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growing pains

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The first time Huening Kai picks Soobin up and fireman-carries him across the room, Soobin realises two things.

One, Kai is big. He’s Soobin’s cute little baby boy no more. Granted, Soobin’s already known this from all the excited texts Kai sends him every time he has his height measured. Hyung, I’ve grown 2cm! Hyung, I’ve grown another 0.5cm! Watch out, pretty soon you’ll be the one looking up to me. HA! It’s annoying. Maybe a little cute. But mostly annoying. Point is, Soobin’s always known. It’s just that he’s never quite had to experience it firsthand like this, just how big Kai has become.

“If you don’t put me down right now, I’m going to - I’m going to do something,” Soobin says, trying to pull off cool and threatening and failing miserably.

Kai deftly nudges the door open with his foot and readjusts his grip on Soobin.

“Do what, hyung?” Kai says, grinning. He’s barely out of breath, the little shit.

Soobin struggles half-heartedly, then decides he rather likes being transported via Kai’s shoulders — which, speaking of, have become a lot broader than Soobin remembers them being. Kai’s hand is warm on the back of his thighs. It’s a little too high up his thighs, but Soobin quickly shuts that thought down.

“I’m gonna take your plushies when you’re not looking and dump them in the trash,” Soobin says, leaning in close to murmur the words into the back of Kai’s ear, because he knows how to hurt Kai where it really hurts.

Immediately, Soobin violently meets ground.

“Ow,” he says, and wonders when he’d lost his position as leader of TXT for the position of Kai’s body bag.

“I was just trying to be a good, responsible dongsaeng,” Kai teases, “Why’d you have to pull out the big guns? I’m hurt, hyung.”

“I -“ Soobin collects himself from the floor. “I’m sorry,” he caves, because he’s never been able to resist Kai when he’s looking like that, all teasing and cute, eyes sparkling with mirth and lips annoyingly pouty.

“Manager-nim’s coming with the car sooooon,” Kai sings, pushing Soobin into the bathroom that he’d been unceremoniously dumped in front of. “Get washed up, leader.” Kai spins Soobin around so he’s facing the sink, gives his tummy a quick rub, then closes the door.

Soobin stands in front of the mirror and squints. His cheeks are red. He must still be groggy from being woken up by Kai’s aggressive ministrations, because he’s obviously seeing things.

He rubs his eyes. Splashes his face with water. Takes out his toothbrush.

The second thing Soobin realises, as his own blushing reflection stares back and his traitorous heart thunders in the empty bathroom, is this: his body likes being carried by Kai.

His body is a traitor.



The last few weeks of promotions proceed as per normal. Music shows, dance practices, vocal trainings, new shoots and new interviews. But one thing has changed: Soobin can’t stop noticing how big Kai is.

He’s bothered by it.

He’s bothered by the way he can’t comfortably sling his arm over Kai’s shoulders anymore.

He’s bothered by the way he doesn’t have to look down to look Kai in the eye anymore. He’s bothered by the way Kai stands slightly slouched now, the way his shoulders fill out his oversized hoodies, the way his ankles start showing from beneath his long pants.

It’s not his fault. Kai just has annoyingly dainty ankles, and it’s like he’s trying to show them off, the way he’s splayed out now, feet propped up on the arm of the couch he’s on, ankles criss-crossed and feet kicking lazily from time to time.

They’re back in their dorm, resting up for a shoot the next day. Taehyun and Beomgyu had shut themselves off in their rooms to rush out last-minute homework, and Soobin’s being a great leader and taking one for the team by ironing the members’ freshly laundered clothes, humming Drama under his breath and absolutely not staring at Kai’s stupid ankles.

“It’s not that I want you to wear my uniform,” Kai says suddenly.

“Hmm?” Soobin’s eyes dart up from Kai’s ankles.

“I mean, I just think you’d be able to fit nicely into my uniform,” Kai continues. He fidgets on the couch, phone dangling from his fingers. Soobin’s pretty sure he’d been deep in the middle of playing a mobile game, so he has no idea why Kai’s suddenly bringing up their V LIVE conversation again. “I’m almost as tall as you are, so,” Kai adds. “You know. I’m sure the pants will fit perfectly. I’m not a small boy anymore.”

Soobin picks up Kai’s half-ironed uniform pants from the ironing board and holds them up over his legs. “You’re right, they do look like they’ll fit.”

“Kai just wants to see you in his clothes,” Yeonjun drawls from the other side of the living room. He’d been napping on the couch, but obviously not anymore.

“Haha!” Kai says, at the exact same time Soobin drops the pants. “You’re so funny, hyung!”

“I’m always funny,” Yeonjun says agreeably. “Soobin, watch the iron, it’s about to burn through the ironing board.”

Soobin’s face feels like it could burn through just about anything, right now.

“Right,” he mutters, picking Kai’s pants from the floor and taking hold of the iron again. “It doesn’t matter even if you grow taller than me, Hueningie,” Soobin continues, ironing the last of the crinkles from Kai’s pants. He decides it’s best to pretend he didn’t hear Yeonjun’s comment. “You’ll always be my cute little baby boy.”

“I’m not a baby boy anymore!” Kai says indignantly.

“But you are,” Yeonjun says.

“But I don’t wanna.” Kai pouts. Soobin averts his eyes. Kai’s pouts are dangerous.

“Is this puberty speaking?” Soobin asks Yeonjun.

“I think so,” Yeonjun sings.

“Aww, growing pains?” Soobin coos. “My cute little baby boy’s growing up.”

Kai mutters something under his breath.

“What’s that?” Soobin asks, throwing Kai’s pants over to him on the couch. It flops dramatically over Kai’s chest. “Hang up your clothes for me, baby.”

Kai sputters, clutching his pants.

“I’ll try them on later, ‘kay?” Soobin says, because he can’t stand it when Kai‘s upset, which is exactly what he’s looking like right now. “Just let me finish up here.”

“I don’t care about that,” Kai finally says, standing up. He fists his pants, knuckles clenched. There goes Soobin’s hard work. “I - forget it, hyung. You’ll never understand.”

He walks, dignified, into his bedroom, and locks the door behind him.

“Ah, teenage puberty,” Yeonjun says, in the ensuing silence. “At least he’s polite about it.”

Soobin frowns.



Kai doesn’t come to bed that night. Not that Soobin had been waiting. It’s just that — well. Who’s he kidding? He’s always waiting for Kai to worm into his bed like a huge, overgrown teddy bear, even if he pretends not to.

Soobin quietly slips out of bed, careful not to wake Beomgyu up, and pads over to Kai’s room.

He pauses outside the door, hand on the handle.

Maybe Kai’s mad at him. He hadn’t come out of his room that day except to grab his dinner and take a shower. Soobin had tried cajoling Taehyun into telling him what Kai had been up to alone in his room, but to no avail. Getting through to Taehyun is like pounding his head against a brick wall. Completely impenetrable. What a stud.

Anyway, Soobin’s in a bit of a fix. Should he knock? Or should he give Kai some space? Should he just barge into the room and order Kai to sleep with him? Is that weird?

Is it?

Maybe it is.

Their sleeping habits have always been weird to begin with. The members constantly tease them about the absurdity of two giants sleeping together in a single bed. It doesn’t make sense. Their knees should knock. Their elbows should collide. Sleeping with Kai shouldn’t be comfortable — but it is.

And now Soobin misses it.

They have a shoot the next day. He should be resting up as much as he can. He shouldn’t be standing outside Kai’s door, wrestling with himself about something as inane as sleeping together. Kai’s probably already asleep, his stupid ankles delicately jutting out from beneath his blanket because his blanket is too small and he never bothers to change it, because.

Because he’s been sleeping in Soobin’s bed, and Soobin’s blanket has always fit them both perfectly.

Soobin’s hand twitches on the door handle.

This is silly. If he enters Kai’s room, he runs the risk of waking Taehyun up. It’s two in the morning and they have to be up in less than six hours. He needs to be a responsible leader. He needs to leave Kai alone.

Just as Soobin makes the manful, responsible decision to retreat back into his room, Kai’s door opens. Soobin nearly falls over.

“Hyung?” Kai’s on the other side, looking befuddled.

“Uh,” Soobin says, frozen in place, mind racing a million miles per hour to come up with a plausible-sounding reason for why he’s standing outside Kai’s door like a creep. He lowers his hand, which had been floating awkwardly where the door handle should have been. “Hi.”

“Hey,” Kai says quietly, stepping out and closing the door gently behind him. “What’re you doing here?”

Soobin’s feet seem to be stuck to the ground, because his body’s doing that traitorous thing again where it refuses to listen to his brain, which is signalling frantically: step back, Soobin, come on! He can’t move. Kai’s in his space, backed against his door, and Soobin wants to step back to give them space but he can’t.

He can’t, because Kai’s peering at him, his eyes almost at the same level as his, his shoulders broad and squared up, his stupid oversized pyjamas tight against his chest. His lips are sleep-flushed and slightly parted in curiosity, and his hair is disheveled, and there are pillow marks on his cheek. Soobin feels his heart sink a little. It’s obvious Kai had no problem at all falling asleep without him. Even despite growing into his pyjamas, Kai’s shirt still hangs a little loosely around his neck and his collarbones are showing, and — and Soobin reluctantly realises that Kai’s collarbones are just as delicate as his ankles.

Soobin’s body — the traitor — wants to press Kai against the door.

“Hyung?” Kai says, leaning back against his door and shifting from feet to feet. It breaks Soobin out of his stupor.

“Sorry!” Soobin says, voice cracking. He takes a big step back.

Kai’s still standing there, but his lips begin quirking into an infuriatingly smug smile.

“Were you looking for me, hyung?” he says slowly, taking a step forward.

“... no,” Soobin says, in a futile attempt to salvage his dignity.

Kai quirks an eyebrow at him, and he advances again, and Soobin is so screwed.

“Whatever,” Kai says loftily, placing a hand on Soobin’s chest and pushing him back until he trips onto the couch. Soobin lands with a whoomph. “I really need to pee.”

Then Kai side-steps the couch and leaves for the toilet.

Soobin stays on the couch for a bit, because he feels a little wobbly. He swallows. He’s pretty sure he should feel... upset about being pushed around like that by Kai, but all he can feel is a weird, warm flush that spreads from the tips of his ears to the ends of his toes.

The toilet flushes.

Soobin scrambles up from the couch.

By the time Kai comes back out, Soobin is safely back in bed, absolutely not straining his ears for Kai’s footsteps, because he doesn’t care if Kai follows him into his room. He doesn’t care if Kai sleeps with him or sleeps alone. He’s totally fine. He’s — he’s suddenly nervous, brimming with tingly anticipation, because is that his door being pushed open? Is that Kai’s footsteps in his room? Is that —

“Did you miss me, hyung?” Kai whispers, and Soobin jerks in surprise.

Kai laughs. Beomgyu stirs.

“Shh,” Soobin hisses, and tugs Kai into bed.

Kai is a lot of things, but if there’s one thing he’s always been since they met when he was just a young teen, it’s this — he’s a huge tease.

Soobin tells him as much.

“I wasn’t trying to tease you,” Kai whispers in reply. “I just can’t help that you missed me so much you had to come out and find me.”

“That’s not true,” Soobin mutters, because this is a losing battle but hey, at least he can try.

“That is so true.”

“So not.”

“Lies.” Kai digs a hand into Soobin’s tummy.

“Whatever,” Soobin murmurs, and covers Kai’s hand with his own.



In the mornings, Soobin always makes sure he’s ready for Kai‘s tricks.

That particular morning, he’d been jostled awake when Kai slipped out of bed to wash up, and this time he’d made sure not to fall back asleep. So when Kai slips back into the room and wedges his hands beneath Soobin’s shoulders — when had Kai’s hands gotten so big? — Soobin knows exactly what to do.

He wraps his arms around Kai’s shoulders and tugs him back. Kai collapses with a yelp — right on top Soobin.

“You can’t prank me twice, baby,” Soobin laughs into Kai’s ear, tightening his arms.

Kai stiffens, so Soobin lets go.

“Don’t call me baby,” Kai says. He raises himself up on his elbows.

Soobin cracks open an eye, suddenly extremely aware of the way Kai is pressed, soft and warm, against the entire length of his body. Kai looms over him, hair falling over one eye.

“Why?” Soobin asks.

“I just —“ Kai’s lips tighten, a tell-tale sign that he wants to say something but also doesn’t want to say it. “I’m not a baby anymore.”

Soobin opens both eyes. Oh, it’s one of those things again. Kai’s the cutest when he gets like this.

“Aw, baby,” Soobin teases, quirking a half-smile. He raises his hand to tuck Kai’s hair back behind his ear, pinches his cheek. “But you’re so cute.”

Kai frowns, but he leans into Soobin’s hand. “I don’t want you to baby me,” he whines.

“But you love it,” Soobin coos, bringing both hands up to palm Kai’s cheeks. “Don’t pretend you don’t.”

“I —“ Kai bites his lip, then suddenly he’s yanking both Soobin’s hands away with one hand, pinning them against the headboard, and in a heartbeat, everything feels different. Weird. Heated. Soobin feels exposed, with both his hands up and Kai pressing him into the bed, an unfamiliar look in his eyes. Something deep in Soobin coils and twists, and he clamps down hard on that feeling. “Hyung,” Kai murmurs, “I want —“

The door slams open.

“Kai, what — agh!” Beomgyu’s shriek pierces straight into Soobin’s skull. “They’re doing it again!”



After that, things take a turn for the worse.

“It’s not that I don’t like it,” Soobin says over dinner, after the members have slowly trickled into their rooms and it’s just him and Yeonjun at the table, diligently finishing up the leftovers. “It’s just that it’s weird, and I’m worried.”

Yeonjun raises an eyebrow at him over Taehyun’s half-finished bowl of tteokbokki. “So you like it?”

“I didn’t — hyung! That’s not the point.”

“I’m just saying, Kai only does those things to you. You don’t see him pushing me around, or carrying Gyu around. So.”

“So? So what?”

“So, isn’t it obvious?”

“What’s obvious?”

Yeonjun leans over the table and prods Soobin in the cheek. “You’re so innocent!” he coos delightedly.

“Jjunie, please.”

“Let’s think about it this way,” Yeonjun says, sitting back and smacking his lips indulgently. “In dramas, when the boy likes the girl, what does he do?”

Soobin blinks, thinking back to the grand total of one romantic drama he’s ever watched. “Uh, he kisses her?”

“Yeah, no shit, but before that?”

“I don’t know, he holds her hand?”

Yeonjun smiles. “Bingo.”

“But I’m not talking about holding hands,” Soobin explains patiently, because Yeonjun can’t possibly be this dense, and also Kai has had a penchant for holding his hand since he was, like, fifteen. “I’m talking about, you know, all the other things.”

Like pushing him against the dance studio mirror for no reason at all except to steal Soobin’s water bottle. Like wrapping an arm around Soobin’s shoulders and tousling his hair, much like how Soobin had done pre-debut and Kai had been a tiny kid he’d had to protect. Like randomly using Soobin as makeshift dumbbells, hoisting him over his shoulders and using him to train his squats. Like gathering Soobin’s hands with one hand and pinning them over his head in bed. All these other things.

Yeonjun leans over the table, winks, and says lasciviously: “Exactly.” There’s still half a rice cake in his mouth.

“Hyung!” Soobin laughs, putting his hand on Yeonjun’s face. “You’re really not helping. I’m just worried, you know? This feels like a weird puberty thing, whatever it is.”

“Look,” Yeonjun says, clutching at Soobin’s hand and pulling it away from his face. “Yes, it’s obviously a puberty thing. He’s growing up, so other parts of him must be growing up too.” Yeonjun does the wink again, and Soobin is this close to throwing a fish cake into his stupid face. “You know what I think? I think he’s in love, and he’s trying to get the urges out of his system.”

“He’s — what?” Soobin is dumbfounded. “In love? With who?”

“Who knows?” Yeonjun says. “I have my suspicions. But you’d kill me if I told you.”

Soobin grips Yeonjun hand. Hard. “Tell me.”

“Nope~” Yeonjun sings.

It’s not cool to pull out the Leader Card, but Soobin is so Not Cool right now. “Leader’s orders,” Soobin says. “Tell me.”

Yeonjun purses his lips. “Savage.”

“I need to know these things. It’s my duty.”

Yeonjun takes another bite of leftover rice cake, then says, with utter disrespect: “It’s your duty to find out yourself. My lips are sealed.”



That night, Soobin can’t sleep. It’s all Yeonjun’s fault.

“Hueningie?” he whispers, when Beomgyu’s breathing evens out and deepens. Soobin blinks at the ceiling, trying to figure out if Kai‘s gone to sleep too. Between the both of them, Soobin’s usually the first to fall asleep.

“Yeah?” Kai says from where he’s snuggled up into Soobin’s side. His breath tickles the side of Soobin’s neck.

Soobin twitches.

“You’d tell me if you’re talking to a girl, right?” Soobin doesn’t know why the thought irks him. It’s just. He’s so used to knowing everything about Kai. Kai keeping a secret from him makes him feel all weird.

“What?” Kai sounds bemused. “A girl?”

“Yeah, like,” Soobin pauses. “I know management doesn’t let us have girlfriends, but it’s okay. I trust you. Just — tell me, ‘kay?”

“Hyung...” Kai sounds hesitant. He shifts from Soobin’s shoulder so he‘s looking at Soobin proper, eyes glinting in the moonlight streaming through the window. “You don’t have to worry about girls.”

Soobin turns so he’s laying on his side, facing Kai. Half of Kai’s face is lit by moonlight; it curves down the arch of his nose and the line of his lips and Soobin blinks.

“Oh,” Soobin says. He shoves back a huge wave of relief. “Okay. So there isn’t a girl?”

“Haha,” Kai says, in that cute little way he has of laughing when he’s really trying to deflect an awkward situation. “No.”

“What’s that?” Soobin asks amusedly. “Did you just “haha” me? Me?” Kai never does that to Soobin. They’re supposed to be 100% comfortable with each other.

“Haha,” Kai lets slip again, then he covers his mouth with his hand and looks at Soobin, eyes wide.


“Hueningie,” Soobin says, leaning closer into Kai’s space. “Do you have something you wanna tell me?”

“No,” Kai says immediately.

“I don’t believe you,” Soobin says.

Kai blinks, doe-eyed and innocent.

“Spit it out,” Soobin says. By now, he prides himself on knowing Kai’s every trait — which is why Kai’s recent bouts of physical affection (or aggression? Soobin’s not too sure) have had him a little anxious — so he’s absolutely certain Kai’s got something to say.

“Ah, hyung,” Kai stutters, and this is new. Soobin’s never seen Kai nervous around him before. Nervous about going onstage, yes. Nervous about meeting fans, sure. But nervous, like this, for no reason at all?

Maybe it’s a puberty thing.

“What’s up?” Soobin says gently. He backtracks, because he’s never seen Kai nervous like this and he doesn’t want to push Kai too hard. “It’s okay, I’m sorry. You don’t have to tell me if you’re not comfortable.”

“No,” Kai says, “I want to.” Then he clams up and presses his lips tight.

“Ooookay,” Soobin teases, poking Kai’s cheek. “Anytime now.”

“Promise you won’t hate me?” Kai asks. He sounds scared.

Soobin feels scared. What’s going on?

“Of course not,” he says, resting a hand on Kai’s waist. He strokes comfortingly. “How could I hate you?”

Kai clenches, then unclenches his jaw. “Promise?” he asks, stubbornly.

“I promise,” Soobin says, a little bewildered. He holds out his pinky. “Here, believe me now?”

Kai hooks his pinky with Soobin’s, then drops his hand. “Um,” he says, then the words tumble out so fast Soobin can barely understand what he’s saying. “Idontlikegirls.”

“You...” It feels like the whole world has frozen over. Everything narrows down to this moment, held suspended in time, between him and Kai. Soobin lowers his voice. “You don’t like girls?”

Kai shakes his head, eyes wide.

“Are you gay?” Soobin whispers.

Kai nods minutely. His lips are pressed tight in a line, and his eyes are big and terrified, and all Soobin wants to do is get Kai to relax again, to feel safe with him, to stop looking so scared.

“Hey, breathe,” Soobin says, stroking Kai’s shoulder. “You look like you’re gonna combust.”

“Okay,” Kai murmurs.

“Are you okay?” Soobin lets his hand come to a rest on Kai’s shoulder.

“I’m okay,” Kai breathes shakily. “I’m okay, hyung, you don’t hate me, right?”

Soobin quirks a smile. “It’s 2020. I’m cool with it. Why would I hate you?”

I love you, Soobin doesn’t say, because now he’s not sure if he’s still allowed to say it anymore.

“Okay,” Kai says. He finally relaxes, melting into the bed. “Can I hug you?”

“Since when have you asked so politely?” Soobin asks, amused. “Of course, c’mere.” He pulls Kai into his arms, lets Kai snuggle into the space between his shoulder and chin, and holds him tight.

Soobin’s heart is pounding a million beats a second, and he has no idea why.

“Do the rest know?” Soobin asks, curious.

“No,” Kai says, warm breath wafting over the skin of Soobin’s neck. “You’re the first person I’ve told.”

“Oh,” Soobin says, touched. “What about... your family?”

Pause. “I’m too scared to tell anyone, hyung,” Kai whispers. “It’s a secret, ‘kay?”

“Your secret’s safe with me,” Soobin murmurs, tightening his arm around Kai’s stupidly broad shoulders. “You can tell them when you’re ready, baby.”

“Mm,” Kai says, snuggling closer. His hair tickles Soobin’s chin.

A few moments tick by, and Kai’s breathing slows and deepens.

“Hyung?” Kai suddenly says, sounding seconds from dropping off. “Stop calling me baby.”

“Okay, baby,” Soobin says, and smiles when Kai hits him.



For all his stubbornness in calling Kai his baby, Soobin is very well aware just how not-a-baby Kai is.

He sees it in the way Kai holds himself, jaunty and fun-loving and confident. He’s no longer the nervous little boy he’d been when they were trainees. He sees it in the way Kai dances, especially in Puma, all lithe and lean and seductive. He’s grown into his body, grown into his limbs, and he knows exactly how to use every inch of his long, long, long legs. He sees it in the way Kai unbuttons his school uniform, careless and lackadaisical, in the way he flings the sweaty shirt on the floor, in the way he starts on his belt buckle. Kai is nearly six feet of toned muscle, confidence and, Soobin has to admit, attractiveness.

He’s not blind. He knows, objectively, that all of them are good-looking. He’s just never thought of them as attractive, because he’s never been attracted to them.

Not until now.


Attractive? Kai? Attractive?

Soobin averts his gaze and stares at his phone screen.

Kai continues undressing in his peripheral, and Soobin fights the urge to throw a towel at him and tell him to undress in the bathroom. But that’d be totally weird. Everyone‘s always in different states of undress in the dorm. It’s nothing new. What’s wrong with him?

Once again, Soobin body betrays him, because he feels his hands start to sweat and a flush settle deep in his bones.

“Hey, hyung?” Kai says, coming over, and Soobin has to resist the urge to stare at Kai in his underwear. Kai throws the pants he’d just taken off into Soobin’s lap. “Wanna try them on? I bet it fits.”

“Oh?” Soobin says weakly, putting his phone down. “What are you betting on?”

“A bowl of bingsu,” Kai declares, flopping down next to Soobin on the couch. This close, Soobin can smell his after school sweat and body soap, and it is irritatingly pleasant. “Loser pays.”

“Deal,” Soobin says, standing up and tugging self-consciously at his shorts. “Stop staring!”

Kai looks put out. “I can’t even look at my favourite hyung?”

Am I your favourite hyung?” Soobin teases, hurriedly stepping out of his shorts and picking up Kai’s pants. It’s still warm in his hands. Great, now Soobin’s entire body feels warm at the thought of wearing Kai’s still-warm clothes. Just great.

“Of course,” Kai says lazily, wiggling his eyebrows. “Don’t tell the rest. Our love is a forbidden one.”

“Have you been watching period dramas again?” Soobin asks, pulling up Kai’s pants and zipping it up. “Oh, wow. It... fits. How do I look?” Soobin does a little pose.

Kai just looks at him, a hard, unfamiliar look in his eyes. “You look great, hyung,” he says, one beat too late.

“Of course,” Soobin says, cocking his hip. He tries to ignore the way Kai’s body heat seeps from his pants to his legs. “Should I try on your shirt too?”

“Oh, yeah, sure, hyung,” Kai says, a little breathlessly. It’s a warmer day than most, summer finally blasting Seoul in full force, and Kai’s face looks a little flushed.

Soobin turns around to remove his shirt and pick Kai’s shirt from the floor. Old habits die hard — the day they learn to throw their dirty clothes in the laundry will be the day the sky turns green and the grass blue. He slides Kai’s shirt over his shoulders, and tries to ignore the way Kai’s sweaty, sweet scent fills the air.

“Okay, I admit defeat,” Soobin says, turning around after buttoning the shirt up. “You’ve officially joined me in the giant ranks. Happy now?”

Kai closes his mouth with a snap. “Very,” he says, looking deeply satisfied. He bounds over, straightens Soobin’s shirt and loops a tie around his neck. “Here,” he says, a lovely picture of concentration as he fixes the tie, pulling it so tight he almost chokes off Soobin’s air supply. “You’re officially a student again. How do you feel?”

“A little sticky,” Soobin teases. “You’re a sweaty baby, Hueningie.” He reaches up to loosen the tie and unbutton the top button of Kai’s shirt. “Wow, I’ve forgotten how uncomfortable ties can be.”

“You can’t do that, hyung,” Kai scolds, pushing Soobin’s hands away and trying to button up his shirt again. “It’s against the rules.”

“Wanna be a punk,” Soobin sings. He puts two hands on Kai’s bare chest and pushes him back down on the couch, and feels an odd sense of gratification when Kai looks at him, eyes wide and surprised. It feels nice to be the one finally pushing Kai around, after almost a month of being manhandled by Kai.

He almost immediately regrets it when Kai retaliates by leaning forward and yanking him by his tie, pulling Soobin onto the couch with him.

“What’re you doing?” Soobin laughs, bolstering himself with both hands on Kai’s shoulders. He‘s kneeling over Kai’s lap, held in place by Kai’s hand on his tie and another hand on his waist.

“‘m not a baby,” Kai says, tugging Soobin closer. His eyes glint. “Say it.”

“Whoa, okay,” Soobin says, a little taken aback. They’re close, and all of a sudden his body flushes traitorously again. A thrill runs down his spine, all the way to his toes. “No, you’re not a baby. I was just teasing you. Come on, look at you.” Soobin runs his hands down Kai’s shoulders and arms. He squeezes Kai’s biceps. “You’re all grown up.”

Kai smiles, suddenly shy. “Thanks, Binnie-hyung.” He lets go of Soobin’s tie.

Like any good hyung, Soobin jumps on the opportunity to embarrass Kai further. “I mean, look at this,” he coos, getting off Kai’s lap in favour of the couch next to him. He palms Kai’s neck, then runs his fingers down a delicate collarbone, down the curve of Kai’s pecs, over the lines of his abs. He brings his hand up to cup Kai’s cheek. “You’re all grown up now, but you’re still so cute!”

Kai flushes a deep, deep red. “Hyung,” he whines, squirming.

“Tell me,” Soobin says indulgently, stroking a line down Kai’s bare stomach. “What bingsu will this baby be having tonight?”

Kai jumps up from the couch. “Um,” he says, voice high and squeaky. “Tell you later. Gotta shower!” Then he’s out of the living room like a shot.

“Huh,” Soobin says, to thin air. “Okay then.”




11:13 AM



BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:13 AM

hey hyung!!!


Soobin’s a little startled by Kai’s immediate response. He keeps the spoon in his mouth in order to free up both hands to respond.



11:14 AM

My brother bought bingsu for me today

For once I have it alllll to myself


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:14 AM


i want bingsu tooooo

gimme some



Soobin grins as he shovels another spoon of bingsu into his mouth. He snaps a selfie. Promotions have wrapped up, and for the first time that year, they have a week off to take a well-deserved break at home with their families.

He’s delighted to be home, but he also misses the members sorely.



11:14 AM

Soobin sent a photo

Tastes better without you stealing the best bits  


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:14 AM

BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3 sent a photo


you miss it!!!


“Who’re you texting?” Soobin’s brother teases from across the table.

“Hm? Hueningie.” Soobin has to try very hard to wipe the grin off his face. Kai had sent a selfie of him pretending to eat something from the phone camera, and it’s adorable.

“Boring,” his brother says. “Thought you were texting a girl.”

“What? Why?” Soobin asks as he types his response to Kai.



11:14 AM


I don’t miss it one bit!


“You’ve got that lovey-dovey look in your eyes,” his brother comments. “You know, the same look you had when you were talking to that girl — what’s her name? Jangmi?”

“Jangmi?” Soobin finally looks up from his phone. “Jangmi was, like, five years ago.”

“Yeah, but you guys definitely had something going on,” his brother says.


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:15 AM

but you miss me, right?


Soobin can’t stop the grin that forms when he glances back down at his phone.

“Yeah, but that lasted only a month,” Soobin responds half-heartedly, already typing his response to Kai.



11:15 AM

Not as much as you miss me ;-)


“God, I buy bingsu for you but I still can’t buy your attention. What am I, chopped liver?” His brother whacks Soobin in the head.

“Ow!” Soobin puts his phone down. “Okay, you have my full attention, hyung, Oh-Great-Provider-of-Bingsu.” 

“So~?” His brother leans over the table. “How’re the female idols like? Have you texted anyone up yet?”

Soobin laughs. “Please. Even if I had their numbers, what makes you think I have time to text them? I don’t even have time to text you or Mom and Dad.”

His phone vibrates a few times. Soobin resists the urge to pick it up.

“Tragic.” His brother squints at him. “Nothing juicy at all? What about the rest? Yeonjun? He looks like he has game.”

“I don’t think so. You know we’re not allowed to get into stuff like this, hyung,” Soobin says reproachfully. “There’s nothing going on.” Their love lives are as dry as the desert in the middle of a drought.

“What about your beloved Hueningie? He’s so exotic-looking. Bet the girls are all over him.”

His phone vibrates again. Soobin covers it with a hand, pausing, thinking back to the stolen glances he’s noticed from plenty of girl groups during music shows. “Well, yeah, I guess so. But no one’s made a move yet.”

“Ooooh,” his brother says conspiratorially. “But how can you be so sure?”

“The members tell me everything,” Soobin says confidently. To be completely honest, he’s a little relieved Kai is gay. Nothing can possibly happen there. That’s one less member to worry about.

“Oh yeah, that’s right, you’re the leader,” his brother coos, ruffling Soobin’s hair as he stands up. “Just remember not to let BigHit dictate your whole life, ‘kay? There are more important things than your career.”

“Like you guys?” Soobin says warmly, smiling up at his brother.

“Of course,” his brother says, gathering their now empty bowls of bingsu from the table. Soobin hadn’t even noticed he’d finished his bingsu. “And your love life, too. You don’t want to grow old and die alone, do you?” 

“Of course not,” Soobin says, but he’s not really concerned about that right now. There are more pressing matters at hand, like the way his phone hasn’t stopped vibrating since he’d put it down.

His brother takes his leave, so he picks up his phone again, ready for a barrage of texts from Kai.


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:15 AM


i don’t miss u at ALL

tobin is all i need 


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:16 AM

hyuuuung where’d u gooooo

im just kidding

of course i miss u


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:17 AM

don’t be madddd

i rly do miss u guys

especially sleeping w u!!!

BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3 sent a photo

wish this was u


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:18 AM



im boredddd


The photo is of Kai lying in bed, snuggled up to Tobin. Soobin has never wanted to hug Kai as much as he wants to right now.



11:18 AM

Sorry, was chatting with my brother

I miss sleeping with you too

Four more days!


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:18 AM

oooh what was so important that u had to ignore ME huh???



11:19 AM


He wanted to know about my love life


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:19 AM


since when do u have a love life???



11:19 AM

Wow, rude

What if I do?


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:19 AM

do u???



11:19 AM

Do I?????


How about you?

Are your sisters as annoying as my brother


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:19 AM




11:19 AM

Are you going to tell them?


The “typing” status appears under Kai’s name, then disappears, then appears again.


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:20 AM

tell them what?



11:20 AM

You know

Your orientation


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:20 AM

don’t see why i have to



11:20 AM

For the same reason you told me

You’ll feel less scared, knowing your family loves and accepts you


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:20 AM

maybe i told u for different reasons



11:20 AM


What reasons?


Kai takes awhile to respond again.


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:20 AM

so you’ll get off my back about texting girls




11:20 AM


You’ll tell me even if you’re texting a boy


Promise me


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:21 AM




11:21 AM

Promise me!!!


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:21 AM


i have a confession to make



11:21 AM

Oh my GOD


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:21 AM

i am texting someone



11:21 AM




BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:21 AM


u definitely do



11:21 AM

… is he another idol


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:21 AM




11:21 AM

Please tell me he’s not one of us


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

11:21 AM




11:21 AM

What does that mean







The door slams open. “I’M HOME, SUCKERS, DID YOU MISS ME?” Beomgyu hollers, his words thick with Daegu dialect. He stumbles through the front door, lugging a duffel bag bigger than him and flinging the shoes off his feet.

“Not anymore,” Taehyun calls from his bedroom.

Beomgyu fakes a gasp. “You wound me!” He dumps his duffel bag on the floor.

“Welcome back,” Soobin says. ”Please put your shoes on the rack.”

His phone buzzes. It’s a message from Kai. He almost drops his phone unlocking it.

“What a warm welcome all around,” Beomgyu complains. In Soobin’s periphery, he sees Yeonjun pop out of the kitchen to give the boy a hug, and he thanks his lucky stars for Yeonjun’s existence.


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

5:34 PM

don’t wait for me

i’ll be back late today



5:34 PM


What time?

Having dinner at home?


They haven’t texted since four days ago. It’s been four days of madness. Soobin can’t stop thinking about who Kai’s been texting. He keeps tapping on his chat with Kai so he can see if Kai’s online, and how long he’s online for, and when his last seen is. It’s been driving him up and down the walls. Even his parents notice. They think he’s just stressed over his position as leader of the group, so they’ve been coddling him with all of Soobin’s favourite foods. He’s not complaining.

Now that he’s back, though, Soobin is itching to dig the truth out of Kai. He can’t take any more sleepless nights.


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

5:34 PM


around 10?

don’t miss me too much~



5:35 PM

You have a lot of explaining to do, mister



Soobin hears Kai’s loud laughter when he’s in the shower. Soobin has never showered faster.

When he steps out, Kai is unpacking in his room, shirtless. He looks a little tanner, a little more golden, and Soobin swallows.

“Hey, stranger,” Soobin says, leaning on the door frame of Kai and Taehyun’s room.

“Hyung!” Kai looks up, grinning, and bounds over to cling onto Soobin. “Did you miss me?”

“Don’t touch me,” Soobin protests, half-hearted, as Kai wraps his arms around his waist like an octopus. This close, Kai smells like summer, like sweat and a little bit of vanilla. “I just showered!”

“Oops, am I dirtying you up?” Kai asks, laughing. Then he lifts Soobin off the floor and swings him around.

“Gross,” Taehyun comments from where he’s lounging on his bed.

“Taehyunie, save me,” Soobin pleads a little breathlessly. He feels his ears start to burn as Kai sets him back down on solid ground.

“No way am I getting between you two giants,” Taehyun says.

“You’ll never guess what happened,” Kai tells Soobin in a low voice. For some reason, he still hasn’t let go of Soobin. They’re pressed against each other from the waist down, and Soobin has no idea why his toes are curling or why he feels like dying.

“What?” Soobin asks, trying not to squirm.

“Tell you later,” Kai murmurs. “Shower time!” Then he takes a step back and lets him go, and suddenly Soobin feels strangely bereft.



“I can’t believe you brought Tobin home,” Soobin says. They’re finally wrapped around each other in bed, listening to Beomgyu’s light snores from the other side of the room, and Soobin has never felt more at home.

“I didn’t think I could sleep alone,” Kai says. He’s on his side, head on Soobin’s shoulder and one hand on Soobin’s stomach.

“Missed me that much, huh?”

“Please. You are nothing but a bolster to me,” Kai snipes, but the soft smile on his lips give him away.

“Did you at least get to rub your dad’s stomach proper? The real thing must feel nice.” Soobin gestures to Kai’s hand, which has been stroking lazy circles on his stomach.

“Hmm.” Kai sounds thoughtful. “Yours is nicer.” He sneaks his fingers beneath Soobin’s shirt.

“Whoa,” Soobin says, because this is new. “What are you doing?”

“My dad lets me touch his bare tummy.” Soobin can practically hear the pout in Kai’s words. But Kai’s hand hasn’t moved from where it’s resting on the naked, sensitive skin of his stomach.

“I’m not your dad.”

“I know.” Kai takes a deep breath. Soobin knows because he feels Kai’s exhale blow across the side of his neck. “Please?”

And because Soobin has never been in the habit of refusing Kai anything, he says weakly: “Okay.”

The regret is real.

Kai’s hand drags slowly, scorching, across his stomach, rubbing slow, smooth circles, and Soobin has no idea why his body is reacting the way it is, but what he does know is that he — he likes it. He really, really likes it. His breath hitches and his abs clench when Kai’s fingers flutter across his stomach. His lower tummy is extra sensitive, and every time Kai swipes over it, something coils deep in his belly. Something dark, dangerous. Soobin shoves it away, ignoring it.

“Kai…” Soobin murmurs.

“Hm?” Kai doesn’t stop.

Soobin doesn’t know why he said Kai’s name.

Every touch lights a trail of fire on Soobin’s skin, a flush settling deep into Soobin’s skin, and he’s breaking out into a sweat, and everything is fine — he’s just perfect.

“Do you feel a little warm?” Soobin asks, desperate for something to say.

“A little?” Kai says, hand stilling. “Do you want me to stop?”

Soobin’s traitorous mouth moves before his brain has time to catch up. “It’s okay, keep going.”

“Do you… do you want to take off your shirt?” Kai sounds shy. “If you’re warm?”

“Um,” Soobin says, as warning bells start ringing in his head. He ignores them. “Okay.”

It’s not like they haven’t slept shirtless before. It’s nothing new. It’s the peak of summer, and even with the A/C on at full blast, it’s almost impossible to stay cool in Seoul’s merciless weather.

Soobin sits up and takes his shirt off. Before he can lie back down, Kai has a hand on his tummy, tugging him down. Soobin lets himself be pulled down, a little amused by Kai’s need to dominate and a little turned on.


Turned on?

Turned on?

Soobin’s pretty sure his brain has short-circuited, because instead of doing anything to correct this terrible situation, he’s just lying there, taking it, enjoying it, getting turned on by Kai, who’s young and innocent and doesn’t know any better and — god, he’s a monster for not putting a stop to this.

“Feels nice,” Kai murmurs into Soobin’s ear — when did he get so close?

Soobin’s suddenly extremely glad the moonlight doesn’t shine any further into the room past their faces, because he’s pretty sure there’s a tent in his shorts. He surreptitiously drags his shirt over his crotch. There, much better.

“Nicer than your dad’s?” Soobin asks, breathless. He doesn’t want to admit it, but his heart is in his throat and also down south and everything feels thick and the ringing in his head won’t stop. 

“Much.” Kai’s breath tickles Soobin’s ear, and Soobin bites back a moan. “Much nicer.”

“So —“ Soobin grapples for something to say, to distract himself from the thrills of pleasure that shoot down right where it’s dangerous and forbidden and so fucking hot every time Kai strokes his belly just like that, “— so, what was it you wanted to tell me just now?”

“Oh,” Kai breathes. “I told them. I told my family. About… you know.”

“Oh,” Soobin says, feeling warm, but this time for a wholly different reason. “How did they take it?”

“You were right,” Kai says, a smile in his words. “They were surprised, but fine with it. That’s why they made me stay for dinner, to celebrate my coming-out.”

“Cute.” Soobin turns to smile at Kai, then immediately regrets his decision because all of a sudden he’s nose-to-nose with Kai. He freezes. Kai’s hand stills. They’re close, so close, Soobin can count the stars in Kai’s eyes, blown dark and wide, can measure the length of his long, delicate eyelashes, can almost taste Kai’s lips, rose-pink bitten and parted and begging to be kissed.

Kiss him, Soobin’s brain says.

Maybe it’s the past month of built-up tension, of Kai’s extra touchiness, of Kai’s aggressive bouts of physical affection. Maybe it’s the familiar way desire tugs at Soobin, a desire he’s ignored and shoved aside for the past month, a desire that leaves him heady and heated and confused. Suddenly, Soobin can’t remember why kissing Kai is a bad idea.

Soobin doesn’t realise his gaze has trailed down to Kai’s flushed, inviting lips until he looks back up and realises Kai is also staring at his lips.

He panics, and jerks back, and defaults to what he knows best.

He reaches out and pinches Kai’s cheek.

“Proud of you, baby,” he sings softly, but it doesn’t come out as teasing or as annoying as he’d envisioned. It just sounds soft and warm and indulgent.

Kai has other ideas.

“Stop calling me baby!” he says, annoyed, and then he’s grasping Soobin’s wrist in a vice-like grip and leaning over Soobin on his elbows and pinning Soobin’s hand to the pillow by his head. Soobin feels a rush of deja vu. “I hate it when you call me baby.”

Hate? Soobin blinks at Kai, dazed. “I didn’t know you hated it.”

Above him, Kai’s eyes are dark and upset and full of an emotion Soobin can’t name. Soobin’s suddenly struck by how much Kai has changed — from the small, nervous, cute little Kai from pre-debut to the lithe, strong, confident Kai looming over him now.

“I hate it when you baby me, hyung. I don’t want to be a baby. I want to be your equal.” Kai sounds upset. He’s gripping Soobin’s wrist so tight, Soobin thinks he might have cut off the blood supply to his fingers.

“Oh, Hueningie,” Soobin murmurs, ignoring the way his heart pounds in his ears. “I do see you as an equal. I’m sorry.”

Kai looks mollified. He loosens his grip on Soobin’s wrist. “Show me.”

Soobin blinks. “Show you how?”

“I —“ Kai licks his lips, and Soobin manfully does not track the way his tongue swipes across his mouth. “I want —” Kai bites his bottom lip.

“What do you want?” Soobin asks gently. Kai could ask the world of him and he’d give it, no questions asked.

Kai’s lips press together. He shakes his head minutely.

Soobin lifts his freed hand and cups Kai’s face. “It’s okay. I’ll find a way. I’m sorry, ‘kay? I just — you’ve always been my baby, and I know you’ve grown up, but it’s still hard not to think of you as mine.”

“Oh,” Kai says, suddenly looking a little surprised, his eyes wide and searching. “Yours?”

“Mine,” Soobin says lowly, and okay, hold up, that sounded a little too possessive. He backtracks. “I mean, if you want to.”

“Of course,” Kai mumbles. “I’ve always been yours.”

“Good,” Soobin says, then cups the back of Kai’s neck and tugs him back down. “Get back here. It’s sleep time.”

It’s a lie. He’s so wound up, he doesn’t think he’ll be able to sleep a wink, but all this tension is exhausting and he just wants things to go back to the way they’ve always been, comfortable and easy, not confusing and heated and full of these strange feelings.

“Okay,” Kai says, allowing himself to be tugged down. He curls up by Soobin’s side, and Soobin heaves a sigh. “Good night, hyung.”

“Good night, Kai,” Soobin says.

He only realises he’s forgotten to ask about Kai’s mystery texter later that night, when Kai’s breaths have petered out.

Soobin groans.



“I hate to say this, but you’re right,” Soobin says, barging into Yeonjun’s room.

Yeonjun removes an AirPod from his ear. “What?”

Soobin collapses next to Yeonjun on his bed and plucks the AirPod from his other ear. “I said, you’re right. Wow, you just wanted me to repeat that, didn’t you?”

Yeonjun cracks a cocky smile, shifting over to make room for Soobin. “You got me. I’m always right, but tell me — what’s this about?”

“About Hueningie being in love.”

Yeonjun crows. “Oh my god, you two finally figured it out!”

“Figured what out?”

“Figured — wait. Who did he say he’s in love with?”

“I don’t know!” Soobin says, exasperated. “That’s why I’m here.”

“Wait, hang on. What exactly did he tell you?”

“He didn’t tell me anything — last week, he texted me to say he’s been texting someone, but he refused to tell me who.”

Yeonjun stares at him. “Have you tried asking him again?”

Soobin purses his lips. “No.”

“Why not?”

“I just — I don’t know. I don’t really want to know, you know? Though I know I have to know, as the leader; it’s my duty to know. But I just —” Soobin grabs ahold of Yeonjun’s pillow and stuffs his face into it. “I don’t wanna!” he says, muffled. 

“Easy there, sweetie, don’t suffocate yourself.” Yeonjun plucks the pillow from Soobin’s hands. “What’s really going on?”

“I think… I think I have a problem.” Soobin takes a deep breath. “I think…” he trails off.

“Aw, all this thinking must be so hard for you,” Yeonjun teases.

Soobin hits him. “I’m serious, hyung. I think I have a thing. For… for Hueningie.”

Yeonjun doesn’t look surprised.

“Tell me I’m crazy,” Soobin says earnestly. “I’m just deprived, right? Tell me I’m just deprived.” 

“On the contrary, I think you’ve finally come to your senses.”

“What? You don’t understand, hyung, just last night Kai rubbed my belly and I got hard.

“Oh my god, gross!” Yeonjun shoves Soobin, then adds, looking deeply interested: “Tell me more.”

“Ew, you’re gross,” Soobin retorts. Then he says, hushed: “We almost kissed. At least, I think so. I don’t know. I’m confused. Do you know who he’s texting? I was hoping he’d tell you, because he’s not telling me.”

“Sorry,” Yeonjun says. He sounds absolutely unapologetic. “I don’t know who this mystery texter is. Wanna know what I think?”

“Yeah. What?”

“I think you should just ask him,” Yeonjun says. “Ask him who he’s texting, then tell him how you feel.”

“But — but I’m straight.”

Yeonjun quirks an eyebrow at him. “How do you know?”

“What do you mean? Of course I know.”

“Straight dudes don’t get turned on by other dudes.”

Soobin feels himself flush a deep red. 

“No one’s completely straight,” Yeonjun adds.

Soobin blinks. “Aren’t you straight?”

Yeonjun shrugs. “I might be bi.” He winks. “I think you’re hot.”

“You’re the absolute grossest.” Soobin rolls out of Yeonjun’s bed.

“Tell me how it goes~” Yeonjun sings, blowing him a kiss as he leaves. Soobin laughs.



“There you are. How do you feel about ice cream?” Soobin asks, ducking into the studio. He’d looked all over the dorm for Kai, only to find out from Taehyun who’d heard from Beomgyu that Kai was in the studio, producing a song.

“Hey, hyung,” Kai says, looking up from the keyboard. “Missed me so soon?”

“Maybe,” Soobin says, holding out a tub of ice cream like it’s a peace offering. “Mint chocolate, your fave.”

Kai gasps dramatically, snatching the tub out from Soobin’s hands. Then he looks up, shy. “Thanks.”

“Can I come in?” Soobin asks, still standing awkwardly in the doorway.

“Yeah, hyung, of course.” Kai scoots over on the bench, making space for Soobin.

“I’ve figured it out,” Soobin says conversationally, playing a mindless tune on the keyboard. His knee jostles against Kai’s knee. He doesn’t move away. Neither does Kai.

“Figured what out?” Kai asks, muffled around a spoon of ice cream.

“Figured out how to show you we’re equals.” Soobin stops playing, turns his body so he’s angled towards Kai. He gently plucks the tub of ice cream out of Kai’s hands, placing it on the table next to the keyboard. Kai’s knee remains warm against his own.

Kai makes a small noise of protest, but that quickly dies down when Soobin places a hand on his jaw. Kai’s eyes grow big, and his mouth goes slack, and his fists clench on his lap, and — he looks utterly lovely.

It’s no lie that Soobin’s no good at expressing himself with words. That’s partly why he’s such a physically affectionate person. That’s also why he leans in, slowly, oh so slowly, taking his time, watching Kai’s every reaction. Kai doesn’t move a muscle. He doesn’t even blink. Soobin drops a kiss on Kai’s cheek.

“I promise not to pinch your cheeks anymore,” Soobin murmurs against Kai’s cheek, lips lingering. He’s not sure, but he thinks he feels Kai shudder, and oh, if that isn’t thrilling

Soobin moves over to Kai’s ear and drops a kiss on the shell of his ear. “I promise not to call you baby anymore,” he whispers, and this time he’s certain Kai shivers.

“Hyung, what...” Kai trails off, voice cracking, because Soobin‘s ducking beneath his jaw, trailing kisses down his neck. Kai smells sweet like vanilla, smells like the body soap they all share, smells like fresh laundry. It’s intoxicating. Soobin inhales greedily, then drops a kiss on Kai’s exposed collarbone.

“I wouldn’t do this to babies,” Soobin finally says, before leaning up to pepper kisses up Kai’s neck again.

Kai makes a small noise, deep in his throat.

“What was that?” Soobin teases, finally pulling away.

“What —“ Kai’s eyes are blown dark, and he’s panting a little, and he’s flushed high up in his cheeks. “What are you doing, hyung?”

“I’m showing you,” Soobin says, trying for nonchalant. “Like you asked me to.”

Walking into the studio, he wasn’t sure what to expect. He wasn’t sure if Kai would accept his demonstration wordlessly, or if Kai would squeal and push him away, or if Kai would return his kisses (the thought of that fills him up with too much anticipation to be healthy).

What he doesn’t expect is for Kai to haul him up from the piano bench and throw him onto the couch.

Goddamn. Soobin keeps forgetting how strong Kai is. All his breath has been knocked from his lungs.

“You missed,” Kai says throatily, climbing over Soobin on the couch. He’s got both his knees on both sides of Soobin’s legs, trapping him in, and his hair is falling over his eyes again, and Soobin’s starting to suspect that Kai really has a thing for being on top.

“Missed...?” Soobin trails off, disconcerted, because the tables have definitely turned and he feels like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Kai’s leaning over him, a predatory look in his eyes, and god Kai is hot.

“You missed —“ Kai continues leaning in, caging him in with his arms, his legs, his body pressed down hard against Soobin’s; “— missed this.” Then he’s swaying down, sliding his fingers through Soobin’s hair, angling his head so their lips are poised to slot perfectly against each other, eyes dark and scorching and... and a little bit scared.

Soobin’s not stupid.

He surges up, and meets him halfway.

For a moment, neither of them move. Kai’s lips are soft and warm and firm against Soobin’s, and Kai’s breath hitches a little, and then Kai lets out a small whine and Soobin is done for.

He presses in, presses close, brings a hand up to tangle his fingers through Kai’s hair. Kai tastes like mint chocolate, and ordinarily Soobin would complain but right now it’s literally the best taste on earth and he can’t get enough.

Then Kai pulls away abruptly.

“I’m so sorry!” Kai says. His cheeks are dusted  a lovely rose pink and his lips are wet and shiny and Soobin can’t stop looking.

Soobin tears his eyes away. “Why’re you sorry?” he asks, confused.

“You hate mint chocolate,” Kai says, eyebrows drawn together in a frown.

Well, he’s having none of that.

Soobin grabs Kai by the nape of his neck and pulls him down again, stopping when Kai’s mouth is a breath away. “I might just be a convert,” he murmurs against Kai’s lips, and then just to be sure, he asks: “You okay, Hueningie? You good with this?”

“Yeah, hyung,” Kai breathes. “I’ve wanted this for so long.”

Soobin presses a small kiss to the corner of Kai’s mouth. “How long?”

Kai hums. “A year?” A small smile plays on his lips, so Soobin presses another kiss to the swell of Kai’s bottom lip.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” A year. A whole year they could’ve spent stealing kisses like this.

“You kept babying me,” Kai mumbles, and this time he catches Soobin’s lips with his own, presses a hard, hot kiss in return. “I felt like you’d never really see me.”

“I’m sorry,” Soobin says, and he really is, so he apologises by slotting his lips against Kai’s again, perfect and sweet and tantalising. Kai makes another one of those delicious sounds, and Soobin can’t get enough. Kissing Kai feels like bingsu in the summer heat, like hot mocha on a cold wintry day, like biting into his favourite juicy chocolate croissants.

Tentatively, Soobin takes Kai’s bottom lip between his own and sucks on it gently, and Kai moans, and the sound drives Soobin crazy. He releases Kai’s bottom lip, swipes his tongue slowly over the seam of Kai’s mouth, drinks in Kai’s gasp.

Another thought occurs to Soobin. He pulls back, slowly.

“Kai?” he asks, and has to clamp down hard on the urge to kiss Kai again because Kai‘s looking at him all flushed, dazed, kiss-drunk. Soobin did that.

“” Kai responds breathlessly.

“Is this your first kiss?”

Kai stiffens. “... yes? Am I bad?” His eyes dart away, and he looks embarrassed.

“No, not at all,” Soobin says, then cups Kai’s face with his hands and pulls him down again, because what the hell, why are they even talking?

Their next kiss is hot, wet, and Kai grows increasingly bolder with every second. Soobin lets his tongue press against Kai’s lips like a question, and Kai‘s mouth parts like an answer, a sweet, dizzying invitation for Soobin to slip his tongue in, to taste Kai, to drink in his little gasps.

“You kiss good, Hueningie,” Soobin mumbles between hot, deep kisses, and Kai smiles against his lips, slides his fingers down and down and down, until they reach the edge of Soobin’s shirt. Then he slips his hand under Soobin’s shirt, flutters his fingers against the skin of his stomach, and this time Soobin doesn’t try to bite back his groan.

The A/C whirs in the background, and the only sounds in the studio are Soobin’s moans and Kai’s gasps whenever Soobin curls his tongue just like that and Soobin is so glad the studios in BigHit are soundproof. Kai twines his tongue against Soobin’s, pushes against Soobin, licks into his mouth with singular focus, and it’s obvious he’s imitating what Soobin had done, it’s obvious he’s trying to learn. He’s a good student, a good learner, so Soobin encourages him by tangling his hand in Kai’s hair again, pressing him down, kissing him over and over and over again.

“Hang on, hang on —“ Soobin gasps, wrenching himself away from Kai’s lovely kisses, steadying Kai by the shoulders. “The door. We gotta — we gotta lock the door.”

On top of him, Kai is a sight to behold. His hair is all mussed up, his lips a deep crimson red, his eyes hooded and dazed. “Come on,” Soobin urges, pushing at Kai’s shoulders, and Kai obediently goes to the door, locks it, and when he comes back Soobin spreads his legs, crooks his fingers, lets Kai crawl hot and dangerous between his thighs.

He’s going to hell.

“Hyung, I,” Kai starts, staring down at Soobin, eyes hard and — oh — Soobin recognises that unfamiliar look, that look he’s been trying to pin down for ages. It’s desire. “I wanna —“

Soobin doesn’t let him finish his sentence, just tugs him back down and meets him with an open-mouthed kiss, curling his tongue with Kai’s, hot and wet. Kai‘s unravelling pliantly, perfectly, in his arms, and Soobin feels like he‘s been doing this forever, like he’s been kissing Kai forever.

He finds out what Kai had wanted to do when Kai starts tugging at Soobin’s shirt.

“Kai, wait —“ Soobin starts, gasping for breath.

“Wanna see you,” Kai mumbles between kisses, yanking Soobin’s shirt up. “Wanna feel you, hyung, wanna make you feel good.”

Fuck fuck fuck.

This is uncharted territory for Soobin, and he’s half terrified and half extremely turned on. Kai’s hands are everywhere, one in his hair and one on his stomach, running up the line of his abs, sliding over his bare chest, then fluttering back down to his waist, his lower abs, the waistband of his pants.

“Hold on, hold on —“ Soobin gasps, grabbing Kai’s hand, sliding their fingers together. “Not too fast, baby, what’s the rush?”

It slips out of his mouth by accident, and he immediately realises his mistake when Kai — Kai’s expression hardens, and he surges back down, one hand tugging hard at Soobin’s hair, tilting his head back to expose his neck, another hand pressing hot against his stomach, and then he’s slotting his mouth against Soobin’s neck like a red-hot brand. He drags his tongue against the sensitive skin there, scrapes his teeth over the spot, then sucks hard — it hurts a little, just the right amount of pain and pleasure, and Soobin can’t help the groan that slips out, deep and guttural. He’s clutching at Kai’s hip, another hand resting against the curve of Kai’s ass, and Soobin tries to say: sorry. Tries to say: please. Tries to say: I’m yours.

“I’m —“ Kai nips at his neck, “not —“ he scoots up, presses his mouth against Soobin’s ear, “a baby.” Kai’s voice is low, deeper than Soobin’s ever heard it, and Soobin is so aroused, it’s not even funny.

He swallows.

He says: “No, you’re not. I’m sorry. You’re fucking hot.”

They stare at each other for a moment, chests heaving, mouths kiss-wrecked and cheeks flushed.

“... wow,” Soobin says, for lack of anything else to say.

“You’re mine now,” Kai breathes, eyes darting down to the hickey that’s no doubt blooming bright red on Soobin’s neck.

“You’re impossible,” Soobin tells Kai. “Okay, come on, get off. We have a schedule in —“ he checks his watch, “— ten minutes. Oh my god.”

Kai clambers off, eyes wide. “Shit, hyung, your neck.”

“Whose fault is that?” Soobin sits up. He drags a hand through his hair, hoping it’ll undo some of Kai’s damage, then reaches over and does the same for Kai.

Kai just looks back at him, and says cheekily: “‘s’not my fault. You asked for it.”

“You,” Soobin says slowly, “you better watch it, or I’ll — I’ll —“

“You’ll what, hyung?” Kai teases, catching one of Soobin’s hands. “Threaten to throw my plushies away again?”

“Exactly that,” Soobin finishes weakly, and he knows he’s done for when Kai grabs the half-eaten tub of ice cream, spoons a huge helping into his mouth, and slowly, seductively, licks the spoon clean.

“You’re such a fucking tease,” Soobin says, and drags Kai out of the studio by the collar.



Yeonjun takes one look at Soobin’s neck, another look at the innocent expression plastered on Kai’s face, and very seriously turns to the make-up noonas. “We’ve got a huge mosquito problem in the dorm,” he says. “It’s terrible, really. Poor Soobinnie.”




3:54 PM

I forgot to ask

Who’s the mystery boy you’ve been texting???

You need to stop texting him

You’re mine now


Soobin glances at Kai, who’s getting his make-up done on the other side of the room. Kai’s fiddling with his phone, and maybe Soobin’s imagining it, but his cheeks look a little pink.


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

3:54 PM

don’t be stupid

it was you

i was texting you




Everything makes so much sense now.

Soobin’s phone buzzes again.


BigHit’s Cutie Huening Kai <3

3:55 PM

you can tell your brother too

your love life just got a lot more active, baby ;-)