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missing: a study partner (reward if found)

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missing:
a study partner, preferably cute or susceptible to bribes of baked goods (fabulous if both). looking for someone willing to meet at least weekly and available for extra hand-holding during exam periods. reward if found.

The start of a new school term is always hectic - especially so if you're a fourth year university student who've been putting off all of your science elective requirements until the last minute. Donghae looked mournfully down at his schedule. It wasn't that he had a lot of courses or anything, and while his breaks were annoyingly long, they weren’t unacceptably so. It was the courses themselves that was the trouble.

From what he'd gathered in his first week, the biggest problem this term would be physics. Not only was the topic itself topping his list of Most Hated Subjects, it also happened to be at 8AM in the morning, making it incredibly tempting to skip classes.

Chewing on the end of his pen, Donghae was suddenly struck with a brilliant idea.

What he needed, he decided, was a study partner.

It made perfect sense. All he had to do was find someone who knew what was going on, someone wouldn't mind giving him extra tutoring lessons, and someone who would help keep him awake during lectures.

Mind made up, Donghae sat back with a satisfied sigh.

~

Tuesday morning came before long. The darkened sky was apparently set on dumping buckets of rain onto the world and the campus was littered with giant puddles, but Donghae wasn't deterred. A bright smile on his face, he walked into the classroom, shook off his dripping umbrella, and started his search for the perfect study partner.

Unfortunately for Donghae, finding the perfect partner was a little harder than he'd originally anticipated. For one, it was a fairly small class, and most of the students were sitting in little clusters - people who knew each other already from previous courses, undoubtedly. Donghae gave those individuals up as a lost cause - he knew from experience that trying to find a niche within an existing group of friends was rather difficult. There was Jessica, of course - the girl who'd sat beside him and introduced herself on the first day of class - but he'd figured out already that she was a biology major and they were essentially in the same boat. As nice as she was, Donghae didn't think they would be of much help to each other as study partners.

Which left him with precious little options. Taking another look around the classroom, he suddenly noticed the lone figure sitting in the very last row. Dressed in a black long-sleeved shirt with a toque resting on his head, a pair of thick-rimmed glasses completed the look. As Donghae watched, the boy pushed a stray piece of hair out of his eyes and scribbled something in his notebook, his gaze focused on the professor.

Donghae grinned. Perfect. Time to put his plan into motion.

~

The plan had been to casually wander over to the back of classroom at the end of lecture and introduce himself. Hi, I'm Lee Donghae, he'd practiced in his head. Do you mind if I took a quick look at your notes? I didn't quite catch the last thing the professor said - and the Boy would say yes, of course, it's nice to meet you and everything would be perfect.

Of course, things never quite worked out as anticipated.

This is what happened instead.

As soon as the professor wrapped up, the Boy shut his notebook, stuffed his pen back into a case, then tossed everything into his backpack with neck-breaking speed before heading for the door. Donghae, seeing his chance slip out of his grasp, rushed after him, his books nearly falling out of his arms in his hurry.

Of course, in his hurry, he managed to somehow collide with the edge of the last table and completely lose his balance. As his books flew out of his arms in all directions, Donghae looked up mournfully from his spot on the floor to see the Boy disappear out the room.

"Excuse me? Are you alright?" the professor called out from the front of the room, temporarily ignoring the long line of students waiting to ask her question.

Donghae nodded, scrambling to his feet and feeling his cheek color. Picking up his dropped belongings, he narrowed his eyes and determinedly made his way out the door. He might have failed the first time, but there was always next class.

~

Instead of slipping into class two seconds before 8AM on Thursday (like he was normally prone to doing), Donghae opt to arrive ten minutes early, just in case. To his delight, he saw that the Boy was already there, apparently having just started to unpack his books. Not quite managing to keep his smile off his face, Donghae made his way to the back of the class, then settled himself into the next seat over. He cleared his throat tentatively.

The Boy didn't look up.

"Um, excuse me?" Donghae tried.

This time, the other turned towards him, but merely raised an eyebrow in his direction. Taking it as encouragement, Donghae plowed forward.

"Hi, I'm Lee Donghae," he said with a bright smile, hoping his sincerity was coming through. "I know this is really random, but this class is kind of hard, and I don't really know anyone else here, and well. I’m kind of taking this course for a graduation requirement and I really didn't understand anything the professor said during the last week. I could really use some help and um. I was just wondering if you wanted to be study partners by any chance."

Oops, he thought despairingly when the Boy's expression got noticeably cooler. Maybe I was a little too honest after all.

"I don't really have time for a study partner, sorry," the Boy said, turning back to his notebook.

"Um, it wouldn't take that much time, I promise!" Donghae blurted out, brain floundering for something convincing to say. "Um wait, what's your name?" he asked suddenly, sidetracked as he realized he didn't even know the most basic thing about his fellow classmate.

For a second, he thought the other wouldn't reply. A second passed before the Boy sighed. "Kim Kibum," he said without much enthusiasm in his voice.

Donghae would take what he could get though. "Right, Kibum! But really, I promise, it wouldn't take that long! Just. An hour a week or something would really help. Please?" Seeing his last chance of passing this course slipping through his fingers, he desperately wondered what else he could do. Suddenly, he had an idea.

Digging into his bag, he sighed with satisfaction as he produced the banana muffins Han Geng and Heechul had helped him bake the other day (well, Han Geng had helped him - Heechul had settled himself onto Donghae’s couch and made certain, unrepeatable comments at random intervals). He'd meant to eat them for lunch, but if this was what it took, Donghae was willing to pay the price. "Muffins?" he asked brightly, pushing the clear lunchbox in the other's direction.

Kibum stared at Donghae as if he'd lost his mind.

Donghae gave him his most charming smile.

Kibum stared and stared and stared some more before he exhaled loudly. "I have a break tomorrow afternoon," he said. "Two o'clock at Irving Library - otherwise, I'm busy."

Donghae beamed, nodding vigorously. "Thank you~ I'll be there!" he said, internally congratulating himself on his excellent persuasive skills. Seeing that Kibum had already turned back to his books and was completely ignoring Donghae's food, he frowned. Grabbing the lunchbox and snapping off the lid, he cheerfully took out a muffin, carefully holding it so that the icing didn't smear.

"Muffin?" he asked with a grin.