mind. Wants to keep his mouth shut, fall into bed with this absurdly beautiful person who wants him at least for tonight. Even if it means he’ll wake up alone and devastated. But no, no, he can’t do that. Not with Taehyung. The hurt would be too big.

 

“It’s just that I like you,” he whispers, staring at the floor. “It’s just that I don’t know if I can do this and not see you again.”

 

It’s silent.

 

Jeongguk takes a step back, heart plummeting, but then Taehyung’s right there. Hands on his waist. Lips on his forehead. He looks up and Taehyung pulls back, smiling. Small but so warm.

 

“How the fuck could I not like you,” he says.

 

Jeongguk’s eyes widen.

 

“Obviously I like you,” Taehyung continues. His cheeks are going pink. “I thought you knew. Like, even before tonight. But especially tonight. How did you not—Jeongguk, I told you I couldn’t sleep because all I could think about was kissing you.”

 

“I,” Jeongguk says. “I mean. It could have just been physical.”

 

“I told you it’s never felt like this before! I told you I want to do everything with you!”

 

“Everything could have meant, like, eating me out!”

 

“Oh, baby, trust me, I definitely want to eat you out,” says Taehyung, and Jeongguk almost whimpers. “I just also want to wine and dine you. Once we’re back in Seoul. Except my version of wining and dining is usually chicken and movies. At home. On the couch. Just to manage your expectations. And if I’m on a couch with you, I will not be watching the movie.”

 

“What if it’s a good movie,” Jeongguk says faintly.

 

Taehyung waves a hand. “We can try again with other people around. I want you to meet my friends. I want my friends to meet you. Jesus, Jeongguk.”

 

“Okay!” Jeongguk says. “Okay, okay. I get it.”

 

“Do you?”

 

“You like me,” Jeongguk mumbles, face warm.

 

“I really, really like you.”

 

Jeongguk hides his face in Taehyung’s neck. “Want you to fuck me,” he sighs.

 

Taehyung’s hands tighten on his waist. “Fuck. Okay. Yes. Do you have...?”

 

“Lube yes. Condom maybe.”

 

“Kay.”

 

Jeongguk raises his head and Taehyung meets him with a kiss. Jeongguk lets out a long breath through his nose, sinking into it immediately. Taehyung tastes like citrus and honey and he kisses slow until he doesn’t. Until he’s tugging Jeongguk in by the hips, their bodies one curve, and Jeongguk feels it again: like this is the only thing that exists. Him and Taehyung in the kitchen with the light on. Taking each other apart. Jeongguk kisses him and runs a hand up his chest over his shirt and thinks, This boy really, really likes me. This boy wants to see me again. This boy wants to not watch movies with me.

 

He can’t help but imagine it, the not-at-all-distant future in which he and Taehyung are seeing each other again. What does Taehyung’s apartment look like? Jeongguk knows he lives in Seochu-gu, so it’s probably big and nice and airy. Lots of sunlight. Lots of art. He imagines Taehyung’s bed, imagines himself in it, Taehyung sprawled out beside him, an arm flung across Jeongguk’s waist.

 

Seeing each other again. And again. Seeing Taehyung in cafés. In museums. On the walking paths along the Han. On a busy street in Hongdae at night, when all the food stalls come out and everything’s lit up neon. Taehyung across from him in a pojangmacha, big plastic flaps obscuring the street outside, Taehyung drinking and laughing, cheeks bright, eyes brighter. Taehyung letting himself into Jeongguk’s place, leaving traces of himself around for Jeongguk to find, scarves and shirts and earbuds. A second toothbrush at the sink.

 

Jeongguk’s getting way, way ahead of himself. They’ve known each other a week. Ten minutes ago, he didn’t even know Taehyung liked him.

 

But he still imagines it. Taehyung in his life.

 

And the thing about Jeongguk is he’s kind of dumb sometimes. Namjoon says that’s not true, but Jeongguk knows better. Sometimes, the world is too big and loud and complicated for him. Too many moving parts; he can’t keep track of them all. He gets overwhelmed. He zones out and makes embarrassing faces. He figures stuff out a beat later than everyone else. He’s slow on the uptake.  

 

But sometimes, Jeongguk gets a feeling. About a place. About a person. He sees someone and thinks, You. I’m going to know you for the longest time. And he’s never been wrong.

 

You, Jeongguk thinks as Taehyung takes his hand and leads him to the bedroom.

 

You, he thinks as Taehyung closes the door behind them and presses him up against it, kissing him open, kissing his way down, fastening his mouth over the delicate skin of Jeongguk’s crashing, racing pulse.

 

You, he thinks as they stumble to the bed and manage to climb into it without ever letting go of each other, without ever breaking this endless kiss, Jeongguk on his back and Taehyung hovering over him, between his legs, pushing his hands up Jeongguk’s shirt, Can I—?, Yes, pulling him upright just long enough to get the shirt off, kissing him the moment his face is free, tossing the shirt aside, running his hands over Jeongguk’s bare chest, Jesus Christ sweetheart—“sweetheart”? You like that? Baby, dragging the flat of his tongue up Jeongguk’s neck, nipping at his earlobe, kissing him again, and again, and again.

 

“You,” Jeongguk gasps into his mouth. “You, your—your shirt, off, take it off—”

 

Skin on skin. Taehyung’s broad golden chest under his hands, warm and smooth and perfect. Jeongguk plants his heels on the bedspread and grinds up into him, hips rolling together. Spreads his legs, drags his hands down Taehyung’s back to the curve of his ass, tugs at the waistband of his borrowed sweats.

 

“Off,” he says again.

 

Taehyung falls to the side, yanking the sweats off and kicking them to the end of the bed. He’s not wearing boxers underneath. Jeongguk, halfway through shoving his own pants off, takes a heaving breath at the sight of Taehyung’s cock, flushed and hard against his thigh, proportional to the rest of him. Pretty. Like the rest of him. Jeongguk wants. Just wants and wants.

 

Then Taehyung’s crawling over him again, helping Jeongguk pull his sweatpants the rest of the way off. Sitting back on his heels and—looking, eyes dark and heated, fingers still curled loosely around one of Jeongguk’s ankles.

 

Newly naked, Jeongguk fights the urge to squirm. Or cover himself up.

 

He is so exposed. Thighs spread. Cock curving up toward his belly, the head already wet.

 

“Taehyung,” he says.

 

Taehyung’s eyes flick back up to Jeongguk’s face. His hand slides from Jeongguk’s ankle to the inside of his knee. Slowly, he pushes Jeongguk’s leg down onto the bed, bent open. Takes the other leg and draws it up against his side, that big warm hand wrapped around the meat of Jeongguk’s calf. Jeongguk feels obscene, laid out like this. He can feel the flex of Taehyung’s ribs against his inner thigh, the rise and fall of each breath.

 

“Taehyung.” Taehyung’s not even inside him yet and Jeongguk’s already forgotten other words exist. “Tae.”

 

“Where’s your stuff?” Taehyung asks, still staring.

 

“Suitcase. By the closet. Inner side pocket.”

 

Taehyung groans dramatically when he has to let go of Jeongguk and get off the bed. Jeongguk cracks up, turning his face sideways into the pillow and giggling, which he’s never done in bed before. He’s laughed together with partners when awkward, unsexy things happened, but—giggling? Naked and punch-drunk, brimming with affection? 

 

He opens his eyes and Taehyung is standing there by the closet, blue tube in hand, watching him.

 

“My god,” Taehyung says, so quiet Jeongguk thinks maybe he wasn’t supposed to hear it.

 

“Come back,” says Jeongguk, arching up off the bed a little, biting his lip. “Tae.”

 

Taehyung lets out a breath. Clambers back up onto the bed, setting the lube and condom (so Jeongguk did have one, nice) aside. Then he takes Jeongguk’s face in his hands and kisses him, sweet and molten, melted sugar, and Jeongguk feels the truth of what Taehyung said earlier. I could do this for hours. I could just kiss you all night. He feels it in Taehyung’s kiss, in the way their lips move together, in the way Taehyung’s thumb brushes over his cheekbone. In the way he lingers over Jeongguk’s mouth, tasting him like honey.

 

They kiss until Jeongguk’s flushed and panting, one foot trailing along Taehyung’s calf. Then Taehyung’s kissing his neck again, sucking love-bites into his skin; Jeongguk knows he will wake up tomorrow with tiny red crescent moons dotting his collarbones, the mark of Taehyung’s mouth. Taehyung moves further down, and Jeongguk’s eyes roll into the back of his head when Taehyung’s tongue swirls over his nipple, hot and wet, a scrape of teeth. One and then the other, and Jeongguk can’t help the noises he’s making, high and needy. His hands find their way into Taehyung’s hair and he tugs, getting Taehyung's attention.

 

“Finger me,” he slurs. “Finger me, c’mon. Oh.

 

“Whatever you want,” Taehyung says, breath hot on Jeongguk’s lower belly. He gropes around for the lube and Jeongguk lets his eyes flutter shut, listening as Taehyung uncaps it, wetting his fingers, warming it between his palms.

 

Then—

 

“You ready?”

 

Taehyung’s mouth on his inner thigh. Words pressed into his skin.

 

“Yes,” Jeongguk says, half a moan, and then moans again when finally, finally, he feels Taehyung’s fingers against him.

 

Taehyung works him open slowly, carefully, pausing every couple minutes to kiss and bite at Jeongguk’s thighs. He traces one fingernail along the underside of Jeongguk’s cock before taking it in his hand, stroking, hot and slick, and Jeongguk grips the bedspread with both hands and breathes through his nose so he doesn’t lose his god damn mind. Three fingers inside him and everything is hazy, liquid, tasting of salt. He’s distantly aware that he is maybe losing his god damn mind: head thrown back, hips moving in little circles, grinding down into Taehyung’s hand. He cries out and claps a hand over his mouth and a moment later Taehyung’s pulling it away, kissing him messily. Teeth and a deep fuck of tongue.

 

Empty. Jeongguk whines in protest, hips rocking up into nothing. He hears the crackle of a condom wrapper and then Taehyung’s lips are at his ear.

 

“Hey, sweetheart,” he says. “Hey, perfect boy, how’re we doing?”

 

“Great,” Jeongguk manages. “We’re—great, we’re—oh,” as Taehyung’s thumb presses back into him for a moment. “We’re, we want, we want you to fuck me now.”

 

“Oh, do we?” A grin in his voice. Rich and warm.

 

Jeongguk blinks, vision crystalline, tears in his lashes. He cries so easy. “Taehyung, I like you,” he says senselessly, spreading his legs even wider. Loving the burn in his thighs. “I like you so much.”

 

“Like you too,” Taehyung says, kissing Jeongguk’s jaw. The underside of his chin. “Like you. So much. Gonna fuck you now.”

 

“God, thank you—”

 

The push is everything. Everything. Jeongguk’s entire being narrows to the pang in his belly, the tidal-rush sensation of being filled. To: Taehyung’s arm under his back. His hand in Taehyung’s hair, pulling him down for a kiss that is less of a kiss and more just Jeongguk panting into his mouth, moaning against his lips. Inside. Taehyung’s pushing inside, hitching one of Jeongguk’s legs up around his waist. He bottoms out and both of them are motionless for a moment. Stunned into silence. Jeongguk shifts, adjusting, wishing he could take Taehyung somehow deeper. Remembering this: the weight of Taehyung’s body, the sheen of sweat on his skin, the glow in his cheeks, his hands on Jeongguk’s body, the way he smells like Jeongguk’s lavender soap, the way he feels inside.

 

Motionless, silent, and then Jeongguk whispers, “Go slow but—move, you can move.”

 

And Taehyung moves.

 

And Jeongguk loses his god damn mind. Loses himself.

 

Taehyung fucks him like the tide coming in.

 

They find a rhythm and move together, Jeongguk rolling his hips to meet every one of Taehyung’s thrusts, shuddering in the wake of him, clutching at his shoulders. Breathless, he opens. Taehyung kisses him. Draws wordless cries from his throat, licks the salt off his skin, presses his hot mouth to Jeongguk’s collarbones, his bare shoulder, his chest. He gets a hand in Jeongguk’s hair and pulls, angling Jeongguk’s head back, baring his throat just so he can suck another mark into it. Leans up to catch his lips again. Kisses as well as he fucks, kisses Jeongguk into the bedspread. Fucks into him smooth and endless, deep, perfect drags of his cock; Jeongguk can feel it everywhere, feel him everywhere, all the way down to his core. Further.

 

When Jeongguk comes, it’s with Taehyung on top of him, inside him, Taehyung’s name on his lips.  “I’m close,” he chokes out, feeling himself begin to unspool, hip movements growing erratic, chasing his pleasure, the rippling, white-hot pulse. “Oh god, oh fuck, Taehyung, I’m close—”

 

“Show me, sweetheart,” Taehyung says in his ear. He reaches down between them and wraps a hand around Jeongguk’s cock. “C’mon, wanna see you, wanna see your pretty face—”

 

Jeongguk comes. Comes undone, shivering, crying out Taehyung’s name, grasping at every bit of skin he can reach, thighs locked around Taehyung’s waist so tight it probably hurts. Jeongguk comes and Taehyung follows only moments after, hips stuttering, moaning low and broken into the crook of Jeongguk’s neck. He’s rigid through the aftershocks and then, strings cut, flops across Jeongguk’s chest.

 

They stay like that for a long time, even after Taehyung begins to soften. Just holding each other. Catching their breath. Taehyung drops a series of tiny, barely-there kisses across Jeongguk’s shoulder, and for what feels like the thousandth time in the past few hours, Jeongguk kind of wants to cry.

 

Finally, Taehyung forces himself up. He pulls out gently, murmuring sorry, sorry baby when Jeongguk winces, and slips off to the bathroom. He returns with a wet washcloth and wipes the come off Jeongguk’s stomach. Drops a kiss on his bare chest, right over his heart.

 

By the time Taehyung’s finished cleaning himself up and taking a piss, Jeongguk has curled up under the covers. All of a sudden he can barely keep his eyes open. He hears Taehyung come back into the bedroom. The light flips off. A moment later, the bed dips under Taehyung’s weight.

 

Taehyung crawls under the covers and Jeongguk cuddles up to him immediately, head on his chest, pulling Taehyung’s arm around him. They’re both naked, still. Jeongguk doesn’t like sleeping naked, but he likes feeling Taehyung’s warmth all over, with no layers between them. He likes being surrounded by the smell of Taehyung, nice clean boy.  

 

They breathe. Taehyung presses a kiss to Jeongguk’s sweaty hair.

 

“I have to get up in one and a half hours,” Jeongguk says eventually. “To go see porcelain. With my mother.”

 

Thank god they’re vacationing in the mountains. It won’t be weird when he keeps a scarf on all day.

 

“God, I forgot about that,” says Taehyung. It sounds like he’s trying not to laugh, which is very horrible of him. “Your ass gonna be up for it?”

 

Jeongguk bites his shoulder. “Shut up. Yes.”

 

“It’s a valid question. I don’t want this to be a repeat of the Seojun Incident.”

 

“Impossible.”

 

“Oh yeah?”

 

“Yeah. I mean, for one thing, I actually know your full name.”

 

Taehyung snorts into his hair. “That’s the only difference, huh?”

 

“Mm. Maybe there’s a couple more. Like.” Jeongguk leans up to brush his lips over Taehyung’s jaw. “You make me feel good,” he whispers.

 

Taehyung shuffles them around so they’re both lying on their sides, facing each other in the dark, his arm still around Jeongguk’s back. “I’m glad,” he says into the space between their mouths. “That’s what I want to do. Like, all the time. Just wanna make you feel good. Wanna make sure you’re feeling good.”

 

“Me too,” says Jeongguk. “I want to make you feel good, too.”

 

“You do. You are.”

 

“Oh, nice.” Jeongguk’s eyes drift shut. He’s fucked out and exhausted, sore in all the best ways. Even though they’re pretty much the same size, he feels small and warm in Taehyung’s arms. Taken care of. He thinks if his heart were honeycomb, he’d give it to Taehyung raw.

 

“Goodnight,” Taehyung whispers. He kisses Jeongguk’s forehead, sweet and lingering. The tip of his nose. The corner of his mouth.

 

“Goodnight,” Jeongguk whispers back, and wriggles closer, fitting his head under Taehyung’s chin. Burrowing into him, seeking warmth.

 

Taehyung says something else, but Jeongguk doesn’t catch it. He’s already gone, slipping under. Sinking down down down into a soft dark place. A safe place. Warm and long-limbed and good.

 

His last thought before sleep is: I can’t wait to see you again.