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Cale sighed. He might be losing his mind.

 

There were, how many things?, he could be thinking about this late at night and be justified for doing so. Choi Han was not one of them. No, indeed, that was completely inexcusable — he had all of tomorrow, and any other day really, to muse about what an amazing and competent companion he’d gotten himself, and yet he chose to do it during a time when he could just as well be sleeping soundly. Not that those were the kind of thoughts he was having, in fact, he’d prefer it if praise was all he had to think about when it came to Choi Han.

 

Kim Roksoo condemned the fact that he’d been given the brain and body of an absolute sap of a man, and that it’d taken him until now to realize it. Go to hell, Beta Cale, a nickname that may or may not be kind of insensitive. A dead man cannot take offense, Cale thought, still being unsure of said man’s status, but deciding to ignore that factor. 

 

Except, maybe this wasn’t the fault of his body’s former owner. Maybe Kim Roksoo had been just as pathetic without realizing it. It wasn’t as if he’d ever known anyone whom he could even consider having these thoughts about, after all, but no way, impossible!

 

Cale sighed again.

 

Choi Han had become too big of a problem. He wasn’t misbehaving, no, this was Choi Han; Cale wasn’t sure whether the man was capable of wrongdoing in the first place. Admirable, yes, of course. There was just one thing. How in the world could Cale hope to relax once this whole ordeal was over if that man was going to keep occupying his mind? It’s not as if... Well, they didn’t really have anything special going on. A few touches here and there, some exchanged kisses when no one was looking, what did it matter? Whenever they got a quiet moment to themselves, Cale had to remind him:

 

”Don’t get the wrong idea. This is only physical attraction.”

 

Choi Han had simply nodded, obviously amused at the fact that someone like Cale would show any sort of attraction, whether it be romantic or sexual, towards anyone at all. Perhaps that was why he always seemed quite happy and somewhat fascinated with being the center of Cale’s attention at times, even though he knew he was being selfishly exploited. That part was slightly infuriating. Glad to be taken advantage of, Cale thought to himself, what a joke, goddamn.

 

But then, what the hell was this?

 

Now it seemed like, anytime the two of them were alone, Cale couldn’t keep his hands to himself. Choi Han never initated anything, but he always reciprocated. Yet, finding himself in that man’s arms seemed to be a common occurance for Cale. Do I seek him out that often, holy shit, that is so embarrassing, he thought, and he puts up with it, probably out of guilt, this needs to stop. Even at this very moment, the two were positioned next to each other. Cale could hardly believe himself, inviting a man into his chambers, that’s just so incredibly out of character for him. Not even for any inappropriate reason had he done it, which is what the dragon apparently had assumed seeing as he left the room for the night without a word, but simply to have—yeah, Cale is very much doubting his sanity recalling the events that took place just hours ago—a warm body next to him as he slept. One that wasn’t non-human.

 

And Cale thought, god, what the actual fuck, because god, what the actual fuck. But Choi Han obviously knew of his intentions, and also had the sense not to ask questions. He seemed comfortable where he lay, arm wrapped around Cale’s own, hand slotted in his, and how endearing, wait no it’s gross.

 

”This is uncommon, even for you, Cale-nim.”

 

”I told you, quit calling me that in private. And what’s that supposed to mean?”

 

Choi Han had smirked as though he knew something Cale didn’t. It was annoying. It wasn’t some sort of secret rendezvous (not that anyone needed to or was going to know about it, though). He wondered for a second if Choi Han perhaps was under the misconception that Cale wanted to sleep with him, and he’d asked if that was the case, having nothing to lose, but Choi Han only went wide-eyed and shook his head.

 

”You’re not so bold.” And Cale told him to shut his mouth, and that was the end of it.

 

When climbing into bed, Choi Han was careful, not getting too far into Cale’s personal space while also making sure he wasn’t keeping a distance so big it would produce any awkwardness. Considerate, but irritating. Personal space, hah, as if he had to worry about something like that. Cale brought it upon himself, so whatever, he was naïve to think they could potentially form anything resembling an intimate relationship when one person was practically walking on eggshells around the other. Me, naïve, how utterly moronic. He had single-handedly hindered Choi Han from ever coming too close. Not the time to get all sentimental. He did it for a reason, a reason he completely forgot as he beckoned Choi Han closer. If he was going to curse himself out over it, he could do it later (and that’s exactly what he did).

 

For a short while, Choi Han seemed overwhelmed, but he adjusted to the lack of space between them quite quickly. ”Goodnight, Cale” he breathed out, and not even an ancient power will save me from this madness. Cale can’t remember what he said in response— okay, yes he does, he kissed that bastard’s temple, why the hell did he do that? Oh, who is he kidding, ’course he knows why he did it. That was just unimportant. And then his hand, indeed intentionally, found Choi Han’s, and that was as far as he was willing to go.

 

Unbelievable, he repeated, never doing this again, although he could already predict the events that would transpire tomorrow evening, and knew that Choi Han expected it as well. To betray his expectations, that was just— Cale’s train of thought came to a stop, because no, why would that—, why should I care if—, but Choi Han’s disappointment was something he wanted to avoid. Like he ever cared in the past, nonsensical, I do things for myself, and he went on and on.

 

Hilarious, that a slight misstep of the mind would set him off. Cale held back a bitter laugh.

 

How pathetic he’d become.

 


 

Morning came along as mornings tend to do, creeping up on the careless from beyond the horizon in a way much resembling how a feeling of doubt and hesitancy may suddenly transform into a sense of security and belonging if the wrong person let their guard down for just a moment. Cale woke up without realizing he’d fallen asleep, and his not-yet lover still slept soundly at his side. Black hair covered his eyes, and Cale reached up to gently brush it behind his ears, taking the sight in, observing and noting all the things he never had the time to ponder on; the contrast of a pale hand on tanned skin, the exposed neck he rarely uncovered, the familiarity in his features, and the tranquil face, free of anxieties, of a man who could show such viciousness were he given the opportunity. These things were all fascinating, somehow, even when they could be found in so many other people. People who aren’t Choi Han, Cale thought, as if to refute an argument, because those traits didn’t matter when it came to anyone else, makes perfect goddamn sense. If only it was all a joke. But, once he fully awoke and became aware of this indulgent scene, surely he would remove his hand from Choi Han’s locks. Surely.

 

What a tender feeling, and oh so pathetic, indeed. He could keep feigning ignorance to the fact that they were doomed, and such was the plan.

 

Cale sighed. He probably lost his mind a long time ago.