What Is the Maknae up to?

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            Chunji was on one end of the couch, toying with his phone.  On the other end of the couch, Changjo and Suho were watching TV.  The volume was turned up to cover sounds from the bedroom.

            Earlier, Changjo and Suho had been talking and laughing and smiling at each other like they were the best friends in the world, flirting and teasing and giggling like they were having some sort of undeclared aegyo contest.  Now, they sat so close beside each other that their pants were probably sharing molecules.  Chunji had been trying to figure out if Changjo was pushing himself on Suho or if Suho was pushing himself on Changjo, but it seemed pretty mutual.  Changjo was the one who put his hand over Suho’s, but Suho was the one who laced their fingers together.  Changjo was the one who rested his head on Suho’s shoulder, but Suho was the one who stroked Changjo’s hair like he was an overgrown lap dog.

            They were like this all of the time.  Whenever Suho came over, it was like Changjo’s boyfriend had come to visit.  He brought food for all three of them, and he talked to Chunji, but he touched Changjo.  He didn’t touch Chunji.

            Changjo ate it up.  He was happy to have all of Suho’s attention and as much affection as he could get.  Sometimes Chunji went into one of the bedrooms for a nap or something, and when he got up again he heard the two of them talking.  They talked about all sorts of things, stuff Changjo talked about with anyone, but they had sort of weird conversations, too.  Like when Suho talked about how hard it was for Changjo to work so hard in such an adult industry at such a young age, and how much Changjo had been through, and how proud Suho was.  Or like when Suho talked about how adult Changjo was becoming and how important it was to be a responsible adult, a good person, decent and honest.  Was Suho Changjo’s boyfriend or his father?  It was good for Changjo to have a hyung who said those things to him, who cared about him and tried to guide him in the right direction, but why did he like it?  Why was he voluntarily so close to some random idol who wanted to play that role in his life?  He already had a dozen people telling him what to do all of the time.  Why be so eager to pick up one more?

            After Suho left and L.Joe went to shower, Changjo went into the bedroom to poke around.  He always snooped around after Sehun’s visits, like whether or not L.Joe had used the bed made a difference to him.

            Following, Chunji sat down on his own bed.  “What are you up to with Suho hyung?”

            There was a pair of underwear on the floor.  Changjo poked at it with his toes.  Then he shot a puzzled look at Chunji.  “What am I up to?”  Looking at the underwear again, he laughed, wrinkling his nose.  “Ew, it’s all jizzed on.”

            “Leave L.Joe’s crap alone.  What are you up to with Suho hyung?”

            Changjo gave him the same puzzled look, like maybe he’d missed it the first time.  “I’m not up to anything.  What is there to be up to?”

            Chunji bounced up and down a little, giggling and batting his lashes and framing his face with his hands.  Then he glared at Changjo.  “That.  What is that?  You play the cute maknae for him more than you do for us.  You hug him every time he leaves our dorm.  Since when do you hug random hoobaes?”

            Dropping the confused act, Changjo shrugged.  His smile bordered on a smirk.  “He likes me.”

            Chunji couldn’t argue with that.  Suho was definitely interested.  “A lot of people like you, and you don’t cuddle them on our couch.”

            Changjo grinned.  “Hyung, are you jealous?  Do you want me to cuddle you more often?  Should I give you more aegyo?  Aw, hyung,” he cooed, going down on his knees and curling his fists against Chunji’s thighs, gazing up at Chunji with happy, guileless affection.  “Should I pay more attention to hyung?  Have I been neglectful?”  Bringing his fists in front of his face, he hid coyly behind them, batting his lashes.

            Laughing, Chunji pounded on his shoulder.  “Stop it!  Ew, that’s adorable!”

            Bright-eyed, Changjo made kissy faces, leaning up toward him.  He ducked, shying away, but Changjo landed a kiss on his cheek.  Embarrassed, feeling himself blush, he pushed Changjo away.

            “Ugh, this maknae,” he muttered, but he loved it.  He wiped at his cheek with one hand, then rested his hand on Changjo’s shoulder.  “Seriously.”  He smoothed down Changjo’s sideburns.  “What’s up with you and Suho hyung?”

            “He likes me,” Changjo repeated.  “He’s EXO’s leader, he decides if L.Joe hyung gets to see Sehun hyung.  He decides if we see EXO at all.  If he’s happy and he likes us, we get to see EXO.  They have so many members, it’s not convenient to make time to see us.  It’s really easy for him to say no, it’s not worth it, EXO’s too busy.  But if he likes me, if he’s happy to see me, if he thinks well of Teen Top, then suddenly maybe there’s room on the calendar after all.  You see?”

            This devious little brat.  “You’re being nice to him so you can fuck his members?”

            Changjo smiled.  “And so you can fuck them, too.  You’re welcome.”

            It was around five o’clock one morning when C.A.P. got up to take a piss.  Coming back from the bathroom, he noticed Changjo asleep in Niel’s bed.  And right there on the nightstand was Changjo’s phone.

            Taking advantage of the opportunity, he picked up Changjo’s phone.  Humming to himself, he started with call logs.  Lots of hoobaes, including EXO members.  Lots of calls from Baekhyun.  Lots of calls to and from Suho.  The kid still didn’t call home often enough.

            With a sleepy noise, L.Joe rolled over in C.A.P.’s bed.  Looking forward to sliding back in beside that, C.A.P. flipped over to Changjo’s text messages.  What was all of this shit?  “God damn it, maknae,” he muttered.  What the hell was wrong with hoobaes lately?  Aw, damn, rookies were nasty these days.  Grunting, he rubbed his cock a little, scrolling through photos.  Who needed porn when he had Changjo’s phone?

            After he’d taken a good look, he deleted everything.  All of the nasty photos, all of the pornographic text confessionals, all of it.  Changjo had a real knack for getting stupid hoobaes to insist, “No, really, I fuck my members all of the time, for real, I can prove it!”  And the older ones usually ended up trying to seduce him, sending him shots of their cocks and talking about what a good time they were going to show him.  If they expected Changjo to be innocent and unsure about sex, boy, did C.A.P. have some news for them.

            In comparison, Chanyeol’s selcas were tame, but he deleted those, too.  The messages back and forth with Baekhyun were mostly about trying to find a time to see each other.  The messages back and forth with Suho, god, there were a million of them.  Couldn’t they go twenty-four hours without checking in with each other?  Have you eaten?  Remember your vitamins.  How’s your ankle?  The weather’s changing, stay healthy.  They quoted nonsensical song lyrics at each other and traded cute emojis.  They didn’t send selcas, but they sent shots of where they were and what they were doing: shots of the stage, the dressing room, the view from the van window, whatever was on the stylist’s table, food, fan gifts, sleeping members.

            Periodically, Changjo sent Suho a string of hearts.  Suho always sent hearts back, the same number as Changjo had sent plus one.

            Frowning, C.A.P. wondered what was going on.  Seeing all of these texts made him feel uneasy.  If he hadn’t known better, he would have thought that Changjo and Suho were in a relationship or something.

            He checked Changjo’s photos.  Nothing incriminating.  Some selcas and a bunch of meaningless crap.  A photo of Changjo and Ricky and Kai and Sehun all crowded together for a cute selca.  A photo of Ricky in a dressing room, seated with dinner in front of him, chopsticks in hand; Ricky was fast asleep, mouth slack, head falling forward, too tired to finish eating.

            Chuckling, C.A.P. texted the photo to himself.

            In the other bed, someone stirred.  “What,” Changjo mumbled, rubbing at one eye.  He looked around, the covers slipping down as he shifted in bed.  Then his gaze focused on C.A.P., and his frown deepened.  “Is that - - that’s my phone!”

            “You can have it back in a minute.”

            Taking on a resentful, mulish expression, Changjo stared at him.

            Unaffected, he checked the rest of the phone.  He checked browser history and downloaded files.  “What’s going on with Suho hyung, you two playing boyfriends?”

            “What?”  Changjo squinched up his features like he’d never heard anything so offensively outlandish.  “What?”

            “You and Suho hyung.  Is he your boyfriend?  Everyone else who texts you is either asking for your cock or showing off theirs.  Suho hyung isn’t even talking about sex, he just wants to make sure that you don’t get caught in the rain.”

            “It’s just Suho hyung, that’s how he is.  It isn’t anything.”

            “You talk to him eighty times a day and it doesn’t mean anything?”  C.A.P. wasn’t buying that.

            Changjo sat up, resting his elbows on his raised knees.  “He likes me.”

            Okay, that, C.A.P. could buy.  “And you like him?”

            “He leads the most popular group of the year,” Changjo said, like that was enough of an answer.

            It wasn’t.  “And?”

            “And isn’t that someone you want on your side?” Changjo asked.  “He’s with SM, he leads a group with a huge fan base.  He’s only going to get more popular and more influential, and he’ll be able to pull more and more strings.  He likes me!  What am I going to do, tell him to get lost?”

            “He’s not going to share his money with you.”

            “He can share his fans and his industry contacts with me.”

            True.  “Keep your shit together, okay?  You’re having fun playing around, but this isn’t a game.  If you fuck things up with Suho hyung, that messes things up with EXO for all of us.  I like things the way they are, I like getting to fuck EXO, and I like L.Joe with Sehun.  Don’t screw it up.”  He shoved the phone against Changjo’s chest.

            “You think I want to stop screwing EXO?” Changjo asked, taking the phone.  “I won’t mess it up.”

            “Good.  Then keep on keeping Suho hyung happy, or leave him alone.  Don’t play games with him.”

            Changjo muttered something under his breath.

            C.A.P. lightly slapped the side of his face.  “What’s that?”

            “I won’t,” Changjo snapped.  “I’m not, I haven’t, I won’t,” he muttered, shoulders curving forward.

            “Good.”  C.A.P. turned away from him, crawling back into bed.

            L.Joe’s skin was cool, and when C.A.P. spooned up behind him, wrapping an arm around him, he made a drowsy, humming sound and scooted back, pressing himself to C.A.P.’s warmth.

            Resting his chin on the top of L.Joe’s head, C.A.P. closed his eyes.  Visions of horny hoobaes danced behind his eyelids, and he smiled to himself.

            Most of the time when he said good-bye to Sehun, L.Joe was too consumed by thoughts of Sehun and what the two of them had just done together to care about much else.  But tonight, seeing Changjo hug Suho good-bye reminded him of the other times he’d seen them embrace.  “What’s that about?” he asked once the door had closed behind Suho and Sehun.

            “What?” Changjo asked as Chunji went to the kitchen.

            “You and Suho hyung.  You seem close.”

            Changjo shrugged.  “He’s over here a lot.”

            Changjo was moving in on him, but he still felt shaky and vulnerable and electric; he wasn’t ready to be touched.  Backing up, he put an arm up to block Changjo.  “Jonghwan hyung’s over here a lot, and you don’t hug him every time he leaves.”

            “Where are you going?” Changjo asked, laughing, still advancing.

            “Ya, get away,” he objected, ducking Changjo and climbing over the arm of the couch.  “And stop changing the subject.”

            “What’s the subject?” Changjo asked, pursuing him.

            Hopping off of the couch, he backed toward the front door.  “Are you having sex with Suho hyung behind our backs?  Is that it?”

            “There’s nothing going on.”

            “Hey, Suho hyung is only over here in the first place to bring Oh Sehun.  If anything goes wrong and Suho hyung stops coming over here, and I don’t get to see Oh Sehun anymore, I’ll have to kill you.  Understand?”

            “Nothing’s going wrong!  Don’t be so worried about things.  Suho hyung likes me.”

            His back against the door, L.Joe put one arm across his chest and held the other out straight to ward Changjo off.  “He likes you?”

            Changjo grinned.  “Kind of.”

            That didn’t make a lot of sense.  L.Joe definitely understood why people in general would be attracted to Changjo, but it didn’t fit what he knew about Suho.  “Do you like him?”

            Changjo shrugged again.  “He’s rich and he spoils me.  He takes me out and spends money on me.  I’m not going to brush him off.”

            Changjo was close enough to press against L.Joe’s hand now.  “Maknae!” he complained.  “Not now, get away!”  He punched Changjo and got a quick kick in before darting away.  “Leave me alone, I’m going to take a shower.”

            “Can I wash your back?”

            “No.”  He didn’t want Changjo to see what Sehun had done to him.  Especially not right away, not while it was still so fresh.  After Sehun left him, he usually went to the shower and masturbated, or cried a little, or just stood there under the spray of water until he felt mostly calm and pretty normal again.  Then he might want to be alone for a while, or might crave a long hug and some cozy affection, or might want aggressive, intense sex.  Sehun usually sent a follow-up text a couple of hours after leaving, to make sure that he was okay.  Which was embarrassing, but nice.  “Maknae, you have your own money.  You don’t need Suho hyung’s.”

            “I know I don’t need it,” Changjo said.  “But I’m not going to turn it down.”

            Shaking his head, L.Joe laughed.  “Spoiled,” he said, heading for the shower.  “So spoiled.”

            Just being in EXO’s dressing room, being surrounded by so many hot guys he’d had sex with, turned Niel on.  There was one on every side; they were everywhere he looked, and he’d had sex with them all.

            Well, except for D.O.  And except for Suho.  But still!  That was still a lot of guys, and they were all good-looking, and they were all flirting with him, and he felt sexy and confident and great about it, like everything was super funny and he couldn’t stop smiling.

            Teen Top had to go onstage, so he rounded up the kids and left.  On the way out, Ricky looked as giddy as he felt, and Changjo and Suho talked about meeting up later.

            What was Changjo up to, getting cozy with EXO’s leader?  Niel shot him a warning look.  “You’d better not mess this up for us.”

            “Mess what up?” Changjo asked.  In the hallway, they bowed to Shinee in passing.  “I’m not messing up anything.”

            “We’re talking about onstage, right?” Ricky asked.  “We don’t want to mess up onstage.”

            “Yes,” Niel said.  “Onstage.  I don’t want you to get all smug about yourself and make the wrong move and mess the show up for everybody.  You have to be careful.  What happens onstage affects everybody, not just you, maknae, and I like performing.  I like it a lot.”  He glared at Changjo.  “Understand?”

            “Why does everyone keep warning me not to mess up?” Changjo asked, sounding frustrated.  “When do I ever mess up?  I’m the one who knows all of the moves better than anyone.  I’m not going to ruin the show for anybody.  I like performing, too.”

            “You.”  Niel didn’t know how to make what he wanted to say fit into this metaphor anymore, so he shoved Changjo into their dressing room and pushed Changjo against the wall, looking hard into his face.  “You’re not doing that thing with that other leader, are you?” he whispered, scanning Changjo’s features for any hint of a reaction.

            Changjo scowled at him.  “No!  He’s just a hyung, we don’t do that.  He doesn’t do that.”

            Niel didn’t get it.  “Then why do you care about him?”  Why waste time on the one member who didn’t put out, when there were so many who did?

            Twisting away, Changjo gave him a sullen look.  “Maybe it’s nice to have a hyung who hugs me instead of punching me.”

            Hey!  Niel’s eyes widened.  “I get hit so much more than you do!  What are you complaining about?” he demanded, socking Changjo in the arm one time, twice, again.  “How can you complain when I have it so much worse than you?” he asked, beating his fists over Changjo’s back as Changjo ducked and tried to turn away.

            Laughing, Changjo leaned forward, trying to cover his head with his arms.  Niel pounded on his shoulder again for good measure.  “What are we hitting the maknae for?” Chunji asked, popping up.  “Punishment?  Has he been bad again?”

            “No, I’m - - hyung!  Hyung!” Changjo objected, laughing and cowering as Chunji playfully kicked him.  “Chunji hyung!  Ow!”

            Naked in bed, Ricky rested beside Changjo.  He’d been on the phone, teasing Chanyeol with his “please, oppa, please” voice.  Not saying anything sexy or dirty, just talking in that voice, high and breathy and a little bit whiny.  Chanyeol had gotten all flustered and had to hang up.

            Changjo was texting someone.  “Who is it?” Ricky asked.  He ran his fingers over Changjo’s abs.


            He pinched Changjo, hard.

            Changjo winced.  “Suho hyung.”

            Hunh.  He traced the line of Changjo’s pelvic bone.  “You like that hyung too much.  It’s weird.”

            “It’s not weird.”

            “It’s weird,” he repeated.  “You give him too much attention.”

            “I’m trying to get in his pants.”

            Oh!  Oh, okay.  Well, yeah, obviously, that made sense.  “How’s it going?  Are you close?”

            “He likes me.  He’s really strict about his privacy, but he trusts me.”  Changjo set his phone aside.  “I don’t know, it’s taking longer than I thought it would.  But I think the sex will be really good, when he gives it up.  I think that it’ll be worth it.”

            “I don’t know, it might be pretty bad.  He’s not getting any practice.”

            “He’s really good-looking, though.”

            “Yeah.”  Ricky smiled when Changjo’s hand caressed his hip.  “You think he’s really going to give it to you, when he won’t give it to his own members?”

            “I think.”  Changjo wrinkled his nose.  “I think he thinks that he’s not supposed to give it to his members.  Like that’s not what good leaders do.”

            “Don’t tell C.A.P. hyung that,” Ricky said quickly.

            Changjo laughed.  “That wouldn’t make a difference.  Suho hyung could tell him, and he’d still keep at it.”  He climbed on top of Ricky, thrusting a little, looking up like he was talking to someone off to the side.  “‘What?  Good leaders don’t fuck their members?  What?’”  Still thrusting, he patted Ricky’s thigh.  “‘Roll over, maknae, I want to hit it from behind.  What’s that about good leaders?  Yeah, unh, feels great.’”

            Laughing, Ricky ran his hands up Changjo’s sides.  “C.A.P. hyung doesn’t stop for anything.”

            “Not for anything,” Changjo agreed.  Rolling down to the mattress again, he snuggled up to Ricky’s side, resting his head on Ricky’s shoulder.

            Ricky ran his fingers over Changjo’s watch.  So shiny.  “If Suho hyung gives out presents like this, maybe I should try to sleep with him, too.”

            “I don’t think he wants you to call him ‘oppa.’”

            Ricky laughed.  “It makes Chanyeol hyung so excited.  It’s funny.”

            “Do it with me,” Changjo said, lifting his head and grinning.  “Call me ‘oppa’ while I fuck you.”

            “Ya.”  Pushing on Changjo’s chest, Ricky rolled over, getting on top.  “You call me ‘oppa.’”  Grinning, he poked Changjo.  “Do it.  Call me ‘oppa.’”

            “Ew!  No!  I’m not being a girl for you!”

            “Come on, I do it all of the time!  Just once.”

            “I don’t even look like a girl!  Ask Chunji hyung.”

            “I’m telling him you said that,” Niel’s voice said from the hallway.

            Changjo froze.  Surprised, Ricky stared down at him, and he stared up at Ricky, his eyes wide, his mouth forming an O.  Together, they burst into laughter, giggling against each other’s shoulders.

            “Chunji hyung!” Niel called.

            “No, it’s okay.  No, I understand,” L.Joe said.  Chunji watched him pick at the hole in the wall.  They really should get that fixed.  “Yeah, it’s okay.  Okay.  Thanks, hyung.  No.”  He blushed, his teeth catching at his lower lip.  “No, it’s okay.  Thanks, hyung.”  Hanging up, he handed Chunji’s phone back.  “It’ll be another hour.  Two, maybe.”

            Chunji sighed as L.Joe sat beside him on the couch.  C.A.P. had already gone out with Niel and Ricky; they were waiting for Suho to bring Sehun for a playdate.  Suho had called to tell Chunji that they’d be late, and then had asked to talk to L.Joe personally, probably to apologize or something.  Now what?  He considered waking up Changjo for sex or something.  Or.  “Want to make out?”

            “What?”  L.Joe looked distracted.  “No.”  He frowned, blinking, and then he checked his watch.  “Yeah, okay.”  As he shifted closer on the couch, he said, “Suho hyung’s really nice.  I kind of feel bad for him.”

            “Bad about what?”  Leaning back against the armrest, Chunji tugged L.Joe on top of himself.

            “About Changjo using him for his money.  He’s so nice, it doesn’t seem right.”

            He ran his hands under L.Joe’s T-shirt, enjoying the way L.Joe fit between his thighs.  “What do you mean?  Changjo doesn’t care about his money.”

            “Changjo said he’s being nice to him because Suho hyung spoils him.”

            “He’s being nice to him because he wants to fuck EXO, and the more Suho hyung likes us, the more we get to see them.”  Wait.  “He told you that?  Himself?  When?”

            “Umm, last time Oh Sehun came over.”

            “That little shit.”  Chunji couldn’t believe it.  “He’s giving us different stories again.”

            “About Suho hyung?”  L.Joe frowned.  “Why?”

            Using him for his money.  Using him to get to EXO.  That little shit.  The calling, the texting, the dates, the blushing, the aegyo, the skinship.  Chunji had been trying to figure out what the maknae was up to, but that was the problem.  Changjo wasn’t up to anything.  Changjo liked Suho.  It was that simple.  It was that honest.  And of course he wouldn’t just admit it, had to hide and obfuscate, had to throw out excuses so no one would realize he actually cared about somebody.  That secretive, sensitive little shit.  “He likes Suho hyung.”

            “What, likes him?”

            “Yeah.  He doesn’t want us to know.”  Probably because Chunji’s immediate instinct was to tease him for it.

            “That’s.”  L.Joe looked confused.  Chunji understood why.  It was weird to think of Changjo having a crush on somebody.  They’d never seen Changjo have serious feelings for another guy before.  “Do you think it’s okay?”

            “Suho hyung’s so nice,” Chunji said, tracing his fingers over the edges of L.Joe’s pants pockets.  “I didn’t think that he’d fall for someone nice.”

            “Do you think that Suho hyung likes him back?  I don’t want him to get hurt.”

            The idea of Changjo getting hurt kind of terrified Chunji.  Mostly because he knew how sensitive Changjo was underneath, and also because Changjo might decide to hurt Suho in return.  Changjo on a revenge spree could do a lot of damage, especially considering how much inside information he had on EXO now.  Holy shit.  “We have to talk to him.”

            L.Joe started to get up.

            “Where are you going?” Chunji asked, tugging him back down.  “Later, we’ll talk to him later.”

            “Why not now?” L.Joe asked, laughing.

            “Because I’m busy right now,” Chunji said, and he kissed L.Joe.

            Changjo poked sullenly at the arm of the couch, waiting for this conversation to be over.  He didn’t want to talk about this.  It was embarrassing.  It made him uncomfortable.

            “Why Suho hyung?” Chunji asked him.  “He doesn’t seem like your type.”

            “Like you have such great taste,” Changjo muttered under his breath.

            L.Joe kicked the side of the couch hard enough for Changjo to feel it.  “What’s that?”

            “Nothing,” Changjo mumbled.  He wanted to ask, “Can I go?” but if he did, they’d just say no and come up with more questions and keep him there even longer.

            “The two of you have been getting close,” Chunji said.

            “But things might not work out,” L.Joe said.

            Changjo scowled at the floor.  “I know.”  Did they think that he didn’t know that?  Of course he knew that.  “He thinks I’m a kid, he doesn’t take me seriously.”  That worked in his favor to a certain extent; it meant that Suho’s guard was down, meant that Suho let him get close and let him get away with things.  But it also meant that Suho didn’t think of him as a man or an equal or a potential partner.  He wasn’t boyfriend material.  But he didn’t want to be Suho’s boyfriend, did he?  He didn’t want a relationship.

            “So if things don’t work out, are you going to be okay?” Chunji asked.

            L.Joe came too close, brushing his hand aside and perching on the armrest.

            Frowning, Changjo glanced at L.Joe and looked over at Chunji.  “What, are you worried about me?”

            “Yes,” L.Joe said.  “No,” Chunji said.  “No,” L.Joe said.  “Yes,” Chunji said.

            Oh.  They were worried about him.  That made him feel better.  “I’m not in love with him,” Changjo said.  “And I know things might not happen, I know he might never have sex with me or anything.  He isn’t leading me on.  He pushes me away all of the time.  He’s really big on privacy and boundaries and crap like that.  If he ever gets pissed off and tells me to get lost, it’s going to be my fault.  I know that.”

            “You’ll be okay?” L.Joe asked, stroking his hair.

            It was funny, how concerned they were.  He was touched and kind of embarrassed.  “Yeah.”  He hunched his shoulders, scooting deeper into the couch cushions.  “I’ll be okay.”

            “You’re not going to get upset and blow everything up and tell the news all about EXO’s sex life?” Chunji asked.


            “Are you sure?”

            “Yes!  I wouldn’t,” he insisted.  He’d be tempted.  And he’d already thought of ways to do it without exposing himself or jeopardizing Teen Top.  But he wouldn’t take the risk.  And he wouldn’t do that to Suho.  He couldn’t mess up Suho’s life like that.  Even if he was hurt, Suho didn’t deserve it, and neither did all of the other EXO members.  “I know a lot of things about you, and I don’t leak that to the news, no matter how much of a jerk you are to me.”

            Chunji burst into laughter.  “Who’s a jerk?” he asked, clapping a hand on Changjo’s shoulder.  “Who’s a jerk to you?”

            Cringing, he laughed, trying to turn away.  “Nobody, hyung, nobody.”

            “Who’s a jerk?” Chunji demanded, pinching him and tickling him, making him shake and twist.  “Who are you calling a jerk?!”

            “Nobody!” he insisted.  When L.Joe laughed and tickled him, he pulled L.Joe off of the armrest and down into his lap, blocking Chunji’s attack with L.Joe’s body.  It became a free-for-all, and when his hyungs were busy wrestling on the sofa, he jumped up, escaping.

            They knew that he liked Suho, and now that they knew, the rest of the members would know, too.  That was okay, though.  He didn’t mind his members knowing how he felt.  And he liked that they were worried about him.  It was a nice reminder of how much they cared.

            “We’re back - - ya!” Niel exclaimed, coming through the front door with Ricky and C.A.P.  “What’s this?”

            “Nothing,” Chunji said, sitting up on top of L.Joe and tossing his head to get his hair back into place.  Ricky closed the door.  “The maknae’s in love with Suho hyung.”

            “What?  I’m not!” he objected.  “I’m not in love!”

            “What?  With Suho hyung?” C.A.P. asked.

            “I’m not!  There’s no love!” he exclaimed.

            “What?  You’re not in love with anyone?” Ricky asked.


            “Ya!”  L.Joe threw a pillow at him.  “What about me?”

            “Yeah!”  Chunji threw a second pillow; he ducked that one.  “What about us?”

            “You don’t love us?” L.Joe demanded.

            “I don’t,” he said, and then he laughed, cowering, as Chunji flew off of the sofa toward him.  “Yes, yes, I do, I do!” he insisted, as his hyungs descended on him.  “I do, I do, I love you, I swear it, I love you.”

            “That’s right, you do!” Niel snapped.

            “You’d better,” Chunji said.

            “Now give your hyungs a kiss and apologize,” Ricky said.

            “What, do I have to?  Ow!  Okay, I will, I will, I’m sorry.”  Rubbing the back of his head with one hand and his lower back with the other, Changjo kissed his hyungs and said, “I’m sorry, I love you.”  Chunji and Niel took it as their due; C.A.P. kissed him back; L.Joe blushed; Ricky hugged him and said, “Okay, kid, okay.”

            “So, you’re not in love with Suho hyung?” C.A.P. asked.

            “No.  I don’t know.  I don’t know what that feels like.”

            “Well, if we had hyungs who’d been in love before, they could tell us what it was like,” Niel said.  His eyes rolled left, stopping on Chunji.

            Chunji punched him.

            Coughing, Niel rubbed his chest.  “But they haven’t, so I guess no one knows.”

            C.A.P. rubbed the back of his head.  L.Joe chewed on his lips.

            “Well, if you get laid, tell us how it goes,” Ricky said.

Series page: "Let's Love"

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Copyright February 22, 2015
by Matthew Haldeman-Time