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(tell me) twenty-one lies

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It starts off like this.

There is Taeyong and there is Youngho and deep in his romantic little heart, Taeyong thinks they're two peas in a pot. They fit each other like two perfect puzzle pieces and Youngho complements him in areas he lacked and he makes Youngho feel and look good. It's the two of them against everyone else. It's Taeyong and Youngho, wherever they go.

Taeyong thinks he's a good student. He passes all his tests and exams, he's going into medical school so he could live the dream he's always had growing up and he's going to marry the boy he loves and cares for more than he ever cared for anybody. His life has been perfect so far; he's got passion and love and a future he had so meticulously planned. 

When he had met Youngho, it had felt like just another flawless part of his fate. Youngho was everything that is good in his world and Taeyong had been drawn to him effortlessly. They were the same, the two of them. Future health service providers with similar passion and interest for the same things. Youngho scores A's like Taeyong does and he's kind and cares for the people around him.

It was good for such a long time because Youngho was everything, everything that Taeyong had ever wished for. His fingers fit perfectly between Taeyong's and he wakes Taeyong up with kisses to his neck and prepares him breakfast and takes him out on cute little dates. 

In his head, Taeyong pictures a good life together; a nice wedding that would go splendidly, coming home to each other in a house they'd have bought for themselves. Maybe they would have kids, but Taeyong wouldn't mind if they don't. Youngho would be perfect.

Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

Maybe Taeyong had used the word perfect a little too often, because there was Taeyong and there was Youngho.

Then there was Johnny.

And Johnny might be the very reason Taeyong's perfect little life goes spiraling out of his control.

Taeyong could barely hold in the pure excitement and joy he's bursting with ever since he tore open the acceptance letter he had not so secretly been waiting for reached his mailbox this morning. He's accepted and all he wants to do now is tell his boyfriend that they would be going to the same college. This is what he'd been nervous about for weeks!

He doesn't text Youngho for a heads up, with intention to deliver the news as a surprise, so when he reaches Youngho's house, Taeyong doesn't bother knocking, seeing as the door is already open. He kicks his shoes off and when he sees Youngho on the couch, Taeyong squeals and rushes over, jumping onto the taller boy and straddling him.

"Guess what?!" Taeyong holds up the acceptance letter to Youngho's face, his own lips stretched into a grin so wide his cheeks are hurting. "Baby, you wouldn't believe it!"

Youngho, with his glasses perched on the bridge of his nose, only raises his eyebrows up at Taeyong. He isn't wearing the familiar smile he always has on whenever Taeyong is around but he looks amused. "Believe what, baby?"

Taeyong frowns, noticing the very obvious difference in Youngho's voice that he recognizes only —


Taeyong turns his head and finds Youngho standing by his kitchen doorway, looking confused while also smiling at Taeyong. He scrambles off the man's lap as soon as he realized that he had been sitting on Johnny, Youngho's twin brother. Guilt and anger wash over him in overlapping waves and he glares at Johnny to show just how sickening that is.

Johnny raises his hands up, as if in surrender, "Not my fault you thought I was him now, is it? I wasn't tricking you this time."

Ashamed, Taeyong clutches the acceptance letter to his side and goes over towards Youngho. "I'm so sorry, baby. I got excited and he was wearing glasses like you and I thought —"

Youngho pulls him into a hug, shushing him. "That's okay, baby. Honest mistake. But if it helps, my hair is brown and I don't drink coffee anymore."

Taeyong glances back at Johnny and sure enough, there's a cup of iced americano sitting on the table. He vaguely remembers Youngho telling him he'd stopped drinking coffee after Taeyong complained about his coffee breath. Obviously he didn't intend for Youngho to stop but he can't say he didn't appreciate the lack of coffee aftertaste on his tongue.

"You know," Johnny says with a sigh, taking off his glasses to set aside. "I personally think it's cruel of you to take away the one thing my brother and I share in common. Now we can't even sit down for a five-minute coffee break."

Youngho tugs at Taeyong's wrist, "Ignore him. You wanna go upstairs so we can be alone? Give me a second, though, let me clear some things up in my room. It's messy."

Without waiting another second, Youngho moves and climbs up the stairs, disappearing into his room and leaving Taeyong alone with his intolerable other half. Johnny is smirking at Taeyong, rising to his feet and closing the distance between them. He's dressed so differently from Youngho, who are usually in hoodies and sweatpants. Johnny is all black. 

"You're insufferable," Taeyong whispers, poison lacing his voice because while he loves Youngho with all his heart, he hates Johnny with all his being. 

Johnny laughs, mocking, "That's not what you said at Jaehyun's party last week, Taeyongie. I think I remember specifically you telling me how good it feels while you were riding my cock. Not Youngho's."

Flame spreads across Taeyong's cheeks. Ah, here it is, the guilt that would eat away at him for the rest of his life. For the past week, he'd wanted to believe it was only a horrible nightmare but he knew deep down that he had wanted it, that he knew it was Johnny kissing him and he had wanted it anyway. 

"You won't tell him," Taeyong says quietly, his voice trembling. "You care about him, so you won't."

Johnny shrugs and his hand lifts to tuck back a strand of Taeyong's black hair, to which the smaller male reacts by slapping his hand away. "Maybe not, but he would know sooner or later. And he would hate you, Taeyong."

Taeyong inhales shakily, fighting back the tears in his eyes as he watches Johnny walk away. Johnny is right; when Youngho finds out, he would hate him.

And everything would be over.

It wasn't always like this. 

Taeyong met Johnny first, on the first day of his first year in college, when he bumped into the black-haired, six foot tall man in the courtyard because he was running late to his first class and hadn't seen where he was going. His books and papers had scattered everywhere and all Johnny did was stare at him before walking off with a roll of his eyes.

The one who had the courtesy to help him was Youngho, crouching down to pick up the books and handing them over to Taeyong. He'd been surprised to see Youngho at first because he was the exact replica of the asshole that he bumped into, except Youngho was wearing a pair of glasses that he had to push up when it slid down his nose. 

Taeyong had seen twins before but never this up close. The resemblance was uncanny because the only difference to them was the fact that Youngho has a fairly poor eyesight, at least until he dyed his hair brown a little later. The rest of them were clones of each other, though the similarities stopped short and don't go beyond their appearances. 

While Youngho is empathetic, Johnny is apathetic. Taeyong learned this over the next few weeks in his first term, having shared multiple classes with Youngho. He learned that Youngho has a passion for life and finds beauty in it, studying medicine with genuine intention to help people. He learned from Youngho that Johnny only went to college because their parents made him. 

Their differences are obvious in the way they dress too. Youngho tends to wear neutral colors; brown and pastel sweaters, hoodies that make him look warm and inviting and soft. He smiles easily and laughs loudly and everything about him screams comfortable rainy afternoons and warm nights wrapped under blankets with a cup of hot chocolate.

Johnny, on the other hand, has an obsession with the color black. Taeyong doesn't think he'd ever seen Johnny in any other colors. He's always with a leather jacket on, a helmet in one hand and speeding away on his black Ducati Monster like he's on a rampage to destroy everyone's lives. He doesn't smile kindly, and when he does it's always leering.

Youngho is everything Taeyong wants and Johnny is everything he despises.

Yet, at a frat party he was invited to during his second term and weeks before Youngho eventually asked him out, Taeyong slept with Johnny. 

He was aware of this, clearly, because he hadn't been drinking and Youngho wasn't at the party. It was Youngho that he had been talking to for months, flirting with and getting to know deeper, but it was Johnny that he let touch him that night. It was Johnny who whispered into his ear and promised him a good time.

It was Johnny who fucked him into the mattress and made him cum, over and over and over again. 

It hadn't felt too wrong then; he wasn't cheating because he wasn't with Youngho. It felt a little wrong when Youngho asked him out and he had met Johnny's eyes and felt the phantom feeling of his smirk press up along his throat. It felt a little wrong when he said yes anyway. 

Johnny, though, wasn't the perfect that Taeyong needed. Johnny was a want, a brief second of lust and these crazy urges that he knows he would find the thrill in. The first time was good, maybe too good, but he tells himself that was it.

Taeyong doesn't let it happen again, of course. He was loyal and true and he avoided Johnny whenever he was around. Nearly two years went on and Taeyong had begun to stop thinking about that night, growing more and more in love with Youngho and the amazing person that he is. 

Being closer led him into making a decision to continue his third year abroad with Youngho, seeing as they are both in medical school and it would be nice to wrap up their education together. Everything had gone splendidly, at least until the week before he received his acceptance letter.

What he'd deemed as a second's worth of fulfilling a deep desire for the thrill becomes a second time, another second of temptation that Taeyong fell for, another lust-filled moment that made him forget what he should have remembered.

At yet another party, Taeyong let Johnny fuck him and not once did he let the thought of Youngho cross his mind.

It happened exactly a week ago.

He didn't initially want to go to the party Jaehyun invited him to because Youngho had backed out and said he was going to spend the night studying. Taeyong had planned to join him and thought maybe they could have the night together too after they studied. It was Doyoung who begged Taeyong to go with him, because he was planning to talk to Jaehyun and needed Taeyong as emotional support.

Taeyong couldn't say no, especially since Doyoung had always been there for him. It was the least he could do. 

The party had started out pretty good; his friends were drinking and dancing and Doyoung was nervous and fidgety. Eventually he had found Jaehyun and Taeyong had watched from a distance as they talked. It went well because a minute later, Doyoung was giving him the thumbs-up and then he disappeared with Jaehyun to where Taeyong didn't want to know. In that small gap of time where he was alone, Johnny had slipped in and started talking to him.

"I'm almost sorry Youngho turns out to be such a boring twin," Johnny said with an exaggerated sigh, clicking his tongue with a hand in his pocket. "Did he stay behind to study?"

Taeyong hadn't minded Johnny's presence, nodding his head and sighing as well. "I wanted to stay home too but oh well. I might actually head back."

Johnny stopped him with a hand around his elbow, "Alone? C'mon, stay. I'm sober, I could give you a ride home. All my friends left and I can't stand being in that house on a Friday night. Please? We're friends, right?"

They were, all things considered. Taeyong had always been an optimist and while Johnny could be infuriating and annoying, Taeyong accepted him as his boyfriend's brother, despite their history. It had happened nearly two years ago and Taeyong had gotten over it just as he was certain Johnny had too. Youngho never knew and while it would make Taeyong feel bad, he thought Youngho never had to know.

This time, when it happened, Taeyong wasn't drinking either. He was sober and his mind had been crystal clear. What started out as a friendly conversation turned into something else entirely. Johnny didn't touch him; all he had to do was smile at Taeyong. He'd leaned in and it was Taeyong who closed the gap and let Johnny kiss him.

They'd kissed until they ran out of breath and Taeyong hadn't realized they were moving until he heard the door close and found them in an empty bedroom. Johnny kissed him again, licked into his mouth and mouthed down the line of his throat, his strong hands on each side of his hips. 

They had kissed and kissed and kissed. Johnny's hand had moved, deft fingers working Taeyong clothes off of him until they were both naked. They were naked and Taeyong had a brief thought that it was wrong. But when Johnny had pulled away reluctantly to ask if Taeyong wanted this, Taeyong had chased after his mouth to kiss him again and said yes.

Johnny had asked and Taeyong had said yes, sober and thinking clearly, hot and melting under Johnny's heated touches. He said yes, even though he knew he should have said no.

Johnny was a good kisser and he kissed Taeyong's senses away, stealing him off his focus and when he stretched him out to loosen him up, Taeyong thought it had never felt that good before. He was shameless in the way he whined and begged, and the moment Johnny had guided him down onto his cock, Taeyong was a moaning, desperate whore. 

He bounced on Johnny's cock like there was no tomorrow, like he would die if he didn't take every inch of him inside. It had felt so good Taeyong couldn't remember anything else. He had told Johnny this, he remembers. He had moaned into his mouth and begged him to fuck up into him until they were both cumming, swallowing each other's sounds when they kissed again. Again, and again and again.

His regret came immediately, after he washed up and Johnny drove him back to the twins' house. They didn't talk and Johnny stayed on his bike until Taeyong hopped off of it before he drove away, leaving Taeyong on their driveway.

Inside, Youngho had fallen asleep over his desk. The sight was endearing and despite feeling guilty, Taeyong had smiled. He ran his fingers through Youngho's hair and woke him up so they could sleep in bed. Youngho took a few minutes to clean up and get ready for bed and then he had pulled Taeyong into his arms and held him so, so tight before they slept.

For that peaceful, quiet moment, Taeyong willed himself to forget what had transpired at the party. He had Youngho and if he could forget it then he would never have to lose him, not even if Johnny intends to break them apart.

Swearing to himself that it wouldn't happen again was easier said than done. Over the next couple of weeks since the day he had gotten his letter, Taeyong couldn't look Youngho in the eye for longer than ten seconds. The guilt eats him up slowly and whenever he would forget and find himself smiling and laughing with Youngho, Johnny would be there, a physical reminder of his fuck-up, his mistake.

It's not like he doesn't try. He avoids Johnny like a plague and makes sure they don't hang out at Youngho's place so he doesn't have to bump into Johnny. Everything is always easier said than done because Johnny seems to be everywhere. 

He's there at the campus cafeteria, smirking and laughing over whatever joke his friends told. He's in the courtyard whenever Youngho stays back to practice and he's at home every time Taeyong has no choice but to go over and study in Youngho's room. It's infuriating and if anything, Taeyong thinks he'd grown to resent Johnny even more.

It was nothing compared to the times he used to trick Taeyong into thinking he was Youngho, back when Youngho still had his black hair. He was annoying then, picking up Youngho's soft tone and wearing his glasses to make Taeyong think he was Youngho. It didn't help that he was convincing too and Taeyong nearly kissed him once. Or twice. 

(And maybe he had known it was Johnny all along. Maybe he had wanted to kiss Johnny. Maybe if he pretended to be angry then it would erase the fact that he wanted to. Maybe.)

He had thought being annoyed was normal but now the resentment he feels is beyond words. 

He might actually hate Johnny.

"Oh my god- Fuck- Fuck! Right there, Johnny, please."

Taeyong gasps as rough fingers tug at his hair, pulling his head back harshly and enough to create an arch in his back while Johnny pounds into him. He tries to remember the fact that he shouldn't be doing this, that it's wrong and Youngho could catch them, but all of his senses are lost and all he could think about is Johnny's cock that's currently fucking him open. It's so, so good. Taeyong can't get enough.

Yeah, he hates Johnny but it doesn't stop him from wanting Johnny. 

They're in Johnny's room, unfortunately, back in the house he shares with his own brother, who is currently at campus attending his classes. Taeyong's initial intention had been to drop by quickly to grab the book he'd left in Youngho's room and he hadn't expected to see Johnny at home. 

He would blame Johnny but the man had been in nothing but his towel. His body is a temple, a garden of tattoos inked into his skin. Taeyong saw vines down his arm, entangled around a single, thorny rose. There's one on his pectoral that Taeyong couldn't make out and an assortment of designs lining up the knobs of his spine.

All Johnny had to do was come close enough to whisper Taeyong's name into his ear for Taeyong to turn around and let Johnny kiss him. They'd kissed and kissed and kissed and Johnny had led him up all the way into his room.

Now he's here, jeans pulled down to his knees, bent over Johnny's bed while the older twin rams his thick, girthy cock into his hole, hard and fast and merciless. It's so wrong on so many levels but it is that fact that makes this feel even better and Taeyong hates himself for it. 

"Bet you'd take us both, wouldn't you?" Johnny asks degradingly, releasing Taeyong's hair only so he could spread his asscheeks apart, probably to watch the way he sinks into the younger male. "Look at your pathetic hole sucking me in. You're such a fucking slut, Yong. Letting me fuck you while my brother's in his stupid classes? Fucking whore."

Taeyong moans, cheek pressed into the sheets as Johnny continues to thrust into him, so hard and so fast, even as each thrust grows sloppy and wet with how much lube they'd used and Johnny's precum added into the mix. It's so good, Taeyong's eyes roll up as he jostles forward, his hole used and leaking cock neglected. He doesn't even know what time it is.

It's when he's flipped over onto his back and whining at the emptiness inside him after Johnny pulls out that he sees the time. Youngho would be home any second now and he's starting to panic when Johnny pushes back into him, the same time resounding knocks fall upon the bedroom door.


"John, you in there?" Youngho asks, his voice muffled through the door. "I bought you dinner."

Johnny responses by fucking harder into Taeyong, a large hand coming down to clamp over the smaller's mouth to silence his moans. Taeyong couldn't help but succumb into the pleasure as his eyes rolled into the back of his skull, so close to his release. 

"I'll have it later," Johnny calls out loud enough for Youngho to hear him and he doesn't bother making sure his brother is gone before he's pounding into Taeyong's hole again, this time chasing after his orgasm, snapping his hips at full speed and not stopping even as Taeyong cums. 

When the overstimulation makes him uncomfortable, Taeyong pushes at Johnny's abdomen and the taller pulls out of him to spill over his belly. It only takes Taeyong a few moments to regret this, feeling guilty as Johnny cleans him up. He gets dressed quickly, albeit still a little wobbly on his feet but eventually he's steady enough to leave.

Johnny doesn't say a word besides to tell him that he can sneak out when he keeps Youngho busy in the kitchen before he disappears down the stairs. Taeyong sits there in his boyfriend's brother's bed and tries not to cry because he doesn't have the time to. He would cry later. 

When Johnny texts him the green light for him to go, Taeyong manages to slip out of the house as quietly as possible. He checks his phone on the walk back to his dorm room and sees that Youngho had left multiple messages for him. He opens the chat and tells his boyfriend that he wasn't feeling well and that is why he had skipped class.

That night, when Youngho drops by to make sure Taeyong has something to eat, his guilt eats him up and he cries himself to sleep with his face buried into Youngho's neck.

The sickening thing about this affair is that Taeyong likes it. He doesn't like the guilt and he doesn't like that Youngho still treats him like he was the most perfect human being, but he likes how it feels to be connected bodily to Johnny, likes the way Johnny makes his skin tingle, likes the way Johnny could make him cum so much and so easily. 

Sometimes, at night, Taeyong would fuck himself with his fingers thinking about Johnny instead of Youngho. Sometimes, like tonight, while Youngho is fucking deep into his body, Taeyong watches from the reflection in the mirror of Johnny jacking himself off, wishing it was Johnny's cock that's fucking into him and stretching him open. 

Later, after Youngho had cleaned him up and slept next to him, Taeyong finds himself slipping out of Youngho's room to find Johnny. 

"You're here so I'm assuming my brother didn't fuck you well enough," Johnny says as soon as he notices Taeyong at his door, not even bothering to look up from his phone. "That's sad, don't you think? You're pathetic."

Taeyong, even though he hates Johnny, feels his cock swell up underneath the oversized shirt he'd stolen off Youngho's wardrobe. He hates Johnny. He knows he hates Johnny. He hates his gut and his attitude and his lack of empathy, but most of all, Taeyong hates how easily he could seduce him.

"I hate you," He says aloud, just enough for Johnny to hear. "I really fucking hate you, Johnny. You've ruined the one good thing I have in my life. Why? How could you do this to your brother?"

Johnny sighs, sounding like he's tired of Taeyong's complaints as he sets his phone aside. "You could have said no. Every time I called your name, all you had to do was say no. Sure, it'd be less fun but I would have backed off. Yet here you are again, because it wasn't enough with him, was it?"

Taeyong exhales shakily, angry and upset and guilty, but all it pushes him to do is close and lock the door behind him before he shoves at Johnny's chest hard enough for him to fall back upon his mattress. He isn't even surprised to find Johnny already rock hard when he pulls the man's pants down, cock springing free and slapping against his abdomen.

"You couldn't get enough of me either, could you?" Taeyong asks as he spits into his palm and uses his saliva to slick up Johnny's cock. He palms at the slit and relishes in the sound of Johnny's deep moan. "You like watching your brother fuck me and you get off to the fact that I came thinking about your cock."

Johnny's hands grip at Taeyong's waist, breathing heavy as Taeyong sinks down onto his cock, already stretched from his session with Youngho. He moans, palms splayed over Johnny's chest and he doesn't waste time in moving his hips, bouncing up and down Johnny's monstrous cock. 

"I hate you so fucking much," Taeyong sobs as he continues to ride Johnny, hard and fast and desperate, pressing his palms onto his chest so he could lift and drop his hips. "I hate how good you make me feel. I hate that I can't stop thinking about you fucking the daylights out of me. I hate you."

The black-haired twin only laughs and he tightens the grip he has around Taeyong's hips to keep him down as he thrusts up, fucking up into Taeyong's channel at breakneck speed. Taeyong has to close a hand over his mouth to stop himself from crying out, each thrust of Johnny's cock meeting his prostate and pushing close to his release.

"It doesn't matter if you hate me," Johnny whispers as he sits up, bringing Taeyong with him. He curls a hand around Taeyong's throat, prying his mouth open so he could spit into it. "You can hate me all you want but we both know he can't fuck you like I do. We both know I'm better."

Taeyong wants to disagree. Every part of him wants to disagree but he couldn't deny the orgasm that hits him full force, spilling over their bellies as he cums. Johnny continues to fuck up into him as he chases after his release and when he cums, thick and hot into Taeyong's body, Johnny keeps him in place so he could pump Taeyong full of his load.

As he comes down from his ecstatic bliss, Taeyong could have sworn he heard footsteps but as Johnny holds him for the first time since they started sleeping together, Taeyong couldn't fight off the fatigue and lets himself fall asleep.

Taeyong decides he couldn't do it anymore now that they're getting closer to going abroad and starting their third year out of the country. He had spent so many nights with his own conscience, staying awake way past his bedtime, guilty over everything he had done that would eventually cost him the one person he cares about. He could have easily prevented it if he wanted to, but he had let it happen.

Again and again and again.

He couldn't tell anyone, not Doyoung, who would be so disappointed in him. Not Sicheng, who looks up to him like a role model and a big brother. How could he even think about telling them? They would leave him and he would deserve it. He would be all alone and he would deserve it.

But he has to tell someone because the guilt is eating his insides slowly and painfully, and even he knows the one person who deserves to know is Youngho. He dreads the idea of separating from the man he loves and saying goodbye to the idea of a life with Youngho. They had planned it, even subtly so, how living together out of the country would be nice and good and they wouldn't have to see Johnny. 

He just couldn't live with himself knowing he had betrayed Youngho. He couldn't look at himself in the mirror without hating the fact that he was still leeching off Youngho for love and affection when he had betrayed his trust. 

He told Youngho they needed to talk and Youngho had simply agreed. Now as he closes the door of his car and leans against it to even out his breathing, Taeyong waits for Youngho to show up. Five minutes go by, and then ten and fifteen and Taeyong nearly gives up when Johnny's car finally pulls up. Taeyong panics at first but relaxes when it's Youngho that climbs out of the vehicle.

Youngho smiles at him, brown hair lighter now with the sunrays over the streaks and his glasses sit on the bridge of his nose. He holds out a hand for Taeyong to take and he does, inhaling quietly as Youngho gives his hand a squeeze.

They're silent for a minute before Taeyong decides to speak. "I have to tell you something, Youngho."

The taller male nods once and then smiles again, "I think I already know."

Taeyong frowns, confused. "What? Did Johnny—"

"No," Youngho shakes his head, sighing softly. "Jaehyun did. He saw you two at the party and he texted me that night."

The party had been months ago and Youngho had known all along? Taeyong feels like he might cry but manages to swallow down his sobs, "Why didn't you say anything?"

"I don't know," Youngho shrugs, lifting his head to look ahead, at the sun setting for the day. This is their place, their moment, and Taeyong ruined it for the both of them. "I guess I expected you to come clean after it happened. I dunno, I wanted you to apologize and promise you'd never do it again. But you never did and you just… You kept seeing him, didn't you? Even when I was there the entire time."

Taeyong dips his head in shame and he sobs when Youngho releases his hand. He cries into his palms, overwrought with regret and shame and sorry. He cries harder when Youngho pulls him into his arms and kisses into his hair and for a moment, he lets himself melt into Youngho and pushes aside the fact that this could be the last time he ever held him.

When they part, Youngho holds his face in his palms and kisses him. His lips have always been soft, softer than Johnny's, gentler than Johnny, and his kisses aren't demanding and possessive but kind and affectionate. Taeyong is about to lose all of it.

"I love you, you know?" Youngho says, choking up on his own tears as he gently pats Taeyong's cheeks. "I love you so much. So much so that for a while, I thought I could just let it go. I told myself we'd be moving to Australia and you'd stop seeing him since we'd be far away but I realized I don't think I could sleep at night pretending not to know. I don't think I could sleep at all thinking you'd rather be here than there with me."

Taeyong starts shaking his head, "No, that's not true. I'd rather be with you, baby. I love you. I only love you."

"You don't, Yong," Youngho says, tear steaks lining down his cheeks and Taeyong hates that it's because of him. "You don't. If you loved me, you wouldn't have done it. You would have told him no and come home to me. But you chose him, as much as I didn't want to believe it. You didn't choose me."

"I'm sorry," Taeyong sobs out, raising his hands so he could wipe at Youngho's tear streaks with his thumbs. "I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I hurt you, baby. I loved you, if you don't believe that I do now. I did love you, so much."

Youngho nods and he offers Taeyong a smile before he presses a kiss onto his forehead. "I know. I have to go now, Taeyong. My flight leaves tomorrow morning."

Taeyong blinks, "You're leaving already?"

"I thought I could use some time before the new semester starts," Youngho tells him, already pulling away but he keeps a smile on his face. "You'll take care of yourself?"

Taeyong sniffles, nodding as he watches Youngho walk back to his car. Youngho waves at him for the last time before he climbs into the car and drives off, leaving Taeyong there in their safe space, sun down, crying over what he had lost.

He doesn't see Johnny again after Youngho left. It's funny, considering the fact that Youngho left in the first place because he kept seeing Johnny. He doesn't hear of him and he doesn't go searching for him. There is hate in his heart for himself and the man he had let into his bed, even though deep down he knows he only had himself to blame.

Taeyong manages to work through the arrangements and continues the semester in his university. At some point, he heard from their mutual friends that Johnny had dropped out of college, hence why he hadn't seen him around. A small part of him is curious, but the bigger part of him tells him there's no good in getting involved with Johnny.

So he lets it go. 

He sees Youngho on his social media sometimes but getting updated about how well Youngho is doing hurts just a little bit. It's a constant reminder of what he could have had and after a while, Taeyong stops checking up on him entirely.

Towards the end of college, for the few months Taeyong had to spend alone and grow within himself, he was free of the Suh twins and to be honest, he was relieved.

At least until he found a stack of books in his dorm room, while packing his things to move out, that he realized they belonged to Youngho. He considered keeping them with him but thought it would be better if he returned them instead. The problem is the fact that Youngho is all the way in Australia and Taeyong would have to see Johnny.

There's no reason to be nervous but as he stands on the porch of the Suhs' small house just outside of campus, Taeyong's heart is racing against his chest. He swallows thickly and raises a hand to knock on the door. A minute passes and just as he lifts his hand to knock again, the door opens, and Taeyong is engulfed in smoke from the cigarette sticking between Johnny's lips.

Johnny still looks the same; same black hair, same dark eyes, same dark clothes. His lean figure is a little more prominent, like he'd spent the last few months working out. Then Taeyong remembers that Johnny was never affected by any of the things that had happened and he hates him for it.

The older twin eyes him down, taking the cigarette from his lips to blow the smoke into Taeyong's face. "Back already?"

Taeyong bites back a huff, taking the books from his bag to shove it into Johnny's chest. "They're Youngho's. I don't know when he'll be back or if he even wants to see me then so I thought I should leave them here."

Johnny takes the books with a smirk on his lips, one Taeyong wishes he could wipe off his face, while his free hand tosses the cigarette stick onto the steps of his porch. He gestures for Taeyong to come in and Taeyong hates that he even considers it and hates it more that he decides to go in anyway, but not before he kills the lit end of the cigarette with his foot.

He watches as Johnny puts the books aside. The house reeks of smoke and Johnny's cologne, the scent an intoxicating mix that makes Taeyong a little dizzy. He tries to remember what Youngho smelled like and hates that he couldn't.

"Got some of your stuff here too," Johnny says as he rummages through a box of things Taeyong hadn't noticed was on the table. He turns to face Taeyong after he found what he was looking for, holding up a very familiar looking lace panties up with a shit-eating grin on his face. "Yours?"

Heat spreads across Taeyong's cheeks. He'd briefly wondered if Johnny had gone through Youngho's room or if Youngho had asked him to return Taeyong's belongings, but of course he meant the things Taeyong had left in his room before. 

"Or it could be someone else's," Johnny shrugs, "Though I very specifically remember tugging these off your pretty legs in that very kitchen while my brother was in the shower."

Taeyong snatches the piece of cloth off Johnny's hand, stuffing it into his bag as his cheeks burn with embarrassment and anger. "Fuck you, Johnny."

Johnny merely laughs, holding his palms up in mock surrender. "I don't know why you're so mad, Taeyongie. You wanted it too, didn't you? I think you came to me more times than I could say for myself."

He wants to say something, anything, so Johnny doesn't get to have the last laugh but there's a reminder that he would only be wasting his time. It's all over, anyway. He turns to walk away but pauses for a moment to turn back to Johnny, anger driving him into asking, "Why?"

When Johnny raises a brow, Taeyong continues, "Why did you do it? He's your brother. What was your purpose in all of that? You knew we were happy together. I was stupid for letting it happen but I'm not stupid enough not to know you did it on purpose. So tell me, why?"

Johnny sighs, dropping himself onto the couch and putting his legs on the table, reminding Taeyong just why Johnny has always been everything he doesn't like. "Because it's always been competition for him and I, precious. Don't take it personally. He was always better, smarter, always gets what he wants. He got you too and I thought, why not take this one thing away from him? You just made it easy."

"You're a monster," Taeyong spits out, unable to stop himself from shedding tears. "You used me for your petty little games? Just to get back at your brother? I've accepted my fault in his ruin but you're happy about it, aren't you?"

Johnny stares at him, silent for a moment, his jaw clenching and he looks almost angry as he stands back up onto his feet. He comes close enough to Taeyong that the smaller fears he would succumb to the deep urges he feels towards Johnny, because Johnny has the power of only whispering his name to get Taeyong on his knees, needy and desperate. 

Instead, Johnny uses the tip of his index finger to tap under Taeyong's chin and he says; "I don't consider myself a winner. I lost you too, didn't I?"

Taeyong frowns, confused, but Johnny is already walking away, leaving him there to ponder what he'd meant.

He doesn't hear from Johnny again until after he graduated. Being back in his parents' house was the least weird about moving forward with the next chapter of his life. The weirdest was when Youngho called him, at almost midnight, with news that Taeyong found hard to process. 

Apparently Johnny had gotten into trouble and the closest family member they had contacted was Youngho, who couldn't come right away since he was still abroad. He'd called Taeyong, for some reason, and asked if he could step in for the time being and make sure Johnny is okay.

Taeyong didn't know what it was that made him do it but he promised Youngho he would and deep down inside, he knew he cared enough about Johnny to worry.

At the hospital, Taeyong sat on the chair next to the bed Johnny was in and he did nothing but stare at the man lying unconscious on a bed too white for his usually dark clothes, a pillow too bright for his dark hair. It hit him that he had never seen Johnny asleep; he was always awake, always alert, always moving. It was the first time he'd seen him helpless.

He hadn't gotten much from the doctors except for the fact that Johnny had gotten in trouble with a couple of bad guys that beat him up, bad enough that he could have died if he was found a little later. There are no words to explain the relief Taeyong felt knowing he would be okay. That would imply that he cared and he shouldn't care because he hates Johnny. He hates Johnny, even though it was Johnny he met first, Johnny he slept with before Youngho.

Johnny. Johnny. Johnny.

Taeyong sighed and he moved the chair a little closer so he could reach out and card his fingers through Johnny's dark locks. Something choked up in his throat and suddenly Taeyong felt overwhelmed, leaning his forehead against Johnny's shoulder as he sobbed.

He hates that he cares. He hates that he's here now, worrying over Johnny, and wishing he would wake up and be okay. Why couldn't he just hate him? Why must he feel this way?

It took him a moment to compose himself and calm down. After a little while, he pulled back and continued to stare at Johnny, occasionally updating Youngho that Johnny was still unconscious. He stayed that way through the entire evening and stayed even through the night, afraid that Johnny would wake up alone if he left. 

By the time the third day rolls around, Taeyong couldn't deny that he does care because the first thing he does every morning is take a shower and rush over to the hospital so he could stay with Johnny, who unfortunately is still out cold. His injuries might have been worse than they'd thought but the doctors assured Taeyong that he would be okay.

Youngho should be back in town soon, if what he'd told Taeyong was true. He had trouble with getting a ticket back home but somehow managed to book a flight and should be here to see his brother at least by tomorrow.

At lunch, Taeyong initially thought to skip a meal but sitting alone in a private room with a comatose patient and a growing anxiety that makes him antsy also makes it easier to be aware of how his stomach is growling. So he goes to the cafeteria quickly but when he comes back, he sort of wishes he hadn't gone in the first place. 

Instead of lying in bed like he had been for the last three days, Johnny is on his feet, looking too calm for someone who had just woken up from being in a state of coma. He looks up when Taeyong enters the room, confusion coloring his features before surprise morphs into the mix when Taeyong crosses the few steps between them, takes his face in his hands and kisses him.

Taeyong kisses him and he hasn't felt relief like the one he's feeling now. 

Johnny kisses him back, for some unknown and unexplainable reason. Johnny kisses him back softly, a large hand curling around the side of Taeyong's face as he kisses him and kisses him and kisses him. 

It's so easy to melt into the warmth that is Johnny, so easy to keep kissing him and feel alive after feeling so dead for so long. For the first time ever, Taeyong doesn't feel guilty. So he continues to kiss Johnny, continues to lick into his mouth and let his arms engulf his smaller frame. They part with their foreheads pressed together, breathless and both confused over their own actions. 

When the door opens, Taeyong still jumps away from Johnny. 

His mouth feels swollen as he turns to see who had opened the door. Of course, because it's Taeyong, he finds Youngho standing there with a hand around the doorknob, staring at them with his mouth parted and his glasses perched at the top of his nose. He clears his throat and drops his hand.

"Is it a bad time?" He asks, his voice as gentle as ever, and once again Taeyong is overcome with wave after wave of guilt. 

Johnny clears his throat as well and Taeyong turns to see him look away, for the first time looking like he'd gotten caught stealing candy from a child. Taeyong swallows and looks back at Youngho before he decides that he should be the one going. He passes by Youngho with no intention to say anything but the younger twin catches his wrist to stop him.

"Thank you," Youngho tells him, "I won't be long."

Taeyong's lips part to speak, to tell him that it isn't what he's thinking, that he and Johnny have nothing going on but a single glance at the black-haired twin tells Taeyong enough. He had thought he wanted the both of them, as selfish as it sounds. They had always been a mirror of each other and Youngho had always been everything he dreamed of, but somewhere in the back of his head and deep down in his heart, he knows it's Johnny that he had always wanted.  

"I'll be outside," Taeyong says, offering Youngho a tiny smile and a little nod towards Johnny before he walks out.

Choosing was never part of his plan but Taeyong knows he would have to make a choice eventually.

The brothers had little to say to each other. Taeyong didn't mean to pry but when he had left them alone to get himself a cup of coffee, he'd come back to see Johnny on the bed and Youngho on the chair through the little window on the door to the room. They sat there without a word.

Eventually the door opens and Youngho steps out, his shoulders hunched and he's surprised to see Taeyong sitting on one of the seats. He smiles softly but it doesn't reach his eyes, sitting next to Taeyong and staring at his hands. They sat in silence for an endless minute. 

"You love him, don't you?" Youngho asks after a while, sounding exhausted as he leans his head back against the wall. "Honestly, whatever you say, my brain's wired to believe you do. I just- I just need to know something, Taeyong."

Taeyong looks up at Youngho, fiddling with his thumbs as his heart races. He knew he had to make a choice but he didn't know Youngho would sit him down like this so soon. "What is it?"

Youngho lifts his hand to push his glasses up, a sight Taeyong is so used to that it makes his heart hurt. He clears his throat and he takes Taeyong's hand. "Why did you say yes when I asked you out? It just seems to me like you've always liked my brother. Don't you think we could have saved our hearts from breaking if you had just- if you chose him?"

"I didn't-" Taeyong shakes his head, meeting Youngho's gaze. "I didn't have feelings for him before. Or I didn't know I even had feelings for him until today when I saw him back on his feet. I said yes to you because I loved you, Youngho. I really did. I still do. I'm just-"

"Not in love with me," Youngho nods, as if it all makes sense now. His smile is bittersweet and his eyes are sad with disappointment. Taeyong thinks he would rather see Youngho angry. The taller sighs and he lets Taeyong's hand go. "It's okay. You know I've always wanted you to be happy. I'm going to settle John's bills before I go back."

Taeyong stares at his fingers, at the lines on his palms and counts the number of times he had taken Youngho's heart in these hands and crushed it. Remorse and guilt go together perfectly well, but Taeyong couldn't find it in himself to be sad over losing Youngho again. 

"You're staying in Australia?"

Youngho nods as he stands up, "My parents told me they'd be happy if I want to continue my residency there. I think it's for the best. It's really nice there and I made some friends."

Taeyong smiles. He thinks he wouldn't be able to take a step into the next part of his life if Youngho was miserable. "I'm happy to hear that, Youngho."

They share another smile before Youngho pulls him up onto his feet and into his arms. They hold each other like this for a long, long time and when they pull away, Youngho glances into the room, where Johnny must be sitting on his bed. 

"If you stick around with him," Youngho says, "I gotta say it won't be easy, even our mother couldn't do it. But I hope you don't give up on him. He deserves to be happy, even though he honestly makes my life a living hell. I still love him."

Taeyong looks into the room as well, at Johnny who is staring down at his feet and he thinks the hate he had instilled within himself towards Johnny might have been something else. They always say there's a fine line between love and hate.

Taeyong thinks he might actually love him.

Johnny gets to go home two weeks later but Youngho didn't stay long enough to make sure Johnny actually gets home. Taeyong had watched as the twins hugged it out one last time before Youngho left and then the ride from the hospital to Johnny's new apartment was silent save for the music playing softly in the car of the taxi they took to get home.

The apartment is smaller than the house by the campus but it's only right, since Johnny would be living alone. Taeyong had a guess that he already knew Youngho would be staying in Australia. Besides, it isn't likely that they would still live under the same roof after college.

They don't say anything as Taeyong helps Johnny settle into his apartment. He prepares some food for Johnny to have in case he gets hungry and just out of natural instinct, tidies up the living room and kitchen even though there aren't much of anything to make the place look homey. Then again, Johnny doesn't seem like the type for warm things.

He considers leaving while Johnny is in the shower but Taeyong doesn't intend to drop things before he solves them this time, so he takes a seat on the couch and waits. 

When Johnny steps out of his room, he's once again in only a towel that's wrapped around his waist and he'd already taken off the bandages that would have protected his wounds from the water. There's a new tattoo Taeyong hadn't seen before under his right rib, a large drawing of the moon overlapping the sun. There are a few marks that would scar over his body and the cut from his busted lip is healing slowly but overall Johnny looks healthy and more than capable.

Taeyong pushes aside his curiosity over what had truly happened and instead focuses on the fact that they have a lot to talk about. Johnny doesn't seem interested but he grabs a t-shirt (black) and pulls it over his head before he takes a seat next to Taeyong, sighing as he leans back, exhausted.

"I know it's probably not a good time to talk," Taeyong starts, fighting back the tears that burn in his eyes. "But I need to know if- if I can expect anything out of this, whatever this is,  between us. I need you to tell me if I shouldn't waste my time. I just can't keep going back to you, Johnny, not if your only intention was to use me against your brother."

Johnny doesn't smile like Youngho did when they talked. He doesn't look like he wants to talk at all from how long he stays quiet, his expression stoic, until Taeyong feels stupid enough he starts to move so he could leave. He doesn't get to, because Johnny has his fingers wrapped around his wrist, tugging him back down so he's sitting again.

"I should be telling you that," Johnny says finally, his voice low and hoarse, probably from being silent the entire day. "I should tell you to stop wasting your time because I can't give you anything but I'm selfish. I've always been selfish. I was selfish when I stole Youngho's portion of our snacks when we were kids because I didn't have enough. I was selfish when I made him stay here when he could have gone to Australia years ago. I was selfish when I took you in my bed, knowing how much he cared and loved you. I'm selfish now, because I don't think I could make you happy like he did, but I want you to myself anyway. So, really, what are we talking about, Taeyong? What are you asking me?"

Taeyong stares at Johnny, at this mirror image of the man he used to love before, and all he sees is Johnny. Not Youngho or Youngho's twin, but Johnny. He might have realized it a little too late but Taeyong knows he's always wanted Johnny. He wanted him when he slept with him even though he had been talking to Youngho, he wanted him whenever he almost kissed him thinking he was Youngho because he knew deep down that it had been Johnny no matter how well he'd disguised as his brother. Taeyong had wanted to kiss him anyway because he was Youngho's but he wanted Johnny.

He wanted Johnny still, even though he knew it was wrong to go behind his boyfriend. He still went back to Johnny.

Every. Single. Time.

"I want you," Taeyong whispers just loud enough, leaning a little closer to Johnny with a hand curling around the front of his shirt. "I want you, Johnny. I don't know if it means getting to be with you but I want you. I'm yours if you'll have me."

Johnny looks at him and he takes Taeyong's hand that's on his chest to press a kiss onto his palm. It's the softest Johnny has ever been with him. "My brother talked to you too, didn't he? What did he say?"

"That I shouldn't give up on you," Taeyong says, turning his hand in Johnny's so he could lace their fingers together. "He told me you deserve to be happy, that he wants me to be happy too."

The taller male chuckles, low under his breath and without any tinge of humor. "He's too nice for his own good. I always told him it'd get himself killed."

"I just think he loves you," Taeyong corrects him, wearing a soft smile on his lips. "I think he loves me and he knows I might be in love with someone else."

Johnny's lips part like he has something mean to say the way he usually does but instead he pulls Taeyong closer so their lips could meet in a kiss. They kiss like there's no tomorrow. They kiss until they're running out of breath. They kiss because it's easier to do so than it is to speak words.

They kiss and for the first time ever, Johnny makes love to him. It was sweet, it was gentle, it was still Johnny. 

The deafeningly deep sound of a motorcycle revving up its engine startles Taeyong from his focus on the show he had been binge-watching on his laptop for the entire day, frowning as he stands up to go over to his window. His eyes widen when he sees Johnny on his driveway, getting off his Ducati while taking his helmet off and unlike any other normal boyfriend, Johnny yells out Taeyong's name like Achilles did Hector's in that movie Troy.

Taeyong doesn't waste a single second from pausing the episode and thundering down the stairs, determined to get to the door before either of his parents could. At the bottom of the stairs, his father is frowning at him in confusion and Taeyong only offers him an innocent smile. 

When he gets to the door and opens it, Johnny is leaning against the fence and he picks up the spare helmet to hold it up in Taeyong's direction. "Let's go."

Taeyong blinks, "Excuse me? You couldn't text me first before you come here? Johnny, it's almost midnight. I think you're forgetting the fact that the neighbors don't appreciate loud noises. And I'm in my pajamas!"

Johnny throws his head back and stares up at the sky as if in a prayer. He kicks off the fence to close the gap between them, putting the helmet on Taeyong's head and securing the buckle under his chin. "We're going."

"Where exactly?" Taeyong asks, huffy even as he lets Johnny pull him by his hand. He barely gets enough time to slip on a pair of slippers. "My phone is upstairs. And the door- Johnny, I have to close the door and change my clothes!"

They stop just short of the taller's motorcycle and Johnny steals the chance to press a kiss onto Taeyong's mouth, possibly to shut him up. "It'll be quick. I'll have you back home before one, I promise. Now will you shut up because I thought you said your neighbors hate noise."

Taeyong huffs but he doesn't protest as he climbs onto the bike behind Johnny, circling his arms around the taller male's waist and by the time Johnny speeds off, Taeyong is already smiling. Like Johnny promised, they don't go very far. They stop by the boardwalk overlooking the beach and Taeyong finds himself smiling as Johnny leads him onto the wooden steps. He doesn't know what the occasion is, but it's nice.

Johnny glances at his watch and it must have struck midnight because then he takes the helmet away from Taeyong's hands and kisses him, soft and slow but also possessive.

"Did I miss something?" Taeyong asks when they part, a little dazed from the kiss. "What are we celebrating?"

Johnny smiles, one of his rare genuine smiles, with a nip to Taeyong's lower lip. "We met for the first time four years ago today. You probably don't remember but I have spectacular memories."

Taeyong couldn't help the grin stretching at his lips because he couldn't for the life of him remember when exactly they'd met and he's not even surprised that Johnny does. It's been nearly three months since they decided to try to make this work and it's still a mystery how long ago Johnny had started developing feelings for him. He doesn't push because that could push Johnny away. He just hopes and assumes that when the day comes, Johnny would open up to him slowly.

He shakes his head and curls his arms around Johnny's midriff, to which the taller responds by engulfing him within his arms. He's at the perfect height to bury his face into Johnny's chest.

And it feels a little too close to home.

"For the record," Johnny says a little while after, wearing that shit-eating grin on his face once again. "I met you first, not Youngho."

Taeyong lets it slide, though only because fighting Johnny is pointless and he'd learned that the hard way. 

There's a fine line between love and hate, after all. Taeyong thinks he feels a little bit of both for Johnny Suh.