Word count: 5667
Summary: AU. Sungmin doesn't want to be forgiven, he wants to be accepted.
It's just another hot - it's not even summer yet, his apartment just didn't have any air conditioning, just some old, almost not working, ceiling fan - tiring day in his solitary life when Sungmin gets a call from Heechul telling him they have a gig tonight. Some bar - lousy, perhaps - but at least, they get to play.
This means two things: He's gonna get a few more cash to help him through another week or two, and well, he needs to eat. The last time they had a show and he skipped meal - more like, he really didn't have a choice because he has nothing to eat - he ended up flat on his back in an ambulance.
He lets Heechul talk like a diva on the phone while he counts the money he has left. He finds out it's just enough for a can of pork & beans - damn, he's been living on pork & beans for months now - the same time Heechul tells him to "Go fucking eat something," and hangs up.
Sungmin does what he's told and goes downstairs to the nearest 7-Eleven, buys what he needs and climbs back up to his apartment. He can survive this life, really. Maybe one day, their band is going to be mainstream. Well, he hopes. Otherwise, he's going to open cans of pork & beans the rest of his life.
By the time he gets to the bar, everyone's already there and he almost misses the sandwich Donghae throws at him.
"Sorry, kinda um, got lost looking for the address." Sungmin scratches the back of his head. Truthfully, it's because his landlady cornered him, asking for his two months overdue rent.
Heechul just waves his hand that's holding a drumstick, "That's fine, we only got here a few minutes ago," which Sungmin believes is a lie because they look like they've already done practicing two songs. He paces towards Sungmin, shows a copy of their set list and says, "Five songs. Lee Sungmin, if you pass out again, I'm going to bury you alive." Sungmin gestures at the ham sandwich - he now knows - that he's holding to tell him that he's fine, but Heechul just rolls his eyes.
He sits next to Henry, their lead guitarist who came from Canada with hopes of finding his luck in the music industry of Korea, and whispers, "Dude, I'm sorry, but did you bri--"
Henry is all smiles, he pats the guitar case next to him, "Yup!"
"Thanks. I swear one day, I'll stop borrowing from you and get my own one." It's embarrassing to think he's an aspiring musician but doesn't even have his own guitar.
"Sungmin-hyung, it's fine. I don't mind, really. You have to worry about more important things than buying a guitar."
He thanks him and they start practicing their first song.
Being able to sing has always been Sungmin's dream, and it still is. He was actually one of the bests in the choir back when he still lives in the church. Yes, nuns and pastors took care of him until he was fifteen. He doesn't want to think about that anymore, he already left. Besides, he said too many things about the church, about Him, that he cannot take back.
He looks around and realises he really cannot go back, he's not sure if he even wants to go back. Even though he only performs in front of some forty - maybe fifty - crowd and not thousands of fans, it's fine. He reminds himself that this is better than doing something he doesn't love. This band, these boys, they are his life now.
He sings the notes of the last verse in their fifth song carefully. This is where he needs to make his voice sound a little falsetto-ish and do some riffs and runs. He nearly throws a fist up in the air when he did so and noticed some of the patrons looking up from their drinks to give them a round of applause. Donghae pats him on the back as all the other boys come to the centre of the stage to take a final bow. Sungmin scans the room and thanks everyone in there with his smile. He smiles and smiles until his face kinda hurts from all the smiling.
Sungmin's smile drops when his eyes landed on a familiar face.
A group of guys - all in suits and ties and very unlike the four of them - sits in one corner of the room, two of them looking at the skinny guys up on stage, one of them is staring directly at him.
Sungmin wants to look away and not pay attention to them, but he can't help it. He doesn't know the other guys, but he's going to bet - not that he has anything to bet - he can pick that one face from any other crowd. He surely can't tear his eyes away from the man that has sat with him through Sunday school for the better part of ten years. That's him - Hyukjae, he was his best friend.
Other than fixing his gaze upon the said guy, Sungmin doesn't really know what else to do. Should he come up to him and say hi? It has been what, ten years since he left. He doesn't know what he should tell him either. Sungmin never contacted him - anyone - since he left the church. With a sigh, he just bows one last time and heads backstage.
Sungmin is still overwhelmed by everything that he didn't notice the guy all his bandmates are looking at. Some guy in suit with fluffy, faded brown hair telling the bouncer - more like whining - to let him in and 'please, I just need to talk to the guy who's playing the acoustic guitar'.
Sungmin knows his world stopped again.
Henry walks towards the guy, points at Sungmin and asks, "You're looking for him?" Hyukjae looks at Henry, and then Sungmin, and then Henry again, nods.
In all this chaos, Henry thinks this is one great, awesome event or whatever, because he bounces to Sungmin and yells, "Hyung! You have a fan!"
He smiles awkwardly and excuses himself, tells the bouncer that 'yes, I know this guy' and leads Hyukjae out through the back door.
He's sure his heart jumped out of his chest as soon as they're outside because Hyukjae tackles him with a hug, and Sungmin doesn't know what to do with his hands, so he kind of flails a little.
"Min! How have you been? Oh my god, I- wow, Jesus! I didn't know I'll see you again! I missed you!" Hyukjae says while he swings them from left to right, and Sungmin wonders why he still feels so comfortable with him.
He very hesitantly tries to free himself from Hyukjae's hold, smiles awkwardly again. Hyukjae just stares at him slightly confused, but he quickly returned to wide smiles, gums and all. Hyukjae is about to give him another bear hug when he takes half a step back, "You- You look good in that suit. How's life going?"
"Good, life is good. Got myself some office job, you see. How about you? I mean, other than this," he gestures at the bar, still smiling, and Sungmin seriously believes that Hyukjae's brain is about 90% of whatever controls happiness since he's that most of the time. He wonders if he stayed in the church, was he supposed to grow up like that, too?
Now, this part is called embarrassing. It hurts to think that other than this, he got nothing. Admit that hey, I'm actually as poor as a rat. Hyukjae probably saw his wavering and decides to change the subject.
"We should really catch up sometimes. You know, hang out."
"Sure, I have to get back in now though," he lies, "Here's my number." Sungmin scribbles some digits on a piece of paper and hands it to Hyukjae. He made sure that it's the right one, because despite being a little ashamed of what he's become, he misses his friend. He just needs time to think about what he has to say.
The next time Sungmin sees Hyukjae is during one of his afternoon shifts at Kona Beans. Four weeks later.
He shifts on the counter, not sure if he's going to hide or not. Before he even decides, Hyukjae comes up to him, "Sungmin?" He looks up, "Thank God I found you here! Do you work here, too? See, I tried calling you a couple of times but I think you've been disconnected or something."
He recalls coming home that same night from the bar with a dead phone and tells involuntarily, "Yeah, I didn't have money to pay the bills, and it's not like I get a lot of calls anyway." He clasps a hand over his mouth as soon as he realised what he said.
Hyukjae's quiet for a moment until his mouth turned up in what Sungmin thinks was supposed to be a smile, but he sure didn't miss the pity in his eyes. Trying to make the situation less awkward, "So... uh, sorry I left that part out."
"Oh," Hyukjae responds very quietly, then continues, "Um, if you're really hard-up, you can stay with me. I won't mind."
He sure didn't miss that small blush on Hyukjae's cheeks. But, that's a very bold offer and he frowns in confusion, did Hyukjae just ask him to move in with him? That sounds so funny in Sungmin's head.
"I'll be fine," he lies as he remembers the piece of tofu he had for breakfast and adds, "Besides, we've only met twice. It has been so long Hyukjae, don't trust me too much."
"Why not?" Hyukjae sounds sort of worried and hurt at the same time. Sungmin laughs at him until it registers in his mind that Hyukjae is serious.
Sungmin doesn't know as well, so he just shrugs and asks for Hyukjae's order.
When they were twelve they slept in a fort under the long kitchen table. Sungmin said, "Isn't this a little baby-ish?"
Hyukjae answered, "Come on, don't act like you don't want to," so they covered the table with the sheet off Hyukjae's bed and made walls out of cushions from the couch.
Their sleeping bags took up the entire space, and then some, so they were curled together a little, their legs tangled through the fabric. Sungmin leant on his arm to look at Hyukjae in the half-light of their flashlights. He can remember the exact time he decided to kiss him.
Hyukjae was talking about something he'd done in his after-school art class, and his eyes were big and he was grinning, his hair sticking up from running his hands through. Something in Sungmin's chest dropped a couple of inches, and he whispered, "Hyuk, hold up a second."
Hyukjae looked at him, "Yeah?"
When Sungmin pressed a careful kiss on the corner of his mouth, Hyukjae went very still. Sungmin didn't exactly know what he was doing, but he did know that this wasn't what was supposed to happen.
"Sungmin," Hyukjae said hoarsely, "What are you doing?"
"I'm, um. I just thought."
Hyukjae sat up, hunched under the table, and said urgently, "You know you can't do that, right? You know that it's- that it's wrong? I mean, we're not even old enough to kiss girls, and that- uh, that stuff, that's kind of--"
Sungmin cuts in, "Yeah, but I thought that maybe, you and me--"
"Yeah?" Hyukjae was looking anywhere except his face. "You, like. That's. That's not. I don't want to go to hell, Min."
Sungmin closed his eyes and shuffled around in his sleeping bag so he was lying on his side, away from Hyukjae.
"I won't tell anyone," Hyukjae said in the silence that followed, and he said it with such utter conviction that Sungmin thought maybe he did understand after all. "I'm- I won't tell anyone that, that, you know. It was just one time, you know? I'm sure, He doesn't care if it's just one time."
He swallowed, "Yeah. Yeah, sure." He pulled the sleeping bag tighter around his shoulders.
"Min, come on," Hyukjae touched his shoulder, "You're my best friend. I don't want you to go to hell, either, I want you to make it to heaven with me."
Sungmin, the idiot that he was, believed him.
For the next three years, they didn't speak of that again.
Hyukjae catches him on his shift again the next day. Only this time, he purposely went there to see Sungmin, "Are you free tonight?"
"Not until 6PM, we have band practice. Why?" He swallows but keeps his eyes on the counter.
"You should come over my place tonight," Sungmin finally looks up and blinks at him, "I mean, we can- um, watch a movie and talk over some food."
He hesitates for a moment; Sungmin thinks if this is Hyukjae's way to make up for lost time, then he's very impressed; even though he's pretty convinced he should be the one trying to put their friendship back to what it once was. When Hyukjae mumbles his name, he looks at the counter again and says, "Sure, okay."
Hyukjae grins and hands him a piece of paper with his address on it, "Great! Do you know that place?" he asks as Sungmin examines it, "If you- if you think you'll have trouble looking for it, I can just pick you up or something."
He tries to come up with a good reason why Hyukjae is being nice to him, but he brushes the thought off. For the number of years that passed, it looks as if he didn't change at all, as if Sungmin's the only one who had changed. Being away from church and living on his own, trying to work for every single cent, sure had made some difference in his life. He then realises Hyukjae is talking to him and he shakes his head, "No, I can look for it, I'm sure."
"Cool, see you later then." Hyukjae taps his shoulder lightly and while he watches his friend walk away, he feels his heart skip a beat.
He arrives at the place a little late, not because it's hard to locate - who can miss one of the biggest condominiums in the area - practice just ran later than usual. The condo's receptionist looks at him from head to toe, measuring his worth. He doesn't get worked up, he's used to people looking down at him like that.
He waits for another minute and he sees Hyukjae coming out of the lift, one hand in his back pocket and the other one up to call his attention. Unlike the three other times he had seen him, he's not wearing his usual suit and tie, he's just in some old ripped jeans and a white crisp shirt. Sungmin thinks it might be easier to think that they don't totally live in different worlds.
"Sorry to keep you waiting," Hyukjae starts, "I was just finishing the salad."
"It's fine, our drummer's being such an asshole and forced us to do three new songs, I just got here." Hyukjae nods and gestures at him to follow.
They are quiet in the lift, Hyukjae staring blankly and Sungmin trying to note their similarities and differences. They are of the same age but he definitely looks like someone who's been through a lot, someone who's been from hell and back - the bags under his eyes tell so. And Hyukjae... he still looks the same, he still looks like the boy who always made fun of him whenever he practices choir songs in their shared bedroom. Again, he wonders what could've happened to him if he didn't leave the monastery.
Hyukjae drags him out of the lift, holding his hand, and Sungmin swears he heard his heart beat wildly inside his chest.
As they go inside Hyukjae's unit, Sungmin tries so hard not to look so amazed but fails. The place is just full of beautiful things and he feels bad about himself again. Hyukjae's pretty well-off. And him... well.
It's like an endless exchange of questions as they talk over the salad and roast pork Hyukjae has prepared, they ask about everything and anything. Sungmin asking Hyukjae how he managed to finish college when all he did before is copy all of Sungmin's homework, getting a half-hearted punch on the shoulder in return. The room was filled with their laughter and for the first time in so long, Sungmin feels like home.
Suddenly, he remembers dinners when they were younger. How all the kids sat around the table and wait while one of the nuns say grace. Sungmin never really listened. He made faces across the table at Hyukjae, who kept his fist stuffed in his mouth the whole time to keep from laughing.
"So, you really got yourself in a band?" Hyukjae asks all of a sudden and smiles.
He snorts, "Yeah, I don't really earn a lot from it, but that's what I love to do so I deal with it."
Hyukjae decided to let the conversation drop after that, and Sungmin's glad that they don't have to talk about his shortcomings.
After dinner, they crowd into the living room to watch a movie. Hyukjae places different movies in front of him but he tells him that they can watch whatever Hyukjae wants, Sungmin is quite tired and just wanna go home and sleep, but it's too early for that, also, he told Hyukjae he'll stay in to watch a film with him.
Hyukjae chooses an action film and Sungmin wasn't able to stop himself from saying, "Haven't seen that one."
"Really?" Hyukjae asks slowly.
"Yeah, haven't really been watching movies in a while," he adds and they settle themselves on Hyukjae's couch comfortably.
Sungmin didn't even notice when he curled himself at Hyukjae's side, while Hyukjae settles with his hand spread over Sungmin's hip, rubbing gently on the skin that shows. Sungmin's too tired to even complain, so he let himself bask in Hyukjae's warmth. 'This feels so much like the old days' were his thoughts before he falls asleep.
He wakes up with Hyukjae's hand hanging loosely on his side and his head over the couch's back. It reminds him of the younger Hyukjae who used to sleep with his mouth slightly open, and he still does.
Hyukjae wakes up when Sungmin moves to get up, "Wait," he yawns, "Where are you going?"
"It's half past ten, I need to be home before it's too late for me to walk."
"Can't you stay?" Hyukjae asks around a yawn, "I want you to stay, I get lonely." It suprises Sungmin at how needy the younger man sounds. With all he has in life, how does he even get lonely? Maybe he's just sleepy, Sungmin doesn't know.
He smiles sadly at him and murmurs, "Sorry, Hyuk. I have to--"
A pair of lips is pressed on his own, he can taste the remnants of their dinner mixed with the sour of sleep on Hyukjae's lips. The said man pulls away and says, "Okay," and then he presses another soft kiss on Sungmin's lip and smiles sleepily, "See you when I see you."
Sungmin stares at the little brown water-spots on the ceiling of his apartment for what feels like hours. Sungmin still isn't exactly sure what he and Hyukjae are, they've only seen each other a couple of times and he cannot consider them... his mind goes blank. He knows that they are definitely friends - even after all those years without any means of communication. He isn't so insecure to think that Hyukjae is being so kind to him because someone else told him to. But he isn't, he doesn't know what that kiss was, or what it meant. He doesn't know if it is as big a deal to Hyukjae as it is to him, and he doesn't really want to ask in case the answer isn't what he wanted to hear.
When Sungmin left the church, he didn't tell anyone. He didn't think he needed to tell anyone - he had a decent amount in his savings account the church saved up for him; he looked for his cousin who lives in Seoul and Heechul instantly got him a part time job at Kona Beans, with a bonus, he recruits him in his band. He figured, how hard could it be? And really, it wasn't hard - the first few years anyway.
He didn't mind getting up at five to do the early shift at Kona Beans. He didn't mind running between school and work and band practice, or getting the bare minimum amount of sleep each night, or not being able to practice as much as he'd like. It was worth it to have this weird sort of freedom and just be himself. He knows that if something bad was going to happen, at least it would be
Not his parents'. Not some faceless entity in the sky's. His.
More than that, though, he didn't want anybody worrying about him. He didn't want pity and he didn't want sympathy; he was just being honest to himself, he didn't need those. He didn't want that feeling that somebody, somewhere, was wondering if he was still alive, or lying in the gutter outside his house with blood pooled in his mouth.
Sungmin doesn't want to be forgiven, he wants to be accepted.
He doesn't see Hyukjae for a while after that incident, he probably is embarrassed of what he did. Either that or not, he doesn't dwell on it too much. He barely have time for himself, getting in a relationship isn't his priority for now. Even if it's with Hyukjae - his best friend, his first kiss, his first crush, and the man that always have a place in his heart.
He arrives at practice on time for the first time, and to his surprise, he sees Hyukjae sitting next to Henry and talking. Whatever they're talking about, Sungmin doesn't care. Hyukjae is here.
"Oh, hello! I saw Henry earlier and he said you have practice and invited me over," he explains.
"Sungmin-hyung! Your fan is here!" Henry laughs.
Heechul talks from the other side of the room where his drum set is and speaks, "Talk later, we kinda need to practice now."
Sungmin gets the old beat-up acoustic of Henry's he'd been using since he joined the band, hooks the strap over his shoulder and stands swaying a little until Donghae comes and puts a hand on his shoulder to still him. He looks up. Sungmin's eyelids are heavy, and the skin on his face feels too tight. He tries to smile, but it didn't really work, because Donghae's just staring at him like he's kind of an idiot. Which, you know, Donghae does a lot, but still.
Heechul gets up and walks over them, "Have you been sleeping, Sungmin? This is what happens when I told you to stop pulling double shifts at Kona Beans and you didn't listen." Heechul doesn't sound overly concerned; just like he's making a simple observation that Sungmin obviously hasn't.
Sungmin opens his mouth to say yes, he had, but yawns instead. Then Hyukjae says, serious, "You should stay at my place tonight."
"Yeah," Heechul agrees, without even considering Sungmin's answer. "Yeah, and feed him please." He doesn't protest much either, Heechul is the only one here who really knows who Hyukjae is in his life, so he supposes Heechul sort of speaks for him.
Sungmin gets through practice mostly thanks to muscle memory. He doesn't actually think about what he's doing. It is all entirely automatic. Then Donghae says an audible 'shit' and adds, "Sungmin, seriously," he takes a glance at him, giving him a 'what did I do' face.
Donghae drops his bass and continues, "Just- I'm going. We can't play when you're like this."
Sungmin's usually better at balancing everything out - work, practice, small gigs, food, sleep - but when it does, Sungmin wakes up in the morning after feeling kind of mildly awkward and a little spoilt. He just stands in the middle of Heechul's garage with the guitar dangling from his shoulders and looking clueless, if not confused. He then feels a hand on his back and hears Hyukjae's voice, "Come on, Min. You need to sleep."
Heechul ushers them out and as soon as he gets into Hyukjae's car, he falls asleep.
Hyukjae nudges his side to wake him up when they arrived at his condo. He directs him to his bed, and crawls in after him. Sungmin doesn't even think before he slides his hands up Hyukjae's chest, over his shirt, pulling him close.
A kind of strangled and breathless 'Min' escapes Hyukjae's lips, but by then, Sungmin is already asleep.
Sungmin wonders how every single person in the world hasn't already fallen in love with Lee Hyukjae as soon as he wakes up.
Sungmin's starting to get more and more confused about his feelings. He doesn't understand why he's having a hard time to accept that he still feels the same about Hyukjae. They used to sleep a lot together when they were kids, but it seems like that simple action has made him realise something he doesn't want to. Andbutso, he tries to avoid him. He feels guilty, but looking at their lives, he can't be with him. Hyukjae deserves someone better.
So when Hyukjae shows up on his doorstep about four - maybe five - weeks after, Sungmin is kind of shock. He stands there in his pyjama pants and an old summer camp shirt stretched to his knees. Hyukjae faces him, slick-up hair and two hundred-dollar shoes against a background of peeling paint and cracks in the ceiling.
Hyukjae says 'hi' with his arms folded and lips pressed together. Sungmin's stomach flips and then he feels all hot and cold at the same time. Hyukjae's face comes across as something cruel.
"Mind telling me what you're doing?" Sungmin can't tell if Hyukjae is amused, or pissed, or both. The curve of his mouth, the arch of his eyebrow; they can both come across either way.
"I- uh, I'm making dinner?"
"Oh?" Hyukjae says pleasantly. He moves to step around him and he shifts quickly, blocking the door.
"Yeah, just for one. You know."
"Yeah, seriously, are you not letting me in?" Oh that's definitely not amusement in his voice.
He hungs his head and shuffles out of the way, Hyukjae strides past him into the apartment, and stands there with one eyebrow raised and his foot tapping impatiently as Sungmin fumbles with the lock.
"I kind of have to, otherwise people--" and Hyukjae makes a little 'hah' noise, like he can't believe what Sungmin's saying.
Maybe he can't. Sungmin laughs nervously. There's a silence, then a space. Sungmin can't hear anything except the rushing in his ears and the kick drum beating in his chest. Then Hyukjae's hands comes down, and he asks, "What the fuck are you doing?" But it's more of a statement than a question.
He stutters, "I- I'm, like. Well, I just opened a can of pork & beans, so if you want some of--"
"That's not what I meant, and you know it," Hyukjae hisses and continues, "What are you doing?" He takes a step towards Sungmin, and Sungmin unwillingly steps back.
"I like- I'm living, I guess. That's all. Just living--"
"You call this living?"
That hot-cold feeling comes over Sungmin again, he clenches his jaw to keep from yelling, "Hyuk, you know I don't have anywhere else to go," and if it sounds as strained as it feels, well, so be it.
Hyukjae's face doesn't change. He takes another step forward, and another, until Sungmin is trapped against the wall, trying to melt through to the other side, and Hyukjae is barely a foot away from him.
"You could have at least told me," he growls, "I remember telling you that."
"I didn't want--"
"To be trouble?" Hyukjae finishes for him. Sungmin hesitates, and Hyukjae takes that moment to lean forward and kiss him.
Sungmin flinches. It's not like he's expecting it, and even if he was, it's still- it's Hyukjae, and they were just kind of arguing a few moments ago, and he's still not sure what they are and what Hyukjae really feels about him. So he jumps a little. His hands comes up to push Hyukjae away, but somehow they ended up clinging to his shirt at the same time.
"Did you honestly think..." Hyukjae moves forward to kiss him again.
"Hyuk," Sungmin gasps, "Hyukjae, what the fuck."
Hyukjae stands back, Sungmin looking at him, "If you're just- if this is just pity--" But Hyukjae catches the words as soon as they come out.
"It couldn't be, Min. Fuck. How many different kinds of stupid are you?"
When Sungmin didn't respond, he decides to continue, "Did you honestly think that I just accidentally found you here? When you left, I searched for you. I looked for you everywhere Sungmin, but you were no longer in Ilsan. I spent months looking for you - that couldn't be pity - but everyone in the church just told me to stop. And that might be wrong, because the moment you left, I knew a part of me was gone."
"I'm sorry," he can hear his own voice break.
"But, as soon as I got myself out of college, I started looking for you again. Then I found out that you're here - after all those years - I decided to stay here and look for a job. That's why I'm here, Min. I needed- no, I need you."
Sungmin feels all those words all the way down to his toes. Suprisingly, it doesn't feel as bad as he thought it would. It's like a fleet of emotion and he wants to hug Hyukjae and keep him there.
He opens his mouth but Hyukjae talks for him, "You should have told someone, you should've told me. You're- look at you. You're tiny. You could- just move in with me."
"I should have," he locks his gaze on Hyukjae's and this time when Hyukjae kisses him, he doesn't push him away.
He never pushed him away since.
Sungmin always wakes up next to Hyukjae, and he sure loves waking up before Hyukjae, lay with his eyes half-open until Hyukjae stretches and turns over. The first time, Sungmin has said 'good morning' and leant his forehead against Hyukjae's for a second before sitting up. The second time, he brushed the hair out of Hyukjae's eyes and smiled sleepily. Today, he touches Hyukjae's face, very gently, and Sungmin closes his eyes and leans into the moment and when he opens them again, Hyukjae is kissing him. He wonders if his life can make more sense than this.
Hyukjae drags Sungmin into their shared bedroom one afternoon. He says, "I got you a present." Sungmin tries not to seem surprised but he kind of is. He hasn't got any presents in so long. There's no occasion - just an ordinary day, really - so he isn't expecting any either.
Hyukjae pulls a box out from under the bed and slides it across the floor to him. It's covered in pink tissue paper. "I know you didn't manage to, uh, get yours. You know."
Sungmin sits on the bed and tugs at the paper, "No."
"Well, yeah." Hyukjae says and ruffles his hair.
"I can't," but Sungmin opens the box anyway. He rips one side of the box but Hyukjae stops him.
"Watch it! That's part of it. Turn it over."
He scrunches his face and then he sees it; Sungmin sees a scribbled treble clef and five lines with notations and accents. It takes him two minutes and a half to get the noise in his head. A bar of music. Sungmin starts humming quietly. Hyukjae goes over and sits on the bed next to him, hooks his chin over his shoulder, humming along.
"That's meant to be an E flat," he mumbles with a small laugh, "My handwriting's kind of crappy, sorry."
Sungmin seriously thinks he's going to cry. He's speechless so he just turns his head and kisses him.
"You can open it now," Hyukjae says against his lips.
Sungmin pulls away and starts ripping the paper. It's an electric and carnation pink, his favourite. There's even a little practice amp.
"Now you can stop using Henry's fucking acoustic," Hyukjae mutters.
"Fuck off," he says without venom. He runs his hands over the body, twists his fingers into chords on the fretboard. "It's just- what the fuck, Hyuk. What's the occasion?"
"Nothing? Maybe you coming back to my life?" There's a moment of silence and he blurts out softly, "I love you. I'm sorry I was such an ass ten years ago and didn't give you the first kiss of your life."
It knocks the breath out of Sungmin, he very carefully puts the guitar down and crawls to where Hyukjae's sitting on the bed, throwing his arms around his neck, nuzzling at his collarbone. Hyukjae kisses his forehead and strokes the small of his back.
If this is a dream, he doesn't even want to wake up.
Hyukjae grumbles something but Sungmin shushes him with a kiss. They shuffle around so they're not so tangled up, and then Hyukjae tugs the duvet back over him and wriggles them up so he's pressed even closer against him.
Sungmin takes this moment to whisper an 'I love you, too' in his ears. He allows himself to get lost in the delusion of romance, and squirms even closer. Hyukjae rolls over so he's lying half on top of him, heavy against his chest as he presses soft kisses on every part of Sungmin that he can reach, but Sungmin doesn't really mind.
He finally found where he belongs - right here.