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The Things We Gain

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“Minhyuk, I don’t want to be here.” Changkyun whispers sharply, irritation evident on his whole demeanor but Minhyuk choses to ignore his friend. Instead of answering he glances at the cup he’s been contemplating whether to drink or not and shoves it in to the younger man’s free hand. He’s mildly surprised that Changkyun accepts the cup without a word of protest.

Changkyun blatantly squints at him. “You’re not even drinking?” The younger asks, his voice low and raspy from all the eating and minimal talking he’s been doing for the last hour. For someone who didn’t want to be in this party, Changkyun was smartly taking advantage of the food and whatever non-alcoholic beverage was available. He briefly wonders if the contents of the liquid were safe or if Changkyun would be dumb enough to drink a funky looking beverage but he’s decided to leave it all to chance. Minhyuk was glad at least one of them was gaining something from this party.

“I’ll drink later, Kkung.” Minhyuk replies calmly as he breaks eye contact with the younger man and surveys the spacious room. Whatever illegal and questionable things the party guests were doing would be in the main living room, not this smaller and cozier extension. Half the people in the room were either sober or passed out; he even spots Hyunwoo dressed in a Captain America costume carrying a huge bag of chips. This was just the best place to leave his younger friend.

He takes a glance at the sulking man; his brown hair was parted on both sides in order to reveal two almost realistic baby demon horns sticking out of his forehead. Changkyun was dressed in all-black and looked great in it. The freshman was definitely sober and attractive enough, in Minhyuk’s opinion, to be left alone to survive without adult supervision in this party.  

Without saying anything, Minhyuk pats Changkyun shoulders two times and rises up from the couch he’s been glued on for far too long. Minhyuk doesn’t catch the rest of Changkyun’s complaints and the younger’s inquiry of where he was going as he walked away to the direction of the main living room. As he walked, he readjusted the heavy black cape draped around his shoulders. He sighed as he felt the long velvet fabric drop straight down and found its most natural position behind him. Minhyuk continued forward wondering if he was all dressed up for nothing.

As he entered the main living room he’s bombarded with the loud music and every noise that he expected from the party; Shin Hoseok, the host and his close friend was always living up to the public’s expectation. The loudest cheers seemed to come from an intense game of beer pong between Naruto Sanghyuk and Zombie Sungjae that gathered a crowd of spectators. The noisiest of the bunch were two seniors he’s sure are named Jaehwan and Eunkwang. What was both amazing and comical was that the two were both dressed up as angels and were making ridiculous screeching noises every time their side scores a point.

Everyone looked like they were having so much fun; obviously intoxicated while acting silly or embarrassing and honestly that should have been the end goal of this Halloween party anyway. Minhyuk is almost tempted to join in. Had this been a normal party he would no doubt be one of the noisiest in the lively crowd. He always prided himself of being able to egg Kihyun into playing strip poker with him or somehow ending up having someone take a body shot on him but that was not his agenda today.

Minhyuk was never a fan of elaborate planning, he liked for nature to take its course based on whatever questionable decisions he makes but tonight was a bit different. Minhyuk went to this party looking the best he’s been in his whole life for one special reason, or rather, a special person and he hasn’t seen a single glance of the man the whole night.

Before Minhyuk could get even more annoyed of his predicament, he spots the host of the party and instantly makes his way to him. He takes in the sight of Shin Hoseok in all his questionable state of undressed glory. The blonde man was sporting huge thick goggles on his head, cargo pants and unsurprisingly no shirt. Hoseok was topless but with a small apron trying and failing to modestly cover up his exposed chest. Hoseok was refilling the cans of beer in the table and his eyes visibly lights up when he spots the blond man approaching him.

Minhyuk couldn’t help his mouth from saying. “What are you supposed to be, a muscular handy man? Hoseok, which type of bad porno plot did you take this character out of?” Hoseok lets out a loud hearty laugh at Minhyuk’s words; it was so typical of honest and loveable Hoseok to shake off Minhyuk’s rude comments as fast as he drops them. Hoseok continues to fix the cans on the table but belatedly waves him off as he moves onto refilling the food.

“Shut up Minmin, I’m just a regular sexy welder. It’s not the usual type of scary concept but we thought of doing alternate career for this year. Have you seen Kihyun? He’s a sexy chef. He’s definitely feeling himself this year.” Hoseok replies to Minhyuk loudly over all the noise. He’s still busy trying to keep at least the food in his party to be well stocked and in order, Minhyuk is almost proud.

They did see Kihyun earlier that night; the pink haired man was wearing a white chef’s hat, a plain white dress shirt and a black apron over it that almost reached his knees. Unlike Hoseok, the apron did a good job of covering Kihyun’s front side but the surprise of his outfit would be when the male turned to his back. Kihyun was wearing the shortest shorts Minhyuk had seen all day. He almost made a jab at his best friend’s short shorts when Kihyun led them inside the house but at that time Minhyuk decided to hold his tongue. Aggravating Kihyun would put his perfectly styled hair and make-up in a dangerous situation so he kept his mouth shut no matter how much he itched to tease his friend.

“Kihyun let us in the house. Full offense but his shorts aren’t exactly professional. What kind of people is he trying to feed in that get up?” Minhyuk says at Hoseok and the other man’s ever present smile bursts into loud laughter. Minhyuk sees a familiar sparkle on Hoseok’s eyes, something he always sees when they talk about his boyfriend or rather, the ‘love of his life’ as he often calls Kihyun.

“Of course my babe’s trying to feed me. Who else?” Hoseok replies with a large grin. Minhyuk really did see this reply coming but it doesn’t stop him from hitting Hoseok’s shoulder in faux disgust. Hoseok’s still laughing as Minhyuk groans at him. “You’re fucking disgusting, Shin.” Hoseok shrugs at the insult and Minhyuk suddenly remembers why he was looking for the older man.

“By the way, where’s Hyungwon?” Minhyuk asks slowly. He’s almost feeling shy for asking about the other’s best friend but Hoseok was the only person he trusts in this whole party apart from Hyunwoo to not throw him too much under the bus for feelings. He’s already gathered up his courage today, he might as well get on with it and go down in flames or just go drown in liquor; whatever was easier.

Minhyuk expected Hoseok to tease him but instead the other blinks at him in confusion. Hoseok looks completely puzzled and says; “You haven’t seen him yet? Hyungwon’s been here since the start. He’s not even in costume…he’s just him.” Minhyuk shakes his head mouthing a ‘no’ and doesn’t try to hold back his sigh. Hoseok who was holding a bag of chips quickly dumps its contents into the bowl in front of him with urgency. He places the empty plastic bag on the table and fishes his phone from his back pocket. “I could call or text him if you want, Min? Do you have his number?” The concern in Hoseok’s voice puzzled Minhyuk a bit.

Hoseok offering to help him is the act of an actual angel and Minhyuk wonders how this man ended up with Kihyun. He couldn’t fathom the idea of calling Hyungwon over for nothing though so he quickly declines Hoseok’s offer even gently pushing away the other’s hand that was holding the phone. “I really haven’t seen him but I was just wondering if you knew where he was. It’s fine, hyung. I know his number, we had classes together, remember?” He tries to smile as cheerfully and sincerely as he can without it becoming fake. He wasn’t lying to Hoseok but he knows he’ll feel like an absolute failure if he did didn’t get to go through with his plan today.

It was fine if he didn’t get to see or talk to Hyungwon, the only casualties for the tragedy would be his heart and the silly costume he’d prepared hard to look good in. He did have Hyungwon’s number for a few months now; he just didn’t know when it was okay or if it was ever okay to contact the other man. Though they had classes together and were in the same group of friends that mostly had to do with Kihyun and Hoseok dating early in their university life, Hyungwon and Minhyuk never seemed to click as friends on their own.

Kihyun attributes it to the fact that Minhyuk’s been ‘embarrassingly whipped out of his mind’ from the moment he met the tall model like man. Hoseok just thinks Hyungwon’s shy and Minhyuk’s awkward with new people but that doesn’t really explain much seeing as they haven’t made any progress for more than two years now.

Lately, Minhyuk’s been feeling very strongly about finally trying to at least come across to Hyungwon with his feelings. Though it was an open secret that he liked Hyungwon, Minhyuk never consulted nor confined to anyone about his feelings and he isn’t sure if that was the best idea. It made sense to him to keep it to himself; even his current plans of using Hoseok’s Halloween party as a start in trying to open up a courtship of sorts with Hyungwon was a decision he’s kept only to himself. In his head it was perfect; he would bump into Hyungwon, just go for it and try to flirt with the gorgeous man and act depending on how the other male responded to his advances.  

It seemed plausible and logical, almost realistic even when he played the scenario inside his head but at the back of his mind he acknowledged it wouldn’t be as smooth as he hopes it would be. Considering the fatc that Minhyuk’s track record of awkward conversations with Hyungwon was nothing to be proud of, it was safe to say that there would be some difficulty in articulating his sincere feelings for the other male. But when did anything ever stop Minhyuk? He was Lee Minhyuk and plainly that means that he’s long acknowledged that embarrassing dark pasts was never something to hold him back. This was especially one of the moments where he had to just jump right in with whatever he thought would be for the best.

Minhyuk really did think that dressing up as something attractive, seductive even, would have had some effect on the Chae Hyungwon’s acceptance of him. He’s aware that Hyungwon knows how much of a ‘little shit’ he really is, especially since Kihyun had the habit of slandering him at any given opportunity. In consolation, at least knowing that he looked his best when facing the most beautiful and brutal person he knows would at least calm down some of his nerves. Rejected but still undeniably dashing was what Minhyuk strived to be in the worst case scenario of the evening. What he wasn’t prepared for was the actual lack of Hyungwon for the night.

Now that the possibility of not seeing Hyungwon in this party was slowly becoming a reality, Minhyuk is suddenly hyper aware of the weight of the black velvet coat resting on his shoulders. In an instant he can feel the unnecessary layer of foundation and eyeshadow that he placed over his face. He can feel the green contact lenses covering his eyes that he’d worn just for this occasion. Thinking about his look right now, he feels a bit foolish for trying to appeal through the physical aspects when he knows Hyungwon was anything but particular in looks and reputation. What’s even more foolish is that he might have done it all in vain.  

Lee Minhyuk went all in and dressed up in an all-black vampire outfit with complimentary streaks of red and a black velvet cape that accented his light skin. On his neck is a perfectly fitted simple slim black velvet choker with a small cross pendant hanging on the middle. The green of his eyes matched perfectly with the heavy maroon eyeshadow that gave more emphasis to the unique shape of his sharp eyes. He had his light blond hair styled to perfection with the bangs falling perfectly in place as they framed his equally blond brows. His look was finished off with an artistic bloody scratch like pattern drawn high up on his left cheek bone. In every angle Minhyuk looked every bit of the gorgeous vampire he wanted to paint himself as in front of Hyungwon.

Minhyuk is snapped out of his thoughts when he feels Hoseok’s hand gripping his shoulder. “Minhyuk, I’m sure he’s just somewhere around. Joohoney and Wonnie planned to spend the night here.” The older man tells him with a pout on his lips. Minhyuk’s not sure why Hoseok looked a bit distressed in informing him that Hyungwon was in the party. An actual explanation for the absence would be that Hyungwon was bored out of his mind from the party and just went and slept in one of the many rooms on the upper floors. This wouldn’t be the first time for a scenario like that would happen. 

“Don’t be stressed, I was just asking since I’ve seen everyone aside from him. Plus, you guys haven’t met my child, Changkyun yet.” Minhyuk says as he takes Hoseok’s hand from his shoulder and shakes it playfully. The gesture proves to be the best way to keep Hoseok calm and the mention of his new roommate’s name had the older man perking up. Minhyuk and Kihyun had taken the younger boy under their wing. Due to various reasons that mostly had to do with Changkyun being busy in too many nerd organizations, he hasn’t been introduced to the whole friend group.

“I didn’t know he would be here. Why hasn’t Kihyun showed me our son? Where is he?” Hoseok says excitedly, still holding on to Minhyuk’s hand. Minhyuk flashes him the brightest smile when he sees the excitement on Hoseok’s face. He’s sure the moment Hoseok meets their new youngest member he wouldn’t stop trying to claim the kid as his own, just like how Jooheon was his “most precious dongsaeng”.

Minhyuk untangles his fingers with Hoseoks and places his hand on his sides. “Ask Kihyun or Hyunwoo to introduce you to him, he’s in the other living room trying to get full and not get drunk.” Hoseok laughs at the mention of Changkyun eating and shakes his head. “He’s already so cute and I haven’t met him yet.” Hoseok says and Minhyuk scrunches his nose; it was his way of showing fake disgust. “Well…if you see him, he’s the loser in all black with baby demon horns on his forehead.” Minhyuk places both of his index fingers over his head to mimic the horns and Hoseok snorts at him.

Minhyuk decided he was going to explain to Hoseok how he managed to drag Changkyun’s nerdy ass into the party but their conversation was interrupted by a loud crash from somewhere in the direction of the kitchen. Hoseok who was suddenly looking very concerned made a face at Minhyuk as to say that he was going to check on whatever that was. Minhyuk nodded in understanding and flipped his wrist in a gesture of shooing the older man away.

“Minhyuk you look amazing today. If you see Hyungwon just talk to him, okay? Don’t try to be extra, it’s just Hyungwon.” Hoseok tells him sincerely. Minhyuk waves him off while making a weird offended face to the older man. “Thanks, but just go check whatever that was, hyung.” Minhyuk replies calmly. He didn’t have the energy to tell Hoseok that he never wanted to ever be embarrassing in front of Hyungwon but that’s how the universe allowed his body to react whenever he had to talk to the younger man.

 


 

Hyungwon knows he should have lied his way out of attendance for Hoseok’s party but that’s a dream that will never be realized. Hoseok is sadly his best friend and it goes without saying that it was his obligation to show up for moral and physical support. Jooheon, his roommate and close friend was also unnecessarily hyped up for the celebration and he was sure that the younger would have dragged him unwillingly to the event either way. Going and trying to have fun, even when he knew he wouldn’t was the easiest path to choose just because he didn’t have to deal with the two whining until he snaps.

The least stressful way to handle the whole ordeal was to show up to the party, linger for a bit and let random people compliment him or try to flirt with him only to disappear into one of the bedrooms alone to sleep whatever headache he had acquired from all the socializing. This was Hyungwon’s infamous game plan for all of Hoseok’s parties and has been mildly successful in several occasions. Hyungwon expected to be doing the same thing for this party, but it seemed that today was a bit different.

The day started out with him feeling a good two percent more festive than he intended to be. He even did Hoseok a favor and personally did the bare minimum of getting himself a lackluster costume for the party. He’s seen Hoseok tell everyone that Hyungwon was not wearing a costume in hopes that his friend would change back into a human instead of his prepared character but that would never work, it amused Hyungwon though. Who was Hoseok to judge his costume when he was the one cosplaying as a male stripper in the guise of a welder uniform?

If Hyungwon was to be honest, he quite liked his get up; it was cool, flowy and required almost no effort to put on and pull off. At first Hyungwon was concerned about being able to breathe properly under his costume but that proved to not be a problem. He’s enjoying his costume so much that now he’s fully convinced it is the only one he’ll be using for all the Halloweens in the future. The best part of it was that it concealed his identity perfectly; it even allowed him to slide away easily from the regular pool table junkies during Hoseok’s parties.

He’s well aware that the party is still going wild, if the sound of screeching males were any indication then he’s glad that the people inside were having fun. He’s thankful for Hoseok making a rule that all the smoking be done on the front lawn; legal or not. The rule has successfully kept everyone who wasn’t familiar with the Shin’s garden away. That means Hyungwon is alone and content to be alone in the darkness with only the illumination from the interior lights passing through the glass walls and the few accent lights on the grass that served as mini spotlights for the trees and shrubs.

Hyungwon knows that he’s slightly buzzed but he’s nowhere drunk enough to willingly go back inside. He’d been drinking prior to his little pity party in the garden but it’s been a good hour since he took the last sip from the only beer can he was able to smuggle out and now he’s been sitting in the darkness contemplating how much of a fool he was. He can’t believe he’s actually finally regretting not taking Hoseok and Kihyun’s advice, in this reality no less. He knows that it wasn’t as blatant as the annoying couple, but Jooheon always did reminded him that the infamously weird Lee Minhyuk had a crowd of people just waiting on him. It was ridiculous of Hyungwon to be surprised that Minhyuk suddenly shows up to the party with a cute date in tow. 

He was always well aware of the fact that Minhyuk attracted attention everywhere he went. Be it due to his energetic personality, the strikingly bright blond hair or the naturally sharp good looks he had, people always took notice of him. No matter how much Hoseok told Hyungwon that there was a possibility of Minhyuk liking him back, he’d always shot down the idea. Someone like Lee Minhyuk who was a spark of fire that ignited people to do more, to talk more and to unabashedly have fun wouldn’t be interested in someone like him. They were two people that existed as contrasts each other; Minhyuk was light and Hyungwon was darkness and no matter how poetic it sounded, he knew that it just wouldn’t be.

Despite the amount of times he’d convinced himself that pursuing Minhyuk was useless, Hyungwon never actually had to deal with knowing that there was someone special to the other man. For as long as they had known each other, Minhyuk had always been a proud single and was always just playfully flirting with everyone around. Hyungwon was so far off Minhyuk’s list that he wasn’t even considered as someone worth flirting with. Whenever they’re expected to interact with each other, Hyungwon counts the seconds until Minhyuk says something embarrassing before making an excuse to high-tail out of the room or forcefully laughing the embarrassment off behind Kihyun or Hyunwoo.

The awkward mess of a man Minhyuk was in the face of Hyungwon was the complete opposite of the image he had when he entered Hoseok’s house. Minhyuk who was undoubtedly dressed as a vampire seemed to have gotten his role down to every bit of perfection. The moment he caught sight of the older man Hyungwon stood in complete awe of how much Minhyuk glowed.

There was a sort of excited energy that seemed to be around Minhyuk and he was sure it had to do with how the older was so well dressed and made up, probably for the special person that he came with. In his spot from the noisy hallway leading to the kitchen Hyungwon watched as a confident looking Minhyuk smoothly guided a shorter man with brown hair.

It was interesting to watch how effortless Minhyuk’s hands stops on the brunette’s back. Leaning in, Minhyuk seemed to have whispered something that annoyed the other male. Hyungwon physically felt his heart skip a beat when Minhyuk grinned at the other man and threw his arms over the shorter’s shoulder and pulled him closer into a sideway hug while walking. Hyungwon watched them disappeared in another room and in a split second he realized that maybe the fact that he was shaking underneath his costume and suddenly feeling all kinds of sick was what heartbreak is supposed to feel like.

 


 

Looking for Hyungwon after Hoseok left proved to be a futile task. The closest thing to Hyungwon that he spotted was Jooheon in a honey bee onesie. He’d rather die that ask Hyungwon’s roommate. Lee Jooheon was an overall good person and a great friend but he’s always giving the older man eyebrow wiggles whenever Hyungwon was around; to put it simply, Jooheon was fucking annoying.

Kihyun who caught sight of Minhyuk looking like a dejected lost child had cornered his best friend and given him another one of the cups containing the alcoholic pink liquid. “Just try to have fun, dumbass. What the hell are you looking so somber for?” Kihyun says to him and it dawns on Minhyuk how weird it was that he was sulking while Kihyun was being somewhat of social butterfly. Minhyuk glares weakly at the cosplaying chef and mouths a ‘fuck off’ to the other, Kihyun rolls his eyes at him in response.

His best friend didn’t stay with him for long, excusing himself as he had to check if Changkyun was still alive. Minhyuk almost followed Kihyun wanting to just end the night by asking his roommate if he wanted to go back to the campus dorms but he couldn’t stop people’s fun just because he wasn’t feeling up to partying anymore.

He remembers Jooheon’s eyes lighting up when he saw Changkyun in the party, he couldn’t just sabotage a blooming romance that not even Kihyun could have predicted. He connects it in his brain that Jooheon and Changkyun were both in the same music org and a music composition class. Somehow it makes sense. The next time Minhyuk sees Jooheon he swears he’ll finally be the one trying to fluster the other.

The third time someone was trying to blatantly flirt with him, Minhyuk’s finally realizing he’s really not in the mood for anything more than drinking weak liquor and sulking. The last straw was when someone tried to hit on him with; ‘Interested in some blood, pretty boy?’ and Minhyuk instantly felt his hand curl into a fist.

Even in the dark lighting Minhyuk could see where the stranger’s confidence was coming from. The man was in a brown soldier costume looking dashing with his soft black hair framing a handsome face with soft features. He’s sure this guy was a friend of Jackson but it didn’t matter since Minhyuk was in the worst mood to entertain a flirting stranger. In bad taste, Minhyuk doesn’t even grace the man with a reply before he storms away.

In haste, he finds himself slipping out of the actual party and into the dark mini patio of the house. From the inside he saw that the party has yet to extend out, thankful to have finally found a place of solace. As he steps out of the house and feels a slight cold breeze pass, he smile as the garden felt cool even will all the cloth he had on him. He basks in the feelings of silence; muting the noise from the party when he slides the glass door panel shut behind him. He could still hear the screams and the speaker blasting but it was all background noise in the openness of the outdoors.

Minhyuk was making his way to the sitting area when he hears heavy footsteps behind him. Feeling the hairs on his back rise up, Minhyuk quickly reasons to himself that there was no way someone had followed him out; he would have heard them open the door. Abruptly stopping, he glances down the illuminated part of the grass and sees a shadow behind his own. Terrified, Minhyuk turns around so quickly that it gave him a huge whiplash.

Whatever the thing was is definitely approaching Minhyuk and it stopped a few feet away from him. He doesn’t get to see the owner of the shadow fully before he turns around and screams. He closes his eyes in both fear and the temporary jolt of pain on his neck cause by whiplash. His outburst caused him to let go of his drink in order to cradle his neck in one hand and place another hand on his chest that was beating erratically. When he doesn’t feel anything and the only thing he hears is someone sighing, Minhyuk who was still shaking in fear slowly opens his eyes. Surely whatever was in front of him was human.  

“What the fuck, dude?” Minhyuk blurts out as he sees the figure that scared the soul out of his body. The last thing he expected was someone dressed as a cloth ghost to be examining the stains on their costume. Whoever this person was is definitely more concerned about the stains rather than the fact that Minhyuk nearly had a heart attack because of their appearance.

Seeing his paper cup of alcohol laying at the foot of the stranger, Minhyuk remembers that he just spilled his drink all over the person and another sense of dread befalls him. As if the night could not get any worse, Minhyuk thinks he has finally reached the pinnacle of being both scared and fucked. His heart is still beating fast as he tries to force himself to come down from the high of screaming his lungs out and accidentally dumping his drink on a total stranger.

In his defense, he would never guess that someone other than him who would want to hang out on the Shin’s tragically lighted back garden. The party inside was amazing and only a sad loner that didn’t know how to have fun would be caught passing time in this part of the house.

“I’m so sorry man, you surprised me. Can I just wash that for you?” Minhyuk says, unsure of himself. The costume didn’t give any indication whether the person inside was feeling aggravated by Minhyuk’s clumsiness but he thinks they’ll probably forgive him if he begs hard enough. Surely they can’t be angry at someone that got so spooked that good alcohol was wasted.

“Calm down. I’m sorry for scaring you, I just wanted to say hi.” Minhyuk flinches as he hears the person start talking; he was expecting to get yelled at. Hearing the other person’s amused voice almost made Minhyuk break down but he settles for covering his face with both his hands and silently screaming on to his palms in embarrassment. At this point Minhyuk wonders when the ground would be kind to him and swallow him whole.

Finally seeing the man of his dreams, Minhyuk thinks the whole situation was only fitting for his shitty and infuriating luck. He’s dressed up in an annoyingly extra vampire costume looking and feeling his absolute best and the only person he wanted to at least be impressed with him was in an oversized white cloth with two black mesh holes for eyes. “Hyungwon, what the fuck are you wearing?” He asks in disbelief. All the remorse he had for spilling his drink on the other just disappeared.

“Hey, I like it, it’s spooky. I even got you to scream.” Hyungwon says voice laced in amusement as he makes a show of rusting under his cloth costume until his arms are sticking out on each side. With both hands, he pulls the white cloth off his body in one swift movement. The ends of the fabric briefly brushed Minhyuk’s extended elbows.

Minhyuk who was still cupping his face watched in fascination as the irritatingly adorable cloth ghost unveiled Hyungwon in a plain white shirt neatly tucked in a pair of ripped black skinny jeans and a black belt. Minhyuk’s heart drops at the sight of Hyungwon’s fluffy unstyled hair with his bangs slightly covering his eyebrows. He thinks it’s unfair how Hyungwon could just be himself under a cloth and still take Minhyuk’s breath away when Minhyuk had to put on effort just to feel presentable in front of the other man.

“Hoseok told me you weren’t wearing a costume.” Minhyuk says and Hyungwon raises his eyebrow at the thought of Hoseok and Minhyuk talking about him. He didn’t want to think too much of it, he didn’t even want to think too much of Minhyuk but here was the blond standing in front of him. He wanted to say; ‘Well Hoseok also told me you might like me but here you are bringing a date along.’ but instead he just hums in response as he walks past Minhyuk to the sitting area. The blond follows him barely sparing a glance at the small mess they had made.

“I really didn’t want to be in costume but I felt a bit festive today.” Hyungwon tells Minhyuk as he watches the other sit opposite of him. Hyungwon’s trying to keep his cool demeanor but he can feel his heart pumping crazily under his chest. Minhyuk still looks a bit shaken up and confused but Hyungwon is glad he wasn’t trying to get back inside the party and away from him, or at least Minhyuk wasn’t doing so in an obvious manner. “I’m really sorry about your costume, I’ll still clean it up if you want.” Minhyuk says sincerely and Hyungwon instantly looks down on the white cloth that he has messily placed on his lap and the outdoor couch he was sitting on.

“I really don’t have other Halloween parties to attend but if you really want to then I’d be thankful.” Hyungwon says slowly. He places the cloth on the center table that was separating both of them and watched as Minhyuk shifted in his place. Both men were thankful for the lack of proper lighting in the area, both too scared to give away that they were nervous in front of the other. Hyungwon thinks this was it; the moment where Minhyuk grabs the white cloth and uses it as an excuse to go back inside. Minhyuk always found ways to avoid him and Hyungwon despite of himself was always letting him get away.

“Usually when something like this happens they ask for a coffee date instead.” Minhyuk says in a shaky small voice. If it was anyone but Minhyuk, Hyungwon would have verbally ripped them to shreds but the fact that the older male didn’t make a move to even come close to the table was a huge surprise for Hyungwon.

“I don’t ask coffee dates from people who have dates.” Hyungwon tries not to hiss his reply. He doesn’t know if he prefers the clumsy Minhyuk that couldn’t have a decent conversation with him or this flirty Minhyuk that everyone except Hyungwon has met.   

“I don’t have a date.” Minhyuk says in confusion, he pauses for a while and Hyungwon doesn’t dare take a breath. He’s honestly scared of whatever bullshit story Minhyuk was going for. A few moments of silence between them and the blond adds; “I came with Changkyun if that’s what you’re thinking about.”

Hyungwon feels like a dam of feelings just broke inside of him; happiness, regret, foolishness and mostly relief. He’s never met Changkyun before but the freshman was a name he’d always heard of from Kihyun and Jooheon. He could have saved himself hours of heartache had he took the time to ask any of his friends who the brunette was.

“Fucking stupid.” Hyungwon whispers at himself. He doesn’t realize that Minhyuk heard him and was looking at him quizzically.

“Who is stupid?” Minhyuk asks him immediately. From his perspective, Hyungwon was acting differently as if he was on edge. Minhyuk wanted to ask the younger if he was okay but he can’t break the conversation topic they’re getting at.

This moment was what Minhyuk had been waiting for all night and he wasn’t about to chicken out of this conversation by asking Hyungwon something completely off topic. The blond man can’t help but feel proud of himself for successfully lasting so long in Hyungwon’s immediate direction. He’s still feeling very antsy and wants nothing but to take the cloth costume and run away. Minhyuk couldn’t do that as the feeling of being in close proximity of Hyungwon was too good to pass off.

“Me. I’m stupid.” Hyungwon exclaims in frustration, the tall man runs his finger over his bangs and into his hair. Minhyuk tenses trying to understand if the other male was being sarcastic or not. “I’ve been thinking about how lucky that kid was for getting to be with you all night. I’ve been so jealous when it’s just your roommate, the kid that Jooheon won’t shut up about.” Hyungwon says.

Minhyuk’s shaking as he tries to comprehend the words he just heard. He thinks that the only explanation for it is that he got so drunk that he’s finally conjuring this whole scene inside of his head. The is no way Hyungwon would ever say those words, much less be jealous or interested in him. He slowly lifs his left hand and slaps himself firmly on the face. He winces as his hand makes contact with his face and a dull pain spread on his skin. “Why does it hurt?” He wonders loudly.

The figure of Hyungwon was still in front of him, sitting still. “Why did you slap your face? You’re seriously too much, Lee Minhyuk.” Hyungwon says as a response to Minhyuk’s act of self-inflicted violence. Minhyuk’s suddenly aware that the Hyungwon in front of him was real. They’re actually having a conversation on their feelings; especially how the other was supposedly jealous of Changkyun.

If the possibility of getting a hold of Hyungwon’s attention and maybe his heart wasn’t as big of a deal as it was to Minhyuk he would have poked fun on the other male but instead he settles with silently glowing with happiness in his seat. Minhyuk feels a new type of energy come over his senses. “Is this the moment where I ask you if you want to go on a date with me?” Minhyuk asks boldly.

Hyungwon can’t believe the words he’s hearing. Minhyuk not reacting to his statement was already alarming enough but the older man suggesting that they should go on a date was a reality Hyungwon didn’t expect in his lifetime. Even as a joke Minhyuk never flirted with him, or even joked with him.

Hyungwon would never admit to anyone that he was always so frustrated that he and Minhyuk couldn’t move past the stage of awkward acquaintances. He craved the way Minhyuk would latch on to Jooheon in a bear hug or the way the blond would go out of his way to annoy Kihyun. He wanted to be able to be close enough to Minhyuk that he could be a shoulder to lean on when the blond man wanted to sleep during long road trips in Hyunwoo’s family van.

Hyungwon wanted Minhyuk to be comfortable enough with him that he could help him when he’s hurling on one of Hoseok’s bathrooms nursing a bad hang-over. He wanted to be able to sit in a couch next to Minhyuk, maybe with their fingers interlaced as he listens to the other man chat the night away with the people around. There were so many things and experiences he wanted to do with Minhyuk and the possibility of having just a shot with the older man was slowly becoming overwhelming to him. Was Minhyuk serious or was he playing with Hyungwon?  

Minhyuk didn’t know how much confidence Hyungwon’s words gave him until he’s bravely asking Hyungwon out. He remembers that he told himself that if he gets rejected, he at least still looks good even when Hyungwon probably can’t see him in the darkness. “I mean, Hyungwon, I’m asking you on a date but please know that I will ask you to be my boyfriend in like our third date. If you actually agree on a first date with me.” The problem with Minhyuk that he acknowledges himself is that when his words start to flow, he couldn’t help but say more.

“I’ll go on that first date.” Hyungwon says before Minhyuk could mumble anymore words. He says it so smoothly and with a voice laced in absolute amusement that Minhyuk almost thinks he’s joking. “I’ll also be your boyfriend. You don’t need to ask on the third date.”

“Isn’t it too soon?” Minhyuk chokes out in disbelief. He’s flabbergasted at the fact that he is now possibly dating the love of his life and the most beautiful person he knows. He might even have tears on the corner of his eyes but he’s glad that Hyungwon isn’t able to see that.

“I’ve been waiting for two years to even have a decent conversation with you. We need to speed things up a bit, Lee.”

Hyungwon laughs as Minhyuk throws his white cloth costume to his face. It hits him softly, falling down to his shoulders and lap. In the dark he can’t see clearly what Minhyuk looks like; what face he was making. He imagines that the other man is pouting at him in embarrassment, that was a face he’s had engraved on his memory so many times.

Hyungwon is feeling it, the unspoken happiness of just sitting face to face in the darkness, both of them still unable to fully comprehend the exchange that just happened. The party inside still continues and once in a while someone would shout ‘Shut the fuck up Jimin’ but Hyungwon’s content in listening to Minhyuk excitedly finally tell someone the story of how he managed to rope Changkyun into ditching the nerd meet-up. Minhyuk and Hyungwon are glad they both finally gained someone from Hoseok’s party.

 


 

 

“Minhyuk, if I go as a vampire next Halloween you should go as a cloth ghost.”

“Why would I go as a cloth ghost for our anniversary? Who do you think I am, you?”

“You’re too distracting as anything but a cloth ghost.”

“Babe, it’s literally our first day of dating and you’re already jealous?”

“I just don’t get what you’re all dressed up for.”

“...you dumbass. I was all dressed up to look good for you.”

“You looked really good, I almost had a heart attack in the hallway when you entered. I could have been a real ghost by now.”

 “Hyungwon I’d probably still date you as a cloth ghost, or even if you’re just a ghost.”

"..."

"..."

“Cloth ghost couple costume?”

“I’m already considering breaking up with you.”