016

Iris

They separate from each other with a soft sigh but there’s something thrashing through Kyungsoo’s mind, clearing the haze and making the world absolutely clear after this dose of human contact. And he shoves Suho away forcefully, instinctively swiping at his moist lips with his sleeve cuff.


Suho’s confused expression turns into hurt from this unexpected reaction to their kiss, his desires having been fulfilled to a point where he could taste paradise on the tip of his tongue but it’s just as quickly getting jerked away.

But all Kyungsoo can think about is how wrong this is. Completely wrong. What is he doing here with Suho? Everything-- everything is against his morals and he’s definitely cheating on Jongin and oh my goodness, what just happened?

Suho’s not ready to give up yet. So he grasps onto Kyungsoo’s wrist a bit harsher than he intended and he’s determined to succeed; to make Kyungsoo his. He’s been stuck in this limbo of stilled reality since his late-husband’s death years earlier and now the only person who has managed to move the sands of time for him is within obtainable reach.

Kyungsoo’s brain is still getting jammed and waterlogged with ribbons of sparks and guilt as he gnaws on his bottom lip, shying away from the touch on his wrist.

“Sorry, I just-- I really don’t know but-- I can’t. I’m sorry, Suho. I’m sorry but that was a mistake. I--”

“How can you still love him?” Suho grits, splinters of sadness pricking through anger and longing seeping into his usually calm and bright mask. His heart is being torn into crudely by the man in front of him and nothing seems to make sense anymore but somewhere in the depths of his soul, he knows that it wasn’t meant to be; that Kyungsoo will always be Jongin’s.

Kyungsoo’s eyes widen as much as they can in their swollen state as he takes in Suho’s rage, experiencing it for the first time. And he looks away, somewhere along the little pebbles on the sidewalk, terrified of the confrontation concerning Jongin that is occurring again but this time with a different person. Somewhere his carefully-maintained self-control is fracturing and he cries, “Why is it so wrong of me to care about him so much more than myself? So much that I’m scared of hurting him; scared of upsetting him. Why is that so wrong?”

And Kyungsoo’s sick and tired of all of these people telling him that he’s in an unhealthy relationship; that he deserves better-- because maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he’s just in this relationship because of his own selfishness, his own insatiable desire to monopolize Jongin; to want to be the only person who is able to decypher the tight security that he keeps around his heart.  

But somewhere along the way, he fell. He fell into the endless cloud called love so deeply that he can’t even remember where the exit is or the path out. Somewhere far inside of the corner of his soul, he still loves him. Because love isn’t something that disappears even when earthquakes shake it but it ebbs and flows like the ocean; coming and going with the waves.

Everyone makes it sound like he can easily erase him like a mistake written in pencil... but what if he used permanent marker instead? What then?

What then?

 

-----

Soft chimes bouncing and cascading along walls in a rhythmic serenade of serene sounds throughout the entire house from the doorbell. Sehun rolls once in bed, trying to ignore the noise and regretting his idea of designing their house to allow the bell to be heard through every room. Smart move, Sehun. Smart move indeed. He hugs Luhan closer to his chest, hand coming to automatically caress their rapidly growing baby. Luhan groans.

 

 

“Sehun,” he mutters, groggily disconnecting his husband’s hands from his stomach. “Door.”


Sehun sighs into the nape of his neck and his irritation escalates when he leaves the soft warmth of their bed to stroll through the cold air in the hallways with an attitude that screams who-the--could-possibly-be-visiting-at-such-a-ing-ungodly-hour? So he shuffles across the floor and the doorbell goes off again, causing him to momentarily consider running to the kitchen first to grab a knife before answering. Deciding against it, he swings the door open.

Of course it’s Kim ing Jongin.

He should’ve grabbed that knife.

“Sehun-ah!” Jongin sings merrily, shoving his way inside and wrapping his arms around his friend’s neck as Sehun’s trying to close the door. There’s an overwhelming flood of the sharp smell of alcohol and Sehun wrinkles his nose in complete disgust.

“What the hell are you doing here, Jongin?”

“Sehun-ah, I’m pregnant!”

“Go home, Jongin, you’re drunk.”

Jongin laughs heartily, a loud and unrestrained guffaw that resounds throughout the acoustic ambience of the house as he stumbles further down the hallway. Sehun just wants to punch his friend in the face as he sees him falling onto the couch in the living room because what the actual --I just want to sleep!

Suddenly, Jongin sits up straight in his seat as if powered by an abrupt and powerful thought stuck in between his haze of drunkenness and heartbreak.

“You know-- Kyungsoo, he-- he’s really cute,” Jongin slurs, punctuating his barely coherent jumble of what seems to be words with a wobbly finger at Sehun who is settling into the loveseat across from him.

Sehun rolls his eyes. This is going to be a long night.

And he’s right because Jongin just keeps going. “Kyungsoo’s skin is so soft--”

“--Oh god--”

“--and he’s so tight and how is he so tight even when I finger him? I don’t know, man...”

“How the hell did you even drive here when you’re this drunk. Go home!” Sehun asserts in the loudest whisper he can manage without waking Luhan.

At this, Jongin pauses, an eery halt as if he’s crystallized in the intervals between the ticking hands of a clock, and a strange and looming silence settles between them. Worry starts to tinge Sehun’s cheeks as he shifts in his seat to reassure himself that his friend didn’t just pass out with his eyes wide open.

“I can’t!” Jongin finally sputters with a burp and a cough at the same time. “Because--” and his expression folds and shrivels into a heap of sickness and affliction as his emotions convulse and erupt through the sinkhole in his heart in a mad stream. “--I keep stepping on his fingerprints when I’m at home! Everything there reminds me of him! I can’t get away!” he cries desperately, salty droplets running down his crinkled cheeks.

A sharp creak on the wood in the hallway has Sehun muttering a under his breath as Luhan pads across the floor and subsequently peeks his cutely frazzled bedhead into the room with squinty eyes to see what’s going on. His youthful face screams of utter confusion as he’s shuffling over to where they’re sitting, shooting Sehun a puzzled look because what-the-hell-is-a-crying-Jongin-doing-in-our-house? Sehun just shrugs and mouths a go-back-to-sleep.

But Luhan stays anyway, cuddling into his husband’s side and pulling a soft throw blanket over their legs. Out of habit, Sehun wraps an arm around his shoulders and squeezes slightly as they watch Jongin sob uncontrollably in his drunken stupor. Sighing, Sehun finally asks, “What happened, Jongin?”

Jongin scrubs at his moist face with his sleeves, inhaling shaky breaths before wailing, “Suho’s ing my Kyungsoo!”

“Woah, !” Luhan shouts as he catapults up from his seat and Sehun raises his eyebrows expectantly.

“They were kissing! I saw them! Kyungsoo was the one who started it too!” Jongin continues through his broken sobs and throbbing cries of his crippled heart with its ruptured veins and chambers. “That bastard, Suho-- he-- I was the one who was there for him when Jongdae died and he just turns around and stabs me in the back!”

“Jongin, calm down so we can think about this rationally,” Sehun soothes, motioning towards his friend with both hands.

“What if Kyungsoo wasn’t even pregnant with my baby? What if it’s Su--”

Slap! And it’s a serrated sound that slices through the tense soundscape of the house that amplifies it perfectly; an intense sound that even has Sehun cringing and reeling as Jongin’s calcified in place with his cheek burning in a perturbed wildfire of demoralizing emotion.

Shut the up, Jongin!” Luhan screams at the top of his heated lungs. “Okay, you screwed up! You really ed up but how the hell are you going to fix it? What’s done is done but are you just going to sit here and cry like the ing spoiled brat you are? So what that bastard stole Kyungsoo away from you? So what, you ?”

“I don’t know...” Jongin breathes, rubbing at his wounded face.

“Well go home and figure it out, you ing ignorant !” Luhan huffs, tossing the throw blanket at his friend’s face and stomping away in a stormy miasma of rage and hormonal fluctuations.

Jongin hiccups and sighs before getting up to trudge away and Sehun smiles a relieved smile, glad that he’s finally alleviated of the duty of having to look after Jongin before--

“Drive him home, Sehun! He’s too drunk to drive!” Luhan calls angrily from the top of the stairs.

.

 

 

-----

 


After his long and quiet drive home with Sehun (thank goodness, Sehun thinks), Jongin stumbles into his house after mistyping the security code four times, the numbers all glowing and blurred in his vague and muddied state of mind. After whipping his shoes off and throwing them onto the ground, he takes two wobbly steps into the house-- and slips on the polished hardwood. Due to his loss in mobility, he slams his face into the floor, ears ringing, face tingling, forehead numb for a few seconds.

It takes him a couple of seconds after that to fully comprehend what just happened. He closes his eyes, glad for the cool surface against his inflamed cheek, and there’s a prick of something terrible in his expression. Maybe this is how Kyungsoo felt when he fell that day, he thinks sadly.  

But no.

It had to have been worse than this.

He starts to cry. A gut-wrenching sensation of helplessness and grief, a spiraling and tumbling loss of control and security in this abysmal darkness that seems to get deeper and deeper with the passing winds and gusts. And somehow-- somehow he’s become dependent on Kyungsoo, spoiled by his kindness and the implicit half-promise that he’ll always be here by his side, that he’ll always be the home that Jongin can come back to.

But he’s wrong. So incredibly wrong because their love is continually fluctuating and disturbed; unbalanced in a sweet, masochistic agony that brings both of them to their knees and begging for more. So he pushes himself off of the ground slowly, slogging his way up the stairs and pushing Kyungsoo’s bedroom door open out of sheer desire and longing.

It’s with a loud thump that he freefalls onto the neat bed, immediately grasping the sheets and tugging them around him in a feeble sheath of salvation, uncaring if Kyungsoo were to come back and see the mess because--

What if Kyungsoo never comes back?

There’s another sob that rips through his throat at the horrid thought. In his despair, he catches sight of the rabbit sitting by the pillows and his hand immediately shoots out to wring its neck. Another hand accompanies it in the torture that he thinks he’s inflicting and he squeezes the little bunch of fabric harshly but it seems like there’s something wrong with it.

It’s as if a lightswitch is being flipped off inside of the museum of his soul and suddenly everything is incredibly calm, a serene wash of purity. He sits up in the bed and inspects the plush because why is its stomach so hard?

Fingers find themselves on the bedside lamp and, under the softly glowing luminance, he notices the little zipper on its back, so miniscule that its almost hidden between the seams of fabric and thread. So he s it, curiosity winding itself in between his fingers and coming to tickle his brain.

He pulls out a plastic trading card holder.

A thick coil of confusion and perplexion unravels itself onto his eyebrows, tinting his expression a misty shade of twilight before he flips it over to look at the other side and sees--

himself.

He’s looking at himself, one face smiling and the other sporting a look of pure bewilderment, trying to comprehend the situation while the discovery is still massaging itself into his winding and twisting mind. The alcohol is dissipating rapidly and the world is becoming more lucid by the second.

And then everything clicks.

I think he looks cuter in the photograph!

Jonginnie... He’s always there for me when I’m feeling sad.

There’s a pearl of hope peeping through his shell of insecurity, cracking into his conscious with its gleaming sheen of promised happiness and maybe, just maybe--

Trust me, he’s definitely in love with you.

 

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