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Steady Now

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Jongin walks over to the wall where he has all his wonderful paintings pinned up and starts tearing them down, choked sobs wracking his body as he rips his artwork apart into pieces with his hands. Kyungsoo watches him destroy them helplessly, his hands trembling and his mouth open to tell Jongin to stop it but he can’t.

 

He doesn’t even know if he should be here.

 

Jongin is breaking down in front of him and Kyungsoo feels like he was never supposed to witness this.

 

Because Jongin is crying and shouting curses like he’s in physical pain, and he hiccups, and his shoulders are shaking and he’s swearing and shouting and he’s destroying everything that he’s spent hours on creating.

 

All those beautiful things that Jongin painted with his beautiful hands that he’s now destroying with the very same hands again.

 

Kyungsoo feels a kind of pain in his chest he’s never felt before as he watches Jongin crumble, feels a heavy lump in his throat and his heart nearly breaking apart.

 

He doesn’t know what’s going on, what it is that caused Jongin to have such a break down but he has no words to calm him down and he can’t move. He remembers Jongin telling him about having these kinds of attacks whenever he got upset but he also remembers Jongin telling him that they’d stopped ever since he learned how to control his anger.

 

Kyungsoo thinks that whatever happened, it must be really bad to cause Jongin to break down like this.

 

Minutes pass and Jongin’s heart wrenching sobs are fading out, little whimpers leaving his lips instead. Kyungsoo gulps heavily and blinks the sudden wetness out of his eyes, watches how Jongin goes to tear down the framed paintings now and when the picture comes crashing down on the floor, the glass shattering and flying everywhere, Kyungsoo finally steps in.

 

Jongin is standing with his back to Kyungsoo when he’s reaching for the other painting and Kyungsoo stops him, presses his palm against Jongin’s back hesitatingly in what he hopes to be a soothing gesture because he doesn’t know what you’re supposed to do in situations like these.

 

"Jongin…” He says and wishes his voice was more steady but it isn’t, it’s shaking just as much as Jongin’s shoulders. "Please stop.”

 

"Go away.” Jongin utters. "I don’t want to hurt you.”

 

Kyungsoo just rubs his palm over his back, showing him that he isn’t leaving. He doesn’t think Jongin would hurt him, even if he’s going through an attack right now.

 

Jongin hiccups again and after a few seconds, finally lets his arm fall to his side. His head is bent low, like he’s trying to hide and Kyungsoo steps around him slowly.

 

It’s all such a mess.

 

"You’re hurt.” Is what Kyungsoo says and he doesn’t know if he means emotionally or physically or just both. His voice cracks when he reaches out to grab Jongin’s wrist where blood is trickling down from the cut on the boy’s palm. "Let’s clean this up.”

 

He doesn’t know how to deal with this. He doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do.

 

"Hyung…” Jongin suddenly hiccups and it sounds so broken, so hurt, so lost and Kyungsoo’s mind makes up endless scenarios as to why Jongin is like this and he feels horrible for not being able to help him.

 

Kyungsoo wants to help him because his heart feels like it’s bursting as he takes in Jongin’s teary eyes.

 

"Do you need me to leave?” Kyungsoo asks, his fingers curling around Jongin’s wrist tighter when another silent sob racks through Jongin’s body.

 

Jongin shakes his head. "I don’t know what I’m doing.” He whispers. He sounds out of breath and his voice is hoarse and there are silent tears streaming down his flushed face and the sight hurts Kyungsoo more than he likes to admit.

 

Jongin is always smiling, he’s always joking around and trying to get Kyungsoo to smile too. He shouldn’t ever do anything else but smile. It’s so wrong.

 

"I don’t know what to do.” Jongin croaks, sounding like a helpless child.

 

"It’s okay. It’ll be okay.” Kyungsoo whispers, Jongin’s broken voice making his eyes water again before he can stop it. He doesn’t even know what’s going on but he just needs Jongin to feel better. "Come on.”

 

Kyungsoo guides Jongin into his bedroom and tries not to look around too much because it’s Jongin’s private space and Kyungsoo doesn’t want to intrude any more than he already does.

 

Kyungsoo walks into the bathroom and searches the cabinets for some kind of bandage and maybe an antiseptic spray. He finds both in one of the many drawers and when he walks back into the bedroom Jongin is laying on the bed, an arm thrown over his eyes as if to hide.

 

"Jongin.” Kyungsoo softly says to get his attention. Jongin pulls his arm away and blinks up at him. "Let me take a look at your hand.”

 

Jongin stares at him for a few seconds longer before he sits up and pushes himself closer so he’s sitting at the edge of the bed. Kyungsoo kneels down in front of him and makes Jongin rest his injured hand on his knee.

 

The cut isn’t too deep so stitches thankfully won’t be needed but he knows how much cuts like that can hurt. Jongin isn’t showing any signs of discomfort though, he just stares at the blood that’s trickling out of the wound and Kyungsoo grows more concerned with every passing second.

 

He sprays some of the antiseptic on it and cleans it with a cotton ball, carefully dabbing at it, trying not to hurt Jongin any further. Jongin silently watches him do all of it and Kyungsoo feels the hairs on the back of his nape stand on end. He wraps a bandage around Jongin’s palm tightly and makes sure that it holds before picking up the utensils to bring them back into the bathroom.

 

Jongin is still sitting in the same position when Kyungsoo comes back.

 

"Is it okay?” Kyungsoo asks carefully.

 

Jongin doesn’t answer but after a moment he moves his hand, to the inside of his jacket and he pulls out something small, reaches his hand out for Kyungsoo.

 

Kyungsoo hesitantly takes it.

 

It’s a picture.

 

It’s a picture of Kyungsoo with that boy next to him in the garden of the orphanage, the one Seulgi gave him a few weeks back. It looks worse than back then, almost like it’s been thrown into the washer on accident.

 

His hand automatically shoots out to his own jacket, to the pocket on the inside because that’s where he remembers putting it, where he must’ve forgotten to take it out before washing it.

 

"It must’ve fallen out yesterday.” Jongin croaks.

 

Kyungsoo furrows his eyebrows. He feels like he’s missing out on something.

 

"That’s you in the picture, isn’t it hyung?” Jongin suddenly asks. Kyungsoo gulps, trying to make sense of the entire situation.

 

He stares at the picture, turns it around with his heart pounding nervously and he sure enough finds the scribbled letters on the back.

 

 

Cheonguk Orphanage, 1998.06.23

 

 

So Jongin knows.

 

"Jongin…” He starts, not really knowing what to say because Jongin wasn’t supposed to find out like this. He wasn’t supposed to find out at all.

 

"Do you remember the boy next to you?” Jongin asks next and his voice suddenly breaks and Kyungsoo feels his heart skip a beat when Jongin looks up and into his eyes. His eyes are brimming with tears and Kyungsoo wants to wipe them away before they can fall.

 

Kyungsoo shakes his head no.

 

Jongin smiles, small and bitter, and the tears fall over his cheeks silently. "Am I really that easy to forget?”

 

Kyungsoo freezes.

 

It’s like the entire world just stops around them and Kyungsoo just stares at Jongin with weak knees, hearing nothing but his own increased heartbeat.

 

He’s not sure he’s breathing anymore.

 

"W-What?”

 

Jongin wipes his tears away with the back of his hand, taking a shaky breath. "Now we know why they bought the orphanage.“

 

"Jongin…” Kyungsoo utters, taking a daring step forward. "What do you mean-”

 

Jongin looks up again. "I always had a feeling. They don’t have any pictures of me from when I was a baby. They told me they lost them because we used to move so much.”

 

"Are you-” Kyungsoo starts, mind whirring with everything Jongin just told him. "Are you saying-”

 

"That I’m adopted?” Jongin mumbles. "Yeah. That’s what I’m saying.”

 

Kyungsoo stares at him, unblinking, and he feels his own heart throbbing in his chest from all the pain in Jongin’s eyes, the betrayal, the hurt.

 

Jongin is adopted?

 

It doesn’t seem right. It’s like Kyungsoo’s mind refuses to process the information.

 

"What?” Kyungsoo’s voice is shaking. "Jongin, this isn’t funny-”

 

"You think I’m joking?” Jongin asks. "I wish I was. I wish... this was all just a fucking joke.” His voice breaks and Kyungsoo then knows he’s telling the truth.

 

The room’s silent for a few painful seconds and Kyungsoo tries to find words but he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to say. What could he even say to make the situation any better?

 

There’s nothing to say.

 

Because it’s one thing to know that you’re an orphan all your life but it’s an entirely different thing to find out almost twenty-three years into your life.

 

"You don’t have to worry about the orphanage anymore.” Jongin mutters. "I’m going to take care of that.”

 

"Jongin.” Kyungsoo rasps, the picture in his hands shaking. He looks at the two boys, smiling into the camera. He looks at himself, holding the smaller boy to his side tightly. He just can’t wrap his mind around the fact that the little boy is Jongin. That Kyungsoo and him used to be together in the orphanage, playing in the garden, sleeping in the same room.

 

Kyungsoo tries to remember. He tries to remember really hard but he doesn’t find Jongin in his memories and he doesn’t know why that hurts as much as it does.

 

"I’m... I’m sorry.”

 

Jongin looks up at him, his eyes red and puffy. "This isn’t your fault.”

 

Kyungsoo isn’t just apologizing for this, he’s apologizing for forgetting about him, for not being able to help him, for being such an asshole and for everything else too but he knows this isn’t the right time, not when Jongin’s entire life just turned out to be a lie.

 

"Can I help you in any way?” Kyungsoo asks, not knowing what else he’s supposed to do.

 

"I just want to sleep.”

 

Kyungsoo nods. "Do you... Do you want me to leave?”

 

Jongin looks at him with tired eyes. "I don’t want to hold you back from work.”

 

Kyungsoo shakes his head because he knows Jongin wants him to stay despite his words.

 

So he stays.

 

 

 

13:52 Do Kyungsoo: Please clean up my desk. I’m not coming back today.

 

 

 

13:55 Oh Sehun: k. is everything ok tho? whats going on?

 

 

13:56 Do Kyungsoo: I’ll tell you later.

 

 

 

While Jongin sleeps Kyungsoo cleans up the mess in the living room. He tries to sweep away the shards as best as he can but he knows it’ll have to be vacuumed in order to get every little piece but he doesn’t want to wake Jongin up so he just opts for spreading a blanket over the entire area for now.

 

Most of the drawings are destroyed and it breaks Kyungsoo’s heart, picking up all the pieces because he knows how beautiful they once were.

 

He knows it’ll break Jongin’s heart even more when he wakes up with a clear mind.

 

Kyungsoo lays all the pieces out on the huge dining table and fiddles with the torn pieces of Jongin’s art.

 

He thinks about Jongin’s parents, how they must feel right now. According to Jongin they did what they did to prevent Jongin from finding out that he was adopted.

 

It doesn’t really make much sense, Kyungsoo doesn’t get how the existence of the orphanage threatened them in any way. It’s not like Jongin was just randomly going to walk into the orphanage out of nowhere unless he had a very valid reason to assume his parents were lying to him.

 

Kyungsoo doesn’t think it’s right, to keep it from him for such a long time. He knows that most families tell their children as soon as they deem them old enough to understand just what it means that they’re adopted.

 

But Jongin is twenty-two years old. It’s just... too late, way too late.

 

He sighs and puts the second drawing he managed to put back together down. It doesn’t look because Kyungsoo’s horrible at crafting but at least you can tell what the drawings are supposed to portray.

 

Kyungsoo stares down at them and absently reaches for the picture in his pocket. He looks at the two little boys again and wonders why he doesn’t remember Jongin at all.

 

He wonders if they used to be good friends, even if they were really young back then.

 

He wonders if Jongin was one of those friends Kyungsoo cried about when they left.

 

He wonders at what age Jongin left them, why he can’t seem to remember the orphanage at all either.

 

He wonders if Joohyun or Seulgi will remember him because if this turns out to be true then Soojin will definitely remember everything about Jongin being in the orphanage.

 

Kyungsoo rubs at his eyes, shaking his head at the turn of events and waits for Jongin to wake up.

 

He’s been sitting at the table for about two hours - dozing off every now and then - when he hears the soft sounds of footsteps behind him. He turns around and finds Jongin approaching him slowly.

 

He looks terrible but Kyungsoo doesn’t blame him.

 

"Do you need something?” Kyungsoo asks.

 

Jongin shakes his head and stands next to the table, looks down at the drawings and the endless pieces of paper he tore apart hours ago. "No.” He croaks.

 

Kyungsoo nods and fiddles with the button on his sleeve. Jongin sits down on the chair closest to Kyungsoo and he looks like a lost child, like he doesn’t know what to do next.

 

He reaches for a piece of one of his drawings, runs his thumb over it. "I’m sorry you had to see that.”

 

"It’s okay.” Kyungsoo utters without hesitation. He knows that it burdens Jongin, when he gets those... attacks but he definitely isn’t going to be one of those people who will judge him for it. "Don’t apologize.” He eyes Jongin carefully, tries to figure out what Jongin is thinking, how he’s feeling. "Are you okay?”

 

Jongin stares at the piece of drawing in his hand for a while and eventually shrugs. "I don’t know.” He sighs and lets go of the piece of paper in his hand. "I just found out that my parents were lying to me all this time. I mean, they’re not... even my parents, are they?” He scoffs but there’s no humor behind it, obviously there isn’t.

 

Nothing about this is funny.

 

"Do you know what you’re going to do?“ Kyungsoo asks, not sure how much he’s allowed to ask.

 

"I can’t talk to them. Not yet anyways.” Jongin sighs and rubs at his eyes. His voice cracks and Kyungsoo’s hands twitch from how badly he wants to hold his hand.

 

"You don’t have to.” Kyungsoo tries.

 

"Oh, but I do.” Jongin shakes his head. "They’re going to come over-”

 

The doorbell suddenly rings and both of them look at the door and then into the other’s eyes.

 

"Is it them?” Kyungsoo asks when Jongin doesn’t move to go open it.

 

The rings get more urgent with every passing second. "I don’t want to see them.” Jongin croaks.

 

"Jongin!” Someone suddenly shouts. It’s a female voice so Kyungsoo guesses it’s his mother. "Honey please, please open the door!” She starts pounding against it and Kyungsoo feels his heart throb because her voice sounds so wrecked and desperate. "Jongin, sweetheart, please open the door!”

 

Kyungsoo gulps when he sees how Jongin’s shoulders are trembling and he’s about to get up and just... do something else but just sit there uselessly and watch him try to hold himself together. He hears a male voice and then the sound of keys jiggling and Jongin immediately tenses, pushes his chair back and moves back and behind Kyungsoo but it’s too late because suddenly the door opens and Jongin’s parents stand in the middle of the hallway.

 

The woman is dressed perfectly but her eyes are swollen and red rimmed, a hand clasped over her mouth as she gazes at her son while Jongin’s father takes in the entire scene, from the broken frames on the floor to the torn up drawings on the table.

 

He looks at Kyungsoo and he really wishes he wasn’t here. He’s intruding because none of this is something Kyungsoo is supposed to be witnessing.

 

"Jongin.” His father speaks, his voice steady, appearance collected while Jongin’s mother moves to step closer to Jongin but the boy holds a hand up, moves away, closer to Kyungsoo instead and the hurt on both their faces is apparent. "Son... We have to talk about this. You have to hear your mother and me out.”

 

"I don’t have to do anything.” Jongin snaps. From the way both his parents flinch Kyungsoo understands that Jongin normally doesn’t talk back to them like this. Jongin’s never harsh or impolite, at least Kyungsoo has never seen him act like that. "I don’t want to listen to anything you have to say.”

 

"Jongin.” His mother whimpers but she gets interrupted by his father.

 

"Please tell your friend to leave.” The man says, clearing his throat as he nods his head to where Kyungsoo is sitting. "This is something that has to be discussed in private.”

 

Kyungsoo doesn’t want to leave Jongin alone but he knows he has to respect the man’s wish so moves to grab his phone from the table but suddenly Jongin moves and grabs his arm. "No. Don’t go.” He utters quietly, a pleading look in his eyes when Kyungsoo turns to look at him. "Say whatever it is you have to say right now or leave.” Jongin says, looking at his parents again.

 

The man looks angry more than anything that he’s being told what to do by his son but he probably realizes that he’s not in the position to blame him right now. "Jongin... We understand that you are upset right now. You have every right to be. But we did what we did because we love you. We wanted to protect you.”

 

"Protect me?” Jongin scoffs. "Are you serious right now? Protect me from what?! The fact that you’re both fucking liars?!”

 

"Jongin!” His father shouts and Kyungsoo can’t help but flinch at his voice. "Don’t you dare talk to me like that.”

 

"Why not? I’m allowed to talk to you however I want.” Jongin’s voice breaks. "You’re not my father.”

 

His father looks like Jongin just spat him in the face while his mother sobs. Kyungsoo gulps, his heart beating uncontrollably as Jongin’s fingers dig into his wrist almost painfully.

 

"Jongin.” His mother now speaks up. She steps closer and Kyungsoo worries for her safety because she looks like she’s about to faint. Jongin seems to feel the same because his hand jerks at his side, almost like he wants to reach out and help her. She reaches a trembling hand out and holds his face, tears leaking out of her eyes. "We made a mistake. We shouldn’t have kept this from you. But please understand us…” Her face crumples. "I was so scared of losing you. I was scared you would hate us if you found out. I’m still your mother, and he’s still your father. Please don’t do this to us.”

 

"You lied to me... for so many years. You should have told me. You shouldn’t have kept this from me.” Jongin whispers. "Were you actually ever going to tell me?”

 

The silence that follows the question is all the answer Jongin needs. "So... not only would you have made me live this lie my entire life but you were also ready to tear those innocent children away from each other just for your own selfish reasons?”

 

"Son, it’s not like that-”

 

"Don’t call me son.” Jongin croaks and Kyungsoo sees his shoulders shake again. "I’m not... your son. I don’t- I don’t even know who I’m looking at right now.” His voice breaks as he looks into his parents’ face and all of this is so heart breaking, from the hurt in Jongin’s voice, the desperation in his mother’s face and the way even his father can’t mask the sadness in his eyes.

 

"Leave.” Jongin suddenly utters.

 

"Jongin, please don’t do this.” His mother sobs quietly. "Please, sweetheart, please forgive us-”

 

"Just leave!” He steps away from her and turns around to leave the room. The silence that follows the sound of Jongin’s slamming the door shut is almost unbearable.

 

Kyungsoo can’t handle this, seeing Jongin’s family on the brink of falling apart.

 

"Youngho.” Jongin’s mother whimpers, turning around as the man steps forward to bring her into his embrace. "Youngho do something. We can’t lose him…”

 

Kyungsoo gets up on unsteady legs, unsure as to how he’s supposed to act around them because he knows he had no right to be here, to see such a private moment. Jongin’s father looks at him over his wife’s shoulder, recognition flashing through his wet eyes. "Do Kyungsoo?” He questions and Kyungsoo is slightly surprised that the man still remembers him.

 

"I’m really sorry for intruding.” Kyungsoo says.

 

Jongin’s mother turns around in her husband’s embrace, looking into Kyungsoo’s face while she’s still hiccuping softly. "Are you Jongin’s friend?”

 

Kyungsoo’s mind flashes with pictures of Jongin and him kissing and he tries his best to mask the way his face heats up despite the situation. "We are colleagues.” He hopes it sounds convincing, it’s not entirely wrong at least.

 

"You are the one who took Jongin to the orphanage.” The woman suddenly says and Kyungsoo’s heart stutters in his chest.

 

It’s only now that Kyungsoo realizes it.

 

That Jongin and his parents would be okay if it wasn’t for Kyungsoo.

 

If Kyungsoo didn’t drag Jongin into any of this he would still live a peaceful life, even if it was a lie, he would at least still have a family.

 

Kyungsoo destroyed that for him.

 

He suddenly feels like throwing up, his eyes glazing over and his heart squeezing itself painfully in his chest.

 

"It’s okay.” She shakes her head once she sees the shocked look on Kyungsoo’s face. "This is not any of your fault. We’re the ones to blame.” She clears her throat, wiping at her tears with a tissue. "The truth had to come out one day. Maybe... Maybe this was for the best.”

 

"I’m... I’m sorry.” Kyungsoo utters helplessly.

 

He can’t help but feel that he did all of this to Jongin.

 

But he never wanted anything bad for Jongin, he doesn’t think he could hurt him even if he tried, so thinking that he’s the one who brought all of this upon him makes him feel like some kind of monster.

 

"No. We are the ones who are supposed to apologize.” Jongin’s father suddenly speaks. "Jongin told us that you had friends working there. It was not our intention to cause anyone harm with our actions.”

 

Kyungsoo slowly nods his head, not really knowing what he’s supposed to say at this point.

 

"Please don’t think of us as heartless people.“ Jongin’s mother speaks. "We did what we did because we love our son. Our methods weren’t right but you don’t understand how much you would do as a parent to not lose your child.”

 

He swallows around the lump in his throat, nodding again for a lack of words. He knows that weeks before he was hating on both these people for doing that to the kids at the orphanage but now he just... he feels sorry.

 

Kyungsoo clears his throat. He suddenly just wants to go see Jongin, wants to apologize, wants to make sure he’s okay, wants to make things okay between him and his parents. "I know this is not my business. But I think you should give Jongin some time for himself. This must be a lot to take in and he’s probably really worked up right now and not thinking clearly... I’m sure he didn’t mean those things.”

 

Jongin’s mother puts on a brave smile and nods her head. "Please tell him to talk to us as soon as he’s ready. And if he needs anything... just please call us.”

 

Kyungsoo nods but he feels uneasy because no matter how close Jongin and him got yesterday, they’re still not what could be considered close. He feels like Chanyeol should be here rather than him.

 

Jongin’s father nods his head at Kyungsoo before he wraps an arm around his wife, guiding her out of the apartment. The door shuts behind them with a soft click and Kyungsoo lets out a shaky breath, closing his eyes as he rubs a hand over his face.

 

When he enters Jongin’s bedroom a moment later he does it after making sure that Jongin is fine with him being here by knocking on the door and waiting for the boy to come open it since he really isn’t sure if he’s bothering Jongin by being here or not.

 

Jongin opens the door and looks at Kyungsoo nervously. "Sorry.”

 

"Sorry?” Kyungsoo cautiously asks, trailing after Jongin and sitting down on the bed when Jongin does.

 

"For dragging you into this.” Jongin mumbles. His voice sounds hoarse and he brings his hands up to rub at his eyes with his knuckles, the action making him look incredibly young and somewhat vulnerable.

 

Kyungsoo shakes his head. "None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for me. I’m the one who’s supposed to apologize. I used you for my own selfish reasons and now... you got hurt because of it. Because of me.”

 

"What?” Jongin turns to face Kyungsoo, his knee pressing into Kyungsoo’s thigh. The touch is strangely comforting, grounding and also not enough. "Hyung, no. Don’t even think about blaming yourself. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have even known my parents were lying to me and Naeun and Taeil, everyone at the orphanage would’ve gotten hurt way worse. This is…” Jongin shrugs and when Kyungsoo finally looks up at him he sees how Jongin’s lips twitch and Kyungsoo holds back a pathetic whimper at how hurt Jongin looks despite his words. "Sure, this sucks but it’s... it’s just how life is, yeah?”

 

Kyungsoo looks into Jongin’s eyes, feels his heart swell with affection for him when Jongin tries to smile despite everything. The emotions feel like waves crashing over him and he can fight them all he wants, knowing very well it’s a fight he was never meant to win in the first place.

 

"Is there anything I can do for you?” Kyungsoo asks.

 

Jongin shakes his head, the exhaustion apparent on his face. It’s silent for a moment and suddenly, Kyungsoo feels really tired himself. "Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

"Tell you what?”

 

"The actual reason you feel so strongly about the orphanage.“

 

And naturally, Kyungsoo’s first instinct is to shake his head and come up with a lie but when they’re lying on the bed a moment later, both of them staring at the ceiling while they’re battling their own thoughts, Kyungsoo feels the resolve in his chest crumble piece by piece.

 

"People usually don’t react well to it.” Kyungsoo mumbles, his words followed by the sound of rain hitting the broad windows lining the walls of Jongin’s bedroom.

 

Jongin turns his head and Kyungsoo feels his eyes following the side of his profile. "A lot of people are... adopted, hyung. There’s nothing wrong with that.” He sounds unconvinced, like he knows how hypocritical he sounds while trying to reassure Kyungsoo.

 

"I know.” Kyungsoo gulps and briefly closes his eyes as to brace himself. "But I wasn’t adopted.”

 

The sound of rain has never sounded more violent in Kyungsoo’s ears and he has never wanted to hear Jongin’s voice as much as now because him being silent makes Kyungsoo’s anxiety spike in ways it rarely ever has before.

 

Jongin shifts beside him and then he’s leaning up onto his elbows, his face looming above Kyungsoo as he looks down at him, confusion painting his handsome face. "What?”

 

Their eyes are locked on each other and Kyungsoo can barely think past the beauty of Jongin’s eyes and the memory of the taste of his lips, his chest hurting from the fear of the possibility of Jongin’s usually warm eyes being filled with disgust. "I was never adopted, Jongin. I’m still... I’m still an orphan.”

 

"Hyung…” Jongin utters.

 

"I left the orphanage when I turned eighteen.” He continues, just wanting to get it all out because he doesn’t want to talk about this later on anymore. "I don’t have a family. But you... you do. And I can only imagine how you must feel right now Jongin, but they’re still your parents. They gave you love and a roof over your head, they gave you safety and that’s what parents are supposed to do, isn’t it?” Kyungsoo sighs and lifts his eyes once again, almost unable to look into Jongin’s because they’re so close and so intense. "You can take as much time as you need but don’t push them away. Please.”

 

Jongin blinks down at him and Kyungsoo sees him gulp heavily when he leans down closer, his voice barely louder than a whisper. "So you were alone all your life and I... I grew up with a wealthy family just because they chose to adopt me.”

 

"Hey,” He mumbles, confused when he sees how Jongin’s eyes are glistening. He doesn’t want Jongin to feel bad about something that isn’t his fault.

 

"How is it fair?”

 

"Jongin. Stop. It’s okay, there are worse things in the world.”

 

They stare at each other for a while and Kyungsoo waits for Jongin’s eyes to stop watering, his hand carefully holding onto the boy’s arm.

 

"Why can’t I remember you?” Jongin asks. "I feel like I should remember you. I want to remember you.”

 

"We were kids, Jongin.” Kyungsoo shrugs, still feeling slightly overwhelmed by the fact that him and Jongin used to live at the orphanage together.

 

"Can we go to the orphanage tomorrow?” The younger asks quietly. "I just- I have questions. Maybe they can help.”

 

Kyungsoo nods. "Of course. They will be really happy to see you. Especially Taeil. He still talks about you all the time.” He knows that the kids are probably the last thing on Jongin’s mind right now but Kyungsoo’s just trying to take his mind off from everything else that’s happening right now.

 

And Jongin even smiles at the mention of the little boy. "I feel really bad about not visiting for so long.”

 

"It’s not your fault.” Kyungsoo clears his throat. "I was the one being stubborn.”

 

It’s like the first time they’re acknowledging what happened between them the day before, Kyungsoo can tell by the way Jongin’s eyes go soft as he looks down at him.

 

"Is that... Is that why you kept pushing me away?” Jongin asks, his voice barely louder than a whisper.

 

"What?”

 

"Because you’re. I mean, because you were alone all your life?” Jongin looks at him carefully, like he doesn’t want to say something wrong. "I’m sorry, I don’t mean to... I’m sorry.”

 

It takes Kyungsoo a moment to understand what Jongin means and once he does he feels vulnerable again, since he isn’t one to talk about things like that, usually keeping it inside. "I’ve never felt like this before. I think... I was scared.” He still is but he doesn’t say it out loud when he sees how Jongin gives him a solemn smile. "I’m not sure I know how to... express these kind of feelings.”

 

"That’s okay.” Jongin mumbles. "I can show you.” He looks very unsure about his next move, despite them talking things through yesterday but he ends up brushing his thumb over Kyungsoo’s cheek softly and the warmth in his eyes makes Kyungsoo’s heart flutter. "We can figure things out together, right?”

 

The spot Jongin touched is warming up and Kyungsoo can’t help but look at Jongin admiringly, his hands itching to pull him down and kiss his lips.

 

He knows they have a lot to figure out, especially with everything that’s happened today. Kyungsoo wouldn’t have ever thought that Jongin and him had a past that was somehow rooted with the other’s so all of this is a lot to take in, more so for Jongin whose life more or less just turned upside down.

 

Kyungsoo gives Jongin a reassuring smile because the younger looks like he needs it. "Okay.”

 

 

 

Jongin and him don’t talk much after that. They lie on Jongin’s bed with the younger drifting in and out of sleep, his eyes darkening from time to time. Kyungsoo sees the storm inside his eyes and he keeps hoping that his silent presence is enough support because he honestly doesn’t know how he could help him. After some time, Jongin reaches out to take Kyungsoo’s hand, lacing their fingers together and it makes Kyungsoo feel bad, how hesitant the younger is about it, like he doesn’t know how to act around Kyungsoo.

 

Kyungsoo gets that his cautiousness makes Jongin be wary around him as well so he squeezes their palms together, tightens his fingers around Jongin’s and turns on his side to look into his eyes reassuringly. Because he likes being so close to Jongin, he likes touching him, likes looking at him, likes how one look out of Jongin’s handsome eyes makes him forget about everything bad, but there’s no way he can say it out loud so he hopes his thoughts convey through his actions.

 

He makes Jongin some food when he hears his stomach rumble and they eat it at the isle in the kitchen, listening to the heavy rain outside. Jongin gives him a cute smile upon tasting the food and basically eats the entire pot and Kyungsoo can’t help but feel warm all over because of how nice it feels to make the boy smile even during such a tough situation. When Sehun texts him that he is waiting outside, Jongin’s face falls and before Kyungsoo even has the chance to feel bad, get up to grab Kyungsoo’s jacket. He helps him slip it on and it’s so ridiculous, how silent and careful both of them are being.

 

"You can... you can call me if you need anything.” Kyungsoo clears his throat, looking up at Jongin to see if the boy is okay because he feels bad for leaving but he’s also not sure if Jongin wants him around any longer since he didn’t say anything.

 

It’s probably better for Jongin to be alone anyways.

 

"I will.” Jongin smiles and Kyungsoo fights the urge to run his thumb over the thin skin underneath his eyes. "Thank you, hyung.”

 

And then Jongin leans in and before Kyungsoo could figure out what he wants Jongin grabs his arm to pull him in, his arms winding around Kyungsoo’s waist while he nestles his face into the crook of Kyungsoo’s neck despite the difference in height. Kyungsoo exhales heavily, his shoulders dropping as an odd sense of relief washes over him upon feeling Jongin so close again.

 

He doesn’t understand why, but he suddenly feels unexplainably protective over Jongin. He wraps his arms around the younger’s frame and feels Jongin melt into his embrace, tired and pliant and Kyungsoo wishes he knew how to take some of his burden away. They hold each other for a moment, Kyungsoo’s eyes pressed closed as Jongin rubs his palm over the small of Kyungsoo’s back soothingly.

 

Kyungsoo wants to kiss him, he feels his skin prickle from how much he wants to taste Jongin’s lips again because his warmth and scent make him feel heady like nothing else before. But this isn’t the right time, it definitely isn’t, so he pulls away and leaves after they exchange what has to be the most timid smiles either of them have ever worn on their faces.

 

 

Sehun greets him with a "Is everything okay?” to which Kyungsoo nods his head with what he hopes to be a reassuring smile. Thankfully, Sehun for once doesn’t flood him with questions during the drive, giving Kyungsoo some time to collect his thoughts before he starts explaining his best friend the entire situation.

 

Kyungsoo doesn’t even notice that they’ve arrived at his apartment until Sehun waves his hand in front of Kyungsoo’s face.

 

"Earth to Kyungsoo?” Sehun scoffs when Kyungsoo turns to give him a confused look. "Are you okay?”

 

"Yeah. Sorry.”

 

Sehun doesn’t look convinced but he doesn’t push it any further and Kyungsoo wonders if this is Junmyeon’s work because usually, Sehun would not lay off this easily. "People are talking, at the office.”

 

"About what?”

 

"Jongin.” Sehun studies Kyungsoo’s face for any kind of reaction but when he finds nothing he sighs. "Is he really adopted?”

 

Kyungsoo’s head snaps up at that, confusion and anger swimming in his eyes. "W-Who told you that?”

 

Jongin only found out this morning; how did words travel so fast? And who on earth thought it was okay to spread that kind of personal information?

 

"One of the interns overheard them.” Sehun explains. "And obviously couldn’t keep her mouth shut. I’m pretty sure Taemin’s going to fire her as soon as he finds out.”

 

Kyungsoo hides his face in his hands, shaking his head tiredly. It was only a matter of time until one of those assholes was going to sell the information to some reporter and from there, the news would spread all over the media.

 

"This is so wrong.” Kyungsoo utters, wanting nothing more than to slip into his bed and sleep and pretend that none of this is happening.

 

Whether he likes it or not, Jongin is important to him - that boy is all that’s on Kyungsoo’s mind all the time - and all of this is just too much to take in for two days.

 

"Is he okay?” Sehun wants to know.

 

"I don’t know. He seems to be as okay as someone can be in that situation.”

 

Sehun nods and then his expression turns serious, slightly anxious too. "Hyung?”

 

"What?”

 

"Do you and Jongin know each other?” He asks, making Kyungsoo look up and into his eyes. "Did you know each other before you started working for Taemin?”

 

Sometimes Kyungsoo forgets how smart his best friend is and sometimes he really just wishes he wasn’t just that smart. "So you figured it out.”

 

"Oh my god.” Sehun laughs nervously, his mouth opening and closing like a goldfish "This is like some kind of TV drama shit…” He clears his throat, putting on a more serious expression. "And you both really didn’t recognize each other?”

 

"Sehun, we were... like five years old back then.” Kyungsoo doesn’t even know how old they were, he knows that on the picture Kyungsoo had to be at least five years old. He doesn’t know about Jongin, doesn’t know when he left the orphanage... Saying it out loud, thinking about it like this, only serves to make all of this feel more surreal.

 

"Okay. Sorry, you’re right.” Sehun taps his fingers against the steering wheel, a steady sound following the raindrops that are hitting the windscreen. "I’m guessing the orphanage’s safe now?”

 

Kyungsoo shrugs. He can’t even feel happy about it, not when Jongin’s hurting because of it. "I guess so.”

 

"Alright... One last question.” Sehun says after a beat. "Did you kiss?”

 

Kyungsoo stares at him for a moment before he unbuckles his seatbelt. "Thanks for picking me up.” He reaches for the door handle and is about to get out because he’s definitely not going to talk to Sehun about him and Jongin, especially when he doesn’t even get it himself.

 

"No!“ Sehun laughs and leans over him to shut the door again. "Hyung, please. What happened to you trying to be a better friend? I know you hate talking about this stuff but please don’t leave me hanging here. I just want to know what’s going on, don’t I deserve to know as much as your best friend?”

 

"What do you want to know?” Kyungsoo’s hand stills at the door.

 

"Did you kiss?”

 

Kyungsoo grits his teeth together and glares at the window.

 

"Yes.”

 

Sehun seems taken aback that Kyungsoo actually answered, a disturbed look crossing his face. "You did?”

 

Kyungsoo keeps silent, trying not to think about it too much in fear of doing something stupid, like blushing.

 

"Wow... Hyung. I’m proud of you. Even if it’s, you know. Kim Jongin.” Sehun makes a face like he’s going to be sick and Kyungsoo can’t even find it in himself to be mad, too worn out from the day’s events.

 

Kyungsoo pushes the door open. "Thanks for picking me up.”

 

"I’m happy for you!” Sehun rushes out before Kyungsoo closes the door into his face.

 

It’s a good thing Sehun doesn’t see the stupid redness on Kyungsoo’s cheeks while he walks up the stairs to his apartment.

 

 

x

 

 

Jongin doesn’t show up at the office the next day. Not that Kyungsoo expected him to but as soon as he arrives at his workplace several heads shoot up to turn his way.

 

Kyungsoo ignores the stares, ignores the whispers and greets Sehun who’s already waiting for him at his cubicle, giving him an almost apologizing smile.

 

"They saw you going after him yesterday.” Sehun mumbles quietly, arms resting on the edges of his cubicle, his chin pressed on top of them. "People think you have something going on.”

 

Kyungsoo’s eyes flicker up, catching a few interns quickly turning their heads away upon getting caught staring at him. He shakes his head and looks down at his keyboard. He wonders what Jongin is doing. How he is doing. "Let them think whatever they want.”

 

He honestly couldn’t care less about his image or stupid rumors right now. He just wants to help Jongin fix things, wants to help him find it in himself to forgive his parents for their mistake, no matter how much time it’ll take. He also wants to sort out Jongin’s past. Their past at the orphanage.

 

"Yeah.” Sehun mumbles, eyeing him carefully. "I think Taemin caught up on it too, though.”

 

Kyungsoo looks up and meets his best friends’ worried eyes, opening his mouth to ask him where that assumption is coming from but he gets interrupted.

 

"Kyungsoo?“

 

He looks up to find Taemin’s personal assistant Jihyun standing next to Sehun. "Yes?”

 

She smiles at him, her hands clasped around her iPad. "Do you have a minute? Mr. Lee wants you to meet him in his office.”

 

Sehun’s eyes widen when Kyungsoo quickly glances at him. "Right now?”

 

"If it’s convenient for you, yes.”

 

He gets up from his seat. "Okay.”

 

When he follows her through the office, walking past all the endless cubicles, he can feel everyone’s curious eyes on him as he stares at Jihyun’s curled hair bouncing with every step

 

she takes, the sound of her high heels hitting the ground louder than all the hushed whispers around them.

 

So this is it?

 

He’s getting fired.

 

Kyungsoo shakes his head to himself. He doesn’t want another job, he wouldn’t get another job because he knows how job interviews go, he knows he’ll be asked about his family and he can just imagine the looks in their eyes when he tells them that he doesn’t have one.

 

Jihyun turns to face him once they’ve arrived at Taemin’s door. She knocks three times and opens it for Kyungsoo to walk inside.

 

"Thank you Jihyun, you can leave now.” Taemin says once Kyungsoo is inside. The woman nods and closes the door behind herself, leaving Kyungsoo alone with his boss.

 

"You wanted to speak to me?” Kyungsoo clears his throat and goes to sit down when Taemin gestures to one of the chairs in front of his desk.

 

"That’s right.” Taemin eyes him silently for a moment before sighing deeply. "I’m sure you know about what happened yesterday with my uncle and Jongin. The whole office does.” He chuckles bitterly.

 

Kyungsoo gulps. "I’m sorry for that.”

 

"Ah, it’s not your fault.“ Taemin shakes his head and is silent for a few seconds, his eyebrows scrunched up like he’s deep in thought. "How is he?“ He suddenly asks and Kyungsoo tenses up in his chair.

 

"What?“

 

"I’m talking about Jongin.” His boss looks into his eyes and Kyungsoo tries not to shrink into himself under his gaze. "He isn’t answering my calls. I talked to my uncle. Things aren’t okay, are they?”

 

"Mr. Lee-”

 

"It’s Taemin, Kyungsoo. How many times do I have to tell you that?“

 

Kyungsoo apologizes and clears his throat. "I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean.”

 

"You don’t?” Taemin cocks his head to the side. "Alright. Let me help you understand. Our Jonginnie is completely smitten with you. The kid looks at you like an excited puppy whenever he sees you around the office. I know you are aware of that. You have been spending a lot of time together lately after all.”

 

When Kyungsoo doesn’t answer Taemin puts on a smile, probably after seeing the look of terror and confusion on Kyungsoo’s face. He doesn’t think anyone ever saw Kyungsoo and Jongin leaving the office in the same car and once at the office, they didn’t ever really talk to the other. He also never really noticed Jongin looking at him in a way that would make anyone suspicious of them.

 

"Our Chanyeol isn’t really good at keeping things to himself I’m afraid.” Taemin explains. "And also; I’m not an idiot. I do have a pair of working eyes, you know.”

 

"I-” Kyungsoo starts but he finds that he doesn’t even know what he wants to say. "I apologize. I didn’t mean to disrespect you or the company’s policies.”

 

"Kyungsoo.” Taemin says and waits for him to look and into his eyes. "We’ve been working together for a few years now. You are on the most hardworking and sincere employees here.”

 

Kyungsoo holds his breath, waits for the inevitable but.

 

"Ease up, will you? I didn’t order you here to fire you.” Taemin chuckles. "As long as you two keep work and your personal relationship separate, none of this is my business.“

 

The look Kyungsoo gives him must be hilarious because the man laughs at him for a few seconds.

 

"You heard me.” Taemin is smirking now. "Honestly, I don’t know what you see in my bratty cousin but I guess the heart wants what it wants, right?”

 

Kyungsoo can’t help but open his mouth like a goldfish for a moment. Taemin is acting like… well, just Taemin. A simple young man, not the CEO of one of the most successful companies in the country.

 

"So, how is he doing?” He asks again, not even giving Kyungsoo a chance to speak. "I would’ve gone to his apartment but I don’t think he wants to see anyone right now. I’m worried about him.”

 

Kyungsoo still stares at Taemin, completely dumbfounded and he doesn’t think Jongin’s cousin should ask him about his well being. It doesn’t feel right at all. It doesn’t feel right, the thought that Kyungsoo’s suddenly closer to Jongin than his own family.

 

"I think... I think he just needs a little time.” He repeats his words from yesterday again. "It’s a lot to take in.”

 

Taemin’s smile turns sad, his eyes soft at Kyungsoo’s words. Since Kyungsoo is his employee he knows of his past, knows about his situation and in that moment he must understand that Kyungsoo is probably the only person that can at least somehow understand how Jongin is feeling even if it’s completely different in some way.

 

"My uncle... my uncle and aunt, they love Jongin more than anything else in this world.” Taemin says quietly. "I don’t see how they could survive in a world where Jongin doesn’t call them mom and dad anymore.”

 

The words are incredibly sad and they squeeze Kyungsoo’s heart in his chest.

 

"Can you just... make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid?” Taemin sighs and leans back. "I know he needs time, of course he does. This situation is so... messed up. And I know my uncle made a huge mistake, maybe even unforgivable to some. But they’re not bad people. Love and fear are a dangerous combination. Makes people do crazy things.”

 

Kyungsoo nods and then decides to ask what’s burning in his mind. "Did you know?”

 

Taemin shakes his head. "I found out yesterday as well. No one in our family knew.”

 

And Kyungsoo wants to ask how that’s possible.

 

How could they just pretend that Jongin was their biological child without anyone finding out the truth?

 

In the picture of them Jongin had to be at least four years old. If they adopted him at that age, how didn’t anyone ever question it? How could that even make sense?

 

"I see you have a lot of questions.” Taemin clears his throat. "But I’m afraid it is not my place to tell you.”

 

"Of course.” Kyungsoo’s mind is still reeling with the new information though.

 

Taemin suddenly starts smiling again and Kyungsoo starts shifting in his seat uncomfortably.

 

"Did you need anything else from me?”

 

His boss shakes his head. "No, that’s all. You can go back to work.”

 

Kyungsoo nods and gets up to leave but just as he curls his fingers around the door handle Taemin stops him.

 

"Kyungsoo?”

 

"Yes?” He turns around to face him again.

 

"Take care of him, will you? Don’t go hurting him. Jongin’s been through a lot.” Taemin’s smile is a sad one. "And you know, he is my little cousin after all. I will look out for him if you do something stupid.”

 

Kyungsoo’s entire face burns up within a second and he doesn’t think he even remembers how to spell his own name in that moment. "Uhm. I.” He ends up chuckling like an idiot.

 

"It’s okay.” Taemin laughs. "I’m just teasing you Kyungsoo. You can leave now.”

 

Kyungsoo nods his head in a silent goodbye and flees the room, keeping his eyes on the ground the entire way back to his cubicle. Everyone’s staring and it takes a lot of willpower not to look into their faces and ask them what the hell their problem is - even if he actually knows the reason for the stares and glares.

 

Sehun looks up from his computer and gives him an anxious look as he gets up from his desk and walks over to Kyungsoo’s. "Do we have to look for a new job?”

 

Kyungsoo sits down with a sigh, ignoring how Sehun just automatically assumes that he’d have to look for a new job as well if Kyungsoo got fired. "No.”

 

"What did he want?”

 

"Nothing.” He replies but notices how Sehun’s face falls and remembers that he said he’d try to be a better friend. "He knows.” He adds.

 

"And?”

 

"I mean. He didn’t fire me, so.”

 

Sehun studies his face for a moment. "Taemin’s a good man.”

 

Kyungsoo nods his head.

 

"And you’re fucking Kim Jongin.” His friend adds after a beat. "What the hell is happening in the world?”

 

"Shut up.” Kyungsoo mutters. "Sehun, don’t say stuff like that.”

 

"Why not?” Sehun scoffs. "It’s true. It’s why everyone in here wants to strangle you. Because you get to hop on his dick-”

 

Kyungsoo reaches out to grip his tie, tugging him forwards which makes Sehun almost topple over. "Stop!”

 

Sehun slaps his hands away, pouting as he fixes his tie. The boy doesn’t even understand why he’s driving Kyungsoo up the wall right now given his next words. "Jeez, sorry, I just thought you’d bottom because I can’t imagine Jongin taking it up the ass to be honest-”

 

Kyungsoo’s face is positively on fire when he reaches for his paper knife and he honestly hasn’t ever seen Sehun move so fast because his friend is back at his own cubicle in the blink of an eye.

 

Kyungsoo glares at him, waving the knife in his hand once and Sehun shakes his head at him, smirking as he mouths "Witnesses”.

 

 

 

 

It starts raining again when Kyungsoo is sitting in his car later that evening, on his way to pick Jongin up after exchanging a few text messages to check up on his well being.

 

Kyungsoo is nervous for two reasons.

 

Because for one, he doesn’t know what’s going to happen tonight when they talk to Soojin. He doesn’t know what she’s going to tell them, how much she will remember, if the things they will hear will only make the situation worse.

 

And the other thing is simple. It’s Jongin.

 

Kyungsoo doesn’t know what they are and he doesn’t know how to act around him, especially now that the younger has so much more important things on his mind than his relationship status with Kyungsoo.

 

It wasn’t easy for Kyungsoo to act on his actual feelings back in Jongin’s apartment, when the younger kissed him, when he told Kyungsoo to stop pushing him away and when Kyungsoo agreed to it while his mind was clouded with Jongin’s overwhelming presence, the way his lips felt against his own.

 

He shakes his head and decides to stop thinking about it too much. He just wants to make sure that Jongin feels comfortable around him - especially now that everything’s already so complicated for Jongin - so he’s ready to put his own worries aside for the moment.

 

Jongin is already waiting outside when Kyungsoo arrives at his apartment.

 

He’s dressed in normal clothes and it’s something Kyungsoo’s eyes aren’t used to at all. He hasn’t ever seen him wear anything else but suits so seeing him in a loose sweater and simple jeans makes him look like an entirely different person.

 

Jongin quickly opens the door and gets in, visibly shuddering from the warmth inside the car. "Hi.” He breathes as he fastens his seatbelt.

 

His cheeks are red, so is the tip of his nose and Kyungsoo can’t help but frown once he realizes that Jongin isn’t wearing a coat. "Hey. Why aren’t you wearing a coat?”

 

The younger gives him a confused look and Kyungsoo tries to ignore the way his dark eyes scan his entire face quickly. "I didn’t think I’d need one since we’re going by car. Or are we going somewhere else?”

 

Kyungsoo starts driving again and shakes his head. "No but it’s cold outside. You could get sick.” He reaches his hand out to change the direction of the warm air from the air conditioner.

 

"Put your hands here.”

 

"Hyung, I’m fine.” Jongin mumbles. Kyungsoo looks at him and can’t help the way his eyes soften because Jongin looks so incredibly tired. He can’t help but wonder if he cried or how upset he was once Kyungsoo left. Maybe it’s too soon to feel like that but every fiber of his being seems to care about Jongin’s well being more than his own.

 

He reaches out and takes one of Jongin’s hands into his own, glaring at him when he feels how ice cold his fingers are. He holds them in front of the vent closest to Jongin. "Put your other one here too, will you?”

 

Kyungsoo focuses back on the road but he can see the little smile on Jongin’s face when he does as he’s told.

 

It’s silent in the car after that save for the sounds of cars passing and the warm air blowing out of the vents to warm up the inside of his car. Kyungsoo has a dozen questions burning at the tip of his tongue but he doesn’t dare ask them, at least not before they’ve talked to Soojin.

 

"How was it at the office?” Jongin asks after a while. Kyungsoo glances at him, sees the younger resting his elbow on the windowsill.

 

"People know.” Kyungsoo answers, not bothering to hide the truth from him. "They’re talking.”

 

"Why am I not surprised.”

 

"I’m sorry.” Kyungsoo feels like he’s been apologizing a lot to him but he doesn’t know what else he should do. Jongin turns to look at him and shakes his head, a tired smile tugging at his lips.

 

"Don’t be. None of that is your fault.”

 

"How are you feeling?” Kyungsoo asks.

 

"I’m okay.” He shrugs. "I’m like, still half-convinced all of this is just a horrible dream though.” Jongin chuckles quietly.

 

"Did you talk to them?”

 

"My parents?” Jongin asks and hesitates, like he’s wondering if he’s still supposed to use that title. "No. They tried to call but I just. I need some time. I need some answers before I can talk to them. I don’t want to hurt them again like I did yesterday.”

 

Kyungsoo’s heart twitches because he knows that Jongin’s a kind person but he’s still thinking about his parents’ feelings despite everything they’ve done to him. He wonders if he ever really thinks about his own feelings.

 

Or if he thinks he deserves the bad things because according to him, he used to treat people like shit a few years back.

 

"I hope you’ll get the answers you’re looking for tonight.” Kyungsoo mumbles.

 

Jongin nods. "I hope so too. But we both need answers, hyung. We were both on that picture, right?” Jongin glances at him, and when their eyes meet, Kyungsoo’s heart does a happy little jump in his chest. He can hardly look away from Jongin’s eyes, wanting to reach out and take his hand, feel the warmth of his skin and intertwine their fingers tightly.

 

And it’s like Jongin can read his mind because a moment later he does what Kyungsoo is lacking the courage to do, reaches over the armrest separating them and takes Kyungsoo’s hand that is curled over the clutch.

 

He slides his fingers into the gaps between Kyungsoo’s and curls them to press their palms together tightly, his thumb brushing over the back of Kyungsoo’s hand.

 

Kyungsoo stares at the road, slightly overwhelmed from how soothing and grounding it feels to hold Jongin’s hand, how it makes most of Kyungsoo’s anxiety ebb away.

 

He squeezes Jongin’s hand and brushes his own thumb over his knuckles, trying not to smile too when he catches Jongin smiling at their hands before he turns to look out of the window.

 

 

 

Before they go inside, Jongin stops and stares at the garden of the orphanage. Kyungsoo waits and looks at him with concern because he can’t tell what Jongin is feeling, what he’s thinking.

 

There are tiny clouds puffing out of their lips, and Kyungsoo shudders when a gush of ice cold air their forms.

 

He steps closer when Jongin hasn’t moved for a long time, the gravel underneath his shoes crunching loudly in the silence around them. "Jongin, we should go inside. You’ll get sick.”

 

"Is that it?” Jongin asks, tilting his head as he steps closer to where the grass from the garden starts. Kyungsoo furrows his eyebrows and tries to figure out what Jongin is looking at.

 

"What?”

 

"The tree.” Jongin mumbles and suddenly, Kyungsoo understands. He’s talking about the picture Kyungsoo has hidden away in his pocket, where the two little boys are smiling into the camera in front of a huge tree.

 

"Yes.” Kyungsoo answers, stepping up beside him.

 

Jongin doesn’t talk again for a moment. "Do you, do you remember if there used to be a swing there?” His voice is shaking slightly. "Like, one... one made out of a huge tyre?”

 

Kyungsoo freezes at the question, his heart suddenly pounding a lot faster.

 

He honestly didn’t expect Jongin to remember anything about his time at the orphanage.

 

"You remember?” Kyungsoo asks, disbelief painting his voice.

 

"I just remember playing on a swing like that.”

 

"The branch nearly broke one time when one of the kids was playing on it. They took it down after that.” Kyungsoo explains.

 

Jongin looks at the ground, his eyebrows furrowed, and he’s silent for so long it starts to worry Kyungsoo. "Are you okay?”

 

"Sorry. I’m stupid.” Jongin huffs and brings the sleeve of his sweater up to rub at his eyes. "I guess it just didn’t feel real until now.” He swears quietly, and Kyungsoo sees his shoulders shake and before he knows it he has his arms around Jongin, the younger’s head buried in his shoulder, his hands grasping the back of Kyungsoo’s coat weakly.

 

Jongin feels cold in his arms and Kyungsoo tries to warm him up as best as he can, feeling Jongin burrow deeper into his embrace, like he’s seeking comfort and Kyungsoo is ready to give him anything he needs at this point. "You’ll be fine.” Kyungsoo tries to comfort him, not sure if he’s succeeding because saying those things is so difficult, no matter how much he means it.

 

It’s like his own lips aren’t used to those kind of words, struggling to speak them out loud but if it’ll make Jongin feel better he doesn’t care. He just wants him to be okay.

 

He breathes in Jongin’s sweet scent and everything about this moment makes his heart swell so painfully that he worries it might burst. Jongin holding on to him like this, them standing in the garden of the orphanage surrounded by what has to be the coldest night of the year so far.

 

"We should go inside.” He mumbles and it takes a few seconds for Jongin to step away. Kyungsoo smiles at him and reaches out to wipe away some of the wetness on his cheeks.

 

"I promise I’m usually not such a cry baby.” Jongin grumbles like it’s hurting his pride to be seen crying.

 

Kyungsoo chuckles. "Sure you aren’t.”

 

 

 

Taeil is sitting on the carpet at the entrance when they step inside a moment later, almost like the little boy was waiting for their arrival (which he probably was).

 

"Hyung!” He scrambles up from his seat and makes grabby hands at Jongin who has one of the fondest smiles on his face Kyungsoo has ever seen. He crouches down and wraps his arms around the little boy, standing up again when Taeil wraps himself around his hyung like a koala bear baby. "I-I missed you s-so much, Jongin hyung!”

 

Jongin chuckles and holds the little boy closer and Kyungsoo clears his throat to himself, not really sure where the stupid stinging in his eyes suddenly came from. "I missed you too, buddy.”

 

"Hi you two.” Joohyun walks up to them with a smile on her face. "It’s nice to see you again, Jongin. That little monster’s been driving us crazy about you coming to visit him again.”

 

"I’m really sorry.” Jongin says over Taeil’s shoulder since the boy is refusing to let go of him. "Work just kept me really busy.”

 

"Of course. Don’t worry about it.” She smiles at him and walks over to give Kyungsoo a hug, scolding him as she pinches his sides. "Did you lose weight again?”

 

"No.” Kyungsoo rolls his eyes even if she’s probably right. He catches Jongin’s worried look and sighs. "I didn’t.” He insists.

 

"Do I look like I’m stupid?” She pinches his arm this time. "Go sit down. I’ll whip up some food for you two.”

 

"Where’s Naeun?” Kyungsoo asks since the little girl would usually be here to greet him by now.

 

"Noona is s-sick!” Taeil turns his face, pressing his cheek against Jongin’s chest as he pouts at Kyungsoo.

 

Kyungsoo turns to look at Joohyun, not able to keep the concern out of his voice. "Is she okay?”

 

"She came down with a stomach flu. She’s okay, don’t worry.” She reassures him. "We gave her some medicine and she’s been sleeping pretty much the entire day.”

 

"I wasn’t allowed t-to p-play with h-her.” Taeil juts his lower lip out at Jongin.

 

"That’s so you don’t get sick too.” Jongin rubs his back.

 

"W-will you p-play with m-me?”

 

"Of course.”

 

Taeil hugs him again, resting his head on Jongin’s shoulder sleepily while Jongin holds him against his chest.

 

"I’ll just quickly check up on Naeun.” Kyungsoo says to him.

 

Jongin hesitates, concern flickering through his eyes before he gives a nod. „O-okay.”

 

There’s something about Jongin stuttering. It squeezes Kyungsoo’s chest so painfully because he knows how much the younger struggled because of it in the past and how it still appears when he’s either nervous or scared.

 

Naeun is sleeping when Kyungsoo crouched down next to her, brushing her sweaty bangs out of her eyes with a pained smile on his face. It hurts him to see her so small and weak.

 

The little girl whimpers, her lower lip wobbling as she turns to her side and blinks her eyes open. She gazes up at him through teary eyes.

 

"Hey little one.” He whispers, brushing a thumb over the heated skin on her cheek. "Did my little Naeun get sick?”

 

She starts crying and nods, reaching her small hand out to hold Kyungsoo’s. "My tummy hurts a lot.”

 

Kyungsoo feels his heart break a little at her words and brushes his thumb over her little hand comfortingly. Naeun doesn’t really have anyone else in her life apart from them - none of these kids do - but since Naeun is so attached to him, it always feels like he failed in taking care of her whenever she gets hurt or sick. "Did you drink your medicine?”

 

She nods, sniffling cutely.

 

"Then it will stop hurting really soon, okay?”

 

"Promise?”

 

"Would I ever lie to you, princess?”

 

She shakes her head. "No.”

 

Kyungsoo sees that she’s trying to get rid of the snot in her nose with his sleeve and stops her, grabbing the box of tissues next to the mattress to help her. He holds it to her nose and waits for her to blow out most of the snot.

 

"I’m thirsty.” She mumbles, her nose red now from the tissue which makes her look really adorable.

 

There’s a jug of water and a cup standing on the table at the end of the room so Kyungsoo gets up to fill it with some water before heading back to give it to her.

 

"Sit up.” He holds her back and helps her drink from the cup without spilling any of the water. "Do you need anything else?” He asks as he tucks her back in her bed.

 

She shakes her head, her eyelids fluttering sleepily. "Are you going to leave?”

 

"I will be downstairs.”

 

"Can you leave the light on?”

 

He smiles and leans in to kiss her forehead. "Sure.”

 

"Will you bake me cupcakes?”

 

Kyungsoo chuckles. "If you promise to get better really fast.”

 

"I promise.”

 

"Alright. Goodnight, little one.”

 

She reaches her arms out and Kyungsoo leans down to give her a hug. "Goodnight. I love you to the moon and back!”

 

Kyungsoo freezes as he pulls back, smiling down at her. "Where did you learn that?”

 

"I saw it in a movie.” She smiles up at him. "I love you the most. I love you to the moon and back, Kyungsoo oppa.”

 

Kyungsoo takes a deep breath, pushes his stupid problems, and fears back for Naeun’s sake when she looks at him expectantly.

 

"Me too, little one.”

 

 

 

Jongin is already sitting at the dinner table when Kyungsoo goes downstairs, Taeil sitting in his lap, looking like he’s about to fall asleep there. Most of the kids are watching TV or are playing in the living room, shouting their greetings at Kyungsoo or coming up to him to hug him. Kyungsoo takes his time to listen to them because they all have so much to tell about the things they learned at school or what they found while they were playing in the garden.

 

"Kids, leave Kyungsoo alone. He has to eat dinner now; you can play with him later.” Seulgi ushers the kids away and kisses Kyungsoo’s cheek with a "hi there, handsome.”

 

Kyungsoo smiles at her but stops once he catches Jongin’s look from the table. There’s a crease between his eyebrows, almost like he’s irritated and Kyungsoo doesn’t know why it makes his chest feel so weird but it does.

 

He doesn’t really understand how anyone could ever get jealous because of him, especially not someone like Jongin but the way Jongin frowns down at his table shows that Seulgi’s words definitely made him feel a little jealous.

 

Kyungsoo sits down next to him, not really knowing what he’s supposed to do when Jongin doesn’t look at him. "She always says things like that.” He tries, clearing his throat as he reaches for the chopsticks.

 

Jongin turns to look at him. "Oh. Yeah, that’s cool.” But he doesn’t look like it’s cool when he tries to eat his food without disturbing the toddler that’s currently napping in his lap.

 

So Kyungsoo just moves his leg and presses his knee against Jongin’s - the way the younger did a while back - almost in reassurance that Kyungsoo honestly is only interested in Jongin.

 

Jongin halts in his movements and a moment later he feels him pressing back, a smile tugging at his lips and Kyungsoo wants to smile too because apparently, it’s really easier for them to communicate without words.

 

"Hey Taeil. Let Jongin eat his food, okay?” Seulgi tries to lift the boy from Jongin’s lap. "You can play with him later.”

 

"N-No.” Taeil pouts, clinging to Jongin’s arm.

 

"Taeil.” Seulgi gives him a stern look.

 

Jongin shakes his head at her. "It’s okay. He can stay.” He’s about to put a piece of chicken into his mouth when Taeil opens his mouth wide, like he was expecting Jongin to feed him. "Are you hungry?”

 

Taeil nods, his little mouth still forming a cute ‘O’.

 

"Taeil.” Seulgi laughs and shakes his head. "You already had dinner. You’ll get a tummy ache if you eat again.”

 

The little boy pouts again and Jongin groans. "I can’t eat when he looks at me like that. I’m sorry.” He quickly pops the meat into Taeil’s mouth who starts munching on it happily, one of his hands playing with Jongin’s hair.

 

Seulgi sighs at Jongin. "You’re really too easy on him.”

 

Kyungsoo smiles to himself and then sees how hungry Jongin seems, half of his meat already gone before Kyungsoo has even touched his own. "Did you eat anything today?”

 

Jongin looks up at him with his mouth stuffed, a look on his face like he just got caught. He nods but Kyungsoo knows he’s lying.

 

He picks up the chicken from his plate and puts it on Jongin’s instead. "Eat that.”

 

"Hyung.” Jongin begins to argue. "You should eat it, you need to gain weight.” His eyes widen when he realizes what he said and he quickly shakes his head. "I just mean Joohyun’s right, you lost weight. You should take better care of yourself. But I think you’re perfect like this too.” And his eyes widen even more, the tips of his ears turning pink. He starts eating again to avoid looking into his face and Kyungsoo - still a little taken aback by his words - catches Seulgi’s eyes from across the table.

 

She’s smiling at him, half teasing and half happy.

 

Kyungsoo clears his throat. "Where’s Soojin?” He asks, not having seen the old woman around tonight.

 

"She’s taking a nap. I don’t think she’s feeling too well.” Seulgi purses her lips. "Why?”

 

Kyungsoo briefly glances at Jongin and finds that the younger is now pushing the food around in his plate almost nervously. "There’s something I want to talk to her about.” He hesitates, feels Jongin’s leg against his own and decides to add, "Jongin and I, we both want to talk to her.”

 

Seulgi raises her eyebrows at them, confusion written on her face. "Well, in that case I’ll go wake her up. You guys finish your food.”

 

Honestly, he doesn’t really know what he expected to happen once they told them about Jongin.

 

But they’re gathered in the living room later, Jongin and him sitting next to each other on the smaller couch while Soojin, Seulgi and Joohyun are sitting on the one on the other side.

 

The kids are all asleep upstairs and when Jongin opens his mouth to talk his voice is shaking and it sounds eerily loud in the old house. Kyungsoo wants to hold his hand but he can’t and he also can’t sit closer to him, so he just stares into Soojin’s face, watches her eyes change while she listens to everything Jongin has to say.

 

They’re confused when Jongin confesses that he’s the son of the family that bought the orphanage. They’re taken aback when he tells them that he just found out that he was adopted. And then, at the end, when he tells them that he used to be an orphan at the Cheonguk orphanage, recognition lights up in her old eyes right before they fill with tears.

 

Joohyun and Seulgi both look like they’re having a hard time making sense of Jongin’s words and when Kyungsoo glances to the side he sees how tight Jongin has clasped his hands together between his knees. He has the urge to hold it but he knows this isn’t the place to do that.

 

"Jongin.” Soojin shakes his head. "Little Jongin who never talked. He got adopted when he was four years old. You’re telling me that’s... you?”

 

Jongin gulps, nodding his head. "Yes.”

 

"Oh my god.” Joohyun whispers, holding her hands to her mouth. "I remember you. I remember there was a little boy who didn’t speak. That’s... that was you?”

 

What follows are endless tears, mostly on the girls’ and Soojin’s part, and they hug Jongin until the boy can’t breathe properly when Jongin tells them that the orphanage is saved, that he will make sure nothing will happen to it, and where Kyungsoo expected him to get really upset and emotional, Jongin is smiling and it almost looks like he’s doing the comforting instead of the other way around.

 

Kyungsoo shows them the picture of him and Jongin when they’re drinking tea a while later. Soojin smiles as she looks at it, brushing away a tear that threatens to escape her eye. "Kyungsoo and you... you two used to be inseparable. You used to follow Kyungsoo around wherever he went, clinging to the hem of his sweater all day.”

 

Jongin shifts next to him, his hands twitching, and Kyungsoo feels his heart thumping wildly as he listens to Soojin’s words.

 

Because Kyungsoo does remember a little boy from his past, he remembers playing with him all the time before he just... disappeared. But how could he have ever known that it was Jongin?

 

"The children used to tease Jongin a lot because he didn’t talk. But you, Kyungsoo, you always protected him and that’s why Jongin never left your side. Our Kyungsoo had a big heart, even then. I have never seen a child your age act so mature and responsible because of a friend. Whenever Jongin cried, Kyungsoo would try to cheer him up by giving him his toys.” Soojin chuckles fondly. "Once a month toys would get dropped off at the orphanage, donations from people, but they were gone so fast because every kid wanted the best toy. I remember one time, Jongin was napping when the toys were dropped off and he was really sad because he didn’t get a single toy. Kyungsoo, you... you gave him all your toys you managed to pick up that day. Can you imagine?” She shakes her head, her eyes turning solemn. "When Jongin left, Kyungsoo turned really quiet. You didn’t play with anyone for a long time and you didn’t let anyone else play with Jongin’s toys. You didn’t let anyone sleep in Jongin’s bed either. I remember how much it broke my heart because I knew Jongin was the only child that was so close to Kyungsoo. You were like brothers.”

 

Kyungsoo gulps heavily. He remembers that too. He remembers a lot of sadness, remembers some grown ups visiting the orphanage a couple of times, always playing with his friend - with Jongin - and he never understood what it all was about. He remembers coming downstairs one day to find Jongin crying as a tall man held him to his chest. He remembers asking where Jongin was going and how they told him that Jongin was going home and Kyungsoo didn’t understand because the orphanage was Jongin’s home.

 

And he remembers the scared look in Jongin’s eyes when he spotted Kyungsoo standing downstairs, almost as if he was pleading Kyungsoo to save him like he always did, but Kyungsoo was only a kid and there was nothing he could do to stop those strangers from taking his friend away.

 

"You sat at the window for hours, waiting for him to come back. We kept telling you that he wasn’t going to come back but it took you a few days to finally realize that we were telling the truth.”

 

Kyungsoo feels Jongin’s eyes on him and it feels like his heart is being squeezed in his chest. Because if what Soojin is telling them is true, it means that Kyungsoo used to like Jongin a lot when they were kids and now, almost twenty years later, he still does.

 

"When was I adopted?” Jongin asks quietly. "I just... I can’t remember almost anything from what you just told me.”

 

"If I’m not completely mistaken, you were four, just about to turn five.” She nods to herself. "Oh Jongin... You didn’t have it very easy here and you were so young. I’m afraid you just suppressed those memories. I can’t speak for your family; I don’t know what they told you, if they helped you forget. But from the things that happened to you at such young age, you only remember the important things very vividly.”

 

"But then why don’t I remember Kyungsoo hyung?”

 

Everyone in the room falls silent, three pairs of eyes focused on Jongin once they make sense of Jongin’s words and at first, Kyungsoo thinks that Jongin just slipped, that he didn’t mean to say that, but then the younger turns his head and looks at Kyungsoo like he’s scared that he’ll get angry at him for saying something like that.

 

But Jongin looks so lost and Kyungsoo isn’t angry at all and they silently look at each other until someone clears their throat.

 

"Maybe because getting separated from him was like a traumatic event for you.” Seulgi suggests, her eyes moving back and forth between the two of them.

 

She knows.

 

"So your mind just... I don’t know, deleted the memories.”

 

"That’s so sad.” Joohyun mumbles.

 

"I remember.” Kyungsoo says, looking at Jongin. "I remember most of it. I can help you remember.”

 

No one has ever looked at Kyungsoo the way Jongin does in that moment, like he’s trying to squeeze Kyungsoo’s heart with how much it twists in his chest, and when the younger’s eyes suddenly look dangerously wet, Kyungsoo finds it hard not to reach over and hold his hand.

 

"Okay.”

 

And somehow, Kyungsoo just knows that everyone in this room knows what Kyungsoo only recently managed to admit to himself.

 

That Jongin makes him feel things he has never felt towards anyone.

 

"Come visit us more often.” Soojin hugs Jongin tightly when they’re about to leave. "You’re a part of our family too. You’re always welcome here.”

 

Kyungsoo looks at the way Jongin smiles at her, how genuinely happy he looks, how handsome his smile is, and it makes his breath falter even though he should be used to it after spending a decent amount of time with the younger.

 

"You never break your promises, do you?” Seulgi suddenly mutters next to him.

 

"What?”

 

"You said you’d help us.” She whispers. "You said you’d save the orphanage. And you did.”

 

Kyungsoo shakes his head, watching Joohyun give Jongin a warm hug. "I didn’t do anything.” He really just created a huge mess, revealing things that weren’t supposed to be revealed, at least not from him.

 

Seulgi sighs and together, they watch how Jongin chuckles at something Joohyun tells him. "It’s like fate brought you two together again.”

 

And this time, Kyungsoo doesn’t deny it, his eyes glued to the crinkles that appear in the corners of Jongin’s eyes when he smiles.

 

"You guys are so obvious.” She chuckles, shaking her head. "He looks at you like you hung the stars for him.”

 

Kyungsoo shakes his head, feeling his face heat up. "That’s not true.”

 

"You look at him the same way.”

 

Kyungsoo turns to look at her then, gulping nervously. "I do?”

 

"You really like him, huh?” And then something strange happens; Seulgi’s eyes fill with tears and Kyungsoo is so surprised because he can’t remember the last time he’s seen the girl cry. He hugs her because it looks like she needs it right now and she rests her head on his shoulder, sniffling quietly. "I’m so proud of you, Soo.”

 

Kyungsoo rubs her back and catches Jongin’s eyes from over her shoulder, and Jongin gives him a timid smile, his eyes so bright, and Kyungsoo can only think one thing in that moment.

 

How much he wants to kiss him.

 

 

 

The ride home is pretty much spent in silence.

 

When Kyungsoo is about to drive the car into the direction of Jongin’s apartment, the younger speaks up.

 

"Can I stay with you tonight?”

 

And because he’s driving, Kyungsoo doesn’t have much time to make a decision and he ends up driving straight ahead, away from where Jongin’s apartment is located. Once he realizes that, his heart nearly stops.

 

"I’m sorry.” Jongin utters, sensing Kyungsoo’s anxiety. "I just. I want to be with you for a little longer.”

 

Kyungsoo nods, gulping heavily. “Okay.”

 

 

 

 

"It isn’t much.” Kyungsoo mumbles as he sticks the keys into the lock of his apartment door. "I’m just... warning you.”

 

His hands are sweating and it’s not even because of the fact that Jongin wants to stay with him tonight. What scares him is that Jongin will see the circumstances that Kyungsoo is living in and, apart from Sehun, no one’s ever seen the state of his apartment.

 

If the girls knew, they wouldn’t accept a single penny from him anymore.

 

Jongin’s reaction is only proof of that.

 

The apartment is ice cold when they step inside, and while Jongin shudders violently, Kyungsoo doesn’t even flinch since he was expecting the chilly air inside.

 

There isn’t much to look at.

 

It’s a living room with a couch and a TV, the kitchen connected to it since he only has two more rooms - the bathroom and his bedroom.

 

There’s not much furniture: no decoration, no pictures. It’s all just really dark and depressing but Kyungsoo grew used to it, not even bothering to look around the four walls any more than necessary after coming here from work.

 

It’s not a home - it never was - so Kyungsoo never bothered to make it look like one. Because there are no people to welcome him, there are no memories attached to this place and there’s nothing keeping him here apart from his job.

 

It’s just a place he sleeps in, where he eats and showers.

 

And honestly, from the outside, it looks like Kyungsoo simply isn’t done unpacking after moving.

 

But he finished unpacking almost three years ago.

 

"I told you.” He mutters, taking in Jongin’s reaction.

 

Jongin looks up at him. "Hyung…”

 

"Do you want tea? I can’t offer much else to warm up. The heater’s broken.” He doesn’t wait for an answer, walks over to where the kettle is and pours fresh water into it before turning it on.

 

He wouldn’t have brought Jongin here on any other night. But he understands that the younger doesn’t want to be alone after what he heard and honestly, Kyungsoo didn’t want him to leave either but he just. He can’t believe Jongin is here, seeing just how miserable Kyungsoo actually is, and he just doesn’t know what to expect.

 

What he doesn’t expect is for Jongin to step up behind him, doesn’t expect the arms wrapping around his middle, the warmth that suddenly surrounds him when Jongin pulls him back against his chest, his forehead resting against Kyungsoo’s nape.

 

"I’m sorry.” Jongin mumbles. "I’m not judging you. I’m just worried about you.” His breath tickles Kyungsoo’s skin, spreading goosebumps across his neck. "It’s so cold here, hyung.”

 

Kyungsoo bites his lip, his hands hanging at his sides uselessly. "You get used to it.”

 

He feels Jongin shake his head. "You take care of everyone else all the time. You need to take care of yourself too.”

 

"I am.” Kyungsoo sighs, watching the water boil in the kettle. "I’m fine. I’ll get the heater fixed.”

 

"No you won’t.” Jongin huffs and Kyungsoo wonders when he started to read Kyungsoo so easily. "I want to take care of you. The way you used to when we were little. Let me pay you back.”

 

Kyungsoo’s nose suddenly starts prickling at Jongin’s words and one of Jongin’s hands moves to hold Kyungsoo’s cold one, intertwining their fingers tightly. "I don’t need help.” He utters weakly, but he sounds like a hypocrite when he shudders against the cold air in his apartment.

 

"Everyone needs help from time to time.” Jongin nuzzles into his shoulder.

 

He can’t even remember the last time he asked someone for help, which is stupid, because as Jongin said, everyone needs help at times so why is it so damn hard for him to admit that he doesn’t even have enough money to fix his broken heater?

 

Kyungsoo keeps his mouth shut, not even realizing that he’s leaning back into Jongin’s chest, like he’s seizing his warmth and scent.

 

They drink the tea in silence mostly, pressed closely together to share some warmth.

 

"I’m freezing.“ Jongin pouts once his mug is empty and Kyungsoo smiles against his chest, his back pressing against the cold counter.

 

"I’m sorry.”

 

"Can we go to bed? I need a blanket.”

 

Kyungsoo leads him to his bedroom, which is just as empty as the rest of the apartment. The bed is loaded with blankets though so that’s good.

 

"I don’t have a spare toothbrush but you can floss and use my mouthwash.” He says, scratching at the back of his neck.

 

"It’s okay. I shouldn’t have invited myself like that.” Jongin purses his lips and he’s slightly shivering and Kyungsoo feels horrible. He hopes the younger won’t get sick since he’s not used to such cold air inside.

 

"No. I’m... I’m glad you’re here.” Kyungsoo says, his cheeks burning after, not used to saying things like that.

 

The smile Jongin gives him is more than worth it though.

 

He gives Jongin a long sleeved shirt to sleep in but none of his sweatpants fit him properly so he ends up wearing nothing underneath, much to Kyungsoo’s dismay, because Jongin’s legs are just as beautiful as the rest of his body.

 

Jongin catches him staring from where he’s already sitting in the bed and a grin spreads on his face, one that just reminds Kyungsoo of just why Jongin is breaking so many hearts without really noticing it.

 

"Come here.” Kyungsoo huffs, lifting the covers and grumbling under his breath when the already toasty air underneath escapes. Jongin slips in quickly, shuddering at the sudden warmth when Kyungsoo makes sure that he’s fully covered with the blanket.

 

He shuffles closer, so close that the tips of their noses almost touch but Kyungsoo doesn’t even mind despite the way his heart starts going crazy again. "This is nice.”

 

"It’s cold.” Kyungsoo grunts and Jongin chuckles, the sound making Kyungsoo feel ridiculously happy.

 

"I mean being here with you hyung.” Jongin tentatively reaches his arm out, wrapping it around Kyungsoo’s back. "You make me feel like everything’s okay.” Kyungsoo hesitates but mimics Jongin’s actions, pulling the younger closer by his waist. He keeps telling himself that it’s okay to touch him, to show him that he doesn’t mind Jongin’s presence here because that’s what people do when they like someone.

 

And he does like Jongin. He likes him a lot.

 

"Do I?”

 

Jongin nods and starts biting at his lower lip, taking a deep breath before he speaks again. "I’m sorry for being one of the people that left you.”

 

"That’s not something you chose, Jongin.” Kyungsoo says.

 

"Does it matter?” Jongin shakes his head. "It’s not fair. That I was the one that got to have a family, that they adopted me when I couldn’t even fucking talk.”

 

"Hey.” Kyungsoo frowns at him. "Stop that. Don’t worry about things that can’t be changed. I don’t need a family. I’m doing okay on my own.”

 

Jongin keeps quiet for a moment, staring into Kyungsoo’s eyes. "You’re not alone anymore. You know that, right?”

 

He knows that Jongin means that they’re together now, that Kyungsoo has Jongin, because the younger reaches a hand out and touches Kyungsoo’s cheek, trailing the tips of his fingers over the cold skin. "I know.”

 

Jongin leans closer, the tips of their noses brushing, and Kyungsoo’s eyes flutter shut before he feels Jongin’s lips press against his own.

 

This is the first time they’re kissing since that night Kyungsoo promised him to stop pushing him away and if anything, the way Jongin is kissing him right now - without any desperation behind their movements - feels even better. Jongin pulls him a little closer and Kyungsoo can’t help but sigh against his lips because he’s so warm and so gentle.

 

"Hyung.” Jongin whispers once they’ve pulled away, and Kyungsoo thinks he shouldn’t like how breathless Jongin sounds from such a short kiss but he can’t really help it. "You do have a family.

 

He nudges Kyungsoo’s cheek with the tip of his nose and Kyungsoo closes his eyes. "What?”

 

"I’ll be your family.”

 

 

x

 

 

 

Kyungsoo drops Jongin off the next day so he can change clothes and most of all, so they don’t show up at work together.

 

Just because Taemin... gave them his blessing doesn’t mean Kyungsoo wants to cause even more of a mess at the office by showing up at Jongin’s side first thing in the morning. He’s pretty sure all hell will break loose as soon as Jongin enters the office today since he’s been missing in action for two days since the incident.

 

Jongin told him he’d show up at work again today, but it’s lunch time and the younger is nowhere to be seen.

 

"Worried about lover boy?” Sehun whispers, noticing the way Kyungsoo is looking up from his food every ten seconds.

 

Before Kyungsoo can tell him to shut up, Baekhyun joins them at their table. "So it’s true?! You guys are fucking now?”

 

"Is that all everyone thinks about?” Kyungsoo grunts and continues eating.

 

"Uhm. I mean, what’s more important than that?” Baekhyun looks clueless when Kyungsoo looks up to glare at him, his cheeks stuffed with food while a chopstick is stuck between his lips. "Oh come on. Don’t tell me you don’t want to bend over for him whenever you see that kid.”

 

Kyungsoo ignores him and keeps eating.

 

"Oh god.” Baekhyun mutters and rolls his eyes. "Okay, I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, father Kyungsoo.”

 

"I will kill you.”

 

Sehun laughs when Baekhyun looks mildly frightened as well as offended. "Jokes aside, are you two... like boyfriends now?”

 

"Is that what they’re saying?” Sehun whispers and Baekhyun nods.

 

"Some even say they saw you two kissing in the parking lot. But I’m not sure if I wanna believe that since you’re such a fucking prude.”

 

Kyungsoo shakes his head. "They’re making things up.”

 

"But you’re together?”

 

"Who’s together?” Chanyeol suddenly sits down beside Baekhyun. "Jongin and Kyungsoo?”

 

"Yup.”

 

"Oh, they are. Jongin told me so.” Chanyeol grins at Kyungsoo, wiggling his eyebrows.

 

"He did?” Kyungsoo blurts.

 

"Oh my god, this is fucking tragic. He doesn’t even know they’re dating.” Sehun groans and sips at his orange juice. "It’s like watching two idiots fall in love in high school.”

 

Everyone suddenly goes quiet in the room, and when Kyungsoo looks up to see why, he sees Jongin standing at the entrance, his heart doing a stupid little jump upon seeing him again. Chanyeol waves his hand to gain his attention and when Jongin walks up to their table, every single head follows and Kyungsoo just feels fed up by their reaction, especially when he sees a few girls pulling out their phones to snap pictures of him.

 

"Hey dude.” Chanyeol greets him when Jongin sits down at their table, greeting everyone with a polite nod of his head.

 

He sits down beside Kyungsoo.

 

And he’s looking at Kyungsoo.

 

And everyone in return is looking at them.

 

Kyungsoo stares at his food, his neck prickling with all the eyes shooting invisible daggers at him.

 

"Hi, hyung.” Jongin says and Kyungsoo knows he’s smiling from the sound of his voice.

 

"Hey.” Kyungsoo quickly looks up and the smile on Jongin’s face grows wider, a little softer when their eyes meet. "What are you doing?”

 

"I want to eat lunch with you. Is that not okay?” His knee brushes Kyungsoo’s under the table and Kyungsoo wonders if that’s going to be regular thing for them.

 

He’s also pretty sure one of the interns is currently snapping a sneaky picture of it and posting it all over the internet.

 

Baekhyun and Chanyeol are grinning at them while Sehun is staring at Jongin intently.

 

"Uhm. If you want.” He’s trying really hard not to smile back, especially when he remembers the things Jongin said last night, how they kissed until they fell asleep, how Jongin wrapped his arms around him when Kyungsoo made him toast this morning.

 

Honestly, it feels too surreal. Kyungsoo doesn’t even know how to act like a normal human being, let alone a normal human being in a relationship and yet he seems to have slipped into one with Jongin without actually realizing.

 

"Aww. He wants to eat lunch with his boo. This is too fucking cute.” Baekhyun coos at them.

 

"Hey.” Sehun suddenly speaks up, nodding his head at Jongin who gives him a confused look. "Since you’re with Kyungsoo hyung now, there are a few things we should talk about.”

 

"Sehun, shut the fuck up.”

 

"First of all, if you ever do anything that will hurt him, I will personally make sure that someone will cut your balls off. I know a guy who does martial arts and he won’t hesitate-”

 

Kyungsoo stuffs a huge piece of bread into Sehun’s mouth, effectively shutting him up. "Eat your lunch and be quiet.”

 

Sehun gags a couple of times before he manages to spit the bread out again, his eyes watering when he looks at Kyungsoo. "This is what I get for looking out for you? What the fuck happened to being a better friend?!”

 

"I love how we all get along so well.”

 

Jongin chuckles and Kyungsoo cracks a smile as well because no matter how Sehun is acting, when no one is looking, he gives Kyungsoo a little smile that shows how happy he is and honestly, Kyungsoo is too.

 

He’s really happy.

 

 

 

Kyungsoo thought that working at the same place as Jongin would be weird, now that things are different between them, but the truth is that he doesn’t see the younger around the office at all since both of them are so busy. And Jongin will be leaving by the end of the month when the project he’s helping Taemin out with comes to an end, and Kyungsoo is silently glad about that as well.

 

He just hopes that people will calm down because right now, most of his co-workers are staring at Kyungsoo like he personally offended their mother or something like that, and it’s so ridiculous because no one really confirmed the rumors of something going on between Jongin and Kyungsoo yet everyone believes it.

 

Kyungsoo enters the bathroom, silently glad that it’s empty because it feels like he’s being followed everywhere he goes today.

 

And then before he can even get into one of the stalls, the door behind him opens again. Someone grabs his arm and starts pushing him into the last stall and really, Kyungsoo is pretty sure whoever it is is about to beat him up for supposedly dating Jongin but then he turns around and finds that it is Jongin who just locked the both of them into a bathroom stall

 

At work.

 

"What are you doing?” Kyungsoo asks with wide eyes. "Someone could see!”

 

"No one will see.” Jongin chuckles and Kyungsoo can’t even be mad at him, not when he smiles at Kyungsoo like that.

 

"Jongin.” He sighs. "What do you want? I have work to do.”

 

"I’m going to talk to my parents.” Jongin suddenly says. "Today, after work.”

 

Kyungsoo opens his mouth and closes it again, anxiety kicking in since he doesn’t know what Jongin means by that. "What are you going to do?”

 

"I thought about it.” Jongin says. "I thought about what you said to me and you were right. I don’t think I can just forgive them for keeping this from me but I just. I can’t handle hurting them. They’re my parents, no matter what.”

 

Kyungsoo nods. "That’s amazing, Jongin. I’m... really proud of you for doing this.”

 

"You helped.” Jongin steps closer, reaching out to take Kyungsoo’s hand. "You make me think a lot more rationally.”

 

"Stop.” Kyungsoo chuckles but Jongin smiles and shakes his head, leaning closer. "Jongin, stop-”

 

"I want to kiss you.” The younger pouts, and Kyungsoo feels his resolve crumbling.

 

"We’re at work. Be rational.”

 

"Just one kiss.”

 

Before Kyungsoo can protest any further, Jongin leans in all the way and presses their lips together tightly, his arms wrapping around Kyungsoo’s waist, pulling them close together.

 

It doesn’t stop at one innocent kiss like Kyungsoo expected. Instead, Jongin’s tongue runs over the seam of his lips and Kyungsoo can’t hold back a moan at the feeling, his hands gripping at Jongin’s hair to pull him down closer.

 

He never thought he’d be so weak and stupid but Jongin’s kisses make him be both of that.

 

"Stop” Kyungsoo breathes between kisses, his heartbeat going crazy. "You said one kiss.”

 

"One more.” Jongin whispers and then he’s kissing him again and suddenly their tongues meet and Kyungsoo’s mind is too far gone to care. Jongin groans and pushes him up against the wall, the sound of their breathing and their lips meeting again and again definitely too loud in the restroom.

 

Jongin’s tongue feels so good and Kyungsoo shudders all over, trying to push Jongin away because this is too much, they’re at work and if someone caught them... Kyungsoo doesn’t even want to think about it. "Stop, Jongin. Stop.”

 

The younger pulls away, smirking against his lips. "You don’t want me to stop.” He kisses him again, slow and deep and Kyungsoo curses under his breath.

 

"Jongin, dude, what the hell is taking you so long?!”

 

They both freeze at the sound of Chanyeol’s voice. Kyungsoo didn’t even hear him enter for god’s sake.

 

He hears Chanyeol walk inside and shit, he will see both their shoes because the door of the stall don’t go all the way down. Kyungsoo just silently sidesteps Jongin and steps on top of the toilet seat so Chanyeol won’t see two pair of shoes if he should look.

 

He buries his face in his hands, shaking his head because what is happening to him? He isn’t one to do reckless things like this.

 

"Can’t I even take a piss in peace?” He hears Jongin ask and suddenly there are hands on his own, tugging them away from his face and Jongin is leaning down despite Kyungsoo shaking his head in warning. Jongin just cups his face in his hands and kisses him, this time short and sweet, like he promised at the beginning and Kyungsoo’s eyes flutter shut on their own accord because kissing Jongin makes his brain go fuzzy.

 

"Just hurry the hell up! The meeting is starting in two minutes and you’re first up and screw me if I’m filling in for you again! Last time I did we lost a fucking client.” Chanyeol continues grumbling to himself.

 

Jongin pulls away and Kyungsoo opens his eyes when their lips separate. He wonders if he looks just as dazed as Jongin does. "I’ll be right there, you go ahead.” Jongin answers absently, smiling at Kyungsoo as he brushes a thumb over his cheek.

 

Kyungsoo half-heartedly glares at him and slaps his hands away, crossing his arms. He must look really stupid, still squatting on the damn toilet like that.

 

"No. I’m waiting right here until you come out. You’re not leaving me hanging again. Come on, I’m even holding the door open for you like you’re a fucking prince or something.” Chanyeol insists.

 

Jongin sighs and acts like he’s zipping up his pants, reaching out to flush the toilet for show. He gives Kyungsoo a questioning look, like he wants to make sure if he upset him, and Kyungsoo just sighs, shaking his head because he isn’t mad at Jongin. He’s mad at himself for being so careless. Jongin leans in and kisses his cheek before finally pulling away and unlocking the door, stepping outside and closing the door behind himself again.

 

"Were you jacking off in there or what?” He hears Chanyeol ask.

 

"Maybe.” Jongin snorts over the sound of water running and Chanyeol just laughs.

 

Once they’re gone, Kyungsoo decides to wait a couple more minutes just to make sure Chanyeol won’t see him exit the bathroom.

 

And if he’s smiling to himself like an idiot, well, no one can prove anything.

 

 

 

That night after work, all Kyungsoo wants to do is go home and sleep because it feels like so much happened in the past few days and Kyungsoo couldn’t really get any sleep because of it. So when he arrives home, he immediately changes into comfortable clothes, ready to call it a day when suddenly, Joohyun calls him, telling him that he needs to come over to the orphanage and she sounds like she’s crying on the phone and nothing could hold him back from going there after that.

 

He’s expecting the worst when he arrives there, but when he steps inside and hears excited squeals from upstairs and is met with Joohyun’s smile, he’s just confused.

 

"You were crying on the phone.” He frowns at her.

 

She shakes her head, taking his hand. "Where’s Jongin?”

 

"He’s busy.” Which isn’t a lie because Jongin is probably talking to his parents right now. Kyungsoo almost forgot about that. "What’s going on?”

 

"See for yourself.” She tugs him upstairs and towards the bedroom of the kids where all the noises are coming from.

 

Kyungsoo steps inside and just... freezes on the spot.

 

Taeil runs towards him excitedly, asking where Jongin is, tugging him to his new bed. "J-Jongin hyung b-bought us b-beds!” He exclaims, pointing at his own bed that has a Captain America shield attached to the headboard.

 

Kyungsoo wordlessly looks at the bed next to it where Naeun used to sleep on the floor on a flimsy mattress. Her bed is blue with stars scattered across it. She waves at him, looking happier than he’s ever seen her.

 

Every kid has a bed of their own.

 

Every bed is different, almost like... like Jongin took his time to talk to all of them and find out what kind of bed they want.

 

Kyungsoo doesn’t know what to do.

 

He feels like laughing and crying at the same time because he knows how much those kids wanted actual beds to sleep on. Who wouldn’t?

 

"He changed our entire bedroom.” Joohyun says, taking his hand again, a smile on her face like she understands what Kyungsoo is feeling.

 

The girls don’t just have their own beds now, but they even have new wardrobes, and new lamps, and a rug on the cold floor.

 

"We didn’t want to accept it when the delivery men came over but they said they were instructed to make sure the furniture was dropped off and assembled at the destination.” Joohyun explains. "I was hoping Jongin would come over today so we could thank him. I don’t know how we could ever thank him enough but just... this is too much. Just look how happy the kids are.”

 

Kyungsoo just nods his head, not knowing what he’s supposed to say. He feels like he’s drowning in a sea of emotions right now and it’s terrifying because he doesn’t know what it is he’s feeling, like he can’t breathe.

 

"Are you okay?”

 

"Yes.” He’s choking up.

 

"Aw. Soo.” Joohyun pulls him into an embrace. "Seulgi was right. You’re so in love with him, aren’t you?”

 

"I’m not.” He huffs, shaking his head as he steps out of her arms. "I’m just being stupid.” He chuckles nervously.

 

Joohyun smiles. "Tell Jongin to come here so I can cook him the dinner of his life, okay?”

 

"I will.”

 

But Joohyun was right.

 

Because as soon as Kyungsoo is in the car he’s reaching for his phone with shaking hands, dialing Jongin’s number, completely forgetting that he might be talking to his parents right now.

 

"Yes?” Jongin picks up after the fourth ring. „Hyung?”

 

"Are you at home?” Kyungsoo asks, trying to focus on the road and on Jongin’s voice and the way his heart is almost beating out of his chest.

 

"Yeah.” Jongin sounds confused. "Is everything okay? You sound weird.”

 

"Are you alone?”

 

"I am... are you okay?”

 

"I’m- can I come over?”

 

"Yeah. Of course. Hyung, tell me, are you okay?”

 

"I’m fine.” Kyungsoo answers. "I’ll be there in a minute.”

 

"Alright. Be careful.” Jongin still sounds confused and Kyungsoo doesn’t blame him because it isn’t like Kyungsoo to call him at all, let alone at this time at night but he just needs to see Jongin right now.

 

He isn’t sure what he wants to do when he stands in front of Jongin’s apartment, he just knows that he’s breathing nervously and that his eyes are burning and he’s pretty sure he’s going to cry if Jongin does something to trigger it.

 

Jongin opens the door and his eyes immediately fill with worry when he sees the state Kyungsoo is in. "What happened?” He asks, tugging Kyungsoo inside.

 

But Kyungsoo just shakes his head, staring at Jongin like he can’t quite believe he’s real. "Why did you... you... Jongin you bought them beds.”

 

It seems to take the younger a moment to realize what Kyungsoo is talking about. "Is that why you’re like this? You’re mad?” He steps closer and takes a hold of Kyungsoo’s hand.

 

"No.” Kyungsoo shakes his head. He doesn’t know why he’s acting like this. "I’m not mad... you don’t understand.”

 

"What do I not understand?”

 

"The kids... they wanted beds. They always just wanted a bed whenever it was their birthday or Christmas. It’s such... such a basic thing to wish for but we never had enough money to buy all of them a bed and we couldn’t just buy one of them a bed. They had to sleep on the floor and got sick because of it so many times and we couldn’t do anything and you just…”

 

"Should I not have?” Jongin asks carefully.

 

Kyungsoo looks up at him and shakes his head because Jongin is too much, everything he says, everything he does, how he looks at Kyungsoo, how he kisses him, how he touches him and knowing that they somehow found each other again after all this... Kyungsoo just doesn’t want to let go of him again.

 

He doesn’t want to see Jongin leave again.

 

He leans up and kisses him, Jongin seems surprised at first but he responds immediately, his hands gripping Kyungsoo’s waist while Kyungsoo pulls him down to kiss him deeper.

 

Kyungsoo opens his mouth and licks Jongin’s lips, shuddering when he feels a moan slip past the younger’s lips at the action. The air around them grows snug and hot and Kyungsoo can’t contain the heat building up in his abdomen when Jongin starts licking into his mouth.

 

Somehow they end up in Jongin’s bedroom but Kyungsoo barely notices, not with how he can’t stop touching Jongin, how Jongin is making those breathy sounds that shoot heat right to his groin.

 

He doesn’t know what he’s doing when he undresses Jongin, revealing his beautiful skin inch by inch, when he presses Jongin into the mattress. He doesn’t know what he’s doing when he kisses Jongin’s smooth skin, his jaw, his neck, sucking marks everywhere with Jongin’s hands wandering over his biceps, his back, stifled moans leaving his sinful lips.

 

"Off.” Jongin whispers, his fingers tugging at Kyungsoo’s tie and Kyungsoo stops kissing his neck to let him do it, only now realizing that he’s still wearing most of his clothes when Jongin is already naked down to his briefs.

 

Jongin looks him in the eyes while he unties it and Kyungsoo feels his stomach plummet because Jongin looks at him like he hung the stars and Kyungsoo - despite his efforts - knows that he must look at Jongin like he’s just as beautiful as those drawings hanging on his walls. Jongin’s knuckles are grazing the heated skin on his chest and Kyungsoo slowly starts realizing that this is actually happening.

 

And Jongin looks absolutely mesmerizing. His skin looks so beautiful and Kyungsoo doesn’t care what people say, Jongin’s skin is kissed by the sun and everyone is just too stupid to see the beauty in it. He looks at his lean arms, his broad shoulders, his tousled hair, his blown pupils, his puffy lips and it all nearly drives Kyungsoo mad with how much he wants to have all of that for himself.

 

Jongin presses kisses into Kyungsoo’s chest, into every patch of skin that gets exposed with every button he opens on his way down.

 

Kyungsoo reaches up to hold Jongin’s hands in his because the younger is taking too much time. He helps him undo the buttons faster and leans down to kiss him so Jongin stops looking at him like that, pressing him down into the bed at the same time.

 

Once the last button comes free, Jongin slides the soft fabric over Kyungsoo’s shoulders and his arms wrap around his back, hands mapping out the skin over his shoulders and Kyungsoo shudders against him because it feels so incredibly good to be touched like that.

 

Jongin pulls him close and Kyungsoo holds himself up with his forearms on either side of Jongin’s head and he feels the younger spread his legs as he lowers his hips, fitting them against Jongin’s.

 

He can’t really look at anything else but Jongin’s eyes, completely mesmerized.

 

Kyungsoo kisses his lips, feels Jongin’s arms wrap around his waist to pull them closer together. They’re both already half hard when Jongin lifts his hips to get some friction. Kyungsoo gives it to him by pressing down in return.

 

He moves their crotches together, his arms shaking when Jongin moans against his lips. "Hyung... do you have anything?” Jongin groans while Kyungsoo ruts against him, feeling both of them grow harder until Kyungsoo is heavy and aching between his legs, his mind dizzy from the heat and want and Jongin.

 

It takes Kyungsoo a moment to make sense of Jongin’s question, his mind too far gone with Jongin’s scent, the feel of his skin, the way he looks. "Fuck... No.” Kyungsoo swears against his lips, cursing himself for throwing away the stash of condoms and the lube that Sehun had hidden underneath his bed for ‘emergencies’. "Don’t you?” He whispers, lips never leaving Jongin’s.

 

Jongin groans. "I ran out.“ He seems to realize what he said when Kyungsoo freezes and shakes his head quickly. "I ran out a long while ago! I just didn’t bother buying anything new because... you know, because of you.” He looks at Kyungsoo like he’s scared he might have ruined the mood but Kyungsoo just smiles down at him and Jongin sighs, relieved, lifting his hips demandingly.

 

Kyungsoo thrusts their erections together faster because it seems to be wrecking Jongin with how he scrunches his eyes shut, quiet moans escaping his lips whenever Kyungsoo presses down against him.

 

Kyungsoo lifts himself up and opens Jongin’s legs wider by pressing his thighs apart and down against the mattress, his cock twitching at the needy moan that leaves Jongin’s lips when Kyungsoo presses him down. Kyungsoo bites down on his tongue because Jongin looks so incredibly beautiful spread out underneath him, for him. He moves his hand to palm Jongin’s cock, starts rubbing it through the fabric and Jongin curses under his breath, his hips rolling into Kyungsoo’s palm and it’s driving Kyungsoo mad, how hard and heavy Jongin is in his hands, the sounds leaving his lips - the fact that Kyungsoo did this to him without even really touching him at all.

 

His own cock is throbbing painfully, twitching every time a beautiful moan leaves Jongin’s lips, and he’s about to reach inside the fabric to finish Jongin off but Jongin seems to have other ideas because suddenly, Jongin slaps his hand away and the next second Kyungsoo’s on his back and Jongin is leaning over him, panting and flushed with dark eyes and red bitten lips.

 

Kyungsoo opens his mouth to argue but Jongin pushes his legs apart and presses their erections together again and the protest dies in his throat, his head falling back against the pillows when Jongin starts grinding against his crotch. "Shit, Jongin....” He groans, the pressure almost painful on his erection. He doesn’t know if it’s because he hasn’t been with anyone for such a long time or if it’s just because this is Jongin, but he’s pretty sure he’s going to come just from this.

 

Jongin leans down and buries his face in Kyungsoo’s neck, moaning against his skin, peppering it with kisses and Kyungsoo wraps an arm around his slender waist, his other hand moving down to to his underwear to slip underneath the fabric and over the swell of his ass. The sound Jongin makes when Kyungsoo grips his cheeks almost drives him over the edge. Jongin moans when Kyungsoo mindlessly slides his fingers between his cheeks, rubbing against his entrance, and a breathless "fuck” escapes his lips as he starts pressing back against his fingers.

 

The pressure in his stomach grows until it’s almost unbearable, until their breathing turns horribly frantic, and Jongin rubs their cocks together faster and faster to the point where Kyungsoo can’t tell if Jongin is pressing down against him or back against the fingers that are pushing against his hole.

 

"Hyung.” Jongin whispers against his neck and Kyungsoo’s eyes nearly roll back in his head, the ache of blood in his cock and the pleasure from the friction against it almost maddening. He pushes his hips up to meet Jongin when the tension in his body gets too much, when the heat in his stomach feels like it’s going to burst. "Fuck, hyung, I’m gonna come.” Jongin whines almost like he’s embarrassed and Kyungsoo doesn’t know why he’s smiling but he is. He pulls Jongin back to look at him and thinks he’s never seen something more breathtaking. "Don’t laugh.” Jongin half moans and half chuckles.

 

Kyungsoo leans up and kisses him. "Come for me.” He mouths against his lips and Jongin’s mouth goes slack, his eyes screwing shut as he lowers his head. Kyungsoo digs his fingers into Jongin’s skin when the younger presses his hips down hard once, twice and then again, stilling as a violent shudder runs through Jongin’s entire body. His hips are stuttering against Kyungsoo’s as he spills into his briefs, and feeling the wetness soaking the fabric, feeling Jongin tremble against him and hearing him moan Kyungsoo’s name so breathlessly drives him over the edge too.

 

His cock pulses heavily as he spurts into his underwear and he’s moaning against Jongin’s hot skin, holding him closer as Jongin grinds against him, panting heavily while they ride out their orgasms.

 

Kyungsoo feels boneless in the moments after, his heart going absolutely crazy in his chest and his thighs trembling from the pleasure that’s still thrumming underneath his skin.

 

He cradles Jongin’s face in his hands and brings him up to kiss him. He kisses him until he feels Jongin’s arms shake beside him, until his lungs hurt from the lack of oxygen.

 

Jongin pulls away and stares down at him, panting softly and then a brilliant smile spreads on his face. "I’ll get you... something to clean up.” He mutters and rolls off of him, leaving Kyungsoo there to stare at the ceiling in a mixture of bliss and shame.

 

Did he honestly just get dry humped until he came into his pants like a teenager?

 

Yes.

 

Yes, he most definitely did.

 

Jongin comes back with a wet towel and something that looks like new underwear. "I haven’t worn these before.” He mumbles as he hands them to Kyungsoo.

 

"Thanks.” Kyungsoo clears his throat and Jongin turns to go clean himself up in the bathroom while Kyungsoo changes his underwear.

 

When Jongin comes back, Kyungsoo holds his breath because the younger looks absolutely ravished with his hair all over the place, his lips red from kissing and his skin still a little flushed.

 

To think that Kyungsoo did that to him is just mind blowing.

 

"Why were these still in original packaging?” Kyungsoo asks, pointing at the briefs he’s wearing. He knows they’re expensive, way too expensive for underwear but it doesn’t surprise him. If he had as much money as Jongin has, he probably wouldn’t care about the price tags of anything he bought.

 

"I get them sent to me all the time.” Jongin explains, sitting down next to him. "I modeled for them once.”

 

"You did?” Kyungsoo can’t help but frown.

 

Jongin stares at him for a moment and starts laughing. "No, hyung. I’m not that good looking.”

 

"I think you are.”

 

"You do?”

 

Kyungsoo nods and Jongin leans in to kiss him again and no matter how many times they’ve already kissed, it still feels like Kyungsoo’s going up in flames when they do, like his skin is drenched in gasoline and Jongin’s lips are the spark of fire.

 

"Honestly, Jongin.” Kyungsoo speaks. "Thank you for doing that. You can’t imagine how happy you made them.”

 

"Don’t thank me. It’s nothing.” Jongin shrugs. "Was Taeil happy about his bed? I couldn’t find an Iron Man one anywhere. I hope he wasn’t too disappointed.”

 

"Are you kidding me?” Kyungsoo chuckles. "You’re like his hero, Jongin. He would be all over it no matter what you gave him. But yes, he was really excited.” He smiles when Jongin actually looks relieved. "He really loves you.”

 

"I love him too.” Jongin smiles. "I just... I want them to be happy. I think the least I can do is use the money I have for good stuff.”

 

Kyungsoo nods his head, trying to ignore the pang of guilt in his chest because he’ll never have as much as Jongin does. He can’t help the kids the way Jongin does.

 

"Hyung, I know what you’re thinking and I want you to stop.” Jongin brushes his thumb over Kyungsoo’s chin. "The kids love you no matter what. And we’re going to do things for the orphanage together from now on, okay? I bought it. We’re going to renovate the entire place, all of us, together. Forget about the money.”

 

"Wait, what did you say? You bought it?”

 

"I didn’t want other people to be in control over what happens to it. This way we can keep an eye on everything that happens with it. I thought... I thought it would put your mind a little more at ease.”

 

"Jongin... but that must’ve cost a fortune.” Kyungsoo shakes his head at him. "You can’t spend all your money on them.”

 

"Isn’t that what you’ve been doing all your life?” Jongin asks gently. "I said I wanted to help you. This is me helping you. You don’t have to do everything on your own.”

 

Kyungsoo sighs and lets Jongin pull him closer. "Hey. Did you talk to your parents?” He asks, only now remembering that.

 

"Yes.”

 

"Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

"I wanted to. But you kind of jumped me as soon as I let you in.” Jongin laughs when Kyungsoo shoots him a glare, pulling him into his embrace again.

 

"What happened?” Kyungsoo’s voice is muffled against Jongin’s bare shoulder and he suddenly feels really sleepy.

 

"I think we’ll be fine.” Jongin sighs. "I might forgive them one day but right now I’m just trying to make things go back to normal.”

 

Kyungsoo hums, feeling relieved about the news. "I’m happy to hear that. How are you feeling?”

 

"I’m feeling good, hyung. Don’t worry.” Jongin turns to kiss Kyungsoo’s temple. "I feel really good with you by my side.”

 

"You’re a sap.”

 

"I’m sorry.”

 

"Don’t be.”

 

"Hyung?”

 

"Hm?”

 

"I really like you, you know?” Jongin mumbles into his ear. "And I just... want you to know that I’m not going to leave you behind again. I promise that.”

 

Kyungsoo can’t help but smile, his heart swelling with affection for the younger. "I like you too.” He wraps his arms around Jongin’s bare shoulders and pulls him closer, closing his eyes as he takes in Jongin’s comforting scent.

 

"Let’s go to sleep.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They sleep in the next day since it’s a Saturday and waking up with Jongin in his arms, the younger snoring softly with his almost naked body tangled in the sheets, definitely is a sight Kyungsoo could get used to.

 

Jongin hums happily when Kyungsoo cards his fingers through his hair, snuggling into Kyungsoo’s chest while mumbling "Hyung” against his skin. He tries to pull away without waking him up but Jongin just wraps his arms around his waist, shaking his head. “Stay a little longer.” He mumbles, pressing soft kisses against Kyungsoo’s shoulder and there’s just no way Kyungsoo could move away from him now.

 

Not with how soft Jongin looks, how nice he smells and how a sleepy smile adorns his face upon realizing that he made Kyungsoo stay with his gentle touches, his hands rubbing over Kyungsoo’s bare back comfortingly as he molds their chests together and continues kissing every patch of skin his lips can reach.

 

“Are you always this clingy in the morning?” Kyungsoo whispers. He might sound annoyed but the way his fingers comb through the younger’s hair and how his eyes are closed from the butterfly kisses pressing against his skin gives away how much he likes this.

 

“Not clingy. Just affectionate.”

 

“I want to make breakfast.”

 

Jongin hums.

 

“Do you have eggs?”

 

“I think so.” Jongin mumbles. “Can you make me french toast?”

 

Kyungsoo chuckles. “If you ask nicely.”

 

At this, Jongin pulls away, blinking his eyes open and squinting when the light seems to hurt him. “Please?” He leans in without warning, pecking Kyungsoo’s lips in such a sweet way that he feels like he’s melting.

 

Yeah, he could definitely get used to this.

 

 

 

When he’s cleaning the table to put the dishes down on it, he spots the drawings that are still on there, the ones that Jongin tore apart a few days ago. Kyungsoo feels sad because they were such nice drawings and Jongin must’ve spent hours on a few of them, so seeing them destroyed like this is really heart breaking.

 

Since it’ll take some time for the rice to cook, Kyungsoo decides to try and fix a couple of the drawings as best as he can. It’s not easy because there’s only so much you can do with a little glue and tape but by the time the rice has cooked Kyungsoo has managed to put together four of the drawings.

 

Kyungsoo puts the rice into bowls and fries some vegetables, and when he turns around to place them on the table, Jongin is standing there, holding one of the drawings in his hands.

 

"Good morning.” Kyungsoo says, placing the plates on the table.

 

Jongin looks up from his drawing. "You didn’t have to do this.”

 

"Uhm. I wanted to. Should I not have?”

 

Jongin just shakes his head and steps closer, cupping Kyungsoo’s face and giving him a kiss that shakes Kyungsoo to the core of his bones. "Thank you.”

 

Kyungsoo gets a text from Joohyun during breakfast, asking them to come over for dinner tonight. "Joohyun asks what your favorite food is.”

 

The younger tilts his head at him, speaking through a mouthful. "Why?”

 

"She wants to cook for you. To say thank you for what you did.”

 

"She doesn’t have to.” Jongin sighs. "But she should know by now that I basically eat anything.”

 

Kyungsoo snorts. "Alright. I’ll tell her that.”

 

Joohyun sends him back a picture of Naeun pouting and making a thumbs down with her hand for giving such a lousy answer which makes him smile brightly because they braided her hair and she looks absolutely adorable.

 

"Why are you smiling?”

 

Kyungsoo turns his phone to show him the picture and Jongin smiles too upon seeing it. "She’s really lucky to have you. You love her a lot.”

 

"I do.”

 

"Please don’t hit me for this.” Jongin mumbles. "But I’ve been thinking, how nice it would be, if we could... I don’t know. Fuck, it didn’t sound as stupid in my head.”

 

"What?” Kyungsoo wants to know.

 

Jongin shrugs. "If we could adopt Naeun and Taeil. I think we’d make good parents.”

 

Kyungsoo looks at Jongin with wide eyes. "You mean us two...?”

 

Jongin nods, suddenly looking really nervous.

 

"But you know that’s not possible.” Kyungsoo says, his heart fluttering just because Jongin thought about them adopting children together.

 

Normally this would scare the shit out of Kyungsoo but he’s so happy today that he doesn’t mind talking about it at all.

 

"I know.” Jongin sighs and shrugs again. "I’m just saying. In a perfect world, you and me would adopt them. And we’d have like, a huge garden and cute puppies and throw lame barbecue parties with our neighbors. We’d be a happy family.”

 

Kyungsoo chuckles. "Yeah, in a perfect world, I think we could.”

 

“I really want to kiss you when you smile like that.” Jongin mumbles.

 

“I’m not stopping you.”

 

Jongin’s leans over the table to press their lips together, both of them not able to stop smiling into the kiss.

 

Kyungsoo doesn’t really need a perfect world.

 

He has his friends, he has the people at the orphanage, the kids.

 

He has Jongin.

 

And that is all he needs to be perfectly happy.

 

 

x

 

 

True to her words, Joohyun has prepared a dinner that has Jongin looking lovestruck upon seeing all the food on the table when they arrive.

 

The night is loud as always but everyone seems so much more at peace without the fear of losing the orphanage lingering at the back of their minds.

 

The kids are completely in love with Jongin.

 

They don’t stop telling him how much they love their beds and Kyungsoo feels his heart swell even more when he sees how Jongin blushes from all the attention on him. Jongin nods his head along when one of the younger boys tells him about his amazing dream that night and he reaches his hand out to hold Kyungsoo’s under the table. Kyungsoo can’t help but smile as he squeezes back and when he catches Seulgi’s eyes from across the table, she just smiles and looks happier than Kyungsoo’s ever seen her look.

 

 

 

 

 

After dinner, they sit in the living room while the kids are watching a movie.

 

The night is filled with laughter and tears because they’re talking about their memories from their time at the orphanage.

 

When Kyungsoo talks, he tells them about Jongin.

 

He tells them what they used to talk about even if Jongin was silent all the time. How Kyungsoo learned to read his eyes. How they used to sleep together in a bed to keep warm.

 

Jongin starts crying and no one says a word when Kyungsoo hugs him.

 

 

Later, when they’re about to go and read stories to the kids, Jongin stops him in the hallway and pulls him into another hug, this one more intimate.

 

“Thank you.” He whispers into his ear.

 

Kyungsoo presses a kiss against his temple, hoping to sooth him. “You okay?”

 

Jongin nods “I am. I’m okay with you.”

 

A few weeks ago, those words would’ve made Kyungsoo cringe, but now they only make him hold the younger closer just to show that no, he isn’t pushing him away any longer.

 

 

 

 

Kyungsoo’s sitting in Naeun’s bed, just having finished reading her a story and he smiles down at the sleeping girl, putting the book away. Her head’s laying on Kyungsoo’s chest as she sleeps peacefully, looking happy and healthy and everything Kyungsoo’s ever wanted for her.

 

He looks up and to his right where Jongin is sitting in Taeil’s bed, the toddler once again clinging to Jongin like a Koala baby would to it’s mother, arms and legs wrapped around him as his little face is snuggled into Jongin’s chest.

 

Kyungsoo smiles because one of Taeil’s hands is in Jongin’s face, his fingers playing with his eyelashes and Jongin still looks mildly disturbed but mostly, he just looks completely fond with the little boy in his arms.

 

Their eyes meet and Kyungsoo holds his breath when Jongin smiles because it’s like watching a beautiful flower bloom.

 

There, in the curl of Jongin’s lips, are a few words that aren’t meant to be said out loud in that moment.

 

And when Kyungsoo smiles back, his heart skipping a beat, there’s a reply that also remains silent.

 

Because Kyungsoo learned to read Jongin’s eyes a long, long time ago.

 

Because sometimes a love like this doesn’t need words.

 

 

 

 x ... ... x