He was always outside that cozy seafood joint right when the clock struck noon. Sanha knew this because Sanha was always finishing up just nearby, and he could hear when the dancer’s music turned on. Usually he danced to a mix of pop and hip-hop, but sometimes, about once a week, he would play something unusually pretty. Sanha heard all of this, but his home was in the opposite direction and he never had any desire to check out another busker. So he would nod along to whatever music was playing before packing up and retreating home.
But one day he was too curious to leave it alone. The dancer was playing musical soundtracks, songs that Sanha didn’t really consider to be dance songs, and yet surely the dancer was dancing anyway. That was what dancers did best; they danced.
So he grabbed his guitar and his case full of all his other equipment and he set off on the short journey around the corner, peering about with intrigue.
There was the dancer, in a wide, open space away from the road and close to the sidewalk. Sure enough, he was dancing. Sanha had to give himself some credit for getting that correct.
He danced beautifully, too.
Even if the song wasn’t necessarily dancey , he somehow managed to sway his body a certain way to fit the mood of whatever the musical was portraying. Longing , perhaps, though Sanha wasn’t well-versed in musicals. Whatever the case, the dancer danced and danced, and Sanha could only stand there and watch.
He was mesmerizing.
Sanha had seen many buskers come and go. It was a difficult lifestyle, one that was probably better as a part-time gig rather than a full-time one, and most buskers were unable to handle the lack of money, or even lack of enthusiasm. After all, the regular people were just passing by to get from one point to the next. Very few of them had time to actually stop and listen to music or watch someone dance.
Sanha noted that many people stopped to watch this dancer.
Was he jealous? A bit. But he was also proud. He had practically owned these streets for a while. He was a popular figurehead of the busking community around these parts. He considered new buskers to be students, though he hardly ever interacted with many of them, and their success felt like his success.
Or that could have been something he told himself to make the jealousy disappear.
The dance ended and the dancer took a bow. Sanha was among those who clapped, and the dancer caught his eye.
Shoot, now he would have to cough up some money. It was near impossible to look at a busker and not tip him anything.
Sanha let the rest of the audience drop money in a bucket before he pulled out a couple bills from his pocket. When he dropped his money in, the dancer smiled at him.
“Thanks,” he murmured.
What a voice! Deep and husky, just the way Sanha liked voices to be. On such a small man, it seemed a bit out of place, but everything about this dancer was out of place. It was another unique oddity of the new busker.
“No problem!” he offered, returning the smile. “I figure that we buskers need to support each other!”
The man blinked. ‘You’re also a busker?”
“Yeah, I’m on the other side of these buildings.” Sanha gestured wildly, but the man didn’t look. No matter. “I play guitar and sing.” He held up his belongings, which the dancer did look at.
“Oh,” the dancer said. “I haven’t heard you before.”
“I mean, you’re new, so…” Sanha shrugged his shoulders. “But you should come and visit! You start a bit later than me, so if you come earlier, then maybe you’ll be able to hear me.”
The dancer looked interested. He nodded his head slowly, then asked, “What type of songs do you sing?”
Pleased that the dancer was making conversation (he was hot; Sanha was more than impartial to hot men with deep voices, and he wanted to converse with them all day long), Sanha beamed and responded, “Mostly soft songs. Ballads. Sometimes pop. I like the idea of writing my own songs, too.”
“You write your own songs?”
“I said I like the idea of it, not that I actually do it.”
This caused the dancer to laugh a little bit. He had a cute laugh, and an even cuter smile. Sanha wondered if the power of his smile could somehow be harnessed and turned into energy. It would power many things. Why, it could power an entire city! The world would run solely on this dancer’s smile.
Sanha also thought of ways to incorporate the beauty of this man’s smile into a song he would write. He could call it The Dancer’s Smile . He’d work on it later, for sure.
“Anyway,” the dancer said, nodding his head politely. “I should get back to it if I want to make any money today.”
Sanha hadn’t realized he was taking up the man’s time, and he felt a bit embarrassed. “Oh!” he exclaimed, stepping back. “Sorry! I just like talking to new buskers.” Not true, but the dancer didn’t need to know that. “Come and watch me sing one day!”
The dancer fiddled with his music player and said, “Tell you what -- if you watch one more dance, the entire way through, then I’ll come and listen to you sing.”
It was an easy deal, and Sanha readily agreed. He liked watching the man dance, anyway. His motions were beautiful and fluid, and his expression was oh-so-dreamy. Sanha caught more than one girl in the audience sighing over his looks. Sanha could understand, and he felt no harm toward any of the girls, even if they were crushing on a man he internally claimed for himself.
He clapped louder than anyone when the dance was finished, left a few coins in the bucket, and then he was on his way with a little skip in his step.
It wasn’t until later that night when Sanha realized he never asked for the dancer’s name.
“Oh, well,” he told himself, humming as he worked on his skincare routine. “More conversation for next time.”
Minhyuk had never seen anyone so freakishly tall before. The man was likely descended from giants. Or sea monsters. Or aliens. Or anything else, really, that could be tall. Giraffes?
He doodled a giraffe in his notebook, then nodded in approval.
He was definitely descended from giraffes.
Minhyuk’s friend Dongmin was tall, too, but Dongmin was tall in a different way. Everything on Dongmin was accurately proportioned. Dongmin was descended from the gods, after all. No, the singer was strange and tall, like he had been stretched out on some sort of device, like he had been clay that someone kept pulling and pulling.
Like taffy, Minhyuk thought, and he held back a smile as he imagined Sanha being tugged this way and that like a piece of chewy candy.
The professor at the head of the class droned on and on, and so Minhyuk figured he was safe to get lost in more daydreams.
He had promised the tall man he would go and watch him sing, but he had only done so to get the tall man to watch him dance. And he didn’t even care about the few coins the man had tipped him. He just liked him. He was cute, in a way that god-like Dongmin would never be, and he was youthful, in a way that old-soul Dongmin would never be.
Also, he hadn’t hypothetically rejected Minhyuk’s confession, as stick-in-the-mud Dongmin already hypothetically had. Mostly on account that Dongmin was straight, but still.
The professor asked the class a question. Dongmin raised his hand, as he always did, which gave Minhyuk more time to doodle a few more giraffes and ponder on the tall man.
Were his own eyes deceiving him, or did that man seem interested in Minhyuk? Of course, Minhyuk was terrible at telling when people were flirting with him. Case in point, Myungjun, who apparently flirted for two entire years before giving up and moving on to date Jinwoo. Minhyuk had never known Myungjun was flirting.
If he had known, though, he probably would have thrown up. Ew.
With three giraffes finished, Minhyuk finally put down his pencil and stared at his creations as he pondered the tall busker. He played guitar, wasn’t that what he said? And he played in the mornings, mostly, which was unfortunate as Minhyuk had classes most mornings. He sighed, a little too heavily, for the girl sitting next to him glanced over in confusion.
Right, he shouldn’t be daydreaming so much. Business classes were important, even if they were boring, but if Minhyuk was going to open up his own dance studio, then he needed to understand how to properly run a business.
So he dedicated to listening properly for the rest of the class, though he couldn’t help but look down at his giraffe drawings from time to time.
When the class was complete, he tried to pack up quickly, but Dongmin stopped him before he could run to his busking station.
“Hey,” Dongmin greeted, a bright smile on his face. “How did it go yesterday?”
Did he know about the tall busker? Minhyuk blinked. But how could Dongmin know? He hadn’t come.
“How...how was what?” he stammered out.
Dongmin’s smile remained. “Busking.”
“Oh,” Minhyuk breathed out, feeling a bit foolish. “It was good. Made a lot of money. Had fun. Danced a lot. You know.”
“I don’t know. I’ve never known anyone who busks, and I’ve never really stopped to watch actual buskers.”
Dongmin was always moving, always on the go. It figured that he wouldn’t slow down to enjoy a dance or a song or an instrumental melody.
“Can I come today, though?” Dongmin asked, hitching his backpack up higher onto his shoulders.
Minhyuk tried to keep an impassive expression on his face, but inside he felt like he was panicking. If Dongmin tagged along, then he might stay for the entire time out of some ridiculous ‘best friend comradery,’ and then he would hover and Minhyuk wouldn’t have the chance to talk to the giraffe. Or, worse, the giraffe could fall for Dongmin, just like everybody else always did.
But Dongmin was straight, and so Minhyuk wondered if that could be his one saving grace. Unless, of course, the giraffe was an idiot and either didn’t catch on or decided to pursue Dongmin regardless. Minhyuk had met a few men who refused to give up the chase.
However, he couldn’t deny Dongmin the chance to witness his amazing dance skills, and the area was free for anyone, anyway. Minhyuk had to agree, simply because disagreeing would get him nowhere, and so Dongmin tagged along like a dutiful boyfriend, carrying Minhyuk’s speakers with great ease and grace.
He helped Minhyuk set up, too, and Minhyuk wondered if Dongmin’s pretty face wouldn’t at least draw in a few bystanders. Even if they only came for Dongmin, they would be obligated to leave a tip.
Yay for societal pressures and guilty consciences.
Before the first dance could even begin, though, Minhyuk caught sight of that tall man, the giraffe, heading his way. He glanced worriedly at Dongmin, but Dongmin didn’t look up from where he was untangling wires, and the giraffe didn’t appear remotely interested in greeting Dongmin. In fact, he looked slightly perturbed by the appearance of someone new, and he eyed Dongmin suspiciously for a few seconds before turning to Minhyuk.
“Hey, fellow busker!” he greeted. “Brought a friend?”
“Yeah.” Minhyuk cleared his throat and gestured to Dongmin. “Just a friend. He’s here mostly to set things up.”
The giraffe smiled at that. He looked relieved. Minhyuk had no clue why. Maybe he was worried that he would be asked to set up?
“He’s a good friend, then, if he’ll do all of that for you!” the giraffe pointed out. “I usually have to set up all on my own.”
“No one close to help out?” Minhyuk questioned.
“I mean, sometimes my best friend helps, but…” Then the giraffe grinned conspiratingly. “That’s all I have.”
It was a sly way to inform Minhyuk that he was single. Minhyuk couldn’t stop the giddiness from rising up within him, though he did try his best to at least hide the dopey smile he knew was probably tugging at his lips.
“But I never asked for your name,” the giraffe said. “Isn’t that silly of me? We got along so well, and we still don’t know what each others’ names are!”
“Minhyuk,” Minhyuk was quick to offer. And why shouldn’t he give out his name? It was his dream (as of yesterday) to be on a first-name basis with the giraffe.
“I’m Sanha! Good to know the name of one of my newest busking buddies.”
Minhyuk nodded his head, holding back a smile. How the hell was someone so tall just so cute? Minhyuk had always wondered what it would be like to be adorable. Sanha truly embodied the aesthetic of cute.
Unfortunately, because of Minhyuk’s inability to form words in front of cute men, the conversation seemed to fall to a standstill. Both Minhyuk and Sanha stood there, Sanha smiling awkwardly at Minhyuk, before Dongmin cleared his throat.
“Minhyuk,” he said, gesturing toward some speakers. “Which plugs do I use?”
Minhyuk knew that Dongmin was well-aware of the auxiliary cords and their purpose, but he was thankful for the distraction. He nodded his head briefly to Sanha before turning to Dongmin, doing his best to hide his embarrassment through an explanation of his cords.
Sanha stuck around for the first dance. He cheered louder than anyone, even Dongmin.
Minhyuk decided he liked Sanha.
Sanha finished his first set of songs and then took a large swig of water. He smiled politely to the audience members, most of whom tipped him large amounts, gushing about his natural ability and his beautiful voice. While Sanha liked to remain humble, he certainly appreciated some well-timed compliments. He liked it when the sweet, older women cooed over him, or when the younger women called him a musical genius , or when the men whispered amongst each other about how jealous they were that Sanha had been blessed with a gorgeous voice. It gave him the confidence to continue singing, despite a few voice cracks and missed notes here and there.
He adjusted the volume of his speakers and then flipped through his sheet music, trying to remember what the next parts of his set would be.
He came across a self-written song, one he hadn’t quite decided whether or not he liked. He stared at it for a few seconds, at the notes scribbled out onto the page, at the lyrics he meant to be poetic. He wondered if it was any good.
The next song wasn’t supposed to be his own song, but he couldn’t pull back from it so quickly.
Besides, it was technically about Minhyuk. Or, more generally, it was about a dancer with a cute smile.
Ah, what the hell. If it was bad, then it was bad, and Sanha would return to his roots and never again play his own songs.
He strummed the first few notes, testing the tune of his guitar, and then he started singing lightly, trying his best to convey what he felt when he had written the music late one evening, shortly after meeting with Minhyuk.
Unfortunately, the meaning was lost on the audience surrounding him, and because the song was so new, he had yet to work out a few kinks here and there. It was far from his best work, but when he finished, the crowd gave him money as they always did. He sometimes wondered if they would tip him even if he only played trash.
He had yet to test that musing, out of fear he would no longer be able to busk.
He played several more songs before his watch hit noon, and then he gave a deep bow to the few who had remained throughout the entire show. They were mostly young girls, likely on break from high school. They giggled and clapped, and then begged him to take pictures with them.
He quite liked the attention. He liked people fawning over him. He readily accepted their offer, bending over in order to reach their height, smiling widely and giving a small finger-heart to their phone cameras.
When everyone had finally dispersed, Sanha stretched out his muscles and then worked on packing up. So engrossed was he in rifling through his sheet music to ensure things were in order that he didn’t hear someone walk up behind him.
He did, however, hear Minhyuk’s voice: “Darn, I’m late.”
He jumped slightly, but when he realized who it was, he relaxed. Excitement overtook his initial fear, and he couldn’t help but smile widely.
“I keep wondering when you’ll watch me sing.”
“It’s hard,” Minhyuk admitted. “You only sing when I have classes.”
“You go to college?” Sanha didn’t know why he was so impressed about that fact. Tons of people went to college. Even if Sanha never had (and even if he never wanted to), it didn’t mean the other buskers also abstained.
Minhyuk nodded his head in confirmation. “Yeah. Biology.”
“Biology?” Sanha repeated, feeling very much awed by Minhyuk’s supposed intelligence. “Why biology?”
“My dad wanted me to,” Minhyuk answered. “He’s fine if I choose not to use it -- he just wanted me to have some sort of backup in case my musical career doesn’t really work out.”
Sanha blinked. He hadn’t known Minhyuk referred to his dancing as a musical career . Though, he supposed, it did make sense. Dancing was still music. In fact, Sanha’s best friend, Bin, was a professional dancer who was often featured as a background dancer in many music videos. He had already made Bin promise to dance in whatever music video he could release with his own original songs.
Though if Minhyuk was prepared to do it instead, Sanha would much rather have him.
“You want to pursue a career in music?” Sanha asked, continuing his interrogation.
Fortunately, Minhyuk didn’t seem too perturbed by all the questions.
“Musical theater,” Minhyuk clarified. “I dance on the side for a bit of extra money so I can afford lessons. I take dance and some voice.”
“Oh!” Sanha brightened, his eyes widening with intrigue. “So you can sing?”
“Can I hear you sing?”
Minhyuk glanced around them, at all of the other buskers and at all of the random civilians lingering around the area. Sanha could understand his reluctance, so he was quick to shake his head as a response to his own question.
“You don’t need to sing. Sorry, I think sometimes I speak before I can think. Maybe I can hear you another time?”
Minhyuk shrugged his shoulders. “Like I said, I don’t sing well.”
“Don’t be so humble,” Sanha scolded. “I bet you sing just fine.”
Minhyuk was graceful. Minhyuk was powerful. Minhyuk was so pretty. Sanha was certain that whatever music flowed from his mouth would be as good as his dancing was. He had a way with his feet, so he likely had a way with words.
Sanha clutched his guitar to himself, wondering if this extremely attractive man was about to steal his fame in the busking community.
“If you sing,” he warned, “you’ll be a triple threat.”
Minhyuk first accepted that compliment, but then raised his eyebrows. “A triple threat?” he wondered. “I can sing, and I can dance, and I can…?” He trailed off, clearly expecting a response.
Sanha was quick to give it to him. “You’re handsome. Objectively speaking. I mean, from what I hear from the girls that hang around you when you busk, you’re extremely handsome.”
“Oh?” Minhyuk seemed shocked, as if it was his first time hearing such a thing. “Why do they think I’m handsome?”
Why not? Sanha wanted to scream, but he refrained from doing so, even if it meant his heart pounded wildly in his chest as it lamented the fact that it could not speak for itself.
But he had to think of something else to say, something that wouldn’t cause him to express his true, inner feelings. He couldn’t scream and squeal over Minhyuk’s overabundant attraction. He had to remain calm throughout such intense emotions.
And, goodness, how quickly his interest in Minhyuk had grown! They barely knew each other, and yet Sanha was already imagining them as an old married couple. He could see it so clearly; they would sit in rocking chairs on porches, peeling potatoes or else clinking together wine glasses. They would have three children, probably, and at least eight grandchildren, all of whom would visit them on weekends. Minhyuk would still dance and Sanha would accompany him on guitar, and they would--
“Sanha?” Minhyuk asked suddenly, and Sanha snapped out of his daydream in order to blink rapidly at the other busker.
Shoot, he really had it bad. Never before had he experienced such vivid (and weirdly cute) daydreams about a man he had just met.
“Sorry,” he apologized, smiling brightly and pretending he hadn’t just completely zoned out. “Just thinking.”
“What were you thinking about?”
Sanha laughed lightly. It was a fake laugh, and he was certain that Minhyuk would be able to tell. “Oh, you know. Just...different things.”
Minhyuk, obviously, didn’t look convinced at all. And why should he? Sanha had started to zone out right after telling Minhyuk how handsome he was. It was so ridiculously transparent, and Sanha knew he was turning red from embarrassment.
He cleared his throat and tried his best to change the subject. “A-Anyway...I’m sorry you missed the show.” He gestured at his guitar. “Maybe next time?”
Minhyuk pursed his lips and glanced down at his cell phone before asking, “Could I maybe hear one of your songs anyway? I know your time is up, but...just quickly. Before I start dancing.”
Sanha, too, looked at the time. He realized that Minhyuk was likely to be late. Already it was several minutes past Minhyuk’s start time, and while many buskers were fine with a few minutes here and there, Minhyuk did seem like a perfectionist.
But he looked so earnest and sincere, and Sanha quite liked singing for people. Besides, it would be cute, wouldn’t it? He could serenade his crush, just like he saw in so many movies and dramas. It was a dream come true, and he would be foolish not to take it.
“Alright,” he said, offering Minhyuk a small smile. He strummed on his guitar a few times and then, in a moment of bravery, decided on a song.
“I’ll sing a song I made. It’s called Young Love . I, um…” He wet his lips nervously and gauged Minhyuk’s expression. Even if it wasn’t the song explicitly about Minhyuk, it was still a song that might possibly give away his inner feelings.
Minhyuk looked intrigued and excited, but he didn’t seem to catch onto Sanha’s anxiety. Sanha counted that as a small blessing, at least, and he internally breathed a sigh of relief.
“It’s an older song,” Sanha continued, strumming one more note. “It’s a bit rough. Really short. Not much to it.”
“It’ll be perfect,” Minhyuk said, and Sanha couldn’t stop the extreme joy from rising up within him.
He really, really liked Minhyuk.
“Dammit,” Minhyuk cursed, fiddling a bit with one of the cords to his speaker. Unfortunately, the music did not come through, and he came to the conclusion that nothing was wrong with the wires, necessarily, but only the speaker itself. He pressed buttons and hit it a few times, and even then nothing happened.
The few members of the audience who lingered stared at him with pity, and Minhyuk found it difficult to make eye contact with them. If only Dongmin had come. Dongmin would sweet-talk them into still tipping, and then he would offer some sort of alternative solution. Hell, he was smart enough that he might be able to fix Minhyuk’s broken speaker by himself, singlehandedly.
But Dongmin had work and was unavailable, so Minhyuk was stuck on his own.
“Um…” he started, looking behind him at the two or three people who had stuck around. “I’m...I’m sorry. It doesn’t look like it’s working.”
One person left him a tip, anyway. The other two shook their heads as they departed, and Minhyuk slumped onto the ground, picking at his leggings and cursing the broken speaker in his mind. He was going to try some traditional dancing today, some ballet or something of the sort, and he was upset that he would be unable to display his skills.
Oh, well. He would run it home and maybe have enough time to do something when he came back.
But just as stood up, Sanah rounded the corner and stared at the empty space before him.
Minhyuk offered him an awkward wave, his hand flopping slightly when he brought it back down again.
“Are you not dancing today?” Sanha asked, coming closer to Minhyuk’s section of the open area.
Minhyuk shrugged his shoulders. “Speaker broke,” he responded, fiddling once again with the speaker and wires. “So I can’t dance.”
“That sucks,” Sanha mumbled. “Why don’t you use my stuff?”
Minhyuk glanced over at him, his eyes wide. He hadn’t expected that. He had expected pity, and perhaps some comforting, but not outright help .
“But...you have different supplies than I do.”
“Sure, but I think your phone can plug into my speakers. I mean, all it takes is the auxiliary cord, right?”
Minhyuk nodded, but then caught himself. “I can’t ask you to do that, though. You probably have stuff to do, and--”
“I wanna help!” Sanha exclaimed. “Besides, I came to see you dance and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get to see my daily dose of Minhyuk!”
The words were cute, but they made Minhyuk blush. Evidently, they also made Sanha blush, as his cheeks reddened before he slapped his hands over them.
“Here!” Sanha exclaimed, grabbing at his speakers. “I’ll help you set these up, and then you can dance to your heart’s content!”
Sanha was right; the speakers he had fit just fine with Minhyuk’s phone, and after a few test runs, they were both able to establish that things would fall into place and work out.
And then Minhyuk was able to dance. He was extra nervous, knowing that Sanha was watching him, but he continued to spin and twirl and jump. He did as best he could, better even, and adored each applause he received at the end of his songs, knowing that Sanha was clapping the loudest.
By the end, he was properly sweaty and exhausted, and yet Sanha still didn’t shy away from him. He complimented Minhyuk’s dancing in the kindest way possible, and as they both packed up, he offered to let Minhyuk borrow his speakers again anytime he needed.
So Minhyuk made sure he needed to the following day, and the day after that, and then again the day after that.
It was on the last day of the week that Sanha asked, “Have you not fixed the speakers?”
Filled with embarrassment over the obvious set-up of his plan, he shrugged his shoulders. “They’re definitely dead,” he stated, trying his best to squash down his humiliation with having been caught. “So, uh…” He swallowed thickly and added, “I’ll buy more, though. I probably have enough money now.”
Sanha nodded his head. “Yeah. But I don’t mind if you keep using mine. I’d come by to watch you dance, anyway!”
Minhyuk fiddled with some wires, though he knew everything was already plugged in just fine. “Really?”
“I...I like watching you dance.”
Minhyuk’s mouth felt dry and he didn’t dare look over at Sanha. He wondered if Sanha was flirting with him. Was that how people flirted? Minhyuk wouldn’t know -- other than Myungjun, he was certain he had never been flirted with before, and he only knew about Myungjun because he was told, anyway.
Wait, was he actually clueless?
He needed it spoken out to him in clear words, in perfect Korean, so he stammered out, “Do you like m-me?”
He heard something drop, though he wasn’t even sure what it was Sanha had been holding. He still didn’t turn around, in fear he might see disgust in Sanha’s gorgeous eyes.
“I...huh? Wh-Why do you ask?”
“I don’t know.” And now he didn’t. Now that Sanha was questioning him, he didn’t know why he would ever think someone as wonderful as Sanha would flirt with him.
He stood and finally chanced looking over. Sanha was red and surprised, but otherwise didn’t seem grossed out or anything. Minhyuk considered that to be good news. Or neutral news. Maybe indifference in this case was better than anything at all.
“Sorry,” he apologized. “That was a weird question. I just...kinda thought it for a second.” And before Sanha could open his mouth, Minhyuk was quick to change the subject. “Anyway, I think this should work now. Let me practice a bit before we get started.”
Sanha nodded his head and scurried to stand aside, and Minhyuk danced away all of his regrets.
Sanha sighed heavily as he finished his last song. He stared out over the dwindling audience, and when he spotted his best friend, he only brightened a bit.
Bin hurried over to him, an eyebrow raised as he examined Sanha’s demeanor. Bin was always rather intuitive when it came to Sanha and his emotions; of course, that could be because Sanha was dramatic and wore his feelings on his sleeve.
“What’s up?” Bin asked.
“How did I do?”
“Fine, as always. Why do you look so down, though?”
Sanha fingered his sheet music for a few seconds before shrugging his shoulders. How was he to explain what all had taken place between him and Minhyuk? How was he to explain that Minhyuk had probably caught onto his feelings and had become awkward? Then again, Minhyuk had seemed awkward before he had said anything. Perhaps that was just how he was.
Sanha briefly wondered if he was reading too much into things, but then he brushed that thought aside. He was valid in his beliefs, dammit!
“It’s a long story,” he settled on when Bin leaned in closer for more information.
“I’ve got time.”
“Don’t you have to go pick up Sua?” Sanha wondered. Bin’s sister was still in high school, and though she could walk home, she always enjoyed it when her big brother picked her up. Probably (most definitely) because Bin was cute and caused interested girls to become friends with her. Sanha thought those relationships were shallow, but Bin informed him that she was merely trying to gather acquaintances for whenever she struck it big as a pop idol.
Or something like that.
But Bin didn’t move. “She’s fine,” he explained. “She’s a big girl and I think she can go home by herself.”
She could. Bin wasn’t wrong. He was pushy, though, which meant that Sanha would have to answer his intrusive questions.
“So why do you look upset?”
There it was again. There was no getting past it, so Sanha sighed and kicked his foot at the ground.
“Remember that other busker I’ve talked about? Minhyuk? The one who dances?”
Bin’s face lit up. He remembered because he was obsessed with the idea of dancing for money.
“Yeah. What, you’re in love with him? Did he reject you?”
“Eh.” Sanha chuckled, but it came out sounding pathetic. “He asked if I liked him.”
“Did he?” Now Bin looked really curious. Sanha slightly regretted telling him anything.
“And...and before I said anything, he just moved on. He didn’t bother to wait for an answer. And now he acts awkward around me. I mean, he did before, but it seems a bit worse now. He seems more awkward. Maybe. I don’t know.”
Bin crossed his arms over his chest, displaying some weird aura of authority. Sanha didn’t like it very much, for it meant that Bin was either going to say something ridiculously stupid or utterly profound.
“I could go and see if he likes you,” Bin offered.
Ridiculously stupid, it was.
“Or,” Bin continued, oblivious to Sanha’s inner judgement, “He could’ve been asking because he liked you and he was simply too shy to come out and admit it. He’s a shy person, isn’t he?”
And now it was utterly profound.
“He is shy,” Sanha admitted in a mumble.
Bin looked pleased with himself for such a deduction.
“That’s probably it, then,” Bin decided, nodding his head with finality. “I think this busker is shy and tried asking because he likes you, only he chickened out at the last minute. Though, why is he a busker if he’s so shy?”
“Busking is different from handing out love confessions,” Sanha mumbled, trying his best to think things through without Bin’s ramblings.
“Even so, it takes courage to stand in front of a bunch of people and dance or sing, so I’m shocked he doesn’t have enough courage to simply ask you out on a date.”
“Unless he doesn’t like me,” Sanha murmured, “But he didn’t even give me a chance to respond, and he moved on quickly, which makes me think something is up.”
“Use your detective skills,” Bin teased, and Sanha shot him an exasperated glance. “Sorry, not helpful or funny right now, I know. I just think that maybe, if he’s so shy, that you should deliver your own love confession.”
Sanha was so engrossed in his own thoughts that he almost forgot Bin was still talking to him, and when he finally comprehended the words, he merely blinked.
Bin rolled his eyes. “You need to focus.”
“I am, I am, I just...you think I should confess?”
“Why not? You like him, don’t you? And if he’s too shy to do anything, then you should do it yourself.”
Bin was making sense. He didn’t normally make sense. Sanha wasn’t sure what to make of his sudden wisdom.
But he was desperate for help, and so he was quite willing to defer to Bin’s knowledge if it meant he could confess properly to the cutest busker he ever knew.
“How should I do it, then?” he asked, his eyes wide with hope and excitement.
And Bin mirrored that look. Honestly, he was far too invested, Sanha decided.
Oh, well. At least he was giving out free advice. Sanha would take what he could get.
Minhyuk had barely spoken to Sanha since their last disastrous conversation. What on earth was he supposed to say? How could he offer anything other than basic small-talk when he had likely ruined whatever relationship they did have with his asinine questions?
Do you like me? he had asked, so stupidly, and poor Sanha had been too confused to respond. It was a wonder Sanha had come back to assist with the setup of his speakers.
“I haven’t bought new ones yet,” Minhyuk mumbled as Sanha plugged in some cords to an outlet.
“That’s fine!” Sanha exclaimed, far too cheerful for a busker who constantly had to help another busker set up. But Sanha was cheerful in all situations, it seemed. It was one of the cute quirks about him, a personality trait that had really drawn Minhyuk closer and closer into Sanha’s arms.
He only wished those arms were wide open and accepting of new love.
“Soon,” Minhyuk promised. “I’ll buy another speaker soon.”
He hadn’t, simply because he wanted Sanha to keep coming back. But that was pointless if Sanha wasn’t interested in him. He needed to man up and relinquish his sad, one-sided crush.
He wondered if he could seek advice from Myungjun about that.
“Seriously, I don’t mind helping you out.” Sanha smiled up at Minhyuk from where he was squatting beside his speaker. “It gives us a chance to hang out, doesn’t it?”
Minhyuk swallowed thickly, shocked to hear Sanha say such a thing. Wouldn’t Sanha feel awkward around him? Wouldn’t he want to run for the hills? Why was he sticking around and still being so nice?
Then again, Sanha seemed to be that sort of person. He was likely too nice to say anything, or to reject Minhyuk’s request for assistance. God, Sanha was too nice, and Minhyuk would always like that about him.
Or, he would always like that until he lost his ridiculous crush.
“Yeah, but…” Minhyuk gestured around uselessly. “I’m sure you have places to be.”
“Well, I like sticking around and watching you dance.”
Minhyuk cleared his throat, but Sanha didn’t look the slightest bit uncomfortable.
“Thanks,” Minhyuk finally muttered, realizing he ought to express his gratitude.
“No, thank you! You’re the best dancer I’ve ever seen. You’ve also given me inspiration for new music.”
“Really?” Minhyuk had yet to hear Sanha sing, and he definitely had yet to hear any of his original works. He was very interested, so he asked, “What new music?”
Sanha giggled a little bit, hiding his smile behind his hands. Minhyuk liked that about Sanha, too. He giggled often and freely. It was so cute, especially from someone so tall and gangly. Minhyuk couldn’t help the feeling of adoration that spread through his chest as he watched Sanha compose himself.
“It’s...oh, I can’t tell you! You’ll just have to come and listen to it,” Sanha responded, his cheeks turning red.
Minhyuk also liked how easily Sanha’s cheeks flushed when he was nervous or embarrassed. Something about that was so charming and so precious. It made Minhyuk just want to squish his red cheeks together and kiss him all over.
Damn, though, he really couldn’t think about kissing Sanha. Not yet. Not now.
“It’ll be hard for me to get away from class,” Minhyuk answered honestly. He thought he should be honest, at the very least, but his honesty made Sanha’s face fall.
That wouldn’t do. He really didn’t want to disappoint Sanha. It was the same as disappointing a puppy. Plus, Sanha had been helping him so often with setting up his station and letting him borrow a speaker. It was too kind, and Sanha deserved something in return.
“I think I can fit in some time, though,” Minhyuk decided. “I mean, we break sometimes to go study, and I’m caught up with my studies. I’ll come and watch.”
Sanha’s face brightened considerably. He looked enthusiastic. Once more, Minhyuk couldn’t help but compare him to a puppy.
Minhyuk really liked puppies, so it made sense that he also liked Sanha.
“Next week?” Minhyuk continued, hopeful that he could see more adorable expressions on Sanha’s face. “How about next week Thursday?”
“Yeah!” Sanha exclaimed. “That sounds great! Next week Thursday! Is there a specific time you can come?”
Minhyuk thought of the class he would miss and what the best time to sneak away would be. He couldn’t get up in the middle of class; everyone would stare, the professor might ask what he was doing, and Dongmin would probably figure things out. But if he went before class, then he would have to sneak in, which would garner a similar response.
He would just have to skip class, something he had never done before.
His heart pounded in his chest with the adrenaline of even planning such a rebellious act.
He knew Myungjun, at least, would be proud of him. Myungjun seemed attracted to rebellion.
“Whenever you set up,” Minhyuk responded before he could back out of his plans like a coward. “I’ll be there when you set up. What time is that?”
Sanha beamed. He beamed , as if he was the sun, as if he was the moon and the stars and the reason the Earth spun on its axis.
He probably was the reason. Minhyuk wouldn’t be surprised.
“Nine,” Sanha replied, practically shaking with giddiness. “I can’t wait to see you there! I’ll fix my set-list for you so you can hear my original song.”
Minhyuk swallowed past the nerves that had gathered up and focused solely on Sanha’s excitement.
“I can’t wait,” he replied.
He really couldn’t wait to see Sanha again.
“Why did I do this?” Sanha moaned out, clutching his sheet music to his chest. It might get wrinkled, but he couldn’t be bothered to care. He was panicking and he deserved the right to wrinkle some of his papers.
He was about to perform an original song to the man he had a huge crush on. Not only that, but the song was about his crush.
Not only that, but it was cliched and dorky and utterly embarrassing.
He had thought to invite one of his friends to the production, but then he realized they would see the insatiable affection in his gaze as he sang solely for one Busker Minhyuk.
Or they might see the fear as he did just that.
If they were really lucky, they might even see him vomit from anxiety.
So he refrained from inviting any friends. It would be bad enough if Minhyuk were to witness all of that.
Which he would.
“Oh, god,” Sanha groaned out, his hands shaking as he stuffed the sheet music back in his folder and started working on pulling his guitar out of its case. Yeah, he had made a huge mistake and this entire scheme was about to bite him in the ass.
He wondered if he could somehow pull out. He wondered if he could suddenly pretend to be sick. It wouldn’t be really far off from the truth. He honestly did feel as if he was about to be sick. Wouldn’t it be better to distance himself from the audience (and from Minhyuk) so he wouldn’t pass on any illness?
But it’s just nerves , he reminded himself, and then he realized he couldn’t call off sick, anyway. He needed the money. Busking was his main source of income, and losing even a day of tips could be detrimental. He wouldn’t be able to pay rent if he called out sick.
Maybe he could switch out his sheet music. He could pretend a cover song was his song. Or he could pretend he forgot all about his original song. Or he could pretend--
Did his mother really raise such a coward? Sanha picked his head up and glared at his guitar. She had raised a strong, courageous young man. Even as a child, Sanha was proud to stick up for himself, proud to speak out, and proud to stand by his own decisions. He couldn’t lose sight of that, even if his pride involved the possible love of his life listening to an original song about him.
He set up his music stand, stuffed his sheet music onto that, and then took a deep breath.
He could do it. He knew he could. He was Yoon Sanha, busker extraordinaire, brave and bold and strong. He would sing to Minhyuk and then confess his feelings to Minhyuk.
He could do this.
Of course, all confidence oozed out of his body when Minhyuk showed up. He looked delightful in his tight jeans and nicely-pressed shirt. His hair, which had grown out quite a bit since he and Sanha met, was parted down the middle and seemed to be a new color, possibly some sort of lighter brown. He also wore dangly earrings, which really stood out against his tanned skin.
Sanha’s mouth felt dry, and he took a quick swig of water before waving.
Minhyuk hurried over. “Am I late?” he asked. “Or early?”
“Early,” Sanha replied with a small smile. “I haven’t started yet.”
“Ah.” Minhyuk looked a bit relieved. “I really wanted to make sure I wasn’t late , at least. I need to hear this song of yours.”
Sanha glanced over at his sheet music, at all the notes he had written on the side. He traced over some words, trying to hide them with his fingers just in case Minhyuk happened to peek over.
“It’s stupid,” Sanha muttered. “I probably shouldn’t sing.”
“I’m sure it isn’t,” Minhyuk replied with all the confidence that Sanha lacked. He crossed his arms over his chest. “Especially since I was the inspiration behind the song.”
Sanha had totally forgotten he said that. He wanted to moan again out of frustration, but he couldn’t when Minhyuk was still standing in front of him.
“Yeah,” he murmured, clearing his throat.
“So it’s going to be good. Great, even,” Minhyuk continued. “If it’s about me -- I mean, if it’s inspired by me, it’s good. Great.”
He was trying to make a joke, Sanha realized, and he looked up at the other busker and raised his eyebrows.
It wasn’t a funny joke, but Minhyuk smiled and laughed anyway as if he had just told the pun of the century.
Somehow, that made Sanha feel so much better. Here stood Minhyuk, hot and perfect in every way, delivering a lame joke and laughing all the while. Even Sanha wasn’t that dorky, and he recognized the humanity in Minhyuk that he had mentally replaced with godliness.
He could do this. He could sing and Minhyuk would enjoy it and then, perhaps, they would be an item.
Sanha strummed a few notes on his guitar and offered Minhyuk his own smile.
“It’s great, then,” he replied, “since it is about you.”
Minhyuk laughed again and nodded his head, though he did look a bit awkward. It was cute and Sanha cherished that expression for a few seconds before he gestured at his music.
“Would you like me to start?” he asked.
“Right now?” Minhyuk glanced around him. “There aren't too many people around.”
“They’ll come when they hear the music. Besides, I was mostly going to play this for you, anyway, so maybe it’s best if we have less of an audience.”
With that explanation, Minhyuk nodded his head eagerly, and he took a few steps back so Sanha wouldn’t be too crowded.
Sanha inhaled deeply and stared at the daunting music before him.
This was it.
He was about to confess through his song.
He knew he could do it, though. He knew it.
And so he began to sing.
Minhyuk was struck by how light Sanha’s voice was when he sang. It was so different from when he talked. It was elegant, soft, beautiful . He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the ethereal sight before him, and he couldn’t listen to anything else other than the sweet melody coming forth from Sanha’s perfect mouth.
When he bothered to interpret the lyrics in his mind, though, he slowly began to make connections.
The dancer close to me.
The dancer down the street.
The dancer with the smile .
Was that him?
Minhyuk didn’t dare believe Sanha was singing about him. There was no way. He would be so conceited if he thought, for a single second, that the song was about him.
But Sanha stated that he had inspired the song. Sanha had even explicitly said that the song was about him .
Minhyuk was the dancer Sanha sang so wonderfully about.
He moves with grace and ease.
He moves with power and strength.
No way. That was all about him ?
Minhyuk held his breath. His palms were growing sweaty and his eyes were wide as Sanha finished his song with a few last strums on his guitar. A few people standing around clapped, unaware of the secret meaning behind Sanha’s original song, and Minhyuk hadn’t even realized there were other people around.
He had been so enraptured by Sanha’s voice, by the lyrics to the song about him, that he forgot he was in the middle of the street with a growing crowd.
Sanha smiled sheepishly at the bystanders. He bowed for them and gestured to his tip jar. Minhyuk stared at him, and only at him, noting that his face had gotten very red and he refused to meet Minhyuk’s gaze.
Still, Minhyuk stared anyway, because what else ought he do? He didn’t want to look away, regardless; in that moment, Sanha glew with such radiance and Minhyuk was doing everything he possibly could to not just blurt out a love confession in such a crowd.
By the time the crowd began tapering out, Minhyuk still couldn’t tear his eyes away. Fortunately, Sanha finally looked in his direction.
“So,” Sanha started, clearing his throat. “How was it?”
Minhyuk nodded his head, then quickly corrected himself. “Oh. Good.” Right, Sanha didn’t ask a yes-or-no question. He asked an open-ended question. He asked a question that deserved way more than oh, good , so Minhyuk added, “I loved it.”
Sanha smiled shyly and shrugged his shoulders. “I just...you know.”
“Was that song really about me, or were you fibbing?”
“It…” Sanha looked conflicted and unsure, but he seemed to steel himself with a deep breath. “It was. It was about you, I mean.”
“Oh. Wow.” Minhyuk had never known what to say in these sorts of situations; not that he got himself into many situations where an extremely attractive man would serenade him on the streets. No, this situation was a bit different.
“If you don’t...don’t return my feelings, that’s alright,” Sanha murmured, his smile faltering a bit.
Minhyuk thought he heard wrong, and so he smartly asked, “Huh?” What feelings? Was Sanha confessing? Or was it the song? Was Sanha’s song a confession?
Sanha didn’t answer him. He played a note on his guitar and stared down at his tip jar, and Minhyuk was left to formulate an answer on his own.
Sanha wrote him a song. Sanha sang him a song. The song was beautiful and sweet.
Clearly Sanha had feelings for him, and Minhyuk realized that he was being dismissive. He was answering everything shortly, and he wasn’t conveying his own feelings well enough.
So he blurted out, “I like you a lot, Sanha.”
Sanha’s head jerked up so quickly that Minhyuk worried for a second that he might have whiplash from such intense movement.
“You like me?”
“Yeah. And...and you like me, right?”
Sanha hesitated before nodding his head. He was still cautious. Minhyuk liked that about him.
Hell, Minhyuk liked everything about him.
“I thought…” Minhyuk smiled and refused to try and hide it. His smile turned into a grin, big and goofy, and he laughed. “I thought you liked me. I think I figured it out a week or two ago. I chickened out of telling you, but…” He giggled again. “I think your confession is way better than anything I would’ve done.”
Sanha’s smile matched Minhyuk’s own. He looked radiant. “I hoped --” he started, but he cut himself off, just as Minhyuk had done. Only he didn’t finish his train of thought. He put his guitar down hurriedly, jumped off his stool, and gathered Minhyuk in a tight hug.
“I prayed you liked me back! Is this okay? Is it okay if I hug you? Oh, god, I’m sorry, I don’t think sometimes--”
Minhyuk wrapped his own arms around Sanha, keeping him still, keeping him close.
“This is more than okay,” he murmured.
Sanha hummed happily, practically vibrating from excitement. Minhyuk couldn’t still his own beating heart, so he definitely couldn’t fault Sanha for such enthusiasm.
“I should dance for you,” Minhyuk suddenly decided. “Make up a dance solely for you, just as you sang a song solely for me.”
“Well, it wasn’t solely for you ,” Sanha corrected. “Just about you.”
“It was for me. I felt it.”
Sanha giggled, shaking even more in Minhyuk’s hold.
“You don’t have to dance,” Sanha said, pulling back a bit. He was tall, so Minhyuk had to look up.
Minhyuk liked tall men.
Minhyuk liked Sanha.
“I want to dance for you.”
“Well, I mean...I wouldn’t mind seeing it. I like watching you dance, in any case, and if you dance for me--”
Minhyuk couldn’t stop himself from leaning forward and kissing Sanha’s cheek.
Sanha made a sound, something that should’ve come from a kitten or a puppy and not a really tall young man, but it was cute and it made Sanha all the more endearing.
“I’ll dance for you,” Minhyuk promised, smiling brightly as he stared up at the most beautiful busker he had ever seen before.
He figured that he could get used to this view.