glitterburn: (TVXQ: HoMin bikers)
[personal profile] glitterburn
Title: Headlong
Fandom: TVXQ
Pairing: Yunho/Changmin
Rating: R
Summary: Fast bikes. Fast boys. Someone’s going to get his heart broken.
Notes: AU. For [livejournal.com profile] diagon’s Twelve Months of HoMin challenge, based on the Vogue Korea photo shoot. No idea what Changmin’s bike was; possibly also a Ducati, but I’ve given him a Honda Firestorm here. Warning for implied dub con.


Headlong

Now

Six months. It’s taken six months of living the kind of life he’s never wanted to live, but now, finally, the moment has arrived. Tonight will change everything. Tomorrow he’ll be able to undo all the things he’s done. He’ll be able to wipe clean the recent past and return to the normalcy he’s been craving all this time.

The Firestorm sings beneath him, the throaty purr of its engine a reminder of what he’ll be giving up. He won’t miss it, except perhaps in some primal sense. Changmin is very good at imposing order over primal urges, even when they’re tinted with adrenalin and run red with risk.

He crosses the river twice, looking for the signal. There, at the tip of the island—a fire. Changmin pulls off onto the slip-road from the bridge and coasts down the ramp. He flicks the headlight to full beam and then pauses, one foot on the uneven ground. He opens his visor and waits, letting his senses attune.

Traffic rattles the bridge above him. Floodlights illuminate the scarlet ribs of its underbelly. On both sides of the river, the city lies patient, reminding Changmin of his duty. The island isn’t real. It’s an illusion, one the government wants to exploit, but so far the grandiose plans envisaged for the island’s future have come to nothing. Instead it’s caught between two worlds, a paradox of bountiful earth rich with river silt and hard, desolate concrete wasteland.

He eases the bike forward onto the track. As he leaves the bright safety of the bridge’s lights, the darkness slithers closer. A cold breeze cuts over him. He can smell the river, clogging fumes and mud. The glow from the city drip-slides across the water.

Changmin throttles back. Perhaps he should approach this rendezvous at full speed, but he cautions himself against it. There’s too much to be gained from tonight, and consequently too much he could lose. The past six months have been all about bravado and bullshit. Now he needs to be careful. Now he needs to be smart.

Things look different in the dark. He’d come here in daylight just yesterday, determined not to make a fool of himself at this meeting. He’d scouted for likely locations, taken photographs, made notes, but none of that helps now. He feels like he’s riding blind, and while there have been occasions when he’s done just that, thrown himself headlong into the wind with the Firestorm’s engine screaming, he can’t trust those tactics in this situation.

The landscape changes. Shattered walls and broken buildings close off this part of the island, and long shadows thicken the night. The beam of the headlight is powerful but narrow. It can’t sweep through and show him everything, and this tight, sharp focus only heightens Changmin’s tension.

The beacon is to the left. He guides his bike off the track, the suspension riding hard as it bumps over packed earth and crumbled concrete. There’s a chain-link fence that guards nothing but rusting oil drums and tangles of barbed wire, iron bars and heavy-tread tyres from dumper trucks. There’s a wall of pale concrete webbed with cracks and daubed with spray-painted numbers. In front of it is the fire, contained within an oil drum, and parked to one side is Yunho’s Ducati Diavel.

Changmin kills the engine and glides his bike over to rest by the Diavel. He kicks down the stand and tilts the Firestorm, swinging himself from the seat. He pulls off his helmet and settles it on the back of the bike, then runs both hands through his hair.

The traffic noise from the bridge is muted here, absorbed by the concrete, but the scuff of his boots seems loud. He can hear the river, the wash of a false tide, and as he approaches the fire, he can hear the hiss and crack of the flames.

Petrol fumes layer the cool night breeze, mixed with the acrid stench of paint blistering from the jumble of wood in the oil drum. Changmin stands upwind and warms his hands for a moment. He supposes he’s being watched. The game won’t begin until Yunho comes forward and invites Changmin’s attention; until then, he’ll ignore him.

The Diavel gleams black and wanton in the firelight. Despite himself, Changmin’s gaze drifts towards it. A frisson of anticipation crawls through him. Whoever wins this duel will get the loser’s bike. That was one of the prizes they’d agreed upon when they’d arranged this rendezvous.

By the end of the night he’ll have everything he’s been working towards these last six months. He’ll have the Diavel. He’ll have his life back. Most of all, he’ll have Yunho.

* * *

Then

“Why me?”

The question blurts out, and Changmin wishes he could take it back. He sounds annoyed rather than curious, and the Inspector usually views annoyance as disrespect.

But not this time. Although the Inspector’s expression flickers, he maintains his pleasant demeanour. “You’re young,” he says. “Don’t all young guys want to ride fast bikes?

No, Changmin wants to retort, I hate motorcycles. They’re dirty and dangerous and they’re a hazard on the roads. But he keeps his mouth shut, because the fact that the Inspector is still smiling in that bland way means this is a really big deal. The kind of big deal that could mean promotion as long as he follows orders and keeps his nose clean.

Obviously he should’ve responded more unequivocally. The Inspector’s smile begins to fray. “Come on, Shim. A good-looking guy like you should be glad of the opportunity to score plenty of pussy. You know what they say—fast wheels, fast girls.”

Changmin looks away, a blush firing across his face. “I wouldn’t know, sir.”

“Indeed.” The change of tone is so sudden that Changmin jerks his attention back to the Inspector, who looks him up and down with all the detachment of a superior officer about to throw his least worthy subject to the sharks. “Well. Maybe that’s for the best. Our source tells us that Jung Yunho has an eye for the boys.”

Finally they’re getting to it. Changmin stands taller, straighter. “Am I to take it that I’m bait, sir? A honeytrap?”

The Inspector smirks. “That’s one way of putting it.”

Just fucking great. Changmin grits his teeth. “With respect, sir, I don’t think—”

“Correct, Shim. You don’t think. You obey orders.” No trace of humour remains; now there’s only steel. The Inspector stares him down. “You will join the Devil’s Runners. We have a source within its ranks, a weasel piece of work by the name of Baek Gyujin—you’ll be introduced as his cousin. You will take part in the gang’s activities. Obviously you’ll use your discretion as to your level of involvement, and we’ll also leave to your discretion the question of when you choose to inform us of any criminal behaviour that might arise during this assignment.”

He pauses, eyeing Changmin again as if waiting for a protest, then continues, “We need you to gain access to their inner circle. We need you to be in a position to influence the gang’s leaders. Most of all, we want you to gain the attention of Jung Yunho.”

Changmin frowns. “But sir, he’s the leader of the Apokalyptiks.”

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Did they not teach you useful aphorisms at the academy?” The Inspector leans across his desk and folds his hands. “The Devil’s Runners are small time. They think they’re mean motherfuckers, but they’re just boys with toys. My grandmother is tougher than them, and she’s been dead for twelve years. We can clean the Runners off the streets within a week, but first we’re going to use them.”

The idea of setting two rival gangs against each another seems to be asking for trouble, in Changmin’s opinion. While it can work, it can also lead to massive fuck-ups, especially when a third party becomes involved.

“The Apokalyptiks are dangerous bastards,” the Inspector says. “They control most of the corners in Mapo. They’ve got a bunch of crystal meth labs hidden around the city. We busted one place on information from a source, but we know there’s more. Incidentally, we never heard from that source again. Could be dead, could be running scared. See what you can dig up.”

This is sounding better and better. An absolute peach of an assignment. “Yes, sir.”

“Don’t underestimate Jung. He doesn’t have a record. He’s far too smart to touch the shit himself, so he always ends up smelling of roses. Even had the balls to complain about police harassment a couple of times. He passes himself off as a legitimate businessman with a bunch of property investments, but he’s got two weaknesses—fast bikes and pretty boys.” The Inspector’s mouth twists. “He’s a cocky little fuck. You get his attention, Shim—you get it and you keep it, understand? Do whatever is necessary.”

“Sir.” There’s a heavy feeling in Changmin’s chest, a mix of resignation and anticipation cut with anxiety. “By that, sir, may I ask—do you mean...”

The Inspector fixes him with a gimlet stare. “I mean you do whatever is necessary. We want this bastard. You’re going to get him for us.”

* * *

At first Changmin is furious about the assignment. He goes out drinking with his colleague Donghae and complains about it with sharp, cutting concision that has Donghae laughing rather than offering sympathy.

“Mate, you’re the only man for the job. You know that, right?” Donghae waves to get the bartender’s attention and orders more beer.

Changmin gusts out a sigh. “I am not the only man for the job. You could do it.”

“Hell, no.” Donghae snorts. “I mean, yeah, I’d race around on hot bikes and I’d chase tail like there was no tomorrow—dude, that’s serious fantasy-life material right there, getting laid on the government’s dime, and you can rack up as many speeding tickets as you like safe in the knowledge that the Inspector will make them all go away, but...”

“But,” Changmin echoes, nodding his thanks to the bartender as their beer arrives.

“The gay bit.” Donghae mock-shudders. “Not doing that. But it’s not a problem for you! So of course you’re the man for the job.”

This is an old, comfortable argument, and Changmin scowls. “When will breeders get it into their heads that gay men don’t automatically want to sleep with every other man they see?”

“‘Cos most of them do,” Donghae shoots back, grinning. “You’re the exception. You’re so picky I sometimes think you must still be a virgin.”

Changmin chokes on his beer. He puts down the bottle and flutters his eyelashes, smiling sweetly as he scoots closer. “Oh, Officer Lee, I didn’t know you cared. Do you spend a lot of time pondering on my possible virginity?”

Donghae splutters. “Dude, I might be bi-curious for all you know.”

“Even if you were, you wouldn’t stand a chance.” Changmin retreats to his own stool and picks up his beer again.

“Wouldn’t want you anyway. I prefer low maintenance chickies.” Donghae’s smile fades as he takes a pull on his beer, and he’s serious when he looks back at Changmin. “For real, are you gonna be okay with this?”

Changmin thinks before he replies. He’s done undercover before, back when he was a rookie. His very first assignment had been an undercover, but it was a short op and he’d been one of half a dozen other cops involved in a sting against a nightclub boss running a prostitution racket on the side. All he’d had to do was visit a few clubs, pretend to be interested in the girls, and then report back. He’d never had to do anything. He’d never been tempted, unlike Donghae, who’d almost screwed up the whole operation by getting involved with a girl named Kandi. With a K. And an I.

The whole thing had been a fiasco. Yes, they’d shut down the clubs, freed the girls, and arrested the boss and his minions, but someone had blabbed about his sexual preferences. Changmin is sure it was Kandi-with-a-K-and-an-I. He’d turned her down on more than one occasion before she’d latched onto Donghae, and it was Donghae who, back in the squad room after the debrief, had said, voice level and loud, “All that willing pussy. It must have been a nightmare for a fag like you, Shim.”

Changmin should’ve laughed it off, but he couldn’t. Instead he’d planted his fist in Donghae’s face. For that he’d received an official reprimand and was put on desk duty for a month. Donghae was the first to apologise, and an unlikely friendship was born.

Even so, with his preferences known to pretty much the whole department, Changmin finds himself landed with every job that has even the slightest hint of gayness. An altercation between transvestite hookers? Changmin’s case. A robbery from a high-end art gallery owned by an obvious old fruit? Changmin’s case.

And now he has to infiltrate a motorcycle gang to act as a honeytrap for a rival gang leader. It’s almost enough to turn a boy straight.

Donghae is still waiting for his answer. Changmin exhales and shrugs. “It’s my job. Of course I’ll do it.”

“Sorry.” Donghae’s expression is full of concern. It seems odd on him. “This Jung Yunho, is he at least good-looking?”

Changmin wants to laugh at Donghae’s simple worldview. As if sex with a dangerous criminal will be easier just because he’s attractive. Something tightens in Changmin’s gut as he thinks of the sheaf of photographs in his dossier—Jung dressed in sharp designer suits, talking to bankers and property agents; Jung in motorcycle leathers, leaning against his imported Italian superbike.

“Yes,” Changmin says at last, aware of Donghae’s curiosity. “Yes. He’s hot.”

* * *

Arrangements are made and plans set into motion. Changmin is sent down to Yeongnam for a couple of weeks of exhaustive tuition at the Korean International Circuit. At first he’s nervous—he’s never sat on a motorcycle before—and for the first few days, his tutor, a guy of few words who trained with Valentino Rossi but who never went into the sport professionally, makes Changmin walk the track over and over, pointing out the slightest gradient and smallest bump.

“At speed, everything is magnified,” the tutor says. “Your reactions need to be magnified, too. Do you think a lot?”

Changmin nods. “Yes.”

“Stop thinking. Start feeling.”

His first time on a bike is embarrassing. He’s slow, cornering like a slug, reluctant to tip sideways with the sway of the machine. On the second lap he gathers speed. By the fourth lap, he’s feeling more confident, but when gravity pulls the bike into a corner, he fights it, tries to jerk upright. He loses grip. The bike bucks as if it’s alive, and he panics, jams on the brakes too fast. He can’t correct his trajectory and ends up in the gravel trap, bruised and gasping for breath and almost sick with disappointment.

The tutor comes over and looks at him. “It’s not a fucking horse. It doesn’t have a mind of its own. You control the bike, not the other way around.”

Failure has never been an option, not in any aspect of his life. Changmin works hard. He’s a conscientious student aware of his duty, but it’s only at the start of his second week of training that he realises the best way for him to learn is to let go of all of his mistakes.

“Know yourself,” the tutor tells him, “and you’ll know your bike.”

Changmin puts in hour after hour, throwing himself and the bike around the circuit until he understands balance, he understands speed, and he understands the trust he needs to have in himself. He stops thinking and hones his reactions instead, letting instinct rise to the surface. It becomes part of him, and each morning he wakes full of anticipation, needing to get on the bike, to feel the rumble of the engine and the kick of exhaust fumes and the unwinding of the track ahead of him, beneath him.

By the end of the second week, he’s shattered the tutor’s lap record.

“You’re a natural,” the tutor says, smiling for the first time.

Changmin grins. “If I was a natural, I’d have nailed this ten days ago.”

“Not necessarily.” The tutor studies him for a moment. “Some people don’t realise what they’re capable of until they free themselves from what they think they’re capable of. You’re one of those people. Do yourself a favour—don’t bury it now you’ve found it. Remember who you are.”

It’s embarrassing, and Changmin laughs it off even though he knows the tutor is telling the truth. When he goes back to Seoul, he won’t have the luxury of being who he is at this moment. He has a job to do, and when he’s not on the bike, he’ll need to think and plan and be aware of everything around him.

* * *

The department lends him a Honda Firestorm, a 2004 model impounded a couple of years ago after its owner was charged with multiple cases of drink-driving. New plates, a new paintjob, and some fine-tuning to the engine so it’ll pull 155mph rather than the standard 144, and the Firestorm is ready for the road. Once it was scarlet; now it’s the blue of a kingfisher diving.

Changmin is smitten the moment he lays eyes on it.

Through the uncertain auspices of his pretend cousin Gyujin, Changmin joins the Devil’s Runners. He soon discovers that the Inspector was right about this gang. There’s a lot of posturing and a rash of petty crime, but nothing very serious. Aside from the selling of counterfeit goods, it’s mainly theft and property damage, such as the time the Runners’ leader, Hyeonwoo, discovers that his new girlfriend is also the wife of the owner of a restaurant. His pride hurt, he directs the Runners to trash the place. Changmin swings a baseball bat—the weapon of choice for the gang—against the furniture and windows, but keeps an eye on the girlfriend in case Hyeonwoo decides to add assault to his rap sheet.

It’s all very silly, boys playing it tough, but they take it so seriously. Changmin keeps himself aloof, stays quiet for the most part and makes sure that when he speaks, he says something smart. Paradoxically, his haughtiness and detachment make him popular; his intelligence makes the others defer to him. His skill at handling the Firestorm wins their respect.

“I’m glad Gyujin brought you to us,” Hyeonwoo says one day as they sit on the river defences and look across the Han. “The way you ride, you’re prime meat for the Apokalyptiks. But they don’t take no new blood, not till one of them is taken off the market, if you catch my meaning. Jung keeps his crew tight.”

Changmin makes a non-committal sound.

Hyeonwoo gives him a speculative look. “You got a girl, Min?”

“No.” Calm and unruffled, Changmin meets Hyeonwoo’s gaze. “I like cock.”

There’s a moment of silence, and then Hyeonwoo nods. “Good.” They watch the river, the light-silvered chop and roll of wind-whipped water, and then Hyeonwoo says, “Usually we keep out of the way of the Apokalyptiks. City’s big enough. But now we got a problem.”

Keeping his expression neutral, Changmin says, “What kind of problem?”

“We’re looking to expand the business.” Hyeonwoo examines the scuffmarks on his boots. “The watches and DVDs, all that fake crap, it brings in decent money but it’s not the real shit. Friend of mine cooks up some of the good stuff. Couple of the guys have been selling it over in Mapo. Students love that shit, man. Can’t get enough, ‘specially when we’re offering value. But the Apokalyptiks run things there and they don’t take too kindly to us muscling in on their turf. So now we have ourselves a situation. We want their corners, and they don’t want to give ‘em up.”

Changmin waits for just a moment. “How can I help?”

“Jung likes himself a bit of pretty-boy ass. I ain’t no queer but you look pretty to me. Reckon he’ll scramble to get his hands on you.” Hyeonwoo meets Changmin’s gaze again. This time he holds it. “If you don’t mind, I’m gonna put you in harm’s way.”

“You want me to seduce Jung Yunho.” The irony is so fierce that Changmin has to force himself not to laugh out loud.

“I want you to fuck him. Or let him fuck you. Whatever it takes. Get him by the balls and make him give you the corners.”

Now Changmin really does laugh. “Because it’s that simple.”

Hyeonwoo stares at him. “Yeah. It is.”

* * *

A race is arranged along the length of a river overflow course. It’s made of white concrete, the walls sloping in parts and sheer in others. The river has felt its way up here recently; the ground is washed with mud and littered with debris. Water lies puddled in several places. Wet concrete offers little grip and no margin for error.

Changmin studies the terrain, ignoring the arrival of the Apokalyptiks. He runs a series of checks on his Firestorm, becoming so absorbed with his bike that he doesn’t hear Hyeonwoo calling his name.

“Changmin,” Hyeonwoo says again.

This time he looks up, gaze going not to Hyeonwoo but to the man standing beside him. The man the police and the Runners want him to catch. Jung Yunho.

Surveillance photos never do anyone justice, but in this instance they’d done a disservice. They hadn’t come anywhere close to capturing the full force of Yunho’s charisma. Changmin straightens up, aware of the sudden pounding of his heart. It’s as if Yunho has reached inside and squeezed a fist around parts of him that Changmin can’t even name.

“Changmin will race against you,” Hyeonwoo says, and then he rambles on about how fast Changmin is, how well he handles the bike, the skill that sets him apart from the rest of the Runners. The praise is laid on a bit thick—with a dumper truck, in fact—but Changmin knows it’s deserved. He knows he’s good.

Yunho nods, gaze flicking over Changmin as if he’s stripping him naked, but Changmin doesn’t take offence. He can’t. Not just because it’s his job to seduce this man, but also because Yunho is looking at him in a way that makes Changmin feel wanted and aroused and safe all at once. It’s the strangest sensation, and when Yunho turns his glance to the Firestorm, Changmin feels the loss like a punch to the gut.

“Nice bike,” Yunho says. “2005?”

“2004.” The answer comes out breathless. Changmin gives an inward wince. God, he has to get a grip.

Another nod, another hard, stripping glance, and Yunho walks away.

Hyeonwoo winks and grins.

The races start. Changmin watches how the bikes handle on the concrete, takes note of the way the conditions change. One of the Runners loses it in the mud and slams into the wall. The bike ricochets, slides sidelong, shedding its rider, who curls up on the ground yelling in agony. His arm is snapped into an impossible position.

Changmin turns away to find Yunho staring at him. They look at each other, and then Changmin drops his gaze to study Yunho’s Ducati. It’s well named, the Diavel; it’s a demon with a massive 160bph and a top speed of 155mph before any modifications. It can easily outrun the Firestorm on the track, but this isn’t a race circuit and Changmin knows he has a good chance of victory.

The Runner’s accident both dampens the excitement of the proceedings and also ratchets up the tension. Yunho swings astride the Diavel. Before he flips the visor shut, he smiles at Changmin. It’s gorgeous, that smile, and Changmin smiles in return before he catches himself. Annoyed, he pulls on his helmet and mounts the Firestorm, making ready for the race.

Hyeonwoo’s latest girlfriend parades across the concrete in front of them, waving her bra like a flag. Changmin snorts and casts a quick glance sidelong at Yunho. He’s hunched over the Diavel, gaze fixed ahead of him, the revs building. Changmin snaps his attention back to the girl, who flings down her bra and screams “Go!”

Yunho floors it. His reaction speed is unbelievable. Changmin snarls and races after him. He feeds the Firestorm, opens it out to full throttle, tearing up the concrete and smashing through the standing water. Yunho cuts across him, the Diavel’s brake lights flashing a taunt, and then he crosses straight back. He’s playing with Changmin. He even slows and looks over his shoulder, the crazy bastard, looks back and makes a beckoning gesture, the slipstream of speed pulling at his arm to make the movement more eloquent.

There’s debris ahead, a jumble of river flotsam. They swerve around it, switching sides again. Changmin pulls level. Keeping his gaze on the horizon, he senses rather than sees the moment he eases ahead of the Diavel. They’re riding right into the wind, the stream of air buffeting him, snatching at his leathers. The Firestorm roars, demanding more, and he gives it, pushes the bike to its limits and beyond.

He’s winning. Joy surges in him, fierce and primal, but it’s undone in a heartbeat when the Firestorm stumbles over a pothole. The bike shrieks in protest, suspension plunging, and Changmin clasps tight, folds himself down and trusts the machine, trusts himself. The Firestorm tilts, sways towards the sloping wall, and Changmin heaves on it, throwing himself over in the opposite direction. The back end steps out, wags, wags, and then the front wheel hits the slope.

There’s a moment in which everything slows, and then it speeds up, impossibly fast. He wrenches at the bike on pure instinct. The Firestorm turns its nose, leaps up, and they’re airborne, they’re flying, and Changmin is screaming along with the engine.

They land. The tyres bite onto the concrete and find grip. Another shudder, the suspension riding back up, and Changmin leans forward, almost flattens himself along the bike, and he’s still screaming, his throat raw as he hurls the Firestorm forwards.

Yunho has slowed to look back; slowed so much he’s coasting. Laughter bubbles up and pours out of Changmin as he flies past the Diavel at full throttle. He’s blasted with air, shot through with a joy he’s never experienced before, and by the time he brings the bike to a halt a long way past the finishing line, his face is wet with tears and he’s shaking with the aftershocks of adrenalin.

Changmin pulls off his helmet and bows his head, his hair hanging in his eyes. He’s panting for breath. His cock is so hard he thinks he’ll go off at any second.

The burble and snarl of the Diavel makes him look up. Yunho cuts the engine and tips the bike onto its stand. He takes off his helmet and dismounts, long legs in tight black leather. Changmin stares at the thick, heavy shape of his erection; he stares at the gleam of sweat at the base of Yunho’s throat when he yanks down the zipper of his jacket, and he stares at Yunho’s face, at those harsh, delicate features sharp with exhilaration and taut with lust.

Yunho reaches him. Grabs him. Kisses him.

And before he can stop himself, before he can order his thoughts and retreat behind common sense, Changmin kisses him right back.

* * *

He can’t forget the kiss.

It was an aberration, Changmin knows that; simply an after-effect of the thrill of the race. It had gone through him like hunger, ravenous and all-consuming, and when reality came back to him, Changmin had pulled away as if burnt.

He’d never been so glad to see Hyeonwoo and the rest of the Runners.

“You got him,” Hyeonwoo said in his ear as the gang surrounded him, clapping him on the back and shouting their congratulations. “You hooked him good. Now reel him in.”

Except Changmin wasn’t sure he wanted to land this catch. Not when his own emotions were so thoroughly tangled from just one kiss. Not when he went home and spent the better part of an hour bringing himself to the point of orgasm before stopping, denying himself release over and over until he was sure he could control himself.

It didn’t work.

He still dreams of Yunho, dreams of that kiss and what could have—should have—followed it, as natural a progression as day following night. Changmin allows himself his fantasies, but undercuts each one with the reminder that this is a job, and no matter how hot Jung Yunho is, he’s a mark that needs to be brought down. Justice will triumph over lust. That’s the way it goes.

One evening, the Runners are in their favourite bar when the door opens and the Apokalyptiks come in. There’s one of those tumbleweed and tolling bell moments, the whole place going quiet and still, and then Yunho nods a civil greeting towards Hyeonwoo and takes a table on the other side of the room. The Apokalyptiks range themselves nearby, but none of them sit with Yunho and none of them impede his view across the bar.

He’s looking right at Changmin. He’s smiling.

Hyeonwoo digs his elbow into Changmin’s side. “Go and talk to him.”

“No.” Changmin gives his beer his full attention. “I want him to come to me.”

“Christ.” Hyeonwoo shoves him again. “You do not play the prick-tease with this guy, do you hear me? Get your ass over there and—”

“Sit in his lap? Go down on him? I’m not that cheap.” Changmin tosses his head. “He comes to me or he’s not having me.”

Hyeonwoon sighs. “Min, your pride...”

Changmin ignores that. “I’ll make it easy for him.” Levering himself out of his seat, he goes to the bar.

Yunho joins him a moment later. He turns side-on, offering Changmin the full view of his body, all that lithe strength poured into leather trousers and a leather jacket half unzipped to show bare skin. Yunho leans close, then glances at the bartender. “I’ll pay for whatever he wants.”

Unimpressed, Changmin gives him a cool look, lets his mouth turn down in mockery. “What if I want to order a drink for everyone in the place?”

Yunho smiles. “Go right ahead. I can afford it.”

Changmin orders a shot of whisky instead. He knocks it back and slams the glass down on the bar. “Thanks for the drink,” he says, and returns to his table.

Hyeonwoo snorts. “Well, shit. The look on Jung’s face. Wish I had a picture.” He chuckles and pats Changmin’s knee. “I can’t work out if you’re a fucking idiot or a goddamn genius.”

“My money’s on genius.” Changmin can’t resist glancing over at the bar. Yunho is still standing there, running a fingertip around the rim of the shot glass, and when he sees Changmin looking, he smiles, deadly and certain.

Game on.

The Apokalyptiks visit the bar a couple more times before Yunho makes his move. He sends one of his lieutenants over with an invitation for Hyeonwoo to meet him on neutral territory so they can discuss a compromise over control of a restricted number of the Mapo corners.

“And you have to bring him,” the lieutenant says, jerking his thumb in Changmin’s direction, “or the whole thing is off.”

They arrange to meet in the middle of the day in a children’s playground. Changmin considers wearing a wire, but decides against it. A wise move, as it turns out, because when Hyeonwoo comes to pick him up, he tells Changmin to change his clothes.

“Look more available,” Hyeonwoo says. “Look slutty.”

Changmin doesn’t own anything slutty. He tries his best, but he’s fairly certain that wearing a low-cut t-shirt and skin-tight jeans beneath his thigh-length wool and leather coat isn’t going to send Yunho into the frenzy of lust that Hyeonwoo seems to think will ensue.

The playground is empty. They get there early and sit on a bench and make small talk. Hyeonwoo continually darts glances at their surroundings. Changmin stuffs his hands inside his pockets. Autumn is coming on, and the air is bright with cold.

Yunho arrives on time. He sits beside Hyeonwoo and begins the conversation. Changmin is glad again that he didn’t wear a wire; Yunho is the epitome of caution, choosing his words with care. Eager to impress and to close the deal for half a dozen lucrative corners, Hyeonwoo drops names and places and keeps on giving himself away like the worst kind of amateur.

Changmin feels embarrassed on Hyeonwoo’s behalf. He detaches himself from the dialogue, turns his head to study the swings and slides and climbing frames. When he looks back, Yunho is watching him.

For a moment, Changmin forgets himself. He blushes.

“You can have the corners,” Yunho says suddenly, talking across Hyeonwoo’s rambling speech, “if I can have your boy.”

Rage flashes. Before Hyeonwoo can respond, Changmin snarls, “I am not his boy. I belong to no one, I need no one, I want no one, and I will not be traded.”

Yunho smiles. Addressing Hyeonwoo, he says, “Got a mouth on him, hasn’t he?” He drops his gaze, stares at Changmin’s lips, then says to him, “But that’s what I like. You tasted exquisite when I kissed you. I can’t get the thought of it out of my head. I want to taste you again. I want your mouth all over me.”

“Are you sure?” Changmin bares his teeth. “I bite.”

“Baby, I hope so.”

Hyeonwoo laughs. “Don’t think I need to be here for this.” He gets up, nodding to Yunho. “Pleasure to do business. You and Changmin can sort out the details.”

Changmin blinks. “What?”

With a careless wave and a shit-eating grin, Hyeonwoo walks away.

Yunho slides closer on the bench. He lifts a hand and touches Changmin’s nape. Just a fingertip, just the lightest caress, but Changmin shivers. Yunho makes a pleased sound. “Let’s discuss terms.”

Resisting the urge to move sideways, Changmin repeats, “I won’t be traded.”

“You want me as badly as I want you.” Yunho tilts his head and smiles, slow and hot. “Go on, deny it.”

Changmin can’t. He looks away, breathing fast, arousal thudding through him.

“Since your pride is standing between us, let’s play a little game. A duel, if you prefer to think of it that way.” Yunho leans back, looks Changmin up and down as if he can see right through him. Voice thoughtful, he says, “You don’t give a fuck about the corners, do you? You’re not here to help Hyeonwoo. You’ve got your own agenda.”

The breeze ghosts cold over Changmin’s skin. He holds himself still and meets Yunho’s gaze, absolutely expressionless.

“Or maybe I’m wrong.” The words hang there, inviting agreement, but Changmin says nothing.

The silence stretches, and then Yunho lets it go. “Okay,” he says, “this is what we’re going to do. Friday night, you’re going to meet me on Nodul Island. Eleven o’clock. I’ll give you a signal so you know I’m there. Come alone except for your Firestorm. We won’t race—that wouldn’t be fair. We’ll play hide and seek. We’ll play catch. We’ll both be at a disadvantage, so we’ll both be equal. Winner gets the loser’s ride and his complete surrender.”

Changmin clamps down on his instinctive response. Complete surrender. That’s what he wants. He’s going to put an end to this one way or the other.

Yunho pauses and sweeps Changmin with his gaze, sharp-eyed. Then he smiles. “Don’t worry, baby. I’ll make it really good for you.”

Changmin snorts.

Quizzical now, Yunho tilts his head. “What do you say, Changminnie—are we agreed on our course of action?”

“Yes.” Changmin lifts his chin, confidence surging. “We’re agreed. And you’re going to lose.”

* * *

Now

The flames are hypnotic, a dance of heat that strokes his face and hands. Changmin crouches to pick up more wood and feeds it to the fire. The charred pieces shift and tumble within the oil drum. The soft sound almost masks the footsteps behind him. Changmin turns his head but doesn’t look, just keeps the blur of Yunho’s shape in his peripheral vision.

“Good evening,” Changmin says. He looks into the fire again, waiting for Yunho to come closer.

“You’re late.” The remark is mild, more inquisitive than angry. “I thought you’d changed your mind.”

Changmin watches the wood burn, glad that the haze and twist of the fire will hide his expression. It’s the first time he’s ever heard Yunho express doubt. It’s unexpected, but on its heels comes the realisation that this meeting holds more value than Changmin had expected. It’s important to him, yes; but to know that it’s just as important to Yunho—albeit in a very different way—shifts the reality, makes the ground unstable.

That’s okay. Changmin can work with unstable realities. He lifts his head and turns away from the oil drum.

Yunho stands between him and the bikes, hands in his pockets, head tilted. Shadows play over him as the glow of the fire reaches out in a caress. He’s wearing dark jeans and boots, deceptively simple, and a leather jacket over a cream waistcoat with a grey graphic print up the front. His chest is bare beneath the waistcoat.

Changmin’s gaze lingers. Yunho’s skin looks soft in the firelight. He wonders how it would feel beneath his hand. The thought makes his throat go dry. He takes a breath; finds his voice. “I’m sorry to keep you waiting.”

An easy smile curves Yunho’s lips. He runs his gaze over Changmin, at once both flirtatious and hungry. “Baby, I’d wait forever for you. A good boy dressed in bad boy leather is all kinds of irresistible.”

Amused and more than a little flattered, Changmin flicks the hair from his eyes. “I’m not a good boy.”

Now wickedness glints in Yunho’s smile. “I have high hopes that you’ll be good for me. Maybe even very good for me.”

“Perhaps.” Changmin suppresses a burst of triumph. He’s got Yunho hooked, he knows he has; he’s leading him on like a beast to slaughter. Everything has been building to this, and he’ll be disappointed if the evening falls short of any of his expectations.

“By the end of the night, you’ll be mine,” Yunho says, eyes gleaming. “You’ll be naked in my bed, spread out beautiful and needy and begging for me to take you.”

Changmin forces away the surge of hot, savage, sexy images. He swallows, straightens a little taller and says, “No. You’ll be my bitch. I’ll make you do what I say.”

Yunho draws in a soft, hissing breath. His eyes narrow, although his smile remains gentle and teasing. “You make it sound so unpleasant. So angry. I won’t need to force you. You’ll give yourself to me willingly.”

“We’ll see what fate has in store.”

Now Yunho laughs. “Oh, Changminnie. Trusting in fate leaves you blameless. It frees you from the responsibility of your actions. If that’s your philosophy, you may as well surrender now. I promise I’ll take the very best care of you.”

Changmin jerks his head, flustered, his temper flaring. “That’s not what I meant!”

“Then you should be clearer in your intentions.” Yunho backs away, his smile rich with promise. “Let’s get started,” he says, a coax, a taunt. “Catch me.”

*

Perhaps it’s a mistake to give Yunho time to get away from him, but Changmin isn’t going to rush. He’s going to do this properly, and that means proceeding with caution.

He counts off a full sixty seconds in his head before he moves from the fire. Ignoring the shadowed and shattered doorway into which Yunho had vanished, Changmin goes over to the bikes. From its resting place along the side of the Firestorm he takes up his baseball bat. He taps it against one booted foot, then swings it up and sets it across his shoulders as he scans the rotting buildings in front of him.

He tells himself it’s more for effect, but Changmin wouldn’t put it past Yunho to fight dirty. According to Hyeonwoo, Yunho once took down a guy three times his size just for trash-talking his Ducati. The guy had a length of chain and a switchblade. Yunho had nothing but his fists and feet and a whole lot of temper. Just because Changmin hasn’t seen that viciousness unleashed yet doesn’t mean it won’t come to the surface tonight. He has to be prepared.

Enough stalling. He changes his grip on the baseball bat, shakes out his arms and rolls his shoulders. His leather jacket creaks, the sound as familiar and comforting as the wash of the river. Changmin steps forward, avoiding the doorway, and is swallowed up by the darkness around the side of a building.

He wonders what used to stand here. Something industrial, he assumes; all the concrete and ironwork suggests it, but he can’t work out what it would have housed. Not that it matters. He releases the thought and sharpens his focus, keeping his grip loose on the baseball bat as he moves through the shadows.

His back is to the wall, his gaze raking the uneven ground and then darting up to sweep the terrain ahead. Instinctively he’s lowered his centre of balance. He can hear the rumble of traffic on the bridge, the occasional blat of a horn, and all the time there’s the sound of the river, rolling and rolling. His breathing shortens, becomes clipped. Changmin stops, forces himself to breathe deeply and evenly. Tension closes in on him. Desire wraps him up.

The scrape of a footstep comes from somewhere above him. Changmin crouches, then lifts his head. Nothing but the silhouette of the ruined wall against the deep blue of the sky. The noise comes again, and he listens, hearing another sound now. His name, spoken low and soft, a calling-on.

Changmin slides forward, clutching the bat in both hands, and turns a corner. The darkness is intense here, and he has to feel his way with care. He stumbles over a lump of fallen masonry; kicks through a splash of grit. His pulse thumps, his chest tight. His shoulders are rigid.

There’s a doorway. He flits through it and blinks, retreats back into the darkness as he takes in the sight of a large, empty room open on one side looking towards the bridge. The other walls are in the process of collapse. The lights from the underbelly of the bridge illuminate the room, deepening the shadows in places but casting a glow over patches of concrete covered with paint marks and numbers that hold some esoteric meaning.

“Changmin,” Yunho says behind him, and Changmin whirls around, gasping. He swings the baseball bat before he can think better of it, but it doesn’t connect. It whistles through the air until he brings it down on the concrete floor with a crack. The shock of it runs up his arms, and he steps back, dragging the bat along the floor until he’s standing in the middle of the room, free of the shadows.

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

The taunt remains locked inside him. Changmin turns in a slow circle, ignoring the information his eyes give him and relying instead on his other senses. He hears Yunho move, the soft scuff of boots and the creak of leather; he feels the air stir to his left. Changmin reacts, swings the baseball bat. The violence of the momentum spins him around—in the wrong direction, as he discovers a second later, as Yunho comes out of nowhere and catches at his arm and yanks him the opposite way.

Unbalanced, Changmin tries to right himself. He lets out a yell of frustration and stamps a foot backwards. Yunho is too fast, dancing away and then turning back on him, hooking an arm around the bat and trapping it, bringing his free hand down hard on Changmin’s wrist.

Pain twists through him. Changmin yelps and lets go. He’s completely disoriented. They’re still turning, feet slipping through the dust, and then Yunho trips him and Changmin goes sprawling.

The baseball bat clatters away, rolls out of sight into the darkness.

Adrenalin pumps through Changmin, making him jittery and vicious. Energy spikes. He starts to push himself up from the floor, but then Yunho grabs hold of his legs and pulls him closer.

Panic and excitement smash against one another. Changmin moans. He’s glad of the protection of the thicker leather around his knees, but he’s still aware of the bruising pressure of the cold, hard surface of the concrete beneath him as he’s dragged across it. He puts out both hands and hooks his fingertips, but there’s nothing to grip onto, there’s nothing but dust.

He’s spread out on the floor, and now he’s pinned, now Yunho is on top of him, the stiff length of his cock pressing against Changmin’s ass, a hand on his hip to stay him. Yunho feels big and hot and hard, and Changmin can’t help it. He grinds back, rubs against Yunho in a little shimmy, and hears Yunho stifle a moan in response.

“Oh, baby,” Yunho whispers in his ear, “you don’t need a weapon to make me do anything.”

Changmin’s breathing accelerates. Arousal pounds at him. Everything goes tight and hazy. “Get off. Get off me, you fucking pervert!”

A chuckle, soft and deep. “I’m the pervert? But Changminnie, you’re just as hard as I am. Maybe more so. I think you like this. I think you like being held down.”

Sometimes the truth hurts. Changmin goes wild trying to shake Yunho off him, but all he achieves—besides a few more bruises and a mouthful of concrete dust and an empty, knocking fury—is to drive his lust even higher.

Yunho lets him fight and then rolls them both just enough to get his hand around Changmin’s hip. He strokes Changmin’s erection, the caress an easy glide over the smooth leather trousers. Changmin turns his head, presses his cheek to the concrete. He’s quivering, aware of the slick heat of perspiration up the insides of his thighs. He can smell himself, sweat and aching need, and his head is full of Yunho’s scent, warm and sexy and dangerous.

“Say please,” Yunho says, hand stroking and coaxing.

Changmin gasps. “Fuck you.”

“Such disrespect,” Yunho murmurs, his breath hot and harsh against Changmin’s nape. “Someone needs to teach you a lesson.”

“No.” Changmin wants it. Doesn’t want it. His indecision is awful, tearing at his self-control. Anguish is sweet on his tongue. “Don’t,” he says. “Don’t.” His mind whirls, then fixes itself. He relaxes as if in surrender, and after a moment he feels a lessening of tension in Yunho.

Seizing his chance, Changmin bolts sideways, heaving himself up at the same time. Yunho reaches out to grab, but Changmin throws him off. He’s free. He’s free—and he doesn’t know what to do.

“Run,” Yunho says, picking himself up from the floor.

Changmin runs.

He goes back the way he came, then breaks left. A staircase opens up and he almost tumbles down it, moving faster and faster. By the time he reaches the bottom he’s on fire with excitement, burning the air around him as he runs.

“You can’t escape me,” Yunho calls from the darkness. “Run as fast as you can, sweetheart. I’ll still catch you.”

“Bastard.” Changmin vaults over a low brick wall, crosses a weed-strewn swathe of land, then drops down into another broken room of concrete. He sweeps his gaze in a circle, sees a nest of barbed wire and gouts of rust spreading out from a large industrial pipe fixed to a wall. Behind him lies another chain-link fence.

Changmin waits. Everything is still and silent, except for the slow whispering breath of the wind dragging itself from the river.

He waits a few moments longer, then lifts his chin and puts steel into his voice. “Jung Yunho! Come out here. Come here now.”

Nothing.

Changmin grits his teeth and tries again. “If you don’t come out and face me, I’m going to go back to the city and I’ll tell everyone in the Runners and the Apokalyptiks that you’re too afraid to take me on.”

A whisper behind him: “Do that, baby, and I’ll tell everyone you’re a cop.”

He reacts to that, fear and anger clutching at him. He spins and runs, obeying instinct, runs and charges straight at Yunho.

Yunho doesn’t move, doesn’t try to flee. He smiles and lets Changmin shove him back against the fence. The chain-link bends beneath their combined weight, bends and shivers, but it doesn’t break. Changmin makes a desperate, incoherent sound and lashes out. Yunho just laughs. He keeps them off-balance, using the bounce of the chain-link to his advantage as he undulates closer and insinuates himself hard against Changmin’s body.

Changmin fights. His hands close around the cold diamonds of the chain-links. He pins Yunho. They both go still. Everything drains away. They stare at one another. Yunho waits. His lips part in silent invitation.

Changmin kisses him. It’s not gentle. It’s violent, the slippery thrust of his tongue, his mouth opening to force more of a response, and Yunho gives him back warmth and softness and a melting, unexpected tenderness.

Stunned, Changmin wrenches away, wiping a hand savagely across his face.

Yunho breathes out a shaky laugh. “Oh, baby. I’m half inclined to let you take me in just for that. Kiss me again and we’ll talk terms.”

“No.” Changmin retreats to a safe distance. “I’m not like you.”

“Yes, you are.” Yunho shakes himself from the fence and comes towards him, gaze glinting and terrifying. “You’re exactly like me, and that excites you.”

“No. No.” The denial spills out of Changmin far too easily. “I’m a cop. A good cop; and you’re—”

“What?” Yunho smiles. “I’m a legitimate businessman. I pay my taxes. I give to charity. I help old ladies across the street. I also happen to like expensive motorbikes and fast boys. Everyone needs a hobby.”

“I don’t.”

“That’s why you’re so uptight.” Now Yunho tilts his head, his expression gentle and coaxing. “Give in to it, baby. You’re a bad boy really. It turns you on, the speed, the risk. It gets you hot; so hot you need a safety valve. Let it be me. Give me everything. I can take it. You won’t regret it.”

Changmin is shaking. “I’m not bad. I’m not.”

Yunho steps forward, his hands held out. “Then take me in. Do it right now. Arrest me.”

With an angry noise rough in his throat, Changmin shoves him away.

Yunho swings back, grabs at Changmin’s jacket, and throws him against the fence. Changmin gasps in protest, catches himself on the chain-link as it bows beneath him. The links stretch and scratch and seize at his hair, press over his face. He struggles, wonders if this is what it’s like to be trapped in the sticky silk of a spider’s web, then everything in him runs hot with want as Yunho covers him.

The city lights glisten across the river. It’s so far away. It’s a lifetime away. Changmin shivers, weak and fierce with need.

“You still wanna play?” Yunho asks in his ear.

“No,” Changmin says, even though every atom of his being is screaming Yes.

Yunho nuzzles against the back of Changmin’s neck. His breath is so warm, so comforting, and then he opens his mouth over Changmin’s nape and kisses him, wet and hungry.

Changmin chokes out a gasp and clings to the chain-links, vision blurring as he arches forward and back at the same time.

“You can get away,” Yunho says, sliding his hands around Changmin’s waist, stroking down with obvious intent. “You can get away from me any time you like.”

“No.” The word is dry, clicking in Changmin’s throat. He doesn’t know why he keeps saying it.

“Oh, baby. Don’t fight what you need.” Yunho has one hand on Changmin’s hip, the other unzipping the leather trousers and slipping inside.

Changmin moans. He closes his eyes, hangs against the fence with his fingers hooked tight, and he rubs his cock into the warm, firm clasp of Yunho’s hand.

Yunho licks across the back of Changmin’s neck. “You like that, hmm?”

“No.” It’s a lie and they both know it. Changmin bucks again, whimpers when Yunho gets his hand inside Changmin’s underwear. He doesn’t free Changmin’s dick from the restriction of the fabric. He angles his wrist, dances his fingers up the length of the shaft. The pressure of the snug cotton keeping his hand imprisoned around Changmin’s cock is tight and intense.

“Fuck. Fuck. No.” Changmin jolts, the fence bowing and rattling with the movement. His breaths puff out of him. He’s too hot. He’s burning up. “Please.”

Yunho murmurs gentle kisses against his neck. It’s such a contrast to the grip he has on Changmin’s cock, to the hard rhythm he sets as he jerks Changmin off. It’s driving Changmin mad. He squirms to escape the soft-mouthed touches over his nape as he churns his hips, rocking and shoving and forcing his dick through the tight, slick grip of Yunho’s working hand.

Everything is tilting. Changmin feels as if he’s taken root, but the chain-link fence is joggling and swaying, and he wonders if it’s possible for him to tear through it.

“Don’t deny yourself,” Yunho whispers against Changmin’s neck, running his tongue wetly up to Changmin’s ear. He bites at the lobe, flicks inside, then sucks a mark into the tender flesh of his throat. “It’s just pleasure, Changminnie. Pleasure’s good. Let go and let it take you, my gorgeous lovely boy.”

Changmin can’t stop it, not even if he wanted to. Not when Yunho is saying things like gorgeous lovely boy, because Changmin wants to be that boy; he wants to be possessed and he wants to take possession in return. He sobs, snarls, thrusts and thrusts, and jams himself back hard against Yunho’s body.

“Yes,” Yunho says in his ear. “Yes.”

Changmin comes, sensation snapping through him, forcing him up onto his toes as he fights to spill himself all over Yunho’s hand, hot and wet and so good.

His head is spinning. His fingers hurt from holding on too tightly to the chain-link fence. When Yunho lets him go, Changmin slides down onto his knees. He’s trembling, breaths harsh with shattered ecstasy.

Yunho stands beside him. “A man can forget everything except the knowledge of who he is,” he says, wiping his hand on his jeans. “When you’re ready to accept that, come and find me. I’ll be waiting.”

He leaves then, footsteps cutting through the dark. A short while later comes the sound of the Ducati’s engine, the Diavel growling its way along the track until it fades and merges with the wash of the river.

Changmin kneels on the cold concrete and stares through the chain-link at the glitter of the city lights moving across the face of the water. He breathes, aware of the faint smell of petrol and the slowing heat of his arousal. He breathes, and lets everything sink inside him.

Up on the bridge, a siren screams.



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