“Did you move in okay?” Baekhyun asks as he’s video-messaging Kyungsoo through his bedroom wall.


“Yes, he’s really nice and considerate towards me,” Kyungsoo replies, grinning from ear-to-ear as pink blossoms on his cheeks. He’s running water over the dishes in the kitchen when he hears a door close upstairs. “Oh, I’ll call you back later, Baekhyun.”


And he rushes over to the front door just in time to see Jongin putting on his shoes to go to work. He presents a colorfully-wrapped plastic container to him and Jongin eyes it suspiciously. “What’s that?”


“It’s a lunch box! I made it for you this morning. I know that you’re busy and might not have a lot of time to eat so I made foods that can be eaten cold like kimbap,” Kyungsoo smiles his heart-shaped smile cheerfully and Jongin feels awkward. He feels awkward because this is the first time he’s ever had such a thing-- something made tenderly with him in mind. Even so, he reaches out and takes the container carefully.


“Thanks,” he mumbles as he’s going through the door.


“Have a good day,” Kyungsoo responds with a wave.


Four hours later, Jongin is pleasantly beaming as he’s taking bites of the wonderfully-prepared food. Jongin comes home with a completely empty lunch box and Kyungsoo vows to make him one everyday.



The minuscule snowflakes are skittering and scattering down from the fluffy sky, the luminous gray monochrome of the clouds painting the day in a hue of milkiness and dew. Jongin purposefully coaxes the car into an unusually slow pace towards their destination, using the snow as an excuse, despite the fact that he is merely prolonging this event from occurring and not halting it. Kyungsoo shifts a bit uncomfortably in the smooth leather seat, every pore of his body oozing with waves and tides of anticipation and foamy eagerness.



They’re officially getting married today.


Jongin's parents had opted out of hosting an elaborate wedding ceremony and reception due to their busy schedules and had decided to settle for witnessing the marriage registration process and enjoying an intimate family evening together. Jongin's glad about this decision because this means that he'll be out of this nightmare quicker. Kyungsoo clenches and unclenches his sweaty palms in an effort to squeeze the excitement away but it's still too much, making his ears and lungs throb with rushing blood. He glances over at Jongin who has a mildly somber look on his face and can't help but drag his eyes over his deliciously tuxedo-clad chest. A soft blush mars his cheeks and his heart pounds even faster as he reprimands himself for being too greedy.


They finally arrive at the tallest building in the city, a glass spire as pure and bright as newly-fallen snow and radiating elegance in every twist and curve. Jongin lets out a dread-filled sigh but he resolves to be a bit more optimistic about the situation, having fretted over it for the last month. He takes in a deep breath in an effort to gain some courage and grabs Kyungsoo's hand, earning a small squeak in surprise as he strides towards the entrance.


Security guards and motion-sensing cameras follow their every move, unearthing their identification numbers and life history through facial recognition software. At the elevator, Jongin inserts the card that was sent to him by IRIS into the card reader and the elevator knows which floor to send them to. They arrive at the seventy-second floor; about halfway up the soaring tower.


Kyungsoo’s face breaks out into an expression as if he had just absorbed an abundance of sunshine when he sees his parents and they smile back; both parties coming to hug each other. Jongin nods his head at his parents and they nod back, exchanging quick how-are-you’s and fine-thanks.


The neatly-dressed attendant in the background motions for the parents to sit down on the cushioned chairs with Jongin and Kyungsoo in front of the podium. With a slight clearing of his throat, the attendant starts reciting the terms of their marriage.


“We are here today to join Kim Jongin and Do Kyungsoo in a life of mutual commitment and respect. The union of two people in our society, through the graciousness of IRIS, has brought us stabilization and betterment. In order to maintain this delicate balance, both parties must be dedicated to one another. Both parties shall maintain loyalty towards one another; a petition for divorce or separation shall not be allowed. In addition to this, reproduction may only occur with one's spouse. The bond between the two parties shall be created through their life together. Failure to uphold these statutes will result in severe punishment.”


The atmosphere in the room is one of silent approval and unshed tears hiding underneath eyelids but Jongin’s fingertips are trembling with nervousness. This moment has been in the forefront of his mind for so long but he still hasn’t quite prepared himself mentally for it. He clenches his eyes shut for a quick second, trying to calm his nerves. He flinches the slightest bit when Kyungsoo’s warm hand comes to grasp his and Kyungsoo smiles a bit under his rosy cheeks. Although their feelings are on the opposite ends of the happiness spectrum, for some reason it soothes Jongin a bit to be holding hands with him now.


“Do you, Kim Jongin, accept Do Kyungsoo as your lifemate and consent to these terms?”


“I do,” Jongin manages through his tangles of anxiety.


“Do you, Do Kyungsoo, accept Kim Jongin as your lifemate and consent to these terms?”


“I do,” Kyungsoo breathes, squeezing Jongin’s hand the slightest bit.


“Very well. As per regulation, please present to IRIS your marriage rings for certification.”


Jongin reaches into his pocket, albeit with a bit of fumbling, and emerges with the velvet box that he’s been hiding from Kyungsoo. He hands the box to the attendant and he removes the rings and places them inside of the small metal container to be scanned and registered.


“You shall not be able to remove your rings once placed so please be careful when deciding which finger to put them on.”


This is the deciding moment. Jongin can still prolong this event if he runs away now but with their parents watching and Kyungsoo’s expectant face, he becomes cowardly. His blood is thickening with its incessant bubbling, making his lungs constrict painfully as he slides the ring gently onto Kyungsoo’s left ring finger, the traditional location for marriage rings. Kyungsoo does the same for him, their bodies reacting in exactly the same way but for completely different reasons.


As per tradition, Jongin knows that they have to kiss now. So he inhales deeply and his lips a little. Kyungsoo knows that it’s coming too and his blood pools in his cheeks, making them a blazing red and his ears are burning from the heat. He closes his eyes and can feel Jongin’s hot breath on his face before the ephemeral peck on his moist lips. Kyungsoo’s heart wants to devour more of Jongin so it palpitates agonizingly when the fleeting moment ends. Their parents clap in the background with Kyungsoo’s mother tearing up again as she comes to embrace her son and Jongin’s parents pat their son on the back proudly.


While they’re all out at a fancy restaurant on the top of a skyscraper overlooking the cityscape stenciled against the setting sun, Jongin slugs through the entire evening in a haze with everyone laughing and smiling around him. His face molds into a plastic and half-hearted smile at the correct moments and Kyungsoo steals worried glances at him between grins.


The second they get home, Jongin pries off his shoes and blazer in the entryway with Kyungsoo offering to take it for him. He obliges without a word while loosening his tie and heading upstairs to shower. Kyungsoo’s eyebrows are fixed with anxiety as he watches him leave.


After ironing Jongin’s blazer and carefully hanging it in his closet, Kyungsoo looks at the ring encircling his finger. It’s simple in its glittering silver and delicate engraving and it brings Kyungsoo a bit of joy to think that Jongin picked it out especially for them.


They run into each other in the hallway and Kyungsoo takes in Jongin’s suit-clad body rather sadly and he knows Jongin’s answer before he asks the question. “Are you going out?”


“Yeah, I’m going back to the hospital to make up for missed time.”

The truth is that Jongin doesn’t actually have to make up for any missed time but he finds it soothing to be at the hospital where he doesn’t have to think about his life and where it’s going right now. At least at the hospital he has complete control over everything that goes on. He notices the melancholy look on his spouse’s face and he chooses to ignore it.

A/N: This was a horribly awkward chapter... but then again the mood was supposed to be awkward... Sorry for the shortness.


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