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A Secret Best Left Unsaid

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“Ready to learn the new choreography later tonight?”

“Depends on how difficult it is.”

Jihoon leans back into the chair, arm resting on the side as he turns his head slightly to peer at Soonyoung behind him. He’s smiling, like he always is, with a hint of mischievousness in his eyes. Without his glasses, it’s difficult to read the man’s expression with the large amount of distance between them.

“You’ll master it easily,” Soonyoung chides, removing the leather jacket from the hanger. He holds it open as he puts his right arm in first, and then the left, before pulling it onto his shoulders. Despite his vision being blurry, he watches Soonyoung’s biceps in detail before they are hidden away. Jihoon rolls his eyes up to Soonyoung’s face, seeing the man looking back at him with interest, “like you always do.”

“Doubtful,” Jihoon argues, crossing one leg over the other, the bottom of his pants leg rising up to reveal his ankle, “the teacher is always harsh on me for no reason at all.”

Jihoon covers his lips with his hand, hiding his smirk at seeing Soonyoung’s eyebrow shoot up, hidden under his black bangs. He truly looks sinful, not something he’d ever admit out loud to anyone of course. It’s joyous for him to see Soonyoung agitated, even if its fabricated.

“I’m hurt you would say that,” Soonyoung clutches at his heart with his right hand and cups his cheek with his left. The skin bunches up, pushing his lips to become plumper then they already are. He stumbles around, knocking things over and being overly dramatic, perhaps trying to intimidate Romeo’s dramatic performance upon finding Juliet ‘dead.’

Perhaps, a Julius Caesar type of outrageous theatrics that should be on Broadway and not in the tiny dressing/make-up room in the company’s building with only two people to witness it, for free at that.

Jihoon hums to hold in his chuckles, facing forward in the chair again to see Seungkwan staring back at him in a way that he wonders if the kid is still breathing. He’s glad he’s already smiling, able to hide his joy at seeing the bewilderment on his face, “Chin up kiddo, we’ve got a busy schedule today.” It snaps Seungkwan out of his trance, nearly dropping the brush between his fingers.

Movement in the mirror brings his attention to Soonyoung’s retreating form, walking towards the door and stopping after pushing down on the handle, “Get ready Ji,” Soonyoung says stepping into the hallway through the sliver in the door, “Try to come on time for once.”

The door clicks shut before Jihoon can yell out a retort, one coated with not-nice words, nor information Seungkwan needs to know. He bites his lip to keep from whispering under his breath as he hears Soonyoung’s giggle proceed down the hall. This game is never as fun when he’s on the losing side of it.

 “That is the most disgusting, revolting, nauseating, repulsive, foul-”

“Seungkwan, get to the point.” Jihoon interrupts him, knowing that the kid will go on for hours if someone doesn’t tell him to ask the question at the end of his two-page essay rant about why it’s a horrible thing. That was a lesson learned the hard way.  

“Why aren’t you dating him?”

Jihoon rolls his eyes, used to the same question, only asked in a more direct way this go around, “Because I don’t like him?” Jihoon needs to add another mark in his notes, bringing the tally to just below a hundred if memory serves correctly, “How many times must we go over this?”

Seungkwan scowls and picks up the eyeliner. If Jihoon’s not careful, he might just loose an eye soon. “I need something to explain that shameless, and quite frankly, slutty flirting in front of me.”

He parts his lips to respond, though Seungkwan is not done quite yet.

“Hyung, you are like a cat alright. You like to keep to yourself most of the time, like cats. Then when Soonyoung walks in, all you want is his attention, and go to drastic measures to have it, like a cat. They stay just within your line of vision that you know they are there, and want attention on their terms only, and us people are soft for them. That how you are with Soonyoung, exactly like that. It’s downright tragic.”

“Was that supposed to offend me or teach me something because I’ve gained nothing from that,” It’s so entertaining how worked up Seungkwan gets over things. Over the littlest things that don’t concern him yet Jihoon’s gotten plenty of 3 AM messages with paragraphs about penguins, butterflies, corn dogs (Jihoon still has yet to get clarification about that one), and especially Soonyoung. As soon as Seungkwan is in a room with Jihoon and Soonyoung, an electric shock runs through his body, energizing him to stay awake for days.

Seungkwan frowns, silent as he motions for Jihoon to shut his eyes, “This is like a goddamn police investigation trying to figure out why the fuck you won’t just date him already.” The gentle strokes on his face keep him from answering, as its always a pleasure to see Seungkwan’s reactions, usually as over the top as Soonyoung’s. Plus, he would rather not have to go to the hospital for saying something Seungkwan doesn’t like, so he waits until his eyeliner is done before speaking again.

“We aren't interested in one another,” Jihoon repeats, nearly bothered the kid still doesn’t seem to put the puzzle pieces together, “We’ve known one another for six years, nearly seven now. Don’t you think if we liked one another, something would have happened in that time?”

“Clearly not with how dumb you two are,” Seungkwan’s tongue is as sharp as ever, giving no remarks for reprimanding his elder, and the person who could fire him. Not that Jihoon would ever do that. He’s grown much too close with the people who have been with him through his years as an idol, “It would be cute you know, the idol and one of his permanent back-up dancers, who happens to make the best dances for his songs. I think even as conservative as Korea is, it might accept that love story.”

Jihoon scoffs, running a hand through his bangs, “You really have a wild imagination.”

“It’s not my imagination if your eyes light up anytime he’s near.” Seungkwan grumbles, snapping his fingers to get Jihoon to shut his eyes again. He follows instructions, merely listening to the quiet music around them. The sound of the door opens a moment later, and by the scuffing of sounds, Jihoon knows it’s another one of the annoying kids that loves to prickle him about Soonyoung.

On cue, he is mentioned without prompting, “Soonyoung looks like an idiot,” Seokmin shouts, louder than necessary that his voice probably carries long down the hallway, “What did you do.”

Not so much a question and more of a demanding kid wanting sweets. Jihoon only vaguely waves his hand in what direction in the front of him, where he assumes Seungkwan is. Whether that was the right decision, probably not but it’s more entertaining.

“Their flirting was so horrible, I’m afraid if I hadn’t been in the room, not like they noticed I was here to begin with, they would have fucked like rabbits.” Seungkwan doesn’t hold back, not bothering to notice Jihoon choking on air. He manages to stumble it into a cough, covering his mouth with his lips and tilting his head down to hide the blush crossing his cheeks.

Jihoon opens his eyes in time to see Seokmin’s face distorts into disgust, like he happened to stumble into a hoarder’s house that hasn’t been opened for ten years. Their interactions can’t be that bad, “You two are really going to continue with this conspiracy theory?”

“How could we not?” Seokmin looks at him like he asked the stupidest question in the existence. He takes a deep breath, plugging in the straightener to do his job while proceeding to attempt to school Jihoon in his own feelings, “Soonyoung’s been with you in this company long before you debuted, and while he could have gone off to be an idol himself, he decided to stick by you, and be your permanent back up dancer even though we all know a soloist doesn’t need a his own back-up dancer that is in every single song. Not to mention you have three others who Soonyoung managed to wrangle in.”

“That was his decision, not mine. Did you ever think he wanted to dance, but not be an idol? Still be doing what he loves but keeping his privacy? Not everyone wants to be in the public’s eye.” Jihoon questions, peppering at their minds, seeing what other thoughts they’ve had on this. Maybe if he installs enough doubt, that they’ll give it up. A part of him hopes they won’t, only to see how far their stubbornness can go.

It’s fun to push the limits of people to see how far they’ll go before they cave.

Seokmin purses his lips, running his fingers through Jihoon’s messy locks, staring blankly in the mirror as if thinking about many things at the same time, “That’s the thing,” Fingers gently massage his scalp as he pushes the hair around on his head, the feeling is nice that Jihoon nearly purrs in delight, “Hyung has the best personality for an idol. He fits the role easily with his natural energetic personality, a more natural fit for an idol.”

“What? I’m not?” Jihoon questions, peering at Seokmin through the mirror, challenging him to speak ill of him.

Seokmin seems to know no fear, merely checking the temperature on the straightener before answering, “Nope. Though you get away with it because you are so short and adorable. Like a kitten.”

Jihoon clenches his fists to keep himself from decking Seokmin, who is grinning from ear to ear as he knows he got under Jihoon’s skin. His eyes flicker to Seungkwan, and that rotten kid is hiding his smile as he is digging around in his makeup kit for something. One of these days he is going to knock them out for making a short joke. He loathes them more than anything in the world.

“Why is it that I am always the one that gets harassed?” Jihoon changes the subject, moving his eyes between the two, waiting for one to cave and glance down at him, “It’s not fair I receive this bullying.”

Seungkwan snorts, shaking his head as he turns, pink lip tint, a brighter shade than usual, “We aren’t glued to his side like we are with you hyung,” The sound of the squelching of liquid as the bottle is opened makes him squirm slightly, scrunching his nose as he puckers his lips, “The rest of your backup dancers take care of that for us.”

“Don’t think we don’t tease him when we get him cornered though.” Seokmin sings, taking a strand of Jihoon’s hair and putting it in the straightener.

He takes a deep sigh, rubbing his lips together as Seungkwan instructs, both doing his job and effectively keeping him from protesting against them, “Ah Seokie you know what he’s thinking?”

Seokmin merely hums, though the darkest hint of mischievousness in his voice. Jihoon holds his position as still as possible, waiting to launch out of the chair and strangle the children as soon as he knows his hair isn’t attached to the burning metal.

A switch flicks on a demon inside Seungkwan as he jumps from one foot to another, clutching his hands to his chest, voice too high in pitch to be bearable, “‘I love Soonyoungie, I want to get married to him, have kids with him and have lots and lots of steamy-‘”

“That’s it,” Jihoon hisses, taking the single second of Seokmin not styling his hair to launch out of the chair, hands reaching for Seungkwan to slam the kid on the ground and force him to apologize or do something humiliating as payback. His feet hit the ground in a loud, harsh stomping sound that is drowned out by Seungkwan’s loud laughing as he runs in circles around the room.

He dives between the racks of clothing, hoping to cut the distance between them that Seungkwan seems to keep increasing. It’s not fair he has longer legs than Jihoon, and its horribly frustrating, “Come here you little shit.”

“Gotta catch me first!” Seungkwan retorts, jumping over a suitcase. Jihoon growls and nearly runs into the wall as he misjudged how quickly he was running. He curses under his breath as he sees Seungkwan opening the door and rushing out, giggling menacingly as he goes.

He stomps as he takes off after him, hand on the edge of the walk as he rounds the doorway, spotting the fool skipping innocently down the hall. Before he can follow Seungkwan down the hall, a force pulls him back by the collar of his shirt, stopping him from his plan of payback, “Jihoon, this is why employees are scared of you.”

“Yeah because that,” Jihoon points in the direction Seungkwan disappeared to, turning to glance at his manager, Jisoo, who stands with his hands-on hips like an overbearing parent scolding their children. Something Jihoon certainly isn’t, “Is terrified of me.”

Jisoo pinches the bridge of his nose, his heavy sigh resonating down the hall, “Employees who aren’t Seungkwan nor Seokmin,” He corrects himself. Jisoo’s job is to manage an idol, and his small entourage of stylists and more, not to be a constant babysitter who must stop the toddlers from fighting one another. There’s been more than enough instances of having to separate people from one another and give them a harsh lecture that they are adults and must maintain an image.

It’s hard to control grown toddlers on a 24/7 basis, a job he is underpaid for.

“Children, the lot of you,” Jisoo takes Jihoon by the collar, soft enough to not ruffle the fabric and have Mingyu or Wonwoo murder him for ruffing up their idol’s interview outfit, “Sit down, and let Seok finish your hair, we are late enough as it is.” He orders, dragging Jihoon back into the room, forcing him into the chair. The look in his eyes is not one to toy with, knowing full well that he’ll tie Jihoon down if he protests and puts them even more behind schedule.

“How many interviews do we have today?” Jihoon asks, eyes following Jisoo as he paces back and forth. Despite knowing Jisoo controls his emotions very well, Jihoon knows when he’s nervous, or in this case, almost panicky. Seokmin seems to notice too, eyes flickering to look into the mirror as he styles Jihoon’s hair.

Jisoo answers without looking up, pulling out his phone from his coat’s pocket, “Six, the company wants you to promote this comeback as much as possible.” His eyebrows furrow at something he reads on the phone, fingers quickly typing out a reply.

“Of course, they do, it’s an amazing album,” Jihoon’s confident in his work. Possibly the proudest he has ever been of any of the songs he’s made. Instead of each song being their own stories, this entire full-length album is a story. Each song a puzzle piece that if one weren’t included, the story would fall apart and not make sense at all.

The time he spent working on the album has been the most joyous time, and the easiest too. Some of the songs he’s kept hidden in a folder for a while, locked away until the time was ready for their moment to shine. A few were sad, dark almost, when his life wasn’t looking up and all his music had a saddened tone. Others are full of love, happiness, and vibrant with life. It’s not hard to see the meaning behind the songs, nor the picture it creates; yet the magic of the collection makes a different image for everyone.

Only a single person will understand what Jihoon created it to mean. Everyone else with interpret it differently, and put themselves into it, and into their lives. That’s all he could ever want for his music to do, “The more they push interviews the less time I have to learn the dances.”

“You’ll be fine as usual,” Seokmin chides in, pinning a portion of his bangs down. Jihoon offers a small smile in thanks.

“Unlike your previous ones, the dancers will be in them too. The company wants them to preview some of the dances.” Jisoo explains, slowing his pacing to stand not far from Jihoon, just inside his line of vision.

Jihoon furrows his eyebrows, “That’s unusual… Why are they going to preview the dances when the company is keeping a tight lip on all the songs?” It’s not comforting knowing the company isn’t telling him everything they are doing. Behind his back, or not, they need to tell him what their plans are so he can have room to disagree and change them as he sees fit to do what’s best for him, and his crew.

Jisoo raises his shoulders in an exhausted shrug, “They don’t tell me everything either, nor actually give me answers to the questions I ask.”

The room falls into a comfortable silence, allowing Seokmin to finish with Jihoon’s hair and soon he’s being rush to the van to start the long, long day ahead of him. Jihoon already wishes it was over.

 

 

 

 

 

By the time the final interview is underway, Jihoon wants nothing more than to go home, strip down and crash into his comfy bed, sleeping for at least twelve hours at the minimum. He’d give anything to be home right now, cuddled and warm without an alarm set. What a wonderful dream.

The final interviewer though is one of his favorites, another idol he looks up to, and who is the kindest one to him. Hani sits perched on her stool, reading over her cards on the other side of the table from him, going over her questions while they are on a short break. Jihoon wishes time would go by faster.

Soon, the producer counts off, and Hani continues with her perfect persona, welcoming the viewers back, and introducing Jihoon once again. He gives a small wave yet remains quiet as usual.

“So, we heard you have a treat for us today,” Hani questions, leaning over the table, eyes mischievous that remind him of Seungkwan, “Something about a preview?”

The audience that are lucky enough to view the filming cheer and shout in glee. Jihoon sits up straighter, looking at the people waiting for a teaser, or possibly him even to sing a portion of the song, but they are in a for a treat that Jihoon isn’t too pleased with, “It’s not exactly what you think,” Jihoon begins, his eyes spotting his dancers waiting just off stage for him to introduce them, “I apologize that you’ll have to wait for the songs to be released but my dancers are here to show you a portion of the title track’s choreography.”

The four men walk onto the stage, shyly waving to the crowd who cheers loudly for them. Chan and Minghao aren’t as comfortable with the fans yet, though Soonyoung and Jun eat it up like candy. “This is a special treat for you all as I haven’t even seen it yet, hence why I’m not teasing it.” Jihoon chides as the crowd chuckles, appreciating the honesty.

“How lovely,” Hani comments, “Now these are the ones that are your permanent dancers right?”

“Yes, they are.” Jihoon responds, running his fingers through his locks as a spike of nervousness rises within him. He wishes the boys weren’t in any of the interviews for a single selfish reason.

“Do they make the dances themselves?” Hani questions. She means no harm by the curiosity, but he can’t help the jitter in his bones.

He nods slightly, “Yes they make them all, each contributing long and hard hours to make each dance perfect.” The men are smiling from ear to ear at Jihoon’s open compliments, each surprised by the very public statement as they all know Jihoon’s appreciation isn’t one to boost loudly about it. Yet here he is, doing exactly that.

The nerves increase as Hani asks each of them to introduce themselves, and he sighs in relieve when they all use their stage names. He’d hate for their privacy to be invaded as he knows not some fans will do anything to find out everything about idols, and those that are around them.

Soonyoung introduces himself last, even including his leader status among the four. Their eyes connect for the briefest of moments, and Jihoon knows when he’s going to do something to embarrass Jihoon, horribly.

“Besides being the leader, I choreograph for the other idols in the company and I also teach Woozi all of his dances. Though he’s quite clumsy, always tripping over his feet, the poor little thing.” Soonyoung says, smirking in delight as the crowd cheers at new, and private information. The remaining dancers gasp at the short joke, knowing how sensitive Jihoon is about his height. The audience picks up on it too, not upset about it nor worried like his crew are.

Hani finds it amusing, giggling at Jihoon’s reaction. His jaw is tight as he purses his lips, eyes glaring daggers into the side of Soonyoung’s face. He knows Soonyoung feels his stare yet continues to stare into the camera, awaiting the cue to begin dancing.

There will be hell to pay later, Jihoon thinks to himself, quickly diverging the interview anymore from the dancers and giving the cue for them to dance. The interview better be over before he ends up strangling a certain person on camera.

The preview is a success, thoroughly surprising Jihoon much alike to the first time he saw it this morning. The audience thoroughly enjoys it too as he catches the comments of exclamation of not prepared to see Woozi do the moves. It won’t be as appealing as the four men’s dancing, he thinks.

The rest of the interview seemingly goes smoothly, until Hani requests for him to dance to his debut song, something he hasn’t done in a while. The dancers are enthusiastic to dance to it once again, even as he protests, saying he is rusty on it. It’s the truth, yet one voice calls to him, one he’s always been difficult to refuse.

“Woozi-ah, come on,” Soonyoung’s pleas are thunderous compared to the other rest. It roars down on all his soft points, giving tiny electric shocks, letting him know he’s going to cave, “You love your debut song.”

The breath in his lungs is swept away, much akin to the first time he wrote out the roughest draft of that song. Despite being an idol, it wasn’t his first choice of jobs. His first love of music was making it, and the key to his songs has always been to make music with his own emotions. His own feelings about everything good and evil in this world. Just, his speculations have always been about the sun that came waltzing into his life many years ago.

Those days were his darkest, yet the sun never disappeared completely, thanks to the moon.

“Oh alright,” Jihoon caves just as Soonyoung knew he would.

Jihoon joins his dancers as he is handed a mic, the crowd roars in anticipation of a song that hasn’t been forgotten simply set aside to be viewed from a glass case. The beat resonates throughout the large room as he centers himself between the men who were giddily jumping in their positions, ready to dance to a classic, he can’t help but smile throughout its entirety.

He can’t find it in himself to scold himself for the few mistakes in the choreography he makes, not with seeing the smiles of those around him.

It ends with his dancers circling him, all towering over him as usual and waving to the cameras to signal the ending of the recording, and the final interview. Jihoon says his ending thank you to the audience, Hani, and making sure to thank the four men for joining him today, “It’s been a wonderful interview,” Jihoon admits, because it has been one of the more enjoyable ones, “Especially being here with some of my close friends.”

The crowd roars in appreciation as he gives a final bow, waving to the camera as he smiles in earnest. A heavy weight settles on his shoulders, he barely has to look to know who. If it were anyone else, he would shove their arm off with a hasty glare. It used to be that nobody could cuddle close to him, a few people have worked their way up to simple touches.

Jihoon peers over his left shoulder, looking up at Soonyoung who is enthralled by the crowd as his eyes disappearing into crescent moons. Those soft cheeks bunch up, much like bread being baked as it rises, and making him hungry on the spot. The sound of the crowd drones out as all his being is focused on one person.

Jihoon doesn’t realize he didn’t finish his ending statements till he’s being pulled away from the dancers, and back into the room designated for the guest. He must wait to reprimand Soonyoung for embarrassing him like that, unfortunately.

 

 

 

 

 

The door slams shut behind him, making his presence known in the brightly lit dance room. A loud pounding resonates underneath his feet, giving more reason to turn and look at him, yet Soonyoung stays with his back facing Jihoon. He truly has a death warrant signed if he is truly trying to get on Jihoon’s hit list, “You have a lot of nerve to do that.”

“I would say I have a proficient ability to know how to push your buttons yet still have you do nothing about it.” Soonyoung teases, spinning the chair to face away from the computer that controls the music. He spreads his legs wide, sliding down in the chair to show he truly isn’t afraid of Jihoon, or whatever the idol thinks he can do to him.

Jihoon drops his bag on the ground, his lips sealed tight as he doesn’t have a retort to that could agitate the other. Soonyoung notices, his smirk growing the longer Jihoon is quiet, “Look you are even fifteen minutes late, so that’s an extra hour you have to spend practicing.”

“Oh, what an awful way to spend a night, here with you till some ungodly hour of the morning.” Jihoon sneers, sinking to the floor to stretch, knowing fully well he will be feeling pain for the next couple of weeks.

The dance the men previewed earlier looked flawless, and that it fits with the song. From the emotions in it, to the slower beat of the background sounds. Though with a perfect dance, comes the harsh reality that it seems Jihoon is going to have difficultly with some of the moves. He isn’t as flexible as the rest of them, nor skilled, nor have the energy like the dancers do.

“Not to worry Ji,” Soonyoung breaks him from his trance, peering up at Soonyoung from the floor, seeing a gentle and worried smile on his face, “Your parts suit you, in the way only you can dance.”

Jihoon dips his head, unable to keep eye contact with Soonyoung for much longer before he becomes embarrassed by the encouragement. He busies himself with reaching towards his toes and trying his hardest to not peer out of the corner of his eye at Soonyoung, who has his back turned to him as he is still on his feet, bending over to pull a water bottle out of the mini-fridge underneath the counter.

It’s going to be a horridly long night.

Truth to his assumption, the dance is a bitch of a thing to learn. It pushes his limits in how quickly it goes, and how much jumping maneuvers there are. There are a few moves that after Soonyoung slowly taking him through it, still can’t master, or grasp the simple beginnings of, “I won’t be able to do this,” Jihoon gasps out, heavily breathing as lowers himself to sit on the ground. The clock already reads three in the morning, telling him they’ve been at this for over five hours already, and he’s gotten nowhere.

“You can with time,” Soonyoung encourages, himself out of breath as he holds out a water bottle for Jihoon. He could have taken it for himself, being perhaps more soaked in sweat than Jihoon. Soonyoung’s always been the one to sweat gallons, no matter the activity, “This isn’t a song you can produce in a day.”

“It’d be nice if it was,” Jihoon grumbles, tipping the bottle upwards as he downs the liquid. It’s cool against his throat, and a slight portion of him wishes it was alcohol instead of water. That’s for another kind of night, one where Soonyoung isn’t present.

A soft chuckle rumbles from Soonyoung, wiping the sweat from his brow with the bottom of his shirt. Jihoon views the tanned and glistening stomach while he has a window of opportunity. It’s gone a second later as he hides his pouting lips behind the now empty water bottle.

“Here let’s try it this way, lay flat on your back.” Soonyoung suggests, motioning for Jihoon to lie down on his back. He raises his eyebrow but doesn’t question it, simply obeying the commands of the master. The floor is cool against his back, the sweat from him seeming to fuse to him the floor as if it were a comfy mattress. Given enough time he could fall asleep.

Soonyoung steps over him, his feet aligned with Jihoon’s hips as he looks down at him from above. All the playfulness is gone from Soonyoung, which isn’t odd anymore, but still a surprise to the usual smile that is a permanent stable on Soonyoung. When he’s teaching the dances, or making them for that matter, he’s a Soonyoung from a seemingly alternative universe, “How is this going to help me learn the move, professor?”

It’s a quick notice of confusion before Soonyoung’s face forms into that of a smirk, coming up quickly with a plan that wasn’t what he originally had in mind, “If my student would shut up and listen to my voice, maybe we wouldn’t be in this situation.” Soonyoung’s voice drops low, much akin to how he slowly sinks to the floor, his eyes never breaking contact with Jihoon.

His knees softly hit the ground on either side of Jihoon’s waist, hands being placed on either side of Jihoon’s head. The soft fabric of Soonyoung’s shirt is crumbled in Jihoon’s hands as they come to rest on Soonyoung’s shoulders, not intimated by the man above him at all, “How about we-”

The room suddenly shakes as the loud slamming of the door startles both of them, Soonyoung quickly rolls off of Jihoon, his eyebrows furrowing in confusion. Jihoon shifts to prop up on his elbows, peering directly at the door to see a single face in the small window that looks into the room. Upon meeting their eyes, the blaze of brown locks is gone.

Seungkwan,” Jihoon and Soonyoung both sigh out at the same time. They glance at one another before bursting out in giggles, the make-up artist’s mischievous smile is as clear as day even without his glasses.

Soonyoung quickly runs his fingers through his black locks, ruffling them thoroughly, “I think it’s time to call it for the night,” He stands, and holds his hand out for Jihoon to take, “We’ve got good start on it.”

“Agreed,” Jihoon slips his hand into Soonyoung’s, allowing him to pull him up and onto his feet with ease, just like all the other times they’ve done this.

The two shuffle around in an easy silence, working to shut down the equipment and clean up the practice room to let it rest for the few hours it won’t be occupied with sweaty bodies. The question of why Seungkwan bubbles within their minds but doesn’t surface until they attempt to open the door, to find that it won’t budge, that the handle won’t move at all.

Jihoon lets his bag drop to the ground with a harsh thump, “I’m going to strangle him,” His mind is running through an extensive list of ways to harm someone, hide the evidence so he won’t go to jail, and manage to not kill said person. Only to make them unconditionally fear him so they don’t pull a stunt like this every again. Maybe he’ll destroy all of Seungkwan’s products, that should do the trick.

The door doesn’t budge as Soonyoung continues to pull at it, “You will do no such thing, unless you want Jisoo to murder you.”

“He can try all he wants, he’ll see that I come right back to life,” Jihoon retorts, watching as Soonyoung sets his own bag on the ground, unzipping as he digs around through its contents, “What are you doing?”

Soonyoung hums in response, pulling out a small bag and unzipping it to retrieve two bobby pins, “I’m going to pick the lock. It’s lucky for us the company hasn’t installed the electronic locks on these doors.”

He doesn’t point out that they could have called for someone to get them out of the practice room, “Since when have you been able to pick locks?” Jihoon’s known him for a while now, and he did not know the man could pick a lock. What else could he possibly not know about him, that maybe isn’t the most important thing, but still something he doesn’t know about Soonyoung?

“I learned it for the night when we first snuck up on the roof,” Soonyoung answers, kneeling as he inserts the ends of the bobby pins into the lock, eyebrows furrowing in concentration. Perhaps it’s not the most appropriate time to consider how attractive Soonyoung is when he’s entirely focused on a single task.  

Jihoon has questions as he perks his head to the side, that night so many years ago playing back into his head like it were yesterday, “You told me someone had allowed us to go up there and left it unlocked for us, what if we had gotten caught sneaking around the roof?”

A loud pop rings through the room and the door swings open with ease, “Did we?” Soonyoung questions, sitting back on his heels as he peers up at Jihoon over his shoulder, wiggling his eyebrows that has Jihoon rolling his eyes.

“No.”

“Exactly.”

He can’t help but smile, and Soonyoung sees his reaction and runs with it, “It’s late, how about I walk you home?”

Jihoon freezes midway to grabbing his bag, resuming only as he sees the growing ear to ear smile adorning Soonyoung’s face, “You are the weirdest person I know.”

“That’s why we work so well.” Soonyoung responds, gesture for Jihoon to step out into the hall.

He walks out into the hallway, seeing no sign of the perpetrator Seungkwan. A sigh of relief escapes him as he turns to look at Soonyoung. Jihoon tilts his head down slightly, eyes ranking up and down Soonyoung as he wiggles through the door way, dancing to the constant music that seems to play on repeat in his head. The music in his head, he knows, is his own, and it widens his smile as he waits for Soonyoung to close the door so they can walk down the hallway together, like they have always done, “Yeah, I suppose so.”

 

 

 

 

 

A few weeks later, after the dance is finally mastered to Jihoon, and the music video is finished being filmed and on its final stages of editing, Jihoon decided to take a night to celebrate the nearing comeback. Of course, he would get scolded if he went out drinking without his close friends.

The night didn’t turn out as he was hoping, however. His original plan was to get the gang together, have a few drinks at their favorite bar and then go home to a warm bed awaiting him. Plans were drastically changed as Jeonghan kept buying him shots and he isn’t one to refuse a drink, so he here is tipsy, and still drinking in the comfort of Jeonghan’s apartment.

He shouldn’t be but he’s still drinking, nursing on his own bottle of soju while Seungcheol and Jeonghan are sprawled over the couch leaving no room for himself and Hansol. It’s utterly annoying as his back is killing him after sitting on a damned bar stool for a few hours, but Hansol’s shoulder should suffice as he leans his head on the younger’s shoulder, humming a quiet tune to himself.

“You haven’t been this drunk in a while hyung,” Hansol says, tipping back his own bottle of soju, giggling cutely to see his older friend loosen up, “It’s nice to see you relaxed.”

“Brat,” Jihoon sneers, yet snuggles up closer to Hansol more, “I’ve had ants crawling through my body for the past months, it’s annoying.” He savors the harsh burn of the alcohol, face slightly turning into discomfort as his stomach is trying to tell him to stop with the alcohol. He vaguely notices the rapid vibration of his phone in his pants pocket anymore. He’ll get to once his head stops spinning.

Jeonghan suddenly sits up straight, startling Seungcheol out of his light doze, “Is it your feelings for that dancer of yours?” His voice is littered with snakes, hissing trying to get major details out of Jihoon. If he was hiding a secret relationship, this would be the time he would spill. Though lucky for him, there isn’t anything for him to accidentally tell.

“I don’t know who is worse, you or my stylists,” Jihoon bounces around the question, setting the bottle down on the coffee table to rub the heels of his hands into his eyes, trying to clear his blurry vision, “Was it your plan to get me drunk so you could interrogate me?” It would be a smart move, Jihoon admits, something that is a plausible Jeonghan plan.

The massive eye roll he gets in response is telling him that yes, Jeonghan planned it. He should be surprised but with how long he’s known Jeonghan, not much surprises him anymore.

It falls into a comfortable silence as everyone is sipping on their own bottles, either dozing off, or in their own thoughts, and it’s calming to do such in the presence of close friends. They don’t all get together much anymore, each of their schedules taking them in different directions that it’s hard to schedule anything with all four of them present. It was easier when they weren’t idols and merely just trainees with dreams.

Jihoon’s eyes are trained on watching Jeonghan and Seungcheol. The pair of them have been lovers for far longer than they’ve been idols. He doesn’t know the entire story how they got together and fell in love, but he knows it wasn’t the easiest. No love stories are, not like in the movies or dramas.

Relationships are roller coasters, with their ups and downs, twists and turns, yet they offer an excitement you can’t get anywhere else. It’s about finding the perfect roller coaster to keep you satisfied for life.

He watches as their fingers play together, Jeonghan grazing up and down Seungcheol’s thumb. Seungcheol kissing each of Jeonghan’s knuckles, stars burst in the way Jeonghan giggles at his lover being affectionate in front of people.

The two never meant to tell the world about their relationship, it got outed without their consent. It put a strain on their well-being for a while, knowing how Korea sees gay relationships as a giant sin and all. Yet, they are stronger than what the government says they are. They aren’t devils wearing masks, aren’t pretending to be in love for the clout and attention it brings them.

They are humans in love and doing what they love by singing and making music for all to appreciate. It’s all the world can ask of it’s living beings. No more, no less. If the government legalized gay marriage, he’s certain they would be married already.

“How do you do it?” The many questions are racing through his mind, one stumbles out before he can hold it back. He curses his drunken mind revolving around itself, “How do you date in front of the world?”

Jeonghan and Seungcheol freeze in their movements, both staring at their interlocked fingers. Jihoon inwardly cries as he notices the pained looks on their faces. He moves his eyes from them, hating himself for causing the mood to become tense.

“I think you know the answer Ji, you wrote it in a song after all, ‘If we are meant to be, the world will put that path in front of us.’” Jeonghan sings the line of a long-forgotten song, hidden deep within a folder no one should be able to access.

Jihoon feels his face redden, not from the copious amounts of alcohol he’s been consuming tonight, “Where did you here that?”

Jeonghan leans forward, reaching across the table to swipe the bottle out of Jihoon’s hand. He lazily reaches out for it, pouting as he’s too lazy to chase Jeonghan for it back. His eyes linger over to Hansol’s till Seungcheol’s voice cuts off his thoughts of stealing, “Our love is stronger than their hate. Once you realize that, it’s easy.”

“That doesn’t answer anything,” Hansol interjects, seeming to sense Jihoon’s eyes on his bottle, cradling it to his chest in a tight hug, “How does that make sense?”

“In due time kiddo,” Jeonghan replies, throwing back his head as he finishes off Jihoon’s bottle.

Hansol swivels in his spot, uncoordinated as he turns to Jihoon, placing both of his hands on the elder’s shoulders to keep him in place, “I need the number of your make-up stylist, I see halos above him every time I see him.”

Jihoon snorts, seizing the opportunity to steal Hansol’s bottle that now rests on the coffee table, “Are you sure you haven’t seen his horns?”

“You are so mean hyung,” Hansol pouts, clawing at Jihoon’s shoulders, like a child not receiving what toys he wanted for his birthday, “You are just jealous I’ve found the love of my life while you haven’t.”

“How can you be so certain Seungkwan is the love of your life?” Jihoon grumbles, bypassing the dig at his own romantic life.

Hansol whimpers, lying flat on his back as he stares directly at Jihoon with a sharp gaze for someone so drunk. Jihoon’s surprised to see tears welling up in Hansol’s eyes, “You just know when someone is the one.”

Jihoon ends up giving Seungkwan’s number to Hansol when he’s somewhat sober enough in the morning.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a day before his comeback, and he didn’t think things such as this would make him nervous anymore. He knows the album is great, he’s learned to appreciate his talent and does what he can to make good music for all to like. The production team did an amazing job of filming the music, the editors doing their job, and of course the dancers, stylists and Jisoo for keeping everything running smoothly.

So why is his stomach turning inside itself? Seeking freedom in the form of running up his throat to spill the small amount of food he’s had in the last few hours?

Timing is an odd thing, however. The sounds of his studio door being opened alert him to people coming in. He saves what little progress he’s made on a song he’s producing for a rookie group, hoping whatever this is won’t take too long so he can get as much progress done before he will be busy with performances for the next few weeks.

He turns in time to see Seungkwan and Seokmin, completely out of breath and nearly crashing over one another to get in through the small door, “What’s gotten you two so worked up?”

Seokmin is the first to recover, his eyes wide like he was spooked by a ghost suddenly appearing before him, “Hyung ok we believe you now.”

Jihoon tilts his head in confusion, eyebrows furrowing as he fully turns his chair to face the two who have seated themselves on the couch in his personal studio, “What are you talking about?”

“About not liking hyung.” Seungkwan exclaims, with Seokmin nodding quickly in agreement.

This is a sudden development, and quite frankly not something he was expecting. These two, he assumed would take it as far as they physically could, not satisfied till they saw the two of them together. It puts questions inside of his head, “What brought on this sudden realization?”

Seungkwan removes his puffy jacket, setting aside on the arm as he rolls up his sleeves. His cheeks are dusted pink, not from the cold but the appearance of running. The two must have ran from wherever they were right to the company building, “We were out over at some bar Mingyu recommend and we say Soonyoung standing right outside the window with his back facing us.”

His eyebrows furrow even more, “That still doesn’t make any sense guys.”

“He was wearing a wedding ring.” Seokmin rushes, finishing off Seungkwan’s story before he could continue. Seungkwan in return removes the ring from one of his other fingers to put it on his own ring finger, showing Jihoon in case he didn’t get it through the words and needed a visual picture, “It was an average silver band but he’s never worn it before, who could have pictured him being married?”

Jihoon’s breath escapes him as the two continue to exclaim their surprise in finding out Soonyoung is married. His hands come to ring together, forcing his fingers to intertwine to stop himself from doing something, anything, “I told you two didn’t I.” He states, looking down at his feet, picking apart the scrape on his shoes with his eyes.

Seungkwan nods his head, but his face frowns, “Yeah but since it’s obvious you’ve known, why are you still flirting with him?” It’s an honest question. Not one he’s going to answer honestly. 

“Not to mention Soonyoung flirting back? Think of how his spouse would think?” Seokmin expands off of Seungkwan’s questions.

Jihoon rolls his eyes, fishing his phone as he pulls out his phone. He’s quiet for a while, zoning out the stylists’ theories and questions as he sends multitude of texts to those closest and most important to him. It’s time he had them all over to his place and have everyone he cares about together.

The two are still rambling as he gets a reply, all agreeing to come by his apartment tonight. He smiles in relief, glad that everyone is free to all be there together. He puts his phone down, letting the thud of it on the desk startle the two, “Are you two free to come to my apartment tonight? In celebration of the comeback happening tomorrow?”

Seungkwan’s mouth drops open, “You are openly flirting with a married man, for who knows how long, and you brush it off? Like it’s not wrong to do?” His face is now growing red in anger, not raising his voice, but Jihoon knows the look of passion in Seungkwan’s eyes and knows a lecture is about to happen.

“We’ll be there.” Seokmin interrupts, his look turning into judging eyes as he grabs Seungkwan’s arm and forcibly pulls Seungkwan out of the studio as the younger hurls angry comments at him. Jihoon didn’t think he would have Seungkwan angry at him, but the younger only sees a small section of the bigger picture and he can’t be blamed for assuming what looks like the truth.

The truth isn’t always picture perfect, nor visible to those that don’t look close enough.

 

 

 

 

 

The apartment hasn’t ever had this many people inside of it before. It’s an odd thing to see his comfort place being crowded with the closest people he works with, and his dearest friends. It’s weird to see them mingle all together like this too. Usually not everyone is together, not in the same room, talking among themselves with Jihoon lingering in the back.

On a normal basis, he’s with his all of his stylists, then with his dancers, and less often with his other idol friends. Jisoo tends to follow Jihoon to wherever he floats off to and is with him the most.

It was about time everyone gathered in his home and took all of them into a new step into his life, or not new, but soon to be known for everyone.

Despite living in the place for a few years now, it’s not personalized. No pictures hang on the walls showing off his family and friends. No bookcases showing his awards that he has rightfully earned, no artwork to show off, only bare and boring walls. His own studio is more decorated than his home, and Jisoo tells him as much.

Seeing everyone together here, those he trusts with his life, gives him an unusual confidence. That he’s going to be ok, with whatever life throws at him.

Jihoon walks to the middle of his living room, gaining everyone’s attention as he walks by. The conversations cease to exist, he flushes with twelve sets of eyes on him. He half wishes he had stage lighting on him right now so he wouldn’t be able to see any of them.

It’s too late to turn back now.

“Firstly, I’d like to thank all of you for coming on such sort notice and it’s odd having everyone together like this,” Jihoon keeps his hands in his pockets, hiding his nervous jitters out of view, “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, not all of it sober but with the completion of this album that means everything to me, a very personal story I put into music, I realized hiding what you hold dearest to you isn’t always the best way to keep it safe.

“For a while it felt like the best path to walk, even fun at times to keep it from everyone else and see how much I could get away with it. Though to tell the entire world is a bit too much for now, but we decided that telling all of you was a good start.” Jihoon finishes the tiny speech he completely improvised, forgetting whatever it was he had written down ages ago.

Though everyone peers at him in confusion, and Seungkwan breaks the silence, “We?”

Jihoon can’t stop the smile that breaks out onto his features as he pulls his left hand out of his pocket, still shaking but now adorning a silver band on his ring finger, raising it high enough for everyone to see, “Yeah, we.” His eyes move across each of his friends faces, finally ending up on the giddy and stupid look on his husband’s face.

He sees the split-second decision on Soonyoung’s face when he’s given up holding himself back and rushes to him. Arms wrap around his waist, fitting comfortably like they do every night when they fall asleep in one another’s warmth, and soon lips connect with his for a chaste and nervous kiss that up till now, had been stolen in hasty seconds of alone time, never in front of another living soul.

Jihoon throws his hands around Soonyoung’s head, pulling his husband closer as he deepens the kiss, savoring the feeling of people knowing about their relationship. He smiles through the kiss, ending up giggling and breaking the spell in the room, “This feels great.” Jihoon gasps out, smiling up at Soonyoung, who hasn’t uttered a word, but the look of relief is on his features.

The entire room explodes into chaos as Jihoon and Soonyoung break from one another, but still having their hands connected, fingers interlocked.

Half of them are on the ground in shock, Seungkwan cursing up a storm with Seokmin still staring, mouth agape and not appearing like he is breathing. Jeonghan is drinking straight from the champagne bottle, with Seungcheol trying to stop him. The rest of the dancers are glaring daggers into Soonyoung’s head with Mingyu and Wonwoo whisper to one another while Hansol is holding his head in his hands. The single one who doesn’t look shocked as if the devil himself was standing in the room, then again nothing really scares Jisoo.

“Is this really that much of a shock?” Soonyoung asks, equally as confused by the outburst of reactions.

Ten people all scream forms of yes at Soonyoung, and Jihoon can’t help but laugh, “We never were truly trying to hide it from you all before but after a while it became a game to see if anyone would get it or not.” Not long after the game started, they started placing bets on who would start pushing them to get together first, and who would do the most outrageous think to force them together, Jihoon usually was the winner.

“Lee Jihoon you are dead to me.” Jeonghan acknowledges, collapsing onto the couch, “That’s what you were asking about when you were drunk huh?”

Jihoon confirms with a nod, tightening his hold onto Soonyoung’s hand for strength. They had a long discussion about it once he returned home. Jihoon wasn’t truly prepared to tell everyone so soon. Originally, he wanted to slowly tell everyone, one by one, so he could control the situation and answer questions without being mobbed.

Then Seungkwan and Seokmin accidentally saw Soonyoung’s ring, and he realized he couldn’t uphold the lie much longer. Said two are looking at him like he actually did destroy their styling products, “We usually only wear our rings if we are at home, or out where we know we won’t be spotted. Soonyoung has better luck with that than me obviously.”

“You couldn’t just have told us then? You made us try to force you two together when you two have just been in love the entire time?” Seokmin weeps out, his energy completely leaving him.

Jihoon bites his lip to stop himself from enjoying their misery, “Yeah, we’ve been married for three years, dated for six.”

“That fucking long?” Jeonghan shouts from the couch.

Soonyoung perks up, “Adore U was his confession song.”

Under different circumstances, bringing up his slightly embarrassing confession would send him to rapidly change to subject. Yet Jihoon feels no need to do so as he watches Soonyoung’s side profile. His eyes shine bright with pride, looking entirely happy to be talking about how they got together.

It wasn’t the most perfectly or well executed confession, but somehow Soonyoung agreed to date Jihoon afterwards, so it worked out in the end.

“We may not be married here but we secretly went off to Vegas for a few days and got married then. It’s enough for us to be married somewhere.” Soonyoung explains, remembering that nightmare of a journey to go along with a plan hastily put together by Jihoon, “It was Jihoon’s idea after all. How could I say no to him?”

It’s cheesy, romantic, and everything Jihoon once thought he could never stand. Yet now he doesn’t want to stop hearing Soonyoung gush over him, enjoying the look of annoyance on everyone’s faces at how whipped Soonyoung is for him.

“I wrote Angel the night we got married after Soonyoung had fallen asleep.” Jihoon admits, cherishing how easy it was to write his feelings on paper as he watched the gentle rise and slope of Soonyoung’s sleeping chest littered with hickeys placed there by his lips, “You guys never asked the right questions. I said no, I didn’t like him because I love him with my entire heart.” His voice carries over the loud voices in the room as he spills the truth he’s held in for so long. It’s not his fault no asked him if he loved Soonyoung. No one asked him the right questions, so technically he wasn’t ever lying, just scooting around the truth.

Jihoon bites at his lips, staying silent as he watches Soonyoung answer all the questions thrown at him by their friends. He could sit for hours and simply watch Soonyoung do the minimalist things. He’s done it before, and he will do it again. His husband has the oddest ways of making Jihoon thoroughly enthralled by things he never once was interested in.

He never cared for cars much, but when he saw Soonyoung working under the hood of one for hours, he sat and enjoyed the show. Often, Jihoon is still awake by the time Soonyoung has dozed off, always been one to fall asleep quickly, he’ll simply watch Soonyoung sleep. Noting the way he moves over when he feels Jihoon move, an arm reaching over to feel for Jihoon, making sure he’s there. The way his eyelashes flutter against his skin as he dreams or smiles when Jihoon snuggles in close to his side.

No medicine could have the same calming effect as Soonyoung is for Jihoon.

Soonyoung is everything to Jihoon, he loves him with all his heart, more than anything else in this world, even more than music. It makes sense considering all his music is rooted from same inspiration.

Soonyoung.

Only the most important people know about them, and that’s ok. They can’t hide from the world forever and he’ll cross that bridge when they get there.

All Jihoon needs is Soonyoung. After all, Soonyoung is Jihoon’s entire world.