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i close my eyes and think of you

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all hyungwon wants is to have a quiet, peaceful evening cuddling on the couch with hoseok but, of course, that doesn’t go very well with having lee minhyuk as your roommate.

“i’m in love,” minhyuk announces dramatically as he walks in, closing the door behind him and making so much noise hyungwon is certain they’re going to get evicted.

“again?” he asks, raising an eyebrow as his roommate plops himself down on the couch next to hyungwon and his boyfriend.

“what do you mean, again?” minhyuk wonders, offended. hoseok starts laughing and hyungwon can’t help but smile softly. hoseok’s laugh is most definitely his favorite sound in the world.

“do i need to remind you how we met?” hoseok asks, to which hyungwon frowns. the fact that his boyfriend and his roommate once shared more than a cup of coffee and a few words is not something he likes to think about often. “or jooheon? or...”

“okay, okay, i see your point!” minhyuk interrupts him before he can continue listing all the boys he has supposedly fallen in love with. “but this time is different.”

“different how?” hyungwon is already slightly bored of this situation. it’s always the same: minhyuk gets home, makes a very dramatic declaration of love, proceeds to pursue the boy, either fucks him or they go on a few dates and then something happens that tells him he wasn’t really the one.

“i felt it deeply in my heart,” he replies, clutching at his chest dramatically. “he’s the one, we’re written in the stars”.

“you do know that’s not a thing, right?”

“it sure is a thing.”

hyungwon is about to give him a very lengthy lecture on how that’s bullshit and fate and destiny are not real, and the stars are just stars when hoseok shifts in his seat and looks at him and says “but we are written in the stars” and honestly hoseok’s smile and soft eyes looking at him like that are the only proof he needs to believe in magic and fairies and unicorns so he decides to keep his mouth shut.

“okay, so, as i was saying, we’re written in the stars and we’re gonna get married and have ten kids and teach them how to dream.” minhyuk smiles his brightest smile, the kind of smile that convinces hyungwon to let him do whatever he wants.

“sounds like a plan,” he says, thinking that’s it, that he can go back to his cuddling and possibly falling asleep right there, but of course he’s wrong.

“aren’t you going to ask me how i met the love of my life?” minhyuk kicks him softly but repeatedly and hyungwon considers evicting himself and moving as far as possible from this guy for the fifth time that day.

“how did you meet him?” hoseok asks with genuine interest before hyungwon can tell him he doesn’t care.

“thanks, hoseok, that’s why i like you the most,” minhyuk says and sticks his tongue out to hyungwon, who just rolls his eyes and scoots closer to hoseok.

“i was getting coffee, and as i was leaving he was coming in and he was next to this huge guy who made him look so tiny and adorable and we locked eyes and i knew it was love and i would’ve stayed but i had classes and it was my favorite class and i had to hand in a paper but it was beautiful,” he says without stopping to catch his breath, not even once.

“so, you’re telling me you are in love with a guy you didn’t even speak to?” hyungwon asks, surprised, though at this point he should know better than to be shocked by this kind of tale coming from minhyuk. he has, after all, heard a similar one week after week, after week, after week.

“it’s called love at first sight, not first conversation, my friend,” minhyuk crosses his arms as if that’s the end of the argument, but hyungwon has some things to say this time.

“so, tell me, if you don’t know his name or honestly anything about him, how are you going to make this true love of yours blossom?”

“i knew you would ask this, and the answer is simple,” minhyuk says, smirking. hyungwon is certain the answer is going to be nonsense, but still he waits for his friend to proceed after his dramatic pause. “i’m just gonna let fate do its work.”

hyungwon facepalms. literally. he should’ve expected that. he opens his mouth to argue but minhyuk promptly gets up before he can get a word in. “that’s it. i’m going to bed, sweet dreams,” he shouts as he walks to his room, leaving hyungwon with his mouth agape and a laughing hoseok in his arms.

 

***

 

parties are where minhyuk feels the best: they are noisy and people are mostly happy and they dance and have fun and he can be unapologetically loud and dance and sing without anyone judging him or telling him to shut up. he feels free when he’s in the middle of the dance floor shouting the lyrics to his favorite song and dancing like a maniac. it’s at a party where fate decides to set things in motion again, and minhyuk can’t help but think that fate must love him because he always looks his best with his hair messed up from all the dancing and his makeup perfectly done.

he’s dancing with a cute guy when he sees him and he thinks it’s such a pity to leave the cute guy behind when he was about to close the distance between them and kiss him senseless. but true love is true love, and cute guy must be left behind.

he sees he already has a beer on his hand so the ‘hey, you seem thirsty’ approach is a definite no, which means he’ll have to go with the ‘hey, you’re cute’ one. he does get a beer for himself before making his way to the love of his life, since minhyuk doesn’t want him to feel awkward drinking alone.

“hi, you seem lonely,” he says or rather shouts because the music's too loud and even though he wants to he can’t get that close to him, not yet anyway.

“i’m waiting for a friend,” he replies. he doesn’t look very interested in minhyuk and this baffles him. he is quite honestly a little offended as well. didn’t he feel what he did two days ago when they locked eyes in the coffee shop? the stars were talking then and they are talking now and they are as loud as minhyuk can be.

“ah, but why wait alone when you can wait with me?” minhyuk thinks he’s being smooth, that his smile will win him over and he’ll get him to fall in love with him in no time.

“i rather like being alone, thank you,” he says curtly and minhyuk is taken aback. the love of his life is playing hard to get, and he does not like that one bit. doesn’t he know they’re meant to be?

“but it’s a party! you should be dancing and having fun!” he looks at him in such a way that makes minhyuk think just for a second that fate was wrong and that this tiny, angry man cannot be the love of his life, but then he sees him looks away and turn his annoyed expression into a half smile and minhyuk goes back to believing in the stars.

“here you are, i thought i’d lost you,” the big guy from the coffee shop says as he approaches them and it makes minhyuk sad that this boy is the reason for the smile and not him. “oh, who’s your friend?” big guy asks when he spots minhyuk.

“he’s not…” the love of his life starts, but minhyuk interrupts him. “lee minhyuk and we just met. he hasn’t even introduced himself yet!”

“oh, oh, nice to meet you. i’m hyunwoo and this is kihyun,” big guy says and doesn’t seem to notice kihyun trying to stop him or hitting him in the arm right after.

“okay, that’s it, we have to go. i can’t believe you dragged me to this stupid party.” kihyun grabs hyunwoo by the arm and the big guy turns and waves to minhyuk before letting himself be dragged away by his very angry friend.

minhyuk dreams of kihyun that night and knows for sure, they are written in the stars.

 

***

 

the sound of the rain hitting against his window wakes minhyuk up. it’s eight a.m. on a saturday and he cannot believe such a silly thing as the rain would wake him up, but once he’s awake he can’t go back to sleep, so he very reluctantly gets up.

to his surprise hyungwon is awake or... well, uncharacteristically out of bed, and having a cup of coffee. “good morning,” he mumbles and sits in front of his roommate. “what are you doing up?”

“hoseok wants me to start going on runs with him,” hyungwon explains in a barely audible murmur. “i said yes because the asshole started fucking tearing up.”

“god, love has really changed you.” minhyuk shakes his head and gets up to pour himself a cup of coffee. “it’s raining, though.”

hyungwon glares at him. “i’m aware”

“are you still going?”

“he cried! it was emotional blackmail.” hyungwon hits his head against the table in a very dramatic, very minhyuk-like way, and minhyuk can’t help but laugh.

“you are whipped, my friend.”

hyungwon just glares at him. “why are you up? didn’t you go to that party last night?”

“i did. the rain woke me up.”

“fucking rain,” hyungwon mumbles, though minhyuk suspects he’s not mad at it because it woke him up.

“anyway, i saw him last night,” he mentions as if it’s not the most important piece of news he could possibly be sharing with his best friend.

“who?”

“what do you mean who? the love of my life! i told you fate has its ways,” minhyuk smirks, proudly.

“ah, so? what happened? did you ask him out? make out? is he here?” his roommate asks and minhyuk sees him sneaking a peek towards the general direction of his room, and is only a bit disappointed none of those things happened, but only a little. he has always enjoyed a slow burn, even if it was a bit frustrating to have been so rudely ignored the previous night.

“i now know his name,” he says grinning, and hyungwon’s jaw drops ever so slightly.

“his name? that’s it?”

“baby steps, my friend, baby steps,” minhyuk states. the stars won’t let him down.

“you’re ridiculous.” hyungwon stands up and goes to the sink to rinse his mug. “his name! what makes you think you’ll ever find him again? and please don’t say fate.”

“well, he clearly goes to this university because he wouldn’t have been at the party otherwise, so i just have to wait for fate to do its thing again and i will find him roaming the halls in no time.”

minhyuk sounds so sure of himself that hyungwon doesn’t have the heart to tell him that a lot of people who do not attend to their university usually go to parties held by students. and honestly, this is just a temporary thing, he’ll just get bored and find someone else to be the love of his life once he doesn’t see this one guy again.

 

***

 

the third time they meet is unexpected. not that minhyuk expected the first two encounters to happen, but this one is certainly a surprise. after all, kihyun did not look like the kind of guy sensitive enough to be an artist, even though he doesn’t like generalizing. given their brief conversation at the party, minhyuk guesses that maybe he could be the angry artist type, but the pictures hanging on the walls are so not like that. there are flowers and sunsets and people smiling.

minhyuk isn’t supposed to be there to begin with, he has a paper to write. but on his way to the library to work on said paper, he sees several groups of people going inside the art department building and he is such a curious soul he can’t just walk away without finding out what is going on. he doesn’t expect to see kihyun’s self portrait hanging as soon as he enters the room, much less be surprised by his work like that. he doesn’t expect to see kihyun nervously standing in the corner, smiling at people who walk up to him to offer their congratulations.

minhyuk decides he can’t approach him just like that. after what happened at the party he doesn’t know what to say or how to act. he’s never had an eye for artistic things, but these pictures are so beautiful he’s in awe, and the fact that this boy is the one who produced them makes everything worse.

kihyun walking up to him first is certainly the most unexpected turn of events for minhyuk. “you don’t look like a gallery sort of guy,” he says and he’s smiling a little and he actually remembers him and suddenly it seems that minhyuk has lost the ability to speak.

“these are nice.” he wants to hit himself because that sounds very noncommittal, and if there’s something he feels like expressing is how much he really likes kihyun’s pictures, though he knows there is no way for him to find the words to tell him how he feels right now.

“thanks.” kihyun smiles gratefully and minhyuk thinks he’s going to melt right there and then. he actually gets a smile from kihyun - not just a glimpse of it when it’s directed at someone else. it’s a smile just for him. and minhyuk feels greedy all of a sudden and wants it to happen again. and again. and again a million times.

they stand there for a minute, in silence, and he wants to say something smart. minhyuk wants to convey to kihyun how they are meant to be without freaking him out, and the fact that no words other than ‘beautiful’ come to his mind when he looks his way is making him go crazy.

finally, kihyun sighs. “i should go. i have to… you know, talk to people.” minhyuk wants to stop him but he can’t, so he just smiles and nods. he lets kihyun go, sad to part ways with him but content with the knowledge that this is real progress they’ve made, even if only a few words were exchanged.

the stars are on his side and he knows it, he just needs to learn how to speak again.

 

***

 

sometimes, only sometimes, minhyuk feels lonely. he’s rarely alone and has many amazing friends, but sitting here on his couch, while changkyun and jooheon are djing and pretending not to be in love with each other, and hyungwon is sitting on hoseok’s lap as if there wasn’t enough room on the couch for all of them, he just thinks maybe he’s more alone than he originally thought. he doesn’t feel like a fifth wheel, not exactly. but he does feel like the odd one out in moments like this.

truth is, he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about kihyun, and this time they’re not some irrational ‘i’m in love with this boy i barely talked to’ thoughts. he can’t stop thinking about the way he smiled at him, how it reached his eyes and how content he looked there, surrounded by his art; he can’t stop thinking about his photographs; he can’t stop thinking about how he should’ve done something, said something. he can’t stop thinking about feeling alone because he can’t stop thinking about being with him.

he knows it’s silly, that he doesn’t know him, that he is not in love with him, but every time he closes his eyes he sees him smiling and his heart melts again.

“minhyuk? are you here with us?” hoseok’s voice takes him out of his reverie.

“yes, sorry, i just spaced out.”

“oh, please tell me you’re not thinking about that boy again,” hyungwon complains, rolling his eyes which makes hoseok hit him lightly on his side.

“let him be.”

“wait. what boy?” jooheon asks, moving to sit on the floor in front of minhyuk.

“he’s in love.” hyungwon pauses for effect. “again.” and then rolls his eyes. hoseok hits him once more.

“oh, who’s the lucky boy?” it’s now changkyun’s turn to ask as he lays on the floor, his head on jooheon’s lap as the older boy absentmindedly runs his fingers through his hair.

“a boy he met at a coffee shop and then saw again at a party,” hyungwon replies before he can get a word in and minhyuk glares at him.

“can i answer?” hyungwon shrugs.

“i also went to see an exhibition of his photographs this one time and he was really nice,” he says in passing like it’s not the biggest deal to ever happen to him, like he’s not basically dying inside just thinking about it.

“you didn’t tell us that!” hoseok whines.

“it happened yesterday,” he says with a shrug and then gets up to get himself another beer.

“did you talk to him?” hoseok asks, readjusting hyungwon on his lap so he can get a better look at minhyuk.

“yeah, he was nice.”

“you keep running into him, maybe you truly are written in the stars.” hoseok kisses hyungwon’s shoulder as he says this, and smiles fondly at him.

minhyuk hopes hoseok’s right.

 

***

 

minhyuk sees kihyun a few times before they speak again. the thing is, he’s a bit scared. it’s weird because he has never been one to avoid talking to a cute boy he likes but there’s something about kihyun he doesn’t quite get and he’s never been a fan of not getting things. so every time he sees him walking on campus, he turns the other way. there was one time he even tried to hide behind hyungwon. it was a good thing kihyun didn’t see that.

it’s a sunny afternoon and he has a paper due next monday but instead of working on it in the darkness of his room he chooses to go to the coffee shop, sit next to the window and at least enjoy the sun. he’s not counting on a lot of students sharing his same train of thought, so when he sees kihyun sitting in one of his favorite spots he decides the stars are trying to make a point and he needs to stop being such a scaredy cat.

“hey. hi, sorry,” his voice sounds raspy as if he hasn’t uttered a word in at least a year. kihyun looks up from his laptop.

“oh,” he says, his lips forming a perfect circle.

“sorry, i’m... do you mind if i sit? i’m just going to work on my paper and there are no empty tables.” he winces, feeling like the most inarticulate person in the room, and quite possibly the whole universe.

“yeah, sure, go ahead.” he doesn’t smile, which minhyuk doesn’t know how to interpret. maybe he’s annoying him, maybe he’s too focused on his work, maybe that’s just the way he is.

minhyuk sits down and takes his laptop out of his bag. he gets to work, taking sips of his coffee every once in awhile and frowning all the time. he doesn’t know how much time goes by but when he looks up kihyun is staring at him, arms crossed.

“are you seriously not going to talk to me?” minhyuk is baffled. this boy went from not wanting minhyuk to know his name to this, and it only took minhyuk going to his exhibition for it to happen.

“i didn’t want to bother you.” he’s hesitant, feeling like he can fuck this moment up at any time.

“it’s fine, i didn’t mean to bother you.” kihyun says, waving a hand dismissively, like he didn’t just spend who knows how long glaring at minhyuk because he thought he was being ignored on purpose.

“no. you didn’t. i needed a break, actually.” minhyuk replies so fast he even surprises himself. nevermind the fact that his paper is nowhere near done, and a break is actually the last thing he needs.

“oh, good, me too. editing can be such a bore,” he smiles, and minhyuk dies a little inside.

“do you edit your own pictures?” he asks and wants to pat himself in the back because he’s using words in the correct order and being normal and having a conversation.

“yeah, it’s for one of my classes actually.” kihyun shrugs and minhyuk can’t help but think he must find his questions to be more boring than his editing.

“that’s cool.” he nods and he’s back to not knowing what to say.

“so what’s your major?”

for such a simple question it takes two seconds too long for minhyuk to answer, mostly because he is imploding by overthinking this whole situation. is kihyun actually interested or is he just being polite? “astronomy. yours?” he wants to facepalm as soon as the question leaves his lips.

kihyun just laughs, seemingly unbothered by the obvious question. “photography.”

minhyuk is one hundred percent sure that that must be how angels sound, and can’t believe he once thought this boy was angry or rude or anything but wonderful.

they talk for a while, mostly about college and assignments and then they go back to work until it starts to get dark and kihyun announces he has to go.

“this was nice,” he says as a goodbye and minhyuk can think of a thousand other adjectives but he’ll take ‘nice’ any day if it comes from kihyun.

 

***

 

taking naps on the couch is not the best idea when your roommate is hyungwon. he might look like a noodle but he is not as light as one, so when he throws himself on top of minhyuk in order to wake him up, he feels his weight in every single one of his muscles.

“you didn’t tell me you had a date,” hyungwon says, ruffling his hair.

“because i didn’t have one,” minhyuk replies, though it comes out muffled due to his face being buried in the couch.

“that’s not what i heard.” he rolls his eyes at his friend’s teasing tone, though it goes unnoticed by hyungwon given their current position, so minhyuk tries really hard to sound annoyed even if his voice sounds funny.

“you heard wrong.” his roommate seems to notice he’s not very happy because he sits up, still on top of him, but at least minhyuk is now able to move his head and upper body. “i went to the coffee shop. it was full, kihyun was there, i asked him if i could sit with him, he said yes, we both worked in silence, and then he left. that’s it.”

“but hoseok said he saw you laughing together!” hyungwon is frowning and pouting and if minhyuk wasn’t so warm-hearted he would just kick him and tell him to stop pestering him about it but he is very weak when it comes to his roommate even if he won’t admit it to his face.

“we may have talked at some point, but it was not a date.”

hyungwon considers it for a second. minhyuk waits, too tired to give him any more explanations. “okay,” he says, and gets up and walks to his room. he hadn’t considered his encounter with kihyun as a date but now it’s all he can think about.

minhyuk thanks his lucky stars he has a roommate who can read him so well. he needs time to think and collect himself so that he can find a way to make kihyun fall for him as hard as he seems to have fallen.

 

***

 

somehow it becomes a thing: minhyuk and kihyun meeting in that coffee shop by chance and working and taking breaks to talk. minhyuk is no longer confused or flustered (at least not in a way that makes him unable to form coherent sentences). he feels at ease whenever he’s around kihyun and what if his heart grows ten times its size whenever kihyun smiles that smile that reaches his eyes? what if he feels butterflies in his stomach every time he hears him laugh? it’s fine, he’ll deal with that at some point. after all, they are written in the stars and there’s no reason to rush things.

 

***

 

christmas break is around the corner and minhyuk can’t stop thinking that he won’t see kihyun for two whole weeks. his heart aches and he’s starting to think he was right at the very beginning when he said he was different. he had just said that to be dramatic as he usually did upon seeing a cute boy but now... now he’s not so sure.

“it’s going to be so weird,” kihyun says out of the blue, without looking up from his computer.

“what is?” minhyuk asks, he doesn’t care that he stopped him in the middle of a sentence. it doesn’t matter anyway, because he’s already forgotten what he was going to write. there is very little that minhyuk cares about more than what kihyun has to say to him.

“not seeing you.” he’s still not looking at him and minhyuk is glad because he’s certain otherwise he would’ve seen the color of his cheeks change to the exact same shade as that of a tomato.

“yeah.” it’s been two months and yet minhyuk is still at a loss for words sometimes.

“to be honest, i thought you were such a pain when we first met. you seemed too eager, too bright. i can’t believe i got used to being around you like this.”

minhyuk’s not sure how to take those words. are they good? are they bad? did he push too hard? does kihyun hate him deep down?

“yeah, sorry about that. sometimes i come off too strong, i guess.” is he sorry? should he be sorry? he hates that kihyun has the power to confuse him so much still.

“no, i’m glad you did it. sometimes i have a hard time making friends, so it’s a good thing. definitely a good thing.” kihyun smiles that smile and minhyuk thinks he can’t escape it anymore. he’s fucked up, he’s in love. the thing is, given what he just said, he doesn’t think kihyun feels the same way towards him.

maybe they weren’t written in the stars.

 

***

 

he misses him. he misses his smile. his laugh. his cute frown. the way his whole face changes when he’s focusing on something. he misses him so much.

he just got back from home and hyungwon is supposed to arrive very soon and his bag is still on the floor next to the door but he can’t bring himself to move from his spot on the couch. he spent the whole break missing kihyun and now that he is back he seems to miss him more and he’s yet to make a decision on how to proceed with this crush of his.

“aw, did you miss me that much?” hyungwon says as soon as he opens the door and sees minhyuk’s face.

“shut up,” minhyuk says without moving. “not you.”

“ah, right, the love of your life.” hyungwon rolls his eyes and takes his bag to his room. minhyuk doesn’t reply. “okay, what’s wrong?” he says once he’s back, sitting down next to him.

“i think... and i’m being completely honest here, no bullshit, i think, i may actually love him,” minhyuk confesses, avoiding hyungwon’s gaze.

“love as... in love?” hyungwon asks. minhyuk covers his face with his hands. he cannot believe he’s having this conversation. it feels a little too real for comfort, and he would take it back and pretend it was a joke and he was just being melodramatic if he wasn’t so confused about his own feelings and really needed help sorting them out.

“maybe? how do you even know that?” his voice is muffled by his hands, but it’s still audible.

“you just know. i knew right away.” hyungwon smiles, though minhyuk knows it’s not meant for him.

“that’s unfair. you have the cutest, most vomit-inducing love story in the world.”

“half of it is your own fault.” hyungwon takes a second to glare at him before sighing and going back to his silly lovesick face.

“stop that already.” minhyuk rolls his eyes. “now, back to me. even if i were in love, which is a big if, kihyun clearly doesn’t love me like that so that’s it, i’m fucked.”

“how do you know?” hyungwon asks and minhyuk starts stirring in the couch like a kid throwing a fit.

“i just know. i feel it, i see it, okay?”

“okay.” hyungwon reaches for minhyuk to make him stop fidgeting and minhyuk finally settles beside him.

“maybe i should just stop seeing him,” minhyuk says, his voice barely audible. maybe because if he says it louder it would mean he’s truly considering it and he’s not sure if that scenario is one he could bear.

“do you think that would help?”

“i don’t know.” minhyuk’s so confused, so utterly confused. he’s never been in a situation like this one. he always knows where he stands and where the other person stands (or, at least in most cases he does). everything is always so clear to him.

 

***

 

minhyuk’s not exactly in the mood for a party but jooheon’s djing and he promised he’d go. and maybe hoseok’s right and going out is the best thing he could do right now - clear his head or at least numb his very loud, very annoying thoughts with alcohol.

he’s on his second beer when he sees him. he truly hadn’t expected to find kihyun there and he can’t believe how surreal it is to see him outside the coffee shop, with his hair styled so that you can see his forehead and a black shirt with holes in all the right places. kihyun’s leaning against a wall, talking to hyunwoo and some other boy and it’s like he’s holding some kind of magnet made just for minhyuk because he can’t help but make a beeline for that spot.

kihyun’s laughing at something the other boy is saying and it stings a little more than minhyuk expected. as much as he loves it when kihyun laughs, he realizes that he’s a very selfish man and doesn’t want anyone else making him laugh like that. he’s two steps away and maybe considering turning back when kihyun sees him and he smiles so wide that minhyuk wants to blame the dizziness he suddenly feels on the alcohol, but he hasn’t drunk enough.

“hi,” minhyuk shouts when he’s close enough (although he’s starting to think he’ll never get as close as he wants to be).

“minhyuk! hi!” he has never seen kihyun so cheerful and he loves it. he also loves the way his name sounds coming out of his lips and he needs to stop thinking about the word ‘love’ around kihyun, or he might blurt something out that he can’t take back. “you know hyunwoo, right? and this is yoongi.” kihyun introduces the unknown boy who half smiles at him.

“nice to meet you,” he greets him and he’s about to continue with the pleasantries when he feels kihyun’s hand taking his own, and if he felt dizzy before he now feels like he’s going to faint.

“i love this song!” kihyun’s says as he drags him to the makeshift dance floor, his two friends left behind.

minhyuk’s never been this awkward on a dance floor, but when kihyun lets go of his hand and starts dancing he can’t bring himself to move. he’s in some sort of a trance induced by the way kihyun’s body is moving to the rhythm. he’s laughing and even though minhyuk can’t hear it because the music's too loud, just the sight of it is enough to make him weak in the knees. it doesn’t help that at some point during the song kihyun reaches for his hand again and starts making him sway along with him.

“i thought you liked dancing,” kihyun whispers in his ear and minhyuk swallows hard upon feeling his breath on his skin.

“i thought you didn’t,” he manages to reply, his voice raspy. he has never been as thirsty as he is right now.

“i do when i’ve drunk enough.” he’s so close to his ear his lips graze his earlobe and minhyuk has never had to make such an effort to remain standing.

“ah, so you’re fun when you’re drunk,” he regrets teasing him because it makes kihyun laugh and he’s so close and his laugh is the best sound minhyuk’s ever heard and he’s going to melt right in the middle of the dancefloor.

“not all of us can be the brightest light in the room 24/7.” if minhyuk were a little bit drunker he wouldn’t think about it twice and would kiss him right there and then. but he’s not, and kihyun is, and he’s not sure what is going on and what he should do next. so he does nothing. he just keeps on dancing until the song is over and kihyun lets go of him to get more drinks.

minhyuk wants him to stay. he wants to hold kihyun and kiss him and tell him he is funny and beautiful and perfect, but he’s scared shitless of acting on his feelings and having kihyun regret it once he’s sobered up. he knows now is not the right time and doesn’t want to mess things up. so he watches him dance away back to his friends and does nothing.

he needs a drink. or two. or a thousand.

 

***

 

minhyuk enters hyungwon’s room without knocking. he knows hoseok’s there, but he also knows they are not doing anything nasty because they have rules and they are supposed to let him know beforehand so he can give them some space. (it’s not that minhyuk minds, it’s just that they can get very loud and there’s only so much he can bear to overhear before he’s scarred for life).

“okay, i need your help,” he says, sitting on hyungwon’s desk chair and spinning around.

“ah, he barges in, asking for help, bearing no gifts, interrupting our very important activities,” hyungwon says dramatically, leaving aside the book he was reading.

“excuse you, my friendship is the best gift you’ve ever gotten, so that’s that.” minhyuk replies, pretending to be offended.

“hoseok is the best gift i’ve ever gotten, though i guess you are a close second.” hyungwon looks at hoseok fondly and kisses him while minhyuk fake vomits.

“back to me, please,” he whines before his friends decide to start making out and he has to exit the room.

“what’s wrong?” hoseok asks.

“so, i ran into kihyun at the party.” he pauses to let his friends make their comments but they just stare at him, waiting for him to continue. “and he was drunk and we danced and i’m confused.”

hoseok and hyungwon look at each other, and in minhyuk’s opinion they’re taking way too much time to say something, even if barely a second has gone by.

“what is it that confuses you?” hyungwon finally asks.

“he does! i don’t know, he’s so friendly in a friend way when we have our get togethers at the coffee shop and then last night he was friendly but definitely in a non-friend way, but i don’t know if it was the alcohol speaking or... you know, just himself letting loose or something.” he’s out of breath when he finishes, and it’s not just because of how fast he blurted out.

“maybe you could just talk to him?” hoseok suggests hesitantly.

“and what do i say? ‘hey, i love you, do you love me?’ i can’t do that!” minhyuk sounds so distressed he even pities himself a little.

“not like that. you can subtly ask him about the party and see how he reacts or something,” hoseok shrugs, like it’s not a big deal to just go and ask kihyun about last night when minhyuk can’t even think straight when he remembers how close his lips were to his earlobe or how his hand felt in his.

“i don’t know if i can do that.” he feels so tiny. he’s always on top of things but this is new and scary and he hates it.

“it’s either talking or waiting for him to do something. you don’t have much of a choice here.”

minhyuk also hates it when his friends are right.

 

***

 

a whole week goes by before minhyuk returns to the coffee shop, and when he does decide to come back it’s without knowing what he’ll do. he thinks the stars will guide him or else he’ll just run away. but as it turns out, he doesn’t have to do anything because kihyun’s not there that day. nor the next, or the day after that.

minhyuk sits at their usual table, laptop on, trying to work but as the days pass and there’s no sign of kihyun he thinks he’s going to have to drop out because there’s no way he can finish up his assignments if he keeps staring wistfully at the door.

after two weeks minhyuk loses all hope. he now knows the answer to his questions without even having to ask.

the stars have definitely fooled him this time around.

 

 

***

 

“oh, thank god! he hasn’t moved in hours.” minhyuk can hear hyungwon telling whoever is on the other side of the door. he doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong. he’s just lying face down on the couch, being sad, it should bother absolutely no one.

“what’s up, bro?” jooheon asks as he lifts his legs to sit on the couch underneath them.

“nothing.” minhyuk’s voice is muffled by the couch and the fact he’s not actually making an effort to speak. he’s now sad and annoyed because he doesn’t need hyungwon to get all of their friends to their apartment to throw him a pity party. he can do that on his own, thank you very much.

“c’mon, you can talk to us,” hoseok chimes in from his spot on the floor.

“i don’t want to talk, okay?” minhyuk says, barely moving his head so he can sort of face his friends.

“moping around is the worst you can do. you should go out, have fun!” jooheon throws his hands up in the air and does a little dance that only serves to make minhyuk more annoyed.

“look, i don’t wanna talk, i don’t wanna go out. i’m sad, okay? i know it’s not easy for y’all love birds to understand but it is what it is.” he doesn’t even notice he’s stood up until he’s halfway to his room and he’s honestly not in the mood to hear jooheon and changkyun complaining about not being love birds or to receive pitying looks from hoseok and hyungwon, so he just keeps going and slams his door loud enough for them to get the message that he just wants to be alone.

 

***

 

life with a sad minhyuk has become significantly gloomier for everyone. that’s why hyungwon asks their friends to meet, so they can try to come up with a way to fix this situation and make the sun shine again.

“dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to discuss minhyuk’s love life,” jooheon jokes and hyungwon can barely crack a smile. he should’ve known he couldn’t be happy while his best friend is out there feeling miserable. luckily jooheon senses the room’s weird mood and doesn’t push it with his jokes.

“the way i see it, we have two options.” he thinks it’ll be easier to just get this done with. coming up with a plan seems like the best way to give hyungwon hope that he can help his best friend. “either we help him get this guy or we help him get over this guy.”

“i don’t think we can do either,” changkyun complains. hyungwon glares at him. talk about not being helpful at all.

“i think we can totally get kihyun to give him a chance,” hoseok chimes in before hyungwon can say anything. “based on what he told us happened at the party, i’m pretty sure kihyun likes minhyuk but he’s probably afraid for some reason. they just need to talk.”

“okay, but isn’t minhyuk all gloomy because kihyun has stopped showing up to their study dates or whatever those are?” jooheon asks.

“yes, but they could maybe meet somewhere else,” changkyun replies, looking at hyungwon as if to apologize for his previous comment.

“but where?” hyungwon asks half to himself, half to the group.

“well, changkyun’s birthday is next week,” hoseok offers, and suddenly his eyes are sparkling as they do when he gets an idea he believes is brilliant.

“so?” changkyun gives him a puzzled look.

“you could throw a party.”

“but i don’t know kihyun.” if anything, changkyun looks even more confused.

“but someone could take him to your party,” hoseok says, finger guns directed at the youngest of the group, and hyungwon frowns because something doesn’t add up.

“who?” the skinny boy finally asks.

“hyunwoo. i’ll ask him, say it’s in the name of love. he’s a softie, he’ll help,” hoseok explains.

“that sounds like a good plan, i guess. but may i ask, who is this hyunwoo?” jooheon asks what he guessed the rest of the group was wondering.

“a guy i work out with, who just happens to be friends with kihyun,” wonho shrugs.

“you know a guy who’s friends with kihyun and you never told minhyuk?” hyungwon has never been more appalled by something his boyfriend has done.

“i didn’t want minhyuk to make me ask him about kihyun all the time, okay? you know how minhyuk can get when he sets his eyes on a guy. for what it’s worth, though, i wish i’d told him. maybe he wouldn’t be in this situation if i hadn’t kept it a secret that i knew hyunwoo.” hoseok seems a bit embarrassed by this, and hyungwon really just wants to get up and kiss his nose and tell him how much he loves him but he guesses it can wait.

“so, you think you can convince this hyunwoo to help?” hyungwon asks instead.

“i’m pretty sure, yes,” hoseok nods.

“okay, then, that settles it. we just need to plan this party.” changkyun sees the look of determination on his friends’ faces and he thinks he’s okay with throwing a party for his birthday if it’ll help minhyuk. not that anyone bothers to ask his opinion on the matter anyway.

 

***

 

changkyun is not the type to throw parties and minhyuk can’t believe his friend chose this year, in which the last thing he wants to do is party, to throw one for his birthday. unlike every other social event he’s been invited to lately, he can’t miss this one unless he wants to be given the award of the worst friend of the year and he can’t let that happen. it’s only january and that award is only interesting if there’s some sort of competition throughout the year.

so he gets dressed, waits for hoseok and hyungwon to finish whatever he doesn’t want to know they’re doing, grabs his coat and follows them to changkyun and jooheon’s place. he tries not to look at his friends as they walk a few steps ahead of him. he’s noticed they are trying to be less touchy and affectionate in front of him lately but just seeing them hand in hand, walking and talking and smiling at each other makes his heart hurt. he loves them and loves that they’re so happy but he can’t help but envy them as well.

they are, of course, the first ones to arrive. they are supposed to help getting everything set up, but minhyuk also takes this as his chance to get to the alcohol before anyone else. he shows great skill helping to move the couch while holding a beer, and no one seems to mind when he decides he’s just going to grab a few bottles and settle down on that same couch.

after a few minutes people start showing up. he knows most of them and he could easily just get up and talk to them and try to have fun, but his new self, his sad self, is content with the prospect of drinking until he feels numb and not talking to anyone ever again.

his plan is going smoothly thus far. he’s four beers in and it almost feels like he’s going to stop being able to feel things but then the door opens again and hyunwoo comes in. something akin to an electric shock goes through minhyuk, his heart now beating significantly faster than before and he closes his eyes because he doesn’t want to know if kihyun’s with him, but he can’t bear not knowing. so, against his better judgement, he opens one eye and takes a teeny tiny peek. but there’s nothing to see. hyunwoo’s alone. he’s surprised to see hoseok walking to him, greeting him like an old friend, and minhyuk frowns. he didn’t know they knew each other.

whatever. he doesn’t care.

he goes for his fifth beer and tries very hard not to care but he does. he cares so much. and he’s so scared kihyun will show up. he doesn’t know what he’ll do if he shows up. he tries to convince himself he has no reason to show up, he would’ve come with hyunwoo and if he didn’t then he won’t come on his own. he keeps telling himself “he won’t come, he won’t come, he won’t come” like a mantra. but two seconds later he’s getting up and walking out of the apartment because the possibility, no matter how small, of seeing kihyun scares him shitless.

 

***

 

minhyuk’s not very familiar with jooheon’s neigborhood since they usually hang out at minhyuk and hyungwon’s place, but he can’t stay at that party not knowing whether kihyun would show up or not. both scenarios are equally bad. if kihyun shows up that would mean having to see him and minhyuk isn’t sure his heart can handle it; but if he doesn’t show up, minhyuk knows he would’ve spent the remainder of the night staring at the door waiting for him, and he’s done that enough at the coffee shop already. so the best plan he can come up with at the moment is to just wander around and get some fresh air (because he knows clearing his mind at this point is impossible).

he’s too far way to go back when he realizes he’s forgotten his coat. the amount of alcohol in his system seemed to be enough to keep him warm when he left, but it’s starting to snow and it makes him consider going back. and he would have, had he not seen the carrousel with its thousand little lights all over it. the cold is momentarily forgotten as he walks towards it. he feels drawn to the lights and the horses and the happy memories of his childhood in carrousels similar to this one. he feels like a little kid again, sitting on one of the horses, except he’s never done it at night, while it snowed. it’s a very romantic sight, he thinks, yet he’s all alone, once again.

after a few minutes the cold starts settling in his bones, and he knows he has to go back if he wants to avoid getting sick. he’s about to leave when he hears the first click, and he hadn’t considered that being here on his own could be unsafe, but now that he knows he’s not alone he can’t help but think about how easy it would be for someone to murder him there. the alcohol in his bloodstream also serves as fuel to come up with a thousand different scenarios in which he can be killed, which is not what anyone would call helpful. he hears the click again and he’s certain he’s as good as dead, but then he sees him.

there, in an oversized coat that makes him look even tinier than he is, holding his camera on his gloved hands and wearing the cutest beanie in the world. kihyun.

minhyuk isn’t sure he’s not hallucinating. he’s too focused on kihyun’s form approaching him, trying to discern if this is real or if he’s passed out and hit his head and imagining this. but then again, he wouldn’t be this cold in a dream, would he? he stops to think about this for a moment, but before he can figure out if he’s dead already, the other boy is in front of him and this is… indeed very real.

“aren’t you cold?” he asks, once he’s closer to minhyuk.

“alcohol is keeping me warm,” minhyuk replies, though his voice trembles. he’s colder than he thought.

“i see.” kihyun doesn’t believe him, clearly.

“what are you doing here?” minhyuk asks. he tries not to sound hostile but suddenly he realizes how angry he is. why is kihyun acting so normal when he’s clearly been ignoring him for weeks? how dare he show up looking this cute and asking if he’s cold like he cares about him?

“an assignment.” he shows him his camera. he doesn’t seem to realize just how upset minhyuk is.

“on a friday night?” with disbelief probably written all over his face, minhyuk hugs himself. the cold is making him look and sound more vulnerable than he’d like, and it doesn’t help that he’s slurring his speech a little. the alcohol seems to be betraying him just as the stars have.

“it’s due monday.” kihyun walks closer to him.

“but it’s friday, and it’s nighttime, and it’s cold.” minhyuk noticed that kihyun moved but he hadn’t noticed he was getting that close, and he’s a bit drunk and a lot cold and even more confused because he’s supposed to be angry. he should be angry. he wishes he were standing, he wishes he were steadier, but he feels dizzy all of a sudden and he can’t tell whether it’s because of how much he had to drink or because of how close kihyun is. and he is… very close.

“I’m supposed to do it at night.” kihyun explains and minhyuk can feel his warm breath on his face and if he felt dizzy before now it’s almost as if the carrousel was actually moving. the grip he had on the horse is not as steady anymore, and suddenly he feels kihyun’s hands on his shoulders before he can fall and he’s glad he hasn’t made a complete fool of himself. he’s also glad kihyun’s touching him, even if he knows it’s to prevent him from hurting himself. he wants to ask him if they can stay like this forever but his face is so close to minhyuk’s that he can’t think straight.

“are you done with it?” his voice is barely audible but kihyun still holding onto him and he’s a bit drunk and a lot cold but not even a little angry at this point.

“yes,” kihyun nods and snowflakes fall from his beanie and minhyuk doesn’t think he’s ever seen something more beautiful.

minhyuk swallows hard. “ do you… um, feel like going to a party? with me?”

“yes,” kihyun nods again, still incredibly close, and minhyuk wants to tell him to stop because he’s making him dizzy.

“okay.” minhyuk moves to get off the horse and kihyun slowly lets go of him once he’s on his feet and it might be cold, but minhyuk thinks his arm has never been colder than until that moment in which kihyun stopped touching him.

they start making their way back in silence and before they have walked two whole blocks, kihyun suddenly stops in his tracks.

“what’s wrong?” minhyuk asks. he’s shivering and wants to get there as fast as possible.

“come here,” kihyun says, opening his coat.

“what?” minhyuk is quite literally frozen in place.

“you’ll freeze to death and this coat is big enough, we can share.”

minhyuk moves slowly but settles next to kihyun, relishing on the warmth provided by the coat, but also that of kihyun’s arm around him. they start walking again, and they are slow but minhyuk has never felt warmer.

“how come your coat is so big?” kihyun laughs and the snowflakes fall again and minhyuk is so far gone by then.

“it was hyunwoo’s but he outgrew it, so i kept it.”

minhyuk nods biting back the comment about how cute and tiny he looks wearing it and how glad he is that the coat is big enough for the both of them. he wants to tell him a lot of things but he doesn’t, and they walk the rest of the way in silence. once they get to the apartment, he reluctantly moves away from his spot inside the coat and rings the doorbell.

it’s hyungwon who opens the door and he looks so surprised to see them together he can’t even speak, so hyunwoo is the one who addresses them first.

“oh, kihyun, you came. did you get that perfect shot you needed for your assignment?”

minhyuk doesn’t notice kihyun looking at him as he replies “i think i did.”

 

***

 

minhyuk tosses and turns in his bed. the effect of the alcohol has faded, and he’s in that sweet spot before hangover hits, so he’s finally able to think semi-rationally. the night clearly didn’t go how he expected. seeing kihyun again didn’t go as he expected, especially because he didn’t expect to see him at all. he was supposed to be angry, and if not angry then at least annoyed; he wasn’t supposed to give in and fucking walk side to side with the same fucking coat over their shoulders and then go to a fucking party and dance and laugh together as if the past few weeks hadn’t happened.

and the real issue here is he’s not entirely sure something did happen. maybe kihyun has a perfectly good reason for not showing up at the coffee shop all this time. maybe he’s decided he doesn’t like coffee anymore, although that is kind of ridiculous because that place has the best hot chocolate in campus; maybe he just doesn’t like that one place anymore; or maybe he didn’t have any computer work to do during that time. he’s been very self centered thinking it was all about him, and maybe minhyuk should give him a chance to explain himself before getting mad. not that he’s mad, apparently he can’t get mad at kihyun, not really.

minhyuk wishes he could go to hyungwon and cuddle and ask him to fix all his problems but he’s spending the night at hoseok’s, so he’s stuck tossing and turning and thinking in an empty dorm. he knows he needs to talk to kihyun and flat out asking him what’s on his mind. he knows that’s the only way to put an end to this very confusing situation. but he’s afraid. he’s never felt this way and he’s afraid he’ll be broken beyond repair if something goes wrong.

 

***

 

minhyuk walks into the coffee shop and a small part of him hopes he won’t find kihyun there. he doesn’t see him at first and thinks maybe from now on they are meant to run into each other only if one of them is drunk and honestly that’s a really fucked up way for fate to work but right now he’s so scared of seeing him he’s not against the idea that much.

his theory dies out soon though. kihyun’s sitting at a different table but he’s there. glasses on, laptop on the table, cute frown on his face. minhyuk buys himself a hot chocolate first. he feels his heartbeat getting faster and faster and he knows he’s only delaying the inevitable but he needs a minute, or two, or a thousand.

“hey.” here goes nothing, he thinks, just as kihyun looks up and smiles at him. he sits down, but he didn’t bring his laptop so he can’t even pretend to start working on something as if this was one of their usual get togethers.

“hi, what’s up?” kihyun says and minhyuk knows it’s not normal for his heart to skip a beat simply because he’s acknowledging his presence.

“not much.” except that i’m here to maybe tell you that i’m super into you but, you know, he thinks, and for a moment he wishes kihyun could just read his mind so they could get this tip-toeing around each other over with. “you?”

“same old, just working,” kihyun shrugs and takes a sip of his coffee. minhyuk mirrors him and burns his tongue with the very, very hot chocolate in the process.

“can i see?” he asks.

“no!” kihyun’s voice goes an octave higher and minhyuk frowns. the tiny boy pushes his hair back and laughs nervously. “not yet, i’m not done.”

minhyuk nods and takes another sip of his chocolate, this time slowly, making sure he doesn’t burn himself again. they sit there in silence for a few minutes until he can’t bear it anymore.

“why weren’t you here? these past few weeks?” minhyuk finally asks and it may have sounded a bit clingy and out of the blue but he feels like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders.

kihyun avoids his eyes and sighs, while minhyuk holds his breath, hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

“i needed to sort some things out,” kihyun says in almost a whisper.

“what sort of things?” minhyuk now feels a little bit bolder. he didn’t say it was about him, it probably wasn’t about him, they’re probably alright.

“i can’t tell you right now.” kihyun’s gaze is fixed on his hands currently folded on his lap and minhyuk wants to know more, he needs to know more but something tells him he shouldn’t ask; he shouldn’t push any further.

“but you’ll tell me?” he wants to reach out and make him look at him, caress his cheek and make them both feel safe, but he doesn’t.

“yes.” kihyun finally looks at him and minhyuk smiles at him softly.

“okay,” he nods and they don’t speak anymore. minhyuk drinks his hot chocolate and kihyun goes back to work and they are fine, truly fine.

 

***

 

there’s music coming out of the apartment. happy music. the sort of music minhyuk used to listen to before. hyungwon walks in with caution and he can’t believe his eyes.

“hello, roommate,” minhyuk greets him from the couch, a carefree smile on his face as he munches on the chips hyungwon bought for himself. if it were any other day, hyungwon would nag about food and boundaries, but right now he can barely contain a smile.

“did you get laid?” he asks, raising an eyebrow as he leaves his bag on the floor. minhyuk laughs, brightly, beautifully, a ray of sunshine once again.

“nope,” he replies, giving no further explanations. “want something to drink?” he gets up and goes to their mini fridge and grabs two cokes, then hands one to hyungwon.

“seriously, what happened?”

“i talked to kihyun and it’s fine, we’re fine.” he smiles absentmindedly, humming along to the song that’s currently playing.

“fine like you got laid?” hyungwon’s happy, but still extremely confused about the situation he just walked into.

“no, like we talked.”

“did you ask him out?” honestly, why can’t minhyuk just tell him the whole damn story already?

“no. we talked, we’re fine and that’s it. we didn’t have sex, i didn’t ask him out, we are not together. we just talked, that’s it.” minhyuk speaks really slowly as if he’s talking to a little kid, and if hyungwon wasn’t so glad his best friend is back to being happy and bright he would probably smack him.

“so, you’re back to being your normal, happy self?” he asks, just to make sure.

“i think for now, i am.”

 

***

 

minhyuk and kihyun go back to their old routine: they go to the coffee shop, get their drinks, sit at their table, work, and talk.

they’ve both been working nonstop for an hour and minhyuk doesn’t think he can type one more word so he saves the document and closes his laptop. kihyun looks at him and raises an eyebrow. minhyuk drinks his coffee patiently, until kihyun mirrors him and leaves his laptop aside.

“i’m bored,” minhyuk says, pouting.

“i can see that.” kihyun smiles at him fondly. minhyuk has never wanted to kiss his cute nose more than at that moment.

“can you show me some pictures?” he asks, batting his eyelashes and smiling innocently.

kihyun sighs and shakes his head. “you know i can’t.”

this is a new thing. before, kihyun would show him his work all the time. he’d ask for opinions, he’d explain how he is a fan of negative space and how he likes a certain lighting his photographs and so on, and even though minhyuk understood very little of photography, he hung on kihyun’s every word. yet, ever since they went back to their old routine he refuses to show him anything.

“oh, c’mon, pretty please?” minhyuk pouts and gives him his best puppy eyes, but kihyun just shakes his head and laughs softly.

“are you sure you’re not actually a puppy?” he jokes. “you’ll see them very soon.”

“not one hundred percent sure. and when would that be?” minhyuk asks eagerly. he’s tired of waiting.

“next week? i have an exhibition on saturday. you are invited, of course.” for some reason kihyun is avoiding his gaze but minhyuk smiles so wide his cheeks hurt. he was not expecting this but he loves it.

“i’ll be the first one there, i promise” he assures him.

“i knew i could count on you.” kihyun smiles softly and minhyuk feels like everything is right in the world once again.

 

***

 

saturday comes around slowly and yet too fast. minhyuk has a feeling about this exhibition so he’s a little (absolutely) terrified about what he’ll find. however, he’s all ready to go half an hour before it’s time to leave. he patiently waits for hyungwon, who asked if he could join him when minhyuk mentioned the event, and they set off to the art department building together.

“are you okay? you’re really quiet,” hyungwon looks at minhyuk with concern and he tries to smile to ease his worries.

“i’m just nervous,” he explains, his forced smile quickly fading. he doesn’t want to talk about it right now though because it’s silly. he doesn’t know if something’s going to happen and he shouldn’t be this weird about a feeling, even if it’s a very strong one.

“it’ll be fine, don’t worry,” hyungwon dismisses the whole thing and minhyuk wants to walk in looking as confident as his friend does but he feels tiny, tinier than kihyun standing next to hyunwoo.

they get there before he realizes and... shit, minhyuk’s already been to one of kihyun’s exhibition before, so why is he being like this? he lets hyungwon lead the way and he is a little relieved his friend is taller than him, so he can hide for a little longer in order to prepare himself. it’s only after he takes a deep breath that he enters.

and the first thing minhyuk sees is his own face.

there’s pictures of other things: landscapes, other people, there’s even a photo of hyunwoo. but minhyuk can’t help but focus on the three biggest photographs. he’s in all of them and somehow they feel like a journey -- the journey of his relationship with kihyun, except there’s one he cannot quite place.

in the first one minhyuk is in the same place he is now: he’s staring at a photograph, his mouth agape, his eyes wide. he didn’t realize kihyun had his camera with him that one time.

the second picture is one of a moment minhyuk doesn’t even remember happening. he’s on campus, looking up with a smile on his face as raindrops fall around him.

and the third one is from the night at the carrousel. he knew kihyun had taken a photo but it’s odd to see it now. it’s really beautiful, albeit a bit sad, seeing his feelings written all over his face. he doesn’t want to feel that way ever again but he’s glad something good came out of it.

minhyuk hears a familiar click and when he turns there’s kihyun in a pink shirt and his hair styled in the way minhyuk likes the most. as always, minhyuk’s heart does a backflip upon seeing him.

“are you really staring at yourself as if you’re the most handsome man in the world?” kihyun asks as a way of greeting, a smile playing on his lips.

“now, you clearly think i’m a work of art, so you can’t say i’m not beautiful,” he retorts and smiles so widely his cheeks start to hurt.

“listen, can we... talk after this-” kihyun gestures to the room. “is over?” his eyes are pleading, as if he’s afraid minhyuk would reject him and minhyuk wonders if he knows he could never do that. not in a million years.

“yes, please,” minhyuk says and his voice sounds kind of desperate as well. and maybe that’s their thing, never being too sure what the other is thinking. it’s a new feeling for minhyuk and he’s afraid, but he also loves it.

 

***

 

minhyuk doesn’t just wait for kihyun’s exhibition to be over. he looks around, taking his time to appreciate every single one of the photographs hanging on the walls. it’s funny how the first time he was here he just barely appreciated how beautiful the pictures were and now, after spending all this time with kihyun, he gets them. he spent endless afternoons just listening to kihyun talk about these things, and even though at the moment it seemed like the other boy was speaking in a foreign language, minhyuk now remembers bits and pieces of those explanations and understands. he now sees how the lighting works, how the colors make perfect combinations, how the negative space (which to him still is empty space) works so very well. he loves them and he thinks it’s not very surprising, considering how he feels about the person who took them.

being immersed in the photographs, minhyuk barely notices the room emptying around him.

“i think that’s it.” he hears kihyun’s voice behind him and he gets a bit startled which makes kihyun laugh and honestly, he’d be embarrassed if it weren’t because he got him to laugh.

“really?” he asks, shocked when he looks around and see they are the only ones there. he didn’t even notice hyungwon had left.

“yeah. do you mind if we go for a walk?” kihyun looks down to his feet and minhyuk really wants to just kiss him right then and there, but he holds back and just nods. kihyun takes minhyuk’s hand, and it feels natural at this point, even though minhyuk’s heart beats significantly faster when kihyun’s skin makes contact with his and proceeds to lead him outside.

they walk in silence for a while, kihyun still holding hands with minhyuk and the latter trying not to stare at the former too intensely. minhyuk’s about to ask him if they are going somewhere when kihyun stops in his tracks.

“this is the place,” kihyun says, simply. minhyuk looks around, confused. they are in the middle of campus, near minhyuk’s dorm building and not too far from the coffee shop where they usually meet, yet he can’t think of a reason why this particular spot is important.

“will you hate me if i ask why?” he’s hesitant as he’s speak, afraid to make all the progress they’ve made go away with a silly question, but too curious not to ask.

“of course not, you don’t know the story, after all.” kihyun smirks, enjoying the mysterious vibe all too much and minhyuk would roll his eyes and tell him to cut the crap but he feels it’s important for him to wait and hear what he has to say.

“are you going to tell me the story?” he asks, pouting and giving kihyun his best puppy eyes, which minhyuk suspects is what the other boy wants. kihyun doesn’t speak, he just nods as he leads him to a bench, sitting down and patting the space next to him for minhyuk to mirror him.

“it starts out at a coffee shop, our coffee shop,” kihyun starts, his voice soft and his tone mimicking the one of a professional storyteller.

“i know the place,” minhyuk jokes and kihyun frowns that cute frown of his.

“don’t interrupt me,” he exclaims, pretending to be offended.

“i’m sorry, i’m sorry. i won’t, i promise.” minhyuk crosses his heart and smiles fondly at kihyun who just rolls his eyes.

“okay, so, i’m pretty sure you know how that went, you were leaving and i was coming in, i saw you, and you saw me, i thought you were cute and that was that.” his words are simple, direct, not at all how minhyuk had told this story, not at all melodramatic. “and then we met at that party and i was a bit of an asshole because i thought you were one of those guys who would find a victim or something like that to chat up and go to bed with and i hate those guys.”

minhyuk opens his mouth to protest, but kihyun gives him a pointed look, making him close it before any words can come out.

“i was so mad at hyunwoo for telling you my name, but i also thought you wouldn’t actually look for me. and then out of nowhere you showed up at the exhibition and i was so ready to kick you out but then i saw the look on your face and... that’s when i took that first photograph.” kihyun stops for a second and minhyuk thinks about explaining himself and setting the record straight that he is not by any means a stalker but he knows better by now, so he decides to wait until kihyun’s done with his story.

“you looked like you were in awe, and that warmed by heart so much more than i was willing to admit at the time, so i decided to talk to you. and then when i saw you again and you asked to sit with me at the coffee shop i couldn’t help but say yes.” minhyuk nods and thanks his lucky stars for guiding him to the exhibition that day instead of working on his paper. “it turned out you were actually cool and unlike what i expected and i started to like you, like a lot, a lot. and when christmas break came around i didn’t want to leave you and i missed you terribly and couldn’t wait to come back.” it surprises minhyuk to hear that kihyun had gone through the exact same things as he had, and he wants to tell him that he felt that way too, but he doesn’t want to interrupt.

“that brings us to this place.” kihyun sighs gesturing to the space around them and minhyuk looks around, still confused. “i came back and the first thing i did was take my camera and make my way to the coffee shop to look for you. but you weren’t there so i started walking back home and then,” kihyun pauses, looks at minhyuk in the eyes. “then i found you. you were standing in the middle of the street, it had just started to rain and everyone was running around trying to find refuge but not you. you were looking up, the biggest smile i had ever seen, arms stretched out, wet hair stuck to your forehead and if i had been brave enough i would’ve run to you and kiss you, that’s what i wanted to do but instead i-”

“you took a picture,” minhyuk says, realization hitting. the second picture. still he’s confused. how did it go from there to kihyun just disappearing?

“that i did. and then i went to a party and i found you, again, and you didn’t kiss me. i was so ready for you to kiss me. i couldn’t tell you that but i had drunk enough liquid courage to be able to give you all the signs. i danced with you and i never dance, i held you hand, i whispered in your ear, i was basically shouting i like you and you did nothing.” minhyuk goes back to that night and he knows kihyun’s right. he was being obvious, but he was also drunk.

“i thought you were just very touchy when drunk and i didn’t want to fuck up. it wasn’t that i didn’t want to kiss you.” it feels almost surreal to be here, talking about wanting to kiss him, talking about how kihyun wanted to be kissed by minhyuk.

“i couldn’t know for sure if that was it, so i panicked. i was embarrassed, and i knew if i showed up at the coffee shop, you’d be there and i’d have to talk to you and i couldn’t after what had happened. i was a coward and i know it.”

minhyuk doesn’t know what to say because he gets it. he knows what it’s like to be incredibly scared of talking to someone about your feelings. he felt that same away about kihyun, in fact. he doesn’t mention that he himself avoided going to the coffee shop for a week after the party.

“so i avoided you. i didn’t go to the coffee shop and when hyunwoo told me about your friend’s party i invented an assignment because i knew you’d be there. i wasn’t sure if i was ready to see you, but still somehow i wanted to be close to you. so i walked there with hyunwoo but chickened out at the very last second and decided to do my pretend assignment near the building. of course, i had never imagined you’d bailed as well and i’d find you in a carrousel freezing to death.”

“i wasn’t expecting that either, to be honest,” minhyuk says and half smiles, the first half of that night being something he doesn’t want to be reminded of.

“when i saw you i realized i had been an idiot and that i loved you and not seeing you was in fact killing me.” minhyuk can’t believe what he’s hearing. kihyun loves him, he loves him. his smiles grows so wide his cheeks hurt and he doesn’t want to interrupt kihyun again but also he really wants to do it.

“i also decided you deserved some sort of grand gesture after i’d been a fucking idiot trying to avoid you, so i talked to my professors and i asked if i could do the exhibition and for some reason they agreed to let me do it. talking to you, however, was a different matter altogether. i was so afraid you’d hate me, but then you showed up and you were so kind, so understanding and fuck if i didn’t fall in love with you all over again.”

this time minhyuk can’t help himself. he closes the distance between them and finally, finally kisses kihyun. and they fit together so well, he had had high expectations but this surpasses them all and he can’t help but smile into the kiss. and it’s perfect because he can feel kihyun doing just that.

“you interrupted me.” kihyun says after they break apart, leaning his forehead against minhyuk’s, who laughs.

“sorry, i couldn’t help myself.”

“i had it all planned.” kihyun pouts and minhyuk has to make a tremendous effort not to kiss that pout away. “i was going to finish the story and tell you that i love you and kiss you.”

“do it, then” minhyuk asks him.

“you know how the story goes. but i am going to say i love you because i do. i love you, lee minhyuk. i love you so much, it’s ridiculous.”

“i love you, too, kihyun. i love you, i love you, i love you.”

they kiss again and again, and again and minhyuk loses count of all the times their lips meet, and he doesn’t think he’ll ever get tired of it.

after all that pushing and pulling. after the smiles and stolen glances and endless afternoons moping around. after the missed opportunities. after everything. they truly were written in the stars.