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.
Chunji had to choose very carefully. Xiumin had asked him out. Xiumin was bringing a couple of friends along, and Chunji was supposed to bring someone, too. But who? He didn’t want to be boring and only bring one of his own members, but everyone else he was close with was busy, so he was stuck with these assholes.
C.A.P. was fun, but C.A.P. was a hyung, and Xiumin was a hyung, and probably Xiumin’s friends would be older, too, and Chunji didn’t want to be the maknae in the room.
L.Joe was annoying as hell, but L.Joe got along really well with people who weren’t in Teen Top and had a ton of idol friends, so L.Joe was likely to keep things fun for Xiumin’s friends.
Niel was great, and hyungs usually liked him, and he was less embarrassing than L.Joe.
Ricky and Changjo were too young; Chunji didn’t want to show up to meet Xiumin’s friends with a bunch of babies in tow.
He asked Niel to come with him, and Niel said, “Can’t, I’m meeting Sungyeol hyung.” He complained and bargained and bullied, because obviously a night out with him and Xiumin was a hundred times better than going out with Lee Sungyeol, but Niel got stubborn about it.
He walked over to where L.Joe was sprawled on the couch. Ugh. Why didn’t Teen Top have better members than this? “Ya, get up. We’re meeting Xiumin hyung at noraebang.”
“What?” L.Joe blinked up at him, distracted from the TV. “We? We’re going, you and I?”
“What, do you not know Korean anymore? Yes, we, you and I, we’re going to noraebang. Come on, put on something sexy, he’s bringing guys.”
“Which guys?” L.Joe asked, sitting up.
Chunji snorted. “Why, looking for another dom?”
That led pretty immediately to a fight. C.A.P. had to break it up, and then C.A.P. started saying things about how if they couldn’t behave any better than this they couldn’t go out. He and L.Joe complained about that, which only pissed C.A.P. off, so he told the maknaes to go give C.A.P. head or something. While they were doing that, he got dressed. He noticed L.Joe getting dressed, too, and asked, “What, going somewhere?”
L.Joe snorted. “I’m going with you. You think I want to stay here all night?”
He fixed L.Joe’s outfit, adjusting the shirt and changing the accessories, and L.Joe fixed his outfit and totally groped him for no good reason, which really improved his mood. They made out a little bit, and then they said good-bye and left while C.A.P. was still nailing the maknaes.
Dongwoo couldn’t wait to meet Xiumin’s new not-boyfriend. He wondered who it might be. Someone really sexy.
Xiumin was bringing a few people, and had told Dongwoo to bring someone, too. He asked his members, but everyone was busy! Woohyun was meeting Key, Hoya was meeting Feeldog and Baram, and Sungyeol was meeting Niel. He asked Sungjong, but Sungjong was going out with some female idols. He asked L.
L gave him a doubtful look. “I don’t know, hyung. Who’s going to be there?”
“My mini Minnie,” he said. “And the guy he has fantastic sex with. And a couple of other people.”
L grinned at him. “I thought that you were the guy he has fantastic sex with.”
Liking the compliment, he laughed. “The other guy!”
“I don’t know.” L scratched his head. “Did you ask Sunggyu hyung?”
He hadn’t, yet. Sunggyu seemed to want to spend the night in. In the dorm, in bed, asleep.
The front door opened and Hoya came in. “You’re back! Already?” Dongwoo asked, checking the time.
“Eh. Last-minute thing, they couldn’t make it.”
“But you look hot,” L said. “Go out with Dongwoo hyung.”
“Yes! Come out with me,” Dongwoo agreed. “It’s great, you’re already dressed!”
Hoya grimaced, then glanced down at himself, then shrugged. “I do look good. What is it, noraebang?”
“Yes! I’ll be ready in ten minutes,” Dongwoo promised, running for his bedroom. “Five minutes! Two!” No, realistically, “More than two!”
It took more than ten minutes, in the end. He drove across town to the noraebang place EXO liked, the one where they could say sexy things without getting caught. He and Hoya went upstairs.
Xiumin was in the hallway, and they hugged. “Everybody’s in there,” Xiumin said, gesturing to the second room.
“Everybody?” Dongwoo asked, taking a peek. He saw Lay, Chen, N, and Ravi. Oh, he hoped that Xiumin’s sex friend was N! N was a lot of fun, and their age. Or was it Ravi? Ravi was hot and had a great body.
“Not everybody.” Checking his phone, Xiumin said, “Oh, he’s here,” and texted someone.
Hoya went in to say hi, and Dongwoo waited, eager to meet Xiumin’s sex buddy. “Same age friend?” he asked. “Dongsaeng?” He deliberately widened his eyes, grinning. “Hyung?”
“Dongsaeng, dongsaeng,” Xiumin said, laughing. “He’s so arrogant, though, I love it.”
Someone was coming up the steps. L.Joe? L.Joe! L.Joe?! Dongwoo wanted to laugh. He’d known that Xiumin was into spanking, but all of those other things? “Mini!” he exclaimed happily.
Xiumin laughed. “Not him! Not that one.” Coming closer, L.Joe gave them a surprised look, then glanced backward. In a smug, satisfied tone, Xiumin said, “That one.”
Chunji. It was Chunji. Smoothing his shirt, he came to the top of the stairs, tossed his hair out of his eyes, and looked in their direction. And froze.
Dongwoo’s heart was thumping off-beat. Chunji? His pretty, sexy Chunji? “Hi,” he said, and his voice didn’t sound right at all.
“Um,” L.Joe said.
Chunji licked his lips, still hanging back. “I didn’t know you’d be here.”
“Does it have to be awkward?” Xiumin asked. “I know that you don’t like Infinite, but I’ve known Dongwoo for years. And there are other people here, it’s not only him.”
“It doesn’t have to be awkward,” Dongwoo said. He didn’t want it to be. Things between him and Chunji had been like magic, before.
Lay opened the door. “Dongwoo hyung! Oh, L.Joe and Chunji are here,” he told the rest of the room.
“Thank god, I’m not the maknae,” Ravi said.
“Wait,” L.Joe said as Ravi came into the hallway. “Am I the maknae?”
“Lucky you,” Ravi said with a grin, pulling him into the room. “Start pouring, Chen hyung needs a drink.”
Chunji slipped past them, going into the room, not looking at Dongwoo again.
Lay was talking to Dongwoo. He tried to listen, but all he could think about was Chunji. Chunji was Xiumin’s hot new pretty boy. His Chunji. He felt so strange. He felt jealous. He shouldn’t be jealous! He wasn’t upset that Xiumin had sex with Chunji, he didn’t care about things like that. But he couldn’t have sex with Chunji. He couldn’t be with Chunji at all, anymore. They never even talked. They didn’t call each other or hang out backstage. He missed it so much. He missed the magic.
He went into the room, and he talked to N and Lay, and he drank a little. Hoya asked if he wanted to leave, and Hoya looked so sympathetic that he wondered if he looked bad. He didn’t want to go, he just felt weird. All he wanted to do was go over there and talk to Chunji.
Chunji didn’t want to do this here. But lately, he’d felt uncomfortably guilty about Dongwoo. He wasn’t angry anymore, he was just ashamed. He wasn’t used to feeling so bad about himself, and he wanted to get rid of these awful feelings.
If he talked to Dongwoo, he might feel better, afterward. But it was so awkward, so painful. He didn’t know how to approach Dongwoo when he felt so ashamed. He’d treated Dongwoo so badly, before. He’d been so selfish and rude. He’d been mean to someone who’d only ever been good to him.
When Dongwoo left to go to the bathroom, Chunji grabbed L.Joe’s arm and whispered, “Come on.” N and Xiumin were singing together; Chen and Hoya were talking to Ravi; Lay gave them a curious look. L.Joe looked baffled and annoyed. “Come on,” he insisted, dragging L.Joe out of the room. “Stand here and don’t let anyone in,” he said, pulling L.Joe to the bathroom door, and then he went in.
Dongwoo was zipping up. “Oh,” he said.
Chunji licked his lips. “Hyung.”
Dongwoo moved toward him, then looked confused and embarrassed and moved away again, going to the sink.
Swallowing, Chunji wished that he’d handled things better, before, so that everything wouldn’t be so awkward and hurtful now. “Is it okay if I apologize?”
Dongwoo finished washing his hands. “For what?”
For what?! “Hyung, what do you mean, for what? For everything, for all of those things, before.”
Dongwoo was moving closer again. They hadn’t been this close to each other for a long time, but Chunji’s body remembered everything about it. “I’m sorry, too.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong. I messed everything up. I was too young, but it’s not only that. I was too stupid, too, and I was too selfish. I should’ve had more sense.”
“It’s okay. We made mistakes. That’s what people do, we make mistakes, that’s how we learn.” With a sudden smile, Dongwoo cupped Chunji’s face in his hands. “Look at you, you got even prettier. I didn’t know that you could get prettier.”
The sight of that happy, wondering smile and the feel of Dongwoo’s hands on him was too much. They hadn’t talked in forever, and they hadn’t touched, and he’d missed being smiled at like that, he’d missed everything about this. Impetuously, he leaned in, pressing his lips to Dongwoo’s in a bold kiss.
For an instant, nothing happened, and then, in another instant, everything happened. Dongwoo’s lips parted under his, and Dongwoo’s tongue snaked into his mouth, sinuous and assertive. With an aroused moan he remembered so, so well, Dongwoo pushed at him, backing him against the wall. And then Dongwoo was kissing him aggressively and gripping his ass, and he was kissing right back, caught up in it, loving it, moaning shamelessly and so turned on he felt like he was on fire.
“Chunji, my pretty Chunji,” Dongwoo said, panting against his mouth and licking his lips. The feel of Dongwoo’s hand groping his ass turned him on so much he was writhing against the wall, and the feel of Dongwoo’s other hand unbuttoning his shirt made him impatient.
God, they were in a bathroom, they were in public, C.A.P. was going to kill him and he didn’t care. “Give me your cock,” he panted, undoing Dongwoo’s fly. “Give it to me.”
“Yeah, touch it, take it,” Dongwoo urged, kissing him. “It’s yours, I want to feel you all over it.”
He hadn’t done this in so long, but it felt as hot and familiar as if they’d been together last night. He and Dongwoo had always sparked, always felt so good together. Pulling Dongwoo’s cock out, stroking its stiff length, he groaned, his own cock aching, heat sizzling through him. He went down on his knees, going right for what he wanted, too turned on to play coy or hold back. Taking the whole shaft into his mouth, he hummed around it, his eyes closing as pleasure pulsed between his thighs. “Yeah,” Dongwoo groaned, stroking his hair, cupping his head. “Hoooohh, that’s the magic.”
They worked together, and he loved every second of it. Before Changjo, before Ricky, before Niel, even before L.Joe, there had been this, this sexy, hard cock, Dongwoo’s erection, smooth on his tongue. Turned on, starting to sweat, unbuttoning his shirt the rest of the way, he sucked as enthusiastically as he ever had, giving a wet, hungry blowjob and wanting more. Dongwoo rocked a little, humping his face, caressing his cheeks and holding onto his hair and working that cock down his throat. “Unh, ooooohh-ohh, suck it harder, suck my dick, yeah, that’s it, that’s what I like,” Dongwoo moaned, cock juicy with pre-cum and saliva as it slid between Chunji’s lips. “Oh, oouunh, oh, so pretty, so pretty with my dick in your mouth, so sexy swallowing my big rod, yeah, ooohhh, suck on it, suck it down, you want it.”
Dragging Dongwoo’s pants farther down, Chunji bared his thighs. Grunting, he thrust down Chunji’s throat, his touch incongruously tender as he caressed Chunji’s face. Looking up, Chunji sucked rhythmically, gazing at his red, parted lips and his flushed cheeks and the lust burning in his dark, intense eyes. “That’s it,” he said, staring down at Chunji, breathing hard, his cock pushing into Chunji’s mouth again and again. “Swallow my load, choke it down, I’m coming hard and you’re gonna take all of it.”
When he felt the first spurt of Dongwoo’s cum, ecstasy washed over him. God, he’d missed this. His eyes closed as Dongwoo squirted thickly down his throat. None of his members talked to him like this, he’d hurt them if they did, and he was so turned on, he was moaning. When Dongwoo tried to pull out, he didn’t want to let go, and he whimpered greedily, savoring the feel of Dongwoo’s delicious, silky cock in his mouth again.
Stroking his hair, Dongwoo undulated, laughing a little. He gazed upward, and Dongwoo looked giddy, drunk on happiness and pleasure, smiling down at him like he’d done something great. “What happened, you’ve had practice? You got even better.”
“Mmm.” Reluctantly, he released Dongwoo’s cock. Wiping the back of his hand over his mouth, he gave Dongwoo a coy look. “Maybe a little practice, here and there.”
“I came so hard! And so fast, don’t I usually last longer than that? You turn me on too much, I can’t last when I’m with you.” Crouching down, Dongwoo kissed him, and he groaned, needing it, loving it, moving in close and straddling Dongwoo’s thigh.
“Hyung,” he moaned, guiding Dongwoo’s hand between his legs. As they traded hot, urgent kisses, he wrapped his arm around Dongwoo, and he groaned in heartfelt gratitude as Dongwoo fondled his cock.
“Oooohh, it’s already dripping,” Dongwoo said in between kisses, jacking him with insistent, tugging strokes that made his hips rock. “So wet already? Ooohh, did I make you shiver?” Dongwoo asked when intensifying pleasure made him shudder. “Look at how much you want it, look at you, your dick is drooling all over my hand like a slobbering dog.”
Groaning, Chunji kissed him harder, thrusting into his hand. Fuck, it felt so good, the pressure was building so fast, Chunji was going to come from this, just this, just like this. “Keep going, keep going, get me off.”
“Love your pretty face and your sexy body and your big, hard cock,” Dongwoo panted, kissing his neck, pushing his shirt back on his shoulders. Throwing his head back, he rocked into Dongwoo’s fist. “Look at that thick, red knob, fucking my hand.”
“Jack it, jack my cock,” Chunji panted, arching his back as Dongwoo’s tongue flicked over his nipple. “Make me come, hyung, get me off, get my cream.”
“Yeah, want to see you come,” Dongwoo said.
Pushing into Dongwoo’s grip again and again, he hit his climax. Crying out, he came, gripping Dongwoo’s shoulder and feeling ecstasy sear him all over. “Yes, ah, shit,” he gasped, thrusting again, loving the warm hold of Dongwoo’s hand. He’d been so worked up, it took him a moment to come back down, and he just knelt there, panting, smiling at Dongwoo and laughing at nothing.
Dongwoo laughed, too, and kissed him again. “So sexy,” Dongwoo said happily, admiringly, kissing him another time, and another. “You came all over my leg.”
“Mmm, you like it,” he said, squeezing Dongwoo’s bare ass.
“Love having your nasty jizz all over me,” Dongwoo said, kissing him. “Lick it up.”
He looked into Dongwoo’s eyes, grinning, enjoying this moment. It was so easy, with Dongwoo, so much fun between them. Dongwoo’s big smile, the sexual anticipation in those wicked eyes, the lusty way Dongwoo kissed him, it was like they’d never been apart. With a happy growl, Dongwoo kissed him again. “You want me to lick it?” he asked, as Dongwoo tugged his pants farther down, exposing his ass. “You want me to lick my own sticky cum off your bare thigh?”
Dongwoo’s fingers were already in the cleft of his ass, rubbing and teasing and making him squirm, sending electricity flickering up his spine. “Lick it up nice, rub your tongue all over it. Tell me how it tastes.”
“Mmm, it’s mine,” he said, kissing Dongwoo again. “I already know it’s going to be delicious.” Sliding his knees back, he leaned down, making sure to arch his back. Dongwoo pulled his shirttail up, baring his skin, and he ran his tongue right over Dongwoo’s muscular thigh.
“Unh, that’s what I want to see,” Dongwoo said, threading his fingers through Chunji’s hair. “Lick it like a cat.”
Chunji purred just to make Dongwoo groan appreciatively. Dragging the tip of his tongue through glistening streaks of fresh cum, he took his time, letting Dongwoo get a good, long look. He liked having his face so close to Dongwoo’s crotch again so much that after he’d lapped up all of his cum, he licked his way over toward Dongwoo’s cock, nipping at Dongwoo’s thigh and nuzzling into the black thatch of Dongwoo’s pubic hair.
“Damn, I missed you,” Dongwoo said, stroking his hair. “Missed you so much.”
He did what he’d always done when Dongwoo said something too meaningful for him to handle; he raised his head and kissed Dongwoo, creating an erotic distraction. Like always, Dongwoo fell for it, cupping his face in both hands and kissing him deeply, making him feel sexy and desired and special. But he was marginally more mature, now, and he couldn’t hide from the truth forever. Breaking their kiss, he made himself look into Dongwoo’s eyes. He felt embarrassingly emotional, but he made himself say it, anyway. “I missed you a lot, too, hyung. I’m really sorry.”
Dongwoo’s hands caressed all over him, stroking his sides, toying with his nipples, squeezing his ass again and again. It was so familiar, it made him happy; he’d missed Dongwoo’s wandering hands. “Can I see you sometimes? I miss being with you. I miss the way you smile and I miss kissing you and I miss plugging you up with my hard cock.”
Laughing, he hugged Dongwoo. This terrific, sweet, raunchy hyung. “I miss those things, too.”
Xiumin stared at L.Joe in disbelief.
L.Joe licked his lips, looking embarrassed.
It was finally quiet. The noisy, unmistakable moaning and the uninhibited dirty talk had finally ended. And Xiumin wasn’t moving from this spot until someone told him what the hell was going on. Dongwoo and Chunji?! Chunji and Dongwoo?! His best friend! How had he known nothing about this? Why hadn’t Dongwoo said anything? Didn’t Chunji hate Infinite? Chunji had just given Dongwoo head! Chunji never gave Xiumin head!
L.Joe raised his eyebrows. Lowered them again. Chewed on his lower lip. Eyed the door. “Um.”
The door opened.
Dongwoo came out first, wearing a huge smile and literally bouncing. “Mini!” he exclaimed.
Clearing his throat, Chunji strolled out behind Dongwoo, rolling up his cuffs. His eyes were sparkling and he looked immensely proud of himself.
“I, uh,” L.Joe said, and walked away. Halfway down the hall, he turned and shouted, “Congratulations!” Chunji laughed.
“Seriously,” Xiumin said, looking from Dongwoo’s broad smile to Chunji’s smug sparkle. “What is this, has this always been happening? Why didn’t you say something?”
“What? You mean, this?” Dongwoo asked, squeezing Chunji’s ass. Chunji jumped a little, laughing again. “This is old. It’s new but it’s old.” With a shocked expression, Dongwoo suddenly dropped his hand. “Are you upset? Are you jealous? If you’re in love-”
“I’m not in love with him,” Xiumin said quickly, surprised.
“Oh, well, thanks,” Chunji said.
“I don’t want to make anybody upset,” Dongwoo said.
“The only thing I’m upset about is that I don’t know what the hell’s going on,” Xiumin said. “You’ll suck his cock?” he asked in disbelief.
Chunji licked his lips like he couldn’t help himself, then sniffed and tried to look chic. “You know I do that sometimes.”
Dongwoo looked surprised. “That’s right! You said your pretty sexy boy didn’t blow you! You won’t blow him?” he asked Chunji. “But he likes it so much! It’s fun, Mini has a sexy cock.”
Chunji didn’t reply to that. “Our teams used to be close,” he told Xiumin. “Dongwoo hyung and I used to do things together.”
“Sex things,” Dongwoo said, wrapping his arms around Chunji from the side and pulling Chunji snug against his chest. “Sexy, nasty, beautiful things.” He growled under his breath and kissed Chunji’s cheek. Xiumin had seen him act like that with pretty much every member of Infinite and most of EXO, but with Chunji? Chunji, who acted allergic to Infinite?
“Sex things,” Chunji agreed, laughing. “But then we, uh.” He glanced at Dongwoo, looking less certain.
“We broke up,” Dongwoo said. “Is that what you call it?”
“We, uh, we stopped seeing each other,” Chunji said. “It’s my fault.”
“I missed you,” Dongwoo said, kissing Chunji’s shoulder. “I didn’t know that you were Mini’s new sex boy! We should have a threesome!” His hand was on Chunji’s ass again, squeezing. “We can have a jizz party and drill each other all night, and then Mini and I can take turns spanking your naughty, naughty ass.”
Xiumin’s jaw dropped. “He lets you spank him?!”
“Hyungs, really?” Chen asked, leaning out into the hallway. “You’re going to start a scandal, and you’re going to make our VIXX friends think weird things about us.”
“I know plenty of weird things about them, already,” Chunji said. “They can handle it.”
“You do?” Xiumin asked.
“Like what?” Dongwoo asked.
At first, Hoya had been disappointed to be hanging out here instead of seeing Feeldog and Baram, but overall, things were turning out to be pretty entertaining. Dongwoo and Chunji doing it in the bathroom was an interesting twist, anyway. Dongwoo was in a very hyper, hands-on mood, laughing hysterically at everything and groping everyone in sight, and it was good to see him so happy. It would also be a lot of fun to go back to the dorm and tell on him and get him in trouble with Sunggyu.
It would be less fun if Chunji screwed everything up and broke his heart again. Hoya didn’t look forward to that. It seemed kind of inevitable, though, since Dongwoo’s heart was so sensitive and Chunji was so…Chunji.
Between Dongwoo groping everyone, Xiumin flirting with everyone, L.Joe flirting with everyone, and Chen flirting with everyone, N and Ravi seemed thrilled to be there but a little overwhelmed. Lay was splitting his time between being completely in love with Dongwoo and trying to find out what happened in VIXX’s dorm. Hoya was staying out of it. He was also staying seated, so that Dongwoo wouldn’t grab his ass. Maybe because of Infinite H, or maybe because they were literally the porn couple, Lay had a weird fascination with him and Dongwoo, and he didn’t want to add any fuel to that fire.
After a while, Dongwoo and Xiumin left the room. He got up and talked to Ravi, and he sang a couple of songs, and he hung out for a while. He strolled down to the bathroom and took a leak, and then he poked around. He found Dongwoo and Xiumin in another room, singing and slow-dancing together, drunk and giggling but mostly on-key. They were so adorable it was really disgusting, and he grimaced as he watched. He really needed less embarrassing hyungs.
“Hey.” Chen peeked over his shoulder, then laughed. “Aw, they’re cute! They’re so little and old, like a tiny matched set.”
“Ya, watch it, calling people old.”
Chen smiled at him. “Of course I’d never mean you, hyung. You’re not old or little.”
Hoya licked his lips, thinking about that. “Does that sound like a double entendre anyway, or is it just because you’ve seen my junk?”
Laughing, Chen squeezed his shoulder. “Is it okay to bring up things like that? You weren’t naked for me, so I thought that I should pretend that I didn’t look.”
He shrugged, smiling a little. “You know you saw it, I know you saw it, it’s not any more embarrassing than everything else that happened that night.”
Chen smiled back. It was a really warm, sincere smile. “It looked really pretty, anyway.”
Surprised, he snorted. Covering his mouth, he glanced around for witnesses. “Why does that sound like an insult?”
“It’s not an insult!” Chen objected, laughing. “Everything I saw looked great!”
Should he return the compliment? “This conversation’s too weird,” he decided.
L.Joe and Ravi came out of the main room and crossed the hall, talking, going into the bathroom.
Chen leaned against the wall. “Is everything okay between Infinite and Teen Top?”
“Hell if I know.” He leaned beside Chen, bending his leg and putting his foot back against the wall. Lowering his voice so not everyone in the building would hear, he asked, “Do you know about the Dongwoo hyung and Chunji thing?”
“No, I didn’t know that there was a Dongwoo hyung and Chunji thing, until tonight.”
“There’s a Dongwoo hyung and Chunji thing. Do you know about the C.A.P. and L thing?”
Chen stared at him. “There’s a C.A.P. and L thing?”
“There’s a C.A.P. and L thing.”
Chen blinked. “Wow.” He laughed. “Is there a Sunggyu hyung and Ricky thing, too? Or a Sungjong and Niel thing?”
“C.A.P. and L?” Chen shook his head, looking amazed. “I can’t picture it!” He laughed, looking tickled. “Is that what L likes?”
This kid’s mind. Always on sex. “They’re the same age, they got close.” Glancing around, he decided not to have this conversation in the hallway. With a gesture, he moved into one of the karaoke rooms. Chen followed, and they sat down across a table from each other. “C.A.P. and L’s thing was the same thing that always happens. Two people get close, one of them thinks it’s serious, the other one thinks that it’s casual, one of them gets hurt, the other one walks away like nothing happened.”
Chen winced. “Poor L.”
“Hey, what are you assuming? Maybe L broke C.A.P.’s heart.”
“L acts like someone who has to protect his heart,” Chen said. “C.A.P. doesn’t.”
Hoya studied him. “You’re not stupid, are you?”
Chen laughed at that. “But how did it end? Is that all there is? They just split?”
He wanted a happy ending? He wasn’t treating this like it was only juicy gossip. He felt bad for L. That was…interesting. Hoya turned the idea over, then let it go. “Just split.”
Chen looked troubled. “I didn’t know that C.A.P. would be like that. He’s not romantic, but he seems soft, underneath everything. If they were friends, he must’ve been upset, to hurt L like that.”
“He didn’t seem upset.”
Chen kept on looking troubled, frowning slightly and tucking his hands under his thighs. Then he laughed self-consciously. “I feel like I want to call L and console him! It’s too sad.” His expression turned hopeful. “Is Dongwoo hyung’s story with Chunji happier than that one?”
“Aw! Hyung, at least tell it in a comforting way! You’re going to make me feel bad.”
He cleared his throat and thought about it. “Dongwoo hyung and Chunji met in 2010 at the, um, backstage at ‘Music Bank.’ They were both rookies, and Chunji was really cute, and Dongwoo hyung had that terrible short haircut, so no one realized how old he was, and they thought that they were the same age. So they got interested, and they started going out, and they, uh, they fell in love.” Chen was starting to lean forward, listening with a curious smile, catching every word. He smiled back, getting into it. “They wanted to make love, but Chunji was a virgin, and Dongwoo hyung wanted to make it special, for his first time, and everything. So they rented a hotel room, they put it under our manager’s name, and Dongwoo hyung went in first and made it all nice.” He scratched his arm, thinking about it. “You know, with some candles by the bed and flower petals all around. Rose petals,” he explained, gesturing to show how the petals had been scattered all over the floor. Chen nodded, leaning closer, eyes shining. Oh, god, this was hilarious. Hoya nodded back, keeping a straight face. “So Chunji went in and - - well, I shouldn’t tell you that part, that’s private. But it was really special, Dongwoo hyung was talking about it for weeks. They started seeing each other more and more.” He had no idea where he was going with this. He had to work up some kind of plot. “But L.Joe started to get jealous. This was right after Chunji turned eighteen, but right before L.Joe’s birthday, so L.Joe couldn’t have sex yet. L.Joe had to watch Chunji fall in love with somebody else, and he couldn’t do anything about it.” Chen looked taken aback; Hoya really, really wanted to laugh. “I had no idea, at the time, nobody knew.”
“L.Joe’s in love with-” Chen gasped and smacked the table. “Hyung! You’re making this up!”
“I’m not, I swear it,” he said, laughing. “Really, there were rose petals, and everything. Candles, lots of candles, big white ones, and a violinist, he hired a strolling violinist, walking around the bed while they made special, sweet, romantic love.”
“You! Hyung!” Hugging himself, Chen laughed happily. “Don’t be like this! I believed you!”
“What, why wouldn’t you believe me?” Hoya asked. “It was a really special night. You don’t believe me?” he asked, feigning confusion. “Ask the violinist, the strolling violinist, he’ll remember. Watching Dongwoo hyung take Chunji’s virginity, you don’t forget a thing like that. I’ll bet that Dongwoo hyung still remembers the name of the music company, we can ask. Dongwoo hyung,” he called softly, getting up like he was going to leave the room.
“Hyung!” Still laughing, Chen pushed him back down. “Strolling violinist! You’re full of it!”
“They’re romantic,” he explained, grinning.
“I can’t - - ugh! I believed you!” Elbows on the table, Chen buried his face in his hands, groaning. Then he peeked out, revealing hopeful eyes and a smile. “How was it, really? Tell me the truth.”
“Ah.” Crossing his arms over his chest, Hoya sat back, nodding. “They met when we all debuted, and then C.A.P. started having sex with us, and when Chunji turned eighteen we started banging him, too. Dongwoo hyung boned the hell out of him and they both liked it so much they saw each other every chance they had. Dongwoo hyung fell in love with him but he was a selfish brat and he took Dongwoo hyung lightly, and when Dongwoo hyung finally tried to get him to act more respectful, he lost his shit and blew the world up and our teams never saw each other again. And then they did something in the bathroom tonight, so I guess we have,” he glanced at the back of his wrist like he was checking his watch, “a couple of weeks until Dongwoo hyung’s heart is broken again.”
groaned, resting his head on his hand.
“I liked the other story better.”
Yeah. Overall, he kind of did, too. “I can make up one about Sunggyu hyung and Ricky,” he offered.
Chen grinned, his mood visibly brightening. “Do it, do it, please.”
He rubbed his hands together, plotting. “You want rose petals in this one, too?”
With a happy hum, Chen pulled one foot up, hugging his knee to his chest, settling in to listen. “Surprise me.”
Chunji felt so great, he was laughing at everything. Had he really just gotten off with Dongwoo? He couldn’t even believe it. After all of that stress and hurt and anger and frustration and guilt and shame, after everything, had it really been that easy? Maybe he should have apologized more. He felt like Dongwoo had forgiven him too quickly. Maybe he’d say it again, another time, when they were alone. His hormones had rushed in and taken over before he’d said everything that he should’ve said.
But it had been so great. So great he felt like he’d picked up some of Dongwoo’s magic. Sex with Dongwoo had always been a perfect blend of raunchiness and fun. So crude, and so, so sexy, and a little bit tender. Completely uninhibited. Always a little bit emotionally complicated, because Dongwoo liked him.
He wondered if Dongwoo still liked him.
He wondered if he still liked Dongwoo.
He wondered if maybe he should have figured that out before kissing Dongwoo in the bathroom.
“What, what now?” L.Joe demanded as Chunji dragged him into the bathroom. He was trying to have a good time, and he and Ravi were totally hitting it off. And the way Dongwoo kept grabbing his ass and hugging him and randomly touching him was really turning him on. He’d never actually had sex with any of the Infinite members before, but if things between Dongwoo and Chunji were okay now, he hoped that everyone could be close again, because he was really ready to start something. The idea of sex with a bunch of confident, experienced, assertive hyungs pushed his buttons. Maybe a little too much. He might need to pace himself. He wondered if Ravi had a collar for Hongbin.
“What is happening in your head, are you going to that weird place?” Chunji asked, gesturing to his face. “Stop it, I have to talk to you.”
“Weird place,” he repeated self-consciously, licking his lips. He scanned the bathroom, avoiding Chunji’s eyes. He wondered what it had been like to kneel right on that floor and suck on Dongwoo’s cock while Dongwoo said things like, “swallow my load, choke it down,” and, “take all of it.” Feeling heat prickle over his skin, he shifted his weight, trying to look normal.
“Can you not be like this?” Chunji demanded. “I have to talk to you!”
“I’m not being like anything!” he insisted. “Talk!” His mind flashed from how annoying Chunji was to how great it would be if someone actually disciplined Chunji for once. He wondered if Dongwoo was still into spanking. He wondered how Ravi disciplined Hongbin. Suddenly all he could think about was Hongbin kneeling on the floor and staring up at Ravi with wide, grateful eyes, and Ravi taking a belt to Hongbin’s bare ass, and Hongbin crying out at every strike and loving it, and Chunji bent over, hands braced against the wall, bare flesh stinging from the smack of Dongwoo’s hand.
“Oh, hell, are you serious with this?” Chunji asked, shoving him back. Disoriented, he was surprised when his back met the door, and he stared at Chunji, not sure whether to shove back or just slide down to his knees. “If this doesn’t clear your head, I’m sending you back to the dorm, you’re fucking useless when you’re like this.” Rubbing between his thighs, Chunji knelt down in front of him, and he groaned, bumping his head back against the door and suddenly so turned on he couldn’t breathe. “Cover your mouth, I don’t need the whole world to hear it,” Chunji muttered, opening his pants.
His cock was in Chunji’s mouth, and it felt so good, he had to chew on his hand to muffle his cries. Squeezing his eyes shut, he felt flames shudder through him as his mind conjured up all kinds of hot, gorgeous images of Dongwoo disciplining Chunji, and Ravi controlling Hongbin, and Sehun, Sehun, Sehun, his perfect, perfect Oh Sehun. His free hand clawed at his own thigh as he whimpered excitedly, his pleasure shooting through the roof, his mind conflating the idea of Sehun with the incredible things happening to his cock. He came once, biting down on his knuckle, and then Chunji pinned his hips to the door and that little bit of aggression, that little bit of physical helplessness, the sensation of being forced, turned him inside-out and he was babbling into his hand, squirming against the door, tossing his head from side to side, doing everything but calling out Sehun’s name as he came again. “Ah, ah, please,” he panted, feeling woozy and grateful and missing his owner.
Chunji tucked him back into his pants, then stood up, looked at him, sighed like a tormented martyr, and hugged him. “Okay, you okay, now?” Chunji asked.
L.Joe had come too fast. It was embarrassing. Chunji would probably assume that it was because of his great technique, or something. Liking the hug, though, L.Joe held on for a little while longer. It helped to ground him. He really needed to call Sehun tonight. And maybe stop flirting so much with Ravi.
“You sound kind of sexy when you beg,” Chunji said, patting his back.
“Ugh, get away from me,” he muttered, shoving Chunji off. Embarrassed, he fixed his clothes and went over to look in the mirrors above the sinks.
“So can you hold a coherent conversation, now? I have to talk to somebody and no one else is here.”
What? “There are like seven other people out there.”
“I can’t talk to them.” Chunji pulled himself up to sit on the edge of the sink. L.Joe waited for it to break or something, but it held. “Do you think that Dongwoo hyung still likes me?”
It was kind of incredible that anyone liked Chunji, period. L.Joe tilted his head to one side, adjusting his bangs just so, nudging wayward strands of hair into place. “Why would he? When’s the last time you even talked to him?”
“I know. But don’t you think that he jumped on me kind of fast?”
“Who jumped on who?” L.Joe’s gaze flickered over Chunji. “Didn’t you blow him before you even said hello?”
Chunji bit his lip, then gave L.Joe a really pretty, worried look. “I don’t still like him, do I?”
“What?” Amazed, L.Joe burst into laughter. “You don’t even know?”
“How should I know?” Chunji demanded, laughing. One foot swung at him in a playful kick, and he shoved it back down. “How am I supposed to figure out something like that?”
“How do you not know if you like somebody?”
“Shit, I love you, and I can’t fucking stand you,” Chunji said. “Not everything’s simple.”
“I can’t stand you, either,” he said, just to have it on the record.
“Great, thanks, you’re not helping.”
He sighed, crossing his arms over his chest. “Feelings are weird,” he admitted.
Chunji reached over, smoothing his hair for him. “Tell me about it.”
“It’s easier, with some people. Like, it’s not hard to love Niel, I guess.” He wasn’t that comfortable talking about it. “But with the members, I mean, you have to love your members.”
“No, you don’t. What are you talking about?” Chunji asked. “Plenty of people don’t love their members. It’s a business relationship, not a marriage. Lots of idols aren’t even friends.”
Wait. Really? “I don’t have to love you?” he asked, surprised. This shit was optional?
“It’s not in the contract, you goofball,” Chunji said. “Who said that you have to feel any certain way about anybody?”
Shit. He’d never thought about that. Why had he never thought about that? Was he stupid? Maybe he’d listened to Andy too much. The way that Andy talked about Shinhwa, he’d thought that he had to love his members. Like he loved his family. Loving his parents wasn’t supposed to be optional, it was expected, wasn’t it? He’d thought that it was the same way with his members.
Did this mean that he could stop loving Chunji now? Maybe not. That wasn’t really how love worked, he guessed. Ugh, so annoying. “Aish,” he muttered, giving Chunji a disgusted look. “Why am I stuck with someone like you?”
Chunji gave him a disgusted look right back. “Why am I stuck with someone like you?” Chunji slipped off of the edge of the sink. “Why am I coming to you for advice about guys? The only relationship you’ve ever been in is with a guy who only comes over to the dorm once in a while to hurt you.”
“He doesn’t hurt me,” L.Joe muttered. Chunji left worse marks on him than Sehun did, but he wasn’t about to bring that up. “Do you really still like Dongwoo hyung?”
“I don’t know. It’s not like it was before, right? That was, like, a decade ago. Give or take.”
“Right, give or take.”
Chunji grinned at that. “Should I have talked to him more before I blew him?”
“I don’t know. Probably. It’s going to be awkward if he still likes you, or if you like him but he doesn’t like you back anymore.”
“Ugh. See, this is why I like sex with the members, and EXO. It’s so easy. I can just get what I want and not care about things like this. I hate talking about feelings and all of that crap.”
“Do you?” L.Joe asked. “You keep telling me how much you love me.”
“That’s different.” Chunji smiled at him. “I only do that because you hate it so much.”
He landed a few solid punches as he chased Chunji into the hall.
Xiumin was kneeling on the table, singing with Dongwoo and Ravi, when Lay came in and said, “I think that Chunji just blew L.Joe in the bathroom.”
“Hyung!” Chen exclaimed.
“What?” Ravi asked. “Like, just now?”
“What the hell?” Xiumin demanded. “Does he blow everybody but me?”
He would have said more, but both of N’s hands covered his mouth. “You’ve been drinking a lot,” N said. “Your leader probably wants you to go back to the dorm now.”
Xiumin wasn’t that thrilled that N was right. “You’d be a lot more fun if you weren’t a leader,” he muttered, pushing N’s hands away.
“Well, someone has to be in charge in VIXX, and I couldn’t let it be Leo,” N said, helping him down from the table. “Come on, there you go.”
Landing, he hugged Dongwoo. “I’m sorry that I was screwing your favorite dongsaeng behind your back. I didn’t know.”
“I’m glad that you were screwing him! Let’s do it together sometime,” Dongwoo said. “I’ve never been in a threesome with him, Sunggyu hyung said that it wouldn’t be appropriate.”
“Are you kidding?” Xiumin asked, blinking at Dongwoo. “He’s fantastic. You’ve missed out on so much!”
“Yeah, it’s probably time to go,” Chen said.
“He’s right, though, Chunji’s fantastic,” Lay said.
“Fantastic at what?” Chunji asked, coming into the room.
“Nothing,” Chen, Ravi, and N said.
“Threesomes,” Xiumin, Lay, and Dongwoo said.
“Yeah, I’ll take this one if you’ll get those two,” Hoya said, putting an arm around Dongwoo.
A moment later, Xiumin realized that Chen was trying to take him back to the dorm. Shaking Chen off, he scowled. “I’m going home with someone else tonight, I want to get laid.”
Lighting up, Dongwoo broke away from Hoya and hugged him. “Come home with me!”
“Sorry, hyung, we have a schedule,” Hoya said. “No guests tonight.”
“But it’s my Mini,” Dongwoo said, pouting. “My sexy Mini.”
“Mmm.” Xiumin wasn’t allowed to kiss in public, so he didn’t, he just nuzzled Dongwoo’s neck and let Dongwoo paw his ass. He felt a little bit drunk. N patted his head and told him good-bye. He laughed and waved and fell onto the padded bench. Laughing, Dongwoo landed on top of him. They grinned at each other and everything was hilarious and Dongwoo was so drunk, it was so funny. He wasn’t allowed to kiss in public, but Dongwoo was already kissing him, so it was okay if he kissed back. Moaning, he pulled up Dongwoo’s shirt.
“I think we need more hyungs,” Chen said. It was really cute, how drunk and happy they were together, and it was really, really hot, the way they were grinding against each other and making out, and it was sort of alarming, how fast things were progressing. A hyung desperately needed to break this up, but they were the hyungs in the room, so now what?
“Oh, god, no, hyung, not that, not that,” Hoya said. He physically pulled Dongwoo off of Xiumin. Dongwoo seemed way more pliable than Xiumin was, so Chen helped. Some hyungs couldn’t be managed at all, and some could, carefully, but Dongwoo was like a marshmallow. A sexy, aroused marshmallow with a strong, wiry build and a serious hard-on. Pulling his shirt back down, Chen very respectfully did not cop a feel.
“My Mini,” Dongwoo pouted. “Let’s take him home.” With a suggestive, saucy grin, he bounced in place. “All of the members can play.” The way he was leering at Xiumin made Chen kind of want to be Xiumin.
“Ah, not tonight,” Hoya said. “Let’s, aw, shit, what am I doing? Why did you drive us here?” he asked Dongwoo.
Dongwoo, oblivious, was rubbing himself and shooting Xiumin one sexy, obscene look after another. Xiumin was giggling drunkenly and crawling onto the table to get to him.
“He can’t drive like this,” Lay said.
“Can you drive?” Chen asked Hoya.
Hoya snorted. “Without my glasses? We’d be safer if he drove.”
“You can come with us,” L.Joe said. “Our manager will drop you off.”
“Great. Dongwoo hyung, we’re going in Teen Top’s van,” Hoya said, wrapping both arms around Dongwoo and inching backward.
“I’m coming, too,” Xiumin announced.
Dongwoo laughed happily, turning around in Hoya’s arms. “My Mini’s coming, too,” he said, and he kissed Hoya right on the mouth.
“Mmm.” Hoya tried to break the kiss, but Dongwoo cupped his face in both hands, pursuing his mouth, kissing him again. “Mmm, ah.” Finally, he turned his face away, licking his lips and looking embarrassed. “Don’t even say anything,” he told Lay.
“Have you ever seen them have sex?” Lay asked Chunji.
“Who, Dongwoo hyung and Hoya hyung?” Chunji asked. “No. I walked in on them making out in the shower, once, but Hoya hyung stopped when he noticed me.”
“Making out in the shower,” Lay repeated. “Naked. Could you please tell me everything you remember about it?”
“And that is my cue to leave,” Hoya said, pulling Dongwoo toward the door.
While Chunji talked to Lay, Chen asked L.Joe, “Could Xiumin hyung go home with you tonight?”
“I wish,” L.Joe said. “But tonight’s not a good night.”
“Mini! Come on!” Dongwoo called from the doorway. “Let’s go home with Teen Top, we can spit-roast Chunji all night.”
That had Xiumin climb-falling off of the table. Someone seriously had to take control of this situation. “Hyungs, everybody,” Chen said. “We’ve had fun, but we’re in public, right? I think that Suho hyung and C.A.P. hyung and Sunggyu hyung would want us to be on our best behavior.”
“Next time, I’m going to be the leader,” Xiumin grumbled.
“Let’s roleplay,” Dongwoo suggested. “We can take turns being the leader.” He gave Hoya a lascivious smile. “Ya, Hoya. I have something-”
Hoya clamped a hand over his mouth, smothering him.
“Whoa,” Xiumin said, staggering and clutching at the back of a chair. “How many sojus of bottle did I have?”
Dongwoo laughed so hard, he slid out of Hoya’s arms and landed on the floor. Seeing that, Xiumin burst into laughter, staggering again and sitting heavily on the chair.
“We could leave them here,” Chunji suggested.
“If someone stays with Dongwoo hyung, the rest of us could help Xiumin hyung to the van,” Chen suggested.
“I’ll stay,” everyone said. Xiumin and Dongwoo found that hilarious. Chen sighed.
Hoya helped Xiumin into EXO’s van. Lay took over, guiding Xiumin into a seat, Chunji climbing in with a quick laugh. As Hoya stepped back, Chen said, “Thanks.”
“Mmm.” Hoya watched Chunji whisper into Xiumin’s ear. “Don’t be offended if we never let your mat-hyung near Dongwoo hyung ever again.”
“Aw, but they’re so cute together!”
“Like a matched set, right.” They were kind of adorable. Completely embarrassing and impossible to deal with, but adorable.
“Dongwoo hyung always seems kind of.” Chen glanced at Xiumin. “Different, for a hyung.”
Hoya nodded. “Yeah. We have Sunggyu hyung and Woohyun, though, so it’s still…” His voice trailed off; he grimaced.
“Still pretty much like having two hyungs?”
“Still a complete hell on Earth, is what I was going to say, but, yeah. Still like having two hyungs.”
Chen laughed, leaning into him. It was kind of a nice moment. He smiled and turned that thought over in his mind, then let it go. “Dongwoo hyung seems really nice, though.”
“He’s really stubborn about things like respect and manners and ethics.”
“Oh, our Kai’s like that.”
“But he’s practically the maknae, so you don’t have to listen to him.”
“He’s usually right, though,” Chen admitted.
Hoya nodded. “That’s annoying.”
Chen smiled at him again.
He kind of liked it.
Chunji hopped out of the van, then turned and waved. “Night, hyung!”
“Good night!” Lay called.
Chunji smiled at Chen. “Night, hyung.”
“Good night,” Chen said, and hugged him. Tucking his hands in his pockets, he strolled back into the building. Watching him go, Chen asked, quietly, “What you said earlier, about Dongwoo hyung’s heart. Do you really think, I mean?”
Personally, Hoya gave it about a week. Three, at the most, before reality started to set in. After that, he’d be mopping up tears.
He almost said that. But Chen seemed so sincerely concerned, he kind of felt bad. He didn’t want to make Chen worry. “It’ll be okay,” he said. “Chunji’s older now, and Dongwoo hyung isn’t as invested this time. We can let them have their fun.”
Looking relieved, Chen smiled at him. “Maybe it’ll work out this time. That’d would be funny, wouldn’t it? If they liked each other after all?”
He liked the way Chen saw the world. “Hey, if Sunggyu hyung and Ricky can have their grand romance, anything’s possible.”
The way Chen laughed at that was so happy, Hoya was still smiling when he went back inside.
Dongwoo fell asleep in the van. Sitting beside him, Chunji snuggled in against his shoulder and wondered what the hell was going on. It was just sex, right? It was just nice to make up and be on good terms again. It was stupid to think that it was anything more than that.
When they got to Infinite’s dorm, Dongwoo had trouble waking up and was completely confused. He was so cute, Chunji stroked his hair while Hoya explained what was going on. Rubbing at his eyes, he finally caught on. He gave Chunji a bewildered, hurt look, then a sweet, hopeful smile, and said, “I’m sorry you’ve been so upset.”
The way that guilt tore at Chunji’s heart cleared up whether he still had feelings for Dongwoo or not. “I’m sorry, too, hyung. I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”
Dongwoo’s smile brightened a little. “I’d like that.”
When Hoya and Dongwoo were gone, and the van was pulling away from the curb, L.Joe asked, “Is Sunggyu hyung going to be okay with this?”
“Why does he care?”
“He’s the one who made everyone stop seeing each other before, isn’t he?”
“Dongwoo hyung’s an adult, he can take care of himself.”
“I just think that if you break Dongwoo hyung’s heart again, Sunggyu hyung’s going to kill you.”
“Oh, I’m terrified.” He tried to ignore the first part of that, about breaking Dongwoo’s heart. He especially tried to ignore the word “again.”
It was one thing to like to think of himself as an irresistible heartbreaker. He was an idol and a visual, after all, it was practically in his contract. But it was something else actually to have hurt someone he cared about. And maybe to still have the ability to hurt that person. What if Dongwoo really liked him? What if they still couldn’t figure out what they wanted or agree on how things should be between them? What if everything fell apart again?
If he broke Dongwoo’s heart for a second time, he’d never forgive himself.
But what if Dongwoo broke his heart? What if he got hurt again? What if this time, he was the only one who got hurt? What if he was, like, in love or something, and Dongwoo didn’t return his feelings, and, oh, fuck. “Why did I even leave the dorm tonight?!”
As L.Joe let them into the dorm, Chunji whispered, “Don’t tell C.A.P. hyung.”
“Why would I tell C.A.P. hyung?” he whispered back. They went in. Everything seemed quiet. As they took off their shoes and shot each other warning looks, Changjo came into the room. Immediately, L.Joe tried to act like nothing was going on. He didn’t like the way Changjo sat down with a smug look, and he really didn’t like the way Changjo asked, “Had a good time tonight?”
“Yeah, it was okay,” Chunji said. “Xiumin hyung got so drunk, he’s lucky Suho hyung’s out of town.”
There was no way that Changjo knew anything. He was just being paranoid. Changjo was just toying with them. Creepy maknae. L.Joe headed for the kitchen.
C.A.P. came around the corner and smacked him in the back of the head. Ouch! “Punishment, four weeks, no sex.” Without warning, C.A.P. cuffed Chunji in the back of the head, too.
“Ow!” Chunji exclaimed, rubbing his scalp.
“Eight weeks, no sex. You’re both grounded.” C.A.P. walked away again.
“Oh, you’re back,” Niel said, coming down the hallway. “Congratulations on making up with Dongwoo hyung, we’re all happy for you.”
L.Joe stared at Changjo. “Seriously?!”
Changjo smiled at him.
“Get over here,” Chunji ordered, moving toward Changjo at lightning speed.
“Whoop!” Changjo dove off of the couch.
“And don’t bother the maknae!” C.A.P. shouted.
Waving at them with a cheerful smile, Changjo danced out of the room.
On the floor, looking pale and miserable and a little bit green, Xiumin glared as Chen peeked into the bathroom.
On the phone, Chen said, “Yes, hyung, it’s fine. Mmm? Ah, yes, we did, we met some of the Teen Top and VIXX members at noraebang. And some of the Infinite members were there, too. Oh, just N hyung and Ravi, and L.Joe and Chunji, and Dongwoo hyung and Hoya hyung. I know, well, Xiumin hyung thought that it would be nice to get everyone together for a couple of hours.” He laughed. “Hyung, you worry too much! It was all sunbaes and hyungs, do you think that Ravi and I were going to make a bunch of trouble?” He closed his eyes, then winced. “Ah, he’s here. Okay.” He held out the phone. “Suho hyung wants to talk to you.”
Xiumin glared at Chen with utter hatred, made a very rude gesture, and took the phone. Leaning against the toilet, he breathed carefully, and then he forced a bright smile. “Ah, our Suho, how’s Tokyo?” he asked with breezy cheer. Looking nauseated, he closed his eyes. “Yeah, everything’s normal, here. Ah, last night?”
Two days into Chunji and L.Joe’s punishment, C.A.P. rolled over in bed. Ending up against Niel’s back, he prodded Niel in the ribs.
Making an irritated sound, Niel slapped his hand away.
“You like Infinite, right?” C.A.P. asked.
“I’m sleeping,” Niel said.
He drew lines between Niel’s shoulder blades, thinking.
Chunji and Dongwoo. Had they made up for good?
Once upon a time, Infinite and Teen Top had been really close. They’d debuted together, worked together, practiced together, performed together. Hell, C.A.P. would understand L.Joe’s sexuality even less if it weren’t for Sunggyu.
Everything had been great, for a while. Really great.
Things with EXO were solid now, but they’d been shaky, before. The way Suho had panicked over the blind item had made C.A.P. want to back the fuck up and end it for good. It was good for L.Joe to have everyone close, and Niel and Ricky were happy with it, and Chunji and Changjo both approved it, so he was letting it be. But long-term, EXO might come and go. It would be good to have somewhere else to turn. Someone else to take over if Sehun flaked out on them again. Someone else to have a good time with.
If Chunji and Dongwoo were okay, then the only problem was Sunggyu.
No, the only problem was L.
No. The problem was C.A.P.
Grimacing, he rubbed his hand over his face.
He’d never apologized to L. He wasn’t proud of himself for that. But he owed L an apology. He was so late with it, it probably wouldn’t mean anything anymore. He didn’t even expect L to accept it. But he should at least make the effort. L deserved it.
He wasn’t the greatest guy in the world, but he couldn’t believe that he’d been such a shitty friend.
He got out of bed and went into the maknaes’ room. They were snuggled together like bunnies. He checked Changjo’s phone for L’s number. Then he went out to the living room with his own phone and texted L. It’s Bang Minsoo.
L’s reply was two messages:
He winced. Can I come by your practice room sometime?
I don’t care if you win a bonsang or fall off a cliff. Do whatever you want.
In the morning, he asked Changjo about Infinite’s schedules. Changjo wanted to know why he wanted to know. He didn’t feel like explaining, so he put Changjo in a headlock until Changjo rattled off a list of performances, interviews, and practices. Satisfied, he made a mental note and went on with his day.
That night, he cut practice short. Chunji and L.Joe were so glad, they didn’t question him. Ricky looked like he wanted to ask but thought better of it. Niel complained. C.A.P. went back to the dorm, showered, and got dressed. Changjo haunted his every move like a freaking shadow, and by the time he was at the front door, Changjo was dressed and ready to leave, too.
He pushed Changjo out of his way. “I’m going out,” he told Niel. “While they’re on punishment, you’re in charge.”
“Me?” Niel asked, pointing at himself. He looked around the couch like he expected someone else to pop up beside him. “This is no good.”
“Ricky!” he shouted.
Ricky came into the room. “Hyung?”
He palmed the top of Ricky’s head. “Behave. Listen to Niel and help him with your hyungs.” He gently shook Ricky back and forth. “Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t leave, don’t let anyone in, don’t set anything on fire.”
“No fires,” Ricky said. “Got it.”
He was so cute, C.A.P. kissed him on the mouth. “Don’t listen to Chunji no matter what he says. He’s evil.”
Ricky nodded in complete acceptance of that fact. “I understand.”
C.A.P. turned to Changjo. “You’re not coming with me.”
Changjo looked calm. “Okay, hyung.”
C.A.P. put more bass and steel in his voice. “You’re not coming with me.”
Changjo’s expression didn’t change. “Okay, hyung.”
C.A.P. left the dorm.
He was barely a foot from the door when Changjo appeared right behind him.
Turning around, he pointed at the door.
“Maknae. This isn’t a game.”
“Okay, hyung.” Changjo didn’t budge.
Great. If he wanted to get rid of Changjo, he was going to have to get serious about it, and either physically force Changjo to obey him or pull out his “do what I say or else” voice. He didn’t want to apologize to L in front of the maknae, but he didn’t feel like forcing the issue. “Are you going to cause trouble?”
An innocent blink. “No, hyung.”
“Why do you even want to come along?”
Changjo smiled pleasantly. “I-”
Already sensing bullshit, he moved in close, stepping in swiftly until Changjo was backed against the wall. Anyone walking past would just see him talking to his maknae; anyone walking past wouldn’t recognize the look in his eyes.
Changjo dropped the pretense. “I like you, and I like L hyung,” he whispered. “I want this to go right, but you’re both going to mess everything up.”
His own maknae thought that he was going to foul up a straightforward apology. He didn’t have a lot of room to argue that Changjo was wrong about that, either. Look at how well he’d handled a simple friendship. “If shit goes down, whose side are you on?”
“Yours,” Changjo said immediately. “Always.”
He nodded, and then he backed up. “All right, let’s go.” As they started off, he slung his arm around Changjo. Not a bad kid, really.
Sunggyu was sweaty and annoyed and fantasizing about punching Hoya for being so demanding about which way his toes pointed when their manager opened the practice room door. Hoping that there was some horrible emergency and he could abandon practice, he went over. “Hyung?”
“Teen Top is here. C.A.P. and Changjo.”
What the hell? “Okay, I’ll come out.” Their manager nodded and closed the door. Turning around, Sunggyu studied his members. Changjo would be here for L, but C.A.P. wouldn’t, so why were they here? They hadn’t cleared it with him first, and C.A.P. wouldn’t show up without asking. Had they asked someone else? Who would be stupid enough to give them permission without checking with him? “Lee Sungyeol.”
Sungyeol looked surprised. “Hyung?”
Mmm. Genuine surprise and no guilt. Sungyeol was innocent. “Never mind.”
Hoya was practicing in front of the mirror. Dongwoo was texting someone. Sungjong was drinking water. L was chewing on his lips and toying with his phone and adjusting his clothes. Woohyun was coming over to Sunggyu. “Hyung?”
He brushed Woohyun aside. “Kim Myungsoo, your friends are here.”
Reluctantly, L turned to him, wincing. “I didn’t think that he’d actually come.” Then L blinked, eyes widening. “Friends, plural?”
“It must be important, right in the middle of practice,” Sunggyu said. “I’ll go get them so they can come in here and tell us whatever’s so very, very important that we all have to stop practice to hear it.”
“I’m sorry, it’s nothing,” L said. “Let’s just ignore it, he’ll go away.”
“Who’s here?” Woohyun asked.
“C.A.P. and Changjo,” Sunggyu said. “Sungjong, go get them.”
“I’ll do it,” L said, moving toward the door.
Sunggyu pushed him back. “Leaving already? Finished with practice?”
“No, hyung, I just-” Breaking off, L sighed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t think that he’d come.” He gave Sunggyu a questioning look. “He brought Changjo?”
“Are you surprised that he brought Changjo, or are you surprised that Chunji’s not here, too?” Woohyun asked.
“Seriously,” Sunggyu said to Woohyun. “Whenever you get one, you get another. It’s weird.”
“It’s too weird,” Woohyun said. “What kind of leader has a sidekick like that?”
“What kind of leader needs a constant companion?” Sunggyu asked.
They smiled at each other.
“It’s sick,” Woohyun said.
“You just can’t respect someone like that,” Sunggyu agreed.
“You said that they’d be finished by now,” someone said in the hallway. It sounded like C.A.P.
“They’re supposed to be!” Changjo insisted.
“We’re staying late, we changed some of the steps,” Sungjong said, leading them into the room. “They’re here,” he announced, walking away and abandoning them in the doorway.
“Oh!” Dongwoo said, surprised.
“Hi,” C.A.P. said. “Hyungs.” He bowed, and Changjo bowed with him. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know that you’d still be practicing, I thought that I could catch L on the way out.”
“You’re here to see L,” Sungyeol said. “Right. That makes sense.”
“You’re interrupting,” L told them. “Can you go?”
“Ah,” C.A.P. said. “It’s okay, we’ll go.” Changjo was nudging him; he shot Changjo an annoyed look. “Sorry, hyung,” he told Sunggyu. “We didn’t mean to-”
“Do it now,” Changjo said.
“What?” C.A.P. asked.
“Do it now,” Changjo repeated.
“What, here? Ya, we’re interrupting practice.”
“If you walk away now, he’ll never listen again. Just do it.”
“What, you want me to say everything right now in front of everybody?”
“Pretend they’re not here.”
“What are you doing?” L asked Changjo.
“Nothing,” Changjo said, and shoved C.A.P. toward L.
C.A.P. rounded on Changjo, fist raised, and Changjo ducked, darting out of reach.
Sighing, Sunggyu sat down, resting his back against the wall. Woohyun sat beside him. Hoya sat on his other side, Sungjong joining them. Grinning, Sungyeol sat down, too. Woohyun waved Dongwoo over, pulling him close and leaning comfortably against Sunggyu’s side.
“This is, that’s great,” C.A.P. said. Clearing his throat, he adjusted his hat. “I’m sorry,” he told L.
L stared at him.
C.A.P. coughed. “This, uh, isn’t easy. I’m sorry for, uh. I feel like I was a bad friend.”
L headed for the door.
“Hyung, no, hyung,” Changjo said, catching him. He tried to brush Changjo off, but Changjo steered, pushed, and dragged him back in front of C.A.P. “Suho hyung would want you to listen.”
“Sunggyu hyung would tell me to tell him to fuck off,” L said. He wasn’t entirely wrong about that.
“Well, that’s why we have lots of hyungs, so we can get different kinds of advice,” Changjo said, holding him in place.
“Look, he doesn’t want to hear it, I have a whole audience here, I-”
“C.A.P. hyung,” Changjo said, cutting him off. “Don’t make this worse.”
“What am I supposed to say? I’m sorry. I apologize. I screwed up. Look, I didn’t know,” C.A.P. told L. “You never said anything.”
L’s laughter was painful to hear. Sungjong shuddered and pressed closer to Hoya. “What did you expect me to say?” L’s voice cracked and he pushed Changjo away. “C.A.P., you’re my best friend. C.A.P., I don’t understand anything in my life but you make sense to me. C.A.P., I’m in love with you.”
Sunggyu put his arm around Woohyun to anchor himself so he wouldn’t jump up and drag L away from anything and everything that might hurt.
C.A.P. looked lost. “I didn’t know.”
“Fuck you,” L said, walking away.
Darting in between L and the doorway, Changjo tried to herd him back while shooting C.A.P. insistent looks. When C.A.P. kept looking lost and ready to give up, Changjo mouthed, “Words, say words!”
“We were friends,” C.A.P. said to L’s back. “That wasn’t nothing to me. Being an idol, being a leader, I was in way over my head, but you made sense to me, too. Not much else did.”
L pivoted, glaring at him. “I was easy sex and no responsibility, and that’s all you cared about. You could screw me and relax and not have to worry about listening to management and wiping babies’ noses for a few minutes. That’s all!”
“Hey, it wasn’t only that,” C.A.P. said.
“You’re not stupid,” L accused, sounding furious and looking hurt. He was a wounded animal, and Sunggyu was tense, heart racing. Woohyun put a warning hand on Sunggyu’s leg, but one more minute of this and Sunggyu was going to rip C.A.P. apart. “You knew I liked you. You knew it and you liked it. And then it was inconvenient and you threw me away like we’d never even known each other.”
“I didn’t want to stop seeing you! Sunggyu hyung said-”
“Sunggyu hyung what?!” L screamed. “Fuck that and fuck you and fuck what he said! Are you a man or are you a fucking child? If you wanted to see me, you could have! If you’d cared about me, you would’ve tried! You let go of me.” His lips quivered and tears spilled down his cheek and Woohyun’s grip tightened. “You let go of me, and you were grateful that you had an excuse.”
The whole room was quiet.
Sungjong lowered his head.
Dongwoo wiped at his eyes.
Sunggyu was itching to speak up. There were so many things that he wanted to say. Mostly to C.A.P. Mostly at top volume.
“I’m sorry,” C.A.P. finally said. “Maybe I’m more stupid than you think. I really didn’t know. I don’t know how I didn’t know. Maybe I didn’t want to know. Maybe I didn’t want to see it. Maybe I’m just an insensitive jerk. What do I know about relationships and love and things like that? I was too busy trying to keep my life together, and all of those kids’ lives together, to notice anything else. I was just grateful to have someone to talk to, who made me laugh.”
“Just get out,” L said. “Get the fuck out.” When C.A.P. didn’t move that instant, he screamed, “Go!”
Sunggyu started to get up. Woohyun pushed him back down. “Not yet, hyung.”
Still crying, L walked away. He went over to the far wall and hugged himself, his back to the room.
“Aw, hyung,” Changjo said, going over to him. “Oh, you can’t be like this.”
Sniffing, L wiped at his cheeks. “You can get the fuck out, too.”
“You know, my antis call me a selfish brat,” Changjo said, moving in the narrow space between L and the wall. “Or my hyungs. It’s my hyungs, they call me a selfish brat. But I know what it’s like to be eighteen and under pressure, maybe, a little. I know what C.A.P. hyung was like then, and I knew, you, too.” He peered into L’s eyes. “You were both self-centered. You both wanted to escape from everything. He wanted to escape into something relaxing and low-pressure and easy, and you wanted to escape into a place where you felt loved and supported and cared about. You tried to turn him into that place, and he tried to turn you into what he needed, and both of you were just being desperate and selfish and stupid and trying to force each other to be something you weren’t.”
“You think this is my fault,” L said.
“I think that it’s EXO’s fault,” Changjo said. “If they’d debuted back in 2010, C.A.P. hyung could’ve just screwed Baekhyun hyung, and you could’ve snuggled with Suho hyung, and everybody would’ve been happy. But they showed up two years too late. Stupid hoobaes.”
Woohyun smiled, and that made Sunggyu feel marginally better.
“Why are you still here?” L asked, wiping at his face again.
“I’m not, I have to go, Sunggyu hyung’s going to punish me if I interrupt practice.” Changjo smiled, running his thumbs over L’s cheeks. “You look awful when you cry. You’re so red and puffy. Do you really do this on TV where everyone can see?”
Laughing, L pushed him away. “Just leave.”
Changjo hugged him.
He hugged back, his shoulders relaxing. “I hate C.A.P.”
“You can’t hate your best friend.”
“He’s not my best friend,” L said, looking offended. A moment passed. “He was my best friend,” he admitted. Another moment passed. “He’s so stupid,” he muttered.
“And dead inside,” Changjo said.
“He’s not dead inside.” L cupped Changjo’s chin in his hand. “You’re not dead inside.” He smiled a little, fondness for Changjo slowly stealing over his face. “Why are you here? Why did you come?”
“I wanted to spy on you and steal your dance moves before you had a chance to debut anything good.” Changjo backed toward the door. He waved at the members and bowed to Sunggyu on his way by. Opening the door, he backed through it, and then he poked his head back in. “L hyung.”
“What?” L asked, still smiling a little.
“I lied. You look beautiful.” He yanked the door shut and was gone.
“Is that it?” Sungyeol asked. “Should we applaud?”
Sunggyu was on his feet. He wanted to yell at somebody, but C.A.P. wasn’t around. So he yelled at L. “Finished?” he demanded. “Done interrupting practice for your personal life? Finished causing scenes and playing games?”
“Hyung,” Dongwoo said, looking disappointed in Sunggyu. “Are you okay?” Dongwoo asked L, cupping his face and gazing at him like he was a little child who needed help.
Nodding, L started crying again. Making a sympathetic sound, Dongwoo wrapped him into a tight hug.
“Bringing some other team’s leader over here and some random kid!” Sunggyu exclaimed. “Yelling and crying, is this the set of your new drama? Are you here to dance or are you running lines?”
“He didn’t mean it,” Sungyeol said. He patted L’s hair. “Stop, come on, it’s over, right? Aw, you really do look terrible.”
“Breaking up with C.A.P. all over again like it’s 2012,” Sunggyu said. “Disrupting practice. Is working on choreography cutting into your personal life too much? Should we schedule everything around your social life from now on? We’ll cancel all of our appearances tomorrow in case you want to go to lunch with Young Money, is that good?”
“Hyung, really,” Woohyun
said, gently steering him backward. “We
were almost finished, anyway. Let’s take
a little break.”
“Another break?” he demanded. “This wasn’t enough? Sitting around watching the latest episode of the Bang, Kim, and Choi show wasn’t it?”
“You need a break,” Woohyun said. “Get a drink, get some air, get a blowjob, and come back in ten minutes, okay?”
“I don’t need any air,” he snapped. Fed up with everyone, he grabbed a bottle of water and stormed out.
He drank and peed and talked to management and had very judgmental thoughts about C.A.P., L, Changjo, Woohyun, and everyone else he could think of. Then he stormed back in and finished practice. Then he got in the van and went back to the dorm and sulked. He knew that he was sulking and he didn’t care. Everyone could just go to hell.
Dongwoo brought him dinner and he started to get over it.
Changjo texted him: I’m sorry, hyung, should I come over to apologize? He texted back: Not during practice! Changjo texted back: That’s right, hyung, I would never interrupt my Infinite hyungs’ sacred practice time. Smart-mouthed brat.
By the time Woohyun came into his room to talk to him, he felt better. They talked for a while and relaxed together. Woohyun kissed him good night and left, and he got up and went to L and Sungyeol’s room. L and Sungjong were in bed together, half-undressed and cuddled up. He kicked Sungjong out and sat on L’s bed. L sat up, and he stroked L’s hair. “You okay?”
“Yeah.” L looked guilty. “I’m sorry about earlier.”
“Hyung’s sorry.” He kissed L’s forehead. “C.A.P.’s not a villain, but he’s not good enough for you. Don’t let just anybody hurt you like that.”
L looked pained. “I don’t even want to care anymore.”
“It’ll be easier not to, after today.” He looked into L’s emotional eyes. “I mean it, L-ah. You’re too good for him. You’re too good for everybody. You’re precious, understand? You’re important to hyung. I love you and I can’t have you giving your heart to just anybody.”
L’s smile was slow and beautiful and forgiving. “Okay, hyung. I understand.”
He stayed for a while, and they talked. When L kissed him, he held back, wanting to be sure that it was okay, not wanting to push himself on L if the moment wasn’t right. But L nuzzled his cheek and whispered, “I want to give my heart to you, tonight.” What else could he do if L said something like that? He kissed L, and he said, “I’ll take care of it, dongsaeng-ah, hyung’s here for you.” They made love slowly, and he took his time, and he made sure that L felt loved, and happy, and beautiful, and sexy, and good things, only good things, all of the good things.
C.A.P. felt terrible. He couldn’t believe that L had thought all of those things about him. He couldn’t believe that he’d made L feel like that. Thinking about that wounded expression on L’s face and the way that L had said, “You let go of me, and you were grateful that you had an excuse,” made him feel sick. On the way back to the dorm, in the van, he cried. Changjo pretended not to notice.
Back at the dorm, he was back in leader mode. He exchanged a look with Changjo, then carefully, stealthily, opened the front door.
No one was in sight.
As they took off their shoes, C.A.P. heard a knocking sound coming from somewhere else in the dorm.
“Hyung.” Ricky’s voice. “This isn’t the way. Hyung?”
“Hyung.” Niel’s voice. More knocking. “It smells like Changjo’s sweaty clothes in here. I don’t want to die like this.”
C.A.P. moved forward, Changjo on his heels.
“How long has it been?” Ricky asked.
“Hours, maybe even days,” Niel said. “I’m going to have to kill you and eat you first.” Belatedly, he added, “Sorry.”
“I understand,” Ricky said solemnly.
The knocking started again. “Hyung,” Niel said. “That time that I was so sick that I sneezed on your back and then threw up on you? I’m not sorry.”
C.A.P. grinned. Moving into the hallway, he saw L.Joe seated on the floor, back against the closet door, feet against the opposite wall. Of course. Niel and Ricky were in the closet.
Texting, L.Joe had his head down and his cock out. He was licking his lips and making soft, aroused sounds, one hand toying with his hard-on. He never saw them coming.
Sitting on L.Joe’s legs and grabbing the phone, C.A.P. let Changjo cover L.Joe’s mouth and handle the suddenly flailing arms. Ah, texting Sehun. Ignoring L.Joe’s indignant struggles, he pocketed the phone. He slapped L.Joe’s hard-on and got up, gesturing to Changjo to stay. Changjo nodded at him capably and shifted on top of L.Joe for a better hold.
C.A.P. moved silently through the dorm. Hearing an exasperated sound from Chunji’s room, he smiled and zeroed in.
Chunji was on his stomach on his bed, feet kicked up in the air. He was messing with his phone, chewing on his lower lip and making doubtful noises.
C.A.P. walked right up to him and plucked the phone out of his hands. “Ya!” He looked up in surprise, and then he dropped his face to the bed, groaning. “Aw, shit.” An instant later, exclaiming, “Come on!” he popped back up, on his knees, reaching for the phone.
Batting him away with one hand, C.A.P. checked his phone. He’d been writing something. Looked like an apology to Dongwoo. It was kind of touching. C.A.P. pocketed his phone, too, then smacked him upside the head. “Seven more days.”
“Can I at least send it?” Chunji demanded. “Or can I at least tell him that my bullying leader grounded me like a little kid so that he doesn’t think I’m ignoring him?”
“I, hold on.” C.A.P. leaned back out into the hallway. Changjo and L.Joe were wrestling on the floor and the other kids were trying to shove the door open to get out. “Maknae, let him up. L.Joe, seven more days. Niel, Ricky, get out of there.”
“We’re trying!” Niel shouted.
C.A.P. went back to Chunji, sitting on the bed. Still kneeling, Chunji was visibly holding back to see what he wanted. He could tell that Chunji was willing to go in any direction: immediate support, stubborn anger, calm attentiveness, unrestrained fury, whatever Chunji decided the situation called for. He took off his hat and scratched his head. “I apologized to L. It didn’t go well.”
Slowly, warily, Chunji sat beside him. “You okay?”
“Yeah. No. I don’t know.”
L.Joe stormed in like a tiny ball of hurt outrage and threw himself onto his own bed. He sat there and glared at C.A.P. like he could make C.A.P. disappear if he wanted it badly enough.
“Shut up for once,” Chunji told L.Joe.
“I didn’t say anything!”
“Shut up anyway!”
“Stop telling me what to do!”
“How much trouble do you two want to be in?” C.A.P. asked.
They shut up.
He pushed Chunji out of his way and stretched out on his back. “I apologized to L,” he said again, since now his audience had doubled. “He hates me.” He rubbed his eyes. “It went so much worse than I thought it would.”
Chunji sat by his shoulder. “That’s bad, sorry,” L.Joe said, sitting by his hip.
“You’ll be okay,” Chunji said. “He has his multiple bank accounts to comfort him, he’ll get over it.”
“Why’d you apologize now?” L.Joe asked.
“I thought.” He sighed. L.Joe’s hand rested on his thigh. “I thought that if Chunji could get over himself, I mean, get over his problem with Dongwoo hyung, maybe we could hang out with Infinite sometimes.”
Chunji pinched his ear; he winced. “What do you mean, hang out?” L.Joe asked.
“Whatever we do with EXO,” he said. “Dates, MT, whatever.” L.Joe’s hand was moving up his thigh. He relaxed, spreading his legs a little; it was habit. “I don’t think they’ll want to, though.” He sighed, scratching his eyebrow, thinking of L’s furious expression.
Chunji got up, closed the door, and came back to sit beside him again. “You’re saying that we could go on MT with Infinite?”
“The kids would lose their shit, they’d love that,” L.Joe said.
“You’d love that,” Chunji said.
“You’d love it,” L.Joe said.
The two of them could turn the simplest conversation into an argument. “I thought that if Chunji could get along with everybody, Sunggyu hyung might allow it. But I wanted to apologize to L first.”
“Even if they hate the two of you, can’t Niel and I do it?” L.Joe asked. “They don’t hate us.” His hand rested right over C.A.P.’s junk. The light pressure was like an innocent tease, and C.A.P. shifted, wanting more. “They like us, we get along with everybody on their team.”
“I’m not sending you and Niel unsupervised on MT with seven hyungs,” C.A.P. said. “Who knows what the two of you would let them do to you.”
L.Joe blushed, his touch traveling lightly over C.A.P.’s cock. “It would be okay, they’d be nice.”
“Nice?” Chunji asked. “Take an orgy with EXO, but with more controlling hyungs, more experience, more kinks, and more doms. And then think about all of that centered on Niel, who loves cock and never says no, and you, who only say no when you mean yes. It wouldn’t be nice, it would be a massacre.”
Mumbling, “It wouldn’t be like that,” L.Joe ducked his head.
If L.Joe was going to keep rubbing him up like this, he was going to need a little more room. C.A.P. undid his fly. Immediately, L.Joe’s fingers stole over the front of his underwear, tracing the shape of him through the cotton. “I don’t know if I can get things straightened out with L,” he admitted. “And I don’t know if Sunggyu hyung will be okay with it.” The fact that Sunggyu had been so ready to help him out with L.Joe after the blind item gave him hope, though. That had been a big thing to offer, and a big commitment to make. And Sunggyu hadn’t only offered Woohyun but himself, too. So maybe it was worth a shot. “If I can get them to talk to me, is that what you want? Would the two of you be okay with seeing Infinite?” Chunji being upset about Dongwoo and L.Joe being sexually overwhelmed were his two biggest problems. It was still possible that Chunji wouldn’t want to try committing to Infinite again, and it was also possible that L.Joe wouldn’t be able to handle it. Like Chunji had said, Infinite was different from EXO. Any minor upper hand that L.Joe had been able to establish by being sunbae would be gone. Sunggyu and Woohyun might be sensitive to L.Joe’s situation, but C.A.P. knew what it was like when L.Joe’s equilibrium was thrown off, and even these days, that still happened more easily than he liked.
“I’ll be okay,” L.Joe said. He was lying. “Maybe I’ll take it slowly,” he mumbled.
“If you’d freaking let me talk to Dongwoo hyung, that might help,” Chunji said. “Without that, I don’t know, I don’t know what’s going on.”
“I’ll lift your punishment for ten minutes,” C.A.P. said. “Arrange a time to meet him later, and I’ll lift your punishment then, too, so you can go. Ten minutes,” he repeated, handing over Chunji’s phone. “To be fair, that’s ten minutes for you, too,” he told L.Joe.
“You don’t care about fair, how is that fair?” Chunji asked.
“Make your phone call.” He reached for the lube; L.Joe was already undressing.
This was a horrible idea. Dongwoo meeting Chunji? Sunggyu didn’t like it. It had only been yesterday that C.A.P. had come to see L, and how had that turned out?
While the members drifted out of the practice room, ready to go home, Sunggyu cupped Dongwoo’s face in his hands, staring intently until Dongwoo’s attention settled on him. Finally attentive, Dongwoo smiled brightly, then managed to hold still. “Ya,” Sunggyu said. “Listen to me. He’s just a silly kid. You can’t take him seriously. I know that you like shiny, fun things, but he’s no good for you. He doesn’t know what he wants. You’re too old to play games with a spoiled brat. Understand?”
Looking mystified, Dongwoo tried to nod.
Sighing, Sunggyu let go. “Stay with him,” he told Hoya.
Sunggyu kissed Dongwoo’s mouth. “No sex and no crying.”
Woohyun was waiting for him in the hallway. “Should we leave them alone together?”
“Ah.” Woohyun put an arm around him as they walked out. “They’re both older, now. Maybe they have more sense.”
He shot Woohyun a look. “Sense? Who? You’re not talking about Dongwoo and Chunji. They’re like a twelve-year-old and a toddler.”
Woohyun grinned at him. “Who’s the toddler?”
He scowled. “Guess.”
Dongwoo greeted Chunji with a hug. Shiny and fun, Sunggyu had been so right, that was Chunji. Shiny and fun. Look at his smile, Dongwoo loved his happy smile. He said, “Hey, hyung,” and Dongwoo kissed him.
They made out against the wall for a while. It was so hot and so exciting, Dongwoo couldn’t stop. Everything turned him on and sparks were skittering all over his skin and Chunji was pure magic. He remembered that Sunggyu had said “no sex,” but it was okay to make out, and it took a lot to get Chunji off, so he kept going, and going, and going, reconnecting with all of the parts of Chunji that he’d missed, like the curve of Chunji’s ass and the sound of Chunji’s moans and the way Chunji pulled on his hair a little when things got good. He had Chunji’s shirt off and his hand down the back of Chunji’s pants and they were humping against each other to the rhythm of his need when all of a sudden Chunji panted, “Wait, wait, hyung, wait,” and pushed at him.
Confused, backing up, he wiped his hand over his mouth and adjusted himself in his pants. “Why? It’s not good?”
Flushed red from his cheeks the whole way down to his chest, Chunji tried to catch his breath. With a laugh, he smiled, and he looked so happy, Dongwoo wanted to move up on him again. “It’s great, you’re about to make me come. But I didn’t come here for that, I want to, I just want to talk to you.”
That might not be a good thing. Worry started to chill some of Dongwoo’s happiness. He helped Chunji get dressed again; it was hard to keep his hands off of Chunji’s firm thighs and cute red panties and pert ass. Everything about Chunji drew him in. They kissed a little more, and then Chunji laughed against his mouth and said, “Hyung, this isn’t talking.”
If what Chunji had to tell him was bad, then they might not be together like this again. He wanted to be with Chunji while he could. So when he sat down, he pulled Chunji right on top of him, right into his lap. Getting comfortable across his thighs, Chunji wrapped an arm around his shoulders and leaned against him. Brushing kisses over Chunji’s long, smooth neck, he closed his eyes. “What do you want to talk about?”
“Can, uh, can we be alone for this?” Chunji asked.
“No,” Hoya said from the other side of the room.
Chunji laughed. “Okay!”
Dongwoo loved how easily he laughed. Kissing his mouth again, Dongwoo caressed his cheek. “I missed you so much.” Gazing at his face, Dongwoo just wanted to drink him in. They’d been apart for so long, it was hard to believe that they could be like this again. It kept feeling not quite real, like he was just a fantasy and Dongwoo was dreaming. It had been so sudden, at noraebang, it had seemed like they’d skipped back in time. But this was now, this was real, this was present-day Chunji, not “Reply 2012.”
“Hyung.” Chunji took his hand and held it. That was something that the members did when they wanted him to stop touching things and focus, so he focused. He’d always loved looking at Chunji’s face. It was so expressive. Right now, searching his gaze, smiling just a little, Chunji looked happy and worried and patient. “When I apologized to you before, I don’t know if I said enough.”
Did that make sense? “You said that you were sorry. That’s what an apology is.”
“But I think that I hurt you a lot. I feel awful about that, it makes me want to throw up.”
“I did hurt a lot,” he admitted. “I missed you a lot.” He rested his forehead against Chunji’s temple. “I think that I wanted things that you weren’t ready for.”
“You did.” Chunji’s voice was soft, his arm still around Dongwoo’s shoulders. “I wasn’t ready. But I handled it badly. I’m really sorry for that.”
Dongwoo felt really sad, all of a sudden. He felt sad for himself, and for how much time he and Chunji had lost, and how long Chunji had suffered with guilt. Sunggyu had told him not to cry, but he might have to, anyway.
“It’s been really hard,” Chunji said. “I thought that it would get better or I’d stop caring or it wouldn’t hurt so much, but it never stopped, you know? It never went away, even when I tried to ignore it. I just don’t want to live like that anymore. I’m sorry that I did that to you. I don’t know why you care so much when I’m so crappy and selfish.”
Dongwoo sniffled. Tears were leaking out of his eyes and his throat was all clogged up. “You’re not crappy, you’re magical. You’re sparkly and shiny and fun.”
Chunji laughed, wiping at his own cheeks, then at Dongwoo’s. “I don’t feel sparkly, I feel terrible. You’re not going to forgive me too fast, are you? I don’t deserve it.”
“I don’t want to live like that anymore, either.” With his forehead against Chunji’s temple, he watched their tears fall down together, a drip here, a drip there, like tiny splashes of rain. Chunji sniffed and he held Chunji closer. “I don’t want to have to miss you anymore. I don’t want to be shut out of your life. Can we be close, from now on? Can I see you sometimes?”
“I’d like that.” Chunji cleared his throat and pulled the hem of his shirt up, wiping at his eyes. “I want to.”
He was starting to believe it, now, that Chunji was real and all of this was happening. It felt more solid, like some hazy mist was clearing away and now he could see exactly what was in front of him. “I’m glad that I didn’t know that you were Mini’s new sex friend. It would’ve hurt too much.”
“Does it bother you now?”
“Now?” he repeated. Borrowing the hem of Chunji’s shirt, he wiped his own face, and Chunji laughed. “No, I don’t mind anything, now. It’s hard, knowing that other people are close to you when I’m on the other side of the door. But if I can be close, too, that’s all I want.”
“Hyung.” Chunji looked into his eyes, and he saw wariness and hope and worry on Chunji’s face. “Do you like me?”
“Yes.” Of course he did. He always had. “Yes, I like you a lot.”
Chunji hugged him. The feel of Chunji’s arms around him was so nice, so welcome, that he hugged Chunji back. He was so glad to have this again. Quietly, Chunji asked, “Is it okay if I don’t know how I feel?”
“You don’t know how you feel about me?” They could narrow it down a little, couldn’t they? “Do you hate me?”
“No!” Pulling back, Chunji looked at him to make sure that he wasn’t serious, then laughed. “No! I like you, I think. I’m just not sure. I don’t know how I feel, I don’t know how much.”
“That’s okay.” Dongwoo didn’t mind. “Do you like somebody else?”
“No. No, it’s not that, there’s nobody else. These days I’m probably closest to Xiumin hyung, but that’s just sex. He wants someone hot to jerk him around a little, and I want a sexy hyung to flirt with, but it’s not like a relationship or something.”
Dongwoo grinned, running his hand up Chunji’s side, tickling a little. “I can be a sexy hyung you flirt with.”
Wriggling, Chunji laughed, and Dongwoo kissed him.
L.Joe was reading in bed when Chunji came in and crawled on top of him. “How was it?” he asked.
“We made up and we made out. He still likes me, can you believe he still likes me?”
“No,” L.Joe said honestly. When Chunji rolled him over and started tugging at his pants, he smacked Chunji’s hands away. “Ya! We’re still grounded!”
“I need to get off, give me your cock.”
“We’ll get in trouble!” he protested, struggling with Chunji over his pants.
“You’re not saying no,” Chunji pointed out. “Come on, we’ll be quick. What’s the worst we’ll get, another couple more days of punishment? It’ll be worth it, I’ll make it good, I’m so freaking horny right now.”
“Okay. God, I’ve been horny for days.”
L.Joe tried to be quiet, but he was so turned on he couldn’t stop moaning, and he tried to be quick, but Chunji was being really demanding and wouldn’t come. By the time Chunji finally got off and L.Joe’s second orgasm hit, they were both so worked up they couldn’t stop, and they rolled off of the bed and onto the floor, clinging to each other and kissing.
Finally, he pushed Chunji away. “Get off of me.” It was a miracle that they hadn’t gotten caught, but even if C.A.P. was still asleep, one of the kids would tell on them, and he wanted to be cleaned up and civilized-looking when that happened, to give himself a better chance of convincing C.A.P. that the kids were lying.
“Mmm, sometimes your cock is good for something, after all,” Chunji said, and then he looked over L.Joe’s shoulder and his eyes widened. “Aw, shit!”
L.Joe barely had time to brace himself before he felt C.A.P.’s knuckles against his scalp. “Ouch!”
Reaching over him, C.A.P. hit Chunji, too. “L.Joe, you’re cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen. Including the fridge.”
“Ya! The fridge?” he demanded. “Why just me, what about him?”
“He gets his own punishment,” C.A.P. said.
“Why do we get different punishments?” Chunji asked.
“Because I only spank L.Joe when I absolutely have to,” C.A.P. said, grabbing Chunji’s arm.
“No!” Chunji shouted. L.Joe stared, completely not sure how to feel about this. It was a thrill to see Chunji so upset, but he felt bad for Chunji, too, and he also felt really turned on in a deep and complex way that brought an excited burn of eagerness and shame. While C.A.P. dragged Chunji upward, Chunji kicked at both of them, yelling furiously.
“You know how it goes,” C.A.P. said patiently while L.Joe narrowly dodged a kick to the head and decided to get out of the way. “Grounding, no friends, no phones, then cleaning, then violence.”
“I’ll clean! I’ll clean! I want to clean!” Chunji said desperately, trying to get away.
“L.Joe’s cleaning,” C.A.P. said. “Calm the hell down, it’ll only be ten a day as long as you don’t get in trouble for anything else.”
“A day?!” Chunji shouted. “A day?!”
Every day? C.A.P. was going to spank Chunji every day for the rest of their punishment? L.Joe hastily pulled his pants on. Would they get to watch? Please, please, he really wanted to watch. Ten a day, it was like a delicious tease. Couldn’t it be more? He had to figure out a way to get Chunji in more trouble.
In the dorm, on the couch, L was reading a script when the phone rang. Sungyeol was on the couch with him, head in his lap, and he set the script on Sungyeol’s chest as he checked his phone.
C.A.P. was calling him? He answered. “Don’t call me.”
“Wait a second. Don’t hang up.”
He glared at his phone. “Why not?”
“I want to try apologizing again.”
Sungyeol reached up, took the phone out of his hand, checked the ID, frowned, and handed the phone back. “Why?” he asked C.A.P.
“I’m sorry that you’re so upset. I don’t know how things went so far.”
He ran his fingers through Sungyeol’s hair. “Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter anymore.”
“If you still hate me, it matters.”
“Well, then it’s going to matter forever.”
C.A.P. didn’t say anything.
He didn’t say anything, either.
In the background, he heard a sudden shout, and then cursing. Muffled, C.A.P. said, “Tell them to knock it the fuck off.”
“Still raising wild monkeys?” L asked.
“God, they’re getting worse,” C.A.P. said. “I thought that once they got older, they’d calm the hell down.”
“What’s wrong this time?”
“They’re deliberately trying to get each other in trouble so I’ll punish them.”
“They just want to get each other grounded?”
C.A.P. sighed. “We’re at the corporal punishment stage.”
Oh. Oh. “Is Changjo in trouble?”
“No, just Chunji and L.Joe.”
Interesting. Spanking was one of those contextual things. There was play spanking and sex spanking and punishment spanking, and it was kind of emotionally complicated to engage in all three with the same person. L wrapped a lock of Sungyeol’s hair around his finger. He’d actually seen C.A.P. spank the members, before, and it had been a swift, parental swatting. He wondered what it was like now that they were older and also doing each other. “Do you hate it?”
“Punishing them like that? It’s weird.”
He recognized that tone of voice; by “weird,” C.A.P. meant, “I don’t know how I feel about it, it’s too complex and I’d rather not think about it, but honestly I kind of like it and it would be better if we’d stop talking about it.” Augh, it was difficult to hate someone he knew so well. A part of him felt comfortable, no matter what; they were too familiar with each other. Keeping his distance made things easier. He should just hang up.
“Sorry, hold on a second.” He heard raised voices, arguing, panicked shouting, the slam of a door, the slam of another door, and then silence. Slightly breathless, C.A.P. said, “Sorry about that. How’s everything in Infinite’s dorm?”
He looked around. Sungjong and Hoya were making out on the floor. Dongwoo was walking around naked. “Normal.”
“I really hate that you think that I treated you like that on purpose.”
Changjo thought that C.A.P. hadn’t meant it, that it had been more about misunderstandings than anything. Sunggyu thought that C.A.P. wasn’t villainous or intentionally cruel, just too careless with L’s heart. Suho thought that C.A.P. had matured since then and might deserve another shot, if L was willing to extend that to him. L thought that life just really hurt sometimes, and people were terrible to each other.
He didn’t want to forgive someone who’d hurt him, whether out of malice or thoughtlessness. He didn’t want a friend who wouldn’t be there for him when things got bad.
He toyed with Sungyeol’s hair, looking down, twining soft, brown strands around his fingers. He didn’t want to hold onto this hatred forever. But he couldn’t trust C.A.P. again. “You had a lot to deal with. Chunji was being an asshole, and you chose him over me. I get that. He’ll always come first. But you didn’t have to be such a clueless piece of shit about it.”
“I know. I’m sorry.” There was a pause. “You have horrible taste.”
“I know.” He really did.
“I guess it got better since then, though. Are you and Suho hyung…?”
“No. A little, maybe, but not like that.” They were everything except boyfriends, but they’d probably never be boyfriends. For that, Suho needed a hyung. Someone where all of those leader, guardian, hyung tendencies wouldn’t kick in and he could be the dongsaeng for once.
“You and Changjo?”
He laughed. “God, no.” He ran his fingertips over Sungyeol’s eyebrows and down the straight line of Sungyeol’s nose. “Let’s put everything behind us, okay? I’ll stop wanting to burn your dorm to the ground if you stop apologizing. Now what do you want? What’s all of this about?”
“It’s about you.”
“You’re apologizing to me now. Why now? Changjo made you? Chunji wants everything settled so that he can see Dongwoo hyung?”
“I’m apologizing because I feel bad.”
“What’s your ulterior motive?”
“I don’t have-”
“What’s your ulterior motive?”
“What is it?!” he shouted. Sungyeol sat up and looked ready to take the phone from him.
“Don’t jump to conclusions.”
He stared at the floor, listening.
“I thought that if everything was okay between Chunji and Dongwoo hyung, and if you were willing to forgive me, then maybe our teams could be close again. Things were really good before, for a while. And some of our members are still close. I don’t want everything that I screwed up, or what Chunji and I screwed up, to ruin things for everyone else. The rest of my members never even had a chance.”
“You’ll never touch me again,” he said.
Sungyeol frowned, putting a hand on his leg.
“I know,” C.A.P. said.
“I don’t care what happens, I don’t care how close everyone gets, I don’t care if we all hold onto each other and sign contracts and blend companies and become one team forever. You’re never going to touch me again.”
“L, I know.”
“I don’t care about anything else. Do whatever you want. Talk to Sunggyu hyung, make plans. It doesn’t matter to me.” Out of energy, out of emotion, he hung up and dropped his phone.
“What is it, you’re okay?” Sungyeol asked, looking into his face.
Exhausted, he slumped back. “You’re going to get to have sex with Niel soon. C.A.P. wants to arrange everything the way it used to be, but with all of the members, now.”
Sungyeol’s smile was broad. “You’re kidding. Sunggyu hyung,” he called, getting up. Turning back, he squeezed L’s shoulder. “You’re okay, right?”
L nodded at him.
“Good. Sunggyu hyung!” Sungyeol called, walking away.
“I hope that he says no,” Sungjong muttered.
Scratching his head, L got up. He went into his room. Leaving the lights off, he crawled into bed in the dark.
He didn’t know how much time had passed before he heard Sungjong say, “L hyung, your phone’s ringing. Changjo’s calling.”
“Turn it off.” He rolled over, hugging his pillow to his chest.
He’d never hurt C.A.P. back. It might feel good to do that. Slide the knife in. Just a little. He’d never been sure how to. The only things C.A.P. cared about were family and Teen Top. Family was off-limits, and Teen Top? He wanted to hurt C.A.P. in a very personal way, in an intimate way, not professionally.
One little twist of the knife, and that was all. One quick sting, and he’d feel better. A parting blow.
He wondered if he could get Changjo to help him. Changjo had to know C.A.P.’s weaknesses even better than he did.
He sat up.
He wondered if he could make C.A.P. jealous.
No. C.A.P. didn’t care enough about him to be jealous. He’d have to get C.A.P. to care first, and he’d never managed that; that was the whole problem.
But he wondered how C.A.P. would feel if he and Changjo got together. If he and Changjo were a happy, sexually active couple. If he made it abundantly clear, right in C.A.P.’s face, that Changjo, baby Changjo, Teen Top’s maknae, C.A.P.’s own dongsaeng, was the best sex he’d ever had.
That just might sting a little.
Single parenting was hell. C.A.P. needed a nap or a beer or an escape tunnel. Maybe he could lock himself in the hall closet until the nasty odors in there knocked him unconscious for a while.
Ah, the hall closet. The next person who pissed him off who was going to clean that closet.
The dorm had been quiet for about five minutes, which meant that he’d better check on everyone. He opened the door to the maknaes’ room first, and found Niel and Ricky snuggled up in bed together, Changjo fondling Ricky’s ass, the three of them dreamily discussing their favorite spanking methods and which hyung did it best.
There needed to be an idol-swapping program, where he could trade members with other teams. Maybe Suho would trade him Changjo for Kai.
Suho. How did Suho discipline EXO, anyway? As far as C.A.P. could tell, the EXO members were naturally well-behaved. But there had to be some way for Suho to keep them in line. A maknae like Sehun had to test boundaries, and how did Suho handle Xiumin?
C.A.P. closed the door and swung by the bathroom to pick up a bottle of lotion. After he spanked the kids, he was supposed to make sure that they put something on their sore skin. They didn’t actually need it; their stupid butts were fine. But Andy insisted on it, either because Andy hated him and enjoyed ruining his life, or because pretending to care about his members’ wellbeing was important.
He went in to check on the ’93 line. L.Joe was on one bed, curled up in a ball, possibly asleep, back to the room. Chunji was on the other bed, resting on one side, head propped on one hand, singing to himself, naked from the waist down.
Seeing C.A.P., Chunji cut himself off. While C.A.P. approached the bed, he stared at C.A.P., unmoving, like they were locked in some battle of wills.
If C.A.P. handed Chunji the lotion and told him to take care of it, he’d refuse. If C.A.P. went ahead and did it personally, he’d kick and yell and make a huge fucking ordeal of it. So C.A.P. stood over the bed and held out the lotion and waited.
He gave C.A.P. a bored, contemptuous look and rolled onto his stomach, like it was a silent dare.
Always had to make everything a challenge. C.A.P. knelt on the bed and squirted lotion onto his bare ass. It was still a little pink, but that would fade. “How’s L.Joe?”
Chunji snorted. “He’s not whispering to himself and masturbating and moaning like an addict. Ow,” he added pointedly, and C.A.P. tried to be gentler.
That was not what C.A.P. had wanted to hear. Two days ago, L.Joe had been temperamental and feisty and trying to pick a fight with everyone in sight. That had been noisy and annoying, but at least it meant that L.Joe was keeping it together. Yesterday, L.Joe had turned shy and sensitive. Today, he’d gotten really skittish. “I’m not calling Sehun for him while he’s grounded.”
“You’re going to have to do something.”
If they only had performances, it might be okay. L.Joe was great onstage. It was all of the offstage, backstage stuff, interacting with people, that was a risk. And they had interviews and appearances lined up.
He wondered how bad it was. He wasn’t going to give in and call Suho to set up a playdate; being grounded had to mean something, goddamnit. Ordinarily, he’d let Chunji handle it, but Chunji was being punished, too.
What was he supposed to do, let Changjo take care of it?
To put off having to make a decision, he sat there for a little while, watching L.Joe sleep and idly caressing Chunji’s naked thigh. Niel came in and asked if Xiumin could come to visit, and he said no. He wondered if it was his fault that all of his members were horny perverts. Judging from the things that other idols texted to Changjo, though, maybe not.
L.Joe stirred. Moaning, he untucked from his ball. He made the needy, whimpering sound he made when he was distressed that C.A.P.’s pants weren’t coming off fast enough, and he rolled onto his other side. His eyes opened, and through his tousled bangs, he saw C.A.P. Drawing his knees up again like he had to protect himself, he squeezed his eyes shut and curled up on himself, whispering, “Don’t, please, please, don’t,” like C.A.P. was doing anything besides sitting there absolutely still.
Yeah, this was going to be a problem.
C.A.P. waited a few minutes, to see if L.Joe would possibly calm down. But nothing changed; L.Joe just huddled there, hugging himself.
C.A.P.’s phone rang. It was Suho. Good, someone normal. “Ah, hyung.”
“C.A.P., how is it? Everything’s going well?”
“Want to trade members?”
To his surprise, Suho said, “Yes. Yes, I’d like that very much.” While he laughed, Suho sighed. “Do you know anything about what happened when my members invited Chunji and L.Joe to noraebang?”
“Mmm. I know about it.”
“Did my hyung do anything that I wouldn’t be happy with?”
“Ah, Xiumin hyung?” Chunji was trying to listen in; he shoved Chunji away without looking. “That depends on what he’s allowed to say in public and how much you want him to drink.”
Suho was silent for a moment.
“It wasn’t that bad,” C.A.P. said. “Dongwoo hyung and both of my members were a lot worse.”
“I’m sorry about that. I’ll take responsibility.”
“For what, Chunji and L.Joe?”
“Yes. Xiumin hyung invited them. He was their host and their hyung, and he should’ve handled things more responsibly. It’s our fault.”
C.A.P. wondered, again, how Suho disciplined EXO. “Hyung, are you very busy tonight?”
“Do you need something?” Suho asked. “Have you eaten?”
“It’s not that. Do you have time to come over?”
“I have a little time. Should I bring Sehun?”
“No, definitely not.”
“Okay. I’ll be at your dorm in about, mmm, an hour?”
As soon as C.A.P. lowered his phone, Chunji asked, “Who was that? Was that Suho hyung?”
“Yes.” Feeling better about everything, C.A.P. got up, stretching. Twitching, L.Joe stared at him, tracking his every movement.
“You’re letting Suho hyung bring that maknae here?” Chunji demanded. “You’re going to reward him for acting like this?”
“Maknae?” L.Joe asked, uncurling from his tiny ball. “Oh Sehun? Oh Sehun?”
“Thanks,” C.A.P. told Chunji. “No,” he told L.Joe firmly, and L.Joe froze. “No Oh Sehun, he’s not coming. You’re grounded, no visits.”
L.Joe just stayed there, half-uncurled, like he’d gotten stuck and couldn’t figure out what to do if Sehun wasn’t coming.
“Then what’s Suho hyung coming over for?” Chunji asked.
“Leader stuff. Put some pants on, he doesn’t want to see all of that.”
He told the other members that Suho was coming. Niel ordered Ricky to clean up, Ricky insisted that it was L.Joe’s job these days, and Changjo suddenly had to take a shower. “He’s not coming here to see you,” C.A.P. finally said, when he found Changjo putting on cologne.
“Okay, hyung.” Changjo slid his watch on. C.A.P. gave up.
When Suho showed up, he was friendly and full of smiles, and he hugged Changjo.
“Right,” C.A.P. said, pulling on the back of Changjo’s shirt to get him off of Suho. “Go to your room. All of you, in your rooms,” he ordered. Ricky and Niel went. He walked Changjo to the maknaes’ room personally, told Ricky, “Watch him,” and closed the door. He checked on the ’93 line to make sure that they had pants on. They did; he closed their door, too. He closed the third door on Niel, then went back to Suho.
“Rough day?” Suho asked, sitting with him on the couch.
“Ah, I understand.”
“Do your members actually ever act up?”
Suho laughed. “You offered to trade? I’d be grateful to have members like yours.”
“You want them?” he asked. “Take them, you can have them.” He didn’t get it. “You have Chen and D.O., why would you want anyone like these fools?”
“After this trip to Tokyo, I’d be glad to have members like Niel, Ricky, and L.Joe.”
He grinned. “What about Chunji and Changjo?”
“If you’ll take Sehun, Xiumin hyung, Kai, Baekhyun, and Chanyeol, I’ll trade.”
“Kai? Kai wouldn’t do anything.”
Pressing his lips together, Suho shook his head. “He’s too stubborn.”
C.A.P. laughed. He wished that stubbornness were the worst thing he had to deal with. “What do you do to them?”
“I talk to them. I take away privileges.”
“Sometimes they have extra things to do. Cleaning, laundry, extra practice. You don’t do those things?”
“I do, but sometimes that’s not enough.” He rubbed his ear. “You just talk to them?”
Suho nodded. “I talk to them about what they’ve done wrong and the consequences.”
That wouldn’t work on someone like Changjo, who usually considered the consequences before acting out. It might work on some of the others, though. “What do you say?”
Suho smiled. “It’s not always what you say. Sometimes it’s the way you say it.”
Niel didn’t know why Suho had come over, but L.Joe was pissed off that he hadn’t brought Sehun, and Changjo was super pissed off that he hadn’t stayed for sex, and everyone was frustrated and irritable. Niel wished that his stupid hyungs would get in less trouble, because short punishments were okay, but these drawn-out ones were a mess. It left all of the members in a bad mood all of the time.
Practice the next day didn’t go very well. Changjo was strict and mean, Ricky kept complaining about not feeling well, Chunji went around tripping people on purpose, and L.Joe tried to start a fight about every little thing. Niel got so impatient with his stupid, lazy members that he hit Ricky. Only he was so fed up that he hit too hard, like a real hit, and Ricky got angry, for real angry, and all of a sudden they were fighting, taking their frustration out on each other and brawling on the floor.
Their hyungs pulled them apart. As soon as he caught his breath, Niel cringed, expecting to be hit. He waited, but nothing happened. Confused, he risked a look at C.A.P.
Standing there, C.A.P. was just watching. He had his hands on his hips, and his face was weird. He had his lips pressed together, and he was too quiet. Where was the yelling? Uneasy, Niel couldn’t relax.
C.A.P. shook his head, and he looked so disappointed, Niel winced. “I don’t know why you’d be like this.” His voice was strangely quiet. And sad. He sounded sad. Niel didn’t understand any of this, but it was awful. Why wasn’t he yelling? “You know how important this practice is. Are you tired? Yes?”
Was this a trick? It had to be a trick. If Niel gave the wrong answer, he’d be in trouble. “Y-y-yes?” he guessed warily, and he braced himself for the worst.
C.A.P. looked even more disappointed, like Niel had just let him down in the most heartbreaking way. “We’re all tired, Daniel. I’m tired, all of the members are. Changjo’s more tired than any of us, with his solo schedules this week, but if we want to reap the rewards, we have to put the work in. If we want to stand onstage in front of Angel and show them our best, we have to make an effort. Isn’t that what they deserve?”
He had no freaking clue what was happening. What was he supposed to say? He couldn’t think when C.A.P. had that face on! He’d said “yes” last time, and that must have been the wrong answer. This time, he tried, “No?”
“Yes!” Ricky said. “Yes, yes, hyung, that’s what Angel deserves.”
C.A.P. smiled at Ricky like he was glad that Ricky had said that, but his eyes still looked a little sad. “Angel does deserve our best. And we should give each other our best, too. We’ve been together for a long time, now, and we’ve come a long way. As long as we’re all in this together, the six of us, I think that we should stay committed to putting our best effort into it and supporting each other the best way we can. If one of us is half-hearted, he holds the rest of us back. Is that fair?”
Niel was afraid to answer. He didn’t understand what C.A.P. was doing. This was like some sort of depressing pep talk from hell. Where was his punishment? Why couldn’t he just get smacked and yelled at and go back to practicing? He’d really, really rather be practicing right now.
“No?” Ricky asked.
“After Chunji’s worked so hard in so many ways to help Teen Top, to improve himself and help all of us, is it right for you only to give fifty percent of yourself? Or to be careless or irresponsible or unprofessional?”
Hey! Unprofessional?! Niel had been called a lot of things in his life, but he’d never been unprofessional! “Hyung, that’s too far.”
C.A.P. frowned at him. It wasn’t an angry frown, it was a sad frown, like he’d just done something wrong that proved how far he’d fallen. C.A.P. had never looked at him like that before, and all of a sudden he felt horrible about himself. C.A.P.’s gaze weighed on him like a hundred boulders, crushing him with guilt and regret. “Is it too far? You’ve disrupted practice, Daniel. Both of you have. Now we’ll have to stay here even later, cutting into everyone’s time off, when Changjo’s worked so hard this week and needs his rest. What if you’ve left bruises on Ricky? Is that something that you want the stylists to see? You have to think, both of you. This is no way to behave. You’re young, but you aren’t children anymore. What have we always said? If you want to be respected as an adult in this industry, you have to act like an adult. I want both of you to go sit in separate corners and think about that.”
What? Sit in a corner? “Aren’t we practicing?” Niel asked.
“We were, until you decided to disrupt everything,” C.A.P. said. “Go to your separate corners. I want you to reflect. The rest of you can take a break. We’ll start again in twenty minutes.”
“Twenty minutes!” L.Joe exclaimed.
“Maybe after Niel and Ricky have reflected, they’ll want to apologize to you for making you wait,” C.A.P. said.
Niel felt so guilty, he couldn’t even look at the other members. The mood in the room was so solemn, he trudged across the room on leaden feet. This was awful. What had happened? C.A.P. had never treated him like this before. Calling him Daniel! Calling him unprofessional and irresponsible! Looking at him like that! He dropped down in one corner of the room. Hugging his legs and lowering his head, he hid his face. This was going to be the longest twenty minutes of his life.
As soon as C.A.P. was out of sight around the corner, Chunji pulled L.Joe down the hallway, in the opposite direction. “What was that?!”
L.Joe ran his hands through his hair, looking as baffled as Chunji felt. “The look on his face. I thought that he was going to tell us that he was dying. Why did he look like that?”
“Fuck,” Changjo whispered, coming up to them. “That was terrifying.” He looked from Chunji to L.Joe and back again. “Is he going to be like this from now on? He’s just fucking with us, right?”
“He’d better not lecture me like that,” Chunji said. “I’d rather just be yelled at and grounded.”
“Where did he get that, what is he doing?” L.Joe asked.
Changjo raised his eyebrows. “Suho hyung. You couldn’t tell? That’s how Suho hyung talks to the EXO members.”
“That hyung!” Chunji exclaimed.
“No wonder they’re all so good all of the time,” L.Joe said. “I’d be too afraid to say the wrong thing, if I got treated like that.”
“We’re not in EXO,” Chunji said. “I’m not putting up with it. He’d better start bullying us the right way, or I’m telling Andy hyung.”
C.A.P. loved this. He’d been using Suho’s method for twenty-four hours now, and Niel and L.Joe were completely obedient. Ricky was an angel. Chunji was completely stressed out. Changjo was conflicted and cautious. He was going to keep it up until one of them cracked under the pressure, and then maybe he’d give them a choice: he could continue the guilt trips, or he could go back to his old ways. But if they stopped responding to the usual punishments, he’d go back to Suho’s way of doing things. The threat of that would keep them in line for a while.
He called Suho to say thanks. For the first time in his memory, the background of Suho’s phone call was a worse circus than his was. Curious, and noticing stress in Suho’s voice, he asked, “Everything okay over there?”
“It’s a million little things,” Suho said. “And they’re all exacerbating each other.” He paused. “Dongsaeng-ah.”
C.A.P. smiled. Suho was usually too respectful of his position as a leader and sunbae to address him so familiarly. “Yes?”
“Would you be able to help me?”
Suho didn’t usually confide in outsiders about problems inside EXO. But their teams were so linked, now, he wasn’t going to consider C.A.P. an outsider anymore. When C.A.P. came over, they stood just inside the front door, and he spilled everything. His members’ bad tempers, their irresponsibility, their quarrels, their pettiness and selfishness and stubbornness, all of the dozens of little things that added up into one nasty tangle of bad attitudes. He’d grounded them and withdrawn privileges and broken up fights and scolded and lectured, but they were turning on each other like rabid dogs.
C.A.P. listened to all of it, then asked, “Who’s broken the most rules?”
“Baekhyun, Chanyeol, and Xiumin hyung.”
“Who’s inciting the most trouble?”
“Sehun, D.O., and Xiumin hyung.”
C.A.P. nodded. “You sure you want me to do this?”
“Yes.” As soon as he’d cleared up everything after the blind item, and reconciled with Infinite and Teen Top, his members had been cheerful, well-behaved, and energetic. All of a sudden they’d completely deteriorated, and he couldn’t allow it.
“Members,” he called.
“I’ll do it,” C.A.P. said. Moving into the middle of the front room, he raised his voice. “Kids! Everybody! Here! Now!”
Taken aback, Suho touched his own neck, wishing that his voice had that much bass in it. C.A.P.’s voice really resonated.
Members began to gather, some obedient, some curious, some making a dramatic show of reluctance. “What,” Sehun said, eyeing C.A.P. from the kitchen archway. “What is this?”
“This is you getting your skinny ass over here,” C.A.P. said. “For the next few minutes, I’m EXO’s leader.”
Sehun laughed. “You’re kidding.”
“Oh, this should be good,” Xiumin said, raking his gaze over C.A.P.
“Are we going to learn Teen Top choreography?” Lay asked.
“No,” C.A.P. said. “You’re going to learn Teen Top discipline.”
Baekhyun laughed. “Kinky.”
“Line up,” C.A.P. ordered, grabbing Baekhyun by the forearm and dragging him off of the couch. “Everybody, on your knees, hands up.”
“What?” Baekhyun asked, shocked. “Ow!”
Suho held back and forced himself not to react as C.A.P. grabbed, yanked, shoved, and kicked his members into place. He wasn’t used to seeing his members treated like this, and he wanted to wince in sympathy; they were staring at him, expecting him to intervene. But he’d agreed to this, and he was going to be firm about it. They could take it for a few minutes; Ricky and Changjo had been through it for years.
Once C.A.P. forced Baekhyun, Chanyeol, and Kai into place, Chen and Lay were more cooperative, but everyone looked confused, betrayed, or angry. “What is this for?” Baekhyun asked as C.A.P. kicked the backs of D.O.’s knees until they bent.
“Act like a bunch of irresponsible, disrespectful, stubborn brats, get treated like bad kids,” C.A.P. said. He stared at Sehun. “Remember me?”
“Oh.” Sehun’s attitude changed like a mask falling off; looking humbled and chastened, he scuttled across the room and knelt down beside Lay.
“You, too,” C.A.P. said as impolitely as possible, grabbing Xiumin with both hands.
“Are you talking down to me?” Xiumin demanded, trying to fight him off.
“I don’t speak formally to surly babies,” C.A.P. said. The way he manhandled Xiumin into place, moving behind and kicking Xiumin into position, made Suho very sure that he’d had a lot of practice wrangling strong, resistant people. “Arms up, hands in the air.”
Xiumin tried to wrench himself free. “What the fuck is-”
Without a word, C.A.P. jerked Xiumin off-balance and pinned him face-down. “Right now, I’m your leader. I’m your EXO’s Suho, I’m Kim Joonmyun. Speak to me like that again, you’ll won’t say another word all night. Kai.”
Everyone stared at Kai.
Red-faced, Xiumin raised his head far enough to glare at Suho. He looked murderous. Suho had never, ever let anyone treat Xiumin so disrespectfully.
“Yes,” Kai said.
“C’mere. Hold him.”
Kai glanced at Suho. Suho forced himself not to respond. C.A.P. was in charge; C.A.P. was Suho now. Kai went over to C.A.P., copying his hold and sitting on top of Xiumin.
“Stay,” C.A.P. commanded, getting up. He raked his gaze over the line of kneeling members. “Arms up!”
Their arms went up, elbows bent, hands raised in fists. Chanyeol, Baekhyun, and Chen were shooting each other questioning looks, having a silent conversation. Lay kept looking at Suho. D.O. stared at C.A.P. like he was plotting murder. Sehun was the only one who looked resigned and obedient. Suho was going to have to find out what “remember me” referred to.
C.A.P. moved behind them, pacing up and down the row. “You’ve been rude,” he smacked Baekhyun in the back of the head, “disrespectful,” he hit Sehun, “stubborn,” he hit Kai, “and irresponsible,” Chanyeol. The members were gasping and crying out and cringing, staring back at C.A.P. in shock and at Suho in betrayal. “You’re a bunch of dishonest,” he hit Lay, “ungrateful,” he hit Chen, “unprofessional little shits.” He hit D.O.
D.O. turned around and punched him in the thigh.
C.A.P. grabbed D.O.’s face in one hand, leaning over and staring into his eyes. “Who am I the leader of?”
“Teen Top,” Lay said.
“EXO,” Sehun said.
“What are you a member of?” C.A.P. demanded, his grip tight on D.O.’s face. D.O. stared into his eyes with unblinking intensity.
“EXO,” Sehun said.
“What does EXO-L show up for?” C.A.P. demanded.
“EXO,” Sehun said.
“Who does EXO-L support?”
“Who do you represent everywhere you go?” C.A.P. demanded. “In the stores, at the broadcasting stations, in the hotels, at noraebang, backstage, in the dressing room, onstage, in front of the cameras, every goddamned place you go?”
“EXO,” Sehun said. A few of the other members joined in, saying it with him.
“Who looks good when you look good?”
“Who looks bad when you look bad?”
A few of them winced, looking guilty. “EXO,” they admitted. D.O. blinked.
C.A.P.’s grip relaxed. “Who does EXO-L spend money on, listen to, look up to, care about, and waste time on?”
“EXO,” they said. D.O. said it, too.
C.A.P. pushed D.O. back into place. “Hands up.” D.O.’s hands went up, and the few members who’d let their arms relax a little fixed their posture. C.A.P. went back to pacing up and down the row. “Who does EXO-L spend their money on? Themselves, their parents, their kids, their friends, charity, savings, people in need, who?”
“EXO,” the members admitted.
“What does EXO-L spend time on? Homework, studying, work, family, friends, charity, what?”
“Who do they spend all of their time voting for, supporting, standing in line for, shielding, arguing about, admiring, listening to, watching, downloading, and working for?”
“Every time you step outside, every time you speak to a PD, every time you’re in front of a camera, every time you talk to a sunbae, every time you talk to a hoobae, every time you’re with a stylist or a writer or a fan or a journalist, who do you represent?”
He circled them, in front of them, behind, slapping them in the back of the head if their elbows dipped. “Every time you talk back, every time you get lazy, every time you curse or smirk or make a joke, every time you have a bad attitude, every time you don’t bow, every time you aren’t grateful, who do you represent?”
He slowed down, lingering over each one of them, stalking around them, like he didn’t miss a thing. “Every time you go out, every time you flirt, when it’s just this one time, when it’s just that one comment, when it’s easy to get away with it this once, who’s in jeopardy?”
They were cringing. “EXO.”
“What do you always have to keep in mind?”
“Who do you always have to look out for?”
“What always comes first?”
“What always comes first?” he repeated.
“EXO,” they repeated with more strength.
“What always comes first?!” he demanded.
“EXO!” they shouted.
“What are you a member of?”
“What am I the leader of?”
“On your feet,” he ordered. “Let him up.”
The members got up, eyeing him warily. Kai got off of Xiumin, who stood up, crossed his arms over his chest, and glared at C.A.P. with obvious mutiny in mind.
“You, you, and you, clean the bathroom,” he said, thumping members in the chest. “Scrub everything in there until it’s so clean you can lick it. You, you, and you, clean the kitchen. You and you, start the laundry, then one hundred push-ups each, use your phone and record each other. Go.”
Some of them hesitated, some looked at Suho, some looked at each other. Sehun, who’d been told to go to the kitchen, grabbed Chanyeol’s hand and said, “Come on, hyung.” Chanyeol glanced at C.A.P., then pulled on D.O. and went with Sehun. D.O. followed slowly.
“Lick it clean,” Baekhyun said uncertainly to himself, but left. Chen followed him.
Kai and Lay went to do the laundry.
The only one left, Xiumin crossed his arms over his chest.
C.A.P. stared Xiumin down. “Clean the bathroom or go to your room.”
Xiumin scoffed and went to his room.
C.A.P. glanced at Suho. “You’re going to want to go outside for about half an hour, hyung.”
Suho thought that sounded like a good idea. He left the dorm. He paced the hallways and rode the elevator for a while. He wondered what C.A.P. was doing in there. He texted Onew, Leeteuk, and U-Know to thank them for the example they’d set as leaders. He wondered if C.A.P.’s leadership style came from Andy, and if that meant that it came from Eric, and if things had been different at SM, in previous generations.
Wondering what he’d find, he went back into the dorm.
C.A.P. was leaning in the kitchen archway, looking bored. In front of him, Sehun was scrubbing the stovetop. “How are the push-ups?” he called.
“Good, hyung,” Kai called back.
The dishwasher was running. The washing machine and dryer were running, too. Lay was doing push-ups, Kai standing over him, phone in hand, counting.
In the bathroom, Baekhyun was anxiously scrubbing the toilet.
Where were Chanyeol, D.O., and Chen? Their bedroom doors were shut; so was Xiumin’s. Suho reached for a doorknob, then hesitated.
“When you finish, do crunches,” C.A.P. said. “One hundred each.”
“Yes, hyung,” Kai called.
Biting his lip, Suho studied the closed doors.
“What comes first?” C.A.P. called.
“EXO!” Baekhyun, Sehun, Lay, and Kai replied promptly.
“What do we make sacrifices for?”
“Who do you listen to no matter what?”
Surprised, Suho smiled.
C.A.P. strolled down the hallway. When Suho gestured at the closed doors, he shook his head. “Don’t worry about them, hyung. They’re reflecting.” Stepping into the bathroom doorway, he asked, “Ready to lick it?”
“Not yet,” Baekhyun said politely and a little desperately.
“Okay, keep going.” He strolled away again.
That couldn’t be literal. He couldn’t actually intend to force Suho’s main vocal to lick something in that bathroom. Suddenly finding Baekhyun unbearably precious, Suho wanted to protest.
The closed doors suddenly seemed more ominous. What were the other members reflecting on? Leaning close, Suho pressed his ear to Chen’s door. He didn’t hear anything. What could have happened? His sunshine-filled Chanyeol, his snuggly Chen, his hardworking D.O., why had they been sent to their rooms?
C.A.P. had given Xiumin the choice between cleaning the bathroom and going to his room, but that was a strange choice. Of course Xiumin would rather sit in the comfort of his own room than scrub mildew.
C.A.P. had spent years disciplining a bunch of spirited teenagers; he wasn’t going to make a foolish mistake like that. There had to be more to it. He’d sent Xiumin to the bedroom, and then sent Suho away. Something had happened in the last half hour. Something so bad that Baekhyun would rather clean the bathroom than suffer that fate.
“What do you give one hundred percent to?” C.A.P. called.
Suho had always admired Teen Top’s choreography. It took not only a lot of talent to put on that kind of show, it took a lot of discipline and hard work. It took grueling hours and genuine effort and heart. That meant cooperation and coordination, it meant teamwork and commitment, but it also meant leadership. He hadn’t put enough thought, maybe, into C.A.P.’s role in that.
Suho had agreed to this, and he was going to let it play out. He went over to the couch and turned on the TV. Putting his feet up, he relaxed. He texted L: I hope that your leader takes good care of you. He flipped channels. Sehun brought him a drink. L texted him back: No. Then, a moment later: Maybe. Lay and Kai moved around racks of drying laundry. Key called, and they talked for a while. He watched part of a movie. L called, and they talked, too.
He heard C.A.P. say, “Looks good. Ready to lick it?”
Sehun said, “Yes, hyung.”
“Here and here. Right there.”
“Mmm. Okay, you’re finished here. Go help Kai with the laundry and tell your hyung that he can take a break.”
“Yes, hyung.” Sehun left the kitchen.
A moment later, Lay came over to the couch. Looking exhausted, he sat beside Suho. “Please be our leader again. I can’t live like this. I don’t mind hard work, but this isn’t right.”
Suho hated seeing his members so unhappy. “If everyone listens well and we all look out for each other, it won’t be like this. This is how it has to be if the members can’t behave.”
“But I’ve behaved,” Lay said.
“You have to help the other members behave, too. You have to set a good example and look out for Xiumin hyung and correct your dongsaengs.”
Lay frowned. “I haven’t done that enough?”
“It takes all of us, working together, to make EXO. That means one hundred percent cooperation, not only some individual effort.”
Lay nodded, looking thoughtful. “Yes.” His dimpled smile was reassuring. “I understand.”
C.A.P. strolled back toward the bathroom. “How’s it going? Ready to lick it?”
Lay glanced in that direction, then whispered to Suho, “I’m glad that I got laundry duty. I’ve never been that grateful to have to touch dirty socks.”
When Baekhyun finally finished in the bathroom, he helped Sehun with the laundry. Kai, in a grim, thoughtful mood, joined Suho and Lay on the couch.
C.A.P. watched Baekhyun and Sehun for a while, then called, “Kids! Everybody! Here! Now!”
Lay got up; Kai followed more slowly. Baekhyun and Sehun obediently joined them, the four standing side-by-side together. Chen came out with a dull, solemn expression. Chanyeol and D.O. had been crying. Xiumin looked ready to kill someone.
“What comes first?” C.A.P. asked.
“EXO.” All eight of them said it, even Xiumin, although everyone’s tone was different and some of them straggled in late.
“What do we give one hundred percent?”
“Who do you listen to no matter what?”
“Put your laundry away, wash up, and get in bed. No sex, no stalling, lights out in fifteen minutes. Go.”
C.A.P. and Suho spent the next fifteen minutes watching TV. “They’re going to hate me,” Suho said.
“No, they’re going to love you and be grateful to you,” C.A.P. said. “They might hate me, but they’ll get over it.”
Maybe. Still, Suho suspected that he’d be sleeping alone tonight. He wished that it were Lay’s night; at least Lay was speaking to him.
When the fifteen minutes were up, C.A.P. walked around, turning off lights and closing bedroom doors. “Stay in bed, no sex, no talking. Get your ass to sleep, life starts again in the morning. What comes first?”
Suho walked C.A.P. to the door. “Thank you.”
“Eh, they’ll be okay. They’re good guys.”
He wondered how C.A.P. had convinced Xiumin to cooperate. “I don’t mind being hard on my members. You can’t be a leader if you can’t be tough. But you all debuted so young.” He pictured adorable little Ricky and he just couldn’t imagine not caving sometimes, at least once in a while.
C.A.P. shrugged. “You either do what you have to do, or you quit. Teen Top is my life. You do what you have to do to keep it going.”
Suho hugged him. “Do hyung a favor. Kiss your members tonight and tell them that you love them.”
“They’ll think I’ve lost my shit,” C.A.P. said, returning the embrace.
“I’d do it myself, but I’m too shy.”
When they broke apart, C.A.P. said, “Call me if anybody gets out of hand.”
Suho smiled. “Call me if anybody needs a talking-to.”
C.A.P. grinned. “I will.”
When C.A.P. was gone, Suho locked the door. The dorm was as dark, quiet, and still as if he were alone. He went into the bathroom and found it as neat and clean as if no one had touched it since Baekhyun’s scrubbing. Products were put away; towels were hung neatly. One member alone usually caused more chaos than this; hadn’t all eight been through here before going to bed?
He brushed his teeth, washed his face, put on lotion, and went to his room. Baekhyun and Chen were in their beds in the dark, but maybe not actually asleep. He wondered what they were thinking. Tomorrow morning, he might have a mutiny on his hands.
As he got into bed, he heard Baekhyun whisper, “Chen-ah. Chen-ah. Go sleep on the couch.”
“No,” Chen said stubbornly.
Embarrassed, Suho licked his lips. “Baekhyun-ah, you don’t have to, tonight. It’s okay.”
“Chen, go,” Baekhyun whispered, ignoring him.
“No,” Chen insisted.
“If you don’t go, I won’t go, tomorrow night,” Baekhyun whispered. “Good luck trying to get laid in front of me.”
Suho’s phone buzzed. Chanyeol had texted him. I’m sorry, hyung. I’ll be more responsible. Touched, he texted back. Don’t worry. We’ll start in the morning with fresh hearts.
“Suho hyung,” Baekhyun said. “Can we, um, talk in the, uh, bathroom?”
The door opened. “D.O.?” Suho asked, turning the lamp on. “You should be asleep.”
“Can I sleep with you?” D.O. asked.
“It’s not your turn!” Baekhyun exclaimed.
“It’s no one’s turn, tonight,” Suho said. “We’ll skip tonight and start again tomorrow.” Gesturing D.O. over, he scooted to one side, making room.
“I want to sleep with you,” Baekhyun said, getting out of bed.
Chen got out of bed, too, and made it to Suho’s side before Baekhyun did. “No fighting,” Suho said firmly, and they both froze guiltily, then backed up. “There’s not enough room, here. We’ll sleep on the floor.”
They went out to the living room and made a pallet on the floor. Suho put D.O. on one side and Baekhyun on the other, with Chen snuggled up against D.O.’s back. Being so cozy with the members felt so nice, Suho fell asleep almost immediately.
C.A.P. couldn’t believe it. When he got back to the dorm, everything was peaceful. The members were moving around the apartment quietly, eating and writing and talking. L.Joe and Chunji hadn’t freed their phones. Niel asked him how he’d been and waited to hear the answer.
He told them all to get into bed. They didn’t complain.
He decided to do what Suho had asked, just for the hell of it. He went from room to room, kissing the members and saying, “I love you.”
Ricky said, “Okay, hyung, I love you, too.”
Changjo said, “Please don’t be this weird tomorrow.”
Niel asked, “You’re not sick, are you?”
L.Joe laughed and asked, “Why, what is this?”
Chunji sat up in bed, wrapping both arms around his neck and smiling at him. “How much do you love me?”
He kissed Chunji’s nose. “Not that much, you’re still grounded.”
“Augh!” Flopping backward, Chunji gave up. “Then go away, I want to masturbate in peace.”
He wouldn’t mind watching that. He peeled down Chunji’s underwear, wanting to see.
“No, no.” Chunji pushed his hand away. “Either help or get out.”
L.Joe was getting out of bed. “Ya, where are you going?” C.A.P. asked.
“I can’t,” L.Joe said. He looked embarrassed. “I can’t be here if he’s going to do that.”
Poor guy. “Go sit on the couch for a while.” Getting up, C.A.P. pointed at Chunji. “Don’t take forever.”
L.Joe looked so miserable on the couch, tucked up in a tiny, uncertain ball, that C.A.P. felt bad for him. Sitting beside him, C.A.P. kept him company. Slumped against C.A.P.’s shoulder, he fell asleep.
Suho woke up to find everyone there. D.O., Chen, and Baekhyun were still on the floor, with Chanyeol and Sehun, too. The TV was on; Kai and Xiumin were on the couch, Lay resting with his head in Kai’s lap. Everyone was snuggled together, whispering and teasing and kissing a little. This was so nice, it was what Suho wanted, for everyone to be close.
D.O. looked at him with solemn eyes. “Is it over?”
“That’s up to you,” he said honestly. He smoothed Sehun’s ruffled hair. “If everyone’s cooperative and professional and responsible, we can all get along. I don’t want to be hard on you. That’s not my choice. You all have to think about the kind of man you want to be and the kind of idol you want to be. I want us to have good reputations and clean careers and impressive shows and happy fans. I want us to live well together. EXO is important to me, and I want it to last. I want cheerful, respectable, hardworking members. But that’s something you have to want, too.”
“I want that,” Lay said.
“We all want that,” Kai said.
Suho looked around. Everyone met his eyes; everyone nodded. Proud of them, he smiled, and Chen hugged him. “Say the thing,” Chen said.
“Okay.” He cleared his throat. “Last year, we received a big award at MAMA and were so thankful-”
“No!” Chen was laughing. “Not the acceptance speech! Hyung! The other thing!”
“Oh.” He coughed. “I say ‘Ho,’ you say-”
“Not that!” Chen exclaimed.
“EXO,” Kai said.
Suho smiled and joined in loudly with the others. “Let’s love!”
September 13, 2015
by Matthew Haldeman-Time