Responsibility

K-pop info and glossary
 
VIXX
Debut: 2012, Jellyfish Entertainment
Fan club: Starlight
Name Real name Birth date Role
N Cha Hakyeon June 30, 1990 leader
Leo Jung Taekwoon November 10, 1990 singer
Ken Lee Jaehwan April 6, 1992 singer
Ravi Kim Wonshik February 15, 1993 rapper
Hongbin Lee Hongbin September 29, 1993 visual
Hyuk Han Sanghyuk July 5, 1995 maknae
 
Brian Joo is a sunbae singer with VIXX's company, Jellyfish.
He debuted in a duo group called Fly to the Sky with a guy named Hwanhee.
 
I write about men having sex with other men.  You must be eighteen or older to read my fiction.  This site is for consenting, responsible adults only.


Part One: Ravi

            It wasn’t like Ravi never heard from Brian.  They texted each other sometimes, usually to wish each other good luck for one reason or another.  But when Brian invited him to lunch, he was astonished.  Lunch?  Just the two of them?

            He was even more astonished when he found out what Brian wanted to talk about.



            “You can tell a lot about a group just by watching,” Brian said.  They were in the corner of a café; the closest people were three tables away.  “Cover your ears and just watch.”  Brian had on sunglasses and jeans with layered shirts; he looked casual and chic.  “You can usually tell which one’s the hyung, which one’s the maknae, who the leader is, things like that.  With some groups you can read their dynamic in five minutes.  Twenty at the most.”

            “Isn’t that kind of easy?” Ravi asked.  “The hyung usually looks older than the other members.”

            “Not always.”  Brian took a sip of water and smiled at him with even, white teeth.  “Are you trying to tell me that I look so much older than Hwanhee?”

            Laughing, Ravi said, “No, no, not that!”

            Brian chuckled and set down his cup, then leaned forward a little.  Ravi wished that he could see Brian’s eyes.  “I’ve noticed a few things about your team’s dynamic.”

            “Oh?”  Like what?  Why was Brian saying this to him, alone, privately?  Was there a problem?  Was he the problem?

            “You’re the heart of the group,” Brian said.  He shook his head and said, like he was correcting himself, “You’re the backbone of VIXX.”

            Surprised, Ravi said, “No.  Thank you, hyung, but I’m not.”

            “You are.  That’s why I’m talking to you about this.”  Brian glanced around, then took off his sunglasses, setting them aside.  When he met Ravi’s gaze, his expression was earnest.  “When I watch your team.  Who’s the leader, really?  Is it N?  Is it you?  Who’s the hyung?  Is Ken the maknae?  What’s Hongbin’s role?  What’s up with Leo?”

            “Leo hyung…”  Ravi’s voice trailed off and he laughed nervously, not sure how to finish that sentence.

            “Your group has a lot of dongsaengs,” Brian said.  “A lot of people who are used to being the maknae at home and haven’t really figured out how to be hyungs.  Everybody wants to be cute and everybody wants to be the center of attention and everybody wants to be doted on.  When everybody’s asking for attention, nobody’s giving attention.  You don’t take care of each other.”

            Some of that sounded a little too accurate.  Feeling guilty, Ravi wanted to object.  “Our hyungs take great care of us.”

            “Sometimes,” Brian said.  “I’m not there when you’re alone,” he added, raising his palms.  “I only know what I’ve seen.  You’re a good guy, and you do a lot of the work to hold your team together.  You and Hongbin seem really close.”

            “We’re the same age,” Ravi said.  “We’re friends.”

            “Who’s the newest to the group, who was added last?  Hyuk?”

            Ravi nodded.  “He joined during the show, during ‘Mydol.’”

            “I can tell,” Brian said.  “I shouldn’t be able to tell.”

            Ravi didn’t like any of this conversation.  Brian didn’t even know them that well.  “We’re all close with Hyuk.”

            “Here’s what I’m seeing,” Brian said, and took a sip of water.  “You and Hongbin are close, and that’s great.  N annoys everyone, but he’s a communicative leader, and that’s great.  Everyone likes Ken, and that’s great.  But you don’t pay enough attention to your maknae.  And you have to work on Leo.”

            “Leo hyung’s great, once you get to know him.”

            “He has to give more,” Brian said.  “That’s one of the biggest problems I see in your group.  Hyuk doesn’t get enough, and Leo doesn’t give enough.  I don’t care how Leo is with other people, I don’t want to change his personality, his concept, whatever it is.  This is about the team dynamic and how Leo interacts inside of VIXX.  I want you to work on it, I want you to pair them up.  I want to see Leo reaching out to Hyuk and taking care of him.”

            “Pair them up,” Ravi repeated.  Did they really neglect Hyuk?  What had given Brian that idea?  Why did Brian think that Ravi could get Leo to do anything?

            “The teams that have been together for a long time,” Brian said.  “They didn’t get there without work.  And I’m talking about more than just dance practice.”



            When their manager dropped Ravi off at the practice room, the other members crowded around him, wanting to know all about his lunch with Brian.  He told them everything else that he and Brian had talked about - - music, VIXX’s schedule, Brian’s upcoming release, Brian’s girlfriend - - but not about Brian’s ideas on their team dynamic.  He didn’t feel comfortable talking about it yet.

            He couldn’t help but notice how quickly Leo withdrew to sit on the couch, earbuds in.  Leo was always the first to leave a conversation or to leave a room entirely.  But that was just how Leo was.  Everybody understood that.

            If he looked for it, he could kind of see how no one paid Hyuk any special attention.  But Hyuk didn’t ask for a lot of attention, anyway.  N and Ken got attention, but they asked for it.  If Hyuk wanted it, he’d ask for it, too, right?  It wasn’t like he was off in some corner, alone, crying.

            Maybe Brian had noticed some things, but they weren’t problems.  It was just how things were.  N and Ken were noisy and annoying and cute, so they took up most of the conversation.  Leo was quiet and liked to be left alone sometimes, so he didn’t participate as much.  That was how it had always been.

            Now that Brian had pointed it out, though, Ravi kept seeing it.  And the more he saw it, the more it bothered him.  It wasn’t that no one talked to Hyuk; it was just that they all talked to each other so much more.  N dominated the conversation, and Ravi and Ken talked around that, and Hongbin fit in around that, and by the time the four of them were finished, there wasn’t much space for Hyuk.  Ravi had never really noticed how much time Hyuk spent off to one side, on the fringes of the conversation, at the edge of the group, or entirely on his own.

            He hadn’t noticed.  But he was sure that Hyuk had, and that made him feel awful.

            Ravi felt like he had to talk to someone about it, to get some perspective, to find out if he was seeing things or not.  Maybe Brian had skewed his perspective, making him see things that weren’t really there.  When he and Hongbin were alone together in the van, coming back from the gym, he brought it up.  “Who do you think Hyuk’s closest to in our team?”

            “The maknae?”  Hongbin thought about it, then smiled.  “Me, why?”

            That was what he’d thought, too.  “But you’re closest to me.”

            “Sure.  We’re friends.”

            “Do you think that N hyung pays enough attention to Hyuk?  As a hyung?”

            Hongbin looked bemused.  “Yeah, sure, I guess.  Why?”

            “I don’t know.  When I think of a hyung and a maknae, I think of…  Who’s taking care of Hyuk, helping him, looking out for him, buying him food?  Who’s really close to him?  Who’s teaching him how to be a man and making sure he doesn’t miss his parents?”

            For a moment, Hongbin frowned.  Then he admitted, “Not N hyung.”

            It was so true that Ravi chuckled with him for a moment.

            “Do you think we should?” Hongbin asked.  “I should?”

            Ravi shifted in his seat, licking his lips.  “Yes, and...  What about Leo hyung?”

            Hongbin’s eyebrows went up and his eyes widened.  “Leo hyung?  Take care of the maknae?”

            “N hyung has to be the leader of the whole group,” Ravi pointed out.  “He has to look out for all of us.  Leo hyung…”

            “He’s not that kind of hyung,” Hongbin said.

            “The maknae needs that kind of hyung,” Ravi argued.

            Hongbin’s expression was solemn and wondering.  “You think that Leo hyung should take responsibility?”

            “Yes,” Ravi said, relieved.  That was exactly it.  “He should take responsibility.”

            Hongbin’s gaze searched his face.  “Are you going to talk to him about it?”

            Ravi had no idea how to do that.  “I think I have to.”



            They’d  barely gotten back to the dorm before Leo disappeared into his bedroom.  When Ravi looked in he was in his usual spot, stretched out on his stomach on his pallet, earbuds in, messing with his phone.

            Hongbin met Ravi’s eyes.

            Dreading this but deciding that it had to be done, and knowing that putting it off wouldn’t help, Ravi nodded.  He hung the dorm’s “do not disturb” sign - - a little stuffed bear wearing a Rovix jacket - - on the doorknob, then walked inside with Hongbin and closed the door.

            They sat on the pallet beside Leo’s.  “Hyung,” Ravi said, to get his attention.

            Leo glanced over at them.

            “We want to talk to you about something,” Hongbin said with a nervous smile.

            Rolling onto one side, Leo pulled out his earbuds.

            “You, you know,” Ravi began.  He cleared his throat, wishing that he’d practiced this beforehand.  “Everybody knows some great hyungs.  The guys who really look out for their dongsaengs.  They’re encouraging and they inspire you, they teach you how to be a man, they make sure you’ve eaten.”

            Leo was nodding.

            “There’s nothing like having a good, close hyung,” Hongbin said.  “It can change your life.”

            Leo was still nodding.  Ravi figured that had to be a good sign.  “I don’t think that Hyuk has one,” Ravi said.

            “N’s a great hyung,” Hongbin said.  “But he’s our leader, he has a lot of responsibilities.  He has to look out for the whole team.”

            Leo was watching them carefully, attentively.  Ravi wished that he would say something.  It was time to lay it all out, whether Leo liked it or not.  “You’re the next oldest,” Ravi said.  “Sanghyuk is your responsibility.”

            Leo looked surprised by that, like he hadn’t expected it.  Like it had never occurred to him.  Frowning, looking mystified, he sat up, curling his legs in.  He looked around thoughtfully, wordlessly.

            “We should all set a good example for him,” Hongbin said.

            “But you’re the oldest,” Ravi said.  Everyone assuming that everyone else was going to do it was why no one had done it.  “It’s really your responsibility.”

            Leo studied Ravi and asked, “Are you scolding me?”

            Hongbin looked at Ravi, and Ravi admitted, “A little, hyung.  I’m sorry.”

            Leo smiled a little and nodded.  Then he licked his lips and sighed.  “I’ll try.”

            Really?  Ravi grinned, feeling immensely relieved.  “I know you can do it, hyung.”

            “He’s a good maknae,” Hongbin added.

            Ravi couldn’t believe that it had been so easy.  “Take good care of him!”

            “Go,” Leo said, pushing at his shoulder, urging him toward the door.

            Laughing, Ravi got up, pulling Hongbin along.  “Leo hyung fighting!”

            Leo was smiling.  “Go!”



Part Two: Leo

            It bothered Leo that Ravi and Hongbin had scolded him about not being a good enough hyung.  It bothered him even more that they might be right.  He considered himself hardworking, a good example.  Maybe not the best hyung, but a good one.  Not a bad one, at least.

            But if two of his dongsaengs were scolding him about it, maybe they were right.  He was their hyung, so they knew if he was taking care of his responsibilities toward them or not.

            He liked the kind of hyung they’d described.  He knew men like that.  Everyone admired them.  They were mature, upstanding, responsible.  They were generous to their dongsaengs, with their time and with their food and with their affection.

            He’d never done that much for Hyuk, not more than he did for the other members.  Less, maybe, because he hadn’t known Hyuk as long.  He knew that Hyuk had some trouble fitting into the team at first.  But that was life, wasn’t it?  It wasn’t his problem.

            But if his dongsaeng was unhappy, it was his problem.  He should reassure and console, or at least provide guidance.  Had he done that?  Had he done enough of it?

            He hated to admit it, but Ravi and Hongbin might be right.



            One evening, their schedules ended early.  As they drove back to the dorm, the other members talked about what they wanted for dinner.  When Leo got out of the van, he let the other members walk ahead and pulled Hyuk aside.

            “Hyung?”  Eyebrows up, Hyuk smiled at him, waiting for an explanation.

            Leo felt awkward, and then he felt guilty.  This shouldn’t be awkward, this should be natural; it was only uncomfortable because it was unusual, and it shouldn’t be so unusual.  “Hyung will buy you dinner.  Where do you want to go?”

            “What?”  Hyuk stared at him in surprise.  “What is this?  Where’s Jung Leo?”

            Irritated, embarrassed, he put his hand on the back of Hyuk’s neck, squeezing just hard enough to make Hyuk’s shoulders hunch protectively.  “Where?”

            “Flowering Jade!  Jung Restaurant!” Hyuk said, laughing, naming expensive places in other neighborhoods Leo wasn’t about to take him to.  “Pearl House!  The place two blocks over on the corner!”

            When Hyuk finally got to a real answer, Leo let go.  “Go in and get dressed.”  They were sweaty and gross and their make-up was smeared; he wanted to shower before they ate.

            Hyuk blinked at him in astonishment.  “Really?  Are you serious?  Hyung’s taking me to dinner?”

            Leo nodded.

            Hyuk still looked mystified.  “Why?”  Quickly, he looked around.  “Is this a hidden camera?”  He crouched down, peering around the van, looking down the street.

            Dragging him back up, Leo said, “It’s not a hidden camera.”

            Hyuk tilted his head to one side.  “Just us two?”

            Leo nodded.

            Hyuk grinned.  “Are you trying to get away from N hyung?”

            Leo smiled and pushed him toward the door.  “Go.”



            As soon as the other members noticed that, after showering, Leo and Hyuk were putting on street clothes, the questions started.  Leo didn’t say anything - - he didn’t feel like explaining - - but N cornered Hyuk until he got some answers.  Immediately, N and Ken decided that they had to come along, but Leo wasn’t about to take them, so he ignored N and told Ken no.

            While he was waiting for Hyuk to finish getting dressed, he noticed Ravi talking to N in the kitchen.

            “I’m ready, hyung,” Hyuk said quickly, coming over to the door.  With his face bare and his hair unstyled, he looked clean and young and fresh, dressed in black shorts and a striped T-shirt.

            “I’m ready, too, hyung,” Ken said, hopping over to them.  “Let’s go!”

            “No,” Leo told Ken, opening the door as Hyuk slid on shoes.  He stepped into the hallway.  Wanting to escape before N tried to come with them, he reached back, intending to drag Hyuk out, but Hyuk was right behind him.  Hurriedly, he closed the door in Ken’s face and practically jogged to the elevator, expecting N to pop out at any moment and insist on coming along.

            As they got in and the elevator doors closed, Hyuk let out breathless laughter.  “We made it.”

            Leo wondered what Ravi had said to N.



            During the walk to the restaurant, Leo wondered what they should talk about.  He and Hyuk were hardly ever alone together, and he didn’t really have anything to say.  They lived together, they worked together, he was there for whatever Hyuk did all day, so there wasn’t anything left to ask questions about; he’d been there for all of it.

            “How are your sisters?”

            Leo felt a shameful mix of irritation and guilt that the maknae had been the one to start the conversation.  “They’re healthy.”  He shoved his hands into his pockets.  “How are your parents?”

            “They’re great.  They’re still talking about coming for a visit.  Last time they had a day free, we were in Japan, so it’s hard to schedule.”  He swung his arms in a carefree circle.  “It’s nice to be out, isn’t it, hyung?”

            “Yes.”  It really was, actually.  No managers, no schedules, just a night off, away from the dorm for a little while.  Leo felt the muscles in his back relax.

            “I thought that the other members were going to try to come with us!”  He looked back over his shoulder, laughing.  “Maybe we’ll hear Ken hyung running down the street, chasing after us.  ‘Leo hyung, wait!  I’m coming!’”

            Leo laughed at the image.  “I hope not.”

            When they got to the restaurant, it was late enough that almost no one else was there.  They took a table against the wall.  “What should we get, hyung?”  Hyuk tossed his head to get his hair out of his eyes.  It looked soft.

            “Mmm.”  Leo wondered how much he wanted to spend.  Mentally, he resisted the idea of spending any more than he had to, but then he thought about Ravi and Hongbin talking about good hyungs.  Did he really want to be the kind of hyung his dongsaengs would accuse of being cheap?  Or did he want to be the kind of hyung his dongsaengs said took good care of them?  It wasn’t like he had to buy for all of the members, just the maknae.  “Whatever you want,” he decided.  “Hyung will buy it for you.”

            Hyuk’s eyes widened.  “Really?”

            It hadn’t been easy to say, but now that Hyuk was smiling at him, looking astonished and pleased, Leo was glad that he’d said it.  Smiling back a little at how happy Hyuk looked, he nodded.

            “Ooohhh.”  Hyuk rubbed his hands together in glee.  “We should have gone somewhere with Korean beef.”

            Leo snorted, enjoying Hyuk’s good mood.  “Don’t you think you’re getting too greedy?”

            “Ya!”  Hyuk gave him a look of mock outrage, then laughed.  “You said whatever I want!  I thought that hyung was going to look out for me!”

            “Not with beef,” he said, and Hyuk laughed again.

            Dinner went well.  Surprisingly well.  Leo had a better time than he’d expected.  They talked over the menu and ended up ordering a lot of cheap food, which they devoured until the bowls were clean.  Hyuk asked about his family and about the lyrics he’d been working on, and they talked about university classes they wanted to take and relatives in the army.

            Leo had planned to eat and go straight back to the dorm, but as they walked out of the restaurant, he decided that he’d rather stay out than go back.  “Pat bing soo?” he suggested.

            Hyuk’s face lit up.  “Really?”

            Leo nodded.

            Hyuk gave him a folder bow.  “Thank you, Leo hyung!”

            So cute and foolish.  Leo pulled him up by the back of his shirt, arm curving around his shoulders and directing him forward as Leo started down the street.

            They found a pat bing soo vendor a couple of blocks away.  As they ate, Hyuk asked for stories from Leo’s trainee days.  Leo didn’t know what to say at first, but Hyuk asked about his daily routines and how the CEO had treated him and if he’d ever wanted to give up and the day he’d first met Ravi, and he found himself talking about all of it, telling stories, old memories coming to the surface.  He ended up saying more than he’d said all week.

            The more he talked, the more he remembered.  It had been a rough time, one of the roughest of his life.  He’d been pursuing his dreams, but as months had turned into years, hope had started to fade until he’d wondered if it would ever happen, if he’d ever be able to stand onstage and sing, if all of it would be for nothing.

            “It seemed like you resented me,” Hyuk said as they slowly started back toward the dorm.

            Surprised, Leo looked at him.  “No.”

            “You were a trainee for so long, and I wasn’t.”  Hyuk glanced at him and then looked forward again.  “I understand.”

            Maybe it had been like that.  Leo had lost good friends, people he’d trained with for years, people he’d made plans to debut with, and Hyuk had joined the team so suddenly, with so little experience.  Maybe there had been some resentment.  But this was how things had happened, and they couldn’t change it.  Was it a betrayal of old friends if Leo didn’t want to change it?  “You work hard.”  He passed his hand over the back of Hyuk’s head, feeling the softness of Hyuk’s hair.  “I’m glad you’re one of our members.”

            “I’m glad, too!”  Hyuk smiled at him, then bumped into him lightly as they walked.  “I’m glad that you’re one of our members, too, hyung.  I always knew you would be.  I didn’t know if I’d be on the team, but I knew that you should be.”

            Leo blushed, uncomfortable with the praise.  “No.”

            Hyuk sighed happily, gazing up at the sky.  “It’s such a nice night.  I’m glad that we did this.  We ate so well!”

            “Mmm.”  Leo was glad, too.  He felt relaxed and content.  It was a comfortable, refreshed feeling, like he’d gotten something he’d been missing for a while.

            Stopping right there on the sidewalk, Hyuk bowed to him.  “Thank you for dinner, Leo hyung!”  Hyuk bowed again.  “Thank you for taking care of me!”  An angel pose.  “I love you!”

            When Hyuk started making a heart, Leo burst into laughter, ducking his head and turning away.  So stupid, and so cute!

            “Thank you, hyung!” Hyuk said cheerfully.

            Still smiling, Leo straightened and slung his arm around Hyuk’s back, pulling him into their building.  “You’re cute.”

            When they walked back into the dorm, the other members were full of noisy questions about where they’d gone and what they’d eaten.  N scolded them for not bringing back anything for anyone else, and Ken whined about missing out on dinner and pat bing soo, too, but Hongbin smiled a lot and Ravi seemed happy.  When Hyuk said, “Leo hyung fed me well,” and smiled like he really meant it, Leo blushed.  Being a good hyung wasn’t easy and it wasn’t cheap, but it felt even better than he’d thought that it would.



            Over the next few days, Leo made it a priority to look out for the maknae.  He made it a point to check in with Hyuk a couple of times a day to make sure that he was okay and didn’t need anything.  When he picked up a drink, he got one for Hyuk, too.  It took a little extra effort here and there, but it wasn’t hard.  Hyuk was so easy-going and self-sufficient that it was pretty painless, overall.  And every time Leo did something for him, he smiled so cutely that it made Leo want to do something else for him, too.

            The more Leo paid attention to Hyuk, the more he appreciated things he’d noticed but never really thought about.  Hyuk worked hard and had really improved a lot in a short amount of time.  He seemed determined to do well and prove himself, and Leo liked that.  He was confident about himself.  Fearless, even, like when he was in over his head he trusted himself to get through it.  Leo admired him for it.  He really was very cute, and he was good-natured, and he was one of the least annoying members.  Leo liked how often he smiled and how completely he laughed.

            Hyuk was fun to be around.  Leo had never stopped and given that a lot of conscious thought before.  During the trainee period, Leo had felt burdened and under stress; during the debut period, he’d been in survival mode.  It hadn’t been his choice to bring someone so young and untrained and unseasoned onto the team, and all he’d cared about, where Hyuk was concerned, was whether or not the kid was going to hold them back.  Once he’d been satisfied that Hyuk was a hard worker, at least, he’d focused on everything else it took to debut.  And after those first chaotic months, he’d fallen into the habit of treating Hyuk the way he treated the other members: he liked them, and they were funny, but they were also annoying, and he couldn’t get away from them, so he carved out as much personal space as he could and tuned them out most of the time.

            It had been easy to fall into an ongoing situation of loving the members but, due to feeling crowded by their constant presence, pulling away once in a while to compensate.

            He’d known the other members for long enough that he’d developed friendships with them during their trainee period.  During those endless days of waning hope, they’d come to understand each other in ways they’d never be understood by anyone else.  But Hyuk hadn’t been a part of that, and suddenly Leo was starting to realize how much he’d been missing out on by not paying more attention to the maknae.

            He was a few days into his effort to be a better hyung, and he thought that it was going okay, when they were practicing and N scolded Hyuk for being lacking in vocals.  Hyuk kept quiet and took the criticism and said that he’d work on it.  Ordinarily Leo would have agreed with N and stayed out of it; when Leo was lacking in something, he worked harder on it, and he expected the same of anyone else on the team, and that was the end of it.  But seeing Hyuk’s quiet, stoic face, he felt a soft pang in his heart.  He didn’t want the maknae to feel burdened.  Before he could stop himself, he was saying, “I’ll help him with it.”

            Hyuk looked surprised.  N nodded and said, “Yes.  Okay.  When we’re finished here, you can work on it.”

            After the group practice ended, they separated to work on individual skills.  Leo took Hyuk to one of the closet-like solo practice rooms and tried to figure out how to help him.  The main problem seemed to be that the part was higher than Hyuk was comfortable with, so they did some warm-ups together.  Hyuk listened really well and didn’t complain, and cracked a couple of jokes but stayed pretty focused and didn’t get distracted.  Leo liked how hard he was willing to work and how humble he was.  It felt good to be able to help him.  After they’d been at it for a while and worked on some breathing exercises, Hyuk really started to improve.  Leo felt good about it.  Good about having helped, good about how well Hyuk was singing, good about spending this time together.

            Ordinarily Leo would’ve resented the intrusion on his private time, but he was glad that he’d spent the time with Hyuk instead of practicing on his own.  It surprised him, how much he liked being around the maknae.

            Their manager came by, knocking on the door to let them know that it was time to leave.  Hyuk gave Leo a smile that warmed him all the way to his toes and said, “Thank you, hyung.  I couldn’t have done it without you.”

            Embarrassed by how much he liked Hyuk’s smile, Leo said, “You worked hard.”

            “Leo!  Leo!” N called.  “Hyuk, come!”

            Rolling his eyes, Leo wrapped his arm around Hyuk and went to join the others.  As they piled into the van, N asked, “What’s everybody doing on Tuesday?”

            “Sleeping,” Ken said.  “Sleeping, snoring, and drooling on myself.  Then I’ll take a nap.”

            “Yes,” Ravi said.  “Let’s go to sleep on Monday and wake up on Wednesday.”

            “Ugh!  If you sleep you’ll miss the whole day!  Don’t waste your time like that,” N scolded.  Getting comfortable in his seat, Leo untangled his headphones.  “Hongbin, what will you do?”

            “Maybe I’ll go shopping,” Hongbin said.

            “Oh, yes!  Let’s go together,” N said.  “Where should we go?”

            “Hyung, he doesn’t want to spend his day off with you,” Ravi said, laughing.  “Don’t we spend enough time together?”

            “Ya!”  Looking annoyed, N turned around in his seat.  “Don’t make me come back there!”  Turning on his music, Leo put in his earbuds, masking some of the members’ noise.

            “It’s okay,” Hongbin said, laughing.  “We can shop together.”

            “Let’s not see each other at all,” Ken said.  “All day.  We should split up in the morning and not talk to each other until Wednesday.”

            “Why?” N demanded.  “What’s the point of that?”

            “To see if we can do it?” Hyuk asked.  “I don’t think hyungs can stay away from each other that long.”  Leo turned down his music slightly, wondering what Hyuk’s plans for their day off were.

            “Leo,” N said.  “What are you doing on Tuesday?”

            “I don’t know.”  He hadn’t made any plans.  He’d been so focused on work - - on practicing, on their schedules, on singing and performing and the fans - - that he couldn’t really wrap his head around the idea of a day off.  There was so much to do - - so many parts of his life to catch up on - - that he couldn’t possibly get to all of it.

            “Don’t waste the day,” N warned.  “We won’t have another day off for a long time.”

            Leo glanced over his shoulder to the backseat.  “Sanghyuk-ah, what will you do?”

            Hyuk smiled at him.  “I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll see my parents.”

            Leo smiled.  “Such a good son.”

            “Aw, you make us look bad,” Hongbin said, laughing.  “Now we should all go home to see our parents.”

            “Hongbin, let’s go to see our parents together,” Ken suggested.

            “You said not to see each other!” Ravi protested.  “Now you want to spend the day with Hongbin!”

            As the conversation continued, Leo tuned them out.  Gazing through the window, he wondered what he’d do with his day off.  N was right; they wouldn’t have another for months.  He shouldn’t waste it.



            Tuesday was bright and cool.  When Leo got up, Hongbin and Ravi were already gone, and N and Ken were wasting time deciding what to wear.  While Leo ate cereal, Hyuk shuffled around looking cute and sleepy, his eyes half-shut and his hair sticking out in all directions.

            By the time Leo was dressed, Ken and N were trying to decide if Ravi and Hongbin were spending the day together or not, and if they should spend the day together or not.  Not in any hurry, enjoying the strange feeling of not having anywhere to rush away to, Leo checked Twitter.  The fans were telling them to enjoy their day off.  A couple of Starlights had found Hongbin and Ravi taking photos in a park.  Leo considered telling Ken that he was right about the other members being together, and then decided against it.  Let the kids enjoy their day in peace and quiet.

            Hyuk was getting dressed, pulling on a T-shirt and jeans.  “Ah, hyung’s so lucky,” he said, running his hand over his hair.  “Your hair’s okay without the salon.”

            “You look cute,” Leo said, and grinned.  “You look twelve.”

            “Ah!  Hyung!”  Laughing, Hyuk grimaced, ruffling his hair with both hands now.

            “We’re going,” N said, leaning into the bedroom.  “Leo, if you stay in all day, I will kick you in the neck.  Hyuk, be good to your parents.”

            “What if he sits here all day and tells you that he’s gone out?” Ken asked.

            “Selca,” N said.  “I want a selca of you outside this dorm.”

            “Bye,” Leo said, checking Twitter again.  Hongbin had posted a photo of Ravi with the fans in the park.

             N and Ken said good-bye, messed around for a moment making sure that they had everything they wanted and double-checking N’s hair, and left.  The dorm was quiet.  Curious, Leo got up and found Hyuk in the bathroom, leaning into the mirror, looking like he was about to jab himself in the eye with Ravi’s eyeliner.  “What are you doing?”

            “Guess,” Hyuk said, grinning at the mirror.  “Can you help me?  My hand keeps shaking.”

            “Why?”  They were performance-ready so often, it was nice to spend a day looking normal.

            Hyuk shrugged, turning away from the mirror.  “I thought it would look nice.”

            Taking the pencil, Leo studied the tip.  He’d seen it done a thousand times, and Ravi did it, so there was no reason he couldn’t manage it.  Pushing Hyuk back against the wall, he cupped Hyuk’s face in one hand, tilting his head back and holding him still.  “Don’t move.”

            “Don’t blind me,” Hyuk said, looking upward.

            Leaning against Hyuk’s body, he firmed his grip on Hyuk’s chin and focused in on Hyuk’s eyes.

            “Only hyung would turn this into wrestling.”

            “Shut up.”  It was hard to concentrate.  There was something really distracting about the way Hyuk’s breath was fanning lightly across his cheek.  Trying to keep his hand steady, Leo drew in very slow, even lines.  Blinking, he raised his hand.  To his surprise, “It looks good.”

            “Do the other one,” Hyuk said, and laughed.  “I can’t go out with only one side done.”

            Shifting against Hyuk’s body, Leo tossed his hair out of his eyes, the hand on Hyuk’s chin tilting Hyuk’s face to a better angle.  It was so hard to keep the lines straight, he had to give Ravi more credit.

            “You look like you’re going to bite me,” Hyuk said.

            “Hold still or I will,” Leo muttered.  Hyuk laughed but kept still, and eventually Leo stepped back, satisfied, letting him go.

            “Do I look like a raccoon?” Hyuk asked, leaning toward the mirror.  “Ooohh.”  Sucking in his cheeks, he admired his reflection from all angles.  “Hyung’s a professional.  Are you a secret stylist?”

            “It looks good,” Leo admitted again.  Such a handsome kid.  “Are you parents going to hate it?”

            “I don’t know.  Should I see my parents?” Hyuk asked, running his hand through his hair and facing Leo.  “We only have one day.  I want to do so many things.”  He took the eyeliner from Leo’s hand and capped it.  “What are you doing today?”

            Leo shrugged.  He felt kind of horny.  Maybe he’d go visit some of his old friends and see if he could get laid.  The members weren’t supposed to risk a scandal by having sex with just anyone, especially with guys, but where else was he supposed to get it?  The other members were either too annoying or too straight or too hot for each other.  Hyuk was - - Leo quickly turned his mind away from those thoughts.  The maknae was too young, and that was the end of that.

            “I guess I’ll visit my parents,” Hyuk said.  Glancing at the mirror, he laughed.  “Should I wash it off?”

            Leo shook his head.  “You’re an idol.”

            “Idol,” Hyuk told the mirror, giving it a sexy, pouty look.

            Leo smiled, enjoying the view.  How could someone with such a cute, expressive face also be so chic and handsome on command?

            A few minutes later, Leo still hadn’t decided what to do with his day and Hyuk was about to leave.  He texted his friend most likely to be available for sex and found out that the guy was too busy to meet.

            “I’ll leave first,” Hyuk said, fixing the laces on his sneakers.  “Have a good day, hyung.”  Grinning, he added, “Remember to go out and take a selca at least once.”

            Leo scratched the back of his head.  “Do you want to go shopping?”

            Hyuk raised his eyebrows.  “Shopping?”

            Leo nodded.  “Together.”

            Hyuk looked surprised and happy and intrigued.  “Yes.  Let’s go shopping.  Where should we go?”



            In all of Leo’s ruminations on how he’d spend his day off, it had never occurred to him to spend the day with any of the members.  That was the point, wasn’t it?  To take a break from constantly working and constantly moving and constantly being together?

            Yet when he found himself spending the entire day with Hyuk, he didn’t regret it for an instant.

            They started by getting something to eat.  They wandered from one street vendor to another, snacking and talking about silly, frivolous things.  They window-shopped for a while and talked about what they’d buy for the other members, coming up with more and more ridiculous ideas until Leo laughed so hard Hyuk took a photo of him.  It was such an embarrassing picture that he deleted it while Hyuk tried to snatch the phone from him and protested, “I was going to send it to N hyung!”

            When they were recognized, Hyuk said, “You’re so handsome, hyung, people notice you wherever you go.”

            Leo shook his head.  “It’s the eyeliner.  You look too much like an idol.”

            Hyuk laughed.  “An idol or a twelve-year-old?”

            Leo cupped his chin and smiled.  “A cutie chaebol.”

            At the first few stores they tried, they didn’t find anything they liked.  Then Leo bought a thin black sweater with a white stripe down one side.  “You already have two shirts like that,” Hyuk said.

            “I like it,” Leo said.

            “What should I get?” Hyuk asked, and pointed to something in a window.  “That?”

            It was a dark gray shirt.  Leo liked it, but he shook his head.  “More color.”  Hyuk’s personality was too interesting for something so dull.

            At the next store, Leo found a couple of shirts he liked, the kind of well-cut, bright clothing a cutie chaebol might wear.  Hyuk bought them and said, “We should shop more often.  Your taste is better than mine.”  He grinned.  “I’ll look so handsome, the fans won’t recognize me.”

            Leo’s phone buzzed, and then Hyuk’s phone buzzed, too.  Leo ignored his, but Hyuk checked his own and said, “Oh, N hyung wants to know what I’m doing.”

            With his arm around Hyuk’s waist, Leo went into another store.  “Tell him that you’re too old to need a babysitter.”

            “I’ll tell him I hired an elite personal shopper to help me with a new wardrobe.”

            Leo snorted.  “Don’t.  He’ll find you and want to join in.”

            “Ah, you’re right.”  Hyuk texted N and then said, “You should send a selca.”

            Leo shook his head and flipped through a rack of button-down shirts.  He found one with a mature, dark blue plaid and held it up against Hyuk, considering.

            Sucking his cheeks in and narrowing his eyes, Hyuk gave him a pouty, arrogant look.

            Seeing the maknae smoldering like a porn star was embarrassing.  Blushing, Leo smacked the side of his neck and looked for another shirt.

            “Give me your phone,” Hyuk said.

            “No.”  He held a red-and-black shirt with a faint yellow stripe against Hyuk’s chest.

            “I want to send a photo to N hyung.”

            Sighing, Leo dug out his phone and handed it over.

            “I’ll take a photo of the back of your head,” Hyuk decided.  “That’s the angle he’ll recognize.”

            Snorting with laughter, Leo turned back to the rack of shirts.

            “Oh, it should look like a selca.  Look at me and don’t smile.”

            Sighing, Leo turned toward Hyuk and waited.

            “Ooohh, you look scary,” Hyuk said, grinning, and snapped the photo.  “I’ll send it without any words.”

            Content with that, Leo chose another shirt from the rack.  “These,” he said, and handed them to Hyuk.

            “Do you like them?” Hyuk asked.  “Should I try them on?”

            Leo nodded.

            They found an empty dressing room.  Leo wanted to see how the shirts fit, but there were some fans lingering around the store, so the two of them went into the dressing room together.  Leaning against the wall, Leo held onto the bags from their earlier purchases while Hyuk changed.  It was stupid to be interested in watching Hyuk take off and put on shirts - - he saw Hyuk dressed and undressed and half-dressed all of the time - - but he found himself, as he kept doing lately, having trouble looking away.  The long lines of Hyuk’s muscular, narrow body turned him on.  Fighting the urge to reach out and touch, he shifted the bags from one hand to the other and coughed, averting his gaze for only an instant before looking again, staring at the smooth planes of Hyuk’s chest.

            Buttoning up the dark blue shirt, Hyuk asked, “What do you think, hyung?”

            That he wanted to push Hyuk against the wall and kiss Hyuk’s cheerful mouth and grind his cock against Hyuk until he came.  And that was the tame version.  Clearing his throat, he licked his lips.  “It looks nice.”

            Hyuk’s smile was so pleased, Leo felt embarrassingly good inside.  He stood there and watched while Hyuk changed shirts again and again, staring at Hyuk’s firm chest and smooth abdomen, staring at Hyuk’s satiny skin and narrow hips, wanting to feel the pink nubs of Hyuk’s nipples under his fingers.  He liked looking at the other members, but this was different.  This was like a fever in his blood, a craving fascination that made him want to touch and taste and take.  It had been building in him for a while, but he’d been able to ignore it.  Now he was alone with Hyuk in this small space, and he couldn’t ignore it anymore.

            Lust burned across his skin, searing him, as Hyuk bent over right in front of him, perky ass pointed at his crotch.  All on its own, his hand reached out, palm hovering over Hyuk’s ass, his heart pounding in his chest.  What if he touched Hyuk - - what if Hyuk liked it - - what if Hyuk turned to him with a smile and kissed him and panted, “Yes, hyung, it’s about time,” and reached down the front of his pants and-

            Hyuk straightened.  The small of his back brushed Leo’s fingertips, and the taut, silky-smooth slide of skin was such a perfect, tantalizing whisper of eroticism that Leo reached out, needing more.  His hand met air; Hyuk was already stepping forward, moving away, replacing shirts on hangers.

            Licking his lips, Leo slowly lowered his hand.  He watched Hyuk’s back for a moment longer, and then Hyuk turned to him as if nothing had happened.  “Should I buy the red one?”

            Needing to touch him, Leo stroked his hair, lightly squeezing the back of his neck.  “The blue one.”

            As Hyuk paid and they walked to another store, Leo wondered what he was doing.  Was he being a good hyung for Hyuk’s sake?  Or was he paying attention to Hyuk for his sake, because it made him feel good, because he was horny and Hyuk turned him on?  Was he being selfish?  Was it okay as long as Hyuk didn’t know?  Or did that make it worse?

            They had dinner in a nicer restaurant than Leo would have gone to on his own.  While they talked about their upcoming promotions, Leo realized that Hyuk knew as much about the industry as he did.  He’d assumed that because he’d trained for so much longer, he understood more about the process and the details than Hyuk, but now he saw that Hyuk had caught up with him.  What a smart, attentive kid.  He gazed across the table at Hyuk, thinking about how much Hyuk endured, how much Hyuk faced, how much he loved and admired this focused, fearless maknae.

            Hyuk reached over and tried to poke him.  Grabbing Hyuk’s hand, he grinned and twisted until Hyuk, laughing, grimaced and said, “Sorry, hyung, sorry.”  Relenting, he stroked Hyuk’s wrist for a moment while Hyuk explained, “You were staring.  I thought you were playing artwork like Hongbin hyung.  I was going to push your button.”

            Self-conscious, Leo tossed his hair out of his eyes and looked away.  “I’m not good-looking enough to be artwork.”

            “You’re very handsome,” Hyuk argued.  His smile was flirtatious.  “Very, very handsome.  Chic Leo hyung.  Sexy Leo hyung.”

            Mortified, Leo turned his face away, blushing.  While Hyuk laughed, he put his elbows on the table, resting his cheek against his clasped hands until he could school his expression.  Swallowing, he looked across the table and saw how cheerfully Hyuk was smiling.  Blushing again and irritated with himself for liking Hyuk’s attention so much, he kicked Hyuk under the table.  “You shouldn’t lie to your hyung.”

            “Ow!  I’m not lying,” Hyuk said.  “Can we see a movie?”

            Leo immediately agreed, both because he liked the idea and because he felt like he’d lost all ability to refuse Hyuk anything.  At the theater, they sat in the back, Hyuk tucked snugly under his arm.  Resting his cheek against Hyuk’s thick hair, he enjoyed the entire film.  Maybe it was so good because he liked all of the onscreen explosions so much.  Maybe it was so good because Hyuk spent the whole time leaning against him, fitting comfortably against his side.  It felt good to be so content with someone.  When the movie ended, he was in no hurry to leave.

            He was in no hurry to go back to the dorm, either, and Hyuk seemed to feel the same way, coming up with more things for them to do.  They bought shoes, and they had ice cream, and then they went into a store full of accessories.

            Looking at everything they’d already bought, Hyuk suggested that they buy something for the other members.  Hyuk picked out necklaces for N and Ken while Leo got couple rings for Ravi and Hongbin.  Seeing the rings, Hyuk snickered and said, “Are you trying to start a fight?”

            “They should stop playing around and just admit it,” Leo said.

            Hyuk gave him a long, interested look.  “Do you think it would be okay?”

            “They’re already close.  It wouldn’t make any difference.”

            Hyuk nodded slightly and stepped closer, reaching past Leo’s shoulder to poke at a necklace on the wall.

            Hyuk’s body was so close, Leo felt the warmth of it against his skin.  Or maybe Leo’s own temperature had shot up at Hyuk’s nearness, at the sight of Hyuk’s neck inches from his face.  There was no one around this deep corner of the dark, crowded store.  No fans, no clerks.  No one to see if he leaned closer.  No one to see if he…licked…

            “Do you think it’s easier that they’re friends?  The same age?”

            He could barely remember what Hyuk was talking about.  “Yes.”  His gaze ran down the smooth length of Hyuk’s neck to the line of Hyuk’s collarbone.  So much taut, bare skin.  So close.  His hand came up, flattening against Hyuk’s chest, feeling the warmth of Hyuk’s body through cotton.

            “It might be awkward,” Hyuk said.  “If it were N hyung and Hongbin.  The age difference, between members.”  His voice was soft, barely a whisper, so no one else could hear.  It sounded incredibly intimate, sensuous, a trail of breath across Leo’s ear.  “It could be uncomfortable.”

            “Yes.”

            “Oh, hyung, this is nice, isn’t it?” Hyuk asked in a normal voice.

            Disoriented, Leo blinked.  Half-turning, he looked over his shoulder at an ugly gold necklace.  “No.”

            Laughing, Hyuk picked up another one, then pivoted and smiled at a salesclerk.  Where had she come from?!  Startled, Leo backed away.  She couldn’t have been close enough to hear anything.  He was glad that Hyuk had noticed her.  He hadn’t been aware of anything aside from his own lust and the sexual promise of Hyuk’s body.

            They lingered in the store for a while.  Hyuk helped him to choose a bracelet, and then Hyuk found a silver necklace with a black-and-silver pendant.  They both really liked it, until Hyuk checked the price tag.

            Wincing, Hyuk put the necklace back.  “Maybe next time.”

            When they were ready to go, Leo said, “I’ll pay.  Go talk to the fans.”

            “Are you sure?” Hyuk asked.

            Leo nodded and pushed him, so Hyuk left, going out front to speak to the fans waiting for them.  When he was gone, Leo picked up the necklace and added it to the purchases.  It was a foolish thing to do, and he was embarrassed just thinking about trying to give the necklace to Hyuk, but he knew that Hyuk had liked it, and he couldn’t resist the impulse to make Hyuk happy.

            After a while, N tried to contact them.  They ignored the phone calls, but the text messages wanted to know where they were and when they were coming back to the dorm.  “We could run,” Hyuk suggested.  They walked along the sidewalk together, each carrying a few bags, Leo’s free arm around Hyuk’s waist.  “We could escape.  We could throw our phones away and hop on a bus and never go back again.  No more schedules.  No more managers.  No more diets.  No more seven weeks in a row with two hours of sleep a night.  No more doing the exact same choreography to the exact same song for eight hours straight.”

            “No more VIXX,” Leo said.  “No more Starlight.”

            Hyuk sighed.  “Now I feel bad.  I could never leave Starlight.”

            Leo’s phone rang again.  “I could leave N,” he muttered, and Hyuk burst into laughter.  Smiling, Leo pulled him closer.  “Don’t tell him I said it.”

            “I know you don’t mean it,” Hyuk said.  His arm slid around Leo’s waist.  “Do you ever think about how it would be different if you were our leader?”

            Leo shook his head.  “N’s a better leader.  I’d be too hard on you.”

            “I think that I’d be a good leader,” Hyuk said after a moment.

            Thinking about it, Leo nodded.  “I think so, too.”

            Hyuk’s smile lit him all the way through.



            All of the other members were back at the dorm already, and about twice as noisy as usual.  Leo ignored their questions, letting Hyuk do the talking.  Knowing that they’d want to see everything, he opened the bags in front of them, letting them paw through the new clothes.  Hyuk gave them their jewelry and gave him all of the credit for it.  When they hugged him, Leo hugged them back but said, “It was the maknae’s idea.”

            He kept Hyuk’s necklace at the bottom of the bag and managed to get it into the bedroom without anyone noticing.  Not sure what else to do with it, he put it under Hyuk’s pillow, on top of Hyuk’s neatly folded blankets.  That way, Hyuk would be able to find it without some embarrassing gift-giving scene.

            He sat with the other members for a while, listening to their stories about how they’d spent their time off.  Ravi and Hongbin were already wearing their couple rings.  N fussed at him for going shopping with the maknae and not inviting anyone else along.  “We could have shopped together!” N said.  “There were things I wanted to buy!”

            “You were already gone,” Leo said.

            “Everybody spent the day together,” Ken said.  “Ravi and Hongbin, Leo hyung and Hyuk, N hyung and me.  Weren’t we supposed to take a break?”

            “I didn’t want to take a break from Ravi,” Hongbin said, laughing.

            “I didn’t want to take a break from Hongbin,” Ravi agreed.

            “I didn’t want to take a break from Leo hyung,” Hyuk said.

            Ken gave them a helpless look.  “I wanted to take a break from N hyung!”

            While the other members laughed and N struck Ken in the side of the neck, scolding him, Leo glanced at Hyuk.  It had been a free day, an open day, to do anything they’d wanted.  And they hadn’t left each other’s side.  And neither one of them regretted it.  Leo wouldn’t have done it any other way.



            Leo was in the bathroom, brushing his teeth, about to go to sleep.  Their day off was coming to an end; they’d be back to their usual nonstop schedule in the morning.  He was surprised by how refreshed he felt, how ready to get back into it he was.  He felt like his day off had been as good as a week’s vacation.

            Hyuk walked into the bathroom and leaned against the open door.  “Thank you for taking me shopping, hyung.  I had a good time.”

            “I liked it,” Leo admitted.  Putting down his toothbrush, he licked his lips and stroked Hyuk’s hair.  “You’re a good maknae.”

            “Aw,” Ken said, crowding into the bathroom and pushing Hyuk toward Leo, his arms coming around them both.  “Aw, let’s hug.”

            Brushing Ken aside, Leo hugged Hyuk.  It felt good, felt right to hold Hyuk against his body, and he liked how well they lined up, how comfortably Hyuk fit against him.  With a soft, breathless sound, Hyuk hugged him back, arching against him, arms lean and wiry around him.  Smiling, he kissed Hyuk’s cheek and walked out of the bathroom, ignoring Ken’s cooing noises.



            The next day was hectic as they made up for the day they’d lost.  Leo barely had time to catch his breath, much less think, but something Hyuk had said yesterday kept cropping up in his thoughts.

            “Do you think it’s easier that they’re friends?  The same age?  It might be awkward.  If it were N hyung and Hongbin.  The age difference, between members.  It could be uncomfortable.”

            What had Hyuk been saying?  Was it just the age difference that bothered him?  Three years wasn’t much.  But he’d said “between members.”

            The more Leo thought about it, the more uncomfortable he felt.  Finally, when they were in the van on the way back to the dorm, he pulled out his earbuds and turned around.  Hongbin’s eyebrows went up; Hyuk leaned forward slightly; Ravi was asleep.  “Why would it be awkward between N and Hongbin?”

            “Hyung?” Hongbin asked with a nervous smile.

            “What?” N asked.  “Between us what?  Why between us?”

            “Ravi might mind,” Ken said, and Hongbin gave him a shocked, blushing look.

            “Um,” Hyuk said, and looked around the van.  “N hyung is our leader.  It’s easier between friends.  We already have to listen to N hyung and do what he says.  It’s awkward.  When are you talking to your boyfriend and when are you talking to your leader?”

            “Oh,” Ken said.  “I get it.”

            “I don’t,” Hongbin said.  “What are we talking about?”

            “Boyfriend?” N asked.  “Whose boyfriend?”

            “Leo hyung and I were talking yesterday about how comfortable it is between Ravi hyung and Hongbin hyung,” Hyuk explained.  “It would be different between Hongbin hyung and N hyung.”

            “Because he’s the leader,” Leo said, to be sure that he understood.

            Hyuk looked uneasy and said, “Well, because he’s hyung, too.  You tell us what to do, you criticize us, you lead us when N hyung isn’t here.  Hongbin hyung isn’t my hyung the same way that you’re my hyung.”

            “There’s ‘hyung,’” Ken said.  “And then there’s ‘hyung.’”

            “Some people like dating that kind of hyung,” Hongbin said.  “Is that what we’re talking about?”

            “I wouldn’t date that kind of hyung,” Ken said.

            “You’re straight,” N said, reaching around the seat to slap at his legs.

            “I wouldn’t date that kind of noona,” Ken said, laughing and squirming to escape N’s hand.  “Yes, I would,” he corrected himself.  “She’ll buy you dinner, then take you home and spank you.”

            “Oh!” Hongbin said, laughing.  “You like that?!”

            “Come here, Hongbinnie,” Ken said, rubbing his hands together with relish.  “Come here and let noona take care of you.  Have you been a bad boy?”

            “Ew!” Hongbin said, curling away from Ken’s seat.  “Stop it!”

            “I want that kind of noona,” Ken said, grinning.

            “I don’t,” Hyuk said, and held Leo’s gaze.



            Leo wished that Ravi and Hongbin had never talked to him.  No matter how he looked at this stupid situation, it all started with that stupid conversation where they’d told him to take responsibility as a hyung.  He’d taken responsibility, and now what?  Now he had a crush on the maknae, only the maknae didn’t want a hyung, the maknae wanted a boyfriend!  If he hadn’t tried to take responsibility in the first place-

            No, that would be even worse.  If he hadn’t taken responsibility, he wouldn’t have paid so much attention to Hyuk.  He wouldn’t have spent so much time alone with Hyuk, realizing what a smart, sexy, fun person he’d been taking for granted.  He wouldn’t go back to the old way even if he could.

            He’d thought that Hyuk was too young, off-limits, but he was starting to drop that idea entirely.  Hyuk was nineteen, almost a man.  Cute and energetic and playful, a terrific maknae, but also responsible and confident and thoughtful, bolder and tougher than Leo had given him credit for.

            Hyuk was self-assured enough to want a romantic equal.  A sexual equal?  What did that mean?  Was it something Leo could do?  Was it something Hyuk was interested in Leo doing?  Would it mean changing the way Leo treated the members?

            This conversation was one Leo didn’t want to have in front of anybody else, so when the other members started to go to bed, Leo pulled Hyuk into the bathroom by the back of the neck and locked the door.

            “What if someone has to pee?” Hyuk asked.

            “They can wait.”  Leo studied Hyuk.  “Do you want to have sex with me?”

            Hyuk didn’t look surprised, just smiled a little.  “It’s complicated, hyung.  You know that.”

            Leo shook his head.  “It’s not.”

            “What does it make me?  Your fuck on the side?  Your boyfriend?  Easy ass?”

            Leo licked his lips and watched Hyuk’s expression carefully.  “Boyfriend.”

            The smile that flickered across Hyuk’s face told him that had been the right answer.  “Am I your boyfriend when we’re having sex and your member when we’re practicing?  What about in the dressing room?  What about around the dorm?  What about when we’re running late and you’re yelling at me to hurry?  What about when you’re horny and I’m still in stage clothes?  What about when we’re in the practice room and N hyung’s not around and I’m not catching on fast enough?  What about when the PDs want me and Hongbin hyung to do fan service, will you get jealous?  Will you hold it against me?  What about when N hyung’s being hard on me and you feel sorry for me, are you going to stand up for me or not?”

            Wow.  “You’ve thought about this a lot.”

            “We can’t afford to get it wrong.”

            The silver chain around Hyuk’s neck and disappearing behind the collar of Hyuk’s T-shirt looked familiar.  Leo hooked his finger around the thin links, pulling it out.  It was the necklace he’d bought.  Embarrassed, touched, he met Hyuk’s eyes.  “You’re wearing it.”

            “I like it,” Hyuk said.  “I like you.”

            That felt so good to hear, Leo smiled, leaning forward.  Hyuk met him halfway and then they were kissing.  Hyuk’s kiss was fast, more aggressive than he was used to, and he groaned, loving it, grabbing up handfuls of Hyuk’s shirt and sliding his hands underneath, pushing Hyuk against the sink.  The world spun out of existence around them, until all that was left was Hyuk, the rhythmic heat of their kiss, the arch of Hyuk’s back, the smooth warmth of Hyuk’s skin.  Hyuk’s hands were rubbing over his sides, sliding over his hips, and he pulled his shirt off, throwing it aside and leaning back against the wall.  He was pulling Hyuk into his arms and Hyuk was pressing closer and Hyuk’s hands were sliding over his chest.  Hyuk’s bold, confident kisses were familiar now, intoxicating, and Leo pushed a hand down the back of Hyuk’s sweatpants, squeezing his ass.

            “Ah, nnnmm, hyung,” Hyuk moaned, undulating, lithe and responsive against him.  “Is that what you want?”

            What Leo wanted was to get off and feel Hyuk grinding against him when he did it.  Taking Hyuk’s hand, he guided it between his legs, pressing it to the bulging hardness of his cock.  As soon as Hyuk’s palm cupped the shape of him, he groaned, thumping his head back against the wall and wincing with pleasure.  “Oh…  Yes…”

            Hyuk’s voice was amused and knowing.  “This is what you want, hyung?”

            “Unh…  Unh-hunh…  Yy-y-y-ye-eh-eh-eh-ssss-sss.”  Groaning, Leo felt his back arch as his hips rocked forward into Hyuk’s hand.  Hyuk was rubbing him lightly, too lightly, teasing him.  He hated it.  He loved it.  Fisting his hands in Hyuk’s shirt, he dragged Hyuk to his mouth again, needing to be kissed, needing to feel the hot stroke of Hyuk’s tongue.

            “Leo hyung,” Hyuk whispered, brushing a whisper-soft kiss over his lips, dropping a kiss at the corner of his mouth, kissing his cheek.  “This is how you like it?”

            As Hyuk’s hand eased down the front of his pants, Leo shuddered, feeling heat pulse through him in tense, powerful flashes.  He ached with need, and, “F-f-f-f-fuuuck,” Hyuk’s bare hand against the sensitive skin of his erection had him rising up on his toes, shuddering with the sweet sensation of blissful friction.  The way Hyuk was fondling him, handling him, was terrifically frank, confident, and he groaned against Hyuk’s tongue, welcoming the pleasure streaking through his body and soaking his brain.

            “Is this how it is?” Hyuk whispered, stroking his erection.  “Mmm, Leo hyung.”  Hyuk’s tongue flickered against his lips as Hyuk’s hand caressed the head, smearing pre-cum over his hot flesh.  “Does that feel good?”  Hyuk’s voice was deep, breathy, and he shuddered again, panting, feeling like he was about to explode.  “You’re so hard,” Hyuk whispered, and he moaned, gripping Hyuk’s ass in both hands.  “So good.”  Hyuk was grinding slowly against his abs, and the rhythm of Hyuk’s body against him, the stiffness of Hyuk’s cock, were blatantly erotic, bringing to mind everything he loved about sex.  Tightening his grip on Hyuk’s ass, he groaned, kissing Hyuk’s neck, sucking at the smooth satin of Hyuk’s skin.  “Yes.  I love this, I love your cock.”

            At that, Leo came, pleasure exploding through him in a wild burst as he surged against Hyuk’s hand.  “Ahh-ah-ahh-ah-ah!”  Throwing his head back, he shook against the wall, spasms of ecstasy gripping him as he flooded Hyuk’s milking hand.  “Hhh…  Oh…”  Gazing at Hyuk, he felt bliss wash through him, leaving a bright giddiness in its wake.  They’d just.  He’d just.

            Hyuk let go of his cock and smiled hesitantly.

            Leo licked his lips, trying to catch his breath.  “Wash your hand.”  Pushing Hyuk toward the sink, he slid to his knees.

            “You-”

            Nudging Hyuk forward again, Leo ran his hands up Hyuk’s firm thighs and narrow hips.  As the water ran, he grabbed up handfuls of cotton and pulled, tugging Hyuk’s sweatpants down.  Mmm, no underwear, just taut, bare flesh.  Sliding his hands over Hyuk’s thighs, up, down, massaging, he pushed them further apart, Hyuk’s feet shifting against the tiled floor.

            Above him, Hyuk was twisting around, trying to look down at him.  Reaching a hand up to push at Hyuk’s back, he said, “Bend over.”  As he tugged Hyuk’s hips closer, Hyuk leaned forward over the sink.  Smiling at the sight before him, he ran his fingers over the perky curve of Hyuk’s ass.  The pink roundness of Hyuk’s balls mesmerized him, and he opened his mouth, closing his eyes, licking them in.

            “Ahh-hh-ah.”  Hyuk made a choked, inarticulate sound, his hips hitching, his skin soft against Leo’s face.  “Hyung.”

            Sucking tenderly at first, then harder, Leo moaned, relishing his prize, the delicacy of the sac in his mouth, the sound of Hyuk’s stuttering, aching moans.  Hyuk smelled like soap and musk, and the little pubic hair he had was crisp against Leo’s licking, exploring tongue.  Leo had always liked guys with little, perky balls before, but Hyuk’s had a full roundness to them that he couldn’t resist, and the way they filled his mouth, bulging against his cheeks, turned him on.  Sucking on one side, then the other, he groaned, cupping Hyuk’s ass in both hands, lifting, massaging, spreading.

            “God, hyung.”  Hyuk’s voice was deep, breathy.  “You can touch me anywhere.”

            Good.  He wanted to.  Reluctantly releasing Hyuk’s balls, he felt a shiver of anticipation as he eyed his next target.  “Mmm.”  A moan of pleasure vibrating up from his chest, he closed his eyes and licked the cleft of Hyuk’s ass.  Such smooth, firm skin.  So pliable and soft.  Thumbing open the cleft, he smiled, admiring the tiny rosebud pucker of Hyuk’s asshole.  Licking his lips, he ran his finger over it, once, lightly.

            Hyuk squirmed.

            Leo smirked.  “I can touch you anywhere?”  He wondered, “Are you a virgin?”

            “No, I’ve…done that.”

            Good.  “Then stop wriggling,” Leo said, and licked his asshole.  Mmm, so tight.  Purring with contentment, Leo licked again, again, painting wet stripes over Hyuk’s skin.

            “Oh, oh, ah, hyung.”  Hyuk shifted his feet, moving restlessly.  “Oh, I…”  His spine was arching and he seemed completely incapable of holding still, so Leo shoved him more firmly against the counter.

            Licking harder, Leo circled the dusky pink hole with the tip of his tongue, then probed inward.

            Shuddering, squirming, Hyuk was practically dancing against Leo’s tongue.  “Ah, ah, oh…  Nnnhh…  Auh-hhaaa…  Hyung…  I didn’t…  Know you were…  Like this.  Oh, god.”

            Groaning, intent, Leo held him in a tight grip, licking him appreciatively.  The minute fluttering as Hyuk’s muscles tried to close felt incredible, and Leo firmed his tongue, teasing Hyuk open.

            Leo wasn’t used to guys who wiggled around this much, and Hyuk’s constant chatter was way more of a turn-on than he’d expected.  It was really rewarding and sexy to hear an unending stream of noises telling him exactly how he was doing and how much Hyuk liked it.  There was no guessing, no wondering, only needy gasping noises and, “Unh…  Yes, unh, Leo hyung…  Aah, nnhhhnn, it feels like I’m…  I’m…  Hyung, please…”

            Lifting his head, Leo pressed his thumb to the tight, winking pucker of Hyuk’s asshole.  The shudder that ran through Hyuk practically cracked the bathroom tile, and that husky, vibrating groan lit a fever in Leo’s blood.  “You like it,” Leo murmured, and stroked Hyuk’s pink hole with a fingertip, nudging inward just enough to feel Hyuk’s body close around him.

            “God, fuck me,” Hyuk moaned, his hips jerking unsteadily as his back arched.  “I need to…  You have to…  More, please, hyung, oh…”

            Licking his lips, Leo tore his gaze from Hyuk’s bouncing hips and swaying balls to glance quickly around the bathroom.  Spotting Ravi’s lube on the floor near the sink, he grabbed it, flipping the cap.  “Take off your shirt.”  While he slicked up his fingers, Hyuk’s shirt and pants ended up over by the door.  Not wanting to rush it, Leo eased a finger into him slowly, loving the stuttering rush of Hyuk’s aroused moan.  “You’re so hot inside,” Leo murmured, rocking one finger in and out.  “So tight.”

            “It feels…  It’s never been so…  Deeper, I want it - - ah, ah, nnnuh - - deeper,” Hyuk groaned, his hips rolling, circling, twitching.

            “Soon,” Leo promised.  Stretching Hyuk around two fingers, he stroked rhythmically.  Following the beat, Hyuk groaned along with it, writhing right in time with each caress.  The pleasure visibly, audibly thrumming through Hyuk’s body was a hot, infatuated hum in Leo, too, and he stood up, kicking off his pants.

            When Leo took his hand away, Hyuk gasped for air, sagging over the sink.  “Oh, god, hyung.”  Hyuk ran a shaky hand through his hair, even now shifting his feet, unable to hold still.  “I didn’t think you’d…  I didn’t know you…  It feels so good.”

            “It’s supposed to.”  The stroke of his own lube-slick hand over his cock turned Leo on, and he gave himself a quick squeeze, impatient for the pleasures to come.  Lining up the head of his cock against Hyuk’s ass, he gripped Hyuk’s shoulder with his free hand.  Pressing in, he rose up onto his toes, and then he was gasping, shuddering, his eyes rolling back in his head as his cock was enveloped in luscious, tight heat.  “F-f-f-f-fu-uck.”  It was so, so good, a hot, clenching tunnel of pure pleasure.  “Ah, y-y-y-ye-es, oh, maknae.”  Groaning, Leo rocked his hips forward, pushing as deep as he could go, burying himself in the sweet vise of Hyuk’s ass.

            “It’s, oh, god, it’s inside me, you’re inside me.”  Hyuk moaned, arching his back and rolling his head.  “God, hyung, I don’t - - oh - - want to - - ah - - sound stupid, but - - oh god, oh god - - it’s so big, it feels so big.”

            “Relax,” Leo ordered.  Bending Hyuk’s leg, he pushed it up until Hyuk had a knee on the sink, then pressed in, nudging - - “unnnh” - - satisfyingly deeper.  “F-fuck, you’re tight.”  So good, it was so good, he was already moving, sliding, rocking his hips.

            “Ah!  That’s - - that’s it, shit, do that again, do it, ah!”  Hyuk bucked against him as he thrust.  “Oh, oh, oh-hh, I - - ah! - - like that.”

            Finding a good rhythm, Leo stared downward, captivated by the slide of his lubed cock disappearing into Hyuk’s ass.  It looked amazing, the way Hyuk was stretched around the girth of his erection, the way the glistening shaft rode in and out, in and out, in and out.  He pulled all the way out, just to watch the blunt head breach Hyuk’s body again, and the way Hyuk’s growling, aching moan echoed off the tile turned him on so much he joined in, rocking deep and moaning with pleasure.

            Then he looked up.  Oh god.  He could see everything.  He could see everything.  The mirror over the sink gave him a perfect, stunning view of Hyuk’s beautiful, lean body.  “Maknae,” he whispered, staring.  The sight was so compelling, so incredibly provocative, that he thrust harder, pounding deeper, nonsensically wanting to fuck the maknae in the mirror.  The maknae in his arms moaned, jerking against him, and he stared in fascination as live-Hyuk and reflection-Hyuk bucked to the same rhythm.

            Hyuk was almost incomprehensibly beautiful.  Leo had never seen him like this before.  Thrusting steadily into him, Leo stared at their rocking, fucking images.  Hyuk’s head was down, color high in his cheeks, his red lips parted, moving, as he moaned.  “Oh, hyung…  Like that, like that…  So good…”  There was no mistaking the splay of his thighs, the explicit way he was bent over the sink.  As his body rocked with each thrust, his necklace swayed, swinging against his chest in time with the thick slide of Leo’s erection.  His tall, handsome cock stretched upward as if the red, mushroom head wanted to kiss his abs.  It looked so rigid, Leo thrust harder into him, empathizing with that throbbing stiffness.  “Ah, unh, yes,” Hyuk groaned.  “Yes, uh, fuck me.”  As Leo watched, Hyuk’s hand slid over his swollen erection and down between his thighs, fondling, lightly kneading his balls.  Groaning, Leo rocked into Hyuk’s ass, staring at the pink roundness of Hyuk’s balls, watching Hyuk manipulate himself.

            “Your cock,” Leo said, needing to see it, needing it now.  “Touch your cock again.”

            Immediately, Hyuk’s hand slid upward again, rubbing over his erection.  “Ugh, it’s so good,” Hyuk panted, his thumb circling the head of his cock.  “So…  The way you’re…  Fucking me…  Like this…”

            When Leo moved his hands on Hyuk’s body, he could see it, right there, in the mirror.  Sliding his hand up Hyuk’s ribcage, up to Hyuk’s chest, he stared as his hand glided up Hyuk’s torso in the mirror.  It looked amazing - - Hyuk’s muscles flexing, Hyuk’s body undulating rhythmically - - and it felt fantastic, Hyuk’s soft, smooth skin like satin under his palm.  When he pinched a pert, red nipple, tugging lightly, Hyuk groaned like ecstasy was only a breath away.  “Oh, Leo hyung, yes.  Touch me, touch me, please.”

            Twisting Hyuk’s nipple, thumbing it, Leo kissed his shoulders, nuzzling against his neck.  Peering at his reflection over Hyuk’s shoulder, he saw black hair, intense eyes, Hyuk’s body rocking with the force of his thrusts.  His gaze ran hungrily over Hyuk again, wanting to take in every detail of Hyuk’s body, the muscular definition of Hyuk’s arms, the line of Hyuk’s pelvic bone, the blush on Hyuk’s cheeks.  Needing Hyuk to see it, too, he raised his other hand, threading his fingers through Hyuk’s short, thick hair and pulling Hyuk’s head back.

            “Oh,” Hyuk breathed, and his hand came up, splayed against the mirror, as they stared together.  With his head tilted back, Leo could see even more clearly the red in his cheeks, the sexual pleasure parting his lips, the famished look in his eyes as he hungered for climax.  The long line of his neck looked so delicious that Leo pressed forward, surging deeper inside him and kissing his neck, tasting the salt of his sweat.  “That’s - - ah - - hyung!” Hyuk cried, and Leo buried his face against Hyuk’s shoulder, fucking him with long, rough strokes, thrusting into him crudely, sucking at his neck, groaning against his skin.  Leo’s other hand slid down his body, wrapping around the hard, velvety length of his cock.  “That’s it, hyung, uh,” Hyuk groaned, his hand rubbing over Leo’s hand, Leo’s wrist, his own chest.

            “Watch yourself,” Leo said.  Every searing thrust sent shockwaves of pleasure through his body.  He was driving into Hyuk harder and harder, trying to surge deeper and deeper, aggressively chasing the ecstasy Hyuk’s body promised him.  Hyuk’s erection was slippery with pre-cum, slicking his hand.  His hips were thrusting, his hand pulling, his hips rocking, his hand rubbing; he was fucking and caressing and pounding and stroking and everything felt incredible and heat was throbbing all through him, around him, Hyuk’s orgasmic “Leo Leo Leo hyung” echoing off of the walls like some wild, erotic song and he came, crying out at the fiery shock of it against the back of Hyuk’s neck, the explosive ecstasy of orgasm flooding him in one brilliant blitz.  On their own, his hips pumped into Hyuk’s body again, again, as pleasure sank into him.  Hyuk made an exhausted, whimpering sound and pushed at his hand; his slippery fingers falling slack, he let go of Hyuk’s softening cock.

            Closing his eyes, he stroked Hyuk’s abdomen and just breathed for a moment, too high on pleasure to do anything like move or think.  Caught between him and the sink, Hyuk said, “I think I just died,” in an exhausted, bliss-slurred voice.  “I think I just…  What’s the opposite of dying, what’s…  I can’t even…  That was amazing.”

            “I think I’m in love with you,” Leo mumbled, stroking his chest and kissing his neck.

            “Oh, hyung, I love you, too,” Hyuk said.  “How did you make me come that hard?  I thought I was going to turn inside-out or something.  Ah, my ass is sore.”

            Opening his eyes, Leo looked over Hyuk’s shoulder into the mirror and covered Hyuk’s mouth with his hand.  “You talk too much.”

            Hyuk’s eyes smiled at him.

            Embarrassed by how much he liked it, Leo blushed and took his hand away, finally easing away from Hyuk and moving back.

            “Unh.”  Hyuk gingerly lowered his leg from the sink, then twisted a little, stretching.  Leo decided to make sure that they were somewhere comfortable and padded, next time.  “I didn’t know that sex could be that good.  Are you going to make me come that hard every time?  Because we should have sex several times a day, if you are.”

            Leo had been sure that it was so good because of Hyuk, but if Hyuk thought that it had been so good because of him, then maybe it was good because of them, because they were together.  It was so romantic he decided he would never, ever, ever say anything like it out loud, but he liked the idea, anyway, and he stroked Hyuk’s chest with both hands, caressing down to Hyuk’s waist.

            Hyuk grinned, rubbing his thumb over Leo’s collarbone.  “Maybe you should brush your teeth before I kiss you.”

            Giving him a look, Leo put a hand on the back of his neck and squeezed until he laughed.

            “Sorry!  Sorry!  I’m sorry, Leo hyung, I didn’t mean it!  Thank you for licking me there, I liked it, I liked it!”  Satisfied, Leo let go, and Hyuk straightened, laughing and stroking Leo’s cheeks.  “It was incredible.  I didn’t think it would feel so…  Do you like it?  Can we do it again?”

            Leo nodded, rubbing his hands over Hyuk’s ass, Hyuk’s chest, Hyuk’s thighs, whatever he liked, wherever he wanted to touch.  “If you tell me what you like, I’ll try to do it.”

            “I don’t know, I liked every single thing you did.”  Hyuk was running the backs of his fingers up and down Leo’s neck, along Leo’s jaw; it felt good, and Leo tipped his head to one side so that he would keep doing it.  “It all felt amazing and way better than anything else I’ve done.  What do you like?”

            Leo smiled, feeling embarrassed but gazing into his eyes. “You.”

            Hyuk’s face lit up with delighted, embarrassed fondness.  “I-”

            “Leo hyung, please,” Ken moaned, pounding on the door.  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I have to pee, please, I’ve tried to wait but I’m about to wet myself, please, Leo hyung, oh no, I can’t hold it, please, help, help!”

            Irritated, Leo kicked the door.  “Wait!”

            “Hold on, hyung!” Hyuk called, laughing.

            They washed up quickly, and Ken came in to pee, and Leo brushed his teeth.  N hugged Hyuk and tried to give him what sounded like a very solemn talk, but in between Hyuk’s happy fits of laughter and repeated, “It’s okay, N hyung, stop,” all Leo heard was N saying things like, “You’re finally a man now,” and, “If you ever have any questions,” and, “Are you sure that it’s Leo?  Wouldn’t you rather have someone nice and sweet who finishes all of his sentences out loud instead of just mouthing the last few words like you’re a lip-reader?”  Irritated, Leo took Hyuk’s arm and pulled him away, ignoring N and taking Hyuk into the bedroom.

            Hyuk gave him a flirtatious smile, running a hand over his arm.  They’d put their pants back on, but their chests were bare, and Leo touched Hyuk’s necklace, stroking the skin beneath it.  “Should I sleep here with you?” Hyuk asked, brushing his toes against Leo’s blankets.

            Leo nodded.  He wanted to feel Hyuk’s body against him while he slept.  Wanted to wake up and rub his face against Hyuk’s shoulder and feel Hyuk’s hands slide over his skin.

            “Really?”  Hyuk looked surprised, like he hadn’t expected Leo to take him seriously.  Then he smiled, looking pleased.  “Okay.”

            Closing his hand around Hyuk’s necklace, Leo looked down, trying to decide how to explain.  “I want to be your boyfriend,” he said, meeting Hyuk’s eyes.  He looked away again, licking his lips and searching for the right words.  “I can’t interfere with the PDs or the managers or N.  I can’t protect you from everything.  But I can support you and give you strength.  If I’m too hard on you, you can tell me.”

            “Okay.”  Hyuk sat on Leo’s blankets.  Leo knelt over him.  “I like that.”  Stretching his legs out between Leo’s thighs, he lay back, one arm behind his head.  “Can I speak informally?”

            Leaning over Hyuk, Leo shook his head.

            “Do I even have to say ‘hyung’ while we’re fucking?”

            Planting a hand beside his head, Leo nodded.

            Hyuk grinned, walking his fingers down Leo’s chest.  “Can I sit beside you in the van?”

            Leo nodded and kissed him.

            “What?” Ken’s voice asked from the doorway.  “Wait, what was that?”



Part Three: Hyuk

            Still in his stage clothes, Hyuk followed the other members into the Jellyfish building.  “I thought we were going to get pizza.”  He felt Leo’s arm slide around his waist and he automatically adjusted his stride to match Leo’s pace.

            “Oh, pizza,” Ravi said enthusiastically.

            “No, we’re on a diet,” N said.

            Hyuk sighed.  He could have sworn that N had told them they were having pizza for dinner.  He would have pointed that out, but N had been strict with them all evening, and he didn’t feel like being snapped at again.  Maybe if they worked really hard, they could have pizza tomorrow?

            “You said that we could have pizza,” Leo said quietly.

            Hyuk looked at him in surprise, and so did Ravi, Hongbin, and Ken.  It was hard to remember the last time Leo had spoken up like this.  Whenever N became strict about discipline, Leo was the first one to back him up.  Maybe Leo really, really wanted pizza?

            Looking confused, N stopped and turned around to face them.  “When?”

            He didn’t remember?  “In the dressing room,” Hyuk said quickly.  Leo’s arm around him felt so good that he leaned into it.  “Ken hyung said that he was hungry, and he started to eat your microphone, and you said that if we finished recording on time we could have pizza tonight.”

            “We finished on time,” Ravi added.

            Leo nodded.

            Ken gave N a hopeful look.  “Pizza?”

            “Oh, I did,” N said, his face registering recognition.  “Oh.  Let’s call for pizza.  What kind do we want?” he asked, and started walking again.

            While the other members walked ahead, Leo didn’t move.  Hyuk didn’t mind standing still in the middle of the hallway, leaning against Leo’s side while Leo stared at the side of his face, but it did strike him as kind of funny, so he grinned, turning his head to meet Leo’s gaze.

            Leo blinked a little and smiled back.

            “Hi, hyung.”  He wanted to kiss Leo’s soft, pink mouth.

            “Hi,” Leo murmured, looking right into his eyes like he was incredibly interesting.

            A door opened and Brian Joo came into the hallway.  Immediately alert, Hyuk bowed, Leo bowing beside him and wrapping an arm around him right away again.

            “Oh, hey,” Brian said.

            “Sunbaenim,” Leo said.

            Brian smiled.  “Leo, I told you, call me ‘hyung.’  Have you eaten?”

            “We’re ordering pizza,” Hyuk said.

            “Ordering now?” Brian asked.  Leo nodded.  “Great.  Order some for me, too, and I’ll pay.”

            Surprised, Hyuk smiled.  “Thank you, sunbae,” he said, while Leo said, “Thank you, hyung.”

            Brian laughed, squeezing Hyuk’s shoulder.  “You call me ‘hyung,’ too.  How’s it going?  Your members treating you well?”

            “Yes, hyung.  They take good care of me.”

            Brian grinned at Leo.  “He’s a good maknae?”

            “He works hard,” Leo said, and then he glanced at Hyuk and smiled.  “And he’s very cute.”

            Blushing, Hyuk laughed.

            “Oh, sunbae,” Ravi said, coming into the hallway.

            “What - - how many times do I have to say ‘call me hyung’ before somebody around here does it?” Brian asked, and pushed Ravi into the practice room.

            Alone in the hallway again, Hyuk smiled at Leo.  “I’m a good maknae?”

            Leo nodded, smiling.  “My favorite.”



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Copyright July 4, 2013
by Matthew Haldeman-Time