m0ette: (Default)
[personal profile] m0ette
Title: an open letter to myself
Author: m0ette
Fandom: NCT
Pairing: Johnny/Ten
Additional tags: Estabilished Relationship, Missing Scene, Standalone
Rating: PG
Wordcount: 1,896
Summary: Ten is beautiful and Johnny loses control. This shouldn’t be happening.

The sunset finds them on the stone pier overlooking Han River. The cold winter sun is rapidly descending to their far left, somewhere in the outlines of Seoul’s business centre’s buildings, surrendering the sky to the grey haze of a typical February evening. The wind chills right to the bone, forcing Johnny to hide his red nose in the softness of his new scarf.

Ten is standing right in front of him, just an arm’s length out of Johnny’s reach, clutching with both of his hands the foam cup of Americano Johnny has bought for him earlier. The steam rises in white clouds, especially dense in this cold, and for a brief moment Johnny wonders what Ten is thinking of right now - he’s been standing like that for quite some time already, and the coffee must be burning hot to the touch; Ten, though, seems unaffected.

Johnny closes the distance between them, moving to stand by his side. Ten doesn’t pay him any attention even if he notices him; his eyes wander absentmindedly, taking in the dim lights of the northern coast obscured by the sudden dusk, but other than that Ten is rather still and strangely silent.

Ten’s silence is never about being happy and content.

As Johnny has come to find out, the upcoming trip back to Ten's homeland, as much as it excited everyone around him, put Ten himself in some kind of inexplicably melancholic and pensive state of mind, which had lasted for days and didn't fade away either, not really, hiding in the corners of Ten’s eyes even when Johnny managed to make him laugh.

And so, Johnny has stopped trying.

They ran away as soon as they were finished with the practice for the day, leaving packing for later. The lame excuse as to why others couldn’t tag along Johnny came up with on the go didn’t fool the perceptive Yuta, but they were out the door before he could confront them.

They ate in a small hole-in-the-wall diner somewhere in one of Naruteo-ro’s numerous alleyways, foregoing the place in favor of a nearby Starbucks. The coffee boosted the energy levels and lifted the heavy mood, even if a little bit, and they left the cafe before the weather changed for the worse.

Seoul seemed grim and uninviting, the twilight setting quickly over the high buildings of Seocho-gu. They walked side by side in silence, not discussing the end destination, but understanding it all along - they had seen these streets hundreds of times before, had walked these streets alone and together with others; Johnny led the way towards the Banpo Hangang Park just in case.

Just in case the familiarity of this place could be of any solace for Ten.

The rays of rainbow lights of the Banpo Bridge hit them right as the clock strikes six, washing over with bright reds and yellows. There is still a couple of weeks before the fountains begin to work again, but in the murky darkness the colorful illumination is truly welcome.

Johnny looks over at Ten, and distinctly feels his heart skip a beat, because the light on the soft curve of Ten’s cheek in contrast with sharp lines of dark shadows make him look ethereal, otherworldly even, and for what seems like the first time ever Johnny feels like he cannot speak, and cannot breathe, either; all he can think of is just how beautiful Ten is , and just how badly he wants to make Ten happy : to see his upper lip almost disappear in the stretch of his smile, to hear his unreserved laughter he misses so much loud and clear - again, and again, a hundred times over.

When Johnny takes Ten’s hands into his own, they are a striking warmth against his cold.

“Oh my God,” Johnny thinks, as he brings Ten’s palms up to his face and touches the calloused fingers with his lips gently, “oh, God. I’m out of control.”

Ten flinches at the contact. “Don’t,” he says, his voice low but firm.

Johnny freezes, suddenly becoming aware of their surroundings: the cars stuck in the rush hour traffic jam somewhere on the Olympic-daero were honking loudly and what seemed like very close; the occasional passers-by, even though not paying them any attention, came really close to where they were standing - some came and went, hurrying home after busy day at work, some stopped to take photos of the idle fountain’s bright lights; and all of this is dangerous , and all of this may have consequences now that they are in the public eye, and Johnny himself understands that all too well. He understands, really, it’s just that it is too easy for him to lose control when they are together like this.

This shouldn’t be happening.

Johnny feels all the warmth seep away as soon as he lets go of Ten’s hand.

The pained look on Ten's face fills Johnny with regret. He doesn’t know what he should do now, doesn’t really know what he should say, either, if anything at all - that makes him feel kind of guilty, too.

“We should probably get going,” he manages finally. Ten nods, hiding his hands inside pockets, and is the first to turn away and head towards the park’s gates.

Johnny follows.

The dorm greets them with unusual silence. Trying to figure out where’s everyone gone, they check the kitchen and the common room first, finally hearing excited voices coming from the room Johnny shared with Taeyong.

“Ah, of course,” Johnny thinks to himself, opening the door purposefully slow and peeking through the gap to see everyone - he quickly counts them up to eleven - squeezed together on the two beds, their eyes glued to the flashing screen.

Their room was the one with the biggest TV (it was a present from Johnny’s parents, thank you very much), and so, even despite the lack of sitting space the ritual movie night moved there whenever Johnny didn’t have any objections - which he usually didn’t. It wasn’t anything new.

Taeyong is the first one to notice them. He pauses whatever it is they are watching right in the middle of a giant explosion, evoking a few dissatisfied whines, and says, “It just got interesting, if you want to come and join we won’t start it over.” He even sounds genuinely apologetic.

Hansol moves a little to make some space on the bed, but it’s only enough to allow Ten to squeeze himself in between him and Donghyuk; it leaves Johnny to lower himself on the floor near the bed, legs folded beneath him and back propped against the hard wooden bed frame. Taeyong makes sure everyone is settled before resuming the movie.

Johnny feels Ten’s fingers tugging a strand of his hair, distracting him from the plot he’s just begun to understand. He turns a bit to face Ten, shooting him a questioning glance, but the other is wholly engrossed in whatever’s happening on the screen and, as it appears, was just mindlessly playing with Johnny’s hair. The touch feels nice; Johnny lets his head fall into Ten’s lap and closes his eyes.

He is woken up a couple of hours later, when the television screen is already playing credits. The movie seems to have cheered Ten up a little, and Johnny briefly thinks about whether they should have left today at all, before chasing the thought away.

Later, after all of them share a late night snack and decide to call it a day, Johnny, still drowsy from before, quickly packs his bag for tomorrow’s trip in hopes of going to bed before the sleep completely leaves him, but then Ten makes Johnny film him pack his clothes for what is supposed to be their first reality show (was it NCT Life? Live? Johnny couldn’t really remember; he still had issues with understanding this whole Neo Culture concept thing).

They are sitting on one of the couches in the common room when Ten decides to address what has been bothering him the past few days directly.

“I don’t know why it affects me so much,” Ten confesses, his voice somehow distant with concern, almost as if the fact that he doesn’t have any control over this emotion bothers him more than the emotion itself. “And it’s not like I haven’t seen my family in a long time, too - I mean, they were visiting what, like, four weeks ago?” He pauses, collecting his thoughts, and then explains, “I guess I’m just nervous about you visiting there, all of you guys. We have been dreaming about this for so long, and now that it’s finally here I’m so excited it makes me sick.”

Johnny puts his hand over Ten’s shoulders, rubbing soothing circles into his neck. “I wish I could visit your home, though,” he says quietly.

Ten leans into the touch, half-hugging Johnny from the side, and sighs. The schedule for their short trip is jam-packed with interviews, photo shoots and TV-appearances, not leaving them any spare time for themselves. All of this implied that they will be looking at Bangkok through the window of their car, constant control and supervision and all, which means Ten would have to go home alone after everyone would have already left.

“I wish you could,” Ten whispers, raising his eyes to meet Johnny’s. Johnny looks at him, corners of his mouth upturned in an encouraging kind of smile, his soft features settling into a gentle expression. He reaches for Ten’s hand, thumb tracing along the fine lines of his palm, and then brings it up to his face again, much like earlier today; except this time there’s no one to witness him leave kisses on the warm skin; this time, there’s no one to see Ten shift his hand to cup Johnny’s cheek instead and pull him in for a kiss.

As his eyes flutter shut at the touch of Ten’s lips, Johnny feels his chest swell with emotion.

He takes a hold of Ten’s shirt, fingers slipping beneath the stiff fabric to curve at his hip, bringing him closer. Ten moves against him willingly, pliant in his hands; he brings his hands up to grab at Johnny’s shoulders, steadying himself. His lips move deliberately gentle and slow against Johnny’s, not really teasing but not allowing him to deepen the kiss either, keeping it almost chaste. They stay like this for a little while longer, just relishing each other’s company: they haven’t had the chance to be this close recently, and Johnny’s really missed having Ten like this - keen and completely at his mercy.

“Oh, the things I’d do to you,” Johnny whispers into Ten’s ear, grazing the pierced earlobe with his teeth; and he knows, of course, both of them know that they cannot really do anything, not here, but the flustered look becomes Ten, so much so that Johnny cannot stop himself from staring.

Ten struggles to escape the embrace, murmuring something about late hours of the night and upcoming flights. Johnny lets him go, watching Ten make his way towards his room.

In the sudden silence of the room Johnny hears the wind outside howling violently, making him shudder at the loss of the feeling of the warm body pressed against his; but when Ten turns around, inviting Johnny to follow him, there’s a smile on his lips - bright and sincere.


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November 2016

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