It's not like Hueningkai misses Soobin or anything. They're together all the time - they live together. It's just that they've been so busy. They worked on Eternity for months, crashing in their own rooms immediately after rushed midnight dinners, then jumped straight back into their Japanese comeback.
Okay, maybe he misses Soobin a little bit.
He spent most of the day alone at the studio, finishing up his final scenes for the Drama video, and only saw Taehyun because he happened to drop by during lunch. He was already passed out asleep when Kai got back, breathing quietly in the bunk above him. The others were all too busy doing their own thing - recording, styling, who knows what, really. They have so much going on nowadays that he's lost track.
Sometimes he misses the days when they were all crammed together into one tiny bedroom. If he thinks about it for too long, sometimes he misses the ones before that, too, when it was just him and Soobin against the world.
Fine, yes, Soobin's absence lately bothers him. He can't help it, okay? It's weird not having him glued to his side after all this time. They're gums, aren't they? They're supposed to be together.
He picks up his phone to text him, screen flashing with notifications for messages from the group chat that he didn't have time to read. Soobin is usually up late anyway, either playing games on his laptop or scrolling aimlessly through Weverse. Sometimes he'll nag Kai to come over once Beomgyu goes to bed, but recently with their schedules, those nights have been few and far between.
sleepover in the living room?
Hueningkai doesn't wait for a response, though he hears his phone vibrate a few seconds later as he drags his comforter off of his bed. Soobin has never said no to him - he better not start now.
Sure enough, Soobin is waiting on the couch in his pajamas when he shows up, blanket, pillow, and plushies piled high in Kai's arms. If they're going to have a sleepover, it has to be done right, no matter how tired he is.
He helps him lay out their makeshift bed across the hard floor and flops down on top of it with a yawn, fading purple hair fanning across the pillow. He looks beautiful, and Hueningkai pretends not to notice. He's been doing a lot of that recently. Their current style suits Soobin a little too well.
"You got back late," Soobin comments eventually, tone hushed, because Yeonjun will murder them if they wake him up from his beauty sleep. He props himself up on his elbows and watches Kai busy himself with finding the right spot for his stuffed animals.
"Yeah," Hueningkai agrees absently, hair falling over his eyes as he tucks a bear into the comforter. "It's finally done though. Can you believe our second single is coming out?"
He makes a noise of agreement. "We worked hard. You worked hard."
Soobin's right, even though he's always left feeling like he could've done better. For now though, he's too tired to worry about it. He can go back to critiquing himself tomorrow.
Kai gives everything a once over when he's finished, nodding approvingly to himself. He's gotten good at this over the years. Soobin scoots over and makes a space for him as he gets up to cut the lamp off with a soft click.
"Get in here, Hueningie," he murmurs, laying back and lifting his arm up for Kai to slip in.
He curls immediately into Soobin's side as fingers wrap around his waist. It's been forever since they had time for this - he's not going to bother pretending he doesn't love it. The others will nap with him sometimes, but it's just not the same, especially since he hit his growth spurt. They just aren't as comfortable as Soobin.
"You really missed me, huh?" Soobin asks, sounding a little too delighted as Hueningkai sneaks a hand under his faded sleep shirt, resting his palm over a firm stomach and soft, soft skin. "So cute~"
Yeah, he did. Even more than he had realized.
"Mm," he hums sleepily instead, neither a confirmation nor denial. Soobin can think whatever he wants. Everyone else knows who the real gum is here.
"You know, you can come sleep in my room whenever you want," Soobin offers. "Like you used to. I'll even let you bring Molang like a nice hyung."
He buries his face into Soobin's neck, breathing in the light scent of his body wash. His hair is still slightly damp from the shower, but he's warm and solid next to him just like he's always been. Soobin has always grounded him. "Don't like leaving Taeyhunie alone," he murmurs, which is true. He's never actually admitted it, but he's sure Taehyun gets lonely sometimes, especially now with their seperate rooms.
"But you don't mind leaving me alone," Soobin complains cheekily, free hand reaching up to twirl one of Kai's curls. It feels better than he's willing to admit out loud. "I missed you too, baby," Soobin adds on, tugging his hair affectionately, and Kai is glad that it's dark, because how can he just say these things ? Somehow he's still not used to it, even after 4 years.
Hueningkai's never been good with people, but still Soobin is so shameless and sincere sometimes that he doesn't know what to do with himself. His face warms at the pet name. "I'll go back to my room," he threatens with a half hearted pout, pretending to push him away, and Soobin just laughs at his efforts.
"No you won't," he insists, sounding a little too confident and trying to tug him closer. "I'm your favorite ."
"I never said that," Kai whines, wriggling in his arms. He gives up after a moment - it's not like he actually wants to go anywhere, it's just the principle of the matter.
Baby . The word does something to him, but he doesn't want to think about exactly what.
Soobin squeezes the hand on his waist gently, knowingly. "You didn't have to," is all he says, and there's the embarrassment again.
There's a pause, and then Hueningkai lifts his head up slightly before he can think twice about it. "Am I still your favorite?" he asks, then regrets it immediately, hand stilling from where it's been unconsciously rubbing circles across Soobin's abs. It's a weird question. Selfish. There's five of them now and Soobin can't only be his.
Soobin looks… taken aback, an unusual expression on him, and Kai wants to hide, making a move to bury his face in Soobin's shoulder, where maybe they can both forget he just said that.
"Uh uh, get back here," Soobin protests, seeming to get over his surprise quickly enough. He pulls Kai's hand out gently from under his shirt and rolls them both onto their sides so they're facing each other, lacing their fingers together and resting their hands between them. Hueningkai is vaguely aware of his heart thudding uncomfortably in his chest as Soobin studies his face from across the pillow.
"What?" he asks after a moment, feeling both parts defensive and ashamed. "I was just curious."
"You really need to ask?" Soobin looks uncharacteristically serious this close up in the dark, trademark dimples nowhere in sight and eyebrows furrowed, and Kai swallows nervously.
He shouldn't have asked. "I-" he starts, then lets it die in his throat. "It's just different now," he tries again. "With the others and everything going on. You know what I mean."
Soobin's face softens at that. "I know," he says, squeezing Kai's smaller hand in his. "But I'm still right here."
Kai exhales slowly. "You're right. It's stupid." He hit the lottery, really, finally debuting with such incredible members. Soobin must think he's such a brat.
He's frowning when Hueningkai manages to look him in the eye again. "That's not what I meant." He seems frustrated somehow, like he doesn't know how to explain himself, and suddenly untangles their fingers.
It makes Kai panic for a second - Soobin is upset at him now, all because he couldn't keep his mouth shut.
And maybe it's because he's distracted, exhausted, anxious, but he doesn't process Soobin leaning in at first, thumb resting softly on his cheek.
"Ning," is all he says, and then Soobin is kissing him.
Hueningkai's eyes flutter closed. He's always known Soobin's lips would be soft, because look at them , but actually experiencing it first hand is another story.
He's gentle with him, of course he is - it's Soobin , but there's enough intent there that there's no way Kai can try to pass it off as an accident. He's not that far in denial.
He makes a soft noise in the back of his throat, unconscious but encouraging, and it's enough for Soobin to press against him a little harder, hand warm and steady against his jaw. Kai grips onto his shirt helplessly. As many times as he's thought about this, he didn't imagine the part where it actually happened.
"You're so freaking cute," Soobin mumbles against his lips before pulling away, and if Hueningkai whimpers slightly at the loss of contact, that's his business.
They stare at each other in silence for a moment. "Um," Kai finally manages intelligently. What else can he possibly say here?
"I am super crazy about you, Hueningie," Soobin tells him instead as if it's the most obvious thing in the world, looking almost unbearably fond. Maybe it is, and Kai is just an idiot.
"Okay," he says, and he can't help pressing in those few inches again. Soobin's lips are right there, full and perfect, and now that he has permission , he can't think of why he should do anything else.
Soobin obliges, letting Kai kiss him even though he's young and inexperienced and probably terrible. Then he's smiling against his mouth and turning away enough that Kai can't chase after him, though he certainly tries. His lips brush against Soobin's cheek instead, soft and mochi-like, and he whines under his breath in annoyance.
"And…?" Soobin asks. "Nothing else to say here?"
Kai's quiet, pouting, because sleeping together and belly rubs and now kissing , apparently, are just fine, but verbal acknowledgement? Not his area. "Me too," he admits finally so Soobin will just kiss him again already. "I maybe like you too." His face feels like it's on fire, but the way Soobin is looking at him makes it a little better.
He beams back, their noses brushing, and Kai's heart squeezes in his chest. He's so-
Sometimes he does wish he was better at words, less cautious, more like Soobin, because he deserves to know how good he is. He would have been lost without him during his trainee days, practically a baby and painfully shy, so lucky that Soobin stuck onto him right away for reasons he still doesn't get.
He'd be lost without him now .
Kai tilts his head and presses their lips together again, hoping that's somehow enough and Soobin understands.
He seems to. He kisses back, soft but certain, palm still cradling Kai's face like he's important , until he's warm and fuzzy and content, about to fall asleep.
It's easy, being with Soobin. It always has been. Kai's so relaxed that he barely even registers him pull back and drop a kiss on the tip of his nose, right on top of his freckle.
"Bedtime, I think. I can get more confessions from you in the morning," Soobin tells him, and he doesn't have to open his eyes to know he's smiling.
He is too.
Soobin shifts on the comforter and tugs Hueningkai back on top of him so they can sleep. "I can't believe you doubted me," Soobin complains quietly. "Do I need to tell you how cute you are more often? Is it not enough?"
"Please don't," Kai mumbles. He's not sure anyone needs more of that, even if he does like it way more than he lets on. If his mouth accidentally brushes against Soobin's jawline as he pillows his head on his shoulder, getting comfortable, whoops.
" Adorable ."
And maybe things are fine the way they are after all after all.