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You’re the moon that glows up in the night

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Huang Renjun is a myth, a whisper in the early morning hours, a ghost-like presence - he leaves signs of his presence yet not quite there physically. He always washes the dirty dishes left in the sink, leaving behind a passive aggressive post-it that says “wash them AFTER using please, it’s not that hard, really”. He’s like a warm autumn breeze gently ruffling through your hair, presence felt yet not quite there. 

That, of course, is what his roommate, Lee Donghyuck thinks of him. 

If you ask his friends and seniors from the Dance major or the art major, they will describe him as a fun-sized boot-camp of sass and anger, completed with a well executed chokehug. But Donghyuck doesn’t know this, for they have never met in the past seven months he had moved into the dormitory. He knows he lives in the apartment with his room door swung closed with a “Do Not Disturb” sign hung on the door, he heard stories of the boy from mutual friends - Na Jaemin and Lee Jeno. Renjun makes Donghyuck feel like he’s the Phantom and Donghyuck is his Christine. 

So after seven months of not meeting his roommate at all, Donghyuck was, for a lack of better word, shocked to his core when he comes home and sees a silver haired boy sitting on his sofa, biting into a BLT sandwich. Their eyes met and the boy almost choked on his sandwich as he dusted the crumbs back on the plate and stood up.

“Hi, I don’t think we met since you moved in.”

“You’re Renjun.”

The boy blinked, nodding slowly to affirm his statement, his eyes crinkling into two fine crescents. It reminds Donghyuck of a fox, witty and careful, and he returned the smile. Renjun padded over to the kitchen, the sandwich laid forgotten on the coffee table as Renjun offered him a BLT sandwich as well. Donghyuck accepted the offer, receiving another bright smile from the smaller build boy, as he busied himself by the stove, making him a BLT sandwich. Donghyuck ducked back to his room and allowed his brain to finally catch up on the series of events that just happened. 

“What the fuck,” he muttered, shimmying out of his jeans and into a more comfortable set of clothes.

He padded out of the room and Renjun was already back on the rug, fitting snugly between the sofa and the coffee table. He perked up and pushed a plate of sandwich to him, beaming as Donghyuck sank into the sofa beside him. He turned his attention back to the show on TV as Donghyuck picked up the plate, artfully decorated like a cafe brunch plate, and poked his fork into the kimchi salad. 

A soft appreciative moan escapes his lips as Donghyuck swallows the mouthful he just took. 

Damn it, this is even better than what Taeyong had done. Donghyuck preferred his kimchi to be on the spicier side but Taeyong’s kimchi is mild. This, however, was heaven on his taste buds and Donghyuck feels like he had just undergone a food-gasm or whatever Jaemin said the last time. He chased the spicy pickled vegetable with his fork, shoving mounds of it in his mouth as he chews noisily at it. The kimchi was surprisingly crunchy too, and Donghyuck wonders if he had been missing this out for months because he sees the tub of kimchi in the fridge but it was always labelled with Renjun’s name and he had his own tub of kimchi. Speaking of which, he should really throw that trash out, nothing is going to beat the kimchi Renjun just served him.

“Hey, Donghyuck?”

Donghyuck slips out of his foodgasm state and turns to stare down at Renjun. The boy smiles softly, pointed to the remaining kimchi on his plate. The air was silent for a while before Renjun spoke again.

“Next time, just help yourself with the kimchi tub, stop spending money on shitty store bought ones.”

Donghyuck grins and Renjun laughs before reaching over with a napkin and dabbing at the corner of Donghyuck’s mouth. His smile slips off and Renjun quickly withdraws his hand, eyes looking down on his lap. He pulled the hand back and guided the hand to finish what it started, a smile returning to his face.

“Thank you.”

Renjun rolled his eyes at him and finished off his own food, getting up from his spot on the floor. He walked over to the kitchen, washing up as usual, before turning to Donghyuck, asking if he wants coffee. Donghyuck raised his eyebrows at him. 

“At 4p.m. really?”

Renjun shrugged and continued with his beans grinding, preparing a drip station for his coffee. Donghyuck gave him a negative and he just shrugged again when the doorbell rang and revealed a disheveled Jaemin looking like he was about to pass out. Renjun gave him a side-eye glance and pushed the first cup of coffee he made towards him. Jaemin thanked him and slumped over the kitchenette, mumbling incoherently. Renjun gave him a sympathetic look and mouthed to Donghyuck to call Jeno. Donghyuck nodded and disappeared into his room to give Jaemin’s boyfriend a call. 

Twenty-one minutes after Jaemin arrived and two cups of strong espresso shots that Renjun fed Jaemin, Jeno crashes through the door and scoops Jaemin up before thanking them and dashed out of the door. Renjun calmly closed the door behind them and returned to his own cup of coffee. He gave Donghyuck a tiny smile, looking like the unexpected visit from Jaemin has drained ten years of his life, as he sluggishly dragged himself to his room and locked the door. 

And then Donghyuck doesn’t see the physical being of Huang Renjun for exactly nineteen days after that.

Life goes back to normal and Renjun resumes the title as Ghost of Lee Donghyuck’s Dorms. It was two weeks to finals week and theatre studies students have their final papers due today, so as to give them more time for the play that is happening in a month’s time. Donghyuck happily submitted his final paper - a twenty page analysis of four Shakespearean plays that would not have worked out in modern day society - and was happily queuing for doughnuts when he received a message from the elusive Renjun.

Please, tell me you’re free now. I need your help.

Throughout the almost one-year of Donghyuck moving into this dormitory, Renjun had hardly asked for help. It was always Donghyuck asking Renjun to get a bag of chips from the grocery run or a cup of coffee when he makes his way from dance practice. Donghyuck tugs on his lower lip, worrying it with his teeth, as he replies with an affirmative emoji and he sees the three dots flashing almost immediately.

Great, can you please get me some sugary treats - doughnuts or cakes or cookies, whatever. And an Oat latte with five shots, please.

Donghyuck is now frowning at his phone screen and a message from Jaemin flashes up.

IF RENJUN IS ASKING FOR SUGARS DO NOT OVER BUY FOR HIM. TWO DOUGHNUT OR TWO COOKIES MAX, DO NOT BUY CAKE!!!!! AND ALSO REDUCE HIS COFFEE ORDER TO FOUR SHOTS, HE WON’T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.

Donghyuck nearly dropped his phone as he edged closer in line to the cashier. 

Renjun loves those mochi doughnuts, so get him that. Jaehyun-hyung would know the moment you order, he will know what to do. Thanks Hyuckie.

Donghyuck raised his eyebrows and scoffed at the sudden shift in tone from Jaemin. He sent Renjun a thumbs up which Renjun returned with a pink heart with sparkles and an accompanying message “Thank you, love you”. Donghyuck’s eyebrows shot right up to his hairline and gasped at the message he received before the person behind him nudged him forward. He reached the counter soon enough and recited his order which the staff just stared at him amusedly. Donghyuck clicked his tongue in annoyance and was about to open his mouth when the staff spoke.

“Please, whoever you are to Renjun, please just drag him out of the damned studio for once. Force him to go to bed and make sure he sleeps at least 18 hours. Oh, and kick Ten’s ass for me will you, please? Oh and tell you what, bring Ten a cookie or two too, if you can be a dear.”

Donghyuck blinked and the staff - Jaehyun, supplied his brain very helpfully - just grabbed a few paper bags and started on his order. He was halfway through when he looked at Donghyuck, alarmed.

“Blimey, what do you want for the beverages?”

Donghyuck chuckles as a tall, familiar figure popped beside him. 

“Obviously, an oat 4-shot latte for Renjun, a 3-shot americano for Ten and you want one of those nasty triple chocolate chip frappuccino right?” the tall barista winked at Donghyuck exaggeratedly.

“What is this, roleplaying in a cafe? Haven’t seen you around for awhile since you went to Hong Kong for the exchange, Jungwoo-hyung!” Donghyuck chirped back, returned the wink with one of his own.

Jaehyun rolled his eyes. “Bless Renjun to have to deal with TWO of you.”

Jungwoo pouted, lips tugged down. “Renjun loves me, plus I’m in debt to him for that gorgeous cousin of his.”

Donghyuck raised his eyebrow at the statement but Jungwoo just chased him away with a loud “shoo” and returned to give the next customer in line his perfected customer service smile. Donghyuck rolled his eyes at the shenanigans of the older boy and stood by the side to wait for his order. Jungwoo passed him a filled paper bag and wagged his finger at Donghyuck warningly. 

“Knock Renjun out or something but get his ass out of the studio, Kun is on his way to drag Ten. Please get him home safe, I honestly doubt he is even functioning. Also, if you do see Kun-ge, please let him know that Shotaro arrives next Tuesday at 3pm, and I’ll be picking him up from the airport.”

Donghyuck frowned, confused as to why they are telling him this. He thanked the older boy and rushed off to the dance studio, worry gnawing at the corner of his heart. He meets Kun just outside the studio’s door, shocked to see just how utterly pissed off the older man is and Donghyuck has never seen Kun being Upset with a capital U. That was usually Ten’s job anyway. 

“Kun-ge?” Donghyuck approached cautiously. 

Kun’s face lights up, giving him a tight lipped smile. He wrings his hands together, seemingly anxious yet Donghyuck could feel strong waves of both annoyance and endearment. He turned to where he was staring at and found himself looking at both Ten and Renjun dancing their hearts out in front of the huge mirror. The music ends and Ten almost collapses when Renjun grabs him to lend a steady hand to his lower back. Kun growled in annoyance, pushing past the soundproof doors, stalking in like a man with purpose. He heard a yelp of fear as Ten was forcefully manhandled to get his bag. 

Donghyuck watches Ten yelp again when Kun hits his butt before getting carried out of the studio, earning a soft chuckle from Renjun. The lighthearted laugh ended when Kun sent him a death glare and nagged him about his health. Renjun pouted and ducked his head, letting Kun’s nagging wash over him. Donghyuck sees a faint smile on his face and meets eyes with Kun who then beckoned him over. He pushed the heavy door and stepped into the dance studio meekly. He has his fair share of experience of practice room for rehearsals of their annual plays. 

Renjun glanced at him curiously, eyes wide, as Donghyuck dug through his paper bag, pulling out the cookies and americano to pass to Ten. 

“Jaehyun wants me to pass you these, and also Jungwoo wants me to let Kun-ge know that Shotaro will be arriving next Tuesday at around 3pm and that he will pick him up?” 

Kun grinned as Ten gave a weak, tired cheer at the news. Kun glared at Renjun and turned his attention back to Donghyuck.

“Get him back and make sure he sleeps on the sofa, don’t let him go to his room… he will just start on his art submission.”

“KUN-GE!!!” Renjun shrieked indignantly 

Kun narrowed his eyes at Renjun, reaching a hand up to smack him gently on his head before he ruffled the sweaty hair. He gave him another warning look and dragged Ten out of the studio. Donghyuck could hear them bickering as their voices faded off into the distance. Renjun smiled at him, gathering his own belongings, only to have them taken off him as Donghyuck shoved a doughnut into his now empty hands. Renjun blinked as Donghyuck shrugged and made his way to the door.

“Let’s go home, Renjun-ssi.”

Something shifted between them since then. And Donghyuck has no idea what it is. And Jaemin and Jeno are getting clearly frustrated at him for whatever reason.

Then comes Autumn. Then comes Winter. Then comes Spring. 

Then comes a little, tiny, small bubbling of feelings. Perhaps.

But Donghyuck refuses to acknowledge it.

Since he had witnessed Renjun’s crash from that day - the boy passed out on the sofa for a good seventeen hours. Donghyuck has taken it upon himself to make sure he was getting enough rest by waiting outside his dance studio twice a week. Occasionally, he would appear at the art studio to drag Renjun away from his blank canvas to rest. He had gotten acquainted with Renjun’s own social circles and had already joined two of their game nights with Renjun.

So when he received a message from Liu Yangyang, he was not surprised at all. 

Except, the message did not bring good news.

Come to the campus clinic, Renjun sprained his wrist. 

Donghyuck sprinted to the campus clinic immediately, heart thumping wildly in his chest, as he skidded into the clinic with a crash. Earning himself a disapproving glare from the in-house doctor-in-training Dong Sicheng, Renjun’s cousin, who jutted his chin to one of the rooms. Donghyuck thanked him and quickly made his way to the ward. He took a deep breath and pushed the door open. Yangyang was perched on Renjun’s hospital bed and they were speaking in a hushed tone, only stopping when they took in Donghyuck’s presence in the room. 

Renjun was looking at him with an unreadable look on his face as Yangyang drew him in for a hug. Yangyang gave him a cheerful wave and left the room with a loud slam of the door. Donghyuck looked at Renjun who was looking down on his bandaged wrist forlornly. Donghyuck reached out to take his injured wrist into his own hands, rubbing his thumb soothingly on the rigid cast. Their eyes meet and Donghycuk feels a breath, feeling like his lungs are getting punched as he watches the emotions swirl within Renjun’s dark brown orbs. He was about to say something when Renjun leaned in and rested his forehead on his shoulder, mumbling an apology when he felt Donghyuck freezing beneath his touch.

“Just for a while, please.”

Donghyuck holds him closer, rubbing a calming hand down his back as Renjun’s body shook while he cried into Donghyuck’s shoulder. 

There was an exhibition, the Spring showcase, that Renjun won a place in, and now it slipped past his fingers as he would be out of commission for three months to let his injured wrist heal. Donghyuck knows he had been so excited about showcasing his work and had worked so hard to qualify for it, and to watch it all be ripped away from him is so painful. Life is so unfair sometimes, and Donghyuck would fight the world for Renjun.

So Donghyuck holds him closer, holds him tighter and hopes that this was enough to ease his pain and the sobs that are wrecking through his petite form. 

He stays behind for the night, watching over Renjun as he sleeps fitfully. 

Next morning, they made their way back to the dormitory after Renjun was forced to swear on Sicheng’s puppy Bella’s life that he would properly rest for three months. Renjun was draped across Donghyuck’s back as they stepped into the warmth of the dormitory, his cold nose nuzzling Donghyuck’s neck, sending shivers down his spine. Donghyuck discarded his coat and watched the smaller boy hop to the sofa, immediately clutching on to the fluffy pillow they had gotten at IKEA a week ago. When Donghyuck walked out of his room after changing he saw Renjun looking at him, eyes dark with an unreadable expression. 

“Renjun?” Donghyuck out softly, taking the seat beside the boy cautiously.

Renjun bit his lower lip, inciting a sigh from Donghyuck who just opened his arms for a hug which he took gratefully. Renjun had his left arm around his middle, and the right hand was fisted into the sweater Donghyuck was wearing. He nuzzled at the exposed skin of his neck as Donghyuck curled his arms around his shoulder and waist, pulling him closer. 

“Renjun?” Donghyuck tries again.

Renjun looked up, eyes glassy but there was an emotion that hovered at the back. Donghyuck froze when Renjun leans up to kiss his cheeks softly. He pulled back a little, a pretty pink blush dusting his cheeks, as Renjun sat up and twiddled his fingers.

“Thank you, Hyuck. For everything.”

Donghyuck smiled, stretching his hand out to brush his cheeks gently, cupping them. Renjun sighed at the touch, leaning into his hand. They met eyes again and Donghyuck feels himself getting lost in those dark abysses. He smiled tenderly, his other hand reaching out to hold Renjun’s hand gently. He stared deep into Renjun’s eyes as he replied easily, as if he had spoken them before. 

“I would fight the world for you, Renjun. I would.”