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Mingyu really, truly despises Halloween.

Sure, dressing up is fun and he cannot deny the pleasure he’s revelled in when he’s gone all out on his costumes. Mario his freshman year, a vampire the next (a cute, nice one that only drank blood donations, he insisted to everyone he talked to at that year’s party), and a very detailed and impressive Edward Scissorhands last year. It was always fun to go all out, he enjoyed the creativity and shopping involved with the process.

But despite his love of costumes, Halloween always provides more things he hates than those he enjoys.

The marathon of horror films his roommates/friends put him through every year, the creepy decorations that always make him jump out of his skin on his walks home from his part-time job late at night, the stupid pranks and jump scares everyone seems to think are so hilarious to pull on him...

Halloween is in less than two weeks and he’s already ready for it to be over.

The bell attached to the door of the convenience store jingles and he all but leaps out of his skin at the sudden sound of it. Letting out a puff of air, he childishly glares at the giant tissue paper jack-o-lantern his boss hung from the ceiling earlier that day.

“Hello,” he greets to the unseeable customer, straightening himself up behind the counter. He glances at his phone and checks the time: 10:34. Just about 90 more minutes of his shift before he can head home.

He’s about to start restocking cigarettes when the customer comes into view, causing Mingyu to naturally smile.

Jun, one of his roommates, grins back at him, before unloading his arms onto the checkout counter. 3 bottles of milk tea, 2 Colas, and a couple bags of Turtle Chips. Mingyu sighs, because he knows this purchase can only mean one thing.

“Again? Didn’t you guys just have movie night on Monday?” he whines, ringing up all the items.

“Can you have too many movie nights?” Jun asks rhetorically, his head cutely cocked. Mingyu just lets out another whimper.

“Will you at least be finished by the time I get home? I still haven’t recovered from opening the door and seeing…” some guy’s internal organs spilling out of his stomach as his girlfriend screeches in horror at the sight. Mingyu visibly shivers as he pulls out a plastic bag.

Jun cracks open one of the milk teas and takes a long swig, slipping his card into the chip reader. “Don’t worry, no gore this time. Wonwoo wanted something more psychological.”

Mingyu groans, his head tilting back. That’s even worse.

He feels Jun pull the bag from his hand and begin to pack up his own items.

“Have you decided on your costume yet? Shua’s party is in a week.”

He hadn’t forgotten about it but Mingyu was still torn about what to wear this year. Wonwoo had already decided back in July that he was going as Steve from Stranger Things. Mingyu had gotten a sneak peek of his Scoops Ahoy sailor outfit and he had to admit that his hyung was pretty adorable. Jun was going at a giant Coke can, which seemed a bit boring, but he knew witnessing him trying to maneuver around at the party as a giant cylinder would be hysterical. Jun always did physical humor the best out of all of them.

And, truthfully, Mingyu was relieved they weren’t doing couple costumes this year either. He wasn’t secure enough to feel left out of their trio that much, as silly as it seemed.

“I got a few ideas. Just need to pick one.”

“You should do something scary,” Jun tells him. Mingyu pulls a face.

“Uh, yeah right.”

“What? Wonwoo is cute, my costume is funny… you can be spooky!”

“I don’t do spooky anything, hyung. You know that.”

“Okay, well… then do sexy,” Jun replies with a smirk. Mingyu feels his cheeks heat up quickly but he does his best to keep a straight expression.

“Maybe that’s what I was planning on,” he tells the other pointedly. It’s all faux confidence though because all of Mingyu’s costumes ideas had been cute or funny. He didn’t know where to begin with sexy costumes.

“I look forward to it then! Maybe a sexy costume will finally give you the confidence to talk to Mingh--”

Mingyu is shoving the plastic bag into Jun’s face before the other boy can finish his sentence. He knows where his hyung is going; he and Wonwoo have been grilling him over his silly crush for about a year now.

Thankfully, Jun shuts up and simply grins, obnoxiously waving goodbye before he scoops up the bag and bounces out of the store.

When Mingyu hears the bell on the top of the door jingle, he quickly grabs his phone and pulls up Naver, typing as quickly as his pudgy fingers will go:

SEXY HALLOWEEN COSTUME IDEAS

---

“Boo!”

Mingyu’s entire body convulses, limbs flailing and knocking over his large iced Americano.

Directly onto all of his class notes.

“Hyung!” he wails, frantically trying to dab up the spilled drink to save the hours of work he’s been slaving over. He can hear Wonwoo cackling behind him and he spares a moment to glare at the older boy.

“God, it’s hilarious every time,” Wonwoo manages to get out between wheezes, wiping at the tears that very well could be real considering how hard he was laughing.

Wonwoo is kind enough to eventually help clean up the mess, pointlessly shaking out Mingyu’s textbook that is now filled with pages very much stained a shade of coffee brown.

Once the mess is taken care of, Mingyu sulks at the sight of his now empty cup. He’s got a menacingly, looming amount of cramming to do and now he has nothing to caffeinate himself.

“So…” Wonwoo drawls out, evidently unaware of the crisis Mingyu is internally facing. “Thought of a costume yet?”

Mingyu tilts his head to look at the other, jaw slack. Wonwoo simply blinks back at him through his glasses, stone-faced as ever.

“Hyung, how can you be worrying about my costume when midterms start in two days?!”

Wonwoo rolls his eyes. “How many times have I told you that cramming isn’t effective? You’re wasting your time. If you don’t know the material by now, you won’t remember it anyway.”

“That’s not true! Last year I--” Wonwoo’s hand is suddenly pressed to his mouth.

“Mingyu. Costume.”

“No! Okay? I haven’t thought of one yet!”

“Tch,” Wonwoo tsks, adjusting his glasses for no reason because he moves them up and then back into the same position. “Sexy is so easy, you should have a plethora of ideas.”

“How on Earth is sexy easy? I never do sexy!” Mingyu gripes, pressing his pencil a bit too hard against his wet notebook pages, the tip shredding through the damp paper.

“There are so many options. Sexy nurse, sexy devil, sexy cowboy,” he rattles off with his fingers. The ease with which he names them causes Mingyu to grind his teeth.

“So what then? I should be a sexy cowboy?”

“No. You can’t use those now, they’re my ideas.”

What? You’re not the first person to think of sexy nurse as a costume!”

“True,” Wonwoo nods. “But I thought of it before you, so I officially have staked my claim.”

“You’re going as a Scoops Ahoy employee!” Mingyu cries out, pointing at the elder dramatically with his coffee-tipped pencil.

“Yeah, but there’s always next year. Can never start planning too early.”

With that, Wonwoo smiles at him and claps him on the shoulder before sauntering off to the living room. Mingyu overhears him ask Jun about continuing their ‘Scream’ marathon from the other night.

Mingyu checks his phone and groans at the sight of October 19th, collapsing on his desk with a thud.

Another 12 days of this absolute torture.

---

If Mingyu had to describe what an ethereal experience was to someone, the closest thing he could think to compare it to would be stepping out of a classroom after his final exam for the season.

He’s so caught up in holding in tears of pure joy that he jolts when Jun jumps at his back and all but koala-clings onto him.

“Hey!”

Mingyu’s too happy to shove his hyung off, so he instead grins at him. “What’s up?”

Beside Jun, another figure appears and Mingyu doesn’t think much of it until the face comes into focus. And when he realizes who it is, he feels his smile begin to falter. Not for lack of joy but for the sudden wave of nervousness that crashes down on him.

Xu Minghao seems oblivious to his reaction because his eyes are focused on Jun, whose nose is obnoxiously close to Mingyu’s ear.

“Gege, you’ll be there later?” Mingyu can hear Minghao ask, even though his ears feel like they are stuffed full of cotton. His mouth feels that way too.

“Yeah! Wonwoo and I will be there. Mingyu, do you wanna come?”

“Huh?” Mingyu replies dumbly, eyes never leaving Minghao.

“Minghao has been helping out with a production of Rocky Horror,” Jun tells him, breath annoyingly warm on Mingyu’s cheek.

“Tonight’s the one and only performance,” Minghao chimes in, a small smile twitching at his lips.

Mingyu realizes he should respond and the silence stretches just into slightly awkward; but he’s too distracted forcing himself to stop staring so openly at Minghao’s face. His cute ears, his adorable nose, his lovely eyes... Minghao? In Rocky Horror? His brain might explode--

“If you have other plans, it’s fine,” Minghao adds on, his expression shifting into not clear disappointment but something that is more... guarded.

“No!” Mingyu all but yells, causing Jun to lean his head back and away to protect his hearing. “I’ll be there.”

He grins probably a bit too much because Minghao’s eyebrows furrow before he giggles, which only causes Mingyu’s smile to stretch even more, cheeks nearly aching.

“Okay, cool. See you guys later!”

With that Minghao sets off into a jog ahead of them and Mingyu is so content watching him that he stumbles when Jun yanks him into a playful headlock.

“Why don’t you just ask him out already?”

Heat bursts beneath Mingyu’s cheeks and he wiggles free from his hyung, shoving him aside.

“Shut up,” he mutters, only to get laughter in response.