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Sangyeon was too old for this. His introverted self would very much prefer to be in bed, sheets pulled up to his chin, watching copious amounts of Netflix or reading his favourite webtoons. But, he absolutely adores Eric and he knows if he doesn’t show up to this party, the younger boy wouldn’t let him hear the end of it. It was Eric’s 21st birthday and he had thrown a massive party, inviting almost everyone he knew.

Eric and Sangyeon go way back. The two grew up in the same neighbourhood and were almost inseparable when they were younger. They did grow a little distant when Sangyeon started college and found his own group of friends, but they still tried to catch up whenever they had the time. The quaint little coffee shop ten minutes away from their homes was still their favourite hangout spot. Eric was so likeable to the point that Sangyeon’s friends also started to invite Eric whenever they hung out at Sangyeon’s house. In the end, Eric ended up going to Sangyeon’s college too, but of course, Sangyeon had already graduated.

Sangyeon had graduated college two years ago and his 4-year age gap with Eric did mean coming to a party filled with much younger people than him. Eric was famous in school for being an over-friendly star athlete. He was a midfielder for the school’s soccer team. So when everyone at the party is at least 5 years his junior, Sangyeon doesn’t question it.

Thank god, he convinced his friends to come along. Well technically, they were invited to the party too.

“Please remind me why we’re here again?” Younghoon huffs, pushing a red solo cup filled with god knows what into Sangyeon’s hand. Sangyeon mumbles a thanks and downs the drink way too fast.

Yucks, it was gin and tonic.

Jacob follows right behind Younghoon, bobbing his head to the party’s playlist. Jacob is typing frantically on his phone, trying to find the name of the song that was currently playing. Younghoon squints at him judgmentally.

“They have apps for that now, you know that right?” Younghoon points out, only to have the shorter male shush him. Sangyeon giggles, a sense of relief washing over him. His friends’ antics were exactly what he needed right now.

“Got it! Relax Younghoon, at least the music doesn’t suck,” Jacob shrugs, shoving his phone in his back pocket. “Besides, Eric is like our baby brother too,” Jacob throws an arm around Sangyeon, giving him a reassuring squeeze.

“Let’s go and find him and stay for like 30 minutes and then we’ll-”

“Sangyeon! Over here!”

Sangyeon turns to see Sunwoo who gushes over with two cups in his hand. Sunwoo was one of Eric’s friends from high school. Eric used to bring Sunwoo along whenever he was hanging out at Sangyeon’s house.

“Sunwoo! You’re here too?” Jacob asks, enveloping the younger male in a hug. Sunwoo beams happily, almost relieved to see them.

“It’s Eric’s party, I wouldn’t miss it for the world! I’m so glad you guys are here, I’ve been chilling alone at the corner for a while now,” Sunwoo gazes sadly at his two solo cups and Younghoon scoffs at him.

“With two drinks?”

“Yeah,” Sunwoo replies looking at Younghoon. “Is there a problem?”

Younghoon chuckles, ruffling Sunwoo’s curly hair. “Not at all, kiddo.”

The music keeps getting louder and it’s getting on Sangyeon’s nerves so he excuses himself to the bar to get a refill and that’s when he sees the posse walk in.

Hyunjae, Chanhee, Haknyeon and Juyeon.

Damn, he thought he saw the last of them in college. They were the “it” boys, always catching everyone’s attention the moment they step into the room. They were a popular bunch with Sangyeon getting a wind of them during his last year in college.

Hyunjae, the dashing all-rounder athlete, Chanhee, the beauty with brains, Haknyeon, the good-natured son of a wealthy philanthropist, and then there’s Juyeon, literal sex on legs.

His eyes meet with Juyeon’s and he immediately looks away, ignoring the sour taste in his mouth. There’s some unresolved conflict between the two of them but Sangyeon has been doing what he does best: avoiding uncomfortable situations.

Sangyeon shakes his head, grabbing a bottle of whiskey from the table and filling his cup. He walks back to his group of friends who are huddling together on a couch.

“I don’t know, he just pisses me off!” He hears Sunwoo’s voice even before he reaches the group and he just knows who the younger boy was referring to.

“Let me guess,” Sangyeon announces as soon as he reaches their table. “Haknyeon again?”

Jacob raises his eyebrows and downs his drink before excusing himself to get some refills. Younghoon pushes his solo cup into Jacob’s hand with a pleading smile. Jacob rolls his eyes, muttering something along the lines of “lazy ass mf”.

“No, think about it - how can someone be so nice all the time? That’s freaking sus if you ask me,”

“Sounds like you have a little crush, Sunwoo.” Younghoon deadpans and Sunwoo splutters on his drink, droplets of alcohol staining Younghoon’s jeans. Sangyeon chuckles while Younghoon mumbles expletives under his breath, his hand reaching out for some napkins from the table.

“What on earth are you talking about? I hate that dude,” Sunwoo yells, almost defensively, crumpling his empty solo cup in his hand.

“Are you hearing yourself? Haknyeon this, Haknyeon that - the dude barely walked into the room.” Younghoon says, taking the cup out of Sunwoo’s hand, tossing it onto the table.

“Don’t you think he’s fake? What kind of sick person is happy all the time?” Sunwoo grumbles, his frown deepening with every word he says.

“Okay, now you sound obsessed - how do you know he’s happy all the time? Maybe he’s just better at masking his emotions, you know?” Sangyeon butts in, ignoring Sunwoo’s fiery glare from across the table.

“Please, that’s totally being fake. Always flashing his sweet little smile and making the cutest faces… I can see past all that, unlike the both of you. Wake the fuck up guys, you’ve been brainwashed!” Sunwoo exclaims, shaking Younghoon’s shoulders dramatically. It’s clear that Sunwoo had a little too much to drink.

Younghoon gathers Sunwoo’s hands and warns him to never do that again with a grim smile.

Sangyeon shakes his head, downing the rest of his drink and that’s when he sees Jacob whisking his way to their table, Hyunjae and Haknyeon in tow. He runs his fingers through his hair in frustration, just thinking about the impending chaos that will soon ensue.

“Oh, the whole gang's here!” Haknyeon yells, beaming at them with excitement. Sunwoo attempts to leave, wanting to stand up but Younghoon yanks his arm, forcing him to sit back down. Be nice, Younghoon says through gritted teeth and Sunwoo scowls at him.

“I bumped into them at the bar and they wanted to say hi,” Jacob speaks on behalf of the two.

“Okay, are you guys done saying hi then?” Sunwoo snaps, catching Hyunjae and Haknyeon off guard. Haknyeon looks particularly more upset. Younghoon shakes his head, appalled at the younger boy’s behaviour.

“Someone’s got their panties in a twist…” Hyunjae scoffs, ignoring Sunwoo’s remark, choosing to acknowledge Sangyeon and Younghoon instead. “It’s been a while. but it looks like I’m still the most good-looking one around here.”

Sangyeon and Younghoon exchange a look while Jacob laughs, hitting Hyunjae’s shoulder playfully. Sangyeon can’t help but notice Hyunjae’s arm around Jacob’s waist. There’s definitely more than what meets the eye with these two.

“I’m going to get some fresh air,” Sangyeon announces, picking up his cigarette pack that was on the table. Hyunjae rolls his eyes and Sangyeon just knows he has a witty remark up his sleeve just waiting to slip past his lips.

“Nothing fresh about that...You should switch to a Juul or something.”

And there it was.

Sangyeon gives him a tight-lipped smile, patting him on the back before leaving the table.

He doesn’t hate Hyunjae or Haknyeon. In fact, he thinks they’re kinda cool, but Hyunjae and his bitchy mouth always seemed to get on his nerves. Hyunjae’s much more tolerable with his mouth shut.

Sangyeon’s slithering through the crowd, avoiding couples dancing and making out on the dancefloor when someone grabs his arm. He almost swings his arm back in reflex, wanting to box the person who did it square in the jaw but he turns to see the birthday boy smiling at him. Sangyeon almost didn’t recognize him with his bright pink hair.

“You came!” Eric yells, diving into Sangyeon’s arms, hugging him tightly. They haven’t seen each other in ages.

“Of course, I’m just surprised your parents let you have a party this big...Where’s your new boy toy?” Sangyeon wiggles his eyebrows teasingly. Eric frowns, folding his arms to his chest.

“Kevin is not my boy toy okay, I think I actually L-word him,” He admits, a soft smile forming on his lips. Sangyeon is almost envious. Whoever this Kevin was - he’s a lucky dude.

Sangyeon had been Eric’s subject of affection for a short while a few years ago - call it puppy love if you will. Realising that they work better off as friends, they ended things amicably and things naturally went back to normal.

But Sangyeon still thinks Eric loved him the best.

“Hey, who is this?” A tall, thin male with too many ear piercings suddenly joined them, an arm coming around Eric’s waist protectively. Sangyeon chuckles - this must be Kevin. Eric taps his hand away, whispering in Kevin’s ear and Sangyeon watches as his eyes widen in surprise.

“Ah! So you’re Sangyeon! I’m Kevin, it’s nice to finally meet you, Eric literally never shuts up about you!” He extends his hand out and Sangyeon shakes on it firmly.

“Only good things I assume?” Sangyeon muses, looking at Eric with threatening eyes.

“Totally! Eric can go on about ages when he’s talking about you and Juy-” Eric thwacks Kevin in the stomach before he can say more and Sangyeon’s eyes fall, looking at his shoes. Kevin bites his lower lip, mumbling an awkward apology. “Will you be a darling and get me some more beer?” Eric requests and Kevin immediately excuses himself.

“I’m not going to break if you say his name, you know?” Sangyeon mentions as soon as Kevin is out of sight. Eric sighs dejectedly.

“I know, it’s just difficult to bring it up still. Have you seen him yet today?” Eric asks and Sangyeon lies, shaking his head and changing the topic. The two engage in a light conversation, talking about school and how he met Kevin. When Kevin joins them again, he doesn’t bring Juyeon up.

As Sangyeon listens to Eric go on about how hard school life was, he can’t help but get distracted by Juyeon in the corner of his eye. Of course, Juyeon is talking to a boy, someone Sangyeon doesn’t know, and boy, was that dude trying his hardest. The stranger laughs too hard at almost everything Juyeon says, dirty hands touching Juyeon every two seconds, and Juyeon being Juyeon - just let him.

Sangyeon feels the grip around his cup tighten, his head swimming with rage. He’s trying his very best to stay unbothered but Juyeon’s very existence makes his skin prickle.

“I need to smoke,” He cuts Eric off mid-sentence and Eric chuckles, going on about how Sangyeon never quits his bad habits. Kevin tells him that he can smoke outside in the backyard, but Eric gestures to the second floor, instead.

“The same place where you used to smoke whenever you came over,” He replies with a small smile. Sangyeon mumbles an apology, excusing himself upstairs. Sangyeon is thankful that Eric knows he’s in dire need of some alone time right now.

He takes one last look at Juyeon and the other guy and decides he’s going to take 3 beers upstairs with him. He loved his friends but they were unbearable to be with at this moment and staying here will just remind him of Juyeon.

He needs to get piss drunk alone.

Sangyeon spots the all too familiar mahogany door by the staircase and walks towards it, turning on the knob slowly.

It’s the Sohn’s study room.

He takes in the sight of messy papers and a brand-new sleek iMac on the study desk and teeters towards the balcony, cracking the sliding door open with one hand.

It’s a cool night and Sangyeon basks in his surroundings for a while. He can feel the thudding bass coming from downstairs and hear peals of laughter from presumably a bunch of strangers - and yet, nothing beats being alone like this. He fishes out his cigarette pack from his pocket, bringing a cigarette to his lips and lighting it up. He lets the nicotine fill his lungs, watching closely as rings of smoke unfurl into the air in front of him. Sangyeon shuts his eyes, wanting the pain in his heart to go away.

Seeing Juyeon again after so long really did a lot to him. He didn’t expect to be so affected by the other man’s sheer presence.

-

Along with Eric, Juyeon was also his childhood friend back then. The three of them were inseparable and even their parents were good friends. Juyeon was new to the neighbourhood while Eric and Sangyeon have been staying a house away from each other ever since Eric was born.

When they first met Juyeon, he had long hair that reached his shoulders and covered his eyes.

They quickly found out that Juyeon had been homeschooled most of his life since his mother was a teacher and that he never had friends apart from his older sister. Eric and Sangyeon essentially adopted him into their friend group but they didn’t stop teasing him about his long hair.

One day, 11-year-old Sangyeon decided it would be a good idea to cut Juyeon’s hair and 7-year-old Eric had suggested using a bowl for reference. Juyeon didn’t stop them, instead, cheering his friends on as they gave him the worst haircut of his life.

Needless to say, the three of them got a scolding from their parents after that. Sangyeon was grounded for weeks but Juyeon and Eric would always find a way to come over. Despite Eric living closer to him, Juyeon would come over more often, bringing Sangyeon his favourite gummies and a stack of his favourite comics.

When his “ban” was lifted, Eric and Juyeon rushed to greet him on his patio with open arms. The trio then resumed their daily activities: playing basketball at the basketball court nearby, going to Eric’s to play Scrabble and watch TV, running to the cafe down the block to buy ice cream.

Eric had the biggest house and was the only child, so it’s no surprise that his room was their preferred hangout spot. Besides, Eric always had the latest toys.

Sometimes, the boys would play pretend too, though it mostly depended on what they felt like pretending to be on that day. Whether it was cops saving the day, or astronauts venturing into space, they would act out any scenario imaginable. But more often than not, Eric would make them pretend to be a family, forcing Sangyeon and Juyeon to be his dads. The two didn’t think too much of it. After all, it’s just pretend.

Sangyeon and Juyeon would both take turns being the stay-at-home parent while Eric would just be Eric, whining for “pancakes” in the morning (read: literally stealing Juyeon’s snacks for the day) and making Sangyeon read his “report card” out loud during “dinner”.

“Juyeon, you should kiss Sangyeon on the mouth, just like how my dad would kiss my mommy!” Eric had suggested one day and Juyeon did as told, startling poor Sangyeon who didn’t expect that at all.

“Can two boys kiss?” Sangyeon exclaimed, touching his lips absent-mindedly. Juyeon shrugged, “We’re just playing pretend.”

Sangyeon puts out his cigarette by dropping it into a solo cup filled with water. He looks into his make-shift ashtray and back into the very backyard where he used to play with Juyeon and Eric.

Things are so complicated now. But he can’t really blame anyone since the real villain of this story is time. Because time changes everything and change is always inevitable.

He curses at the thought, cracking open a can of beer and guzzling it down until it’s empty. Binge drinking is never the solution but it works for him, at least for a while. Sangyeon sits on the floor of the balcony, looking into the darkness once again. He can hear the crickets in the backyard screaming and the loud party still going strong below him. His phone buzzes in his pocket a few times but he ignores it, opening yet another can of beer, downing it in record speed. His head starts to spin and his stomach grumbles - that’s when he remembers he barely had any dinner before coming to the party.

Binge-drinking on an empty stomach? Lee Sangyeon is his life’s biggest saboteur. He takes out yet another stick, flicking his clipper lighter. It’s to suppress the hunger, he chides himself. Sangyeon exhales the smoke from his nose, letting his head fall, hitting the wall behind him with a thud. He lets himself relax, trying to rid his mind of bittersweet memories, staring at the wooden floor beneath his feet. He draws his knees to his chin, fingers absent-mindedly tracing a dark spot in the wood beneath him.

He knows where the stain came from.

16-year-old Sangyeon had smoked in front of Eric and Juyeon for the first time that day and had stubbed out his cigarette here, leaving an obvious mark on the floor. Sangyeon also taught curious Juyeon how to smoke, watching with glee as he grimaced in disgust.

“It tastes like shit,” Juyeon had commented, coughing his lungs out, passing the cigarette back to Sangyeon who looked at the cigarette in disgust himself - the filter was soaked with Juyeon’s spit. Eric didn’t engage, choosing instead to observe with intent curiosity.

“Dude, why is the filter so wet?” Sangyeon asked, to which Juyeon explained that he thought your lips had to be wet. Needless to say, Sangyeon stubbed the cigarette out after that, leaving the stain that is still present to this very day.

Sangyeon chuckles to himself recalling the distant memory but stops when he sees the sliding door to the balcony slowly open. Sangyeon peers curiously, only to see Juyeon - clearly hammered.

“Has this door always been this heavy?” Juyeon mumbles to himself, pulling the door shut.

He staggers into the balcony with a drink in hand, the liquid in his cup sloshing around dangerously. Sangyeon swallows the lump in his throat. He wants so bad to stand up and bolt, but his feet are plastered to the ground. In fact, Sangyeon is 100% sure that his body is paralysed in shock right now.

“Hello, stranger,” Juyeon says, a lopsided grin on his face. Underneath the moonlight, Sangyeon could see the pink tips of Juyeon’s ears and the flush creeping down his neck, disappearing into the deep v-line of his sweater.

He has gotten so broad - Sangyeon notices, looking at the way Juyeon’s chest, shoulders and arms fill up his otherwise oversized sweater. He takes in the way Juyeon’s sharp collar bones jut out prettily against the revealing neckline, exposing the milky skin beneath. Sangyeon thinks there’s a hint of a tattoo peeking out from his chest but he doesn’t let his eyes linger any longer, berating himself for having such lustful feelings for his childhood friend. Or should he say, ex-friend? Sangyeon doesn’t know anymore.

“I should leave-”

“Eric told me you’d be here,” Juyeon says, plopping himself down on the floor, spilling his drink a little onto his jeans. He’s so clumsy when he’s drunk - Sangyeon thinks to himself, looking at the hot mess just spiralling right before his very eyes.

Sangyeon doesn’t know what to think and more importantly, doesn’t know how to feel.

Is he supposed to feel happy that Juyeon sought after him?

“I’ve been looking for you everywhere, but you just keep on avoiding me, why?” Juyeon whines, a little pout on his lips and it takes every single cell in Sangyeon’s body to stop him from cooing at the grown man. He quickly snaps out of it, knowing he has a facade to keep.

“Uh, because we haven’t talked in the last 5 years, Juyeon?”

Juyeon hums, nodding his head and Sangyeon watches as Juyeon downs whatever that’s left of his cup, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

“You’re right, we haven’t…” Juyeon mutters sadly, his eyes gazing out at the backyard below him. Sangyeon has a thousand things to say - how have you been? how’s your mom? who’s the dude from downstairs? did he touch you? - but nothing comes out of his mouth.

It’s funny how talking to Juyeon used to be the easiest thing - they could talk for hours about anything and everything, from school to aliens to the weather, but now Sangyeon can’t say a single word.

“Sangyeon,” Juyeon mutters ever so softly, so much so that Sangyeon almost misses it, his soft voice muffled by the harmonies of screaming cicadas.

Sangyeon looks up at the boy seated in front of him, choosing to look past the heavy liner, the speckles of glitter in the inner corner of his eyes and the tiniest hint of gloss over his lips - choosing to look at Juyeon, the one he used to adore with all of his heart and soul.

“I’m sorry for everything,” Juyeon continues and the crack in his voice feels like a well-aimed punch to the gut for Sangyeon.

He absolutely hated it when Juyeon cried. When they were little he would kiss all of Juyeon’s boo-boos whenever he fell down or hurt himself - just to stop him from crying.

It was their thing.

“Don’t cry, Juyeonnie. It’s not that bad,”

“But it hurts so much!”

“What if I kiss it better? Promise me you’ll stop crying?”

“Y-yeah, maybe.”

All it took was one peck to a bruise - the most soothing and healing kiss, Juyeon used to call it, and Juyeon would instantly calm down. Because every time Sangyeon was around, Juyeon felt safe and alright.

It’s preposterous, Sangyeon thinks, because this was one boo-boo he could never kiss better. This “boo-boo” was beyond saving.

Sangyeon looks at the last can of beer, his eyes following the beads of condensation trickling down the body of the can, forming a pool at the bottom. He cracks it open, offering some to the teary-eyed boy in front of him who declines it with a violent head shake. Sangyeon shrugs, chugging the can until it’s halfway mark.

“It’s a long time ago, Juyeon-ah. There’s nothing to be sorry about…” Sangyeon finally says, breaking the almost deafening silence between them. Juyeon looks at him then and Sangyeon realizes Juyeon has been crying this whole time.

You used to cry so loudly, when did you learn to hide your cries, Juyeon-ah?

Too many things have changed. It’s impossible to just pick up where they left off. Especially since their friendship ended on such a bad note.

Juyeon was in his last year in high school while Sangyeon had just entered college when things between them started to take a turn for the worst.

Although Eric and Sangyeon knew Juyeon would be popular in high school, nothing prepared them for the actual thing.

He was swarmed by girls and boys almost every day and everyone wanted him to be a part of their team whether it’s as a basketball captain, the lead actor for the school’s musical, the student body president... everything. And Juyeon being Juyeon, he never knew how to say no.

Still, he managed to squeeze in some time for Eric and Sangyeon, meeting them on Saturday mornings for their regular basketball game or sleeping over at Sangyeon’s every Friday night.

Sangyeon looked forward to Friday nights the most. Juyeon would come over and they would share music, talk about life and huddle close while watching horror movies. It was around this time that Sangyeon realized that he may have feelings for the younger boy, but he doesn’t tell a single soul. He was even afraid to admit it to himself.

But the incident that changed it all was Juyeon’s 18th birthday.

Sangyeon and Eric had a surprise party planned out, heck, they even got Juyeon’s mom in on it. Only for Juyeon to show up past 3 am, freaking wasted. Without uttering even a word of appreciation, Juyeon stumbled to bed, passing out within minutes. Sangyeon swears he isn’t a petty person, so he let it go while Eric proceeded to sulk for 3 working days. Juyeon apologised over Kakao Talk a few days later, promising to make it up to them on Sunday morning over ice cream from their favourite cafe.

Except he never did.

Juyeon stopped coming over on Friday nights and would miss out on their Saturday morning basketball sessions. Their group chat was dead and it very quickly became just Eric and Sangyeon again.

After two whole months, Sangyeon decided that he had enough. He stormed to Juyeon’s house, rapping at his door as if he’s about to break the door down. Juyeon answered the door, in barely any clothing, letting Sangyeon in, rubbing at his eyes.

“Okay, what’s your deal?” Sangyeon yelled as soon as they got to Juyeon’s bedroom. His room was a complete mess. Clothes were strewn all over the floor, papers stacked carelessly on his desk, his bedsheets untucked from the mattress.

There were clothes on Juyeon’s bed too, and Sangyeon was afraid to ask if they were clean.

What the fuck’s going on?

“Nice to see you too, Sangyeon.” Juyeon deadpanned, rummaging through the clutter on his bed to find his phone. He was texting someone, all while Sangyeon was throwing a fit in his room. Sangyeon grabbed the phone out of his hands, ignoring Juyeon’s daunting height towering over him.

“Fuck you. Where have you been? We live so near to each other - is it that hard for you to just come and see Eric and I for an hour?” Sangyeon seethed, poking an accusatory finger into Juyeon’s chest. He was fucking livid.

“I’ve been busy,” Juyeon mumbled, rolling his eyes and Sangyeon wanted to kick him in the ass so bad. Instead, he scanned Juyeon’s messy room with beady eyes and that’s when he spotted the bong in the corner.

“Yeah, I can clearly see that,” Sangyeon replied caustically, looking at the bong and then back at Juyeon. The taller boy sighed, plopping down on the corner of his bed.

“Look, what do you want me to do? I’m just fucking tired okay?” As soon as those words left Juyeon’s mouth, Sangyeon knew there was more to this.

“Tell me what’s really going on?”

When Juyeon finally revealed the truth, they fell into an uncomfortable silence. No one could blame them, it was a lot to process.

Juyeon had been dating someone from his high school for a couple of months in secret and he hid the very fact from Eric and Sangyeon because he was afraid of them judging his sexuality.

“It was perfect for the first few weeks but then he told me that he wanted to keep things between us a secret...so I did, but he was dating other girls too. When I confronted him about it, he would say it’s all just an act and they were just his beards,” Juyeon’s hands were shaking while he spoke and Sangyeon instantly took them into his own, rubbing soothing circles on the back of Juyeon’s hands.

Sangyeon didn’t know what to say, he just knew that seeing Juyeon like this tore him apart.

“We had a massive fight on my birthday because he promised to celebrate with me but I found out that he was staying over at some random chick’s,” Juyeon said, tears welling up in his eyes.

“What a fucking asshole,” Sangyeon muttered under his breath and Juyeon laughed sadly. “I’m sorry this happened to you and I’m sorry I wasn’t there.”

Sangyeon could feel bile rising up his throat.

How could he not know? How could he not have seen the pain in Juyeon’s eyes? How could he not know a single thing? He always thought he never deserved to be called Juyeon’s best friend, let alone his lover.

And this instance proved his very point.

“Well, you can make it up to me,” Juyeon said, forcing a broken smile onto his face and Sangyeon felt like crying because Juyeon’s smile didn’t reach his eyes like it always used to.

“How?” Sangyeon asked in pure desperation. There must be something he could do to stop the pain. He pressed a hand against his own chest, feeling overwhelmed by the excruciating pain engulfing his heart.

At this point, he’s willing to do anything, just anything, to make Juyeon feel okay again. Juyeon rubbed his nose, sniffling. He looked up at Sangyeon, eyes glistening with tears.

“Can you hold me through the night and never bring this up ever again?”

Sangyeon took his best friend into his arms, ignoring the way Juyeon sobbed like a baby, soaking his shirt in tears and more importantly, ignoring his heart beating rapidly in his chest.

Seeing Juyeon like this was just devastating.

It had been about two hours and Sangyeon couldn’t really feel the right side of his body, but he stayed still, not wanting to stir the boy dozing off on his chest. Juyeon had cried himself to sleep and Sangyeon kept his promise, holding him close without saying a single word.

Sangyeon stared hard into the ceiling, thinking about whatever Juyeon went through. He took in the state of Juyeon’s room, now dimly lit with the warm light coming from the lamp on Juyeon’s bedside table. The room smelled like weed and judging from Juyeon’s growing stubble, it seemed like both Juyeon and his room hadn’t seen daylight for days.

Sangyeon always had an inkling that Juyeon’s first love would be a crash and burn.

Only because he’s known Juyeon for so long. Even when it came to friendships, Juyeon only knew how to give, give, and give, never expecting anything in return. So it was safe to assume that he did just that when it came to love too. But still, seeing Juyeon in this state was simply unimaginable.

There was nothing he could have done, nothing he could have said to the younger boy that would have prepared him for the mess he went through.

He gazed at the sleeping boy in his arms, a hand subconsciously coming up to touch his tired, haggard but otherwise, beautiful face. Seeing the bags beneath Juyeon’s eyes, the paleness of his skin, the dried tear tracks on his face - Sangyeon felt a pang of guilt in his chest.

As kids, he had always taken pride in being Eric and Juyeon’s number one protector, but he failed to protect Juyeon this time around.

He felt responsible for this. Maybe if he checked up on Juyeon more often, maybe if he bothered befriending one of Juyeon’s stuck up friends from high school, maybe then none of this would have happened.

Sangyeon pulled Juyeon closer, holding him tight.

“I promise to never let you go through that again,” Sangyeon whispered against the curve of Juyeon’s eyebrow, pressing a soft kiss on his temple. Juyeon stirred in his arms, blinking up at him with swollen eyes.

“Sangyeon?” He croaked, turning to look into Sangyeon’s eyes. For someone whose heart was freshly broken, Juyeon still managed to look mesmerizing, Sangyeon noted mentally, taking in how soft Juyeon looked with the warm light casting over his face. He shook his head, ridding himself of those thoughts.

Juyeon needed a friend right now, not a forlorn love confession.

“Shh, go back to sleep-”' Sangyeon didn’t get to finish his sentence because all he could feel was Juyeon’s lips moving against his. Sangyeon froze, not knowing how to react, his heart was cheering him on but his brain was waving red flags at him.

When Sangyeon didn't kiss back, Juyeon pulled away with a worried expression on his face.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t-”

Sangyeon kissed him to shut him up this time, pressing his lips onto Juyeon’s soft, slightly chapped lips and suddenly, it felt like the whole world stopped spinning in favour of this very moment. His heart has long yearned for Juyeon, wanting to kiss, hold, love and protect him to the very end.

Sangyeon realized he had never felt this way before for anyone and that was a little terrifying to come to terms with.

Juyeon had whined into the kiss then, moving his body to slot his thigh in between the older boy’s. Sangyeon felt his pulse thrumming underneath his skin and he hesitantly brought Juyeon’s body closer, fingertips skimming lightly underneath Juyeon’s tank top, caressing at his lower back.

His body was so soft, so pliant, so warm. Is this what coming home feels like?

This kiss was nothing compared to the pecks they shared back when they were playing pretend as kids. The kiss was tender, loving, but also...desperate. It’s as if the two of them have been waiting for this very moment for a long time.

Sangyeon nibbled on Juyeon’s lower lip and the younger male immediately granted him access to his mouth, their tongues tangling, teeth clacking - they’re kissing as lovers do and just the sheer thought of that made Sangyeon’s brain melt.

“Mm, more,” Juyeon breathed as soon as Sangyeon pulled back, his hands making their way around Sangyeon’s nape. “Kiss me more.” Juyeon roughly tugged at Sangyeon’s hair, biting at Sangyeon’s lower lip.

“Are you sure?” Sangyeon whispered against his lips.

Although he wanted this, he also knew that Juyeon was in a vulnerable state. The last thing he wanted was to take advantage of him. Juyeon brought Sangyeon’s hands to his face.

“Please,” Juyeon pleaded, his voice hoarse and Sangyeon could see fresh tears forming in the corner of his eyes. Sangyeon kissed his eyelids, kissing the tears away before they could trickle down his face and he connected their lips again, kissing him slowly and languidly, hoping to somehow kiss all of Juyeon’s pain away.

They ended up making out for hours, pausing only to catch a breath, admiring each other’s faces before one of them pulled the other in again. They kissed until Sangyeon left traces of his cologne all over Juyeon’s body and until Juyeon’s lips were swollen and bruised. They fell asleep shortly after, their limbs a tangled mess.

Holding the boy close in his arms, Sangyeon had a million thoughts running through his mind. He has never felt this content in his entire life. All he could think about with every breath was Juyeon, Juyeon and Juyeon. And although he knew, this could change nothing, like the foolish boy that he was - Sangyeon still hoped for something.

Sangyeon woke up the next morning to an empty bed with Juyeon nowhere to be found. He was puzzled at first, but he didn't question it because maybe Juyeon had some thinking to do. He decided to give Juyeon his space. After all, he was still mourning the loss of his first love. Maybe it was a bad idea to kiss your best friend after their first-ever heartbreak.

Sangyeon had checked his phone excessively that day, awaiting a text from Juyeon.

He had even planned all the scenarios in his head, preparing himself for their next steps. Sangyeon was willing to give Juyeon time to recover and heal.

Besides, Sangyeon has been waiting since they were kids. What were a few months of waiting compared to a promised lifetime together?

Sangyeon had sprinted to the front door when his doorbell rang, only to see Eric standing there with bags of microwavable popcorn. He had been so distracted by last night’s events that he almost missed movie night with Eric. Sangyeon let the boy in, taking the bags of popcorn from him. He told Eric to choose a movie while he prepared the snacks for them.

In the kitchen, Sangyeon debated whether he should tell Eric about last night. After much contemplation, he decided that Eric has to know. After all, Eric was his best friend too. He walked out of the kitchen, a glass of water in hand, joining the younger boy in his living room.

“Hey, remember Chanhee? The dude from Juyeon’s high school clique? The one with the girly legs?” Eric suddenly mentioned in the middle of scrolling through movie titles. Sangyeon froze in his step, his heart skipping a beat at the mention of Juyeon’s name.

“I bumped into him at the cafe earlier, apparently Juyeon’s got a boyfriend now and they just went public this morning, crazy stuff huh?”

This morning?

The glass of water in Sangyeon’s hand fell to the floor with a loud crash, broken glass shattering into smithereens. He ignored Eric’s shriek, taking one step back, stepping onto a chunky shard of glass by accident. He watched as blood permeated through his white sock, completely unfazed.

He felt so embarrassed, so betrayed, so used - most of all, so disgusted, with himself and his mind for wanting something he could never have.

Of course, Juyeon would choose to get back together with his ex, of course, Juyeon would go back to someone he loves.

Who was he kidding? Juyeon never loved him, he never did and he never will.

Sangyeon was only brought back to reality when Eric pushed him aside, with a mop in hand. Sangyeon winced, the pain underneath his foot suddenly becoming apparent. But it was nothing compared to the pain he felt in his heart.

The previous night was the last time Sangyeon spoke to Juyeon.

He had confided in Eric about the incident but didn’t divulge too much, telling the younger boy that they simply fell out and were no longer on talking terms. Eric didn’t buy it, of course. He was 16 years old, not a complete idiot. But he figured, if Sangyeon wanted to tell him one day, he would. (And Sangyeon did, a few years later while they were dating.)

Sangyeon moved out of his house to stay at his college dormitory just to avoid seeing Juyeon around and even that plan turned to shit when he saw freshman Juyeon in his college during his final year in school.

They say some things are better left unspoken and that nothing good comes from bringing up the past. So that’s exactly what Sangyeon did. He moved on, knowing he had no choice but to move on. He tried to see other people, Eric included, but it never worked out. He was looking for Juyeon in almost everyone he dated.

He was grateful to have Eric the most because he reminded Sangyeon to stop hurting himself. To stop dating so carelessly when he hasn't fully moved on from the repercussions of his first heartache because he wasn’t only hurting himself, he was hurting others too.

With newfound enthusiasm, Sangyeon decided to stay single. It’s true that Juyeon was gone from his life but still, life went on. And up until 30 minutes ago, Sangyeon was doing a very good job at keeping his life Juyeon-free.

But then again, sometimes it’s better to just look at your demons straight in the eyes and tackle them - or in Sangyeon’s case, tackle him.

Sangyeon forces a wry smile onto his face.

“Please don’t cry, Juyeon. I’m not kissing your boo-boos this time round,” Sangyeon jokes, guzzling the last of his beer. He watches as the other boy wipes his tears with the sleeve of his sweater.

God, after all this time, he’s still so beautiful, so delicate, so fragile. Sangyeon fights the feeling of wanting to protect Juyeon. It’s been years now, Juyeon must be fully capable of fighting his own battles.

“But I still, I hurt you...I ruined our friendship, fuck, I ruined my life when I chose that asshole,” Juyeon admits sadly. The mention of Juyeon’s bitter past fucks him up to the very core, but Sangyeon chooses not to react. Instead, he shrugs.

“Sometimes we just gotta learn from our mistakes, y’know? You were young and it was your first love. Of course, you wanted it to work out.” Sangyeon offers, his voice breaking at the end. He looks at his shaky hands, balling them into fists, feeling frustrated at himself.

He thought it’d be easy to just act strong in front of Juyeon but he definitely underestimated himself. He’s falling apart with every passing second.

Juyeon is quiet for a beat and then he licks his lips. “We broke up, a week after going public.”

Sangyeon whips his head up, looking at the man in front of him. He watched as Juyeon pulled out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket, lighting a stick up with shaky hands.

“What?” Sangyeon asks, bracing himself for whatever else Juyeon had to say. Juyeon looks at him then, and Sangyeon nearly breaks. This face, this expression - it’s been 5 years since he last saw Juyeon this broken.

“I tried looking for you, but I heard from Eric that you moved out - you didn’t even say goodbye,” Juyeon says, hot tears streaming down his beautiful face. “But I deserved that. After what I did to you- I wasn’t worthy of a goodbye.”

Juyeon full-on sobs, shoulders quaking violently, attempting to smoke his cigarette. Sangyeon throws all self-control out the window as he crawls over to the younger boy’s side, pulling him into an awkward side hug, careful to not let Juyeon burn him.

“I know I ruined everything but I’ve always wanted to make things right,” Juyeon says in between choked sobs and Sangyeon wants to tell him to stop talking, wants to tell him that they can talk once he’s calmed down and once he’s stopped crying his heart out, but Sangyeon doesn’t know if he himself would stick around after all this.

Sangyeon was doing just fine living a life without Juyeon. It took years for him to build himself up, to recover from his first love. Was he ready to throw it all away, just for another chance at a friendship with Juyeon?

Deep down, Sangyeon knows they can’t be friends, he’d always want something more.

“But I look at you now and I realize, you’re doing so well without me,” Juyeon says, sniffling through fresh tears, taking in another puff. “You don’t need a fuck up like me in your life.”

“Don’t fucking say that you know how much you mean to me,” Sangyeon says, feeling tears forming in his own eyes. His heart feels so heavy in his chest. Why was this so fucking painful?

Even after all this time, his heart always longed for the same thing, always craved the same touch, always wanted the same person. Sangyeon almost couldn’t comprehend that his heart was betraying him like this.

“Stop lying to me!” Juyeon raises his voice through wracked sobs, cigarette dropping on the floor. “You think I don’t know that you wince whenever someone mentions my name?”

Sangyeon swallows the lump in his throat, guilt washing over him as he picks up the abandoned cigarette, disposing of it properly. He feels like he can’t breathe.

“I only realised how much I needed you when it was too late. But I know now,” Juyeon hiccups, pushing his hair out of his face by running a hand through his bangs.

Silence.

“What do you know?” Sangyeon asks, bracing himself for Juyeon’s answer.

“All this time, I only love-” Juyeon doesn’t get to finish his sentence because he’s throwing up all over his jeans. Sangyeon yells in surprise when some of Juyeon’s vomit lands on him too.

Juyeon apologises profusely, looking absolutely out of it while Sangyeon scrambles for his phone in his back pocket, calling Eric for help. Sangyeon hears the music from the party below halt and in just a few minutes, Eric barges into the study room with Kevin holding clean clothes and towels for both of them.

“What the hell happened here?” Eric yells dramatically, helping a buzzed Sangyeon hoist Juyeon up by the waist. Kevin says something about getting a mop bucket and leaves the room.

Eric brings them to the bathroom, demanding they change their clothes.

“I don’t care, both of you are staying over tonight. Sangyeon, help him with his clothes, I’ll need to help Kevin at the balcony,” Eric commands, leaving Sangyeon in the bathroom with a very intoxicated Juyeon.

Sangyeon groans into the palms of his hands.

How the hell did things end up like this?

He looks at the drunk boy sitting at the edge of the bathtub, looking as though he’s about to hurl again anytime soon. Sangyeon squats down in front of him, placing his hands on Juyeon’s knees.

“Juyeon-ah, I’m going to take off your clothes, okay?” Sangyeon asks nicely, reaching for the hem of Juyeon’s dirty sweater. Juyeon breaks into a fit of giggles, hiccuping a little.

What’s so funny?

“Already? I haven’t even confessed to you, yet.” Juyeon says with the wooziest smile on his lips and Sangyeon loses balance, his head nearly colliding with the sink behind him.

“What?”

“I said, I haven’t even-” Juyeon stands up abruptly before falling down on his knees, right in front of the toilet bowl, emptying the contents of his stomach.

God, he was really out of it.

Sangyeon shakes his head, standing up to pat Juyeon’s back, alternating between full-on smacking his back and soothing back rubs. Juyeon stands to his feet with raised hands, telling Sangyeon he was alright.

Sangyeon helps him out of his clothes and that’s when he sees the amount of tattoos Juyeon had on his torso. The tattoo he saw earlier on his chest was a snake that coiled around his left shoulder, the head ending right where Juyeon’s neckline was. He also had a butterfly right below his chest, two symmetrical roses on his hips and a panther on his left bicep.

Sangyeon didn’t want to stare but he couldn’t help himself.

“You like what you see?” Juyeon teases him and Sangyeon rolls his eyes, pulling a clean shirt over Juyeon’s head. Juyeon stumbles out of his jeans on his own while Sangyeon respectfully looks away. He helps Juyeon with his dirty clothes and tells him to wait outside while he changes. Juyeon refuses, telling Sangyeon to change while he sits in the bathtub with the shower curtain drawn.

Sangyeon watches as Juyeon climbs into the bathtub, long awkward limbs struggling to keep a balance. He waits until Juyeon’s fully seated in there before he pulls the shower curtains close. Without missing a beat, Sangyeon changes into his set of clean clothes as fast as possible, wanting to make sure Juyeon gets to bed safe and sound. When he pulls the curtain open a few minutes later, Juyeon is already dozing off. He sighs dejectedly, knowing that he isn’t left with a choice.

With all the strength left in him, he carries Juyeon into his arms, bridal-style and Juyeon has the audacity to put his arms around him, getting comfortable in Sangyeon’s arms, all while his eyes are still closed.

“You’re awake aren’t you, you little shit,” Sangyeon huffs and Juyeon is laughing, the air coming out of his nose, tickling Sangyeon’s neck. Sangyeon chuckles, tightening his grip around the younger boy’s waist, not wanting him to fall.

He gets to the study room and that’s when he realizes there’s only one bed in there. Screw that, he thinks, plopping Juyeon onto the bed. Juyeon’s eyes flutter open then and Sangyeon offers him some water that Kevin had very kindly left for them on the bedside table earlier. Juyeon gulps it down messily, some of the water spilling onto his shirt.

Sangyeon takes the bottle from him, wiping Juyeon’s mouth with the back of his hand.

“Get some rest, okay. We can talk tomorrow,” Sangyeon says, pulling the blankets up Juyeon’s chin, tucking him in.

“Are you not sleeping with me?” Juyeon asks sleepily in his drunken stupor, a pout on his lips. Sangyeon brushes Juyeon’s hair out of his eyes, cupping the boy’s face gently.

“Juyeon-ah, I know drunk people speak the truth, so listen to me okay?” Sangyeon pleads, and Juyeon nods in understanding, although his eyes were threatening to fall shut.

“Whatever you wanted to say just now - did you mean it?” Sangyeon asks. He knows deep down that Juyeon wasn’t sober enough for this conversation but he knew he had to give it a shot. Sangyeon might be a little tipsy but he definitely hasn’t lost his hearing. He had to confirm what he heard earlier.

His heart sings when Juyeon nods, trying his best to keep his eyes open. His lips part, wanting to say more but Sangyeon silences him with a press of a finger onto his lips.

“If you remember what you said tonight, come and talk to me in the morning,” Sangyeon says.

“Goodnight Sangyeon.”

Sangyeon sighs, stroking Juyeon’s cheek softly.

He grabs a pillow from the other side, deciding to sleep on the floor, next to Juyeon. Just then, the door opens slowly, revealing a cautious Eric. He shakes his head looking at Sangyeon sleeping on the floor.

“The bed is big enough for both of you,”

“I’m not going to sleep in the same bed as him,” Sangyeon says and Eric rolls his eyes.

“If you say so, can you at least remove his make-up for him while I find you a mattress? There’s no way I’m letting you sleep on the floor,” Eric tosses a pack of make-up wipes in Sangyeon’s direction and the older boy nods in agreement. Eric saunters off, mumbling something along the lines about being stuck with two helpless idiots his whole life underneath his breath.

Sangyeon lets the comment fly over his head, taking out a wipe to gently remove Juyeon’s make-up off his face. Juyeon doesn’t budge, already in deep slumber. Sangyeon proceeds to remove his make-up for him, looking over the sleeping boy with worried eyes.

It’s a creepy thing to do - watching someone in the arms of Morpheus. But Sangyeon has almost mastered the act at this point. When Juyeon used to sleep over years ago, he would watch Juyeon just like this. But back then, Sangyeon was still questioning his feelings for the younger boy.

He vaguely remembers the inner turmoil he went through - it was always a constant battle between his head and his heart. And well, we all know who won that battle.

Sangyeon sighs, removing the last bit of glitter he sees. He may not have removed everything but he hopes Juyeon appreciates the gesture. Now, all there’s left to do is to wait for tomorrow.

He takes one last look at Juyeon, the corners of his lips quirking up into a smile.

“Don’t leave me hanging, Juyeon-ah.”

With that, Sangyeon switches off the light, engulfing the room in complete darkness except for the light of the waning moon filtering through the balcony.

-

Sangyeon wakes up to the smell of freshly toasted waffles and the sound of a raging vacuum cleaner. He slowly sits himself up, rubbing the fatigue out of his eyes. The dull ache in his back throbs all the way to his shoulders and Sangyeon curses himself for falling asleep on the floor before Eric could come back with a proper mattress.

Belatedly, he remembers last night’s events and he frantically turns his head to the bed next to him, only to find it already made with no Juyeon in sight. Sangyeon wants to throw up and he doesn’t know if it’s the anxiety of waking up to Juyeon not being there or if it’s a sign of a nascent hangover.

Begrudgingly, he drags his feet to the door, his steps growing more despondent with every step down the staircase. How is he going to face Eric and explain what happened last night? Not to mention the explanation he owed his friends who had blown up his phone with missed calls and messages.

But as soon as Sangyeon reaches the first floor, the roaring vacuum cleaner comes to a halt, revealing laughter that sounds all too familiar. Sangyeon whips his head up, trying to find where the sound came from and relief washes over him when he realizes it’s coming from Juyeon who was in the kitchen with Kevin.

Sangyeon almost bursts into tears if not for Eric dragging the vacuum cleaner over his feet.

“Why are you just standing here like boo boo the fucking clown? Do you have any idea what time it is, young man? My parents are coming home in 3 hours. Move!” Eric snaps and Sangyeon chuckles at Eric’s sudden outburst. He had forgotten how angsty Eric could get when he’s hungover. Sangyeon pads over to the kitchen quietly but Kevin notices him first. Juyeon was too engrossed in manning the stove.

“Oh good, you’re awake! See, I told you he wasn’t dead,” Kevin elbows Juyeon playfully and Sangyeon can’t seem to read the other boy’s reaction. Juyeon was...blushing? Interesting, Sangyeon thinks, helping himself to Eric’s fridge. He grabs a bottle of water, taking a seat at the dining table in the kitchen.

“Kevin, what are you doing in the kitchen? Leave those losers to talk and help me get rid of this stubborn-ass stain on the couch, will you?” Eric hollers from the living room and Kevin grimaces in disgust.

“There’s an ass stain on the couch?” Kevin mutters to himself, running out of the kitchen before Eric combusts. There’s a beat of silence before Sangyeon turns in his seat, making accidental eye contact with Juyeon, and the two burst into laughter. Kevin was one funny guy. Their laughter dwindles down and soon enough, the kitchen falls silent. Sangyeon can’t help but clear his throat loudly just to avoid the awkwardness.

Sangyeon decides to take out his phone from his pyjama pants, ignoring all the notifications from his friends, instead, choosing to open up Instagram to catch a glimpse of what went down last night.

Younghoon’s Instagram Story update

YH: Hey guys, guess who I bumped into? Chanhee yah! Come say hi to my followers?

CH: Why would I do that…

Younghoon pouts and the video comes to an end.

Sangyeon chuckles, letting the lineup of stories play. This was interesting - it seemed like his group of friends ended up hanging out with Juyeon’s friends last night.

Jacob’s Instagram Story update

The camera is too close to Jacob’s face but Sangyeon could tell he was queuing up to use the level one bathroom.

JC: Hey guys, I’m drunk out of my mind and I really need to pee right now- dude, I love your shirt.

??: Ah, thank you! Oh, are you recording?

JC: Yeah man, for the gram. Say something!

CM: Hey everyone, I’m Changmin and to Eric, happy birthday you asshole! You still owe me 50 bucks.

JC: You heard that Eric? You better pay him back - Hey, wait up, do you want to join us?

The screen goes blank and Sangyeon shakes his head at his friend’s antics.

He gets to Hyunjae’s Instagram stories, mouth hanging open at the number of stories he posted last night.

Hyunjae had posted so much that the tabs indicating a story post on the top part of the screen turned into dots. Sangyeon breezes past most of it until he sees a selfie of Jacob and Hyunjae together.

He must admit, they make quite a good-looking pair.

Sangyeon taps past a video of Jacob and his new friend having a dance battle, more drunk Hyunjae and Jacob selfies, before pausing at a video of what looks like Haknyeon and Sunwoo about to engage in a full-on fistfight.

He increases the volume, clearly invested.

HK: Why do you hate me so much huh? What did I ever do to you?

SW: I don’t hate-

HK: Don’t fucking lie to me!

SW: I- I REALLY DON’T

HK: THEN PROVE IT

SW: What the fuck? HOW

HK: KISS ME, YOU COWARD

Sunwoo grabs the collar of Haknyeon’s shirt, kissing him deeply while everyone cheers them on in the background. Hyunjae pans his phone to record Younghoon who was standing next to him, unamused.

YH: I fucking called it.

Hyunjae pans to Chanhee who was shaking his head.

CH: How did he go from bullying Hakkie the whole night to this? Poor kid needs therapy.

The video ends.

“Wow, I did not see that one coming,” Juyeon’s voice startles him and Sangyeon almost drops his phone to the ground in surprise. “Oh, sorry, you turned it on so loud, I had to come and watch.” Juyeon chuckles, scratching the back of his head.

Sangyeon smiles, his heart pounding in his chest. God, Juyeon really was the most perfect person to ever exist. How can someone be so sexy and cute at the same time?

“Here,” Juyeon says, plopping a plate of waffles in front of Sangyeon. “Eat them while they’re still warm.”

Juyeon had decorated the plate of waffles with a chocolate chip smile and a generous drizzle of maple syrup in the shape of a heart. Sangyeon blushes at the gesture, his cheeks turning a rosy pink.

“Thank you,” Sangyeon mumbles, feeling a little shy. Juyeon smiles, sitting down in the empty seat next to Sangyeon.

“So...we have to talk, right?” Juyeon says and Sangyeon almost chokes on a mouthful of waffles. He nods quickly, swallowing his bite in a hurry.

“Last night, I said a couple of things and you did too-” Juyeon pauses mid-way, tilting his head, clearly struggling to find the words to say. It’s frustrating because there wasn’t much to say anyway and Sangyeon just wants Juyeon to cut to the chase. He already knows what’s on Juyeon’s mind.

“I love you too, Juyeon,” Sangyeon nonchalantly blurts, not giving a fuck anymore. He’s tired of chasing, tired of playing this game, tired of wanting Juyeon when Juyeon clearly wants him too.

“Wait, don’t beat me to it!” Juyeon groans in frustration, hiding his face in his hands.

“But I just did.”

“Why can’t you be a little more patient?”

“I’ve waited 5 years! How long more do I you want me to wait?” Sangyeon retorts, laughing hysterically at Juyeon’s stressed-out state. The look of disappointment on Juyeon’s face was pure gold. It reminded him of the times where Juyeon would get worked up over winning and losing video games back when they were younger. It seems like Juyeon’s competitive streak from childhood never left.

“You could have at least finished the fucking waffles!” Juyeon grumbles, staring at the plate of waffles.

Wait.

Sangyeon cuts the waffle some more, cramming the pieces into his mouth and that’s when he sees it.

A piece of translucent baking paper at the bottom of his waffles with something scribbled on top of it.

I remembered. I love you, Sangyeon.

The fork in Sangyeon’s hand falls onto the plate with an obtrusive clang.

“See, now the impact isn’t there anymore-” Sangyeon silences Juyeon’s complaints with a searing kiss, his heart fluttering through it all. Juyeon’s lips were still as soft as Sangyeon remembered them to be.

“Impact’s still there, isn’t it?” Sangyeon says when he pulls back to catch a breath, chuckling when Juyeon leans right back in, wanting to kiss him some more. Sangyeon cups Juyeon’s face with his hand, kissing him gently on the cheek.

“That was a lovely confession, Juyeon. Thank you very much, my love.” Sangyeon thanks his lover, adoring the way his eyes disappear into crescents. The glowing smile on his face was blinding.

“I’m sorry for everything I did,” Juyeon says, hand coming up to touch Sangyeon’s hand on his cheek. “I can’t promise that I will always be perfect, but for you, I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I really love you, Sangyeon.”

“I love you too and I always will,” Sangyeon says before pulling Juyeon into his lap, kissing him once more.

Five years is a really long time but having Juyeon look at him like this, kissing him like this, loving him like this - it made every second of those five years worth it.

-

Sangyeon thinks he’s in heaven. But then again, were bad boys like Juyeon allowed in heaven?

He looks at his lover who was busy unbuckling his belt, tongue wetting his lips in anticipation, tugging on Sangyeon’s boxer briefs.

Maybe he’s in hell, who the fuck knows.

All Sangyeon knows is the feeling of Juyeon’s lips wrapped around his cock. Juyeon presses a chaste kiss on the crown of Sangyeon’s dick before taking it into his mouth. Sangyeon clenches his jaw at the feeling of Juyeon’s warm and slick mouth working on his dick, deft fingers finding their way to tug at Juyeon’s hair. Juyeon’s hands come up to knead Sangyeon’s thighs, digging his nails into the meaty flesh.

“Fuck baby, you’re taking me so well,” Sangyeon groans, watching as Juyeon lets his cock slip out of his mouth, lazily wrapping his pretty fingers around Sangyeon’s length. Pre-come dribbles out of Sangyeon’s slit and he almost cums when Juyeon’s skilful tongue darts out of his mouth to lick it up.

At this rate, Sangyeon doesn’t think he’s going to last very long.

“Change of plans,” Sangyeon says, swatting Juyeon’s hand away, changing their positions.

As soon as Juyeon’s back hits the mattress, Sangyeon wastes no time pushing his thighs apart, taking Juyeon’s leaking member into his mouth. The younger boy’s hips buck involuntarily but Sangyeon holds him down, large hands pressing into Juyeon’s waist.

“Baby, don’t stop, please,” Juyeon pleads and Sangyeon sucks him to completion, letting Juyeon cum into his mouth, swallowing every single drop.

Sangyeon crawls up to his lover, pressing the softest kiss on his cheek.

“You swallowed…” Juyeon mutters, feeling embarrassed. Sangyeon chuckles, pushing Juyeon’s bangs out of his face.

“Of course, baby. Do you want me to go brush my teeth before I kiss you or something?” Sangyeon offers and Juyeon shakes his head, pulling Sangyeon into a kiss, tasting himself on Sangyeon’s tongue.

The gesture turns Sangyeon even more and he feels his cock leak all over Juyeon’s thigh. He kisses his lover with more enthusiasm, relishing the way Juyeon’s kisses get needier and sloppier with every second.

“Wanna fuck me?” Juyeon asks when they pull away, his eyes dark with lust. Sangyeon nods as he kisses the crook of Juyeon’s neck, down to his chest, his hands feeling his lover’s tattooed sinewy arms. Juyeon moans underneath him, hands grasping at the sheets.

Sangyeon sucks a blooming red bruise into Juyeon’s chest, right next to the head of his snake tattoo. He pulls away, feeling content with his work and reaches over the bedside table for lube. The bottle of lube opens up with ease and Sangyeon squirts some into his hand, warming it up. He checks on his lover, pressing kisses into Juyeon’s inner thighs.

“You ready babe?” Sangyeon asks, looking at his lover with concerned eyes. Juyeon nods, licking his lips in anticipation.

The first finger has Juyeon writhing for the second, leaning into Sangyeon’s touch. Sangyeon keeps a firm grip on Juyeon’s thigh as he fingers him open, preparing him sufficiently. He carelessly jabs into that one spot and a cry rips out of Juyeon’s throat, his hips bucking in pleasure. Sangyeon smirks, rubbing continuously against that spot, until Juyeon stops him, shaky fingers wrapping around his wrist.

“Please fuck me, I'm ready." Juyeon’s voice was hoarse from all the moaning and it sent shivers straight down to Sangyeon’s weeping cock. Without hesitation, Sangyeon rips open a condom, rolling it onto his member. Sangyeon slides his dick along the crack of Juyeon’s ass, relishing at how well-lubed up he was.

When Juyeon starts to quake, Sangyeon presses a reassuring kiss on Juyeon’s knee.

“I need you to relax for me, baby,” He coos, a finger drawing comforting circles into Juyeon’s thigh. Juyeon exhales, melting into Sangyeon’s touch and Sangyeon lines himself up with Juyeon’s hole, pushing into him slowly. He moans when he feels Juyeon clench around his length.

“How are you so fucking tight all the time?” Sangyeon groans, holding himself back from thrusting into Juyeon just yet. It’s clear Juyeon needed some time to adjust.

“It’s because you’re so huge, Sangyeon,” Juyeon replies through gritted teeth. Sangyeon chuckles, reaching out for Juyeon’s hand to link their fingers together.

Despite doing this plenty of times, Sangyeon treats every single time like their first. He’s always sure that Juyeon felt safe, loved and treasured.

“You can move now, baby,” Juyeon says and Sangyeon doesn’t have to be told twice. Soon enough, he’s fucking Juyeon into the mattress, letting Juyeon claw into his back with sharp fingernails. Sangyeon thrusts into Juyeon relentlessly, jabbing into his prostate until Juyeon’s toes curl. When Juyeon says he’s close, Sangyeon takes his cock into his hand and jerks him off until he comes with a cry of Sangyeon’s name. Sangyeon follows suit, emptying into the condom.

He pulls out of Juyeon with caution, disposing of his condom and rushing to the bathroom to run a bath for them.

“Come on baby, let’s get you cleaned up,”

“I’m too lazy to move,” Juyeon groans in protest, a pout on his lips. Sangyeon shakes his head, carrying Juyeon in his arms. Juyeon giggles, knowing fully well that his plan had worked out. He was always like this post-coitus, wanting to be pampered and loved up until the very end.

“I spoil you too much sometimes,” Sangyeon chides at his lover. Juyeon wraps his arms around him, pressing a sloppy kiss onto Sangyeon’s cheek.

Sangyeon places him into the bathtub and Juyeon watches as Sangyeon filters through cabinets to look for Juyeon’s box full of bath bombs. When he finally finds it, he takes out Juyeon’s favourite scent, throwing it into the bath. Sangyeon gets in with Juyeon and there’s barely enough space for both of them but they make do. Juyeon wraps his arms around Sangyeon’s torso, pressing an appreciative kiss in between his shoulder blades, nestling his chin on Sangyeon’s shoulder.

“I love you.”

Sangyeon looks over his shoulder with fond eyes, a hand coming up to stroke Juyeon’s cheek.

“I love you too, darling.”