little world fallin’ apart - Chapter 2 - sinkingmyships (2024)

Chapter Text

The first time Chan went home with Felix—home home, to Felix’s house, back when his childhood bedroom was still his childhood bedroom and not his mum’s office, left largely unchanged in case the whole idol thing fell through, shelves packed with taekwondo trophies and medals, a dresser drawer stuffed with bathers, goofy photos with his sisters and high school mates blu-tacked to the back of his door—he’d opened his stupid mouth and said, I think I was always meant to be here with you.

He hadn’t really meant here, in Felix’s room. Mostly he meant in their hometown. On their home continent. Maybe in Stray Kids, but for once he wasn’t really thinking about them. He remembers the beat of silence that seemed to go on for ages, like watching a balloon float higher and higher into the sky until it’s out of sight.

Then Felix said, Yeah, it was always meant to be us.

That was not the moment Chan fell in love with him. Chan doesn’t remember when that was, if it was a single moment at all. More likely it was a steady build through a thousand different lifetimes, like minerals crystalizing inside a geode. Crack him open and he would spill love like glittering amethyst. That was, however, the moment Chan realized it, which scared him in unquantifiable ways, until it didn’t.

Chan has had so many opportunities to tell him. So many quiet mornings or homesick nights or any number of spectacularly hectic in-between moments where he might have taken that leap. He’s imagined it happening in any season or hour, in every place they’ve ever stood together, in an infinite configuration of butterfly-effect chains of events. But he could never bring himself to do it, for a myriad of fickle reasons.

Look where all that moral obligation got him. Everything’s f*cked, anyway.

So on the last peaceful morning he’ll ever have, after years of telling himself no, of prioritizing and rationalizing and fantasizing, of being leader/hyung/best mate/coworker/home-away-from-home, of cooling off his white-hot heart just enough to maintain plausible deniability, he’s ready to let himself have this one thing.

Except: he feels like sh*t. He has no idea if he slept for ten minutes or ten hours. He’s sore in the weirdest places, fuzzy-headed, disoriented. His nose is congested. He forgot to close the window before they went to sleep, and the wind is flapping his curtains open, so cold it stings his eyes.

During the night, he and Felix shifted apart. They’re no longer pressed chest-to-chest. Chan tries to burrito himself in his doona.

Felix stirs and whines, “No stealing, give it back.” He grabs a handful of the blanket and tugs, worming his way back underneath and wedging his cold feet between Chan’s calves.

“Lix,” Chan whispers into the space between them. His voice is croaky. His head is so foggy that all he can hear is their breathing and not the comforting lull of Felix’s heartbeat. He clears his throat. “Felix?”

“Time is it?”

“Don’t know. But I, ah—wanted to say something.”

“Alarm’s set for eight. Sleep.”

“It’s important.”

Felix makes a quiet sound and stretches in just the right way to crack his neck. Chan watches him open his eyes: bleary, slow, scrunch-faced, like a disgruntled kitten waking up from his nap to find that that sunbeam in which he’d fallen asleep has slanted across the floor. He’s never been a morning person, and he’s wonderful, and if Chan never gets to wake up to this again, then at least Felix will know it’s not for lack of wanting.

But Felix blinks, and pouts, and scrubs the heel of his palm over his face. If he was a video game NPC, he’d have a big red exclamation point flashing over his head.

“Holy f*ck,” Felix says, breaking into his widest, wildest smile. That’s a smile for chocolate pancakes with strawberries and vanilla ice cream, or a group hug after a daesang, or staff members bringing their puppies and babies into work, or statistically improbable gacha luck, or a plane ticket to Sydney. “You’re you! The wolf is gone!”

Suddenly Chan has his arms full of squirmy, sleep-warm boy. Felix is nearly on top of him, smothering him, knocking the air out of him like he’s a deflating bouncy castle.

What?” Chan asks, but he doesn’t think Felix hears him past his ecstatic crescendo of goblin noises. Chan struggles to make his body communicate with his brain.

He’s sore along the backs of his fingers because his claws are gone. His lower back spasms because his tail is gone. He’s fuzzy-headed and congested because he’s readjusting to human senses.

There’s no animal presence in his mind anymore.

The wolf is gone.

The shock of joy is like an ice bath. He’s frozen and drenched in sheer relief. His heartbeat rockets supersonic in the adrenaline rush.

Then he laughs. What else is there to do with a false-alarm threat of extinction? The force of it squeaks in his throat and stretches his cheeks like mochi. It catches in his sides and hurts his lungs. Felix laughs, too, in sharp, cackly bursts. Brighter than bright.

Chan crushes Felix to him. Their bodies shake as they cling to each other. They gasp for breath between disbelieving oh-my-gods and what-the-f*cks and I-don’t-knows. Right when they think they’ve calmed down, they start laughing all over again.

“Aish,” Chan groans after a while. “Now yesterday feels a bit—ah, dramatic, haha.” Felix pinches his bicep. “Hey? Ow?”

“You would never say that to me.”

“That’s different.”

“It’s not. It’s not dramatic to have feelings. And feeling bad doesn’t make you bad. Be nicer to my Channie-hyung, asshole.”

“No, I—I mean you’re right, I’m just like—like it’s so—f*ck, sorry, it’s so much I can’t think straight.”

“Mm. As long as you’re okay then the rest of it doesn’t matter? You are okay, right?”

Chan squeezes Felix’s shoulders. He’s all bird bones and compact muscle. “So okay. The best I’ve ever been, maybe. Nothing’s gonna change. Everything can go back to normal.”

Felix wiggles out of Chan’s hold and props himself up. He looks down at Chan. Chan looks up at him. Felix’s eyes are shiny. His hair is messy. The slope of his nose is a dainty masterwork, like the spout of a clay teapot designed for laminar flow. It’s too dark to see his freckles, but Chan knows where they all are, anyway.

“Nothing’s gonna change,” Felix repeats. His voice is—something that Chan can’t place. Distracted? Wistful? He smiles in much the same way as they breathe the same air.

His eyes dart down, then back up. He touches Chan’s face. His thumb strokes lightly across his cheek before settling at the corner of Chan’s lips. In his dimple, Chan realizes belatedly.

It seems uncannily like they are about to kiss.

The realization hits him like a train.

They are about to kiss.

Chan feels intensely stupid, betrayed by his own calculations, like missing a step on a staircase that he uses every single day. Tumbling and flailing-limbed. He doesn’t want to blink in case he misses something microscopically crucial.

The curtains flutter. Felix’s face lights in the grey haze like all the moon’s phases at once, new-waxing-full-waning. He wets his lips. Chan watches the shine of his tongue and mirrors him.

Then Felix’s alarm goes off.

They’re left staring at each other for a few excruciating moments before Felix twists to the side to hit the stop button. He might as well be moving light-years away. They don’t say anything as Felix’s lockscreen dims.

“Channie-hyung.” Felix doesn’t sound tense or even flustered. Just soft like fresh snow. “We should tell the members.”

Chan’s first thought is, That we were about to kiss? His ears are hot. He swallows, the dry click of it audible in his throat. It takes way too long for his next thought to be, Oh, about the wolf.

He sobers. The wolf. It really is gone. He’s human. He’s still allowed to be Bang Chan who, against all odds, still has a job and responsibilities and so many people depending on him. “Oh my god, yeah, good thinking,” he says. In a flash of clarity, he adds, “f*ck, we have a shoot today.”

Felix snorts. “Gotta be on set at 9:15.” He finds Chan’s hand and squeezes. Then he gets up, making a silly little show of shuddering and chattering his teeth, and closes the window. Chan finally sees that Felix has stolen his favorite pair of joggers as well as his hoodie. He’s not going to see those again for weeks. “Seungminnie’s probably awake already. I could text him. But also I need to like, brush my teeth. And stuff. I should go home and get ready.”

“Nah, yeah, totally! I need to do all that, too.”

“I’ll tell my dorm? You tell yours?”

“Sounds ace.” Before Felix can grab all his stuff and leave, Chan rushes to pull him into a hug. Felix breathes out long and slow. His cold hands bunch up against Chan’s back, leeching warmth. “Thank you.”

“Of course.”

“For like, everything.” That feels inadequate, but he hadn’t accounted for a best-case scenario. He doesn’t know where to go from here, like a doomsday conspiracy theorist coming to terms with all the ways the world hasn’t ended.

“I know. See you soon.”

When Felix is gone, Chan beelines to the closest bedroom. Changbin’s triumphant bellow is loud enough to shake the whole city block. Hyunjin’s sincerity is so palpable that he could smear it on his canvases like oil pastels. Jisung’s relief frazzles him so badly that he starts speaking in his unplaceable English accent.

They ask him how. They ask him why. Like before, he doesn’t have answers for them. This time it matters less. Apparently they had all put more faith into him than was probably fair, never questioning whether or not things would work out. It makes him feel very loved. That was never a question, either, but it’s nice nonetheless.

“Do not tell the others,” Chan tells them, and Hyunjin surreptitiously slips his phone back into his hoodie pocket. “Felix is going to tell them. Don’t ruin his surprise.”

Only after their group chat fills with varying sequences of exclamation points and keysmashes and cat stickers does Chan feel the idol-urge to open Bubble.

[It’s Ya Boi Christopher]
Today’s gonna be a really, really, reallyyy good day
Not telling ya, it’s a secret hehe
Ah Y/N I’m just teasing haha
Today is good because…
It just is~
Let’s enjoy it together!!!

He adds a sleepy selca to the end. Moments after he finishes sending everything, the notifications that pop up from Felix look like glitches.

It really is going to be a good day


Not everything can go back to normal.

There are things Chan can’t unknow. He can’t unknow the shame and the hunger and the restlessness. He can’t unknow the nightmarish heat. He can’t unknow the fear that ached unlike anything he’d ever felt before, sharper than his vague imposter syndrome, direr than his omnipresent stress.

He also can’t unknow the satisfying wag of his tail or the rightness of his howl. He can’t unknow the acute animal awareness of Felix’s body, the touch-scent-sound of him as profound as a matter of survival.

And he doesn’t want to unknow any of that.

But most things go back to normal.

A company car picks them up and takes them to the photoshoot location. Their managers greet them like any other morning, none the wiser of their narrowly-avoided catastrophe. He sits in hair and makeup, chatting with a makeup artist as she pats mattifying powder to his T-zone with a puffy brush. A stylist pins his silky shirt in the back. The tone of this shoot is more formal than he’s usually comfortable with—who the f*ck is he to be wearing loafers—but he looks good and he feels good and it’s actually a little unnerving how chill he is considering how unchill he was yesterday.

First they take group photos posed like a still-life painting, like bunches of grapes spilling from a basket. They elegantly slump over the cushions of a leather couch, arms like vines connecting everyone to everyone else. When the photographer instructs Chan to lean even more against Felix’s shoulder, Felix knocks their heads together.

How are you doing? he seems to ask.

Chan brushes his pinky along the curve of Felix’s wrist. Really good, he answers.

The best part of the day is how his kids orbit around him more than usual. During breaks, Hyunjin accepts back-hugs with a content little hmm, and Seungmin barely even retches when Chan asks him questions in aegyo. Minho shows him a video of Dori hissing at a sock, and Felix pulls up the next episode of Bluey. Jisung asks him to open his water bottle for him, and Changbin lets him straighten his tie for him. He likes smothering them. He’s touched that they’re allowing him this.

“Hyung,” Jeongin says after an outfit change. They’re the first ones done, and Jeongin is ragdolling as Chan rocks him in his arms. He doesn’t let Chan do this very often anymore, his grown-up maknae. He gossips like a nosy ajumma: “Don’t tell them I said this, but Lino-hyung and Seungminnie-hyung were up all night researching.”

“Oh, really? Them? Were they abducted by aliens? Did they try to probe you? Blink twice if you need help.”

Jeongin cranes his neck so that Chan can see his exaggerated blinking. Chan laughs. Jeongin looks like a little bug in a suit. “They were looking up wolf stuff. Seungminnie-hyung was so cranky this morning.”

“I’m sure he was.”

“Lino-hyung called you a dumb dog.”

“I’m sure he did.”

“They care about you.”

“I know.” Chan squeezes Jeongin around the middle. As the rest of his kids start trickling out of the changing room, he does his best baby voice directly in Jeongin’s ear: “What about our Iyennie, does he love hyung too, does he, hmm, because hyung loves Iyennie heaps and heaps and—”

Jeongin reaches the end of his patience and squirms away. Felix and Hyunjin cackle at them from across the room.

The photoshoot goes on for hours. Chan’s getting tired of blinking into the hot studio lights, but it’s a familiar kind of tired, and he’s grateful for it. He’s grateful to be here at all. Staff change the set dressings. They get split up for unit photos. Minho and Changbin get called first. Chan watches fondly as Changbin sticks his ass out for Minho to smack.

While the rest of them wait their turn, they size up the service tables. There’s a tower of cup ramyeon and instant tteokbokki, protein bars and platters of fresh fruit, seafood crisps and honey cereal, Korean breads and Western pastries. Jisung dissects a chocolate doughnut into bite-sized pieces with disposable chopsticks. Hyunjin and Jeongin stare longingly at him before reaching for their coffee. They leave most of the food untouched, left for the production crew instead.

Chan furrows his eyebrows. His gums burn. There’s something not quite right—no, it’s fine. Everything’s normal.

He and Jisung are last to take their unit photos. A makeup artist rushes to dab chocolate frosting from the side of Jisung’s mouth and reapply his raspberry-tinted lip balm. They pose together, their several million won worth of jewelry glittering as they angle themselves this way and that. In the quick moments where the crew adjusts the lights or the camera settings, Jisung tells him about a new SKZ-Record he’s writing inspired by another anime.

The camera shutter clicks. Chan’s mind drifts back to this morning. He turns the memory over and over. Felix in his bed, Felix in his arms. Cold. Breathless. Tender. The dreamscape starts to feel kaleidoscopic, all the shapes and colors shimmering and shifting. They were about to kiss.

What was it to Felix? A celebratory, in-the-moment impulse? Or the flash of gunpowder finally igniting, its fuse lit years and years back?

He thinks he knows, but he isn’t certain.

He hopes he knows, but he wants more than hope can give him.

Hyung,” Jisung says. “Where are you?”


“You’re not listening.”

“You were talking about Frieren again.”

Jisung rolls his eyes. “It’s a masterpiece, and—you know, I truly don’t understand how you do that.”


“Listen without actually listening.” Chan almost answers, it’s a skill you learn when you have kids, but Jisung adds, “Anyway, noona said we’re done here, and you’re off in space. Everything good?”

“Yeah, haha. I’m good, Han-ah. Think I’m just hungry, or something.”

Jisung studies him for a second before he shrugs. “Yeah, man. Me, too. What I would do for another doughnut. Mm. Like, it slaps that they like it when my face is round, but two is a bit…” He laughs as he trails off. “At least I could have one. A bunch of the others were fasting.”

“I figured. Hyunjin and Iyen looked like they were ready to fight for your crumbs.”

“Mm. I think Minho-hyung too, and Yongbokkie. They’ve all been like, you know, my face is so puffy, guess I won’t feel any joy this week.”

It’s not like this is unusual for them. The balancing act is always tough: needing enough to fuel their grueling dance routines while also needing to cut back to look like a bunch of elf princes. Someone’s always frowning over a poached chicken breast. Someone’s always complaining about going low-carb, low-fat, low-sugar, low-sodium. They are models and athletes, and they do what they must. This is normal.

If this is normal, if today is so good, then why is something ugly splintering in him? Hunger, or something like it, both his and not his, both visceral and metaphoric. Primal emptiness, a lean winter, sacrifices to be made.

“Dinner’s on me,” Chan decides. The knifepoint of worry instantly lessens. It’s fine. He’s fine. “What do you want?”

“Fried chicken!” Jisung crows. He sings it over and over, pitched up and pitched down and so loud. “Chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken!”

“Yeah, I should have guessed.”


The work day isn’t over. They all end up back at the company. Chan still has deadlines: he’s supposed to finish four remixes for their year-end stages by tomorrow afternoon. He could probably get a couple extra days if he asked, but he knows there are a lot of people waiting on his work so that they can do their own—the live band, the choreographers, the LED artists, the laser programmers, the pyrotechnicians—and he’d rather die than hold everyone else up.

He heads to his studio, sets up all his devices, and hunkers down to work.

He’d already had some ideas for the tracks he wanted to make. In no time at all, he finishes the first remix with a noisy cyberpunk twist. This is what he’s good at. He takes a quick water break and sets out on the next track.

The second remix goes slower. He f*cks around with his MIDI keyboard. He skims through his go-to sample pack. He verges on something great for what feels like forever, never quite getting there, like building a spaceship in the backyard, like lips almost touching, like—

Writing ballads is something he usually leaves to his other kids, but the words start whirlwinding in his head unbidden. He has to write them down. He clicks around to find those lyrics he abandoned so long ago. The chorus can stay. The verses become something new. It’s like he sees the matrix, and the next time he blinks, he’s birthed an entire love song. 100 billion galaxies all with 100 billion stars but this universe still lets us touch.

If there are 100 billion galaxies each containing 100 billion stars, then there are 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the whole universe, and he doesn’t know how to say that number in Korean or English, but it’s the number of times he’s looked at Felix and thought, I can’t believe we ended up here together.

He does not care at all that this isn’t the work he should be doing.

He reaches for his phone. He’s missed some notifications. Five from Minho over the last half hour, sent at freakishly regular intervals:



Hannie said you were buying dinner.

Ah ㅋㅋㅋ
I did say that, yeah
I will, just let me know when
Lots to celebrate! :]
Also, while we’re at it…

We’re not at anything.
Just buy dinner.

Iyen said you and Seungminnie were researching werewolves for me

Hmm. I’m going to turn him into panko.

Nooo it’s very thoughtful
I’m touched

Chan saves all his work. Several minutes pass. He assumes Minho is busy pulverizing Jeongin. But then he gets another notification.

I’m going to say this once and only once. And you will never mention it ever again or else I will stuff your pillows with Soonie’s hairballs. That is a promise. Okay. You’re so dedicated to being a hyung we can rely on. If things got really bad, the kids would look to me the way they look to you. It’s not that I wouldn’t take on that responsibility, because I would, but I don’t need it like you do. I could never love it like you do. It felt wrong that you could lose even that. So yes, I was trying to find anything that would help, because that’s the least you deserve, and the least the kids deserve. It’s also what I deserve, so if you think about it, this was all purely selfish. I’m done. Soonie hacks up a lot of hairballs, by the way.

Chan doesn’t have time to even think about replying before he gets a video call. He answers to a macro close-up of Minho’s eye and his voice yelling at him to come downstairs. There’s so much giggling in the background.

Someone yanks Minho’s phone away at what appears to be lightspeed. He gets a shaky, blurry glimpse of blond hair.

“You gotta feed us!” Felix says. His accent is thick. Chan sees flashes of mirror and red wall and laminate floor as Minho wrestles his phone back.

“Now!” Minho says, and then he hangs up.

Chan’s heart is a chrysalis, liquefying before growing wings.

His kids are waiting.


Everyone is goofing around in the practice room. They’re in this morning’s sleek makeup but also slouchy hoodies and baggy jeans. Jeongin and Changbin are doing what they do best: mocking PD-nim’s embarrassing dance cover of Le Sserafim’s latest title track. Minho chants an intense eight-count while Hyunjin films them. When Jeongin coquettishly shakes his butt, Felix and Jisung stagger into each other in a fit of laughter, collapsing to the floor like a house of cards.

Finally,” Seungmin says when he sees Chan. Seungmin steps over Felix and accidentally-probably-on-purpose kicks Jisung in the ass. Jisung swipes a hand out and latches onto his ankle, getting dragged along as Seungmin gives Chan his phone. “Our order is ready to place. We just need your credit card.”

“Is that all I am to you?” Chan jokes.

“What else would you be?”

Chan looks at Seungmin’s delivery app. It’s from their favorite late-night spot, the one where the chicken-mu is never bitter and the yangnyeom sauce is never too spicy for his baby taste buds to handle. They’ve added half the menu to the order. Extra dark meat, extra kimchi, extra rice. He sees bulgogi fries at the bottom and just knows they bickered about the logistics of getting fries delivered, like they always do. He barely pays any mind to the price before he gets out his wallet.

“Thanks, grandfather,” Seungmin says with a salute when Chan hands his phone back.

Felix slithers across the floor until the top of his beanie stops centimeters from Chan’s feet. He scrunches his whole face in a smile. “I’m stuck,” he says. He flops his arms up and makes grabby hands. “Help meee.”

Wah, wah, I’m stuck,” Chan teases, towering over him. He’s feeling bold. That should probably make him nervous. But it’s just Felix—just Felix like the moon is just the moon, extraordinary and beautiful and familiar in his sky—and the desire to kiss him is comfortingly familiar. Felix turns both grabby hands into middle fingers. Chan laughs and reaches down to haul Felix to his feet.

“How long ‘til food’s here? I’m done fasting and it’s been like, three days since I’ve had a proper meal. I’m so f*cking tired of broth and coffee.”

“f*ck broth!” Hyunjin echoes gleefully. “Felix fried chicken!”

“Hey, hey, hey, hey!”

And like earlier, the hunger rolls in fast like sickly storm clouds.

Chan’s jaw aches.

“Hyung?” Felix asks.

He remembers, suddenly, the trophy-hunted grey wolf and the war between her pack and a neighboring band of coyotes.

The grey wolf had pups, and she needed help feeding them. Her pack took turns ferrying meat from kill site to rendezvous site. But the coyotes schemed: a single wolf can take a single coyote, but not several at once. And so, like playground bullies stealing lunch money, droves of coyotes harassed solo wolves into surrendering their meat.

Soon the pups were hungry.

On and on this went—until the grey wolf led her whole reverent pack to the coyotes’ territory. She paid no heed to their warning barks and gnashing teeth. The wolves watched her. The coyotes watched her. No one intervened as she dug each coyote pup out of their underground dens and shook them all dead. Little yips aborted and little feet wilted as little necks snapped.

And then she ate them all.

In this moment, Chan understands her at a molecular level. He, too, would do all the dirty work if it meant his kids were happy and fed.

He would peel oranges for them and live with the pith slivered under his nails. He would pit cherries for them and tie himself in knots like the stems. He would seed pomegranates. Shave away spiky pineapple eyes. Carve the flesh of dragon fruit, kiwifruit, passionfruit. Open coconuts and hold the shells to his kids’ mouths so they might drink from his hands. Skin sweet potatoes straight from the campfire and burn his fingertips. Desilk corn, desand leeks. He would file off husk and bran and germ one grain of rice at a time until he had eight full bowls. He would shuck abalone and oysters. Devein shrimp. Crack crab legs. He would bleed eels of their poison and shear out their backbones. He would slice silverskin from pork ribs and gristle from steaks. He would—

“What’s wrong?” Felix’s voice sounds very far away. Is that even—yes, of course that’s Felix’s voice, Chan knows this. Chan tries to focus on him, but it’s so hard. He sways. Gravity feels off.

“Felix,” he says hollowly.

“Okay, now you’re scaring me.”

And like earlier: a splinter, a knifepoint, a burn in his gums.

His knees buckle. Loud music vibrates in his bones, until it doesn’t.



“Don’t let him hit his head on the floor!”

So many voices in his ears. So many hands steadying his body, pulling on his clothes.

“Hey, come on, Chris, look at me, look at me.”

Chan looks up. Pain rips down his spine. He manages to get in a strangely lucid headcount—one two three four five six seven, and he is number eight—before his eyes roll back.

He would—

He wants—

He wants to bring down an elk six times his size. He wants the thrill of the chase and the glory of the kill. All he needs is one good lunge to collapse its esophagus in his jaws. Let him feel the crush of muscle between his teeth and taste hot blood weeping on his tongue. When it falls, and struggles, and finally surrenders, he will watch proudly as his kids finish off the dying beast. He has taught them well. Together they will revel in the ripping of pelt and rending of bone.

He wants to catch a rabbit especially for Felix. He wants it to tremble before he ends it all. Then he will lay its limp body as Felix’s feet like an offering to a wild god. He wants Felix to take the first bite. His little fangs should be enough to tear out the cheeks, extricate the purple liver. Only the best parts for him.

See how well he can provide?

He wants Felix’s mouth bloody, his hands, too, sweet and red as fruit juice when Chan leans in to clean him up. His tongue will remember the salt of Felix’s skin, and Felix will know to trust him even as Chan closes his lips around his fingers.

His canines pulse.

He can’t stop it.

So he stops fighting it.

Once he gives in, it’s over so fast that he wonders why he tried fighting it at all. The pain stops almost instantly. Everything goes bright and then dark. When he comes to, he realizes he’s on his back. He doesn’t remember—falling, or being laid out, he’s not sure, but he doesn’t like it either way. What is he, a yearling cowed by an elder? He’s the elder here.

Chan pulls himself to his hands and knees, then back onto his haunches.

“Hyung, easy,” someone says. Changbin, he thinks.

He shakes his head like he’s clearing water from his ears. The fuzzy world comes back into focus. He sees all his kids at eye-level, crouched around him. He hears their heartbeats, smells their worry.

He wags his tail.

The movement drags his eyes to his reflection in the practice room mirror. The fangs and yellow irises are at least familiar. But now the greatest shock is the dark fur peeking out of his pushed-up sleeves, on his forearms where he usually waxes. He can feel more fur beneath his hoodie, all over his traps like hackles. More on his ears, which have elongated in a way that might otherwise be elven, their fur so glossy they don’t even blend in with his damaged hair.

Ohhh, haha,” he says casually. “Well, I guess this makes sense.”

His kids shoot each other concerned glances. The air in the room is definitely weird, a little dangerous, like smelling ozone before a lightning strike. He supposes there’s something starkly different now that they’ve all watched the wolf eclipse him. Yet he isn’t too worried about it. Besides, he knows his kids will take their cues from him—if it doesn’t faze him, it won’t faze them.

What makes sense?” Jisung asks.

“It just felt familiar, you know?”

“No, I don’t know,” Jisung says. “You’re like—you just—I mean, it was anime as hell, I’m not gonna lie, like could you imagine if WIT Studio did—”

“Not the point,” Hyunjin interjects.

“Nerd,” Jeongin adds.

“You build Gunpla!”


“Whatever, sorry!” Jisung says. “Just—you’re back on your werewolf sh*t, but worse!”

Not worse,” Chan says defensively. “Just more.”

“Uh?” Jisung holds up his hands exactly like the shrug emoji. “What are we supposed to do with that?”

Chan lays his hand in Jisung’s hand, as if Jisung had instead been asking for paw. Jisung stares at him with big round eyes. Chan keeps wagging his tail patiently. “It’s not ideal,” he says, “but now that we know it’s not forever, it feels less bad.”

Seungmin and Minho share some sort of look that Chan cannot dissect. “You were a werewolf yesterday, and you’re a werewolf today,” Minho says, unimpressed. “Statistically, that’s pretty bad.”

Jisung lets go of his hand. Chan really should have gotten a reward for giving him paw. Even a scratch behind his ears would do. “You were all like, head in the clouds earlier. Was that the wolf?”

“That was, uh, unrelated, actually. Haha.”

“Did I…was this my fault?” Felix asks.

Lix,” Chan says.

“I think it was,” Seungmin says at the same time.

Felix pouts. So does Chan. He hears someone’s stomach rumble and imagines that it sounds like three days, three days, three days. The wolf shudders encouragingly. He’s nearly there. His kids are still hungry. He still needs to kill—

It comes together suddenly and just a little too slowly in Chan’s head, like remembering the answer to a trivia question after someone else has already buzzed in to win the whole game.

“Yongbok triggered it this time,” Seungmin says, “but it could have been any of us. And I guess last time it was retroactively triggered by the airport? The wolf is a defense mechanism. It’s meant to protect us, isn’t it?”

The wolf squirms in delight. Yes! Protect them! He will protect them! From all things! Mountain lions, airport mobs, forest fires, Dispatch scandals, golden eagles, interviewers who all ask the same stupid questions, grizzly bears who camp on good carrion, jetlag, steel-jawed traps, overtime schedules, trophy hunting, diets, rival packs! That’s it!

It feels good to understand, finally, and to be understood.

“Wah, our puppy professor is so smart!” Chan coos. “Everything is to protect you, you know that.”

Minho makes a peevish sound. “Yah, that’s great and all, but you can’t just turn into a werewolf every time we’re hungry.”

“I know,” Chan says. With a wry smile just for himself, and maybe for Felix, he adds, “We’ll figure it out.”

The dwindling human part of Chan does recognize the danger of the infinite loop. How are they supposed to stop the wolf from appearing if they are constantly crossing its threshold? And yet, the details feel irrelevant. The wolf’s joy is far stronger than his human worry, burbling in his core like magma until his whole body is nearly vibrating. His tail swishes wildly. His claws tip-tap on the floor as he drops back down to all fours. He headbutts Seungmin’s bicep in gratitude.

“Aish, hyung,” Seungmin complains, clutching his arm like he’s been mortally wounded.

Chan just grins. Not yet satisfied, he headbutts each of his kids in turn. He wiggles indiscriminately. He commits their complex scents to memory. Minho stops him with an outstretched hand, but that’s fine, because he ruffles his hair into Minho’s palm instead.

Felix looks at Chan with pleading eyes when he makes it around to him. His mouth parts on a nervous breath, and Chan knows that he’s about to apologize. As if Chan could ever blame him. As if the wolf ever could. Gently, Chan nudges his head against Felix’s clavicle, near his heart.

The furrow between Felix’s eyebrows smooths out in understanding. Then he headbutts Chan back.

Nearly nose to nose, Chan wishes that Felix had kissed him this morning. The wolf does, too. He imagines a pinch collar digging into his neck to keep himself in check. As a compromise, he reaches out to rub Felix’s earlobe between his fingers. Felix lets him for a second before he snaps his teeth toward Chan’s wrist.

Oh! Is this a game now?

Felix scrambles away and looks back challengingly. It is a game! An excited grumble escapes from somewhere deep in his chest as he chases him. Felix feints and uses Changbin as a shield, much to Changbin’s squawking dismay. Soon the whole cluster of his kids disperses in a screeching mess as Chan bares his teeth and pounces.

They wriggle and laugh and dodge him, nearly sprinting the length of the practice room, back and forth like the beep test, ricocheting off the walls together. He catches Felix around the waist, and Minho by the arm, and nearly flattens Hyunjin into a corner. When his kids bark (mong mong!), Chan knows they’re just playing around, making a joke at his expense. But the joke is on them: this is what it means to be a pack.

He can nearly imagine springy, damp soil under their feet and a wide sky overhead.

The games only stop when Seungmin gets the notification that their food has arrived. He and Jeongin leave to meet the delivery driver in the lobby. When they come back, Seungmin calls from the other side of the door, “Someone help, please. My hands are full.”

“Me when I pee, ayo,” Jisung says from where he’s flopped, faintly panting, on the couch. There’s a beat of silence. Seungmin kicks the door. “I meant, like, of my dick, my hands are full of my dick, I don’t pee in my hands.”

Felix shrieks and slaps his knee and laughs so hard he chokes on his spit. Chan laughs at both of them. He’s starting to feel the sweet fatigue in his lower back from wagging his tail so much.

“Jagiya, you are so embarrassing,” Minho says. He opens the door for Seungmin and Jeongin, who are both balancing several precariously packed bags in their arms.

Jisung smacks both hands over his red face and wails like a shameful little ghost.

“What’s wrong with him?” Jeongin says as the door shuts behind him.

“I ask myself that every single day,” Hyunjin says, taking some of Jeongin’s bags.

“He pees in his hands,” Felix says through a snort.

Nooo!” Jisung turns to Chan. Like a toddler tattling on his siblings, he says, “Hyung, they’re being mean to me!”

“Stop being mean to Hannie,” Chan says placatingly, “and come eat.”

Earlier, he’d been so focused on everyone else’s hunger that he’d ignored his own. But now, his nostrils flare as he helps Seungmin unpack their dinner. He’s overwhelmed by the scent of fry oil. He opens a greasy paper box filled with golden chicken pieces. It’s no elk, but it will do.

They sit in a loose circle on the floor and chorus I’ll eat well. Then there’s a flurry of reaching hands and chopsticks. Chan waits, watching. He makes sure they all get their prime bite: a lacquered chicken thigh, a dangling jumble of japchae, a chewy gizzard. He watches Felix especially closely, nodding in solemn satisfaction as Felix tears into a drumstick.

But then he can’t look away.

Felix closes his eyes as if in rapture. He lets out a long, low sound of pleasure. The grease leaves a perfect sheen around his mouth, melting through whatever is left of his foundation. He dislocates the flimsy fibula and threads tendons through his teeth. He shoves the whole kneecap into his mouth until his cheek bulges obscenely with it, then does the same thing with the ankle joint, meticulously cleaning the bone. If Chan twitches his ears just right, he can isolate the sound of Felix’s bicuspids working madly around the cartilage.

The wolf loves the predator that Felix has become.

Before he knows it, Felix has polished off the entire leg. Chan hasn’t even had his first bite yet. Finally Felix catches him staring. He lifts his chicken bone pointedly, almost proudly, like he’s making sure the wolf can see his handiwork.

Chan wags his tail approvingly.

Felix cracks open a soft drink one-handed and burps after he takes a sip. He stretches for another drumstick and presents it in front of Chan’s mouth.

Chan blushes. He is too aware of his fangs.

“Eat,” Felix says, gently coaxing him like he needs heartworm meds disguised in a slice of cheese.

Cautiously, Chan takes a bite. The wolf would still prefer something fresh and bloody, but it’s good. Crispy and succulent. He takes the chicken leg from Felix’s hand and gets a small smile in return.

Chan eats. He picks the bone clean like Felix did. He tries a cube of pickled radish. The wolf does not want that, too sour, nor does it want the pineapple juice that someone considerately added to their order. It does, however, accept rice and some fries that admittedly sogged out during delivery.

Belatedly, he realizes that Felix is the only one who has spoken in minutes. His kids are eating so well that they’ve been quiet save for a near-orgiastic euphony of slick mouth sounds.

They have done their job, then, him and the wolf.

They both relax and eat their fill.


At this point in his career, Chan is well-accustomed to functioning on a death sentence of a sleep schedule, so he’s not supremely worried about needing to stay late to meet his deadlines. He returns to his studio after dinner with an energy drink, a spare mask from Seungmin’s backpack, and Felix’s beanie. There isn’t a ton he can do about his eyes other than pray he doesn’t run into anyone while scurrying through the company building hallways.

(The beanie smells luxuriously like Felix, with a tinge of a human whose scent he doesn’t immediately recognize. No one on their staff, at least. He’ll have to ask about that later. Behind closed doors, he takes the beanie off and nuzzles his face into it. The wolf likes that. A lot.)

So far, the wolf hasn’t interfered too badly with this part of his job, the part where he sits in front of his computer until his eyes threaten to melt out of his skull, but he is mentally prepared for the wolf to make things hard on him anyway. Maybe the wolf will want to nap on his couch after such a large meal. Maybe it will feel restless, or claustrophobic, or lonely in this kennel of a room.

He is not, however, prepared for a Ratatouille moment when he puts his headphones on. He’s never heard their music like this. His music.

The remix he’d been working on earlier sounds brand new. Sure, he’s familiar with the bones of the song—he wrote the lyrics and composed the beat. But the wolf has never heard the song before. He listens to it multiple times. His face scrunches the way it always does when he hears good music. He needs more.

Nearly paralyzed with choice, he shuffles through their whole discography.

So sharp are the layers and layers of sounds that build into one narrative but are not necessarily meant to be heard in isolation. Background vocals are clearer. Gang vocals are more resonant. Bass drops hit harder. Here and there he catches compression artifacts that his human ears have never noticed. The static crackling in “My Pace” makes his spine tingle, and the eagle screech in “FNF” makes his ears twitch.

This is his strawberry-and-cheddar revelation. His reimagining and his fireworks. Chan knows they’re good—knows he’s good—but to be inspired, surprised, enchanted by his own work is astounding. He feels puppy-curious. He could hardly imagine a deeper intimacy with art than this.

He doesn’t have the time to sit with their entire oeuvre, which is tragic. But if he’s going to be here all night anyway, he replays some details for the wolf: the distortion in “3rd Eye,” the shattering glass in “S-Class,” the crow caws in “Awkward Silence,” the panning in “Super Board” as if Jisung is standing beside him making noises directly in his ears. Felix’s voice layered in “Astronaut” and “Deep End” and “Collision.” Felix’s voice, Felix’s voice, Felix’s voice.

By the time he finishes the third remix, it’s just after one in the morning. He’s about to take another break when there’s a knock on the door. The wolf gets so excited for company that he doesn’t even think to grab the mask and beanie. For several reasons, he’s relieved to see Felix standing in his doorway.

“You’re here late,” Chan says.

“Mm. I have like, a sh*tton of choreo to learn. But I’m done for tonight. I’ll feel it in my back if I go much more.”

“Yeah, don’t overdo it, haha.”

Felix gives him a look as he closes the studio door. “I could say the same to you.”

Chan spins around in his desk chair. Felix’s scent follows him through the air like a trail of incense smoke. He flops over on the couch and stretches out, bridging his back before he melts like an ice block in the summer. He smells like work, like sweat. The wolf wants Felix to leave his scent here. On the couch cushions, the herringbone pillow, the Spotify blanket. Everything. His tail thumps against the chairback.

“I’m actually so good right now,” Chan says. “I have one more thing that I need to do, but like, Lix—the music.”

“Wow, so true.”

“Shut up.” Chan giggles. “I’m listening with new ears. Literally. The wolf is. It’s the coolest f*cking thing.”

“Ohh,” Felix says. “Like those reaction videos you watch. Like, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve heard it before. It’s different when it’s someone else hearing it for the first time.”

“Yeah, exactly.”

“I love when you get excited about what you’re making.”

Chan’s face warms. His smile turns shy. “I’m always excited about music.”

“Yeah, but sometimes it’s like you know you’ve done something great, not just good. You, um, have a certain smile for it. Can I listen?”

“Oh, yeah, uh? Sure. I just finished this.” He takes his headphones off and passes them to Felix. He hits play.

While Felix listens, the wolf and all its unselfconsciousness takes over. He lifts one of Felix’s hands from where it’s resting over his diaphragm and matches all their fingers up, from pinkies to thumbs. With a twisting sort of eagerness, he notices that his claws make Felix’s hand look extra small.

“I like this,” Felix says.

His voice is quiet, like a church after a wedding, where the feeling of something lovely lingers well into the night. Chan doesn’t know if he means the remix or how their hands feel like they were never meant to hold anyone else’s.

“Me, too.”

Three minutes later, he hears the song end. Neither of them move. It feels like they’ve been sitting here for hours, palm to palm.

He bows his head and tugs Felix’s hand up close to his ear. Felix understands immediately. He strokes Chan’s ear, following the grain of his fur. He pets through Chan’s hair, mindful of the tangles. He trails a finger from the crown of Chan’s skull, down the middle of his forehead, and then further down the whole length of his nose.

Chan thinks about comfort. About humanity and rituals. All around the world there are bronze statues of dogs, oxidized and dull except for the places touched by thousands of human hands, their noses and paws and tails rubbed golden by all the people who couldn’t help but think, What a good boy. He could only be so lucky to keep Felix’s hands on him like that, long enough to strip him of his weary patina, to leave him so affectionately changed.

As he leans into Felix’s touch, he realizes he has already been changed. No matter what else happens, Felix has left his fingerprints all over Chan’s soul, and it will be an honor to carry them with him for the rest of his life. Chan wants to say literally anything to stop a lump from forming in his throat.

“Who did—” Chan starts.

“Were you—” Felix says at the same time.

Chan laughs. “You first.”

Felix shakes his head. “No, you. And come here. This can’t be very comfortable.”

“It’s not, haha,” Chan says. Felix sits up to make room for him and passes the headphones back with an approving little nod. When Chan scoots from his desk chair to the couch, one leg tucked up underneath him so they can face each other, Felix goes back to petting his hair. “I was just gonna ask—ah, this is dumb, it has nothing to do with anything—who you were hanging out with earlier. I could smell someone near you. On your beanie, I mean. But it wasn’t any of the members.”

“Um? Oh, Jake filmed some TikToks with me. It's crazy that you can smell that.”

“He’s not one of mine,” Chan says noncommittally. As soon as it’s out of his mouth, he cringes. “Sorry. That was weird. Blame the wolf.”

“Hmm… Don’t take this the wrong way, but I really like the wolf, actually.”


“I said don’t take it the wrong way. I don’t know. I just think it like, wants you to be more honest. It’s nice. You ask for things you want easier. I know that’s hard for you, but like, you want space, you ask for it. You want to be touched, you ask for it.”

As if to prove his point, Felix scratches just right at the nape of Chan’s neck, and Chan shivers as goosebumps ripple over his body.

“I don’t know if I’d call that honesty,” Chan says carefully. “Mostly it just wants me to be more animal. It wants me to hunt an elk for you. Where would I find an elk?”

“You want to…hunt for me?”

“I want to take care of you.”

Felix sighs. “You already do that. For all of us.”

“Well, yeah. I just mean it wants me to give into its instincts more and overthink less. It gets so annoyed with me when I overthink. And you could probably guess that it’s annoyed with me a lot, haha. So, yeah, in comparison, space and touch have been easy compromises. I reckon that is pretty nice.”

Chan listens to Felix’s heartbeat and the electrical hum of his computer. Then Felix takes a deep breath. “What about wanting me?”

Chan freezes. Enough time passes for entire civilizations to rise and collapse and rise again. Felix stares at him, all expectant eyes and exacting pout, and Chan doesn’t know what to do. He’s been orbiting around Felix for so long that he’s gotten used to the vertigo, but now his head swims. Is this what it’s like to drown in a riptide? To be lured by calm water only to get dragged out and pushed under?

“At least, I think you want me,” Felix amends. He drops his hands into his lap. “This morning. I’m sure you were thinking about a lot of other stuff, but. We didn’t, um. You didn’t, and I thought you would.”

“Felix,” Chan says helplessly.

“I was hoping you’d ask for that, too. Because you have to know, right? That I would always say yes?”

Chan’s tail swishes nervously. His hackles rise. He has never felt so speechless before. So hamstrung and dumb.

How is he supposed to say yes, he did know, but no, he didn’t know, but yes, he hoped, but no, he didn’t dare?

People have loved since the dawn of people, but this is different. No one has ever loved like this, he is positive, and therefore no one has invented the right words for him to use. Not a single language has words grand enough to describe the spectacle of existence: the sacred, the legendary, the true good, the infrasonic, the ultraviolet, the prehistoric, the intergalactic. The wildest of animals. This love for this boy.

His silly human vocabulary is not enough. But he is going to try.

“The wolf wants to be together,” Chan starts. “All of us, yeah, but you—you’re at the center of all things. It wants you to howl so I can answer. It wants to follow you home and make you smell like me. But it wants these things because I already know what it’s like to lose you, and I would do anything to never feel like that again. Me and the wolf, we just…need to know you’re safe and happy. Oh, no, little one, don’t cry.”

“I’m not, f*ck off,” Felix huffs. His cheeks are pink, and his eyes are shiny, but to his credit, he isn’t crying.

“We’ve cried so much together,” Chan says like a maudlin joke. His smile wobbles. “But I found you, and we became something bigger than I ever could have dreamed. That’s fate, right? This is fate? Out of every place in the world we could have gone, and any of the people we could have become, we’re here together. And just like, how could I not want that? Like, always? To be wherever you are? And look for you first in any room and hope you look back at me? And hear your voice last at the end of every day? So, ah, haha, I guess this is a lot of words to say that I would have. If I was actually honest.”

“You’re such a c*nt,” Felix says. There’s no heat behind it. It comes out more like an awed whisper. “Then ask? Please? Ask for what you want.”

Chan meets Felix’s starry gaze. He takes a breath. The wolf quivers.

“I want to kiss you,” he says. “Always. Now. Tomorrow. f*ck, I—I don’t know, I’ll invent time travel so I can do it this morning. And every single place I’ve ever wanted to kiss you, but I have to warn you, haha, we’d have to…go back…really far…”

He trails away as Felix leans closer, closer, closer.

“Now?” Felix murmurs, and Chan nods, and suddenly his insides feel carbonated, all fizzy and fresh, and their hands find each other again, and Felix surges forward and kisses him.

It’s rougher than Chan ever imagined for their first kiss. Giddy and a little desperate. He always imagined it would be cautious, maybe clumsy, maybe on a beach in the gold slash of sunset, and it’s definitely not any of those things—but then again, he also imagined tipping Felix’s face up to his, which is stupid, because even on a good day he’s just a hair shorter than Felix, so he was imagining it all wrong, anyway.

He wraps his arms around Felix’s waist. One of Felix’s hands slides into Chan’s hair, and the other fits below his jaw. For a second, Chan worries about his fangs. They’re so big and so sharp, and Felix’s lips are so soft. Then he recognizes the first kiss as a wrecking ball. Felix was making sure he couldn’t back out halfway through, as if to say, the damage has been done, so now we build.

Their mouths are eager. The meet-slide-part pattern of their lips makes Chan’s face burn. Felix grips the back of his head and kisses him purposefully. Each kiss is so decisive that it feels like he might be counting them. To what end, Chan doesn’t know, though as soon as he thinks about it, he wants to catalog the precise conditions of this moment like a science experiment. He could log the time down to the millisecond. Chart the stars over Seoul and the tides of Sydney Harbour. Measure his oxytocin levels and find the exact HEX color of Felix’s freckles that have lightened in the gloomy autumn. This deserves to be memorialized.

All he knows for now is that it is the middle of the tired night. He has a boy in his arms. He has had this boy in his arms so many times before but never like this. This boy tastes like vanilla lip balm and smells like his entire day. This boy wants Chan to want him.

He feels good. He feels animal. He’s never felt more like himself.

Chan holds Felix tighter. His fingertips sneak under the hem of Felix’s t-shirt. His skin is warm and downy where all his hair stands on end. Felix makes a perfect little noise, and the next kiss lands on Felix’s wet bottom lip.

The wolf rears its head.

Chan’s rhythm falters.

“You good?” Felix asks.

“Yeah, I just—” Chan cuts himself off. He doesn’t know how to explain. The wolf’s basic instincts are easy enough to understand, but there’s nuance here that he doesn’t get. “Didn’t think I could be this happy,” he settles on.

Felix scrunches Chan’s hair in his fist. “Get used to it,” he says ominously.

“Are you? Happy?”

“More than happy. If that’s possible.”

Chan wags his tail. It feels like the sun has chosen to shine only for him. Anything is possible now.

He stares at Felix’s mouth. He leans in, and Felix meets him halfway. Chan trails the tips of his claws so lightly on Felix’s skin, right in the dip of the small of his back. Felix shudders. Then several things happen very quickly and all at once.

First: Felix breathes out a little oh? as his fingers wriggle down the back of Chan’s hoodie and sink into the fur across his traps.

Second: Felix opens his mouth and drags his tongue past Chan’s lips.

Third: Chan whimpers frantically.

Fourth: Chan gets it.

He scrambles to lick into Felix’s mouth. Felix laughs, startled, but he lets Chan explore. Front teeth. Gums. Tongue. The ridges of his hard palate. Chan wants to know him from the inside out. Felix licks Chan’s fangs when he can. It’s all manic and slippery. Soon it’s less kissing and more like—politics. Hierarchies. Submission, and privilege, but also scrutiny and assessment. Chan hopes the wolf won’t be too disappointed that it won’t get the information it wants. Felix is not wolf. It won’t be able to taste in his saliva whether he can breed.

Doesn’t matter. Feels good, still.

He’s panting with greed, hot breath caught between them. His inhales are all Felix’s exhales. Their teeth clack together when he’s too reckless. Their spit is wet on his chin. Must be on Felix’s, too. He licks Felix’s mouth again.

Hyung,” Felix says. His voice is deep and urgent. “f*ck, okay, come on, do it.”

Chan sucks on Felix’s tongue as if he means to siphon something vital for himself. Then, more gently, he kisses a freckle below his lips, down and to the left. There are so many freckles that Chan needs to kiss. “Do what?”

“Make me smell like you. Want you to have what you want.”

“God, f*ck, Felix, I’m not—”

“Want it, too. Please.”

“I’m not sure I know how.”

“The wolf knows.” Felix tilts his head back. His adam’s apple bobs. The column of his throat is so beautiful, pristine like the tundra before the beasts come trampling through. “Make me yours.”

Chan’s teeth throb exquisitely.

Felix is right. The wolf knows.

He buries his face in Felix’s neck and breathes in and—yes, this is familiar, he smells so good, like boy, his boy, make me yours, mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine. He parts his lips and presses the flats of his fangs to Felix’s neck. The corners of his mouth catch with too much friction as he drags his lips. He doesn’t try to hide his groan.

The mapping of Felix’s skin is meticulous work. Rushing any part would ruin the ceremony of it all. So he is slow and thorough, though not always gentle. He burrows against Felix’s pulse point, mashing his tongue hard enough to taste the tremor of Felix’s heartbeat. He licks up Felix’s cheek and leaves a horribly wet kiss next to his ear. He smears the sides of his nose and the corners of his mouth and his upper lip anywhere he can reach.

Mine, the wolf—Chan—they think. Yes. Mine mine mine.

Carefully, Chan crowds into Felix and lays him out on the couch. Felix plays the part of the deferential packmate so well, yielding to the whims of the wolf. He’s so pliant beneath Chan’s body. He drops his legs open so Chan can fit between them and cranes his neck so Chan can snuffle back into the hollow of his throat.

Chan drools. There’s spit everywhere. Enough that the loose collar of Felix’s t-shirt sticks to his skin like it does after a full sweaty concert set. Maybe his human brain would feel shame for finding this slimy mess so satisfying, but the wolf doesn’t. There’s nothing shameful in honoring Felix like this. The wolf simply imagines bedding down like this for many nights to come.

By now, Felix probably smells like him enough, but Chan doesn’t want to stop. Not until it’s inalienable: mine mine mine mine mine mine. He palms Felix’s ribs where his shirt has ridden up. Goosebumps prickle across Felix’s neck, under Chan’s tongue, and—oh, what Chan really wants is to get Felix naked. To lick the stubble of Felix’s shaved happy trail. To rub his face into his solar plexus and his armpits and his groin. All the sweetest parts of him.

“Oh my god,” Felix gasps when Chan licks up the whole length of his jaw. He squirms. Chan’s mouth slides through his own spit to nip at Felix’s ear.

The wolf feels supercharged. Proud.

This is love in all its sloppy, slobbering splendor.

Felix’s hands flutter from Chan’s back to his hair to his biceps. “I’m—f*ck, fu-u-ck.”

“Mhmm,” Chan rumbles mindlessly. He concentrates on nuzzling his cheeks against the jut of Felix’s collarbones. A reckless scrape of teeth. A broad sweep of tongue.

“Does it feel good?” Felix asks.

So good.”

“I’m yours?”

“Yeah, baby, mine.”

Mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine.

Felix makes a strangled little mewling sound. Chan’s ears twitch. “Please, feels good for me, too—f*ck, Channie-hyung, Chan, wanna, ah—”

Chan has been focusing so hard that he has somehow failed to notice that Felix’s scent has changed. Or maybe the wolf has noticed and the human is just too dumb. There’s a difference in Felix’s sweat and each labored breath and the heat radiating off him and something carnal—

Felix writhes beneath him, his hips stuttering up. Finally, in a feverish flash of cognizance, Chan realizes he can feel Felix through their pants. Heat oozes through him like molten glass.

He drops his mouth open wide and puts Felix’s neck in a gentle holding bite. It’s not meant to leave teeth marks. He’s been so careful not to leave the kinds of marks that would make Felix’s life harder. But the same jaw that can kill can also protect and encourage. Just like that, baby, he means to say. Chan breathes directly into Felix’s hot skin, wet and harsh. Spit burbles from the corners of his mouth. The vibrations of Felix’s moans sing through Chan’s canines.

Like a good little animal, Felix ruts against Chan’s body. He thrashes. He curses through gritted teeth. His fingers curl like talons in Chan’s hair. His heartbeat sounds savage like many paws giving chase.

Chan can smell it when Felix comes.

His teeth ache. That’s his, too.

Felix’s breath rattles. His thighs tremble around Chan’s hips. Slowly, he uncurls his fingers from Chan’s hair. Chan pulls back until he’s loosely caging Felix in, drooling so much he could erode whole mountains.

They look at each other dazedly. The lower half of Felix’s face is shiny and tacky. Glazed like a fresh doughnut. His neck is even worse, Chan’s spit sliding into his hair and trickling down the back of his shirt, with one especially wet patch where Chan had been holding him between his fangs. Underneath all the saliva, he’s flushed such a wonderful, splotchy red, though it’s impossible to say how much of that is natural blush and how much of that is chafing.

“You really, uh…” Chan says faintly.

Felix snorts. “Yep.”

“You’re incredible.”

“I didn’t do anything special,” Felix mumbles through a lopsided grin. “I came in my pants.”

“That is special. Like, wow, f*ck. You smell so good.”

“f*ck,” Felix echoes as he yanks Chan back into him. He whimpers into Chan’s mouth as their lips meet first, and then their hips. Must be sensitive. Must be sticky. Felix’s fingers skate down Chan’s back. He strokes his tail in one long, languid pull, so innocent and indulgent that Chan shudders. Felix teases at the waistband of Chan’s joggers. “Can I?”

Chan is maybe the most turned on he’s ever been in his life. He’s so hard he feels stupid. His face has been smashed into a surreal layer cake of every decadent thing he’s ever wanted, and it’s left him reeling. Wonderstruck. He feels good. He’s thrilled that Felix feels good.

And yet, he hesitates.

Gracelessly, he sits up. He grabs Felix’s hand and brings it to his lips. He kisses Felix’s knuckles. Because he can’t stop himself, he drags the corners of his mouth and the flats of his teeth here, too, letting a thin trail of spit droop down Felix’s wrist.

“It’s not that I don’t want to, because I definitely do, haha,” Chan says, kissing his palm. “But I don’t want to share that with the wolf. I think I’d rather be just me.”

Felix’s forehead furrows. He looks Chan in the eye for a long moment before he smiles a small, gracious smile. “That’s very romance,” he says solemnly.

“Aish, don’t bring Bluey into this!”

“Sorry.” Felix snickers in a way that says he is not sorry at all. “Then can you get me a tissue? Or like, a bunch?”

“Uh, yeah, hold on.” Chan untangles himself from Felix, adjusts his erection, and grabs the box at the far end of his desk, next to his stash of eye drops and paracetamol.

Felix plucks a handful of tissues from the box and unceremoniously shoves them down his pants. “Jesus Christ,” he says under his breath. He takes a second handful. “It’s not gonna be fun going home like this.”

Chan is barely resisting the urge to bury his face between Felix’s legs to clean him up himself. To at least push his nose so deep into Felix’s inseam that his eyes might roll back as he inhales. He has the decency to blush. “f*ck, sh*t, sorry.”

“Worth.” Felix needs a third and a fourth handful of tissues to mop up the ungodly mess Chan made of his neck. There’s spit puddled in the craters of his collarbones. “Also, um. Just saying. I’d want any version of you. But it means a lot to me, actually, that you want it to be just you.”

Chan wags his tail so fast he might pull a muscle. “I’d want any version of you, too.”

Felix throws out his heap of tissues and then purses his lips for a kiss. Chan blinks. He’s used to seeing Felix do this for Jisung and Hyunjin, and sometimes even Minho, but never for him, and he wonders if it might have felt too real for Felix to try.

Chan pulls him close and leaves sweet kisses on his cheeks, his nose, and finally his lips.

With zero finesse, Felix licks into his mouth again.

Wooow, okay! What a menace,” Chan says dramatically.

“Couldn’t resist,” Felix laughs. “Okay, like…I really don’t want to just like, ji*zz and dip? But now I need to wash up so bad.”

Chan nuzzles his nose below Felix’s ear and inhales loudly. “Gonna ruin all my hard work,” he jokes.

“Do I smell like you?”

“I can’t believe you even have to ask.”

“I don’t know! Just making sure.”

“Well, you do. It’s nice.”

“You can do it again. Later. If you want.”

Later. There’s so much to do later. So much they need to talk about, so many things he needs to clarify ten times to be absolutely certain no one is going to get hurt. But that would sour this sweet moment, and anyway, Felix is getting sleepier by the second. So—yeah. Later.

Chan kisses his temple and skims his nose along his hairline. “Thank you.”

“Mm. Ugh. I think you should carry me home.”

“I still have work, or I would. You know I would.”

“Yeah. I know.” He pouts and sighs. “‘Kay, I’ll let you know when I’m back.”

And he watches Felix leave, like he watched him leave this morning. The wolf wants to keep him here, keep him safe, lick his eyebrows and widow’s peak and the nape of his neck like grooming the rustling undercoat of a packmate—but in the end, even the wolf knows Felix shouldn’t sleep on the studio couch. He deserves to be clean and cozy somewhere that won’t f*ck up his back. Later later later mine mine mine.

The door crashes back open. Chan is in the middle of wiping his own spit from his chin. He hasn’t even had time to put his headphones back on yet. He looks up, perplexed, as Felix rematerializes in the doorway like the world’s cutest sleep paralysis demon.

“I like you,” Felix says. “You said a lot of beautiful things to me and I forgot to say even that. I think it was implied? I hope? But I didn’t want you to start wondering what it all meant. So I had to come back and tell you. I like you so much.”

Chan wags his tail. “For real life?”

Felix breaks into a devastating grin that crinkles the bridge of his nose. “For real life. Okay. Now I’ll go.”

Then he’s off again.

Chan yanks his blanket from the arm of the couch and drapes it over his head like he is both Little Red and Big Bad. It smells like Felix now. He rubs it against his cheek and shakes his fists happily. His face hurts from smiling so big.

Felix likes him.

This whole day has taken so many turns. This night alone has left him buzzing with enough energy to perform back-to-back shows, or bang out five whole albums of love songs, or swim all the way to Australia where he’d pull himself out of the water completely reborn like Venus. It takes a long while for Chan to get back into production mode. He checks his phone probably ten times a minute as he waits for Felix to message him.

[image attached]

Cuteeee hehehe

No one is awake
Sneaky sneaky
Can you
See in the dark?
That would be soooo useful
Almost died
Just now
Tripping on Iyennie’s shoes
So many
Of them

Oh nooo hahaha
Be careful!
I can kinda see in the dark
It’s not as cool as it sounds though haha
Everything’s just grey

Still pretty cool
Like a superhero
Need to wash up
I’m still
You know
In several ways
If you think about it

Oops haha

You can’t be sorry
If I liked it

Ok I take it back
Like that

You are
Very lame

But you like meeeeee

Ye 🥰
Ok for real
Gonna wash up

He is not, in fact, right back. He’s gone for quite a while. Chan keeps his phone face-up as he works, trying not to think too hard about Felix peeling his damp underwear off, working shampoo through his drool-matted hair, and washing Chan’s scent away.

I’m back
No wait f*ck
Now I’m back
And in bed
[image attached]

You look so comfy :]
Wish I was there
Wanna hold you

You know
When you’re done working
You can
Come sleep
With me
If you want

I wouldn’t wanna wake you up though

It’s fine
It’ll be like
A surprise party
I’ll love it
Even if I’m not
Expecting it
For the wolf
For me

Ok baby haha



💙 x 100

That’s all??
💙 x infinity


I’ll try to finish quickly 💙

Chan giggles to himself. Felix doesn’t technically reply, but he almost immediately sends a TikTok. He sends more videos until he presumably falls asleep, the notifications piling up as Chan focuses on the final remix. It comes together steadily. Even his claws don’t hinder him that much anymore. When he thinks he’s done, he saves his work and sits back to listen to all four remixes.

He listens a few times, through his headphones and speakers, making notes of parts that might sound too muddy in an arena and adjusting them. They’re good songs and good remixes. He can imagine how they will sound backed by STAY, their ear-splitting screams building with the new screaming synth guitar.

On the final playthrough, he sits back and scrolls through the TikToks Felix sent, watching on mute. There’s a really good Wriothesley cosplayer, then a bowling fails compilation, then Torchic-shaped cake pops with Felix’s commentary: “😱😱😱,” then an updated edit of Stray Kids being weirdly in sync with each other.

Delighted, he opens the comments for the SKZ video and laughs, until he sees one pathetic comment that rips him straight from the top of his happiness.

why did they let felix back in the group kick him out again
15h Reply ♡1
— View 89 replies

It’s not the worst comment he’s ever seen, not by far, but in a single instant, all the rage of the world condenses in him, fury fracturing him in unimaginable ways ancient and unreasonable couldn’t fight it even if he wanted to burning like a supernova how can people be so cruel it f*cking hurts protect his own this is what it feels like to be a dying star blinding blazing breaking not gonna leave him behind what kind of monster

little world fallin’ apart - Chapter 2 - sinkingmyships (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Greg O'Connell

Last Updated:

Views: 6754

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Greg O'Connell

Birthday: 1992-01-10

Address: Suite 517 2436 Jefferey Pass, Shanitaside, UT 27519

Phone: +2614651609714

Job: Education Developer

Hobby: Cooking, Gambling, Pottery, Shooting, Baseball, Singing, Snowboarding

Introduction: My name is Greg O'Connell, I am a delightful, colorful, talented, kind, lively, modern, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.