“Get up,” says Donghyuck, kicking Renjun in the leg.
Renjun groans from his curled up position on their living room floor, rolling over on his back. “Nooo.”
“Get up,” Donghyuck repeats. He kicks him again, harder this time. “You can’t just sleep on the floor like this, Renjun.”
Renjun squeezes his eyes shut, mumbling something that sounds like it should be I can and I will, except it comes out more like “m kin in uh wuhhhhh.” He wiggles around on the floor like he might actually get up. Donghyuck waits, foot poised, to see what he’ll do.
When he stops moving and his breathing evens out again as he starts to make light snoring noises, Donghyuck kicks him again.
“I’m serious,” he says. “The floor is disgusting. It hasn’t been vacuumed once since the full moon started.”
“Is that why it smells so bad,” Renjun mumbles.
“What did you think?” Donghyuck gives up on kicking him, staring down at him with his hands on his hips. Renjun looks, to put it shortly, like shit. He’s barely gotten any sleep since finals started, and Donghyuck knows he hasn’t been eating properly either. The sickly pallor of his face is starting to worry Donghyuck—would probably worry their other roommates too, if they weren’t busy going through their own monthly troubles. “You’re gonna get sick. You’re gonna breathe in one too many hairs and then you’re gonna develop an allergy and then someone’s gonna have to end their lease early and move out, and that’s not gonna be pretty.”
“That’s not even how it works.”
“Say that again when you’re not dying on the floor,” Donghyuck challenges him. When Renjun still doesn’t move, looking like he might actually fall asleep like this, Donghyuck changes tactics. “I’m hungry.”
“Then make your own food.”
“Do you want me to set the kitchen on fire again?”
“Go ahead,” moans Renjun. “Maybe that way I’ll finally be able to die peacefully.”
Donghyuck clicks his tongue, crossing his arms. Renjun’s always been able to match him blow for blow when it comes to stubbornness—it works out well when they’re badgering Kun for discounts at the local convenience store, not so well when he’s trying to get Renjun to actually take care of himself. Short of bodily hauling him off the floor and back to their room, Donghyuck’s not sure how to get Renjun to listen to him. He’s not asking for much, just for Renjun to sleep in a proper bed for once or maybe eat. Either would be nice. He’s not hoping for too much. “You promised to treat me to McDonald’s after finals.”
“Can we postpone for like, three hours?” Renjun says, the sound garbled from where he’s covering his face with his hands. It speaks volumes to how exhausted he must be if he still hasn’t kicked Donghyuck back yet. “We can get dinner. Just let me nap first.”
Not on the floor, Donghyuck wants to snap, but he holds his tongue. His phone pings in his pocket—he pulls it out to see that the message that just came in is from Jaemin. Jeno and I are heading home soon, he’s sent, with a winky face. Might wanna clear out now. Can’t be held responsible for what you see once we’re back in the privacy of our own home.
Just in time. “Jeno and Jaemin are on the way back,” he relays to Renjun, smirking when Renjun freezes up. “I think they’re planning on relieving some post-finals stress. You know how they get at the end of a full moon.”
Renjun’s up in a flash, and Donghyuck barely manages to hold back a laugh. It dies on his tongue, though, when Renjun turns to face him. He looks even more tired now—Donghyuck didn’t even think that was possible. “Fine,” he snaps. “Let’s go get your fucking McDonald’s.”
Donghyuck is well-known among friends and acquaintances to have a somewhat peculiar living situation. Sometimes people ask, Wow, Donghyuck, what’s it like sharing an apartment with two werewolves and a vampire? Does it ever get to you?
Most of the time, the questions come from Mark, Donghyuck’s ex-best friend—“Hey, I said I was sorry!”—and former roommate, who felt bad about leaving Donghyuck roommate-less when he moved in with his boyfriend but not bad enough to invite him to stay with them. Which is fair, Donghyuck supposes. He wouldn’t have wanted to stay with Mark and Lucas while they were still in the honeymoon period, either.
When people ask what made him choose this particular unit over others with probably normal human residents, the answer ready on the tip of his tongue is where else am I gonna find a double close to school with good amenities for dirt cheap? The real answer is slightly more complicated than that, but people usually don’t pry that far.
All things considered, it’s really not that bad at all. Sure, there was that weird time in the beginning of his lease when Jaemin had thought he was also a werewolf and gotten oddly aggressive on occasions—”You just gave off the vibes, okay!”—but other than that, it’s been smooth sailing. Except for times like now, when one of his roommates is being a child instead of the mature, functioning uni students they all profess to be. Case in point:
“He won’t eat,” Donghyuck despairs, swallowing a mouthful of burger. He’d pinch the bridge of his nose, both to make a point and because he can feel an actual headache coming on, if his fingers weren’t covered with french fry grease.
The burger joint they’re in is full of other students from their university, all seeking high cholesterol relief from the hell that is finals. It’s hard to hear anything over the general noise. Mark’s squinting, as if that’ll do anything to help him hear better. “What?”
Mark had dragged him out earlier to celebrate the end of finals week like they’re still best friends, as if Mark hadn’t brutally betrayed him—“Are you ever going to let that go?”—no, Mark, one never quite heals from a stab in the back from one’s most trusted friend. But anyways. It’s their weekly Friday ritual where they pretend to be catching up and actually just gossip. It’s part of what’s made their friendship work so well for so long.
“I said, Renjun won’t eat,” says Donghyuck. “Like, at all.”
Mark nods. “Like human food, or like…”
“Like blood,” Donghyuck cuts in with a sigh. “I think he’s going through one of his weird moral ambiguity-slash-vegetarian phases again.” He throws his arms out wide in exasperation, narrowly avoiding smacking Mark in the face. “It’s literally a pouch from a blood bank! How is that not full consent?”
“You never know, it could’ve been stolen or coerced from someone.”
Donghyuck throws a fry at his face, not even having the heart to laugh when Mark scrunches his face up. “Not helping, Mark.”
Mark, like the gross, starving student he is, picks up the fry from where it’d landed on the table and eats it. Donghyuck makes a face, but Mark ignores him, chewing thoughtfully. “Shouldn’t he be feeding more recently? It was just finals week.”
“That’s exactly what I told him,” says Donghyuck, jabbing a greasy finger at Mark. “And you know what he told me? ‘Stop nagging me, Donghyuck, you’re not my mom.’ No, but I am the guy that has to put up with your annoying ass when you’re on the floor dying!”
“When was the last time he fed?”
“I don’t know.” Donghyuck slumps in his seat. “One, two weeks ago maybe? Definitely before the full moon started. I don’t think he even ate during dead week, to be honest.”
“And he’s been around—” Mark makes a vague hand wave that probably represents the freaks of nature that are Jaemin and Jeno— “that all week?”
Mark sets down his burger to look Donghyuck dead in the eye. “Donghyuck, he might actually die.”
“This is what I’ve been saying,” says Donghyuck, giving up the fight and pinching the bridge of his nose, hard. He’ll just have to be more diligent about following his skincare routine from now on. “It’s like all the stars aligned to make this the worst week possible for him, and he’s still being so stubborn. They’re all driving me nuts. I’m gonna make him feed if it kills me.”
“Godspeed,” says Mark, reaching over to clap Donghyuck on the shoulder. Donghyuck grimaces—Mark’s hand is covered in grease, too. This whole place is reeking with it. He’s gonna need a shower when he gets back home or else Renjun won’t let him in their room. “But take care of yourself too, you know? It can’t be easy, living with two werewolves and a vampire.”
“Yeah, well, I wouldn’t have to if—”
“Okay, I get it already!” Mark holds his hands up in surrender, but he’s smiling. “Are you ever going to forgive me?”
“Buy me more food and I’ll think about it,” says Donghyuck, the pinnacle of graciousness. What would any of his friends do without him? Die, maybe. In Renjun’s case, more than likely.
As much as he plays it up to guilt Mark into paying for his meals, his living arrangements are pretty close to ideal, actually. At the end of his sophomore year, he’d posted on the university housing Facebook group something like my ex-best friend permanently sexiled me to go make potions with his new witch boyfriend, looking for a bed near school < $800/month, dm @dhlee66 on ig or haechiesuns on sc (made my snapchat in 6th grade, plz dont judge) with any offers xoxo and then promptly forgot about it for the next few days.
Four days later, he’d received a message from lee_jenoooo on Instagram: do u have any issues w/ supernaturals???
who r u and why r u trying 2 start shit, Donghyuck had sent back, before tacking on a ofc i dont smh. And then he rereads the message, and remembers the Facebook post he’d made on Monday, and his brain processes both of these two things and finally spits out: Donghyuck, you’re an idiot. wait is this about the housing post i made
Luckily, lee_jenoooo seems to find it funny. lmaoooo, he sends back. ya lol my bf and i are renewing our lease but our other two roommates moved out so we have an empty room. 2b2b, we found another guy who was willing to share the second room so it'll be a double for $400/month. fully furnished, aircon, gym + rec lounge + laundry in the building.
Holy shit. Donghyuck’s jaw drops as he rereads the message. This is too good to be true—the place is probably a dump or something. pics???
the place is kinda messy rn sorry, says lee_jenoooo, but i have some from when we first moved in. He sends them shortly after, and when they finally load, Donghyuck’s jaw unhinges further than he ever thought possible.
No way. The kitchen is full with stainless steel appliances, the rooms are gigantic, and—is that a balcony? There’s gotta be a catch somewhere. bro sign me tf up this place looks so fuckin snazzy
yay!! his new future roommate sends back. it’s a great place you’ll love it ^-^
Within the next month, he signs all the paperwork, finishes packing up and moving out of his old apartment, and just like that, he’s moved into probably the best piece of real estate to exist, ever. It’s not until school starts and the apartment is full, when an actual blue moon rolls around and the guy who he shares a room with starts going through blood withdrawal symptoms that the ball finally drops and Donghyuck realizes, ah, this is why the rent was so cheap.
So maybe the reason why he moved in was that simple: it really was dirt cheap, and quite a nice place. It’s the reason why he stays that’s a little harder to figure out.
His roommates aren’t bad, really. The four of them all get along quite well, and Donghyuck can forgive their moments of weakness if for the fact that they make up for them by usually being quite considerate. They’ve all been living together harmoniously for almost a year and a half now, which is quite a feat considering Donghyuck changed roommates three times his freshman year.
Sharing a room with Renjun has been fine, too. When Donghyuck had first moved in, he’d asked, jokingly, if Renjun was going to drink his blood, and Renjun had launched into a whole rant about how yes, some vampires did that but not him and definitely not without at least asking first, because it’s dangerous and he’s responsible. So Donghyuck can go to bed safe with the knowledge that his roommate is not about to jump him any time soon, if he couldn’t already tell from the way Renjun pointedly looks away or turns around whenever Donghyuck changes without paying attention to his surroundings.
In the year and a half that they’ve shared a room, he’s come to learn that all Renjun does is watch Moomin at 1 a.m. under his covers and pretend he’s not crying, anyways. The only major incident they had—that wasn’t even that major—was when Donghyuck had barreled into the room, exhausted from an exam, and tripped over Renjun fingerpainting on the floor.
“Oh, shit,” Donghyuck had said, very eloquently. “Sorry about that, dude.”
Renjun had looked back at him, stared him dead in the eye, and said in the flattest tone imaginable, “You’re lucky you’re human.” And then in one smooth movement he’d crumpled up the paper and tossed it in the wastebasket, all without breaking eye contact. “Wash your feet. You’ll track paint all over the carpet.”
Okay, so that was kind of scary. But other than that, Renjun’s just like a particularly sensitive cat that happens to be prone to mood swings. Donghyuck’s learned how to adjust to his moods by now, just like he’s adjusted to Jeno and Jaemin’s cycles. It’s fine. Everything’s fine. They’re a perfectly functional household. Donghyuck doesn’t feel like he’s pet-sitting sometimes.
And anyways, Donghyuck’s not being fair. He hasn’t even mentioned the upsides yet, of which one is being able to let his gaze linger a little longer than what might be considered appropriate when Renjun turns around, or stretches so that the hem of his shirt rises just enough to reveal a flash of skin. Donghyuck definitely, 100%, does not have the hots for his roommate. He just knows how to recognize fine when he sees it. And Renjun is definitely, 100%, fine.
Being roommates with Renjun manifests in a peculiar relationship where Donghyuck doesn’t know important things like his favorite color or what he wanted to be when he was a kid, but he knows other important things like his Starbucks order and what brand of toothpaste he likes. What foods he likes and what he’s allergic to. What’s the latest time he can wake up before he’ll be late to his 9 a.m. lecture all the way on the other side of South campus. Things like that.
So maybe Donghyuck isn’t the perfect person for Renjun to go shopping for home decor or reminisce about old times with. He is, however, the perfect person to make sure Renjun survives his final year of uni—and if that means shoving a blood bag down his throat until he finally eats, so be it.
Which is easier said than done, Donghyuck realizes, after several failed attempts to get Renjun to eat.
He’d tried slipping some blood into a smoothie and leaving it in the fridge for Renjun to hopefully find and consume, only to walk into the kitchen a few hours later and see Jeno chugging the last of it down.
“What are you doing?” he’d asked, trying not to yell. “That was for Renjun!”
Jeno, to his credit, had seemed perfectly unaware, although that didn’t make Donghyuck any happier. “It was?”
“Did you not taste the blood in it?”
“I was thirsty, okay?” he’d defended himself, and Donghyuck had rolled his eyes with a scoff.
“Yeah, I bet.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Oh, nothing, Jeno. Although I do think you should look into getting some soundproofing for your walls.”
He’d bought some overpriced tomato soup from Panera and squirted some blood into that, but when he was carrying it down the hallway to Renjun, he’d tripped on a scratching post Jaemin had left lying on the ground at the same moment Renjun had come out of their room. The soup had gone flying all over Renjun’s shirt, bowl falling on the ground and shattering, but Donghyuck was more concerned with the fact that Renjun looked like he was about to fall over just from the impact of some liquid.
Renjun had given him the stink-eye, but then he’d just shucked off his shirt and headed back into the room without yelling at Donghyuck like he normally would, and that was even more worrying. From the glimpse Donghyuck caught before Renjun shut the door again, his figure looked even slimmer than normal, healthy leanness reduced down to an alarming thinness. Not that he was paying attention, or anything.
As a last resort, he’d even spent the last of his paycheck on the month on a pound of Wagyu beef, serving it to Renjun raw in the hopes that maybe he’d eat it and get some sort of nutrition from the blood still on the meat.
Renjun had stared at it, unimpressed. “Are you trying to give me food poisoning?”
“Since when do vampires get food poisoning?” Donghyuck had said, exasperated. “Aren’t you the one who ate raw chicken last year and came out fine?”
Renjun had just stared at him, the soulless depths to his eyes made even more frightening by the dark bags under them, before wordlessly tipping the beef into the trash and stalking off to his room.
“Wha— hey!” Donghyuck had yelled after him. “If you weren’t gonna eat it, at least tell me! That meat was expensive!”
Donghyuck had looked from the sad remains of his month’s paycheck in the trash to Renjun slipping inside their room and slamming the door shut, doing God knows what inside. It was only then that he’d realized that the situation had already progressed in an uncontrollable direction, and to a much worse extent than he’d thought. It was time to take some more drastic measures.
Donghyuck is annoyed, sure, but he’s also scared shitless, because Renjun’s moods have never been this bad or lasted this long before. He’s convinced Renjun is literally teetering on the brink of death now, and he absolutely cannot have that happen. There’s no way he’s letting a roommate die on him—the paperwork would be egregious. No more playing around.
So maybe he’s not thinking straight when he does what he does. Maybe there are better options. But really, it doesn’t matter to Donghyuck as long as Renjun feeds, so he can’t be blamed for doing what he does. He can’t. Stop looking at him like that. This is a bro helping a bro out, nothing more.
And what exactly does he do to solve this problem, you ask? What is Donghyuck’s last last resort?
As soon as Renjun comes home from class the next day, Donghyuck doesn’t even wait for the door to slam shut before he shoves him onto the couch. Renjun’s eyes, hooded from lack of energy, flare open when Donghyuck clambers onto his lap. “What are you doing?” he asks, voice oddly pitched, and tries to shove him off.
But Renjun’s vampire strength has nothing on a Donghyuck scorned, and Donghyuck pushes back against him. “You want consent?” he snaps, pulling his hoodie off and trying his best to ignore the strangled noise that slips out of Renjun’s throat. “Here’s your goddamn consent,” he says, tugging down the collar of his t-shirt to expose the junction between his neck and shoulder. “I’m giving you my full consent. Now hurry up and eat.”
“What the fuck, Donghyuck,” says Renjun, strained. “Do you even know what you’re saying?”
“Yes,” Donghyuck says decisively. “I’m telling you to drink from me. I forgot to donate blood during last quarter’s blood drive, so I have extra or whatever.”
“You’re so stupid,” says Renjun, but at least he’s not trying to buck Donghyuck off anymore. His hands come to settle on Donghyuck’s thighs, the touch light but searing, and Donghyuck suppresses a shiver. “That’s definitely not how it works.”
“Well, I don’t care,” says Donghyuck. “I’m healthy and thriving, and you look like you’re about to drop dead any moment now, so obviously something’s wrong here.”
“No, I’m not,” Renjun retorts, but Donghyuck kills off the rest of his argument with a look, so he redirects. “Have you ever even had anyone drink from you?”
“Uh— no,” says Donghyuck, the cogs in his brain finally starting to work again and filtering through the fear and frustration to tell him that this might not have been the best idea. It’s too late for that, though. “But it can’t be that complicated, right? You should know how it works.”
Renjun frowns, contemplative. “In theory, yes. But I’ve never actually done it myself, either.”
“Well then, we can figure it out together,” Donghyuck says firmly, barreling into his questionable decision head on. No going back. “Isn’t that what dumbass uni students do anyways? Fuck around and mess shit up until something works?”
“This isn’t just slamming back too many shots and regretting it during your 8 a.m. the next day,” Renjun argues. “This is actually a big deal. Like, if I fuck something up you could report me for harassment or negligence or something and it won’t be pretty.”
“I wouldn’t do that,” Donghyuck scoffs, offended at the thought. “Who do you think I am? A snitch?”
“No, Donghyuck, you literally do not understand how badly this could go,” says Renjun, voice rising in volume. His fingers tighten around Donghyuck’s thighs, involuntarily tense. Donghyuck bites down on his bottom lip before anything slips out, but apparently it’s the wrong thing to do—Renjun’s eyes dart to his lips for a heavy second, before he tears them away. “I’ve seen people go into comas because the vampire was careless and hit the wrong nerve while they were feeding. If something like that happened, I’d report myself. It’s too risky.”
He tries to push Donghyuck off him again, but Donghyuck knocks his hands out of the way, pressing Renjun’s shoulders deeper into the couch. “I don’t care,” he says. “You’re not getting out of this. The slight chance that something might happen to me because you were careless—which you never are—is nothing compared to the very real possibility of you starving to death.”
“If you won’t feed from a blood bag, or a goddamn hunk of meat,” says Donghyuck, raw desperation bleeding openly into his voice now as he stares Renjun dead in the eye, “then at least feed from me. Please.”
Renjun pauses, face contorting between expressions as Donghyuck watches the gears in his brain turn. “Fine,” he says finally, and Donghyuck almost lets out a sigh of relief. “You’ll have to take this off, though,” he says, tugging at the hem of Donghyuck’s shirt. “It’ll get in the way.”
Donghyuck blinks. “Okay,” he says, fingers hesitating at the bottom of his shirt before he tugs it off in one go. “I can do that.”
He feels oddly exposed at first, stripped bare of whatever last reservations he had, but the feeling goes away when he sees the gentleness in Renjun’s eyes. Renjun’s fingers hover at his shoulders, like he’s not sure where to put them, before he finally settles one hand at the base of Donghyuck’s neck and another on his shoulder. “It’ll hurt at first, I think,” he warns. “It’ll get better eventually, but it’ll hurt a lot at first. You have to tell me if it’s too much, okay?”
“I will,” says Donghyuck. Renjun’s fingers tighten around his shoulder.
“You have to tell me you’re ready,” he says lowly, eyes piercing straight into Donghyuck. “You have to be sure you’re okay with it.”
“I’m ready,” says Donghyuck, looking back at him. “I’ve never been more sure of anything in my entire life.”
Renjun stares at him, lips pressed thinly together, before he sighs. He pulls Donghyuck towards him, leaning into him, and lets his lips hover over the base of Donghyuck’s neck. Donghyuck shivers. He thinks he hears Renjun whisper into the crook of his neck, “Donghyuck, you’re such an idiot,” breath ghosting over his skin, but then Renjun’s teeth sink in and he stops thinking anything at all.
Renjun wasn’t lying—it hurts like a bitch, and Donghyuck lets out a shaky breath as his fingers grapple for purchase on Renjun’s body and end up squeezing his waist. He closes his eyes, biting down on his bottom lip to ride out the pain. “I’m okay,” he breathes, when Renjun makes a questioning noise. “I’m okay. Don’t stop.”
Renjun doesn’t stop, just tilts his head for better access to Donghyuck’s neck, but he pries one of Donghyuck’s hands off his waist and tangles their fingers together. You’re doing great, it’s like he’s saying, letting Donghyuck squeeze the life out of his hand. You’re doing so well. I’ve got you.
Donghyuck steadies his breathing, refusing to make a sound for fear Renjun will stop drinking and then they’ll be back at square one again. Suddenly, the pain gives way and in its wake comes waves of pleasure. “Oh,” he says, fingers slackening in Renjun’s grip as the feeling wracks his body. “Oh, you didn’t tell me it’d be like this.”
Renjun makes a small noise of displeasure, an obvious signal for Donghyuck to shut up, but then he pulls Donghyuck in by the waist and presses their bodies flush against each other. Donghyuck doesn’t know if he’s breathing anymore. Oh, this is so dangerous. Maybe not in the way that Renjun feared, but so dangerous nonetheless.
Donghyuck slumps against him for God knows how long, every inch of him alight as what feels like liquid gold runs through his veins. He can feel the moment when Renjun’s teeth leave his neck, breath hitching when he laves his tongue over the broken skin. Renjun pulls away, and Donghyuck almost collapses in relief when he sees how sated he looks.
There’s color in his cheeks again, and his eyes twinkle with a satisfaction that Donghyuck’s missed seeing the past few weeks. “Feel it,” he says, bringing Donghyuck’s hand up to touch the skin of his neck. Donghyuck’s fingertips skate over unblemished skin—there’s no wound. “Good as new. As if nothing ever happened.”
Donghyuck’s sure he’s breathing now—air leaves his lungs in harsh, heavy breaths as he tries to slow his pulse back down. “But you look a lot better now,” he says, winded.
Renjun laughs, and the sound is so bright. “I feel better now,” he says, letting Donghyuck tuck his face into the crook of his neck. He rests a hand on Donghyuck’s bare back, the heat of it somewhere between pleasant warmth and blistering fire. “Thank you, Donghyuck.”
Donghyuck can’t really count on his brain to be working properly—everything is so much right now—so he’s not sure if he imagines Renjun pressing a kiss to the top of his head. “Yeah, no problem,” he mumbles into Renjun’s neck, before promptly passing out.
“So,” says Donghyuck, slamming his McDonald’s tray down onto the table. Mark sits on one side of the booth, already dipping his chicken nuggets into his ranch dressing. “I have a p— I have a friend who has a problem.”
“Okay?” says Mark. Donghyuck slides into the opposite seat, grimacing at how greasy it is. “And?”
Donghyuck stuffs a handful of fries in his mouth, buying extra time to steel himself. “I have a friend,” he starts.
“Congrats,” says Mark, reaching for some of Donghyuck’s fries.
Donghyuck slaps his hand away. “Not funny, Mark,” he says, glaring at him. Mark looks all too satisfied with himself though, a stupid grin on his face.
“Actually, very funny.”
“At least let me get through the story,” he groans. “I’m never gonna finish if you keep interrupting me.”
Mark shrugs, taking a fry from Donghyuck’s tray and waving it at him, in a gesture to continue, before popping it in his mouth.
“Okay.” Donghyuck clears his throat. “So this friend of mine also happens to have a vampire roommate. Who also is stubborn and refused to feed over finals.”
Mark, for his part, humors him, even though he probably knows where this is going already. This is unfortunately why Donghyuck can’t officially file their best friend divorce yet. No one else has nearly enough experience or tolerance for dealing with his bullshit. “Continue.”
“So my friend forced their roommate to feed on them,” says Donghyuck, and Mark chokes on a chicken nugget, “and it was— they said, it was kinda weird. Like it hurt at first, but then afterwards it felt good, you know? Like really good.”
“Like sex,” says Mark. Donghyuck kicks him under the table.
“No, not like sex,” says Donghyuck, suddenly too loud. The old lady sitting at a nearby table gives him a look, which he returns with a stink-eye. Fuck off, Grandma. “Like— like drugs. Maybe. I don’t know what goes on during bloodsucking, seeing as I personally have never done it or had it done to me.”
“Uh huh,” says Mark, sounding unconvinced. But Donghyuck expected that, because Mark sucks. Another point in favor of actually filing for the best friend divorce. “Also, you’ve never done drugs.”
“You don’t know that,” Donghyuck argues, even though it’s true. Mark gives him a look. “Okay, so maybe I haven’t. Anyways, the important thing here is that after my friend went through that whole experience of being fed on by his roommate, they, uh… may have developed a fixation. With their roommate’s mouth.”
Mark stares at him for a solid five seconds (Donghyuck counts in his head), before he starts laughing.
“Shut up,” Donghyuck whines, kicking his ankles harder this time, but it does nothing to shut him up. Unfortunately, he starts laughing even louder. Out of the corner of his eye, Donghyuck can see the old lady inch further away from them. “Mark, I swear to God.”
“I can’t believe you realized you had a crush on Renjun after you let him drink from you,” Mark wheezes, clutching his stomach and falling sideways onto the (very greasy, sat on by countless butts) seat. Ew.
“It wasn’t me, it was my friend!” Donghyuck insists, to no avail. “Mark!”
“Well, at least Renjun’s not on the brink of death anymore,” Mark says, in between hiccups. “Although you probably wish he was, right? So he could feed from you again—”
“Shut up,” moans Donghyuck, covering his face with his hands. “You’re the worst. I’m never telling you anything again.”
Apparently, that’s what gets Mark to sober up, even if he lets a few giggles slip out while he’s trying to be serious. “Just kiss him then,” he says, shrugging. “Or get him to drink from you again. Whichever one is preferable and/or easier to accomplish.”
“It’s not that easy, Mark,” says Donghyuck, jabbing a finger at him. “First I’d have to tell him.”
“And then he would laugh at me!” says Donghyuck. “And he wouldn’t do it! And then I’d be back at square one!”
“So what you’re saying,” says Mark, narrowing his eyes at him, “is that you do want him to do it.”
“No. Yes. Maybe. I don’t know,” sighs Donghyuck.
Mark takes yet another fry from Donghyuck’s tray. He’s eaten almost all of them at this point—normally Donghyuck would’ve slapped his hand away and told him to buy his own a long time ago, but he guesses Mark’s doing him a favor this time, so he lets it slide. “Just ask,” he says, nonchalant, like it’s the easiest thing in the world. “Worst thing he could do is say no. And you know, I have a hunch that he won’t.”
“No,” says Renjun.
Donghyuck gapes. “You don’t even know what I was gonna say!”
He’d been lying on his bed staring up at the ceiling, while Renjun was at his desk doing homework, when he’d suddenly got the bright idea to ask right now. Renjun hadn’t even been looking at him when he’d sat up and opened his mouth.
“I already know it’s gonna be something stupid,” says Renjun, dismissive. He’s still taking notes, eyes focused like a laser on his textbook, and Donghyuck wants to pull the pen out of his hand if only so he’ll pay attention to him.
“I—” Donghyuck opens his mouth, snaps it shut, opens it again. “You don’t know that. I was actually about to say something very intelligent.”
“I have good reason to doubt that,” says Renjun, swiveling around in his chair and pinning Donghyuck with a stare. “But let’s hear it. What’s your brilliant idea?”
Donghyuck’s mind blanks under the force of Renjun’s gaze. “Well,” he says, clearing his throat and trying to build his confidence back up. “I was just thinking. Since last time went so well—”
“No,” says Renjun, turning back around to face his books again. Donghyuck cuts off the groan in his throat, suddenly emboldened. He knows how to deal with a difficult Renjun—sort of. But it’s gonna take a lot more than that to shut him down.
“Why not?” argues Donghyuck. “You’re still on your weird vegan streak and you haven’t fed in the last week! You have a perfectly willing and available source of blood right here—like, just think of it as me being your personal blood bag or something.” He really did not think this through—damn Mark for making it seem so easy. It’s unbelievable how much more embarrassing it sounds once he’s said it out loud.
Renjun laughs, but it’s not happy. “Donghyuck, you do realize you’re not an unlimited fountain of blood, right? You literally passed out on top of me last time.”
Donghyuck scrunches his nose up, trying to think of something to say to that. He was never good at biology. “Learning curve,” he blusters.
Renjun shakes his head. “It’s not that,” he says. “You might’ve been a little unprepared since it was your first time, but it’s on me to account for that. And I didn’t. I took too much, and you can’t count on me to not do it again, because I can’t control myself around you—” He cuts himself off, resolutely looking away, but Donghyuck can still catch the faint blush on his cheeks.
Donghyuck gets up off his own bed and sits at the base of Renjun’s instead. Renjun stares at his textbook, but Donghyuck can tell he’s not absorbing any of it. “You didn’t take too much,” he says, laying a hand on Renjun’s shoulder. Renjun freezes under his touch. “I said I would tell you if it was too much, right? And I didn’t. So it was fine.”
Renjun presses his lips together, silent. “You say that, but you didn’t see how pale you were after you fainted.”
“I was just tired that day,” says Donghyuck, tone turning saccharine and fingers digging into Renjun’s shoulder as he continues. “Because someone was driving me nuts about hell-bent he seemed on starving himself. Do you know how little sleep I got that week because I was worried sick about you?”
“Okay, okay, I’m forever in your debt,” says Renjun, rolling his eyes, but he’s smiling again. Donghyuck 1, Renjun 0. Take that, Mark.
“You can start paying me back by taking care of yourself,” Donghyuck says cheerily. “I already said you could feed from me again, right? Think of it like,” Donghyuck racks his head for a way to make it not sound like he’s desperate for Renjun to get his mouth on him again, “just bros helping each other out.” Oh God, he’s gone too far in the opposite direction.
Renjun snorts. “Sure.” He finally looks at Donghyuck, a familiar glint in his eye. “But aren’t you the one who’s supposed to be saying ‘you can repay me with your body,’ or whatever? Why are you offering me your body for me to pay off my debt?”
“You’re so fucking annoying,” Donghyuck tells him, in disbelief as Renjun starts laughing. “Fine then. Don’t take me up on my offer. I’ll find another way to get you to eat.”
“Wait, no,” says Renjun, reaching a hand to grab Donghyuck’s wrist before he can move away. He looks away again, and Donghyuck’s mouth falls slightly open in surprise. Is he being… shy? “Are you— are you feeling okay today?”
“Better than ever,” says Donghyuck, level, and for once it’s true—he actually got a decent amount of sleep last night and some non-junk food in his stomach. He’s, like, peak vampire food in this state. He searches Renjun’s face, waiting for him to speak again.
“When you said I hadn’t fed in a week, you were right,” Renjun admits. “I could… eat right now.”
The air shifts, and suddenly Donghyuck’s hyper-conscious of Renjun’s fingers wrapped around his wrist. “Okay,” he says slowly. When he gulps, he can see Renjun’s eyes dart to his throat, pupils starting to dilate. “Would it— should I sit in my desk chair, or—”
“Bed would be better,” says Renjun, moving to get up. “More space. If you have your back against the wall—”
And it seems like in a matter of seconds, Donghyuck finds himself seated with his back pressed against the wall adjacent to Renjun’s bed. Renjun settles in his lap this time, tugging at the bottom of Donghyuck’s shirt in a silent command. Donghyuck complies, the quickening beat of his heart thumping loudly in his ears.
Renjun brushes a gentle thumb over Donghyuck’s bare collarbone. “Ready?”
“Ready,” says Donghyuck.
“Okay,” says Renjun, sucking in a deep breath like he’s trying to control the pace of his breathing. There’s a feral look in his eyes, like nothing Donghyuck’s ever seen before, and it sends a thrill up his spine. “Tell me if it gets too much.”
“Okay,” Renjun repeats, “okay, I’m going now—”
“Hurry up already,” Donghyuck laughs, fond, “you’re so slow—”
Renjun bites down and the words die in Donghyuck’s throat. He rolls his head back against the wall with a groan, letting his eyes flutter shut.
The pain is less this time, and doesn’t last as long, but after that—Donghyuck completely loses himself in the feeling, hot waves of pleasure hitting him at even greater intensities this time. He’s not even conscious of whatever babble is coming out of his mouth right now, couldn’t care less. He’s melting, limbs turning to jelly, only Renjun’s hands on his shoulders to remind him he still has a body. It takes him a minute to realize Renjun’s done when he lifts his hands off of Donghyuck’s shoulders, waiting for the little aftershocks to run their course.
Donghyuck opens his eyes, breathing heavily. Renjun’s pupils are huge, dilated to the edge of his irises now, and when he licks a drop of blood—Donghyuck’s blood—off of his bottom lip, Donghyuck can’t look away.
“Hey,” he says, panting, all reason thrown out the window, mind utterly consumed with the urgent need to get Renjun’s mouth back on him. “Would it be too much to ask for a kiss? Just between homies, you know—”
“No,” says Renjun, eyes flaring, “definitely not too much to ask, in fact I think that’s a great idea—”
That’s all the directive Donghyuck needs before he pulls Renjun against him again, sealing their mouths together. Renjun bites down lightly on Donghyuck’s bottom lip, canines scraping against the skin. Donghyuck’s mouth falls open in a moan that Renjun swallows up as he pushes closer.
Donghyuck’s general opinion on kissing is that it can be a nice way to pass the time, if both of you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, then it gets progressively less fun. He’d try to form an opinion on kissing Renjun—because it’s definitely different from either of those things—if he could think at all.
But whatever thoughts he had before he started kissing Renjun have all been pushed out of his head, by arguably more important things. Things like the way he cups Donghyuck’s cheek in his head. How hot the skin of his waist is under Donghyuck’s hands, even through the t-shirt. That thing he does with his tongue that sends a shudder through Donghyuck’s entire body. Things like that. Very important.
Renjun is just as aggressive as Donghyuck expected him to be, but there’s a certain gentleness underlying his movements too—partially from hesitation born out of caution, mostly from the utter care Renjun treats his treasured things with. Donghyuck likes the idea of that, being one of Renjun’s treasured things.
But he likes this, too—the feeling of Renjun trying to devour him whole. Renjun pulls him even closer like he can’t get enough of him, and it fills Donghyuck with a heady mix of thrill and desire. Renjun is a force of nature, contained within the boy sitting on his lap. Donghyuck is perfectly happy to be drawn into his vortex, winds blowing away everything else.
In the end, it’s Donghyuck who pulls away first to breathe, as reluctant as he is to do it. He takes a moment to open his eyes, focus them on Renjun—on the vibrant flush of his face, healthy and glowing, on the wild glint of his eyes. “Wow,” he says, out of breath, “that was…”
“Yeah,” says Renjun, sounding just as winded. There’s something so magnetic about the way his eyes drift over Donghyuck’s face, lingering on his lips. Must be his weird vampire aura and/or compulsion powers, Donghyuck thinks, and then snorts to himself. It’s not even that funny, and he’s definitely ruined the moment.
But Renjun laughs, too. “You have a good time?”
“Yeah, for sure, dude,” says Donghyuck, and as soon as the words leave his mouth he can see something in Renjun’s eyes shatter in slow-motion. Fuck. He wants to kick himself.
“Cool, cool,” says Renjun, climbing off of Donghyuck’s lap and almost falling off the bed in his sudden haste. Donghyuck watches him stand back up on shaky legs, feeling strangely drained. “That was fun. Uh, thanks for the—” He waves a hand in vague gestures. Donghyuck thinks he’s got the idea.
“No problem,” says Donghyuck, still winded. “Anytime.”
Renjun stops to look back at him. “Anytime?”
“Yeah,” Donghyuck says slowly, like he’s dealing with a stray cat and trying not to scare it off. “Whenever you need a lil’ pick me up,” he sticks out his hand in a thumbs up, “I got you.”
“Good to know,” says Renjun, nodding. There’s a contemplative expression on his face—Donghyuck can practically hear the gears in his little head whirring. He doesn’t know if he should be scared or not. “I’m gonna go now. Eat, uh, human food. Worked up an appetite.”
He usually doesn’t offer up this much information. “Cool,” says Donghyuck, waving him off. “I’m gonna lie on your bed for a bit. Don’t let me stop you.”
“Okay,” says Renjun, before repeating it again. “Okay. Sounds like a plan.”
“Okay,” Donghyuck parrots at him.
They spend another minute staring at each other before Renjun finally leaves the room, hopefully to do what he said he was going to do and eat. Donghyuck tips sideways onto the bed, face falling into the pillow, and sucks a deep breath in. It smells like him.
“I think he thinks it’s just physical,” says Donghyuck, fingers pressed to his temples.
It’s been a month since they started this whole ‘arrangement,’ and each time it happens is no less of a religious experience than the last. It’s just what comes after that’s the problem. Making out with Renjun? Great. Dealing with the emotional repercussions afterwards and trying to figure out where they stand with each other? Not so much.
Mark manages to look even less impressed than last time. Donghyuck didn’t even think that was possible. “Do you think it’s just physical?”
“Right now? Yeah,” Donghyuck says glumly. Not even junk food can cheer him up this time—he’d opted for a salad, after Renjun said his blood tasted better when he ate clean. The things he does for this boy.
“Okay, let me rephrase that,” says Mark. “Do you want it to just be physical?”
Donghyuck looks deep, deep down inside himself, and realizes the answer has been staring him right in the face all long. “No,” he whispers, before groaning into his hands. “Oh my God. Mark?”
“Yes?” says Mark, like he’s dealing with a five-year-old.
“I think I have a big fat crush on Renjun,” he says, mumbling into his hands. “This fucking sucks. I wanna take him out on dates and hold his hand and shit.”
“Congratulations,” says Mark, and why the fuck does he sound surprised? “You’re actually more emotionally aware than I thought you were.”
“I hate you,” says Donghyuck. “Help me, Mark.”
“No can do,” says Mark. “This one’s on you.”
“You’re the one with a boyfriend!” Donghyuck bursts out. “The least you could do for abandoning me to run off with him is give me some advice.”
Mark laughs. “Do you think I know how I got one?” he says. “Hyuck, I genuinely think you just have to bumble your way into a relationship and just hope it works out.”
“That’s not helpful,” says Donghyuck, slouching in his seat. “What if I tell him I don’t just wanna be homies and he tries to terminate his lease early?”
“Trust me, that’s not gonna happen, for three reasons,” says Mark. He claps a hand on Donghyuck’s shoulder, and Donghyuck leans into the touch. “One, because you have a hot piece of real estate and he’d be a fool to give that up. But two, Renjun’s just not that kind of guy. He doesn’t treat people’s emotions lightly, and I’m sure you guys would be able to work something out even if he doesn’t wanna be more than homies.”
“What’s number three?” Donghyuck mumbles.
“Three is that for some godforsaken reason, he looks at you like you light up the entire fucking world or something,” says Mark, not unkindly. “Sometimes when you guys come out with me and Lucas, I feel like I’m third-wheeling, and I’m the one with a boyfriend.”
Mark nods. “Trust me,” he says, sounding so sure of himself. “If Renjun has some decidedly not-homie feelings for you, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.”
Mark Lee is the source of all of the problems in his life right now, and a lying bitch to boot. Donghyuck should’ve stopped taking advice from him a long time ago, but alas, he has still not served him the divorce papers. Who else would listen to him complain? Not Renjun, that’s for sure.
Donghyuck gets home from class one day to find Renjun sitting on the couch playing a game on his phone. When Donghyuck drops his backpack on the floor and sits on the other end, swinging his legs onto Renjun’s lap—natural as all hell, mind you—Renjun fumbles his phone, cursing as he misclicks. Donghyuck’s eyes dart to his hands.
“Hungry?” he asks, running through the mental calendar in his head trying to remember the last time Renjun fed. Three days ago, he thinks, so they should be on schedule for him to eat again today. “I don’t have anything else going on today.”
“Actually,” says Renjun, standing up abruptly and knocking Donghyuck’s legs onto the ground, “I went to the blood bank today and got some pouches.”
Donghyuck narrows his eyes. “You didn’t.”
“I did. You can go check the fridge if you want,” says Renjun, like he’s daring Donghyuck to challenge him.
Donghyuck has never backed down from any challenge, especially those issued by Renjun, so he stands up and checks the fridge. Lo and behold, there’s a whole shelf filled with clear plastic packets, red liquid swimming around as the fridge door rattles. “Better make sure Jeno doesn’t drink any,” he says absently, shocked at the sight.
“Why the fuck would he do that?” asks Renjun. Even if Donghyuck can’t see him, he can imagine the way he wrinkles his nose. It’s a little pitiful how clearly that image has seared itself into his brain, filed away with the other Renjun-related images in one big Renjun folder.
“No reason.” Donghyuck shuts the fridge. “And you’re actually… drinking these?”
“Yeah,” says Renjun, shifting his weight from foot to foot. He’s a lot more fidgety than normal. “Being healthy, like you wanted.”
“I…” Donghyuck did want Renjun to start taking care of himself more. It’s just strange that it’s only now that he’s starting to be diligent about it again. “Well, glad to see you finally got your head out of your ass.”
Renjun ignores the comment. “Thanks for letting me feed on you, but you don’t have to anymore. I’ve got it under control.”
“Okay,” says Donghyuck, feeling lost. “No more feeding on me. I mean, as long as you’re eating?”
“I am,” says Renjun. “Cold blood has its appeal too, you know.”
Donghyuck would not know, for obvious reasons, but he nods along anyways. “You better actually eat them, though,” he says, pointing an accusing finger at Renjun. “I’ll know if you skip meals, and I will make you feed.”
“I will, Mom,” says Renjun, punctuating it with an over-exaggerated eye roll. It’s oddly endearing considering how much Donghyuck does not want to be called mom by someone who sucked his blood and then made out with him for an hour afterward just a few days ago.
“Didn’t know I qualified as a MILF,” says Donghyuck, wiggling his eyebrows, and laughs as Renjun’s face turns bright red.
“Shut the fuck up,” says Renjun, hurling a couch cushion at him. “I regret ever meeting you.”
“That’s not what you said on Monday,” Donghyuck calls after him, watching him storm off into their room and slam the door shut behind him. The smile falls off his face as soon as he hears the door click into place. He glances at the fridge, wondering how long this will last.
After much serious thought (read: dragging Mark to a salad bar and complaining as Mark anxiously eyes the rows of vegetables), Donghyuck can only come to one conclusion: Renjun somehow found out about his not-homie feelings, despite his efforts to be discreet, and does not return them in the slightest.
It explains why Renjun suddenly broke off their arrangement to return to blood bags, and also why it seems like he can’t stand to be alone in the same room as Donghyuck anymore. It does not explain why Donghyuck occasionally catches him staring, but some things just can’t be explained.
Donghyuck checks the fridge every now and then (read: obsessively, every hour) to monitor the rate of disappearance and restocking of the pouches, and by all means it seems like Renjun’s been eating at a regular rate again. But Renjun’s been looking progressively worse lately, undoing all the good Donghyuck had done him, and Donghyuck would be willing to chalk it up to midterms stress if he hadn’t learned all of Renjun’s giveaways from the last time: his skin is paler, he’s abnormally twitchy, and most importantly, his eyes don’t sparkle the same.
Which sounds like he’s disgustingly infatuated, but Donghyuck is pushing aside his not-homie feelings to make an objective observation. The objective observation is that something is not right.
There are many things that can be said about Donghyuck, two of which are: one, he is annoyingly persistent. And two, he does not make empty threats.
Which is why he finds himself standing outside of Renjun’s 11 a.m. lecture when he could be sleeping or gaming or doing literally anything else. Armed with his most recent paycheck, he’s going to use human lunch to bait Renjun into eating vampire lunch too. That’s the plan, at least, as he watches students stream out of the lecture hall, not a single Renjun among their ranks.
A third thing that can be said about Donghyuck is that he’s not very patient. After two minutes of tapping his foot and stretching his neck for any sight of his annoying roommate, Donghyuck gives up on waiting and pushes against the flow of people leaving the hall, wiggling his way through the doorway and scanning the slowly emptying lecture hall for any sight of Renjun.
Aha. It doesn’t take long to spot him, knowing Renjun’s goody-two-shoes tendencies. He’s standing in the front row, back to Donghyuck, talking to someone. A fourth thing that can be said about Donghyuck is that he’s incorrigibly mischievous, so he takes this as a perfect opportunity to sneak up on him and surprise him. He creeps closer, ignoring the people shooting him weird looks as he gets close enough to overhear Renjun’s conversation.
“You’ve gotta stop giving me these for free,” the person Renjun’s talking to says. Donghyuck’s ears prick at the familiar voice, but he can’t put a finger on it. “These can’t have come cheap.”
“Just take them,” Renjun says brusquely, digging through his backpack. “It’s not like I’m going to drink them anyways.”
And in slow-motion horror, Donghyuck watches him pull a few pouches of red liquid out of his backpack and deposit them in the other person’s hands. Donghyuck’s brain whirs and whirs, and at the same time he processes what he’s just seen, his arm comes up to point and his mouth opens to yell:
“Renjun Huang, you fucking liar!”
Renjun startles, knocking over his backpack as he turns around. The auditorium is mostly empty by now, but the professor and the remaining students all stop to look as Donghyuck points at his roommate from where he’s standing in the middle of the lecture hall.
Renjun pales, hand caught in the proverbial cookie jar. “Donghyuck, I—”
“I cannot believe,” Donghyuck seethes, marching towards him, “that you told me you were drinking blood bags only to give them all away to—” he pauses to look at the person Renjun was talking with, finding a familiar face— “Yangyang!”
“Hi Donghyuck,” Yangyang chirps.
“Hi Yangyang,” Donghyuck says back, because he’s not fucking rude, before he turns his attention on Renjun. “You told me you were eating properly, and even though I didn’t believe you I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt because I thought we were cool like that. And now I find out you’re buying blood bags with your own money just to give them to other people because you’re so opposed to drinking them yourself? What is the point, Renjun, tell me—”
“Can we not do this here?” Renjun hisses, face sealed off, but the reddening of his ears gives him away. “You’re making a scene.”
“I’ll make a scene if I want to,” says Donghyuck, jabbing him in the chest. “You are so reckless and irresponsible with your own health, God knows how you haven’t died yet—”
“Seriously, not here,” says Renjun, grabbing Donghyuck by the wrist and tugging him along, “we can talk outside, just— bye, Yangyang,” he calls behind him as they leave, Donghyuck still fuming.
“Bye, guys,” Yangyang calls back, sounding much too amused for Donghyuck’s liking. This isn’t funny, goddamnit.
Renjun pulls him out of the room, only letting go once they’re out of the building and underneath the shade of a tree. Donghyuck rubs at his wrist, glaring balefully. “You better have a good explanation, or I’ll kick your ass.”
Renjun looks down at his own hands. “I really tried, at first. You know how I feel about blood bags, but I really tried to drink them regularly.”
Donghyuck blinks. “So what happened?”
“I figured out why so many vampires can’t go back to chilled blood bags after they get used to drinking the stuff fresh from the source,” says Renjun, looking up again. “If I thought the pouches were gross before, they got even worse after I got used to feeding from you. Do you have any idea how good your blood tastes to a vampire, Donghyuck?”
“Uh, no,” Donghyuck says, seeing as how he is clearly not a vampire and also has not tried to taste his own blood.
“Type AB,” Renjun says dreamily, eyes clouded over. Okay, what the fuck, Donghyuck never told him that. “Like candy to a vampire. I’ve never had fresh blood from anyone else, but it smells better than any other blood I’ve smelled. I couldn’t get enough.”
Okay, this is a little weird. Donghyuck takes a step back as his roommate goes off into la la land before he suddenly remembers to be mad again. “So why’d you stop then, huh? What were you planning on doing, after you found out the blood bags sucked even more than before? Were you just going to not eat?”
“I’ve been eating,” Renjun argues.
“Clearly not enough,” Donghyuck fires back. “Just look at yourself! You look like you could be in the Walking Dead or something!”
“Hey,” says Renjun, pointing a finger at him, “I’m a vampire, not a zombie. Get it straight.”
They’re derailing. “Okay, Mr. Vampire who needs to drink blood regularly to survive,” says Donghyuck, stepping towards him again. “I got that right this time, right? Vampires should be feeding on a regular basis.”
Renjun blinks, as if he’s just realized the situation he’s gotten himself into. “... Yes.”
“And yet you,” he pokes Renjun in the chest, hard, “haven’t been doing that. So you didn’t like the blood bags, fine. What I don’t understand, and what I would like you to explain to me, is why you suddenly stopped feeding from me even though I’ve been giving you my clear and enthusiastic consent this entire time?
“And don’t say you’re worried for my health,” he says, covering all his bases before Renjun can make excuses. “You and I both know how careful we’ve been about monitoring how much blood I’ve been losing.”
Renjun purses his lips, face contorting as he tries to figure out something to say. Donghyuck waits. Finally, he sighs. “Because it wasn’t fair to you.”
“To me?” says Donghyuck. “You’ve been buying me take-out for weeks now—”
“Because it wasn’t fair,” Renjun talks over him, “for me to take your blood, take your kisses, take advantage of you doing this for me out of the goodness of your own heart when I couldn’t even keep it platonic. You drive me nuts, Donghyuck. Every time I feed from you I’m on the verge of losing control, and you just sit there and trust me to not rip you apart.”
The sudden honesty feels like a bucket of ice water. “What?”
Renjun crosses his arms, trying to look standoffish, but Donghyuck knows him better than that—he looks like he’s about to cry. “I can’t keep feeding from you in good faith when I like you so much and you think you’re just doing a friend a favor.”
“You like me?”
“Yes,” Renjun grits out. “So if you could kindly just reject me, we can both get along with the rest of our days.”
Donghyuck’s brain works double time to process the information he’s just been given, and in the end all he can do is bark out a laugh. Renjun looks like he’s just been slapped, and immediately Donghyuck wants to rush over and comfort him, but he forces himself to stand his ground. “If you thought I was just being a good friend this entire time, then you really don’t know me as well as I thought.”
Renjun gapes at him. “Weren’t you the one who said it was just homies helping each other out?”
“Maybe the first time, yeah,” says Donghyuck, flushing, “but I was the one who asked to kiss you first. You really thought I was letting you take my blood and then make out with me afterwards because I was being nice?”
“I— you— I thought it was just physical for you!” Renjun flounders.
“I thought it was just physical for you!” says Donghyuck, laughing. They really are made for each other. “I thought you stopped feeding from me because you found out I had a massive crush on you.”
“Yes, really,” says Donghyuck, grinning, before slugging Renjun in the shoulder and dodging his reflexive elbow to the side. “I still think you’re a fucking idiot, though. What were you gonna do if I hadn’t confronted you, huh?”
Renjun scowls. “I was managing.”
“Shut the fuck up, no you weren’t. You can’t keep relying on me to kick your ass into taking care of your own health, you know.”
At least Renjun has the grace to look guilty. “I know,” he says, “but I still don’t think I can keep feeding from you so often. It can’t be healthy in the long term.”
Donghyuck shrugs. “That’s fine. We can keep it as a treat for special occasions, and in the meantime, I’ve been told I make a mean blood smoothie.”
“By who?” asks Renjun, incredulous.
“That’s a secret I’ll never tell,” says Donghyuck, “unless you answer this one question for me.”
Renjun raises an eyebrow. “What is it?”
Donghyuck gets down on one knee, prompting an immediate groan from Renjun. He looks around on the ground for something somewhat circular, but alas—he’ll have to get creative. He plucks a blade of grass, bending it into a ring and holding it out to Renjun. Renjun’s face is vaguely mutinous, but Donghyuck just grins at him.
“Renjun Huang,” he starts, “my homie who I have a lot of not-homie feelings for. Will you do me the honor of sucking my blood exclusively?”
“I only drank your blood in the first place.”
“Kissing me exclu—”
“I wasn’t kissing anyone else, either.”
Donghyuck huffs, narrowing his eyes as Renjun smirks. “Can you shut up for one second and let me finish asking you out?”
“Make me,” says Renjun, like the cliche romantic he is.
But Donghyuck knows this. And Donghyuck isn’t one to back down from any challenges, especially not those issued by Renjun, so he obliges.
“So who was it?” asks Renjun, as they’re walking back home, hands laced together. Donghyuck swings their arms as they walk, giddy that he can do this now—hold Renjun’s hand, take him out on stupid dates and make him smile.
“Who was what?”
“Who told you that you make good blood smoothies?”
“Oh, Jeno,” Donghyuck says casually. “Don’t ask, though.”
“What the fuck? No, wait, now you have to explain this to me—”
Mark looks up as Donghyuck and Renjun head over to where he’s already claimed a table for them at the burger place and immediately groans. “You’re not doing this to me. What happened to the sanctity of Friday bro hangouts?”
“First of all, it’s Wednesday,” says Donghyuck. “And second, Renjun was hungry.”
Mark ignores him. “Where are those best friend divorce papers you keep talking about? I think I’m ready to sign them.”
“I shredded them,” says Donghyuck, sliding into the booth and tugging Renjun onto the seat next to him. “At least be grateful I didn’t make you eat salad this week.”
“What happened to your sudden health obsession anyways?” asks Mark.
Donghyuck looks pointedly at Renjun. Renjun shrugs. “I told him if his blood got any sweeter, I was gonna have trouble stopping. Sometimes a little grease is for the best.”
“You heard him,” Donghyuck says gleefully, over the sound of Mark’s whining. “We’re just watching out for his diet.”
“You are never allowed to give me shit for leaving you to move in with Lucas ever again,” says Mark, “not when you two are like this. Oh God, are you guys gonna be like this all the time?”
“You brought this on yourself,” Renjun says bluntly, to Donghyuck’s absolute delight. Mark drops his head on the grease-covered table with a thunk. “I have it on good word that you were the catalyst to all of this.”
“That he was,” says Donghyuck, patting Mark’s head. “Thanks, Mark. I owe it all to you.”
Mark groans again. Donghyuck just laughs, and when Renjun starts to laugh too, bright and happy, all Donghyuck can do is smile at him.