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"Oh, Donghyuck. There's something I've been meaning to ask you — who is that guy who sometimes walks through the background of your video?"

"Hm?"

Donghyuck instinctively turns around in his computer chair, but is met with the empty backdrop of his bedroom. It takes him a moment to understand what Jaemin is asking him. When it clicks, a soft smile spreads across his face.

"Oh, you mean Taeil?"

Jaemin shrugs. In the other corner of Donghyuck's computer screen, Jungwoo leans forward, chin in hands.

"Ooooh, so his name is Taeil? Sounds dreamy."

Donghyuck snorts. "Yeah, he is. And he's mine, so back off." He leans back in his computer chair, crossing his arms with a satisfied smirk. He knows Taeil is hot — of course, he wouldn't be dating him if he didn't find him attractive — and he'll take any chance he can get to gloat. 

Unfortunately, his classmates don't seem to get the picture. 

"What?" Jaemin laughs. "No fair, you can't call dibs just because he's your roommate. Leave some for the rest of us."

"Yeah," Jungwoo chimes in. "At least introduce us and see who he likes best, first."

"Um, guys—"

"I'm not calling dibs," Donghyuck interrupts. (Sorry, Jeno — thus is the misfortune of being put in a breakout room with the class' three most talkative students.) "He's literally already mine. He's my boyfriend," he explains.

Donghyuck is met with three pairs of wide eyes. Even Jeno, who looks as if he'd really rather be discussing the actual question their professor had instructed them to discuss, has perked up with interest. 

"No way," Jungwoo scoffs. "You're telling me that hot piece of ass if your boyfriend? Nuh uh, absolutely not."

"What's that supposed to mean? I'm hot too, you know. And we live together. Why is it so hard to believe?"

"He could just be your roommate," Jaemin shrugs. "Of course you're hot, Hyuckie, but— Taeil, was it? He's like, god tier, you know?"

"Yeah, I know, that's why I'm fucking him—"

"Guys."

Jeno clears his throat, and Donghyuck notices for the first time that their professor has entered the breakout room. He feels his cheeks flush a deep red. His embarrassment only grows as he realizes Jungwoo is laughing into his microphone. 

Donghyuck turns his camera off out of sheer mortification.

"Staying on task, I see," their professor says, once the laughter has died down. Donghyuck quickly weighs the pros and cons of dropping out of this course altogether. Unfortunately, he kind of needs the credits for his major. "Breakout rooms are closing in three minutes. I'd suggest actually discussing the topic at hand, so you have something to contribute when you re-enter the main room."

The subject of Taeil is dropped after that. Donghyuck finds himself wishing it had never come up.

 

☼☽

 

"My classmates think you're hot," Donghyuck mumbles into Taeil's chest. They're snuggled up in bed, Taeil reading a book and Donghyuck curled into his side. It's his favorite place to be — nothing makes him feel safer than the familiar warmth of Taeil's body.

Taeil's eyes don't leave his book, though it's clear he's listening by the raise of his eyebrows. "Your classmates?" he asks. "Have I met them?"

"No," Donghyuck sighs. "They see you walking around sometimes during our Zoom classes. I'm thinking of installing one of those virtual backgrounds so they stop prying — what do you think, jungle or beach?"

"Mmm, the beach sounds nice," Taeil hums, rubbing gentle circles into Donghyuck's waist. "Wish we could go right now."

Donghyuck sighs in agreement. It's been ages since they were able to go out on a proper date. "Fuck the pandemic," he whines, curling closer into Taeil's side. "COVID is homophobic."

Taeil's chest rumbles with laughter. Donghyuck loves the sound of it, deep and soft and warm. Sometimes when Taeil laughs, it's bright and full — filling up the whole room — but in quiet moments like this, it's more subdued. A playful chuckle. The tiniest upturn of lips.

Donghyuck is so in love.

"So, your classmates."

He lifts his head to look Taeil in the eye. "What about them?" he asks, chin pressed neatly into his chest. Taeil giggles a little at the feeling.

"Are they cute?"

Two years of dating should have prepared him for such a question. But Donghyuck is still caught off guard, cheeks flushing red and lips turning to a pout.

"Hey!" He digs his chin into Taeil's chest with more force, now, and reaches out to playfully punch at his shoulder. Taeil's laughter grows louder, larger. He wraps his arms around Donghyuck and holds him still.

"Stop, that tickles!"

"Yeah, well, stop asking if my classmates are cute or not! You're mine!"

Taeil leans down to kiss the top of Donghyuck's head. "I'm just joking, baby," he chuckles. "You know that."

Donghyuck lets out a huff. He tightens his hold around Taeil's torso — his boyfriend may be joking, but Jaemin and Jungwoo certainly were not. Who can blame him for feeling a little possessive?

"You're mine," he repeats. He's too busy burrowing into Taeil's chest to notice the look on his face: fond, amused, and full of love.

Taeil kisses the top of his head again and smiles. "I'm yours."

 

☼☽

 

Sometimes, having all of his classes online is nice. It means he doesn't have to go anywhere, or get properly dressed, or walk up the hellish hills that make up the college campus. But most of the time, it sucks.

It sucks because he's stuck sitting in his computer chair all day long, and his back is starting to hurt like he's 55 and not 20. It sucks because he hasn't seen the actual sunlight in what feels like ages, and it's really starting to weigh down on his mood. It sucks because sometimes he forgets to do things like eat and take bathroom breaks. Sometimes it doesn't feel like he can.

Taeil helps take care of him. Donghyuck knows he's lucky in that he isn't quarantined alone. He'd surely go insane if he was — there's only so much isolation one person can take.

It's one of those days. Donghyuck is feeling grumpy and exhausted and his eyes are burning from staring at the computer screen for too long. Of course he's used to staying up gaming all night, but this is different. This isn't even fun.

Donghyuck can feel his attention wavering. He stares blankly ahead as his professor explains some philosophical concept that goes right over his head. Right now he couldn't care less about pulling the lever or not — or whatever the hell he's being asked to consider right now. All he cares about is getting through this class period so he can collapse in bed and pretend not to exist for a while.

"Hyuckie."

Taeil's soft voice breaks him out of his stupor. He turns to the side, expecting to see Taeil but not expecting to see him with a plate full of all his favorite foods. His mouth drops open in surprise.

"I made you lunch," Taeil continues, setting the plate down in front of him. "There's more if you finish and are still hungry. Just text me and I'll bring it over, okay?"

Donghyuck thinks he may just cry. In fact, he can feel the prickling of tears forming in his eyes as he stares down at the beautiful meal Taeil has made for him.

This man is really too good to be true.

"Hyung, thank you," he says. He looks up at Taeil with all of the love in the world, and tugs on his shirt to pull him forward. Taeil steps closer with a smile and allows Donghyuck to wrap his arms around his waist, pressing his face into his stomach.

"You're welcome," Taeil says. He reaches out to run his fingers through Donghyuck's hair, gentle and comforting. Donghyuck inhales his scent and instantly feels calmed. He can get through this.

"You're the best," Donghyuck sighs against the fabric of his shirt. "I wish class was over already so I could kiss you."

Taeil laughs and pulls back, glancing at Donghyuck's computer screen. His mic is muted, but his camera is still on. "Later, okay?" he says, cupping Donghyuck's cheeks in the palms of his hands. "Now pay attention and eat. Hyung will catch up with you afterwards."

When Donghyuck turns his attention back to the class, he's met with Jaemin suggestively wiggling his eyebrows and Jungwoo grinning like a fool. His private chat lights up with a few new messages:

 

Jaemin Na to You (Privately): oooooooo look who has cruuuuuush~
Jaemin Na to You (Privately): lol the way u looked at him. whipped
Jungwoo Kim to You (Privately): he brought u food! perfect man! *heart eyes emoji*

 

Donghyuck rolls his eyes. yeah, because he's my BOYFRIEND, he shoots back quickly before taking a bite of his food.

Jaemin and Jungwoo continue teasing him throughout the class, but he's unbothered. He's got Taeil's support and Taeil's home cooking and Taeil's kisses to look forward to once class is over.

He's got this.

 

☼☽

 

He does not got this.

It's like every single one of his professors decides to unleash hell at the same time. He's got a philosophy paper due on Friday, two exams in the upcoming week and he's fallen behind on his other assignments, as well. To top it all off, his internet had been spotty today at best. He couldn't have paid attention in class even if he wanted to.

To put it simply, he's doomed.

Donghyuck feels all the stress piling onto him at once. Half way through his last class, he shuts off his computer and crawls into bed, burrowing underneath the covers as far as he can go.

He doesn't know how long he lays there. He's on the brink of sleep when he feels the bed dip next to him — then Taeil's fingers are running through his hair, gentle and calming.

"Rough day?" he asks. Donghyuck nods and reaches out to tug Taeil closer. Taeil easily obliges, slipping under the blankets and pulling Donghyuck against his chest.

"Kiss it better," Donghyuck whines.

Taeil laughs, but does as he's asked. He starts with small kisses to Donghyuck's forehead, his cheek, the side of his jaw. Donghyuck whines as Taeil skirts around his lips, kissing the corners of his mouth and pulling away to tease.

"Hyung," he protests. "Come on."

"What?" Taeil chuckles, nose nuzzling into the side of Donghyuck's neck. "You don't like my sweet, cute little kissies?"

Donghyuck makes a face. Kissies? Really?

"I do!" he huffs, "but right now I'm feeling annoyed and mad at the world and I want to let out my frustration by making out with my boyfriend."

More rumbling laughter from Taeil, then he's pulling Donghyuck closer by the waist. "Alright," he says. Then, finally, he slots their lips together.

All of the tension leaves Donghyuck's body at once. He melts into the kiss, thumbs pressed into the skin on Taeil's neck. Donghyuck kisses him back slowly but hungrily, eager to leave the stress of the day behind him. Taeil smiles against his lips and Donghyuck allows himself to forget about things like looming deadlines and shitty internet. Right now, it's just him and Moon Taeil: the love of his life.

"I love you," Donghyuck mumbles between kisses.

Taeil squeezes his hip. I'm here.

"I know," he says. "I love you, too."

 

☼☽

 

Donghyuck thinks his philosophy professor must have some kind of personal vendetta against him, because he keeps putting him in the same breakout room as Jungwoo and Jaemin. This time Jeno has been spared, replaced by two girls named Yoojung and Sooyoung. Neither of them seem very keen on starting the discussion, which leaves Donghyuck to take one for the team. 

He sighs. "So… utilitarianism, am I right?"

"Fuck that," Yoojung chimes in. "Let's talk about deontology. Kant is kind of a fuckwit but I feel like he was onto something there."

Sooyoung snorts from where she sits, filing her nails. "Weren't all famous philosophers fuckwits?"

"Well, yeah. They were all rich white men, so."

Jungwoo opens his mouth to say something through his laughter, but promptly closes it when something else catches his eye. 

"Uh," Jaemin says, leaning forward in his seat. "Sorry to interrupt the lesbians' wisdom, but holy shit."

Donghyuck is confused for a moment until he realizes they're all staring at him. Brows furrowed, he spins around in his computer chair to see what all the fuss is about. 

It's Taeil, of course. Donghyuck expected as much — but what he doesn't expect is to see him half naked, hair wet and nothing but a towel slung around his waist. 

His eyes widen. 

"Hyung!"

Taeil pauses from where he's rummaging through their shared dresser for some clothes. Donghyuck watches the muscles in his back ripple slightly as he straightens and feels his cheeks flush red. 

"Hmm?"

"Oh my god, I'm in class!" Donghyuck gives a panicked glance back at his classmates, who are now all laughing at him. Even Yoojung and Sooyoung are looking on in amused interest.

Rather than stepping out of the frame, Taeil walks closer until he's standing next to Donghyuck, bare chest on display. 

"Oh, hi! Are these the classmates who think I'm hot?" He leans down to smile into the camera. Donghyuck thinks he sees Jaemin swoon. Jungwoo's eyes sparkle, and Donghyuck finds himself wishing he'd turned his camera off five minutes ago.

"Why hello there," Jungwoo croons. "I'm Jungwoo. It's so nice to see you."

Taeil grins, ignoring the way Donghyuck has completely turned his computer chair around to avoid being perceived. 

"Hey. I'm Taeil," he flirts back easily. "Likewise."

Donghyuck reaches out and blindly smacks Taeil in the side. "Hyung," he whines. "Please."

"Alright, alright," Taeil laughs. Jaemin and Jungwoo don't miss the way Taeil grabs onto Donghyuck's hand, carefully removing it from his torso. "I'll leave you all alone now. Sorry for the distraction."

Taeil quickly grabs some sweats and a t-shirt from the bed and walks out the door. Donghyuck dreads turning back around but knows it must be done… he just wishes his boyfriend wasn't such a cheeky asshole. 

As suspected, all four of his classmates are staring straight at him. Jaemin has the biggest, scariest grin on his face and Jungwoo looks like he's fallen in love — Donghyuck wants to smack him.

"Don't say a word," he spits. 

Unfortunately, they choose not to listen. 

 

☼☽

 

Jungwoo Kim to You (Privately): where's taeil hyung? :(
Jungwoo Kim to You (Privately):  haven't seen him in a while

 

Donghyuck tries to resist the urge to growl at his computer screen. Ever since the "shower incident," Taeil has been kind enough to stay out of their bedroom during Donghyuck's class times. It's nice, but he misses his presence. He also misses not being bombarded with questions about his whereabouts every two seconds. Mostly the latter. 

 

You to Jungwoo Kim (Privately): none of your business
Jungwoo Kim to You (Privately): :((((

 

It wouldn't be so bad if they believed him. But both Jaemin and Jungwoo are convinced he's got some sort of unrequited crush on his roommate, no matter how many times he's explained that they're literally talking about getting married after he graduates. It's annoying, to not be taken seriously — it makes him feel like he's not good enough for Taeil, like he's some kind of joke. 

And Taeil loves to joke around. Donghyuck knows this about him. Sometimes he just wishes he'd be a little more serious. 

 

Jaemin Na to You (Privately): no lover boy today?
Jaemin Na to You (Privately): aw, come on hyuckie! if you banish him from your room then he'll never know how you feel about him!

 

"Alright, that's it."

Donghyuck feels about ready to lose his mind. He yanks his headphones out of his ears and calls out to Taeil. 

"Hyung! Can you come here for a second?"

His microphone is muted and he's no longer listening to the professor, but he can see Jaemin and Jungwoo's curious gazes out of the corner of his eyes. He huffs.

He'll show them. 

"Yeah? What's wrong?"

Taeil pokes his head into their room. He looks sleepy, probably having just woken up from a nap on the couch. Donghyuck's heart clenches in his chest. 

"Come here," he says. "Please? I need you."

Taeil approaches cautiously, glancing at the computer screen like a puppy afraid of being scolded. Donghyuck rolls his eyes and reaches for the front of his hoodie. 

"What's—"

Their lips crash together as Donghyuck tugs down on Taeil's sweatshirt, practically pulling him into his lap. Taeil lets out a surprised squeak and steadies himself by gripping the edge of the desk. Donghyuck doesn't let go — only kisses him harder, deeper, with a vengeance. 

Taeil kisses back with just as much vigor. It's easy to forget that he's supposed to be in class when Taeil kisses him like this. Suddenly all Donghyuck knows is the feeling of Taeil's knee braced next to his thigh, Taeil's tongue in his mouth, Taeil's fluffy post-nap hair under his fingers. 

"Lee Donghyuck!" he hears, barely, coming from the abandoned headphones on his desk. They pull apart and Taeil laughs, which makes Donghyuck laugh, too — even though he's more than a little embarrassed by the stunt he's just pulled.

Donghyuck reaches for his earbuds, but Taeil is quicker. He clicks the "unmute" button and leans into the camera. 

"Sorry, Professor," he says with a grin. "I think my boyfriend's got a fever. He feels a little hot to me." To illustrate his point, he reaches out and presses a hand to Donghyuck's forehead. He is certainly burning up — but not from a fever. 

"I'll be taking him out of class for the rest of the day. Thank you for your understanding," Taeil continues. Then he leaves the call. 

"Hyung—"

"Shhh." Taeil sits properly on Donghyuck's lap and reaches up to brush his bangs away from his face. "Personal day." He leans down and kisses him again, apparently determined to continue where they left off. 

Donghyuck decides not to argue. 

 

☼☽

 

Jungwoo Kim to You (Privately): sorry for hitting on ur bf TT
Jaemin Na to You (Privately): sorry for not believing u,,, congrats to the lovely couple!

Donghyuck smirks.

yeah. u better be.