Even with Changmin’s weak ankle they’d managed to get the music video filmed without going over time. The music video was not the problem – it was the dance practice the following week, despite Changmin’s ankle having healed within that time.
The choreographer showed them some of the moves. After a particularly sexy move, there was murmur from the dancers around them, and Changmin was giggling into the back of his hand.
Yunho was nodding. I can do that, he thought to himself.
“Isn’t that a little controversial?” Changmin asked in that tactless, frank way he had.
Choreo-sshi sauntered over and stopped right in front of him. Changmin leaned back a little, seeming dismayed at this sudden attack of his personal space. “This is an expression of the lyrics – of a man’s memory of their hot, desperate love-making!”
Changmin blushed and his eyes flicked to Yunho then back again. He stepped back and bowed shortly. “I understand.”
Appeased, Choreo-sshi pivoted on his heel and strode back to the front. “Again. Music!”
Later that evening Yunho and Changmin practiced in their lounge room. Yunho took a break and sat on the couch, then watched Changmin do the sexier moves over and over. He watched the way Changmin smacked his chest and then slid his hand down his body while his hips undulated.
Yunho watched unblinkingly, then swallowed.
Changmin stopped and put his hands on his hips. “This is really hard,” he sighed. “I wish I had your talent.”
Yunho stared at his hips, then blinked rapidly before looking up enquiringly. “Talent? For what?”
His dongsaeng gave him a long, unimpressed look. “For dancing..?”
“You’re a good dancer,” Yunho told him, absently. “Really good.”
Changmin visibly deflated and moved to sit down next to Yunho. Yunho grabbed his hips before he could.
“Hey,” whispered Yunho, “hey. Uh. Remember that understanding we had, that time?” He swallowed nervously. “Remember?”
Changmin froze, staring down at him with wide, scared eyes. “What?”
“You know, the ‘this and that’ thing we had.” He thumbed Changmin’s hip bones.
Changmin scoffed. “You think just because you ask for it, I’m just going to give it to you?”
“Wasn’t that the deal?” Yunho asked honestly. Changmin’s expression went dark. “You’re just using me because you want to experiment, right?”
Changmin leaned over and grabbed the front of Yunho’s t-shirt, yanking him up off the couch and then walking off, Yunho stumbling behind with his shirt bunched in Changmin’s fist. “Changmin-ah! What the hell - ?”
Changmin took him to Yunho’s room, grabbed him with both hands and threw him on the bed. He crawled on top of him, straddling Yunho’s hips. “Is this what you want?” Changmin demanded as he pulled Yunho’s shirt off and up over his head.
“God yes,” gasped Yunho, reaching to undo Changmin’s shirt before his hands were slapped away. Changmin undid Yunho’s jeans and practically ripped them off along with his underwear, then he grabbed him and used his strength to force Yunho onto his front.
Yunho did easily enough. He stared wide-eyed at his own pillow, then tentatively looked over his shoulder.
Changmin’s head was bent as he busily undid his own jeans. Yunho spread his legs further, rubbing them against the sheets, and reached over to his bedside table and rummaged in his bottom drawer for condoms and lube. He reached behind to pass them to Changmin. “Hurry up, will you?” said Yunho, his cock so hard he thought he was going to come just from the feel of the sheets alone.
Changmin slapped him on the ass.
Yunho gasped. Then he moaned as he felt lubricated fingers spreading him open and spear into him. He bit into the soft pillow as he felt Changmin lean over him, line himself up and push in slowly. He pulled out, then pushed back in, roughly.
Yunho made a strangled noise in the back of his throat as Changmin started to thrust into him, forcefully, the movement causing friction with Yunho’s hips and the bed sheets. Yunho moaned loudly and realised too late that he was about to come embarrassingly early –
He did, grunting into his pillow and blacking out momentarily.
As he was coming to he felt Changmin pulling out and turning him over, more gently this time, and Yunho let him, blinking away the aftershocks of his orgasm. Then Changmin quietly spread Yunho’s legs, bending them and pushing them up. He braced himself over him and caught his gaze, fringe falling into his eyes.
He looked a little guilty.
“Is this ok?” he asked.
In answer Yunho held his hips and pulled, allowing Changmin to enter him again. Changmin began again with an easy push-pull, slow, before speeding up. Yunho held on to his shoulders as Changmin thrust faster, trying not to hit his head on the headboard. Yunho relaxed, closed his eyes, enjoyed the feel of the other man inside him; of his breath on Yunho’s face.
When Changmin came, Yunho held him close.
The next morning Yunho awoke first. He gazed at the window and contemplated the rays of sunshine as they struggled to light the room through the closed blinds. Then he looked to the side and saw Changmin in bed next to him, once again on the far side, curled away from him.
He moved over to the sleeping form carefully so as not to jostle him awake. He slowly leaned up on one elbow, then his hand, and leaned over him.
Changmin was face was mostly buried in his soft pillow and his hair was a dark mess against his cheeks. The duvet didn’t quite reach his bare shoulders. Yunho lifted a hand slowly, reaching over him, intending to push his fringe away from his eyes –
Changmin abruptly woke up, eyes wide, staring first at Yunho and then at Yunho’s hand, which was hovering a short distance from Changmin’s chin.
Yunho slowly pulled his hand away. “Good morning,” he croaked out.
Changmin stared at him with his big brown eyes for a beat, before they slid away. “Yeah,” he said, unenthusiastically.
Yunho didn’t want to get up just yet, though he knew soon his stomach would be grumbling for breakfast. He laid back down and stared at the ceiling. He breathed through his nose – once, twice – gathering his courage – then his moved his hand under the sheets, searching for Changmin’s hand with his fingers.
As if sensing what he was trying to achieve, Changmin’s fingers found his own and held on, squeezed, then linked with his.
Yunho heard him move, sheets rustling, then Changmin let go of his hand and instead put his arm around his torso and his head on Yunho’s shoulder. Changmin’s hair tickled Yunho’s chin.
Yunho held his breath and a tried not to hope too hard, not smile too wide, as Changmin wiggled closer and tangled their legs together. Yunho was also aware of how naked they were, and as soon as Changmin’s whole front was against his body he also became aware of his dongsaeng’s hardness against his thigh. He smoothed one hand up Changmin’s arm and the other touched his back, softly running his fingers over his back, side and shoulder.
They said nothing.
Yunho turned his head, slowly, nudging his chin against Changmin’s forehead gently. Changmin got the message, tilting his head up – shuffling closer to one another – and their lips met, softly, easy, gentle, and a little chaste at first, until Yunho daringly slipped his tongue in to caress his. Changmin tasted of musk and sleep, but he was so soft and warm.
Then Yunho heard a noise outside the room: first the front door opening and closing, then some kind of metallic clanking, and voices.
“What - ?” Yunho croaked out before knocks sounded at his bedroom door.
He and Changmin froze.
Just as his door was opening, Changmin grabbed the duvet and ninja-rolled off the bed, covering himself with the fluffy bundle of bedclothes on the floor, half-hidden from the doorway by the bed, leaving Yunho with just a sheet to cover his modesty.
Coordi-noona came in. Yunho pulled the sheet up to his chest and bent his knees, shy and as uncomfortable as all hell. She stared at him, blonde hair falling into her eyes.
“You’re not up,” she accused. She squinted at him. “Do you normally sleep without pyjamas?”
He ignored the question. “What are you doing here?” he demanded, scandalised. “H-how did you get in?”
“I have a key,” she answered, looking at him as if to say, ‘You should know this!’
“Who else has a key?”
“Manager-sshi,” she replied shortly. “Obviously. Please get up, we have lots to do.” She turned to leave the room. “And I suppose I have to go wake up Changmin – “
“I’ll wake him up!” Yunho said quickly. She looked at him in dismay. “Because – because he wasn’t feeling well. Last night... and yeah, he might still look a fright.”
She gave him a long look, then left the room, her expression incredulous.
Turned out she and her assistant had been thrown into a sudden, stressful situation whereby they were due to clothe Yunho and Changmin for several photoshoots, interviews and live performances for Before U Go promotions. She had dragged portable racks of clothing all the way up to their apartment and spent the next two hours fitting them while they practiced their newest single.
It was from this day, just when Yunho thought his relationship with Changmin would evolve directly into a blissful concatenation of love, lust and deep brotherhood, that their schedule became truly hectic.
From studio sessions to training to television to radio – waking up at six in the morning and going to bed at midnight – flights to Japan - work, work and some more work. In his usual style Yunho gave all he had, gave one hundred and ten percent, and yet that insidious thing - the feelings caught at the end of a look, the seduction in Changmin’s simple movements, the frustration risen from the memory of sex, the timbre of their love songs, the heady smell of sweat after training, the gestures –
It kept Yunho’s heart in a state of turbulence, his body pulled taut and thrumming, muscles tense. How some mornings he woke and looked to the side, and saw that Changmin wasn’t there. He would touch the sheets on that side and would imagine that they were warm.
After a week of this he was woken in the middle of the night by someone hovering over him. A shadow, caught only by the city lights shining through the window, eyes wide and hair hanging, teeth white, lips slightly parted.
Yunho kissed Changmin that night. He thought it was a beautiful dream, something his desperate mind had conjured. It felt so real, Changmin’s skin was so soft, his lips on his ripe and his tongue slick against his. He could not believe what he was seeing, feeling, even as Changmin grasped Yunho and lowered himself down, back arching, nipples hard, head thrown back, high moan caught in his throat and then released like a song bird’s morning call. Yunho felt inside him and he was hot, and tight, and so good.
In the morning Changmin was not in his bed, but his side of the bed was warm.
At the company Yunho leaned his forehead on his locker and breathed harshly, taking in lungfuls of air; pressed his hand to his mouth and suppressed the panic attack as best he could, gasping into his palm as if he could catch each gasp and throw them away.
He punched the locker: bang.
One morning he got creative and went into the shower when Changmin was in there, slicked up and wet.
Yunho registered surprise on Changmin’s expression as Yunho stepped up behind him under the spray, then Changmin’s eyes darkened into lust as he turned his face away and leaned two hands on the tiles. Yunho watched him as he flattened his back and spread his legs, skin shiny and slick. He used soap as a lubricant and as he lined himself up he whispered in Changmin’s ear:
“The other night – was it your first time?”
Yunho pushed in a little.
“Did you like it?”
The offshoot movie for the repackaged album had been particularly difficult. They’d made them pose in different states of undress, then made them pose together, leaning on one another or Yunho’s personal favourite: Changmin shoved up behind him. All the light and the cameras had not been enough to suppress his want and so he’d swallowed down his feelings and thought as many unsexy thoughts as possible, barely hearing the directions through the roar in his ears.
It must have gotten to Changmin too, because as soon as they’d parked the car in their apartment car park Changmin had grabbed him and kissed him hard.
They pulled their faces away slightly and Yunho stared at his mouth and palmed his cheek. Then he leaned forward and mouthed Changmin’s long neck, tickling him with the stubbe that was already starting to regrow so late at night. He massaged his lean shoulders, fingers splayed over his wing-like shoulder blades and thumbs lingering on the creases where his arms and back met.
Changmin pulled away sat in his seat proper. He looked out the window, away from Yunho, face cast in shadow. Yunho stared at his hair, at the way the product in it was starting to fail at keeping it slick. It was so sweet, the way Changmin’s hair curled against his ear.
“Hyung,” Changmin croaked out, still not looking at him, “we’re just friends.”
“Yeah,” he said.
Yunho saw Changmin’s jaw clench.
Back in the apartment Changmin bent him over the bed and fucked him hard and violent, Yunho’s face pressed into the sheets.
Yunho had never come so hard in his life.
It was the final dance practice session for Before U Go. In the first hour a handful of members from Super Junior and SHINee came to watch. After Yunho, Changmin and their dancers had managed to do the full dance without doing any mistakes, Heechul, Minho and Jonghyun applauded.
Yunho grinned then practically collapsed on the spot, sitting down on his backside and lounging with his legs stretched out in front of him. Some of the dancers repeated some moves, but Yunho’s gaze was on Changmin, who was walking over to talk to the SHINee boys.
Heechul came over and plonked himself down next to Yunho.
“So sexy,” commented Heechul. He wiggled where he sat, shimmying his shoulders. “They way you move baby, ohh yeah!”
Yunho laughed as he tried to regulate his breathing. Then he could see Heechul giving him a sly, side-eyed look.
Yunho swallowed. “What is it?”
Heechul pulled his jumper’s sleeve over his knuckles and used it to wipe the sweat from Yunho’s temple. Yunho stared at him – at the small smile gracing his lips.
“I miss you, Yunho,” Heechul told him eventually, and Yunho knew he wasn’t talking about just seeing each other as friends. “It’s been a while since we shared some quality time together.”
Yunho looked away and at the dancers in front of him. “Yeah? I assumed you were a bit bored with me.”
“You darling?” said Heechul playfully, leaning forward, lips close to Yunho’s ear. “I could never get bored with you – “
“Let’s do it again,” said Heechul bluntly. “You and me, this and that.”
Yunho clenched his jaw and tried desperately not to look at Changmin at the side of the room. “Yeah I – yeah, not this time, hyung.”
When he finally looked at Heechul he saw that his hyung was stunned: eyes wide and mouth hanging open. Yunho scrutinised him with some alarm. Then he remembered that Heechul had probably never been rejected before.
He tried to appease him by giving him a smile and a careless shrug of his shoulders.
Heechul closed his mouth, thought for a bit, opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again. Then he looked at Yunho with dawning realisation. “Oh my god!” he exclaimed in English. Then he added in a loud whisper, “You’re seeing someone, aren’t you?”
Yunho looked around to make sure no one was listening in. He saw that Changmin was surreptitiously watching them from the side of the room as he conversed with SHINee, but he was most likely too far away to hear Yunho and Heechul’s conversation. “I – Yeah,” Yunho affirmed, and Heechul gasped, hands flying to his mouth in overacted shock. “Don’t tell anyone, will you.”
“No, no way! I promise. Who is it? It is someone from F(X)? Oh god! Please tell me she’s not from Girls Day! Those bitches are crazy.” He gasped dramatically. “Is it Ara? You do know you guys are kind of a train wreck, right?”
“It’s none of them,” Yunho quickly corrected, before making the proverbial fatal mistake of looking up and locking eyes with Changmin across the room.
Heechul caught the look. He was so astonished he didn’t even gasp this time, he only stared at Yunho, then Changmin, then gave Yunho a concerned look. He opened his mouth to speak –
“Don’t say it,” Yunho interrupted and Heechul’s mouth snapped shut.
Then Heechul shook his head and said, “Dangerous, Yunho. So dangerous.”
Yunho stood up. “Five minutes then we go again,” he told the dancers. They nodded and murmured affirmatives. Yunho left the room, and as he was going through the door he caught Changmin’s gaze and threw him a look:
Follow me, it said.
Yunho went straight into the change rooms and into a change cubicle. A second later Changmin followed, and as soon as Changmin was in the small space with him and had locked the door they grabbed each other and kissed, hard, and desperate. Changmin sucked on Yunho’s tongue and Yunho inhaled through his nose, trying to pick up Changmin’s scent. Their bodies were slammed together so tight they might as well have been one being.
Finally they pulled their mouths away but not too far, and leaned their foreheads together.
Yunho came right out with it: “Heechul offered,” he told him.
Changmin leaned his face away a little and glared hard, eyes practically spitting fire. “Are you asking for my permission?”
Yunho shook his head.
“Good,” said Changmin, and the one uttered word sounded course and gravelly with suppressed emotion. “Because you know,” he continued, still with that strange voice, “I would have said no.” And then he added, “I want to kill him.”
Yunho watched him closely and observed the tense set of his shoulders, the hard line of his mouth and flushed cheeks. Yunho realised belatedly that they were both breathing harshly and that his heart was beating too fast. He thought, I’m going to have a heart attack. He looked at Changmin’s chin and tried to calm down.
Changmin rolled his eyes and left the cubical, slamming the door open so hard it hit the wall then vibrated on its hinges. He stormed away, past the lockers, then he turned around again and strode back to Yunho. He braced himself on the cubical doorway with both hands.
Yunho knew Changmin was staring at him, but he couldn’t look.
“I want to be exclusive,” Changmin barked out suddenly, throwing the words out as if he hated them and they’d been inside him for a while. “I – “ He faltered. “I don’t like sharing, hyung.”
Yunho slid his eyes over to him, then away again. “What you’re saying,” he said quietly, “is so dangerous.”
“I don’t c-care,” Changmin told him, and the last word seemed to be caught in his throat. “We can still be just friends,” Changmin continued, and Yunho thought it sounded like a lie. “Let’s just... not have other fuck buddies.”
“Okay,” said Yunho. He finally looked up into his eyes and Changmin held out his hand.
Yunho took it, and brushed his knuckles with his thumb.
Dawn | Three months later
Yunho misses Changmin like crazy. He checks his phone every ten minutes and when he can’t do that he throws himself into work, hard, dancing like he’s never danced before.
When Changmin does message him his texts are short but sweet:
Hawaii so beautiful u jealous~? ^^
Yeh I no ur working hard but guess wat I’m not~ hehe actually I am
Food here so good ^^ keke
As he’s heading to Boa’s trailer he writes Changmin the text message, ‘I miss you’ then stares at it, thumb hovering over the send button then the cancel button –
Boa shoves him behind and he accidentally presses a button on his phone. Alarmed, he stares at the screen and the little animation that shows a message being sent.
“Oh fuck,” he says, in despair.
Boa cackles. “You did so well today, Yun-dol,” she tells him, linking her arm through his and leading him, “except for one thing...”
“Oh yeah?” he asks as they enter her trailer.
“You’re pining like a little bitch,” she says, then laughs uproariously at her own joke. She gets them some beers and they sit on the steps to enjoy the night air. A few minutes later she says, “You don’t need to tell me who it is, but I have to ask, are you happy?”
He stares at his phone’s blank screen. “Yes,” he answers, “at least I think so. It’s a little complicated.”
“As complicated as it was with Jaejoong-oppa?”
He cups the phone in his hands and looks up at the stars. “So much worse.”
She scrutinises him for a moment, then says, “You’ve got it bad.”
His phone beeps signalling a new text message. It’s from Changmin, and it’s only one thing:
Yunho’s phone rings in the middle of the night.
“You awake?” asks Changmin on the other end. His voice sounds muffled.
“Uh,” Yunho mumbles, blinking himself awake. He rubs his eyes. “Yeah, no not really.”
He can hear munching on the other end.
“Are you –“ Yunho starts. “Are you eating?”
“Hyung,” Changmin mumbles before swallowing. “The fruit here... so juicy...”
A moment of silence and then Changmin asks, “Are you sleeping?”
“Hnn,” Yunho mumbles.
Changmin whispers, “I miss you too.”
Yunho blinks his eyes open and looks at the moon out the window. He runs the back of his hand over the pillow next to him. “Wish you were here.”
Yunho hears Changmin-style giggles on the other end. “No hyung, you wish you were here. It’s... this place, fills my heart with joy.”
“We’ll go there again one day,” says Yunho, as he lets his eyes fall shut again.
There’s a beat of silence then Changmin says, “Better not,” and Yunho can hear the signal in his voice: he’s shut himself away again. Not for the first time Yunho wishes he could break down that hard barrier Changmin erects when talk of spending time together in public arises. Yunho hates that they can’t be seen together in public as a couple, holding hands, going on dates and doing the sort of things the average couple does.
Besides, they’d also never talked about the friends-with-benefits relationship they have, not since that time in the change room three months ago.
“Hyung- “ Changmin starts.
“It can be our honeymoon destination,” Yunho interrupts. “First we’ll get married in Korea – a traditional wedding. You’ll be my beautiful bride, with decorations in your hair.”
“Hyung,” says Changmin, a little sharply, though Yunho can tell he’s trying not to laugh. “If anyone’s the bride, it’s you.”
“Aigo,” says Yunho, pouting, “my wife is angry with me, what shall I do? What shall I do?”
“Min,” he says as he pulls the sheet over his head, “sing me a song.”
Changmin is studying Japanese as he lies on the couch. He holds the book up in the air and Yunho wonders if his arms are sore. Yunho shuts the front door and dumps his gym bag on one of the kitchen chairs. Changmin looks side-ways from where he’s lying and gives the bag a disapproving look.
“I’ll deal with it in a minute,” Yunho tells him as he comes over. He crawls over him and plants himself behind, lying down so he’s half-spooning him. Changmin lets out a long-suffering sigh and places the book on his chest. “How was skating practice?”
“I suck,” Yunho confides. “I really suck.”
“No you don’t,” Changmin tells him matter-of-factly, picking up his book again and flicking through the pages. “You’re amazing,” his says absently.
Yunho’s heart swells. He touches Changmin’s hair and fingers a strand, pushing it behind his dongsaeng’s ear. From this close Yunho can see Changmin’s eyelashes flutter against his cheek as he blinks several times. It’s in these moments that Yunho thinks that Changmin is the most beautiful man in the world. He’s good-looking with make-up and he’s in front of the cameras; but like this, fresh faced and natural, five o’clock shadow, hair a mess, glasses crooked... he is stunning.
Yunho palms Changmin’s chest and brushes his mouth against his ear.
Changmin makes a small hissing sound in disapproval. “I suppose it’s time for our usual friends-with-benefits ‘this and that’ session?” he asks blatantly.
“Changmin,” Yunho begins seriously, hand on Changmin’s chest stilling. “I think it’s pretty obvious we’re not fuck buddies anymore. I don’t think we have been for a while.”
Changmin’s not looking at him and Yunho watches him closely. Changmin’s breathing ceases, and his lips tighten. Colour is flooding his cheeks and when he starts breathing again it’s deep, uncontrollable breaths.
“I love you,” Yunho tells him.
Changmin’s eyes half close and his eyes move from side to side. His jaw clenches.
“That’s nice,” he says eventually, as emotionless as a statue. Yunho smirks, then attempts to hide it by pressing his mouth to Changmin’s shoulder.
“’I love you too, hyung,’” says Yunho, trying to mimic Changmin’s soft, musical voice. “’I’ve loved you since the moment I laid eyes on you – ‘”
Changmin elbows him in the ribs.
“’Hyung baby,’” Yunho continues with his bad impersonation, “’I want you to make a man out of me – ‘”
It had the desired result: Changmin bursts out laughing, book pressed to his face. His laughter causes him to spasm so hard he falls off the couch. Yunho moves over a bit then leans his chin on his hands as he peers over to look at the heap on the floor Changmin has made of himself. He waits patiently for Changmin to sober, and he does, eventually, though he stays curled up on the floor.
Yunho stares at him another moment then says, “You don’t have to say it – “
“I do though,” says Changmin, and he glances up at him from his position on the floor. He examines a fingernail. “I do love you, I mean. I have for ages. So long – so many years – you have no idea just how long.” Yunho stares at Changmin and Changmin stares at his fingernail, hard. “You have no idea,” he repeats quietly.
Yunho suppresses the tight feelings gathering in his throat and his sinuses – he doesn’t cry in front of people and he’s not about to start – and he crawls to the floor and wraps his arms around Changmin from behind. He kisses his neck, his shoulder, his cheek, and burries his nose in his hair and inhales. Changmin smooths his hands down Yunho’s arms, then when he reaches his hands he links their fingers together.
They could have sex if they want to, but Yunho feels no urgency in this moment; he wants only to hold Changmin against him because he is precious. Because he is his.