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‘If he throws something at me again, I’m definitely throwing it back this time,’ Jeonghan said.

‘Naturally,’ Joshua replied. He tapped on Jeonghan’s hands, curled into fists in his lap, and waited until Jeonghan unclenched them. ‘But can I remind you that you were there that day and, despite the tabloid stories, know perfectly well he didn’t throw it deliberately?’

‘I don’t know that at all,’ Jeonghan said stubbornly. ‘I refuse to believe a little bug on his water bottle could startle him so much that he would instinctively hurl it away. Look at the size of the guy, Shua. Does that sound like a believable story to you?’

Joshua practically went cross-eyed trying to look at Jeonghan’s phone, plastered as it was against his nose. He pushed it aside and let out an annoyed huff, shifting as far away as his seatbelt would let him.

‘I know what Kim Mingyu looks like, Jeonghan; he’s on half the magazine covers I see these days. What I don’t know is why you seem to have a photo of him saved on your phone.’

Jeonghan’s years in modelling had given him far too much experience controlling and altering his expressions at will to react in any obvious way, but Joshua didn’t need anything obvious. He caught Jeonghan’s casual pass of the phone from his right hand to his left, adding further distance between it and Joshua, and instantly made a grab for it.

‘What are you hiding, Yoon Jeonghan?’ he demanded as they tussled. ‘You have more photos of him, don’t you? How many? Are there nudes?!’

‘You’re insane!’ Jeonghan said through gritted teeth. He pinched Joshua on the thigh— a weak spot for them both— mostly because he knew if he didn’t, Joshua would do it first, and partly because the resulting outraged squeak was funny. ‘It wasn’t even a saved photo! I searched for it online just then.’

‘Would you two please stop?’ Eunbi, Jeonghan’s manager, snapped from the front. ‘I already have to deal with maniacs on the road; I don’t need two more in the back while I’m trying to focus on getting us all safely to the shoot.’

Eunbi didn’t often get mad, but Jeonghan was conditioned to stop and listen immediately whenever it did happen, and his sudden lapse in attention gave Joshua the advantage he needed to pull the phone from Jeonghan’s grip. His triumphant gloating was, Jeonghan thought crossly, totally unnecessary.

‘I knew you were a liar,’ Joshua said, scrolling through an album Jeonghan had named “FOE” and dutifully filled with the best Kim Mingyu photos that he came across online. ‘How did you hide your obsession with this guy from me?’

‘I’m keeping track of the competition, not obsessed with him. I have pictures of cows on there, too. Does that mean I’m obsessed with cows?’

‘You do like cows, though.’

‘Good point,’ Eunbi said, her smile visible in the rearview mirror. ‘Nobody saves pictures of things they don’t like.’

Having apparently finished invading Jeonghan’s privacy, Joshua returned the phone to him. ‘So we’ve established that you like him, but for some reason choose to pretend you don’t. What else are you hiding? Do you secretly run one of his fansites, too?’

Jeonghan had no intention of addressing the first half of Joshua’s comment. If he was careful, he could divert Joshua’s focus away from the topic entirely.

‘One of them?’ Jeonghan scoffed, with as much scorn as he could layer over the words. ‘I’m a real fan, Shua. I run three of them.’

‘Ugh,’ Joshua said, just as Jeonghan expected he would. ‘It’s no fun when you start playing along.’

Jeonghan turned an obnoxiously cheeky grin on him, then tortured him with lengthy, tedious details of the imaginary fansites until Joshua threatened to shove him out of the moving car.

;-;

Contrary to popular belief, Jeonghan was not presently engaged in a long-running feud with Kim Mingyu.

At least, Jeonghan didn’t think so. It was true that their encounters after the one and only time they’d worked on the same shoot— which had spawned all the breathless gossip about The Bottle Incident— were a little chilly. But modelling was so competitive that Jeonghan found it was like that most of the time, anyway, with polite civility among models easier than friendship.

On the other hand, Joshua— who was not in the fashion industry and only followed news and gossip blogs to see if anyone was saying anything about Jeonghan— claimed that Mingyu was usually very friendly with everyone he worked with, models included.

‘Oh, come on, of course he doesn’t hate you,’ Joshua had said one night when they were having dinner, and Jeonghan was liquored up enough to admit he was a tiny bit worried about it. ‘I mean, probably. I don’t know him. But the worst anyone can say about you is that you’re kind of annoying sometimes and you can be stand-offish around people you don’t know. That’s all.’

‘Thank you. That really helps,’ Jeonghan had said flatly, to which Joshua had given him an equally sarcastic thumbs up.

Jeonghan was thinking about that conversation as they entered the headquarters for Seventh Muse for his shoot with Mingyu. He couldn’t remember being particularly stand-offish with Mingyu when they’d first met. Even after The Bottle Incident, he’d been polite and forgiving of the fact that Mingyu had essentially launched a projectile at his head.

‘I never used to know what characters in books meant when they said they could almost hear someone thinking, but now I do,’ Joshua whispered, nudging him. ‘Is everything okay in there? What are you thinking so hard about?’

‘Cows,’ Jeonghan said, and although Joshua’s expression lightened and he didn’t push any further, Jeonghan could tell he was still worried.

It wasn’t the right time for conversation, though. Mingyu was already in the studio, being attended to by a team of stylists. He raised a hand in greeting when he saw Jeonghan, and then, almost like an afterthought, managed a stiff smile. Jeonghan’s heart sank a little.

‘Good morning,’ Xu Minghao said quietly, his smile noticeably more genuine as he approached Jeonghan. ‘I’m glad to see you. Everyone’s very excited about today’s shoot.’

‘I am, too,’ Jeonghan said brightly, which wasn’t a lie; Minghao’s work in fashion was well-regarded for good reason. ‘This is my friend, Joshua. He was so intrigued by the concept that he came along to watch.’

‘Well, slightly more by the choice of models for the concept,’ Joshua said with a delicate arch of an eyebrow at Minghao, who smiled again.

‘It was an unexpected booking to most people,’ he agreed. His scrutiny made Jeonghan want to fidget like a child caught doing something wrong. ‘But I have a good feeling about it. I think you and Mingyu will complement each other very well.’

Minghao’s comment stayed with Jeonghan as he was hustled into a changing room and back out to face his own stylists. He didn’t have a chance to speak to Mingyu until they were both under the glare of the studio lights, eyeing each other awkwardly.

‘How have you been?’ Jeonghan asked. He sounded very formal even to his own ears, and he tried not to wince as he went on. ‘I know you’ve been pretty busy lately.’

‘You keep up with what I’m doing?’ Mingyu asked, surprised.

Jeonghan was so relieved that Joshua was sitting at the back of the studio, safely out of earshot. ‘Well, yes. You do good work.’

It was incredibly charming that Mingyu, objectively one of the most gorgeous people Jeonghan had ever met and who oozed easy confidence in every photo he appeared in, apparently still got shy over compliments. He went silent, as if he needed a second to process it, and somehow managed to make himself smaller on the spot.

Jeonghan did not want to have a crush on someone who possibly didn’t even like him, but it was going to be hard if Mingyu insisted on being so cute.

‘Let’s take a few test shots,’ Minghao called out from his position by the photographer. ‘Please face each other and move freely. I’ll have a more specific arrangement for you in a moment.’

They started out like two teenagers fumbling through a first date. Jeonghan hadn’t done a paired shoot in a long time, not since his career had taken off, and as far as he knew, Mingyu hadn’t, either. It was challenging to navigate a space he usually occupied alone with someone else, to pose with and around them.

After they’d spent a few minutes trying to get comfortable with each other, Mingyu asked, ‘Is it okay if I touch you?’

Jeonghan bit back an instinctive but inappropriate joke and nodded. He watched as Mingyu hesitated for a split second, then lay a gentle hand on the back of Jeonghan’s head. He guided Jeonghan down to rest against his chest before letting his palm skate over Jeonghan’s neck and the thin fabric of his shirt, raising goosebumps in its wake.

If Jeonghan had been holding a bottle of water right then, he would have— well, he wouldn’t have thrown it, but he probably would have dropped it. It wasn’t their position that startled him, since he was fully aware of the concept of the shoot and what it necessitated, but it did surprise him that Mingyu was taking the initiative to arrange them that way.

‘I had a long discussion with Minghao about today,’ Mingyu murmured. His voice was a low, hypnotic rumble against Jeonghan’s ear. ‘I told him I had a few ideas I wanted to try out.’

Jeonghan lifted his head and looked curiously at Mingyu from under his lashes. ‘You sound sure that he won’t mind. Are you two close?’

Mingyu’s smile was slow and intimate, and a flicker of heat curled low in Jeonghan’s belly at the sight of it. ‘Best friends. Nothing else.’

‘That’s good to know,’ Jeonghan said, with an attempt at detached interest that he didn’t feel. He had no idea what to make of the sudden tension between them, or why Mingyu’s hand on the small of his back suddenly felt heavier, as though anchoring him in place.

‘Well, we have some great shots already,’ Minghao said, and both of them turned to see him looking pleased. ‘How about trying the position from before again?’

;-;

The concept for the shoot was high fashion movie artwork, specifically for the gloomy, tragic romances that creative types always seemed to be attracted to. It was the sort of fun, if not well-paying, work Jeonghan tried to make time for as often as he could, and even his nervousness about who’d be opposite him hadn’t dampened his enthusiasm for it. He’d done his best to prepare himself for whatever challenges would come with working with Mingyu again, but it turned out he hadn’t anticipated the most challenging part: ignoring the fact that Kim Mingyu really wanted to fuck him.

Jeonghan wasn’t entirely sure of it at first. It wasn’t exactly rare for him to get interested looks directed his way, ranging from appreciative to blatantly lustful, most of which never went beyond looking. But as the shoot went on, it became clear as day that if everyone else in the room suddenly vanished, Mingyu would have Jeonghan stripped bare in a second and bent over something in the next.

The difference between Mingyu and every other admirer Jeonghan had ever had was that he looked at Jeonghan constantly, and his gaze never lost its intensity. He didn’t sneak furtive glances. He watched Jeonghan like he couldn’t help himself, like he had to consciously hold himself back from just reaching out and taking.

It was simultaneously unnerving and hot as hell.

If Minghao sensed anything strange between them, he didn’t show it. When they moved onto shots of Mingyu crowding Jeonghan against a wall, and Jeonghan’s mind briefly went blank— Mingyu was definitely not small, anywhere— Minghao didn’t even bat an eyelid at having to repeat his instructions. Either he was focussed on his artistic vision to the point of being oblivious, or he didn’t care.

Reassured that the tension between him and Mingyu wasn’t affecting their work, Jeonghan was left to consider how he was going to respond to Mingyu, something he didn’t have the answer to until the moment he did.

The focus of the shot was on Mingyu, who was meant to be expressing misery and heartbreak over Jeonghan’s shoulder as they hugged. Mingyu was in his fourth outfit, a beautifully embroidered coat over tight, silky pants and a red shirt unbuttoned halfway down his chest. He stood facing Jeonghan, listening to Minghao detail exactly how miserable he was meant to look, and Jeonghan couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to check him out thoroughly.

‘So the brooding hero look does it for you, huh?’ Mingyu said, when Minghao turned his attention to the photographer.

Jeonghan met Mingyu’s eyes, shamelessly pausing over his chest as he did. ‘I think you just really do it for me,’ he confessed.

Mingyu’s gaze went hotter than it had all morning. He swallowed and slid his arms around Jeonghan’s waist, pulling him into the embrace Minghao wanted. He felt good against Jeonghan, which Jeonghan already knew, but it turned out it was even better when Mingyu was shifting uncomfortably, trying to hide the unhide-able fact that he was now hard.

‘Wow,’ Jeonghan said softly, biting his lip to keep himself from smiling. Not that it mattered, since he was facing the backdrop. ‘What made that happen?’

‘What do you think?’ Mingyu asked. He sounded adorably mad at himself. ‘I’ve never reacted like this just from someone checking me out. Shit. I really wish we were alone right now.’

Jeonghan leaned comfortably against him. ‘Do you? What for?’

Without any specific instruction, Jeonghan was free to put his hands anywhere he wanted, and he splayed them under the coat and over Mingyu’s back. He made sure to go slowly as he trailed one hand all the way down to the waistband of Mingyu’s pants, pausing when he heard Mingyu’s breath hitch, then slipped the very tip of his fingers in.

‘Alright, Mingyu,’ Minghao said. ‘As we discussed, please. Ah, perhaps less agonised and more resigned misery.’

Jeonghan started laughing silently and only stopped when Mingyu squeezed his waist in warning. He wriggled his fingers experimentally, wanting to tease Mingyu a little more, but truthfully, Mingyu’s pants were too tight for him to move much. He supposed any extra room in them was already busy accommodating the sizeable bulge at the front, which only felt like it was getting bigger the longer they stayed pressed together. God. He couldn’t wait to see how big Mingyu’s dick actually was.

Jeonghan satisfied himself by turning his face into the side of Mingyu’s throat and nipping lazily at the soft skin, just once. It made Mingyu jerk involuntarily against him, which he then had to cover up by faking a coughing fit.

‘Sorry,’ Mingyu said when he was done. ‘I think I have something stuck in my throat.’

Minghao’s response was amused. ‘It’s okay. We got everything we need with these outfits, and it’s time we take a break, anyway. Why don’t you two get changed and have some lunch? Great work so far, everyone. Please be back in half an hour.’

As Jeonghan stepped back, Mingyu stuck his hands into the pockets of his coat and casually drew the sides together to cover his crotch. Jeonghan grinned at him and got a half-hearted glare in return.

‘Can I talk to you before you go, Mingyu?’ Minghao asked.

‘I’m going to change first, then,’ Jeonghan said. He angled himself away from Minghao, mouthed don’t stand too close to him at Mingyu, then made a hasty escape.

Joshua was waiting by the changing rooms with his arms crossed. ‘So. He clearly doesn’t hate you.’

‘It’s becoming less likely,’ Jeonghan agreed happily.

‘We’ll talk later about what I suspect you just did in there, but first, I need food and something to scrub my brain out.’

‘Don’t accidentally destroy the part of you that likes me!’ Jeonghan called out after him.

‘I can’t destroy something that doesn’t exist!’ Joshua sang back.

Still smiling, Jeonghan went into his changing room and slipped out of his outfit, hanging the pieces neatly on a rack. He had his own comfortably oversized shirt on and was fastening the button on his jeans when there was a knock on the door.

‘Come in!’ he said. He had a feeling he knew who it would be, and he was proven right when Mingyu appeared, missing his coat but still in his tight shirt and pants.

‘Did you get in trouble?’ Jeonghan asked with a smirk.

Mingyu stalked in and shut the door with a crisp snap behind him. He backed Jeonghan up against the dressing table, fitting his palms roughly over Jeonghan’s ass, and used his grip on it to shove their hips together. Jeonghan let out a shocked breath and pressed back into his touch.

‘Why would I get into trouble for something you did?’ Mingyu zeroed in on Jeonghan’s neck and bit exactly where Jeonghan had bitten him, as if to remind him of what happened. ‘He said as my best friend, it was horrifying, but as an artist, it made for amazing photos.’

‘Portrait of a Horny Guy,’ Jeonghan said laughingly.

‘Convincingly Miserable Guy,’ Mingyu corrected before bending to kiss him, Jeonghan eagerly meeting him halfway.

Mingyu was an intense kisser. He seemed to genuinely enjoy it; instead of treating it like an unfortunately necessary prelude to sex, he spent minutes they didn’t have to spare on slowly undoing Jeonghan with nothing but his mouth on Jeonghan’s. It wasn’t something Jeonghan had really experienced before, the languid strokes of Mingyu’s tongue against his, the way Mingyu sucked on his lips until they felt swollen and sensitive. It had been a long time since he’d just made out with someone, and it had never been quite as all-consuming as this, like Mingyu was trying to— not possess him, but to make sure Jeonghan would never forget him.

‘This is a good look on you,’ Mingyu commented, drawing back to survey his handiwork. ‘Like you’re too dazed to make a witty remark at me.’

Jeonghan tried, but he honestly couldn’t come up with anything remotely clever to say. That was another first.

‘Less talking,’ he said instead, ignoring the little flutter in his chest at Mingyu’s knowing smile.

He nudged Mingyu back and pushed him a handful of steps away into an armchair in the corner of the room. Mingyu sat down hard, watching with wide eyes as Jeonghan climbed onto his lap and managed to get his knees jammed against the back of the seat, one on either side of Mingyu’s thighs. It was a tight fit, but Jeonghan could get his dick on top of Mingyu’s, and that was all that mattered.

‘You are so fucking hot,’ Mingyu moaned as Jeonghan rocked over him. His hands slid restlessly all over Jeonghan, burning hot on his hips and then searching for bare skin under his shirt. ‘I still can’t believe you’re real.’

‘Charmer,’ Jeonghan said, stealing a kiss. He shifted back in one torturously slow rub of his dick over Mingyu’s body and slid to his feet.

Mingyu’s sound of complaint cut off abruptly when Jeonghan undid his jeans and wriggled out of them, letting them pool on the floor. His penchant for big shirts meant the hem of the one he was wearing skimmed the top of his thighs almost demurely, but judging by his reaction, Mingyu liked the look a lot. Jeonghan decided to keep it on.

He stayed standing and looked expectantly at Mingyu. ‘Better get those pants off before you make a mess in them.’

With a breathless laugh, Mingyu raised himself up from the chair, giving himself enough room to tug his pants down. He was wearing a sleek, form-fitting pair of underwear that sat like a second skin on him.

‘I should have gone without them,’ Mingyu said, seeing Jeonghan’s interest, ‘but it can get a bit... uncomfortable without them, especially with pants made of this sort of material.’

‘I understand what you mean,’ Jeonghan said. He reached out and ran his thumb over the poor, strained outline of Mingyu’s cock, smiling when Mingyu swore and instinctively arched up for more. ‘But I think you won’t need them for what we’re doing.’

He let Mingyu lounge there like a king on his throne and took his time peeling the underwear off, savouring his first glimpse of Mingyu’s dick. It was big, as expected, and practically begging for attention. Mingyu kept letting out sharp little breaths as Jeonghan rested on his knees and stared at it.

‘If you keep looking at me like that, I’m going to come,’ Mingyu said, almost inaudibly.

‘Don’t you dare,’ Jeonghan snapped. He glanced at the clock on the wall and considered his options. They had about half their break left, and maybe five minutes after that before anyone came looking for them. Not enough time to do everything he wanted, Jeonghan thought ruefully, but enough to do something.

He leaned over Mingyu’s lap, felt Mingyu’s thighs tensing under his hands, and went for it.

Mingyu moaned like it was the first time he’d ever gotten his dick sucked. He threaded his fingers through Jeonghan’s hair, his grip alternating between too tight and not there at all as Jeonghan swallowed him down. It was sloppier than Jeonghan would have liked, and there were a couple of times when he couldn’t adjust for the size of Mingyu’s cock and seriously thought he might choke on it, but he’d make it up to Mingyu with another blowjob later. He only needed Mingyu wet enough for the next part, anyway.

He suckled on the tip until the moaning started sounding more urgent, then let Mingyu slip out of his mouth, dripping with saliva, and clambered back into his lap.

‘Hi again,’ he said, kissing the corner of Mingyu’s lips as he panted for air. ‘How close are you?’

Mingyu didn’t let him go, chasing after him to draw him into a heated kiss. ‘Pretty close. What do you want from me?’

‘Just this,’ Jeonghan said, grinding his hips against Mingyu’s, his dick sliding over Mingyu’s spit-slick one. His eyes went heavy-lidded as Mingyu lifted the palm of Jeonghan’s right hand to his mouth and covered it with broad, wet licks. When he was finished, he brought it between their bodies and folded Jeonghan’s fingers around them both, guiding his hand over the length of their dicks.

‘Oh, fuck, I like that,’ Jeonghan gasped. There was something incredibly hot about being used like that, as if his hand was nothing but an extension of Mingyu’s. He slumped over Mingyu and clutched the back of the armchair for balance, trying to match the rock of his hips with the movement of their hands. Mingyu hadn’t bothered taking off his shirt, or gotten distracted after unbuttoning it, and it gaped open to display smooth, sweaty skin. Jeonghan dipped his head to get a taste.

‘I can see us in the mirror from here,’ Mingyu breathed into his ear. ‘We look so good together. We fit so well, like we’ve been doing this forever.’

For a moment, Jeonghan was too distracted licking sweat off Mingyu’s shoulder to answer. ‘I wouldn’t mind that,’ he said when his brain caught up. ‘Come over tonight and we can get started.’

Mingyu laughed and let go of Jeonghan’s hand. He pried Jeonghan off his shoulder, ignoring his whine, and kissed him. ‘Fine, but I want dinner first.’

‘Deal,’ Jeonghan said immediately.

Mingyu’s smile was blinding. He grabbed Jeonghan’s ass and pulled him in as far as he would go, so that Jeonghan had nowhere to move except up against him. They ground together, kissing feverishly, the armchair creaking as it shifted incrementally across the carpet, until finally, finally, Jeonghan came all over Mingyu’s stomach. He didn’t stop to catch his breath before lifting himself up so that Mingyu, frantic and beautiful, could finish himself off on Jeonghan’s bare thigh.

Jeonghan collapsed against him, sticky and tired. Mingyu stroked his back soothingly.

‘Okay?’ he murmured.

‘If we had time, I’d demand another round,’ Jeonghan told him. He listened to Mingyu laugh again and smiled into his shoulder. ‘When I came to the shoot today, I was wondering if you hated me.’

‘Really? Why?’

‘I heard that you’re always friendly to everyone you meet, but you’ve always been sort of cold with me. I figured it must be because you didn’t like me.’

‘I was? I’m sorry.’ Mingyu brushed his lips to the side of Jeonghan’s head. ‘I didn’t realise I was being cold... I thought I was being awkward.’

‘Why would you need to be awkward around me?’

Mingyu shrugged. ‘I didn’t need to be; I just was. I was really looking forward to meeting you the first time we worked together, and then I embarrassed myself with the whole bottle thing. I think I didn’t know how to act towards you after that.’

‘It was pretty embarrassing,’ Jeonghan agreed. He laughed when Mingyu thumped him lightly on the back. ‘But you were looking forward to meeting me? That’s cute.’

‘No, it’s not. I only wanted to meet you to see if you were as pretty in real life as you were in print.’

‘Oh?’ Jeonghan sat up to see his face. ‘And was I?’

‘Are you fishing for compliments?’ Mingyu asked, unimpressed. ‘Of course you were. Prettier, even, but also funny and smart. Also a little annoying.’

It was a good answer, minus the part about him being annoying, so Jeonghan rewarded him with a kiss.

‘Can I still come for dinner?’ Mingyu asked when they broke apart. He began idly sucking a mark under Jeonghan’s collarbone.

Jeonghan hummed, arousal building with each wet noise coming from Mingyu’s mouth. They still had to clean up, get dressed, inhale some lunch if there was any time left, and face two suspicious best friends before they got back to work, but all he wanted to do was curl up with Mingyu and make out with him until he was ready for the blowjob Jeonghan owed him.

‘Every night, if you want,’ he said truthfully, and Mingyu’s smile curved sweetly on his skin.