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“I told you,” Jet said. His smugness at being right was almost drowned out by how nonplussed he was.

“I thought you were kidding.” Pyunma put down the bag of groceries he was holding and stepped over the still-packed boxes in the living room to study the writing on the wall.

The literal writing on the wall. It dripped red and thick down the off-white wall, a scene straight out of a horror movie. Except it was a bright ‘Hello’ scrawled in what Pyunma could tell, now that he was closer to it, was strawberry jam.

They’d been gone all of ten minutes, taking a break of settling into their new apartment to pick up groceries at the bodega two blocks down. More than time for someone to break in, but that someone would’ve been stupid to ignore the TV, unconnected to anything, or the mp3 player sitting on the kitchen counter. And Jet really had told him.

“You had to find a haunted apartment, didn’t you.”

“Rent. Controlled.”

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“Dinner is served,” Jet announced, already digging through the bag as he walked into the kitchen. “What do you want to start with?”

“Egg drop soup?” Pyunma hazarded; he’d been dragging his things into the bedroom when Jet placed the order, so the contents of the delivery bag were a mystery.  All the same, Jet passed over a container of soup with a grin before unloading everything else onto the floor in front of the couch. “We’re going to need to get a table at some point.”

“We need a bed first.” The matter of fact statement was delivered with a light leer before fading into something a little more serious. “The air mattress isn’t bad, but my friend’s gonna want it back eventually.”

“You could’ve gotten a bed.”

“Yeah, I guess. It’s just…” Jet glanced away, fiddling with his chopsticks. “It’s ours, right?”

Which… yeah, Pyunma knew where Jet was coming from. When he was accepted to Columbia, moving in with Jet rather than living in the dorms had seemed like an obvious idea. The time in between was too swept up in the details of moving between continents for the idea to settle too much, but now, sitting in the nearly empty living room, the fact that it really was theirs was settling in. No more only seeing each other at Prof. Gilmore’s or in flying visits between countries.

Pyunma put the soup to the side and pushed himself up. “How comfortable is the air mattress?”

Jet made a garbled noise around the eggroll in his mouth before hurriedly swallowing. “It’s pretty good. Tired from the trip?”

“Nah. Just figured we don’t have to wait until we go furniture shopping to break in our place, and we never have much luck with couches.”

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Storm clouds gathered in the sky, a promise of relief to the humidity that had soaked the city over the past few days. The heavy air was still a relief when Pyunma stepped out of the crowded restaurant. Especially when he saw Jet slouched against the wall a little ways from the door, smoking and staring into space.

“Second thoughts?”

Jet’s answering grin was bright and infectious. “Like hell.”

Pyunma laughed, his own smile wide enough to hurt a little, and went to pull Jet into a kiss. It wasn’t a very good kiss, given that neither of them could stop grinning through it, but Jet still made a pleased sound when Pyunma didn’t let go afterwards.

“Seriously, anything wrong?”

“Nah.” Jet flicked ash off his cigarette, glancing over Pyunma’s head back towards the door. “I just needed a break from in there.”

“I hear you.” He reached up and snagged the cigarette, dodging Jet’s halfhearted swipe to take a long drag. Somehow, the party going on inside made things seem far more real than the small ceremony they’d had the night before. Considering how he’d spent a long time not expecting to survive the fighting – before or after Black Ghost – sneaking out of his own wedding reception to have a quiet smoke with his husband never would have crossed his mind.

And he was not going to get tired of saying that, his husband.

Judging by the look on Jet’s face, soft and happy and a little amazed, he was thinking something similar. “We really did it.”

Light glinted off their rings as Pyunma linked their hands, holding tight. “Yeah, we really did.”

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Pyunma nudged the bedroom door open with his foot, his hands taken up with the mugs he was carrying. “Hot chocolate’s ready.”

Jet didn’t move from his sprawl on the bed. Pyunma might’ve assumed that he hadn’t heard it, given the headphones he was wearing, if he hadn’t known how good Jet’s hearing was. He set the mugs on the bedside table and leaned over to run his fingers through Jet’s bangs. It was enough to pull Jet’s attention to him, eyes dark and face pinched. “Want to talk about it?”

Jet scoffed, but tugged Pyunma down to sit. He curled his arms around the other cyborg’s waist and pressed his face against his hip.

What little amusement Pyunma had felt evaporated at the move. Stroking over Jet’s hair served the double purpose of soothing his boyfriend and pushing off the headphones; the sound of guitars spilled out until he managed to find the mp3 player. “Hey. Talk to me.”

“Nothing to talk about,” Jet muttered. “Just want the storm to end.”

Pyunma glanced up at the window, already knowing the shade was shut against the storm going on outside. “I thought you liked snow.”

“I like snow,” Jet grumbled, pressing closer to Pyunma’s hip. After a moment, he added, his voice a little softer, “I don’t like blizzards.”

Pyunma kept petting his hair, remembering the feel of snow against his neck when they were coming back from getting groceries. “At least we got in before the worst hit, right?”

Jet’s arms tightened. “Not everyone does.”

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Pyunma let the door slam shut behind him, dropping his messenger bag the moment he was in the apartment. “Can we afford bail?”

“Only if you don’t want a new filtration system,” Jet said from the kitchen. “What happened?”

“My classmates are idiots.” Pyunma dragged his hand over his face as he walked into the kitchen. “They keep forgetting that societal norms change and try to interpret…” he trailed off as he finally saw Jet. Saw Jet’s back, since he was digging through the fridge, but that just made the well-fitted slacks more obvious. “Jet?”

“Yeah?” Jet straightened up, two bottles of beers in hand. Pyunma absently accepted one, eyes sweeping over Jet’s body. Took in how the dress pants and waistcoat accented the length of his legs and the lean lines of his torso, how he’d tamed his hair into a spill of loose curls.

Pyunma stepped forward, pressing Jet back against the counter and setting his beer down in the same movement. “You look good.”

Jet laughed and draped his arms over Pyunma’s shoulders, his own bottle pressing cold between Pyunma’s shoulders. “I had a live gig today. They want us looking nice.” Jet tugged him forward until his could nuzzle down into Pyunma’s hair. “So, you had a bad day?”

Pyunma tilted his head back, returning the nuzzle with a slow kiss. “Well, now it’s looking up.”

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Pyunma stared at his phone, torn between dismay and glee.

On the one hand, class was cancelled. As much as he was enjoying college – and two years in, it still gave him a thrill that he was there, when he never would’ve thought he’d get the chance growing up – he didn’t really like dragging himself halfway across New York to get to his eight o’clock class.

On the other hand, he’d only gotten the txt telling him class was cancelled just as he stepped out of the apartment. It was just after seven on a Friday, that was his only class of the day, and he was now unnecessarily awake. And, unlike Jet, he wasn’t able to fall asleep if he stayed in one spot for more than five minutes.

Still, he might as well take advantage of his sudden free time. Preferably by having something more substantial than the toast he’d made before. He dropped his bag back in the bedroom and paused by the bed to run a hand through Jet’s hair. “Hey. You want breakfast?” Jet just made a snuffling sound and curled tighter around the decoy body pillow. Pyunma chuckled and ruffled his hair again before heading out to start breakfast.

He was just pouring the second batch of pancakes onto the griddle when he heard movement from the bedroom. He wasn’t surprised when arms wrapped loosely around his waist a minute later, just made sure his arms didn’t get pinned as Jet draped himself over Pyunma’s back. “Morning.”

Jet made a noise that might’ve been a greeting before offering a much clearer, “Pancakes?”


Jet settled his head down on Pyunma’s shoulder, watching him flip the pancakes. “Is today something?”

“Nah. Just felt like making them.”

“Mmph.” Jet tilted his head, nuzzling into Pyunma’s hair. “Best boyfriend.”

“Yeah, and someday you’ll say that when food isn’t involved.” All the same, he turned and caught Jet in a lingering kiss until the smell of burning food sent both of them scrambling for the griddle.

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September 2017

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