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It’s almost inevitable, how they end up like this. Denali doesn’t like to think too deep into it though. 

Flirtatious glances turn into a gentle touch of fingertips up his arm, and like a blink of an eye the soft caresses that pepper his skin turn purple from how tight Rosé’s grip on his wrists gets. Scratches accompany each drag of a finger across his chest, marking his tan skin with stark white lines that he’s sure will turn crimson not long after. It feels good.

Denali guesses it’s the show- the pressure that it brings and the little to no chance of release you get afterwards. They get smoke breaks like five times a day, sure, but it’s not the kind of smoke break he’s used to. Nicotine just doesn’t hit the same, and he always ends up stomping his foot over the cigarette when it’s only been burned halfway through. 

“Turn over.” Rosé growls as he feels warm hands wrap around his hips. Denali does as he’s told, face glazed with sweat from all the foreplay melting into the sheets. Knuckles turn white around the comforter he’s clinging onto as saliva collides with his entrance and god-

Nicotine may not do it for him but Rosé sure does.

 


 

“You’re never getting rid of me.” Denali jokes as he walks over to their table, sparkly folder in hand. He slides into the barstool as his dance partner does the same, the familiar banter he’s used to volleying with Rosé coming up naturally.

The air in the workroom is cold and he really should’ve brought a jacket, but Rosé’s touch is warm when he wraps a protective arm around his waist and he guesses that’s enough for now. Better, even. 

“Why are you acting like that’s a bad thing?” The older queen playfully rolls his eyes as he flips open the folder to retrieve their scripts. There’s a flirtatious tone that plagues his words, and Denali can’t seem to find the energy to suppress the smile that grows on his lips.

“It isn’t.” He whispers, the cameras that turn to face them psyching him out of the confidence he previously had. He tears away his gaze from the blonde next to him to take his copy of the script from Rosé’s hands. Denali reaches out for the iPod, and familiar hands lay on top of his and their fingers intertwine. He feels the exhale of hot breath brush against his neck, and it takes all of his power not to close his eyes let a whine slip out of him. 

“Good.” Rosé smirks into the younger man’s ear, leaning his chin on the younger queen’s shoulder before flashing him a mischievous smile. “Because I don’t think I’m done with you yet.” 

The blonde pulls away, playful grin even more teasing than before. Denali can barely see his hazel eyes with how hard Rosé was smiling. It’s cute as hell.

His smile is starting to hit different, Denali notices. 

There’s a blush that paints his cheeks every time that blinding grin meets his gaze, and the feeling that stirs in his stomach gets harder and harder to ignore the more he spends time with him. He guesses that the attraction that he feels toward the blonde is nothing more than the result of being locked up in their little bubble for god knows how long. A way to cope with the stress and have something else to think about other than lines or eight counts to memorize. Guesses- it's the only thing he allows himself to make. Nothing past it. 

He knows it’s better than having to process his feelings, because spending his precious time trying to understand why there are butterflies in his stomach whenever he and Rosé lock eyes was the worst idea he could think of. 

Their fingers touch every now and then as they listen to the cheesy disco music and come up with choreography ideas, and the spark that ignites on the pads of Denali’s fingertips when they graze pale skin don’t go unnoticed. A memory locked up in the back of his mind to process later. 

“This is gonna be so much fun, especially with you.” The blonde grins that toothy grin that always gets him, and all Denali can respond with is a nod.

If the show doesn’t drive Denali crazy, he knows that Rosé sure will. 

 


 

“Top four?” 

Denali already knows the answer, and it’s obvious from his poorly hidden smile, but he asks anyway. 

“Yeah.” Rosé answers, but his lustful gaze as it pans down the younger queen’s body makes it obvious that how well he did on the show is the last thing on his mind right now. “Three wins, no bottom two.” 

Their eyes meet, the blonde’s gaze tired yet wanting. He knows why he’s here, what he’s here for- Denali isn’t stupid. It’s been a month since he’s been kicked off the show and flown back home, a month since Rosé ran his hands down Denali’s bare chest littered with bruises he painted on his tan skin. The fact that Rosé flew all the way to Chicago with the intention of taking him to bed is almost sweet. Too sweet. He shakes the thought away before he lets the butterflies find themselves comfortable in his stomach.

“Good.” 

It’s all Denali can mutter out before their lips collide and their hands grasp for each other, aching to wrap around bare waists after being separated for so long. 

They stumble back into Denali’s apartment, Rosé dragging his suitcase into the hallway before leaving it to fall on the floor the second it rolls past the doorway, already forgotten. The brunette can’t help but giggle into the kiss at Rosé’s eagerness, and his chuckles are responded to with a rough tug of his shirt. 

“Off.” The blonde orders, whispering. “Fuck- I missed you.” 

Rosé pulls away, Denali watching lustful hazel eyes drift down to his lips, and suddenly the countless nights he questioned in silence how he was able to live life without knowing Rosé, having him, holding him- it hits him all at once. 

His ever-growing want for Rosé is something he’s not strong enough to fend off anymore. It festers and grows and multiplies every time his mind drifts back to the thought of the crinkle on the edges of truthful eyes when he smiles that stupid grin that makes him weak at the knees. It fills his lungs and every crevice of his mind, coursing through his veins and taking him whole. 

Denali is his, no matter how much he doesn’t want to be.

Hesitant fingers reach up to caress the blonde’s cheek, brown eyes following the back and forth of his thumb against pink lips. Rosé’s freckled skin is warm and inviting under his touch, familiar against the pads of his fingers as he brushes over it. To hold him like this, palms holding blushing cheeks, it feels right. Denali hopes he feels the same.

“I missed you too.” It comes out barely even a whisper, lovestruck gaze shifting upwards to meet Rosé’s. 

They stand still, tan arms now wrapped around Rosé’s shoulders, neither of them willing to break away from each other’s wanting stare. Sparks shoot up the nerves that lay underneath each patch of skin Rosé touches as the older creeps his hands up Denali’s shirt and cups his waist, bringing him back to the frequent nights they shared in his hotel room in the dark- naked, out of breath, connected, one. 

He feel’s Rosé’s face hover close to his, foreheads touching as their lips stay mere centimeters apart, slowly inching closer. Denali lets his eyes flutter shut as the sound of the older dragging out an exhale fills his ears, waiting for lips coated with chapstick to sink down onto his and pull him in closer than he’s ever done before. 

Denali’s lips lay untouched for a second more, waiting, and a sudden rush of unwanted autumn cold grazes his face. He feels kisses pressed against his neck, tongue grazing against skin that hasn't been colored with bruises since their last time together. It’s heated, sinful, hungry. Leaving his lips barren and wanting, greedy, wishing for more. Denali takes the hint and guesses now isn’t the right time to ask for a kiss of the sweeter kind.

It reminds him why Rosé flew over to see him in the first place. He didn’t book a plane to profess his love, confess feelings, claim him, call him his- and to Denali, that’s okay. What Rosé wants to give him right now- it’ll suffice. He’ll make do with it. Who is he to complain about not receiving something he isn’t meant to, at least not yet?

A groan escapes him when the blonde’s lips meet the sensitive skin at the back of his ear, pulling him back out of his thoughts and dragging him back to reality. 

“You are so beautiful.” Rosé groans into the younger’s skin as his teeth graze his earlobe. “Can’t believe I survived that long without you.” 

Denali can’t help but chuckle halfway into his moan, pursed lips breaking out into a smile. He reminds himself that the way Rosé looks at him, that lovestruck gaze reserved only for him, gives him hope. Hope that maybe his wildly optimistic thoughts aren’t solely his, that maybe he shares them with Rosé too. 

So the kisses that color his skin crimson and purple- it’s enough. At least for now, Denali can make it enough.

 


 

“I don’t think I’ll be able to see you for a while.” Rosé looks at him from the foot of the bed with a gentle stare. “I’ll be too busy.” 

He can’t even hide the pout that complements his caring disposition, bottom lip jutted out as his head tilts to the side, waiting for the brunette to react to the news. Denali thinks he looks so cute like that.

“When are you not?” The younger scoffs, looking up from his phone screen to meet the blonde’s gaze. He tries to brush it off, the comforting feeling that rises in him when he realizes that he matters enough to Rosé to be given a heads up, as if asking for permission. He feels important, cared for, thought about. It’s sweet. He already feels crimson rushing up to paint his cheeks. 

There’s a dip in the empty space of the mattress next to him, comforter being lifted up before familiar hands wrap themselves around his waist, pulling him closer. Denali feels tender kisses plant themselves on the skin where his shoulder meets his neck, the intimacy of it all almost overwhelming him. 

He turns off his phone, reaching his arm out to lay it on the nightstand before positioning himself into a comfy place in the older’s grasp. Denali’s arms are wrapped around the blonde’s shoulders, bottom lip in between his teeth to stop himself from smiling. He tries to brush off the sadness that’s starting to brew in his gut once the thought of his foreseeable future enters his system, already recalling the nights spent alone in his apartment wishing that the scent lingering on his pillow sheets were accompanied by the body that left them there. 

He knows it’s gonna be hard, not having Rosé hold him the way he’s holding him right now, but if he’s gotten over the aching feeling that accompanies his longing once before, he knows he can do it again.

“Don’t miss me too much.” The younger whispers, dark eyes meeting the blonde’s as he feels the grip on his waist gets tighter. Their faces are impossibly close.

He prepares himself for a defensive quip to slip out of Rosé, for him to make a passing lighthearted comment about him being clingy that they’ll brush off and forget about the next day. It’s what he’s grown used to, and though it isn’t as romantic of a reply as he wishes it could be, he’s never really been one to complain.

Denali feels lips meet his own.

“I’ll try, babe.” 

The reply is muttered in between hungry kisses, spoken onto his lips for him to savor the sweetness it’s drenched in. The saccharine taste catches him off-guard, and the pink that paints his cheeks is so intense he’s sure the blonde sees it even in the dim light. 

Denali can’t seem to make Rosé understand what happens inside him when he plays into the romance he’s been daydreaming about, he can’t even seem to understand it himself. A flurry of words and metaphors he can’t mutter out in a way that would ever make sense. It’s frustrating. The closest proximity he can seem to get to express to the blonde how he both kills him and keeps him alive is every graze of a fingertip against bare skin. So he leans into the hand that reaches up to run through his hair.

Denali feels lips press onto his forehead. He feels loved

Too busy basking in the butterflies the kisses planted on his skin have woken up, he doesn’t feel Rosé pull away for a quick moment to switch off the lamp that stood on the nightstand next to him. The sudden darkness surprises him, an unfamiliar sight he’s never seen before.

“I’ll stay tonight?” The disbelief in his words are hard to miss.

It’s always been waking up to an empty bed and a text message about having booked a hotel, always the sight of the blonde zipping up his jeans by the edge of the bed followed by the click of his front door. It’s never been waking up with loving hands still wrapped around his waist and wearing a coat over pajamas to get breakfast down the street.

Rosé nods.

Denali guesses there’s a first time for everything.

“Okay.”

He loves him, Denali is so sure now. The way Rosé smiles at him and holds him when he’s cold and presses kisses to his forehead makes it impossible for him to think about him in any other way.

He hears the blonde whisper a quick “Goodnight.” before his eyelids drift to a close, and the pace of each exhale that grazes his own skin slows down its pace. 

When the time comes, he’ll tell him. Maybe sometime soon.

 


 

If the time will come, Denali isn’t so sure anymore. 

He wouldn’t be fooling anyone if he said that he didn’t miss him, if he said the hundreds of instagram stories and tagged photos don’t make him long to have him in his arms again, litter warm pale skin with hickeys he - and only he - painted on. That’s the one thing Denali hates about himself: his doubting mind is not put at ease until those who profess their love for him are not running a hand down his chest. 

It’s late, and it’s been way too long since he’s gotten a message, a facetime call, a photo of something stupid that reminds Rosé of him- and frankly the hope that soothed the uncertainty that plagued his thoughts has started to dwindle and falter in it’s strength and persuasion. Denali doesn’t like it. He’s thinking too deep into it again and he doesn’t like it.

The problem is that Denali finds home in Rosé. He finds home in every kiss the blonde lays gently on his cheek, every toothy grin that reaches up to his eyes, every love bite painted on his inner thigh. The fact that those purple hickeys and crimson scratches have lightened and faded to nothingness make him feel lost, panicked trying to find shelter before the night comes. But who is he to lay a welcome mat by the front door and light a candle in a home he hasn't signed the deed for yet? 

Rosie: I MISS YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

The text appears at the top of his phone screen. Denali feels his heart skipping, fingers fumbling, eyes widening at a diameter unheard of. 

Denali: are you drunk

Rosie: attachment: 1 image 

With stray unkempt hairs of his mullet peeking out of his grey hoodie, Rosé looks into the camera with a pout that could soften even the toughest of souls. Hazel eyes are bloodshot from what Denali knows is copious amounts of alcohol, cheeks that are flushed pink highlighted by the bright white flash of his phone. The chuckle that escapes the brunette is one he feels from the fluttering feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Denali: i’ll see you in Chicago soon!!!

Denali can barely bite down the beaming smile on his lips as he sits up on his bed, impatiently waiting for three grey dots to turn into a blue line. 

He hasn’t stopped thinking about Rosé, he rarely ever does, but the picture he paints in his head this time around is much brighter than it was just moments prior. Vibrant pinks and yellows wash over the dark gloomy hues- it feels warm. He wishes it would always feel warm. 

Rosé: But that’s so far awayyyyy :((((( I wanna see you like right now

Rosé: I miss you

Rosé: Wanna kiss you so bad babe

He stares at the flurry of texts, unable to hide his lovestruck gaze as his smile grows wider and wider. The brunette has grown accustomed to the butterflies that live in his stomach, but it still catches him off guard whenever they spring to life. 

The reason Denali finds home in Rosé is because he invited him inside. He let him in, giving him a spare key, allowing him to hang up paintings and change the color of the walls. Above all else, the home he’s creating with Rosé isn’t an effort that’s solely his. He’s not the only one moving furniture around or changing out the sheets, they both are. The realization finally puts to a halt every doubt and concern left stuck in the hidden crevices of his mind. 

Denali: me too

They’ll be okay - Denali is sure of it.

 


 

He forgets how cold it is in Chicago the second he sees him. 

There’s a clatter of a luggage handle against tile that echoes across the airport, and in a flash arms are thrown around him and picking him up, holding him like they hadn’t seen each other in years. It’s only been two months, really, but he misses Rosé too much to fight against it.

“Oh my god- put me down.” He chuckles as the blonde refuses to lower him back onto the ground, grasp around him just as tight as when he lifted him up. Denali doesn’t have it in him to feign even the slightest hint of annoyance in his voice, too drunk off of the addicting high that comes with the thought of Rosé being his for the night again. 

“No.” The blonde kisses his cheek, his temple, his lips, unable to control the excitement that radiated off of him and that stupid intoxicating smile. “I missed you.” 

“I missed you too Rosie.”

“I love you.”

Rosé looks at him the way the greatest of authors have attempted to describe the way people look at those they love. No words will ever be enough to describe it and the feeling it gives him- but that’s okay. Denali’s never been one for complicated words anyway. He already knows what Rosé is trying to tell him and that’s enough.

“I love you too.”

“Fuck- my bag.”

He watches as Rosé pulls away from the hug to jog back to where he had dropped his luggage on the floor. Denali doesn’t hide it anymore- he laughs loud enough for the older to hear just how happy he makes him. How loved he feels, how right it feels to finally tell him he loved him. 

Inevitable, that’s what they are. Denali wants to laugh at how he ever thought otherwise.