lirazel: ([kpop] visual)
[personal profile] lirazel
Title: we'll ride into the sunset like they always do
Fandom: K-POP: Infinite/VIXX
Characters/Pairings: Myungsoo/Hongbin
Rating: PG-13
A/N: I saw these pictures of Hongbinnie in Dallas and my brain went into overdrive. This is some weird, weird, weird mashup of Korean and Western North American culture. I don’t know don’t ask. And the title comes from A*Teens. I am so, so sorry.
Summary: The new cowhand has a smile that’s way too appealing for Myungsoo’s comfort.


We're on a one-way ride
And all I need is someone like you by my side
You saw the movie too
We'll ride into the sunset like they always do


--

The new cowhand has a smile that’s way too appealing for Myungsoo’s comfort. It isn’t just the dimples, and the even white teeth, and the wings at the corners of his eyes, and the overall handsomeness—it’s the way Hongbin’s eyes shine way, way too bright whenever he smiles. And the worse thing of all is that his most heart-flipping grin only comes out when he smiles at Myungsoo. Myungsoo tries frantically not to notice, but that’s sort of like trying not to notice the sun when you’re riding straight towards it as it sets. Myungsoo can still see Hongbin’s smiling face when he looks away or closes his eyes, the brightness of it impressed on the back of his eyelids or hanging in the air in front of him, just like the sun does after you look straight at it. Myungsoo knows he’s naive—at least that’s what the others say—but he’s pretty sure that the way Hongbin’s face lingers in his mind means something. Something he very definitely can't allow it to mean.

Hongbin is younger than him, of all things, and even though Myungsoo grew up on a ranch and everything from caring for his horse to branding the cattle is second nature to him, he’s used to being the youngest (except for Sanghyuk, who is a brat and so barely counts), to quietly following after Taekwoon-hyung or Howon-hyung and respectfully listening to orders from Sunggyu owner-nim (and turning right around and doing whatever he was going to do anyway, since Sunggyu knows nothing at all about the actual work of a ranch), to quietly and competently doing his job without making a fuss and without much direction from the hyungs. Myungsoo has only ever had to look after himself, and he isn’t quite sure how to react when Hakyeon-hyung pushes the new kid towards him and says, “You’ll look after him, won’t you, Myungsoo? Help him get used to how we do things here?” Myungsoo had stared wide-eyed at Hakyeon, then looked to Woohyun for an explanation, but there was none coming: the new kid was designated Myungsoo’s responsibility, and Myungsoo had started silently panicking.

If he’s honest with himself, he knows the panic is less at the idea of helping someone adjust and more at the idea of helping Hongbin adjust. After all, Myungsoo’s never had any problem with showing Sunggyu-nim’s younger brother Sungjong how to currycomb a horse or feed a calf from a bottle. Sungjong is probably the most beautiful person Myungsoo’s ever seen, with his soft skin untanned by the harsh sun and his long, pretty fingers and soft palms and dark hair falling silky into his eyes. But Sungjong is also mature and competent, and even though he’s always kind to Myungsoo, there’s a distance behind his smiles and soft words that makes Myungsoo more than content with admiring him from afar (besides, he knows what Sungjong looks like when that distance disappears, because he’s seen Sungjong with Howon. Myungsoo thinks a beauty that intense would be too much for him).

But Hongbin is another thing entirely. His skin is as tan as Myungsoo’s, his hands as rough and callused, his body as muscular, and Myungsoo hates himself for noticing just how damn good his legs and ass look in those tight pants and how the collar of his shirt always gapes open enough to show off his collarbones above the top of his white tank. He’s patient and gentle with horses, which warms Myungsoo’s heart no matter how he tries to steel it; he takes good care of his saddle and his boots; he doesn’t complain about Jaehwan’s talking or Sungyeol’s snoring. He volunteers to help Woohyun with meals and lets Dongwoo-hyung grab his butt without complaint and even Taekwoon thinks he’s cute. The only person he’s awkward with is Sanghyuk, though they get over that quickly enough, and Hongbin slides into place at Infinite in Excelsis Ranch as easily as Myungsoo slides his feet into his broken-in boots.

All in all, there’s no doubt that Hongbin is an excellent addition to the operation, and he picks up all the little quirks of Infinite Ranch quickly and with such good-natured eagerness that after only a week it seems like he’s always been there. But Myungsoo remembers all too well what his life was like before Hongbin came along—easy, comfortable, pleasantly monotonous. There was beauty in the toss of the horses’ necks or the line of their legs, the musk of cattle that has always smelled like home to Myungsoo, meals around the crowded table up at the big house and nights of dreamless sleep in the bunkhouse, new kittens with tiny pink tongues and velvet paws found curled up in the straw against their barn cat mamas, and the sky blue and endless above waving grass. Myungsoo likes being a ranch hand, likes the way his muscles remember what to do without him having to instruct them, the way he aches after a long day’s work, the quiet companionship with the other hands while they're working and the jokes and teasing when they're not, the sound of horses whinnying and cattle lowing and the feeling of sunshine on his back. He’s content with his life, with the little dramas of the ranch and weekend visits to town and the time he gets at night to strum on his guitar. But now there’s Hongbin, and Myungsoo finds himself jumpy and restless and trying desperately not to stare or touch or melt under the sunshine of Hongbin’s smile.

And Myungsoo can’t escape that smile, because Hongbin is always right there. He sits next to or across from Myungsoo at meals, he keeps his horse as close to Myungsoo’s as he can when they’re working, and his bunk is right beside Myungsoo’s so even at night Myungsoo can’t escape the nearness of him and falls asleep to the rhythm of his steady breathing. There’s nothing so strange about any of that—the bunkhouse is small and they’re all used to living in each other’s pockets, and normally Myungsoo is the one who’s always trailing after his best friend Sungyeol. But where Sungyeol’s nearness is steadying and comforting, Hongbin’s is probably going to drive Myungsoo crazy.

Because Hongbin’s thigh is far too warm against Myungsoo’s when they sit at the table to eat, when Hongbin guides his horse close to Myungsoo’s so Myungsoo can hear his voice over the sound of the cattle pressed close around. Hongbin’s hands are too callused when they grab Myungsoo’s wrist to get his attention or reach up to brush the hair out of Myungsoo’s eyes. Hongbin’s gaze is too intense when he watches Myungsoo swing up into the saddle or eyes him across the campfire as Myungsoo tries to casually pick a song on his guitar. Hongbin’s scent is too mouthwatering, even though he’s dusty and dirty and sweaty as any of the other guys who only make Myungsoo’s nose wrinkle with their stink. Hongbin’s mouth is too tempting when he calls Myungsoo hyung, when his tongue darts out to wet his lips. Hongbin’s body is too firm when he begs Myungsoo for a guitar lesson and insists Myungsoo sit behind him and show him how to hold the instrument (Myungsoo is certain Hongbin can feel the drumming of his heart where it’s pressed against Hongbin’s back, can feel the waver of his hands as his arms loop around Hongbin’s and clutch the neck of the guitar too tight, but Hongbin never even stiffens at Myungsoo’s nearness. If anything, he melts back into Myungsoo, letting their bodies mold tighter together than Myungsoo knows how to deal with).

Myungsoo, helpless and overwhelmed, fumbles while strapping on saddles whose buckles he could fasten at five years old, trips over Sungyeol’s boots when Hongbin changes shirts, misses his mouth while shoveling food in it at breakfast when he glances up and sees Hongbin smiling at him, snaps a guitar string when Hongbin leans in to request a song and his breath fans hot across Myungsoo’s neck and cheek in the chill of the night. He makes a fool of himself, honestly, and yet no matter how the others roll their eyes or laugh at Myungsoo’s new-found clumsiness, the brightness in Hongbin’s eyes never dims.

Hongbin keeps making it clear what he wants, and it scares Myungsoo to death. He didn’t think anything could be worse than the way Hongbin starts scuffles as an excuse to roughhouse with him. Myungsoo and Sungyeol have always wrestled, but it’s different with Hongbin’s hand brushing along Myungsoo’s abs or his leg sliding between Myungsoo’s and pressing up against his crotch. Myungsoo, flushing bright red, sees the others shake their heads or exchange amused grins, and he mentally curses Hongbin for being so obvious in using the roughhousing to cop a feel, but he can never bring himself to pull away, even though he knows he should. Because his hands want to feel the shift of muscle in Hongbin’s forearms, his skin wants to feel the brush of Hongbin’s breath, his body wants to feel the hardness of Hongbin’s against his. Myungsoo ends up spending too much time behind the barn, jerking off while trying not to imagine what the skin of Hongbin’s neck tastes like.

But he is quite sure he’s going to have some sort of breakdown when the door to the rain barrel shower that Wonshik rigged up creaks open while Myungsoo is washing and there’s Hongbin, smile still wide even as his eyes flit over Myungsoo’s body. “You don’t mind, do you, hyung? To save water?” It’s hardly the first time Myungsoo’s showered with one of the others, but it’s different when it’s Hongbin stripping out of his clothes and stepping under the water. Myungsoo turns away before he can get a good look, fiercely traces the wood grain on the wall with his eyes and tries to hurry through cleaning without thinking about the fact that Hongbin is naked right behind him. But then he slips a little on the wet grass and takes a half-step back and his ass brushes against Hongbin’s and—

Myungsoo runs to an unsympathetic Sungyeol that afternoon. Sungyeol already knew, of course—everyone on the ranch knows—hell, everyone on Boram-ssi’s and Sera-ssi’s neighboring ranches know, too, and probably so does half the closest town, if the way Woohyun gossips with Kibum is any indication—but other than Sungyeol making a few entirely inappropriate jokes, they haven’t talked about it much. Sungyeol prefers to focus on his own sexual frustration, and he doesn’t even try to hide his impatience with the subject now.

“‘Soo, just fuck the poor kid and put him out of his misery. He looks like he’d be a good lay anyway, and once he sees how awkward and clingy you get with anyone who gives you any affection at all, he’ll get over you, trust me.”

Myungsoo is completely horrified (and red-cheeked) at this advice, and he decides he won’t talk to anyone else about this ever again, but Sungjong doesn’t know that when he very seriously pulls Myungsoo aside after dinner that night and asks Myungsoo whether he knows how to be careful with Hongbin. Myungsoo wants to drop dead on the spot, especially since Howon is grinning his evil canine-baring grin over Sungjong’s shoulder at him, and Myungsoo can honestly say he’s never been more humiliated in his entire life. The owner’s brother who’s younger than Myungsoo is trying to give him advice on sleeping with Hongbin. Myungsoo frantically tries to think of a way to get out of this conversation.

“I know you go see Doyeon in town sometimes, but a boy’s very different than a girl. You have to make sure you don’t hurt him if you plan on penetration—though you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to, Myungsoo, other things are just as good—and I can tell you where to buy—”

“Sungjong-ssi!” Myungsoo wails, and Howon has dropped to his knees he’s laughing so hard. Sungjong looks back at him, then shoots out a long leg and kicks Howon’s shoulder so Howon loses his balance and falls to the floor. Sungjong's voice is still patient when he turns back to Myungsoo.

“Myungsoo, ignore this one. I’m not trying to embarrass you. But I like Hongbin, and I want to make sure that you two don’t hurt each other and—”

“Sungjong-ssi, we’re not—we haven’t—it’s not like that—I promise,” Myungsoo insists miserably. Howon is still sprawled out on the floor, laughing. From the flash in Sungjong’s eyes, Myungsoo thinks he’s going to be punished later, which would normally make Myungsoo laugh himself, but right now he just wants this whole conversation to be over.

Sungjong pats his shoulder. “All right, Myungsoo-ssi. But if you need anything later, let me know. I can go into town any time you need me to.”

Myungsoo hurries out of the house, too embarrassed even to relish the way Howon’s laughter cuts off abruptly the second Myungsoo’s feet hit the porch. Back down in front of the bunkhouse, he finds the other guys sprawled around a fire, and Hongbin’s eyes light up and he sits up straighter when he sees Myungsoo approach. Myungsoo walks right past him to squeeze himself in between Taekwoon and a dozing Dongwoo on a log nearby. Taekwoon shoots him a questioning look, but when Myungsoo doesn’t do anything but drop his head into his hands, Taekwoon just squeezes the back of his neck affectionately and loops an arm around his shoulder. Myungsoo leans into him, refusing to allow himself to look across the fire and see Hongbin’s crestfallen expression.

But he gets a glimpse of Hongbin’s subdued, unsmiling face as they all head in to bed later. Myungsoo’s stomach lurches and he wants to throw himself at Hongbin and beg him to smile again, but he swallows down the bile in his throat and hurries to climb up into his bunk. In the morning, he lingers in the pre-dawn darkness outside the big house before heading in to breakfast a few minutes after grace has been said. There’s an empty space on the bench between Hongbin and Sungyeol; it’s Myungsoo’s usual spot, but he can’t bring himself to take it, instead jabbing his knee into Sungyeol’s back so Sungyeol will scoot and make a space beside Wonshik. Myungsoo doesn’t have to look at Hongbin to know that he’s hurt—he’s pretty sure he can feel it across the room—across the pasture, later—and more than one of the hyungs give him disapproving looks as he does all he can to avoid Hongbin that day. Myungsoo feels lower than dirt for wiping the smile off of Hongbin’s face, but he can’t help it, and he almost wants to cry when Woohyun grabs his arm before dinner and drags him off behind the barn.

Woohyun-hyung, who is usually nothing but encouraging to Myungsoo, is uncharacteristically short with him. “Hakyeon keeps nagging me about why you’re being a jerk to Hongbin, and I already deal with enough nagging from Kibum about how long it’s been since I’ve been to see him and from Sunggyu-nim about every damn thing in the world, and I’m sick of it. So stop being a jerk to Hongbin, do you hear?”

“I don’t mean to be a jerk, hyung.” Myungsoo really wants Woohyun to put his arms around him like he sometimes does; it would make him feel better. “I just—everyone thinks we’re—and I feel like I’m leading him on and I feel terrible and—”

Woohyun is confused. “How the hell could it be leading him on, Kim Myungsoo, when you want him back?”

Myungsoo would be humiliated that clearly everyone knows he wants Hongbin, too, but he’s feeling too guilty. “I do want him, hyung, I think I lo—but I’m the hyung. I have to be the one to be strong. Don’t I?”

Woohyun’s eyes narrow as though he’s beginning to suspect something’s going on that he hadn’t anticipated. “And just what do you mean by ‘be strong’?”

Myungsoo gestures helplessly. “There’s the rule—if we—I can’t let him get fired, hyung, he doesn’t deserve that.”

Woohyun stares at him for a moment as long as dusk, then throws his head back and laughs. Myungsoo is pretty used to being laughed at by this point, but he’s as much confused as he is irritated by Woohyun’s reaction. “Hyung—”

“Myungsoo, are you talking about how Sunggyu always rants about how relationships between any people living on this ranch are forbidden? Fuck, Myungsoo, don’t you know he’s full of shit? You didn’t think he really means that, did you?”

It’s Myungsoo’s turn to stare, something squirming in his stomach. “But he always says—”

“Myungsoo, he only says that because he’s an overprotective bastard and doesn’t approve of Sungjong and Howon. But Sungjong doesn’t listen to him when he tries to forbid him from seeing Howon, of course, and that drives him crazy, so he just has to throw his weight around to make himself feel better. Nobody actually listens to him, kid. Fuck, Hakyeon and Taekwoon are practically married.”

Myungsoo had known that last, of course, but he had figured that Hakyeon got special privileges as ranch foreman. He hadn’t known that no one took Sunggyu-nim’s words seriously. His heart is beating wildly down in his stomach. “Hyung?”

Woohyun does put his arm around Myungsoo now, ruffling his hair affectionately. “Myungsoo, you clearly worship the kid and anyone could see from the very first day that he thinks you hung the moon. Even Howon doesn’t look at Sungjong as sickening as that. So be with him, if you want to. You’re both grown-up boys and good kids. Don’t worry about Sunggyu—even if he notices, which is doubtful, I can easily shut him up if he says something to you. Go make Hongbin smile again, okay? It always feels like a raincloud hanging over the whole ranch when you or Hongbinnie aren’t happy.”

Woohyun shoves him towards the bunkhouse with a little push, and Myungsoo stumbles dazedly back in that direction, trying to understand how the earth has just shifted under his feet.

He spends the next day in some sort of daze, too, which Sungyeol notices and tries to slap him out of (literally). It’s the first day of the drive, and Myungsoo normally loves looking at the changing scenery as they ride along, but today he’s too stuck in his own head to notice the buttes or the trees lining the river. He doesn’t even see the droop of Hongbin’s shoulders or the tiredness on his face—he’s too stuck in his own head. He still hasn’t snapped out of it by the time they make camp that night, and it takes him a moment to realize that Hongbin has walked up to him and is talking.

“...making you uncomfortable, hyung. I can switch tents with Hyuk, okay?”

Myungsoo blinks, feeling like he’s just emerged from deep water, and tries to make sense of this. “What?”

“I know we usually share a tent, but I know you don’t want to be around me right now. It’s okay, hyung, really.”

Myungsoo stares now at Hongbin’s miserable face, at the downturned corners of his mouth and his cheek wiped of its dimple, at his eyes dark with sadness. He glances around at the others who are setting up tents and starting on dinner, and then he grabs Hongbin by the wrist and drags him off out of the circle of campfire light and over to where the horses are tethered.

“Hyung?”

Hongbin sounds almost terrified, but Myungsoo is too busy feeling the strength of Hongbin’s wrist in his hand and calculating whether they’re far enough away from the others that anyone will overhear them. He swiftly decides he doesn’t care, and then his hands are grabbing the soft, worn fabric of Hongbin’s shirt and tugging him forward and then—

It’s better than Myungsoo had imagined. Better than he’d dreamed, waking up each morning hard and uncomfortable. Better than he’d fantasized while jerking off back behind the barn. Better than anything: Hongbin’s mouth under his and Hongbin’s body against his and Hongbin’s scent and Hongbin’s taste and—

But then Hongbin is pulling away, blinking up at him and panting and somehow managing to look even more miserable than he was just a few minutes ago. Myungsoo stares.

“Hyung, you don’t have to—I know you don’t want—it’s really okay, please don’t just because you feel sorry for me—”

“Hongbin-ah,” Myungsoo interrupts.

“Hyung?”

“Sunggyu-nim likes to talk about how he’ll fire anyone he finds fooling around with someone else from the ranch. But it’s just talk. So if you hear him say it, don’t worry about it. He won’t fire you. And if he says he’s going to, just tell me, and I'll tell Woohyun-hyung. Okay?”

Hongbin stares at him, something is dawning in his eyes, and then that same huge grin breaks out across his face—the one that turns Myungsoo into a nervous schoolboy, that makes him swell with joy, the one that leaves him weak with affection—and then Hongbin’s arms are around his shoulders and Hongbin is closer than he’s ever been before and they’re kissing and—

And it’s better.

Myungsoo is still the hyung, still responsible for Hongbin, so he doesn’t let them stay away from the fire for long, no matter how much he wants to spend all night here. He pulls away from Hongbin reluctantly and leads him back to the camp, thanking God that it’s dark enough that no one can really see their faces. But Jaehwan starts wolf-whistling the next morning when they emerge from the tent, and Howon starts laughing so hard he can’t even pull his boots on, and Myungsoo flushes. They hadn’t done anything the night before—well nothing except slept wrapped around each other, which was so much as far as Myungsoo’s pulsing heart was concerned—but the grin on Hongbin’s face is so wide and shining that no one could doubt what’s going on between them.

Hongbin catches him a few times over the next few days in pauses from work, pulling him away from the others to press himself against Myungsoo and kiss him so long and deep Myungsoo feels like he’s got sunstroke. Myungsoo finds himself watching sweat drip down Hongbin’s collarbones, fascinated by the slight bow of Hongbin’s legs as he walks, staring at the strength of Hongbin’s forearms where they emerge from his rolled up sleeves. When the day gets too hot and he pulls off his own shirt and goes around in the white tank underneath, he feels Hongbin’s eyes on him constantly, and it’s enough to make riding uncomfortable. When they get a moment alone, Hongbin jumps him again, and they’re both sweaty and streaked with dirt and have dust clinging to their damp temples, but it doesn’t matter when Hongbin’s hands are up under Myugnsoo’s tank and Myungsoo is holding Hongbin to him with a fistful of shirt in one hand and the curve of Hongbin’s ass in the other.

But Myungsoo makes himself pull away, and he catches Hongbin’s hand when it moves southwards as they lay in the tent at night.

“But hyung—”

“We’re in a tent, Hongbinnie,” Myungsoo whispers, all too aware that he can hear Sungyeol and Sanghyuk arguing on one side of them and Jaehwan and Howon conversing on the other. “We have to wait till we get home.” Obviously they can’t get up to anything in the bunkhouse, but Myungsoo knows the others have found any number of other uses for the hayloft besides storing hay.

They don’t have to wait that long, though, because the next night when they make camp, Woohyun stops them before they can set up their tent. “Just do what Hakyeon and Taekwoon do and set up your tent a ways away,” Woohyun says. “None of us care.”

The whoops and laughter from a few of the others belie that and Myungsoo is so embarrassed he wants to refuse, but Hongbin grabs the tent and his hand and drags him off further away. It probably isn’t the safest thing in the world, but they’ve never had any trouble with bandits on this stretch of the drive, so Myungsoo helps him set up the tent and then lets Hongbin pull him inside and eagerly peel the clothes off of him.

Myungsoo, flushing, remembers what Sungjong had said about making sure not to hurt Hongbin and also about there being other good things to do, and if Hongbin’s reaction is any indication, Hongbin likes Myungsoo’s mouth on him just as much as Myungsoo had enjoyed it when Doyeon had done that for him. And Hongbin, as always, is eager to learn anything Myungsoo has to teach him—and learn it well.

Weeks later, back home from the drive, Myungsoo makes a stuttering request to Sungjong, and the next night he pulls Hongbin away from the fire and up into the hayloft of the barn, and is extra extra careful not to hurt him. Myungsoo swears to himself that he’ll soon find out what Hongbin’s face looks like by daylight, but the pants and whimpers and moans in the dark are enough to blow the top off his head, and he whispers, “I love you, Hongbinnie,” over and over into Hongbin’s ear as Hongbin’s arms cling to him.

And Hongbin’s gasped, “I love you, hyung,” is bright and warm as sunshine, bright and warm as the smile Hongbin gives him in return for his morning kiss each day. And when the others tease, he doesn't care anymore: he can’t keep a smile just as bright off of his own face, not when there’s Hongbin.
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