glitterburn: (TVXQ: Changmin fluffy hair)
[personal profile] glitterburn
Title: Perfect Fit
Fandom: TVXQ RPS
Pairing: Yunho/Changmin
Rating: NC17
Wordcount: 32,400 words
Summary: Changmin studied fashion at St Martin’s and interned at Chanel. Yunho is a Gwangju market trader who makes illegal knock-offs. They’re two of the contestants on top reality TV show Stitched Up. Tempers fray, things come apart at the seams, but somehow they Make It Work.
Notes: For [livejournal.com profile] haeym, who wanted a Project Runway-style AU. Hullun sanat.


Perfect Fit

Changmin steps out of the taxi and pauses for a moment on the pavement. He tosses back his hair and flicks at his scarf, then takes a firm grip on his suitcase and struts down the street. He hopes he looks sexy and confident. He hopes the cameraman tracking his every move has got his best side. He needs to look sure of himself without appearing arrogant. He needs to look like a winner.

The cameraman follows him for another few yards and then gives the thumbs up. “That’s great! Now get yourself inside. There’s a camera in the apartment for reaction shots when you meet your fellow contestants.”

“Thank you.” Changmin is glad the camera is turned off now, because he’s certain his smile is nervous rather than polite. He can’t show nervousness. Anxiety over whether or not he’ll be able to finish a design challenge in time for the runway show, yes; concern over the fate of other contestants who are having a meltdown, also permissible; but showing actual nervousness? No. Winners have nerves of steel and balls of iron, or maybe it’s the other way around.

Whatever, Changmin is not here to flap and flutter and bitch his way through the next ten weeks like the majority of contestants on Stitched Up. He’s here to win, and woe betide anyone who stands in his way. The prize money, the magazine spread, the endorsements, the new car—they’re all his for the taking.

But first he has to meet the other contestants.

Changmin has seen every episode of Stitched Up, watched every season of Project Runway, has even suffered through the really shit British version with Kelly Osbourne. He’s also made careful study of other, non-fashion reality TV shows, and reached the conclusion that, in order to succeed, he needs to:

(a) Look poised at all times, but not too poised, otherwise the viewers won’t feel a connection with him. Therefore, when he wears a suit, he’ll make sure his hair is a little windswept, or he’ll neglect to shave, or he’ll leave off his tie and unfasten the top few buttons on his shirt. The viewers will think he’s elegant but approachable;

(b) Only bitch about fellow contestants when they’ve bitched about him first;

(c) Appear helpful and friendly without actually being helpful or friendly, because the helpful and friendly contestants are always taken advantage of and then hurled aside and trampled upon;

(d) Have a catchphrase.

The latter point is the one that’s given him sleepless nights ever since he learned he’d been selected for the show eight weeks ago. Catchphrases need to sound natural. Changmin doesn’t think he sounds natural even when he places his morning coffee order, and he’s been doing that at the same outlet for sixteen months. Nevertheless, he’d finally picked a catchphrase and rehearsed it over and over, and now perhaps it sounds a little bit unforced.

“Ugly,” he mutters as he pushes into the revolving door of the trendy apartment block where he’ll be living for the next few months. “Ugly, ugly, ugly.”

To be fair, there is a really nasty flower arrangement on the concierge’s desk, and the walls are painted a hideous matt green colour, so Changmin feels justified in breaking out his catchphrase again: “Ugly, ugly, ugly!”

This time he feels almost confident. Even though there’s no camera here, he keeps his head high and his expression gracious as the concierge hands him a swipe card and a key and points towards the lifts. The female contestants are living on the fifth floor; the boys’ apartment is on the sixth floor.

The lift takes forever to make its way upwards. Changmin’s cheeks hurt from polite-smiling for so long. He lets his mouth relax into its usual serious line and studies his reflection in the brushed steel doors. He looks miserable, pale and tense. Almost three months of being forced into close proximity with five other men is not his idea of a fun time. He’d thought he’d left those days behind him when he’d graduated, but here he is, about to put himself through it all over again.

“Think of the best outcome,” he tells his reflection. “They might all be eliminated by week five.” This cheers him slightly, and he moves on to imagine himself at Paris Fashion Week surrounded by models and actresses and singers all dressed in his fabulous, elegant designs and clamouring to be put on the super-exclusive VIP waiting list for his autumn/winter collection.

It’s his favourite daydream, and Changmin likes to embellish it a little more on each occasion. He’s not one for fussy detailing and over-accessorising in his designs, so his imagination is the only place where he gives himself free rein to indulge his whimsies. Just as Kylie is introducing herself and gushing that she’s been a fan ever since he won Stitched Up, the lift comes to a juddering halt and reality intrudes.

The doors slide open. Changmin takes a deep breath. He hopes he’s not the first person to arrive. He doesn’t want to be the last, either. Second or third would do.

A short, solid guy with a buzz-cut looms out of the dimly-lit reception area. He looks like he drives trucks for a living. Changmin straightens up to his full height and steps out of the lift, offering a small smile for the sake of the lurking camera.

“I’m Kangin,” the buzz-cut says in a loud, hearty voice, holding out his hand. “I’m straight.”

“O-kay.” Changmin touches his fingertips to Kangin’s sweaty paw and resists the urge to wipe his hand on his jacket. “Shim Changmin. Pleased to meet you.”

Kangin’s fake smile isn’t fooling anyone. “So! Changmin! Are you straight, too?”

“Er.” Changmin moves to one side, swinging his suitcase around as a barrier. “The apartment is...?”

“This way.” Kangin indicates an open door. “I’m only asking because the producers have allocated two guys to a room, and though I don’t mind sharing a room with another guy—I’ve just come out of the army, I shared a room with fifteen other guys so I really don’t have a problem with it—I’d rather not share my room with someone who’s not straight. I don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night worrying about my ass, if you know what I mean.”

Changmin blinks. Wonders if this Neanderthal is for real. “Has anyone else arrived?”

Kangin nods. “Yeah. Some bloke from Gwangju. I think he’s gay. He’s your roommate, so let me know if you want to swap and share with me instead.”

“Very well.” Turning away, Changmin silently mouths Oh my God, then realises that the camera is pointed right at him. He brushes past the cameraman and wheels his suitcase into the apartment. It smells of air freshener, but beneath it Changmin can detect the odour of desperation. He hurries along the hallway, past the shared bathroom, and stops outside the bedroom at the very end. On the door there’s a small whiteboard with a black pen attached for messages. Changmin frowns at it. His roommate has written:

Yunho
&
Changmin


Flowers and hearts have been drawn around their names, as if they’re kindergarten BFFs or something. Changmin thinks he should be relieved by the childlike quality of the drawing, which is surely representative of Yunho’s design style, which means he’ll be eliminated in the first week, but Changmin can’t get past the fact that his name is on the bottom. This Yunho person is obviously trying to gain the psychological advantage.

Changmin wipes off their names with his fingers and writes:

Changmin

Yunho

Much better.

Pleased with this small victory, Changmin opens the door without knocking—it is his room, after all—and strides in as if he owns it. Which he does, sort of, for the next three months.

There’s a guy sitting on the floor between the two beds. Changmin skips his gaze over his roommate because he’s still annoyed about the whiteboard thing, and looks around the room instead.

It’s small, with barely space between the beds. A chest of drawers is crammed between the door and the foot of the bed closest to the wall. Changmin realises that the bed underneath the window is longer. There’s a built-in wardrobe and a tiny desk and a wooden stool on a lambskin rug. Apart from the beds, every available surface is cluttered with crap—clothes, shoes, an iPod, a couple of new paperback novels, toiletries, and bags of sugary pineapple lumps. The latter is a particular worry. Changmin imagines sticky fingers rootling through his immaculate tailored suits, and shudders.

“Hi!” his roommate chirps. “I’m Yunho! You must be Changmin!”

The southern accent is just about noticeable. Changmin wonders if a comedy dialect will win more audience approval than a catchphrase.

Yunho unfolds himself from the floor. He’s almost as tall as Changmin, but broader in the shoulder. He’s wearing two t-shirts, charcoal grey over yellow with the hem left hanging and the sleeves folded back for effect, and Changmin itches with the urge to tuck him in and straighten him out. Yunho’s hair is dark and soft, styled forward at the front and ruffly everywhere else. His lower lip is full and pouty and his jaw line is almost delicate, which is so at odds with the sheer masculinity of the rest of him that Changmin finds himself staring a moment too long.

Yunho’s blinding smile curls up a little at the edges. He tilts his head. “Um, hi? Changmin?”

“Yes. Hello. Sorry. I was just...” Changmin swallows. He hadn’t expected his roommate to be so tall. So smiley. So insanely hot.

“I know what you mean. It’s a bit crazy, isn’t it?” Yunho smiles again and bounces on his feet. “I’m really excited about this, are you? Where are you from? Do you have your own clothing line? Are you a model? ‘Cos you look like one, you’re so tall and you have those legs and those cheekbones and— Did you meet Kangin? He’s straight, apparently. I told him I was gay.”

“And are you? Gay, I mean.” Changmin has no idea why he’s asking.

Yunho laughs. “Why, Changminnie, are you interested?” and he winks.

What an arrogant twat. Changmin sniffs and lifts his suitcase onto the bed by the window. “Don’t flatter yourself.”

A small silence descends. It sounds wrong after the last few minutes of Yunho’s frenetic chatter, but Changmin refuses to feel bad about that.

“Sorry.” Yunho looks dismayed. “I was joking. Just trying to break the ice.”

“Don’t bother. We’re here as competitors.”

“That doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.” Yunho takes a step towards him, wide-eyed. “I’m sorry I offended you, Changmin. I can get over-enthusiastic sometimes.”

At least he can admit his faults. Changmin nods. “I think we should keep things respectful. We’re colleagues as well as competitors. We need to work together.” He clicks open the locks on his suitcase and then pauses. Looks up innocently. “You didn’t want this bed, did you?”

“Oh, no.” Still smiling, Yunho sits on the shorter bed shoved into the corner of the room. “I was waiting until you arrived to see which one you preferred.”

“Thanks. That’s really kind of you.” Changmin keeps the note of triumph from his voice. He gets the bigger bed and thus gains the psychological advantage. Plus he’s by the window, so he gets the inspiring cityscape view and he gets the light for when he needs to sketch. Yunho must be stupid to have given all that up. Or maybe he’s genuinely kind and thoughtful.

Surely not. No one is that nice.

Changmin takes off his redingote and scarf and hangs them in the wardrobe. He loosens his tie just a fraction, then returns to his suitcase, careful not to step on the jumble of clothes on the floor. Flicking his hair forward to veil his expression, Changmin watches his new roommate.

Yunho has picked up some of the stuff littering the room and is making his space look homely. There’s the world’s smallest nightstand between their beds, and Yunho piles his books and iPod and three different bottles of cologne onto his side of the table. Then he coos at something on the floor, picks it up and cuddles it, and Changmin wrinkles his nose at the sight of the soft toy held in Yunho’s arms.

Possibly it was once a deer. It’s hard to tell, the toy is so old and raggedy. It has one eye and a button where its nose used to be, plus it seems to have been eviscerated at one point and sewn back up with huge, awful stitches. Changmin hopes Yunho sewed that last week, because then he’s definitely going to be eliminated very soon.

Yunho pets the plushie and leans across the bed to settle it beside his pillow. Changmin is about to remark on the soft toy when he’s distracted by the delicious sight of Yunho’s thighs in those tight, tight jeans.

Changmin drops the carefully rolled selection of ties he was holding and imagines how Yunho would look minus those jeans. He imagines running his hands over naked flesh and feeling the muscled strength beneath his palms, his lips, and he imagines rubbing himself against those thighs, and then—

He realises he’s dropped his ties and bends to retrieve them. He does it too fast and the blood rushes to his face and he feels hot and flustered. Taking a deep breath, Changmin reminds himself he’s here to win, not to ogle strange men. With this in mind, when he straightens up, Changmin resumes his study of what Yunho is wearing rather than what the clothing conceals. His gaze skitters over the disappointingly tiny ass and instead he looks at the design on the pocket. Yunho is wearing Evisu jeans. No, he’s wearing knock-off Evisu jeans. Changmin can’t believe his eyes. “Are those...”

Yunho straightens and beams over his shoulder. “I made them myself.”

“They have an Evisu logo,” Changmin points out.

Yunho slaps a hand over the back pocket and goes slightly pink. “Uh, I forgot to, er, to... um.”

Changmin sighs. Wonderful. His roommate is an incoherent idiot. He reminds himself that this is a good thing. Yunho will soon be eliminated from the competition.

“That’s a lovely suit,” Yunho says after an awkward silence.

“It is, isn’t it.” Changmin swishes a little, then stands up straight to display the suit to best effect. “Gieves & Hawkes.”

“Oh.”

The tone in which it’s said suggests that Yunho has no idea what Gieves & Hawkes is. Changmin turns to him in polite disbelief. “Savile Row.”

Yunho smiles. He looks bewildered.

“The bespoke London tailors?” Changmin says, his voice getting louder. “Arguably the most famous gentleman’s outfitters in the world? Over two hundred years of tailoring?”

“I see,” Yunho says, still looking baffled. “Are all your suits from Savile Row?”

“No. Some are from Jermyn Street.” Changmin shoots him a glance, holds up a severely elegant three-piece. “And this is Armani.”

“Wow. You’re expensive.”

“Elegant,” Changmin corrects. “I like to look elegant and poised and sophisticated and in control.”

“Like a winner,” Yunho suggests, smile back up to full wattage.

“Yes.” That’s exactly the image Changmin wants to project. “Like a winner.”

Yunho’s laughter fills the room. “So what do I look like?”

A bit of rough that could make me dirty if I allowed it. “Uh,” Changmin says, sweeping Yunho with his gaze, “I think you look very...” Common. Cheap. Sexy. “Urban. Yes, you’re very street.” He hates himself for saying that. What kind of high-end designer appends the word ‘street’ to clothing? Ugh, wash his mouth out with soap.

But Yunho brightens, almost glowing at this appellation. “Thank you! I love urban clothing. It’s so comfortable and practical.”

Neither word seems to apply to Yunho himself. Changmin tries not to smirk. He hopes that every other contestant is as useless as his roommate.

From the hallway comes the shrilling sound of the telephone. For the first time, Changmin is aware of the chatter of voices outside and realises the other three contestants must have arrived. The voices get louder, and then there’s a knock on the door and Kangin peers in. “Guys, we have to head out now for our first challenge.”

“Great!” Yunho bounds across the floor. “I’m so excited.”

“Me, too,” Kangin says. “My roommate is even gayer than you. He likes pink. I hope he’s eliminated so I don’t have to share with him for long.”

“Pink is a nice colour,” Yunho says.

“It’s nice on girls.” Kangin frowns as if he’s thinking. “Mind you, my roommate kind of looks like a girl. Oh, ew, did that sound gay? Because I’m straight.”

Yunho skips out of the room. “Introduce me to your roomie.”

Changmin watches him leave and scowls. The sophisticate and the cheap trashy urban boy. This is going to be a disaster.

*

They gather in a car park at the back of a supermarket megastore. A cold wind blows, bringing with it the whiff of wet cardboard and rotting food. The contestants cluster together, ringed by the camera crew, and wait for their glamorous host Jaejoong and his acerbic fashionista sidekick, Zhou Mi.

Changmin glances at his competitors. He hasn’t had much chance to speak to everyone yet beyond a few basic introductions. Kangin’s roommate is Sungmin, who is indeed pretty and has a fascination for pink; then there’s Spoon, a large, slow-moving man in an anorak and cords, and a fey little Estonian who mumbles things no one can understand and is wearing an ill-fitting suit with unpolished shoes. Milhye is an angular beauty dressed in simple, classic pieces. She looks immaculate, and Changmin thinks she’s like the female version of him but twenty years older. Beside her is Seongyoon, who wears a batik smock and is barefoot. Kyunghee, her eyes red-rimmed, is showing them both a sheaf of photographs of her children. Myunghyun, looking bored, takes a surreptitious swig from a hip flask. The youngest contestant, Jiheun, is picking at her black nail polish and scowling.

And then there’s Sabine. The spoilt only child of a French-Algerian mother and Korean father, Changmin thought he’d seen the last of her three years ago. Sabine gives him a cool little wave, silver bracelets jangling, and he forces a smile, glad that he doesn’t have to talk to her just yet.

A smattering of applause breaks out as Jaejoong and Zhou Mi finally appear. They stand on a dais and smile down at the contestants. Changmin thinks how much smaller Jaejoong looks in real life. The repulsive beige jumpsuit he’s wearing doesn’t help, either, but Changmin supposes no one will care. Jaejoong is a seriously hot commodity right now.

Following a massive scandal a few years ago, Jaejoong had turned his career around. He’d been in a relationship with Fabio Benedetti, a sleazy Milanese millionaire who headed up a famous Italian clothing brand and was the managing director of a successful Formula One team. Jaejoong and Fabio had adopted a baby together, but then Fabio had ditched them both and gone off with a Brazilian underwear model. Turning disaster into triumph, Jaejoong reinvented himself as a doting single father and won major endorsements from manufacturers of prams, baby food, and nappies. Now the baby was a toddler, and not a particularly attractive one at that, Jaejoong had handed the kid over to a nanny and returned to work as the host of Stitched Up, the most-watched reality TV show on Korean television.

“Designers!” Jaejoong trills. “Welcome to season five of Stitched Up!”

The contestants show muted enthusiasm, except for Yunho, who jumps up and down and shouts “Yeah!”

Zhou Mi looks pained.

“As you know,” Jaejoong continues, “in fashion, as in life, one day you’re relaxing on a beach in the south of France and the next day you’re bundled on board an Air Korea flight in cattle class with a screaming baby on your lap. This week’s challenge is a test of your ingenuity as well as your eye for design. On the other side of the car park is a dumpster full of rubbish. It’s all been steam-cleaned so it’s perfectly safe to handle. You have two days to create a look out of rubbish that best represents your design aesthetic. On the count of three, you may begin. One, two—”

By the time Jaejoong counts three, Yunho is sprinting across the car park. Kangin is in hot pursuit, no doubt not wanting to call his army training into question. Jiheun laughs and runs after them, but the rest of the women seem less keen and talk amongst themselves as to how clean the rubbish really is.

Yunho reaches the dumpster and vaults inside. Changmin watches him vanish into the pile of crap and hopes to God that he picked the right dumpster, otherwise he is not sharing a room with this lunatic. A moment later, Yunho surfaces with his hands full of tinfoil and shredded paper and plastic cartons, and he shouts, “Spoon, shall I save something for you?”

Spoon is puffing and wheezing his way across the car park. He leans against a bollard to take a rest and calls out whenever Yunho holds up something he wants. Once Spoon is satisfied, Yunho helps Jiheun into the dumpster and they root through the rubbish together, tossing stuff out as if they’re kids playing on a bouncy castle.

Idiot, Changmin thinks as he searches through the crap that Yunho has hurled onto the ground. He helps himself to a clutch of torn bin bags and some black plastic ready meal trays. Sungmin shoves past him and collects up all the bright pink fabric softener containers plus some newspapers. The rest of the women, obviously satisfied that the rubbish doesn’t stink, are getting into the swing of it now, picking through the trash and giggling at how ridiculous it is. Only Sabine is holding back, occasionally snatching up the odd item and then discarding it with a look of disgust.

Yunho clambers out of the dumpster with two bin bags. He dumps one on the ground and carries the other over to Spoon, who’s effusive in his thanks. Changmin is busy sorting through bottle tops when he hears the rustle of a bin bag and glances through his fringe to see Sabine taking a couple of lengths of flexible piping from Yunho’s stash. She doesn’t see him looking, and she hurries away immediately afterwards to pick up a third piece of pipe that Jiheun flings from the dumpster.

Changmin doesn’t know whether he should say something or keep quiet. When Yunho comes back to collect his rubbish, he doesn’t appear to notice that anything’s missing. Indeed, he even opens his bin bag and offers to swap some of his trash for some of Myunghyun’s items.

Because of this apparent lack of attention, Changmin decides not to mention it. But still, it makes him feel like he’s party to a crime.

*

The designers carry their haul of rubbish to the workroom. It’s a light, airy space with long, wide benches. Adjacent is a smaller room with sewing machines, and they’ve each been allocated a machine and a chair, both labelled with their names. The benches in the main workroom are free for anyone to choose, and Changmin spreads out his collection of trash on a table halfway back.

Jiheun and the Estonian guy pick the tables furthest away, while Sabine takes the bench directly in front of the door. Kangin claims the table closest to the accessories wall, and then stares at the shoes and bags and jewellery as if he has no idea what they’re for.

Yunho selects a bench and sets a bag of pineapple lumps on it. “Everyone please help yourselves!” he says, gesturing to the sweets, and then he rolls out a large, wide mat on the floor as if he’s planning on going camping and sits on it cross-legged. Seongyoon looks approving and tells everyone that tables are bad for cutting out and they should all follow Yunho’s example by working on the floor.

Zhou Mi drifts in, welcomes everyone, and reminds them of the general rules of the show. He announces that they have until ten o’clock tonight to work on their designs and promises to come back a little later to see how they’re getting on.

Changmin studies the rubbish in front of him and starts sketching. His aesthetic is clean, simple, and elegant. He’s sure he can achieve this look even with steam-cleaned garbage. He visualises Anna Wintour rhapsodising over his finished garment and leans a little closer to his sketchpad, lines flying across the page.

He’s just finished, pleased with the look he’s developed, when Sabine sidles over. Changmin closes his sketchpad and stands up, forcing his mouth into a smile of greeting.

She has to tip back her head to look at him. “Changmin, darling!”

“Hello, Sabine.” They exchange air kisses. She’s still wearing Poison, that heavy, cloying fragrance that’s never suited her and yet seems all too appropriate. He moves away before any of the perfume rubs off on his jacket.

“Darling, how fabulous. Look at you.” Her laughter is crystalline as she eyes him up and down. “It must be three years! How time flies. What have you been doing?”

“I’ve—” Changmin starts, but she talks over him, playing to their captive audience.

“Changmin and I interned together at Chanel. Paris in summertime, what could be more perfect! Back then he was just the cute little student photocopying the daily itineraries and I... Well, Mama made sure that Karl gave me a proper job—”

“Fetching the coffee,” Changmin says, smiling sweetly. “And running out for the lunch orders. You excelled at that.”

Sabine gives him a stabbing look but giggles for the benefit of everyone else. “Darling, I can’t get over how edible you look now. And to think you were such a geeky little thing not so long ago. And your hair. There’s so much of it. But that was always a problem before, wasn’t it? Not on your head, though, darling.” She trills with laughter again, her gaze sly and measuring. “I must tell Mama that you’re my competition. What a riot, she’ll be so amused!”

Changmin’s rictus softens slightly. “My regards to your beautiful mother when you speak to her.”

“Mama always thought you were such a doll.” Sabine addresses the room at large again. “Mama is Isabelle de la Tour.”

Everyone looks impressed, except for Yunho, who says, “Who?”

“Isabelle de la Tour!” Kangin says, his expression awestruck. He clasps his hands together and looks heavenwards. “The famous French supermodel! Sixty-three covers of Vogue! Consistently in the top ten of FHM’s Sexiest Women Alive! I had a poster of her taped to my bunk when I was in the army. She helped me through the lonely nights.”

Sungmin shudders. “Too much information.”

“So,” Milhye says, “your mother is Isabelle de la Tour.”

“I prefer to use my father’s surname,” Sabine says airily. “I don’t like trading on Mama’s reputation.”

Yunho looks genuinely confused. “But you just did.”

Sabine gives him a dirty look. “No, I...”

“You did,” Yunho says. “You were showing off. That’s just silly.”

Changmin bites the inside of his cheek to stop from laughing, but it won’t be suppressed. Sabine’s expression is priceless, and he hopes this makes the final edit of the show because he wants a screenshot of this moment so he can hang it over his fireplace. His giggles force their way upwards and emerge as a snort. He ducks his head, covers his mouth with his hand and bites his thumb hard.

Jiheun is less restrained. She laughs out loud and then pretends it wasn’t her.

“Let’s just get on with our work,” Kyunghee suggests.

“Yes,” Sabine agrees, still shooting daggers at Yunho, “let’s create our garments. They’ll speak for us, and then we’ll see if a sense of style bred in the bone and coupled with experience at one of the world’s top fashion houses can outshine an outfit made by someone who studied at... Where did you study, Designer Jung?”

Yunho smiles, utterly unconcerned. “I didn’t.”

Milhye raises her eyebrows. “You’re self-taught?”

“I guess you could call it that.” Yunho starts gluing shredded paper and strips of tinfoil onto a construction of bent coat hangers. “I’m a market trader. Me and my mate run a stall in Gwangju, and one time Donghae got this gear that had fallen off the back of a lorry and we had to get shot of it really fast, so we priced it nice and cheap and it sold out, and people came back wanting more, so I thought I could probably run up something that looked similar, so I took the pieces I’d kept for myself and I unpicked them and copied them and...”

“This will be edited out, right?” Changmin says loudly, looking at the cameras.

Yunho glances up, an expression of dawning horror on his face. “Shit.”

Kangin shakes his head. “Illegal copying of branded items is a widespread problem. If only you’d been in the army, like me, you wouldn’t have felt the need to break the law.”

“I did my military service ages ago,” Yunho says.

“Obviously your CO was too lenient with you.”

Yunho looks at Kangin, absolutely straight-faced. “As long as I sucked his dick a few times, he let me do whatever I wanted.”

Changmin sniggers.

“There are no gay men in the army!” Kangin blusters, apparently oblivious to the muffled laughter all around him. “The army turns out manly men! Manly men like me! I’m straight! And I can sew a straight seam, too, because the army is progressive and sewing is a manly activity!”

“If you say so, girlfriend,” Spoon drawls, and everyone cracks up.

For the next few hours, Changmin focuses on shaping his garment to the form. He flattens the plastic ready meal trays, cuts out ovals, and stitches them together to create a fish-scale bodice. He finds the work absorbing, and glances up only occasionally to see what everyone else is doing.

Yunho has moved off the floor and is fastening a cape made of the shredded paper and tinfoil around his form. In between alterations, he dips his fingers into the bag of pineapple lumps. He doesn’t suck on the sweets like a normal person; instead he crunches them. Changmin frowns in disapproval.

The workroom door swings open and Zhou Mi sweeps in. “Good afternoon, designers. How are you getting along?”

No one’s about to admit that they’re not doing brilliantly. Sabine’s eager expression dulls when Zhou Mi and the cameraman meander past her to talk to the Estonian guy. As he goes past Yunho’s table, Zhou Mi helps himself to some of the pineapple lumps.

Changmin tries not to listen in on the critiques as Zhou Mi goes around dispensing his wisdom. He’s not concerned with anyone else’s looks. His outfit is the only thing that matters, and although he’s happy with it, he still feels a flutter of anxiety as Zhou Mi heads his way.

“Designer Shim.” Zhou Mi waves his hands in the air. “May I say, your personal style is impeccable. Gieves & Hawkes, surely? And your cufflinks—just divine.”

“Asprey’s,” Changmin says casually, all oh, this old thing.

“British fashion is so on trend. Richard Nicoll, Hussein Chalayan, Sarah Burton—I can see them reflected in this piece. It’s delicious, really.” Zhou Mi stands back and studies Changmin’s garment. “Oh, it’s fabulous. So sophisticated even though it’s made out of rubbish. Just a suggestion: the skirt. Make it asymmetrical.”

Changmin nods and smiles politely. “Thank you.”

“Just a suggestion! Take it or leave it!” Zhou Mi utters his famous catchphrase and wanders off to the next contestant.

Aware that the camera is still on him, Changmin surveys the skirt on his outfit, tilts a hand as if imagining a fresh line, and says, “Asymmetrical? I think not. Ugly, ugly, ugly.”

* * *

Changmin is awake all night because of a draught from the window. When he finally falls asleep, he dreams of needles stabbing through cloth, which gives him a brief, satisfying rush, only for the pleasure to fade when he looks back and sees that the thread is unravelling faster than he can sew.

He wakes exhausted and gritty-eyed to find Yunho dressed in very brief underwear performing some kind of weird yoga moves on the floor.

It looks borderline pornographic. Changmin can’t tear his gaze away. His morning erection gives an enthusiastic leap, and he gluts himself on the sight of all that sexy, muscled flesh on display just for him. Yunho might not be cut like a male model but he has fantastically defined biceps and triceps and his chest is sort of deep and pillowy, and he has nice abs and a flat stomach and he’s all lean and lithe, and he has those thighs, oh those thighs, and—

“Morning!” Yunho looks at him upside down and beams. “You made a noise, so I knew you were awake. Hope I didn’t disturb you.”

“Not at all,” Changmin lies, because Yunho is so disturbing it’s not even funny.

Yunho flows out of a painful-looking pose and straightens up, smiling down at Changmin. “Did you sleep well?”

“No,” Changmin says before he can think better of it. “There’s a draught.”

“Oh dear.” Yunho looks sad on Changmin’s behalf.

Changmin wonders if Yunho knew about the draught all along and had manipulated him into taking the bigger bed. Bastard! Changmin hates him. Every mostly naked, insanely sexy inch of him. Including all those inches stuffed into his underwear. Not that Changmin is looking at Yunho’s crotch or wondering what that monster would look like fully erect or anything, because that would be pathetic.

Sitting up, Changmin pulls his dressing gown towards him. He unravels himself from the duvet and gets into his robe, shielding his hard-on the whole time, then struts out to the bathroom with his head held high.

The bathroom is occupied. Changmin loiters in the hallway until Sungmin emerges in a cloud of strawberry-scented steam, and then he performs his morning ablutions and successfully manages not to think of Yunho and his distracting barely-there underwear for at least forty seconds.

Shaved, styled, wearing a royal blue suit with an orange satin shirt and a dark blue tie and a discreet amount of the indiscreet L’Égoïste, Changmin strolls into the kitchen to find Yunho holding court with the rest of the male contestants. He’s in the middle of a story, his eyes shining and his hair all sticking up, and he’s spilled ketchup down his t-shirt and slopped coffee onto the counter.

“And then the cop said, ‘I’ll see you boys next Tuesday’,” Yunho says, his voice trembling with repressed humour, “and we were all ‘Yes, officer, of course, sir’, and off he went, and then me and Donghae were pissing ourselves because the market is once a month on Wednesdays.”

Everyone roars with laughter. Feeling left out, Changmin laughs, too.

Yunho turns to him and beams. “Oh, Changminnie, there’s fresh coffee in the jug if you want it.”

“It’s really good,” Spoon says, holding up a mug and taking an appreciative sip. “Yunho brought this fantastic Guatemalan slow roast to share with us.”

“Did that fall off the back of a lorry in Gwangju, too?”

Silence. Everyone looks embarrassed.

Yunho’s smile fades. “Don’t feel obliged to drink it.”

“I won’t.” Changmin takes down a glass. “I prefer water, anyway.”

Conversation is awkward after that. Kangin and Spoon talk about the army. The Estonian guy stares out of the window. Sungmin announces that he’s going to head off to the workroom. Yunho says he’ll go with him, and then Spoon says he’ll come, too, and Kangin agrees, and the Estonian guy follows them, and Changmin is left alone with his breakfast.

He makes sure everyone has left the apartment before he helps himself to a cup of Yunho’s Guatemalan slow roast coffee. It’s exquisite.

*

Yunho finishes his outfit forty-three minutes before the models are due to arrive for the final dressing. He fluffs at his hair and dances around the form, admiring the garment from all sides, then starts singing to it, “Gonna dress you up in my love! All over your body!”

Milhye laughs. Yunho bounces over to her and sings the lines again—obviously the only part of the song he can remember—and she lets him spin her around and they dance across the floor, part waltz, part samba, until Milhye can barely stand up from laughing. At that point, Yunho dips her back into an exaggerated pose, and then they unbalance and fall down and roll about, giggling hysterically.

Changmin gets a tight, angry feeling in his chest. He turns away, mutters, “Ugly, ugly, ugly,” under his breath at a belt of black bottle tops he’s just finished making, and yanks it off the form even though there’s nothing wrong with it. He looks up to find Jiheun munching on some pineapple lumps and watching him. “What?” he snaps.

She stares at him. “Nothing.”

Zhou Mi wafts in with the models, and everyone flies into a state of chaos as they choose accessories and direct the hairdressers and makeup artists and finally dress the girls in their looks ready for the catwalk.

The designers sit on one side of the runway. Jaejoong sashays out from behind the illuminated screen with the show’s name printed on it. He’s wearing tartan. Changmin can’t decide if this is an improvement on yesterday’s beige jumpsuit. He’s so busy wondering if tartan is a good look on anyone who isn’t Scottish or a Harakuja Lolita that he almost misses the introductions to the other judges. Not that it matters, because Changmin has watched Stitched Up so many times he could recite Jaejoong’s spiel word for word.

The first judge is Cho Kyuhyun. Jaejoong introduces him as a ‘top Korean designer’, which in Changmin’s opinion is a grossly inaccurate description. Kyuhyun inherited a fashion house that churns out t-shirts printed with misspelled English words, which nevertheless sell in the hundreds of thousands for exorbitant prices. The ability to choose words out of a dictionary and then spell them phonetically has nothing to do with real, actual high-end design work, but Changmin grits his teeth and smiles when Kyuhyun greets the contestants.

Next is Madame Oh, the fashion director for ClothesLine magazine. She’s dressed head to toe in Vivienne Westwood and is overloaded with jewellery. The fruity scent of Oscar de la Renta curdles across the runway. Madame Oh has orange streaks in her hair and, according to gossip sites, is unable to smile due to an infection after she tried one of those DIY botox treatments.

The guest judge is the head of the municipal waste disposal services, here to give his expert opinion on the use of the recycled materials, but no one cares about him.

“Ready?” Jaejoong chirps. “Let’s start the show!”

Changmin is sitting on the back row. He can see how nervous Yunho is as music pounds out and the models start emerging. Everyone’s nervous, of course, but Yunho is really obvious about it, squirming in his seat and grabbing at Milhye and Spoon as their models strut down the runway. He makes excited noises and applauds everyone’s outfits, even the really shit ones. He must be stupid to show that much emotion for the camera.

By contrast, Changmin keeps calm, controlling the panic swirling inside him. He focuses on the garments as they come down the catwalk, pretending that he’s a judge and looking at each piece with a critical eye.

He has to admit, Yunho’s outfit is inspired. The model struts down the runway, slinging off her rustling shredded paper cape to reveal a short, tight dress made of woven strips of plastic trays—black across the bust and for the skirt, transparent over the shoulders and around the midriff—and embellished with tinfoil. It’s very Baroque, very Dolce & Gabbana, and despite himself, Changmin is impressed.

When his own model strides along the catwalk, Changmin sighs in satisfaction. The strapless black bodice gleams under the lights, the fish-scale effect emphasising the movement of the body, and the crumpled bin bag skirt is the perfect length. If he tilts his head and squints a bit, the whole ensemble looks a little like wet-look leather, which is distinctly on-trend.

Then comes the boring part where the judges tally up their scores and confer and where the contestants wait to hear their fate. The filming of this takes up the better part of an hour, and the atmosphere backstage becomes fraught. No one wants to be the first to go home. Yunho passes around a bag of pineapple lumps. Changmin takes one, then catches himself crunching the sweet and remembers to suck on it instead.

Finally the designers are called back to the runway. The taste of the pineapple lump lingering on his tongue, Changmin breathes deeply and rehearses what he’ll say to the judges when they ask about his aesthetic. He almost misses his name when Jaejoong calls it out, and he hurries to step forward to join Yunho, Milhye, Kangin, Myunghyun, and Kyunghee.

He’s in the top three. Or the bottom three. Oh God. He starts to sweat, barely able to concentrate as Kangin describes his design aesthetic as ‘military, with a twist’. Then Jaejoong is inviting him to describe his look to the judges, and Changmin babbles on about elegant symmetry and timeless sophistication. The judges nod as if what he’s saying makes perfect sense, and Changmin knows he can do this. He’s a designer.

After another brief conference, Jaejoong delivers the verdict. Milhye wins the challenge, with Yunho and Changmin making up the top three. Kangin and Myunghyun just scrape through, but it’s Kyunghee who’s going home. She seems relieved and kisses Jaejoong back when he brushes her cheek and says ‘Auf wiedersehen’ in a bad German accent.

* * *

The weeks pass in a frenzy of activity. Jaejoong bids ‘Sayonara’ to Myunghyun, ‘Adios’ to Kangin, who was revealed to have been planted by the Ministry of Defence in an attempt to promote a softer, gentler side of the Army, and ‘Yeia sou’ to Seongyoon. Sabine wins week two. Changmin wins week three. Yunho wins week four.

The contestants settle into a routine. As their numbers shrink, the men and women start breakfasting in each other’s apartments and hanging out together on their days off.

Changmin gets to enjoy a moment of almost universal acclamation when Milhye comes in one day wearing a Chanel scarf.

“Is that a 2009 print?” Changmin asks. His question coincides with a lull in the general conversation, so not only is his voice incredibly loud, it also sounds accusatory as well as interrogative.

Milhye looks startled. “Yes.”

“It’s just...” Changmin puts down the tea towel—he’s trying to use psychology to trick the others into washing up by doing the dishes when they don’t actually need to be done, in the hope that when they do need to be done, the other guys will step up without him having to remind them—and hurries around the kitchen counter.

“2009 is so three years ago,” Sabine says with a sniff. “Mama sent me the very latest Chanel scarf. There’s a waiting list and it’s not even been released to valued customers yet, but Karl loves Mama, she’s his Muse, and...”

“No one cares,” Yunho tells her, budging up on the sofa so Milhye can sit next to him and Spoon. He smiles at Changmin. “What were you saying?”

“Oh.” Changmin blushes and waves his hands awkwardly. “It’s nothing. Just... when I interned at Chanel—”

“When we interned,” Sabine says, her voice loud.

“Anyway,” Changmin continues, “I got talking to the designer of this scarf and you see here...” he reaches across, glances at Milhye for permission, then fans out the ends of the silk to show the print, “the horses prancing? I thought they looked rather flat, so I said, why don’t you put a bit of shadow underneath the hooves, just to emphasise the movement, and the designer let me draw the shadow, and, well... That’s my contribution to that scarf.”

Sabine snorts. “The cheapest scarf in the whole autumn collection.”

Milhye peers at the horses. “I’m trying to imagine them without the shadow, and you’re right, it would have looked lifeless. I wouldn’t have bought the scarf if the horses looked flat.”

Changmin dips his head, feeling shy and pleased as everyone except Sabine oohs and ahhs over the scarf.

“That’s so awesome!” Yunho enthuses, leaning all over Milhye to study the print. “Changminnie, you’re so clever! Please let me learn from you!”

“It’s just a bit of shadow.” Changmin sits down on the arm of the sofa then stands up again, flustered. He doesn’t quite know what to do with himself. “I’ll, er, I’ll...”

“Finish the dishes that didn’t need doing?” Sungmin suggests with a smirk.

“Me and Jiheun can do that,” Yunho says, jumping up. “You sit here.”

Changmin finds himself seated next to Milhye, who asks him about his internship at Chanel. Sabine tries to gatecrash the conversation, but Milhye is unfailingly polite and keeps the attention firmly on Changmin, and Sabine soon gets bored. Jiheun, Yunho, the Estonian guy and Spoon congregate in the kitchen area and wash and dry and stack the dishes, chatting and laughing the whole time.

Although he’s interested in what Milhye is saying, Changmin’s attention keeps wandering. He doesn’t even realise he’s doing it until Milhye waves a hand in front of his face, and then he’s embarrassed and hunches his shoulders and says, “I’m sorry, I’m... tired. Yes. Because there’s a draught from the bedroom window and it keeps me awake.”

Milhye gives him a knowing smile. “Of course,” she says, then slides her glance sideways to look at Yunho. “Fresh air can do that.”

Changmin pretends he has no idea what she means and steers their conversation around to a discussion of Stella McCartney.

Almost everyone loves Yunho. He’s genuinely nice and he goes out of his way to help the other contestants when they have a problem. He meanders around the workroom waving a bag of pineapple lumps and offering honest criticism in a voice that’s clearly made for shouting things like Awright darlin’ git yerself some nice togs orl arf price t’day or however Gwangju market traders communicate.

Other than the accent, which isn’t all that noticeable now Changmin comes to think about it, Yunho has this laugh. At first it’s really irritating, mainly because when Changmin hears Yunho laughing, his mouth twitches into an answering smile. High-end fashion designers simply do not go around smiling like idiots for no good reason—look at Jeremy Scott—so he tries to ignore the joyous noise. In order to prepare himself mentally, Changmin starts listening out for Yunho’s laughter at all times, and somewhere along the way he finds himself kind of... addicted to the sound.

The other contestants adore him, although no one ever accepts his help for hand-sewing because he can barely stitch a straight line. Despite this shortcoming, Jiheun and Milhye have a crush on him, as does Spoon. Fluffy pink outfits aside, Sungmin turns out to be a fairly hardcore martial artist, and he and Yunho stage impromptu fights on the sofa, at the kitchen table, in the hallway, and once, to Changmin’s embarrassment, on the pavement outside the apartment block when they all went out to buy groceries.

The Estonian guy, who doesn’t talk to anyone else mainly because no one can understand him, quite happily talks to Yunho for hours at a time.

“You speak Estonian?” Changmin asks, impressed.

“No.” Yunho beams. “But it kind of sounds a bit like the Gwangju dialect so I think I know what he’s saying.”

Sabine doesn’t love Yunho. She’s not forgiven him for saying that she was a silly show-off. She smiles and accepts his help in the workroom, but every word she says to him is acid coated in sugar, and Changmin knows she’s just biding her time.

Changmin thinks he likes Yunho. Sort of. It’s hard to dislike someone who’s so relentlessly upbeat and enthusiastic about even the crappiest design challenge, but it’s also hard for Changmin to believe that anyone can be so happy and excitable all the time. He keeps hoping that one day he’ll find Yunho crying into his plushie or beating up a pillow or something, anything, to prove that he’s just a little bit human.

The mess Yunho leaves behind doesn’t count, because Spoon, Sungmin, and the Estonian guy are just as untidy. Changmin gets sick of clearing away after them and starts pinning up notices reminding them to take out the rubbish, wipe down the counter, and to always store foodstuffs in the appropriate places. He draws up a rota for doing the dishes and cleaning the bathroom and sticks it on the front of the fridge so everyone can see it. Next day he finds it crumpled up in the bin.

Undeterred, Changmin smoothes it out, makes several copies, and sticks them on every door in the apartment. He follows this up with a long monologue on the importance of hygiene in the home, standing in front of the TV while the others are trying to watch a football match.

“Bitchy boy, please shut up and get out of the way,” Spoon says, leaning to one side in an attempt to see past Changmin.

“No.” Changmin makes himself as wide as possible, planting his feet further apart and stretching out his arms like an incredibly stubborn and misguided goalkeeper. “You will listen to me, and you will follow the rota.”

The Estonian guy says something that sounds rude.

“There’s no need to be like that,” Changmin huffs. “This place isn’t fit for human habitation. It’s not even fit for animal habitation. The bathroom is simply squalid. No one clears their hair out of the plughole in the shower. It’s disgusting. Whoever used the shower last this morning let it overflow because there was so much build-up of hair and soap and—and...”

“Probably wasn’t soap,” Sungmin says, and he and Spoon laugh.

“Oh my God.” Changmin’s skin crawls as he realises that amongst that repulsive, soggy clump of hair all matted together with soap scum, there was probably a good amount of jizz, too. He wants to cry. He wants to put his hands in disinfectant for a week. “You’re all pigs. You’re depraved and filthy and—”

“Girlfriend, we just missed a goal because of your lecture,” Spoon says with a sigh. “Will you at least move so we can see the replay?”

“Promise that you’ll do the dishes.”

Yunho gets up from the sofa and comes towards him, smiling.

Changmin grounds himself. “Promise me that you’ll at least look at the rota.”

“We promise,” Yunho says, and tackles him.

Changmin squirms. “Get off. Don’t do that. You’re undermining my authority.”

“No, I’m not.” Yunho grabs him around the waist and hoists Changmin up as if he weighs almost nothing at all. He folds Changmin over his shoulder and carries him out of the room. Their exit is accompanied by catcalls and laughter.

Shrilling in mingled terror and excitement, Changmin claws at Yunho’s t-shirt. “Put me down. Put me down, you stupid bastard.” He doesn’t dare kick in case Yunho drops him. Each step jolts through him, and his position is making him breathless. All Changmin can do is bunch his hands and thump ineffectually at Yunho’s back.

“Put me down right now,” Changmin shouts. “The blood’s rushing to my head. It’s giving me a migraine. I can’t breathe. Jung Yunho! Put me down, I’m going to faint!”

“No, you’re not.” Yunho opens the door to their bedroom, carries him inside and gently unrolls Changmin onto the bed by the window.

Changmin flops onto the duvet, lust beating a wanton tattoo inside him. He curls up to hide his hard-on and hopes to God that Yunho didn’t notice. “Fuck off, you—you Gwangju skank.”

Yunho smiles at him, not at all bothered by the lame insult. “Don’t be so grumpy, Changminnie. We’ll follow the rota,” he says, and leaves the room.

Struggling up into a sitting position, conscious of the ache of desire and the proud thrust of his entirely inappropriate erection, Changmin yells after him, “Not grumpy! I’m not—”

The door shuts at the far end of the hall, muting the sound of the television. Changmin moans and lies back, rolling onto his side. Closing his eyes, he summons a fantasy of what he’d wanted—Yunho throwing him across the bed and then climbing on top, holding him down and fucking into him, fast and strong and demanding.

A helpless groan tumbles from his lips. Changmin unbuttons his trousers, shoves a hand inside his underwear, and jerks off. His climax is swift and unsatisfactory, like every other orgasm he’s given himself in the last four weeks and six days.

Racked with humiliation and desire, his pride dented and confusion reigning supreme, Changmin cleans himself up and fastens his clothes back into place. He stays in the bedroom for a while longer, then shuffles down the hall and stands outside the kitchen/living room. The football is still on. He opens the door a little, trying to rouse his confidence so he can go in there as if nothing untoward just happened.

“Wonder if Changmin’s still sulking,” he overhears Spoon say, and Changmin freezes, hand on the doorknob.

“Don’t be mean,” Yunho says, his tone mild.

Sungmin laughs. “Bro, you might think he’s hot, but he is so uptight.”

“Yeah,” Spoon adds, giggling, “just think, darlin’—if you ever got your dick inside him it’d turn into a diamond.”

The Estonian guy laughs.

Changmin is horrified, but also weirdly pleased that Yunho thinks he’s hot.

“Aw no, stop it.” Now Yunho sounds embarrassed and sort of... protective. “He’s really nice. You just don’t know him.”

“He’s a nag,” Spoon says. “And when he’s not going on about cleaning shit up, he’s being pretentious and wafting around all condescending and muttering his stupid catchphrase as if that’s going to win him any votes.”

“Don’t,” Yunho says again, and this time he sounds annoyed. “Changmin is a sweet guy, okay? He’s just shy and uncertain, and that can look like arrogance at times. Give him a break, yeah? He’s had a rough time of it.”

Silence, then the Estonian guy says something indistinct; a question, obviously, because Yunho replies, “Actually, his father is a real tool.”

Changmin backs away, his heart pounding. He’s sure they’ll be able to hear it, thudding against his ribs so hard it hurts. On tiptoe, he creeps back to his room and presses the door closed, then lies down on his bed again and stares at the wall until Sungmin comes knocking a couple of hours later and tells him that dinner’s ready.

He follows Sungmin into the kitchen. The dishes have been done, the surfaces have been wiped down, and the food is served at the table for once. It smells good, chilli and garlic scenting the air, and Changmin sits between the Estonian guy and Yunho, who smiles at him and says, “Changminnie, did you take a nap?”

“Yeah.” Changmin drops his gaze. “Thanks for washing up, guys.”

“Sungmin cleaned the bathroom, too,” Yunho says. “And we tidied everything away after we’d washed up. We’ll keep the place shipshape from now on.”

“Thank you.” He shouldn’t feel so overwhelmed just because these idiots have finally done the tasks that should have been done days ago, but all the same, emotion squeezes at Changmin and he darts a glance up at Yunho. “You must think I’m fussy.”

Yunho just gazes at him, a half smile curving his mouth. “No, Changminnie. I think you’re particular.”

Changmin doesn’t know if that’s better or worse.

*

That night, after Yunho has finished reading a chapter of his book and turned out the bedside light, Changmin asks into the dark, “How did you know about my father?”

Yunho is quiet for a long time. “You talk in your sleep.”

Oh fuck, no. Changmin cringes. Embarrassment floods through him, hot and burning. “I... talk?”

“Sometimes you won’t shut up.” The duvet shirrs as Yunho turns onto his side. When he next speaks there’s a jocular note to his voice, as if he’s trying to make light of the subject. “You move around a lot, too. At first I thought it was because of the draught, but I guess you’re just a restless sleeper. In fact, you punched me the other night.”

Changmin is aghast. He never knew he was capable of somnolent violence. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t realise.”

“Well, no, you were asleep.” Now Yunho sounds awkward. “I woke up because you were making these noises, and—and I thought you were having a bad dream, so I came over because I wanted to help, but, uh, but... um, you weren’t having a bad dream and you punched me instead.”

“What night was this?” Changmin has the awful suspicion that he knows.

“Thursday.”

Changmin wants to die of shame. He’d woken up on Friday morning with his shorts damp and clinging and semen still slimy against his belly. The idea that Yunho had not just overheard him having a wet dream but had touched him, even innocently, makes Changmin want to crawl away and hibernate for the next ten years.

Trying to keep his voice level, he says, “So I talk about my father and I punch you. What else do I say when I’m asleep?”

Yunho is silent for much longer this time. “You say a lot,” he says, very softly.

“Such as?” Changmin grits his teeth, not wanting to hear the answer but desperate for it all the same. His stupid dreaming mind, babbling crap in the middle of the night, how dare it! Oh shit, what if he’d said something really embarrassing, like Yunho, Yunho, split me on your massive cock and make me ride you until I scream. God, he’ll never sleep again.

He waits in an agony of anticipation, but the silence gets longer and longer.

“Yunho?” Changmin says in a whisper. “Yunho!”

A tiny snuffling sound answers him. Yunho is asleep.

* * *


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