Stina (stina098) wrote,
Stina
stina098

the silver compass points to you

Pairing: sehun/junmyeon
Rating: R for smut
Word Count: 8300w
Genre: romance
Warnings: none
Author Note: originally written for xunmians
Summary: "His name is Sehun and he’s twenty.” His mother continues, slicing a piece of mutton on her plate before glancing at him. “Do you have any objections?” Prince!AU





Junmyeon’s parents bring up the prospect of him marrying in June—a little less than year after Yixing ran away and an entire wedding had to be cancelled.

It’s over one of their rare family dinners, and really, he thinks he should have seen it coming from the way they had been carefully exchanging glances throughout the entire evening, but he’d figured that they’d had to do with something else. Something that did not have to do with marriage, because that had been a subject both of his parents had been cautious to even mention around him during the last year.

He can’t blame them when he knows that they are old and both worrying about his future and the future of their country, but it still comes as an unpleasant surprise when it’s brought up casually while he’s chewing on a piece of asparagus.

“We’ve arranged for you to marry the prince of Hoseon,” his father says, acting like it isn’t a very big deal and that or they have been talking about the possibility of them marrying for months already. “We’ve been talking to the King and Queen of Hoseon for over than a month, and both of us have reached the conclusion that you two would make a good match.”

Junmyeon’s mouth goes dry, and he takes a sip of the white wine in front of him before he answers. Partially because he needs it, partially because it’ll give him some time before he will have to say something.

“His name is Sehun and he’s twenty.” His mother continues, slicing a piece of mutton on her plate before glancing at him. “Do you have any objections?”

He forces himself to shake his head and knows that it’s worth it when he sees relief quickly cross her features and the set of her shoulders relax. Objecting to the marriage would have only caused his parents unneeded stress, and with the trade alliance between the Kims and the Ohs needing to be renewed soon, he knows that this would probably be the best decision for his country.

It doesn’t mean that it makes it any easier though, or that Junmyeon is happy that his parents have set him up with someone he’s never met.

Next his mother, his father sends him a pleased look.

“Good. If everything goes as planned he’ll be arriving in three weeks and then you two will hopefully be married by late August.”

Junmyeon nods and tries to focus on the fact that the decision will be the best one for both his parents and his country, but it still leaves a bitter taste in his mouth.

For all of his life, he’d been raised knowing that he was going to marry Yixing one day, and though there had never been any romantic love between them while they’d been engaged, they had still been close friends and had known each other for their entire lives.

He had known that Yixing would have made a good king. Had known that he would have helped Junmyeon rule with a cool head. Had known that he’d take care of their people.

Despite the fact they had viewed each other more like brothers than anything else, he’d gotten used to the idea of living the rest of his life together with him. He’d known that though there would probably never be any real love between them, at least there wouldn’t be any animosity either.

Now he was supposed to get married to a boy who was not only three years younger than him - practically a baby – but also someone he had never met.



***


In the end, it winds up taking Sehun nearly four weeks until he actually arrives, a flurry of bags and servants coming with him to help him settle down and prepare the wedding.

Junmyeon gets called down to the courtroom by a panting servant, and walks into to the room to see his mother standing next to two boys. Both of them are tall and look a bit out of place in the throne room, but from the way they are standing, Junmyeon knows that they aren’t normal servants.

The one Junmyeon figures is Sehun looks up and smiles as he approaches.

He has a kind face, with sun kissed skin that make it obvious that he has come from sun and warmth, and Junmyeon breathes a sigh of relief at the fact that he looks more mature than he’d imagined.

Junmyeon briefly wonders how he’s going to get used to the chillier landscape of Aelgi with its snowy, steep mountaintops and flowing rivers when Sehun looks as if he was born to be in the sun.

When his mother sees him she breaks into a smile, calling him over.

“There you are! Junmyeon, this is Sehun and Jongin.”

To his surprise it isn’t the one he’d originally thought was Sehun who is introduced. Instead the other boy—young and pale with an expressionless face—gives a short bow before he rises without saying a word. The bow is short to the point where it’s almost rude, and Junmyeon stops his frown just in time.

Sehun is beautiful in a way that would have Junmyeon stop and stare any other times, but it’s marred by the bored look on Sehun’s face that gives the impression that the prince would have rather been anywhere else.

Junmyeon doesn’t doubt it.

Knowing his own reluctance to marry someone he didn’t know, Sehun probably hated being sent away to marry a prince in a far off land who had even been stood up at the altar by the person he’d been engaged to his whole life. It’s really no wonder he isn’t even pretending to look happy, but it rubs Junmyeon the wrong way and he feels irritation settling over him.

Junmyeon might not be thrilled to have to take care of someone who looks as if he expects everyone to fall at his feet, but at least he pastes what he hopes is a convincing smile on his face. Unlike Sehun.

“Nice to meet you.” Junmyeon says.

Sehun simply nods, and Junmyeon feels the last hope he’d had for any marriage filled with love disappear. Sehun looks more like a spoiled, arrogant prince who would rather spend his time ordering servants around than he looks like someone who would genuinely care for his subjects.

Junmyeon spares a look at his mother and is surprised when he sees her with a happy expression on her face while looking at Sehun.

“I was just telling Sehun that I hope he feels at home here and that he only needs to come to me or to you if he ever has anything to worry about. Of course, that applies to you too Jongin, but you won’t be staying here for as long since you’ll be travelling back to Hoseon after you’ve done your duty as the best man.”

From his looks, Junmyeon figures that Jongin is probably nobility.

Jongin smiles and it’s a sharp contrast to Sehun who stands there looking like he would rather be anywhere else. Junmyeon’s mother turns to Sehun again.

“Well, you’re both more than welcome to stay here. I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other constantly.”

Sehun nods again, tongue darting out to wet his lips, but despite his mother’s words Junmyeon doesn’t see Sehun much the coming few days or even before the wedding.

The younger is busy settling down he’s told --getting installed into his quarters and finding his way around the castle. The only time they meet is during dinners, but even there Sehun doesn’t say much; leaving as soon as the dinner is over and retiring to his room.

Any conversations Junmyeon begins end in awkward silences.

He figures that he could probably request for Sehun’s presence outside of the dinners, but a part of him can’t help but think that Sehun will probably force his parents to cancel the wedding sooner or later, so he doesn’t see the point in it. It’s not like he particularly likes Sehun either, or thinks that they will have a lot in common to speak about over a cup of tea.

Junmyeon has grown up on a pair of skis, Sehun definitely hasn’t. Junmyeon likes studying and loves reading, he doubts that Sehun does. Junmyeon doesn’t have any siblings, Sehun does.

The list goes on.

It’s by a pure chance that Junmyeon stumbles upon Sehun a week before the wedding when he decides to take a stroll in the gardens to get some fresh air.

The rain during the night had left the air crisp and the grass greener, and though Junmyeon has a million things he needs to do before he could even begin to think of having any free time, he chooses to ignore his duties for the time being and sneaks out through a servant door, hoping to pass by unnoticed. It isn’t that hard when most parts of the large palace garden are covered by rosebushes, neatly cut trees and meter high flowers to give more privacy and avoid it from being an open landscape.

It’s exactly this that makes him accidentally stumble upon Sehun on the far end of the large garden by the fence, crouched over something on the ground.

Junmyeon first instinct is to frown, wondering what Sehun is doing wandering in the garden when he should have probably been doing something else. From what little he knows of Sehun, it doesn’t really surprise him though, to find the other slacking off from his duties. If anything it only strengthens his belief that his parents had made a mistake match making them when they so clearly had nothing in common.

Before he can walk away, he sees Sehun sit down on the grass suddenly, a tiny ball of fur resting in his lap. The kitten can’t be much older than a week, because even from where he’s standing a few meters away hidden from sight, Junmyeon can tell that it hasn’t fully opened its eyes yet.

A wild kitten abandoned or lost by its mother after it must have accidentally wandered into the garden, he thinks. It isn’t a rare occurrence by any means.

He’s is about to turn and leave, figuring that Sehun will probably put it back outside of the fence soon, when he sees Sehun smiling gently as he runs his hand along the creature’s tiny body, eyes warm.

Junmyeon stares --rooted to the ground.

Sehun looks like another person, nothing like the cold, arrogant one he’d been the first time they’d met, and Junmyeon finds himself unable to look away. It’s the first time he’s ever seen Sehun smile, and he can’t help but notice that he looks younger when he smiles. Less weary and more open.

Kinder.

The tiny kitten smashes its nose into Sehun’s shirt and Sehun grins, lifting it up until it has settled into a more comfortable position on his lap.

Junmyeon stays long enough to hear Sehun call for servants to bring some milk before he leaves, mind spinning. When he gets back, he finds his butler standing in his room annoyed, and gets back to finishing the tasks he had left to go outside. Even so, he has Sehun’s smile and the way he had petted the kitten replying in his mind the entire day; the image refusing to leave despite him having more pressing matters to think about.

It’s such a stark contrast to the Sehun Junmyeon is used to seeing that he’s both baffled by it and a bit confused. But at the end of the day, it isn’t something that he can spend a lot of time contemplating as the wedding approaches quickly and new preparations are made every day. His parents seem to grow more restless day by day, excited over the wedding in a way they hadn’t been when he was supposed to be getting married to Yixing.

He keeps expecting Sehun to back out, but when it’s the night before the wedding and he still hasn’t, Junmyeon begins to worry.

He doesn’t want his parents to suffer again or have the pride of his country wounded if he’s stood up at the altar for the second time. He’d been relieved at the time to not have to be married right away, but it had still come as a blow to him and to his friendship with Yixing. Especially when the speculations on why Yixing had given up a chance at the throne to run away with his merchant boyfriend began and spread throughout the country like wildfire

Before Junmyeon knows it, he’s gotten out of bed; put clothes on, and is standing outside of Sehun’s room and knocking on his door.

It takes a few seconds for Sehun to open the door, but when he does he stares at Junmyeon with wide eyes, probably expecting it to be anyone but him.

“Can I come in?”

Sehun steps back, allowing him entry. The room’s messier than he’d ever seen it, with clothes strewn over a chair, the bed undone and a few candy wrappers laying abandoned on the desk, but it looks more lived in than Junmyeon can ever remember it looking.

Sehun stands in the middle of it, only a wearing a pair of dark blue sweatpants and a white tank top. Together with his messy hair, it’s the most undone he’s ever seen Sehun.

The way he fiddles a bit with the hem of his shirt alerts Junmyeon that he isn’t oblivious to the fact, and Junmyeon tries his best to look at anything other than the wide plains of creamy skin on display that has him thinking of things he shouldn’t be.

For once Sehun’s eyes aren’t half-lidded, but rather darting around the room awkwardly. It reminds Junmyeon of the way he’d looked a few days ago sitting in the garden, because just like then he seems a bit younger. A bit more vulnerable. Less untouchable.

Junmyeon is made acutely aware that this is the first time they are actually alone together without other people staring at them.

“What are you doing here?” Sehun asks, breaking the silence.

Junmyeon swallows down whatever pride he has.

“I’m here to say that there is probably a better way for you to stop the wedding tomorrow that doesn’t involve running away right before the ceremony. If you want to stop it, I’m sure we can figure it out together but through other methods. ”

Sehun stares at him.

“You think I’m going to run away?”

Junmyeon doesn’t answer, but apparently that is answer enough for Sehun because his entire face closes off, whatever piece of vulnerably Junmyeon had thought himself able to see disappearing instantly.

Junmyeon immediately gets the feeling that he’s said something very wrong.

“I know my duty to my country, and I am loyal to it.” Sehun says, voice dripping with ice. “It doesn’t matter what I want at the end of the day, I’m not so selfish as to put myself first. Even though you obviously think so.”

Sehun glares at him angrily while Junmyeon just stands there, more than a bit surprised, and struggles to find something to say. It usually isn’t a problem of his.

“I— “

Sehun turns towards his bed, his back to Junmyeon.

“Was that all?” Sehun asks. “I’m tired, and I need to get up early tomorrow morning.”

Junmyeon gets the feeling that he’s been dismissed and is momentarily stunned. The whole situation is a bit absurd to him—he can’t remember the last time he was dismissed by someone, and he knows for a fact that no one younger than him has ever done so.

Before he can say something, a weak meow cuts the silence and Junmyeon stares as a tiny little head peeks out beneath the covers of Sehun’s bed. A second later Sehun colours like he is doing an impression of a beetroot, ears and neck turning a bright red, and stutters at the scene like he wasn’t just caught letting a kitten sleep in his bed but rather stark naked.

“I was just—“ Sehun begins, voice suspiciously high pitched and coming out more like a squeak.

Junmyeon regains his posture.

“It’s fine. I’m not going to tell anyone.” The last time he checked, it was against the rules to house any kind of pet inside of the castle, but he’s not about to go and tell on Sehun whom he suspects knows just as much about the rule as he does. He must have tried to adopt the wild cat he’d found in the garden instead of just dismissing it, and tried to do so secretly after he’d found out that he wasn’t allowed to.

Junmyeon can’t help but to be amused at the fact that Sehun must have thrown a blanket over its head to hide it while he went and got the door. How Sehun thought that he would be able to hide a cat in his small bedroom without it being discovered was beyond him.

Sehun visibly calms down at his words, even beginning to smile faintly before he seems to remember whom it was that he was talking to and glares at him again.

“Well, goodnight.” Sehun says; less cold than before but still a very far cry from being warm and pretends like nothing has happened.


***


It takes Junmyeon a long time to fall asleep that night, but when he finally does, it feels like he only gets to sleep for a few seconds before he is woken up by a room full of servants.

Junmyeon is groomed from head to toe, dressed in a white suit that has been made to fit his body perfectly and has his hair styled with half a bottle of gel until it no longer has the texture of hair. It seems like no time until he is standing in front of the altar again, clenching his fingers tightly where he keeps them locked behind his back.

Next to him, Kyungsoo stands calmly, just as he did a year ago, and doesn’t seem to be bothered by Jongin who is more or less gawking at Kyungsoo like he is the coolest person he’s ever seen. Junmyeon briefly wonders what has happened between them, because Sehun’s best man seems genuinely besotted, and hopes that Kyungsoo lets him down gently.

The buzz of the more than 300 hundred people sitting in the large church makes it impossible for him to relax. Last year he’d been worried over the possibility of one of his closest friends, Jisoo, not showing up. This year, he is worrying about having to be informed that the person he’d been expected to marry couldn’t be found once again.

It’s a bit ironic, he thinks, that he is standing at the altar for the second time when it wasn’t something that he ever expected having to repeat.

All thoughts fade away as music begins to play and the doors are opened, leaving him feeling like the weight of the world has been lifted off of his shoulders.

Sehun walks into the church and Junmyeon stops breathing.

He’d always known that Sehun was beautiful with his sharp jawline, high nose and pink lips, but he’d never really understood just how beautiful Sehun was until now as he walks down the aisle, dressed in a suit that resembles Junmyeon’s and makes it look like he’s glowing.

He looks ethereal, and Junmyeon has a hard time taking his eyes off him.

It’s the small chuckle he hears Kyungsoo make that finally snaps him out of it, making him unclench his fingers behind his back and close his mouth.

Out of the corner of his eyes, he can see his parents and the king and queen of Hoseon smile at each other knowingly, but it’s a smile that Sehun doesn’t share as he comes to stand in front of the altar and the priest begins to speak. He looks paler than usual, and from up close Junmyeon can notice the small beads of sweat that have gathered at his temple.

Something in his gut tightens, and though Sehun and him are a far cry from even being friends, he thinks of the cat Sehun had adopted and their conversation the night before, and thinks that there is a chance that he might have misjudged Sehun.

He slips his hand into Sehun’s slightly trembling one and squeezes it in what he hopes is a reassuring, friendly way. Sehun looks at him in shock for only a second before he goes back to looking like normal and the priest begins to speak.

The wedding ceremony passes in what feels like a blink of eye, ending when the priest confirms them to be married and says that they may kiss. The whole room erupts into cheers, and there is nothing Junmyeon wishes more than that there weren’t hundreds of eyes fixed on the two of them. He guesses that Sehun must feel the same, because when someone wolf-whistles obnoxiously, Sehun’s hand twitches slightly inside of his like he would bolt and run if he could.

But it’s not like they can put it off forever without making people raise questions about them, so Junmyeon leans in and kisses him hesitantly.

Sehun tastes kind of sweet.

His lips are soft, and it’s probably the first kiss Junmyeon’s shared with someone since he ended up having sex with Jisoo as a stress relief last year.

It’s a tentative kiss --just a mere brushing of lips-- but Junmyeon likes it more than he wants to admit. It’s over quickly as Sehun draws away, and the room around them explodes into cheers once again.

Junmyeon pastes a smile on his face.



***



Custom to their traditions, Sehun and Junmyeon sit next to each other during their wedding dinner. It’s held in their ballroom, with flowers decorating the walls and coloured banners hanging from the high-rise, golden ceiling. It’s the most beautiful and decorated he’s ever seen the hall look, but he figures that it has a good reason to be.

They are served plates upon plates of food; sautéed foie gras, beef tenderloin, and roasted asparagus to name a few, and Junmyeon thinks that despite having grown up in a family with their own personal chefs, this is probably the most delicious food he has ever eaten. He ignores his usual diet of white chicken and salads for the first time in ages, and by the time the three-layer-chocolate cake is brought out he feels like he would be happy to not eat anything for the next couple of days.

Sehun, on the other hand, barely eats anything.

It confuses him a bit, since he hasn’t noticed that Sehun was picky with his food before, but even so, he figures that Sehun is probably only saving himself for the cake since it isn’t any secret that the boy has an extreme sweet tooth. But when Sehun only takes two bites of the delicious cake before putting his utensils down, Junmyeon can’t help but frown.

Sehun is already thin enough as it is; he hardly needs to lose any more weight. A part of him wonders whether or not Sehun not eating the food is some kind of statement that sure, he might be married, but he won’t be happy about it. Another figures that he might just not like the food.

It’s not like he has much time to ask, what with seemingly everyone wanting to raise a toast and hold speeches about how amazing it is to see the two countries united and how it’ll bring them closer. Most of the people holding speeches he recognises, others he thinks are just doing it so that they’ll get their name out there because he can’t understand why his second cousin twice removed would get teary eyed over him “finally growing up” when he can’t remember ever meeting said person in his entire life. From the way Sehun barely manages to hide his half-way laugh/half-way snort when the person dabs at his eyes with a handkerchief, he thinks Sehun probably feels the same way.

The only conversation he has with Sehun over the course of six hours is him asking, “do you want something to drink?” and Sehun responding “no, it’s fine. I’m not thirsty.”

Not necessarily what Junmyeon would call a quality conversation.

As soon as the dinner ends, they’re flocked by people congratulating them once again, and when he thinks that it is finally more or less over, he feels a tap on his shoulder and turn to see Jisoo’s father smiling up at him. He’s a highly successful business man, and though he’d never said it out loud, Junmyeon thinks that he might have hoped that Jisoo and he would have one day ended up together.

“Congratulations on your marriage. It was a very beautiful ceremony.”

“Thank you.”

“It feels like it was just yesterday I was teaching you and Jisoo to play chess. Time sure flies.”

Junmyeon just smiles, not knowing what to say. Sehun turns to them, finished speaking with whoever it was he had been speaking to.

“Speaking of Jisoo, he’s coming home next month. I’m sure he would love it if you could make some time for him in between your busy schedule and your marriage life.”

“Oh.” Junmyeon says, a bit shocked. The last thing he’d heard, Jisoo was in Runan with no plans of returning home any time soon. But then again, that had been several months ago, and it had been through a short letter. “Yes. Of course. Anything for him.”

Next to him Sehun frowns --just a mere twitching of his eyebrows-- as Jisoo’s father bids them goodbye and leaves. Sehun turns to him, and Junmyeon gets the feeling that Sehun is going to ask something, but in the end he doesn’t and simply remains mute.

The clock strikes twelve and they are escorted to their room by a crowd of giggling and slightly tipsy people. It’s more weird than it is anything else, since Junmyeon will have to move out from the room he’d been living in for as long as he can remember and will have to share a room with someone else.

The door closes behind them softly; guards stationed outside to make sure that no one enters. Or leaves, Junmyeon thinks a bit bitterly, since both of his parents have wanted him to be married for a long time and are probably hoping that they both consummate the marriage before Sehun or he won’t have a chance to annul it.

He and Sehun are still holding hands, and though it had felt awkward and a bit odd in the beginning of the evening, he’s gotten used to Sehun’s hand in his by now. It isn’t until Junmyeon makes a move to take off both of their crowns and sees Sehun tense that he releases his hand.

“Let’s just go to sleep.”

He pretends not to notice how relieved Sehun looks for a few seconds, before something or another causes him to glare at Junmyeon again. Junmyeon just stands there, not knowing what is even up or down with Sehun. One second he is petting cats, the other he feels like Sehun is going to kill him in his sleep and enjoy it.

“If you think I’m still going to run away, you can shove it.”

Junmyeon blinks, confused, before it dawns on him that Sehun might have interpreted his words in a way he hadn’t meant them.

“No." He says, shaking his head. "It’s just that there is a time and a place to do something like this and this isn’t it. I don’t think you’re going to run away. I trust you.”

Sehun colours, but still looks annoyed and refuses to meet his gaze. Junmyeon can’t help but find it kind of fascinating. He’s never struggled to figure someone out like this before, but he thinks that he’s slowly starting to get a grip on Sehun’s personality.

“Alright.”

“I’ll go wash up first,” Junmyeon says, disappearing into the bathroom and closing the door with a sigh. A part of him wonders if it’s always going to be like this, but now that they are married, it’s not like he won´t find out.

When he exits, Sehun has changed into his pyjamas, and it’s not for the first time that Junmyeon takes note of how broad Sehun’s shoulders are and how pretty his skin is. He is very skinny though, and Junmyeon reminds himself to force Sehun to eat a large breakfast in the morning. He can’t have a husband that collapses with fatigue.

In the end, when morning comes and breakfast arrives, he doesn’t have to force Sehun to eat anything, since Sehun seems to have regained the appetite he had lost yesterday and eats everything in his line of sight.

"What did you think of the food yesterday?" Junmyeon can’t help but ask, while swallowing some tea.

Sehun blinks.

"I don’t really remember," he answers. "I liked the chocolate cake."

Junmyeon just nods, confused like always, and saves his complaining for when Sehun has left to go to his classes and Junmyeon is sitting in the library with Kyungsoo and a happy Jongin by his side.

"I just don’t understand him." He sighs, allowing himself to let out an exasperated breath. "I thought he was really rude when I first met him, now I still think he is kind of rude but more confusing than anything else."

"Sehun is really nice once you get to know him and get passed his poker face," Jongin cuts in, before he seems to rethink it once again and grimaces. "Or I don’t know if nice is the word I’d use, that boy is such a brat, but he definitely isn’t bad."

Junmyeon thinks of the kitten Sehun had hid in his bed, and who is now probably resting in their shared room.

"Was he opposed to the marriage?" Junmyeon asks. From the general gossip he had heard about Sehun before they had met, he knew that the other was close to Prince Luhan of the Southern Isles, but he didn’t know what their relationship had been. It was no secret that Luhan was known for being really handsome --it wouldn’t have surprised Junmyeon if Sehun would have liked the prince as more than a friend. Or vice versa.

It makes him feel a bit bitter.

"No," Jongin says, shaking his head. "He actually didn’t seem to mind it. His parents asked him first of course, since they have learned a long time ago that that boy doesn’t really do what he doesn’t want to. I was actually a bit surprised by it, his parents have tried to set him up before but he’s always said no to it."

Junmyeon stares at Jongin.

“But I thought he wanted to marry Prince Luhan.”

Jongin makes a face.

“Eww. They are like brothers. That would be like incest. Don’t say that in front of Sehun, he would seriously punch you.”

Junmyeon pays more attention to Sehun after that, even more so than before, watching him when he’s eating, talking to Jongin or his parents, or even when he is talking to servants. Junmyeon notices to his own surprise that he never misses a lesson, or treats a servant badly. It doesn’t take long before he comes to the realisation that Sehun --with his sometimes grumpy face and cold demeanour-- actually has everyone wrapped around his fingers.

But while Junmyeon notices that Sehun is slowly becoming more and more comfortable with staying in their castle --even more so when Jongin decides that he is going to stay for a while longer and fails to hide the look he sends Kyungsoo-- he still remains kind of cold and uncomfortable around him.

Junmyeon figures that he just needs his space since they went from barely speaking to living together, and does his best to go to their room when Sehun is already sleeping and rising before Sehun awakes.

It’s around that time that he gets the information that Jisoo has returned home, and spends the next few days when he isn’t working catching up with him and hearing all about the crazy things he had done on his trip. It works as a good excuse as to why he and Sehun aren’t together every waking moment, and it also relieves Junmyeon to see that his and Jisoo’s friendship isn’t nearly as awkward as he’d worried that it would have been after their one-night stand and then not seeing each other for months.

It’s after he’s spent one night eating dinner with Jisoo and a few others that he returns to his room to find the lights on --something that surprises him since it’s midnight and Sehun is usually asleep by that time. Looking over to the bed, he expects to see Sehun sleeping and just having forgotten to turn off the lights, but he is sitting in one of their armchairs with his legs folded and looking at him expectantly.

"You’re still awake," Junmyeon says, stepping out of his shoes.

Sehun nods, expression blank.

"Sorry if I’m disturbing. I was out later than planned." He lies, since his late evenings and early mornings have gotten to him and he left Jisoo’s apartment the moment he figured that Sehun would already be sleeping. Now he just feels kind of stupid. If he’d known that Sehun would have been awake, he would have stayed out longer or gotten home earlier.

"Were you together with Jisoo?" Sehun asks.

Junmyeon nods, and Sehun glares. It takes him a bit by surprise since he’d figured that they were finally moving past their days of disliking each other and onto their days of just being uncomfortable-- which wasn’t much better, admittedly, but still.

"If you want to be with Jisoo please be less obvious. You don’t have to like me, but I don’t want to be the fool of the castle.” Sehun says, a bit bitterly.

Junmyeon stares at him, never having imagined that Sehun would have thought that he was having an affair. Then he thinks that he hasn’t given Sehun much reason to think otherwise, and feels a heavy feeling settle in his gut. He’d been trying his best to make their relationship better but, in a twist of irony, that had seemed to only make in worse.

"Nothing is going on between Jisoo and I.” Junmyeon finally manages. “I’m sorry if that is what it seemed like."

Sehun bites his lip, a bit unsure of whether or not he is telling the truth, and before Junmyeon knows it, he’s walking over to where Sehun is sitting and grabbing onto his hand. It’s warm from holding onto a cup of tea, and it feels soft in his.

"I promise you that nothing is going on between us. Nothing. I would never do that to you." He takes a breath. "We’re married."

"We never see each other." Sehun states, matter-of-factly. “We sleep together but you’re always gone when I wake up and you come to bed late.”

The plan of being considerate toward Sehun had definitely backfired, he thinks. Junmyeon’s mind spins.

“Let’s begin spending time together, then. We’re not close now, but let’s become friends. Let’s speak. We are going to spend the rest of our lives together, it seems like that would be a good start.”

Sehun frowns shortly before he nods.

“Alright. And you’re really only friends with Jisoo?"

"Yes. And are you really only friends with Luhan?"

Like Jongin had promised, Sehun looks nauseous, and for some reason it calms Junmyeon a bit to know that Sehun doesn’t resent him for marrying him when he had wanted to marry another.

"That’s gross. I’m going to bed." Then Sehun pauses, looking at him a bit nervously. "But uhh...yeah. Let’s talk tomorrow then."

Sehun scurries off to bed before he has a chance to respond.


***



They begin to talk more after that, and although the conversations start from being awkward and fizzling out easily --making them both think of excuses to leave-- it slowly gets better. Junmyeon tries to no longer avoid Sehun and instead makes an effort to spend more time with him in between his work and Sehun’s lessons. He starts bringing Sehun lunch when his first lessons are done for the day, and in turn Sehun forces himself to get up earlier (or at least tries) to have breakfast with him.

He takes it for the peace offering that it is more than anything else, since it winds up taking Junmyeon a longer time to eat breakfast and get done in the morning when Sehun turns out to be the sleepiest person he’s ever met --sitting up in bed with his eyes closed, blanket wrapped around him like he is creating a little Sehun-burrito and cuddling closer into his blanket for warmth.

Junmyeon literally has to feed him to get him to eat that early in the morning, and though he learns very quickly that Sehun detests coffee with a burning hatred, he also learns that chocolate milk can at least make him a little bit happier in his cocoon before he falls back to sleep.

Junmyeon wouldn’t ever say it to Sehun’s face, but he likes those mornings the best, since Sehun is too tired to think much about wearing any mask or his usual practiced indifference. It’s during those mornings and lunches, which eventually stretch out to hesitantly become dinners, that Junmyeon learns more about the younger and feels whatever last prejudice he’d held against Sehun slowly disappear.

Sehun is a brat -- as he comes to understand very early on-- and he has a way of almost always getting things his way, but he’s also hardworking and seems to appreciate people around him. When Jongin catches the annual flu, Sehun spends his days huffing and puffing while tending to him and trying to help as much as he can but unknowingly just making Jongin unable to relax. It isn’t a serious illness by any means, but it still warms Junmyeon’s heart to see Sehun extremely worried over his friend (and Kyungsoo too, to his surprise).

It becomes harder not to see what it is his parents and the rest of the servants had seen in him as their conversations turn from awkward and halting to more and more interesting.

Junmyeon can’t say that they have a lot in common, but while he had expected that to be a bad thing when he’d first been introduced to Sehun, it ends up being something he likes the most. They also seem to share the same humour, and before he knows it he’s looking forward to his days ending just so that he can spend time with the younger.

Kyungsoo and Jongin both find it hilarious, especially when he asks Jongin for advice on what Sehun likes and hates. When he finds out that Sehun longs to get out of the castle and do something out on the town, he spends the evening convincing the security guards that it would be a great idea for them to get some fresh air and that it wouldn’t be dangerous for them at all.

In the end, he gets permission, but only if he allows two guards to follow them and make sure that nothing happens. He decides that it’s worth it when he tells Sehun and sees how happy it makes him, and the way his eyes dart around excitedly two days later when they’re walking along the food market; both wearing caps in order to make their identities less obvious.

They have two hours before they will have to get back, and although it is not Sehun’s first time out and about in the city, it’s the first time they’re in the capital together.

"I’ve always loved travelling and doing things outside of the castle." Sehun says a while later when they are just walking around, smiling. "It was easier back in Hoseon because I wasn’t the crown prince and they let me off more easily doing things on my own. I used to travel around, drink tea in different places or go visit pretty sights."

"Do you miss it?" Junmyeon asks.

"Sometimes." Sehun shrugs. "It’s very different here, but I’m starting to like it here more and more. Plus, it’s not like I can’t go back."

Junmyeon can’t help but smile at that although Sehun refuses to meet his gaze, instead taking in the surrounding area eagerly.

It’s a cloudy and chilly afternoon, and although Junmyeon thinks that it might begin to rain any second, that doesn’t seem to dampen Sehun spirits. Junmyeon is just about to ask if he wants to go to look for some clothes or eat something when Sehun stops suddenly --startling Junmyeon-- and grabs a hold of Junmyeon’s arm.

He’s a bit worried over it for a second, wondering if everything is alright, but before he can ask, Sehun is dragging him until they are both standing in front of a small bubble tea shop --Sehun’s eyes as large as saucers as he ignores Junmeyon’s protests and stares up at the tiny store like he just found gold. The elderly lady who owns it smiles at them when Sehun orders two large chocolate bubble teas.

Junmyeon just stares at him, crossed between being exasperated and amused as Sehun begins to drink the first bubble tea before the lady is even finished making the second. He reaches out to take it once it’s made, figuring that the other is for him, but instead Sehun simply hands him the almost empty one and steals the full one, leaving Junmyeon to pay for them both.

Junmyeon can’t find it in himself to mind though –not when Sehun looks the happiest he’s ever seen him, eyes sparkling and looking like the definition of the word pleased.

His heart stutters and falls inside his chest and he has trouble looking away from the drop of milk tea that escapes the straw and slides along Sehun’s chin slowly. Junmyeon reaches out to brush it away, thumb just having made contact with Sehun’s soft skin when the deafening roar of thunder echoes around them and rain begins to pour. It’s chilling to the bone, a promise of the colder season that is to come, and though his fingers still tingle from brushing Sehun skin, he lets his hand fall and grabs his hand, pulling him into a run.


***

"You can shower first." Junmyeon says, running a towel through his hair and attempting to dry it. Sehun is trying his best not to shiver and make it too obvious that he’s freezing, but with his clothes soaked and hair dripping, he’s doing a terrible job.

Junmyeon isn’t that bothered by the cold, but he worries over Sehun who’s grown up in a warmer climate and isn’t used to the stinging fall rain.

"No. I’m fine," Sehun says.

Junmyeon sends him an unimpressed look.

"I don’t want you to catch a cold. I’m used to this."

After a short while of insisting, Sehun eventually succumbs grumpily, disappearing into the bathroom. Junmyeon takes the opportunity to step out of his soggy clothes, putting on a sweater and a pair of slacks before ordering a servant to go and prepare some warm tea. For all his whining, it takes another ten minutes for Sehun to get out of the bathroom, so Junmyeon figures that he needed the heat more than he let on.

When he finally steps out of the shower, wrapped only in a bathrobe, Junmyeon stops what it was that he was doing and finds himself staring at a glistening, wet Sehun with his cheeks flushed from the shower. Junmyeon can’t help the way his breath hitches, or the way he tenses when Sehun walks over to him.

It’s the least amount of clothes he’s ever seen Sehun wear, and it doesn’t escape Junmyeon’s notice that he had purposely not brought a change of wear into the bathroom with him. The fact that Sehun feels comfortable enough in his presence not to makes him feel warm.

"Thanks for today. I had fun."

Sehun smiles, grabbing onto one of his hands, and Junmyeon feels his chest tighten in a way that is becoming increasingly familiar. He tightens his grip on Sehun’s hand, enjoying the way it fits in his, and doesn’t really feel like letting go.

"I’m glad." He answers truthfully, meeting Sehun’s gaze.

Sehun has pretty eyes, far from always being expressionless and constantly bored like he’d imagined them to be when he’d just met Sehun. There are a lot of things he thought about Sehun that didn’t turn out to be true.

He appreciates Sehun’s eyes for a few more seconds before he is leaning in slowly, giving Sehun the chance to back away, and presses his lips carefully against his.

It’s similar to their wedding kiss the first second --Sehun not responding and just standing there awkwardly while Junmyeon gets the terrible feeling that he’s made a large mistake-- but then Sehun kisses him back. His lips are soft and warm against his, the smell of his skin intoxicating, and Junmyeon itches to tug him closer and into his lap.

But before he loses himself entirely in the kiss he forces himself to pull back.

"Is this okay?" He asks; trying his best to not look at Sehun’s lips or at the skin that’s been exposed after Sehun´s bathrobe has become a bit undone.

Sehun nods, breath heavy.

"Yes, I’ve… kind of wanted to do that since we first met."

Junmyeon stares at him, baffled.

"I thought that you hated me.” He says. “You looked like you were really bored and hated being there. You didn’t even smile once."

Sehun colours.

"That’s just my default face!” He exclaims, trying to pull his hand back. Junmyeon doesn’t let him. “I didn’t know you! I was nervous!"

Then Sehun looks a bit vulnerable, looking down at the hand on his waist. "But I don’t have to be anymore, do I? You like me, don’t you?"

Junmyeon splutters.

Sehun sends him a look.

He melts.

“Yes. I do.”

He didn’t think he would, but he thinks he’s liked Sehun for a good while now.

Sehun was a brat, but he was an undeniably endearing one. Junmyeon never imagined being in a marriage with someone he liked romantically, and for the first time he considers himself lucky that Yixing ran away. It never would have worked between them anyway. And he wouldn’t have met Sehun.

"Good." Sehun says, doing a poor job of hiding his pleased smile. "Then you don’t have to stop."

Junmyeon does as he’d been told, leaning in and finally pressing his lips fully against Sehun’s, and enjoys the way it feels like his skin is buzzing.

He’d wanted to kiss Sehun for a while now, and when Sehun moans, he can’t help but ache to give Sehun a reason to feel tired in the morning other than just his normal sleepiness.

Sehun seems to think the same, because although Sehun’s kissing might lack a bit of technique --something Junmyeon can’t wait to teach him-- he makes it up for it in eagerness; pulling Junmyeon closer against him and moaning when Junmyeon angles his head so that he can kiss and nip at his neck.

When Sehun’s hands come to grab at his waist, he tugs his shirt off and tosses it to the ground, backing Sehun up until he is falling on top of the bed.

“You’re really beautiful, you know that right?” Junmyeon whispers, feeling the need to actually tell Sehun.

Sehun’s ears redden slightly.

“Shut up.”

Junmyeon grins; capturing Sehun’s lips again and searches for any signs of hesitance in Sehun’s eyes as he begins to pull at the fabric belt. When he doesn’t find any, he pulls at it until Sehun is laying bare on the bed, beautiful and unmarred skin on display.

Junmyeon feels himself harden in his pants, and when Sehun rocks up slightly, just trying to get more comfortable, it takes a whole lot of self-control to not simply tear the pants off. He strongly suspects that this is Sehun’s first time, and he wants to do it properly. Sehun deserves more than just a quick romp between the sheets.

He deserves much more than that.

Junmyeon peppers his neck with kisses, letting his fingers explore Sehun’s naked body, and sneaks an arm around Sehun’s thin waist to pull flat against him. When Sehun is panting beneath him, awkwardly trying to smother his moans and get Junmyeon to take his pants off, he stops.

“Are you sure about this?” He asks one more time. “There is no need to rush. We have plenty of time.”

Sehun’s sends him an annoyed look, but his eyes are gentle.

“I’m sure.”


***


“Can you please stop existing?”

Jongin huffs as he sits down next to him angrily, dark circles under his eyes and frown very much present.

“Like, I beg you,” he continues. “Sehun has been so horrible lately, I swear to God. All he talks about is you and whenever someone mentions you he gets this really dreamy look on his face. It’s disgusting.”

Junmyeon smiles.

“I never thought that I’d say this, but I wish you two would go back to the days where you didn’t even speak to each other. Those were the days.”

“Sorry,” Junmyeon says. “I can’t do that.

Jongin glares, and then glares some more as Sehun comes to join them and smacks the back of Jongin’s head.

“Leave my husband alone. You’re just annoyed because I’d rather spend time with him than go fishing with you.”

Jongin grumbles something under his breath.

Junmyeon kisses Sehun’s cheek.


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