Welcome to the conclusion of Intimate Rivals.

This chapter features romance at M rating.

Chapter 15: Intimate Rivals


"A what?"

"Marsupial," Jin repeated.

Mars-yupial? ...Mar-supial? Hwoarang tried to sound it out in his head. Mars—? "That can't be right," he muttered. The frown on his face persisted until he joined Jin's amused chuckling with a shake of his head. He was in bed with Jin, after he had gone to bed with Jin, and they were discussing freaking pouch animals? It felt good in a way he couldn't quite put into words. "Did you like Australia?"

Jin smiled a little sadly. "I didn't socialize that much." He had gone to the koala sanctuary in the beginning and held an incredibly fluffy koala in his hands. Beyond that, there had been little to distract him from his purpose. The pleasant memory wanted to be shared. "I held a koala once."

Hwoarang cracked smile; he couldn't help it. "A koala?"

"A koala," Jin confirmed solemnly.

A koala. Jin had held one, and now they were discussing koalas, which probably were mars-yupials, too, with his luck. Hwoarang couldn't help smiling as he burrowed deeper into the clean bed and let out a contented sigh.

Jin crept up closer and ran a hand lightly across Hwoarang's back. He received an appreciative murmur. "Hwoarang, last night, when you said that you've been 'studying' it, what did you mean?"

Hwoarang was caught off guard; Jin had the ability to floor him. The man was alert, too. He hadn't meant to let it slip; not that the admission wasn't true, but he figured it would have been more stylish to keep some pieces of information to himself. He scrambled up and finally managed, "I looked at some information sites."

"What information sites?" Jin was suddenly stern. "You mean porn?"

God, please, if it only had been porn. He wouldn't have minded admitting as much, but no, it hadn't been porn. "No...," Hwoarang said and found himself garnering a flush already. "Information sites, like, sites that have advice and all..." Yeah, flush. Definitely. He should've known how to do it without the goddamn Internet.

Jin scrutinized him and ended in a genuine smile. Hwoarang was slightly awkward still, but Jin skimmed fingertips on his chest. The warmth shone off him, and Hwoarang knew they were all right.

They had made a mess together. In the heat of the night and the novelty of it all, they hadn't made much of it at first, but they had both been sheepish enough in the morning. The morning, then, had gone to running around naked because neither seemed willing to get dressed first and both had wanted to look... They had changed the sheets together, casting shy glances at each other's genitals. By morning meal, they had made a sport of it and continued the nudity parade by mutual agreement thereafter. Hwoarang had thrown himself on his stomach and Jin draped the sheets deliciously across his lap for appearances.

As Hwoarang settled back down, Jin returned to caressing his back. When no protest came, his hand drifted lower and brushed across Hwoarang's ass.

"Mmm..." Hwoarang settled more comfortably and reached a hand in to fondle Jin under the covers.

Jin smiled a little and kept touching the buttocks affectionately. The skin felt velvety to his fingertips and palm, the muscles firm, and their feel pleasing. His hand kept brushing the cheeks lazily on its own volition.

"Liking it?" Hwoarang finally muttered. "With the way— HEY!" He shot up and glared at Jin, who grinned impishly back at him. That had been invasive.

He was lying there stark naked, in his partner's bed, his ass up in the air, and the man dare court. That Jin was thinking about sex, had the nerve and ability to want any after last night's pounding, was highly offensive, and Hwoarang told him so.

"I am very sore." Jin was conciliatory... and exuded guile. "That's why I'm thinking... the other way."

"No. No way!" Hwoarang thought quickly. "You're too big."

Unfortunately, Jin's self-esteem held the blow; he grinned. "Nice try."

Jin made no move to remove his hand from Hwoarang's ass; instead, he kept the fondling going, coupled with an appealing look. Hwoarang fidgeted nervously; Jin was right to ask for it. Of course Jin wanted to do it, too. It was fucking nice... He didn't want to admit to himself that he was scared to death of it. He wasn't ready. "I don't think I can. Not yet," he admitted painfully.

Jin looked saddened, but not mad. It showed that he would have liked another answer, but he embraced his fate placidly. He gave a lingering pet along Hwoarang's buttocks and moved on to caress his back.

Hwoarang, in turn, hesitated slightly before pulling his hand out from under the covers. He fondled Jin through the front so that the linen bundled in his fist. "Is it okay?"

Jin tempered his worry with a graceful smile and a bow of his head. "It's okay," he said reassuringly.

Hwoarang squeezed his package thankfully; he could feel the upbeat mood picking up again already. Hwoarang opened his fist and massaged Jin gently with his palm. Covert smiles were exchanged.

"Can we at least do this?" Jin suggested. He opened his legs into a V and patted his thighs.

Hwoarang looked at him suspiciously.

"I'm not going to do anything. Come on."

Hwoarang couldn't shake the suspicion, but Jin waited for him invitingly. Slowly, Hwoarang picked himself up from the bed; first on all fours, then crawled on his knees and in his glory next to Jin. Jin, in turn, flung the sheet aside and bared himself. Hwoarang found fitting himself between Jin's legs a moderately sensitive task. The position would have felt personal with their clothes on, but it was past intimate now. Hwoarang sat in front, not quite touching Jin yet, save the accidental brush. Jin drew him in, little by little, until his back rested against Jin's chest. It took getting used to, but Hwoarang finally relaxed against Jin. "I'm not squishing anything important, am I?"

Jin grimaced. "Hold on. And don't lie too heavily."

Hwoarang grinned to himself. He felt Jin's fingers against his back, as Jin adjusted himself, but then Jin scooped him up in his arms and hugged him against to his chest.

The instinct was to bristle, but the full-body embrace was compelling. Being held like that was incredible. Hwoarang couldn't forcibly relax himself, but the patient hold persisted until he finally caved in and pressed against Jin languidly. Jin snuggled up to him, arms around him, thigh against thigh, and held on.

Jin began massaging his stomach. After the subtle start, the arcs drawn on Hwoarang's stomach grew wider, and the sweeps reached across his chest, even taking a plunge below the navel in promise. Hwoarang sighed and sank further into Jin. Jin breathed into his neck. "I haven't done this on you yet." He scouted all the way down until he ran a thumb all the way along Hwoarang's length.

"No, you haven't," Hwoarang agreed, and Jin grabbed his length in hand.

He manipulated it gently before scooping a hand underneath, exploring along the shaft and sac, holding one in his hand while teasing the other between his fingers. Jin touched a line along Hwoarang's face, half-nuzzling and half-kissing, until Hwoarang turned his head and Jin reached the lips. He kissed Hwoarang lightly, respectfully. Desiringly. And he then kissed more assertively, as Hwoarang was keen to respond. He cuddled Hwoarang again, mindful to keep up the squeeze that made Hwoarang hot all over. Jin moved on to full-fledged strokes, but seemed to hesitate.

"You're doing good. Just squeeze it."

Jin curled his fist into place more firmly. Hwoarang nearly threshed against Jin, fully aware how Jin felt his reactions just as intimately, but Jin took his reactions without faltering, without once abandoning the gentle kisses and murmurs. The long, snuggly strokes were driving him to the edge. Just as the climax approached, Hwoarang covered Jin's hand with his, and they shared in the peak.

As Hwoarang calmed down, he came to realize that the mess situation hadn't been solved at all. They really needed tissues by the bed, badly. Jeesh, this was uncomfortable. "Erm..."

Jin refused to make a fuss. He didn't want to move, and they made do as best as they could. Jin moved his hand to his midriff, and the hurry to leave waned away. Hwoarang pulled up the covers to make himself decent and keep them both a hint warmer. He stretched out contently; Jin lazed back as much.

"Hwoarang," Jin said, and Hwoarang immediately knew to be alert. Jin didn't use his name unless it was something important.


"I have to be here," Jin started. "I can't leave, with the company. I have to be here for it, at least for a while. I wouldn't ask you to do it if I could go myself, but I was wondering... Would you come here? Stay a while?"

Live here?

Jin was breathing faster; Hwoarang felt his chest rise on an impulse, with a faint suggestion of anxiety. "You don't have to say anything right away, but I-I'd very much like you to come." Now, the nervousness had crept to Jin's voice. He embraced Hwoarang more securely.

Come here; make something of it? What was holding him back? The lack of a vision of a life after the tournament had been uncomfortable, and he had readily found ways to keep it off his mind. Hwoarang shifted, but Jin didn't want him to go. The vision took form: Jin didn't want him to go.

He felt like a million. The words came easily as he said, "Yeah. I guess I could stay a while."


Concluding Notes and Round of Thanks

So concludes this story. It is time to give my compliments to everyone who has taken interest in this story. It's been a good ride, and I extend my cordial thanks for your support and attention. Everyone's been civil—thanks for that.

First and foremost thanks go to Gypsie for proofreading the entire story. I'm not oblivious to the enormous effort that this fic has been for you, too, and I thank you for having let me monopolize your time shamelessly. You are one in a million.

Enormous thanks to those who have followed the story through its entire run and commented along the way: Amarant Rose Coral, Razer Athane, HappyMe-O, deb lemon (sorry for spelling your name like this, site censorship), redeyedcat, and rockyBubbles. I wouldn't have made it without you. Amarant and Razey, I hope you enjoyed; this story was for you. HappyMe-O, your support is unwavering. Red, your reviews are placed in the pride of place. deb (sorry about the spelling; the site thinks your name is a web address and censors it) and Roxie, thanks. Special commendations to XNightLadyX and HeartfulPeach!

HOIME G, CrazyCartSalad, Fantony, Ninyria, xCamilleon, and Anonymous—thanks!

Thanks go out to ShiniBarton, x GigaByte x, Silverywolf, TanithLipsky, Kiwasaki-chan3, Eleanor Roseclear, blaqueTokio, Hewigkeit, vdaymassacre, Rose, Chantal du Lac, Lua Prateada, The Angel of Malice and Mizery, Tawny The Disturbed, wellhellothere, and TenaciousKisses for dropping by.

I thank everyone else for the kind interest and the favorable attention along the way! Let's not be coy: it has been fun to write a story that has an audience. A personal point of pride to me has been that this story has had a diverse readership and readers from both sexes. Parenthetically: Don't go clicking on the reviewers' profiles now. You don't have the data I do.

Make my day and let me know if the story caught your eye. If you are tired today, another time, perhaps? It would mean a lot.

Published September 21, 2010.

Intimate Rivals © Copyright 2008–2010 Salysha

The story of Jin and Hwoarang continues in Estranged Equals (published 12/18/2010).