au. romance. slight!angst. slight!fluff.
Kyungsoo learns that there's something romantic about graffiti when looked at through the eyes of an artist, spoken of through the lips of a lover.
a/n: for my precious lan! my final valentine's day gift to you that is like a month late but oh well u_u
Kyungsoo has lost track of the number of times he's had to bail his troublesome boyfriend from county jail, but so far this year, it's been three times. It's only March.
"Tell your friend to keep out of trouble," the officer tells him as he leads an inebriated Jongin to Kyungsoo.
Kyungsoo keeps himself from snorting at the officer. "I'll try," he replies, but he knows he won't. Assistance is futile with Jongin, who follows his instincts more than he follows the laws.
He pushes Jongin into the passenger seat of the car, leaning over to pull the seat belt over Jongin. There's a quiet click, and Kyungsoo pulls back to leave when warm hands circle around his waist, holding him in place.
"Hmm, you smell good," Jongin murmurs into the nape of neck. Kyungsoo frowns, smelling the alcohol in his breath.
"And you smell drunk," Kyungsoo replies, moving to pull Jongin's hands off so they can leave, but Jongin holds on tight.
"I'm not drunk," Jongin chuckles, low and soft.
Kyungsoo's eyebrows furrow. "Yeah, sure," he scoffs. "That's what all drunk people say."
"I'm not though," Jongin insists, lips moving to Kyungsoo's ears. "I'm tired, but not drunk." His lips are cool against Kyungsoo's skin.
"I can smell the alcohol on you, Jongin," Kyungsoo deadpans, leaning back so their eyes meet. Kyungsoo's eyes widen when he notices Jongin's pupils aren't dilated.
"Doesn't mean I'm drunk," Jongin points out, the side of his lip quirked into a slight grin. Kyungsoo sighs, placing a hand on Jongin's chest.
"Then why were you in jail?" Kyungsoo asks tiredly. Jongin readjusts their position so that Kyungsoo is sitting on his lap. It's awkward, considering they're in a car, but they've been in tighter spaces.
"They found me sleeping on the street," Jongin answers, and Kyungsoo narrows his eyes at his response.
"They don't arrest people for sleeping on the street," Kyungsoo says. "Or else hobos would be in jail too."
Jongin smirks. "Maybe I just look like trouble," he challenges, leaning in to press kisses to Kyungsoo's jawline. Kyungsoo lets out a breath, placing a hand on the side of Jongin's face.
"You're nothing but trouble, Jongin," he murmurs as he lets Jongin's lips roam his face, searching until they meet Kyungsoo's lips, where they belong.
The alarm wakes up Kyungsoo the next morning. While Jongin may call himself a street artist, Kyungsoo has a less unorthodox job – business managing. Jongin calls it boring, but Kyungsoo calls it realistic.
It's 6:45AM, and Kyungsoo doesn't want to leave the warmth of the sheets and Jongin's arms. He sighs, glancing over at the sun-kissed boy beside him, snoring softly. He hums quietly, picking up Jongin's hand on his stomach and playing with it. He does this whenever he doesn't want to get out of bed, because there's something comforting about Jongin's presence.
There's something beautiful about Jongin's hands that Kyungsoo can never put a finger on. He traces Jongin's veins, noting all the cuts and scratches.
He recalls one cut from the time Kyungsoo mistakenly asked him to cut vegetables for dinner one night. Another scratch is from the time Kyungsoo tripped, and Jongin practically jumped to catch him, and Kyungsoo grabbed his hand too tightly, leaving the mark.
Jongin's hand is painted with colors and memories. Red, white, pink – Jongin's hand always has paint on them. But it's expected from a street artist, and Kyungsoo likes it. It adds character to Jongin, not that he needs any more of that. After all, Jongin is truly one of a kind.
Kyungsoo presses a kiss to Jongin's hands, lays it back down, and starts to get up. Enough marveling over the beauty of his boyfriend, it's time to get to the real world where beauty is considered overrated and productivity is preferred.
He warms up the shower as he brushes his teeth. His lips are chapped and cut from Jongin's kisses, but Kyungsoo doesn't complain – it's a nice type of pain, the pain of love. He's gotten used to it.
After his shower, he throws on slacks and a sweater vest. He rummages through the fridge for something quick to eat, but upon realizing he hasn't gone grocery shopping in weeks, he leaves to grab street food, locking the door behind him.
In the beginning, Kyungsoo used to make breakfast every morning, enough for three (Jongin counted as two people). From pancakes to eggs, he would go all out for Jongin. Before he'd leave, there would be a note on the fridge saying out to work, will miss you!! ♥♥ And sometimes Jongin would wake up early enough to kiss him goodbye, hands lingering.
And over time, Kyungsoo got busier and busier, and Jongin became more tired. So these days, Kyungsoo leaves without a note, without a goodbye kiss, and Jongin wakes up to an empty apartment.
It doesn't mean Kyungsoo misses Jongin any less, or Jongin cares any less. No, not at all. Love is everlasting, even if romance is not.
Kyungsoo returns late that night, around 10:30PM. It's the end of the month, and that means everything has to be logged and counted. Being a business manager for a restaurant is not as fun as Kyungsoo once imagined it to be years ago when he chose the job.
He expects to find Jongin on the couch, watching reruns of old shows. Jongin typically gets home before Kyungsoo, because once the sun sets, it gets harder to work. Jongin paints on the streets for crowds who gather to see him work magic with his fingers.
Kyungsoo's fortunate enough to see those fingers play skillfully all by himself in the comfort of their shared home.
But tonight, Kyungsoo comes home to an empty apartment. There's trash on the counter, meaning Jongin left in a rush without throwing away the wrappers to his breakfast sandwich. The bed is unmade, and Jongin's t-shirt is left on the ground.
Kyungsoo calls Jongin's cell phone, but it goes straight to the voicemail. "You've reached Jongin. I'm not picking up, so that means I'm busy or I don't like you or both. Leave a message at the beep, and I'll get back to you if it's worth my time." A short beep follows, and Kyungsoo hangs up.
He reasons that maybe Jongin is working a little later tonight. Artists never have a set schedule, and when inspiration hits them, they can work for hours on end. Kyungsoo trusts Jongin, so he gets ready for bed by himself and curls up on the couch, waiting.
Kyungsoo falls asleep before Jongin returns.
He wakes up to fingers running across his bare back under his shirt. He struggles to open his eyes at first, but once his senses come to him, he snaps awake, pushing Jongin away.
"What is it?" Jongin asks innocently, eyes half-lidded. Kyungsoo can tell he's tired too.
"Why are you back so late?" Kyungsoo demands, glancing at the clock above the TV, reading 1:24AM.
"Working," Jongin replies simply, leaning in to kiss Kyungsoo, but he evades it stubbornly.
"At one in the morning?" Kyungsoo deadpans, crossing his arms.
"It's an important project," Jongin says with a shrug.
"What is it about?"
"Can't say." Jongin's hands snake around Kyungsoo's wrist, placing them around his neck. "It's too important," he says, leaning in to touch their foreheads together.
Kyungsoo glares. "Too important to tell me?"
"Yep." Jongin lets their heads stay together, eyes locked. Kyungsoo searches for a lie, but it's always been hard to read Jongin, even after being together for so long. Jongin smiles, eyes forming crescents, and Kyungsoo gives up and gives in to his touches.
He can never stay mad at Jongin.
Jongin chuckles, letting go of Kyungsoo's hands to continue tracing patterns into Kyungsoo's back. Their foreheads stay together, and Kyungsoo lets his eyes droop as Jongin draws mindless shapes onto his back.
Jongin's fingers are an art in themselves. He has this way of sending shivers down Kyungsoo's spine with the simplest of touches. It's sensual, but it's not sex. It's just togetherness, a harmony only understood between the two of them.
Kyungsoo wonders if this is what love is – touching more than the body, but also the soul and the heart deep down. But he never voices this thought aloud, because Jongin has never said anything either.
No words need to be said though, because no words could describe this.
"You'll be back earlier tomorrow, right?" Kyungsoo asks as Jongin's fingers draw lower and lower. "You'll be here when I get back?"
"Why, did you miss me?" Jongin teases, and Kyungsoo can hear the smirk, even with his eyes closed.
"Of course, idiot," Kyungsoo hums. "But really, promise me you won't stay out late anymore?" Kyungsoo's eyes flash open, and the concern and worry is there in plain sight. Jongin can only stare and continue drawing.
It happens again.
Every time it happens, Jongin comes back smelling of paint and cigarettes. Kyungsoo would get angry, but Jongin makes him forget everything with touches and lingering kisses as he leads him back to the bedroom.
–One night, Kyungsoo returns home to a surprise – Jongin is back before him. But instead of eating or watching TV, he's just sitting on the couch, arms crossed, a blank look on his face. Kyungsoo frowns, because Jongin is never a clean sheet – he's scribbles of emotions and unsaid words. For him to look blank is wrong.
"You're back early," Kyungsoo says, kicking off his shoes. "Are you done with your project?" He makes his way over to Jongin, but Jongin stands up before he reaches him.
"You want to be with me, right?" Jongin asks abruptly, and Kyungsoo stops in his steps.
"What?" he asks incredulously, thinking this is a joke, but the conflicted look in Jongin's eyes speak otherwise. "Of course, why wouldn't I?"
Jongin doesn't reply, and Kyungsoo starts walking towards him again. But to his dismay, Jongin keeps stepping back, not meeting his eyes.
"Jongin, what's wrong?" he demands.
"I know I'm not the best boyfriend or whatever, but I mean, you know I – you – I care, you know?" Jongin says, and the desparation in his voice is enough to knock the wind out of Kyungsoo.
"I know, Jongin, I know," he assures him, frowning. "What's wrong? You were completely fine last night–"
"If you ever get tired of me, we could– we could take a break," Jongin is choking out words, and Kyungsoo's heart hurts at the sound of it. "But you can't leave me, okay?"
"I could never–"
"And if you ever want to go out on a lunch date with some guy from work, I mean, you could do it but just don't stay any longer and don't go to his place and don't– don't lie to me about it. I'd understand if you wanted to experience something new, but–" The words get stuck in his throat, and he finally meets Kyungsoo's eyes, and there's a glaze over them.
Kyungsoo can only stare. "Is this about... that lunch I had with Chanyeol?" he asks slowly. Jongin's eyes are fixated on the floor, and Kyungsoo starts to get frustrated. "Hey, look at me," he demands, and Jongin slowly obligates. "Is this about Chanyeol?" he repeats when their eyes meet.
"I don't know his name," Jongin grumbles.
Kyungsoo shakes his head. "Never mind about him then. How did you know I went out to lunch with someone today?"
Jongin is quiet, but Kyungsoo is becoming increasingly impatient. "Jongin, tell me how you know I went out to lunch with my friend today."
Jongin sighs. "I saw you guys walk past," he grumbles, ruffling his hair the way he does when he's embarrassed.
"How? You don't even work near– unless you changed the spot," Kyungsoo says, shaking his head. "Why were you even there? You paint downtown."
"My project," Jongin replies quietly.
Kyungsoo stares at him incredulously. "Is that all you're going to tell me? That's been your excuse for weeks, Jongin! When is this 'project' going to be done?" He doesn't mean to explode on Jongin, but after being accused of cheating, he can't help but feel hurt. To think Jongin would ever let him just go off and date other people just for his happiness is unthinkable.
"I don't know," Jongin sighs, shaking his head. "I'll explain it later–"
"Later?" Kyungsoo laughs in disbelief. "You get home past midnight for this project, and you want to tell me later? What project ever takes this long, Jongin? Hell, is this even a project?" he asks, and he doesn't mean it but it falls out anyway.
Kyungsoo knows, knows it the way he knows every single cut on Jongin's hand, knows it the way he knows Jongin's heartbeats match his own because of the time they've spent together, he knows that there is no way Jongin would cheat on him. But in the heat of the moment, emotions raw and painful from the fear of loss, makes him say things he knows to be untrue.
Kyungsoo didn't expect Jongin to slam him against the wall, but he isn't surprised either. Jongin can get violent when angry; he's just a kid deep down inside. Kyungsoo knows he shouldn't fear Jongin's strength though – he could never really hurt him.
"Don't you even dare suggest that," Jongin hisses, pressing his lips onto Kyungsoo's. He bites down, and the kiss stings, but it hurts less than their words. Kyungsoo tries to push Jongin away, but it's futile so he lets Jongin rip his shirt off and devour his skin, lets him carry them to the bed where Jongin works his magic.
Apologies are implied between kisses and touches, grunts and moans. Sex isn't love, but love is sex, and Jongin loves Kyungsoo, even if he forgets to say it, out of fear and childish negligence.
When they collapse together in the end, fury lost in the heat, breaths mixed, Jongin finally speaks. "I'm sorry it's taking so long, but please just– just wait a little longer," Jongin whispers, taking his hands and pressing kisses to his fingertips. "I can prove it to you, prove everything. Just don't leave." He holds on tight, tighter than necessary, but Kyungsoo doesn't mind.
"I would never leave."
Jongin returns home at midnight, bags under his eyes, feet dragging. Kyungsoo is wide awake though, washing the dishes quietly. He ignores the arms sliding around his waist from behind.
Jongin treads cautiously the following week. He leaves early in the morning, leaving Kyungsoo breakfast as an apology. He returns later too. The only thing that keeps Kyungsoo from exploding from frustration are the texts he occasionally gets from Jongin, saying how much he misses him and that he's almost done.
"Why am I here, Jongin?" Kyungsoo asks with a sigh, crossing his arms."In art school, they taught us love was... abstract," Jongin begins. He laughs as he says the word 'abstract,' and the sound's bitter but it's not a sharp bitterness. It's a tasteful bitterness, like dark chocolate mixed with peppermint. "That no matter how hard we try, we could never put love into something visible, tangible."
Kyungsoo only stares. Why is he telling him this?
"At first, I believed them. You know, us artists, we're kind of bitter," Jongin admits with a noncommittal shrug. It's never hard to admit a thing of the past. "We don't believe in the romantics of things. Sure, love can exist, but it's not as nice as clichés have made them out to look. It's not angels or shit like that. It's a feeling, and that's it."
Kyungsoo's mouth is dry. He doesn't know what to say.
"Then I met you," Jongin says, eyes flashing to meet Kyungsoo's, locking them into place. "And suddenly I understand why the world was – still is – crazy for romance. It's not like in the novels though, where I get all nervous or whatever when you're around. But I do get a little fidgety, as if my body needs yours beside it naturally. And whenever I paint, I paint with your smile embedded in my head, like I can never forget it. And your touches" – Jongin laughs, running a hand through his hair, and Kyungsoo smiles – "they fucking drive me insane, you know?"
"I know," Kyungsoo whispers, reaching out to grab Jongin's hand. Jongin allows their fingers to touch, lacing their fingers together.
"I know you're mad at me for disappearing all those times, but I'm not sorry," Jongin says, and Kyungsoo raises an eyebrow. Jongin backpedals momentarily to add, "Well, I am sorry about the anniversary thing. I lost track of the date working on this," he admits sheepishly. "I was supposed to finish this by our anniversary, but it took longer than I expected."
That surprises Kyungsoo. Jongin has been working on this project for over a month. He's planned this all along?
"I've been working on something. Something to– to put my love into something concrete, something physical." Jongin breathes shakily, and Kyungsoo tightens their hands in reassurance, but honestly, Kyungsoo's feeling shaky too.
Jongin smiles weakly, and slowly leads him to an alley. As they walk, Kyungsoo recognizes the building visible at the end of the alley – it's where Kyungsoo works.
"Why are you–"
"Shh," Jongin interrupts, and Kyungsoo is about to object when Jongin turns on the lights. Two large lamps beam onto the wall in front of them, and Kyungsoo is breathless.
"What is– how did you–" He can't even think straight.
"I'm sorry it took so long," Jongin says. "I just wanted to make it perfect for you, but it got harder when I started having to paint higher, and when the police came I always had to turn off the lights and hide, –" Kyungsoo cuts off Jongin's rambling with a kiss.
"It's perfect," he breathes, looking back at the wall. On the wall, there's a painting of Kyungsoo. It's colorful, and in each different shade there's a tiny picture. Kyungsoo recognizes them to be little things they've done together – rollerblade at the park, bowling with friends, karaoke at a bar. He has no idea how Jongin did it, but he managed to work his magic once more.
By the side, Kyungsoo sees paint cans and sprays scattered everywhere with rags. There's a ladder to the side, and Kyungsoo can't help it – he laughs. And laughs. And laughs.
"Why are you laughing?" Jongin asks curiously.
"I'm just so happy I have someone as perfect as you," Kyungsoo says. It's funny because it's graffiti. Jongin expressed his love for him through graffiti, and Kyungsoo thought graffiti was just mindless vandalism done by hoodlums, but apparently it's not. Apparently, it can be art; apparently, it can be love.
Overwhelmed, Kyungsoo pulls Jongin in for a hug. Surprised at first, Jongin soon settles in, wrapping his arms around Kyungsoo.
"I'm glad you liked it. It was hard, putting all of us into something physical like this, but I really wanted to prove this for you. I–I love you," Jongin says, smiling down at Kyungsoo.
"My love for you has always been both emotional and physical," Kyungsoo says, pressing a kiss to Jongin's collarbone. "It never looked as grand as this," he admits, "but it was there the entire time, waiting for you to notice."
Jongin leans down and captures Kyungsoo's lips softly. "Sorry to keep you waiting then," he murmurs, and Kyungsoo shivers.
"Love is patience," he whispers, teasing, but he feels Jongin breathe onto his neck, a long breath, the one released after a long day, and he knows.
"Thank you," Jongin finally says, pulling back to meet his eyes. All the walls around Jongin's heart have finally crashed and crumbled, leaving the broken boy Kyungsoo knew was there all along. The broken boy he loved from the start. "Thank you, Kyungsoo. Just– thank you." He presses kisses onto Kyungsoo's neck, murmuring 'thank you's again and again.
The night is quiet as two lovers embrace each other, exchanging warmth and kisses and affection among others in the solitude of comprehension. This picture is entitled 'Love', and there's nothing abstract about it.
- idek how this fic worked out to be like this i absolutely adored the idea of it but when it came to writing it i just-- i don't know.
- let's be honest graffiti can be really nice
- thank you for reading!