“Let’s hear it one more time?” Myungjun asked. He sat down beside Minhyuk and closed his eyes, tilted his head, waited expectantly.
Minhyuk cleared his throat, and then he began to sing the chorus again.
Time has since raised me
And tells me to step into the world now
My past self would then ask me
If I’m happy enough to smile now
Myungjun smiled to himself. Minhyuk had a truly beautiful voice, powerful and flexible. He rarely sang on their songs because his role on the team was as the main dancer and lead rapper, and when he did sing it was to provide harmonies. Early on in their career he’d been allowed to do high notes and adlibs during live performances. Fans had been blown away, and rightly so, startled by the power and depth of his voice.
But this song required a more delicate touch, sweeter, more poignant emotion, and Minhyuk had to rein in his power. With everything he did, he went hard. Minhyuk was many things — beautiful, graceful — but delicate was not one of them.
“Don’t be afraid to let your voice get a little breathy,” Myungjun said. “Let it be a little lighter, a little sweeter. I know your voice is naturally fuller, where Dongmin’s is naturally breathy. But if you put that breath in there, it gives your voice a bit of vulnerability, that cry, that makes it sound like you’re almost weeping.”
Minhyuk frowned. “Show me, hyung?”
Myungjun nodded and cleared his throat, and then he began to sing the same song, injecting a mournfulness and wistfulness into his tone. He too was known for his power, his ability to belt notes live from day one, had learned control and emotion over time.
Minhyuk leaned in and listened, brow furrowed, biting his bottom lip, and he looked absolutely adorable with how hard he was concentrating.
When Myungjun finished, Minhyuk nodded.
“I think I understand.”
Myungjun smiled encouragingly. “Go again.”
Minhyuk obeyed, and there it was, the mournful tone, the longing and the pain, and for one moment Myungjun thought he saw beyond the artistry of Minhyuk’s effort, saw the remnants of the boy who’d left home the summer after fifth grade and sacrificed half of his childhood and all of his adolescence to become an idol.
“That was it,” Myungjun said.
Minhyuk perked up. “Really?”
“Yeah. Do that again in the studio and your fans will cry,” Myungjun said. “In a good way.”
Minhyuk snuggled closer to Myungjun and rested his head on Myungjun’s shoulder. “Thanks so much for helping me, hyung. I really appreciate it.”
Myungjun reveled in Minhyuk’s warmth and closeness. “When it’s just us, you don’t have to call me hyung. You can just call me Myungjunnie.”
Minhyuk sat up. “What? But —”
“When I date boys, I don’t do hyung-dongsaeng, so. Call me Myungjunnie.” Myungjun smiled at him. “All right?”
Minhyuk bit his lip. “All right.”
“All right, Myungjunnie.”
Myungjun smiled again, leaned in, and kissed him, just because he could. Because they were together now, because Minhyuk had confessed his feelings and because Myungjun liked him back and it was just the two of them in the dorm and they could just be.
Minhyuk kissed him back, because he was always an eager lover, and soon he and Myungjun were stumbling for the bedroom. Minhyuk had the sense to push the door behind him and lock it before they tumbled onto Myungjun’s bed. Minhyuk also had the sense to turn on some music — jazz, which he liked for some reason, loud and brassy and sensuous — really loud in case someone came home early, and Myungjun thought he heard the Minhyuk whistle when Myungjun peeled off his own shirt, but he didn’t care, because then Minhyuk was kissing him again, and they could be together and have each other, and it was wonderful.
“Love you,” Minhyuk murmured. “Myungjunnie.”
“Love you too,” Myungjun replied, and kissed him again.