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midnights (your kiss is like fireworks)

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Kihyun stood out on the patio under the deck.

It was cold and dark outside.

Cold because the outfit he was wearing wasn't enough to defeat the temperature. He was trying so hard embracing himself. Minhyuk was outside at midnight, Kihyun observes him quietly because it was dark and dark meant Kihyun was in the shadows.

Staying hidden from the people. This was the only place they wouldn't find him — but only Minhyuk knew where he was. He always find Kihyun. But Kihyun just let the latter had fun and let himself be. He knows he’s gonna miss out the excitement, but that’s the whole part of it.

God, Hyungwon should’ve never insisted him to come here every year. It’s a waste.

He just watches his friend talking to someone who was rather more above than Kihyun’s level. He was talking to a girl with long hair and long body, talking to Minhyuk with complete interest to the latter.

Kihyun leaned back on Hyungwon’s house. And grabbed the snack he stole from Hyungwon's display of treats. The weather was too cold for Kihyun’s liking but the snack was nice so he never minded it. Kihyun could hear the music inside the house but Minhyuk’s laughter was more audible to him as he looks at the two with some sort of weird feeling.

The music started to fade— which means the countdown was starting.

“Ten!” Someone shouted. Kihyun thinks its Jun.

“Nine!” More people joined in.

Minhyuk smiles brightly and Kihyun's chews on his food. More people continued to count off.

“Eight!”

Kihyun’s snack is already empty. He took one glance at the two.

“Seven!”

Kihyun knows he’s gonna miss the whole thing. And this time, he’s never gonna expect anything.

+

Dec. 31, 2015, almost midnight

“Any recommendations that doesn’t have cucumbers in it?”

Kihyun pauses for a bit. He was almost grabbing the potato chips and two boxes of cookies for his own when someone jumps right into him. The red haired blinks. “What?”

“The food. Are there cucumbers in them?” the boy asked, points out the food Hyungwon’s mother prepared. Kihyun knows his mother is a good cook and Hyungwon would usually bragged about it. But Kihyun had caught his eyes on the snacks that was only for later. And he was for sure gonna be dead at this moment if someone caught him.

The boy waits for his reply. Kihyun crosses his eyes on the food pointed out. “Uhh.. there isn’t. Why?” he knows it was not his business to ask back but what kind of person questions a random stranger( that was happily getting snacks) if there's any cucumbers on the food. Right?

“Not my cup of tea” He says plainly but there was still a sly smile on his face. Kihyun scrunches his face but the boy continued. “Wouldn’t it be disgusting if cucumbers are there though? Actually— wouldn’t it be disgusting that they actually existed?”

“I have no idea” Kihyun said. “Seems like that’s a you problem”

The boy exasperated. Kihyun almost thought he might have triggered him. “Are you kidding me? I’ve been endlessly avoiding them. It's such a struggle.”

The boy leans on one of the countertops, meant that he was gladly enjoying him having more conversation about his cucumber ranting to Kihyun. The boy had blond hair and wooden brown eyes. He was wearing a black shirt that says ‘The comment section is dead’ following a huge gooey monster doodle in it.

“I’m not really a fan of them but I don’t say that I don’t like them too. ” Kihyun said.

“Were opposites then. ” the boy replied. He looks at Kihyun with curious eyes. His interest piqued already to their conversation, “You’d think I would be— if I actually eat one, it could kill me. If you try one of the food it could kill you too. Be aware of it.”

The red haired snorts. Decided to grab one of the chips. “I'm not a food expert but I’m pretty sure cucumbers aren’t like that.”

The boy puckers his lips. Looking sadly at the buffet that was prepared. The boy was pale. And skinny. And it was evident he was saddened to Kihyun’s response.“But cucumbers specifically is a threat to me. They're more like assassins, than, like, possible dangers.”

Kihyun shoves some chips in his mouth and started to chew. He squints at the boy trying to point out on something. “Are you allergic to cucumbers?”

The boy looks at him. “So-so. ”

“Damn. ” Kihyun says. “What did the cucumbers do to you?”

The boy laughed.“Worst. The bane of my existence. Would rather die than live with cucumbers. ”

“Yeah?” Kihyun puffs out a laugh under his breath. The music, which was too loud from the start, started to drift down. “It’s almost midnight, bitches!” Someone shouted for everyone to hear.

Many people were rustling outside. They both looked around. Kihyun saw Hyungwon. They were friends for too long and it was the first time he held a New Year’s Eve party. He had been promising about it for too long and actually invited the whole circle of friends he has. Kihyun, at age eighteen, had ever been invited to.

“Ten!” Hyungwon shouted first. He was skinny ( a living skeleton, Kihyun usually teases) but it was a shock that he let out such a strong shout.

“Nine!” Everyone seemed to have gathered outside and all of them were now shouting.

“Eight!”

“I’m Minhyuk. ” the boy said. Stretching his hand out for Kihyun to shake.

Kihyun puts the empty bag of chips on the trash and brush off some crumbs before he shook his hand back. “Kihyun”

“Four!”

“Three!”

“Nice talking with you, Kihyun. ” Minhyuk smiles.

Kihyun smiled back. “Same to you, Minhyuk. Congratulations on still being alive during the existence of cucumbers. ”

“Yeah. I almost wanted to eat that salad over there.” he gestures to the bowl full of greens.

“Yeah. ” Kihyun could practically hear the sound of fireworks lighting up and a bunch of people cheering cheerfully in the background. “That was a close call. ”

+

December 31, 2016, almost midnight

Minhyuk slides down the wall besides Kihyun. His shoulder bumped against his. Next thing he did was to blow a paper horn right in front of the boy. “Kihyun! Hey! ”

“Hey. ” Kihyun faces him. Minhyuk was wearing a flannel shirt and a v-neck under it, making some of his collarbones showed off. Minhyuk was pale after all so it was quite evident how easily he gets flushed. And right now he was really flushed from his neck. “You’ve been dancing too much.”

“I like to dance, Ki” Minhyuk says as he leaned to Kihyun. The nickname has been a habit for Minhyuk, the latter didn’t mind it.

“I know you do. ” Kihyun replies.

“And this is the only opportunity I could get. ”

Kihyun arche one of his brows.

“I like to dance in public, dummy. ” Minhyuk slightly slaps his arm. “With other people. It makes it easier to communicate. ”

“Everything to you sounds easy.” Kihyun leans more on the wall. Minhyuk leans more to him. “By the way, I've saved your ugly tie. ” He throws it at Minhyuk. The blond was dancing everywhere and when he danced on the table like a madman, he threw the tie to him.

“It’s polka dots! They're not ugly.” Minhyuk whines. Moving childishly like he wasn’t getting anything he wants.

Kihyun shakes his head, annoyed by his childish actions.“Well it is. ”

Feeling defeated, Minhyuk didn’t argue more. “But thanks though. That was a nice catch. But I was trying to lure you out on the dance floor. ” He slings the tie around his neck.

“Minhyuk, that was a coffee table not a dance floor.”

“Still, there was room for two, Ki. ”

Kihyun wrinkles his nose, considering. “There wasn't. It's too small.”

“There's always a room for the two of us, ” he said. “You’re my best friend, afterall. ”

“Changkyun is your best friend. ” Kihyun says back. He could feel Minhyuk shifting a bit. “You have many best friends. ”

Minhyuk turned his grin in front of him. “But especially you. It’s our anniversary. I can’t believe you wouldn't dance with me in our anniversary. ” He pouts, making him look like a poodle. Possibly.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. ” he said.(Kihyun definitely knows what he’s talking about).

“It happened right here. ” Minhyuk points out the prepared buffet table where Hyungwon’s mom usually prepare plus the snacks his friend always ordered. “You saved my life when I almost ate that damn cucumber. You look like you’ve just came out from the Marvels. ”

“I only told you that the food had cucumbers in it.” Kihyun rolled his eyes.

“Heroically. ” Minhyuk corrects him.

Kihyun stands up from where he was sitting. He looks down at Minhyuk who had a sly smile on his face. “Did you eat Mrs. Chae’s specialty today?”

“See. Still saving my life.”

Kihyun groans.

“Seriously. Did you?”

“No. But the cocktail that some kind granny offered. She kinda tricked me. I can feel my mouth getting tingly.” Minhyuk confess. Showing his mouth on display.

Kihyun squinted at him. “Minhyuk, are you okay?”

He looks up at Kihyun. He looked okay. Just kinda flushed and sweaty and hair tousled everywhere on his head. His teeth was too big for his mouth. And his mouth was too big for his face. He was smiling. Very wide. Kihyun thinks there’s no room left on his face except for his smile.

“I’m fine, Ki.” he kindly reassures. “I’ll tell you if my tongue gets puffy. ”

“Keep your lewd allergic reactions to yourself. ” Kihyun had said.

Minhyuk stands up. Leveling Kihyun's height except he was taller than him. Minhyuk wiggles his brows. “Not only cucumbers though. You should see me eat shrimps.”

Kihyun widens his eyes. “Shrimps? You're allergic to them too?” Minhyuk nods. “Wait, What happens if you ate them?” Kihyun was curious all of a sudden.

“Puffy cheeks and runny nose. ” He waves his hand in front of his chest, halfheartedly.

Kihyun frowns. “Seriously. How can you live like this?”

“Through the everyday efforts of everyday heroes like yourself. ” he proudly answers.

“Then don't eat the pink salad. ”Kihyun said. “It's shrimp.”

Minhyuk flicked the tie around him and put it on Kihyun’s neck and then smiles at him. He always smiles to him or to other people. But it was different than a grin. “Thanks.”

Kihyun didn’t say anything but only looks down to where the tie hangs on his neck and his shirt with a yellow cardigan on it. “It matches my clothes even if it's ugly”. Minhyuk slaps his shoulder on his joke. “Honestly I would look like Spongebob if it was red.”

“Meanie. ” Minhyuk retorts. And Kihyun could only laugh at his reaction. “But you look cute though. ”

Kihyun stops laughing mid way. “What?”

“Everything matches you.” Minhyuk compliments him. Even if Minhyuk just said it normally or probably a hundred times already—there was a bothersome feeling that was building inside Kihyun's insides. He tries to not mind it.

“Thanks. I feel like I’m a colorful Muppet or something,” he said. “One of the fuzzy ones.”

“I like it. ” Minhyuk said. “You’d be the center of attraction.”

Kihyun couldn’t tell if he was making fun of him or not so he changed the subject.“Where did your friend go? Changkyun?”

“He’s over there. ” Minhyuk pointed somewhere in the room. Kihyun looks at where he pointed out and saw a brunette boy leaning on the wall, one hand holding a party cup. “He’s waiting for Hyungwon to casually to get in position when midnight strikes. ”

“So he can kiss him?”

“Indeed. ” Minhyuk replies. “On the mouth with a tongue and sucking each others faces if the plan goes well. ”

“That’s so gross. ” Kihyun said while he fiddled Minhyuk’s tie. He was right, it wasn’t ugly at all.

“The kissing?”

“No…. Kissing is fine.. it's just.. ” Kihyun rambles, could feel his cheeks heating. The light from their spot was a bit dim so Minhyuk couldn’t tell that he was blushing all over his neck and cheeks. “What's gross is using New Year's Eve as an excuse to kiss someone who might not want to kiss you.”

“Maybe Hyungwon does want to kiss Changkyun too. ”

“Maybe Hyungwon just pities him since it would be really awkward. ” Kihyun reasoned out. He knew he's talking useless right now. But he somehow continues.

“And he’ll do it anyway because he feels like he has to.”

“You make it sound like my friend would maul him.” Minhyuk giggles.“He’ll just do the eye contact thingy. ”

Kihyun gave him a look. “What eye contact thingy?”

Minhyuk swung his head around and made eye contact to Kihyun. The blond was a bit too close to his face and Kihyun wishes the sound of his own heart beating would somehow shuts up. Minhyuk raises his brows hopefully; his eyes went soft as possible, making it look like he wanted to say : Hey, is it okay to kiss you?

“Oh. ” Kihyun backs a bit. Even though the eye contact made him look strange, he shouldn’t be brutally honest with him. “That's really good.”

Minhyuk snapped out if—and made a face that said, Well, duh. “Of course, it's good. I've kissed someone before.”

“Have you? ”. Kihyun knows he talks to some random people he met just for fun. But he never heard Minhyuk dated someone before. And Kihyun would've heard it, obviously. He's part of Minhyuk's four to five bestfriends.

“Yep.” He says, popping the last syllable. “Four girls. Eight different occasions. Sounds like a porn title right?”

Kihyun would've said something stupid like: “Yes poop brains, the only thing missing is you having your own porn video”. But he doesn’t. He thinks on what Minhyuk had just shared with him. That’s significantly more kissing than Kihyun had managed throughout his life. He knows Minhyuk is a fun guy and entertains people like it's his everyday job.

But it's weird…Too weird for Kihyun to imagine Minhyuk kissing someone when the blond doesn’t even do accurate eye contact.

Kihyun looks at Changkyun. He was near by the television. Studying his phone. And Hyungwon was a few distance to him, talking to some of his friends.

“Still.” Kihyun said.“It feels like cheating.”

“How is it cheating?” Minhyuk asked, following his eyes. “Neither of them is in a relationship.”

“Idiot, not that kind of cheating. ” he says. Looking somewhere besides Minhyuk’s eyes. He tries to mix all the words together without stating the obvious to his feelings. “It's like…. you're forgetting the basic rules. If you like someone, you have to make an effort to it. You should make time to get to know them more. You should work on someone's first kiss. ”

“Changkyun and your friend, Hyungwon, already knew each other. ”Minhyuk said. “Plus, that's the plan. ”

“Yes.” Kihyun agrees. “But they haven’t dated. Hyungwon doesn't even know if Changkyun is interested in him.”

“It takes time. Destiny has its ways. ” Minhyuk concludes. “I mean.. Look at Changkyun over there.”

Kihyun did. The younger was wearing all black. Black sweatshirt and black jeans that matches his brunet hair and piercings. Kihyun is close to Changkyun, not that much but the younger would gladly talk to Kihyun whenever they have the chance. The younger really likes dark fashion and Kihyun couldn’t lie it fits his personality so well. Monotone, has a smart mouth if he has the energy to and Changkyun is funny. Plus, he got a tattoo hiding somewhere on his back and on his wrist.

“That kid may seem intimidating to look at but trust me, when it comes to your skinny friend. He's in shambles. It's entertaining to look at. ” Minhyuk said. And he's not lying. Kihyun was intimidated to him back then when they first met. Kihyun would get too uncomfortable with him, thinking the younger would murder him in a blink of his eye. But as he knew more of the guy, it's quite a surprise that he wasn't exactly what Kihyun have thought to be.

“Now look at Hyungwon. ”Kihyun looked at his friend. He was now standing on the dj set. He was the one in charge for all the music after all.

Hyungwon was rather tall and lanky, it was obvious by his skinny frame. He was more silent and lazy (which Kihyun hates so much) but he has good humor that never fails for everyone to laugh. Hyungwon became Kihyun's friend after he broke one of Kihyun's figurines. Promising he would replaced it but he didn't until now. But it was all in the past when the tall man started to hang out with Kihyun everyday. Despite how irritating Hyungwon is who doesn't do anything productive to help Kihyun. Despite that, the latter still enjoys the talks and their silly fights they could share with each other.

“They both go well with each other. ” Minhyuk said. He leaned on the wall when Kihyun did and he gestures the two subjects they were talking about. “And all they need is this moment. Maybe midnight is exactly what they need right now. ”

Kihyun turns his head to Minhyuk. He was looking straight at the crowd having the time of their lives at the end of the year while the two together had a heart to heart talk. Well, it's not even like that but you get Kihyun's point.

It's weird. That they were talking and not Minhyuk dancing around whilst Kihyun watching his friend embarrass himself. It's weird that they were playing cupid for their friends. It's weird that Kihyun doesn't have to steal Hyungwon's chips and sneak his way out to his backyard and be alone.It's weird he could smell Minhyuk's lingering scent of mint.

It's weird that Kihyun is getting weirder every time Minhyuk is here with him.

“You're being too melodramatic. ” Kihyun sayid

“Life or death situations gets me everytime. ”

“Like coffee table dancing?” Kihyun turns his head to him without thinking.

Minhyuk shakes his head. Then he looks at Kihyun. Their eyes met. Weird. “The cucumber cocktail. ” he sticks his tongue out. “Duth ith look puffy?”

Kihyun tried to take a good look on his tongue when the music started to fade out.

“It's almost midnight!” Yuna shouted, jumping on the couch to make them aware that it was now time for everyone to do the countdown.

Changkyun looks at his phone. And made an inch move to where Hyungwon was standing.

“Nine!” The room shouted.

“Eight!”

“Your tongue looks normal. ”Kihyun said.

Minhyuk smiles to him again when he pulled his tongue back.

Kihyun raises his brows. Not noticing he was doing it.

“Happy anniversary, Ki.” Minhyuk's wooden brown eyes went soft. Or at least, that's what Kihyun thinks.

Kihyun smiles. Because his mind can't circuit well in front of him. The thumping of his heart was so weird and new. “Happy anniversary, Min. ”

Minhyuk smiled even more. And Kihyun let that weird feeling overcame him again.

“Four!”

But it didn't last long. Like a firework that didn't ignite its own sparks. Like a candle putting off its own light. Like Kihyun's own shattering heart when someone turned Minhyuk around the other way, facing his back to Kihyun.

Hera. Kihyun knows her. She was popular and Kihyun wasn't. She was known to be very popular among the whole campus. She was good at playing the violin and she was pretty. So when she turned Minhyuk around, there was a glint of her blue eyes that Kihyun knew all along.

“Happy New Year!” she shouts to them.

“Not yet” Kihyun said.

“One!”

“Happy New Year.” Minhyuk says to Hera. Then to Kihyun but it was all meant for Hera. If only Kihyun was the only one who got told by it.

And when the cheering increases. Hera leaned towards Minhyuk, and Minhyuk leaned towards her, and they kissed.

+

December 31, 2017, almost midnight

Avoiding Minhyuk was not one of Kihyun’s dumb strategic plan. Because he thinks its childish and stupid. So he'll just have to force himself not to do anything that Minhyuk wants.

Minhyuk was standing on the arm of the couch with his hands outstretched for Kihyun.

Kihyun, who passed by, stop midway to cross his arms on his chest and shakes his head to the boy.

“Come on, Ki!” he shouted over the music since it was too loud for his eardrums. “It'll be fun!”

Kihyun shooks his head. Rolls his eyes because Minhyuk was kinda driving him nuts. Or bananas. Minhyuk had told Kihyun he was allergic to nuts. Which was a complete surprise for Kihyun because he has too many allergies for a person to have one. Yet Minhyuk exists. Minhyuk who is bright, smart, cool, fun, always smiling like a moron that has bajillion allergies. It was like knowing Minhyuk every year with his allergies. Those buzzfeed facts or wikipedia pages that titles except it's “One Year Facts of Minhyuk's Allergies Find Out Below!”.

“It's our last chance to dance, you know?” he says, “It's our completers night. ”

“We have months to dance, Minhyuk. ” Kihyun replies, going to the food table to get a mini brownie. Minhyuk had followed him when Kihyun went to the love seat.

Kihyun didn't mind him. Enjoying the brownies too much.

“They are playing our song!” he says closer to Kihyun. And Kihyun has to blame the loud music somehow.

“Really? Nicki Minaj? Anaconda?” Kihyun wanted to laugh out loud. The memory of Minhyuk dancing at theatre class was too funny to picture it out. So he does, Minhyuk didn't know why he'd do it but he laughed anyways.

“Dance with me.” He says after laughing. Kihyun stops and then he's thinking of not doing what Minhyuk should do to him. They were playing the push and pull game, Minhyuk being stubborn and Kihyun shielding himself from it.

He looks at his single brownie. The only one left on his mini plate. “I don't.”

“Don't what?”. Minhyuk grinned.

“I would really like to see you twerk yourself without me, but I'll pass right now. ” Kihyun replies. He looks at Minhyuk than to the brownie. It's getting harder for him to resist.“Just for that. I'm never dancing with you. ”

“You never dance with me anyway. ”He said. It sounds offending if it was someone, but it's Minhyuk. It's different if it's Minhyuk.

“I do everything else with you.” Kihyun whines. It was true after all. Kihyun studied with Minhyuk. Join him for lunch. Picked Minhyuk up on the way and waits for him at the end of his training. “I even go with you just so you could get a haircut. ”

Minhyuk touched the back of his hair. It was still blonde and smooth yet he trimmed the length a bit short but still reaches his eyes so he had to sweep some hair out of his face. “Basically Ki, if you didn't go they would cut it shorter. ”

“Honestly, I wouldn't complain about the idea. ” Kihyun said. “But right now, I'm gonna sit this round out.”

“What are you eating?” he asked, lowering his gaze to the brownies on Kihyun's plate.

Kihyun looks down at his brownie. “Some brownies. ”

“Can I eat it?”

“Yeah. ” Kihyun says grabbing it for him. The brownie was pure chocolate and didn't taste like tree nuts or cucumbers or shrimps. “I think so. ” When Minhyuk didn't say a word, Kihyun held the brownie and the latter leaned over and ate it out of his finger.

“S'good. ” he said.“Thanks. ” He then reached out someone's coke that was left out on the coffee table. Kihyun gives him a criticizing look as he looks at Minhyuk drinking the can that wasn't his. “What the hell, Minhyuk?” he said in disgust.

He jerked the can away from his mouth and cocked his head to Kihyun. “They're playing our song, Kihyun. ” he dodges Kihyun's words.

The music was upbeat and loud and it makes the crowd going. They were jumping when Hyungwon lead the song to another one that Minhyuk had just mentioned. Kihyun listens.“Is this that Beyonce song?”

“Dance with me. It's our anniversary. ” There's that offer again. And that hundred watts smile on his face. Kihyun has to remind himself that he shouldn't do what Minhyuk wants him to do.

“I don't like to dance with a bunch of people. ”he excused.

“But that's the best way to dance! Dancing is a communal experience. ” Minhyuk says.

“Yeah. For you.” Kihyun retorts. Turns his head away to avoid Minhyuk's eyes. He sees Changkyun looking so fond to Hyungwon. The whole crowd was alive. Hyungwon was good at getting the crowd hyped up till midnight comes. Its his forte, it's his special power that was hidden when it's not his time to shine. But right now, he looked different than the usual Hyungwon. And the crowd loves it.

“We're not the same person.” Kihyun admitted. And it was true. Minhyuk is a very sociable person who literally makes everyone his bestfriends. He even trusted a stranger who he almost got robbed, but either way Minhyuk is likely to be a shameless and straightforward person which was the complete opposite to Kihyun.

“I know.” Minhyuk replies with a sigh. “Such a shame, you're completely missing out the fun”.

“I don't know what fun you are defying to me. ” he mumbled. He looks at the buffet table, Kihyun wants to grab another brownie.

“I can show you.” Minhyuk says.

“No, Minhyuk. ” he still eyes the food. He can't speak in front of Minhyuk because… Because what? . What is Kihyun doing right now? Of course he's sitting in the love seat with Minhyuk.What is he up to? He wants to grab another brownie or a drink. And then what? Is denying his offer too much?

“Kihyun. ” Why can he still hear Minhyuk with all the people singing the whole song? “Dance with me. ”

“The whole world is dancing with you.” Kihyun said. “Leave me alone.” he stands up, grabbed another brownie, went back but only find a person to sit on his recent seat. Minhyuk just gives him a sheepish look. With a sigh, he put Minhyuk behind him. There weren't that many places to sit in Hyungwon's basement, that's why Kihyun ended up on the floor ( or Minhyuk on the coffee table).

Changkyun had already claimed the beanbag by the bar in the corner and Hyungwon was sitting on his lap. Changkyun smiled at Kihyun's direction, Kihyun smiled back then waved at them. They were developing into something more and Kihyun is happy that his froggy friend finally had someone. He heard Minhyuk whistles to the two lovebirds and Changkyun gave him a dirty look.

He felt Minhyuk standing up. Kihyun moves a bit so he can stand properly.

“You sure you won't?”

He shows him the brownie that he was eating. “Nope. Too busy eating. Have fun.”

Maybe it wasn't right for him to refuse Minhyuk. He catches a glimpse of his face, there was a slight frown on it, he guessed. Kihyun can't tell if its the lighting that causes it. “Okay.” he says, taps Kihyun shoulder slightly, before he got up from his seat and went to Changkyun.

Kihyun watches his figure get lost in the crowd. And now that he was all alone, he really wanted a drink right now. Sadly, there wasn't any booze in the bar. Only juice and coke. Hyungwon's mother doesn't allow it at every party to avoid alcohol poisoning. When Kihyun went to the bar and sits on the barstool, he saw Hyunwoo handling all the fruit drinks to the guests.

“Hyunwoo. ” Kihyun smiles when the tall boy finds him.

“Kihyun!” Hyunwoo, after handling a fruity cocktail to someone, goes to where Kihyun was sitting. “Wow. Look at you! The amazing Yoo Kihyun is finally in front of me. ”

Kihyun laughs. “Seriously. That nickname is too overrated now.”

Hyunwoo gave him a fruity drink: a kiwi special, says it his best serve right now and Kihyun couldn't lie it actually tasted better than he expected.

“Rare sight that you're aren't with Minhyuk right now. ” Kihyun almost chokes on the drink. Hyunwoo had to make sure if he's alright.

“What?” He wipes his lips on the back of his hand. “I've been with him a few minutes ago. And he left just because he wanted to dance with me. ”

“Did you?” Hyunwoo asks. Arranging the glasses presently.

Kihyun shakes his head. “Of course not. That's why I'm here.”

“Minhyuk must've wanted to” He stops to serve a drink to a pretty woman. Not forgetting a wink from her, which earned him a giggle and a flirty wave to him. Kihyun observes quietly. Hyunwoo goes back to Kihyun then finishes his line. “Yet you turned him down.”

“I wasn't. I hate dancing. You know that. Everyone knows that.” Kihyun throws his hand in exaggeration.

“I know that. But Minhyuk knows you can.”

Kihyun scrunches his face. Tilting his head.“Minhyuk just wants to make fun of me and my smelly dance. ”

Hyunwoo stares at him for a second. Calculating the times Kihyun had finally lost his mind. He squints at the latter, trying to point out something that Kihyun can’t pinpoint. Kihyun looks at the older weirdly. “You don't really get it do you?”

“Don't get what?” Kihyun eyes him curiously. Not ringing any bell from his head.

“Oh my God” Hyunwoo says. His calculations are correct, surprisingly. So in conclusion: Yoo Kihyun had finally became stupid than the word stupid itself.

“What? Am I missing something?”

“Your brain. ” Hyunwoo made another kiwi drink then brings it in front of Kihyun. “And a drink. ” Then he excused himself since there were now more customers wanting another drink from him. The latter wanted to know what he meant. He was confused. What was he missing? Does he know anything to Minhyuk than him? Why would Minhyuk want to dance with him?

Kihyun protested. It's ridiculous. He thinks.

He watched Minhyuk dance. Over the sea of people, he watched Minhyuk dance with Changkyun. And then to Hyuna with Hyojong. And then by himself. With his arms over his head. Wiggling, shaking, and he bounces to the beat. Minhyuk is an amateur on dancing. But this time, he looks like the music had swallowed him whole.

The music has a slow tempo this time, making the crowd slows down and savour the nostalgic feeling. Kihyun watched everyone danced in their own world. But Minhyuk danced with the whole galaxy. Since when did Kihyun became this poetic?

It was usual for them to party at Hyungwon's basement. After examinations and after a successful event. They go straight to Hyungwon's house. Two years ago, Kihyun barely knew anyone in this room, except for Hyungwon. Now, either of them was considered to be a best friend, a friend or someone Kihyun knew well enough to stay away….

Or Minhyuk.

Kihyun drinks the fruity flavored taste that Hyunwoo had made for him. The taste lingered on his tongue while he, again, watched Minhyuk jump around.

Minhyuk was his very first best friend. Hyungwon had too many friends after being the one to held parties in certain occasions, making Kihyun left out. But Kihyun understands, they still hangout and make their friendship work.

But Minhyuk was different. He was his very first best friend that he ever befriended— even if Kihyun wasn't his. Minhyuk was his person.

Minhyuk was the first person Kihyun would talk in the morning, and the last person he would text goodnight before he sleeps. It was not intentional. It was now rather their routine. Which seems too sketchy being in a platonic relationship. But that's just the way it was between them.

It shouldn't even matter if he was being a bit hopeful.

Minhyuk was in the same major as he is. Arts was for Minhyuk and photography for Kihyun. They would end up together during meetings, as they missed out their second semester. The two of them sat beside each other which turned into a whole session of Minhyuk poking Kihyun's cheek and tons of crumbled handwritten papers of the two. Ending them getting kicked out of class. Even though it was humiliating to Kihyun, he can't miss out the way Minhyuk smiles at him brightly as they stroll through the hallways.

Kihyun was too attached to Minhyuk. That he even went to prom with him last year, even though he already has a date.

( “You’re coming with us, Ki”. Minhyuk had said to him as he looks at himself to the tall vanity Kihyun owned.

“Is that okay with Minji?”

Minhyuk smirks. Clumsily tries tying his tie and Kihyun has the urge to stand up from the edge of his bed towards him to fix it. “Minji won’t mind. She knows we’re a package deal. She probably wouldn’t even like me if I wasn't standing next to you”.

Minhyuk and Minji never went out again after prom. They weren’t even together after they started doing so.)

Kihyun suddenly wants to get another brownie when someone pipes the music down, and another someone else flickered the lights. Changkyun stands to the bar and shouts “It's almost midnight!”.

“Ten!” the girl beside Kihyun started.

Kihyun glanced everywhere from the crowd, to every inch of the room onto the coffee table where he saw Minhyuk— standing on the couch, finding his eyes. He was already looking for Kihyun.

When their eyes still connected, Minhyuk stepped on the coffee table and to Kihyun’s direction, his grin was always a never ending memory. Kihyun inhales then exhales. Shooks himself out as Minhyuk approaching comes closer. (Minhyuk was his person)

“Eight!” the whole room shouted.

Minhyuk beckoned Kihyun with his hand.

Kihyun raised an eyebrow. He fakes his confusion and wants Minhyuk to be the only one to come closer.

He knows what it is, yet he wants to make sure of it.

“Six!”

Minhyuk looks at him again. Gives him a look that says Come on, Ki!

Kihyun debates himself. Minhyuk is a few walks away from him, he could run, he could leap his way to him. Had the urge to pull Minhyuk closer. Because he is not so tight without him. He could do it. He could actually. Minhyuk is waiting for him, still waving even though some people bumps into his figure.

So he does. His heart was having a marathon.

“Four!”

Only to be stopped when someone stepped onto the coffee table with Minhyuk all the while slung an arm around his shoulders.

Kihyun stops for a moment.

“Three!”

Minhyuk tears his gaze to Kihyun to grin at the girl in front of him.

“Two!”

Jieun raises her brows.

“One!”

Jieun leaned up into Minhyuk. And Minhyuk leaned down to her.

And they kissed.

+

December 31, 2018, about nine p. m

Kihyun hadn’t had the chance to see Minhyuk again when winter break begins. Minhyuk had to spend it back from his hometown with his parents. He really didn't want to and would rather prefer to hang out with his homies or Kihyun alone.

But Kihyun told him that they'll text each other so that the older won't have to suffer.

Kihyun taps the message app and starts typing words to Minhyuk.

Hey .He texts. It's about 60 degrees in here. And I’ve been constantly wearing this mouse ears for about an hour straight

Kihyun bits his lips. He hadn’t seen Minhyuk for three months. So he had to celebrate their birthdays through online video call while eating the tarts that they bought themselves. Instead of their traditional pick and grill celebrations and drinking soju.

Minhyuk didn't also come for Thanksgiving. Says plane tickets were too expensive.

It's been hard for Minhyuk, and even Kihyun to not be with each other for three months ( and a few weeks). Everything seemed to be bland and weird without Minhyuk annoying him.

Social accounts was one thing though. Minhyuk likes posting and updating his life to his friends or to anyone. Kihyun had seen most of it first ( unintentionally didn't mark him as See First).

Minhyuk posts with him and the Mt. Fuji together. Arms outstretched like he was hugging it. (It goes to Kihyun's saved photos). Minhyuk eating the noodles with too many clothes to cover his body. (Another one). Him and his pet dog named Dambi taking a stroll on the cherry blossom trees. (Kihyun had to save it twice for his laptop). Lastly, Minhyuk holding two padlocks with pretty handwriting that is believed to be his. The first was Minhyuk thanking his country and the other was about him and Kihyun being the best of the best friends he could ever asked for, and a bonus hamster and puppy drawing on the side.

Kihyun's lips turn upward. And he then saved it in his phone, his laptop and to his memory. Because this is too weird and so new.

Another message pops up out of nowhere. Kihyun almost dropped his phone.

From Min:
Did Kyunnie forced you to wear it? kkkk~

Kihyun rolls his eyes but a small grin comes out of habit. He taps on his phone screen.

To Min:
Obv. You know he's too stubborn but I'm too soft for that bastard.

From Min:
Good to know he's comfy with u

To Min:
He says I'm his favorite than u :P

From Min:
That two timing devil
I might have to reconsider our friendship
Anywho
How have u been during the past three months?

To Min:
Funny. My life was great in those three months

From Min:
Meanie -_-
Can you be more honest?

To Min:
I am, though

From Min:
Hmph
I might have to reconsider our friendship as well

To Min:
You know u wouldn't :)

From Min:
Watch me do it :P

Kihyun giggles softly at the messages they shared. For the past three months, he and Minhyuk texted. And by that means they texted a lot. But Kihyun hadn't seen Minhyuk since November — he hadn't heard his voice since then.

Honestly, Kihyun couldn't remember it. He couldn't remember ever thinking Minhyuk's voice before. Whether it was a bit pitched or deep or raspy. Or soft that was almost a whisper whenever he shares a secret. He couldn't remember what Minhyuk sounded like— or what he looks like. Kihyun could only see his face in the dozens of photos he still saved on his phone.

You're still gonna go to Hyungwon's, yeah? Minhyuk have texted him yesterday at the airport, he was on his way home where Kihyun is.

The only place I could be. Duh. Kihyun texted back.

Cool.

Kihyun go to Hyungwon's place way too early before the event and helped his friend clean out the place and he then proceeded to help his mother prepare the foods and snacks. Kihyun spend winter break staying from his uncle, he got his hair dyed back to brown. It made him look 5 years younger.

There wasn't any moments to recall during his break. Except when his uncle decided to teach him how to drive, which results in almost a car crash but his uncle says it's just part of the practice. Then laughs it off. Kihyun swore he would never try it again.

Kihyun continued to use the camera he had for his photography class. He captures whatever majestic things he could see. Minhyuk says he had a fun time reviewing his instagram feed. Kihyun felt good at that time.

The thing about Kihyun is that— he hadn't changed at all. When he received a scholarship to study , he didn't leave Seoul. It was a full scholarship. Everyone was happy for him and also Minhyuk. It would've been better if he was here and it would've been dumb to leave the opportunity.

No one showed up to the party on time but everyone showed up. “Is Minhyuk gonna come?” Hyungwon asked, when he let the other guests enter their house.

How would I know? Kihyun wanted to say. But he didn’t. “Yeah, he’s coming. ” he says. “He‘ll be here.” Kihyun got a tiny stain on his shirt, he tried to scrape it with his fingers.

Kihyun changed his attire three times before settling on this outfit. His hair was tousled neatly to create a warm look on him. Kihyun wanted to wear the cream colored sweater that Minhyuk always like on him, says he looked tiny with it. But Kihyun didn't want him to think that he hadn't had a single thought since the last time they've seen each other.

So he changed. He changed and changed. And ended up on this one, a green button up shirt with tight jeans, sculpting his legs. This may not be the best he ever picked but no one would even care about fashion this day, so he settles on this one.

He takes a good look at his reflection. He inhales and lets it all out. It's fine. It's cool. He thinks. Minhyuk will be there and he'll dance on the coffee table while I watch him have fun, the usual. With one sweep on his brown locks he looks at himself. Kihyun tries to see himself the way Minhyuk would see him, just like for the first time since they met. Then he tried to pretend he didn't care.

The he left.

He grabbed his keys and march his way outside his house but halts just before he steps outside. He rotates himself and goes back to his room to grab the pin Minhyuk have gifted him on his birthday — a hamster pin. Even if the tiny creature was a great resemblance and insult to Kihyun, he always have it with him.

With one last glance to the mirror , Kihyun is on his way to Hyungwon's house with that weird feeling he has when Minhyuk first talk to him three years ago.

Kihyun was talking to one of Changkyun's friends, Jooheon, a baby faced guy with cute dimples on his cheeks who was dating Hyunwoo. Kihyun widens his eyes. Hyunwoo didn't even tell him about this. But now that he knows it, Kihyun smiles at him and tells him to be extra packed whenever the older gets hungry. Jooheon only gives him a cute smile, his two dimples prominent.

After they separated, Kihyun bumps into Changkyun, who was wearing the weirdest outfit he had ever seen. Kihyun lifts his brows as he looks at the younger from head to toe. “What in God's name are you wearing?”

Changkyun shows off his outfit “It's a wolf costume!” Kihyun scrunched his face. Well, it was obvious what he was wearing with ears and a long fluffy tail but isn't exactly appropriate for waiting for the New Years Eve.

“I know that. ” Kihyun says. “Hyungwon didn't say it would be a costume party. ”

“He did. Here try this on. ” Changkyun places a hairband with mouse ears on top of Kihyun's head. “Oh my, you even looked like one. A hamster would be cool but sadly they don't have an extra. Are hamsters rats though?”

Kihyun huffs, annoyingly. “Hyungwon didn’t tell me about this!” he tries taking the headband out of his hair but the younger slaps it away.

“Loser that takes it off is going to be the dunce on New Year.” Changkyun says.

“Thats's stupid and shitty. ” he attempts to take it off again.

“And has to wear the dunce hat all year. ” Changkyun cuts him off.

Kihyun stops. There's no way he could survive a year wearing it. Probably the whole campus would laugh at him. Especially Minhyuk.

Minhyuk.

“Oh Minhyuk!” Kihyun felt it when Minhyuk walked in. Many people greeted him with glee.

Kihyun glanced at Changkyun ,who saw Minhyuk over his shoulder, waving his hand crazily, and Minhyuk saw Changkyun waving back—and he saw Kihyun. Still and back still facing him, still don't know why he can't function to face him. Minhyuk strode his way to them and Changkyun had to signal Kihyun that Minhyuk was on his way to them. Kihyun glared and Changkyun just laughed.

He greeted many people on his way and absentmindedly wrapped his arms around Kihyun's figure. Kihyun tensed at the sudden sensation. Minhyuk twirls them in a circle, hugging Kihyun tightly.

“Ki!” he says, too loud and cheerful.

“Min” Kihyun whispered.

Minhyuk hugged Changkyun and Hyungwon, too. And Jooheon and Hyunwoo. And to Hyungwon’s cousin who just got back from Greece, Hoseok. Minhyuk hugged everyone on this party. He was known to be a hugger. A really good one, Kihyun could include.

Then he came back to hug Kihyun again. Pinning him against the wall, crowding him as much as hugging him. “Oh God, Ki!” He says, a little muffled. “Never leave me, okay?”

The latter widens his eyes, confused. “I never left you. ” Kihyun says to his chest. “I never go anywhere.” he looks up to him. Finding his friend’s face a bit different. “Why would you think I would leave you?”

“Never let me leave you, ” he said on top of his head.

Kihyun had to take a minute to breathe, before he continues to open his mouth. “When are you gonna come back to Japan?”

“Hm. Next week?”

Kihyun hums. Taking his scent. It was still familiar.

Minhyuk was wearing wine-colored pants, a blue turtleneck and a leather jacket that was not neatly hanging on him.

Minhyuk was pale as ever.

His eyes were still brown and blinking unevenly. Kihyun was too mesmerized about it.

But his hair has grown a bit. It somehow reached his ears and in the back of his head with bangs almost covering his eyes. He noticed his hair has grey shades on the roots. Kihyun brought his hand up to the back of his head. It felt like something was missing.

“You should've spend your break with me in Japan. Mom would be happy to teach you to make origami and make moon cakes and we could’ve seen cherry blossoms bloom together. ” Minhyuk leans into his touch.

I would. he thinks, running his hands on his strands. “Sorry. My uncle already convinced me to go with him. ”

“Next time, then.” he closes his eyes as he feels the soft touch of Kihyun's fingers combing his hair. Kihyun couldn’t help the twitch in the corner of his lips when the other boy said there would be a next time.

“If you’re wondering, I put silver colors at the roots just to be cool. ”

Kihyun traces the fringes, almost on Minhyuk's eyes. The color really suits him very well. His idea on styling his hair is risky but Kihyun is glad that it came out good. “I like it. It looks good on you. ”

Minhyuk stares at him. And he blinks unevenly which made Kihyun stops rubbing his scalp. His mind suddenly errors when Minhyuk is now the one who slides his fingers on Kihyun’s locks.

“Your hair is brown. ” Minhyuk said.

Kihyun ducks his head a bit, feeling his cheeks getting hot.“Y-yeah. Wanted to go back to my natural color.” he said. “Unlike someone who is almost being bald. ”

“Hey! I’m not bald.” Minhyuk spats. A clear pout on his face.

“Really? Seems to be obvious that your hair is going to fall off soon.” he snickers.

“I just got here and you’re being a brat to me. ” Minhyuk frowns, feeling a bit hurt to the latter. Kihyun laughs, then apologizes by patting his hair. It was too soft and silky, Kihyun wants to dive his fingers again.

“I really like it. ” Minhyuk mutters. “Your hair. It suits you well.” he looks at the mouse ears above Kihyun's head.“Plus the mouse ears. ” he smirks.

Kihyun reddens, a hint of embarrassment obvious on his face. He says, “That brat will call me a dunce for a year if I take it off. ” though he already told him that already.

Minhyuk laughs. And Kihyun somehow follows him, breathlessly and letting this weird feeling overcome him.

It must have been the pounding bass of the music or maybe his own thumping heart but surely Kihyun knows it must be the second one. They both stared at each other for a while, getting used to stare at each other with an unknown feeling within them. Kihyun wants to laugh this out again, brushed off the fluttering feeling his stomach does. But he didn’t. He was too occupied staring Minhyuk very long, almost every outline of his face can be remembered already. He diverted his gaze to his lips and he gulps. Pink and soft to look at. His breathing becomes erratic staring for too long. Averting his gaze to it he then shakes his head.

“But yeah. Thanks.” he breathes. Pushing the boy a bit for some distance.

Minhyuk nods. Facial expression became different as he backs away for Kihyun.

Kihyun doesn't want to comment about it. The tension was getting suffocating for him.

Luckily, Changkyun came back to them, pulling the two to where many people were there.

Everything was the same. And everything was different.

Same people. Same music. Same couches. But they've grown so much throughout the past years. With different directions on their lives. But they were still the people 3 years ago.

Hoseok brought beer and hid it in the couch. Haseul was already drunk when she got here. Jun brought his new college boyfriend and everybody welcomes him warmly. Changkyun dragged Hyungwon to the circle, whining on how he didn't have enough time to eat the homemade carbonara his mother made.

There wasn't too much dancing. Usually at normal parties, people danced till they passed out. But it was different. Their parties used to be different. Back to the past, there would be 20 to 30 people going but as time passes by and Hyungwon’s recognition was on top, it was now a whole campus going. And as usual, another successful year end party to Hyungwon.

Minhyuk didn't dance tonight. He was stuck playing ping pong with Hyungwon. He was stuck talking to Hyunwoo while getting a drink. And he was stuck to Kihyun’s side in the love seat like last year. It was like he was glued there. Kihyun was glad they hadn't stopped texting while being away from each other, Minhyuk on the other hand, was too worried that it isn't enough.

But either way, today is another day where the inside jokes of the others were still laughable and everyone is feeling good and looking forward for the year to come.

Minhyuk grabbed the beer that Hoseok had offered but then handed it to Haseul when he saw Kihyun rolling his eyes.

“Japan must be nice going there. ” says Hyungwon. “My dad works there but I haven't had a single thought visiting. ” he sips on his party cup while Changkyun plays the little strands behind his neck.

Minhyuk nods. “It's great going there. My family was too overwhelmed seeing me growing. ”

“I could hear Mrs. Lee cooing you like ‘Aigoo, my son is so handsome, you’re so skinny you haven't taking care of yourself?’. ” Changkyun receives a smack on the arm by Minhyuk. The boy laughing at him.

“Can't lie it was exactly like that, ” he says, ears red. Kihyun makes a small smile at that.

“Then how about the infamous Yoo Kihyun? Dude how's life been going now that you just had a scholarship?” Kihyun whips his head to the two pair before he could even stare more to Minhyuk.

“It's been great, ” he replies, a small smile plastered on his face. “Every one of you congratulated me and I'm very thankful that they had given me the opportunity to pursue my dreams. ” All of them smiled at Kihyun. It was one of Kihyun's most amazing days he could ever have.

“That's cool! Hey don't forget about me when you're now rich as hell. ” Minhyuk elbows him with a chuckle, and Kihyun doesn't hide his grin to him. How could he forget him? Kihyun swore he would never. Even if he won't be rich for the time being, he always had Minhyuk forever in his mind.

“I hate to admit this but.. ” Kihyun trails, eyeing his friends and to Minhyuk. “I miss you guys so much.”

Everyone starts cheering and chugging whatever drinks was now suitable for their age. Hyungwon had to cut off the no alcohol policy this time, since they had finally became responsible on how much they would consume. Kihyun drinks a can of coke while they laugh on Hoseok's misadventures while being on Greece, Hyungwon leading him to a guest room since his drunk as hell already. One person tells a story and the rest follows their tales during their freshman year. Kihyun couldn't agree it's been a while. He doesn't miss out the laugh Minhyuk let out — it was still sparking Kihyun inside and thinks how did he pass three months without it.

Minhyuk started. “Hey”, he says to Kihyun, pulling on his sleeve.

“What?” He looks at Minhyuk, who was standing from where he sat on, finger dedicating him upstairs.

“Come here, come here—come with me, Ki. ”

Before Kihyun could even let their friends tell them they were going, Minhyuk already pulled him away from them, out of the basement and up the stairs. When they got to the first floor, he said, “Too far, can't hear the music.”

Kihyun was confused. “What?”

They went down the stairs again and stopped midway, and Minhyuk switched places with Kihyun, so he was standing on the higher step.

“Dance with me, Ki, they're playing our song.” Minhyuk looks at him, the same eyes Kihyun had been used to.

Kihyun tipped his head. Listens to the music vibrating. “Los Angeles?”

“It's our actual song, ” he says. “Dance with me. ”

“How is this our song?” Kihyun asked.

“It was playing when we first met. ” Minhyuk replies.

“When?”

“When me met.” he says, rolling his hand, like he was trying to escalate this quickly.

“When we met here?” Kihyun blinks, trying to make sure that the boy in front of him was being sincere.

“Yes. When we met here. Downstairs. Sophomore year. And you saved my life. ”

Kihyun frowns. “I never saved your life, Minhyuk. ”

Minhyuk groans, getting agitated. “Why do you always ruin this story, Ki?”

“You… ” Kihyun starts, getting to notice how close they were to each other. “You remember the song that was playing when we met?”

“I always remember the song when we first met. ” Minhyuk fondly smiles. “All the time. ”

It was true. And Kihyun doesn’t fought back and all he could think to answer was, “What?”

Minhyuk huffs.

“I don’t like to dance, Minhyuk”.

“You don’t like to dance in front of people. ” Minhyuk corrects him.

“Well.. that's true”.

“Just a minute.”

He saw Minhyuk sighing, removing himself from their usual distance. Kihyun hadn't realized he had a hard time breathing so close to him. He saw Minhyuk ran downstairs. “Don't go anywhere!” he shouts to Kihyun.

Kihyun all alone on the stairs, shouted back, “I never go anywhere!”

That's when he heard the song starts over.

Then he saw Minhyuk running back up stairs. He stood on the step below Kihyun and held up his hands. “Please. ” he says, looking at Kihyun, trying to convince him. Kihyun isn't sure how to feel about that.

He sighs and lifted up his hands. He clearly wasn't sure what to do with them… “Look.. I don't know these kind of stuff so—”.

Minhyuk took one of his hands in his and put his other hand on his shoulder. Minhyuk curls his arm around Kihyun’s waist, pulling him a bit closer. Kihyun stands still, confused yet practically could feel himself getting conscious being so close to him, touching him.

“Jesus Christ. ” Minhyuk says, could feel Kihyun tensed up. “Was that so hard?” he laughs at the latter.

Kihyun groans, slaps his shoulder. “I don't know why this is so important to you.” he says. “Dancing with me. ”

Minhyuk laughs so melodically. Kihyun doesn't have the courage to say this to him. Minhyuk replies, “I don't know why it's so important to you”. He continues, “Not to dance with me. ”

Kihyun doesn't answer. Minhyuk really knows how to shut him up, it was annoying Kihyun. Not fighting back, they sway slowly to the song. Kihyun was a little bit taller than him like this. He could sense Minhyuk staring at him yet Kihyun only gaze the furniture across his shoulder. Mind practically scrambling his senses and Minhyuk boring his stare to his soul was practically not helping.

Minhyuk didn't loosen his grip on Kihyun after some people started to pass them. His arm was all the way around Kihyun's waist now, and their stomachs and chest were pressed together. They were so close with each other. And Kihyun should be used to this by now..

Him and Minhyuk touched a lot, over the years, as friends. Minhyuk was a clingy human, he likes to touch. And he likes hugging. And tickles people and pulling their hair. He would cling to Hyunwoo’s arms since it was buff or poke Jooheon's cheek or tries to pull Changkyun on his lap. He apparently kissed anyone who raises their eyebrows at him on New Year's Eve…

But Minhyuk never held Kihyun like this.

It was nerve wracking how he could feel him this close. How his belt buckle feel on his hip, or the long arms wrapped around him. Kihyun never tasted his breath. Kihyun never considered it to see Minhyuk this up close.

He saw Hyungwon came back up stairs, eyeing the two with interest in his eyes. Kihyun wanted to be free from Minhyuk’s grip but the latter holds him tighter.

“It's almost midnight, good to know that you two are still here. ” Hyungwon says, then continues to walk out of them.

What was that even mean? Kihyun thinks.

He heard Los Angeles began again.

“Did you tell Hyungwon to start it over?”. Kihyun asked.

Minhyuk hums, lowly. “I didn't. I only put it on repeat. ” He says. “He'll stopped it when he noticed it. ”

“Changkyun for sure would turn the music with his soundcloud or something”. Kihyun jokes but Minhyuk didn't reciprocate.

“Ki, dance with me”. He says like a whisper.

“I am”. Kihyun answers.

Minhyuk looks at him. And this time Kihyun didn't ignore it. “I know. ” He says. “Don't stop. ”

“Okay. ” Kihyun says under his breath. He has been holding himself rigid, so that he’d still be standing upright, even if Minhyuk let go. Kihyun stopped that now. His heart probably compulsing as he relaxed on Minhyuk's grip and let Kihyun's arm slides over his shoulder. With trembling fingers, he touched the back of his hair again because he wanted to—because it was still missing.

“You don't like it?” Minhyuk said.

“I do like it, ” Kihyun said. “It's different. ”

“You're different. ”

Kihyun makes a face that says , You're crazy.

“You are. ” Minhyuk smiles.

“I’m exactly the same”. He said. “Well, except the hair, but I'm the only one who's the same. ”

“You're the most different. ” Minhyuk feels himself getting close.

“How?” Kihyun says, gulping.

“I don't know. ” He said. “It's like we all left, and you let go—and you're the one who drifted away. ”

“That's bananas. ” Kihyun protested. Minhyuk's statement was ridiculous to him. “I talk to you every day. ”

“It's not enough. ” Minhyuk said. He eyes the hamster pin he bought for his birthday. And then to the outfit he was wearing. “I've never seen this outfit before. ”

Kihyun blushes a bit, he picked this outfit since it has been dusting on his closet. Hyungwon would usually buy him clothes that were too out of Kihyun's taste. So Kihyun finally had the courage to wear it infront of Minhyuk.

“You don't like my outfit?”

“No. ” Minhyuk shook his head. Kihyun wasn't used to seeing him like this. Agitated. “I like it. It looks good on you. But it's different. You're different. I feel like I can't get close enough to you. ” Minhyuk starts to push his forehead on to Kihyun.

Kihyun pushed back. “We're pretty close, Minhyuk”.

He sighed, frustrated and it filled his nose and mouth. “Why can't you call me by our nicknames?”

“I call you by our nicknames”. Kihyun replies.

“Rarely. ” Minhyuk cuts him off. “Are you seeing someone?”

Kihyun frowns. Unexpected to see him so curious all of a sudden. “Maybe I would've. ” He seems unsure of it.

Minhyuk looked devastated and pulled his head back. Brown eyes looking right through him. “You wouldn't tell me something like that?”

Kihyun can only do was to be confused. “No, ” he trails. “no—Minhyuk”. He could hear Minhyuk clicks his tongue when he didn't call him by his nickname. Kihyun somehow continues, “Of course, I would tell you. I just don't know what you want me to say. I don't know why I don't have someone seeing right now. ”

“It's going to get worse.” Minhyuk says. “You're going to keep changing. ”

Kihyun rolls his eyes playfully. “Well, so are you. ”

“I never changed. ” he says confidently.

Kihyun finally let out a laugh. He missed talking to Minhyuk like this. The flurry feeling he felt inside was unavoidable, Kihyun somehow started to like it. “You're a kaleidoscope. You change everytime I look away. ”

Minhyuk grins. His eyes turned into crescents. “Don't you hate that?”

Kihyun shooks his head. His nose absentmindedly rubbed against his. “I love it. ” he replied.

That's when they stopped dancing. But the music was still going on repeat, everyone was still in the party, no one noticed it.

Kihyun breathes slowly. “Are we still dancing?”

“We're still dancing. Don't get any big ideas, Ki.” He snickers and lets go of his hand and wrapped that arm around him, too. “Don't go anywhere. ” he whispers too soft for Kihyun's hearing.

“I never go anywhere. ” Kihyun whispers back.

Minhyuk shook his head, looking at the latter like he was lying but somehow feels the warmth of their bodies between them. “You're my best friend, ” he said.

Kihyun snorts. “You have lots of best friends. ”

“No. ” Minhyuk said. “Just you. ”

Without a word, Kihyun held on to his neck with both arms. He pushed on his forehead. Minhyuk smelled so minty and fresh as always.

“I can't get close enough, ” Minhyuk said.

+

Somebody realized that the song was playing on repeat and skipped to the next one.

Somebody also realized that Kihyun and Minhyuk were gone. Hera came looking for Minhyuk. When she happened to pass by them, her big eyes shines under the fluorescent. Not minding what the two were doing. “Minhyuk! Dance with me! They're playing our song!”

It was a Kesha song.

Minhyuk pulls away from Kihyun. Grinning at the girl sheepishly. Like he was being silly in the stairway with Kihyun. The warmth was gone and everything turns back to normal. Kihyun forgives his friend for it, really.. wouldn't he? And he remembers there's a party downstairs, they should be at the party, right?

He sees Minhyuk going downstairs with her, and Kihyun followed. Feeling small.

The party had changed while they were gone. Everybody seemed a little bit younger again. They kicked their shoes off and were now jumping at random couches while singing all the words they could sing, just like all the words they always sang all the songs to.

Minhyuk took off his jacket and threw it to Kihyun. And Kihyun caught it because he has good hands.

Kihyun leans on the doorframe, feeling out of place watching the crowd turned up to the music. He gazes to Hyungwon and Changkyun who were —disgustingly— cooing each other. A small smile blooms to Kihyun seeing his friend happy to his partner. He watched Jooheon and Hyunwoo happily talking at the bar corner when no one is ordering. He watched Hoseok dancing offbeat and drunk, the crowd hyping him up. He watched those familiar faces but never he had the chance to initiate a conversation.

Kihyun watched everyone bounced.

Especially Minhyuk. And Minhyuk looked good.

Long and pale. In dark jeans that no one else except him would wear. In a T-shirt that was still looking brand new in him.

He looked so good.

And Kihyun loved him so much.

And he knows he couldn't do it again.

He couldn't bear to stay in the room and watch Minhyuk kiss someone else. Not tonight. He couldn't stand to watch somebody else get the kiss that Kihyun had been working so hard for, since the moment they'd met.

So, when Minhyuk was busy and it was a few minutes before midnight, Kihyun scooped a handful of nuts and sipped something he couldn't process the flavor of the drink. And then acted like he was going to the hall. Pretends to go to the bathroom or maybe go upstairs to watch the fireplace.

But really, lying is a handful when you're feeling like crap.

He slipped out the back door. Kihyun thinks that no one would even suspects that he was in here, no one would think to look for him outside in the snow.

It was cold, obviously, but Kihyun still has Minhyuk's jacket clutching safely in his, so he put it on. He realizes he was still wearing the mouse ears, so he removes it on his hair. He didn't really care anymore if Changkyun would call him stupid for a year. He leaned against the walls of Hyungwon's house and busied himself by eating the roasted nuts — Mrs. Chae makes it so best— and listened to the music inside.

Then he hears the music stopped, hears them started to count down.

And Kihyun thinks it was good that he was out here and not inside, because it would hurt too much to be in there. He admits it finally, that it hurts too much to see it again, and this year, it might kill him.

“Ten!”

“Nine!”

“Eight!”

“Seven!”

“Six!”

“Ki?” someone called.

Kihyun closes his eyes. He recognized that voice. It's Minhyuk's . It's always him who knows where he is.

“Kihyun?”

“Four!”

Kihyun spots him looking everywhere.

“Three!”

“Here!” Kihyun said. Then a little louder, “Here, Min!” Because he knew he was his best friend, and avoiding him was one thing but hiding from him was another.

“Two!”

Minhyuk turns to his direction. “Ki… ”

“Min...”

Kihyun could see Minhyuk clearly, in a shaft of moonlight breaking through the slats of the deck above him. His eyes had gone all soft, and he was grinning that Kihyun knew it was reserved to only him and he was raising his eyebrows. And the weird feeling he had for Minhyuk finally ignites, just like a big firework for the new year.

“One!”

Kihyun looks at him and Minhyuk met his gaze. And then Kihyun nods, and pushed with his shoulders away from the house, but then Minhyuk pushed him right back— pinning Kihyun as much as he was hugging him as much as he was crowding him against the wall.

Minhyuk kissed him hard.

Their lips dancing together, and it felt so good. His lips were so soft and addicting and Kihyun can't stop biting and licking and kissing it again. His kiss is like fireworks, he ignites Kihyun up.

Kihyun hooked both of his arms around the back of his head, pressing their faces together, their chins and open mouths.

Minhyuk held on to both of his shoulders. Holds Kihyun like it would be the last time he would hold him. And Kihyun was never going anywhere and it felt right for once.

After a few minutes—maybe more than a few minutes, after awhile—they both seemed to trust each other to not go.

They both eased up.

Kihyun dives his fingers on Minhyuk's locks, pushing them out of his face. Gasping for some air then goes back to connect with each other again. Minhyuk pinned Kihyun to the wall from his hips to his shoulders, kissing him to the rhythm of whatever song Hyungwon was playing inside now.

When they finally pulled away, Kihyun was going to tell him that he loved him; when Minhyuk pulled away, he was going to tell him to not let go. “Don't,” Kihyun breathlessly said, when Minhyuk finally lifted his head.

“Ki, ” he whispered. “My lips are going numb. ”

“Then don't kiss me again, ” he said to him. Closing their distance again. “But don't go. ”

“No… ” Minhyuk pushed away from him, and feels himself getting cold again. “My lips are going numb—were you eating shrimps?”

Kihyun looks at him confusingly, he licks his lips tasted something. Then realizations hit him. “Oh my God, ” he widens his eyes and looks at Minhyuk terrifyingly. “The roasted nuts!”

“The roasted nuts?”

“And that drink! The cucumber one! Shit. ” Minhyuk scrunches his face at the mentions. And Kihyun probably wants to slap himself endlessly.

“Do you have something with you?” Kihyun asked in a rushed. Minhyuk wants to let out a laugh at him being flustered. But he tries not to.

“I think I have Benadryl. ” he answers and Kihyun looks at him again. “In my car. But it makes me sleepy. I think I'm fine now. ”

Kihyun ignores him. “Where are your keys?”

“In my pockets. ” he says, pointing to his jacket on Kihyun. His voice was hoarse.

Kihyun finally found his keys and didn't hesitate to grab Minhyuk's arm with him, kept pulling him until they saw his car parked on the street in front of the house. His Benadryl was in the glove box and Kihyun throws it to Minhyuk and looks at him taking it. He leans on the car beside him, arms crossed on his chest, waiting for whatever came next.

“So.. ” Kihyun initiates, when Minhyuk was finally done. “Can you breathe?”

“I can breathe, dumbass. ”

Kihyun avoids the last one, doesn't want to make this situation Minhyuk has as a joke. And Kihyun still feels bad about that. “What usually happens?” he says, concern in his voice.

Minhyuk grinned beside him. “This has never happened before. ”

Kihyun frowns. “You know what I mean. ”

Minhyuk thins his lips. “Hmm. My mouth tingles and my entire mouth swell up. Something gets itchy all over my body. ” Minhyuk explains. “Do you mind checking it for me?”

Kihyun raised his brows. Startled at the offer. “Then what?” Minhyuk only shrugs at him.

“Then nothing, ” he said. “Then I take the Benadryl. I have EpiPen but I haven't really used it quite often.”

Kihyun nods at him. Then proceeds to check if Minhyuk has hives or rashes. He will literally do anything to help Minhyuk with his allergies because it was part of his concern and he was the cause of it, so all he could feel was guilt to the latter standing beside him, where Minhyuk is just too kind to not get angry at Kihyun. “Okay. Sure, I'll check if you have hives or something. ” he said.

Minhyuk grinned and it never failed to make Kihyun's heart jump a bit. He held out his arms and Kihyun looked at them. Then he takes a deep breath and lifted up his shirt….he was pale and there were no signs of hives or rashes just covered in goosebumps. And freckles, Kihyun didn't think that his freckles would amaze him.

“I don't think you have those. ” Kihyun said.

“I can feel the Benadryl working already. ” Minhyuk dropped his arms and put them around Kihyun.

“Don't kiss me again, idiot. ” Kihyun warns.

“Immediately, ” Minhyuk added. “I won't kiss you again immediately. ”

Kihyun leaned into him, his temple on his chin, and Kihyun closed his eyes. It felt nice and he feels safe around Minhyuk's warmth. And he enjoys this moment just between them.

“I know you would save my life again. ”

“I wouldn't have had to save it if I didn't almost kill you. ”

Minhyuk gives him a funny look. “Don't give yourself too much credit. It's the nuts and the cucumber drink who are trying to kill me. ”

Kihyun nodded.

Then they both fell silent for a moment.

Kihyun glances up. “Min?”

Minhyuk glances at him, a wide smile appeared. “Yeah?”

Kihyun couldn't help but ask him this—he had to make himself ask it: “Are you just being melodramatic?”

The blond boy snorts. “Ki, I swear, I wouldn't fake an allergy response, if that's what you're asking. ”

“No. ” he said. “With… with the kiss. ”

“There was more than just one kiss… ”

“With all of them, ” Kihyun said. “Were you just—doing it just because you liked to?”

“No, ” Minhyuk firmly answers. Then, “Were you just humoring me?”

“God, No. ” he said. “Did it feel like I was humoring you?”

Minhyuk only shooks his head, then rubs his chin into Kihyun's temple.

“What are we doing?” Kihyun asked.

“I don't know… ” he said. And then silence occurred a bit before Minhyuk cuts it again. “I know things have to change, but… I just don't want to lose you, Ki. I don't think I could get another one like you. ”

“I'm not going anywhere, Min. ”

“You are, ” he said, squeezing Kihyun. The entire world feels silent. “And it's okay. Just….” Minhyuk scrambles and Kihyun waits for him to continue.

“I need you to take me with you. ”

Kihyun didn't know what to say to that.

And it continues to get cold at the moment. He feels Minhyuk shivering. Maybe he should give him his jacket back.

“Ki?”

“Yeah?”

“What do you need?”

Kihyun swallowed.

In those three years he and Minhyuk had been friends for, he'd spent a lot of time pretending he didn't need anything more than what Minhyuk was already giving to him. Kihyun had told himself that there was a difference between wanting something and needing it…

Kihyun looks at his wonderful wooden brown eyes. Because they are. Minhyuk is a wonderful person. And Kihyun needs to tell him something that he had been keeping since the day Minhyuk appeared in his life.

“I want you. I want you to be my person, Min. ” Kihyun said. “I need to see you. And hear you. I need you to stay alive for me. And I need you to stop kissing other people just because they're standing next to you when the ball drops. ”

Minhyuk laughed. It was wonderful.

“I also need you to not laugh at me, ” he adds, a small blush crept on his cheeks.

Minhyuk pulled his face back and looked at him. “No, you don't. ”

Kihyun can't help but kiss his chin, without opening his mouth.

Minhyuk smiles. All teeth out. Wide and sent an overdrive to Kihyun's mind. “ You can have all those things. ” he carefully said. “You can have me, Ki, if you want me. ”

“I've always wanted you, dumbass. ” Kihyun said, mortified by the extent to which it was true.

Without second thoughts, Minhyuk leaned in to kiss him, and Kihyun dropped his forehead against his lips.

They were quiet.

And it was cold.

Minhyuk slides his fingers to intertwine it to Kihyun. It fits perfectly.

“Happy anniversary, Ki. ”

“Happy New Year, Min. ”