Genre: romance, angst, au
Summary: It’s not that Kyungsoo’s never lost a patient before.
A/N: Title and inspiration comes from this song because for some reason it just makes me feel all the feels. Also, I started writing this ages before EXO’s phantasmagorical comeback, but I think it still fits with the theme so funny how that worked out…
It’s not that Kyungsoo’s never lost a patient before.
He has, not so many that he can’t count them on two hands but not so few that he still sees their faces in his nightmares. If he does dream about them, he can never quite make out which face is staring desperately up at him from the clean, white bed—whether it’s a real person or just a shadow. But there’s something about this boy lying on the bed in front of him, dark red blood staining the soft white bandages wrapped around his arm, his chest, his head, that makes him feel like he’s lost before he’s even begun.
“How are you feeling?” Kyungsoo asks more cheerily than he actually feels. The boy on the bed in front of him snorts a bit sarcastically as Kyungsoo walks over to the monitor to check his vital signs. Everything’s looking fairly good considering how bad of an accident he had. Kyungsoo runs his eyes over the name on the papers—KIM JONGIN printed in large black letters at the top of the first page.
“Do you really want to ask me that?” Jongin asks, voice harsh and gravelly and Kyungsoo shoots him a worried glance.
“How is your throat feeling?” he says with a frown. “It doesn’t say anything about damaged vocal chords here.”
“Well, isn’t that cheery,” Jongin mutters with a brittle laugh. “Even if every other part of me is broken, at least I’ll still be able to insult people.”
“The nurse should be in soon to check on you,” Kyungsoo says quickly, because being in this room, with this shattered boy, is strangely disconcerting.
“I look forward to it,” Jongin laughs again. “Try to send one of the hot ones, all right? I’m planning on telling her to adjust the bed so she’ll have to bend over.”
Kyungsoo scoffs, shaking his head as he walks out, but he can’t contain a small grin at the boy’s forthrightness. That kind of honesty is rare here, even in this place where hundreds of conversations every day begin with the words, “There’s nothing more we can do.”
He’s walking down the corridor, planning to check in on a few more patients before lunch, when he sees Seohyun rushing past him towards Jongin’s room.
“Seohyun,” he says, grabbing her arm gently to get her to slow down. She looks up, probably a bit surprised to see him talking to her, but stops and turns to face him. “Can you add Kim Jongin to my rotation? The girl with the broken arm is due to go home any day now, just slot him in, would you?”
“Sure,” Seohyun says, giving Kyungsoo a strange look. “Any particular reason?”
“No, not really,” Kyungsoo replies smoothly, because there really isn’t. Jongin just…intrigues him.
“All right,” Seohyun says again with a slight nod. “Is that all?”
“Oh, and you might want to run some tests to make sure there aren’t any problems with his breathing,” Kyungsoo says, brow wrinkling as he remembers Jongin’s raspy laugh.
“Of course,” Seohyun says, before giving Kyungsoo a quick smile and resuming her brisk pace down the hall.
Kyungsoo stares after her, lost in thought. He’s always admired Seohyun’s efficiency, her calm capableness in the face of things that make even some doctors flinch. He’s glad that she’s the one taking care of Jongin, for reasons he can’t quite explain. She’s also quite attractive, he thinks with a wry smile, shaking his head as he resumes his walk down the hallway.
“My throat hurts. Is there any water around here?” Jongin asks petulantly, and Kyungsoo thinks his voice actually sounds much better than it had yesterday, but he leans over the bed and grabs the cup of water sitting on Jongin’s bedside table anyway, making sure the boy has a firm grip on it before letting go.
“Your throat probably hurts because you smoke,” Kyungsoo says. “As a doctor, I can’t recommend that for anyone and I’d like to remind you that smoking kills you.”
“You know, I think I’ve heard that before somewhere,” Jongin says with a smirk. “And how do you know that I smoke anyway?”
“I’m a doctor,” Kyungsoo repeats. “Did you really think that sort of lung damage wouldn’t show up in our tests and scans?”
“Oh, right, doctor, forgot that you people don’t use leeches and things like that anymore,” Jongin says, and when Kyungsoo glances at him he sees that his eyes are bright with amusement.
“Yes, well,” Kyungsoo says primly. “Us doctors are the ones who are going to fix you up so you might as well get used to us telling you all the other things wrong with you besides having a close encounter with a semi-truck.”
“It’s not my fault it was driving on the wrong side of the road,” Jongin says flippantly, leaning back against his pillows with a sigh.
“I believe that was you on the wrong side of the road,” Kyungsoo says flatly, because it suddenly doesn’t seem funny when he remembers the blood spreading across the white bandages.
“Right, right,” Jongin smiles, the brightness of his expression almost coaxing Kyungsoo into smiling as well before he manages to squash the urge. “It’s amazing how hard it is to remember things with a few shots of vodka in you.”
“A few shots would hardly get you to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.17%,” Kyungsoo says, flipping through the papers in Jongin’s file. “I’m supposed to talk to you about that too. Do you have a drinking problem we should be aware of? I can recommend you to several different organizations that could help you with that.”
“I don’t have a problem,” Jongin says, waving his bandaged arm as if to dispel Kyungsoo’s ridiculous doubts. “I was just going through a hard time. Not that drinking made it any better since now I’m stuck in this hospital. But it was an attempt.”
“Right,” Kyungsoo says. “Well, we’ll talk about that more later maybe. Right now, I’ve got to go.”
“Are you sure?” Jongin says, and Kyungsoo stops, turning to see Jongin staring grumpily up at him. “Because it’s really boring in here with no one to talk to and the nurse is too nice.”
“Too nice,” Kyungsoo says a slight grin. “I have to say, I’ve never gotten that complaint before. I’ll be sure to tell her, she might enjoy that.”
“Yeah, she just doesn’t have your heartless, unfeeling bedside manner,” Jongin says, and Kyungsoo tries to suppress the urge to glare at him. He’s not sure he entirely succeeds. “It’s unsettling.”
“Well, I suppose you’ll just have to get used to nice people, then,” Kyungsoo says, a bit too snippily to be professional, as he walks out the door.
“I need more morphine, he’s obviously still in pain!” Kyungsoo yells, hand outstretched as orderlies rush around the room like white butterflies, none of them giving him what he wants. “Now!”
“Here,” Minseok says breathlessly, slamming a syringe into Kyungsoo’s hand and Kyungsoo wastes no time in slipping the needle into golden skin, breath hitching when Jongin’s body arches off the bed before slumping back into place.
“Something’s wrong, I think he’s going into shock,” Seohyun calls from her space over by the heart monitor. Kyungsoo swears angrily, turning around and sliding a hand over the array of surgical implements on the small tray by his side, accidently knocking half of them onto the ground in his haste.
“Watch it!” Minseok says, just barely managing to yank his hand back before a scalpel falls past him to clatter helplessly against the floor. “Kyungsoo, what’s gotten into you?”
“Nothing,” Kyungsoo spits, forcing his hands to stop shaking. He tries not to think about Jongin’s smile, the way he always laughed with his mouth open like he wanted the whole world to know how happy he was. “Nothing at all.”
“So, what’s on the schedule for today?” Jongin asks the minute he sees the top of Kyungsoo’s head peeking through the door to his room. “Physical therapy? Some more talking about my alcohol problem?”
“Well, aren’t we eager,” Kyungsoo says wryly, purposefully ignoring Jongin’s eyes as he goes to the computer to look at the day’s vital signs. Everything looks good—surprisingly, given the magnitude of the accident he was in. Even his bones seem to be healing much faster than usual.
“It’s just so boring in here,” Jongin whines, yanking at his bedsheets with his unbandaged hand. “Talk to me.”
“I’m just here to do a check-up, I have things to do besides talk to you,” Kyungsoo says with a smile, turning to see Jongin directing a devastating pout his way. “Don’t give me that face.”
“How do doctors die?” Jongin asks suddenly, and Kyungsoo freezes. Jongin’s eyes are dark, and a smile curls around his lips as he takes in Kyungsoo’s surprised expression.
“What do you mean?” Kyungsoo asks, recovering himself and flattening his mouth into a thin line.
“How do you die?” Jongin simply says again. “Do you ever think about that? How one day you might be the one in the bed, having someone else operate on you. Do you think about how you know the exact noise that computer will make when you die?”
“No,” Kyungsoo says dully, and the lie comes out as unconvincing as it sounded in his head. “I have to go.”
“You should come back soon,” Jongin says. “I like talking to you.”
As Kyungsoo walks out the door and down the hallway, he wonders at the way Jongin’s light smile had seemed so strange beside his question. And Kyungsoo doesn’t like knowing every step necessary to put a broken human being back together but he mostly just doesn’t like hearing about it from Jongin.
“Kyungsoo!” he hears Seohyun shouting from behind him, and before he can turn around in confusion her hand closes tightly on his upper arm, pulling him back down the hallway. Kyungsoo hisses in pain, wrenching her fingers off the bruised skin, and Seohyun tilts her head in surprise.
“Sorry!” she says, quickly withdrawing her hand. “It’s just…it’s Jongin.”
“Of course it is,” Kyungsoo snarls, massaging his upper arm before he remembers he’s not supposed to be hurt. “What’s wrong with him now?”
“He’s ripped out his IV,” Seohyun says matter-of-factly as she resumes her brisk pace down the hall, Kyungsoo hurrying to catch up. “And he refuses to let any of us near him. He just keeps saying he wants to see you.”
“I just left his room five minutes ago,” Kyungsoo says exasperatedly, throwing his hands into the air. “What could he possibly want?”
“I have no idea,” Seohyun says with a wry smile. “But I think you’re about to find out. And hurry, he’s getting blood all over the bed and I just changed those sheets.”
Sure enough, as Kyungsoo nears the room he can hear Jongin’s slightly hoarse voice bellowing his name in between obscenities no doubt directed at the nurses trying to subdue him.
“Jongin,” he says as he steps through the door and Jongin’s dark eyes immediately shoot towards him, whole body relaxing against his pillows. Minseok and Junmyeon, spying an opportunity, pounce on him again, trying to hold him still long enough to force the needle back into his arm but Jongin hisses, struggling against their hands, and knees Junmyeon so hard in the chest that he falls backwards.
“Jongin, stop it!” Kyungsoo yells, moving forward and pulling Minseok roughly backwards before reaching out a hand to help Junmyeon up. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“So you do swear,” Jongin says, wiping ineffectively at the blood dribbling out of his arm. “I was starting to wonder.”
“Why am I here, Jongin?” Kyungsoo asks, shooing Minseok and Junmyeon away. They seem loath to leave him alone with Jongin, but Kyungsoo gives them a dark glare and they finally decide to scurry off. Kyungsoo’s a little surprised—he’s still working on the whole getting-people-to-obey-him thing, but he can’t spare more than a moment to be surprised because Jongin is coughing and the red stains on his sheets are very distracting.
“Sing for me,” Jongin says, giving a Kyungsoo a half-lidded glance, lips curled downwards into a smirk. Kyungsoo barely manages to tear his eyes away, instead staring determinedly at Jongin’s arm as he uses a clean cotton pad to swab up the blood and carefully reinserts the needle, taping it securely in place. This time Jongin doesn’t swat it away. But now Kyungsoo can’t avoid his eyes anymore, so he takes a few steps backwards before looking up.
“What?” he asks tiredly, peeling off his gloves and throwing them in the nearby trashcan. “What are you even talking about?”
“Sing for me,” Jongin says again, lips still quirked downwards in that smirk. His tongue slips out to wet his lower lip and Kyungsoo lets out a weary sigh as he considers the ridiculousness of this situation.
“I don’t sing,” Kyungsoo says firmly, lowering his head and staring Jongin right in the eye. Jongin looks back, completely at ease.
“Yes, you do,” he sing-songs, face relaxing into a soft smile so different from the sultry smirk from a few moments before. “Seohyun says you do.”
“Under what circumstances did my singing even come up?” Kyungsoo asks resignedly, taking a seat in the chair beside Jongin’s bed. He’s already twenty minutes late for his rounds, a few more minutes won’t do too much more damage. Hopefully Minseok will cover for him. Hopefully.
“I asked her what you liked to do for fun,” Jongin says conversationally, “and she said you sang or something but you didn’t like people bringing it up because you’re too professional for that kind of stuff.”
“Seohyun is sadly misinformed,” Kyungsoo huffs, leaning back in his chair and sighing at the ways the tension in his shoulders makes his muscles ache. “I don’t sing for anyone.”
“Minseok agreed though,” Jongin says thoughtfully, eyes glimmering in amusement as Kyungsoo groans. Where did this even come from? So he sang at one holiday party! That doesn’t mean he’s good at it, or even likes singing all that much.
“I thought he just came in here to subdue you!” Kyungsoo sighs. “Not to gossip about me.”
“I believe he was officially here to check my blood pressure or something else useless,” Jongin snorts. “But then things got a bit…difficult. And here you are. So sing.”
“I’m not going to sing for you,” Kyungsoo retorts, glancing over at Jongin.
“Oh, yes, you are,” Jongin says, that same childish lilt in his voice. “Or else I am going to make a big mess. There will be lots more blood, I promise.”
“I can’t believe I’m being bullied by a patient,” Kyungsoo moans, covering his face with his hands.
“Oh, stop whining and sing,” Jongin says, reaching out and yanking Kyungsoo’s arm down from his face. Kyungsoo flinches involuntarily and Jongin immediately lets go, giving him a strange look. “Sorry.”
“It’s nothing,” Kyungsoo says quickly. “Okay, fine, let’s just get this over with. What do you want to hear?”
“Anything,” Jongin hums, settling back in bed, pulling his covers up to his chest. He looks so small like this, so vulnerable, that Kyungsoo wants to hide him away up on a high shelf, keep his delicate body from shattering under the weight of the world.
“Okay,” Kyungsoo sighs, and then he starts singing. It’s an old song—one that he heard on the radio nearly every day when he was a kid—and the lyrics about love and silence and stars still make his heart ache every time he hears them.
As he sings, he notices that Jongin is completely still, so still he barely seems to be breathing. All the nervous energy that usually seems to fill him has dissipated, leaving him a living statue—molten bronze sturdier than skin poured into the shape of a bright-eyed boy, staring quietly at Kyungsoo until he begins to stumble over words, barely remembering the last few lines. It’s been a while since he’s sung that song. He’s not quite sure why he thought of it when Jongin asked him to sing something.
“I liked that,” Jongin says when the last few notes have dissolved into the dusty air, Kyungsoo frowning at the way his voice wobbles at the end of the last syllable.
“Now will you stop being so difficult?” Kyungsoo asks, getting to his feet and brushing imaginary dust off his scrubs. “I’ve already lost half an hour because of you. They’re going to be furious.”
“I’m sure the great Do Kyungsoo can work something out,” Jongin says, and Kyungsoo scoffs but he smiles as he heads out the door. It’s only later, when he’s busy explaining a prescription to a worried mother, that he realizes he never told Jongin his first name.
“I don’t understand,” Kyungsoo growls, fingers flying across the computer keyboard as the boy’s body twists and rocks on the bed beside him. “Why isn’t anything fucking working?”
“His lung just collapsed!” Minseok says from where he’s bending over the bed, administering a dose of painkillers as Junmyeon attempts to pin the boy down and keep him from hurting himself even more.
“Can we reinflate it?” Kyungsoo hisses, striding over and pushing Minseok out of the way.
“You can try,” Minseok says skeptically, “but be careful of his broken ribs. You might not be able to get the chest tube in.”
“I can try,” Kyungsoo says, adjusting his facemask and bending over the boy’s chest. Behind him, a smooth green line paints regular blips across the monitor screen.
“Here again?” Yixing snorts, shoving a glass filled with who-knows-what at Kyungsoo. He downs it in one gulp, wincing a little as the alcohol burns the back of his throat.
“Shut up,” Kyungsoo mutters, holding out his glass automatically. Yixing wastes no time in filling it again.
“I’m serious, I almost thought you were done, that you were gonna get out and get a respectable hobby,” Yixing laughs, brushing his hair out of his eyes. “But now in the past month you’ve been here nearly every week. Everything all right?”
“Are you really going to ask me that?” Kyungsoo asks, giving Yixing a disdainful glance, though he’s not sure it carries as much weight as it should because the world is beginning to get a bit fuzzy around the edges.
“Hey, it’s my job,” Yixing shrugs, filling Kyungsoo’s glass again. “Bartenders are supposed to be interested in their customer’s troubles.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t need your interest,” Kyungsoo spits, and he’s knows he’s drunk because he can’t tell exactly how far away the bar counter is. He takes a wild guess and ends up slamming the glass down so hard it nearly shatters in his hand.
“Watch it!” Yixing huffs before turning towards a tall, blond man swaggering up to the bar. “I don’t really want to be cleaning up broken glass tonight.”
“Yeah, sure,” Kyungsoo says darkly. “I’ll try not to break anything.”
“Long night, huh?” Jongin asks, taking in the dark circles under Kyungsoo’s eyes and the deep maroon bruise spreading across his cheek.
“Yeah, sure,” Kyungsoo says shortly, not really in the mood for conversation. He checks Jongin’s bandages, pleased to see that Seohyun’s been doing an excellent job keeping them clean and fresh.
“What happened to your face?” Jongin presses, and Kyungsoo smiles sheepishly.
“Hit myself in the face with my car door,” he says, moving over to the monitor and checking the past few hours’ vital signs. Jongin’s almost miraculous recovery has continued—at this rate, he’ll be gone in a few weeks. Kyungsoo’s not sure why he’s not looking forward to it more. “Really embarrassing, just pretend like it isn’t there.”
“You’re an awful liar,” Jongin mutters, but doesn’t say anything more until Kyungsoo’s turned away and is heading towards the door.
“Okay, first of all, can you call me Dr. Do, please, because I’m sick of people around here pretending I’m not a senior surgeon and also how do you even know my name is Kyungsoo?” Kyungsoo says in exasperation, whirling on his heel and crossing his arms over his chest.
“I have my ways,” Jongin says, wiggling his eyebrows ridiculously. Kyungsoo snorts, waiting for Jongin to speak. But Jongin doesn’t say anything, just lies there staring at Kyungsoo as if he’s trying to swallow him with his eyes. It’s disconcerting.
“Well? I have things to do, you know,” Kyungsoo says, and Jongin grins.
“Am I going to die?” he asks quietly, smile still pasted on his face though it suddenly looks incredibly out of place. His eyes are soft and wet and deep.
“No, of course not,” Kyungsoo replies, a little harsher than he means to. “If you were going to die, you’d have done it by now.”
“Wrong answer,” Jongin says with a sigh, closing his eyes. “We’re all going to die.”
And Kyungsoo’s not quite sure what to say to that.
“Want to come with us and have a drink?” Minseok asks as they walk out into the parking lot, Kyungsoo distractedly watching the way his car keys catch the light. His fingers smell metallic. “Junmyeon said he was going to invite that other nurse, Chanyeol I think? Come on, it’ll be fun!”
“It’s all right,” Kyungsoo says with a weary grin that he knows doesn’t reach his eyes. “Thanks for the invite, but I should really get home and try to get some rest.”
“You really should,” Minseok says, placing a friendly hand on Kyungsoo’s shoulder. “You’ve been looking really tired lately. Junmyeon’s started to worry.”
“Well, he does that anyway,” Kyungsoo laughs, giving Minseok a small wave as they head off in opposite directions. But when he leaves the hospital parking lot he doesn’t head home.
“Man, there is definitely something wrong,” Yixing whistles, watching Kyungsoo throw himself down into a chair by the bar. “First of all, it’s a weekday, and second of all, you’re already drunk.”
“Not much,” Kyungsoo mumbles. “You know I need to be really drunk before I can do this.”
“Something I will never understand,” Yixing sighs, handing Kyungsoo a glass of beer that he quickly downs. “You’d think that decreased awareness wouldn’t exactly be a great thing.”
“Helps me focus,” Kyungsoo grunts, tracing a finger through the ring of water his glass leaves on the glossy wood of the bar. “I need to focus. Focus.”
“Yeah, focus,” Yixing says, eyeing Kyungsoo a bit sadly. “Well, they’ve already started out back so you’d better hurry if you want a chance to get in on a round.”
“Shit,” Kyungsoo mutters, shoving himself back from the bar and walking towards the door leading outside, into the wide alleyway behind the bar. As soon as he steps out into the dim, grimy street, lit by a few flickering streetlamps that bathe the scene in a sickly yellow glow, he’s assaulted by a barrage of cheering and yelling, the stench of sweat and alcohol and vomit mixing with cigarette smoke.
He manages to push his way towards the front, people beginning to move apart as they recognize him, opening a path towards the front row standing around a makeshift ring. He blinks hard several times, trying to clear his vision enough to make out the figures wrestling in front of him. Luckily, the voices screaming from all sides help him.
“Ooh, elbow to the neck that’s got to hurt—”
“Baekhyun, that’s it, that’s it, you’re faster than that big idiot, you’ve got this!”
“Wu Fan, you’re not going to let yourself get beat up by a fucking puny kid, are you? Kick his ass!”
“You’re just saying that because you bet $50 on him, asshole, anyone knows that speed trumps size—”
“Oh, you’re here!” a voice says cheerily from behind him, and Kyungsoo swings around to stare blearily at Zitao, who claps a hand on his shoulder. Kyungsoo hisses and Zitao smiles.
“Sorry, forgot about last week,” he says, shoving the man next to Kyungsoo out of the way so he can stand beside him and survey the match. “How’s the collarbone doing?”
“Fine, it wasn’t broken after all,” Kyungsoo yells, trying to make himself heard over the clamor of the crowd. “No thanks to you, you bastard.”
“Hey, what can I say?” Zitao grins, lifting his hands helplessly. “You left yourself totally open to that one. Also, I can’t believe no one asked you about your face. That I am sorry about, I know we’re supposed to avoid face shots, it was totally an accident.”
“Yeah, sure,” Kyungsoo snorts, and Zitao laughs, white teeth flashing in the dim light. “Just tell me if you can slot me in tonight? I’ll take any match, I just need someone to fight.”
“So eager,” Zitao hums, tracing a finger down Kyungsoo’s cheek. Kyungsoo flinches away from the touch, adrenaline suddenly flooding his veins as Wu Fan goes down—a well-placed kick from Baekhyun sending him toppling backwards. “I guess this means you’re up.”
Kyungsoo doesn’t wait for Zitao to change his mind, bounding under the thin ribbon dividing the circle of concrete of the ring from the rest of the alley. Baekhyun looks him up and down, no doubt trying to tell how drunk Kyungsoo is tonight, and Kyungsoo stares right back, merely shifting his feet out of the way as some of Wu Fan’s friends crowd the ring, dragging him upright and pulling him back towards the bar, someone calling for water, another for bandages. No one watches them go—they’re all here because this is what they want, you don’t fight like this if you’re worried about getting injured.
“You ready?” Baekhyun asks, voice hoarse. A trickle of blood trails down from a cut on his forehead, and he angrily swipes the ruddy liquid out of his eyes. His knuckles are bruised, and Kyungsoo clenches his fists in response, shifting back and forth anxiously. His vision is getting clearer with every passing moment, blood pumping so hard in his veins he can feel his pulse in his fingertips.
“What do you think?” Kyungsoo sneers back, lips curling upwards in a way he knows makes him look almost predatory.
“All right, all right, all right, gentlemen,” Zitao yells with all the pomp of a circus announcer, ducking under the ribbon and standing in the middle of the ring, chorus of voices screaming abuse and support swelling as he shouts over the noise. “Our next match is Baekhyun versus D.O., place your bets now, remember, any major damage to the face means immediate disqualification, last one standing wins!”
And then Zitao is ducking back under the ribbon, turning to stare at them, arms crossed over his chest, and Baekhyun is lunging forward, dodging under Kyungsoo’s arm and landing a shuddering blow on his ribs that has Kyungsoo gasping, nearly falling forward before he manages to recover himself. He whirls around but damn Baekhyun is fast, the boy already sliding over to his side, arm swiping up around Kyungsoo’s ear as he tries to drag him down into a headlock. Kyungsoo twists his head to the side, out of Baekhyun’s grip, and then he’s locking Baekhyun’s arm in his armpit, yanking him forward before sweeping a leg behind his knee, sending Baekhyun crashing to the ground.
Baekhyun’s bouncing back upright before the crowd can do more than groan, but Kyungsoo sees him wincing at the pain in his back. His palms are skinned and bleeding. Kyungsoo throws a few more punches that Baekhyun easily blocks, starting to get cockier, edging in slaps at the side of Kyungsoo’s head, laughing when Kyungsoo jerks backwards, startled.
“Is that all you’ve got?” Baekhyun laughs, and the crowd laughs with him, especially when Kyungsoo can’t get his arms down in time to block a solid punch to his chest that leaves him gasping for air.
It takes him several moments to recover himself, hands on his knees as Baekhyun parades around the ring, slapping hands with several people standing on the sidelines, shooting unconcerned glances in Kyungsoo’s direction as he regains his breath. But once he does, there’s no hesitation. Baekhyun doesn’t even have time to turn around before Kyungsoo’s arm is clamped around his neck, bones of his wrist pressing hard against Baekhyun’s windpipe, and Baekhyun’s choking, sputtering as the crowd roars. Baekhyun slams his foot down against Kyungsoo’s, and Kyungsoo inadvertently loosens his hold enough for Baekhyun to slip out, but then Kyungsoo is grabbing his shoulders, pulling him off-balance, and when Baekhyun goes down this time, he stays down.
Kyungsoo can barely hear anything, even the shouts of the crowd, over his own heart pounding thickly in his ears, and when Zitao ducks into the ring again, announcing an end to the night, he barely hears him. Baekhyun gives him a conciliatory nod before ducking under the ribbon, rubbing his neck. That’s definitely going to bruise.
“Nice work,” Zitao says, clapping Kyungsoo on the shoulder again, and laughing when Kyungsoo winces once again. “Sorry, I just keep forgetting about the collarbone. Well, you made me a tidy profit tonight.”
“Like you bet on me,” Kyungsoo snorts. His lip is bleeding, he can taste metallic blood on his tongue.
“Of course I did!” Zitao says, pressing a hand to his heart and giving Kyungsoo a comically offended glance. “I always bet on the great D.O. when he’s in the ring. You’re an animal out there!”
“Yeah, right,” Kyungsoo laughs harshly, before turning and heading down the alleyway, deciding he doesn’t want to go out through the bar and have to pass by Yixing’s questioning glances.
“See you soon!” Zitao calls after him, and Kyungsoo swears angrily because he knows he will. As he leaves the darkness of the alley, shuffling into a street lit by a bright quarter moon and tall buildings dotted with light, he presses a hand against his chest, wincing, and wonders why the darkness reminds him so much of Jongin’s eyes.
“His heart and lungs are seriously compromised and his kidneys are failing, we’re running out of time,” Junmyeon mutters as he comes up to Kyungsoo’s side, wordlessly checking the sedative levels in Jongin’s bloodstream. They’re right where they should be, but for some reason it’s not reassuring. “We could really use a miracle-worker right about now.”
“We’re doctors,” Kyungsoo says coldly, turning back to Jongin and taking the AED Minseok hands him. “Isn’t that nearly the same thing?”
“What are you doing here?” Kyungsoo hisses when he sees Jongin standing in the waiting room, leather motorcycle jacket draped over his arm. It’s strange to see him standing up, eyes bright, looking whole and healthy. “Junmyeon said he gave you the prescription for the painkillers you need to take.”
“And that made me good money, remind me to thank him,” Jongin quips, and Kyungsoo narrows his eyes.
“Why are you here?” he asks again, grabbing Jongin’s arm and pulling him out the door and away from the interested stares of parents with sniffling children and teenagers cradling bandaged arms and sports equipment. Kyungsoo tries the door to Minseok’s office, which is just down the hall and, finding it unlocked, shoves Jongin inside, closing the door quickly behind them.
“Wow, pushy much?” Jongin says in mock-annoyance, rubbing a hand over the skin Kyungsoo’s just released. “What’s your problem?”
“My problem,” Kyungsoo says through clenched teeth. “Is that you’re not supposed to be here. Why are you here?”
“I wanted to see you,” Jongin says simply, leaning against Minseok’s immaculate desk. His jacket knocks over a picture frame and Jongin quickly bends down to pick it up, band of smooth tanned skin peeking out as his shirt rides up.
“Talk about what?” Kyungsoo asks with a frown. Jongin was released nearly two weeks ago, and Kyungsoo had asked Minseok to do all the final check-ups on him. Kyungsoo hadn’t wanted to be the one to say goodbye. He still doesn’t.
“Nothing in particular,” Jongin says softly, smiling. “I just wanted to see you. You stopped coming to visit before I was released.”
“I was busy,” Kyungsoo says coldly, but the words don’t seem to bother Jongin at all—if anything, his smile widens. “I got some new patients added to my rounds and Minseok had to take over. Was there a problem with his level of care?”
“Of course,” Jongin sniffs, and Kyungsoo glares. “He wasn’t you. That was the problem.”
“Please leave, Jongin,” Kyungsoo says again, wincing at how desperate he sounds. “You really shouldn’t be here.”
“I didn’t realize I’d done something to make you so upset,” Jongin says, and this time his smile does slip as his eyes narrow. “All I want is to talk to you.”
“I don’t have time,” Kyungsoo says quickly, stepping backwards until his hand is on the doorknob. “I’m sorry, you’ll have to see yourself out.”
Then he’s opening the door and stepping out into the brightly lit hallway, striding down the nearest branching corridor he can find, reminding himself over and over again not to look back. Reminding himself over and over again that he’s not supposed to be worried about how thin Jongin had looked, about the way the dark circles under his eyes seemed to have deepened.
“Whoa, are you all right?” Junmyeon asks, yelping as Kyungsoo slams straight into him, knocking a stack of neatly folded bedsheets out of his arms.
“Oh god, I’m so sorry!” Kyungsoo gasps, quickly bending down and helping Junmyeon gather up the cloth pooling on the cold floor.
“Lost in thought, huh?” Junmyeon asks cheerily, as if he hadn’t noticed the worried frown etched across Kyungsoo’s face. Kyungsoo is grateful for that. Junmyeon has always known how to be discreet.
“I’m sorry, it’s nothing, I should be more careful,” Kyungsoo huffs, running a hand tiredly through his hair. But then he hears a loud voice from behind him.
“Hey, Junmyeon, you won’t believe this—I just saw Jongin leaving Minseok’s office why would he—oh. Hey, Dr. Do.”
Chanyeol, the very picture of indiscretion, stops short as Kyungsoo stands up and turns around, Junmyeon stepping quickly forward as if to try to repair the damage.
“We are going to go get more sheets,” Junmyeon says firmly, gripping Chanyeol’s wrist and beginning to pull him backwards down the hall. “Now.”
“But I—but I don’t—hey!” Chanyeol sputters, but eventually he gives up and lets Junmyeon yank him away, shooting a worried glance at Kyungsoo over his shoulder before they disappear. Kyungsoo sighs, checking his watch to see how many hours are left in his shift. He wonders if he’ll have time to stop at the bar on the way home.
He’s absorbed in his phone as he makes his way towards his car at the end of the day, checking e-mails he’s missed and responding to texts from Minseok, reassuring him that he got rid of Jongin, it wasn’t anything important. This is probably why he jumps so violently when he’s unlocking his car door and suddenly hears a voice in his ear.
“Fuck, Jongin,” Kyungsoo gasps, slapping a hand over his racing heart. “What are you even doing here?”
“Trying to talk to you, obviously,” Jongin says. He’s actually wearing the motorcycle jacket now, and he smells of smoke and heat and recklessness. Kyungsoo’s seen more motorcycle accidents than he cares to remember. “Since apparently I’m not allowed to ask for you at your place of work.”
“What do you want?” Kyungsoo asks, slumping against his car door in defeat. He has no idea what Jongin wants from him, why he’s even here, but he knows that he won’t be able to give him whatever it is.
“Why are you a doctor?” Jongin asks, and Kyungsoo glances up at him, surprised by the question.
“What do you mean?”
“You know, why did you decide to become a doctor,” Jongin says encouragingly, leaning gracefully against Kyungsoo’s car, arms crossed over his chest.
“I wanted to make a difference,” Kyungsoo says honestly, sighing. “And going to med school seemed like a good way to do that.”
“Med school,” Jongin says slowly, as if savoring the taste of the words on his tongue. “Sounds really fucking boring.”
“It kind of was,” Kyungsoo agrees, small smile creeping involuntarily onto his lips. “But it was worth it. Because now I get to do this every day.”
“Don’t you get tired?” Jongin asks with a frown that Kyungsoo wants to smooth away.
“Of course I do,” Kyungsoo says. “But that doesn’t matter. And you should really stop smoking.”
“What gave it away?” Jongin laughs, the sound clear and bright and nothing like the hoarse croak it had been the first time Kyungsoo heard it.
“Goodbye, Jongin,” Kyungsoo mutters, quickly opening his car door, sliding inside, and slamming it closed. He’s careful not to look at Jongin as he backs out and leaves the parking lot, allowing himself only a quick glance in the rearview mirror when Jongin is merely a black dot in the distance, a speck of dust on the wide white wall of the hospital.
“You can’t keep doing this, Kyungsoo,” Yixing says when Kyungsoo hauls himself up to the bar, slumping down with his head pillowed on his forearms. “You’re killing yourself. I’m going to start telling Zitao to get Wu Fan to throw you out every time you show your face. I may have few morals, but sitting by and letting someone whose company I can actually tolerate destroy themselves is something I can’t do.”
“So don’t watch,” Kyungsoo hisses, before yanking himself off the barstool and stumbling towards the back door.
“I’m serious!” Yixing yells after him. “I’m calling Zitao right now!”
And Kyungsoo seriously considers turning around and sending Yixing smashing through his artfully arranged liquor collection, but the thought is squashed as soon as it arises. He can’t hurt Yixing. Yixing is too delicate, too kind, and Kyungsoo may sometimes forget that he swore to do no harm but at times like these he remembers.
With a heavy sigh, he turns around and plods back past the bar, shooting a glare at Yixing’s stern face, and heaves himself out the front door. He thinks he hears Yixing yelling something about calling a taxi just before it swings shut, but Kyungsoo ignores him. At the moment, he doesn’t really care about the danger. He grips his steering wheel hard, waiting for the light to change, and wonders for a moment about that news broadcast he saw this morning—car driven off a freeway overpass, glass and metal splattered across the asphalt like rain. Kyungsoo wonders what it would feel like to fall that hard.
“You’ve been quiet recently,” Seohyun says as they’re sitting in silence sorting papers. Kyungsoo looks curiously up at her but she’s studiously gazing at the files, avoiding his eyes.
“What do you mean, ‘quiet’?” Kyungsoo asks, dropping his eyes to his hands, mechanically shifting pages into two piles.
“I don’t know,” Seohyun says thoughtfully, resting her chin on one hand as she tries to read the small words scrawled across the page in front of her. “Just quiet. It reminds me of when my mom died. My dad got really quiet for a while.”
“I didn’t know—I’m sorry,” Kyungsoo says softly, wondering why Seohyun is telling him this. They’ve worked together for nearly a year and a half now, but they’ve never been particularly close.
“I’m just saying, don’t worry too much,” Seohyun says, lifting up a delicate hand to check her watch. “I know that’s like telling a painter to stop painting, but if something’s meant to work out, it will. Anyone who says there are no coincidences just isn’t looking hard enough.”
Kyungsoo doesn’t reply, but for some reason his chest suddenly feels a little lighter.
“Um…Kyungsoo?” Minseok says, opening the door to Kyungsoo’s office and poking his head in tentatively. “Do you have a minute?”
“Of course,” Kyungsoo says with a smile, beckoning Minseok inside. He’s a bit surprised to see that Minseok has a serious look on his face. Minseok’s always so pleasant and cheery. “What do you need?”
“I just had a question,” Minseok mutters hesitantly, and Kyungsoo wonders why he’s taking so long to ask it. “If that’s all right with you.”
“Of course, anything,” Kyungsoo replies, folding his hands in front of him on the desk.
“It’s…about Jongin,” Minseok says, dropping his eyes to his shoes, and Kyungsoo freezes, easy smile still pasted on his lips.
“What about Jongin?” Kyungsoo asks, forcing his expression into one of nonchalance.
“I just—you didn’t—” Minseok stutters, a blush crawling up his cheeks. “Nothing… happened, right?”
“Minseok,” Kyungsoo says coldly. “Are you accusing me of having a relationship with a patient?”
“No! I mean, I just…He wasn’t even really your patient, he was mine…” Minseok trails off, unable to meet Kyungsoo’s eye. “I just had to ask because…and he…”
“Nothing happened,” Kyungsoo says firmly. “I’m a little upset you didn’t trust me and had to ask, but we’re both professionals here and I understand. Is that all?”
“Then I really think he might have a problem,” Minseok frowns, and Kyungsoo looks up, confused. “Maybe we should recommend him for psych evaluation.”
“What are you talking about?” Kyungsoo asks curiously, surprised when Minseok starts violently at the question.
“Oh, damn,” he mutters, before straightening up and finally meeting Kyungsoo’s eyes. “I think you should come with me.”
“Why?” Kyungsoo asks, but Minseok just stands and opens the door, holding it open so Kyungsoo can pass through it. They walk down the hallway in silence, and Kyungsoo notices they’re heading towards the emergency room.
“Is something wrong?” he asks as they draw nearer, sounds of crying and raised voices growing louder with every step.
“Well, I wasn’t sure but now I’m pretty sure there is. At least with Jongin,” Minseok says cryptically, throwing open the door to the waiting room and ushering Kyungsoo inside.
Kyungsoo hates the emergency room waiting area. It’s too loud, too much noise and hysteria, and the long line of people is almost too depressing for him to bear. But in that moment, he doesn’t even notice the noise, or the smell, or the desperate faces waiting for assistance.
“Hey,” Jongin says weakly, that same knowing smirk marred by a wince he can’t contain, and Kyungsoo feels like his stomach has suddenly dropped into his feet.
Turning on his heel, he strides back out the door, into the hospital corridor, Minseok following confusedly on his heels.
“Are you all r—” Minseok begins, but he doesn’t get to finish because Kyungsoo is yelling for reasons he can’t quite understand.
“What the hell is he doing here?” Kyungsoo spits, rounding on Minseok who stares at him with worried eyes. His mind is whirling, playing an endless reel of images—blood trickling out of the corner of Jongin’s mouth as he cradled his wrist against his chest, dark bruises already blossoming along his arms.
“He’s going to be all right, just a minor concussion and a few fractures,” Minseok says, a bit too quickly, and Kyungsoo glares at him. “Okay, fine, he has a punctured kidney and internal bleeding. He’ll need surgery.”
“But what is he doing here?” Kyungsoo asks desperately, slamming his fists against he wall in frustration. “What happened?”
“That’s…kind of why I wanted to ask you,” Minseok says quietly, putting a hand on Kyungsoo’s shoulder. “He ran his motorcycle into a wall.”
“Was he drunk?” Kyungsoo asks, voice muffled by the wall as he leans his forehead against it.
“No, that’s the thing,” Minseok continues. “He called the police reporting the accident before it actually happened—they got there just in time to see him ram the thing into the middle divider of the highway. It was insane.”
“Why…” Kyungsoo whispers, mostly to himself, but Minseok seems to think the question is directed at him.
“Maybe he has a problem,” Minseok says. “I don’t think you should see him while he’s here. This injury isn’t nearly as bad as last time, he should be fine in a few weeks. Just…stay out of his way. I’ll take care of it. He might want to hurt you.”
“Hurt me,” Kyungsoo laughs harshly, before standing up straight and shaking off Minseok’s hand. “Thanks, Minseok. I’m going to go.”
And he turns and strides off down the hallway, feeling Minseok staring after him until he turns a corner and drops out of sight.
“Clear!” Kyungsoo yells, and the boy’s whole body jerks off the bed, spine arching almost gracefully. The flat tone of the screen echoes in Kyungsoo’s ears like a swarm of bees, threatening to crush him.
“It’s not working,” Junmyeon says softly, but Kyungsoo ignores him, repositioning the pads against the boy’s bare skin.
A horrible feeling of déjà vu hits Kyungsoo the minute he steps into the room, though he’s never seen Jongin like this—nearly healed, bandages no longer smeared with red. He’d already transferred care of Jongin to Minseok by that time.
“I thought you weren’t going to come,” Jongin says, and his voice is just a little too cold.
“I wasn’t,” Kyungsoo replies, savoring the feeling of having the upper hand for once. “But here I am.”
“It seemed like the easiest thing to do,” Jongin shrugs. “I didn’t know how else I would get to see you again.”
“They want to put you in counseling,” Kyungsoo says conversationally, though inside he’s shaking. Jongin’s hair is falling gently into his shining eyes and his body is lithe and smooth beneath the blankets, and Kyungsoo feels an overwhelming urge to protect him, to gather him up and hide him away inside his chest forever. But that’s not what Jongin would want. Jongin hates small spaces, hates being confined.
“I won’t go,” Jongin warns. “I don’t have a problem. I just wanted to see you again.”
“It’s against the rules,” Kyungsoo says, not sure why he’s going along with Jongin’s ridiculous statement, why he’s pretending like he wants to see Jongin again, preferably somewhere without white walls and white sheets and blinking monitors.
“Why, you’re not my doctor,” Jongin snorts. “And anyway, you don’t seem like much of a rule-follower to me.”
“I’m a doctor,” Kyungsoo says with a tired grin. “We’re all rule-followers.”
“You’re not,” Jongin says firmly, as if daring Kyungsoo to defy him again, so Kyungsoo just smiles. “But that’s okay, I can follow rules when I have to. Like the rule that says if I can stand spending more time in this awful place with awful food and unattractive nurses then you’ll come visit me.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s not a rule,” Kyungsoo says, slumping down in the chair beside Jongin’s bed.
“And yet, here we are,” Jongin snickers.
“Don’t remind me,” Kyungsoo says as Jongin laughs. “They think you’re some kind of crazy stalker.”
“Nah, I’m not that dedicated,” Jongin says, though he stops laughing.
“You did crash your motorcycle into a wall just to end up here,” Kyungsoo points out and Jongin inclines his head thoughtfully.
“My hand slipped,” he says. “Plus, it was getting boring. Give me your address.”
“What? Why do you need my address?” Kyungsoo asks, pulling back in disbelief.
“Uh, let me think,” Jongin says in mock-confusion, stroking an imaginary beard. “Oh, right! So I can come over.”
“I don’t think so,” Kyungsoo says, getting up and walking towards the door.
“Do you really want to see me in here again?” Jongin asks from behind him and Kyungsoo stills.
“I really don’t have anything better to do with my time, sad as that sounds.”
Kyungsoo scoffs in disbelief on his way out the door.
“He’s gone,” Minseok says, once again poking his head into Kyungsoo’s office. “Jongin. He’s gone.”
“Oh. All right,” Kyungsoo says, not sure why Minseok decided to come tell him this. Sure, he had known yesterday that Jongin would be leaving soon, but he hadn’t realized it was quite so soon. Not that he really cared. “Thanks?”
“I just thought you ought to know,” Minseok says, staring at Kyungsoo a little too intensely to be comfortable. “We recommended he go to counseling but he just laughed. Also, he asked about you but I said you were busy.”
“Thanks, Minseok,” Kyungsoo with a small smile. It’s kind of cute how much Minseok cares about him. He should start looking for a way to repay the favor. He’s about 98% sure that Minseok is gay, maybe he should set him up with that bartender who fills in for Yixing on his days off. Luhan, was it?
“Uh…Kyungsoo?” Minseok says, and Kyungsoo starts, realizing Minseok’s still in the room. “Are you all right? You kind of zoned out for a minute there.”
“Oh, yeah, just fine,” Kyungsoo smiles, and this time it spreads all the way across his face. “Thanks for everything Minseok.”
“Anytime,” Minseok says, smiling in return. “I just don’t want you to have another thing to worry about.”
“Yeah,” Kyungsoo says, a bit sadly. “I think I have enough excitement in my life already.”
“Yixing,” Kyungsoo says, hauling himself onto his usual barstool. “I need help.”
“Wow, really? The great Do Kyungsoo has a problem?” Yixing gasps, hurrying over from where he’s polishing already-clean glasses. “Do tell. You can’t know how long I’ve waited for this moment!”
“Well, first of all, a really attractive person keeps going out of their way to talk to me but I keep telling them no. Why do I keep telling them no? Also, I lost my phone,” Kyungsoo sighs, patting his pockets sadly. Then he realizes he’s patting the barstool next to him, not his own pockets, and stops immediately.
“You really need to watch the drinking thing,” Yixing says wryly. “I’m pretty sure they call it a ‘problem’ when you’re drunk at 7pm on a Thursday.”
“Yeah, yeah, shut up,” Kyungsoo says in annoyance. He doesn’t feel drunk today, though he supposes he did stop at the liquor store on the way here. “Help me.”
“If I know you,” Yixing says thoughtfully, squinting at Kyungsoo, “and I think I do, considering how long you’ve been coming here, it’s probably because you’re being idiotically noble or something.”
“I’m not noble,” Kyungsoo snorts, slapping his hand down on the counter in amusement—the loud noise startling several twenty-somethings sitting nearby.
“Okay, okay, whatever you want, just stop scaring away patrons,” Yixing says hurriedly. “But you remember when that one random idiot kept trying to pick a fight with Baekhyun and he swung at the back of his head when Baekhyun was turned around and you jumped in the way? That was pretty noble.”
“I’m not fucking noble,” Kyungsoo says again, more angrily this time. “And one day you’re going to get arrested for hosting fucking street fights in your alleyway and then I’m going to laugh.”
“Be careful,” Yixing warns, and he sounds so serious Kyungsoo stops laughing, staring hard at Yixing’s face blurring in and out of focus. “You need to be careful, Kyungsoo, I have no idea what you do for a living but I’m pretty sure it’s something really respectable and I’m pretty sure you don’t want to lose that.”
“Fuck you,” Kyungsoo snarls, shoving himself off his chair and hurrying towards the door. He’s not sure why Yixing’s words have made him so angry, he just knows that he hates being “respectable,” he hates being afraid of not being “respectable.”
He slams open the door to his apartment, barely remembering to shut it behind him, and flops down on his sofa, considering crying or making himself some food—he thinks he still has some rice left. But then there’s a knock at the door.
Kyungsoo blinks blearily, trying to remember if he had anyone coming over. He can’t remember anything, but then again he’s not exactly operating at 100% brain capacity right now. Groaning, he heaves himself up off the couch, suddenly glad he decided to hold off on the crying, and slouches over to the door, pulling it open.
“Hey,” Jongin says, and Kyungsoo starts so violently he hits his elbow painfully against the doorknob.
“Jongin?” is all he can think to say as Jongin gives him a broad smile, sliding past him and into the apartment, slipping a cell phone into Kyungsoo’s hand as he passes.
“You should really be more careful with your belongings,” Jongin sighs, settling himself comfortably on the couch like it’s his couch, and Kyungsoo doesn’t really understand what he’s saying until he examines the phone in his hand and realizes it’s his phone. The one he thought he’d lost a few days ago.
“This is mine,” Kyungsoo says stupidly, and he’s drunk but he thinks Jongin might be too because his eyes are too bright and his laugh is too loud and when Kyungsoo flops down on the couch next to him, just a little too close, Jongin doesn’t move away.
“Yup,” Jongin says, putting his arms behind his head and stretching.
“It had a passcode,” Kyungsoo insists, not sure why his brain can’t think of anything more interesting to say, like why the hell are you in my apartment how did you even find it?
“Yup,” Jongin says again. “I know a guy.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s illegal,” Kyungsoo says with a snort because suddenly he realizes how ridiculous the whole situation is and it’s terribly funny.
“Nope,” Jongin says, pressing closer to Kyungsoo and staring intently at him, eyes hooded and dark and deep. Kyungsoo can smell vodka on his breath and Kyungsoo must be drunk because he suddenly wants to know what it would taste like on his tongue. “The only thing that’s illegal in this world is getting caught.”
“That sounds like something a bank robber in a bad movie would say right before getting caught,” Kyungsoo hiccups, and Jongin presses even closer—he’s practically sitting in Kyungsoo’s lap now, and Kyungsoo tries to scoot back but there’s nowhere for him to go.
“I think you should stop talking now,” Jongin says, and then he’s leaning forward and kissing Kyungsoo hungrily, lips slanting over Kyungsoo’s again and again until he feels lightheaded.
Kyungsoo’s brain seems to have completely abandoned him, leaving him struggling to keep up with Jongin’s motions, hands coming up to pull Jongin closer, tongue swiping the back of Jongin’s teeth, burning slightly with alcohol and disbelief. And Kyungsoo had resigned himself to a life without this kind of passion years ago, but now his whole body is on fire and Jongin is a spark burning even brighter beside him, adding more fuel to the flames.
“Jongin,” Kyungsoo gasps as Jongin bites down on his lower lip, almost hard enough to draw blood, before swiping his tongue apologetically across the spit-slick skin. “Jongin, Jongin, Jongin.”
“That’s me,” Jongin mutters, twisting his fingers into Kyungsoo’s hair and scooting himself forward so he’s actually sitting in Kyungsoo’s lap, legs settling on either side of Kyungsoo’s hips.
Unfortunately, this is the exact moment Kyungsoo’s brain decides to return from its unexpected vacation, and he gasps, eyes flying open as he realizes exactly what’s going on.
“Jongin,” he says, the word clearer this time, and Jongin looks at him with those dark, dark eyes, echoing the depth of exploded suns, and Kyungsoo can’t breathe because everything, and especially Jongin’s burning skin, is much, much too close. “We can’t do this.”
“Fuck that,” Jongin growls, tightening the fingers he still has wound in Kyungsoo’s hair and Kyungsoo whimpers. “I can do whatever I want.”
“I can’t,” Kyungsoo says, and he’s shoving Jongin away, so hard Jongin falls onto the floor with a loud thump. Kyungsoo winces and is about to apologize but before he gets a chance Jongin is standing, brushing himself off, and striding towards the door, throwing it open and stalking through it without a backwards glance.
Kyungsoo lowers his spinning head into his hands, and wonders at the way his lips are still tingling. He suddenly feels painfully awake, electricity pulsing through his veins instead of blood, heart transformed from a finicky pump to a 700 horsepower engine, purring at the starting line of a racetrack like a well-bred Ferrari. And Kyungsoo can’t see anything noble about what he’s doing, no matter what Yixing says. He’s just a coward. He’s afraid. Afraid of wanting. Afraid of needing someone, needing them with same sort of desire he’d tasted in Jongin’s mouth. He’s so afraid.