minseok/chanyeol (side kai/baekhyun, suho/sehun/tao; past minseok/luhan, jongdae/kris); nc-17; approx 18.7k total
warnings: master/slave dynamics
disclaimer: reversal of danie's petau, which masters are now pets and pets are now masters.
Minseok looks from the pet to Jongdae, back to the pet, and heaves a sigh when his eyes finally land back on the man he'd once considered close as a brother.
"You know what you're doing, don't you?"
"You need a new companion," Jongdae says, cheerful as ever. But his eyes are a challenge, his expression daring Minseok to turn the pet away.
He knows Minseok can't. Minseok would never reject a gift such as this, would never slight someone so close to his family, someone so high up in the country's government, though to Jongdae himself it would mean nothing. But people talk, and Minseok doesn't like to be talked about.
Besides that, how cruel would it be to tell a pet coming home to a master for the first time that he wasn't wanted, that he'd have to go back? The pet had come in beside Jongdae, but towered over him, and Minseok could see how his eyes had taken in his surroundings with fascination and awe. (Once before, he had seen another pet enter his household with head tilted upwards, eyes bright with wonder at the vastness of the estate.)
The pet now kneels on both knees, head bowed and hands resting demurely on his thighs. He is adorned in plain cotton pants, lean and long torso exposed to the elements. But it is summer, the air warm around them. There are no markings and his hair has been neatly combed, made ready to present to his new master. From the glimpse Minseok had caught when he'd been brought into the room, he has fine, handsome features, though his ears seemed a bit large.
But Minseok doesn't want his fine features. Minseok doesn't want him, and at the moment all he wants is to have him out of his sight.
Minseok gestures and one of the waiting maids promptly steps forward.
"Take him to one of the rooms we have available in the West Wing. Make sure he's unpacked, washed, and fed. I'll see to him when I get back tonight."
The pet and the maid both bow before she leads him out. As soon as the door can be heard clicking shut, Jongdae is laughing as Minseok sinks in his seat with a frustrated groan.
Minseok doesn't see to him that night or any other night the rest of the week. He manages to avoid the breakfast and dinner table, as well. It isn't difficult, as Minseok has always been an early riser and work among his social obligations often keeps him out till odd hours of the night. (Luhan had never complained, but Minseok remembers how he'd try to hold onto him when he tried to rise too early in the morning, to get a head start on any work that needed to be done.)
But when the maid he had passed Chanyeol to approaches him - hardly anyone in his household approaches him first these days - he is taken aback at the reminder there is a room now taken up in the West Wing.
"It's just - he's been asking about you, sir. I don't know what to tell him since you never instructed..."
Minseok blinks up at her from where he is strapping together his boots, ready to head into town though it is a weekend and he has no reason to be out except to avoid his own home.
"I see. I'll be back before lunch. You can bring him down then."
Minseok returns home before lunch, as promised, having only made the trip into town to deliver a few letters to his sister. It's the type of correspondence that could have waited, but he hadn't wanted to put off with his laces already tied. Besides that, there are things to consider regarding his newly acquired pet and he needed a reason for having put them off.
"Should I call for him, sir?" the maid asks, as she takes his coat.
Minseok loosens his tie, but doesn't remove it. "Yes, send him down for lunch. Is the table ready?"
"Not yet, sir. But it will be soon."
"I'll wait in the library."
The library serves as his office when it's bright out, because the large windows face the open lawn. He often sat there in the winter when the sun was bright out, but it was still too cold to go out. (Luhan liked the view and often insisted they look at something other than the plain wooden walls of Minseok's regular office.) These days he likes to sit there still, though in more silence than usual, with no one to keep him company.
He's perusing his selection when there's a knock to the door, though the library itself is kept generally open.
"Come in," he calls absently.
The tone is deep, unfamiliar. As Minseok turns around, he realizes he has never even heard Chanyeol's voice.
"Ah. You're early," he murmurs, blinking in surprise.
Even with his head bowed, it's obvious how much taller Chanyeol is than he. A joke, he thinks, on Jongdae's part.
"Should I wait outside?" the pet asks, confusion across his features, eyes hesitant. They are not as bright as they had been that first day and Minseok feels his gut clenching. He knows he's responsible somehow.
"No, no. You may sit, we might as well talk now."
Chanyeol's broad shoulders visibly stiffen, but Minseok pretends not to notice. "Yes, please sit."
It isn't easy, with the pet sitting in front of him, to try to explain. Minseok doesn't want to. But he has to set rules - guidelines. He knows there are responsibilities as a master that he must carry out, and he's put them off far too long. Especially with such a new pet.
"You're allowed access to any part of the house, as I'm sure has already been explained, and you may take your meals with the servants if I'm not around. But you come to my bed chambers only when you're called upon. Tonight-" It makes his ears turn a little red just to say it. "-you are to come to me tonight. If there's anything you need and I'm not around, the servants are at your disposal. If you desire to go into town, I'll try to arrange trips on resting days."
Chanyeol nods, staring at him with eyes so wide that it makes him uncomfortable, this display of rapt attention.
"Do you- do you perhaps need anything now? Your clothing, perhaps-"
"The set Lord Jongdae purchased when he bought me are a suitable fit."
Minseok blinks. He isn't sure if he's shocked by this pet's low voice, or simply that he has been interrupted. He has never been interrupted before. (Luhan's training had never allowed him to, not that Luhan was the type to talk much, anyway.)
There is an awkward stretch of silence, before Chanyeol's head is bowed again. "My apologies, Master. I spoke out of turn."
"It's fine." Minseok barrels forward. He hardly ever speaks this much and it's burdensome to do so. He goes on about the rules of the house, though it seems a bit tedious as Chanyeol has already been here a week and likely introduced to them. In addition to which, the pet only continues to nod at him, looking anxious and excited all at once.
"Do you understand?" Minseok asks, feeling as if he is closing a lecture.
"Yes, Master," comes the obedient response, and Minseok has to suppress a sigh at their stilted exchange.
"Good. I think it's time for lunch."
Minseok is glad to see Chanyeol has become more comfortable at the dining table. The meal laid out today seems a surprising one to him - no surprise, because the servants are not nearly as extravagant with their own spread as they are when Minseok is present for meals.
"Do you always rise so early, Master?" Chanyeol asks, once some time has passed and the meal is starting to wind down.
"I like to be up with the sun," Minseok replies, something of a practiced response because many are often baffled by his habits.
"Should I start rising earlier to greet you?" Chanyeol asks, looking at Minseok with his eyes wide again, anxious and eager all at once.
Minseok can't help laughing a little at his words. "No, you sleep as long as you want."
Chanyeol nods and the silence stretches on again, until he stops in the middle of slicing a sausage to ask, "Your bedchambers are in the East Wing?"
Minseok nods, taking a sip of water, eyebrow arched at the odd question. Of course by now Chanyeol must have been informed of where his bedchambers are.
"Will- Will I not be moved, then? To be closer?"
Minseok's hand clenches around his glass, the question taking him by surprise. After an awkward stretch of silence, in which Chanyeol's eyes are lowered and his hands curled up in his lap, Minseok finds the voice the reply. "No. Not for the time being."
Minseok flees the dining table as quickly as he can after that, claiming there are reports for him to sign off on, before he retreats into his office. Chanyeol is left to entertain himself and Minseok couldn't care less how he manages it.
Chanyeol comes to his chambers that night as instructed, freshly washed with his hair still slightly damp and the scent of bath perfume on him.
Minseok tries not to let how nervous he is show, reclining by the headboard with his shirt off and pants unbuttoned. Chanyeol is in silk pants this time, the material loose but hiding none of Chanyeol's obvious arousal. Minseok should have expected he would work himself to be fully prepared, but he is still a little surprised at the tenting of the silk fabric.
The pet approaches slowly, quietly, taking Minseok's hand and letting his master guide him onto the bed.
"Have you ever-" Minseok asks, and Chanyeol's ears turn a little red. (Luhan's had turned red, as well, back when it was a new experience for the both of them.)
"But I've been trained, Master. I can please you."
It's frightening, how eager Minseok can already tell he is, just from the look on his face. He ignores him, looking away and reminded of the task he must do tonight, as Chanyeol's master.
"Pants." A simple command. "And lay down on your stomach."
Chanyeol looks confused for a moment, but one raised eyebrow from Minseok has him quickly disrobing, the silky material pooling to the ground as he hurries to do as instructed.
Minseok's eyes move over the long expanse of his body, his broad shoulders, slim waist, firm thighs. He swallows, wondering just what Jongdae had expected him to do with a pet such as this. Even as a joke, this might have been going too far.
Nudging Chanyeol onto his knees, hips in the air, he taps his thighs until they've parted, leaving him exposed for Minseok to see.
"Have you touched yourself before?" he asks, hand reaching for one of his jars of oil, gifted by Jongdae along with his new pet. "I mean have you... prepared yourself, before?"
"Yes, Master." Chanyeol shifts on the sheets and Minseok can tell he's nervous.
"I won't hurt you," he says, acquitting it to first night jitters. Chanyeol only nods, gasping slightly when Minseok slides his first finger in. Soon he's pumping it slowly in and out of the pet, adding another to stretch him, free hand sliding over the smooth curve of his ass. Chanyeol is unbelievably tight around his fingers and he closes his eyes, the first wave of arousal coming over him as he imagines how the pet might feel wrapped around his cock.
His fingers speed up, wringing soft moans from Chanyeol, though he seems to be trying to keep his voice down.
"Not so bad, is it?" he asks, slipping his fingers out and watching Chanyeol shudder at the loss.
"No, Master," Chanyeol murmurs, voice low.
Minseok closes his eyes, as he strokes himself to full hardness. He listens to Chanyeol's breathing, imagining another voice. As his hands rest on Chanyeol's slim hips, he remembers a familiar warmth, another slim waist, and a higher tone calling out when he finally plunges in.
It doesn't take long for him, nor much longer for Chanyeol once he has his hand wrapped around the pet's length, quickly working him to a messy finish.
Chanyeol collapses onto the bed, panting softly, clenching around Minseok just before he pulls out.
"You may return to your chambers," Minseok says, voice slightly hoarse as he sits up, reaching for a wet towel to wipe himself with.
Chanyeol doesn't get up right away, but Minseok isn't looking at him to notice the expression on his face. Soon, he feels the bed shift, the weight of the pet moving off it. Minseok remains still, as Chanyeol dresses.
"Good night, Master," he hears, in that same low voice, before the door to his bedroom clicks shut.
And Minseok is alone.
This is not the experience he had been anticipating. When Chanyeol had been told they'd finally found a buyer for him, he had been over the moon with his excitement. He spent the week in a flurry of movement, trying to decide what to bring with him and how to style his hair and what he might say when he greeted his master for the first time.
When he'd met the petite young man who had come for him, he had though this smiling face would be a good fit to his own. But the man had only informed him he was there to deliver him to his master - a gift, he'd said, for a man in need of companionship.
Somehow then, he had expected an old lord. He did not dare hope for much, but all the same, a man who would take care of him would be nice.
He hadn't been ready for the vast grounds he was about to enter, however. The ride from the main gates into the manor alone was a long one, and he had taken in the expanse of the front lawn with its small trees and scattered walking paths and gazebos with some awe, head stuck out the window to the amusement of his temporary caretaker.
"What kind of man is he?" he'd ventured to ask, somewhere along the journey.
"A quiet one. That's why I thought you might do him some good."
Chanyeol had smiled, and smiles bigger still when he catches sight of his new master after being led into the main hall.
He is certainly no old lord, face making him appear much younger than even Chanyeol himself. But his air is dignified and he is, indeed, quiet.
Chanyeol hadn't expected to be fussed over, but he also hadn't expected to be dismissed so early, either. But after unpacking his belongings in his room - only one small trunk his own, the rest clothing that had been provided by his caretaker now known to him as Jongdae - he looks forward to the evening.
Lord Minseok is delightfully small and Chanyeol considers the possibilities in the tub after dinner, stroking himself in preparation for when his master comes to him tonight.
But his master does not come, and he is forced to go to sleep aching. Good pets are not allowed to come without their master's permission and he needs to make a good first impression.
His master has yet to summon Chanyeol all week. It isn't that Chanyeol had expected around the clock attention, but to not see his master for an entire week's time leaves him lost and confused. There is little for a pet to do around the house, though the servants allow him to wander the grounds himself. The books from the library entertain him for the first few days and the gardens are beautiful, the meals served in the house suited to his appetite.
But it is all boring with no one to play with.
"Is he always gone so often?" he asks the same maid servant who had escorted him to his room the first night.
They are both on their knees to wipe down the winding staircase leading from the second floor down into the main hall. She had insisted on doing it herself, but he stole one of her spare rags while she wasn't looking.
"Lord Minseok keeps a busy schedule at court. He's often busy," she replies absently.
"But he rises so early, and comes home so late. Is it like this every day?"
"Mm, it's been worse since..." She stops, looking up at Chanyeol sharply. "It's best not to ask too many questions. He's a very private man."
Strange, Chanyeol thinks, but smiles to ease her concerns. "I'm his pet, though. Shouldn't I know a few things?"
"It's best to stay out of his way for now. Lest he shut himself up more." The last sentence is muttered underneath her breath, perhaps not intended for Chanyeol to hear. But he hears it, anyway, and wonders just what sort of man he's been gifted to.
When his master does call for him, Chanyeol isn't sure how to behave. Their conversation in the library is so stilted and awkward that he wonders if perhaps this master has never interacted with a pet before. Perhaps that was why he didn't ask for him all week.
When he inquires about why his quarters are so far from his master's, however, he senses he's overstepped a boundary. But his master doesn't change his mind about having him come over that night, so Chanyeol dresses in his best for that evening, preparing himself after his bath so he might be ready to please his master in at least one area he is confident in.
But when his master has him face down on the bed, thighs spread, he loses his footing yet again.
It isn't bad. But it's over far too quick, and there are no words between them, leaving Chanyeol feeling as if he's somehow disappointed his master. Though, so far as he recollects, he hasn't done anything at all.
Perhaps he shouldn't have been so excited to have been sold off at last.
His master doesn't call on him often and ultimately Chanyeol is left to entertain himself. He had thought being sold off to a lord would mean a few ventures out, parties and events to socialize at. But Minseok doesn't accept any offers that come the first month Chanyeol is around. The only company he seems to keep is Lord Jongdae's, who comes oftener than one might expect a man in his position to have time for.
So it's exciting, when Chanyeol finds out Minseok intends to have guest over this weekend. Chanyeol had been startled at the news, but judging from the quiet bustling about the household, it's not an unusual affair. Thank goodness his master isn't a total hermit.
"What are they like? Master's friends, I mean." Chanyeol has taken to harassing his favorite maid servant for information, since Minseok hardly divulges anything on his own.
"Lively, I suppose," she says with a slight smile. "Anyway, they're nice to look at, not that you ought to be looking anywhere."
Chanyeol grins. "Well if my eyes wander, I can't very well help that."
And as Minseok hardly seems to consider his body, he hardly thinks he could be faulted for his eyes wandering. Not that he'd ever say that out loud.
"Do they have pets, as well?"
"Mm. You'll probably become acquainted with them tonight. Thank goodness, I'll have you out of my hair for a few hours."
But her tone is nowhere near as harsh as her words and Chanyeol grins, knowing full well how much she enjoys his company while she's going about her daily chores.
Indeed, his master's friends are lively, piling out of their carriages in a noisy clattering of laughter and chatter.
"You're looking better today," Jongdae comments, affectionately patting Chanyeol's cheek, though he is about a head shorter than the pet. Before Chanyeol can respond, he turns his attention to the other lords.
"This is Jongin and this is Suho. The one currently barnacled to your master is called Sehun."
Sehun and Jongin are both tall, but where Sehun is fair and slim, Jongin is tanned and toned, a clear mark of his activity spent outdoors as captain in the king's army. With him is a petite waif of a pet, dressed in skin tight leather pants, a thin silk shirt over his body.
"I don't know why you bother," Sehun says, rolling his eyes as he tugs playfully at this pet's shirt.
"He might catch cold," the darker-haired Lord Jongin replies in defense, something of a slight pout already evident on his lips.
The other pet, a tall, dark specimen with eyes that are intimidating, is clad only in a pair of leather pants covered in an odd array of zippers - some new design, Chanyeol suspects - with silver chains to adorn his upper body. He is fit and healthy, standing between both Sehun and Suho, and Chanyeol eyes them curiously until Minseok nudges him in the side and he lowers his gaze politely.
"That's Baekhyun and he's Tao. I'm sure you'll get acquainted quick and it'd be good for you to have some other friends." He gives Minseok a pointed look, which Chanyeol pretends not to notice, because he has no idea where it's coming from in the first place.
"I'm famished. Is the meal ready?" Sehun asks, already taking long strides towards the dining room. Suho is on his heels, Tao following right behind them.
Jongin leads Baekhyun in, arm wrapped comfortably around his pet's waist.
Chanyeol watches wistfully, before following along behind his master and Jongdae.
Chanyeol has never seen his master smile so much as this. As Jongdae cracks jokes and Sehun and Jongin bicker, Suho interrupting now and then to pry them apart, his arms protective around his lover, Minseok smiles and teases and laughs. And Chanyeol thinks his master has the prettiest laugh, is disappointed he hasn't had the chance to bring it out himself in all this time.
The other pets look so comfortable with their masters. Tao has his head resting in Suho's lap as his master feeds him from the table. Jongin hasn't even let Baekhyun out of his arms, the pet reclining in his master's lap, sated and full from the meal.
"Baekhyun looks in danger of falling asleep," Suho says with no small amount of affection.
Jongin threads fingers through his pet's hair, causing Baekhyun to tilt his head up, a warm smile to greet his master.
"How about leaving them to play in the lounge?" Jongdae suggests. "Time to walk off dinner, I think, and Tao is underdressed."
They all rise with laughter on their lips and Chanyeol looks to Minseok for guidance. He is met with a reassuring smile that increases his confidence tenfold.
"You can entertain them while we're out, right?" Minseok asks in his soft voice.
Chanyeol nods eagerly. "Of course, Master."
The lounge is a room that neither Chanyeol nor his master use very much, made to entertain guests with plenty of cushions and low tables around for desserts. As they've all had their fill at dinner, the trays of fruit remain mostly untouched as the pets sprawl out across the cushions, Baekhyun mostly curled in on Tao as the taller pet strokes fingers through his hair.
He isn't nearly as sleepy as he had looked at dinner, though, eyeing Chanyeol curiously while Tao's gaze is practically glaring at him. But Chanyeol is not so easily intimidated by other pets and smiles at them both broadly.
Baekhyun smiles back, the first to break the silence between them. "Lord Jongdae purchased you rather recently, he said. How are you enjoying servitude?"
Chanyeol laughs, the comparison not one most pets would make regarding their own status, but it's impossible to miss Baekhyun's point. "It's a pleasant kind of servitude, isn't it?"
Baekhyun laughs and Chanyeol sees the corners of Tao's lips curving upward, as well. It's easy to talk from there, Chanyeol discovering that this is hardly their first time to the house as they teach him about the secret doors they've discovered. Not that there are many, but it's made a few games of hide and seek between them and their masters interesting.
Baekhyun is funny, similar to Chanyeol in a few ways, though chattier. Tao remains mostly quiet, watching Chanyeol carefully, though laughing at a few of his jokes that Chanyeol feels it won't take him long to warm up to him. Perhaps Jongdae had been right in his being able to make friends.
Baekhyun suddenly tilts his head to the side, smile growing as he makes an obvious appraisal of his body. "I'm curious. How has it been for your master? His last pet wasn't one of your... build."
When Chanyeol blinks at him with large eyes, Tao hits him lightly on the hip and Baekhyun's smile fades.
"Last pet?" Chanyeol asks.
Chanyeol had not considered that his master had had a pet before him. But it begins to make sense, once it's out in the open.
"What happened to him?" Chanyeol had asked Baekhyun, who seemed more inclined to talk than Tao.
"He passed away a few winters ago," Baekhyun replies, expression now somber. He cuddles in against Tao, who has gone rather stiff. Chanyeol can only assume they'd been close.
"Was it an accident?" Chanyeol asked, a confused frown making lines across his brow.
Baekhyun shakes his head. "No, not exactly. He'd always been in rather poor health, but it was a chill that probably did it in the end. When he got sick, it was always a very dangerous situation."
"I'm surprised Lord Minseok didn't tell you."
Chanyeol is, as well, but now understands Jongdae's purpose in buying him.
"Don't dwell so much on it," Baekhyun says, after the silence stretches on for far too long. "Lord Minseok is kind, as uptight as he seems. He'll warm up to you."
Chanyeol smiles. "I can only do my best."
"Lord Jongdae wouldn't have picked you if your best wasn't good enough."
"You what?" Suho asks, looking rather horrified when Minseok is forced to answer the most uncomfortable question about his initiation with Chanyeol.
He doesn't understand why his oldest and dearest friend is gawking at him like that, however. And looks to Jongdae, who looks in danger of collapsing on the grass with how hard he's laughing, for help.
"I don't- Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?"
"Not what a pet like him," Suho says, running a hand through his hair. His lips are curving up, as well, and Minseok doesn't understand why everyone seems to think this is so funny.
"What do you mean a pet like him?"
"He means-" Jongdae chokes from where he's clutching his stomach, trying to catch his breath, "-a pet intended to top you. That's the kind of pet I purchased, Kim Minseok. And you've misunderstood him all this time. No wonder he looks perpetually confused."
Minseok wants to wring Jongdae's neck.
Minseok must be out of his mind. He should have done more than just kicked Jongdae off the premises, when he found out why he'd chosen someone with Chanyeol's particular brand of training.
He shouldn't have even been entertaining the idea of trying this out, all things considered. Pets are malleable, in the end, and so far Chanyeol has taken to their nightly ritual fine. If a bit stiffly.
"Master?" he asks, as Minseok finally is rid of his pants, climbing onto the bed to join him that night. He's already hard, cock curved proudly up towards his abdomen. Minseok tries not to stare, unable to avoid noticing the length of it.
"So. Show me what they taught you."
Chanyeol had looked amused, as well, when Minseok had broached the topic with him after their guests had gone. But he seemed eager, when Minseok suggested they try things the way Chanyeol had been taught.
The pet is gentle, letting Minseok control their kissing, even as he lays him down against the cushions and spreads his thighs. Minseok flexes them, on instinct, and he can hear his pet's low chuckle as he kisses a path slowly down Minseok's neck to his shoulder.
"You have to relax, Master, for this to work."
"Easier said... than done." Minseok gasps as Chanyeol's large hands wrap around his cock, stroking him slowly to full arousal. He has to admit Chanyeol has a way with his hands.
"Let me help you with that."
Chanyeol continues to kiss a path down Minseok's body. Minseok waits for the intrusion of cool oil over a slim finger. But it never comes.
"I already know what you can do with your mouth," he teases, as Chanyeol moves lower still.
"I bet I can still surprise you."
As Chanyeol raises Minseok's legs over his shoulder, mouth pressed to his hole and tongue sliding deep inside, Minseok has to press a pillow over his own face to suppress the moans.
In the end, he comes "untouched," spilling all over Chanyeol's face and hair and feeling so boneless he could float.
Chanyeol jerks into his own hand, with permission, and comes across the sheets, before dropping himself down on top of Minseok's form.
"I told you I'd be able to surprise you."
Minseok actually laughs.
They try experimenting, bit by bit, so that Minseok can discover the full range of things Chanyeol has been trained in.
Minseok finds he likes having someone bigger hold him down, likes how Chanyeol's firm grip fits around his wrists, pinning them over his head as he has one leg swung over the other's shoulder, body tilted upwards so that Chanyeol can fuck him on his knees on the bed.
Minseok finds he likes it when Chanyeol's fingers are in his hair, holding his head down against the pillows, holding his hips up in the air as he rocks into them from the back.
Minseok finds he likes being in Chanyeol's lap, straddling his hips and being dragged up and down along the pet's full length.
Minseok finds he likes collapsing on top of him afterwards, curled up in his arms with his eyes closed, unable to think of anything except the sound of their breathing evening out, heart beating fast against his ribcage.
Minseok finds he likes waking up in the morning to Chanyeol's body still warm against his, his eyes closed and lashes laid out across his cheekbones. He likes the way the pet's hair feels between his fingers, the way his lips are full against his own, so different from-
His thoughts always return that way, before he's climbing out of bed.
Chanyeol hardly ever wakes up with his master beside him, as he had been the night before. Though he's allowed to spend the night these days, he's never allowed to greet the morning sun with Minseok. Minseok isn't ready to accept what that might mean.
"I'm going on a business trip," Minseok says, hand absently stroking up Chanyeol's back. The pet sits with his legs over one side of the bed, shoulders hunched. It had been an awkward night, coming in to find Minseok startled and confused at his presence, though he had explicitly ordered him to come to bed that night. They'd carried on, as usual, but Chanyeol doesn't feel right facing his master. He is afraid of what he might find in the older man's expression.
"I might be gone a while. I- I don't want you to just sit around here."
Chanyeol turns his head slightly, but only enough to indicate Minseok should go on.
"I think Jongin and Baekhyun might take you in, while I'm away. You like Baekhyun, right?"
There's something strange about Minseok's voice, a restrained sort of desperation. He seems... apologetic. And Chanyeol hates when he's apologetic, though he can do nothing about it.
Finally, he turns, a bright smile on his face. "Yes, Master. I like him very much."
Minseok doesn't seem appeased, but doesn't say more, reaching up now to stroke Chanyeol's face, instead. His small hands are warm and Chanyeol leans into the touch, eyes closing, so Minseok can pretend his smile reaches them.
Baekhyun and Jongin give him a warm greeting, when he arrives. Chanyeol doesn't like the thought of being separated from his master. Minseok has begun to feel more distant, recently, despite his calling for Chanyeol nearly every night.
But it's obvious that Minseok desires to get away. Business trip or not, Chanyeol is sure something like this was bound to happen sooner or later.
He smiles, as he always ever does, when he waves his master off, watching the carriage grow smaller down the path. When Baekhyun slips his arm around his waist, he leans into it, accepting the comfort. Because Baekhyun somehow always understands, different as their backgrounds and training have been.
With his visits, Chanyeol has learned quite a few things about Baekhyun. And one of those things is that Baekhyun likes to talk. Baekhyun likes to talk too much, Sehun has said, albeit with more than a little affectionate. Hardly anyone really faults him for it, though Suho has claimed it gives him headaches. Chanyeol likes it. He likes that they always have so many things to say to each other, that while Baekhyun talks, he doesn't have to think.
They go for a walk before dinner and wind up rolling in the grass. It stains Baekhyun's robes, but Chanyeol thinks that Jongin won't mind - he never seems to.
"You two are so close," he comments, as they find a shadey spot under a tree to rest. "Must be nice." He doesn't recognize the wistfulness in his own voice.
"We weren't always," Baekhyun says, shocking Chanyeol. But when he looks at him, there's no pity in Baekhyun's eyes. "We learned to be, like most pets and masters will. It'll be like that for you and Lord Minseok."
Chanyeol doesn't know how to say he doesn't think so. He smiles and nods, instead.
Dinner isn't much different from when Minseok invites Jongin over. As usual, Baekhyun is perched in his master's lips, being fed from Jongin's own fingertips.
Chanyeol listens as Baekhyun talks, laughs as he cracks joke after joke, and tries to ignore how empty the space beside him feels.
When Jongin and Baekhyun go to bed that night, hand in hand, Chanyeol heads quietly to his own room.
He sleeps with his fingers brushing against the collar around his neck. A reminder, for what little it's worth.
His days are full. There's plenty to do on Jongin's grounds and Baekhyun takes advantage of his company while Jongin is away.
"It's boring, sometimes, when there's no one to play with."
Chanyeol knows what that's like and finds pleasure in being useful to Baekhyun, just by being a companion to him.
They go horse horseback riding - "You're much better at this than I am" - shoot arrows on the archery field - "Do you have any sense of aim?" - sometimes they just sit in the music room all day so that Chanyeol can play music to accompany Baekhyun's singing.
Baekhyun likes to sing until his voice is raw, raspy, and they're laughing at all the notes he can't hit anymore.
Then Jongin comes home in time for dinner. Gradually, Chanyeol participates more in their conversations. After the first couple of nights, Baekhyun stops sitting in Jongin's lap and they clear out the empty chair that had sat beside Chanyeol.
But his nights are empty. Empty as the first, though with more frequent interruptions to his sleep. Sometimes he sits up in a panic, unable to identify the reason why, until his fingers find the material locked around his throat.
Though Minseok had made no promises.
Baekhyun shoves a mug of tea into his hand one sleepy morning, climbing into bed with him though he's just barely woken up.
"What are you doing?" he asks, pretending to be disgruntled, even as he scoots over to make room for the smaller pet.
"Master left early today and I'm bored. Anyway, you've been rising later and later and I won't have that."
Chanyeol chuckles, taking a sip of his tea before running his fingers through his hair. "At least you brought a peace offering, it seems. It's good."
"Yes, and it's highly caffeinated. Looks like you've been having trouble sleeping."
Baekhyun looks at him meaningfully, even as Chanyeol looks away.
They don't say much more on the matter and in half an hour, Chanyeol is out of bed and padding downstairs with Baekhyun for breakfast.
Today is another walking day, the weather being warm and bright. They go as far as Baekhyun wants, before he's tugging Chanyeol to sit down for a rest under a shady tree.
"I used to have trouble sleeping, too," Baekhyun says, just as Chanyeol thinks he's about to fall asleep.
"Hm?" He doesn't bother to open his eyes.
"A very good friend helped me get through it. Helped talk me through the reasons behind it."
"Luhan... really helped me a lot."
Chanyeol's breath stops. He can feel shifting, Baekhyun sitting up beside him. But he keeps his eyes closed, because he doesn't know what to say. He doesn't know how to feel, about this rival he's never met. This pet that Minseok still hasn't let go of long after death.
"I think you two would have gotten on very well," Baekhyun says, quietly.
Chanyeol doesn't say anything more.
Curiosity gets the better of him. It's while Baekhyun's taking a break, just listening to Chanyeol play, that he gets up the nerve to speak.
"What was he like?"
"Luhan?" Baekhyun asks, though his voice seems to already know exactly who Chanyeol meant.
"Yeah. Master doesn't say much about him." When Minseok realized Chanyeol had found out, he had told him to put it behind him. But it's obvious from the look in his eyes, whenever his name is brought up, that his master has yet to be able to do so himself.
"He was... a lot like you."
It takes Chanyeol by surprise. Because this is the first time anyone has ever told him that. He smiles, disbelievingly. "Really? I was under the impression Lord Jongdae chose me because I'd be very different from him."
Baekhyun chuckles at that. "Well... That aside. But you know, he was very friendly. Very bright and positive, though maybe more quiet. You should have seen his face when he laughed, though."
"Was it very handsome?"
Baekhyun barks out a laugh. "Hideous," he says, a twinkle in his eye. "He could be ridiculous, about playing pranks, and he was very stubborn to the point of stupidity. But there was something endearing about that. Much like yours."
Chanyeol smiles as Baekhyun ruffles his hair.
"You said before that he helped you. What did you mean by that?"
Baekhyun goes quiet, seriously considering his answer. "He made me realize that I didn't have to try so hard, to hold onto my master. And you know, I think you don't have to, either."
Chanyeol doesn't get to ask what that means, as Jongin announces his arrival.
It's been three weeks and Chanyeol still hasn't heard news of Minseok returning. Occasionally a letter comes, informing Jongin that he's doing well, asking him about Chanyeol, to which the pet always asks that Jongin give his best regard to his master.
Baekhyun tells Chanyeol more about Luhan, about their history. About how Luhan had taught him to be more honest in front of Jongin, as honest as he was with his true personality to other pets.
"He was a very dear friend," Baekhyun says, as they eat from a tray of fruit after dinner. Jongin is out for the night, or else he might have gone to bed with his master. "Your master was a different person, when he was still around."
Chanyeol likes these stories the best, the ones about how Minseok used to laugh and smile and play. He's seen Minseok smile, heard him laugh, and occasionally had the privilege of bringing it about himself. But it seems Luhan had had no problem with that at all.
"I'm just wondering... how to be enough. How to be like him," he admits to Baekhyun.
"You don't have to be like him." Baekhyun blinks at him, looking bewildered, and Chanyeol can only stare back. "That's not why I'm telling you all this."
"Then... why are you telling me all this?" he asks.
"Because you can already make Lord Minseok smile and laugh - I've seen it. You don't have to try to do it all the time, though. Part of becoming closer to your master isn't just about making him happy - it's about showing him who you really are."
Chanyeol had been taught something similar during his training. But Minseok makes him doubt his own charm in a way he's still unused to. In a way he doesn't know how to deal with.
"I don't expect you to understand it in a night. But if you really want to be like Luhan for your master - you have to remember the most special thing about Luhan was his sincerity."
Those words keep Chanyeol up the entire night.
It's a month, before Minseok comes back. A month and Chanyeol has just begun to wonder if he'll be staying with Jongin and Baekhyun forever - abandoned as he's heard some pets are, in this quiet way.
Of course it is impossible, because Jongin is too close to Minseok to let him get away with it. But Chanyeol had wondered and was even a little surprised when news of his master returning reached his ears.
"Aren't you excited?" Baekhyun asks, frowning down at him.
Chanyeol is sprawled out on the ground, head resting in the smaller pet's lap. He doesn't know how he feels.
"Of course I am," he says, anyway, forcing a bright smile.
Baekhyun doesn't look appeased. "Just remember what I told you."
Sincerity. Chanyeol wonders still if that's enough.
Chanyeol watches Minseok step out from the carriage, helped down by the driver because it's still too high up for him. His master is so small, yet still intimidating. But when he reaches them, the first one he greets isn't Jongin, but Chanyeol himself, his hands reaching up to stroke Chanyeol's cheek before pulling him down for a soft kiss.
"How have you been, pet?"
It's a wonder Chanyeol can force the words out past the lump forming in his throat. "Very well, Master," he says, voice low and soft, expression dazed.
The carriage ride back - Minseok had turned down dinner, though he'd sat for tea in Jongin's study for some time while Baekhyun kept Chanyeol entertained and helped him bring his bags downstairs - has Chanyeol on edge. He doesn't feel prepared for Minseok's return at all. He doesn't feel reassured by Minseok's hand on his thigh, by the way he repeatedly asks him how he's doing, what he's been doing. Minseok isn't one for mindless chatter, and the silence that overtakes them is stifling.
"Will you come to my room tonight?" Minseok asks, looking just as unsure as Chanyeol, when they reach home.
Chanyeol smiles, then, because at least this is territory he's used to. "Of course, Master."
When Chanyeol enters Minseok's room, freshly bathed and dressed in plain cotton slacks, he's surprised to find his master sitting up in bed, small in his pajamas and not looking at all ready to do any of the things Chanyeol was expecting they might do.
"Will you read to me tonight, Chanyeol?" Minseok asks, when Chanyeol has joined him in bed and he's found a place to nestle against his side.
Chanyeol's arm goes around the smaller man and he lets his lips brush over Minseok's soft hair. "Of course, Master."
Minseok still rises as early as ever, but comes home earlier than ever. Chanyeol finds the tensions from their first night eases, as they settle into a new routine. He can see something's different, ever since Minseok came back. His master is warmer and they spend time together before dinner, reading or playing music or sparring with his master's equipment.
His master may be small, but he's quick and stronger than Chanyeol would have expected. It's exhilarating, playing like this, even if he often loses. (He likes how Minseok beams down at him from above.) And when Minseok asks if Chanyeol would perhaps like to help him set up a place to sit for the outdoors - he'd had no idea Minseok enjoyed woodwork - Chanyeol leaps at the opportunity. It's something he'd been allowed to explore a bit, at the shop.
Minseok asks him questions these days, about his time at the shop and the time before it. Chanyeol's past the point of expecting answers from his master, though, and Minseok seems more comfortable listening to Chanyeol's stories than sharing any of his own.
It had taken getting used to, but Minseok has become a little more addicted every time to Chanyeol's hands holding his hips down, rocking in and out of him at such a pace that makes him moan breathlessly, practically begging for more.
When they finish and Chanyeol pulls out, climbing atop Minseok to cover him in kisses all across his cheeks and jaw. Chanyeol finds his smiles are easier. And as long as he can keep up that smile, perhaps Minseok will keep him.
It's been a while since he's felt like this and the adrenaline rushing through him makes it easier to ignore the implications of it.
Chanyeol grabs a washcloth that Minseok uses to wipe them both up, before they collapse back into his bed. These days, Chanyeol spends the night, when he's called into Minseok's bedroom.
"Tell me about your life at the shop," Minseok asks.
"What would you like to know, Master?"
Minseok curls in closer to his chest, eyes hooded and relaxed. "Anything. About your friends, your training. How you learned to be this good at what you do."
Chanyeol grins, nuzzling his nose to Minseok's temple. "I had a lot of friends. But friends come and go. Even your family does. My sister and I were separated when we began proper training."
"You have a sister?" Minseok seems surprised, but then Chanyeol has never told him about Yura.
"Mmhm. She looks like me, but much, much more beautiful. The bids on her were pretty high, when she was sold off."
"What about you? Can't have been cheap for Jongdae to buy you."
Chanyeol's throat clenches. He hates this reminder, but has to grit his teeth and bear it every time either of them brings it up. "Mm. You should ask him yourself, Master. I only hope I was worth the price."
Minseok raises his head then, smiling gently at Chanyeol, and for a moment Chanyeol lets himself buy into his master's next words. "Of course. And much more."
When he closes his eyes and lets Minseok kiss him like this, he can almost believe it's all real.
Sincerity, Baekhyun had advised him. And Chanyeol takes that to mean he should put his everything into showing his devotion to his master.
Minseok doesn't think much of it at first. Chanyeol has been out to wait for him every day for the past few weeks and he always entertains the pet with a small smile and a pat to his head as they walk in together. They still say very little, but Chanyeol seems content to be by his master's side.
Minseok doesn't think much anymore of Jongdae's chastising. Chanyeol is fed, comfortable, and still called to Minseok's bed every week. They're making some progress, he thinks.
As the weather gets colder, he has vaguely mentioned that Chanyeol stay inside. It's not necessary, after all, for him to greet his master at all like this. (Luhan never did. Luhan never could have.)
Every day, however, without fail, Chanyeol is there when he reaches home. He doesn't think much of it, barely notices how Chanyeol shivers when he wraps his master in his arms. Because Chanyeol is so big and strong when he lifts Minseok slightly off the ground in his embrace.
Today the temperature has dropped severely and Minseok's trip home has been delayed due to a snowstorm passing through. It's nothing severe, but they wait a bit longer to be sure it's passed entirely before setting out. And it's late and dark out when Minseok finally approaches his residence.
Minseok expects Chanyeol inside waiting, expects to take him to dinner, and then perhaps to bed because on a night as cold as this, a warm body serves far better than a warm blanket. (And he has to admit he's grown accustomed to being wrapped up in Chanyeol's arms after...)
Minseok blinks when he steps outside of his carriage, shivering even in his coat, confused because Chanyeol is not waiting for him inside. Chanyeol is still standing outside, shivering with his whole body as his teeth chatter and he wraps his arms tight around himself.
He smiles as he greets Minseok - "M-M-Master, you're late."
Minseok can only gawk before he's yelling at him. "Why on Earth are you outside?! It's freezing out! Hurry up, go inside! Bring our dinner to the lounge, we'll eat by the fire. Are you stupid?"
As Minseok wraps his arms around Chanyeol's waist, shuffling him inside, he realizes that the pet is damp from snow. And just how thin the jacket he's wearing is.
Minseok warms Chanyeol up by the fire, feeding him from his plate as he keeps him wrapped up in his arms. And Chanyeol looks happy, content, despite the pain of waiting for feeling in his feet to return to him.
"Stay inside tomorrow," Minseok insists. "I don't know why you didn't bring a heavier coat, you're still shaking."
Chanyeol laughs, voice low but gentle. "This is the heaviest coat I own, Master."
Minseok realizes he's yet to prepare a winter wardrobe for Chanyeol and swallows his guilt around another slice of cake. "This weekend, we'll order you a winter's supply," he promises quietly.
Chanyeol's eyes light up and Minseok leans down to kiss him, just to avoid looking at him.
He doesn't take Chanyeol to bed that night, insisting that he rest. But he does join Chanyeol in his chambers, wrapping himself in the pet's arms and lending some of his body heat. Well after dinner, Chanyeol is still shivering, and Minseok wonders if he'll catch a cold.
When he wakes up, Chanyeol is still warm beside him. Too warm.
Minseok squints in the darkness, grip tightening around the pet as he feels him continue to shiver against him, despite their being wrapped up in each other and under several layers of blankets.
"Chanyeol?" he murmurs.
The only response is a soft moan, as Chanyeol's body quivers and he nuzzles his nose in towards Minseok's neck.
Minseok's hand reaches up to feel his forehead. It's burning, and covered in a sheen of sweat. Minseok swallows, a familiar memory coming to mind - many nights like this, spent holding Luhan as he waited for the fever to break, for the pain to go away, for Luhan to stop crying.
Chanyeol isn't there yet, but it's obvious he's ill. Minseok pries himself away, even as Chanyeol whines and tries to keep him there.
"A doctor," he tells the first servant he can awaken. "Call for a doctor."
It's been three days and Chanyeol's condition hasn't gotten any better. Minseok paces the hallway outside his bedroom, waiting for the doctor to emerge with hopefully a better report than he's been given the last few days.
"Has his fever broken?" he asks, the moment the physician steps foot outside.
The doctor, an old friend of the family's, one who took care of Minseok and his sister when they were younger, shakes his head. "No. His cough doesn't seem to be getting better, either, despite the medication. You'll have to keep him hydrated, but I'm not sure it's going to get better after this long."
Minseok swallows, thinking again of Chanyeol's thin jacket, his big bright eyes when he'd greeted him in the cold.
"I can see him?"
"Yes, but let him rest."
Minseok's hand stills on the doorknob.
"It isn't your fault. But perhaps you should pay more notice to the things going on around you now, not get so swept up in the past."
Chanyeol is barely awake when Minseok enters. He smiles, though, when Minseok comes close enough for him to see who it is.
"Master... I missed you."
His lips are pale, quivering, and the simple sentence has him coughing again. Never before has Chanyeol looked smaller than tucked under these sheets in this bed.
"Stupid," Minseok mumbles, taking Chanyeol's hand and squeezing it. "Do you want some water?"
Chanyeol shakes his head, fingers curling around Minseok's grip. "I'm okay."
Minseok shakes his head. Chanyeol's hand is clammy, cold, so unlike the strong ones Minseok is used to holding his hips down, cup his face when he leans in to kiss him.
"Your master is a fool," he says, bringing Chanyeol's hand up to his forehead, cradling it gently.
"Don't say that. It's okay. I'm okay. I'm okay."
Minseok doesn't look up, can't bring himself to face the pet.
Chanyeol's fever finally breaks on the fourth night, with Minseok sitting in bed with him, arms wrapped around the pet to keep him warm. Chanyeol is quietly dozing with his head against Minseok's shoulder as his master mops his forehead with a washcloth.
"Master?" he murmurs, when he wakes up the next day to find Minseok asleep sitting upright, one arm still draped across his broad chest. He smiles, closing his eyes again.
It is several more days later before he can eat solid food again. But the coughing mostly goes away and he can at least move around the house. Minseok returns to work, Chanyeol waits for him in the library where he can see his carriage making its way down the path leading up to the manor.
"Master, you're late," he says as he drags Minseok into his arms.
"Had to pick up your winter coats."
Minseok blushes when Chanyeol bursts into laughter at the sight of all thirty of them.
Jongdae comes to visit a few days later. The weather had kept him away, but Minseok being missing from council for nearly a week had made more work for the others and raised concern (and gossip). Suho had dutifully passed the word along, as many of Minseok’s responsibilities had been passed over to him, that his pet had become ill and was in need of care.
Though Chanyeol was doing much better now, even if he was still confined the manor for the time being – Minseok’s orders strict and clear this time around – Jongdae did not seem satisfied upon his personal inspection.
“I can’t believe he let you wait in the cold,” the young lord says, a frown marring his normally cheerful features. Chanyeol has come down to the foyer to greet him, glad for some company, as Minseok is locked up in his office catching up on work.
“My master let me do no such thing,” the pet corrects, trying to placate Jongdae’s frustration. But it is to little effect, no matter how many times he explains, “I made the choice to wait outside myself.”
“Still, he didn’t afford you proper attire for the winter. Did he expect I should have done everything for him, when I purchased you?”
Chanyeol goes quiet at the reminder, suppressing thoughts that he doesn’t want to consider at the moment.
Jongdae lightly ruffles his hair. “Is he still hiding in his office, then? I’d better go have a word with him.”
“Master doesn’t like to be interrupted when he’s working.”
“It’s the weekend. He shouldn’t be working at all.”
Jongdae is bounding up the stairs before Chanyeol can say anything else.
Confinement lends to boredom and after fifteen minutes pacing the library, Chanyeol decides to check in on his master and their guest. The door to Minseok’s study is closed, but he can hear raised voices coming from inside. This area of the house is deserted, so Chanyeol tiptoes closer over so as to investigate.
He shouldn’t be eavesdropping. He realizes this and knows how private of a man Minseok is. But he’s never heard Minseok and Jongdae shouting so loudly at each other before.
Chanyeol waits outside the door, listening to the sound of their voices carry through the door.
“You’re a pet owner, you have to be more attentive! I told you that you were neglecting him too much already!”
“Don’t you think I know what I did? But it was foolish of him to even stand outside while it was snowing!”
“He cares for you! He thinks that’s the only way to get your attention and he’s your responsibility.”
“I didn’t want this responsibility! If you recall, you forced him on me.”
“Because you need to move on, Minseok! It’s been three years and you’re still pining after someone who can't ever come back.”
“Shut up, at least I’m not pining after someone who doesn’t want to come back!”
Chanyeol doesn’t stay to listen to any more than that, feet carrying him fast back towards his chambers, to the West Wing, far from where Minseok is now.
When Jongdae leaves, Chanyeol doesn’t know. But he doesn’t go seeking the pet out to say any farewells and Chanyeol is perfectly fine with that. When he’s called down for dinner, he complains of an upset stomach, staying curled up under his blankets with the excuse of wanting to rest.
Minseok doesn’t bother to check in on him that night. Chanyeol can’t tell if he’s glad or not.
Minseok knows as soon as the words are out of his mouth that he's made a mistake. So he doesn't try to stop Jongdae when the other's fist goes flying towards his face and they stand in a heated silence after the blow lands.
As the clock ticks and realization hits, Jongdae's color starts to fade. "Hyung-"
Jongdae hardly ever calls him hyung these days.
"Hyung, I'm sorry. I-"
"I deserved it," Minseok says with a bitter smile.
Jongdae sighs again, coming over to take Minseok's face into his hands and inspecting the injury. When he seems satisfied that it doesn't need immediate attention, he finally speaks again. "I don't mean to force anything on you, hyung. And I know it's too late to take it back. But I'm worried about him and I'm worried about you. I don't want you to live in the past forever."
"I'm not living in the past." Minseok touches his cheek and winces at the pain it brings. He's definitely going to bruise later, something he doesn't want to have to explain to anyone.
Jongdae looks at him with blatant disbelief. "You still haven't cleaned out his room, right?"
Minseok doesn't answer.
"Right. Just... take care of yourself, and take care of Chanyeol. He's really grown attached, you know."
"I know." He knows far too well now, how attached Chanyeol is. And it's horrifying, to have someone depend on him this much again. Especially when he feels like all he can do is let those people down.
"And you shouldn't be afraid of it. Nor should you be so afraid of returning some of those feelings. Luhan would want you to move on."
(Find someone new, after me. Don't hang onto this forever.)
Jongdae takes his leave before dinner, asking Minseok to relay his farewell greeting to Chanyeol.
But when the pet doesn't come down for dinner, complaining of a stomach ache, Minseok doesn't go seeking him out. He doesn't want to have to explain the bruise on his face to Chanyeol.
"What happened to your face, Master?" Chanyeol blurts out, when Minseok comes down to breakfast the next day. It's a late start for him, but it's still the weekend and he had stayed up late the night before.
Minseok's bruise is now a dark purple and attempts to hide it with powder have mostly failed. He grimaces at the response, not fighting when he takes his place beside his pet and Chanyeol takes his cheeks into his hands for a closer look.
"Accident with a door," he says, the only excuse he could come up with.
He doesn't expect Chanyeol to believe it, but when the pet's eyes widen and he exclaims, "You should be more careful!" Minseok is overcome with a rush of fondness.
He smiles, gently removing Chanyeol's hands from his face. "Don't worry about me. What about your stomachache?"
Something quick passes through Chanyeol's eyes, too fast for Minseok to catch. The pet lets go and sits back down on his cushion. "Better," he murmurs, more subdued than Minseok is used to hearing him.
Minseok looks at him curiously, but when nothing further is said, they both begin their meal in silence. Minseok wonders if perhaps he had said something wrong, but he doesn't know how to ask about it.
"There's a dinner this week," he says, once the table is cleared. Reaching over, he strokes his fingers lightly through Chanyeol's sleep tousled hair, finding this is one of the best ways to regain his pet's attention when he's lost it.
"A dinner?" Chanyeol asks, shrinking back from the touch.
It catches Minseok by surprise and he almost doesn't register the question. "Yes. Suho and Sehun are hosting it and I'm required to attend. If you feel up to it - would you like to come?"
Chanyeol's eyes light up at that. Minseok can tell he enjoys the parties Minseok takes him to. Because his master is one who isn't particularly fond of them, however, they are often far and in between.
"Good." Minseok smiles, and reaches for Chanyeol again, pulling him in for a soft kiss on the lips. Chanyeol doesn't shrink from his touch this time.