“Don’t you remember?” Moon whispered, leaning against the wall of mirrors as he and Yujun stood alone in the corner of the room. Their bandmates were goofing off all over the rest of the dance studio space while their manager, Q, fiddled angrily with the stereo. It had been hiccuping all day long, keeping the boys from running their choreography properly for the three or four hours they had already spent there that day. The boys didn’t seem to mind though, taking the time to play cards, write, draw or, in Yujun’s case, read. (Although, if he hadn’t been so angry with Moon they probably would have been off doing something more … fun).
Yujun flipped a page in his book, pretending not to pay Moon much mind. The boy hated to ignore Moon, but he was far too stubborn to just let things go. He was still angry at the boy, and had been giving him little to no interaction for a couple of days at that point. But make no mistake, he was listening, and his curiosity as to what the boy was talking about got the better of him.
“Remember what?” Yujun asked flippantly, not looking up from his novel. Moon knew exactly what game they were playing, and edged closer toward the boy, almost cornering him, to apply pressure to their conversation. He had gotten Yujun to acknowlege him at last, so his confidence was already rising.
“Last year,” Moon explained in that low, husky voice he knew Yujun adored, “We kissed for the first time in this room. In fact, it’ll be exactly a year in three days.”
Yujun tried to remain stonefaced but hearing the other boy admit he remembered exactly what day the two of them had gotten together made the sides of his mouth turn up into a smile. Moon saw this and smiled himself, inching even closer, knowing he had earned a point in their game of verbal ping pong. Yujun could feel Moon's breath against the side of his mouth, and turned his face slightly toward Moon against his better judgement.
“There he is,” Moon muttered, in that same voice that made Yujun melt, their lips brushing as he spoke. Yujun immediately felt his stance start to crumble, and let his eyes flutter closed as he prepared himself for Moon to close the space between them. He didn’t though, instead he snatched the book out of Yujun’s hands and grinned like an overgrown child. Yujun hated to admit he loved this playful side of Moon, especially because he was still trying to be mad at him.
“You must think I’m easy, Yu,” Moon practically giggled, dangling the book in front of a blushing Yujun. The boy promptly snagged his book back, rolling his eyes as he tried to mentally cool his face off. This never worked, of course, and Moon grinned with pride.
“Not easy, just stupid,” Yujun said coldly, sliding his back down the mirror wall to sit on the floor. He shook his head as he went back to his book, scooting away from Moon as he sat down next to where Yujun was reading as well.
Q smacked his fist against the stereo in frustration, letting out a few swears while he was at it. The boys all stopped and looked up in the direction of the loud bang and string of explitives. Q sighed, giving into the plans of the broken stereo, and told them they were dismissed for an hour lunch. The other four boys stampeeded toward the door, their sneakers squeaking against the flooring as they went, a parade of gray sweats and perfectly done hair disappearing into the hallway. Kai, the eldest member of their group, paused at the door and looked toward Moon and Yujun.
“You guys coming?” He asked with a smile, holding the door for a moment. Even though he knew the two boys probably wanted their alone time, he never hesitated to make sure they knew they were always invited to get lunch, or do really anything, with the group.
Moon shook his head, pointing to the two boys’ bags in the corner of the studio, “We brought our own. Thanks, though.”
“Got it,” Kai said with a knowing look, giving Moon a subtle thumbs up (knowing he was in the dog house) as he bounded after the other boys down the hallway, the studio door closing behind him with a metallic thud. As Q went after the others, he grumbled something about the stereo, obviously irate that their day was pretty much shot.
Moon and Yujun were finally left alone. This was some of the only alone time they got together when they were preparing for a new release. When it wasn’t choreo practice, it was a photo shoot, or media training, or filming a music video. Which, Moon knew, was the root of Yujun’s disapproval.
Moon brought their lunches out of their bags and set them out, turning to face the boy fully where they sat cross-legged on the floor.
“You’re not still mad about the shoot are you?” Moon questioned in his serious voice, opening up his lunch box.
Yujun snapped his book shut and set it aside, avoiding Moon’s eyes as he opened up his lunch box as well. Where Yujun didn’t speak with words, he always spoke with actions. Moon had learned this quickly once the boys became an item.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Moon sighed meekly, taking a bite of some left over pizza the boys had ordered from the night before. He would have gotten a beautiful handmade lunch of rice and fixins, but when Yujun was mad he only packed lunch for himself. Moon didn’t much mind the pizza, but he loved when Yujun would pack his lunch. He would always write him notes and give him things like cucumbers punched from a heart shaped cookie cutter. It wasn’t the food itself, but the sentiment behind it that Moon always missed dearly when he was on Yujun’s bad side.
Yujun pushed around the rice in his box with a pair of chopsticks, staring down at the food with sad eyes, not feeling very hungry at all. He had eaten his own lunch this morning for breakfast. What sat in front of him was meant for Moon, love note taped to the bottom and all. Moon leaned forward and touched the boy’s knee warmly, seeing the emotion on his face even as he tried to hide it.
“Just talk to me,” Moon whispered, squeezing Yujun’s leg affectionately. That’s all it took for Yujun to tumble like a tower of cards.
“You were flirting with her,” Yujun said quietly, embarrassed by his own jealousy, “The model they hired for the music video. You two were flirting the whole time, and you didn’t have to be so touchy with her.”
Moon shook his head gently, “Yu, look at me.”
Yujun reluctantly lifted his head, his cheeks freshly blushed again, his eyes glossy with tears he was ashamed to admit were close to falling. He was always the more emotional of the two, often crying when they would have arguments or disagree. Moon was much more rational and level-headed. They balanced one another out in a way.
“Don’t cry,” Moon whispered, taking one of the boy’s hands into his own, “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings. I was just trying to be nice to her. I don’t even like girls like that.”
“Well, you sure had me fooled. You were certainly being nice,” Yujun said as his bottom lip quivered and his voice began to waver. He sniffled to try and stifle his tears, looking down at their hands as Moon’s thumb gently carressed his skin. Even as he watched the boy hold onto his hand, the fear that one day he might not want to do that anymore swirled in Yujun’s head like a tornado, whisking all of his rational thinking up into his storm of emotions.
“I’m sorry,” Moon repeated, his eyes soft as he looked at Yujun. “You know how I feel about you, don’t you?”
Yujun nodded his head slowly. This was always what Moon said when he meant ‘I love you.’ Yujun assumed he just wasn’t ready to say it yet, and he tried to respect that. He was already worried enough about scaring the boy away, or somehow losing him. He didn’t want to pressure Moon into anything, even though his avoidance of the phrase sometimes made Yujun’s mind race with doubt.
“Love you, too,” Yujun said softly, his voice stabalizing as a single tear dropped down his cheek. Moon pushed their lunches to the side and got up onto his knees, inching over to the boy. Yujun met him half way, wrapping his arms around Moon so they were flush chest to chest. They embraced, holding one another like fragile doves. Yujun’s fingers softly traced along Moon’s shoulder blade, and down his back through his t-shirt as they kneeled on the floor. As he calmed his tears, Yujun breathed in Moon’s familair rosemary and mint aroma. When Yujun pulled his head back from Moon's shoulder the boy leaned in to kiss him, and Yujun leaned back into his inviting warmth. Their lips moving together, they once again felt the air go stiff with electricity. Each time they kissed it reaffirmed what they already knew; this was special. Moon pulled back and started dusting kisses all over Yujun’s face, finally making the boy laugh. Yujun tried to fight him off to no avail, Moon wrestling him to the floor in the process. The boy pinned Yujun’s arms over his head, straddling his waist with ease. While the two boys were similar in size and stature, Moon was much stronger than the other boy, and held him down without struggle.
“Have I ever told you how pretty you look like this?” Moon smirked, leaning down to nuzzle his face against Yujun’s neck. The boy squirmed, giggling as Moon’s warm breath and wet lips touched his skin.
“Get off of me!” Yujun protested through laughter, his face flushed pink, a smile spreading across his lips.
“This is what you get for not making my lunch,” Moon warned playfully, planting a soft kiss against Yujun’s collarbone.
Both boys gasped, their eyes snapping toward the door as they saw the bright white light of a camera flash go off in the studio. Only then did they notice the crack in the door. It had never quite closed flush. The two scrambled to their feet as they heard the footsteps of the voyeur retreat quickly down the hallway. Just as Moon reached the door, throwing it open, he saw the woman jog out of the building. She was wearing a badge that displayed a news outlet logo. Fuck.
“A fan?” Yujun asked with an anxious expression on his face, standing just behind Moon as he stared down the hallway.
“I don’t think so,” Moon sighed, his expression hard to read, “looked like she was a journalist.”
It didn’t take but 12 hours for the footage and photos of them to surface online. Before the group knew it, the boys were headlining every major magazine and news outlet. Their private moment was out there for everyone to see. A strange, violated feeling crept over them and wouldn’t go away.
Q sat down with the two the next day and spoke about where to go from there, especially since the entire group was going to be promoting their new album in just a few days time. They had two options; deny that the footage was them or that it meant anything, or tell the world what was really going on. The boys spoke almost exclusively about what they should do the days leading up to the release of their new music, which would also mean the beginning of their press run and promotions. Yujun just wanted to be honest. He knew lying wouldn’t make anybody’s accusations go away, anyway. They might as well just come out and say it, as scary as that seemed.
Moon wasn’t so sure of the whole situation. He flipped back and forth quite a lot over the course of the days they discussed the topic. This was definitely concerning for Yujun, although he could understand the hesitation because of the ramifications of what was to come if they told the truth. Their entire group could be shunned, ruining not only their own careers but the careers of their bandmates who over the years had become like family to them. Reassuringly, though, all of their team, including Q, were very supportive of them finally coming out if that’s what they chose to do. But at the end of the day, Yujun told Moon to do whatever he felt most comfortable with. He knew he would be able to deal with either outcome and, since Moon seemed to be the most troubled, wanted him to make the decision.
As they got ready for their first performance three days after the leaking of their studio kisses, Yujun could feel everyone was a bit on edge. Even their makeup artists and stylists were quieter than usual. He knew this was because Moon wasn’t himself. He hadn’t been since everything happened. While he was usually the one goofing around the most, cracking jokes and playing pranks, he sat on his own in their dressing room and stared off at the wall. Yujun thought about going over to see if he was okay, but didn’t want to put any extra stress onto him before their first performance. So, for the most part, everyone kept to themselves. It hadn’t been that silent before a show since their debut performance years and years earlier. Yujun couldn’t help but feel responsible.
When they finally walked out onto the stage a little while later they were greeted by cheers from some of their fans, but an odd energy coming from the crowd overall. They seemed to be analyzing the boys much more than usual, waiting to see if any of them gave anything away. Their performance went off without a hitch though, and by the end of the song the vibe in the room had shifted for the better. Yujun felt a bit of relief wash over him, dabbing at the beads of sweat that had collected on his forehead with the sleeve of his jacket.
The bright stage lights shone down on the boys as the interviewer, a young man dressed in an ill-fitting suit, came out and met them on the stage. They all took a moment to catch their breath, and lined up in their usual formation. They always stood in three pairs of two, six members total, and typically Moon would be with Yujun. But that day, Moon had switched spots with Kai, who looked confused at the swap but quickly filled the space by Yujun without missing a beat. Yujun felt his heart sink a bit in his chest at this, but tried to keep his smile from drooping.
“Great performance, boys,” The interviewer started off by saying, organizing his cue cards. The group all responded by saying thank you, speaking as best as they could over the excitable crowd. Each time the audience cheered it reassured Yujun that what they had done hadn’t scared everyone away … but how would they react if they found out the truth? He tried not to think that way as the lights seemed to become hotter, and his heart continued to hammer like a drum in his chest.
“Now, you’ve had to have seen the photos and footage that has surfaced recently,” the young man said, “What is going on between you and Moon, Yujun?”
He moved the mic into Yujun’s face and the boy froze, trying to swallow the growing lump in his throat. The crowd held their breath, the room suddenly much quieter than before. They were all on the edge of their seats. Kai put an encouraging hand on Yujun’s shoulder, noticing the boy was shaking.
“Um-“ Yujun’s started, speaking softly into the mic. That is, before Moon stepped up and grabbed it out of the interviewer’s hand.
“Nothing,” Moon said simply, and Yujun’s head fell slightly at the confidence in his voice, and part of him wanted to cry. The crowd rustled softly, whispers rolling over the audience like a wave.
“Nothing that should get in the way of us doing what we love. We’ve both been a part of this group for five years, and making music is important to us,” Moon went on, making Yujun’s head snap up again, his glossy eyes sparkling under the bright stage lighting.
“It’s unbelievably disrespectful that we were filmed and photographed without our consent, and I’m disappointed that the personal lives of two young guys like us can make the news the way that it did these past few days. Yujun and I are…”
Moon turned then, meeting eyes with the other boy. Moon saw the tears beginning to form for Yujun and smiled reassuringly, so much love in his walnut colored eyes.
“We’re together. But this shouldn’t make any difference in how you enjoy our music or interact with us. We’re just people, y’know?”
Moon took Yujun’s hand into his own, lacing their fingers together. There was a moment of pause amongst the onlookers, but after a beat the majority started clapping and cheering. The other members of the group joined in, beaming proudly at their friends. Even the interviewer looked touched, taking the mic back from Moon with a gentle demeanor.
“Thanks for clearing that up,” the young man said with admiration in his voice, moving onto his next question. As the crowd settled and Moon and Yujun still stood hand in hand, Moon leaned over and whispered into the other boy’s ear.
“You know I love you, don’t you?”
And Yujun did know. Finally, he knew for sure.