pg, henry/ryeowook, heechul/henry-ish, 2008
for kitsuneyujji, the wook to my kyu ♥ i started this as a result of this, and then this happened and, well, i couldn't ignore it. crazy night, boys.
He’d be lying through his teeth if he said he hadn’t expected it. Being the youngest is one thing; being stupid is another. And it’s not like Heechul has ever been subtle. Ever. A tease, yes. Willing to do just about anything to get a reaction, yes. Subtle, not so much.
Still, knowing it’s coming does absolutely nothing to lessen the shockthrill of Heechul’s fingers curling lightly against his ear and his face leaning closer and closer. If Henry were to try hard enough he could probably get away but instead he finds himself tilting his head before he realizes what he’s doing, and by then it’s too late because Heechul’s actually kissing him.
His lips are a little chapped and the mint lip balm he’s wearing smells familiar in a way that Henry thinks he might be able to place were it not for the fact that he’s kind of kissing back. The end of Henry’s bow digs sharply into his palm, bringing him back to his senses or something like them, and he pulls away, laughing and making faces to try to cover up the fact that he’s in a slight state of inner panic.
As Heechul walks across the stage, triumphant, Henry wishes there’d been enough room in his luggage for his sanity. Too bad it probably gets more use back in Canada.
Afterwards, Ryeowook just pats him on the cheek and smiles.
“It’s okay, Heechul has that effect on everyone.”
“But— I. Gah!”
The words coming out of Ryeowook’s mouth are mildly reassuring but the curious tilt of his head sort of cancels it all out.
“Don’t worry about it too much. You get used to it.”
“I— But I don’t want to get used to it!”
Henry knows he shouldn’t look. He hasn’t had nearly as long to develop a resistance to Ryeowook’s pout (not that the others manage to a whole lot better but it’s still unfair) and Ryeowook damn well knows it, not to mention is not above using it on him at every opportunity.
“He— Wait. You do?! Did. Wait. Whatever. You?!”
“I don’t know,” he says and shrugs, eyes going a little unfocused as he stares off into space for a moment before turning an innocent gaze back to Henry. “It was a little…”
“Weird? Sudden? Slightly creepy in a ‘Heechul has a fetish for anyone that speaks Chinese’ sort of way?”
Ryeowook blinks, then smiles slowly.
Brows furrowed in confusion, Henry gapes at Ryeowook long enough for Ryeowook to take the step and a half he needs to put him far, far into Henry’s personal space. That he’s used to, but he’s definitely not used to the almost predatory look on his face. Ryeowook is the one that takes care of him. Ryeowook is the one that holds his hand when he’s nervous. Ryeowook is not the one that typically makes a habit of looking at him like he’s dinner.
He has got to stop letting people corner him like this.
When Ryeowook speaks again, his voice is lower, soft and anything but shy, and the timbre of it sends a chill down Henry’s spine.
“Do you want to know what I was thinking about when Heechul was walking towards me?”
“Um,” is all he can get out in reply. He’d never say it out loud, but Heechul has nothing on Ryeowook when Ryeowook wants something.
“I was wondering if he was going to try to kiss me.” Ryeowook’s fingertips are tracing the edge of Henry’s jacket absently and it’s, well, distracting. “And then I wondered if he did, would I be able to taste you.”
Henry gulps and knows his cheeks are already more flushed than they were onstage minutes earlier.
“You— uh,” he starts, then promptly stops when Ryeowook’s eyes meet his own from under lowered lashes.
“I think I’d rather find out firsthand.”
The world stops.
And then someone yells at them from the wings and Ryeowook disappears with a brush of his hand down Henry’s chest, leaving Henry’s state of inner panic somewhere around skyrocket level.
Henry’s life story has always seemed to be a case of things perpetually getting worse before they eventually get better. The next two hours pass in a blurry, gut-wrenching roller coaster of stage-adrenaline (fueled in no small part by Ryeowook’s eyes constantly on him) and heart-sick anger. Siwon and Ryeowook flank him as everyone files into the dressing rooms, and off to his side he sees Heechul and Kyuhyun doing the same for Zhou Mi. As Sungmin’s arms envelop him in a rib crushing hug, he’s never been happier to have these people in his life.
Henry had thought the room was going to be empty when he finished his shower, thanks to the hastily scribbled note from Zhou Mi (You know where I’ll be if you need me ♡♡♡, and if the hearts are a little droopier than usual, he certainly understands why) and lack of personal belongings he’d found when he first came in.
A slightly sheepish Ryeowook sitting on the bed hadn’t been in his plans.
“Kyuhyun gave me the key,” he says, holding up the cardkey with a small smile. It’s a testament to Henry’s state of mental disarray that it takes as long as it does for that statement to fully process.
Now that he’s not high on performing, Ryeowook looks a little unsure, sharp features and pointed confidence both softened in the dim light of a Shanghai hotel room. Henry moves first, making his way around the bags on the floor that weren’t there before, to curl up around Ryeowook in a loose sprawl that’s familiar, comfortable after months spent sharing a space, even if he is only wearing a worn pair of boxers. Except this time when Ryeowook curls up alongside him, there’s no space between them and the hand cupping the side of his face is new.
Conflicted doesn't even begin to cover it.
He's still hurting and still angry and still kind of wants to hit something or kick something, but he's got Ryeowook in front of him, waiting like he has all the time in the world and would be perfectly content to stay here with Henry until the end of the universe.
Ryeowook breathes out at the same time Henry breathes in and the lack of clothing might not be such a good idea if Ryeowook keeps looking at him like that. It just makes the chaos tumbling through his head move to his stomach then scatter through the rest of his body. Henry closes his eyes, struggling to find the right thing to say, the right thing to do, but it’s Ryeowook that breaks the silence with a hushed whisper.
“I’ll be here for however long you want me to be, okay?”
Nodding, Henry curls closer with a shiver that makes Ryeowook tsk and drag a blanket over them both.
There’s a tremor in his own voice when he asks, “Will you stay tonight?”
A short burst of vaguely exasperated laughter escapes Ryeowook. “Did you not hear what I just said?”
Shoving at his shoulder playfully, Henry makes himself comfortable, mumbling. “Okay, okay, just checking.”
The only problem is that no matter how warm Ryeowook is, or how right it feels to have those long fingers carding through his hair, Henry’s thoughts just won’t stop. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t stop the pain in his chest or the feeling that he’s about to explode, and the last thing he wants is for Ryeowook to be on the receiving end when he does.
Suddenly there’s a bang on the door, accompanied by Heechul’s voice.
“Oi, open up or I’m coming in whether you want me to or not.”
The threat’s enough to make Henry jump and reach blindly into the bag beside the bed for the first article of clothing he can grab, and it’s not until he’s standing at the door with Heechul eying him up and down that he realizes it’s Ryeowook’s shorts that he hurriedly yanked on and that Ryeowook’s legs are approximately half the size of his own.
“Here, don’t break it,” Heechul says, handing over his laptop and ruffling Henry’s hair. “Oh, and Ryeowookie,” he adds, forcing the door open far enough for him to lean his head around, “don’t let him do anything I wouldn’t do.”
“Yes, hyung,” Ryeowook calls back from where he’s buried underneath the blankets.
Henry finds himself staring back and forth between the laptop and the closed door blankly for a moment before Ryeowook calls his name and he crawls back into bed, computer in tow. One of these days he's going to figure out how Heechul always seems to know what he and Zhou Mi are thinking despite being around them less than everyone else because there's no way he's actually psychic, Henry's 98.5% sure. Maybe it has something to do with his foreigner fetish.
Ryeowook's chin comes to rest on Henry's shoulder as he shoves his legs back under the covers and opens the lid of the laptop. Somehow he's not surprised to see that Heechul's desktop background is a picture of his sleeping cats.
“Do you mind?” Ryeowook asks softly, vaguely motioning at how he's clearly reading over Henry's shoulder.
Henry thinks about it for a moment, about what he wants to say to the fans, to all of the members, to Ryeowook himself, then shakes his head.
“No,” he says with a self-deprecating laugh, “It's probably going to be in English, anyways. I don't think my Korean or your Chinese is up to this. Honestly, I’m not sure I’m up to this.”
Fingers wrapped around Henry's arm, Ryeowook gives a gentle squeeze and a quiet hum, thumb moving up and down reassuringly as Henry gapes at the pages upon pages of support.
“Do what you need to.”
He starts typing, and if Ryeowook notices how badly his hands are shaking by the time he clicks post, he doesn't say a word— he just holds Henry closer.
As if the act of purging years’ worth of shoved-down feelings was more exhausting than a weeks of running all over China on two hours of sleep, Henry carefully lays the laptop down on the bedside table and promptly crashes, unaware of the ridiculously proud smile Ryeowook has on his face as he pulls the blankets up and rests his head next to Henry’s.
He sleeps better that night than he has in months.
It’s far too early for any sane person to be up, which completely explains why Ryeowook’s nowhere to be found when Henry is yanked out of sleep by the alarm he doesn’t even remember setting. On auto-pilot, he turns it off and makes his way to the bathroom and is in the process of spitting toothpaste suds into the sink when the main door opens and a dangerously chipper Ryeowook bounces in chattering away about something Henry’s brain hasn’t woken up enough yet to process in English, much less Korean.
Henry splashes water on his face and mumbles unintelligibly through the hand towel he pats his skin dry with, and when he opens his eyes, Ryeowook’s standing close, wide eyed. It’s déjà vu, except quieter.
“There was something I was going to do last night,” he says, taking the towel from Henry’s unresisting hand and sliding his fingers though messy bedhead to pull Henry in for a kiss.
Heechul’s in the elevator when Henry and Ryeowook head downstairs. Still more than a little dazed, Henry doesn’t think anything of the way Ryeowook curls against his side until he eyes Heechul and says, surprisingly fiercely, “No more kissing.”
With a coo, Heechul looks back and forth between the two before leaning in close to Ryeowook to whisper.
“Aw, but you were going to be next.”
The door pings open and Heechul flounces out with a little wave, leaving Henry to just laugh and pat a quietly fuming Ryeowook on the head.
“Don’t worry, you get used to it.”