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beneath the cold lies warmth

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Lightning struck, sending a flash through the entire house. Thunder quickly followed, rumbling, making it feel like they were in an earthquake. It slowly faded into silence blending in with the utter and complete darkness everywhere. 

 

The silence was broken by a squeal. 

 

In the smallest room at the back of the house was nothing but a bed and a clock.  

 

Tucked under several blankets, were two individuals. One was squirming. One was not. 

 

A head popped out of the blankets, hair flying everywhere. Dahyun huffed, trying to – unsuccessfully – fix her hair and climb out of the bed. "This is ridiculous, Mina! I know you get scared easily, but seriously?" 

 

Mina followed suit, also sticking her head outside the blankets and grabbing on to Dahyun's sleeve. "I hate thunderstorms, Dahyunnie," Mina whispered, flinching as another rumble of thunder shook the house. "And you know that."  

 

"Yeah, but this is getting...ridiculous," Dahyun grumbled, letting an exasperated sigh out along with her last word. For the past hour, Mina had been clinging to Dahyun, wincing like she was in pain as the thunderstorm progressed. Dahyun had known Mina didn't exactly enjoy events like these, but Dahyun was fed up of Mina's behavior. It was a thunderstorm, for god's sake! Sure, many people were scared of thunderstorms, but they didn’t get this scared, not as scared as Mina was. Mina was on a whole different level. A level that was very, very infuriating. 

 

Dahyun took a deep breath, trying to calm herself as Mina curled up into a fetus position, the blankets covering her once more, shivering. She was usually a pretty calm, easy-going person but for some reason, when it came to Mina, her patience would wear out faster than never before. She reminded herself not to lash out, not to show her harsh side to the one person who, in this state, wouldn't be able to handle it. She recalled how, before leaving the two, Jihyo and Jeongyeon – their roommates – had reminded her that Mina was fragile (mentally) and incredibly sensitive, so she shouldn't be too rash. 

 

Fortunately, these tactics succeeded in lowering Dahyun's blood pressure. 

 

She looked upon the frightened older girl with a bit more sympathy, even reaching out and resting a hand on her thigh. "Mina, there's no need to be scared. I'm here, right? I'm here for you. So don't be so scared of a silly thunderstorm!" 

 

No response from Mina. 

 

Dahyun pinched the bridge of her nose, her patience already running out. No matter what I do, Mina won't listen to me. She's too scared. Geez, why does she have to be like this? "Minari..." 

 

Mina reappeared from the blanket, tears streaking her cheeks. 

 

...oh. 

 

"I'm sorry, Dahyun," Mina sobbed, retreating into the blanket once again and bringing her knees closer to her chest. "I just had a really bad experience with thunderstorms when I was a kid...you know, one day I was left alone in the dark, and it was raining hard and a thunderstorm started, and my parents weren't back from work, and I got a call from their friend, and, and, they said that they were..." She trailed off, unable to continue with the amount of tears that were running down her face and choking her up. Dahyun didn't need her to continue; she had already heard the story of Mina's parents' death, and she didn't need to hear it again. 

 

The story had, however, sobered Dahyun up, and she had a feeling she wouldn't get angry for quite some time. Immediately, she knew what would make Mina feel better. "Hey," she called softly, leaning over. "Come here." 

 

Mina slowly came out from under the blankets, uncurling herself and looking at Dahyun with swelling, bloodshot eyes. Dahyun felt a pang of guilt; she shouldn't have acted that way towards Mina when she knew things like this had quite a big impact on the older girl. "I'm sorry," Dahyun whispered, her anger completely forgotten. "You shouldn't be sorry, Minari, I should, and I am."  

 

Mina shook her head, a small yet gentle smile on her face. "No. I overreacted without telling you exactly why. You had reason to get angry –" She broke off thunder rumbled once again, louder this time.  

 

Seeing Mina, in her frightened state, her hands clutched together tightly and her face pale, caused something to snap inside Dahyun.  

 

Brittle ice, snapping, shattering, giving way to a warmth akin to rays of sunlight. 

 

Dahyun scooted closer to Mina, outstretching her arms and holding Mina tightly. Mina twisted around so that they were facing each other, her eyes slightly widened in shock. "...Dahyun, what are you doing?" 

 

"What does it look like?" Dahyun asked, cheerful tones returning to her voice. She ignored the fact that her face was close to Mina's, so close that their noses were almost touching, and ignored the fact that her face was slowly burning up, instead focusing on keeping Mina calm. "I said I'm here for you, right? Literally. I'm here for you. Just relax." 

 

Mina continued to stare at Dahyun (probably because she didn't expect this from Dahyun, causing another pang of guilt to hit Dahyun). Eventually, her mouth slowly curled up, forming another warm, grateful smile. "Thank you, Dahyun." She closed her eyes, her breathing slowing and her heart rate – Dahyun could feel it as her hand was slightly touching the area underneath Mina's sternum – gradually slowing as well. Even as lightning flashed and thunder continued to shake the house, Mina wouldn't flinch, scream, squeal, or get frightened in general. Dahyun had successfully calmed her down. 

 

Mina's soft breathing filled the room now, instead of her squeals. She was asleep. 

 

Dahyun looked at the older girl, a smile still adorning her face. It was contagious – it spread to Dahyun, taking the form of a much wider grin. ...when she's not scared, Minari's so cute! 

 

Realization hit Dahyun like bricks. 

 

She now knew why Mina was so different. Why Dahyun would always get so frustrated when it came to the quiet, sensitive girl. Why there would always be a layer of thin ice on top of their relationship. 

 

The thin ice broke. The cold faded away. Pools of sunlight replaced it. Warmth. 

 

Dahyun cared about Mina. She felt something for Mina she didn't feel for anyone else. Mina was different because for Dahyun...Mina was special. In ways she had never been before. In ways Dahyun had never thought she'd be. 

 

There was nothing present anymore. No icicles, no snow. No cold. 

 

Just, 

 

warmth. 

 

And the source of this warmth was Myoui Mina. 

 

Who'd have thought? The girl who caused the cold had caused the warmth as well.