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The Rule of Three

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Suho looks at Jugyeong, really takes in her beautiful features. He imprints her face in his mind, saving the memory for another day. A day that may not come after he admits the things weighing on his mind.

“What’s wrong?” Jugyeong asks, wiping at her cheeks like something might be there.

His first instinct is to say ‘nothing’ and sweep it under the rug, ignoring his feelings to save the teetering balance of his love life, but he told himself that today would be the day that he set everything out on the table. He glances around the café, making sure no one they know is listening, and giving himself a second longer to collect his thoughts, and finally says, “I have something to confess.”

She sits up straighter, eyes going a little bit wider. “Is it-” she says, cutting herself off, casting her nervous gaze down to the mug in her hand before looking at him in earnest. “Go ahead.”

He’s had this planned out for ages, every word carefully crafted to inflict the least amount of harm. It seems wrong though. He knows she would never hate him for thinking this through, she knows how bad he is at vocalizing his needs, but still, it feels wrong that it’s not entirely from the heart.

“I’ve loved you since we were kids,” he says, looking at the ceiling so her adorable grin doesn’t keep him from finishing his thought, “but while you were away I found someone else I loved too.”

“Oh,” she says, disappointed. “Do you still love them?”

Suho braces for a bad reaction, not knowing how she'll feel. “...Yes.”

Jugyeong’s fingers tighten around her mug, her eyelids dropping away from him completely as she heaves a deep breath. She seems to shrink in her chair, almost reverting to the little girl he first fell in love with. “Would you leave me for them?”

“Never,” Suho says with all the conviction he can muster. “I love you both equally, but I would never hurt you like that.”

“Is she prettier than me?”

Sharp eyes and plush lips come to the front of his mind. Suho chuckles and shakes his head, knowing he would get scolded no matter what if the person in question were here. “Definitely not prettier.”

Jugyeong taps a nail against the ceramic, tinking away as she thinks. A wrinkle creases her brow, and Suho reaches out to rub it away, only getting halfway to her before she asks, “is it one of our friends?”

Suho’s hand drifts awkwardly down to the table. “Yes.”

“Is it Sujin?”

“No.”

“Su Ah?”

Suho has to laugh at the thought. “Definitely no.”

Jugyeong searches the tabletop like it might have answers. When she finds nothing, she huffs at him and whines, “Just tell me. I promise I won’t be mad.”

Anger isn’t what he’s worried about. Disgust is more likely. Regret too. But Suho powers on, steeling himself, losing steam as soon as the sound leaves his mouth. “It’s Seojun.” He peeks up at her through his bangs, hoping her blank expression will change soon so he knows whether he should immediately pack up all her things and have them shipped back to her house.

Jugyeong’s lips part just slightly, eyebrows tipping down as she processes through her confusion. Her eyes are aimed directly at him, but she isn’t really seeing him.

“We dated before,” Suho blurts, feeling like the walls are crashing in on him. “Back before Seyeon-” He swallows hard, avoiding her pitying gaze. “Obviously after that our relationship took a bit of a nosedive, but we never could stop caring.”

"You-" she says, frowning. "You said you'd never dated before!"

Suho winced, trying to smile through the pain blooming in his chest. "I thought dating a girl would be completely different from dating a guy."

"And is it?"

"It's different, but not that much."

She stares down at the cold cup in her hands, biting her lip as she comes to a conclusion. "If I broke up with you, would you go back to him?"

Suho can only see the things he and Seojun have been through. He hears all the terrible words said and remembers the actions they took to hurt each other, and how they are still going behind backs to make sure the other is okay, and says without hesitation, "I would."

Silent tension hangs in the air between them, begging for someone to come and break it. Jugyeong takes a deep breath, visibly fighting a pout. "Why did you pick me over him?"

Suho doesn't have an answer. His initial thought would inevitably make her mad and every following thought seems disingenuous. The best he can do is say, "It just worked out that way."

"Wait but-" Her hand raises, not quite pointing an accusing finger at him. "If it hadn't 'worked out that way' would you leave him for me?"

"I…" Suho avoids looking at her overly curious expression. "No, I wouldn't."

"So, you're saying I just lucked out? What about Seojun then? What's he gonna do now?"

"I- I don't know."

Jugyeong huffs, slapping her hands to the tabletop as she jumps up. Suho flinches away from the noise. "You should have said something sooner! This fixes everything!"

"What?" Suho asks, feeling completely lost.

"Where's Seojun? We need to have a talk."

---

The halls of Move Entertainment are familiar in the most unfamiliar way. It's his place of work. It's his best friend's father's former company. No matter how well he knows these halls, this building will never make him feel comfortable.

Except for maybe when Suho is there with him.

Seojun walks out of the practice room just as Suho steps out of the elevator. He's about to call out to him with a loving insult when Jugyeong comes into view as well, the two of them holding hands. Seojun's happy mood is immediately dampened at the sight.

"Seojun!" Jugyeong calls, waving as they walk over.

Seojun waves back, the bitter happiness of seeing two of his favorite people dragging his mouth into a grin. “What’s up? You guys come for an autograph from the most popular rookie artist?”

"Well…" Jugyeong says, tipping up on her toes when she stops. "My mother would like one, actually."

"I'll come by personally to give her one then." His band mates walk out behind him, mumbling hellos and giving Seojun weird looks. He waves them away with a glare, turning back to his beloved friends with a perfect smile. "Would you like to see my beautiful practice room?"

"That sounds great."

The wood paneled walls seem to pop out more than usual, caving in on Seojun like a giant trash compactor. He leads them in anyway, swirling around with his arms wide and a little glimmer of mischief in his eyes. "Welcome to my humble home. On the left you'll see the equipment they told me not to touch anymore, and on your right you'll find the bench of loneliness." All of the bags that usually take up most of the bench are gone now, but the name still fits. "Now, what fantastical reason made you both come all this way to see me?"

Jugyeong elbows Suho, sending him a very cryptic wiggle of eyebrows. Suho takes a second to understand whatever silent telephone game they were playing, and then he looks directly at Seojun and says, "I told Jugyeong about us. About our relationship."

Seojun tries to hold on to his expression, but he struggles to be that nonchalant in the face of reality crashing down around him. He stares back, not wanting to know what Jugyeong is thinking, and hoping that if he doesn't react that they'll take it back like a sick joke.

Suho doesn't joke like that though.

"Why-" Seojun's throat closes before he can get anymore out. He looks on in horror as Suho steps closer to him. The breath that Suho takes forces the anxiety spike higher, Seojun knowing where this conversation is going and not knowing if he wants to know where it will end.

"I told her that I still have feelings for you," Suho says in that perfectly stricken way, "and that I would never stop having feelings for you."

"Why are you telling me this?" Seojun grunts, using his mounting anger to cover up the terrifying burst of warmth in his chest. "Are you here to rub in the fact that I had a chance with both of you and I blew it both times?"

"No, no!" Jugyeong cries, holding up her hands to placate him. She gives him a shy smile, head ducking as she says, "We wanted to invite you into our relationship."

All the anger melts away, leaving just the butterflies in his stomach and a lukewarm confusion set deep in his limbs. "You want me to be...what, a fuck buddy?"

"No," Jugyeong says, taking each of their hands in hers, "a boyfriend. To both of us."

The confusion etches an entire holy script into his bones, binding the idea to his soul. Seojun can't even draw a whole breath before he's letting it out in a frustrated huff, asking, "How would that even work ?"

"Oh," Jugyeong says, jumping in surprise. "Uh." She glances at Suho who shrugs. "I guess I don't know. The same way it works with two, probably, just with...three."

"My god you're both so dumb," Seojun sighs, dragging them both into a hug. "I love it so much."

---

Seojun finally gets a proper night off and rushes home as quickly as he can. The door jerks open and his shoes thump to the floor, a distant clattering of pans being his first greeting. "I'm home!"

Suho pops his head around the corner, the brightest smile gracing his perfect face. "You made it! How did you get away?" He's wearing a freshly knitted sweater, looking more at peace with the world than he ever has been.

Seojun drops a peck to his hair, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and leaning half on the barstool and half on Suho's lap like the true diva he aspires to be. "Smoke grenades, baby. Left zero trace so no one will ever find me." The sight before them comes into focus in his brain too late to make a run for it. Jugyeong stirs at the red sludge most closely resembling tteokbokki, and already it leaves a foul taste in Seojun's mouth. "We're not…"

Suho pinches him, offering a sweet smile when Jugyeong looks up to glare at them. "It's...therapeutic," he says, unlocking his phone under the counter to show the takeout order already on its way.

"Ahh, cool." Seojun hops around the island, and drags Jugyeong's head to him so he can peck her hair too. "I'm gonna take a shower. Feel free to join me if this isn't therapeutic enough."

He wanders into the bathroom to the sound of Suho offering the sagely advice, "Maybe if you added some water it would stir more easily?"

None of them knew what to think when all of this started. They fought and cried and failed more times than they can count, but maybe, in the end, three really is the right answer.