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10 September 2009 @ 05:07 pm
all is not golden  
ALL IS NOT GOLDEN: rated r, onew/key, key/minho


a/n: lol what is this. i don't even know. for phasera and scylladakylla, because they are badass and they helped me out with this fic, like, a ton.








"Ten minutes!" someone yells, and so Minho lets Jinki have his shirt back and leaves Jonghyun whining about injustice and oppression and all the reasons why their impromptu game of Monkey-in-the-Middle should not have to end.

Jinki snatches his shirt from Minho with a melodramatic huff, but his scowl turns into a pout that turns into a smile, just like always.

"I would have expected more from you, Minho-yah, really," he says, shaking his head. "What did I ever do to you?"

Minho cracks a smirk and shrugs.

"Tomorrow you're all performing in your underwear," Jinki goes on, pointing. His finger swings around to include even Kibum, who has really just spent the whole time forcing laughter and rubbing his forehead. "All of you," Jinki says.

Taemin hugs him.

"Except for Taemin," he amends.

Jonghyun is clinging to Kibum for dear life. He looks like he's about to pee his pants from laughing so hard. "Fresh idea for our goodbye stage, hyung," he says.

Kibum rolls his eyes, smiling at the corners of his mouth. "Yah, Jinki-hyung. Put your clothes on. You're all... pale."

Jinki laughs and gestures helplessly at the boy pressed against his bare chest.

Taemin shows no signs of letting go, but then Kibum makes a noise of annoyance and all of a sudden he has disappeared and is instead attaching himself to Minho, who hugs him back solemnly.

Jonghyun squeals in what he probably thinks is some sort of manly way while he hooks an arm that is not suffocating Kibum around Minho's neck, pulling the two youngest members into some kind of messy pseudo-group-side-hug.

Jinki's head pops out from the collar of his t-shirt, and he meets Kibum's eyes, laughing while the noonas fret over his mussed hair.

And, despite everything, Kibum feels like he's standing on the edge of something dangerous, so he lets himself press a little closer to the three boys around him. They're all just a few days rest away from new songs and a new single and dance and concept and hair color, everything reborn. The spaces between goodbyes and comebacks are a good time to forget. Things are looking up, but there's something that---- Well. There is just something.

Someone goes, "Two minutes!"

Kibum laughs, too.









"It's the stupidest thing ever, Jjong. I'm serious."

Jonghyun shrugs and continues to bounce his tennis ball off the bedroom wall where it makes this never-ending, hollow thunkthunkthunk sound against the sheetrock. On the other side of the wall, in the shower, Taemin bangs his fist against the tiles in retaliation.

"So you don't like their new single," Jonghyun says.

Thunk.

Kibum stops pacing to glare down at Jonghyun where he is lying on the floor between Taemin and Onew's beds. "Correction," Kibum says. "It's the stupidest song I've ever heard, ever."

"Ah." Thunk. "And you're sure this has nothing to do with," thunk, "the girl who sings the chorus?"

Taemin resumes pounding back on the other side of the wall, and Kibum sighs before slumping down to curl up next to Jonghyun, rubbing his eyes with the baggy sleeves of his sweater.

Jonghyun gently knocks his head against Kibum's shoulder. "Hey. It'll be okay."

"Right," Kibum says.

Thunk.

Finally, Jonghyun lets the tennis ball bounce uselessly onto Jinki's mattress, causing all residents of the apartment to let out a collective sigh of relief.

"Of all the people in the world..." he says, shaking his head as he reaches out to pull Kibum closer.

Kibum snorts out a laugh. "Tell me about it."









The lights go out, and the music cuts off on an echo. The boys quietly hand their microphones off to SBS stage crew and press hands against each other, pushing and pulling and eventually bursting out into the blinding florescent lights of the backstage prep room. Jinki is laughing and flopping around uselessly, and Minho is squeezing shoulders and wrapping arms around waists, which Kibum figures means that they did well, and Jonghyun is sending somewhat suggestive grins to anyone he can catch the eye of, which makes him look like a total tool, and Kibum is at it again.

"Finally," he declares, throwing himself tragically across a coordi-noona's lap. "We never have to sing that song ever again." He fakes a sob of joy into the stylist's shoulder, a gesture that she takes as her cue to push him out of her lap and then laugh a little and scurry away, probably, Kibum thinks, to laminate her sweater and sell it on the internet.

"I get to have a different haircut," he continues from the carpet. "There really is a God."

They are all laughing, clutching their sides, wiping tears from their eyes, and Kibum grins breathlessly as he gets up and brushes dust off of himself.

When his gaze lands on a straight-faced Taemin, however, his chest deflates just a shade. He cranes his neck just like so, looking past Jinki, (who is grinning and blushing at some stupid text on his phone, like an idiot, of course) and he can see the look in Taemin's eyes, the slump of his shoulders. Pity.

Kibum's mouth falls open slightly, and he snaps his head around to find Jonghyun, who has conveniently disappeared, traitor that he is, but Taemin is already walking over with those sad, sad eyes, putting his hand on Kibum's arm.

"Hyung..." Taemin says softly.

Kibum laughs and squishes the younger boy's face between the palms of his hands. "Aigo, our Taeminnie," he says. "If you keep making that face, it's going to stay that way!"

But Taemin just frowns a little deeper and says, "Jonghyun-hyung told me about---" and there is a yelp as Jinki trips over a garbage can and lands in a heap on the carpet. Ah, perfect.

Kibum turns, sighs and shakes his head in exasperation. "Yah. Hyung," he says, walking over as Minho pulls Jinki to his feet. His escape is terribly successful. "You're completely hopeless, you know that? You're lucky you haven't been killed yet, honestly. Death by Onew Sangtae," and Kibum keeps going, because that is what he does.

And they all just laugh, because Jinki is lucky. No matter how often he falls, the ground is always there to catch him. And he keeps on falling, because that's what he does.









"Hey."

Minho grins in amusement when Kibum jolts around in the computer chair with a hand pressed against his chest, breathing hard.

"...gave me a scare," Kibum mutters, giving his heart a few thumps with his fist to get it going again.

"Ah, sorry," Minho says. "Are you okay?"

"I think I may have burst a major artery," Kibum says, "but I mean whatever."

"Sorry."

"One day you're going to wake up with little bells sewn onto all your socks. I'm not kidding."

"Actually," Minho muses, "Jinki-hyung told me the same thing. Yesterday."

"Yes, well..." Kibum scrunches up his face. "He's probably reached his cool quota for the week then."

"I think he meant it as a contemporary fashion suggestion."

"Never mind."

Minho laughs quietly, but after a few moments his grin sort of droops.

Kibum, however, is used to this. His smile stays bright and brazen as he stands up and leans against the edge of the desk. "So what did you need anyway?"

"Ah," Minho says, tilting his head. "Actually... nothing."

"Yah, what? Minho-yah!"

Minho stares down at Kibum's hands, which are tugging on Minho's sleeves, and then gently grabs his wrists. "Just take care of yourself," he finally says, and tightens his grip for emphasis.

Kibum stiffens for a second before he lets himself go limp and drops his head backwards with a sigh. "God," he says to the ceiling, "why do people like Jonghyun even exist? What possible purpose could he have?"

The ceiling doesn't answer. Neither does Minho.

"Seriously. Did he tell everyone?"

Minho nods seriously and pulls Kibum into a hug.

Kibum rolls his eyes as Minho pats his hair, but he can't help but smile at the gesture. "Will you be my hit man and lay the smack-down on his stout little ass?"

"Sure," Minho says. He gets a slap upside the head for his trouble. "He's just worried about you," he tries again.

"Whatever," Kibum mumbles, cheek pressed into the soft fabric of Minho's sweatshirt. "You're my new favorite, anyway."

"Oh!" says Jinki. "Hi... guys!"

There is a pause, and then Minho removes Kibum from his cozy cotton fortress, turning around with a smile. "Hey, hyung. Welcome home."

"Hello, leader!" Kibum says in English, giving a salute.

"Hello, uh..." Jinki's grin twitches heavily as he tries to make a decent reply. "What's up... homeslice?"

Minho quickly counters with, "How was your date?" in Korean, before Kibum has the chance to do anything other than splutter in hysterical disbelief.

"Great!" Jinki drops cheerfully onto the couch and lets himself fall sideways against the armrest. "We went to the noraebang."

Jonghyun pops out of nowhere and proclaims, "Good thinking, dubu! Go with your strengths right off the bat!"

Jinki turns onto his back and snickers into the pillow that he has buried his face in.

It gives Jonghyun his chance to shoot Kibum a concerned look.

Kibum rolls his eyes and makes a vague gesture with his hand that Jonghyun apparently takes as the go-ahead for giving the leader dating tips.

"So, like, specifically," Jonghyun says. "How did it go? Which songs did you do and stuff?"

"Details, details," Minho mutters under his breath, just as Jinki grins and says, "She made me sing all the girl parts."

Kibum makes a strange sort of choking noise, slapping Minho's arm as the taller boy kindly pats Kibum's back.

Jonghyun shouts something that doesn't sound like... words, and throws himself on top of Jinki, kicking his feet in joy. "That's perfect, hyung!" he says, digging fingers into Jinki's sides.

The older boy giggles and writhes uncontrollably. "J-Jonghyu-- stop--"

"She's a keeper!" Jonghyun sings. "She's a keeper!"

Jinki writhes until they both end up falling off the couch. "Oof! Seri-- Jong--"

Jonghyun keeps tickling. "That is fantastic! You're totally going to get married tomorrow! Or something! This is perfect! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"

"It's getting late," Kibum observes quietly, and Jonghyun abruptly falls silent. Kibum chokes again, giggling as he finally releases Minho's arm and maneuvers over and around Jonghyun and Jinki. "You guys are so dumb sometimes," he says, sing-song, and he makes sure to step on Jonghyun's hand before he slips out, past a bored-looking Taemin, into the bedroom.

"What's happening?" Taemin demands from behind. "Hyung, hyung, hyung!"

"Kibum-ah, you stepped--"

The door clicks shut. Muffled replies and muffled laughter and strange muffled noises that sound something like dancing footsteps in the flat upstairs.

Kibum lets himself fall face first onto Jinki's bed, and breathes.









At the studio, the next day, they discover that their new song is even worse than the last one. However, Kibum has enough masochistic optimism to hope that at least his haircut will be an improvement. He doesn't tell anyone though, because pessimism is less likely to be disappointing, and the people around him are more likely to laugh.

"We're all doomed," he announces to anyone who will listen.

Minho just smiles. He likes the new song, because likes all their songs, because he's entirely too accepting, because his musical palate is limited to poppity-pop SM idols and anonymous singers of the national anthem before soccer games.

And Taemin laughs agreeably, but he is already mapping out a dance routine in the small space between the conference room walls and the table.

Jonghyun, for one, agrees with Kibum. All he says to the producers is, "It's catchy," but his mouth is twisted into a disapproving little frown, and his arms are crossed in front of him, and his fingers are white-knuckled stiff. Once all the guys in suits have left, he says, "Man, not again..."

Jinki smiles weakly and nudges Kibum's side. "We really need to hurry up and get better at composing, huh?"

Minho starts to say something and Jonghyun looks hopeful for half a second before Kibum starts to wail and throws himself effortlessly into Jinki's arms. "We're doomed."

Minho frowns. "Even this is not the end."









His blind faith in the producers proves to be beneficial; Minho, the first time ever, is assigned to lyric-writing, and Kibum has a lot of fun telling him about how it will take a miracle to fix the cheapness of the melody, which eventually ends up getting him recruited into helping.

Then Jinki and Jonghyun join in for moral support, and Taemin takes up a post to the right of the computer desk where he bounces aimlessly and, every so often, asks, "Have you started yet, hyung?"

Kibum scowls at him. "Taemin-ah, go... skip rope with the neighbor children or something."

Taemin smiles cheekily in return.

Kibum's expression somewhat softens and he settles for mumbling, "You're on my list," as he turns back to the keyboard and Minho's hands, which still haven't started moving

"Just put something down!" Jonghyun says.

Minho does not react in the slightest, so Jonghyun makes a girly noise, flings himself towards Jinki, misses when the leader chooses that moment to receive a Super Secret Phone Call and run off to the bedroom, and pouts at them from the ground.

It seems to go on like this for hours (during which Kibum forces the other boys to leave them alone and let them pretend to be making progress in peace) before Minho finally puts down the first line.

Today, I will let myself look at you, it says, and then Minho starts to press the backspace key.

"No," Kibum says, grabbing his hand. "Keep going."

Minho turns back to him with a funny little smile on his face and blinks a couple of times.

Kibum blinks back. "What?"









If Jonghyun were here, he'd know what to say. He would say something like, "Yah, the ladies' man has returned!" and then Kibum could shake his cooking spoon and say, "Yah, Lee Jinki. I better not find out you've done anything disgraceful," and they would all laugh about it and escape the situation unscathed, but. But Jonghyun isn't here, and Kibum finds that he can't bring himself to say anything at all. Instead, he just sort of stiffens up, his hands going very still in the soapy water, and listens to the door clatter shut, the shuffling sounds of shoes being kicked off, a large thump, a soft string of curse words, more shuffling.

When Jinki enters the kitchen, Kibum forces himself to glance over his shoulder and smile a bit.

"Hey."

Jinki smiles back. "Hey, Kibum. Why are you doing dishes?"

"Lost a bet," Kibum says, shrugging.

"With the cleaning lady?"

"...I don't want to talk about it."

Jinki blinks at Kibum a few times before he makes a soft noise in the back of his throat and starts to skate across the kitchen floor in his socks, sliding back and forth from one end to the other. Just like a child.

Kibum sighs and continues washing plates in a very deliberate way, like he is the epitome of plate-washing, like, if Jinki were watching him, he'd be amazed. But Jinki isn't watching him.

He's humming one of their old songs, escaping injury by just the skin of his teeth as he catches himself on the edges of the counter after every other lap across the linoleum.

Kibum wishes that he would speak instead of lingering, waiting for Kibum to ask how it went. Just say something. Kibum-ah, she's the girl of my dreams. I'm going to marry her and grow old with her, and I'll still love her and talk to her every day, long after SHINee is gone and we haven't spoken in years. We're going to move to Busan and have 12 children and name them all after you. Anything.

Silence, Kibum thinks, isn't really golden at all. It's awful.

He feels like passing that thought on to Minho, but then he remembers that Minho is out being generally good-looking in front of some cameras somewhere and that Kibum's cell phone is all the way back in the living room. And just like that, he loses the urge.

He feels sick.

If Jonghyun were here, none of this would be a problem, but Jonghyun is asleep.

After the umpteenth time that he runs into the counter, Jinki sighs loudly and opens the fridge. In Kibum's own opinion, Jinki stares at the food inside for an unnecessary amount of time and is probably not even thinking about his apple or left-overs or whatever anymore, is probably just staring into the refrigerator light and daydreaming about tiny little hands and narrow little shoulders. He's softly singing some random So Nyuh Shi Dae song and gasping and rushing over to the sink and saying, "Kibum-ah! Are you okay?"

Kibum looks down to find that he has grabbed a knife by the wrong end, and then suddenly Jinki is there, taking the knife away and (ahh why'd you do that?) uncurling Kibum's clenched fingers so gently that it makes him want to cry and (hyung will fix everything it's okay) running his thumb across the back of Kibum's hand under the kitchen faucet.

"Hey, don't worry about it," Kibum tries to say, but Jinki is already rifling through the cupboards for the band-aids. He finds them, laughs triumphantly and twirls back to the kitchen sink, where Kibum is holding a paper towel around his fingers. Jinki's grin dims somewhat at Kibum's utterly unimpressed expression.

"Are you sure you're okay, Kibum-ah?"

"Well, that's a very relative term, isn't it."

Jinki apparently decides that if Kibum is not bleeding enough to be a kind person, then he'll be okay for now. He struggles to find the right size of band-aid out of the box, ends up just dumping the whole thing out onto the counter and then pretends to bask in his own brilliant glory.

"No wonder you all worship me," he says.

"Yah," Kibum scolds, "bring those over here before I bleed to death," but he's grinning in spite of himself.

Jinki smiles back cheerfully for a second before he starts unwrapping the bandages, sticking their ends to his arm in a little row so they don't get in his way while he's trying to help. "Hey, um. Sit down, okay?"

Kibum wiggles up onto the kitchen table and wrinkles his nose in distaste when he sees the band-aids. Because Jinki has always used the most of them, he was the one appointed to replenishing the supply. Usually this works out fine, but should another member be so unfortunate as to become infected by the Onew condition and grab the wrong end of a sushi knife, they are then stuck with an array of rather unattractive Disney-themed accessories.

Jinki peels the paper towel away from Kibum's pointer finger and frowns at the cut as he gently covers it with a red Mickey Mouse band-aid. "Hello, Yoochun-sunbaenim," Jinki says.

Kibum snorts, but at this point he's started to realize how much it really hurts, and he's mostly just trying not to make girly sounds about it. It's a weird feeling too, because he's pretty sure that if his voice gets high enough and his posture gets delicate enough, then everything will go back to normal. He just can't quite make himself do it.

Jinki picks up a yellow Goofy one next, but then changes his mind and exchanges it for Minnie. "They'll be sad without each other," he tells Kibum, by way of explanation. His pinky fingernail sticks into the cut on Kibum's ring finger.

"Fuck. Hyung!" Kibum reflexively yanks his hand away.

"I-- Sorry!" Jinki splutters, throwing his own hands into the air before they can do any more damage.

Kibum cradles his injury to his chest and regards Jinki warily.

"I-If you want to call, like, Manager-hyung and have him do it instead. I totally understand! Or I could bring you to the doctor, like I guess we could take the subwa-subway? Or, uh--" Jinki stops and claws his fingers through his hair, growling in frustration.

"Hyung..."

"I. Wait. Kibum. Are you okay? Does it hurt really bad? I'm really sorry. I didn't mean--"

Kibum swings a foot up to kick Jinki in the shin and rolls his eyes. "Hyung, just... It's fine."

"Are... you sure?"

"Yah, you wanna die?"

When Jinki tries again, he is painstakingly slow and careful not to touch anything that's not completely necessary. He wraps Kibum's ring finger with a Donald Duck band-aid like it's about to turn brown and fall off.

"This is okay, right? I'm not--"

But Kibum just kicks him again, so Jinki continues his work with a short laugh, carefully begins to bandage Kibum's pinky with the Goofy band-aid from before. As he's bringing the adhesive end around the back, he says, "We broke up."

Kibum blinks.

If Jonghyun were here, he'd know what to say. He'd probably say something along the lines of, "So she's fair game now, right?" and then Kibum could appear on the scene, smack Jonghyun with whatever object he'd happen to be holding at the time and begin on the epic quest of giving him an extensive 'bros before hoes' lecture. The problem is that Jonghyun's not here, and so Kibum just sort of stares at Jinki, who is tracing the lines of Kibum's palm with the tip of his finger.

After a moment, Kibum is the picture of surprise and curiosity, despite the fact that there are electric charges shooting up his arm and rattling his teeth. "Really?" he says, widening his eyes, "Why?"

Jinki's finger stops at his wrist, against his pulse. He shrugs.

"Yah, hyung," Kibum says.

But Jinki just shrugs again, cracking a mischievous grin.

"Here," he says, lifting Kibum's hand higher, and Kibum is about to tell him to stop -- he's clumsy, it hurts -- but then all of the sudden he can't move, because Jinki is being so gentle, because he's softly kissing the backs of Kibum's injured fingers, one at a time, and, suffice to say, Kibum is surprised.

"Better?" Jinki's lips are still brushing against Kibum's skin.

Kibum laughs and jerks his hand away. "Yah, hyung. You're really childish sometimes, you know that?"

Jinki smiles. "Yeah, sure."

"Cartoon band-aids and boo-boo kisses."

"Well, everything sounds dumb when you say it that way."

"Look at my hand, hyung. Look at these band-aids. Take a long look."

"Brass knuckles!" Jinki shouts.

"Weirdo."

"If you punched someone right now, they'd have, like... a Mickey Mouse forehead brand!"

Kibum wishes he could stop giggling like a little girl. "Yah, you want me to try it out? What's wrong with you anyway?"

"Eh?" Jinki grins and wobbles into Kibum's personal space to gasp against his collarbone. He isn't laughing though, not really.

And then there's this stomach-dropping clackety clack of Taemin and Minho bursting into the apartment, and Jinki detaches and rushes off to greet them without a second thought.









Minho doesn't say anything when Kibum tells the managers that the two of them have to pull an all-nighter to study for Minho's English final. He doesn't say anything when Kibum pulls him into one of the spare bedrooms, or when Kibum leans back against the door and drops his books and turns the lock behind him. He does, however, speak up when Kibum starts moving his thigh in places he probably shouldn't and pushing his hands down into the back pockets of Minho's jeans.

"Don't."

Kibum looks up at him with a frown, but Minho is looking decidedly away, swallowing hard.

"Kibum-ah, don't do this," he says, but there are contradictory hands sliding up Kibum's sides under his shirt, moving against his ribcage. He leans in, slowly, staring into Kibum's eyes with something akin to desperation. "Promise me."

"Sure," Kibum says.

They keep their eyes open while they kiss. It is slick and sweet and soft, but the moment Kibum starts to arch away from the door Minho pulls back.

"Kibum," he says. "Are you sure about this?"

"Minho. Minho, don't just," Kibum whispers. "I can't."

They're straining to hear all the things clogging up the air between them, but it all translates as radio silence.

Static like shhhhhhh... Ah, we're golden.

Minho touches Kibum's face with slow, careful hands, and Kibum leans into the warmth, lowering his own hands to hold onto Minho's and press him closer. There are things starting to unravel in his head, everything he's spent the last few weeks tying into knots. Some things, you can control. Minho is a very kind boy. He doesn't deserve this.

Shit.

But Kibum just twists his face into a smile and reaches up to pull Minho towards him. The edges of band-aids make soft scratching noises against skin. Hey, are you listening? Ah, but he's losing it in the sweet slide of Minho's tongue, the way he hooks his hand under Kibum's knee and pulls.

Minho doesn't deserve this. "That tickles," he says, and pulls the bandaged hand away from his cheek.

In response, Kibum drags him over to the bed and bursts out laughing when Minho lifts him up and all but throws him onto mattress, and he doesn't stop grinning until Minho says, "Hey," and Kibum realizes all at once that Minho is leaning down over him, straddling Kibum on his hands and knees. He wonders if Minho can feel him shaking--and then, watching Minho hesitantly lower his mouth to Kibum's shoulder, hopes that he can.

Soft lips travel up the side of his neck. A hand turns his cheek into the pillow and brushes his hair back, all hypersensitive, processing speed gone haywire. Minho hums a kiss into Kibum's cheek and then opens his mouth against his jaw as his hand slips into the space between the bed and Kibum's lower back, pulling closer with a palm against his spine.

Kibum bites down on Minho's neck and tries to catch his breath. He's grasping at threads now.









"What," Kibum snaps.

Half of Minho's face emerges from the pillow to raise an amused eyebrow at him.

Kibum pouts slightly in return, switching the cell phone to his other ear. He considers any phone call made before nine-thirty in the morning a malicious attack on his life.

"Oh... Key-goon. An-Annyeonghaseyo."

Kibum pauses for a moment before he pulls himself into a sitting position against the wall. Minho throws an arm across Kibum's lap and skims lazy fingers over his skin.

"Ah, sunbae," Kibum says, "annyeonghaseyo!"

She doesn't answer.

"Excuse me, but..." Kibum forces another chuckle. "Did you mean to call Jinki-hyung's phone, by any chance?" Minho's arm tightens around his waist.

"Oh, no, you," she says. "I mean, he..." There is silence for a long time, and then she laughs softly. "I'm sorry, Kibum. I really shouldn't have called you."

"What are you talking about, sunbae?" Kibum hopes that she can't hear the blood pounding in his ears. "Did you need hyung's new cell number? He changed it recently..."

"Ah, no!" Her voice brightens and wobbles. "I just... well. He's a really great guy, huh?"

"I guess."

"I must be the stupidest girl in the world, huh?"

"I guess," Kibum says, laughing weakly, and Minho presses a kiss against his bare hip.

"Yah," she laughs. "You're really just as mean as Jinki always says, huh?"

"Oh. Yeah, I guess so."

Kibum drops a limp hand into Minho's hair.

"Anyway," she says. "I'll see you again sometime, okay?"

"Oh, okay--"

"Bye. Thanks, Key-goon."

And then there is silence as the line goes dead and Minho dozes with his nose against Kibum's stomach, hair mussed and soft.

Kibum snaps his phone shut.

"Huh," he says.









"Hey. Hey, hyung."

Jinki makes a weird grunting noise and rolls over to hide his face beneath the pillow, wrenching his shoulder out of Kibum's grip.

Kibum sighs and sits down on the edge of Jinki's bed, resting a hand on the back of the leader's head. "Hyung, Taeyeon-sunbae called me this morning."

Jinki sort of chokes and goes very still for a few moments before he sits up. "Oh, yeah?" he says.

Kibum notices that he rubs his eyes a little more vigorously than is necessary.

"Weird," Jinki adds, smiling, a little sad. He clutches the edges of the blankets so hard that his fingers start turning strange, pale colors, and tendons show along his wrists. "So, I guess you... I mean, did she say anything?"

Kibum shakes his head quickly and jabs a finger into Jinki's arm. "Yah. Why did you two break up, hyung?"

Jinki laughs, running a hand through his morning cowlicks. "Why do you keep asking questions that you already know the answers to, Kibum?" When Kibum does nothing but open his mouth soundlessly, Jinki's smile shifts and he goes on, "Um, how's your hand doing?"

Kibum groans and lets himself sprawl out across the bed. "I don't know. Fine. Better."

"Mm... good," Jinki says, grabbing Kibum's uninjured hand and interlocking their fingers.

Kibum sits up slowly, pushing uncombed hair out of his eyes. "Hyung..." he mumbles, and then the next moment his back is pressed up against the bedroom wall and Jinki is kissing him. Everything goes blank, drains of color; it's suddenly, finally happening, after months and months of sharp, sharp colors and eyes avoiding eyes and silence. Everything is sliding into focus and getting razor sharp at the edges, and then Kibum pulls back, wide eyed.

Jinki is a little red in the face and breathing hard, staring at Kibum like he can see right through him. There is a small laugh. "You... You're wearing the same clothes as, um, you had on yesterday," he says, his hands still on Kibum's shoulders and pushing him back against the plaster.

Kibum forces out an empty sort of chuckle, frowning. "Minho had an... English test, remember? Stranger things have happened."

"Right," Jinki says after a beat, leaning for another kiss.

Kibum laughs into it, then sobs and throws his arms around Jinki's neck. "Hey," he starts.

But halfway through his next syllable the bedroom door slams shut and not before Kibum catches a glimpse of Minho's wide eyes, a familiar patch of brown hair. "Oh, fuck," he blurts, shoving Jinki off of him and partway onto the floor. "Fuck, fuck, fuck!"

"Kibum-ah?"

Kibum turns and points. "Don't you even speak. This... is your fault, and now Minho-- and I... God." He deflates a bit and then slumps back down onto the bed.

Jinki, in turn, gets cautiously to his feet and settles himself down next to the boy trembling on his covers. "So, you two... and there was no English th-- Oh, I thought..."

"Shit," Kibum goes on.

"Man, so this really sucks for you, huh?" Jinki says, and Kibum laughs once, albeit hollowly.

"Well." Jinki clears his throat, making some vague, arbitrary gestures with his hands. His voice wavers. "You... um, are you going to go get him, then? Or... Or, what?"

Kibum nods firmly and stands up, and then hesitates. "Hyung..."

Jinki shakes his head and offers a watery grin as encouragement. "I'll be fine, Kibum-ah," he says. "Y-you know me, I've got like, um... half of So Nyuh Shi Dae wrapped around my little finger." He stops there for a laugh, waggling his eyebrows.

It's not very convincing, but Kibum forces out his own wry smile and says, "Right, of course."

"A couple members of Super Junior, too!"

"I'm sure Heechul-hyung is all over you."

"Precisely," Jinki replies, snuffling a little bit. "Now, get out of here. I've got things to see and people to do... or, wait. I mean..."

Kibum laughs and kisses Jinki on the cheek before he leaves. "Timing, you know."

"Yeah, I know," Jinki says. "Onew Sangtae and all that." He puts on his idol grin, the one he's spent the last four years perfecting. They've picked up a few convenient tricks.

In Kibum's case, if he's learned anything useful during his years together with SHINee, it is that, despite his best efforts to be sexy and mysterious, Choi Minho is actually a very predictable boy. Or at least that seems like the only useful thing Kibum has ever learned at the moment, because, dear God, he really hates running. He only has to check three other places before he finds Minho harrassing a soccer ball on his favorite patch of grass at the park by their dorm, but he's still out of breath.

Kibum winces as Minho lets loose one particularly violent kick. The ball goes sailing into the windshield of a car in the nearby parking lot.

Minho stares at the car after the ball has bounced down onto the pavement, as if he is waiting for it to react. It doesn't, but he keeps staring, standing in the middle of the soccer field. He stays so still that Kibum is actually frightened; just at that moment, though, when Kibum is about to run across the field and shake him and sob, Minho lets out a breath and turns his head. His eyes catch Kibum panting next to a tree, and he blinks. "I... finished the song."

Kibum pauses for a moment and then weezes, "What?"

Minho pulls a crumpled sheet of notebook paper out of his pocket and holds it out. "The song," he says.

"The-- Oh. The song." Kibum walks over to his band-mate like he is feeling for landmines. Careful, careful. The paper feels like it could crumble to confetti in his hand. Quickly, he runs over the lines and, afterwards, wants nothing more than to punch himself in the eye. It's so, so obvious. Today, I'll let myself look at you. But you're a pair of tail lights, a thousand miles away. Obvious. Insert appropriate cuss word. Obvious, obvious. Holy fucking hell.

Minho blinks at him calmly.

"Listen--"

"No. Kibum." There is something familiar about the way his voice cracks and shudders and drops. Only, now it feels like heartbreak, not so much sweet or sincere or Minho trembling above him on the bed.

Kibum flinches and twists his fingers into Minho's white t-shirt. The sheet of lyrics crumples between them.

"You know what?" Kibum says, pulling himself closer. "You're, like, way better at kissing than he is."

Minho starts to laugh, just a little. An audio malfunction.

"I mean, Jinki-hyung puts in the effort and everything, but you know how it is with him, and--" Kibum cuts himself off and rubs his nose softly against Minho's neck. "There's not-- It's like--" A sigh. "I'm sure about you."

And there is silence. A long moment passes before Minho pulls back to look at him, but when he does he is smiling so hard that Kibum laughs too.

"Oh, I..." Minho says, and then when he realizes his voice is shaking he blushes and presses his smile into Kibum's hair.









The moments before a comeback performance are always tense, but Kibum feels especially anxious about this one. It's probably the hair, he thinks, sighing as Minho leans in close, smelling like hairspray and new clothes. For the first time in what feels like forever, Kibum likes both his hair's designated color and style, and this seems to up the stakes of the whole ordeal by miles, or something. Minho hums their song against Kibum's ear. There are flowers blooming in his stomach. There are pansies, but Kibum is giggling like a seven year old girl, so he isn't really surprised.

Taemin makes a face at him and pretends to be gagging.

They're all standing backstage, listening to the MCs jabber through their scripts and watching some rookie singers hug each other as they step out of the spotlight.

"The moment has come, my children," Jinki whispers dramatically as he bounces off onto the dimly-lit linoleum, holding Taemin's hand. They glance back at Jonghyun who follows in amusement, running fingers through his newly cut hair.

30 seconds and counting.

Kibum smiles and pulls Minho towards him by the collar of his shirt. They stand there grinning at each other for the longest time, and then Kibum says, "Show time," and Minho kisses him softly, and the lights turn on, and the music starts, and it's like, Today, I'll tell you everything. Today, I'll bring you home.



 
 
 
whut.pumadragon on September 17th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
asdjfkasdjfkal whaaaaaaaaaaat noooooooo :| AAAAH, THANK YOU. i really, really, truly appreciate everything you've said. i don't even really know what to say about it. but thank you, seriously. ♥