(i finally remember the location of your heart.)
sunggyu/woohyun | r | au
|"are you done with this?" sunggyu asks, his hands finding the edges of woohyun's tray.|
woohyun notices a little too much. sunggyu has very strong forearms, for someone who seems to be made entirely of soft edges. he's wearing a bracelet on one wrist, braided leather. he has the fingers of someone who plays an instrument; piano, maybe. or violin. woohyun notices too much and he hates that he does, because now whenever he sees sunggyu, he'll be thinking about his forearms and the bones in his wrists and the shape his fingers make when they close around an empty coffee cup.
"yeah," woohyun says. sunggyu takes the tray away.
oh well. it's not like woohyun hasn't been thinking about sunggyu for weeks, since sunggyu commented on his reading material from where he was cleaning up two tables over. woohyun had never been more attracted to the way someone said the words "ostentatious and impossibly unsympathetic."
sunggyu comes out of the back room with a package of coffee grounds under his arm. woohyun lets his gaze drift back to the book in front of him—banana yoshimoto, this week. sunggyu's recommendation. woohyun hadn't been impressed at the beginning, but the protagonist is surprisingly engaging, now that he's a few chapters in.
"so what do you think so far?"
sunggyu's back. woohyun puts a bookmark in between the pages and looks up. "it's wittier than i thought it would be," he says, shielding his eyes against the late summer sunlight. it's august, going to get cold soon, but for now the late afternoon turns everything golden. "and i like tsugumi. i wasn't expecting that either."
"right?" sunggyu seems pleased, which in turn, irrationally, pleases woohyun. "i had a hard time getting past the first two chapters because tsugumi seemed like such a brat, but then all of a sudden she'd grown on me."
woohyun nods. he can think of a thousand ways to respond, but they all seem a little too pretentious and lit-major-y to say aloud.
his silence doesn't go unnoticed. unfortunately, sunggyu misinterprets. "uh, anyway—sorry, didn't mean to interrupt," he says, adjusting the tie of his apron. he does that when he's nervous. woohyun doesn't like that he knows that. "i just wanted to say, if you like this one you should read kitchen too. it's better, in my opinion."
"okay," woohyun says. he should have said it's fine or you didn't interrupt or even something braver, like when do you get off work? we could keep talking, if you want, but instead he says "okay," and sunggyu smiles and walks away. and woohyun feels like an idiot.
woohyun comes back next weekend, startles sunggyu by dropping his copy of goodbye tsugumi on the counter in front of him, and says, "you're a dick."
to his credit, it only takes sunggyu a moment to catch on. "you cried, didn't you," he says, his smile curving his eyes into crescents. "i totally cried. if you say you didn't cry, you're either heartless or lying, and i'm pretty sure you're not heartless."
something warm blossoms in woohyun's chest, but he keeps his expression set. "i can't believe you didn't warn me."
"and ruin the ending?" sunggyu raises his eyebrows. "what kind of person would that make me?"
"a better person," woohyun says. "not a dick."
sunggyu just laughs and puts his own book under the counter. too quick for woohyun to see, unfortunately, although the thought kind of creeps woohyun out even as he has it. "but it turned out all right," he says, "which is probably why you're back."
"well, yeah," woohyun says. he doesn't add, also because i have a giant stupid crush on your smile.
sunggyu makes a pleased sound, almost like a sigh. "did you read kitchen?" he asks. "or—well, i guess that'd be kind of fast even for you. are you going to read it?"
"it's on my list," woohyun says. "under a couple others."
"on the road, because i feel morally obligated as a literature major," woohyun says. "and coin-locker babies. i guess i haven't put myself through enough post-surrealist japanese pop lit to have learned my lesson."
"you're going to read on the road?" sunggyu asks. "willingly? no one's holding a gun to your head or anything? or a deadline, or a paper?"
"maybe i'm a masochist."
sunggyu shrugs. "let me know what you think," he says. "it'd be weird if you liked it, since you hated catcher in the rye so much."
again, the warm feeling in woohyun's chest. it's silly, but woohyun likes that sunggyu remembers that he didn't enjoy catcher in the rye. "maybe i'll surprise you," he says, and sunggyu returns his smile.
woohyun hates on the road, which sunggyu answers with "i told you so," and has mixed feelings about coin-locker babies, which sunggyu more or less agrees with.
"i wrote a thesis on it once," sunggyu says. for the first time, he's abandoned his task of cleaning tables in favor of pulling up a chair at woohyun's. woohyun isn't sure it counts as a victory, but it certainly feels like one. "twenty-three pages of persuasive essay later i still haven't decided if i liked it. but i think murakami is like that—ryuu, that is, not haruki. you're supposed to feel a little confused. or a little disturbed."
sunggyu's brows are knit together in thought, and his hands are folded, elbows braced on the table. he's not looking at woohyun, so woohyun looks at him. "pop culture is based on decadence," sunggyu says. "we always want something new—you know, sinsangnyeo, grooming-jeok. i mean, i know murakami was writing this back in the seventies, but i think he kind of saw it coming. that's why it's uncomfortable to read his stuff. it's like reading a mirror of yourself and not liking what you see."
woohyun takes a deep breath. "sunggyu," he says. he's almost positive that if he doesn't say something, he'll never say anything. woohyun has never been brave, but he's always been a little reckless. "when do you get off work?"
"huh?" sunggyu looks at woohyun, blinks. "me?"
"uh. i close tonight, so—nine, why?"
"because you're smarter and better company than anybody in my lit classes, and it's been a long time since i listened to someone talk about murakami without wanting to punch them in the face," woohyun says. retrospectively, he thinks that might not have been the best phrasing, but the words are out there. also, they're true.
sunggyu laughs. he seems surprised, but he hasn't said no. woohyun thinks that's good. "okay," he says. "should we eat? there's a mandu restaurant i go to a couple blocks away."
"sounds good," woohyun says.
they stay at the mandu restaurant until two in the morning. by the time they leave, woohyun has eaten more mandu than he thinks he's ever seen before in his life, and they're both drunk.
even drunk, though, sunggyu is smart and insightful and a lot funnier than woohyun had expected him to be, although how much of that is the soju in his bloodstream, woohyun can't be sure. they wander into the street and sunggyu is still talking about murakami—haruki this time, not ryuu—and someone he knew once that took it as a personal offense whenever sunggyu insulted his writing.
"look," sunggyu says, his fingers wrapped around woohyun's wrist, "it's not like i don't—don't like him, or whatever—he's a good writer, okay, i just think he can't end a story to save his life. but junho would get so offended whenever i said that. we used to fight about it all the time, actually, he'd start insin—inth—insinuating that i didn't know what i was talking about because i dropped out of university, not that that has anything to do with anything—"
"watch out," woohyun says, pulling sunggyu around a pile of trash bags waiting to be picked up.
"thanks," sunggyu says. "anyway—that ended up kind of being why we broke up, the whole arguing about murakami thing. i mean it really wasn't about murakami at all, more like the fact that he was a pretentious asshole and he couldn't accept any opinions that weren't his own, but the murakami thing was where it started. god this is the worst story i've ever told, i don't know why you're still listening to me instead of punching me instead."
but woohyun is still back at broke up and the sudden and sobering knowledge that sunggyu dates boys, too—or at least, has before. and what that means.
"woohyun?" sunggyu says. "is everything okay? you look really serious right now."
sunggyu, when he's drunk, apparently lisps on sibilant consonants. it's endearing, makes woohyun want to push him up against the side of a building—the octopus restaurant they're next to—and kiss him. but he's drunk, and that would be inadvisable.
"i had an ex the same way," he says instead. "except instead of murakami it was emily dickinson. and he was the one who had dropped out of university, so instead he used his poet cred."
"heathens," sunggyu says, solemnly.
woohyun parts ways with sunggyu at the subway station and haphazardly makes his way home. the subway is nearly empty at this time of night, so woohyun tilts his head back against the glass and thinks. it's funny—most of the dates he goes on end with him finding the other less attractive, not more, and the last time he let someone keep him up until two in the morning with just conversation was… well, a long time ago. but sunggyu. sunggyu, and woohyun feels ridiculous, like a schoolboy with a crush.
well, that's not all that far off the mark, come to think of it.
dongwoo is asleep when woohyun gets home, so woohyun changes and collapses into bed and tries not to think of sunggyu—his smile, his voice, his fucking tongue—when he slips a hand inside his sweatpants. it doesn't work. woohyun comes with sunggyu's name in the back of his throat, and thinks, i'm screwed.
"i read kitchen," woohyun says, the next time he finds himself at the café. "it's better than tsugumi. though i think liked mikage less than i liked yuichi? is that weird?"
"i wouldn't say weird," sunggyu says. he leans on the back of the chair across from woohyun, his hands large and solid against the wood. woohyun should learn to stop noticing things like this. "i liked him more, too. mostly i just like thinking about how complex relationships are, you know? how much mikage's relationship with yuichi changed her, and let her see the world as something totally new. i tend to take my relationships for granted, so—"
one of sunggyu's coworkers, a pretty girl with long hair, calls his name, and he looks up. "sorry," sunggyu says. "give me a second."
"take your time," woohyun says.
it's thursday, late in the afternoon. the café is full with people, students from the university and high school students illicitly spending their allowances on sweet coffee drinks. it's a wonder, woohyun thinks, that sunggyu has even spoken to him. they must be up to their ears in orders—the pretty girl keeps giving sunggyu chastising looks. woohyun likes to think it's because of him.
he should be doing his reading for his transgressive literature seminar, but instead, woohyun watches sunggyu. he's been coming here for long enough that he knows sunggyu's gestures, by now—the way sunggyu pushes his hair out of his eyes with the back of his wrist, the way he bites his lower lip when he's thinking. the way he smiles when he's dealing with a customer, polite and detached, and the way he smiles when he means it, bright enough to make his eyes disappear into crescents. it makes woohyun feel like a creep that he sees these things, that he's attracted to these things. it's surprising that sunggyu even remembers his name.
"sorry about that," sunggyu says, reappearing at woohyun's table. woohyun resists the urge to point out that sunggyu is at work, and not being paid to talk about literature with undergraduates. "anyway—where were we?"
"you taking your relationships for granted," woohyun says. he nudges the chair across from him out with one foot, gesturing for sunggyu to sit.
he does. "right. well—i do, so reading that book was kind of interesting for me. made me think about how much my relationships might have changed me without me even realizing it." sunggyu leans his elbows on the table, propping his chin up in one hand. "i'm talking about myself way too much. what did you think of it?"
"mostly i thought yuichi would make a good boyfriend," woohyun says, before he can lose the courage. "i mean, even ignoring the fact that he gave her shelter and a new home—which is a big deal, don't get me wrong. but he ended up being home to her in a lot more ways than just that, which, it takes a lot to be that kind of rock for someone."
sunggyu tilts his head a little, giving woohyun a curious look. "a good boyfriend for mikage, or in general?" he asks.
woohyun thinks he understands the question that sunggyu isn't asking. "both," he replies. "in general. i wouldn't mind dating a boy who let me use his kitchen whenever i want."
stalemate. there it is, out in the open. it strikes woohyun too late that sunggyu likely doesn't remember telling woohyun about his ex-boyfriend, the one who felt too strongly about murakami. perhaps woohyun has just made a mistake—the expression on sunggyu's face is unreadable for a moment.
he opens his mouth to say something, only to be cut off by the appearance of another of sunggyu's coworkers. a boy, this time, with short dark hair and a name tag that reads lee howon. "you need to quit flirting and get back to work or soyu noona's going to cut your head off," he tells sunggyu. he has a nice voice, busan saturi, or maybe woohyun just thinks so because he's accused sunggyu of flirting. "she's been on my case about it for the last couple hours. you owe me like forty beers."
sunggyu chokes and turns a pretty shade of red. "go away, hoya," he says, his voice sharp with embarrassment. "tell soyu to mind her own business."
very carefully, woohyun says, "well, technically you're not being paid to talk about literature with me, so—um, tell soyu i'm sorry?"
the coworker, howon—hoya?—glances over at woohyun, offering him a grin that's both guileless and strangely mischievous. "so you're woohyun," he says, nodding a little. "nice to finally meet you. i've heard a lot."
"i'm going to kill you," sunggyu says, standing up and grabbing hoya by the strings of his apron. hoya waves as he's hauled away, a gesture which woohyun returns, plus a bemused grin—woohyun doesn't want to read too much into it. only he does, desperately, so in an attempt to avoid the thought, he buries his head in lolita and doesn't emerge until dongwoo calls and tells him he's late for their dinner date.
"i think," dongwoo says, after listening to woohyun's woes over several bottles of beer and soju and enough all-you-can-eat barbeque to feed them for a week, "that what's more impressive than him remembering your name is the fact that he'll let you talk to him about this stuff without wanting to strangle you." woohyun is abruptly reminded that dongwoo is a dance major, and probably hasn't picked up a novel since he finished his general requirements in sophomore year. "what's so hard to believe? maybe he just likes you. people do sometimes like to talk to people who have similar interests, right?"
woohyun throws a napkin at dongwoo. "you don't get it," he says, "he's, like, unearthly gorgeous. and smart, i mean, fuck, he dropped out of university and can still talk circles around me when it comes to lit and poetry. it's unbelievably sexy, actually—"
"okay, okay," dongwoo says. he holds up his hands, palms out in a 'slow down' gesture. "so, what, you want to bone him and you don't think he's into you like that?"
"that's not—" no, that is basically the gist of it. "i just don't get it," woohyun finally says, moving a piece of kalbi around his plate. "hoya—his coworker—accused him of flirting with me—not that he really has been—and he got really embarrassed about it. but i can't tell if it was 'ew no i wasn't flirting' embarrassed or 'why did you call me out on it now he knows i've been flirting' embarrassed."
a pause. "back up," dongwoo says. "hoya's his coworker? lee howon?"
"yeah?" woohyun looks up. "you know him?"
"he's in my contemporary choreography class," dongwoo says. he puts his chopsticks down and sits back, giving woohyun as contemplative a look as dongwoo has ever given him. "we're pretty close. look, you're a moron. i'm not giving you any more advice, nam woohyun, this is all on you."
"hey, wait," woohyun protests, even as dongwoo stands up to go pay the bill. "wait, hyung, you can't—wait—hyung!"
sunggyu is sitting behind the counter reading the little prince when woohyun comes into the café next. it's endearing, because it's woohyun's favorite book, and he thinks he must actually be a little bit stupid if he's even attracted to that.
he spends a moment just observing before he clears his throat. sunggyu jumps, slamming his book closed, and mock-scowls when he sees that it's woohyun. "you're an asshole," he says. "you scared the hell out of me, i thought i was about to get it from my boss or something."
"maybe you shouldn't get so engrossed, then," woohyun teases. "reading children's lit now?"
sunggyu looks down at the cover of his book and flushes slightly. "it's not children's lit," he says, almost defensive. woohyun likes that, too. "maybe that's how it's marketed, but—and you should know, isn't it your favorite book?"
surprise. that feels like a suckerpunch. woohyun blinks. "how did you know?"
the way that sunggyu blushes really shouldn't be so gorgeous. "you mentioned once," he says. "you were talking about a high school lit teacher who wouldn't let you do a project on it."
"right," woohyun says. "because she considered it a kid's book even though i cited academic resources indicating otherwise. i'm still bitter about that." he shakes his head, then looks at sunggyu, who can't quite seem to meet woohyun's eyes. "i'm surprised you remember that."
sunggyu doesn't say anything. maybe there's nothing to say. woohyun feels like they're standing balanced on the edge of something, like, maybe woohyun asking sunggyu out to dinner, or telling him that he thinks he's beautiful. or something else, something equally foolish and reckless and impossible. "sunggyu—" he begins.
"look, i—" sunggyu says, at the same time.
they pause, looking at each other. woohyun grins. "go ahead," he says, but sunggyu just shakes his head and grins.
"tell me what coffee you want or let me get back to reading," he says, pressing his finger into the place where the pages join. it's a weirdly sexual gesture. woohyun needs to stop reading so much into everything. "i haven't read it before and i'm at a good part."
"you've never read the little prince?" that's surprising. woohyun can count on one finger—two, now—the number of times he's mentioned a book that sunggyu hadn't read.
"never," sunggyu says. "so order or get outta here."
woohyun orders a latte, which sunggyu delivers in record time, and settles at his usual table by the window to catch up on his poetry reading. two hours later, sunggyu sits down in the chair across from him and puts the little prince on the table. "this is a really depressing choice for a favorite book," he says, almost accusatorily.
"that's rich, coming from you," woohyun says. he dog-ears his book and sets it down. "didn't you say siken is your favorite poet?"
"look, that's—that's not the point, okay." sunggyu sighs. "i'm just saying. i feel really upset right now over this book for reasons i can't actually explain. this is a weird experience for me."
"why?" woohyun asks. "because he dies?"
"that, i guess. and because it just… seems like nobody got what they needed or deserved at the end. like all that effort and love and work had gone to waste?" sunggyu sits back, brow furrowed. woohyun watches the line between his eyebrows form and falls a little more in love. "i like it. a lot, actually, but—it's depressing."
"that's the thing, though," woohyun says. "the reason i love that book is because i think everyone did get exactly what they needed in the end. the rose learns to be humble and also to love. the prince learns that there even if there's a giant world of possibilities out there, you can still love one person best of all. and the pilot learns that even small things can be powerful. that's the point, i think."
sunggyu is watching him, his eyes focused and intense and gorgeous, and woohyun feels suddenly self-conscious under the weight of that gaze. "everything in that book is about learning that the big picture doesn't make the little picture unimportant," he says, pushing onward. "the prince worries that his flower won't be the most beautiful if there are a million others like it, but in the end he learns that even among a million others she's still the only one he sees. all of the lessons he learns along the way are building up to that, like, the man who counts the stars, who only knows how to count and not how to appreciate his stars because they're beautiful and they're his, or the lantern lighter who just lights the lantern over and over and over without even looking at the sunrise or sunset. that was the lesson he needed, right? that something small can still be powerful, to you. the snake, too—smaller than the finger of a king, but still powerful. the prince, he's small but he still changes the pilot's life in huge ways. i think it's just about—about appreciating these tiny powerful things because they impact you, whether or not they're one of a million or something."
it's probably the most he's ever said at once. woohyun shuts up, staring at the wood of the table in front of him. he's not sure he wants to look up at sunggyu, not sure he wants to know what sunggyu thinks of his miniature tirade.
"you have a lot of feelings about this book," sunggyu eventually says. from his peripheral vision, woohyun watches sunggyu's fingers tighten on the edge of the table. his knuckles are white. woohyun thinks it's so stupid that he likes even that. "woohyun. let me buy you dinner."
woohyun looks up so quickly he pinches something. "ow," he says, massaging the side of his neck. "what?"
"let me take you out," sunggyu says. he's looking at woohyun, but not quite into woohyun's eyes. maybe the bridge of his nose, or something. woohyun realizes, in a rush, that sunggyu is nervous. "if you're free."
"i'm free," woohyun says. his mouth seems to be operating independent of his brain, which is still back at the press of sunggyu's fingertips against the wood and the fact that he's nervous. sunggyu is nervous. there must really be a first time for everything.
"then—saturday," sunggyu says, finally looking into woohyun's eyes. whatever he sees there, he must like, because he smiles—the real smile, though there's still an edge of uncertainty. "is saturday okay?"
"saturday is perfect," woohyun says. he finds it a little difficult to talk around the fact that sunggyu has just asked him out. on a date. for dinner. a date. "do i need to wear anything? —um. anything special. i assume clothing in general is required."
"negotiable," sunggyu says. woohyun chokes on his latte. "don't dress up. jeans are fine."
fully aware that he will undoubtedly spend a full hour extra choosing his outfit, woohyun nods. "okay," he says. he's trying for casual. ultimately, he just sounds eager. "then—when should we meet?"
"mm." sunggyu bites his lip, and woohyun hates his life. "seven-thirty. by the u-plex exit, okay? that's pretty easy to find." he smiles again. woohyun's stomach drops, and he is so stupidly, stupidly attracted to this ridiculous boy with his wide smile and strong hands. "okay! it's a date. i'll see you then."
"right," woohyun repeats. "it's a date."
"i thought you were into him," dongwoo says, confused as hell, when woohyun calls him in a panic on saturday afternoon. it's a little silly, considering that dongwoo hasn't dated anyone seriously since they were in high school. "aren't dates with people you're into usually good things?"
"generally," woohyun says. "but this is different."
"because he's like lightyears out of my league and i don't own any clothes that don't make me look like a broke-ass college student—"
dongwoo makes an impatient noise. "you are a broke-ass college student. i'm pretty sure he's already aware of the fact that most of your wardrobe is jeans and pretentious sweaters, okay? just wear whatever. stop thinking so much about it, you always mess things up when you think too much."
woohyun groans, sitting down on the edge of his bed. "don't jinx me," he whines, staring at a stain on the laminate of the floor. "hyung—"
"i am not giving you love-life advice," dongwoo says. "get dressed. walk to station. go on date. it's not hard. i'm hanging up!"
in the end, woohyun goes in jeans, a t-shirt, and a sweater, which is different from his usual clothing only in that all of the items involved have been freshly washed. he's five minutes early, which is uncharacteristic, and his palms are sweaty, which is entirely unsurprising. it's stupid, really. it isn't as though woohyun has never dated before—he's dated plenty of people, girls and boys alike from his university, and not one of them has ever made his stomach tie itself in knots this way.
sunggyu is standing near the sculpture at the u-plex. woohyun takes a moment, standing at the crosswalk, to look at him. woohyun has only seen sunggyu out of his apron once, and he was drunk, so he's not entirely sure it counts—but sunggyu looks good, in a way that suggests he has no idea how attractive he is, the kind of effortless gorgeousness that woohyun has always envied in people.
sunggyu checks his phone. a few seconds later, he checks it again. woohyun can't help the little surge of affection that it gives him to know that sunggyu is anticipating this, too.
"hi," woohyun says, when sunggyu glances up from his phone to see woohyun approaching. "you haven't been here long, right?"
"five minutes, maybe," sunggyu says. that would make him ten minutes early. woohyun does an internal victory dance. "um—well… should we go?"
sunggyu takes him to a restaurant off one of the many back-alley streets in the area, the kind of place that woohyun would never have looked twice at if he were only walking by. "have you been here before?" sunggyu asks, holding the door open for woohyun as they step inside.
woohyun shakes his head. "i've never even noticed it."
"i'm not really surprised, it's kind of…" sunggyu shakes his head, smiling. "well, you know. but it has the best kalbitang in the entire country of korea, i swear. i thought, since it's been cold lately, it might be a good place to go?"
the idea of sunggyu trying to seek woohyun's approval is enough to make woohyun grin. "sounds great," he says, waiting for sunggyu to lead.
they end up seated in the back of the restaurant, near the kitchen but removed from the main crush of people. it's nice, almost private—as private as someone can be in a restaurant like this—and comfortable, the smell of broth and beef rich in the air. "do you come here a lot?" woohyun asks, glancing around. the restaurant seems like the type of place you don't just drop in to.
"yeah, i guess you could say that," sunggyu replies. he doesn't seem to know what to do with his hands—he spreads his fingers on the table, then locks his hands together, then sits on both of them at once. "a friend brought me here, and i keep coming back."
"that's endorsement enough for me." a waiter sets a bottle of soju and two glasses on their table, and woohyun glances up at the waiter, then over at sunggyu. "we didn't order—?"
"it's service," the waiter says, smiling at sunggyu and then at woohyun. "kalbitang, sunggyu-yah?"
sunggyu-yah? woohyun mouths. sunggyu flushes and nods, and the waiter heads back to the kitchen. "yeah, i guess you could say i come here often-ish," woohyun says, making air quotes around his head. "often-ish enough to get soju service on sight, huh?"
the shade of red sunggyu turns is stunningly endearing. "okay, so maybe more often than often-ish," he says. "i just—uh, i like this place, i thought it would be good…"
woohyun laughs. "i'm just teasing you," he says, reaching out to pat sunggyu's hand where it's laying on the table. sunggyu's skin is warm and dry, and woohyun lets his fingers linger for a moment before pulling back. "i'm glad i can be sure of the quality of the food, at least."
"in case i'm a bad date?" sunggyu says, finally meeting woohyun's eyes. he's laughing, and his eyes disappear into crescents. woohyun swallows hard and wonders how he's going to make it through the night alive.
one thing that woohyun thinks will never stop surprising him is that he and sunggyu don't run out of things to say. he's had other dates with people he knows better, and even then, there was always a lull—between topics, while they each tried to think of something witty and insightful to say next. but it's not like that, with sunggyu. they just talk, and sunggyu is funny and smart and thoughtful, and woohyun wonders not for the first time about what gods have smiled on him to put him here, now, across the table and watching sunggyu laugh.
it's late when they leave the restaurant, and they walk aimlessly through the streets, talking about everything—literature, certainly, but other things too, music and school and the relative merits of being required to learn english in schools. woohyun catches himself watching sunggyu in light of streetlamps, his profile cast into silhouette for a few moments as they pass through the glow. sunggyu is beautiful in an entirely unassuming way. woohyun wants to kiss him—wants to kiss him just as badly as he had that night weeks ago, when sunggyu had drunkenly ranted about haruki murakami and nearly tripped over bags of garbage.
stupid, that woohyun finds that memory endearing.
eventually they come to a stop outside an apartment building, and with a jolt in the pit of his stomach woohyun realizes it's sunggyu's. "this is me," sunggyu says, looking up at the building and then back at woohyun. there's a sign advertising cigars in the window of a nearby shop, and it casts sunggyu in a blue light. "this… was nice. fun. i had fun."
"so did i," woohyun says. he wants to catch sunggyu's wrists and pull him in and cup his face and kiss him. but he's not that brave, and so he doesn't. "we should do it again."
"we should," sunggyu agrees. he doesn't move, just watches woohyn with a very dark, unreadable gaze. "woohyun," he says, his voice low. one of his hands twitches at his side, like he wants to reach out but won't let himself.
"yeah?" it's so soft it's almost inaudible. woohyun swallows, looking at sunggyu and wondering if it's possible to actually drown in someone's eyes. if anyone understands the creative use of metaphor, it's woohyun, but somehow looking at sunggyu makes it feel quite literal.
sunggyu is quiet for a long moment. "do you want to come inside?" he finally says.
somewhere in the back of his mind and lower, behind his ribcage, woohyun knows exactly what sunggyu is asking. not does he want to come inside, exactly—does he want to come inside and let sunggyu touch him, kiss sunggyu, does he want to come inside and let sunggyu undo him. does he want.
until that moment, woohyun had had no idea how much he wanted.
"yes," he says, and it's quiet, but it's also enunciated and unmistakably clear. "yes."
sunggyu kisses him in the elevator, crowding woohyun into the corner and pressing one hand against his jaw, the other to the curve where his neck meets his shoulder. sunggyu kisses him like he means it, like there are no take-backs, and woohyun absolutely loses himself in it—he brings his hand up to cup sunggyu's elbow, the other to his waist just above his pants, and kisses sunggyu back in hopes that he might make himself understood. yes, he wants this. yes.
after a breathless moment, sunggyu pulls back and presses a series of shorter, softer kisses to woohyun's lips. "i've been wanting to do that since you told me you thought proust was unnecessarily pretentious," he says, his smile brilliant.
woohyun blinks. his fingers tighten in the fabric of sunggyu's shirt. "that was like the second conversation we ever had," he says, leaning up a little, like proximity alone might make sunggyu kiss him again—and it does, it works, sunggyu leans in and kisses him again.
when they part: "i know," sunggyu says, simply.
something kicks in the pit of woohyun's stomach. "so all this time," he says. he slides his hand around to settle in the sway of sunggyu's lower back, pulling him forward. "i've been wanting to kiss you since the first time you asked me what kind of coffee i wanted, so i suppose i shouldn't judge."
"indeed," sunggyu agrees somberly, and kisses him again.
they don't even turn on the light when sunggyu lets them into his apartment, after three fumbled attempts at unlocking the door. by that time, woohyun has shed his cardigan, and when the door closes behind them, he presses close against sunggyu to kiss him again. his hands, up the back of sunggyu's shirt, press against warm skin. "what are we doing?" he asks. the question is only partially rhetorical.
"whatever you want," sunggyu says, his fingers carding through woohyun's hair. "whatever you want."
woohyun pauses, looks up at sunggyu. they're very close, and from this angle woohyun can see sunggyu's eyes clear as anything—can see the expression in them, wanting but uncertain. like he's not sure where to go, and he wants woohyun to lead him.
"go big or go home," woohyun suggests, leaning up to kiss sunggyu again.
it takes a long time for them to undress each other, because they treat it like they have all the time in the world. it's wonderful, honestly—woohyun has never felt as thoroughly explored as he does with sunggyu, who takes his time to brush his fingers over the skin he reveals, tracing the line of woohyun's collarbones with his tongue and the lines of his stomach muscles with his fingertips. in turn, woohyun explores sunggyu's body as it's revealed to him—he draws his fingers up sunggyu's spine, over the planes of his shoulderblades, and then around to trace the lines of his hipbones just above the waistband of his jeans.
"i like this," woohyun says, spontaneous. he unbuckles sunggyu's belt, pressing a kiss to the edge of his jaw. "with you. this is… it's good."
"yeah?" sunggyu's breath catches in his throat when woohyun tugs down the zipper of his jeans. "i'm… glad. i—" he hesitates for a moment. "i like you a lot, you know."
"oh," woohyun says. he'd assumed that sunggyu—well, that sunggyu cared for him at least a little. but to hear it said like that, aloud into the space between them… it makes woohyun flush, and he presses his forehead into the curve of sunggyu's shoulder to hide it. "i like you a lot, too."
"good." he hears rather than sees sunggyu's smile. "then let's—"
"yeah," woohyun agrees. "let's."
they have sex on sunggyu's bed, which is a mattress and box spring tucked into the corner of his one-room, and they don't bother turning down the sheets. woohyun thinks that might be a problem later, but for now, all he can think of is sunggyu—sunggyu's voice, his fingers, the weight of him pressing woohyun back into the pillows. he reaches up, curling his fingers at the back of sunggyu's neck, the base of his skull, and when sunggyu pushes into him their eyes lock. the gaze is electric.
"okay?" sunggyu asks, when he's all the way inside.
woohyun wraps his legs around sunggyu's hips, urging him forward, just a little deeper. "definitely okay," he manages, pushing sunggyu's hair out of his face. "definitely."
"tell me if—"
woohyun cuts him off. "sunggyu," he says. "the only way we'll have a problem is if you don't move in about five seconds."
so sunggyu hides his smile against woohyun's shoulder and moves.
by the time they collapse against each other, exhausted and completely spent, the sun is starting to turn the edges of the seoul sky light blue. woohyun runs his fingers through sunggyu's hair, sweaty and sticking to his skin, and laughs breathlessly. "wow," he says, shifting just so he can feel the pleasant after-ache of the kind of sex they'd had. "man. this is a lot more than i hoped for when you asked me out for dinner."
sunggyu shifts and presses an absent kiss to woohyun's shoulder. "what did you hope for?" he asks. it's clear that he's exhausted, and his lisp is more pronounced—woohyun wants to kiss him, maybe run his tongue behind sunggyu's teeth. kiss his lisp right out of his mouth.
"dinner, maybe a kiss goodnight," he says instead.
"so…" sunggyu looks up at him from where he has his face buried in the pillow. he looks oddly shy, a counterpoint to the way he'd seemed only minutes ago, and he might be blushing, though woohyun can't really tell in the faint almost-dawn light. "all in all, better than expected?"
woohyun laughs and gives in to the impulse to kiss him. "obviously," he says, when they pull apart. "aeons and lightyears beyond better than expected." he settles back against the pillows, his arm tucked under his head, and contemplates sunggyu for a moment. "…i should ask, though," he says, swallowing his nerves. "was this a one-time thing?"
"no," sunggyu says, so immediately that he cuts off the tail end of woohyun's question. "not a—definitely not a one-time thing. unless—you want it to be, in which case—but i definitely… want this to be a repeat performance kind of deal."
"then we're agreed," woohyun says, rolling onto his side to face sunggyu. "right?"
"right." with an exhausted but fond smile, sunggyu scoots closer, wrapping his arm over woohyun's waist and letting his hand settle at the base of woohyun's spine. "now go to sleep."
"okay," woohyun says, and does.
note: As many of you may know, this is a continuation of a fic I previously wrote! It seemed somehow incomplete, so I thought I would finish it. Here are the notes I added before:
Inspired by a very cute coffee-making boy at a cafe I went to recently. Also, because I like literature. Books mentioned include Banana Yoshimoto's "Goodbye Tsugumi" and "Kitchen," Ryu Murakami's "Coin-Locker Babies," JD Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye," Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," and... ah, a great deal of Haruki Murakami's works.
Oh! I should also mention that 신상녀 (sinsangnyeo) and 그르밍적 (grooming-jeok) are words that refer to women and men, respectively, who always buy new things and are never out of fashion. They always have the latest products from the most popular brands, and anything out of season is discarded.
And some additions: Works mentioned also include Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita," Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's "The Little Prince," and the poet Richard Siken, whose poetry is also among my favorites.
That's all! (Whew!) If you've made it this far, thank you very much ♥