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Look at the stars, how I shine for you

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Space is cold.

It's cold relative to the warmth he might have felt before, but the statement still stands that space is cold. And unforgiving. He should add on that part. The part he knows about because he's one of the reasons for it. In the far reaches, where the stars don't shine, is where he stays.

Yunho watches galaxies form and decay from a distance until he gets too close. He watches them implode into nothing, eating themselves up into hard masses that he swallows without a second thought. Without a whisper of an apology because he is the unforgiving reaches of space. Far away from where the lights dance until it is time for them to flicker out with not even a whimper.

He's resigned himself to this fate. It's simply a matter of how it works, how it is. The planets move and their moons shadow them like scorned lovers, close enough but not too close. He watches as new stars begin to dot the darkness, lighting a path for someone - anyone, whoever - to see. Wishes that could be, or never would.

The poeticism of life and decay is really great stuff, especially when you have nothing better to do. Because while space is cold and he is alone, there are few things that truly occupy his time.

It's not until there's a flicker of light too close for comfort. He's pulled it into his gravitational pull and before he knows he's met with the floating mass of light that is too bright to be dead. And it -- he -- isn't. He rides on a comet, watches as Yunho forces the heat from it until it's another cold mass falling in on itself.

This is how he meets San, a burst of light and fire and bubbling with the life of a thousand constellations that he can see in his eyes.

"Do you always make entrances with like that?"

It's met with a grin, a dimple winking at him from his cheek. "Sometimes you have to make a grand entrance to impress someone."

Yunho blinks, and San continues to wear that grin like he hasn't just ridden up to a black hole on a dying comet. "What do they call you, space cowboy?"

"What's a cowboy?"

"I don't know but it felt appropriate."

"I like it." His grin widens, he comes closer. "Call me San."

"Yunho."

"I know."

They stare at each other, streams of stars and glowing space drifting towards the darkness that is Yunho. San seems to realize how close he's come, moving back enough that Yunho isn't draining him entirely. He doesn't ask how the other knows him. It sparks a bit of warmth in him, and he'd rather not deny it by asking for information that could snuff it out just like that.

"You seem lonely." San twirls a star around his finger like it's nothing and Yunho watches the little ball of light flicker through the orbit. "So I came to see you."

Yunho frowns and the cosmos shift a moment. He never asked why he came. "Why would you?"

"No one should be lonely." Lips purse, and Yunho holds his breath in the oxygen-less expanse he inhabits. "Not even you."

"I'm not lonely."

"Uh huh."

"I'm not."

San considers this. Tips his head to the side and the two lock eyes. His eyes are hazy collections of galaxies in rotation. A shooting star flies through them. "Alright, then." And he flickers out of existence.

It's cold when he's gone.

 

Time is different in space, in the dark corner Yunho resides in. There is no sun to tell the time by. No dance between the great big ball of gas and a spherical rock that he can watch the minutes roll on by. So he doesn't know how long it's been when he sees San next, but he's greeted by a burst of light not unlike the first time. It's different this time, though.

San drags a constellation with him. Or, well, he hurls it at Yunho until the pattern of it burns into him. He's wearing that grin again, shimmering in his own brilliance. It's not a constellation he'd ever seen before, and he certainly hasn't eaten it.

"What was that?" He's more curious than annoyed, voice rising just a touch.

"Stars."

"I know they're stars, but what was it?"

"Oh." San raises a hand, presses a finger to his lips in mock thought. His gaze is steady and he's close again -- close enough that Yunho could wrap him up in one go and swallow the brightness of him -- "Your constellation. My gift."

"A gift?" It shakes him from the train of thought of what he'd look like when he wasn't so bright. It's hard to star at him so directly, but so tempting. Shimmering strands fall into his face and a cluster of stars at his cheeks turn red.

"Yeah, a gift." He blinks and the red fades, ebbing away like a moon-driven tide. "Figure you don't get many."

"That's very nice of you." A beat. "Why do it?"

"Don't you give your friends gifts?"

"I don't have friends."

San's mouth falls open in a silent oh, as if remembering this for the first time. "That's right." His moment of shock is passed with ease. "Well, now you have one." He grins.

Yunho wouldn't say he hates San's visits. They're bursts of life in the death of his corner and he's knocked from his morbid routine of watching stars die whenever he comes around. He welcomes San with arms about as open as he can allow, before the other risks being drained.

He sits on a free-floating chunk of debris, regaling the black hole with tales of humans and their space advances. Of course, he can travel far enough, fast enough to know this. When Yunho remarks on this, San stops. Grins like always.

“I burn a little harder than most.”

“Is that so?” He’s not an expert on how stars work; he just eats them. “Does it mean you die faster?”

San pales, but he plays it off. “What — can’t wait to get your lips on me?”

“N-no.” Yunho thinks the faint glow of blue is what a blush should be on him. San has a matches pink one crossing the star paths over his cheeks.

“I wouldn’t mind it.” It’s a chance, and Yunho takes it.

"If I didn't know any better I'd think you were trying to flirt with me."

This breaks their tempo, throws the other off balance. "I-I mean. I. Iamflirting. With you."

A pause, and the beat sets back. The not-so-subtle dance of coming too close and backing off begins anew as San drifts away, waiting waiting waiting. He’s nothing but expectant of the other to give a response, but he’s dumbstruck. Yunho had thought of it as nothing more than a joke, and him an odd visitor who didn’t make the black hole feel like the outlier, the devourer of lights. Yunho's been silent for too long and then San is gone.

It's quiet when he leaves.

 

Time passes as it always did before San, but it hurts. It’s too quiet, too dark and he wonders how he’d managed to go on like this for so long. He curls in on himself, but it does nothing. He doesn’t radiate the warmth he needs the way San did. He drips darkness on sputtering planets and stars, drowning them in his dark tide until they are no more. He washes out constellations — remembers the many San had gifted him, each one uniquely his — and his darkness burns harder.

This is how he carries his time, each planet gone in his grief marking an eon passed in mourning for what could have been. Ruined by the quiet of space. He’s never felt it as bad as he does now, but he is lonely out in his pocket of nothingness. He’s the only one there and when something finds him their fate is inevitable. Maybe they would have been the same way and this is how he slips into acceptance of what he has caused.

He should be grateful. It means he wouldn’t have to watch the light sputter out of San, watch the heavenly bodies in his eyes fade into blackness. Yunho basks in this small comfort until he no longer can when the inevitability of time and fate brought them together again in the worst of ways.

When a star burns hot and bright, too hot and too bright, it burns itself away. He wonders if that was what San had been doing all this time. Floating in space to burn away into nothingness. But he’s too bright for that and now he’s reaching his peak. He a searing flame that Yunho has to turn away from. So harsh that even he can feel the blaze.

San’s smile is sad, small. “Hi, Yunho.”

“Do you always burn this bright?” His reward is a giggle, sweet and brilliant like the cosmos.

“Just for you.”

In the grand scheme of things, it means nothing. But to Yunho, it means everything. He weeps more of empty space and San gets closer than he’s ever been. He can feel the heat of a thousand suns and then some on his cheeks as San cups his face. His grin is back and Yunho doesn’t know why. He doesn’t get to ask, as San backs away — not too far, but far enough that the other aches and the heat of his hands are missed.

The universe moved in chaotic and practical ways. Stars aligned and oddities or anomalies occurred that were hailed or feared. When a star dies, the last remnants of nuclear energy travel to its core. San is no different. His smile remains as the rest of him flickers out of existence — it’s a haunting sight. Knowing that the dimple he’s grown used to seeing, the dotting of heat along the other’s cheeks — are gone. Until they are not.

It’s as flashy as the first time the two had met, a brilliant explosion of light and color and Yunho is close enough to absorb it. He feels himself getting sucked in and he accepts with open arms, pulling right back.

In the void of space, it is cold and lonely. He thinks on this as he opens his eyes, awash in darkness. But he is not cold, and he is not alone. A collision course of two black holes has only one result.

“Did you have to make it that flashy?”

“You have to do flashy things if you wanna impress someone.”