nc-17; 3,375 words; multi-chapter
there was a lifetime in each other, if they chose to see it.
part zero; a moment | part one; a past | part two; a denial | part three; a growing up | part four; a togetherness | part five; a separation | part six; a confession | part seven; a quarrel | part eight; a break up | part nine; a falling | part ten; a support | part eleven; a loyalty | part twelve; an understanding | part thirteen; a reconciliation
It's the second afternoon of their reunion, and the hours that they've spent out of bed can be counted far more easily than the hours that they've spent in it. Donghae's slightly drowsy, content to lie gracelessly while Hyukjae feathers kisses all over his body from forehead to chest to navel and legs, as though he's on a trail of exploration. Maybe he is. It's been ten years, after all.
"Find anything new?" he asks teasingly as Hyukjae cups one of his feet and raises it to his lips.
Hyukjae considers as he kisses each toe. "Well, you're a bit fatter."
"Excuse you," Donghae says, indignant. "We can't all be…nymph-like."
"No, but you can consider hitting the gym more often than you are now. Which is, I presume, about once every two months?"
"Might be," Donghae says grumpily. "I'm approaching my mid-thirties. I can choose to stop going to the gym if I want to."
"Can't argue with that," Hyukjae laughs disarmingly. He parts Donghae's legs and makes himself comfortable between them, positioning his head at Donghae's crotch. "This is still my favourite part," he says, running a finger down Donghae's half-hard cock. "Still strong and healthy, and very obliging."
Donghae isn't about to let him off so easily. "The reason for all this stamina is because I haven't had sex for so long, I get aroused simply by you being within ten feet of me. Wait another week, and count yourself lucky if I can get it up once a month. You have to pay for neglecting it for so long."
"Oh, I'm not worried. We'll go into training starting today. If your cock is as gifted as I remember it to be, it'll take no time at all to become a superb athlete."
"You ridiculous human being," Donghae says, laughing despite himself.
Hyukjae winks and then wraps his beautiful lips around his cock, and Donghae doesn't want to talk anymore. They've had sex a few times (well, more than a few times) since the first morning, but with all the catching up to do, they haven't managed to get around to having oral sex yet. And now, feeling the tight, wet heat of Hyukjae's expert mouth on him, soft tongue and lips, cheeks hollowed from sucking, Donghae feels a blank whiteness shutting down his mind, squeezing out all unrelated thoughts and sensations and focusing every nerve in his body on this single spot of concentrated pleasure. He pushes his hand into Hyukjae's hair and moans louder than he should when Hyukjae mouths his balls, kisses his inner thighs before getting back to work on his cock.
"God," he manages, "how the fuck are you so good at this…fuck…you're unbelievable."
Hyukjae hums in reply, and Donghae comes before he even expects it, hard and fast and intense, pouring out what seems to be his entire self into Hyukjae's willing mouth. He keeps his eyes open long enough to see Hyukjae swallowing his come, licking it off the head, then he's out, still trembling as the pleasure creeps its way throughout his body. He vaguely feels Hyukjae moving up to lie beside him, pulling him close and kissing his forehead, but he doesn't emerge until several moments later, and even then he's so sated he can barely move.
"I don't think I can do anymore today," he says. "I don't want to move anymore, and I just want to sleep."
Hyukjae grins at him, and Donghae makes an effort to lift his head and kiss his nose. "You've fucked me that good."
"About three times since midnight, I think," Hyukjae says, tilting his head. "Four, including this blowjob. I'd say we both deserve a rest."
Donghae puts an arm across his waist. "Stay with me."
"You're crazy if you think I'm going anywhere," Hyukjae says, moving his face closer so they can kiss without effort. "Well, maybe to the shower, in a few hours. But we can stand being fifteen minutes apart, can't we?"
"No," says Donghae. "Wake me up, and we'll both go to the shower."
"Idiot," Hyukjae laughs, and kisses him until he falls asleep.
Donghae wakes up sometime past seven in the evening, and feels a flare of panic when he realises that he's in bed alone. For a breath-consuming moment he wonders if it had all been a wonderful, impossible, heart-breaking dream and Hyukjae is still somewhere out there in the world, hunting it alone with no thought of coming back, no available space in his heart to offer. Then he hears Hyukjae's voice outside, mingling with Ryeowook's, and he has just enough time to settle the rapid beating of his heart before Hyukjae comes in swathed in a bathrobe, rubbing a towel over his hair.
Donghae practically lunges at him, and Hyukjae drops the towel in shock. "What? What?"
"I thought it wasn't real," Donghae says, his words tumbling over each other. "I thought it was a dream."
He sneaks his hands under Hyukjae's bathrobe, seeking the warm, solid assurance of skin and bone, and Hyukjae sits them both on the bed, loosens his bathrobe and lets Donghae roam possessive hands and mouth over his body. "It's okay," he says gently as Donghae sucks at the dip between his collarbones. "It's real. We're together."
"I told you to wake me up if you were going to the shower," Donghae says, arranging his lips into a pout.
"Well, I forgot how serious your dependency issues are," Hyukjae says, more lightly now that Donghae looks relatively normal again. "Anyway, it's about…seven-thirty, and we haven't eaten anything apart from the rice this morning. We should go out for dinner. We can ask Ryeowookie out with us…"
Donghae wants to say no, let's have our first proper meal as a couple completely to ourselves, but he knows how close Hyukjae is to Ryeowook and how much Ryeowook missed him while he was away. Compromise, he reminds himself. Make it work. "Alright," he says. "But I should get showered too."
"Shall I go to the bathroom with you?" Hyukjae says, his eyes gleaming with fun.
Donghae stands up and pulls him to his feet. "Yes. And tie up that bathrobe. Now that you're mine, I'm not letting you walk around buck naked anymore. Only I have the viewing rights."
"La di da," Hyukjae says.
They don't exactly fool around in the shower, given that they're both hungry and sated, but Donghae still shivers as Hyukjae soaps him down, laughs when Hyukjae insists on shampooing his hair. "You're not giving me much to do here," he comments. "Guess I'll just…" he runs a finger over Hyukjae's ass and into his butt crack, and Hyukjae jumps a little. "Are you going to finger me in the shower while I'm washing your hair?"
"I don't see why not."
"You haven't fucked me yet," Hyukjae muses, scrubbing vigorously at Donghae's scalp. "We should get around to that tomorrow."
A quick, blinding recollection of being inside Hyukjae, seeing him gasp and moan and tilt his head back as perspiration stands on his forehead, comes at full speed into Donghae's head and he almost wishes they could go straight back to bed instead of out for dinner. He settles for resting his hands on the sharp angle of Hyukjae's hips. "We'll see. You don't get to dictate everything, you know."
Hyukjae looks at him with mock dismay. "You're a horrible person. You're going to make me beg for it."
"I'll blindfold you and make you beg for it."
"I'm not sure I can survive this shower talk," Hyukjae says, rinsing out Donghae's hair. "Promise me we're going to be very conservative and well-behaved tonight, keep our hands strictly to ourselves, and not traumatise Wookie. He's a great supporter of us, but I'm not sure he would be very happy if you started palming me in the middle of dinner."
Donghae laughs, reaching out to turn off the tap before Hyukjae drowns him. "God, Lee Hyukjae. How did we ever live without each other? How did we ever think being friends was enough?"
"I've forgotten the answers," Hyukjae says half in jest, then looks at him intently for a long moment before closing in for a lingering open-mouthed kiss. "But I don't intend to find out again."
Hyukjae tucks into the samgyupsal as though he has been starving for the past ten years. Donghae and Ryeowook watch in silent amazement as he polishes off half a slab of meat by himself, and orders more beef and pork while Donghae and Ryeowook are still dividing out the pieces.
"Did you run out of money while you were in India?" Ryeowook asks, while Donghae says, "How long have you not eaten?"
"You get tired of butter chicken and chicken tikka masala," Hyukjae says around a mouthful of meat. "It's impossible for you to understand how much I've missed Korean food."
"Eat up, eat up," says Ryeowook encouragingly. "It's very encouraging to me when my friends eat more than I do."
Four servings and countless cups of soju later, the edge of Hyukjae's appetite seems to have been taken off. He condescends to join in the conversation, making bad jokes in the slightly tipsy way that Donghae recognises from their old concert after-parties. Though the jokes aren't really funny, Hyukjae has an irresistible way of crinkling his eyes and smiling with all his gums exposed after each bad joke, and Donghae reaches out simply because he can't help it; hugs him and pushes his forehead into his neck and breathes him in and laughs more at the sight of Hyukjae's eyes crinkling than over anything he's actually saying. Ryeowook observes them with a quizzical eyebrow raised.
"So, I'm assuming that the two of you are together again," he says when Hyukjae takes a breather to stuff more samgyupsal into his mouth.
Hyukjae looks at him in disbelief. "What do you think we've been doing in Donghae's room the past two days? Talking? Reading, maybe? No, we've been on a most interesting exploratory trail and I can share that Donghae is as healthy as he ever was…"
Ryeowook covers his eyes and makes a moaning sound that really shouldn't be as cute as it is. "Okay, I get it! Don't tell me any more!"
"You asked," Hyukjae points out.
"Don't worry," Donghae says teasingly. "I promise we'll always try to be very quiet."
"Thanks for the consideration," says Ryeowook, still hiding his eyes. "But hyung – does this mean that you're not going to travel anymore? You've come back to Korea for good?"
"Yup," Hyukjae says without hesitation.
Donghae puts a hand on his arm. "Weren't you planning to go to the US after India?"
"I don't need to, anymore," Hyukjae says. "I'm not running from anything. Or trying to find something. I don't mind staying put now." He grins at Donghae meaningfully.
"Time to make money again," Ryeowook suggests. "I figure you must have blown quite a bit of it – travelling the world isn't exactly a cheap thing, huh, hyung?"
"Don't remind me," Hyukjae says with a little groan. "Even with everything else in my life going right, my bank account still depresses me. Which reminds me, am I still employed with SM, or have they secretly fired me?"
"Last I heard, you're still an employee. You can always check it out with HR tomorrow," says Ryeowook jokingly. "If you're in need of a 'backdoor', though, I can connect you with some of the guys over at SBS webcasting. They're looking for new shows to produce. Might be in need of your talents."
Hyukjae knocks his soju glass against Ryeowook's. "I knew keeping you around would have its benefits someday."
"World's a-changing," Ryeowook says. "Which reminds me, are you planning to out yourselves? Do your families know yet?"
Donghae tenses at that. They haven't talked about Hyukjae's family in a long time, not since that day so many years ago when Hyukjae had broken down in the car after confessing his secret to them. Donghae hadn't known how to broach the topic then, and after they broke up, there didn't seem to be much point in talking about it. So over the years, it has become a sort of taboo subject with the two of them; an illusion that if they don't talk about it, it doesn't exist.
A handful of celebrities, emboldened by the rapidly changing mindset of the new generation in power, had opened up about their sexuality over the past couple of years, but it is still very much embedded in controversy. Some of their endorsements had been cut regardless of the acceptance from several groups; one of the actors had had his filming contracts cancelled with the official statement saying "audiences are not interested in watching a gay man pretending to be in love with a woman". Coming out, while not exactly unheard of anymore, is still a very big, contentious issue. He's aware that Hyukjae is looking at him keenly, and he reaches out to pat his thigh. "We don't have to think about that yet."
"It has to come out eventually, though," Hyukjae says. "Cause I'm planning to spend the rest of my life with you, and I have a feeling people are gonna be curious about that. We should nip that curiosity in the bud before they start making wild guesses. Our families have a right to know about us, too. Unless, of course, you're not so sure about spending the rest of your life with me, in which case we definitely shouldn't be thinking about it yet."
His tone is light, but Donghae senses the heavier weight behind his words, and he smiles into Hyukjae's eyes. "I plan to be buried beside you, you ass."
"Or buried inside my ass," quips Hyukjae, and even as they laugh loudly at Ryeowook's groan of mock horror, Hyukjae slips his hand under the table to squeeze Donghae's.
That night, as they lie kissing in bed, Donghae suddenly says, "Let's do it."
"Let's do what?" Hyukjae asks, nibbling at Donghae's ear.
Donghae draws away and turns on the bedside lamp. Hyukjae shrinks from the light, holding up the blanket to shield his eyes. "Okay, okay," he says when his eyes are adjusted. "The light is on. You aren't kissing me anymore. Are we having a serious talk?"
"I want to make a proposal," Donghae says formally, sitting up and crossing his legs. Hyukjae puts his arms around his waist and shifts his head onto his knee. "I'm all ears."
"You want to be with me for the rest of your life. I want to be with you for the rest of my life. I assume this means we're going to find a house and buy furniture and live together, and share a bedroom, and maybe cook dinner for each other, correct?"
"Correct," says Hyukjae.
"We are also going to tell our families," says Donghae. "And then the company, and eventually the media. They're going to dissect our relationship and write lots of stories and stalk us and make our lives difficult."
"I'm not sure if I'm important enough to be stalked anymore," says Hyukjae.
"Trust me, you will be if you come out as a gay man."
"That is true," Donghae sighs. "Twice as much competition for me."
"You are the competition," Hyukjae says, pulling down the waistband of Donghae's slacks to tongue his lower stomach. "Am I being too needy here?"
"It's nice having you be the needy one for a change," Donghae grins. He lifts himself slightly, allowing Hyukjae to pull off his slacks and underwear entirely, and strokes his head as Hyukjae licks at the tip of his cock. He feels deliciously lazy, deliciously at peace with himself, deliciously in love; he wishes he could lock down this moment, freeze it, make it the centre of his existence so that everything in his life runs back to this moment. "Marry me," he says.
Hyukjae pauses, letting Donghae's cock fall from his mouth as he blinks owlishly up at him in surprise.
"Right now," says Donghae. "Marry me."
"We'll need to go to America for that…"
"I don't mean legally," amends Donghae. "Even if we got married in America, it wouldn't work here, anyway. Not for the next decade, at least. But I want you to marry me now, spiritually, emotionally – in all the ways that we can, right now! I want to be beside you when you tell your family about us; I want you with me when I tell my mum and hyung. I want us to be a single entity."
He knows he's never made a better choice than choosing to love Hyukjae when Hyukjae simply sits up, presses a hard kiss on his mouth, and asks, "Where are the bracelets we wore for the Growing Pains promos?"
Donghae reaches out, pulls out the drawer on his bedside table, and takes out a wrapped tissue. Hyukjae gulps. "I must say that's very – convenient. I expected you to do a little more rummaging than that, and I'd get to ogle your ass."
"You can do that later," Donghae says. "Or you should've asked for something a little harder to find. Did you think I'd put these bracelets somewhere that I'd forget?"
"Point noted," says Hyukjae. He gets up from the bed and pulls off his clothes, dropping them onto the floor. The dim lamp light throws shadows onto his beautiful body, making him look almost wild and animal-like in his leanness, and Donghae starts hardening with pure desire. But he stays where he is, takes off his shirt so that they're both similarly naked, and then Hyukjae climbs back into bed and sits facing him.
They look at each other for a long beat, levity forgotten, then Donghae smiles at him again, just a little one of assurance and confidence. Hyukjae smiles back, unwraps the bracelets and holds one up. "With this bracelet," he says, "I thee wed, to have and to hold, to love for as long as there's breath in me, and even after that; in sickness and in health, in friendship and in quarrels, regardless of all reactions, objections, controversies, criticisms, and scandals. I vow to build a life with you, to make you as happy as is humanly possible, and to be faithful to you always. That's my promise to you."
He places the bracelet on Donghae's wrist. "Your turn."
Donghae picks up the remaining bracelet. "With this bracelet," he says, and pauses, because words have never been his strong suit and he wants to make sure that now, of all times, is when he uses the right ones. "I thee wed, because there's nobody else on earth that I love more, or want to be with more, or can imagine being faithful to for all my life. I will build a family with you – even if it's just the two of us. That's my promise to you."
He puts the bracelet on Hyukjae's wrist and they smile at each other like idiots, eyes shining, before Hyukjae says, "This is when I get to kiss my new husband."
"So kiss him," says Donghae, reaching out to meet his hands halfway. "This marriage isn't official until we've consummated it."
"And I can see that's precisely what you want to do," Hyukjae says teasingly, looking down at Donghae's very eagerly swollen cock.
"Speak for yourself," Donghae returns, poking at Hyukjae's equally hard erection and taking satisfaction in Hyukjae's uncontrollable gasp. "I'm calling dibs on your ass tonight, husband."
"Happy to oblige," Hyukjae says as their mouths draw close.
Later; I love you so much my heart aches with it.
Much later; we'll build our own house one day. Why not? There's lots of land in Mokpo that we can buy.
You did tell me once that you'd buy me a house.
Later yet; I wish I could remain inside you forever, and we'd be one person.
Where's the fun in that? We should remain two people, so we can enjoy becoming one over and over again. But don't pull out just yet.
At last; good night, my ever-after.
Good night, my love.
And that's how they get married.