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Fic: Two Plus Two Equals Five [SJM RPS]

Title: Two Plus Two Equals Five
Fandom: Super Junior M RPS
Pairing: Sungmin/Siwon (Eunhyuk/Sungmin)
Rating: NC17
Summary: Donghae lets the challenge hang between them for a moment, and when Sungmin doesn’t take it, he adds, “We’ve made a bet, Hyukjae and me. Two hundred thousand won. He thinks your girly act can fool anyone. I don’t think it can.”
Notes: Crossdressing!Sungmin. Counting Backwards, part 3. Sequel to Three into One.


Two Plus Two Equals Five

Donghae puts forward his great idea when they’re in the dorms. In the kitchen, to be precise, where anyone could hear. He comes over, Hyukjae trailing after him, and says, “Sungmin, we’ve been talking, Hyukjae and me, and we’ve had this brilliant idea. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if you did your dress-up thing and managed to fool someone else? Properly fool them, I mean. Properly make them think you were a girl.”

Sungmin freezes in the act of wiping dry a bowl from the stack of plates and dishes left on the draining board. He stares at Donghae, too stunned to find words of protest or anger. And Hyukjae says nothing, doesn’t even deny his part in the plan, but just stands there and stares at the shiny taps of the sink.

“You’re so fucking hot, Min,” Donghae continues with relish. “As a girl, I mean. I could almost forget you were you. So I said to Hyukjae, I wonder if he—she—could really trick someone else.”

“No.” Sungmin’s voice is hoarse. “You knew it was me. I didn’t fool you.”

Donghae holds up his hands, framing Sungmin’s head and shoulders as if through a viewfinder. “If you had longer hair, wore it more in your face—that would disguise you a bit more. And that club last week had way too many lasers and shit. If we took you someplace dark, no one would know.”

“No.” Sungmin struggles, his mind only now catching up with the reality of the situation. He can’t believe Donghae is talking about this, talking about it here, talking about it like it’s some kind of cheap party trick, something to be rolled out as entertainment. He’s too off-balance to order his thoughts, too wounded by Hyukjae’s refusal to speak, and all Sungmin can find to say is: “This isn’t—I don’t... It’s not a performance piece.”

Donghae just looks at him, looks at him with too much knowledge and a splinter of kindness, and says, “Isn’t it?”

And still Hyukjae says nothing, his gaze on the floor now, his mouth set in a downward curve.

“If you don’t think you can cut it...” Donghae lets the challenge hang between them for a moment, and when Sungmin doesn’t take it, he adds, “We’ve made a bet, Hyukjae and me. Two hundred thousand won. He thinks your girly act can fool anyone. I don’t think it can.”

Sungmin knows he’s being manipulated, knows that Donghae is aware of exactly which buttons to press to make him react. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that the idea is obviously Donghae’s brainchild alone, that the bet is obviously not the point of the exercise—what matters, what really matters, is that Hyukjae says nothing.

Before he can think any more, before it gets too painful, Sungmin says, “Who am I trying to fool?”

Donghae’s surprise is almost funny. He stares, recovers; says, “I’ll make it easy on you. I’ll pick someone who’s more concerned with their own looks than with yours.”

“How kind.” An icy calm descends, cleanses all confusion from Sungmin’s mind. “When do you want to do this?”

The thing about Donghae is that he’s quick. It’s obvious that he didn’t expect Sungmin to accept the idea, but now the opportunity lies before him, he’s going to make the most of it. He’s almost as easy to read as Hyukjae, his thoughts just as transparent on his face, and Sungmin isn’t surprised when Donghae says, “Thursday.”

It’ll be the fourth Thursday of the month. It breaks every rule Sungmin’s made to protect himself, but what does it matter when Hyukjae won’t defend his girlfriend? Everything is fucked up already, and Hyukjae has made no move to talk to him, and Sungmin is too afraid to begin a conversation, so why should any of this be a problem? Perhaps they can fix this. Perhaps, if he can win the bet for Hyukjae, it’ll make things better.

Sungmin doesn’t know. The lack of control he has over the situation pushes him into recklessness. Things can’t get any worse.

He nods. “Thursday. I’ll be ready.”

“Are you— I mean, that’s great.” Donghae’s enthusiastic expression fades a little, cracks to show a glimmer of confusion, but then he smiles again. “Leave it up to me, babe!”

A second later, he realises what he’s just said. He blanches, laughs it off—“Maybe I’ll lose the bet before we even get started”—then his smile drops again and he stares at Sungmin for a long moment before he shakes himself free. He turns, mock-punches Hyukjae’s shoulder and says, “Dude. Let’s go.”

Hyukjae bites his lip, shakes his head.

Donghae glances at Sungmin. “Okay, right. I’ll just be...” He waves a hand in an arbitrary gesture and slopes away.

In the silence that follows, Sungmin feels the weight of the air pressing in on him. He can’t move. In a voice he barely recognises as his own, he asks, “Do I scare you that much?”

“Like this, you confuse me,” Hyukjae says, not meeting Sungmin’s gaze. “It’s easier when you’re her. Everything’s easier.”

Sungmin takes a sharp, shallow breath. Emotion crushes him. It takes him a moment to realise it’s grief. “Oh,” he whispers. “Oh, Hyukkie.”

Hyukjae looks at him then, a single fierce look that could mean everything or nothing at all, and then he swings away, almost flees from the kitchen.

Sungmin remembers the cloth in his hand, the shape of the bowl inside it. He drops his gaze, stares at the white porcelain with its repeating pattern of blue box meanders. He loosens his grip. The bowl falls and smashes on the floor.

Ryeowook hears; comes running from his room to find Sungmin still holding the tea towel, sherds shattered around his feet. “Min, are you all right? Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine.” Sungmin crouches to retrieve the broken pieces of the bowl. The edges are sharp. He bows his head, hair falling into his eyes as his vision blurs. “I’m fine.”

* * *

“This is a bad idea.”

She says it to herself, murmurs it beneath her breath, giving life to her fears. It’s not like anyone can hear her, not with the thud of music rolling around the club, but she feels better acknowledging her thoughts out loud. She says it again in her normal voice, her masculine voice, but through the distortion of the bass line she doesn’t know if she sounds like a man or a woman.

She gives up and leans against the railing of the staircase leading up to the VIP box. Her outfit is garnering looks of curiosity and disdain from other girls. They group together and look at her, careful raking glances from toe to head, measuring her worth. She’s out of place and she knows it, and they show their scorn with simple gestures, a lift of the shoulder, a flick of the hair.

She forces herself to meet their collective gaze, sees herself through their eyes. A country girl, new to the big city, stumbled by mistake into an exclusive nightclub. A girl without much money, a girl with nothing to offer but her wide-eyed innocence. A girl dressed in chain store clothing: a black off-the-shoulder gypsy top, the ruching making the most of her flat chest, and a floaty knee-length skirt patterned with pink roses. Bare legs, strappy patent leather sandals with a small heel. A length of black satin ribbon worn as a choker around her neck. Her hair loose, left to tumble in soft-curling waves over her shoulders and down her back.

She’s nothing special compared to the expertly made-up and coiffed girls in their designer labels, and yet there’s something about her, something different, and the other girls stab at her with their looks as they try to understand the appeal of the sparrow amidst the swans.

She hopes they mistake nervousness for confidence. She fools a lot of people that way. It’s all a matter of control. She directs her anxiety into showmanship, and the audience rarely bothers to look past the illusion she’s created.

Sometimes she wishes they would, but she’s never certain what they’d see behind her smile. If she was braver, she’d ask Donghae. He saw through her at second glance, but despite his knowledge, his experience of her, he treats it—and her—as if it’s a game.

There’s a vibration through the railings at her back. She turns her head, follows the rattle of footsteps down the metal staircase. A security guy in a bad suit looks at her, beckons her over. He opens a little gate and stands aside for her to pass, then takes up position at the foot of the steps.

Curiosity follows her up the staircase to the VIP box. She resists the urge to turn and wave, maybe even dip a curtsey, to the girls below.

Donghae meets her just outside the door. He’s wearing a baseball cap low over his face and keeps his back to the dance floor.

“This is a bad idea,” she says again.

He flashes a grin. “Don’t sweat it, babe. You’ll be great.”

“He’ll know.” Unease is churning in her stomach. A wash of almost-nausea climbs her throat. She clutches at her purse, twists the strap tight between her fingers. She should never have agreed to this. It’s madness; sheer, unadulterated folly, and she has no way out. Not now it’s gone this far; not when there’s a pack of girls circling the dance floor eager for her to be rejected, waiting for her to fail.

She has too much pride to fall at this hurdle. She has too much pride, and that’s what led her into this mess.

“He’ll know,” she repeats, “and I’ll look like an idiot.”

Donghae checks her out, slowly. “Darling, you could never look like an idiot.” He gives her a mock leer that reminds her of too much. “But if he guesses, no problem—I win the bet. And I promise I’ll buy you some really sexy lingerie when I win.”

She gives him a spiked look. “I’d prefer it if you bought me dinner.”

“Dinner and lingerie.” He’s unrepentant, waggling his eyebrows, and though tension is crippling her, she can’t help but find him amusing.

“Hyukjae showed me a sexy underwear catalogue,” Donghae continues. “He’s folded over the corners of all the pages showing the stuff he wants to buy for his princess. He said I could buy something for you, too.”

Her almost-giggle dies in her mouth. Memories rise up, lust and anger and desperation, and without wanting to she remembers how he felt inside her. The image burns. “It was just the once.”

“I know.” He makes puppy-dog eyes at her. “A guy can dream, right?”

She knows he doesn’t mean it, not really. He’s just trying to be funny. Trying to put her at ease. She needs to relax. She summons back her sense of humour and laughs.

“Good girl.” Donghae pulls her close for a moment and kisses her forehead. Then he lets her go. “Showtime.”

He opens the door and ushers her inside. The interior of the VIP box is so dark that she almost stumbles. The music thumps at the smoky glass of the window. Strobes flicker past like disoriented moths. The room smells of cologne and beer. Hyukjae is sitting on one side of the long, low table. She ignores him, focuses instead on the man at the far end of the table.

Siwon.

She forces herself to forget years of friendship and looks at him as an idol, as a man, a ridiculously handsome man, and she catches her breath, swallows a sudden rush of excitement. A wave of dizziness, of unreality, makes her sway, and she reaches out blindly in the half light. Donghae steadies her, his hand on her lower back, and then he’s leading her forward, introducing her as the sister of one of his friends from home.

She listens carefully as he spins his deceit. Donghae tells Siwon and Hyukjae that she’s newly arrived in Seoul. He says he’d offered to show her around the city and he thought it’d be fun for her to hang out with them for the evening. She licks her lower lip, fidgets with her purse. Somehow it’s easy to pretend she’s a little overawed by the company she’s keeping.

Donghae is enjoying his role. “I guess you don’t really need me to tell you who these guys are,” he says, “but Siwon’s the good-looking one and Hyukjae is the ugly one.”

Anger bolts through her at such flippant criticism of her boyfriend, but she controls her reaction and smiles and bows and murmurs a polite greeting. She’s aware of Hyukjae staring at her, but rather than return his gaze, she darts a glance at Siwon. That’s why she’s here, after all. To win the bet. To see if she can make Siwon believe she’s really a girl.

Hyukjae moves up on the banquette, pats the place next to him. He looks at her with hunger, too obvious in his desire, and she gives him a quelling glance before he can blow her cover and ruin the whole thing.

After all this time she knows what he likes, and she thinks she knows what Donghae likes, too, though it’s probably safe to say that Donghae likes anything that brings him pleasure. Siwon, though. Siwon is a different matter. She sends him a fluttering glance, still shy, and offers him another little smile.

“Sit with me, babe.” Donghae throws off his cap and pulls her down onto the seat beside him, handling her like he’d roughhouse with another man. She jabs her heel into his foot, making sure it’s hard enough to hurt. He opens his mouth to protest then recovers himself, gives her a watery smile and asks about her fictitious brother. She replies in monosyllables, awkward and self-conscious.

Across the table, Hyukjae is still staring. It’s starting to get uncomfortable. She shifts on the seat, smoothes her skirt over her knees in a repetitive gesture until she realises what she’s doing and stops. Donghae edges closer, flaunting his position as surrogate brother, though there’s nothing remotely fraternal about his too-friendly touches on her shoulder, her hand, her thigh.

Hyukjae leans back in his seat and folds his arms across his chest, looking away as if he’d rather be elsewhere. His jaw is tight, his lips pressed together in a violent line. Conversation shrivels. She drops her gaze, stares at the clutter of glasses and empty beer bottles. She considers herself a passable actor, but in the absence of a script, she’d rather direct. Unconsciously she turns, not towards Donghae but to Siwon, and she must look lost or helpless or something, because his expression softens when he meets her gaze, and then he glances past her at Donghae, and now he’s frowning.

“The lady must be thirsty. Why don’t you get us some more drinks?”

“Great idea.” Donghae jumps up, goes to the telephone set into the wall and rings down to the bar. He places the order without asking what they all want.

Siwon’s frown deepens. “Hae, why don’t you ask the lady what she would like to drink rather than just assuming?”

Even with the cover of the shadows, Donghae looks startled by his error. Still holding the phone, he asks her what she wants. She should probably think of another drink, but “Vodka and cranberry” trips from her mouth, confirming Donghae’s apparent assumption.

Donghae gives Siwon a triumphant look. “I know what she likes, okay? I always know what girls like.”

She purses her lips, trying not to laugh, hoping that she looks slightly disapproving instead.

Siwon sighs. “You’re hopeless.”

“Dude. I am the coolest. You just think you are, but you’re not. Chicks like cool guys, not nice guys.” Donghae drops back onto his seat, exuding bonhomie. “Am I right or am I right, babe?”

Now it’s really difficult to keep a straight face, but she manages it, meets Donghae’s smug gaze and blasts him with a withering look. “Actually...”

Siwon snorts.

She gives Siwon a sidelong glance, a shared twinkle of amusement, and he smiles and moves closer. “I’m so sorry, but I didn’t catch your name.”

She hesitates. Sungmin and Hyukjae have never given her a name. Maybe Hyukjae has, privately, but if so, he’s never shared it, and Sungmin has always been too afraid to name her, worried that doing so will make her too real. Now she realises that was an oversight, and she can’t think of a name, her mind is blank, and Siwon’s smiling at her, his eyes kind and interested, and she can’t think at all, she can’t

“Jade,” she says, breathless, heart pounding at her own stupidity.

Siwon’s smile intensifies. “Jade. How pretty.” He slides closer and takes her hand, dips his head and kisses her fingers.

She sits motionless, liquid sensation pooling in the pit of her stomach. She’s never felt so aware of her hand before. She wants to look at Hyukjae but doesn’t dare. Instead she stares at Siwon’s bent head, at the unruly waves of his hair, at the sweep of his brows, at the tiny scar across the bridge of his nose. He’s still holding her hand, his lips still moving over her fingers, feather-light, and he’s stroking the pad of his thumb over her inner wrist.

Her body responds, primal lust snatching her up and carrying away her sensibilities, batting aside the knowledge that her boyfriend is watching. Her boyfriend has already watched her with another man, so why should this be any different?

She withdraws her hand with a confused murmur, covers her fingers with her other hand as if trapping Siwon’s kiss. Her face flames. She can’t look at anyone.

Donghae chuckles. “You made her blush.”

“But that’s charming,” Siwon says. He leans towards her, comically contrite. “I’m sorry if I upset you.”

She shakes her head, pulls at her hair to keep it wreathed around her face. “I just didn’t expect—”

There’s a knock at the door. A bartender comes in carrying a laden tray. Donghae dismisses him and distributes the drinks. He nudges the vodka and cranberry towards her, but before she can pick it up, Siwon lifts the glass and hands it to her, his smile radiant. She accepts it, lets her fingers brush against his, and gives him an answering smile.

They talk. She hardly knows what about, except it excludes both Donghae and Hyukjae. Siwon asks her questions and she answers, the tapestry of lies growing wider, more detailed, figures and events embroidered over when they wear thin. He listens to her with genuine interest, keeps his gaze on her face even when her skirt rides up and shows a glimpse of thigh. Time slips away, and this is all too easy, and she feels the heady pull of attraction between them. Her desire shocks her like ice water, and she glances around at the others, blinking in the darkness.

Hyukjae grabs for another beer. Three bottles stand empty before him, and the sight gives her pause, sounds warning bells in her head. She watches him, and he drinks too fast, gags on it, splutters. Liquid runs down his chin and spatters over his t-shirt. He holds the bottle at arm’s length, wipes his free hand across his face, and shoots Donghae a vicious look when he dares to laugh.

She aches for her foolish man, wants nothing more than to abandon the pretence and sit beside Hyukjae, to clean him with playful licks of her tongue, to snuggle against him in the shadowed warmth and listen to the blurring of the music beyond the walls of this room. But she sits in her place and plays her role, and instead of offering sympathy, she looks at Hyukjae with startled confusion mingled with censure.

Siwon gets up, moves around the table to offer assistance, but Hyukjae turns away and takes another swig of beer. Donghae flicks her a glance, appealing for her to do something. She grits her teeth and ignores him. This is his mess. Let him get them all out of it.

Donghae jumps to his feet. “I’m going to dance.” He holds out his hand to her. “Come on, babe, I’ll show you some moves.”

As ideas go it’s hardly inspired, but it does the trick. She stands, her hand locked in his, and they move towards the door. Siwon glances up, distracted from Hyukjae’s strange mood. “I’ll come, too.”

“We’ll all go,” Hyukjae says, his voice rough from coughing around the beer. He levers himself upright and grasps her upper arm. “Dance with me, Jade.”

Donghae lets go of her hand and backs off. “Hyukkie likes to think he’s the best dancer in the group,” he tells her, laughing, and then to Hyukjae he says, “Dude, if you want to embarrass yourself, go right ahead.”

“Screw you, Hae. I am the best dancer. No competition.” Hyukjae tightens his grip on her arm, his fingers digging into soft flesh. He’s not even looking at her; he’s glaring at Donghae, and surely he doesn’t realise that he’s hurting her. She wriggles, tries to free herself, but he just increases the pressure.

Now it really hurts. She gasps.

“Hyukjae, for God’s sake!” Siwon sounds alarmed. He knocks over the empty beer bottles as he steps over the table. He doesn’t even look as they tumble and fall. Anger shines from him, brilliant and fierce, and he slices the blade of his hand down hard against Hyukjae’s bicep.

“Ow! What the fuck?” Instinctively Hyukjae loosens his grip, brings his arm up across his chest and rubs at where Siwon hit him. “Unnecessary, bro. That really hurts.”

Siwon jabs a finger at Hyukjae. “No, you idiot, you hurt her. Apologise.”

“It’s okay,” she says, trying to avert another miniature crisis. “Truly, I’m fine. I’m sure Hyukjae didn’t mean it.”

Hyukjae turns on her. “Mean what? What did I do?”

Donghae laughs awkwardly. “Dude, there must’ve been something in your beer, or were you sneaking shots before we came out? You’re acting weird.”

“I’m good. Great. Never better.” Hyukjae stares at her, intense and pained. “Jade. Baby. Come and dance with me?”

He reaches out and she shrinks back, pity and sorrow lining her throat. It’s only the second time she’s rejected him, and it hurts to recall the first time. He wears the same look of devastation and she almost buckles, almost goes and folds herself into him, but that’s not what she should do, it’s not part of what they planned.

Instead she takes shelter with Siwon, turns just a little and tucks herself in against his chest. She keeps a modest distance just in case he doesn’t want her, but then he slips an arm around her waist and draws her near, and she closes her eyes and puts her head on his shoulder and breathes him in. For the first time in a week she feels safe.

Murmurs wash around her. She doesn’t listen. She doesn’t want to be here anymore.

“Jade,” Siwon says, his voice deep and soft in her ear.

She pulls away. “I think I should go.”

“What? No.” Donghae shakes his head, laughs again. “You can’t go yet, it’s not even midnight. No one goes home before midnight!”

“I—I have to work tomorrow. I don’t want to be tired. Thank you for introducing me to your friends. It was... interesting meeting you both.” She bows, first to Hyukjae, then to Siwon. She straightens, looks directly at Donghae. “Walk me out?”

“Sure, babe, but I wish you’d stay.” He’s looking unhappy now. Her decision to leave nullifies the bet. No one has won. He’ll just have to get over it.

Donghae pushes away from the door. “Sure you won’t change your mind? We can leave these jerks here and grab a quiet drink someplace else if you want. I know somewhere good.”

She lets out a trembling breath. “I want to leave.”

Siwon steps forward again, comes to stand behind her. He doesn’t touch her, but she’s aware of him, tall and strong and protective. “I’ll take Jade home.”

Donghae stiffens. “What?”

“It’s not a problem,” Siwon says. “My car is right outside.”

The announcement seems to prompt Hyukjae into a protest. “No. You can’t go with him.” He lifts a hand in entreaty then turns it into a vague gesture, scrubbing his fingers through his hair instead. God, he looks so confused. “You have to dance with me. You have to.”

Siwon turns an enquiring look on her. “Jade, do you want to leave or do you want to stay a little longer?”

She hesitates only for a split-second. “I’ll come with you. Take me home.”

* * *

Siwon’s car has a driver. Of course it does. She should have expected it, but things are moving too fast, rolling into confusion, and she’s grateful that she doesn’t have to hide her reaction to this flash of wealth. She’s almost disappointed that the security guy let them leave through a side exit. She’d been looking forward to clinging to Siwon’s arm as he escorted her past the other girls. That small victory would at least have made up for this whole dismal enterprise.

She remembers to keep her head lowered beneath the lights outside the club. Siwon opens the car door for her, offers his hand to help her inside. She slides in, letting out a tiny exhalation of relief as the door clicks shut. She closes her eyes, relaxes back into the seat. Her moment of reprieve is broken when Siwon doesn’t sit in the front, as she’d expected, but instead sits beside her.

She pulls herself alert, arranges herself into a demure posture, knees pressed close together, her purse on her lap. She keeps her face slightly averted, not wanting to offer a clear profile. As the car pulls away, she breathes out, jagged and anxious, and casts a glance back towards the club.

No one has come after them. She doesn’t know what to think. Numbness creeps through her, wedges itself deep in her chest. She pulls her gaze away and looks forward. The car picks up speed, streetlights and neon signs intermittently splashing false colours through the darkness.

Siwon sighs, runs a hand over his face, and stares out of the window. He looks tired, and she feels bad for doing this to him. Maybe she should reveal the truth now, but she doesn’t know how he’ll react. He can be unpredictable sometimes, and he might be angry enough to kick her out onto the street, and she doesn’t want to walk home dressed like this.

Her phone starts ringing. She unfastens the clasp on her bag, about to answer it, then realises that her phone is Sungmin’s phone, and if Siwon sees it, he’ll know. She’s not ready for that, not yet, so she ignores the ringtone—thank God she changed it to something generic—and closes her bag.

Siwon looks at her. “Your phone. Aren’t you going to answer it?”

She gives him a bright smile. “It’ll just be my flatmate. I can call her back later.”

He frowns. “You should talk to her. She might be checking on your whereabouts. She might be worried.”

She hopes her laughter sounds light and carefree. “It’s okay. I’m safe with you, aren’t I?”

Siwon chuckles, resumes gazing out of the window. “I think so.”

It wasn’t the reply she was expecting. A thud of anxiety shakes her. What makes it worse is the fact that he hasn’t asked yet where she lives or where she wants to go.

* * *

Siwon doesn’t say anything after their short conversation, not even when they arrive at his place. He just climbs out of the car and opens the door for her, makes sure she has her purse, then bids goodnight to the driver. She stands and watches the car leave, then Siwon smiles at her and she follows him inside.

She supposes she should be irritated by his assumption, but instead she just feels relieved. It’s not like she’s in any danger. She’s been here before, but that was when she was Sungmin rather than Jade, so she remembers to make appropriate comments on the decor and how tidy it is and oh, what a pretty flower arrangement. He invites her to sit, and she sinks onto the couch. She dips her head as if shy, lets her hair fall into her face, and is thankful when Siwon moves around the sitting room turning on only a couple of lamps, keeping the ambient light at a low level.

Then she realises why he’s doing that, and maybe this is the moment where she tells him the truth, but before she can work up her courage, he asks if she wants a drink, and it’s easier to say yes. It takes a certain kind of bravery to admit one’s faults and to tear down one’s illusions, and if she armours herself with a drink then maybe she’ll be okay.

Or maybe, like Hyukjae, she’ll make even more of a fool of herself.

The thought of her boyfriend sends her scrambling for her purse as soon as Siwon goes into the kitchen. She flips open her phone within the narrow confines of the bag and checks the display. Her missed call was from Hyukjae. She clears the screen and turns off the phone, shoves it to the bottom of the bag. Her throat is tight, almost sore.

Siwon returns with a carton of fruit juice and a shot of vodka in a tumbler—“I’m sorry, but I don’t have any cranberry juice. Will orange juice make an acceptable substitute?”—and when she nods, he pours it for her, swirls the juice and vodka together, and hands her the glass.

She drinks it fast, grateful for the smooth cold easing her throat. Siwon says nothing, just watches her, and she can’t read the expression in his eyes. Self-conscious, she slows down before she can finish the drink. She casts him an uncertain look, and he leans against the cushions and retrieves the thread of their conversation from the club.

He’s so attentive, so charming, that she starts to relax. The gulped vodka snakes into her system, bringing heady, gleeful disorientation. She doesn’t mind when he shifts nearer to her on the couch, when he puts an arm around her. She leans into him, giggling and light-headed, and he smiles down at her with so much affection she can believe this is real, and the punch of yearning is so violent that she trembles with the force of it.

Siwon notices, looks concerned. “Are you okay?”

She nods, buries her reaction in her glass, finishes her drink to avoid a reply.

Then Siwon takes the glass from her nerveless fingers, sets it down, and looks at her. His expression is sombre, his eyes very dark. He strokes her hair, tilts his head. She can barely breathe, her heart pounding so fast it’s like she’s dying.

Siwon edges closer. Puts one hand to her face. Kisses her.

It’s like a dam breaking. She makes a noise low in her throat and kisses him back.

His palm is warm against her cheek. The tip of his ring finger exerts the slightest pressure at her hairline, just behind her ear. His touch is considerate, gentle, soothing. She follows his lead, and when he moves, she sways after him.

He lies her down on the couch, making sure not to squash her, angling his body to give her space to stretch out and be comfortable. He keeps on kissing her, and she can’t seem to stop herself from responding. Never had she imagined that it would get this far, and she really has to stop it now, but oh, he’ll be so angry when he finds out, and after kisses like these, he’ll be disappointed in her, and she can’t bear the thought of hurting him.

Siwon shifts against her, and now she can feel his erection pressing into her hip. Panic sends ice splintering through her. She has to come clean. She has to do it now, before it’s too late, before—

His kisses are too distracting. She melts beneath his touch, illusion and reality fusing into something far more dangerous. She’d be lying if she said she hadn’t imagined this before: an idle daydream, a snapshot of meaningless fantasy to get her off when she plays with herself.

Then Siwon’s hand is on her thigh, stroking upwards, sliding beneath her skirt, and she gasps into his mouth, gasps in fear and tries to push his hand away.

He lifts his head, studies her. “I’m curious,” he says, very softly. “Just how far did you plan on taking this?”

She stares at him, frozen. “What?”

Siwon smiles, but it’s wan and not really amused. “Sungmin.”

Sungmin can’t move, his brain stuck on the shape of his name from Siwon’s lips, the same lips he was kissing a moment ago, and he can’t even begin to process what’s just happened. Long before rational thought kicks in, his body reacts with some kind of involuntary urge to flee and he bolts sideways and falls off the couch. He bangs his elbow on the coffee table, knocks over his empty glass. It cracks, shatters, and the sound is like a gunshot in the silent room. The tension of the night snaps, and Sungmin covers his mouth with his hands, sobs once in startled pain and despair.

“Oh, no. No, Min.” Siwon reaches for him, fusses over him and helps him up. “I’m sorry.”

“Why are you sorry? I’m the one that should be sorry. And I am. I’m sorry. So sorry.” Sungmin sits at the far end of the couch. His elbow smarts, a dull pain edged with knife-blade sharpness. “When did you know?”

Siwon rubs a hand over the back of his neck. He wrinkles his nose. “Pretty much straight away.”

“Shit.”

“It was kind of obvious when Donghae brought you in alone,” Siwon continues. “For that to have worked, he should’ve brought in two or three girls as smokescreens. So my attention wouldn’t always have been on you.”

“I told him that yesterday. He didn’t believe me.” Sungmin closes his eyes for a moment and rests his head against the back of the couch, then he turns to look at Siwon. “So you knew the whole time. Why did you go along with it?”

Siwon shrugs. “Curious, I guess. I wondered why you were doing it.”

“A bet.” The words come out low and bitter. Sungmin brings his knees to his chest, careless of the way his skirt rides up. Doesn’t matter now. He has nothing to hide. “Donghae made a bet with Hyukjae that I wouldn’t be able to fool you. Hyukjae said you wouldn’t be able to tell. You’d think I was a girl.”

Silence, then Siwon says hesitantly, “You make a really pretty girl, if it helps.”

“Yeah. Sure.” It doesn’t help.

“But your smile, your eyes... Not even all that make-up can hide you.”

The remark should sound flippant, but it doesn’t. Sungmin shakes his head. He’s tired, and he thought he’d feel stupid when the truth came out, but instead he feels caught between vulnerability and calm. He breathes in, exhales, aware of the alcohol still buzzing through his head, the taste of Siwon’s kisses still on his tongue. He touches a fingertip to the tacky gloss remains of his lipstick then glances sidelong, realises he’s left rose-pink smudges across Siwon’s mouth. It’s kind of cute, and it makes Sungmin smile.

“Do you want me to go back to the dorms?”

Siwon waves a hand. “Stay here if you want. Take a shower. Wash all that crap off. I’ll find something for you to wear.” He stands and leaves the room, returning with a folded towel, placing it on the arm of the couch. Sungmin rubs the back of his hand across the cloth, feels softness and warmth. He burrows his fingers beneath it, tucks the towel against him, and gets to his feet.

He knows where the bathroom is. He doesn’t have to feign ignorance any more.

* * *

He takes off Jade’s clothes, folds them neatly, and sets them on the floor. He removes the wig, brushes through it with his fingers, then places it on top of the clothes. When he looks in the mirror, he’s almost himself again, peering from behind a mask of feminine illusion. His lashes are weighted with mascara. His eyes are very bright.

He turns on the shower and steps in, dips his head beneath the pounding spray. The gel that held his hair smooth and flat against his skull loosens then slicks away, and his hair slides blackly into his face. Sungmin washes his hair, cleans off his make-up. Smudges of mascara and kohl stain the washcloth. He rubs soap over it until it’s clean, too.

When he’s stood beneath the water for at least ten minutes, he lifts a leg and braces himself against the wall, his weight through his raised knee. Brow furrowed with concentration, he runs his thumbnail along one side of the duct tape fastening his cock out of the way. The skin there is sensitive, and it takes a few minutes of gentle manipulation and the soothing help of the water before he peels back the tape and the protective layer of tissue. He balls it up in his hand and drops the soggy mass onto the floor.

Water droplets glisten from the shiny black tape. Sungmin stares at it as he washes between his legs, cleaning away any sticky residue. Then he turns his back on it, faces the spray and tucks his hands against his chest, lets the heat run over him.

He wonders what Hyukjae would have said if he’d answered the phone.

He wonders what Hyukjae did when he didn’t answer. How Hyukjae felt. What he’s feeling now. Donghae probably took him home. Or maybe they went somewhere else to dance and drink. Maybe Hyukjae met a girl, a real girl, someone uncomplicated and sweet, the kind of girl Hyukjae deserves, the kind of girl Jade can never be.

A sound escapes Sungmin’s lips. He kills it, then buries it beneath the pulse of the water.

The bathroom door opens. Siwon comes in and lays some clothes on the edge of the bath. He looks at Jade’s outfit, at the wig. He hesitates, then picks them up. As he leaves, he casts a glance at the shower. He drops his gaze, blushes. Maybe it’s the steam.

Sungmin turns off the water and gets out. He dries himself, moving like a ghost through the heat-fogged bathroom, and puts on Siwon’s clothes. A pair of shorts. A t-shirt. He towel-dries his hair, cleans his teeth using his finger and too much toothpaste, rinses his mouth. The mirror is grey with condensation. He doesn’t wipe it away. He stares at his lack of reflection for a long moment.

The towel is a damp, heavy weight around his neck as he pads through the apartment. He finds Siwon in bed, a single lamp the only illumination. Siwon puts down the magazine he was pretending to read and offers Sungmin a small smile. “Tired?”

“Yes.” Sungmin digs his toes into the pile of the rug. “No.” He goes forward and sits on the end of the bed. Stares at the wall.

“Come up here,” Siwon says quietly. “We can talk about it.”

“I don’t want to.” Sungmin sits there, then changes his mind, looks around for somewhere to put the towel—“Just leave it on the floor, it’s okay,” Siwon tells him—then crawls up the bed. Siwon lifts a corner of the duvet, inviting him in, and Sungmin curls beside him. “I don’t know what I want.”

Siwon is warm and safe. He strokes Sungmin’s damp hair with gentle affection, and when the silence spools out, he says, “You said it was a bet, but I don’t understand it.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Sungmin says. “It was just a stupid idea. And it doesn’t matter, because no one won.”

Siwon sighs. “Donghae was pretty good, I’ll give him that. The ‘this is my friend’s sister’ thing. I could almost have believed that part, but Hyukjae... What was wrong with him? I’ve never seen him act like that.” Siwon pauses, then says in a different tone of voice, “Ah. He wasn’t acting. That was the problem.”

Sungmin says nothing.

“You and Hyukjae,” Siwon says. “Are you—um, are you together? A couple?”

Sungmin feels hollow. “I don’t know.”

Siwon is quiet for a moment. “Let me phrase it another way. Jade and Hyukjae—are they together?”

“Yes.”

“But not Sungmin and Hyukjae.”

Sungmin curls tighter, presses closer. “No.”

Another silence. “Ai. That’s... that’s complicated.”

“Yes.” His heart is breaking.

“Do you want to tell me about it?”

Sungmin almost shakes his head, but the desire to confide in someone has become too great, and he needs to spill this out somehow before he goes mad. He takes a deep breath, feels the pain in his chest shift, and starts talking.

He tells Siwon how it began, months ago, maybe even longer back than that, when he’d fallen in love with Hyukjae. In soft, dull tones he narrates how he carried his love around, fed it with pretence, nursed it with illusion, until he believed Hyukjae felt the same. He relives the moment he told Hyukjae “I love you”, feels again the crush of his hopes when Hyukjae had looked stunned, when he’d laughed nervously and then apologised for laughing, when he’d walked around the room in circles with his hands to his face before saying “I can’t do it with another guy. I love you as a friend, my really good friend, my close friend, one of my best friends, but I can’t do anything else, I can’t, Min, I just can’t.”

Sungmin’s voice wobbles when he repeats Hyukjae’s words. He recovers himself, reassured by Siwon’s silence, and continues. He says he could accept Hyukjae’s feelings. It hurt, but he understood. Hyukjae never treated him any differently after that, didn’t shut him out, didn’t pull away, and things went on as if the confession had never been made. It was fine, everything was great, until one day they were talking about girls, and Hyukjae said—jokingly, but also wistfully—“Min, if you were a girl, there’d be no problem, no problem at all. I’d fall in love with you immediately.”

And so, Sungmin says, and so the idea came to him, and he offered to dress up as a girl. “Just to try it, just to see if we could, if it would make things easier, if it would change the way he felt”—and it worked, oh how it worked. The more Sungmin offered, the more Hyukjae took, and the more Sungmin perfected his female role, the more Hyukjae wanted her, until he was addicted, they were both addicted, Hyukjae in love with a girl who wasn’t real and Sungmin in love with a man who only wanted him as a fantasy.

It was going too fast, getting out of control, and Sungmin needed to make it safe, needed to put limits on it. So he established a few rules: she would only meet with Hyukjae on the third Thursday of the month. She would contact him. If he tried to call or text her, the date would be cancelled. Everything was done on her terms.

“I said it was to protect us both,” Sungmin says, voice husky from all the talking, from the backwash of emotion. “But really it was to protect myself. Hyukkie has never been anything other than honest with me. I’m the one who wanted the impossible dream.”

He stops there and awaits judgement.

Siwon exhales; asks, “Where does Donghae fit into this?”

“Donghae is Donghae.” Sungmin half smiles. He’s not going to blame Donghae for any of this. He’d like to, but he won’t. “He’s an opportunist. He just likes to fuck.”

“Oh?” Siwon sounds startled. “Oh.” Silence, then: “Hyukjae allowed that?”

Sungmin gives a tired chuckle. “It’s... it sounds kind of sordid. But I think I—she—was in charge.”

He tells him, dispassionately, about last week. About Donghae inviting himself along on date night, about Hyukjae being both unable to say no to his friend and unable to break the rules governing his relationship with Jade. He gets halfway through the account of what happened between the three of them in the hotel room when Siwon moves a little restlessly, and Sungmin thinks he must be bored.

Silence swaddles them. Sungmin is lulled by the sense of safety, sinking into warmth and Siwon’s scent, hypnotised by the memory of his own voice spilling out truths. He drifts, not yet asleep but not quite awake. “One thing,” he murmurs, the thought spinning through his head. “You got hard for me when I was a girl.”

Siwon makes an amused sound. He takes Sungmin’s hand beneath the duvet and places it over his erection.

“Oh, God.” Snapped out of complacency, Sungmin tries to snatch his hand away, but Siwon’s grip around his wrist prevents him from doing so. “Oh, you pervert.”

Siwon purrs with laughter. “You’re the one telling me all this kinky stuff.”

Sungmin splutters. “Kinky stuff about your friends!”

“The libido is a bad judge of morality.” Siwon lets go, turns onto his side, his eyes bright as he gazes at Sungmin. They’re a little too close now, but Sungmin still feels safe. Siwon nudges closer still. Sungmin puts a hand on Siwon’s hip, strokes his flank through the thin cotton of his pyjama trousers. Siwon reciprocates, slides his fingers up beneath the t-shirt to touch bare skin.

They’re close enough to kiss now, their breath already mingled, their legs twisted together like braid, but Siwon hesitates, frowns. “I would never take advantage of a girl.”

Sungmin huffs. “But it’s okay to take advantage of me?”

“Am I taking advantage?”

“I’m emotionally confused,” Sungmin retorts, sarcastic and a little amused.

“Are you?” Siwon asks, very softly. “Are you, Min?”

Sungmin is silent. Here’s a line. It’s drawn in sand. Tomorrow the tide will come and wash it away as if it never existed. Here’s a line. Cross it. Don’t cross it. It’s only sand.

“If you don’t want this, I’ll stop,” Siwon says. “I’ll go next door and sleep on the couch.”

Sungmin doesn’t think he’s ever seen Siwon look so intense. It’s strange and it makes him feel breathless. “I didn’t know—didn’t think you were interested in—”

“I really like you.” Siwon’s eyes blaze. His expression is serious, as if he’s about to say something terribly important. “Sungmin, I...”

Sungmin kisses Siwon to shut him up. There’s nothing that Siwon needs to tell him. Sungmin knows already. He knows, he sympathises, but it’s too late, too late for them both, and for that reason alone he should call a halt to this before it goes any further, but he can’t, because he wants the safety Siwon is offering, and most of all because he’s entangled in the intoxication of someone wanting him as a man.

They kiss, and it’s different this time, different because there’s no Jade for Sungmin to hide behind, different because he knows Siwon desires him. Sungmin likes the taste of these kisses, falls into the languorous drag of pleasure building between them. He pushes closer, slides his hand from Siwon’s flank to his ass and grips him tight. The cotton pyjamas wrinkle beneath his touch.

Siwon makes a hungry sound. It rolls through them, echoes inside Sungmin’s mind. He shoves closer still, feels the insistent press of Siwon’s cock against his belly. Sungmin lets go of Siwon to adjust his own erection, then rocks against him. It’s instinctive, easy, and there’s no guilt. Only the promise of joy.

Siwon squirms back, yanking at Sungmin’s t-shirt. They struggle apart, half sitting up as their clothes come off. When they’re naked, they pause, gaze at each other in the warm glow of the lamplight; stare as if they’re new to this, as if they’ve never seen one another undressed before.

They touch, wrap themselves into each other. A note rings inside Sungmin’s head, the note a glass makes in the moment before it shatters. He can’t stop it; he can’t stop this. He doesn’t want to stop.

Siwon slides a finger down Sungmin’s back, between his buttocks, and makes a choked, growly sound. “You’re smooth. You’re smooth everywhere.”

“It has to be like that,” Sungmin says. “When I become Jade, I need to—”

“Don’t tell me.” Awe paints Siwon’s tone. His fingers move, explore. “Oh, God.”

Sungmin groans, licks at Siwon’s cheekbone, the corner of his mouth, his chin. Dipping his head, Sungmin flicks the tip of his tongue along the line of Siwon’s jaw, then he goes lower, leaving a trail of kiss-bites across his throat, each one making Siwon gasp and shudder. His hands slide over Siwon’s chest, soft palms over hard muscle. He closes his fingers over a nipple, pinching it into a peak. Siwon groans, his hands clutching at Sungmin’s ass, pulling him closer. Moisture slicks between them. Sungmin grinds against him, enjoying the rough-soft sensation of Siwon’s pubic hair brushing over his own waxed skin.

“Min,” Siwon says, and his voice has risen, taken on a desperate quality. “Can we— Do you want—” He reaches backwards, almost topples the lamp, and yanks open the bedside drawer. He scrabbles inside, brings out a handful of foil-wrapped packets and a small bottle of lube, and drops them onto the bed.

Anxiety glimmers. “This is—this is...” Sungmin stops, gathers himself. “I’ve never—I mean, I have, but not without Jade.”

Siwon strokes the length of Sungmin’s erection, gentle at first and then with a firmer grip. The condoms slide over the duvet at the movement. “You fucked Hyukjae as Jade?”

“Um. Yes.” Sungmin closes his eyes, pumps his cock into Siwon’s hand. “Me and Donghae. With a vibrator.”

“God.” Siwon buries his face against Sungmin’s neck. “You’re amazing.”

Sungmin laughs, a half strangled noise. He keeps fucking into Siwon’s grasp, doing it slow, taking his time. He reaches for Siwon’s dick and returns the favour. Siwon makes a snuffling sound and presses closer. His cock is thick and hot. Sungmin measures him against Hyukjae and Donghae and finds the comparison more than favourable. Anticipation blossoms. He moves his hand faster.

Siwon groans. “Wait. Please, wait. Not like this. I want you inside me.”

Startled, Sungmin lets go and jerks back. “You don’t want...?”

Siwon looks at him. “I want you.” He eases away, his face flushed and his eyes eager-bright. He picks up the nearest condom, feels around the hills and valleys of the duvet in search of the lubricant.

The respite is brief, but it gives Sungmin a chance to adjust. This time last week he was a woman getting fucked by her lover and his friend. Tonight he’s a man about to fuck another man. The possibility excites him, makes him hungry. He wants.

He pushes back the duvet and kneels up. Taking the foil packet, he tears it open and rolls the latex sheath over his cock. Siwon holds up the bottle of lube in triumph, laughing. His breath catches when Sungmin gives him a look, and then he’s squirming into a new position, legs spread, knees bent, feet flat on the mattress. His eyes dark and his breathing wild, he opens the bottle and squeezes a generous amount of lube over Sungmin’s outstretched hand.

Sungmin rubs his thumb across his fingers, warming the gel, then he goes down onto his elbows between Siwon’s thighs and inhales musk and heat. He kisses Siwon’s cock, nuzzles at his balls, licking into his warmth as he slides the lube around Siwon’s hole. Sungmin circles the tight opening with a fingertip, probing at the sensitive flesh.

Siwon mewls a little, shoves his shoulders back into the pillows as his hips jerk upwards. Sungmin lifts his gaze, sees shyness flash behind the lust. Siwon looks beautiful when he’s vulnerable. He won’t meet Sungmin’s stare; his eyes close and he tilts back his head, groaning softly.

Sungmin pushes his finger inside. Siwon’s groan sharpens; his body clenches then slowly relaxes. Sungmin licks at his cock again, a dab of tongue over the head, a flick-kiss into the slit, and Siwon arches up, his dick stabbing at Sungmin’s mouth. Sungmin relents, lets him in, and adds a second finger to the first, stretching Siwon’s hole.

“Fuck,” Siwon says. It’s not clear whether it’s exclamation or command. “Min. Let me kiss you. Please let me.”

Sungmin chuckles. It’s nice, this sense of power. It rolls down his spine, adds to his desire. He curls his fingers just a little, making Siwon writhe and moan, then he withdraws them and sits back on his heels. He takes the bottle and squeezes out more lube, strokes it over his cock, and settles on top of Siwon.

Siwon pushes up, moulding himself into the embrace. He bites at Sungmin’s upper lip, sucks on his upside-down pout. Lust slams through him, straight to his cock. Sungmin thrusts hard against Siwon’s belly, but that’s not enough, it’s never going to be enough. He pulls free. “Turn over.”

Siwon rolls onto his front, stuffing a pillow underneath his hips. It raises him up to just the right angle, and Sungmin admires the curve of his ass and the long line of his thighs and the smooth, glorious expanse of his back. Sungmin puts his hands on Siwon’s buttocks, parts them with his thumbs and looks at the glistening slide of lube glossing his hole. Keeping one hand on Siwon’s ass, Sungmin guides himself in with gradual movements of his hips until Siwon utters a desperate sound and slams backward.

“There,” he pants. “Yes. Min. Yes.”

Sungmin pulls back, thrusts in again. Siwon makes a shrill noise and grabs at the one remaining pillow in front of him. He scratches at it, his body quivering, muscles strained. Sungmin sinks in, slides out; he watches each thrust, watches as he claims Siwon. The note ringing around his head takes a higher tone, obliterates any rational thought. He obeys instinct, breathing, thrusting, fucking, melding his heat to Siwon’s. Beneath him, Siwon bucks, spreads his knees and pushes back hard in an attempt to force Sungmin deeper.

The sense of control is exhilarating. Sungmin snaps a command and Siwon obeys, bringing his hands down from the pillow and reaching back for him. Sungmin pins his wrists, leans his weight forward to hold Siwon down. Siwon struggles against him in play, driving back onto Sungmin’s cock, circling his hips in a long, slow grind, jerking forwards then snapping back.

“More,” Siwon begs. “Please, more. Harder.”

Sungmin buries himself in Siwon, holds still and gasps while Siwon squeezes his cock. He pulls out, plunges in. The note in his head turns into a whine, spirals around and around. There’s nothing but heat inside his body, a fierce heat and the need to come. Siwon trembles beneath him, voice hoarse, words incoherent. He pulls one hand free, grabs at his cock, jerks at it hard. He breaks apart, shuddering into orgasm, ramming himself back onto Sungmin’s cock.

The note in Sungmin’s head increases in intensity. He follows it, thrusts again and again. His climax shocks him, rips through him in a jagged strike of pleasure, and the note in his head smashes into splintered shards that scratch ecstasy from his flesh.

Sungmin gasps after breath, heart thundering as he continues to rock, gentle now, riding out the last moments of orgasm. He slips forward, presses against Siwon’s back. Their skin sticks together. The heat between them is incredible. Sungmin loosens his grip on Siwon’s wrist and kisses the back of his neck. They remain locked together until Sungmin feels his cock begin to soften. He moves then, withdraws and tends to the condom.

“God.” Siwon finds his voice, coughs, laughs. Sweat darkens his hair, stripes his body. He looks gorgeous. “What a mess.” He rolls to one side of the bed, grabs the discarded towel, and wipes himself clean with one corner before mopping up the puddle of his semen.

Sungmin gets up and disposes of the condom in the bathroom. He feels like he’s inhabiting someone else’s body as he returns to bed and climbs in beside Siwon. The smell of sex is hot and sharp in the air. Despite Siwon’s attempt to clean up, the wet patch lies between them, a damp and slimy demarcation.

Siwon turns off the lamp. They lie together in the darkness. Siwon holds Sungmin’s hand. “Min,” he says after a long moment, “do you still love Hyukjae?”

Sungmin takes a breath. “Ask me in the morning.”

* * *

Sungmin wakes from dreams of sunlight to find the sky overcast. He stretches in the morning grey, breathes in a familiar-unfamiliar scent, and rolls over to find Siwon watching him.

Well, now, this is awkward, he thinks, then he realises it’s not awkward, not remotely, and the knowledge shocks him. He holds still for a while, trying to separate out all the emotions he’s feeling, or that he thinks he should be feeling, and he’s surprised again when some of those emotions—guilt, for a start—are absent.

He remembers the last thing he said. He’s not going to be the first one to mention it now. He’s not going to be the first one to say anything at all. It’s too early for that, too early and too late.

Siwon brushes a kiss to Sungmin’s forehead then gets out of bed. He rolls the duvet back over Sungmin and wanders around the room, unselfconscious in his nudity. He dresses, then lays out another set of clothes. Still without speaking, he leaves the room but doesn’t quite close the door.

Sungmin hears the sound of the television. He stays in bed, allows himself to feel nothing but warmth, and then he kicks off the duvet and sits up. He looks at the outfit Siwon chose for him: a steel-grey t-shirt and half-length olive drab combat trousers that won’t look too ridiculous. He puts them on, feels like he’s reclaiming his own skin. He combs his hair with his fingers and looks in the bedroom mirror.

His reflection gazes back, serious and thoughtful and weary. He wonders if he’s different now. He wonders who he is, wonders which of his lovers knows him best.

This would be so easy if his heart wasn’t engaged.

He gets no answers from his reflection, no matter how hard or how long he looks. Sungmin abandons himself and goes out to face reality.

Siwon is sitting at the breakfast bar, nursing a large cup of coffee and staring at, rather than watching, the television. Sungmin glances at the screen, recognises a re-run of a period drama in which almost everyone dies. He turns his back on it and hitches himself up onto a stool.

“Breakfast,” Siwon says, muting the television. “That show is terrible. The main actor... terrible. I would also be terrible in that role. I would be worse, actually. The script is so bad.”

Sungmin smiles. “I never watched it.”

“You should. It’s terrible.” Siwon pushes the remote control over to him.

Sungmin shakes his head and leans his arms against the counter. Siwon serves him coffee and brioche. Sungmin eats; they talk, lightly, about nothing and everything. It’s comfortable, this is. It’s not awkward between them. It’s affectionate, the way it always is, and if there’s a deeper note to the affection, it’s something he can handle. He doesn’t need to run away from this.

“So,” Siwon says at last, when there’s a lull in conversation. He sets down his coffee with care, both hands folded around the cup. “Do you still love Hyukjae?”

Sungmin considers the question, weighs his answer. Everything’s that gone wrong is because he’s too afraid and Hyukjae is too honest. If it’s a mess now, Sungmin knows it’s his fault. Hyukjae isn’t to blame for any of this.

“Min?” Siwon prompts, very gently.

“Yes.” Sungmin stares at the few flaked crumbs on his plate. Heat burns behind his eyes. He lifts his gaze. “Yes, I still love him.”

Siwon exhales. He looks disappointed but not surprised. “Finish your breakfast. You need to tell him.”

* * *

Siwon drives them to the dorms. Sungmin sits beside him, in the front passenger seat this time, with Jade’s outfit and accoutrements folded inside a glossy bag with braided rope handles. The bag sits between his feet. His toes are cold, and he keeps curling them against the floor. He couldn’t go home wearing Jade’s shoes, and Siwon’s shoes don’t fit him.

He’s fine while they’re driving, while they’re stuck in traffic. He’s fine just listening to the radio. He’s fine until Siwon pulls up outside the apartment block, and then a rush of nauseated panic sweeps through Sungmin. He closes his eyes, breathes deeply, fights back the sense of failure he’s held at bay for so long.

He’s more nervous than when he was Jade last night on the steps to the VIP box. He glances up at the windows of the dorms, but can’t see anyone past the clutter of banners and laundry and gifts from fans.

Siwon parks the car. He glances into the rear-view mirror, adjusts his collar, then looks over at Sungmin and smiles. “Showtime.”

Sungmin winces.

The ground is cold and hard beneath his bare feet. He runs into the lobby, jabs at the button for the lift. Siwon follows, carrying the bag. Sungmin takes it from him, clutches the handles so tight he thinks he’ll somehow give himself rope burn.

They don’t talk inside the lift. Sungmin doesn’t think he could make any kind of conversation. Fear drills through his skull. His body is as insubstantial as running water. When the doors slide open, Siwon has to urge him gently to move.

“It’s okay,” Siwon says. “It’ll be okay.”

Sungmin doesn’t believe him, but still he goes through the motions. He walks to the end of the corridor. On automatic, he reaches into his pocket for his keys. Stops. These are not his trousers. Remembers. His keys are in Jade’s purse. The purse is at the bottom of the bag. He lets go of one braided handle, starts to root through the bag, mechanical, slow, but speeding up as anxiety takes over. He can’t find the purse, he can’t find the keys. Hyukjae is on the other side of the door and he can’t reach him, can’t get to him, can’t even see him, and it’s all too much, it’s overwhelming, the fear, the bleak desperation of his love, and—

“Here,” says Siwon, so fucking kind and understanding as he leans forward and inserts his own key into the lock. “I’ve got it. Let me.”

The door swings open.

Sungmin takes a breath. Steps inside.

The usual noise greets them, then Jongwoon appears in the hallway, calls out, “It’s Siwon and Sungmin”, and MTV is switched off and an eerie silence descends.

Siwon places a hand on Sungmin’s shoulder and propels him forward. He jumps when the door snaps shut behind them. No way back, no way out. He keeps walking. The hallway has never seemed so long. His courage wavers as more figures fill his gaze.

Jongwoon. Ryeowook. Donghae. Hyukjae. They’re all staring. They know. They all know. Everyone knows.

Sungmin shakes off Siwon’s hand and half turns to him. It’s only now that he realises Siwon hasn’t bothered to do up his shirt all the way. He has bruises on his throat. Sungmin burns with shame and pride.

It’s Ryeowook who breaks the silence. “Min, are you all right?”

“Yes.” The answer hurts. It’s not a lie, but it’s not exactly the truth, either.

“Who won?” Donghae comes forward, an air of suppressed emotion gathered tight around him. “Jade, did he fuck you?”

Sungmin flinches.

“No.” Siwon sounds calm. “Sungmin fucked me.”

Silence smothers them. Only now can Sungmin look at Hyukjae. He looks, and realises that Hyukjae is wearing last night’s clothes, the beer stains dried into the t-shirt, and he wants to laugh, he wants to chide Hyukjae for being so untidy, but he can’t find the words, he can’t do anything but stare helplessly and wait for judgement.

There’s horror on Hyukjae’s face. “You cheated on me?” He’s pale, eyes ringed with tiredness, and then his expression crumples into devastation and lights with fury. “You cheated on me. You fucking bitch.”

[tbc]


<< Part 2: Three into One

Comments

( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
dislex1a
Sep. 20th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if it's because I've just read this through after a 7 hour plane trip, but OMG I HAVE SO MANY EMOTIONS JDFKKJFSKKDJF

This really, really hurts, and it's so significant that we're finally seeing things from Min's point of view, because it gives us a chance to understand what playing this charade must have cost him. The description of how him and Hyuk started their whole affair was so heartbreakingly plausible and makes me despair for both of them; for Min's willingness to compromise because that was the only way he'd get to be with Hyuk, and for Hyukjae's own lack of honesty (which is so ironic, considering).

Your Siwon here is such a conundrum! He's obviously got a sincere love (???) for Min, but at the same time is generous enough to let him go when he realises those feelings won't be returned. The whole scene between the two of them was so hot, but also really upsetting on some level because it's the first time Min's been wanted as a man, as his real self, and yeah I nearly bawled when I realised that Hyukjae's never been honest enough with himself to want Min as anything other than Jade. Oh man, I really hope that's about to change!

That last scene, with so many people looking on (squee for unexpected!Yesung!), was a thing of beauty as well. It finally shows (I hope this is what you were aiming for, because that's what I got out of it!) that Hyukjae is not making the separation between Jade and Min anymore. I really hope he wises up soon! My heart can't take much more of this :P

Several other things: I love the shower scene, and how Min strips away artifice to become himself, and how much more comfortable he feels afterwards. Again, there was that jolt of sadness because you realise how much he loses himself to become Hyukkie's perfect woman.

And Donghae!! I know people are going to disagree, but I love your Fishy!! He's such a wonderfully complex character here and you capture that blend of impulsive arrogance and a underlying goodness so well. I know it isn't part of the fic but I wonder how Siwon might confront Fishy about the fact that he's basically wreaking havoc in his friends' lives with good intentions, especially since we've seen that Siwon has feelings for Min.

The moments in the club were so beautifully written as well, and I love how Hyuk just comes apart at the seams so completely when he realises that he's lost Jade (or is that Min now?) - it's obviously enough to make him break the rule of Jade being the one to contact him...

GAH. I mean, I could go on even more, but I just want to say that I love this so, so much. Thank you!!!!!! <3<3<3 *waits (im)patiently for the concluding chapter*

ETA: OMG typos. I hate using my iPad for extended typing!

Edited at 2011-09-20 06:13 pm (UTC)
glitterburn
Sep. 20th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
Argh, Twitter won't let me reply and LJ isn't sending notifications! Anyway--

I'm so glad this worked for you even though it hurts! When diagon was reading bits of it she kept pausing and staring at the 5jib poster and pointed accusing fingers and saying "Oh Hyukkie" (he is now at the top of her bias list XD), so I knew I must be going along the right lines!

It was only fair that Sungmin had his turn at the POV (the last part will also be his POV). He's sacrificed so much but can't yet see that Hyukjae has done the same thing, albeit in a rather more incoherent and blokeish way.

Funnily enough I think this was harder for me to write than the dreaded threesome because I have WonMi and HyukMin so firmly entrenched as pairings that it was painful to write Siwon with Min. I was aiming for 'hot but wrong', and yes, Siwon is/was in love with Min but is man enough to stand aside when he realises he'd just be second-best (don't think he could take being second-best to anyone!). I really wanted the contrast between Hyukjae and Siwon both in terms of looks and personality. As Min thinks, if his heart wasn't engaged, it would be such an easy choice; but love is rarely that simple or rational.

I also wanted Siwon to be a bit of a cipher; you make a good point about how he might confront Fishy, since in essence Fishy was the catalyst and Siwon represents the haven.

Bonus!Yesung was for you ;) and yes, that was what I was intending with the last scene :D It's just taken Hyukkie a lot of heartbreak to get to that point, the daft anchovy.

I do have a lot of love for Fishy in this. He's such an arse, but he's honest in ways that Hyukjae isn't and he's unashamed about it. Oddly enough, I can see Donghae/Siwon emerge from this series (but don't tell Mimi).

You noticed the forbidden phone call! :D Wheee! This whole fic is stuffed full of checks and balances and Terrible Pretentious Easter Egg-type thingies. If ever I could be arsed to offer up a DVD-style commentary on a fic, this would be the one to do LMAO

Thank you for the comment! Hopefully I will start on the final part next week. I'm getting flashes of one scene and I hope I can do it justice...
dislex1a
Sep. 21st, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)
Gah. I was meaning to tell you just now, but I was walking around today doing chores, still thinking about this fic in my head, so you're definitely doing something right!!

He's sacrificed so much but can't yet see that Hyukjae has done the same thing, albeit in a rather more incoherent and blokeish way.

I think your last scene really drove this point home for me. It's obviously taken Hyukjae quite a lot of soul-searching to finally look past the Jade/Sungmin binary and realise that he just loves one person, not just a construct of Min's imagination. Now it's going to be really interesting to see how the two of them work out everything that's just happened, and whether they can both be honest with each other. Both of them are so blind to just how much the other is giving up, and it is really frustrating and heartbreaking.

I love that there was a contrast between Siwon and Hyukkie, and you're right. Siwon is almost the perfect lover, so gentle and understanding, and of course he would be the rational choice, but the way he gallantly steps out of the picture when he understands that Min won't be able to love him the same way is also such a great contrast with Donghae and his whirlwind plans. And OMG I love just the thought of Siwon and Donghae dealing with the fallout of everything that's happened, they're such opposing forces here (obvious, really, as you've pointed out!).

So intrigued about what's going to happen next. I hope both Min and Hyuk stop playing silly buggers soon.

(I noticed the rope handle thing as well. EEEEEE Rope.)
glitterburn
Sep. 21st, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC)
Men. Why are they so dense? LOL

Siwon is almost the perfect lover, so gentle and understanding

And he bottoms XD

When I went to bed last night I actually 'saw' a whole SiHae scene that takes place after something that happens in the next fic, and I was lying there thinking 'oh, typical!' LMAO so I probably will write it just as counterpoint to the HyukMin. because Fishy wouldn't be nearly so backwards in coming forwards, would he??

LMAO diagon asked if I'd put the rope mention in for you and Yesung, too! She also said I'd missed out a couple of words here: Jongwoon. Ryeowook. Donghae. Hyukjae. They’re all staring. They know. They all know. Everyone knows.

Apparently it should read: Jongwoon. Ryeowook. Donghae. Hyukjae. They’re all staring. They know. They all know. Everyone good-looking in Super Junior knows.

*shakes head sadly*
diagon
Sep. 22nd, 2011 04:34 pm (UTC)
It's not my fault you edited out the less appealing members of 13... it's their fault for living on the next floor up (although I'm sure they heard the news and came down to find out the gos. Leetuek is such a slack leader if all this drama was going on under his feet and he didn't realise)
dislex1a
Sep. 22nd, 2011 04:50 pm (UTC)
Ooh! Really interested to see what you might do with a SiHae scene now! I find their whole RL dynamic quite intriguing (for lack of a better word than 'hot'!), so yeah. Would be really nice to see what would happen between them now.

because Fishy wouldn't be nearly so backwards in coming forwards, would he??

*sniggers* No one would ever accuse Donghae of being backwards with anything!

LOL at you and diagon! Apropos of nothing, Leeteuk's reaction to the news that almost half the members were screwing around with each other would probably be to collapse and have a nervous breakdown...
glitterburn
Sep. 22nd, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
LMAO Leeteuk would probably gather them all together for a Safe Sex talk and fumble with his demonstration of putting a condom on a banana XD
localised
Sep. 21st, 2011 07:38 am (UTC)
Wow, I didn't think that this series could become any more of an emotional rollercoaster, but I was wrong. I enjoyed this so much though!! The situation and the characters' relationships are so intricate and layered, and the way you write everyone makes me emotionally invested in and feel sympathetic for all of them (even though there were moments where I wanted to punch Hyukjae a little. What a turnaround from the previous installment, lol).

My heart seriously breaks for Sungmin here -- the way he heaps so much blame on himself, especially, and how much he sacrifices for what Hyukjae wants/seems to want of him. I don't really ship Siwon with anyone except Geng, but the Siwon/Sungmin was incredibly hot and made me almost ship them here? They seemed like they could be so good for each other in this story (or, well, Siwon would be really good for Sungmin). Too bad the heart is fickle, etc.

I can't decide how I feel about Donghae here, but he certainly keeps things interesting? At least he feels really honest, which is more than one can say about Hyukjae and Sungmin right now, lol. Also the story ends on such a dramatic note, I love it. I'm really excited to see how everything gets resolved in the final piece *____*
glitterburn
Sep. 21st, 2011 08:08 am (UTC)
Thank you ♥ Your comment came at just the right time as I am feeling remarkably depressed today.

Ha, I wanted to knock some sense into Hyukjae myself a few times. Fortunately Siwon did it for me XD

The apportioning of responsibility/blame is perhaps going to be the most interesting thing to come out of these stories. I just hope I can carry that balance through into the final part and resolve it satisfactorily.

Heh, I have problems shipping Siwon with anyone but Zhou Mi and Han Geng, though I know I could write Siwon/Sungmin in an AU situation without any problem at all. My brain = weird. In this context I think, yes, Siwon could be tremendously good for Sungmin, but alas and alack, 'tis not to be.

Donghae is - I was about to say 'harmless', but he's not LOL He means well, essentially. He's just not particularly subtle!

Thank you again :)
diagon
Sep. 22nd, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)
Prepare yourself for loooooong rambling reax.... it's as long as the sticky web-thread of a dangling love spider! (and it's just told me I need to post in two bits so read this first.

You should consider it a compliment that it takes my brain so long to form a written response after reading your fics. I keep replaying scenes in my brain and they tend to make me quite speechless (and you know it's rare when I can't find words!)

First of all - thank you for writing this. This is the most physically compelling read I've seen this year. This is pure tummy-clenching, sternum aching, brilliance. Even on re-reads I'm talking to the screen willing characters not to do what I damn well know they're about to do.

This is the fic that rocketed Hyuk to the top of my bias list - where he really has no business being because he's not Wook or Min - but you have created a character so easy to sympathise with despite, or perhaps because of his outward cluelessness. Hyuk could appear greedy for demanding Min only on his terms, except he's not because Min's the one who keeps offering the compromises and demanding so little of Hyuk in return. Can you blame a starving man for over-eating when someone keeps offering him the most delicious food?

Min's recounting of them getting together was so sad, but also so interesting to see how he couldn't let himself give up on Hyuk when he was offered a glimmer of hope. That he went to the trouble of creating and perfecting Jade makes me so sad, but also to beam at the size of his heart when he's got it set on someone.
But I'll say I also love Hyukie for not treating Min any different after the first I love you confession. It's like deep down the kernel of reciprocated love is there - it just needs a warm spring after a long winter to start to germinate.

You use a lot of symmetry with things like both Donghae and Siwon saying "Showtime" before Min's big entrances and Wookie checking if Min's okay after each big scare and that thread of comparing is so clever when Min's being constantly made to compare Hyuk and Siwon.

I had my heart in my mouth when Jade's phone rang because Hyuk must have been destroyed to break that rule. It's interesting that Hyuk trusts his girlfriend with Hae more than with Siwon.

He knows Hae, he can compete with Hae with dancing and humour, but Siwon is suave and too handsome and is in a whole other league to the rest of SJ - which makes Hae's introduction of Siwon being good looking and Hyuk being the ugly one even more painful because Hyuk doesn't need that reminder. He's already feeling undermined and on such shaky ground and he's got no idea how to stop the avalanche.

But I can't tell you how grateful I was that Min still picked little Hyuk. Despite Min being nominally the bigger victim here, the way you wove in the little mentions of how much Min loves his boyf despite the way their relationship has spiraled out of control is epic.
diagon
Sep. 22nd, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
*read this second - long comment is still long*


The scene with Min trying to find his keys is so heartbreaking because despite being offered Siwon as a lover and someone who would utterly cherish Min for Min, he's turned it down and I don't suppose many people ever do that.

There were some great Siwon moments too - the bit about the bad show on TV and the bad script and Siwon being worse in it that the actor was a nugget right out of Oh My Lady.
I loved that Siwon accepted Min's choice, but still played a last card by showing off his bruises to them all. The bit where Siwon fiddled with his collar in the car was so clever as he silently decided to show Hyuk that he couldn't just expect Min to come back begging forgiveness. Siwon couldn't completely give up his bid.

I also love how you made the rules work both for and against Min. Him limiting Hyuk to once a month was smart because it fuels the longing and yearning so much in Hyuk that the idea of Jade overtakes the reality of Min really being a boy - and yet the "no contacting her" rule is what starts this whole slippery slope because that gives Hyuk no out for warning in advance about Donghae.

Donghae is... such a curious character. I'm not sure how you portrayed him as both a chancer but still having a heart too as he obviously stayed up all night with Hyuk while Jade was with Siwon... and yet it's his fault they went off together in the first place. I'd love to know what they said while they waited. Poor Hyukie being so torn up and Hae being the only one who understands, but also being the catalyst for the whole episode. Did I mention you were clever yet?

The thing that keeps coming back to me as I re-read all three parts is that despite the whole unbalanced and unusual relationship between the two of them, they have an equal love and need for each other. In part one Hyuk sees Jade attack that guy and doesn't fell good enough for her and Min keeps going beyond reason to make himself good enough for Hyuk. So much love for this.

You've made them fall in love a the point when they both think their inadequacies are too strongly on show which is a truly beautiful thing to do. If only they could both realise that what they see as their failings and weakness are actually the things that make them most endearing to each other.

I'm glad I've got a little time to build up my angst capacity before part four because this is one cliffhanger I'm hanging onto tight.
glitterburn
Sep. 22nd, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
Considering I know how highly you rate The Hull Girl's fics then I do take this as a massive compliment!

I love the food analogy. It's exactly like that. The situation could have gone on feeding itself for a long time had not Donghae intervened. To get all Platonic, Jade is the shadow on the cave wall, except both jailer and prisoner had come to believe that the shadow was real, and it's Donghae who shoves them both blinking into the light (ugh, just realised I could read this whole series as a Socratic metaphor, OMG).

It's interesting that Hyuk trusts his girlfriend with Hae more than with Siwon.

In addition to the points you mentioned, it's also because he was present when Jade had sex with Donghae, and he can't see what Jade's doing with Siwon. He doesn't know what's happening and so he can leap to conclusions (just as Min does when he's in the shower when he imagines Hyukkie going off with a real girl); essentially I suppose this is just an extension of the need for control, and the irony is that both of them think the other has more power in the relationship.

You've made them fall in love a the point when they both think their inadequacies are too strongly on show which is a truly beautiful thing to do. If only they could both realise that what they see as their failings and weakness are actually the things that make them most endearing to each other.

Yes. This. Thank you for summarising far more succinctly than I ever could what this fic/series is, at its heart.

Angst capacity, LOL! I will attempt to deliver a finale worthy of the Dangling Love Spider. Thank you for the epic comment and thank you for pointing out the places that needed more polish ♥♥♥
catherine_leite
Sep. 28th, 2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
he didn't cheat on you hykjae! you didn't date him in the first place. you dated jade, not sungmin and you did not treat her well!
now fuck off and let min be with siwon!
*is furious*

and how could min still love him after all he's done? * i read the prequel to this just now*

hyukjae is just a coward. at least donghae is better...

asdfghhsjlkahli
i know that at the end you told us to conclude it ourselves. but...but...i'm curious!
make epilogue or something....
i wanna read hyukjae suffer.
lmao...

anyway. of course i LOVE this!!you're so good bb!

<3
p.s: i'm amazed a people who can write such loooong comments. So, please do excuse my lame/short one.
:\
glitterburn
Sep. 28th, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your comment ^^ (which is not lame at all, and the other people only wrote long ones because I know where they live HAHA :p)

Hyukjae is just very confused and Min is afraid D: Poor foolish boys.

Ah don't worry, there will be a fourth part, the 'to be concluded' bit means the series will end with the next fic ^^ sorry to be confusing!

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it! \o/
vainballerina
Sep. 28th, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)
I swear it is fucking illegal to be this butt hurt over a fanfiction. My otp, yes, but still, fucking illegal.

When I first the first installment, I said, okay, wow, this isn't that difficult then came Donghae and alongside it was Hyukjae's cowardliness and fucking hell, Sungmin is hurt, you dumb ass monkey! /pulls hair

And this! Heavens sake. This! Jesus Christ. I'm going to die. But of course not until this is concluded. And since I am a masochist, I will meme this and read it over and over and over again until I feel nothing anymore. But I doubt it. I'll be at rage. Forever.

Oh yeah, it's 4AM here already and jfc my throat is constricting with too much emotions and--- ugh.
glitterburn
Sep. 29th, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
Please don't die! But yes, feel free to rage at Hyukkie and Min, they're both as daft as each other and should just sort this out already rather than trying to save face and think they understand what the other one wants... Thank you for reading ^^
coin_0perated
Sep. 29th, 2011 03:28 am (UTC)
i went to bed right after reading and the first thought this morning was "fuck, i need to read this again."
i was literally screaming when it finally came to light that siwon had known all along.
and wtf is wrong with hyukjae.. he used to be so cute and now he seems kinda bi-polar(?) he really needs to get his act together :/
anyway, as you can see, i freaking love it!!
glitterburn
Sep. 29th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Hyukjae is just afraid now that his divisions between Sungmin and Jade are being broken apart, because now he has to face the fact that maybe he's actually--just might have been--in love with Min all along. Daft boys are daft. Thanks for your comment!
mylonelysmile
Sep. 29th, 2011 03:48 am (UTC)
oh this is ;~;
i cant give nice long comment
only can say that i love the stories
and how when i reading this
its like im in a rollercoaster of emotion
the beginning makes me so sad for Ming, and Hyukkie said nothing
T~T
and Siwon, didnt see that coming,
that he knew and he wanted Ming as a man its just ;A;

and Ming still love Hyukkie the best and everyone knew T~T
i really love this
glitterburn
Sep. 29th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your lovely comment, I'm happy you are enjoying this series :D
ipikou
Sep. 29th, 2011 07:53 am (UTC)
WOWOWOW.

I'm just awed at all the little details you wrote that I hadn't necessarily noticed before reading the long comments your friends left which for sure helped me to understand more what you wanted to express.
Subtle author is subtle *-*
It's like getting back to secondary school again when I had to analyse the texts I read and get the subtleties the author wanted the reader to grasp ^^ But this time, I do with a lot of pleasure :D

Can't wait for your next update! I guess you won't let them resolve their problems easily~
glitterburn
Sep. 29th, 2011 06:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading :) Haha these last two fics are probably the most technically structured of anything non-novel-length that I've written, especially this one! I'm glad the other comments brought the fic more to life. I firmly believe that whatever a reader gets out of a fic is valid because we all bring our own experiences to bear when we read, but it is nice to poke around at the author's themes and things!

Ha, no, definitely there's no easy way out. They have to deal with the situation now!

Thank you again! :D
skyelar18
Sep. 29th, 2011 03:09 pm (UTC)
ggfdkfdklfjfnmfdkfdk AWESOME!!!

omg,i was like holding my breath on the last part. this is really amazing and i congratulate you for doing great with every update. \00/

i hate hyuk for being such a coward. i think he's confused now if he also loves/likes min and not just jade. but he should have said something and did not allow for all these troubles min is going through to happen.

siwon, wow i thought i would scream "i love you siwon!" at the end because he was so nice and understanding. but in the end he likes min as sungmin. i didn't see that coming but still kudos to him for being honest and brave with his feelings. almost made me go minwon...

sungmin, noona is here to comfort you. who's ass do you want me to kick first? hae or hyuk? XDD

in the end, i'm still rooting for hyukmin. OTP ftw! anyway, i hope you'll update soon. cannot wait to find out what happens next.~~
glitterburn
Sep. 29th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC)
You're absolutely right - Hyukkie compartmentalised all his emotions and now he's realising that what he feels for Jade is actually what he feels for Sungmin. And he is a big dork for running away from his feelings, but really Min is also to blame. They're both in a terrible mess and really, Donghae did them a favour. Or at least he sees it that way!

I am such a HyukMin shipper that it was kind of painful for me to write Min with Siwon. Under other circumstances I think they could be really good for one another, but Min loves Hyukkie, so in the end there is no contest XD

Thank you for reading!
skyelar18
Sep. 30th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)
yeah, so true...

min, i love you but stop being such a whore and stick to the guy that you love. show hyukie that the real sungmin is as irrisistibly hot and lovable as jade.

i think in the end siwon would still be an angel and would also make hyuk realize his true feelings for sungmin. hyukmin!! :)))
the_calen
Sep. 30th, 2011 07:13 am (UTC)
This is just one big comedy of bad decisions. Ming, stop sleeping with guys who aren't your boyfriend. Hyuk, realize you feel for Ming the same thing you feel for Jade. Hae, stay out of the way. Siwon... well, I feel kind of bad for him actually, he's been a good guy and the only honest one.

Frustrations aside, Sungmin's story about how it all started was so pitiful. Realistically, most guys are not okay with their guy friends liking them and the "if you were a girl" comment is thrown around fairly easily so I really liked how you wrote that in as a springboard for Ming's cross-dressing. The strict rules and weird personality fluctuations make more sense now that we realize this isn't something he does for himself- he only does it for Hyukjae (well, because he wants Hyukjae to want him). Those paragraphs are heart-clenching and probably my favourites, though I cringed a little for the Hyukjae would couldn't say no to Hae but was too afraid to break Jade's rules. At least it looks like we may be getting somewhere in terms of Hyukjae's feelings though, finally.
glitterburn
Sep. 30th, 2011 09:10 am (UTC)
Thank you for your thoughtful comment :) Yeah, Min kind of only has himself to blame, since he manipulated Hyukjae into this position by inventing Jade. Be careful what you wish for and all that. They just need to be honest with themselves as well as with one another.

zeraparker
Sep. 30th, 2011 10:38 pm (UTC)
Why are you doing this to me, woman, why. Now I've been going crazy over the third part of the story all the time on Crete, come back to read it and see the dreaded TBC at the end... omg! Now this will take on a big part of my thinking in Spain, because this part was so painful and so beautiful, and please please make Siwon get together with Donghae because they're both awesome and deserve each other and lots of love, and I just want to kill Hyukkie right now for hurting Sungmin so much, poor baby. Like I can't even form a coherent reply (but that might also be the lack of sleep), so I'll come back tomorrow after rereading this whole series so far.
glitterburn
Oct. 1st, 2011 07:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! LOL the dreaded TBC. The fourth part will at least be shorter though I need to maintain the tension so I am flailing at it right now. And I do think I'll write a Donghae/Siwon fic to round it all off :D

Hope you've had enough sleep - you need to save your strength for Spain!
hongaerin
Oct. 2nd, 2011 09:42 pm (UTC)
OHMYSHISUS!
First of all, I have to say that I'm not into yaoi. At all. But a friend who knows it gave me a link to your story saying: "Even if you don't like yaoi, this plot is so good that you'll like it"... And she was right.
I found Sungmin's character really fascinating. Somehow, I pity him, who has to hide behind an illusion to be able to love, but I respect him as well for everthing he sacrified. I also love the fact that you didn't turn Donghae into a total jerk, but kept him as someone quite likeable.
So please, please, pleaase, update soon, because I'm really frustated right now and I want to read the next part ;)
Thank you so much for writing this amazing fanfic!
glitterburn
Oct. 3rd, 2011 06:43 am (UTC)
Thank you! Wow, I'm really happy that you read this when you don't really like slash/yaoi, that's such a compliment :D Glad you liked Donghae too! Next part will be soon :D Thank you again!



gayeeish
Oct. 9th, 2011 11:12 am (UTC)
delayed comment is delayed! i'm sorry I read this while travelling and it was so hard to comment on shitty internet but IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL I TEARED. ;____;

I think this hit all the right notes for me because I ship simin almost as hard as I do hyukmin although both couples do very different things for me. I'll be honest that I didn't really fancy the first part of this fic because so many people write Ming crossdressing for no reason other than that he looks girly and it drives me nuts. (I mean he IS girly, but also such a namja sometimes my mind can't wrap around the conundrum) But with part 2 and this one, it's all so clear now how this whole thing came about and my heart just breaks with how much he must love Hyuk for it to have come to this.

Your Siwon was perfect for me because this is how I see him IRL anyway. Always the perfect gentleman, always looking out for people especially Sungmin and this love that he's kept quiet about all along, and him just being too late! I mean, Siwon really would have been perfect with Ming either way, and Ming would have been so loved and cherished without having to go to any other extents, but I guess that just showed again how much he loved Hyuk. I have so many <3 feelings about this entire series in general I can't even articulate.

And GAH. Donghae is such an arse but I'm glad that he's there to shake things up and seriously, he sounds like the kind of arse girls will fall in love with anyway. =__= this boy. sorry I didn't comment on part 2 but wow, mmm it was so hot I flushed while reading it. xD The simin bits for this too were damn hot and well, to be honest, as much as I think of Siwon as a gentleman, I do think Ming would wear the pants on a simin relationship so I wasn't surprised he topped. :P

I always find it very amazing how people write such rated fic but still manage to get the emotion underlying it all to shine through. Like I said, I hadn't really liked the first part when I read it alone, but seeing both Hyuk's and Ming's (and for a small part, Siwon's) feelings/points of view in this really has completely changed my mind. Whenever you write about how Ming gets offended by Hae's remarks/wants to sooth Hyuk's hurt etc it really gets to me! Thank you for weaving the emotion in so well and making this whole series a thing of beauty to read. ;__;

Also, reading all your friends' comments made me realise how many little bits I failed to spot the first time I read it. Like how Siwon adjusts his collar (oh poor baby, i love that he isn't going down without an effort), or that Hyuk even broke the rule of contacting Jade. I didn't even notice it! As well as the thematic unity of your use of "showtime" and the whole idea of Jade as a performance in general. <3 just wanted to say you're awesome! n__n

I am really looking forward to the last part. I hope my heart can take the angst that will probably come before the <3. ^^
glitterburn
Oct. 9th, 2011 12:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your very thoughtful comment! Well, to be honest this wasn't intended as a series at all, it was just an off-the-cuff remark that sparked the first fic, and then a couple of people asked pertinent questions and it kind of snowballed...

Crossdressing is something I find very interesting in a cultural/sociological sense, and of all of Super Junior Sungmin is the one who fascinates me most because it seems he wears the most masks - you can literally see him switching his performance on and off, so here the crossdressing is an extension of that daily performance and pokes at creation/assumption of identity.

Siwon and Min would be a terrifically lovely (and loving) couple ^^ The more I think about them as a pairing, the more I like it LOL though just as a bit of light relief I do have a Donghae/Siwon fic that'll serve as a side-story to this series.

My partner likes to joke that even my PWPs have some Deep & Profound meaning to them. That's not strictly true XD but I always try to have much more going on in a fic than just porn, so I'm really glad you enjoyed the emotional aspects :D Thank you again!
garuneto
Oct. 10th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
This was too much for me... really I loved it, i've already read the 3 chapters and dying to read the 4th lol!
You know just yesterday I was thinking it would be too weird to read some Sungmin/Siwon smut but... it's actually kinda nice, for some reason now I think Min can top everyone haha.
This is a great fic! hope you can continue with this series, is too good lol.
Cheers~
glitterburn
Oct. 10th, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I've almost finished the fourth part, a couple of pages left to go, so it should be posted sometime this week ^^

Did you see Min's blog post complaining about why he's always second in pairings?! I laughed so much! Obviously he doesn't like being the bottom, hehehe XDDDD LOL
garuneto
Oct. 12th, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
oh yes! I read that entry lol!! He's male after all, of course he'd like to be on top! I was talking about that with one of my friends and I even wrote a MinKyu (uke Kyuhyun) fanfictio LOL xD~
jiroholic
Dec. 11th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
I CANNOT..... OMG..... I JUST CANT PROCESS IT IN MY MIND AND HEART! ITS SO AWESOME!!!

Siwon is just..... waaaah! And Donghae.... you male bitch! AHAHA! Poor Hyukjae. :( And Sungmin/Jade...... that was a big blast.

Speechless. This was just so awesome that I cant think of anything to say! Siwon/Sungmin scene was just..... so hot and emotional!

Yesung... knows now? Haha! Why do I find it amusing? :)))) Hyukjae in the end... <//3 I can feel his anger! I CANNOT WAIT FOR MORE INSTALLMENTS FOR THIS ONE! Especially when things got complicated when Siwon and Donghae is involve in it! <333 Love this! My first time reading a fic with Sungmin in it. :)
glitterburn
Dec. 15th, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you gave this fic a try even though Sungmin is not your bias HAHA :D
ailaling1017
Mar. 4th, 2012 03:09 pm (UTC)
OMG I AM A MAJOR KYUMIN SHIPPER BUT THIS HYUKMIN JUST HAD ME GOING GAGA #KTHNXBYE

SRSLY THOUGH. YOU'RE AWESOME!!!

SiMin is my forbidden OTP I CAN'T. There's just too much sexual tension between those two IDE.
glitterburn
Mar. 6th, 2012 06:53 pm (UTC)
Let's face it, Siwon/almost any other guy results in UST XD But him and Sungmin are just so damn pretty together...
( 40 comments — Leave a comment )

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