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Midnight Snack

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The house has been rather quiet for a while. You never realized simply how much noise there was even when nothing was happening–the soft hum of the television, the whir of fans, the sound of the air conditioner or heater going at any given time. There were so many ambient noises that came with day-to-day life that it was unnerving when they were all gone.

Of course, having no power in the house was rather unnerving in itself. You are thankful that it’s not freezing outside, warm enough to sleep without issue. Most of the others have gone to bed, leaving you one of the last ones awake and prowling around to tend to a very vital issue that needed your utmost attention: hunger.

Even without electricity to power the fridge you know you shouldn’t open (to conserve what chill is left in it), you still find yourself hungering for something, and whatever that something might be is left up to fate…and whatever you’d find in the cupboards first.

Tiptoeing down the stairs and through the hallway towards the kitchen, you hardly make a noise. A couple squeeks of the floorboards might have been enough to tug the likes of Hak or Jae-Ha from their slumber, but the two of them are pulling a night shift again and wouldn’t be home until sunrise at the earliest. Annoying? Yes. Really good money? Also yes, which is why they kept up with the job.

You slip through the hall with little fear of waking someone, mind already rolling over the possibilities of what you could eat that didn’t require any sort of cooking or-

A dark figure standing in the middle of the kitchen silences your thoughts and freezes your movement. All you can do is stand frozen in the kitchen’s archway, heart starting to race and thump like a rock against the inside of your chest.

The figure shifts, turning in your direction–they are massive, a huge shape of darkness that lurches towards you. Your breath all but stops inside of your lungs when a gleam of color cuts through the figure’s shadow.

Haunting golden eyes.

Thoughts of panic are quick to fill your mind, instincts piling up high on what you’re supposed to be doing in this specific situation.

Run? Scream? …Fight?

Before you are able to decide upon one however, the figure shifts, finally catching a stream of moonlight through one of the kitchen windows. You blink as recognition finally starts to settle in where fear had clutched tight to your chest.

“…Shin-Ah?”

All you get is a loud crunching in response, but it’s answer enough to confirm the shadow’s identity. You let out a sigh and lean against the doorframe, one hand rubbing over your face as adrenaline leaves your veins–at least you don’t have to learn how you’d hold up against a home invader.

Once calmed you glance up at the shape of Shin-Ah. The details of his body are more clear now that your eyes have adjusted to the darkness. But it’s definitely him, thank the stars above.

He looks at you curiously, golden eyes washing you over with warmth enough that whatever feelings of apprehension are fully lost from your mind.

“What are you doing down here?” you ask, taking a step into the kitchen with renewed hunger.

Shin-Ah shrugs.

“…Got hungry,” he murmurs, looking back to a bowl he holds in one hand, the other rummaging through it’s unseen contents and popping something into his mouth.

“At 2 in the morning?”

The man doesn’t say anything. His eyes are answer enough as he looks at you, a single brow quirked as if to ask you the same question–you know what? That was fair. The two of you were in the same boat. He pops more of the unknown snack into his mouth, teeth crunching on the contents.

You eye him for a few moments, curiosity coloring your thoughts.

“So...what are you eating?”

A few steps take you closer to him, close enough that you manage but a glance to what’s in the bowl before he gently tugs it up and out of your view.

“Shin-Ah,” the name sounds a little too firm on your lips as you try to uselessly reach for the bowl he keeps just out of your grasp, the man’s expression somehow equally cool and flustered all at the same time. “I want to see what you’re eating! I don’t remember us having anything that crunchy!”

The two of you lightly struggle in the dark kitchen for a few breaths longer until--finally!--you manage to tug the bowl away from him.

Though you’re not quite sure what to expect when you glance inside, it certainly isn’t what you find instead: unpopped popcorn kernels. Just. A whole bunch of them. As if poured right out of a bag--they’re still covered in butter-flavored oil, or whatever it is that’s packaged with the kernels.

Did....did Shin-Ah just open up a bag of popcorn and start eating it?

Though the answer is obvious, you still feel yourself stiff with confusion, not even fighting as he is finally able to steal back the bowl from your hands. In but the same moment, expression utterly deadpan, Shin-Ah takes several kernels between his fingers and eats them, teeth crunching oh-so-loudly on the hard, unpopped pieces.

Oh. So that was the noise.

“You can’t just eat unpopped kernels!” you whisper loudly, not wanting to wake the others--but you are so terribly tempted with the knowledge now implanted in your brain. “That’s horrible for your teeth! Why are you doing....this?”

You make a grand gesture with your hands at him as if to somehow encompass the atrocity that is eating unpopped kernels of popcorn.

All the blue dragon can do is shrug, and somehow managing to look endearing while doing it--he crunches on another several kernels as you only stare in complete horror.

“No electricity, was hungry,” he says, tilting his head to the side as he looks at you with a touch too much of his endearing honesty. “ ‘s not that bad, really.”

You really have to wonder how that isn’t hurting his teeth.

Despite the power of wondering, your hunger still gnaws at your stomach--now there’s a vengeance to the pain as if it had been wronged by being made to wait. Though you do your best not to pay Shin-Ah much mind in his odd choice of snack, rummaging through the cupboards doesn’t yield very much of an offering.

A package of pop tarts, some chips, candy....nothing with all that much sustenance, but food all the same since you’re more or less locked out of scoping food options from the fridge or freezer.

You’re about to relinquish yourself to the few snacks you managed to find, but a hand on your shoulder pulls your attention away. Face turned, you see Shin-Ah holding out a half-finished bag of beef jerky in your direction.

“We still had some?” you ask, taking it before sitting yourself up on the counter beside where the man leans. “I thought the others had eaten it all up--hey, why didn’t you just eat this?”

You open the bag all the same and start chewing on a piece of the jerky, half-expecting for your night time snack partner to merely shrug--assuming he offered an answer at all.

But he surprises you with one.

“...I thought you’d come down here for a snack,” Shin-Ah says softly. You’re not sure if it’s a trick of the darkness, but you swear that there was a touch of pink on his cheeks. “I saved it for you in case you wanted it.”

The moment felt sweet for all of two seconds before he crunches loudly on more kernels, though all you can do at the sound, the situation, the mere fact that Shin-Ah is in a dark kitchen at 2 in the morning eating unpopped popcorn kernels--

All you can do is laugh.