onkey // 2,603 words // G
Summary: Kim Kibum had a confidence about him: a barrier that he meticulously built in order to keep anyone and anything from injuring his ego. So Onew was strangely shocked when one night he awoke to the sound of soft crying echoing off the walls of their dorm.
A/N: I wrote this for my dear friend Shara (writtendlessly) whose SHINee OTP is Onkey and who's always supporting my writing. It means a lot to me. ;~; Also dedicating this to my other friend Kendra whose OTP is also Onkey and is also a huge support. I love you guys okay.
hands, like secrets,
Onew was awkward. It was just the way he had always been. Especially with girls. Whenever he was in the presence of one, it was like a switch would go off, and he would just freeze up. Fumble his words– more than usual. Stumble over his feet– more than usual. And his cheeks would always burn and every single time he was positive everyone around him took notice, which only managed to make them flush an even deeper scarlet than before.
When Onew was recruited as an idol trainee, he wasn’t necessarily disappointed in having to spend less time around the female population. In fact, it was almost a relief for him as it gave him an excuse to stay away from women altogether. Under his new entertainment company, Onew was taught how to please girls: how to say things to melt their hearts and make them swoon. How to turn his natural flaws, like his clumsiness, into charms. But he was a heartthrob now– an item of admiration to the masses– and he didn’t need to worry about those petty sorts of things like love or attraction anymore.
At least, so he thought.
So once those uncomfortable and embarrassing feelings returned again, Onew was at wit’s end. What made it even worse was the fact that these troublesome emotions weren’t caused by some strange fangirl or female labelmate. By complete contrast, Onew found the source of his affections (and the cause of his stomachaches) to be none other than his fellow co-member, Kim Kibum.
If it was any consolation, Kibum– or Key, as he insisted on calling himself– had a very girly face. His behaviors and mannerisms were also considerably feminine. Ultimately he had an incredibly strong personality, carrying himself with great confidence so much so it was enviable by men and women alike. It was also intimidating. And goddammit, Key was very intimidating to Onew. Everything Onew had learned about pleasing women was utterly useless when it came to his co-member. Whenever the younger boy was around, Onew’s throat would go dry and he would take extra time in picking out his words, as he never really knew what to say around Key but he never wanted to sound stupid or anything. Key had a wit as sharp as his cheekbones, whereas Onew’s sense of humor was incredibly dull and it seemed as though everything he said was unfunny at best. How Key appeared to be gifted at everything and how Key appeared to give off a glow to everything he touched was a mystery to Onew. A very intriguing mystery, but a mystery nonetheless and one that probably would be better off left alone.
At least, so Onew thought.
Despite Key’s uniquely effeminate disposition he had an impenetrable wall of stone build around him at all times, which usually gave off an air of arrogance that some people labeled as snobby. Not like it mattered. Nothing hurt Kim Kibum’s pride. Nothing hurt his ego. His wall was never dented nor scratched by any feelings of morose or lashings of hatred. So Onew was strangely shocked and bewildered when one night he awoke to the sounds of softly stifled whimpers echoing off the white-washed walls of the bedroom that he and Kibum shared.
“Kibum?” he called, hardly audible above a whisper and in a hitch of breath the weeping stopped completely.
“Are you awake?” he called again.
“Are you crying?”
A longer pause.
Onew removed his bedcovers at once, resolute, and stumbled blindly through the pitch darkness towards the other side of the bedroom, where he flicked on a nearby lamp. Its orange hued glow illuminated the figure of his fellow group member, his usually perfect hair now in complete disarray and his tearstained cheeks glowing like tiny rivulets of fire in the lamplight.
“What is it?” Key asked, his narrowed brow disguising the humiliation that clawed at his lungs at having the older member see him in such a pitiful state.
“You’re crying.” Well, obviously. A pang of guilt clutched at Onew’s throat, overcome by another pang of clenching desperation.
“It’s nothing,” Key sniffed, bringing the corner of his sleeve up to his face in order to wipe away the tears that gathered at the corner of his eyes.
To Key’s great surprise his own hands were brushed away as another, stronger hand was brought to the side of his face, thumb brushing away the sadness that coated his eyes. To Onew, it was completely on impulse. To Key, it was exactly what he had needed. His face twisted up in sorrow, wringing out more hot tears that ran down his cheeks. Onew silenced him with a shushing sound before gathering the other boy’s huddled body into a hug, quietly rocking him back and forth.
“Shhh… it’s okay. It’s okay.” Even though he didn’t even know what was wrong.
“It’s just… it hurts,” Key began, as if Onew squeezed him just hard enough to allow the all words to spill over. “And I miss her.”
Onew’s heart plummeted directly into his stomach, which was already cart-wheeling. Key’s grandmother was a major source of support in his life. When he heard the news of her death, Key immediately began to withdraw from everyone else: becoming quieter than usual and keeping mostly to himself. Everyone thought he just needed to be left alone to mourn for a little while, and then everything would suddenly be better. But as evident from the boy’s current state, even months after the funeral, he was still not completely okay.
It was then Onew realized that even concrete could crumble.
They sat there for long while, wrapped up in each other’s warmth and presence, and when they finally separated Onew made sure to stop and meet Key’s gaze, in order to accurately portray how much he supported the younger male.
It was probably one of the worst things Onew could have done, for he was much too close to the other boy’s face, so much that their lips brushed together and once he caught Key’s gaze– so beautifully vulnerable and entrancing– he couldn’t possibly help but lean in just a little bit further and kiss him completely.
Onew was never good with words, anyway.
It was awkward to say the least. A bit sloppy as well. Both of them were new to what they were getting into, unsure of exactly what to do. Their lips fumbled clumsily against each other, tongues fighting for dominance, building in intensity as the kiss went on. Key had pressed one of his hands to Onew’s chest, curling his fingers against his skin. In return Onew brought a hand up to roam through the other boy’s hair, but one of his fingers became caught in the tangled mess and lingered on a little longer than intended. It was awkward and a bit sloppy but it was also warm and wonderful and perfect in every way.
As soon as they pulled away the magnitude of their actions began to heavily sink in. Key’s eyes were round saucers of disbelief and he brought his fingers up to his lips as if Onew had coated them with radioactive waste and they had grown into some sort of foreign mutation on his face. He looked at Onew in the exact same manner, and if Onew wasn’t so ashamed at that moment he might have been offended.
“Jinki,” Key blurted out suddenly. “Are you gay?”
“I– what? Oh god, no! I mean–”
Onew quickly scrambled up from Key’s bed in a panicked daze, stumbling frantically to regain his lost composure. “It’s just… I-I thought–” In reality, he had no real explanation other than the fact that he found Key to be completely irresistible in every way. But he couldn’t tell him that, even if he wanted to.
An incredibly uncomfortable silence had taken over the room as Onew stood there stuttering, trying to form some kind of sentence or phrase but failing miserably. When he realized that he was only embarrassing himself further he merely lowered his head, muttering a short, incoherent apology as he practically flung himself across the room and retreated back into his bedcovers, wishing that they would somehow make the rest of the world disappear or at the very least smother him to death while he slept. But despite the undying humiliation that stabbed repeatedly at his chest, Onew couldn’t help but feel satisfied at knowing there was one good outcome of his completely impulsive and otherwise downright mortifying behavior.
At least Key had stopped crying.
The following morning the two of them had mutually agreed that they would pretend nothing had happened the previous night. They came to this agreement, however, without actually speaking to each other. Onew had only become aware of it when Key began avoiding him like the plague, and while Key himself didn’t seem bothered by it, Onew found the arrangement extremely difficult to uphold.
Despite the front he put on as SHINee’s leader, Onew felt as though he was falling apart very slowly.
And despite Key ignoring Onew not-so-subtly, the pair of them had made eye contact that afternoon right before a magazine interview. For Key, it was completely on accident. For Onew however, it was exactly what he had wanted. Needless to say both were more fidgety than usual throughout the entire ordeal, with only half of their attention focused on the interview itself while the other half remained focused completely on each other. And needless to say, the rest of the members had taken notice.
It was directly in the middle of the interview when Onew resolved to confront Key about the situation. He reasoned it was because he was genuinely concerned about repairing their friendship, but in all honesty it was mostly because he couldn’t stand having the younger member avoid him. He decided to wait until that late that very night when the other members had gone to sleep.
Onew had obviously not learned the first time.
“Kibum,” Onew’s voice was soft, barely audible in the still midnight air as to not wake the sleeping maknae on the other side of the room.
“Jinki?” was Kibum’s groggy, half-conscious reply.
“We need to talk.”
Onew felt a pair of soft hands on his shoulders as he was pulled forwards onto the mattress and into Kibum’s lap. It wasn’t the sort of reply he had been expecting, but it felt warm and right and he welcomed it nonetheless.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” Kibum mumbled slowly, his voice dangerously low and Onew unknowingly shuddered.
No more words were exchanged as Onew felt a pair of supple lips graze against his own in the darkness. He felt Key’s lips curl into a smirk as he was swallowed up by his warmth. He vaguely remembered that he had come to Key with some intent and purpose but it became lost in the boy’s scent.
The next morning, everything was back to the way it normally was, much to Onew’s own frustrated dejection and his attempts at patching up the hole that was quickly becoming not-so-subtle between them.
This vicious cycle continued for days, however. By day Onew repelled Key like the wrong end of a magnet, but by night he was everything Key wanted. Yet hardly a word was exchanged between them out of fear. Key feared commitment, which led to attachment. Attachment meant the walls he spent so long building up had to break down sooner or later. Onew, on the other hand, was exactly the opposite. Onew feared ruining what they already had. Onew feared that the walls he had spent so much effort in breaking down would be built back up again, this time not letting him in at all.
At first Onew thought he could handle things. Everything was perfectly fine, despite the way the two of them had to sneak around. He understood that: they both felt an obligation– a responsibility to the other members. But as time went on, Onew found it harder and harder to restrain himself. He wanted nothing more than to reach out and touch Key whenever he pleased, to claim him in a sense, to see the flush on his cheeks and the way his eyelashes fluttered when he kissed him without being rendered blind by the dark of the night and the guilt that clouded his eyes.
Eventually his urges became nothing more than completely unbearable. Still Onew kept his mouth shut, for he’d rather have Key just a little than not at all.
That is, until one night when it slipped.
The two were wrapped up on Jinki’s bed when the older suddenly pulled away.
“Kibum, I can’t keep doing this,” he managed to choke out, “I… I like you.”
It tasted bitterly juvenile, Onew felt. The words sounded like something he’d say to a girl he pined after in secondary school. But he was new to this strange planet of deep, stirring affections and was at a loss for words for the things he felt towards the other boy.
To Onew’s surprise, Key answered. “I think… I like you too, hyung.”
“Are… are you embarrassed by me?”
“God, no. You idiot. That’s not it at all,” Key sighed, bringing a finger to rub at his temple. “I’m sorry.”
Onew shook his head. “I’m sorry,” he whispered.
They fell asleep within each other’s arms.
Yet the following morning resumed normally as Onew returned to consciousness in an empty bed. He awoke feeling particularly lonely that day.
The leader went to the kitchen to find the other members had been waiting for him. Key muttered a quick “good morning” before promptly avoiding Onew’s penetrating stare, pretending to occupy himself by texting someone on his cell phone. When Taemin leaned over to ask Key who he was talking with, he instead decided to keep quiet when he noticed that Key was only pressing random numbers on the keypad.
They were all due for a concert performance that day, but all Onew could think about was Key’s dark eyes, Key’s soft hands, and the way the light of the morning cascaded about his features. It provided for a very long, very quiet drive. Jonghyun would try every once in awhile to lift the mood, but Key proved unresponsive and out-of-sorts, only managing a half-hearted chuckle or smile here and there.
Once they arrived at the airport, Onew was about ready to pull Key aside and talk to him privately when it happened.
Very casually, very subtly, and very nonchalantly Key slipped his hand into Jinki’s, intertwining their fingers and giving him a quick, firm squeeze.
As if to say, “I’m sorry.”
As if to say, “I’m trying.”
Onew quickly dropped his head, averting his gaze to the floor. Still, he couldn’t disguise the warmth that flourished through his fingertips and the grin that flourished on his face. He turned his head slightly to face Key, noticing that the other boy had donned a matching smirk that complemented his own all the more.
Key squeezed his hand again. “Idiot,” he mumbled under his breath, but his glistening expression contradicted his insults.
The wall was still up, Onew realized. But he understood now, and it was okay. If he kept trying, he knew it would have to come down eventually.
If not, he would just have to learn to climb.