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13 July 2016 @ 11:26 pm
a really long fic  
Part 1

This time when Jaewon’s making his way through Mnet corridors, trying to find his way to his dressing room to check in with his manager, they are busy, crowded with cameras and management types and even the odd studio executive in amongst the mob. He passes Day Day, who’s on his way outside for a smoke, “we’ve got like an hour and a half before they want us onstage. You got time.”

The first door Jaewon tries leads to an unlit storage room that he’s got to hope isn’t his dressing room, the second sees him met by unfriendly glares from CJamm and BewhY who are deep in hushed discussion. He apologises and backs out quickly, confused and disoriented. He’s sure it was round here somewhere.

“Shit,” he swears under his breath when the third door leads to an empty dressing room that could almost be his if it weren’t for the garish orange of the chairs. His dressing room had been blue. And much closer to the soundstage than this, he’s sure.

“We sharing now?”

Jaewon whips round and finds himself face to chest with Seo Chulgoo, smirking down at him.

The busy corridors feel like nothing. Jaewon tries desperately to think of something clever to say but as the world shrinks around the two of them, so does his vocabulary, and he’s left flapping his mouth like a fish trying to grab hold of some sort of sensible language.

“Fancy seeing you here,” he finally manages to blurt out.

Chulgoo raises an eyebrow into a questioning arch, “this is my dressing room. Move.”

Jaewon steps out of the way for Chulgoo to pass. He suddenly becomes very much aware that the taller rapper is not wearing his usual ensemble of sports gear and jeans, and is instead decked out in a slim fitting black suit that draws what can only be described as unnecessary attention to his long limbs and pinched hips.

And ass. Not that Jaewon’s looking, but he’d have to be blind not to notice.

“Are you coming in?” Chulgoo calls back over his shoulder. Jaewon takes a moment to work out that he’s standing gormless in the doorway, neither in nor out, before stepping firmly inside and letting the door swing shut behind him.

The butterflies in his belly start raging. He takes a deep breath to steady himself and tries to think of a way to complement Chulgoo for looking nice that doesn’t actually sound like he’s complementing Chulgoo for looking nice.

“What’s the suit for?” not quite.

Chulgoo makes a face, “performance, what do you think? I can only assume that’s why you’re dressed as a bottle of Tipp-Ex.”

Jaewon blinks down at his bright white tshirt and jeans, a perfect negative of the outfit he had worn to the first audition. Tipp-Ex. Ha. Funny. “It was Simon D’s idea,” he shrugs.

“Yeah that seems like his style,” Chulgoo agrees, before crumpling onto the sofa.

There’s just enough of a fully trained idol in Jaewon to have him wincing, “you’ll crumple your suit sitting like that.”

“God your worse that the producers,” Chulgoo grumbles, but he shrugs off his jacket and sets it aside all the same.

He can’t think of anything more to say. Jaewon stands awkwardly in the middle of the room, trying not to fiddle with his clothes or pay too much attention to the faint traces of cigarette smoke in the air. He doesn’t smoke anymore, but it’s a habit not easily lost and no sooner has his brain identified the scent than his lungs are itching to be choked.

Idols don’t get to smoke, real rappers do. Perhaps that was the big distinction all along.
Chulgoo nods to the other half of the sofa he’s sitting on, “sit.”

A very large part of Jaewon wants to ignore Chulgoo. He talks in too many imperatives, like he expects the world to follow his will. There would be a certain measure of satisfaction to be had in defying him, though perhaps it’s worth it, to slot himself into the space left by Chulgoo and let the world shrink around them. Their knees forces together by the size of the sofa and their own splayed legs, their eyes locked in what feels to Jaewon like unexpected intensity.

Unexpected, but perhaps not unanticipated. Chulgoo is very intense, and disarmingly physical. His arm snakes out along the back of the sofa like it’s a spring wound too tight to stay coiled to his body, and his hand grazes Jaewon’s shoulder.

Jaewon fights to keep his breathing steady against the raging battery of butterflies against his chest. He thinks back to after the cypher, how casually Chulgoo had slung an arm round him then. That’s just what he’s like as a person, it must be Olltii’s doing.

“You’ve got some pretty fancy toys over at the doll’s house,” Chulgoo says. Jaewon’s expression must betray his confusion, because he lets out a bark of laughter before clarifying that he’s talking about the gear he was working with in the YG studio.

“Oh,” Jaewon immediately feels stupid for not getting it. It only adds to the air Chulgoo gives off of being entirely in control of his surroundings, even when there’s nothing to control, “thanks? I mean I’m used to it so…”

“Yeah? I bet the AOMG studios aren’t all that as far as you’re concerned.”

“Nah,” Jaewon allows himself the beginnings of a smile as he shakes his head. Chulgoo rolls his eyes good naturedly, and adjusts his position so that his hand is placed more firmly on Jaewon’s shoulder, fingers creeping up to the exposed skin at the neck of his tshirt.

Not that Jaewon’s counting, or paying attention, or that he’s searching Chulgoo’s blank face for some trace of intention.

“Y’know I can see why Woosung hangs out with Hanbin.

“I think he gets more out of him than studio time.”

“Yeah?” Chulgoo’s eyebrows wiggle suggestively. Jaewon takes a carefully measured breath, and hopes against hope that he’s not being fucked with.

Different direction, different subject matter. Jaewon hunts around for something, anything to try to push the conversation away from Chulgoo’s unflinching eyes and close proximity and fuck they are close. And it shouldn’t be that big of a deal but against all reason his nerves are screaming for more, trying to find a way to move far enough into Chulgoo’s personal space that there will be no choice but to touch him.

What the fuck.

Jaewon mentally slaps himself and leaps for the one reasonable point of common contact they have, “you’ve known Olltii for a while, right?”

“I don’t wanna talk about Woosung,” and is it Jaewon’s imagination that Chulgoo shifts ever so slightly further along the sofa.

Jaewon has nothing left to say. With a concerted effort, he keeps his breathing steady, and his eyes on Chulgoo’s.

“Y’know I don’t think I’ve ever heard you rap outside of Show Me The Money. No mixtapes, no underground releases or anything. It’s like you popped up out of nowhere like a regular idol trainee,” Chulgoo speaks without judgement inherent in his tone but the implication is there nonetheless. Jaewon internally recoils, this is not a conversation he wants to be having right now.

He shrugs it off as best he can, “So?”

“So, you may not be the best MC I’ve ever heard but you don’t sound like someone who came up as an idol,” Chulgoo shifts and this time Jaewon’s sure he’s moving closer, “so what’s up with that? Where were you?”

“Maybe I’m just naturally that good and the underground will never know what it lost.”

“Possible. But unlikey.”

“I dunno what to tell you man, I was putting stuff out but you know what Hiphopplaya’s like.”

Chulgoo cracks a smile, “I don’t think I had the same experience as you.”

“Well we can’t all be prodigies.”

The smile stays long enough to spread to Chulgoo’s eyes, stretching his mouth into a long clean bow. Like this, with his hair all done up, dressed up nice, the top two buttons of his shirt undone, he looks pretty good. Jaewon is struck by an urge to tell him as much, to say a big fuck you to subtlety. And why shouldn’t he? People tell Jaewon he’s good looking all the time, but he rarely gets to say it back. On the few times he’s dared to tell someone that he likes the way they look off the cuff, they have responded with such shock and confusion that he’s been forced to play it off as a joke. He has to stand there and be ogled, woe betide that he might be looking out as much as people are looking in.

“You look nice.” Jaewon says. And immediately blushes scarlet.

If nothing else, it definitely surprises Chulgoo. First his smile vanishes, his eyes go wide and he sits up very straight. Jaewon can feel the ‘just kidding’ bubbling on the back of his tongue but before he can make it that far, Chulgoo relaxes in a rush, an overly pleased grin sweeping over his face as he chuckles low and moves in closer still.

Jaewon sucks in a breath. Chulgoo’s hand slides up to rest firmly against the back of his neck and their knees are now touching, hands resting limply on thighs so close that the air between them is more of a formality than anything else.

“Look who’s talking,” he mumbles, reaching up to hook a finger under Jaewon’s chin and pull him forward.

As if he needed any convincing. Jaewon leans up as Chulgoo leans down to meet him in the middle.

The first brush of their lips is softer than he’s expecting, testing the waters, making sure that they both want this. When Chulgoo doesn’t pull away Jaewon pushes harder against him, hand coming up to cradle his cheek and mouth searching hungrily for that same fervour.

Chulgoo sucks in breath so sharply that Jaewon feels the air rush from his own lungs. It doesn’t stop either of them. The world feels so small right now, so perfectly, utterly tiny.

The hand at the back of Jaewon’s neck urges him forward even as it searches for purchase in his hair. Jaewon gasps when Chulgoo’s teeth graze his bottom lip and when their mouths find each other again they are open, moving fluid against each other. They melt into the motion like two halves of the same wave, a mess of limbs and bodies and hopelessly out of control butterflies that are only concerned with keeping their own fervent pace. The world fades to a background concern; the only thing that matters is that they keep on kissing, that they keep on moving in time.

It takes a moment or two for the sound of the door swinging open to translate into action in either Jaewon or Chulgoo. They pull away from each other groggily, irritated at being disturbed and desperately hoping that whatever it is will go away quickly and leave them be.

“Sorry,” a familiar voice mumbles from somewhere behind Jaewon. He knows that he knows the owner, but whoever it is sounds small and far away – he puts it down to his own disconnect with his senses.

He turns around to see Kevin standing in the doorway, looking back at him with an expression that he can’t quite place. Sheepishly, Jaewon extracts his hands from Chulgoo’s person and tries to look more like a professional musician than a thirteen year old caught snogging their crush in an empty classroom.

Kevin shakes his head very quickly, like he’s trying to push whatever he just saw out of his memory, “Jaewon, we need you on the soundstage.”

He leaves so quickly, he doesn’t even catch Jaewon’s “ok.”

“We’ll go for a drink after recording,” Chulgoo tells him as Jaewon makes to leave.

Jaewon runs through Mnet corridors as big as anything, a grin light on his lips and his feet sure of their destination. He has a good feeling about this stage, and a better feeling about everything that comes after it.

They are ushered between mainstage and waiting room, a producer always on hand to direct them to their mark or cut them off if they come too close to saying something that might prove too good for the editing department to resist.

“We’re your friends, remember?” one of them simpers, having put an end to whatever wild tale Kevin was about to tell of American drug culture.

Kevin rolls his eyes, and backs up the conversation he’s having with BewhY to something more palatable for the cameras.

Jaewon watches from a distance with Day Day, a smile still clinging hopelessly to his face no matter how much tension the script indicates is supposed to be building at this stage of the proceedings. He has the funniest feeling that Kevin is avoiding him, but it’s hard to tell with only half an hour’s evidence to work from. Still, he hasn’t made any attempt to speak to Jaewon in that time, which wouldn’t be weird if they weren’t supposed to be friends.

“Good luck!” Jaewon whispers to him as they are lead up the stage to begin the recording proper.

Kevin flashes him a smile that doesn’t feel entirely sincere, “you too.”

Whatever’s eating him, there’s no time to deal with it now. After hours of waiting, the final plunge happens incredibly quickly. First the four of them are huddled backstage where the cameras can’t see them, then the beat drops and performer’s instinct takes over.

They do well. Jaewon does well. After all too many attempts to show the best of himself, he finally manages it, with the smell of Seo Chulgoo’s last cigarette still clinging treacherously to the back of his tongue. Maybe that’s it, he goes into so many things with shaking hands, an over focus on things going wrong, all he needed was something good enough to take his mind off the bullshit.

If you can call Seo Chulgoo a good thing. He probably isn’t, and the fact that Jaewon feels like he is is no doubt even worse, but he feels like a good thing, and for now that had to be enough.

Kevin bungles one line, Day Day loses snatches of his lyrics, BewhY shows them all up for fools and they’re glad of it. They stand in line onstage and wait to be judged, and for the first time all competition, Jaewon knows he is secure.

“Day Day,” Simon D announces the elimination. They all crowd round to console their now former team mate and try to pretend it wasn’t obvious. Jaewon feels bad for him, really, but he also can’t deny that he’s happy Kevin gets to stay on another round.

“You did good,” BewhY tells all of them like the defacto team leader he is. A director yells cut, and then they scatter.

Perhaps it was just pre-stage nerves that had seen Kevin acting so strangely before they went on, because now he seems perfectly content to follow Jaewon back to the waiting room to be filmed reacting to the rest of the stages, “man I thought I was out for a moment there.”

“Hyeong please, you’re way too good for them to eliminate you because of one botched bar,” Jaewon swings a friendly arm round Kevin’s shoulders, “But speaking of forgotten lyrics, what the hell happened there.”

Kevin shrugs, “I dunno, I looked at you and forgot what I was supposed to be saying. You sucked them straight out of me.”

“Explains why I did so well.”

“I thought we were never gonna finish Jesus shitting Christ,” Chulgoo hisses when Jaewon meets him outside the Mnet building that night after what can only be described as far too long spent waiting for the production team to make up their mind about what type of lighting best suited which team.

“At least it’s done now,”

“Done?” through the darkness, Chulgoo’s eyes gleam, “this shit’s just getting started.”

There’s something oddly sanguine about Chulgoo’s whole demeanour. Jaewon knows that before tonight people had been talking him down, but he had performed just fine. And yet, here he stands, seemingly unchanged in temperament, while Jaewon can consider today an unmitigated success.

“Doesn’t it matter to you?” he asks as they crawl into the back of a cab.

Chulgoo flashes him a sidelong glance, “why would it matter? They could kick me off in disgrace and I’d still be the best freestyle rapper in Korea.”

If Jaewon had been sent home in disgrace tonight, he would still be that ex idol who threw his lot in with YG and confined himself to a creative dungeon for the rest of his working life. It’s not much of a comfort.

“Where are you headed?” the driver asks.

Chulgoo checks his phone for the time, “it’s late, you still wanna go get that drink?”

“Where else would we go?”


He says it so casually, like he does this shit all the time. Jaewon has to catch himself before he says something silly like ‘but your manager’, or ‘don’t you know any discreet hotels’. This right here is the crux of what idoldom has taken from him, what it takes from everybody. He no longer lives in a world where socialising is easy, let alone sex.

So this is the choice Jaewon has – go to a bar with Chulgoo, talk, flirt, get a little tipsy, and when they finally wind up back at his place he can tell himself that he did it because he likes the person he’s with. Or they can skip the pleasantries, he can continue on in the understanding that Chulgoo is kind of an arsehole, and he still gets his dick wet.

“Let’s go back to yours.”

Throwing an arm around Jaewon’s waist, Chulgoo barks a Sinchon address at the driver. He makes it look so easy, like he does this shit all the time.

The butterflies in Jaewon’s stomach decide they don’t like the idea of Chulgoo sleeping around. Because he doesn’t want to share, or he doesn’t want to be cast aside, or it’s just plain weird to think that people can have as much sex as they like without anyone breathing down their neck.

Jaewon’s phone chimes with the ringtone he saves for his manager, for a moment he debates not picking up but the resulting shitstorm it would produce come morning sounds like too much of a headache even from this distance.

“I’ll be out tonight, don’t worry about it. I’ll make my own way to Mnet tomorrow.” Jaewon hangs up in a rush.

Chulgoo snickers, “is that your babysitter?”

“More or less. She’s also my personal assistant, admin person, agent and she speaks to Yang Hyunsuk so I don’t have to.”

“Damn,” Chulgoo sounds impressed, “a regular superhero.”

Jaewon doesn’t say anything, he’d never thought about it like that. The company employees who hound him and put him in his place at seemingly every available opportunity rarely register to him as more than a necessary nuisance if he wants to access the money and power that comes with a big name label. Suddenly he doesn’t feel so great about blowing his manager off.

“You know that Mnet makes their producers work like six twelve hour shifts a week, right? And the scriptwriters have to change shit all the time when we mess up, but they don’t get paid any extra for the extra work. Hell I hear they burn through camera crews like twice a month for most shows – which would explain why I haven’t seen that cute girl with the shoudercam from the first week.” Chulgoo speaks like he’s just making smalltalk, like he’s not really saying anything of value. But there’s a tension creeping into his muscles that Jaewon can fully appreciate given that he’s pressed against his side.

“That’s…how do you know that?”

“I talk to people.” Chulgoo says, like it’s obvious.

It is obvious, it’s so fucking obvious. Obvious enough to make Jaewon stop and think.

“You know, you’re nicer than you let on.”

Chulgoo considers that one carefully, tipping his head back like he’s physically letting the idea roll around his brain before he decides to spit it back out, “I’m not that nice. But I give a shit.”

So where does that leave Jaewon? He doesn’t give that much of a shit about anything external to himself, but he’s nice.

It’s easier not to worry about the big things. Jaewon shuffles closer to Chulgoo, places a hand on his thigh. The effect is instantaneous, the two of them relaxing into each other, retreating from the cacophony of the great injustices they have no power to control. Tonight isn’t about any of that, it’s about the little victories.

Chulgoo bites down on his pulsepoint and Jaewon groans long and low. “Shit.”

“I wanna make you scream,” Chulgoo breathes into the shell of Jaewon’s ear, the arm around his waist twisting tighter as he makes to stand and pulls them both up from the couch.


“This way.”

They stumble down a corridor smaller than anything Mnet has to offer, trying to work out how to move without taking their hands off each other. Jaewon fumbles at the buttons of Chulgoo’s shirt, seemingly endless in number and infernally tricky to handle when you have your tongue in the wearer’s mouth. His hat and jacket were discarded somewhere around the time they started kissing but his tshirt is irritatingly still on his back.

The final button comes undone as they crash through the door and into Chulgoo’s bedroom. It takes a moment to disentangle the pair of them from the long sleeves, then they collide once again, Chulgoo dragging Jaewon’s shirt over his head then grabbing him by the waist and pulling him in close so that their bare chests are pressed against each other and their heartbeats are close enough to feel like they’re shared.

“Touch my nipples,” Jaewon mumbles against Chulgoo’s mouth.

Chulgoo snakes a hand between them to thumb over his left nipple and Jaewon keens.

“Holy shit you’re sensitive,” Chulgoo leans down momentarily to flick his tongue across each of Jaewon’s nipples, and all of a sudden it’s an effort to stand.

Thrusting forward, Jaewon presses their hips together and feels his dick, already hard, pressing against the line of Chulgoo’s own erection.

He hisses at the contact, standing on tiptoes and hooking an arm around Chulgoo’s neck to kiss him as hard as possible, letting the motion carry him forward far enough to keep moving against him, till they’re moaning quietly against each other’s tongues.

Chulgoo pulls back far enough to extract the hand still playing with Jaewon’s nipple and shove it down his pants instead, “fuck you’re hard.”

“Look who’s talking.”

Grinning, Chulgoo squeezes Jaewon’s dick once, before reaching down to undo his jeans so that their underwear drops to the floor in sync. “Get on the bed,” he breathes, before disposing of the rest of his own clothes.

And then they’re naked. Jaewon’s not sure quite what he was expecting to be under Chulgoo’s flashy suit or carefully sports jackets, but he seems more spindly, less intimidating without them. He’s skinny and his overlong limbs only go to emphasise this, meanwhile Jaewon’s been spending enough time in the YG gym to know that he’s toned enough to plead easy on the eye even if he is a little on the thin size.

He crawls back on the bed and Chulgoo follows him, reaching down to press their lips together once again and to wrap a hand around both their dicks at once. The world feels no bigger than this bed to Jaewon, his eyes rolling back into his head as he tries to stifle a groan. His hips rock forwards, the smooth slide of their dicks together scattering electrical signals across his brain in the most divine version of chaos.

“Don’t be shy, I wanna hear you,” Chulgoo murmurs. Then lowers his head to suck hard on each of Jaewon’s nipples in turn.

This time Jaewon doesn’t stifle himself. He never learned that crucial idol talent of staying quiet during sex, and can’t shake the paranoia that someone might come bursting into the room and demand to know what’s going on, but it feels so good to finally let go.

Chulgoo reaches forward to turn on the bedside lamp and retrieve a bottle of lube and a condom. From this angle, Jaewon can appreciate how his hair, so carefully styled earlier that night, has been pushed into a delightfully messy crow’s nest, held in place by residual wax. The light glides off his skin, clear and smooth, creating a perfect contrast between with the dark of his eyes.

Chulgoo catches him looking, “what?”

“You look good enough to eat.”

The beginnings of Chulgoo’s answering smile look sheepish and self-conscious. He catches himself in time to push the bottle of lube into Jaewon’s hands, “maybe next time. Swap places? I wanna see you ride me.”

Jaewon doesn’t need to argue any kind of case for that. He moves aside quickly, letting Chulgoo lie down before straddling his legs. He pops the cap and squeezes the bottle too hard, winding up with a palmful of lube too large to be useful. Fuck it, he can let that shit drip down his thighs, it’s easy enough to take as much as he can lift on two fingers, then slide them down between his ass cheeks till he reaches his hole.

The lube is cold, lube is always cold. Jaewon twitches, partially in discomfort and partially from the shock of touching sensitive nerve endings. He slides one finger in first as a cursory test of the waters, quickly adding a second and letting himself rock back on them, slowly but surely penetrating deep enough to stretch himself out properly.

Chulgoo rips open the condom packet and rolls it down his dick. He motions towards the bottle of lube, but Jaewon has enough presence of mind to reach forward and jerk him with his still lube covered free hand.

“Oh yeah, just like that,” Chulgoo hums, his eyes falling closed as he relaxes into Jaewon’s rhythm, “let me know when you’re ready.”

Jaewon’s ready. With one final push his fingers slide up far enough to brush against his prostate and he can feel his muscles relaxing in a rush, “fuck,” he hisses, as unprepared as ever for the wave of pleasure that washes over him as he makes contact with the most sensitive spot in his body.

It takes a moment for Jaewon to reshuffle himself, moving up the bed so that Chulgoo’s dick is pressed against his asshole. He hovers, waiting for some kind of cue. Chulgoo wraps his hands around his hips and pushes him down.

He hadn’t taken the time to consider the finer points of fucking Seo Chulgoo, but from this angle, with his dick slipping up his ass interminably slowly, Jaewon will say this: he feels big.

“Easy, easy,” Chulgoo coos as Jaewon comes to rest in his lap.

Jaewon’s nerves feel like they’re collectively on fire, like there’s a magic button up his ass that only a dick can push that makes everything seem that much more intense. Chulgoo’s thumb rubs encouraging circles over his hip and he gasps, his dick twitching of its own accord. He needs to feel more, he needs to move, it’s already too much sitting still.

Having taken a moment to breathe, Jaewon shifts himself forward minutely, feeling the drag of Chulgoo’s dick sliding fractionally out of him. His nerves scream for more and less all at once making it hard to process what he’s supposed to be doing.

“C’mere,” Chulgoo leans forward, bringing one hand up to pull Jaewon towards him, crashing their lips together as the other hand pushes his hips down, reclaiming the space lost.

Jaewon whimpers, but he can take a cue. The next thrust he moves forward further, sits back faster, egged on by the hand at his waist. He does it again, and again, until he’s built up a rhythm, groaning softly in time with the movement of his skin against Chulgoo’s.

Just like that. Chulgoo’s composure begins to break, the hand cupping Jaewon’s face lets go, trailing down to his hip again, helping them move harder and faster against each other. Like this, Chulgoo can meet him in the middle, pushing up into him, directing the angle of their fucking till he finds the spot that makes Jaewon sing.

“Fuck,” Jaewon nearly screams the first time Chulgoo’s dick makes contact with his prostate, “jesus, right fucking...shit.”

Emboldened, Chulgoo increases their pace, grunting low every time his hips snap up. He’s not strong enough to hold Jaewon up from this angle, but he moves like he wants to, fucking up into him with such vigour that if he wasn’t also holding him up, Jaewon’s sure he would lose his balance.

They’re loud together, they’re so fucking loud. The neighbours must hate Chulgoo. Jaewon lets his head fall back, panting desperately for air but not wanting to take the time to breathe. His muscles are beginning to burn, but he knows he won’t stop or slow. Fuck that shit Jiwon talks about ‘a dancers endurance’ during sex, when it’s good enough you keep going regardless.

With one hand, Chulgoo reaches round to grab his ass, pulling the cheeks apart so he push deeper up inside Jaewon. The noise that escapes his lips is primal, the hand still at Jaewon’s waist coming up to push against his back, till they’re lying flush together.

Jaewon buries his head in Chulgoo’s neck to choke his groans. It’s good like this, really good, but it’s not an easy angle. He can’t move very smoothly, and sooner or later its going to prove murder on Chulgoo’s hips.

“C’mere,” Jaewon pushes himself up far enough to get a hand on Chulgoo’s shoulder, the sits back, bringing them both upright together.

It takes a moment to readjust, Chulgoo bringing his legs up to keep himself steady, wrapping his arms firmly around Jaewon’s waist to keep him close. Like this they feel more like a mess of limbs, less separate. When they breathe the sharp rise and fall of their chests feels symbiotic and simultaneous.

Like this, Jaewon has more control. He rolls his hips forward, stuttering out a moan as the press of skin on skin puts friction on his dick where before there was none. He does it again and again, letting his brain befuddle itself in the heat of his body and the electric pleasure that pours unbidden from every nerve. His eyes fall closed and he loses himself in the rhythm, unchanging, steady, resisting the urge to move harder and faster. He wants to make this last, though he’s not sure how much longer he can manage.

Bellow him, Chulgoo’s hips roll into his as best they can but at this angle, he can only do so much. Instead, he uses his arms once again to control their pace, wrapped tight around Jaewon’s waist, raising him up, pulling him back down. If they should threaten to move too fast he slows them, firm and finite. He knows exactly what he wants.

The difference in height allows Chulgoo to pepper Jaewon’s neck with kisses, hunting for sensitive spots. When he finds once, he goes back for more, first teasing the place with his tongue, before sinking his teeth in hard enough to bruise.

Jaewon shudders, one hand twisting into Chulgoo’s hair to hold him close, “fuck.”

“How are you so sensitive? It’s so fucking hot,” Chulgoo grins lazily, like his breath isn’t coming short, like the heat of arousal isn’t burning off his skin. He leans forward momentarily to press his lips to Jaewon’s, before pushing him down firmly, grinding into his lap, “I wanna let go and I want you to ride me till I come, ok?”

“Fuck yes,” Jaewon grins back at him. The arms at his waist lax and loosen, and then fall away entirely.

Jaewon sets his hands on Chulgoo’s shoulders, bears down on his dick one last time, and then lets his hips take over. There is no control now, only the illusion of it, faster and faster, in a collision course of their own making. The scent of sweat is lost below the need to move together, forwards, onwards, towards a conclusion that feels inevitable and unobtainable all at once.

“I’m close, shit...I’m fucking close.” Chulgoo pants.

“Touch me then.”

Chulgoo reaches between them to wrap a hand around Jaewon’s dick. He jerks it sloppily, it is the work of a moment to bring the physical contact needed to push him over the edge into Jaewon’s sites. He arches his back and cries out, trying to keep his hips moving, not to stop. He wants everything, all at once, he wants his senses overwhelmed.

The movement shifts their collective centre of gravity, and with a guttural roar Chulgoo leans forward, still trying to move his hips as best he can. He sticks an arm out to steady itself, and it comes to rest on Jaewon’s foot, sliding slowly towards the covers, thumb trailing a tantalisingly light trail down the spine.

That does it, the final few nerves needed to light up and overpower Jaewon’s sensibilities are awake, and the only word he can think of for the sound that leaves his mouth is ‘far too loud for good neighbourly conduct’. He feels his dick jump in Chulgoo’s hand as he comes, and his muscles stretching and spasming around his partner.

He spurts once, twice, after the third time he’s sure he’s done, but he raises himself up one final time, and when his hips come down he feels Chulgoo shudder beneath him as his eyes roll back into his head as he comes.

They stay sitting, sated and sweaty, breathing heavy into each other’s ears. In the wake of their fucking, the calm is so thorough that Jaewon feels he could drift off right there. Then he remembers that Chulgoo’s softening dick is still up his ass, and they disentangle to lie side by side on top of the duvet, waiting for their racing pulses to slow.

“You came when I touched your foot,” Chulgoo says, reaching over Jaewon to dispose of the used condom and to grab a stack of tissues.

Jaewon scowls at him half-heartedly “So? I was gonna come anyway.”

“Sure you were, I was gonna make sure of it.”

Chulgoo offers the tissues to Jaewon, who takes a handful and starts to try to clean up the mess of lube and semen he’s currently covered in. “Man, I need a shower.”

“Hey now, don’t change the subject. We can shower in the morning.”

“You’re gonna need to wash your sheets if I sleep in them like this.”

“Hmm, you make a compelling case,” Chulgoo hums, shuffling closer to Jaewon and laying a hand on his cheek, “but how about this: if you can wait till tomorrow, I’ll blow you before we leave.”

“Fine by me,” Jaewon replies. He leans in to Chulgoo to kiss him sluggishly, the weight in their muscles slowing them down and holding them steady over the backdrop of fervent desire that had seen them fall into bed together in the first place.

As they kiss, Chulgoo’s hand leaves Jaewon’s face, trailing down his side till it can hook under his leg and hitch it over his hip. Fingers sweep down Jaewon’s calf to his foot, where they trace gentle patterns on the sole.

It’s nice, soothing. Now that they’re no longer caught in the heat of the moment it feels less like sensory overload and more like proper intimacy. Jaewon relaxes into the sensation and feels Chulgoo smile teasingly against his mouth. It’s worth it though, it feels so nice.
“I knew you liked it,” Chulgoo says as he pulls the duvet over the two of them and reaches over to turn out the light.

“What can I say? I like nice things.” Jaewon hums contentedly. Chulgoo throws an arm around him, and the two of them are asleep within minutes.

In the morning, Chulgoo is good to his word. He sucks Jaewon off, on the bed with two fingers up his ass and the other hand rubbing circles into his ankle.

They shower afterwards, together. Jaewon repays the favour with his knees scraping against the hard plastic of the bathroom floor, and leaves the apartment with the taste of Chulgoo’s come on the back of his tongue.

“Jesus Christ where have you been?” Jaewon’s manager practically mows down Gray in her haste to reach him, “don’t you ever go running off on me like that again Jung Jaewon, you had me worried sick.”

“Sorry,” Jaewon mumbles. It’s hard to look meek from the makeup chair but he does his best. The disapproving tightness around her lips would indicate that she doesn’t believe he means it and he feels a jolt of guilt more potent than he would have expected in his lower gut. His conversation in the taxi with Chulgoo comes back to him, and the thought occurs that she would be in for a lot worse than a slap on the wrist if anyone found out he’d gone missing.

Her phone rings and she leaves in as much of a hurry as she arrived, “just don’t do it again!”

“What was she so stressed out about?” Kevin asks from the up against the back wall of the makeup room. He stubbornly refuses to appear on camera in anything but his natural state, and Simon D stubbornly refuses to let him sit out on ‘team bonding time’.

“I didn’t go back with her last night, she was worried about me,” Jaewon replies. He cringes internally at the look on Kevin’s face, reflected in the mirror that the cordis won’t let him take his eyes off – a look that speaks of incredulity that an adult would need such stringent micromanagement.

BewhY makes a face, “what does it matter if you didn’t go back with her? You’re allowed to have a life aren’t you?”

“Absolutely not,” Jaewon informs him wryly, “lives are for people who don’t want to spend theirs in front of a camera.”

“Oh please,” Simon D’s voice booms across all of them, “it’s not that bad. Especially when you get to my age. Jaewon’s just going through a rough patch. The real question, is what on earth were you doing sneaking out of the big house last night?” he punctuates his question with tactically wiggled eyebrows and smug smirk that lets the room know he knows exactly what idols get up to when they ditch their management.

Jaewon’s thankful that at that moment, the cordi seeing to his makeup asks him to look up and he can make his eye roll look semi-natural. “What do you think?”

Both BewhY and Kevin look like they’re not really following Simon D’s line of thinking. Gray looks like he’s trying very hard to keep his face neutral but his blank expression only goes to heighten the impression Jaewon gets that he would like to hit his CEO square in the nose.

Simon D shakes his head, “some lucky girl gets to see all the best bits of our One-ie and he doesn’t even give us the heads up.”

The penny drops very quickly for those who still needed prompting. “Sex before marriage is a sin,” BewhY squeaks. Nobody pays him a blind bit of attention.

“I don’t like girls like that,” Jaewon tells Simon D.

“No shit? Well then you should have invited me too.”

“Homosexuality is also a sin,” BewhY hisses. Kevin stands up just to come over and smack him upside the head.

The door opens and a producer holding a clipboard three times the size of her head steps inside, “we need you guys on the soundstage in five.”

After a couple of finishing touches, the makeup cordis let them go. They traipse the now familiar route to the soundstage, Jaewon lingering towards the back, partly so he can stay out of Simon D’s line of site, partly so he doesn’t have to advertise how strangely he’s walking.

Kevin joins him, “man, if butt sex hurts that much why do you do it? You’re limping like a motherfucker”

“Trust me,” Jaewon says through gritted teeth, “it always seems worth it at the time.”

Kevin gives a snort of laughter that doesn’t seem entirely genuine. Once again, Jaewon can’t help but feel that there’s something off about his expression.

“It was Seo Chulgoo, right?” he asks quietly.

“Naturally,” Jaewon grins at him. Kevin’s expression remains unchanged, “what? You don’t approve?”

“Hey man, you can stick your dick wherever you like. I’m just…surprised you chose him.”

“Why? Because he’s on a different team from us?”

“No,” Kevin shakes his head, “he’s just an arsehole.”

Jaewon feels like he should say something. It feels distinctly uncomfortable to be told by a friend that you’ve fucked someone they don’t like, and his instinct to defend Chulgoo is as much born of self-preservation than a need to protect anyone else’s honour. But before he can say anything they make the final right turn to the soundstage, and the lights drown him out.

Three days later, Jaewon has finally conceded to staying the night on YG property, much to his manager’s relief. He should probably feel guiltier about how much time he’s spending with Chulgoo’s dick up his ass on her watch, but it’s hard not to come crawling back when the sex is so good.

“I’m completely fucked,” he announces from the floor of the Ikon dorm.

Jinhwan emerges from the kitchen, rattling the swear jar menacingly, “language!”

“I’m sorry, I’ll pay later.”

“You better.”

He will pay, but right now it feels so good to be spread out on his back, staring at the ceiling, just existing.

From the sofa, Hanbin peers down his nose at him, “what did you do?”

“I drew Seo Chulgoo for the diss battle.”

“Incredible,” Hanbin says flatly, “you literally had one job Jaewon. What did we tell you?”

“I know man,” Jaewon groans, “I dunno what to tell you. The judges let them pick the order. We picked the team, they picked the order.”

“Your team got to pick who you were going against and you picked the team with Seo Chulgoo? Does Simon D want to be humiliated on national television?” Hanbin whips out his phone, “I’m telling Woosung.”

It takes Jaewon a moment to reconnect the dots and remember that not only is Olltii (Woosung? He’s not sure they’re on first name terms yet) Hanbin’s boyfriend, he’s also Chulgoo’s best friend, and is likely holding more of the cards than Hanbin at this moment in time. He considers making a fuss about how he doesn’t need to know, but it’s evident that the damage is already done.

Hanbin’s phone buzzes and he squints at the new message, frowning. Then his eyes go wide, “Woosung seems to think you’re also fucking Chulgoo? I thought that was just a bad joke of Minho’s.”

“It was just a bad joke.”

Hanbin throws his hands up, “first of all you pick the worst possible opponent for this challenge, then you go and get yourself emotionally compromised. Honestly hyeong you don’t do yourself any favours.”

“I am not emotionally compromised,” Jaewon whines. The butterflies in his stomach decide now would be a great time to reassert their existence.

Then his phone buzzes. Jaewon fishes it from his pocket sheepishly to find a message from Chulgoo. You sure you’re not coming over tonight?

I can’t. Sorry. My manager would actually kill me this time. Tomorrow though.

I’ll hold you to it! Gonna miss that ass tonight

When Jaewon puts his phone away, Hanbin is glaring at him like a misbehaving trainee. It is kinda scary, he can see why someone might cower.

“If you’re too fucked out to walk over to the kitchen and put a thousand won in the swear jar, you’re emotionally compromised.”

Groaning, Jaewon buries his head in his hands. It’s a sad fact of life that refusing to admit Kim Hanbin is right doesn’t make his wisdom any less profound.

From here on out, the performances start in earnest. And so the remaining Show Me The Money contestants are expected to spend a lot more time in the Mnet studios beyond the big day. There are reaction shots and set up and interviews that the producers want wrapped up and ready for the editing department before the stages get started, so much so that the only thing left to do on the final day will be perform.

They get dragged in at odd hours. Jaewon finds himself wandering past random selections of other teams on his way to the solitary Mnet coffee machine sometime after midnight.

“You’re probably going to lose to Seo Chulgoo,” Superbee informs him at one in the morning, “I mean you should totally ream him out for the Snoop Dogg thing but still.”

Stuck in a room with a creaking coffee machine and far too few hours of sleep under his belt, Jaewon doesn’t really know what to say to that. “Err…thanks?”

Superbee snorts, “Wasn’t a compliment.”

Jaewon shuffles back towards his green room for the night. Kevin finished up over an hour ago, BewhY appears to be on a completely different recording schedule to them, and Simon D and Gray are in the building but nowhere to be seen. It’s going to be a long, dull wait for someone to come and get him.

He’s so tired and so used to people marching up and down Mnet corridors, that Jaewon doesn’t give the feet slapping against the linoleum behind him much thought. As such, when a pair of arms pull him into a back hug and a familiar voice whispers “hey babe,” into his ear, he nearly jumps out of his skin.

“Shit!” Jaewon yelps, and promptly spills hot coffee on his hands, “what the fuck, hyeong?”
Chulgoo lets Jaewon go, cackling, “man you’re out of it tonight.”

“Hence the coffee,” Jaewon holds up the now half empty cup, “which, might I add, you just spilled all over me.”

“It’s not my fault you can’t handle your caffeine.”

“Yes it is, and it hurts, so screw you.” Jaewon reaches into his pocket for a tissue to wipe the excess coffee from his fingers.

Chulgoo steps forward, still grinning but with the humour in his eyes hardening into something more concrete. He takes the tissue, and Jaewon’s hand, and starts wiping him down himself, “aww, do you need me to kiss it better.”

Jaewon does his best to keep his expression disapproving, but he’s too tired to play the game of witty banter. Chulgoo takes his hand and presses his lips to the tip of each finger, before sucking his index and middle fingers into his mouth.

“Hyeong,” Jaewon chides him, but his eyelids flutter when he speaks and he knows it doesn’t come out very convincing. He wants to kick himself for turning to putty so easily in Chulgoo’s hands, but it’s so much easier to fall into him.

Chulgoo lets the fingers drop from his mouth slowly, a trail of saliva connecting them to his tongue as Jaewon holds his hand up, hopeful that he might continue.

Taking the coffee stained tissue, Chulgoo wipes the spit from Jaewon’s fingers, then slides a hand behind his head and leans in to kiss him.

They may not have been doing this for long but they have done it enough times that they no longer need to be cautious with each other. Chulgoo sucks Jaewon’s lower lip into his mouth and pushes him up against the wall in what feels like one smooth motion. He arches up against him, so that their hips collide, and his tongue traces the back of Jaewon’s teeth.

“Stop,” Jaewon gasps, “we can’t…here…we could be seen.”

Chulgoo looks both ways down the corridor, “no one’s here.”

Jaewon’s not sure if it’s the butterflies in his belly or his heart jackhammering in his chest that makes it hard to breathe, maybe the tightness in his chest is a necessary by-product of the way the world shrinks in Chulgoo’s presence. All he knows is that what Chulgoo is suggesting sounds dangerous and stupid, and he likes it. Impossible as it is to reconcile the twin compulsions, to run and to stay, at war in his head, he stands and waits for a move to me made for him.

Slowly, deliberately, Chulgoo brings a hand forward to cup Jaewon’s half hard dick through his jeans, “you wanna stop?”

Not wanting to get caught is not the same thing as wanting to stop. In answer, Jaewon cants his hips towards Chulgoo’s waiting palm, wraps arms around his neck to draw him in, kisses him hard and fast.

The possibility that they might be seen looms large and stern at the back of his mind, but it doesn’t turn him off, if anything, the idea that they are in imminent danger of someone turning a corner and becoming witness to the two of them makes Jaewon’s dick jump. Chulgoo doesn’t waste time palming him through his jeans, instead reaching for his fly and pulling his trousers down just far enough for the head of his dick to peak out over his pants.

“We gotta be quick, don’t hold out on me,” Chulgoo says, hand wrapping around the base of Jaewon’s dick and jerking him one, firmly, before letting his thumb trail over the head.

Jaewon whimpers at the touch, a mixture of weariness and arousal making it difficult to think about anything more complex than the hand currently wanking him off. He can definitely manage to come quickly, his dick’s already hard in Chulgoo’s palm, waiting for the friction needed to drive it over the edge.

Chulgoo begins to move in earnest, wrist flicking fast as his fingers trail down Jaewon’s shaft. They’re pressed close, making it harder to be sure of exactly what they’re up to at first glance, and it feels like he’s using up all the air.

Biting his bottom lip to try to keep quiet, Jaewon tries to breathe through his nose. It’s hard though, the world feels so small. He feels so small.

“Shit,” he hisses, as Chulgoo swipes his thumb over the head of his dick once again, “just like that again-yes!”

Jaewon comes with a shudder and a groan loud enough that Chulgoo has to bring up his free hand to cover his mouth as best he can.

“You know I like to hear you make some noise but this really isn’t the time or the place,” Chulgoo laughs.

“Whose fault is it if I’m noisy?”

“I accept full responsibility,” Chulgoo rubs his their noses together, so that their breath mingles and it’s impossible to tell from whom the heat spreading across Jaewon’s cheeks originates. Then he closes the distance and kisses him gently, without teeth or tongue.

Jaewon sighs into the kiss, but his hands are already moving, down from Chulgoo’s neck to find purchase in the belt loops of his jeans. Like this, he can draw their hips together once again, and feel the outline of Chulgoo’s erection against his softening dick.

“I should really pay you back,” Jaewon mutters.

Chulgoo smirks at him, “it’s only fair.”

Jaewon’s fingers ghost over the obvious bulge in the front of Chulgoo’s trousers, gliding up to fiddle with the buttons.

“Don’t go slow with me,” Chulgoo says teasingly, like there isn’t a very real need for speed.

Once he’s gotten Chulgoo’s dick free, Jaewon takes a moment to tuck himself back into his trousers and make sure he’s decent. The he makes a final survey of their surroundings, and drops to his knees.

“What are you-oh,” Chulgoo practically purrs ass Jaewon runs his tongue from the base of his shaft to the tip of his dick, “babe, you know I love it when you suck me off but we probably don’t have time.”

He doesn’t sound entirely convinced, Jaewon can’t blame him. Having to turn down a blowjob always feels wrong on a fundamental level. It’s one of the few ways he gets to watch Chulgoo come undone for him though, and right now, to his weary, post-orgasm brain, it sounds like the best idea in the world.

“I want you in my mouth,” Jaewon smiles up at Chulgoo, “please?”

Chulgoo reaches down to stroke Jaewon’s hair, fingers curling around his ear then skirting forward to rest under his chin, “well, since you asked so nicely, go ahead.”

Jaewon doesn’t need to be told twice. Chulgoo lets go of him and he leans in to wrap his lips around the head of his dick. He swirls his tongue over the slit, and brings a hand up to cup his balls.

Above him, Chulgoo makes a low noise of satisfaction that he quickly stifles with the back of his hand. Jaewon moves his tongue again, just to watch the way his knees shake when he does.
With a long, steadying breath, Chulgoo pulls the hand away from his mouth, “I love it when you work me over, but we don’t have time, you gotta move.”

Jaewon flashes him a brief sulky pout, but he’s right. He takes his hand from Chulgoo’s balls to wrap around his shaft, then slides as much of his dick as possible into his mouth, trying to relax his throat muscles and not think about gagging.

His lips and hand move together, with his free hand clutching tight to Chulgoo’s thigh for balance. Jaewon moves as fast as he can while still maintaining the control he needs to breathe, his tongue flattened against his teeth to reduce the change of accidental scraping.

Once he’s used to the rhythm, Chulgoo’s hips begin to move in time with Jaewon’s mouth, thrusting forward gently to meet him. “Just like that,” he mutters, “fuck yeah, just there. Don’t stop.”

As if Jaewon were going to stop. A few times, Chulgoo’s thrusting sees his dick push past Jaewon’s gag point and slip down his throat, causing a certain measure of spluttering though their pace doesn’t slow.

Most of the time, Jaewon can swallow a dick whole. But he’s tired, and the angle is wrong, and Chulgoo’s quite a mouthful at the best of times. He keeps his mouth wide open, and starts to twist his fist as he jerks the shaft.

It doesn’t take long. Chulgoo’s breathing quickly gets out of control and despite his efforts to mute himself the corridor is filled with his low groans. Jaewon knows he’s close when the carefully controlled rhythm they’ve established breaks down and his hips start to snap forward with alarming rapidity.

A hand creeps down into Jaewon’s hair, to keep him moving at the right pace for Chulgoo to keep fucking into his mouth. This is standard procedure, as much warning as he gets that the end is nigh. Soon enough, his head will be pushed down as Chulgoo comes down his throat.

“Fuck!” Chulgoo yelps, and rather than pushing Jaewon down he tugs him back. Hard. Hard enough to hurt.

Jaewon’s about to protest, when Chulgoo’s dick jerks violently of its own accord and suddenly he’s got a face full of semen.

“What was that for?” he snaps, going to massage the back of his head, “I think you ripped some of my hair out.”

Chulgoo doesn’t appear to be paying him any attention, and is instead shoving his dick back into his trousers, “I’m sorry! We were just-“

With a sinking feeling in his stomach that has nothing to do with butterflies, Jaewon notes the direction Chulgoo is looking in, and follows his line of site. Sure enough, standing a short way down the corridor, looking stunned and somewhat disgusted, are Mad Clown and Gunhee.

“Th-the corridor is not an appropriate place for sexual activity,” Mad Clown stutters. He looks and sounds terrified, “I’ll have to tell your team leaders about this.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Chulgoo says very quickly. Jaewon agrees with him wholeheartedly, the last thing he wants is for Simon D to know he’s been sucking dick on Mnet property, let alone his manager. He would say as much, but he’s too busy hunting for a clean tissue with which to wipe the spunk off his face.

Gunhee tugs on Mad Clown’s arm, “c’mon, you don’t have to rat them out hyeong.”

Mad Clown glances between Gunhee and Chulgoo for a moment, before the nervous tension holding him upright seems to crumble and he collapses in on himself, “if I catch either of you out of line again, you won’t get off so easy.”

“Thanks! We appreciate it,” Chulgoo calls after them. Jaewon locks eyes with Gunhee and mouths his thanks.

Almost immediately, his phone buzzes in his pocket to herald the arrival of a message from Gunhee reading you owe me.

As Gunhee and Mad Clown footsteps grow faint down the hall, Chulgoo helps Jaewon to his feet, “sorry about that. Didn’t mean to pull so hard.”

“S’ok,” Jaewon shrugs, “I would have done the same.” He would be lying if he said he wasn’t still a little angry, but then Chulgoo pulls him in for an apologetic kiss and it really doesn’t seem so important.

“I’ll make it up to you tomorrow,” Chulgoo promises, glancing at his phone. Jaewon is reminded that they’re here to film and by now they both probably have places to be.

“You could make it up to me by going easy on me on Thursday, in the diss battle,” Jaewon simpers. It’s supposed to sound silly, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t hope Chulgoo will take him up on the offer.

Shaking his head, Chulgoo pulls Jaewon in for a final kiss pressed to his forehead, “nice try.”

They head off their separate ways, for however much more hell Mnet feels like putting them through tonight. The butterflies in Jaewon’s belly flutter nervously, like they know that tomorrow is the last day before he’ll be put out for the slaughter.

“Let’s kill it!” Simon D roars as they wait to go onstage. Jaewon tips back his head and hollers along with Kevin and BewhY. Right now, it feels like they could really win this, the promise of a crowd cheering them on sets their sights high, and as they make their way to the stage there’s an undeniable swagger in all their steps.

“You guys are gonna be great,” Kevin beams at both Jaewon and BewhY, “seriously man out team is so good.”

“That’s what I like to hear, some proper confidence,” Simon D holds out a closed fist for Kevin to bump.

If only the whole competition had been like this. Jaewon keeps the memory of his last stage firmly at the front of his mind; he had done so well, he had felt so capable. His stomach lurches every time he remembers his failings in the earlier rounds, and it’s a necessary effort to keep them down, though not one he can’t manage.

Just before they go onstage, Kevin pulls Jaewon into a hug, and tells him in no uncertain terms that he’s sure he’ll be fine.

Jaewon’s left with a pleasant glow sitting in his chest. No matter what else happens onstage today, he will know he has a friend in at least one of his team mates.

The crowd looms large, stretching off into the unlit recesses of Mnet’s main hall. Jaewon steps onstage with a smile, to see Chulgoo already waiting for him, looking for all the world like Christmas has come early.

Something doesn’t quite feel right about it. There’s an edge to Chulgoo’s grin that feels impersonal and untouched. He sees the crowd, but not his fellow contestants. It makes Jaewon feel pre-emptively jilted, so he squashes the idea that he is looking at anything more sinister that professionalism and waits to be called forwards.

Chulgoo is introduced as a ‘freestyle champion’. “Is that so?” Jaewon responds, but the crowd don’t find him funny. They’ve already decided that he’s lost.

“Everyone knows but you,” Chulgoo calls back. The crowd goes wild.

The rest of Team AOMG are much better at shit talking.

“I only take care of him because he’s so much older than me,” Kevin declares of Reddy.

“I tried to be merciful but my lyrics are so strong,” BewhY explains while looking at CJamm.

And Jaewon’s still tired. And Jaewon’s never been in a rap battle before. And Jaewon doesn’t want to look weak. And Jaewon would still like to crawl back into Chulgoo’s bed when all this is done.

But most importantly, he has a team to fall back on. He can shoulder a little humiliation for them. Well, he can do it for Kevin. With his head held high, Jaewon steps forward to accept his fate.

Chulgoo doesn’t shake his hand properly, he’s trying to be funny, play games for the crowd. “Hey One-ah!,” he calls across the stage, “when this is done, you’re gonna resent me.”

Just for a moment, there is nothing dishonest or out of place in Chulgoo’s demeanour. He is telling the truth, as completely as he can. Jaewon’s not entirely sure he doesn’t hear a note of regret in his voice.

Chulgoo moves into Jaewon’s personal space, to domineer and intimidate as freestyle culture supposedly dictates, but it feels too much like something else. The proximity of their bodies, the way the world shrinks down to the two of them, looking into each other’s eyes and waiting for someone to come undone.

So Jaewon runs with that. He leans in like he’s trying to push Chulgoo back, or kiss him, or both. A game of chicken he is happy to see through to its logical conclusion, lips parted like he expects to be met in the middle of this as much as anything else.

Chulgoo doesn’t meet him. Of course he doesn’t. You can’t kiss someone in the middle of a rap battle and expect to get away with it. But Jaewon is alarmed by how quickly is stings when he pulls away laughing.

Before he can put that discomfort into context, Chulgoo is on top of him. Lyrically and emotionally, bearing down with a wicked grin and a tongue too sharp for its own good. He makes a jab about Unpretty Rapstar that reminds Jaewon of his jeers on the first day of filming, he brings up idoldom like it’s a filthy secret, he accuses him of tossing Samuel aside.

Or at least, that’s how it sounds in Jaewon’s ears. The poisoned chalice of his big label status comes up to swallow him whole, unable to shift it, forever the man not good enough to make it on his own and too perfectly formed to exist without serious money behind him. The worst part is that he knew this would happen, that Chulgoo would come at him like this, but feeling it happen to him is so much harder than imagining what it will feel like.

It doesn’t matter how easily Chulgoo deflects words, Jaewon is made of weaker stuff.

What do you see in him? Jaewon asks himself. Chulgoo prepares his final blow.

“My real name is Seo Myungwon,” he jeers, to the delight of the crowd. And just like that, Jaewon doesn’t want anything more to do with him.

Later, when they’re backstage, congratulating BewhY and trying to pick themselves up from their loss in the rap battle, Jaewon will take Kevin aside, just to rant, just to get it out.

“He never even told me his real name!”

“That’s fucked up man,” Kevin nods along, his nose screwed up like the very act of talking about Chulgoo is leaving a bad smell under his nose.

Jaewon can barely believe his own stupidity, “you were right. He’s an arsehole. I should have listened to you.”

“Hey now, don’t beat yourself up about it. It could have happened to anyone.” Kevin hooks an arm round Jaewon and pulls his head in under his chin, “fuck that guy.”

“Fuck him,” Jaewon agrees, relaxing into the hug. The world doesn’t feel small with Kevin, it feels just right.

And yet, when they’re sat backstage, waiting for Mnet to make a decision about what’s happening next in the recording schedule, Jaewon still checks his phone when it buzzes. He’s not surprised to see Chulgoo (Myungwon? He’s not sure if he knows him like that) pop up to talk to him.

You did well

You’re not so bad yourself Jaewon types back, also fuck you

That’s the plan ;) I was thinking tonight? My place?

Jaewon stares, incredulous at his phone. He’s just about to show the message to Kevin so they can marvel at the audacity together when he remembers that as of now his decision to stop screwing around with Chulgoo exists exclusively at a personal level.

Nah, I’m being serious. Fuck you.


You think I want shit to do with you after that? You didn’t even tell me your name

Jaewon can practically see the irritated half smile on Chulgoo’s face, furiously typing his response from some other waiting room in another part of the building. When it does arrive, the playful tone is lost, seriously? That’s too much for you? This shit’s for show. I was right you’re way too sensitive for this shit

I thought I told you to get fucked Jaewon types back

So damn predictable comes Chulgoo’s final message. Jaewon deletes his number from his phone, then throws it down in defeat.

Part 3