iamthegayagenda: (Default)
 A/N: HELLO YES I AM BACK AND this part is extra long to make up for being away for so long. fyi the flashback scene has smut (no surprise there, let's be honest) and it's sort of getting better now??? lots of fluff yes??? anyway i'll have part 6 up soon (in a day or two) so you guys don't have to wait so long!! 

“Let’s go,” Baekhyun threw a backpack at Kyungsoo, opening the door. Kyungsoo and the bag tumbled to the floor, cursing at Baekhyun’s back.

“Go where?” he asked, throwing the bag onto the sofa and cursing colorfully when it fell onto him again.

“North Shore surfin’,” said Baekhyun.

“N-north shore? Wait, where the hell are we gonna stay? Whose car are we using? Why didn’t you ask me about this?” Kyungsoo scrambled to his feet, kicking the fallen bag and cursing again when his toe caught the metal water bottle.

“Cause I knew you’d say no,” Baekhyun flashed a grin at the scowl on Kyungsoo’s face, opening the door. “Now let’s go, Junmyeonnie is waiting downstairs.”

“You didn’t answer my other questions!” Kyungsoo yelled after him, picking up the backpack reluctantly when Baekhyun merely skipped down the stairs. It wasn’t odd for them to go on weekend escapades, though they hadn’t had one since Kyungsoo got back, but his gut churned; something wasn’t quite right. But he was left with no choice but to drag his feet down the stairs, his slippers slapping against the soles of his feet.

It was in moments like these he wanted to throttle Baekhyun; he had waved at Junmyeon, who was, for reasons unknown, wearing sunglasses though it was cloudy, and Baekhyun waved back, grinning childishly from the passenger’s seat. Kyungsoo opened the back door and his heart skipped a beat. Jongin was curled up against the other door, sound asleep.

“I’m not going,” said Kyungsoo. He slammed the door, turning to go back upstairs but Junmyeon’s glare made him stop.

“This trip is for both of you,” said Baekhyun, unwrapping a lollipop and giving it a noisy lick. Kyungsoo looked at Junmyeon again, who merely raised an eyebrow.

It felt like hours he stood on the corner, the fat palms shivering behind him, until he opened the car door again and climbed in without a word. Baekhyun gave his lollipop a triumphant slurp, turning in his seat to wink at Kyungsoo. Kyungsoo scowled at him, folding his arms across his chest and sinking into the seat.

And yet, forty minutes later, standing in by the front desk of the bungalow, he felt like even more of a fool. The girl at the front desk cheerily told them their two-room bungalow was ready for them to check in, and it wasn’t until they were halfway across the sand that it dawned on Kyungsoo. He poked Baekhyun’s side, poking more roughly when Baekhyun ignored him.

“Eh?”

“Why is it a two room bungalow when there are four of us?” Kyungsoo hissed.

“Why would we rent a four room, brah, we can just buddy up,”

“You expect me to sleep in the same room as-“ Kyungsoo looked back at Jongin, who shuffled behind them, still rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and nearly stumbling on a palm tree, “Why the hell would you think that’s a good idea?” Baekhyun didn’t answer him, continuing the walk in silence. Growling, Kyungsoo stomped over to Junmyeon.

“Whatever it is you’re gonna ask, I don’t have answers for,” said Junmyeon. Kyungsoo kicked a tuft of grass, cursing and stalking off behind the girl, who’d arrived at the front porch of the bungalow already, her smile as bright as the painted sign that read HIBISCUS BUNGALOW. She gave the keys to Junmyeon, and made her way back across the sand; Kyungsoo glared at her retreating back, plopping onto a chair on the deck.

“You can have the beachfront room, if you want,” said Baekhyun, ruffling Kyungsoo’s hair. His scream was cut short by Junmyeon’s glare, but his leg glowed red with hand print from Kyungsoo’s slap. Jongin, who was still half asleep, with eyes squinted from the sunlight, finally caught up to them, walking right past Junmyeon and the open door to drop onto the sofa.

“The garden room is fine,” Kyungsoo grumbled, making his way to the back room and sitting on the bed, staring at the bamboo shades until he drifted off to sleep.

 

🌴🌴🌴

 

They savored Sunday afternoons, when Kyungsoo’s mother would politely invite them to mass, and they would politely decline, often cuddled on the deep orange sofa with the worn corner under a thin blanket; their curious fingers wandered underneath it, pausing and revisiting the spots that had elicited soft moans and breathy sighs until they drew apart, their cheeks glowing and their eyes averted, stealing glances as they cooled down.

But this particular Sunday they returned to Kyungsoo’s bed, no more awake than before their showers. The sun shone through the window, laying itself across Jongin’s face; the light catching on his dark lashes and the soft rise of his nose. Kyungsoo reached out, caressing the bridge of Jongin’s nose, and pressing a kiss to it when Jongin didn’t move.

“M’tired,” Jongin mumbled, rolling over and pinning Kyungsoo beneath him.

“Oh please, you’ve slept like 12 hours,” said Kyungsoo, giggling when Jongin wiggled his way down, laying his head on Kyungsoo’s chest.

“M’tired,” he whined again, looking up at Kyungsoo through his lashes.

“If you’re that tired I guess we can’t try out the lube I bought,” Kyungsoo sighed, smiling when Jongin perked up.

“I’m always ready for hand jobs,” said Jongin, frowning at Kyungsoo’s giggle.

“Well-“ Kyungsoo paused, sitting up. Jongin followed suit, stretching his legs. “I was thinking we could use it for something else.”

“Something else?” Jongin scrunched his nose.

“Yeah, like maybe we could oof?” Kyungsoo said softly. Jongin sucked in his breath, staring at Kyungsoo until Kyungsoo scratched his neck, blushing. “I mean- we don’t have to I was jus’ sayin’-“

“I do! Want to oof. I mean, if you want to. Because I want to. I’d love to. I love you,” Jongin rambled, blushing when Kyungsoo smothered a giggle.

“Why would I suggest it if I don’t wanna, babo,” said Kyungsoo, pressing a soft kiss to Jongin’s cheek. Ears red, Jongin kissed him back, rubbing their noses together.

Kyungsoo fished the lube out of the nightstand, feeling the heat creep up his neck when he turned to find Jongin shirtless, struggling with the buttons on his shorts.

“Need help?” Kyungsoo asked. Jongin grunted, falling back onto the bed with splayed arms. “Drama queen.”

“I am not!” Jongin whined, lifting his hips when Kyungsoo tugged on the shorts. “Hyung, you don’t need to fold them.” Heat crept up Kyungsoo’s neck.

“Shut up,” he threw the shorts at Jongin’s face, working on his own pants while Jongin untangled himself, laughing so hard he fell over. The shorts slid off easily, but the shirt got tangled around his neck, and he cursed softly until Jongin’s nimble fingers rescued him. Once free of his shirt, he felt Jongin’s soft lips on his neck, golden fingers rushing to the familiar spots that made Kyungsoo shiver. He felt naked, though he still had on his underwear; it was a different kind of nakedness, one that was vulnerable, as if he’d peeled back all the layers of him. Jongin’s warmth against his back made the rest of him feel cold; he leaned into Jongin, whining when Jongin moved away.

“Hyung,” Jongin said softly, pulling Kyungsoo on top of him, kissing his way up Kyungsoo’s neck until they locked lips, drinking each other in as Kyungsoo set a slow rhythm, grinding down onto Jongin’s lap. Jongin moaned into their kisses, his fingers kneading Kyungsoo’s ass, slipping down Kyungsoo’s underwear to dig into the soft skin.

“We should- underwear. Off,” Kyungsoo muttered between kisses. Jongin nodded, sliding Kyungsoo’s down with far too much enthusiasm. Kyungsoo blushed, his bare ass cheeks bumping against Jongin’s thighs.

“Sorry,” Jongin giggled, his ears red. He shimmied out of his underwear as best he could, nearly kneeing Kyungsoo’s waist, and threw the underwear blindly, his hands settling on Kyungsoo’s waist again. They kissed again, but the fervor was gone, replaced instead by the growing nervousness. The touches were soft again, Kyungsoo’s fingers tangled in Jongin’s jet black hair.

“We don’t- we don’t have to,” Kyungsoo whispered, pressing their foreheads together.

“I still do, if you want to,” he said softly, bumping their noses together.

“Yes, I’m just-“

“Nervous as hell?” Jongin laughed, burying his face in Kyungsoo’s neck and pressing a kiss the hollow. “Me too.” And with that, Kyungsoo relaxed in Jongin’s arms, closing his eyes and letting Jongin’s hands guide him into a steady rhythm, until they were both panting and flushed.

“We should- lube,” Kyungsoo grabbed blindly, cursing when he knocked the bottle over.

“I’ll get it,” Jongin rolled over, stretching to grab the bottle, the square of sunlight lighting up the expanse of his bronzed back. Kyungsoo pressed his hand on the center of the square, spreading his fingers to take in the warmth. Jongin looked at him, brow furrowed.

“You’re always so warm, my little sun boy,” Kyungsoo caressed the expanse of Jongin’s wide shoulders, admiring how the muscles rippled when Jongin sat up.

“I’m always warm to make sure you don’t ever feel cold,” said Jongin, kissing Kyungsoo’s pink cheeks. Kyungsoo shifted on the bed, his too-warm skin pressed against the too-cold wall, hooking his hands under his thighs to hold them apart. He blushed, looking away when Jongin settled between his legs, running a hand over the inside of Kyungsoo’s thigh.

“You’re beautiful,” Jongin whispered, pressing a kiss to Kyungsoo’s knee. He uncapped the lube, squeezing some onto his fingers, then paused, looking at Kyungsoo. “I don’t want to hurt you.” There was a softness in Jongin’s eyes that made Kyungsoo melt.

“I’ve fingered myself before. It’s okay,” he said, blushing when Jongin’s eyes widened.

“Oh,” Jongin pressed a finger to Kyungsoo’s hole, jerking it back when Kyungsoo hissed.

“It’s just cold, I’m fine,” Jongin’s brow was still furrowed, worry shining in his eyes. Kyungsoo cupped Jongin’s cheek, kissing him softly. “I promise. I’ll let you know if it hurts.” Jongin nodded, kissing him again before Kyungsoo leaned back. Jongin took a shaky breath, teasing Kyungsoo’s hole before pressing a finger in, pumping it twice hesitantly before Kyungsoo gave him a reassuring nod. Both of them were flushed, and beads of sweat were already pooling on Jongin’s forehead. Kyungsoo hissed when Jongin pushed in another finger.

“It just feels different. I’m fine,” Jongin swallowed hard, his forehead creased with worry. Kyungsoo gave Jongin a deep kiss, guiding Jongin’s fingers until his breath hitched.

“Oh,” said Jongin breathily, curling his fingers again and grinning when Kyungsoo whimpered. He kissed Kyungsoo, drinking in every moan; Kyungsoo had become soft, pliant under his fingers, cheeks aglow and eyes closed. It wasn’t until Jongin pulled out his fingers that Kyungsoo’s eyes fluttered open again, panting slightly. “I- uh- no condom?” Jongin could barely get the word out, giggling.

“Oh fuck, I forgot. I mean-“ Kyungsoo looked down at Jongin’s dick, his cheeks pinking even more, then looked back up at Jongin, who held his lube-covered fingers awkwardly above his thigh. “We’re both clean, right?”

“And virgins,” Jongin mumbled, blushing again. “I don’t mind.”

“Me neither,” said Kyungsoo, kissing him and leaning back again. The sun had shifted now, lighting up Jongin’s thighs and dick as he squirted more lube on his hand. Kyungsoo watched the pumping of Jongin’s hand, the rise and fall of Jongin’s chest as his breath stuttered, and the strands of hair that stuck to Jongin’s sweaty forehead. Jongin shifted closer, looking up at Kyungsoo with wide eyes.

“I love you,” he said softly, and the tension that had been building in Kyungsoo’s chest ebbed.

“I love you too,” said Kyungsoo, reaching out to hold Jongin’s waist as Jongin leaned over him, both of them giggling when Jongin’s dick bumped into Kyungsoo’s thigh. Once settled, Jongin pressed the head of his dick against Kyungsoo’s hole, rubbing circles on Kyungsoo’s hip as he pressed in. Kyungsoo sucked in his breath, fingers digging into Jongin’s sweaty skin. Jongin paused, leaning over Kyungsoo to press a kiss to his forehead.

“Is it okay? Should I stop?” he asked, nuzzling Kyungsoo’s cheek.

“I’m fine, just take it slow,” said Kyungsoo. Jongin pressed in until he was fully buried in Kyungsoo, pressing open mouthed kisses along Kyungsoo’s neck.

“Oh,” Jongin tumbled onto Kyungsoo, both of them giggling. “Sorry, my arms gave out.”

“You need push ups, noodle arms,” said Kyungsoo.

“Eh? We’re both really skinny!” Jongin whined, propping himself on his forearms and blowing a raspberry on Kyungsoo’s neck. Yelling in protest, Kyungsoo squirmed under him, both of them dissolved in laughter.

“Yah! Move already,” Kyungsoo whined, laughing again when Jongin buried him under kisses.

The sun fell across Jongin’s back, illuminating the steady rhythm of Jongin’s hips. The vulnerability Kyungsoo had felt earlier was back. He felt raw under Jongin, the intensity of Jongin’s dark eyes boring holes so deep Kyungsoo felt stripped apart; but the softness of Jongin’s kisses and the solidity of his arms, the constant presence of his warmth held Kyungsoo together, even as Kyungsoo’s whines grew higher pitched, the pleasure of Jongin’s thrusts a fire that spread across his body. Jongin’s thrusts were erratic, his kisses sloppy; Kyungsoo tangled his fingers in Jongin’s hair, moaning into Jongin’s mouth as he came, back arched. Jongin’s hips stuttered, trembling with his orgasm while Kyungsoo played with his hair, pressing open-mouthed kisses to Jongin’s shoulder. He felt, for lack of better words, dissolved, melted by the heat of Jongin’s body and the force of his own orgasm, torn apart entirely. But Jongin, with glossed over eyes and dripping in sweat, gave him a small, soft kiss, stitching him back together with more kisses, across the bridge of Kyungsoo’s nose, along his cheekbones, peppered across his chest, pulling him back together under the glow of the afternoon sun.

Jongin eventually crumpled in a sweaty heap half on top of Kyungsoo, rubbing his nose against Kyungsoo’s.

“That was- I don’t think I can even describe it,” Jongin said breathily.

“I dunno how you’re forming sentences,” said Kyungsoo, smiling at Jongin’s laugh. Sweat shone on both of them, and the sunlight was on Jongin’s face again, the warm glow of it reflected in Jongin’s dark eyes, though he squinted against the light. He wiggled closer, giving Kyungsoo soft kisses until Kyungsoo rolled onto his side, pressing them closer. Jongin draped an arm around Kyungsoo, playing with Kyungsoo’s hair. They cuddled for a while, drifting in and out of a light sleep until Kyungsoo pulled a grumbling Jongin out of bed, leading him to the bathroom before Kyungsoo’s mother returned from mass.

 

After lunch, which was awkwardly silent, both Kyungsoo and Jongin too groggy to process the meal, they made their way to the beach. Junmyeon dragged his board across the sand, but Jongin didn’t have one; when asked, he shrugged it off. It took them the better part of half an hour, trudging under the afternoon sun, to find a decent spot. Baekhyun stopped abruptly, Junmyeon and Kyungsoo colliding with him spectacularly, and he plopped onto the sand, spreading out the towel.

“You couldn’t have warned us?” Kyungsoo growled, helping him fix the towel. Baekhyun gave him a sunny smile, no less dimmed when Junmyeon gave him a swift smack on the head. Once the towel was in place, Baekhyun crawled to the center and splayed his arms and legs, screaming when Junmyeon and Jongin sat on his back.

“Okay! Okay- agh! Getoffme-“ he rolled out from underneath them, rubbing his back with a scowl. Kyungsoo busied himself with his bag, stuffing the sunscreen lotion to the bottom when a glimmer on Jongin’s neck caught his eye. His heart dropped; surely it was just a trick of the sun, but he hadn’t seen Jongin wearing it before. Despite the rushed sex, he would’ve noticed it; but his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him, and he stared as Jongin took off his shirt, ogling the small starfruit pendant at the end of it.

“Eh? Wazzat?” Baekhyun shoved Jongin back, none too gently, pointing at Jongin’s middle. Jongin looked down, shrugged, and balled up his shirt. The others looked too; from the belly button hung a miniature pendant with a topaz at its center, glinting in the sunlight.

“When’d you get that?” Junmyeon asked, reaching out to touch it. Jongin slapped his hand away.

“Two weeks ago,” Baekhyun hummed.

“So ‘at’s why you don’t wanna surf, eh,” he winked. Jongin rolled his eyes, stretching out on the towel. A rolled up towel slumped out of Kyungsoo’s bag, startling him out of his reverie. Baekhyun caught his eye, grinning, and heat crawled up Kyungsoo’s neck, stuffing the towel and ripping his shirt off, savagely pummeling it into the bag. When he looked up, Baekhyun was a mere inch away, a shit eating grin on his face.

“Somebody’s a lil’ thirsty, I’d say,” he snickered, hot sand spraying onto the towel when he fell.

“Come on, Baek, leave him alone,” Junmyeon stood over Baekhyun, waiting for him to scramble to his feet and pull off his shirt before they marched off to the water. Kyungsoo cursed softly. It was mostly quiet; the music was far off, the blare of it dulled by distance and heat, and the people were crowded farther down the shore. The crash of the waves was the only distinct sound, sometimes accompanied by a cool sea breeze, but it brought with it the deep desire to sleep. Kyungsoo shook it off, glancing over at Jongin, but it seemed he’d drifted off to sleep again, spread eagled across the towel, fine grains of white sand sticking to his tanned feet.

It was worse, he thought, to see Jongin sleep so peacefully, to see the changes he’d gone through. He still had a bit of boyish charm, but it was far less than what Kyungsoo had remembered, and his body had finally filled in, no longer the lanky, skinny boy Kyungsoo had left behind.

He stood up, hissing at the hot sand under his feet, half hopping towards the water; it was the least he could do to stay awake. The water was cool, a welcome relief from the heat of the sun on his back. Foam and spray slapped his calves, the current dragging at his feet. Junmyeon and Baekhyun were far off, specks on a board that cut its way across a funneled wave. He’d been good at surfing, before he’d left, but he didn’t trust himself now, instead wading in the the waist deep water.

“Ah, it’s colder than I thought it would be,” Kyungsoo jumped, whirling around. Jongin was behind him, his face twisted in a grimace. Kyungsoo chuckled nervously.

“Ah, yeah. But it’s nice. Today’s hot,” said Kyungsoo, scratching his neck. He wished now that he’d stayed on the towel; Jongin was close, too close, his body slick with water and the chain and piercing glinting in a most distracting manner. Kyungsoo had an identical pendant, but he’d left it in his mother’s house when he moved; it had been a gift from Jongin on their fourth anniversary, a promise to fulfill their dream. The guilt of leaving Jongin had been far too great for Kyungsoo to take it to New York, and upon his return he knew it would be wrong; to wear something that had meant so much to them, but he had so rashly destroyed. He hadn’t thought twice about the absence of Jongin’s own pendant until now, and it pained him, but hope, which he had ceased to feel, began stirring again.

To Kyungsoo’s dismay, Jongin stayed close by, an awkward silence settling heavily between them. It was made worse with the crash of each wave, echoing in the two feet of water that separated them. The sun beat down heavily, but the clouds were more frequent, and bigger, bringing some relief. Kyungsoo dipped below the water, bobbing up for air. Jongin looked elsewhere, though his eyes were obscured by a pair of sunglasses. It unnerved Kyungsoo, not knowing where Jongin was looking. He floated farther from Jongin, closer to the shore, and knelt on the sand, the water lapping at his shoulders. Gulls squawked above, wheeling across the sharp blue of the sky. Kyungsoo craned his neck to look at them; and he heard, rather belatedly, Jongin’s concerned cry when a crashing wave dragged him down. He was thrown against the sand, the grains burning his back. The breaking waves made it impossible for him to escape, pinned to the shore with each crash. With a final heave, Kyungsoo pushed himself onto the shore, crawling towards the drier sand. A pair of legs appeared in front of him, and the glitter of the a topaz flashed above them. Jongin knelt in front of him, eyes wide with worry.

“I thought I’d lost you there for a second,” Jongin said softly, rubbing Kyungsoo’s back. Kyungsoo coughed, spitting out salt water.

“I just got pinned by the waves. I’m fine,” he said, resting his forehead on his knee.

“Maybe we should stick to the towel for today,” Jongin chuckled, helping Kyungsoo stand. It was odd, the gingerness Jongin was treating him with, but Kyungsoo had never seen Jongin with panic in his eyes the way he had when he was pulled under. He preferred it to being ignored, but it still wasn’t quite right.

They lay on the towel side by side, Jongin’s forearm snug against Kyungsoo’s, though the sun was almost unbearable. Jongin had thrown his shirt over the piercing, the sunglasses haphazardly placed on the edge of Kyungsoo’s bag. Kyungsoo felt, again, the pull to sleep, warmed by the sun and by Jongin’s arm. He closed his eyes, opening them again when he felt Jongin’s soft lips on his own.

Jongin pulled away, flushed, and spread out on the towel again, staring at the palm trees as if nothing had happened. Kyungsoo stared stupidly at him, letting his head fall back on the towel with parted lips.

 

After they ate, Kyungsoo decided the best feeling in the world was a cool shower after a day at the beach. But now, with Jongin curled up at his side, cheek on Kyungsoo’s shoulder, he decided it was the clean scent of shampoo and soap emanating from Jongin’s warm skin. Baekhyun passed him a slice of aloe vera, hissing when he applied it to his burned shoulders, sitting on Junmyeon’s legs before pressing play. Kyungsoo had stopped watching the movie a while ago; the romcom Baekhyun had picked bored him, but he didn’t want to object. He busied himself with the aloe, grimacing at the cold of it on his overheated skin. Taking some of it on his finger, he spread it on Jongin’s sunburned nose, smiling when Jongin scrunched his nose, stirring sleepily.

Baekhyun squealed, arm outstretched to take a picture of them, but Junmyeon pulled him back.

“You’re gonna wake him,” Kyungsoo hissed.

“Oh, please. It’s Jongin. The world could end and he’d sleep through it,” Baekhyun scoffed, reaching out again, phone in hand. “Ow! Stop it, I need proof of this for later.” Junmyeon glared at him. “Aw c’mon, Soo. Don’t be givin’ me stink eye, it’s supposed to be a cute picture.” Kyungsoo’s scowled remained unchanged, though he didn’t mean it. No, in fact he wanted to smile, to cry with joy at the feeling of Jongin’s heat by his side. Perhaps this trip wouldn’t be so bad, after all.

 

 

 
iamthegayagenda: (Default)
 A/N: i apologize in advance for all this suffering but I PROMISE IT GETS BETTER AFTER THIS PART!!! i'll be making a pidgin/korean glossary soon just in case you guys need it so be on the look out.


“I feel disgusting,” Kyungsoo sobbed, his face buried in Baekhyun’s shirt. Baekhyun rubbed circles on Kyungsoo’s back, resting his cheek on Kyungsoo’s head. They’d spent the better part of the morning like this, Kyungsoo calling out sick and curling up on the sofa where Baekhyun found him an hour later, sniffling into the cushions. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“You know I love you brah, but sometimes you so lolo you amaze me,” Baekhyun said softly, smiling at the hiccuped laugh that rattled Kyungsoo’s ribs.

“You don’t even know what I did,” Kyungsoo mumbled miserably, sitting up and wiping the tears with his shirt.

“I don’t needa know what you did. No, no- don’t give me no stink eye, you know it’s true,” Baekhyun gave Kyungsoo a knowing look, raising an eyebrow when Kyungsoo melted into the corner of the couch.

“I met up with Hyunsik for some drinks and then we went over to his place,” said Kyungsoo, avoiding Baekhyun’s eyes.

“And?” Kyungsoo glared at him.

“What you mean and?”

“Stop givin’ me dat stink eye. You ain’t miserable over no drinks,” Baekhyun set his jaw, staring down Kyungsoo until he looked down at his hands.

“We almost had sex,”

“How you ‘almost’ oof?” Baekhyun asked. Kyungsoo gave him a dirty look.

“We were making out, we did some touching and he got almost naked,”

“But not you?” Kyungsoo shook his head. “Boy, you really did him dirty- okay, okay- ow! I’ll stop!” Kyungsoo smacked Baekhyun with the cushion one last time, for good measure, before burrowing into the corner of the couch again.

“I couldn’t do it. I was- I wanted to forget Jongin just for one night. To move on, but I just felt-“ Kyungsoo took a shaky breath, “disgusted. I thought I could just fuck and forget but I couldn’t.” He hid behind the cushion, muffling his hiccuped sobs.

“You real lolo, you know,” Kyungsoo’s teary eyes glared at him from above the cushion. “You can’t jus’ forget someone who was part of your life fo’ so many years, brah.”

“But I want to,” Kyungsoo whispered.

“No, you don’t,” Kyungsoo whimpered, curling up around the cushion. “I know you still love Jongin. And he still loves you.”

Baekhyun hopped around the sofa, grabbing the mugs of tea that had been left on the counter to cool. They were lukewarm now, but Baekhyun brought them over anyway, shoving a mug into Kyungsoo’s hands.

“I’ma go see Jongin later, kay? See how he’s feelin’, cause you two need to work this out,” Kyungsoo choked on his tea.

“No! No, don’t. He doesn’t want to see me or be with me and I understand, because I fucked up. It’s just better if we-“ Baekhyun waited, sipping his tea, “if we move on.”

“Mm, okay,” Baekhyun propped his feet on Kyungsoo’s lap. Kyungsoo narrowed his eyes at Baekhyun.

“What do you mean ‘mm, okay’?” Kyungsoo asked. Baekhyun peeped at Kyungsoo over the rim of his mug.

“It means okay. You don’t want me to talk to Jongin? Shoots, I won’t talk to Jongin,” Kyungsoo sniffed, still giving Baekhyun a wary look. “Yah, stop bein’ all mopey, brah, let’s watch some movies or somethin’,” Baekhyun grabbed the remote, throwing himself on top of Kyungsoo as he searched for options; halfway through the movie, Kyungsoo’s head lolled, finally resting on Baekhyun’s head.

 

He was trapped again, just as he feared, in the cycle of sleepless nights. New York had been three sleep-deprived years, a nightmare of tossing and turning and kicking off sheets at three in the morning, staring at the the darkest corner of the rooms. He’d thought, foolishly, when he and Jongin had moved into their first apartment near Manoa, that he’d never sleep well again; the hot, humid nights without an ac in the cramped bed, Jongin’s arm thrown around his sweaty back, the beads of sweat on Jongin’s forehead and the small of his back glimmering in the morning was what defined their first home. But in time, they grew used to it, though once Kyungsoo nearly shoved Jongin off the bed when Jongin tried to cuddle.

The apartment had been tiny, a one bedroom with a minuscule bathroom with shoddy tile work on the floor and walls, a leak under the kitchen sink, and a fridge that shuddered loudly at the quietest hours, but it was theirs, a space they could be in without the ever-present anxiety of Kyungsoo’s mother walking in on them, or without neighboring aunties spying on them when they sat on the balcony, reporting every movement to Kyungsoo’s mother in hushed whispers. The balcony, which only fit one chair, was the only reprieve of fresh air, where they often spent their afternoons, sometimes with Jongin insisting he fit on Kyungsoo’s lap, sometimes forgoing chairs altogether and sitting on the floor, their legs entwined.

But those nights, even at their worst (usually in august, and usually after sex, sleeping fitfully, sticky with sweat even after cold showers), were not as bad as the nights in New York; the twin bed was uncomfortable, but he refused to get a bigger bed, not when it would make the absence of Jongin’s warmth more noticeable. He has resigned himself to permanent sleep deprivation, surviving on all the naps he could fit into his day.

The first night Kyungsoo had slept over at Jongin’s place, sex sated and pressed against Jongin’s warm back, he slept well, so well, in fact, he woke up late, something unusual for him, feeling well rested, his body pliant.

Sleeping in Jongin’s bed had become an addiction, the scent of Jongin enveloping him, the glow of Jongin’s skin peeking through the mint green the first thing he saw each morning. He looked forward to these mornings, watching the sunlight kiss Jongin’s skin, drinking in the almost feverish warmth of the square of sunlight on Jongin’s shoulder. Jongin’s face was peaceful, half buried in the pillow, unbothered by Kyungsoo’s soft touches. Kyungsoo would indulge in caresses, resting his cheek on the square of sunlight on Jongin’s shoulder, pressing his lips to the small of Jongin’s back, lost in the golden glow of the expanse of Jongin’s back.

But now, forced to sleep in his own bed, the haunting loneliness of the sleepless nights of New York sat on his chest, smothering him so that all he could do was lay in bed, staring at the ceiling fan, hot tears burning tracks until the pale gray of morning filtered into the room. Class forced him out of bed, and it took the last of his energy to stand in front of the room and listen to the students butcher Korean. He would collapse on the sofa when he got home, often falling asleep until Baekhyun’s arrival jolted him out of the nap, shifting to make room for Baekhyun’s vibrancy.

Baekhyun’s cheer had been nauseating, the usual chirpiness in Baekhyun’s voice grating on Kyungsoo’s nerves, but he welcomed it, knowing that Baekhyun would hold him as he hiccuped through heart-wrenching dramas; he had even, at Kyungsoo’s timid request, started sleeping in Kyungsoo’s bed, burrowed in Kyungsoo’s side.

“I talked to Jongin,” said Baekhyun one afternoon, his feet buried under Kyungsoo’s thighs. Kyungsoo’s pencil point snapped but he didn’t notice, staring at Baekhyun in horror. “He’s miserable.”

“I know that, you didn’t need to tell me,”

“He’s miserable because he wants ta be with ya but you two have stuff to work through,” Baekhyun wiggled his toes, laughing when Kyungsoo smacked his feet away.

“He’s miserable because I hurt him and I want something I have no right to ask for,” Kyungsoo said through gritted teeth, clicking the eraser until the new point peeked through.

“He’s miserable because he cares about you, brah. It’s gonna hurt but you gotta talk to him, Kyungsoo,” Baekhyun raised his eyebrows when Kyungsoo huffed.

Junmyeon, who was in the kitchen peeling a mango, put down the knife.

“Listen, he’s been pining over you since you left,” he waited for Kyungsoo to turn around, but Kyungsoo stared at the tv instead. “The day he saw you he spoke to me for like four hours and it was all about you. Do you know how many times I had to hear him sob about not planting the starfruit or whatever-“

“Wait what?” Kyungsoo whipped around to face him. Junmyeon and Baekhyun looked at each other, then back at Kyungsoo.

“Where did I lose you?” Junmyeon asked, leaning on the counter.

“He- he said something about planting starfruit?” Kyungsoo’s voice trembled, a glint of hope in his wide eyes.

“Yeah only about a million times,” Junmyeon chuckled, offering the mango pit to Baekhyun, who squealed in horror when it nearly slipped through his fingers. Kyungsoo looked back at the tv, blinking stupidly. “Did I miss something?” Junmyeon whispered. Baekhyun shrugged, picking at a strand of mango that had lodged itself between his teeth.

“I can’t just go and talk to him though,” said Kyungsoo, walking towards the island and staring at the mango juice that was running down Baekhyun’s hands. He leaned against the cool marble, resting his chin on his hand.

“Why not?” Baekhyun asked, making a face when Junmyeon tried to clean his chin.

“Stay still, babo,” Junmyeon hissed, scowling when Baekhyun pulled away.

“Because it’s not right. I’m the one who messed up, I can’t be the one demanding things from him,” Kyungsoo trailed off, sighing.

“I could tell him to talk to you-“

“No!”

“Oh..kay,” Junmyeon and Baekhyun looked at each other and Baekhyun tilted his head, quirking an eyebrow. Junmyeon raised his eyebrows too, humming in agreement when Baekhyun nodded; Kyungsoo, too busy still staring at the mango juice on Baekhyun’s hands, didn’t notice. Baekhyun winked, whining when Junmyeon rejected his mango-covered kiss.

 

🌴🌴🌴

They’d gotten rid of the worst of the boxes that crowded what little space there was in the living room, their clothes neatly put away, Jongin’s books organized meticulously (by Jongin, who had shooed Kyungsoo away when Kyungsoo offered to help); the pots and pans were in the kitchen, what little furniture they could fit had been set up, sheets and towels in the closet, and the small touches (paintings, candles, the wind chime on the balcony, all courtesy of Kyungsoo’s mother) had found their place.

The heat had kicked in, the open windows offering no relief from the muggy afternoon air. The sofa proved too suffocating, especially after their messy first attempt at couch sex (Jongin’s idea, who wanted the thrill of fucking in every room of the apartment, beginning with the living room).

They had moved to the balcony, sprawled on the floor under the soothing tinkle of the wind chime, the occasional hot breeze ruffling their hair. The sweat pooled above Jongin’s lip, running down his back and forehead; he scrunched his nose, leaning against the wall.

“I really miss the AC in Eomma’s place,” he groaned, nudging Kyungsoo’s leg with his foot.

“Me too,” said Kyungsoo, peeling his shirt off. It was after he’d finished balling up the shirt and throwing it inside that he noticed Jongin’s stare. “What?”

“I love you,” he said softly, smiling at the blush on Kyungsoo’s cheeks.

“I love you, too,” said Kyungsoo, brushing sweaty strands away from Jongin’s eyes.

“This is the first step, ya know,” said Jongin, ducking his head bashfully when Kyungsoo  gave him a puzzled look. “To planting our starfruit.”

“Planting our starfruit?”

“I mean, first apartment, right? Then good jobs, a nicer apartment, then better jobs, a house with a big ole yard so we can plant starfruit trees, an’ who knows, maybe even a keiki or two runnin’ around,” Kyungsoo was quiet, which made Jongin blush furiously. “I just meant- I’m just daydreaming, ya know, nothin’ serious.”

“Oh, Jongin,” Kyungsoo chuckled, twining his fingers with Jongin’s. “It sounds beautiful, kangaji.” Jongin looked up at him, still flushed. “Hang on,” Kyungsoo stood up, giving Jongin a teasing grin when Jongin looked at his ass, pouring them glasses of water and washing a starfruit, slicing it thinly. Each glass had three stars poised on the rim, pale yellow with a slight tinge of green. He settled on the floor of the balcony again, handing Jongin a glass. “To planting our starfruit,” said Kyungsoo, holding up the glass. Jongin gently clinked their glasses, his smile to brilliant it was nearly blinding.

“To planting our starfruit.”

iamthegayagenda: (Default)
A/N: I'm horrible at signaling when a flashback starts so whenever you see three little palm trees, that's a flashback. Also this is a lot shorter than Part 1 and for that I'm so sorry (what is pacing and how can I do it properly). Oh also, the flashback scene has a bit of smut so ye hath been warned.


But of course, it would have been stupid to think the disjointed feeling would be gone forever, his return to Honolulu now incorporated seamlessly into their lives, as if he had never left. There was a gingerness to the way people spoke to him, too pleasant and superficial in their greetings, their questions; it bothered him, but he knew confronting it meant confronting Jongin, so he played along, as charming and pleasant as the people around him. He hated pretending he was fine, staying over at the apartment for takeout, slurping greasy noodles while he and Baekhyun watched a corny show, or spending the night with Jongin, which often meant hot, rushed sex and more takeout, this one eaten on Jongin’s bed. Weekly visits to his mother, 3 AM grocery runs, his cart filled with chips and ice cream, and the sense of dread preying on him at every moment, filling in the emptiness of the aisles.
His mother found out about his rendezvous with Jongin and he knew it was Baekhyun who ratted him out; she had finished laying out the banchan, plopping onto the chair opposite from Kyungsoo, and looking him straight in the eye.
“You better be doing right by that boy,” she’d said, and Kyungsoo knew exactly what she spoke of, but rather than face her judgement he picked up his chopsticks and began to eat. Judgement came anyway, muffled by the mouthful of rice his mother was chewing. “You been by his apartment, right?” Kyungsoo thought of the rushed blowjob he gave Jongin that morning after they’d had breakfast, still in the kitchen, the lines of the tiles imprinted on his knees. He blushed, nodding. “Don’ play around with him. You already hurt him bad once-“ Kyungsoo sputtered in protest, lowering his eyes when his mother gave him a hard look. “Either you with him or you not with him, but you betta choose. Make things right with him.” She finished, just as cryptic as she’d started, and continued eating. And there it was, the feeling of dread he’d been avoiding, sitting down with him for dinner. This wasn’t the first time she’d said this, dropping hints, and it was in the tone of Baekhyun’s voice whenever he spoke of Jongin, the judgmental glint in his eyes when Kyungsoo came home in the morning, smelling of Jongin and wearing Jongin’s clothes.

“So you two are on a daily oof basis, huh?” Baekhyun asked, slurping loudly. The mango juice spilled down his chin anyway. Kyungsoo’s neck flushed, throwing his bag a bit too roughly onto the couch.
“No. Not daily,” he muttered. Baekhyun snickered.
“At least once a week tho,” he said, sinking his teeth into the mango’s yellow flesh. Kyungsoo closed his eyes, taking a deep breath.
“Why do you care if we’re fucking or not?” he asked through gritted teeth.
“Oh, fucking. That’s the New York in you. No need to snap,” said Baekhyun, thoroughly amused. “That’s the problem, brah, you fuckin’, not makin’ love. You oof just to oof.” Sputtering, Kyungsoo turned to face him; Baekhyun nibbled on the mango, unbothered.
“And what would you know about that?” Kyungsoo snarled; it was a low blow, he knew it, but it was too late. Baekhyun laughed, licking the mango juice that ran down his hand.
“Junmyeon an’ me know about that just fine,” said Baekhyun, grinning at the surprise Kyungsoo was unable to mask.
“Oh.”
His bag clattered to the floor, the tin water bottle sliding out of its pocket and rolling across the uneven floor. The bag was slumped on its side, the blue fabric stained and torn, the zipper of the small pocket refusing to close. It was a bag Kyungsoo had borrowed from Jongin years ago, like the shirts and sweaters that Kyungsoo refused to take with him to New York, only to miss them once he arrived. They were in his closet on Waiola now, most of them threadbare, and slowly joined by new ones, no longer the bright colors Jongin’s mother used to buy. Kyungsoo wore them at the apartment on the days he didn’t stay with Jongin, even if AC was down, sweating with sleeves past his fingertips, the warmth of his body helping the release of the scent of Jongin entrenched in the fabric.
He avoided Baekhyun for the rest of the afternoon, collapsing onto his bed and waiting for his phone to vibrate, the pile of quizzes he had to grade ruffled by the dying fan.

🌴 🌴 🌴
They were shy with each other, though they’d been best friends for as far as their memories extended. The soft touches, the glances, the kisses; they were seeing each other with new eyes (ones filled with a cloying sweetness that Baekhyun never stopped complaining about). It had become daily routine now, to rush out of school and buy a snack, eating at Queens Beach and watching the sunset. Jongin had put on his bathing suit beneath his pants (“Guess what, hyung!” “Eh?” “I’m commando.” “I- why are you telling me this?” “Well, technically maybe I’m not, I put on my bathing suit but no underwear!”), dipping in the cold water for a bit while Kyungsoo watched, until the sky was lit up brilliant orange. He shivered, water trailing down his chest, clinging to his eyelashes, trailing down the sharpness of his jaw. Kyungsoo stared, unaware of the intensity of his gaze until Jongin blushed and laughed, ducking his head.
“I’m cold,”
“I don’t have a towel,” Jongin gave him a pitiful look, trembling. “I can’t get my uniform wet what’m I supposed to do?” Jongin drew his knees in closer, shuffling closer to Kyungsoo and burying his nose in Kyungsoo’s neck. “Ah! No! No, no, you’re sopping wet.” Jongin huffed, curling up further. A droplet ran down his cheek, slipping down the curves of Jongin’s lips, and Kyungsoo leaned forward, wiping the droplet off Jongin’s bottom lip. Jongin rested his cheek on his knees, looking at Kyungsoo with the intense stare he always reserved for making him flustered, and Kyungsoo swallowed hard. A cool breeze rolled in, blowing over them with each wave that crashed, and Kyungsoo kissed Jongin, tasting the saltwater on Jongin’s lips, sucking on Jongin’s lower lip with a confidence that surprised them both. Jongin pulled away, licking his bottom lip and looking at Kyungsoo with equal parts curiosity and lust. Kyungsoo leaned in for another kiss, feeling Jongin unfurl underneath him, a tanned arm planting itself in the sand for support. They leaned into each other, breathing heavily, tasting each other with a desperation that hadn’t allowed themselves to feel before, held back by the timidity of their reserved personalities. Kyungsoo placed his hand flat on Jongin’s chest, caressing the collarbone with his thumb, drinking in the shivers that still racked Jongin’s body.
“Hyung, I- oh,” Jongin sucked in his breath, looking down at Kyungsoo’s hand, which had caressed its way into his bathing suit, resting tentatively on Jongin’s dick.
“Is this okay?” Kyungsoo asked, waiting for Jongin to look up at him.
“Yes. Please,” Jongin said softly, touching Kyungsoo’s wrist as if to make sure he was solid, looking back down at the form of Kyungsoo’s hand under the wet orange fabric of his bathing suit. Kyungsoo’s fingers were gentle, exploring the skin of Jongin’s thighs, chasing after droplets. Jongin fidgeted under Kyungsoo’s touch, torn between looking at the movement of Kyungsoo’s hand in his bathing suit or at Kyungsoo’s face, his brow slightly furrowed, lips slightly parted, his cheeks flushed a soft pink. A truck honked its horn far off, scaring them both, Kyungsoo squeezing Jongin’s balls and stuttering an apology.
“It didn’t hurt,” Jongin said softly, shivering when another breeze blew. There were still droplets of water sprinkled across his shoulders and chest, his legs glimmering with drops as well. His bathing suit was stiff with the cold, but Kyungsoo’s hand kept him warm, alternating with a maddening slowness between stroking his dick and massaging his balls, pressing soft kisses along Jongin’s shoulder. Jongin dipped his head to kiss Kyungsoo, drinking Kyungsoo in with a fervor that nearly threw Kyungsoo off balance.
Kyungsoo stroked Jongin’s dick, desperate to pull Jongin’s bathing suit down, to have a peek, to taste Jongin, lick the salt of the ocean off of him. Jongin’s hooded eyes and soft sighs drove Kyungsoo on, spreading the beads of precut down Jongin’s dick, picking up the pace. Letting out a stuttered moan, his fingers curled in the sand, droplets dripping from his hair onto the starched white of Kyungsoo’s uniform sleeve.
Jongin’s moans were carried off by the breeze, soft sighs and messy, hot kisses exchanged as Jongin trembled under Kyungsoo’s fingers, hot cum spurting onto Kyungsoo’s fingers.

The pile of quizzes now littered Jongin’s coffee table, half of them corrected, the other half waiting for the attention Kyungsoo refused to give them. He pushed the uncorrected pile further into the table with a socked foot, tucking the foot back under him on the sofa. Jongin walked over, drying his hands on his shirt (a habit Kyungsoo had tried to break years ago but failed) and sitting on the corner of the sofa, stretching his legs out along its length, feet perched on Kyungsoo’s lap. It was a position they’d grown used to since Kyungsoo got back, lacking the warmth of Jongin pressed against Kyungsoo’s back when they would study, curled up as close together as they could, but they were sitting together, and that was enough for Kyungsoo, or so he tried to convince himself. Hesitantly, he put a hand on Jongin’s ankle, relieved when Jongin didn’t move it off.
“So Baekhyun and Junmyeon are a thing now?” Kyungsoo asked, clearing his throat. Jongin had just picked up a worn book, the edges tattered with a few missing page corners, the red skyline of New York drawn across the bottom and the red letters spelling out Let The Great World Spin; he opened it, leafing through the first few pages.
“Yeah, they got together right about when you left,” said Jongin, his voice neutral, which unnerved Kyungsoo.
“Oh. Baekhyun hadn’t mentioned it until today,” said Kyungsoo, tracing the hair on Jongin’s legs until Jongin shook his leg, giving Kyungsoo an annoyed glance over the book. “Sorry.” Jongin went back to the book, gnawing on his bottom lip and narrowing his eyes in concentration. Kyungsoo wanted to kiss him, to run his fingers through Jongin’s hair, but he didn’t dare. They kept their touching confined to sex, kissing and caressing and touching only in the heat of the moment; Jongin, with the exception of the seating arrangement on the sofa, kept his distance, hardly touching Kyungsoo and it made his heart ache.
Jongin noticed Kyungsoo’s stare, raising an eyebrow at him.
“Hm?”
“What?”
“You’re staring.”
“Oh, sorry. I hadn’t really noticed, I just spaced out,” Kyungsoo chuckled, licking his lips nervously. Jongin pressed his lips together, his attention once more absorbed by the book. The fan ruffled the abandoned quizzes, and Kyungsoo reluctantly reached out, taking the pile and uncapping the purple pen (courtesy of his mother), correcting the near illegible scribbles. The sky grayed, the cold breeze of a thunderstorm rushing in through the balcony, but the sounds within the apartment were much the same: Jongin turning the brittle pages, the scratch of Kyungsoo’s pen against the quizzes and the quiet whirr of the fan shaking its head.
🌴 🌴 🌴
His bags were still only half packed, tucked under his bed with the illusion that not seeing them mean they wouldn’t have to be finished. He tapped his pen against the desk, looking over at his room. He’d decided not to change it, leaving the picture frames hanging on the walls, spaced apart on the drawers, youthful smiles beaming down at him. He considered laying them face down, but it would draw attention to questions he didn’t want to answer, to questions he’d avoided answering for the past month. His mother had been surprised when she walked into his room, but she didn’t pry him for answers. His friends wouldn’t be so mercifully quiet; neither would Jongin. It had been a month of careful calculations, meticulously planning details when he was alone, avoiding them, all of them, and their exuberant post-graduation celebrations. Most of his friends were content with a B.A., others wanted an M.A. but were content with Oahu; Kyungsoo knew that he couldn’t believe they didn’t want to leave the confines of the island, the vast expanses of blue separating him from the life he wanted to start living. But these dreams, they were too big for Oahu, too big for the lives of his friends to comprehend, so he kept it secret, tucked under his bed like his half-packed bags.
“Kyungsoo, Jongin here to see you,” his mother called. Kyungsoo cursed softly, tucking a few papers into the near empty drawer of his desk, running to stand outside the door of his room before Jongin reached the top of the stairs.
iamthegayagenda: (Default)
The humid Oahu air assaulted him, the thickness of it a wall he had to wade through. It shocked him, to feel like the air was so humid he could slice through it after the frigid air of the New York winter he’d left behind, the clinical dryness of the airport also abruptly squashed. He felt the humidity seeping into everything, a welcome warmth that softened his dry skin.
Three years ago he had been stepping into Honolulu International, his luggage clicking against the white scuffed tiles, the realization that he was finally leaving the confines of the island weighing on his shoulders. He remembered the excitement when he’d been accepted to Columbia, but at the airport he’d only felt the weight of his sudden freedom as a burden.
Standing by a black car was his mother, more glimmering silver strands in her pitch black hair than he had remembered, the small golden cross still occupying the hollow of her neck. She sniffled, dabbing at her eyes with the back of her hand and patting it dry on her skirt before holding her arms open. He walked into her embrace, breathing in the soft scent of jasmine perfume and baby powder, the scent of home.
The familiar “howzit’s” and “da kine’s” tittered in the background, the cool breeze that so often preceded thunderstorms blowing them over him, rustling his hair.
“Welcome home, son,” his mother whispered, rubbing circles on his back with her hand. He couldn’t let go, his nose still buried in the soft cotton of her peach cardigan, tears spilling from his eyes though he hadn't meant to let them out.
It wasn’t until they got home, settled in his room, his mother sitting at the edge of his bed, filling him in on the juicy news about all of Oahu that he felt it; he was home, but something was missing, something didn’t quite click in with the rest. The picture frames on his drawer, untouched since he’d left, stared at him, the joy in those faces too bright for Kyungsoo to look at. When his mother left the room, he lay them flat on the surface.

It was Mrs. Kim, though he hardly recognized the hunch in her shoulders. She looked far older than she was, the bitterness in the hard set of her lips evident even from a distance. She was dyeing her hair, that he could see, too, though it had been a while, gnarled silver roots shining against her black hair. She was fumbling with a cloth, tying it on her head to cover up the silver roots. The shopping basket hanging from the crook of her elbow clattered against the shelves, nearly knocking several cans over. Peering at the cans and deciding against them, she shuffled down the aisle, closer to him, looking at the packs of ramen noodles and muttering about the brands. She pulled out one of the packs, sending the ones on top of it onto the tiled floor, cursing colorfully. The plastic crinkled against her feet and she hunched over, her thin back curving painfully. Her thin shirt clung to her, the outline of her ribs clear, and it startled Kyungsoo to see her so decimated, but he made no move to help her. Her bony fingers clumsily curled around the packets, and it was those bony fingers he was afraid of, of the force they had to destroy something so fragile. He grabbed a can of baby corn and turned on his heel, leaving Mrs. Kim cursing at the packet of noodles that slipped from her grip again.

“I saw Mrs. Kim at the supermarket,” Kyungsoo’s mother continued sorting through the groceries. Kyungsoo repeated himself, taking the starfruit from his mother’s hands and laying them out on the marble countertop. His mother hummed in acknowledgment. “She looks real skinny.” His mother opened the fridge.
“That woman, she’s lolo, doing what she did to her poor son. Ack, why did she care so much he mahu? He her son! It shouldn’t matter,” she shook her head, taking out the empty egg carton and slipping in the new one. Kyungsoo took the empty carton from her, watching her shuffle across the kitchen. Her accent seemed to him much stronger, the oddness of the cadence of the pidgin with the clumsiness of her Korean accent meshed into one.
“Not everyone is like you, Eomma,” said Kyungsoo, hugging his mother and resting his cheek on her head. She swatted him away, giggling. “She’s still not talking to you?”
“I tole you, she lolo. Byun-ssi tried to say hello, Kim-ssi gave her stink-eye! Byun-ssi tole her she wanna be friends again, Kim-ssi tole her nevamine, like Byun-ssi a child. She lolo, that woman,” his mother shook her head vehemently, handing Kyungsoo the scallions to put away. “Jongin’s Appa still with her. That man too good for her. He talk to Jongin still, help him with the apartment.” Kyungsoo bumped his head against the cabinets, cursing. “Jongin still talk to me, too. He even buy me new slippahs when he saw my ole ones. That boy is too good, too good.” Kyungsoo slammed the cabinet shut, murmuring an apology when his mother frowned at him.
“And how is Jongin?” His voice cracked. His mother looked at him for a moment, cradling a head of cabbage in her hands, before shooing him aside, reaching for the fridge again.
“He’s good. Got his own apartment, an’ he tole me he got a job at that bookstore on Ala Moana,” she said, her curtness surprising him.
“Oh, the Barnes and Noble?” his mother nodded. Kyungsoo couldn’t help the smile; it was what he’d expected, for Jongin to surround himself with books.
“Jus’ until he finish studying,” she said, “Now go somewhere else, you in my way,” she shooed him out again, eyeing the starfruit he grabbed before ducking out of the kitchen.

Mrs. Byun had suggested it, one night after dinner, while they were sitting on the back porch, nursing their mugs under the azure sky, the last tinges of daylight streaked along the horizon in brilliant pink.
“Baekhyun been struggling to pay that place by hisself and none of the roommate he had been reliable. Is too good a place to give up,” she’d started, leaning back in her rocking chair and glancing at Baekhyun over the rim of her glasses. “You two best friends, and you could make your Eomma’s life easier by moving out.” Kyungsoo’s mother made a noise, the disagreement plain on her face.
“Is been three years since I had my son home, you ole fart, he stay as long as he want,” she swatted Mrs. Kim’s arm, the two of them giggling.
“Well, if Baekhyun doesn’t mind me moving in, I think that would be a great idea,” said Kyungsoo. Baekhyun shifted, meeting Kyungsoo’s eyes for the first time that night, a half smile on his lips.
“It’s better than having a stranger, especially a haole,” said Baekhyun.
“Or a Japanese,” Mrs. Byun added.
“Ma, you can’t be saying things like that,” said Baekhyun, the horror clear in his eyes. Mrs. Byun shrugged, slipping her feet out of the sequined slippers and crossing them at the ankles.
“Where’s the apartment?” Kyungsoo asked, meeting Baekhyun’s eyes. Baekhyun tilted his head, placing his mug between his feet.
“Over by University Ave, close to the highway,” he replied. Kyungsoo nodded, regretting voicing his agreement. Maybe they once had been best friends, but the howzit Baekhyun had produced when he arrived was less than enthusiastic, and for Baekhyun, who was energetic and enthusiastic even when running on three hours of sleep, that was a clear enough sign. Kyungsoo didn’t blame him, but it hurt, a knot forming in his stomach at the coldness with which Kyungsoo regarded him the whole night.
Kyungsoo’s mother brought out the starfruits he hadn’t devoured (she hid the rest from him when she’d realized he’d eaten half of what they bought in one sitting), sliced and arranged in a circle on the plate. He reached out to grab a star but his mother swatted his hand away; by the time he reached the plate, once Baekhyun and his mother left, the rest of the slices were gone.

The apartment was on the corner of Waiola and McCully, the main entrance off the side since the arch for the parking ran straight through the middle. Squat palm trees were clustered on one corner, below the windows, as squat as the building itself. It had four apartments, three floors, a window wrapped around the front corner that let the afternoon light into the living room, the glare of it ruining afternoon plans of watching tv. It was a short drive from Manoa on a good day, but there was never a good day for traffic in Honolulu, which meant Kyungsoo had to wake up earlier than he wanted to each morning, leaving an hour early in order to avoid the traffic jams that choked University Ave.
Manoa was spread out to the north of them, a sea of apartment buildings and houses divided by the highway and crowned by the deep green of the edge of the crater. New York had been endless gray, metal and sharp lines, concrete and pigeons, everything faster than the life he’d lived in Honolulu. It had left him with a massive headache for the first week, shoved and squeezed and trodden over, the tiny studio apartment that faced the saddest park he’d ever seen no help. He longed for green, for fresh air, for the wind to caress him, not cut through his jacket. But what he had missed most about being in Honolulu was the freedom to wake up in the morning, throw on a bathing suit and some slippahs (“What’s with this flip-flop nonsense, brah, this no New York,” Baekhyun teased), and drive to the beach, spending the day watching the glittering blue of the Pacific crash against the white sand.
Queens Beach hadn’t changed much in those three years, still watched over by high-rises and slender palm trees, the bustle of the crowds of Waikiki not far off. Diamond Head loomed above it all, massive and solid, the emerald slopes spread out languidly over the corner of the island. It was a rush of nostalgia, sitting under the shade of the palms, the afternoons after exams or the afternoons in which they cut class, wading in the crystalline water. It made the inevitable chastisement worth it; even when Kyungsoo and his mother moved out to Mauna Lua the tittering of the aunties reached her. She would wait at the doorway, giving him a lecture, but she was never hard on him and she would revoke the punishments as soon as she gave them.
Kyungsoo was sitting on the towel, his feet buried in the sand, watching the grains fall every time he shifted his toes. Baekhyun had gone for a swim after his nap, waving his arms and screaming at the top of his lungs as he ran into the water, disappearing under the spray. The others on the beach looked at the sopping head of hair that popped up a few feet in, then over at Kyungsoo, who blushed and shook his head. Baekhyun hadn’t changed much either, not since high school, as effervescent and loud as he had been once the initial coldness of seeing each other again passed. And yet, there was something that still didn’t sit quite right; it haunted him, and he knew he couldn’t run from it, not on an island as small as Oahu.
The droplets from Baekhyun’s hair startled him, Baekhyun standing before him and shaking out his hair. Kyungsoo smacked Baekhyun’s legs with a towel, joining in Baekhyun’s laughter when he tumbled onto the towel.
“What’sammater, New York left you all clammed up? You a cold city kanē now,” Baekhyun asked, throwing his wet towel on Kyungsoo.
“Tanks, brah,” Kyungsoo muttered, shoving Baekhyun into the sand. Baekhyun laughed, his hysterical cackles carried across the beach by the breeze.
“Baekhyun! Howzit?” the voice that called it out made Kyungsoo’s blood run cold, the sun feeling too hot against his skin and the sand too harsh. He didn’t dare look up, watching Baekhyun return the shaka and leap up to his feet.
“Where you been, eh? Haven't seen you in a week,” said Baekhyun. Kyungsoo looked up, swallowing hard, but the lump in his throat didn’t move. He looked the same, though his shoulders were broader, and his dark hair a bit longer, shining obsidian strands dripping with water. He embraced Baekhyun, turning to greet Kyungsoo, but the hello never passed his lips. His dark eyes, heavy lidded and as alluring as Kyungsoo remembered them, met Kyungsoo’s eyes, but Kyungsoo couldn’t hold the gaze, not when he recognized the flicker of pain.
“Kyungsoo,” he said stupidly, scattering sand when he shifted his weight.
“Jongin,” Kyungsoo said, feeling equally stupid. “Howzit?” It wasn’t the right thing to ask, he knew that, not when they weren’t close anymore, but in his panic he had let it slip.
“I didn’t realize you were back,” said Jongin, his voice soft, softer than Kyungsoo remembered it being, and Kyungsoo could feel Jongin’s eyes searching, but he refused to look up. Baekhyun, who had been staring at both of them, finally thumped Jongin on the back, drawing Jongin’s attention away from Kyungsoo.
With Jongin’s eyes on Baekhyun, Kyungsoo took the chance and looked at him, and for a moment he saw the boy from eight years ago, standing on the same beach; he’d been admiring the triangle of Jongin’s brown skin that formed between the open collar. It was August, the sunset bringing the welcome relief of night, each wave that crashed bringing with it a cool breeze. Jongin was all smiles, his long brown fingers wrapped around the pale yellow of the starfruit Kyungsoo had fished from his backpack. Taking a bite, Jongin pulled a face.
“Why do you always bring the sour ones, hyung?” he whined, coughing.
“It’s mo’ better sour. If you don’t want it, hand it over,” Kyungsoo held open his hand. but Jongin shied away, shaking his head. “No complaining then.” Jongin stuck his tongue out at him, yelping when Kyungsoo knocked him over. His nose was wrinkled while he ate the starfruit, tossing the core away and wiping his fingers on his shorts.
They sat in silence for a while, Jongin scooting closer and bumping their legs together. Kyungsoo looked over, his cheeks flushed when he met Jongin’s eyes, the cat-like eyes that were always so intense, so full of emotion that simmered under the calm surface.
“What?” he asked, his voice sharper than he’d intended. Jongin laughed.
“Nothing,”
“You lolo,”
“Am I still lolo if I want a kiss?” Kyungsoo choked, his ears burning.
“What you want a kiss for?” Kyungsoo asked, his voice cracking. Jongin blushed, his head hanging, digging his toes in the sand.
“Maybe cause I want you to be my boyfriend,” he said, so softly Kyungsoo barely heard him.
“Oh,” Jongin looked up at him, the apprehension clear in his dark eyes. Kyungsoo tried to hide his smile, but Jongin saw it, smiling back at him, radiant. Leaning over, Jongin nudged Kyungsoo’s cheek with his nose. Kyungsoo laughed, turning to look at him, their noses touching. Jongin closed his eyes, leaning closer, but Kyungsoo beat him to it, pressing their lips together. It was that night, sitting on the beach, the sky alight with orange and pink, that Kyungsoo decided his favorite fruit was starfruit.

The apartment was only three blocks away from Kyungsoo and Baekhyun’s place on the ninth floor of one of the high rises on Wiliwili Street. Jongin was quiet, the same quiet, closed manner he’d had when they first met. Jongin had a subtle vibrancy, in the shine of his eyes, in the movement of his hands when he spoke, but only when he was around people he trusted. It was a question Kyungsoo had been asked so many times when they were together: “Isn’t he cold? He’s so emotionless. Does he ever feel anything?” And Kyungsoo had wanted to scream yes, stand on top of Diamond Head and shout it to the whole of Oahu, but now he found himself outside of Jongin’s world, the doors closed to him for the first time since they’d met.
“Hey,” Jongin stepped aside to let him in, closing the door and hovering behind Kyungsoo, unsure where to go. Kyungsoo stepped in further, drawn to the balcony in the corner of the living room. Air, he needed air.
“Want tea?” Jongin asked. Kyungsoo looked over at him, startled that Jongin was speaking to him. He took a deep breath, nodding. He was here, he was home, he was back, but it wasn’t the same. A breeze blew in through the balcony, cars honking at the corner, and Jongin cursed, water spilling into the sink. Kyungsoo edged closer to the balcony, leaning out to take a breath of fresh air.
“It’s a nice place you got,” said Kyungsoo, murmuring his thanks when Jongin gave him a mug, the steam curling and dancing above the fragrant tea. Jongin hummed in agreement.
“How was New York?” Jongin asked, settling cross legged onto a chair in the balcony. Kyungsoo sat on the other chair, hissing at the heat of the mug against his fingertips.
“Cold, mostly,” Kyungsoo chuckled, the smile disappearing when Jongin merely nodded. “Interesting. Too fast-paced for me, though. Guess the Hawai’i in me couldn’t keep up.” Jongin smiled at that.
“You sound like a kotonk,” he said into his mug. Kyungsoo sputtered, nearly choking on his tea, opening his mouth to protest but decided against it, pouting instead. Silence settled over them, uncomfortable, pregnant with all the things they wanted to say but didn’t, the three years a distance too long for them to travel.
“Still not talking to your mother?” Kyungsoo finally asked. Jongin pursed his lips, looking out over the balcony, a heaviness forming in the silence.
“No,” he said at last, taking a noisy sip from his mug. “Not talking much to Appa either, but he won’t get a divorce. It’s been too many years, they’ve been through too much to just end it like that.” Jongin’s voice was soft, almost wistful, but the accusation in his eyes made Kyungsoo’s ears burn in shame.
“I’m sorry,” he hadn’t meant to say it, but he didn’t know what else to say, not with the weight of those three years on him. He didn’t look up, afraid to see Jongin’s reaction, the silence heavy, too heavy, his chest tight, each breath more labored, keeping the tears in though they burned his eyes.
“Me too,” said Jongin, waiting for Kyungsoo to look up; the pain in his eyes was too raw, too overwhelming for Kyungsoo, the salt of his tears spilling into his tea.

The sun filtered through the window, laying its warmth on Jongin’s back like a blanket, the golden sheet of light playing on golden skin. The sheets were mint green, the same shade as Jongin’s polo the night they were on Queens beach, wrapped around Jongin’s waist, the gold of his skin glowing under it. Kyungsoo traced his fingers across Jongin’s shoulders, down the shoulder blades, relishing in the warmth of his skin. Jongin wouldn’t wake up soon, not if he still slept like he did when they were together, sometimes waking up when it was nearly four in the afternoon, sleeping through hurricanes, through volcanic eruptions. The world ceased to exist while Jongin slept.
Kyungsoo’s stomach rumbled, a reminder that they hadn’t eaten dinner, so caught up on re-discovering each other that they went to sleep without food. He crept out into the kitchen, opening the fridge as quietly as he could, but everything required more effort than he was willing to put in, until he spied the starfruit, pale yellow, the edges brown and slightly bruised. He grabbed two, rinsing them in the sink and walking back to the room, slipping under the covers again, the sour tang of the tart flesh filling his mouth. Jongin stirred, blinking the sleep away and looking up at Kyungsoo.
“Oh, I didn’t mean to wake you,” Kyungsoo murmured, gently pushing a few strands of Jongin’s hair away from his eyes.
“You’re eating those sour starfruit? You still lolo,” Jongin chuckled, reaching out to take the other starfruit from Kyungsoo.
“Sour’s mo better,” Kyungsoo said softly, laughing when Jongin puckered his lips. The sun had shifted, now fully on Jongin, and he glowed under it, the starfruit juice glimmering on his lips. Somehow, with the tartness of the fruit and the warmth of the sun, that disjointed feeling that had been haunting Kyungsoo dissipated, evaporating in the sunlight of the morning.

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