L and Suho
He checked his phone for inspiration. Among his messages was a text from a new number.
This is Infinite’s L. I’m sorry.
Touched, Suho texted back. L sunbaenim? Let’s put misunderstandings behind us.
Now, where should he go? He could have dinner. See family. Shop. Visit-
His phone buzzed.
I hope that we can understand each other better in the future.
Suho sent back, I hope so, too, sunbae. Then, wondering, he asked, Are you busy tonight?
No. Our schedule was cancelled. Too much rain.
Well… Have you eaten? I’ll buy you dinner.
In a black hooded sweatshirt with sunglasses, L waited under the awning with his manager. It wasn’t long before Suho arrived, manager in tow.
While their managers sat a few tables away, L and Suho settled across from each other on wooden benches. L slipped off his sunglasses and studied Suho while Suho talked about the menu.
Suho was a very good-looking guy. He barely had any make-up on - - no contouring, no eyeliner, probably just some light cream - - and he still looked handsome enough to step onstage.
After their food came, L said, “I’m sorry about what I did.” Guilt burdened him. He couldn’t believe that he’d treated Suho so badly. He couldn’t believe, either, that he’d gone so far, that it had been easier for him to think that Suho was some wicked mastermind than to accept that Suho might just be a decent guy who put others first. The whole thing made him feel ugly and ashamed.
Suho’s expression was full of compassion. “Let’s put it behind us. Let’s learn from it that we don’t know each other well enough. Should we get to know each other better? What can sunbae tell me about himself?”
L shook his head. “You don’t have to call me sunbae.”
Suho smiled at him. “Then should you call me hyung?”
He nodded; if their groups were going to spend time together, he might as well. “I don’t want to talk about me. Tell me about you.”
A short, happy laugh. “What can I say?”
L chewed. “Where is your favorite place to sleep?”
“Oh?” Suho looked interested. Eating, he thought about it for a moment, and then he glanced around. “Should I be honest?”
Curious, L nodded.
“The other members’ beds. Sometimes I sit on one of their beds to talk, and I accidentally fall asleep. Or my room’s too busy and noisy so I take a nap in one of the other rooms. It’s nice. I don’t know why,” he added with a self-conscious laugh. “I feel like I sleep better there. Did I get the least comfortable bed in the dorm?”
L was only more curious about him, now. “I sleep best in Sunggyu hyung’s bed.”
Chewing, Suho nodded. “You feel secure with your leader? Comfortable?”
“Mmm-hmm. That’s how it should be, I think.” He chuckled, embarrassed. “Don’t tell him that I said that.”
“But you’re right, that’s how it should be,” Suho said encouragingly. “I hope that my members feel secure with me. I want to take good care of them.”
“That’s a lot of people to look after.”
“It’s a lot,” Suho agreed with a smile, like he enjoyed the challenge. “It’s rough sometimes, because Baekhyun asks for my attention a lot more than Xiumin hyung does, so he gets more of my attention, but is that fair to Xiumin hyung? So I try to make an effort so that I’m in touch with all of them. I don’t want there to be problems that I don’t know about.”
L wondered what made him care so much. “You take it seriously.”
A lift of Suho’s eyebrows. “You don’t take your members seriously?”
They were everything to him. “Is it okay to be so honest and emotional over lunch?”
“We’re outside in the rain.” Suho glanced around, peering up toward the clouds. “I think that it’s the right setting for it.”
L scoffed, amused. “You watch too many dramas.”
“You know more about dramas than I do!”
Shrugging, he acknowledged it with a smile. Tossing his head slightly to get his hair out of his eyes, he poked at his food. “Infinite is my life. The members are more important to me than anything.” Unblinking, he stared at his plate. “I think that I don’t say it to them often enough but I show it too much.”
“That’s not the sort of thing you can reveal too often. It’s good if you show it.”
That was probably true, but it was embarrassing, sometimes, in hindsight. It didn’t seem good to leave his heart so vulnerable and expose so much of himself. He just couldn’t help it. Uncomfortable now, wanting to talk about something else, he changed the subject. “Why do you pay for your members so much? Is that part of taking care of them?”
“Yes, it is. I want to be good to them. I don’t mind paying. If I can do things for them, shouldn’t I?”
“Don’t they take advantage? Buying things they don’t need just because you’ll let them? Asking for your card at times they could use their own?”
Suho smiled. “As long as it’s not a new car, I don’t mind. I don’t think that they abuse it. They’re good kids.” He picked up his cup. “One of the most important things is dinner when we all go out together. Feeding so many hungry people at once isn’t cheap. But it’s good to see them enjoy themselves. And they always thank me, they have their manners.”
It wasn’t only his members he talked about this way. “Which idols are you closest with, besides EXO?”
“I’m close with Shinee. I was a trainee for so long, I knew them before they debuted. Outside of the company, you could say that I’m close with Teen Top.”
“All of them? Or just Changjo?”
Suho’s smile glowed with affection. “Changjo’s a special boy. Ah,” he caught himself with a laugh, “I should call him an adult, now. He’s a special man. But I do like all of their members. They have a lot of, what can I call it? Playful energy?”
“That’s one way of putting it,” L said. He wondered what Suho thought of C.A.P. “Do you like Chunji?”
“Yes, very much. We get along well.”
“How much do your members like him?”
“My members are big fans,” Suho said. “Big fans. They like Chunji very much.”
There was no way for EXO to know anything about Dongwoo and Chunji, unless Chunji said something, and L couldn’t imagine that. “You want our teams to be close. Infinite and EXO. Going on MT together. Getting to know each other.”
Suho nodded, his expression receptive.
“What if our members start to get along very well? What if they become close?”
“You mean…close? If they’re happy, I would be happy. It would be good to see my members getting the most out of their friendships. If it’s a healthy friendship, I would be glad.” He gave a discreet look around and leaned closer. “That’s one of the reasons that I want our teams to be close. I feel like some of my members need more than they’re getting inside EXO. It would be good for them to grow other relationships.”
L laughed, surprised. “You’re looking for friends for your members? On purpose?”
“Kind of,” he admitted, blushing. “That’s why it’s so important for me to choose carefully.”
He wondered who Suho had wanted his members to partner off with in Teen Top. He wondered if it was already established. Maybe there were people in EXO and Teen Top who were already boyfriends. “Do you have one of my members in mind already?”
“No, no. It’s not like that. I don’t know anyone well enough yet. But in the future, maybe. Would that be so bad?”
“I guess not.” He smiled. “If Woohyun hyung weren’t already married to Sunggyu hyung, you should take him. He makes a better friend than any of the rest of us.”
Suho chuckled. “Oh, is it already like that between them? Then I shouldn’t interfere.”
“They’re embarrassing. Are there members in EXO like that?”
“Ah, we have some. Yes. All of our fans already know about D.O. and Kai. I’m the leader, I can’t have favorites, I’m not allowed, but for Kai, there’s no one but D.O.”
“The leader can’t have favorites?” L repeated. “Please tell that to Sunggyu hyung, I think that he forgot. Nam Woohyun this, Nam Woohyun that, all he cares about are greasy trees.”
The way Suho burst into laughter made L smile.
Maybe L held Suho’s attention because he was so handsome. Maybe it was his eyes. They were so soulful, they pulled on Suho’s heart. He seemed to feel things very deeply. He had a way of looking very thoughtful, as if he were searching inside of himself, mulling something over. Or maybe he wasn’t thoughtful; maybe he was just tired. He forgot to blink sometimes, and Suho would wonder if he was asleep with his eyes open, but then he’d speak again. He looked like he hadn’t slept well in days. He ate like he hadn’t seen food in days, either; he’d eaten the same way last night.
He was a sunbae, but he was a dongsaeng, too, and Suho wanted to take care of him. Wanted to take him back to the dorm and put him to bed and keep him there until he’d had some real, satisfying rest.
Even after the food was gone, they sat there under the awning and talked. Suho offered to buy dessert. L said that the restaurant they were at didn’t have any good desserts, so Suho asked about a place down the street. L smiled at that, so they went there. Getting back into their vans and driving and parking seemed like a hassle, and it was only a short way, so they walked. Suho carried the umbrella, holding it over both of them together.
Over lunch, they’d been out in the open long enough to be noticed, and a few fans followed them to the next café. As Suho lowered the umbrella, they both waved before hurrying inside where it was dry.
As L took off his sunglasses and pushed back his hood, Suho asked, “‘Myungsoo-ah, Myungsoo-ah,’ did you hear all of that? Do you know any Myungsoo?”
L smiled at him. “No, I don’t know any. Do you know any Joonmyun oppa?”
Suho laughed. “No, I don’t.”
L’s expression was puzzled and so cute, Suho wanted to hug him. “I wonder who they were shouting for.”
They bought dessert and went out again. On the sidewalk, Suho held the umbrella and desserts while L signed autographs, and then L held everything for him while he signed.
As they walked away, Suho holding the umbrella and drinking, L eating, L said, “You should always do that. When you’re out with other idols. If you won’t sign, the fans think that you’re being secretive. Some of them will get jealous. That’s how rumors start. If you sign, they think it’s only casual and nothing’s going on.”
Suho appreciated the tip. “I’ll mention that to my members. We try to sign, when we can, but there are so many fans sometimes, it can cause problems.”
L licked his spoon. “I wouldn’t know anything about that.”
Suho laughed. “Liar.”
They walked for a while, their managers trailing behind. L finished eating, and then Suho finished drinking. Suho waited for L to say that he had to go, but he didn’t, so Suho asked, “Shall we go shopping? See a movie? Or do your members need you?”
Studying the ground, L nodded. Then he met Suho’s eyes and nodded again. “A movie would be good.” He glanced around and wrinkled his nose. “Get us out of this rain.”
They arranged for their managers to take a break and get in touch when it was time to go home. Then they went to see a movie, which they both hated. To make up for their wasted time, they saw a second one, which they both loved. When that was over, they went to a nearby café, where Suho bought snacks. They sat, and he sipped his drink and watched L eat, and they talked about the movies. And then L asked, “What are your members doing? While you’re here?”
Suho smiled. “Playing with their friends. Having a good time, I hope. What about your members?”
“Probably bothering each other.” L chewed and nodded. “Our schedule was cancelled at the last minute, so they didn’t have time to make other plans. They’re probably sitting around fussing at each other and ignoring each other.” Then he shrugged, his smile fleeting but shockingly suggestive. “Or they’re doing that thing.”
That thing. He meant sex. That was how they spent their spare time? Well, why was Suho so surprised? That was how his members killed time, too. That was what they were doing right at that moment. And that was what Teen Top was doing right at that moment. “Are you sure that you want to be here with me, then? Maybe you should get back to the dorm.”
One corner of L’s mouth pulled up in a half-smile. “Ah, I’ve done all of that before.” His eyes gleamed with flirtation when he looked at Suho. “You’re new.”
That look took Suho’s breath away, and he laughed, amused by himself for being flustered. “You’re very good at that.” He tried to mimic the look, but apparently he didn’t do it very well, because L cracked up with laughter. “No? That’s not it?” He tried it again.
Doubled over, his hand over his mouth, L waved at him until he stopped. “What are you doing? What’s happening, what’s wrong with your face?”
“I’m not in charge of those things in EXO,” he explained.
L laughed. “Maybe you should stick to other talents.”
“No, no, you can teach me.”
“Teach you.” L looked doubtful, then smiled at him. He could tell that he’d spent too much time with L today, because every smile made his heart flutter. “Is there a mirror?”
They went into the bathroom and leaned over the sinks. Side-by-side, they studied their reflections together, and he practiced some of L’s smiles and winks. L made everything seem so natural, he felt cheesy in comparison, but L told him to relax his mouth or ease into the expression more slowly or stop squinting, and soon he improved.
As he leaned over the sink, trying to practice L’s pout, L leaned in with an arm around him, looking over his shoulder. It was too much contact, a lot more touching than was really a good idea. He tried to be subtle about moving away, but L gave him a confused, hurt look. He felt bad about that, but he was already too attracted to L; he didn’t want to become too comfortable, too familiar, too physical. Skinship with L seemed dangerous. “You’ve taught me so well! I can’t wait for our next photo shoot. I’ll have so much to work on.”
“We’re not moving forward?” L asked. “We’re not letting it go?” Suho had no idea what he was talking about at first, but he seemed so angry, so hurt, that in a moment it was clear. “I didn’t mean anything by it, I wasn’t going to grab you.”
“No, no,” he said quickly. “I’m sorry, it’s not like that. I didn’t think anything about that. It’s me, I’m bad at skinship. I’m very awkward about it, especially when it’s not with my members.”
L gave him a slow, assessing look.
“Really,” he insisted quietly. “If I held it against you, I would tell you. I meant what I said. I’d like for us to be comfortable.”
“You don’t like to be touched?” L asked. “By anybody?”
It wasn’t that he didn’t like to be touched. Sometimes, he liked it too much. But he couldn’t explain that to someone he barely knew. “It’s uncomfortable for me.”
For a moment, in silence, L studied him. Slowly, L’s head tilted to one side. When L’s hand came up, he held still, although he wasn’t sure what L wanted. And then L poked him in the forehead. When he laughed and turned away, L persisted, fingertip prodding his forehead. “Uncomfortable?”
“Ya!” Laughing, he batted at L’s hand. “Leave hyung alone.”
“Why are you awkward?” L asked, hand dropping. “Aish, it’s a shame.”
Turning to the mirror, he checked his hair. He remembered how easily the Infinite members had touched each other last night, how incredibly comfortable L had been dancing with Sunggyu. Skinship came very naturally to L, at least with the people he was closest to. Suho envied him that. “You like skinship?” he guessed.
“Mmm. Sometimes. With some people.”
L’s favorite place to sleep was Sunggyu’s bed. Probably, although he hadn’t said so, with Sunggyu in it. This handsome, and affectionate? Ah, the Infinite members were very lucky.
Someone came in to use the bathroom, so they left. When Suho mentioned that it was late, L agreed but made no move to leave. Suho knew that he should separate from L, that they’d spent too much time together, but what would another hour hurt? If their members were going to be close, then he wanted to know Infinite well, and how often would he have a chance like this? They left the café and went shopping.
He found it interesting where Suho’s limits were. Suho was willing to spend hours and hours with him, hanging out and getting to know each other, but didn’t want to be touched. Suho had paid for everything all day - - meals, snacks, movies - - but as soon as genuine shopping started, Suho didn’t offer to pay for a thing. Apparently that infamous generosity only went so far. Because the prices were too high? Or because L wasn’t a member of EXO? He wondered if Suho would have paid if he’d been Changjo.
He wondered about it a lot.
And then he asked. “When you shop with your members, you pay for them?”
“Do you pay when you shop with Changjo?”
Suho laughed a little. “We’ve never shopped together.” Then he smiled like he liked the idea. “Would a successful sunbae need me to? I think that I’d offer anyway. Isn’t it a hyung’s responsibility?” He kept smiling for a moment, really fondly, and L wondered if he was thinking about Changjo. Then he laughed like he was startled. “Have I been a bad hyung? Should I pay for you?”
“No,” L said quickly, embarrassed. “No, it’s not like that.”
“I feel like I’ve been chastised,” Suho said, laughing. “Was this a hint?”
“No, no!” L insisted, blushing, putting out his hands. “I didn’t mean it, it’s nothing like that. No, I can pay for myself.”
“Are you sure?” Suho asked.
They weren’t close enough for Suho to have done it automatically, and L certainly didn’t want Suho to do it out of obligation or pity. “No, no. Wouldn’t that be awkward? Infinite’s doing well enough, I can afford to buy my own clothes. I don’t want the clerks to think that I need to find hoobaes to buy things for me.”
“Oh!” Suho looked embarrassed. “Ah, sorry, you’re right.”
It was weird; L didn’t want Suho to pay for him. He didn’t need it, and he’d be embarrassed if Suho actually did it. But he still wished that Suho had tried. Something about the easy, unthinking way Suho had handed Chanyeol that credit card stuck with him. But that was stupid. Aside from brief introductions backstage, he and Suho had only started to get to know each other yesterday. They weren’t half as close as Suho and Chanyeol were. Why should he expect, or even want, the same treatment?
Shopping with Suho was fun. He had pretty good taste. He liked well-made, expensive things, nothing too experimental or too flashy. To tease him, L told him that his taste was boring and he needed to buy clothes with more personality.
Suho laughed. “More personality? What about more color? Everything you’ve picked up so far is black. Everything you’re wearing is black. Have you met the color red?”
“I like black,” he argued, picking up another shirt. “It suits me.”
“But you would look handsome in styles and colors other people can’t pull off,” Suho argued. “You should wear things the rest of us can’t, and show off.”
Embarrassed, he laughed, hugging the shirt to his chest. “Show off?”
“Here. Try on, ah…” Suho looked around the racks, then picked up an asymmetrical shirt with red and white diagonal stripes. “Try on this one and see how it looks.” When he balked, uncertain, Suho pushed it at him with an encouraging smile. “Just try it. You don’t have to buy it, just put it on.” He eyed it with distaste, and Suho laughed. “L-ah! It won’t bite you.”
For Suho’s sake, he took the repulsive shirt with him to the fitting room. He tried it on.
The stupid thing looked great. The wide neckline and vibrant color were really flattering. The asymmetrical hemline looked subtle and slightly ragged, and he liked that the sleeves were long enough to tug over his hands. Shit. He liked it.
“How is it?” Suho asked through the curtain.
“Awful,” he said, gazing at his reflection in the mirror. He tugged at the hemline and tried a wounded, vulnerable look. He looked terrific. Damn it.
“Aw. Can I see?”
Annoyed, he yanked aside the curtain and scowled at Suho.
Suho’s eyes widened, and he took a step back, his cheeks turning red. Was he - - L took a closer look - - he was turned on. Puzzled, L reached for him, and he evaded L’s hand like a skittish animal. Surprised, L backed up, giving him space, retreating farther into the fitting room. It was all very fast and very subtle - - a quick little dance, over in seconds - - but L’s heart was pounding.
It reminded L of a lot of moments from last night. Before he’d fucked up and ruined the night. When Suho had responded to him, when he’d been so sure that Suho wanted him. He’d make a move, and Suho would pull away. Like tonight in the bathroom.
Suho was bad at skinship? Or Suho was skittish as a startled deer around other guys? He was attracted to L, but when too much of that attraction came to the surface, he freaked out. Sometimes he pulled away neatly, calmly, setting boundaries, and sometimes he got - - got what, what was this?
He got scared.
He was a virgin, afraid of his own desires. He’d said last night that he wasn’t a virgin, but he sure acted like one.
L hadn’t meant to make Suho flustered or uncomfortable. Well, maybe he had last night, but not tonight. Tonight, he kind of thought that they might become friends. He didn’t want Suho to feel awkward around him. “You chose a good shirt,” he said, like nothing else was going on. “I think it looks okay. The red’s kind of bright,” he added, making a face.
Suho laughed. His cheeks were still pink, but his smile was bright and he came closer, looking L over. L deliberately held still, not wanting to unnerve him. “It’s great. So handsome.” He almost touched L’s arm but didn’t make contact. His gaze openly wandered L’s torso, but there was nothing sexual about it; he could have been smiling at a well-constructed table. “You should get it.”
“I can’t buy this. I’d never wear it.”
Another laugh. “What’s wrong with it? Why can you only wear black? You’d be handsome in any color. Don’t your fans like to see you in red?”
Remembering some of the fans’ comments, he squirmed. “Some of them love me in black. They wear black with me.”
Suho’s expression was too pleased; he knew that he was on the right track. “What about the rest of them? Wouldn’t they like to see you in more colors?”
“I wear colors! In photo shoots! Sometimes the stylists put me in white or blue.”
“You should wear this,” Suho told him. “For Inspirits.”
Oh, that was low. “Don’t say it like that, don’t bring them into this,” L protested. “That’s not fair.”
“Do it for Inspirit, oppa! Don’t you want your fans to be happy?”
Backing into the corner, L laughed, surprised. Suho’s eager smile and clenched fists were too cute. “So embarrassing! Stop!”
“Oppa, L oppa, please?” Suho bounced around him, eyes sparkling, looking so adorable that L dissolved into helpless laughter. “For Inspirit, oppa! We’d be so happy! Just wear it once, please?”
“Stop, hyung, really, stop,” L begged. He wrapped his arms around himself to keep from reaching for Suho; he wanted so badly to hug him and pet him. “Why are you so cute, it’s embarrassing!”
Eyes wide and shining, Suho tucked his fists under his chin, tilting his head to one side and beaming. “Oppa will buy it?” He fluttered his lashes. “And wear it?”
“Oh my god,” L gasped between bouts of laughter. “How can you act like this in public? Oppa will buy it, yes, oppa will wear it, just stop.”
Looking satisfied, Suho dropped his pose. “Good.”
Leaning against the wall, L stared at him in wonder. “Are you like this around your members?”
Suho chuckled. “Sometimes. They hate it. Some of our dongsaengs, like Kai, don’t have much aegyo, and if he won’t do it, someone has to, right?”
L still wanted to pet him. “I don’t have any aegyo,” he admitted, rubbing his ear.
“But when you’re so handsome, you don’t need it.”
Embarrassed, L tugged on the hem of his shirt. “You don’t have to say things like that.”
“Shouldn’t I say it, if it’s true?”
With anyone else, L would have assumed that he was flirting, but it didn’t seem that way with Suho. It was flattering, but it wasn’t sexual. That made it easier to take - - it made him like Suho more - - but it also made the compliment sincere, which embarrassed him. “You say it too often.”
Suho was full of smiles. “I’m looking right at you, so I keep noticing it.”
L laughed. “Should I tell you that you’re good-looking every time I notice it?”
His eyes widened, and he glanced at himself in the mirror, smoothing down his hair. “Yes, okay. If you ever notice it, let me know so I can enjoy it, too.”
“You’re gorgeous,” L said, and reached for the curtain. “Now get out so I can change.”
He and L were trying on hats when Kai texted him. Everything okay here. He was glad for the update, glad to hear that things were fine.
“Is that the text you’ve been waiting for?” L asked.
“What?” He had no idea what L meant by that.
“You’ve been checking your phone all evening. I thought you were waiting for a text.” L took off one black cap and tried on another.
“No, I - - I’ve been checking the time,” he admitted. “I don’t know when it’s safe to go back.”
“Back to your dorm?” L pulled the brim low, studying himself in the mirror. He looked closely at his own reflection, scrutinizing, like he was catching details Suho didn’t even know to look for.
“Yes.” He’d said too much; he was too comfortable with L.
L took the cap off, fixed his hair, and glanced at Suho. “Want to come to my dorm?”
He blinked; he hadn’t expected that. “Could I?” Was that a good idea? “I don’t want to intrude.”
L shrugged and pulled out his phone, dialing.
“Ya.” Suho could hear the voice of whoever was on the other end, but he didn’t recognize it. It didn’t sound like the manager.
L picked up another hat and set it on Suho’s head. “Hyung, is everyone there?”
“You’re not,” his hyung replied. “Are you coming back? Bring me chicken, I’m hungry.”
L looked exasperated, and Suho smiled, turning to the mirror and adjusting the hat. “Okay, hyung, I’ll try, but is everyone there? I want to bring someone back. Is it okay?”
“Yeah, bring anybody. Who is it?”
Abruptly, there was a muffled conversation on the other end, and then someone new asked, “Ya, is this L?” in a peremptory tone Suho recognized immediately as Sunggyu’s.
L grimaced. “Yes, hyung.”
“Bring anybody, what are you bringing where? Bring someone here?”
“It’s just Suho hyung.”
“What Suho hyung? You want to bring Young Money here?”
While Suho tried to figure out if he’d heard that right, L grimaced again and turned away. “Yes, hyung. We went to the movies and we want to talk, but it’s raining, so can we come? I’ll bring chicken.”
“Young Money and chicken.” There was a pause. “Make sure that there’s a lot of chicken.”
While L laughed to himself and tucked his phone away, Suho put the hat back on the shelf. He was pretty sure that Sunggyu had said “Young Money,” and he was pretty sure that Sunggyu had meant him. He’d had no idea that Infinite had a nickname for him. He hadn’t expected that. He decided not to let it bother him.
Young Money. It was kind of like a rap name. Amused by that thought, he took a new cap from the shelf and tried a rapper’s pose, sneering at the mirror.
“All right,” L said, laughing and taking the hat from him. “No more hats for you.”
As they went to the counter to make their purchases, Suho reflected on this insight into Sunggyu’s leadership style. Sunggyu spoke in sort of a, “Ya, kids, who’s in charge here?!” tone which Suho employed much more rarely, but the actual conversation was pretty much how Suho would have handled it himself. If anyone intended to bring someone back to the dorm, he needed to know about it, and it wouldn’t happen without his permission.
L was probably supposed to get Sunggyu’s permission, and knew it, so why had he tried to go through another member? Because he’d thought that Sunggyu would say no and didn’t want Suho to visit? Or maybe it wasn’t about Suho at all; maybe he was just testing his leader’s authority, seeing what he could get away with. There were all sorts of little intra-group dynamics, ups and downs and backs and forths between members, and Suho wondered what it was like inside Infinite.
They called their managers and picked up chicken. Suho tried to buy - - it seemed only fair - - but L got exasperated with him and wouldn’t let him pay.
Walking into Infinite’s dorm, Suho carried bags of food. As he set his phone down and toed out of his shoes, he glanced around, looking for people. L shouted, “I brought food!”
“Ah! Food, food, food.” Sungyeol hurried from a room and skidded across the floor. He noticed Suho, and the two of them bowed to each other, and then he took a bag from L’s hand.
“Kitchen’s this way,” L told Suho, and they went left into the kitchen. As they set the bags on the counter, Sungyeol leaning over their shoulders and picking through everything, more members popped up, rubbing their hands and snatching containers from each other. Curious, interested in their dynamic, Suho hung back and watched as Dongwoo, Hoya, and Sungjong joined Sungyeol around the food.
They all greeted Suho; Dongwoo was the most polite and asked him how he was, asked him if he wanted anything to eat. They didn’t have Teen Top’s rowdy energy, and they didn’t eat with as much single-minded focus as L did, but they elbowed each other, teased and poked each other, and stole food right from under each other’s noses.
Suho had thought that Dongwoo was one of Infinite’s older members, somewhere up near Sunggyu, but apparently not. When Sungyeol took chicken from Dongwoo’s box, he didn’t even seem to notice, and when Hoya took the sauce right out of his hand, he got flustered and laughed but made no move to retaliate or scold. That was definitely dongsaeng behavior.
“Ya! Chicken!” Sunggyu called from another room.
“He’s talking to you,” Hoya told L.
“No, I think he’s talking to the maknae,” L said.
Sungjong’s expression said, “I will endure this; I can get through it,” as he put chicken onto a plate.
“L!” Sunggyu called. “L-ah! Chicken!”
The other members burst into laughter. With a happy smirk, Sungjong handed L the plate.
L smiled, looking exasperated. He took the plate and told Suho, “Be right back.”
While L walked away, Sungyeol looked at Suho. “Have the night off?”
Suho nodded. “Yes. So do you? L said that your schedule was cancelled.”
“I never loved the rain so much,” Sungjong said, chewing.
“Is Chanyeol busy?” Sungyeol asked. “Maybe-”
“Give up,” Hoya said. “Just give up.”
“What?” Sungyeol asked, flustered, embarrassed. “Give up on what? I just-”
“Sungyeol hyung,” L said, coming back into the room. “Sunggyu hyung wants to see you.”
“Wants me for what? I’m eating, I’m busy,” Sungyeol said, and shoved a piece of chicken into his mouth to demonstrate.
L shrugged. “He says that he has something for you.”
Sungyeol coughed. As he sputtered, Dongwoo pounded on his back. “What, what?” he asked, wiping his mouth. “What, now?”
“He said now,” L said.
“Sungjong,” Sungyeol said. “Go see what he wants.”
“I know what he wants,” Sungjong said. “He asked for you. I’m eating.”
Dongwoo licked his fingers. “I’ll go.”
Hoya grinned. “Dongwoo hyung, fighting!”
Laughing, Dongwoo left.
Dongwoo was Hoya’s hyung? Then, unless Suho was really confused, Dongwoo was everyone’s hyung except Sunggyu’s. So he was one of the oldest members. He didn’t act like it. Xiumin never let the kids get away with treating him so lightly.
“Come on,” L said, tipping his head toward the doorway. “I’ll show you around.”
It was a short tour. Sunggyu’s bedroom - - the door was closed, and they didn’t get too close to it - - and then the bathroom, Dongwoo and Woohyun’s room, Hoya and Sungjong’s room, and L and Sungyeol’s room. They had their own separate beds, not even bunk beds, and a comfortable amount of junk strewn around.
Suho sat on L’s bed, on top of the black comforter, and L straddled a desk chair backward. “Do you bring a lot of idols over?”
L shook his head. “I used to, a while ago. I don’t know, it’s more comfortable when it’s just us. I don’t like other people in my space. When I meet friends, I meet them out somewhere else.”
Suho smiled. “Should I go?”
Surprised, L laughed. “I didn’t mean that. I didn’t mean you.”
“So, uh.” Sungyeol leaned in the doorway. “You-”
“Hyung,” L said gently. “Leave Suho hyung alone.”
Sungyeol’s eyes widened and he blushed. “What are you-”
“He doesn’t like it. He doesn’t want that kind of attention.”
“I didn’t say anything!” Sungyeol protested, looking embarrassed. Then he gave Suho a quick once-over. “You really don’t?”
Suho hadn’t expected L to be so direct about it, but he supposed that it was easier this way. “I don’t, sorry.”
Sungyeol sighed, then scowled at L. “Bring Chanyeol home next time. Or Xiumin hyung.” With an annoyed expression, he turned and left.
“Sorry,” L told Suho. “He doesn’t get laid enough.”
Suho laughed. “It’s okay. Some of my members are that way, too.” When L yawned, he smiled. “You’re so tired, I feel bad for sitting here. Do you want to take a nap?”
“God, I would love to,” L admitted, rubbing his eyes. “Isn’t it too rude?”
“I don’t mind. I can find something to do.” To be honest, he wouldn’t have minded taking a nap himself. He was snug inside, seated on a bed, with the rain pattering against the windows; it seemed like the perfect moment to close his eyes.
“Do you want to sleep, too?” L asked. “You can have my bed, I’ll use Sungyeol hyung’s.”
That sounded so tempting, he didn’t put up much resistance. “Would it be okay? I feel like a bad guest.”
“Go ahead,” L urged, getting up. “It’s our night off, right? We can spend it however we want.”
While L closed the door, Suho curled up on his side. This was one of the best aspects of being friends with other idols; they understood his perpetual exhaustion, and they empathized with the desire to pass out on any nearby surface. He watched L sit down on Sungyeol’s bed, but his eyes were already closing, and in moments, he was asleep.
“What are they doing in there?” Sunggyu asked.
Woohyun shook his head and whispered, “I don’t hear anything.”
“They’re sleeping,” Dongwoo said from the couch.
“Sleeping?” Sunggyu repeated.
Woohyun grinned. “Did they have sex?”
Dongwoo shook his head. “I don’t think so. I think they just went to sleep. They’re in separate beds.”
“I have the most boring members in the world,” Sungyeol muttered. “They’re not even in the same bed? This is embarrassing.”
“Let me see,” Sunggyu said, brushing Woohyun aside and opening the door. He looked in, Woohyun peering over his shoulder. “Aw. He looks kind of pretty when he’s asleep.”
Wrapping an arm around Sunggyu’s waist, Woohyun rested his chin on Sunggyu’s shoulder. “You mean L, right?”
Sunggyu hesitated, then said, “L, yes, of course I mean L, who else would I mean?”
Chuckling, Woohyun patted his stomach. “Right, of course, who else?”
“Oh, hi.” On the floor in front of the couch, Dongwoo smiled at him. Hoya was sprawled on the couch, apparently asleep. “Good morning. Or good night?” Dongwoo chuckled.
“Hi,” Suho said, smiling at him. “The bathroom’s this way?”
Dongwoo nodded. “Over there.”
“Okay, thanks.” He wanted to check his phone, but taking the phone to the bathroom might violate dorm rules, so he rushed to the bathroom first. Sunggyu’s door was still closed.
Finished in the bathroom, he went back to look at his phone. Missed calls, missed texts. His manager wanted to know when he’d be ready to go back to the dorm. Kai had called. While he was checking his texts, Changjo called. Glad that he and Changjo were on good terms again, he answered. “Dongsaeng-ah.”
“Suho hyung. Are you coming back?”
“Aren’t you too busy having a good time to worry about me?”
“We have to leave soon, and I wanted to say good-bye before we go.”
They’d been having sex all day. Suho had never seen what Changjo looked like after a long day at an orgy, and he didn’t want to find out, either. “I might not be there in time. It’s okay.”
“What have you been doing all day?”
“Shopping, movies. I met Infinite’s L.”
“I didn’t know you were close.”
“He’s a talented sunbae. If I don’t come back before you leave, we’ll meet again soon, okay?”
“Yes. Bye, hyung.”
Suho hung up. It sounded like things were wrapping up, but he didn’t want to hurry back. He wanted to give everyone time to finish, to shower and clean up. He wanted everything to be back to normal before he got there. It would be easier that way.
As he set his phone down again, he heard a voice. “You’re up.”
Turning, he saw Sunggyu. “Sunbaenim.” He bowed.
“Call me hyung.” Sunggyu looked him over. “You know how to kill zombies?”
With a snort, Hoya sat up, blinking. “Zombies? Who’s a zombie?”
While Dongwoo burst into laughter, Sunggyu said, “Hoya has the best score, and I’m tired of hearing about it. Can you help me beat him?”
It sounded like a great way to kill time. “I can try.”
Rolling over, he smiled. Everyone sounded happy. He liked that. It was always good to hear his hyungs enjoy themselves. It gave him a cozy feeling to hear their laughter drift in from another room.
Taking his time, he opened his eyes. Sat up. Rubbed at his eyes. Mussed his hair. Looked around the room. It sounded like they were playing a videogame. Sunggyu kept scolding Suho in a teasing way without any anger at all, and Suho kept apologizing and laughing like it was all a good time, and Hoya was calmly, cheerfully pointing out how poorly Suho was doing, and Dongwoo was laughing happily. Then, all of a sudden, everyone started yelling. Sunggyu and Hoya both sounded shocked, and Dongwoo sounded encouraging, and L opened the door to see Suho sitting on the floor in front of the TV, destroying a crowd of zombies onscreen.
“You got it, you got it, on your left, left!” Dongwoo shouted, seated beside him.
“You said that you didn’t know how to play!” Hoya protested. “You told me that he couldn’t play!” he insisted, shoving Sunggyu, the two of them standing behind Suho.
“Three more, only three more!” Dongwoo exclaimed. “In the face, punch him in the face!”
“What are you doing?” Sunggyu demanded. “Are you winning?”
“I’m trying!” Suho said, his thumbs slamming all over the controller as he stared at the screen. He laughed. “Isn’t that what you wanted me to do?”
“One more! Last one!” Clapping, Dongwoo whooped. “Dead!”
“I knew you could do it!” Sunggyu exclaimed. “I knew he could do it.”
“Liar! Cheater!” Hoya protested. “You said he’s never played this game before!”
While Suho dropped the controller and caught his breath, a “new high score!” celebration took over the screen.
Sunggyu gloated, turning his thumbs down right in Hoya’s face. While Hoya protested that they must have cheated, Dongwoo and Suho got up to sit on the couch.
Amused by his hyungs’ antics, L sat beside Suho. “Congratulations.”
Suho smiled. “Thanks. I’m sorry, did we wake you up?”
He shook his head. “Sorry I left you alone with these hyungs.”
Suho glanced at Sunggyu and Hoya. He didn’t seem to mind their bickering and posturing any more than L did. “They’re all right.”
“Who’s a cheater?” Sunggyu demanded, nose-to-nose with Hoya. “Who’s a liar?”
“You,” Hoya said frankly. “There’s no way he’s never played before.”
“You can’t call him a cheater,” Dongwoo said. “He’s our guest.”
“That’s right,” Sunggyu said, pushing Hoya in the side of the head. “Apologize to our guest.”
Hoya rolled his eyes but approached the couch. Sunggyu stayed right in his personal space, stare boring into him, as if forcing him by sheer will. Holding a hand out to Suho, he said, “I’m sorry that you’re such a liar.”
While everyone laughed, Suho crossed his arms over his chest, refusing to shake Hoya’s hand. “Let’s play again. Me against you, best score wins.”
Hoya sniffed and nodded, lowering his hand. “You go first.”
As the competition began, the other members came out to watch. Suho sat in front of the TV while Hoya stood behind him, looming over him and providing a running commentary on his moves. Sungyeol took bets on who would win. Sungjong rested on the couch with his head in L’s lap, and L slumped against Woohyun, Woohyun’s arm around him. Sunggyu made sure that Suho had drinks and solicitously massaged his hands in between levels.
Suho’s second score was even higher than the first. Sunggyu taunted Hoya - - “Want to give up? Going to cry?” - - while Dongwoo cheered and Sungyeol warned them that they couldn’t change their bets.
While Hoya played, L and Suho went to the kitchen. Woohyun joined them, and the three of them talked together. Woohyun was friendly and a little flirtatious, the way he always was, and Suho was friendly back. The flirting didn’t seem to bother him at all; he seemed totally okay with it, but he didn’t flirt in return. He didn’t seem to have any sexual interest in Woohyun at all. He hadn’t had any in the other members, either. That complete lack of sexual interest made L like him more. All of that flirty, playful crap got annoying sometimes, and L was tired of trying to make friends with people only to see them throw themselves at his members. He didn’t have to watch where Suho’s hands went or wonder what Suho’s motives were, and that was really nice. It was relaxing; it made him feel comfortable.
From the front room, they heard Sunggyu’s laughter. Hoya protested, “Stop distracting me!”
“They’re like babies,” Woohyun said. “You’ve really never played that game before?”
“Never played it,” Suho said. Pushing out his lower lip, he looked at the doorway. When it stayed clear, he asked, “Should I mention that my members play it all of the time? I’ve probably seen it a hundred times.”
While L laughed, Woohyun said, “Sshhh, don’t tell, don’t tell! This is great. It makes Hoya’s frustration so much better.”
“It makes Sunggyu hyung’s gloating so much funnier,” L said.
“This is the best,” Woohyun said.
From the front room, Sungyeol cried out in dismay and Sunggyu cheered. “Oh, no!” Dongwoo exclaimed. “Is that it? Is that as high as your score went?” He yelped; Sungjong laughed.
“Where’s the champion? Where’s Young Money?” Sunggyu asked.
“You mean Young Zombie Killer,” Woohyun called. “He’s in here.”
“Oh, I can get paid,” L remembered.
“Did you bet?” Suho asked.
L nodded. “I bet on you.”
Woohyun shook his head, giving L a look of disappointment. “Betting against your own member. Against your own hyung who does so much for you. You should be ashamed.” He shook his head again and squeezed L’s shoulder. “Can I borrow some cash?”
L got his winnings from Sungyeol and managed to convince Hoya that a dance-off wasn’t necessary to determine the real victor.
It was late, so Suho called his manager and asked for a lift. At the door, L said, “Thanks for lunch.”
“Did we text each other that long ago? I’m sorry that I kept you out so long.”
“It was good,” L said. “It was fun.”
“Take care of yourself,” Suho said. “Take your vitamins.”
“And wear my seatbelt and listen to my hyungs?” L guessed.
“Yes, do all of those things,” Suho said, laughing.
“Yeah,” Sungyeol said. “Listen to your hyungs sometimes.”
L rolled his eyes.
“And wear your red shirt,” Suho instructed. “Post a proof shot somewhere so I know you’ve worn it. It’ll make your fans happy.”
“Red?” Hoya asked. “Did you say a red shirt?”
God, these hyungs. “Good-bye,” L said, opening the door.
Sunggyu waved from the sofa. “Bye, Young Money!”
“Good night, hyung,” Suho said, waving back. He smiled at L and left.
“He’s gone?” Sungyeol asked. “Okay, lock the door, everybody back to normal. L, go to sleep, Dongwoo hyung, take your clothes off, Sunggyu hyung, wave your cock in somebody’s face.”
“How about your face?” Woohyun asked, slinging an arm around Sungyeol’s shoulders.
“Is this yours?” Hoya asked, coming out of L’s room with his new red-striped shirt.
“Suho hyung made me buy it,” L said, sitting beside Sungjong on the couch.
“It’s pretty,” Hoya said. “Put it on, let’s see.”
“Yeah, put it on,” Sungyeol said.
“Wave my dick in somebody’s face,” Sunggyu said, scratching his head. “Is that how you think I act? Is that all you think I do?”
“No, hyung,” Sungjong said, patting Sunggyu’s thigh. He rolled his eyes at L. “That’s not all.”
“You also scold us a lot,” Hoya said.
“And you sleep a lot,” Sungyeol said. “And you smell. And you look at us like you either hate us or don’t remember who we are.” As Sunggyu got up from the couch and moved in on him, he backed up with a laugh. “And you’re really handsome! Did I mention how handsome you are?”
L could already see where this was going. Watching with interest, he leaned against Sungjong while Dongwoo sat on his knee.
“Do you know what I hear when you talk like that?” Sunggyu asked, undoing his fly.
“I’ll bet I know,” Woohyun said, stroking Sungyeol’s hair.
Sungyeol shot Woohyun a dirty look. He hated it when Woohyun and Sunggyu teamed up against him.
L loved it. As his tongue slid over his lower lip, he wrapped his arms around Dongwoo’s waist.
“All I hear is you begging for my cock,” Sunggyu said. “‘Please, Sunggyu hyung, give me your cock. Let me have a taste of it. It’s all I can think about.’”
“That’s not.” Sungyeol sighed and tried to look annoyed, but he was already sliding down to his knees. Standing behind him, Woohyun caressed his neck, cupping his chin. “You have problems,” he told Sunggyu, reaching for Sunggyu’s cock. “A lot of serious problems.”
“No hands,” Sunggyu said, rubbing the head of his cock over Sungyeol’s lips. “Just, mmm, just your mouth,” he murmured, slowly easing it in.
Sungyeol tried to glare up at Sunggyu, but in another moment his eyes were closing and he was sucking steadily, his head bobbing as Woohyun stroked his hair. His lips glided up and down the shaft as he rubbed between his own legs.
Humming with contentment, L slid his hand over Dongwoo’s stomach. “Dongwoo hyung.” He rubbed his cheek against Dongwoo’s shoulder. “Want to fuck me?”
“Oh, now?” Without hesitation, Dongwoo turned and kissed him. Loving how immediately ready Dongwoo was for it, he leaned back, returning every kiss, tugging on Dongwoo’s shirt as Dongwoo twisted around on top of him.
“Thirty seconds,” Sungjong said. “We’ve been alone here for about thirty seconds.”
“I’ll bet that I can beat Suho’s score,” Hoya said. “I let the bridge slow me down last time. I can beat it.”
“Oh my god,” Sungjong said, getting up from the couch.
L stretched out in the vacated space, tugging down Dongwoo’s zipper.
He heard a thump, a door, a flurry of whispers. “Suho hyung?” Chen called innocently.
Reaching back for the doorknob, he looked around warily. “Should I leave again?”
“No, no.” Kai came out looking clean and fresh. He didn’t have any pants on, but he looked perfectly wholesome, as if he’d spent the day resting and writing poetry, not - - not - - not doing what he’d been doing, which Suho wasn’t going to think about in detail. “Hyung, where are you going, didn’t you just get here?”
“How was your day?” Sehun asked. “Where have you been?”
“Hyung.” Chen appeared. “Let go of the doorknob, come in and sit down.”
They looked fine. The dorm looked fine. Everything seemed normal. Wonderfully, reassuringly normal. Beginning to relax, Suho released the doorknob. When he sat on the couch, Sehun and Chen sat on either side of him, and they smelled as clean as they looked. “Did you clean up?” he asked, looking around. There was no lube in sight, no cum stains on the couch.
“Maybe a little. Where did you go?” Sehun asked, pulling his feet up and leaning in with his head on Suho’s shoulder.
“I met L for lunch and then we went to the movies.” It was really considerate of them to have cleaned up. “Everyone had a good time here? Nothing happened that I need to know about or apologize to C.A.P. for?”
“It was fine,” Chen said.
“Nothing happened,” Kai said. Then he laughed and added, “Nothing bad,” and Sehun snorted with laughter against Suho’s shoulder.
Suho wanted to check on his members. It felt strange to have been away from all of them for so long; he was used to having at least a few of them around him all day. “What’s everyone doing?”
“Chanyeol’s cleaning the kitchen, D.O.’s cleaning the members, and I think that Lay hyung went to bed already,” Chen said. “He got a little,” he laughed, “worn out.”
“I should say hi,” Suho decided, starting to get up.
Sehun made an irritated noise and forced him back down while Chen pushed him down on his other side. “I’m comfortable here,” Sehun complained.
“Members!” Kai shouted.
“What?” Xiumin called back.
“Yes?” Chanyeol called.
“What do you want?” Baekhyun asked.
If Lay was asleep, that was almost everyone.
“D.O.!” Chen yelled.
There was a moment of silence, and then D.O. walked out, naked and dripping, wide-eyed and stone-faced. While Suho stared and everyone else burst into laughter, he asked, “What? What? What do you want? Why so much yelling?”
“Sorry, I’m sorry,” Chen said, laughing and half across Suho’s lap. “Never mind, we don’t want anything, go back, go.”
D.O. gave them a long, silent look, then turned and left.
“Okay, so everyone is fine,” Sehun said.
“Tell us about L sunbae,” Kai said.
He told them about his day, and then he recounted everything all over again as more members joined them. He thanked Chanyeol for cleaning the kitchen, and peeked in on Lay, and was glad to come home to such happy, considerate members. Everyone glowed with contentment, and seeing them so satisfied and cheerful made him happy, too.
They were all tired after their energetic day, and they drifted off to bed. In his underwear, he was about to climb into bed, too, when he noticed a piece of paper on his pillow. It was a note.
Suho hyung, we have to go and you aren’t here yet. It was good to spend time with your members but I want to see you, too. Let’s go out sometime.
At the bottom was what had to be Changjo’s signature. He smiled, admiring the flourishes. Setting it aside, he reached over to turn off the lamp by his bed, and saw Baekhyun in the doorway.
“Going to bed?” Baekhyun asked, his fingers walking up and down the doorjamb.
Suho’s first thought was to send Baekhyun away. He was horny, but Baekhyun had been having sex all day; he could put it off for another night or two.
And then he remembered something L had said. “I sleep best in Sunggyu hyung’s bed.” L felt comfortable and secure with Sunggyu. Suho wanted his members to feel the same way with him. By turning them away so often, was he denying them something? Not just sex, but comfort? Had he been neglectful?
He scooted over and gestured Baekhyun closer. “Come and sleep with me.”
Baekhyun smiled, his eyes lighting up, and came over to Suho’s bed.
Home | K-pop | tumblr | Twitter
April 24, 2014
by Matthew Haldeman-Time