Part: Chapter Ten: Better Than a Nightlight
Previous Parts: Prologue, Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six, Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine
Pairing: Eunhyuk/Donghae, some Yesung/Ryeowook, Henry/Ryeowook.
Rating: PG-13 (sensuality)
Word Count: 4,104
Synopsis: Donghae returns from China and comes to realize his true feelings towards Eunhyuk in a relationship that transcends friendship.
Next Update: Saturday, August 22nd (barring no extreme writer's block. You know the deal.)
Sorry this is a little late again - this was a hard chapter to write. I hope you really enjoy it!! ^ ^ /
Thanks to my beta and bff tvxqsocks for her awesome awesome support and help. ♥
Better Than a Nightlight
Donghae taped another box of his things shut and sat down, taking a break from packing his belongings up. He looked around his room, which was growing steadily more empty. It felt odd. Even though he’d moved many times before, this time it was different. For obvious reasons, he thought.
He was past sadness by now; he was just excited. He laid down on his back next to his bed and stared at the ceiling. Tomorrow. Tomorrow he’d live with Eunhyuk, just the two of them. Complete privacy to be themselves with each other, without thinking about their surroundings or who might see them together. A place of complete acceptance and trust and freedom.
And, he thought, it would require a greater level of communication and cooperation between him and Eunhyuk, and he wanted to meet that challenge, small as it would be. He was as compatible with him as mint and chocolate. Complimentary beings. He was ready to commit himself to living with him.
“Hey,” a soft, high voice that he recognized as Ryeowook’s said from his door. He looked up and saw him hovering in the doorway. He rolled over onto his stomach and got on his knees.
“Hey,” he said. “What’s up?”
Ryeowook smiled shyly. “Can I come in?”
“You don’t have to ask,” Donghae said and smiled, sitting down on his bed and settling himself against the wall. He watched in mild curiosity as Ryeowook closed the door behind him. “Sit down.”
Ryeowook sat down next to him and look around the room. “Looks different without all of your stuff in here.”
“Yeah,” Donghae said. “I wonder what they’ll do with the room.”
“They’ll find a use for it. Maybe Manager-hyung will come upstairs…”
“Doubtful,” Donghae laughed. “But you’re right. They’ll find a use. So...what’s up?”
“Just wanted to talk,” he said and smiled. “You know, about stuff.”
“Talk away…” Donghae said, making himself comfortable. Ryeowook was silent for a long time, looking at the empty spaces in Donghae’s room, and Donghae patiently waited for him to speak.
“It’s about Yesung, I guess.”
“I kind of expected that,” Donghae said and laughed. “What’s on your mind?”
“We’re over,” Ryeowook said and glanced at Donghae. “Really over.”
“You okay?” Donghae said quietly.
“I just...think you did the right thing - telling everyone, I mean. I wonder if...we did what you’re doing, it would have worked out,” Ryeowook said, wiping his eyes and sniffing. “I wonder if hiding put too much strain on our relationship.”
“Don’t think about that now,” Donghae said. “No point.”
“You chose to be with Henry, didn’t you?”
“No.” Donghae raised his eyebrows and Ryeowook looked at him tentatively. “I’m not going to be with either of them. It’s just a broken relationship with Yesung, and it’s torturing him to see me with Henry. It’s not that I don’t care about Yesung anymore...And anyway, I shouldn’t do this with someone I work with. It just creates problems. You’ll be fine, though! You and Hyukjae will definitely be okay,” he finished hurriedly.
“Ryeowook,” Donghae said, looking at him with concern. “Will that make you happy? Saying goodbye to both of them?”
“There’s a saying that if you can’t choose one, you don’t love either of them,” Ryeowook said quietly. He was trying very hard not to cry, and it made Donghae’s heart hurt to see how much of an effort it was for him.
“But don’t you...want one of them?”
Ryeowook shook his head. “It would be good for no one if I did.”
“Hyung,” Ryeowook said, turning his head to look at him. He smiled sadly. “I’ve thought it through. This is what’s best.”
“Honestly...Look at how miserable you are,” Donghae said, wiping Ryeowook’s face with his sleeve. “I don’t want this for you.”
“I just need time.”
“That’s all?” Donghae looked at him carefully and Ryeowook nodded.
“That’s all,” he said and sighed, releasing some of his emotional stress. “It will be easier from now on. I’ll move into Hyukjae’s room, so we won’t be in each other’s face all the time. He’ll be okay, too…You know, even though...even though I really felt in love, maybe it wasn’t love at all. Honestly, that’s...that’s what I’d like to think now.”
Donghae sighed and put an arm around his shoulders, ready to wait as long as Ryeowook needed to stop crying. Ryeowook smiled at him briefly.
“Sorry,” he said, wiping his eyes. “I feel like I’m always coming to you to cry about stuff.”
“It’s okay,” Donghae said. “I don’t mind.”
“You really don’t?”
“I really don’t.” Donghae laughed. “I think you’re being mature about this.”
Ryeowook sighed. “About time, right?”
“Right.” Donghae patted his shoulder. “After I’m gone, If you need me, you know you can call me, right?”
Ryeowook nodded. “It’s okay. I’ll leave you two alone unless I really need you. Thank you.” He smiled. “You’re a really good friend. I just wanted to tell you, because...I didn’t want you to leave thinking that I wouldn’t ever fix things.”
Donghae shook his head. “I knew you would.”
“I didn’t. It wasn’t all his fault, you know? I messed up too. We just didn’t…” he trailed off and tried to use his hands to get his point across. “We couldn’t communicate cleanly after a while. I think part of me wanted to fall in love with Henry to hurt him. I don’t want to be that kind of a bad person,” he said and laughed mirthlessly.
“You’re not a bad person, Ryeowook. You both just made mistakes. Cheer up, okay? It’s alright.”
Ryeowook looked at him and Donghae smiled. Ryeowook shrugged and nodded.
“So what now? Will you try to maintain a friendship with him?”
“Not right away, but...I guess so. Later.”
Donghae nodded Ryewook took a deep breath and wiped his eyes for a final time. “Thanks,” he said, shrugging Donghae’s arm off lightly. “I’m okay now.”
“Do you need help packing?”
“No, I got it. But if you want to, you can stay and help,” Donghae said, thinking that Ryeowook might also have come up to escape for a while. Ryeowook nodded, and Donghae instructed him with what to do and started working again.
“I can unlock it for you,” Eunhyuk said as they reached their apartment’s front door.
“No,” Donghae said. “I can do it.”
“Are you sure?”
“I got this.”
Donghae balanced a box of things on his knee as Eunhyuk laughed at him. He held out his hand for Eunhyuk’s key, and he put it in his hand. He stuck the key into the lock, turned it with difficulty, and caught the box as he pushed the door open with his foot.
“Ha,” Donghae said and shuffled inside.
“Nicely done,” Eunhyuk said, kicking the back of his heel.
“Look, they really did furnish this place.”
Eunhyuk closed the door after them and they looked at the apartment and at each other with wide eyes. Modern, colorful furniture had been arranged around a flat screen television in the living room, and a low table with sitting cushions further in. Donghae put the box down and exhaled, impressed.
“I like it,” he said. “You like it?”
“I love it. It’s beautiful in here.”
Donghae smiled and they walked into the kitchen, looking at all the appliances and tools that had been bought for them. Pleased with everything, they walked around commenting on stuff until they arrived at the bedrooms. They were exactly the same, and Donghae wavered uncertainly between things to say about them. He ended up not saying anything at all. The two rooms were very nicely outfitted with everything they would need, plus a lot of space for them to put their things.
Eunhyuk poked his cheek and Donghae jumped, coming out of his thoughts, and laughed nervously.
“What’s up with you? You’re so quiet all of a sudden.”
“It’s just…Can I be honest?”
“Can you be honest…I hope that you’re always honest,” Eunhyuk said and laughed.
Donghae looked at him shyly. “I want to sleep with you.”
Eunhyuk laughed again and blushed. “Of course,” he said. “I kind of...assumed that’s how it’d be.”
“Really?” Donghae said, smiling with relief. “I thought I was being forward.”
Eunhyuk ran his finger across Donghae’s shoulders. “You can’t be too forward with me.”
Donghae blushed. “I can’t?”
“It’s impossible,” Eunhyuk whispered in his ear and then laughed, walking out of the room. Donghae leaned against the wall and took a deep breath, trying to still his heart.
“C’mon!” Eunhyuk called. “Let’s go get the rest of our stuff!”
Donghae turned and walked around the corner, hanging onto the doorframe. Eunhyuk was waiting for him with a smile by the front door.
“Hyukjae,” he said, quickly walking up to him and hugging him tightly. “Every night.”
Eunhyuk hugged him and laughed. “Every night.” He put a finger beneath his chin and kissed him, the motion easy and sweet. “Let’s go.”
After a few trips, they got everything that they had fit into Eunhyuk’s car into the apartment. Everything else was being moved by their company - mostly mass amounts of clothing, and would arrive there later. They stood outside the two bedrooms and stared at each other.
“We should keep our stuff in separate rooms,” Donghae said, crossing his arms and leaning to one side.
“Yeah,” Eunhyuk said, narrowing his eyes. “So…which one do you want?”
Donghae tightened his lips to suppress a smile. “One is in the corner. And one is not.”
“That’s right. So one has more windows.”
“We should flip a coin, and make this really fair.”
“Fine. Do you have a coin?” Eunhyuk said, opening his wallet. “Never mind, I do.”
“Alright.” They laughed. “I call heads for the room in the corner.”
“Okay. It’s not like it really matters, since we’ll sleep in the same room,” Donghae said, tiling his head.
Eunhyuk shrugged. “I guess we are just flipping for where our stuff goes. You don’t care about sleeping in a room that has stuff that only belongs to one of us, right?”
“I really don’t care,” Donghae said and nodded. “It just matters that you’re there.”
“So which one do you want to sleep in?” Eunhyuk smiled.
Donghae looked through the doorways of both rooms. “That one,” he said, pointing to the corner room.
“Good, me too,” Eunhyuk said, getting the coin ready. He tossed it, and they watched as it fell. Heads. They looked at each other and Donghae stuck his tongue out at him. He bent down and picked up a box of stuff.
“It’s yours, fair and square,” he walked towards his room and paused. “Ours.”
“Right - it’s ours, it’s just...you know, appearances.”
“We won’t always keep them, will we?”
“No,” Eunhyuk said, picking up one of his boxes. “I don’t think so.”
“I wonder.” Donghae smiled and they carried their boxes into the separate rooms.
Their company dropped off the rest of their things and told them to hang all of their clothes up immediately so that they wouldn’t get wrinkled. After everything was into their apartment, they thanked the employees for their work and shooed them out. They spent the next four hours hanging clothes up in their closets and on the clothing racks that had been set up in the communal space of the apartment and unpacking their personal belongings. They kept up a conversation between the rooms or played music to entertain themselves, but eventually Donghae got bored and took a break, sneaking into the other room.
“Hey,” he said, flopping down on the bed. “You made good progress!”
Eunhyuk turned around from arranging his stuff on a bookshelf and sat down on the bed next to him, brushing aside stray objects and pieces of paper. Donghae smiled at him, letting his genuine happiness shine through.
“How are you?” Eunhyuk asked, laying his head on Donghae’s back.
“Wonderful,” Donghae said. “You?”
“I want to finish unpacking,” Eunhyuk said, sighing and smoothing Donghae’s shirt over his shoulder with his hand. “But we still have a lot to do.”
“Finish our rooms, put stuff up on the walls, some other miscellaneous stuff...it’s not that bad,” Donghae said, picking up a piece of paper. It was a letter addressed to Eunhyuk, from an E.L.F.
“Hey,” Donghae said slowly. “Do you like girls at all?”
Eunhyuk’s hand stilled on his shoulder. “No. I mean, sure, I like girls...but not like...I’m not attracted to them.”
“Not at all?”
“Nope. I realized that as a teenager.”
Eunhyuk laid down next to him and Donghae turned onto his back. Eunhyuk readjusted himself so that his head rested over Donghae’s heart.
“Did you have other crushes?”
“Yeah,” Eunhyuk said and smiled at Donghae’s inquisitiveness. “None like you, though.”
“So I’m your first love?” Donghae asked, holding his breath.
“Yes,” Eunhyuk said, propping himself up on his elbows and looking at him. Donghae grinned at him and Eunhyuk bent his neck and kissed him. “You’re my first and only love.”
“I’m lucky to be in love with you,” Donghae said. “Lucky to have you.”
Eunhyuk kissed him again. “This was meant to be.”
Donghae nodded and Eunhyuk pulled him up and hugged his neck.. “Go finish,” he said, “so we can be together and feel good about it.”
“I always feel good about it.”
“You know what I mean,” he said, kissing his cheek. “So that we’re really moved in and don’t have to worry about it.”
“Okay,” he sighed. “I’ll go finish unpacking my stuff.”
“Bye,” Eunhyuk said, smiling sweetly at him, making it hard for Donghae to leave. He lingered in the doorframe and found an excuse to stay for a minute later.
“I’m hungry,” he said, looking at Eunhyuk cutely. “Order something, ‘kay?”
“Okay,” Eunhyuk said, leaning his chin in his palm and taking his cellphone out of his pocket. “What’s our address?”
Donghae laughed. “I dunno. Lemme go get it.”
Eunhyuk laughed with him. “You can finish the other room before food arrives, yeah?”
“Yeah,” Donghae called from outside. He walked back in and gave a piece of paper with their address on it to him. He stayed there until Eunhyuk told him to get back to unpacking again, and he left, throwing him sad looks over his shoulder. The sooner he finished, the sooner he could spend time with Eunhyuk without any other obligations for the moment.
“So,” Donghae said, staring at the blank walls after they’d eaten. “Do you really want to put up pictures today? It’s already eight.”
They looked at each other. “Eh...Let’s call it quits. We’ve done enough for today,” Eunhyuk sighed. “Good job.”
“That was actually a very painless move,” Donghae said, climbing into one of the chairs and spinning around in it slowly. “One day.”
“Yeah. Thank god,” Eunhyuk said and stood up. “I’m gonna go take a shower, okay?”
“Okay,” Donghae said, watching him leave. Eunhyuk took off his shirt as he walked into the bathroom and he glanced back at Donghae before he closed the door. Donghae stared at the door after it was shut, blushing and covering a smile that he couldn’t suppress with his hand. He did that on purpose, he thought. He’s teasing me.
He curled up in the chair and looked out of the windows. He smiled, falling in love with the beautiful view. Eventually he ran a hand over his forehead and tore his eyes away from it and looked at the apartment. He really liked it. It was theirs, and it was beautiful. It was also extremely quiet, and the reality of being there without the others sunk into him.
He bit his lip. They were alone - really alone. If they became physical with each other, there would be no one who could interrupt them, and they had no reason to not let it take them as far as it would. He blushed. The truth was that he wanted to abuse their newfound privacy and be as affectionate with him as possible. But he was shy, at the same time. What if Eunhyuk wasn’t ready for that? Was he even really ready for that?
I love him, he thought, looking at his reflection in the window. We love each other.
I don’t want to be rejected, he thought, spinning the chair around so he couldn’t see himself anymore. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He won’t. Even if he did, he wouldn’t be unkind. It wouldn’t be because he didn’t want him. He won’t.
When Eunhyuk came out of the bathroom, he walked past Donghae into the kitchen, and Donghae watched him, uncertainty and nervousness making his stomach feel hollow and shaky. Their kitchen had already been stocked with food for them, and Eunhyuk took out a carton of orange juice, glancing back at him.
“You okay?” he asked, taking a glass out of one of the cupboards.
“Mhmm,” Donghae said, raising his eyebrows slightly. He looked at the floor and half shut his eyes. Eunhyuk walked towards him and crouched down, putting his chin on the cushion next to his head. Donghae looked at him and blushed.
“What’s wrong?” he said softly, brushing Donghae’s bangs out of his eyes. His fingers were cool and soft against his forehead. “You’re blushing.”
“I’m…” Donghae stalled, finding it difficult to say the words. After a few seconds he gave up and kissed him. Eunhyuk looked at him in surprise, and Donghae blushed even more. “Sorry. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be stupid,” Eunhyuk said, smiling softly at him. “What are you apologizing for?”
“Nothing,” Donghae said, taking his hand and cradling it next to his heart. “Shy.”
“I’m shy,” Donghae whispered. “Aren’t you?”
“No,” Eunhyuk said, stroking his cheek with his thumb. “There’s no reason to be shy. Why are you shy?”
“I don’t know,” Donghae murmured. “Because we’re alone.”
“So? I wanted to be alone with you,” Eunhyuk said, pulling him up. “Drink some juice.”
Donghae climbed onto the counter and sat down on it, watching Eunhyuk get another glass and pour juice into it for him. Eunhyuk handed it to him and Donghae took it and drank it quickly.
“It’s not that I don’t want to be alone with you,” he said quietly. “I really...want that. It’s just...I’m shy…Weren’t you ever shy?”
Eunhyuk pried the glass away from Donghae’s hand and replaced it with his own. “Of course,” he said, taking his other hand and smiling sweetly up at him. “For a very long time, I was shy around you. But being shy is distracting, so why waste any more time feeling that way? We’ve been alone before. It’s not so different now.”
Donghae nodded and Eunhyuk kissed him, making Donghae’s heart leap. Eunhyuk held him close to his own body and Donghae hugged him, thinking that it was different. But he felt relieved and reassured by him.
“Being this close to me,” he said, holding him closer so that their hearts were beating side-by-side, “and knowing that I accept you and love you just as you are, are you still shy?”
“No,” Donghae said, feeling kind of foolish.
“Your heart’s beating fast. Are you sure?”
“You haven’t noticed that it does that whenever you touch me?”
“No,” Eunhyuk said, and Donghae could feel him smile. “I noticed.”
Eunhyuk sighed and waited patiently until he felt Donghae relax. When he tried to move away, Donghae wouldn’t let him. He squeezed him and Eunhyuk laughed.
“You’re suffocating me,” Eunhyuk gasped. “Go take a shower!”
“Fine,” Donghae said, releasing him. He slid off of the countertop and quickly kissed him. “You’re too nice.”
“Just for you,” Eunhyuk said, grinning at him. “You’re special.”
“The most special?”
“You know you are.”
“I know, I know.”
Donghae looked at himself in the mirror, wearing his usual sleeping attire: sweatpants and a t-shirt. He pulled his towel off of his head and hung it up, refusing to let himself feel nervous again. There was nothing to be afraid of. He just needed to stop thinking about ifs and whens and behave naturally.
Whatever will happen will happen. He turned around and put his hand on the doorknob. It took him a few seconds to steel his nerves and turn it. He opened the door and looked out. Eunhyuk was sitting with his back to him on the floor next to the windows and looking out, and as soon as Donghae saw him, his last reservations disappeared and he walked towards him. Falling onto his knees behind him, he wrapped his arms around Eunhyuk’s neck and pressed his face against it.
At once, his heart was at peace. It would be okay, he thought, if all he was ever allowed to do was hold this person in his arms and feel his heart beating. Eunhyuk put his hands over Donghae’s arms, completing the gesture, and Donghae sighed and relaxed against him.
“Hyukjae,” Donghae said softly. Eunhyuk tilted his head back the slightest bit to show him that he was listening. “I love you. Will hearing me say that...ever get old?”
“No,” Eunhyuk breathed. “Not ever.”
Donghae smiled and leaned over him, kissing his neck and collarbones. Eunhyuk let him, holding onto his hands and blushing the slightest bit. “Will saying it ever get old?”
Donghae crawled to the other side of him and Eunhyuk looked at him, a mixture of amusement and seriousness in his smile. Donghae leaned forward and whispered that it never would, because loving him would never get old. Eunhyuk kissed him, moving onto his knees and wrapping his arms around his waist.
Donghae’s heart beat more quickly as the kissing grew deeper and more intimate, but he had no desire to stop. He held onto him, his mouth moving with his, suddenly desperate to be closer to him. As if on cue, Eunhyuk stood up, taking Donghae with him, and pulled him towards the bedroom, turning off the light as he went.
“I can’t see you,” Donghae said, laughing and catching Eunhyuk’s hand. But he didn’t need to see, he realized. All he needed was to feel.
“You remember when you had nightmares all the time, and you used to use a nightlight to escape darkness like this?”
“Yeah,” Donghae said, putting his hands on either side of Eunhyuk’s waist.
“No matter what kind of nightmare you have, you’ll never need a nightlight again.”
Donghae closed his eyes for a second, his heart and soul rejoicing in the person in front of him. You’ll be here. I’ll have you.
Donghae tilted his head almost painfully slowly and kissed the base of Eunhyuk’s neck, sliding his hands around Eunhyuk’s hips beneath his shirt and up his back. Eunhyuk placed his hands on either side of Donghae’s face, lifted it gently, and their lips met again. Donghae pulled Eunhyuk’s shirt over his head and down his arms, running his hands down his smooth muscles.
Eunhyuk enveloped him in his arms and kissed him more passionately than he ever had before. Donghae closed his eyes and kissed him back with equal enthusiasm, his lips parting under the pressure of Eunhyuk’s. His heart raced and he explored Eunhyuk’s body with his hands. All he wanted was to feel.
Eunhyuk gently pushed him backwards onto the bed and straddled him, kissing his neck. He ran his hands up the middle of Donghae’s chest slowly and Donghae drew a sharp intake of breath. Eunhyuk paused and they both laughed.
“Are you nervous?”
“No,” Donghae said, laughing. He ran his fingers through Eunhyuk’s hair and kissed him. Never in a million years would he have imagined that he would do this, but now that it was happening, he wanted it. He wanted to share this with him. He flushed hotly and kissed him more deeply. He wanted him.
For now, it was enough for Eunhyuk to undress him. It was enough for them to be so openly physical with each other. It was enough for his blood to race and to feel Eunhyuk’s heart beating just as rapidly. It was enough for him to lose his breath kissing him. It was enough to feel the shock of Eunhyuk’s body against his, skin against skin, with so much intent behind it.
But he would want more, he knew, as Eunhyuk sucked the air out of his lungs and his hand moved towards his hips. He knew that Eunhyuk would give him more, because he wanted this just as much.
[Next Part] Chapter Eleven: With You (Final Chapter)