things change, because things always do. Heraclitus said: “Nothing endures but change.” Change is a constant, a given, and change is even a necessity.
They only have ten minutes, but Zitao thinks it’s more than enough time.
He pushes Sehun against the closed door a little too hard, and Sehun grunts a little when his back hits the stiff wood.
“Ge, quick,” he whines immediately, legs wrapped around Zitao’s waist. Zitao shuts him up with his mouth, rough and unyielding. Sehun’s arms are tight around him too, and his mouth is soft and pliant beneath him. They kiss for a while, even though it seems like forever, Zitao re-memorizing the contours of Sehun’s mouth, the roughness of his lips and the texture of his tongue. It’s been too fucking long. He nibbles on supposedly familiar lips, heart skipping a beat when Sehun moans a little, a sound that has long seared into his mind.
When his mouth travels down to the underside of Sehun’s jaw, Sehun greedily tilts his head up, and Zitao takes his time to explore the expanse of flesh, sucking a little, marking it once again as his. When Zitao licks a wet trail on Sehun’s neck, a broken ge escapes from his lips. His Adam’s apple bobs nervously, even as his hands on Zitao’s back involuntarily dig blunt nails through the shirt. Zitao bites a little on thin flesh, and Sehun’s legs around him grow tighter, trying to thrust towards him.
Sehun’s phone on the nearby table starts to ring, startling them. They pull apart, both breathing heavily, as Zitao’s part in Two Moons echoes in the room.
“Really,” Zitao manages to laugh out, even as he rests his forehead against Sehun’s. He sets Sehun down on the floor and watches as a blush creeps up his neck, both from embarrassment and fading arousal.
“Don’t be an ass about it,” Sehun replies, picking up the phone to answer it.
It’s Jongin calling him, asking him where the fuck is he and if he sees Zitao please ask him to come back to the training room for the food as well.
“We’ll just say we met on the way,” Sehun says, even as he presses his head into the crook of Zitao’s neck, arm warm around his waist.
Zitao kisses his hair as a form of answer.
It’s different with Jongin, rougher, more unbridled passion than relatively sweet touches like it is with Sehun. With Jongin, it’s all about a permanent fight for dominance, each scratch mark and purple bruise a war injury rather than a mark. There’s always an underlying anger in the way Jongin handles him, hands a little too tight around wrists and teeth too harsh.
Jongin is eyeing the bruise on Zitao’s collarbone when the latter steps out of the shower. Zitao can almost feel a tangible twinge on it, like it is beating, shivering under Jongin’s gaze.
“You went to him first again,” Jongin says, his voice firm. He isn’t posing a question, it is a statement, and the way his hands are curled into fists doesn’t escape Zitao.
Zitao doesn’t know how to tell Jongin this isn’t a competition. He cares for them both, and he has told Jongin again and again and fucking again that his relationship with Sehun doesn’t affect their relationship. Sehun had been accepting of that, had let Zitao fuck him slow and sensual that night, mar his skin with different shades of purple, blue and brown.
“I told you, it doesn’t matter,” Zitao sighs. They have had this argument too many times, sometimes with words, sometimes with angry teeth and punishing touches.
Jongin plants both palms on Zitao’s chest and shoves him backwards, till his back hits the wall. It’s a reversal of what happened with Sehun, and Zitao doesn’t fight back, silently gives Jongin control as some twisted form of (unneeded) apology. Jongin is harsh as usual, movements deliberate and painful. Zitao lets him bite his shoulder, right at the tip, even as a hand undoes the knot holding the towel around his hips together.
He gives Jongin a blow job later, tongue running along the vein on the underside and teeth minimal but effective. Jongin comes in his mouth with a jerk of hips and Zitao’s name on his lips.
Once, when Zitao was young, his grandfather had sat next to him and told him: “生命就像流水，会流动，会改变方向，但它一直改变的性格，也就是它的常数.
Life is like flowing water. It does not have a fixed shape, and it can change its direction anytime, but its nature of always changing, is in fact its constant.
Zitao had been too young to understand, and instead had whine at his grandfather for more ice cream.
Zitao is aware that Sehun is attracted to Jongin too, sees it in the way Sehun’s eyes rake up and down Jongin’s body when Jongin walks into the training room, hair loose around him and arms exposed. Sehun and he are on the floor, and Sehun is tracing lazy circles on Zitao’s ankle.
“Are you two practicing or not,” Jongin snaps, even as he flings the towel around his neck on the floor and stalks towards the music player. Zitao feels the way Sehun’s finger tenses on his feet, before he awkwardly shifts it away.
“We have recording later. Take a break Jongin,” Sehun says softly. The tension in the air is almost tangible, blue shots of lightning that one could reach out to feel, catch with fingers and let travel down veins.
Jongin ignores him and starts the music, fills the room with the opening chorus of MAMA. It’s loud, terribly loud; the room seems to start pulsing to the beat, and Zitao thinks if he squints a little, he could see the walls vibrate, tremble to the rhythm.
But Jongin doesn’t dance like he said he would. Instead he stands next to the music player, hands tight in fists, even after the song fades away and they only thing in the air is a ringing sort of echo and a silence that is suffocating.
“Jong –” Sehun starts, head reaching out to tap on Jongin’s shoulder, but the latter hits his advances away.
“Don’t,” and his voice is surprisingly on the edge of broken, and something clenches itself in Zitao’s chest. Something like yarn that chokes as it winds itself around the muscle that keeps him alive, and Zitao didn’t think he cared this much about Jongin. He knows he does, that itself is a given, but he didn’t think that just the hint of a vulnerable Jongin could affect him this way.
So it doesn’t take him by too much of surprise when he feels himself walk towards Jongin and wrap hands around a struggling body. Jongin trembles in his arms, but he doesn’t cry. Zitao can see the way Jongin’s throat moves far too fast to keep the tears down.
Things change, because things always do. Heraclitus said: “Nothing endures but change.” Change is a constant, a given, and change is even a necessity.
Yet, isn’t change being a constant in itself a paradox? How can something that shifts and slips, wanes and falls, be constant?
Zitao doesn’t understand how this change is a necessity. It shouldn’t be a necessity for Jongin to have to move away from him, both physically and emotionally. He tries, tries to hold on, tell Jongin he cares over and over again, but Jongin reacts with a laughter that grates on his bones uncomfortably, hand slipping out of his grasp.
“You said you would be fine with it,” Zitao had told him one night, hand a painful pressure around Jongin’s upper arm. Jongin had smiled, mouth pulled as if by invisible strings in a condescending arc.
“I didn’t,” and Zitao is about to argue, about to tell Jongin to stop lying but –
This is what happened:
Jongin had walked in on Sehun and Zitao kissing. It hadn’t been anything too much, just languid kisses in between the movie that was playing on Sehun’s television. Joonmyun was over at the EXO-M dorm, discussing with Wu Fan about “leader things”. They were probably watching a movie together.
There had a been a loud thud that had cause Sehun and Zitao to pull apart, and that thud had been Jongin dropping his bag on the floor.
The look in Jongin’s eyes is one that permeates through the pores of Zitao’s skin and sears itself onto his brain. It is a look that Zitao can’t put properly into words, because words are inadequate in describing the hurt, pain and even confusion that runs concurrent in that one single gaze. It’s unnerving.
Zitao knows it’s probably unfair for him to do this, to manipulate the fact that he knows Jongin is a little eager for acceptance, uses it as a sort of fuel for his own self-confidence, but Zitao walks towards the static boy and pulls him into his arms.
Jongin breathes harshly against his neck, his breaths a hot, lingering pressure.
He presses his mouth against his hair, “I still need you,” Jongin flinches under him, but mere seconds later, there is mouth hot on his and a hand desperately clutching on to the collar of his shirt. He can’t help but smile against rough teeth.
“Is this it?” Zitao asks one night, when they are pressed next to each other on a couch surrounded by the other group members. He whispers it in Jongin’s ear, almost inaudible.
Jongin shifts a little so he is able to look at him, and his eyes are narrowed, “this is a really bad time.”
“I need to know,” and Zitao really does, because it has been nagging at the back of his head, lingering like smoke, and he’s unable to grasps it and push it away because it has no physical embodiment. It is floating, surreal, but its presence makes it ache almost physically.
“I’m not good with… sharing,” Jongin replies, voice barely a whisper.
“It’s not sharing. I need you both for different reasons,” Zitao says, and he knows it is selfish, even more so than Jongin not wanting to share, but Zitao has always needed them both. Sehun keeps him grounded, because Sehun is probably the most non-judgmental person he knows, is able to sit next to him and let him rant and complain and fall apart without so much as a sound of pity.
Jongin keeps him alive. Jongin is fire, a flaming mass that burns and crackles, even if he does not himself know this. He is bashful smiles and teasing hands, and even though all of these mask an almost crippling need for approval, it doesn’t erase the fact that Jongin makes him feel a rush of vivacity that knocks him off his feet and makes him catch his breath.
“You’re fucking selfish, you know?”
Zitao is unable to formulate an answer, because he knows he is.
Maybe it is his fault.
Zitao had always felt like he had been born with something missing in him, a piece (or two) short of a completed jigsaw picture.
Wushu had helped filled that gap for a while, but it was like trying to fit a square piece into a circle hole, it worked for a while, but soon the sides will start to chaff and tear away, and the square piece will drop, leaving behind the same hole.
He had met Jongin first, because everyone meets Jongin first. Jongin is the golden boy, the star trainee, the one that is going to lead EXO into fame and fortune with the way his body moves.
Zitao will never forget the first time he met Jongin, just because it is difficult to forget your first meeting with someone when it had ended with a heated make-out session in the corner of an empty training room. Jongin’s skin is slicked with sweat from practicing, and his skin is hot and clammy against Zitao’s own, almost uncomfortable, but his mouth had been zealous and forceful above his, and Zitao doesn’t think he has ever felt this alive.
He meets Sehun three days later when Jongin invites him for dinner with them. Lu Han tags along because Zitao’s Korean is still limited to basic phrases. Zitao clicks with Sehun immediately, even with the language barrier.
They fall together slowly; polar opposite of the way Jongin and Zitao had crashed together. Zitao thinks it is a little crazy, a little bit out of touch with reality, but the very first time his lips had met with Sehun’s, he had felt whole for the very first time.
Zitao knows there’s a shift, a change in their dynamics and synergy the next time Jongin wraps thin fingers around his wrist.
He turns back to meet Jongin’s eyes, arm twisted.
“I need you too,” Jongin admits, and his eyes burn with resolution, “but I still want you to myself.”
“You have me, Jongin. I wish you could see that,” Jongin snorts at that, and Zitao wants to pull his hand free, but he doesn’t.
“What would you do, Zitao? What would you do if I made you choose between us?”
It takes him by surprise, like a lasso has caught him out of nowhere. He doesn’t have an answer he finds, because it has never been a question. And is at this moment where he realizes how self-centered he has been in both relationships. It has always been about him, about how having both of them made he feel alive, grounded, complete. He has never actually spared a thought about what Sehun and Jongin want or need.
“What do you need, Sehun?” Zitao asks as Sehun lowers himself to his knees in front of him, hands eager on the waist of his sweatpants.
Sehun looks up at him, confused, “isn’t this sort of an awkward time,” but he stops moving, hands pliant next to his sides.
Zitao starts to say something, but Sehun picks himself up and looks at him, eyes honest.
“I don’t know what I need, but I want you. Can we stay at that for now?”
“I asked Sehun what he needed. I do care, you know?” Zitao tells Jongin the next time they walk pass each other. Jongin glances at him and then around, before dragging Zitao into the nearest room to them. He locks it behind him.
“What does he need then?”
“He doesn’t know. He says he doesn’t know, but he wants me, and that’s enough for now.”
“That’s great for you isn’t it?” and something flares up in Zitao. Anger, confusion or frustration, he isn’t quite sure, but it’s something that sends the blood in him boiling, makes him dizzy with agitation.
“I don’t get it. We need each other, don’t we? Why can’t you just let that be what leads us? Things don’t have to be so complicated.”
“But things are complicated, Zitao. Things don’t just stay the way they are. What if one day you don’t need me anymore? What if one day you realize you only need Sehun, or you actually don’t need us both at all?”
“That will never happen.”
“You always say that, Zitao. You always say that both of us are needed because we complete you, fill up the empty slots in your heart, but we’re not the only pieces in the world. What happens when you find someone else?”
“Change shouldn’t be a necessity.”
Jongin laughs at him, laughs loud and clear and Zitao doesn’t know how to react. He just watches as Jongin laughs, bitter, ugly.
“Are you really that naïve? Time doesn’t care what you want. Change happens even if you don’t want it to. It doesn’t matter if it is a necessity or not, because it happens any fucking way. Forever is a myth, Zitao. You can’t promise forever.”
“Then what now, Jongin? What do you want me to do?” and Jongin freezes for a moment, just a moment, and then his mouth is suddenly on Zitao’s, hot and insistent, but his eyes shine with something that looks like desperation.
Zitao closes his eyes, ignores that look, and kisses him back.
Things change again (because they always do). They start to do things together as three people, Sehun a warm presence on his right and Jongin on his left. They go for karaoke together once, and do a horrible rendition of their own single. Jongin can’t stop laughing, sprawled on one of the sofas in the dark room. Sehun is next to him, hand carelessly thrown against his thigh. Zitao places his own hand on Sehun’s. Something warm settles in him.
Jongin looks at him then, and there’s still a look of hesitation in them, like he is unsure about where this is going. Zitao knows Jongin isn’t a hundred percent on board with the idea of three instead of two, but then Sehun’s fingers creep higher and Jongin swats him away good-naturedly, smiling.
Maybe all of this will fall apart in months, weeks, tomorrow. Zitao will hope for it to last forever, but who is to say for sure that he will want this in the future? After all, the only thing constant about change is change itself.
Zitao thinks he will just live in the now for the moment.
- this ot3 dynamics was... difficult to plan out. i am not sure if it worked tbh.
- title taken from you know where everyone probably does.
- this started off as PWP... lol.
- thank you pankosmios for helping me through this and listening to me whine about it for a week or something. ilu.
- songs listened to while typing this: simon curtis's flesh | all time low's six feet under the stars | fun.'s we are young
- i have a lot of jongin feels. he intrigues me, and i hope my portrayal of him is okay ugh idk. sobs into hand.