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the other side of the door

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first.

Grumbling, Minghao stretched out his arm, trying to grab one of the mugs on the top shelf. He rested his left hand on the counter to lift himself up even higher, already on his toes but he was still not tall enough.

"Why does Mingyu keep them on the top shelf? Goddammit!" Minghao muttered under his breath, his right hand flailing around to try and grip one of the mugs. "Damn him and his tall ass self."

He was about to give up when a voice from behind startled him. "Do you need help with that, Seo Myungho?"

Minghao turned around to face his best friend to give him a pointed look before replying haughtily, "no. I can do it myself."

If there was anything that annoyed Minghao the most, it was when people asked if he needed help. Especially people like Mingyu. Especially kind people like Mingyu.

Minghao continued his struggle with the high shelf, ignoring Mingyu completely. He was about to climb onto the kitchen counter when he felt a warm presence behind his back. A longer arm extended from behind and a hand clutched on a mug, bringing it down in front of Minghao.

Minghao spun around to stare at Mingyu as the taller held the mug up to his eyes. Growling, Minghao snatched the mug before proclaiming, "I really didn't need your help. I could have just gotten it by myself."

Mingyu rolled his eyes, leaning on the counter after he had snagged himself a cup too. He filled it with soda before offering to fill Minghao's. He answered, "you were about to climb up to my counter and you'd probably fall and break all of my mugs."

Mingyu gave Minghao back his filled mug before smiling down at him. Minghao pouted, mumbling a soft thanks before walking back to Mingyu's living room to hopefully beat his ass at Mario Kart.


second.

Minghao was a philosophy major with evening classes while Mingyu was a photography major with morning classes. The only time where both could be found hanging out was during the afternoon. More specifically, lunchtime.

It was Mingyu's turn to pick the restaurant and he chose one near their university which sold really good bibimbap. It was normally full during this time of day but they were lucky and managed to get a table as soon as they arrived.

"What do you want to order?" Mingyu asked, flipping the menu.

Minghao shrugged, "I've never been here before. I'll just take whatever you're having."

"It's spicy though."

"So? Just order me the non-spicy one."

"You're ordering, remember?" Mingyu reminded. They had a rule; whoever picked the restaurant, the other had to order.

Minghao sighed, pressing the bell on their table to alert the staff. One of the waiters came by, with a pen and paper, looking expectantly at the two of them.

"We would like to order two sets of the bulgogi bibimbap," Minghao stated, his Korean accent accentuating his vowels. "Make one of them non-spicy. I mean, uh, one of the sets, can it be not spicy? Uh..."

Minghao fumbled with his words, glancing briefly at Mingyu but that little shit was smirking. Minghao scowled, turning back to the waiter.

"There's two sets, right?" Minghao confirmed. "One of them is spicy and the other one is not. Not spicy, I mean."

The waiter stared blankly at Minghao, flashing Mingyu a pleading look. Mingyu finally had enough with Minghao's incoherent words before interrupting, "what he means is..."

+

As both had their orders cleared finally, Minghao turned to glare at Mingyu. He punched his shoulder lightly, complaining, "thanks for embarrassing me. I hate you. Why am I even your friend?"

"To be honest, you embarrassed yourself. You know you could have just asked for my help," Mingyu remarked, fiddling with his chopsticks.

"My korean is improving," Minghao argued, getting chopsticks for himself as well. "I was just practicing."

"Practice on me, then." Mingyu raised his eyebrow at the other, eating some kimchi before their meal arrived. "Show me what you've learnt, Minghao-ya."

Minghao gave Mingyu a deadpanned look before saying, "fuck off, Kim Mingyu."

The taller sighed, "learning curse words does not mean your korean is improving. Did Soonyoung teach you that?"

"No. Jun did."

"I don't even want to know."


third.

With end-of-semesters approaching, Minghao had little to no time preparing for the big dance event that his dance team was invited to. Even when he was not attending class or extra tutorials, he was too busy stuck in the library studying his ass off. So, when he had only a week left before the performance and the Saturday free off classes, he ditched studying all together and left for the dance studio in the morning.

Soonyoung had stayed over Seokmin's apartment the night before so Minghao left a small note on the fridge, explaining his disappearance before heading out. When he reached the studio, Chan was already there and his eyes lit up when he saw Minghao.

"Hyung!" The younger exclaimed, bouncing excitedly around the other. "We haven't seen you for a while! Thank god you're here, Soonyoung taught us some new moves recently and he wanted you to dance the solo."

"Soonyoung wants me to dance the solo?" Minghao frowned, plopping his bag near the door and moving to the mirrored wall to warm up.

"Yeah, it has a backflip at the end and since he gave Jun a small part for the intro already, he thought you should dance this one," Chan talked animatedly, turning on some music. "I can teach you! It's not that different from my part and I've seen Soonyoung dance it so many times when you're not here."

After Chan mentioned his constant absence, Minghao felt guilty, turning back to face the younger before hugging him. "Okay, then we should probably get started!"

+

After a few hours of intensive dance practice with Chan, the younger had to leave for classes and Minghao was alone in the dance studio going over his moves and practising until his body ached. However, he would be damned if he took a rest before mastering this routine.

The afternoon sun came and went quickly, with Minghao turning on the lights to the studio when the sky dimmed. It was only then Minghao realised how long he had been holed up in the studio, repeating the same moves over and over again.

It took a couple more tries before Minghao was laying flat onto the studio floor, sweat seeping into his clothes, hair matting on his forehead, and frustrated, angry tears spilling out of his shut eyes.

The performance was in a few days and Minghao still had not gotten the hang of it. Every time he neared the part of the dance where he had to do his backflip, he fucked up his footing, he got into the wrong position, or he missed the beat. He could do the backflip perfectly, going over it multiple times out of frustration. But, that small part before it, he could not seem to get it right.

He screamed out in vexation, Korean and mandarin curses bouncing off the studio walls. He definitely did not hear the door being swung open and footsteps entering the room. It was only when he only opened his eyes that he realised Mingyu was looming over him, hands on his hips and a raised eyebrow directed at Minghao. The shorter closed his eyes again and rolled over, deciding to sob into his arms instead.

"Myungho-ah..." Mingyu started but was interrupted by Minghao's wails of "go away, Mingyu!" and "I don't need you, Mingyu!"

The taller rolled his eyes, crouching down to rub Minghao's back comfortingly. "Let's go get you washed up and changed. I brought you food, I know you, you probably haven't eaten anything at all. That's enough practice for today."

At that, Minghao turned over and sat up hesitantly. He wiped his tears with his palm, pouting at Mingyu. "I'm trying so hard, Mingyu. It's just this one part that I can't get, I always fuck up. Why do I always fuck up? Why did Soonyoung even give me this solo, oh gosh! The performance is in a week and I can't even do this simple part. I'm a ---"

"Shhh," Mingyu shushed him with a pat on the cheek. "You can still practice any day. It'd be useless if you burn out and end up not being able to dance for the performance. You're gonna practice tomorrow and you're gonna nail that part. But, for now, please come back home and eat something. You look like you're going to faint."

Minghao took a deep breath and stared at his best friend, "please stop saying nice things so I can hate you again."

Mingyu shook his head at the smaller male before helping him up. Minghao was too tired to argue and just held on to Mingyu the whole trip back to his house.

+

"I totally didn't need your help."

"You say that you struggle to keep yourself up right."

"Shut up! How did you know I was at the dance studio anyway?"

"You didn't snap streak me the whole day, so I got worried. Went to your house and saw the post-it on your fridge."

"Wait, HOW DID YOU GET INTO MY HOUSE?!"

"You gave me a spare key, dumbass."

"Oh, right."


fourth.

It was no doubt that Minghao was absolute shit at baking-slash-cooking, meaning Soonyoung (or Mingyu) would have to whip out something to eat almost every time. However, when Minghao woke up to Soonyoung's birthday with precisely nothing to give him, his immediate thought was to bake him a cake while he was not home. It was not that hard to get Soonyoung out of the house as he was practically living with Seokmin anyway. Minghao sent a quick text to Soonyoung's boyfriend and rushed off to the store after googling a recipe online. Thankfully, when he came back, his roommate was already leaving, rustling Minghao's hair on his way out.

As Minghao set the ingredients out on the counter, he immediately remember how he managed to break the mixer the last time he tried to 'bake'. He sighed, thinking of alternatives before pulling out his blender.

It was a brilliant idea, of course. He had seen it somewhere that a blender works as well as a mixer. So, when he combined both the dry and wet ingredients together into the blender, he immediately turned it on. That was before he put on the lid, which resulted in chocolate batter splattering out of the blender and onto every surface of the kitchen.

Minghao raced to turned it off, and almost cried at the mess he made. He then began to mop up the mess, managing to salvage at least some of the batter inside the blender. Putting the lid on this time, the batter mixed well.

Minghao placed it inside the oven and he waited for at least half an hour. When he got it out, the cake was rock hard and sticking onto the pan. He panicked, trying hard to figure how he managed to fuck up this one.

It was then when the doorbell rang. Minghao widened his eyes, Soonyoung was not supposed to be back home in at least two more hours. He scrambled around the kitchen, cleaning up the mess as best as he could before the door opened.

"Soonyoung, look, I can explain," Minghao said, coming out of the kitchen to greet his roommate but instead came face to face with his best friend who was carrying bags of groceries. "Mingyu, what the fuck are you doing here?"

Mingyu smiled sheepishly at the smaller, "I thought I'd help you with your baking situation."

Minghao stomped back into the kitchen, knowing well that the other would follow. "I don't need your help! How do you know about...right, I was live tweeting the whole thing."

Mingyu went to inspect the baking disaster that was the cake, pulling a face when he tried to cut it. Then, he got into action.

"Okay, we'll start with the eggs first..."

+

After a few hours, they had a cake and Soonyoung invited Seokmin back home. Soonyoung was thoroughly surprised at the taste but what he did not know would not kill him.


fifth.

If there was anything anyone was certain about Xu Minghao, it was that he was a stubborn bastard. However, to make matters worse, he was best friends with the only other person who was as stubborn as he was.

So, when Soonyoung called Mingyu in the middle of the fucking night just because Minghao might have possibly broken his arm, the Chinese male squared up for a fight.

They were in their usual dance studio and all four members of their dance team were in varying levels of amusement and pain. Minghao had his back against the mirror, sitting cross-legged and cradling his left arm with his right, muttering curses and looking forlornly at the sight of Soonyoung, fretting around, with a phone held up to his ear and yelling at the most-likely-asleep Mingyu on the other side of the line. Jun had his back resting on the wall opposite Minghao, hands deep inside the pockets of his hoodie, almost falling asleep, but was still able to lecture Minghao in Mandarin about being careful when landing a front flip. Chan, surprisingly, was the calmest during all this. He knelt beside Minghao, pressing an ice pack on the older's twisted ankle, which was another injury he suffered because of his poor landing, and was also mumbling soothing but empty words to encourage his hyung to go a hospital.

"Mingyu's coming in fifteen," Soonyoung announced to the room, avoiding Minghao's glare and settling himself beside Jun.

"Why did you have to call him anyway?" Minghao complained. "If you didn't realise, I'm in no condition to fight."

"You're also in no condition to do anything," Jun replied back, more awake now. "And you refuse to go to the hospital."

"It's not that serious!" Minghao protested, but winced when he moved his arm slightly.

"Hyung, I really think your arm is broken," Chan said softly.

"No, it's not. Just ice it."

"Icing a fucking broken arm is useless, Myungho-ya!" Soonyoung burst out. "You're going to the hospital."

"I don't want to," Minghao stood his ground, but his eyes were pleading. "Please, Soonyoung-hyung, I'm fine."

The other sucked in a breath, almost taking back his words but Jun just sighed, "see, this is why we need Mingyu."

Minghao snapped back to the other, "we don't need Mingyu."

"You need Mingyu," Jun replied in Mandarin before standing up and opening the door. "I'll get more ice."

The room was silent for a few minutes, filled with only Minghao's laboured breathing and Soonyoung's relentless tapping on the wood floor, before the studio door was swung open and a disheveled looking Mingyu stepped in.

He immediately scanned the room for Minghao before locating him by the mirror and stalking forward, looking hundred percent done with the situation. The injured male just merely glared up at the taller, both not saying anything.

In a flash, Mingyu motioned for Chan to step away and he got to Minghao's left side, scooping him up, taking precaution of his injured arm. Minghao's right arm swung aimlessly, though it could not hit its target without moving his left. The smaller male was also throwing curses at his best friend.

"Soonyoung, your car?" Mingyu called out, ignoring Minghao's constant shrieking.

The older, who was resting by the wall, leaped up, swooping up both his and Minghao's bags, before steering them towards the carpark. Chan followed along, alerting Jun on the way, and all five of them squeezed into Soonyoung's Honda.

Jun drove while Soonyoung rode shotgun, glancing so often at the three others who were seated at the back, with Minghao in the middle, lest he tried to escape. Mingyu sat on his good side so that Chan would not have to suffer through Minghao's merciless punches. He was still screaming in both Korean and Mandarin.

It was not until Jun muttered, "shut him up, please." that Mingyu grabbed Minghao's wrist, restraining Minghao's right arm, and smacked him on the side of the head.

"Soonyoung woke me up at the ass o'clock in the morning just because you wouldn't go to the hospital even though you clearly have a fucking broken arm," Mingyu began, silencing the other. "So, please, this is way too early for me to deal with your bullshit, but here I am, so you better shut up and be stubborn some other time."

"You didn't need to be here," Minghao huffed and finally stopped struggling in the other's grip.

Mingyu sighed, releasing the hold on the smaller male's wrist to fit his palm with Minghao's, interlacing their fingers together. "I think I would be damned if I let you get hurt and not do anything about it."

Minghao's shoulders dropped, finally his tense body was relaxing as he rested against his best friend's larger frame before saying, "I hate you."

"I know. I hate you too, don't worry."


last.

Minghao did not know when he started falling for his best friend.

Probably when he started fucking up a lot and Mingyu was always there to help him out of the mess he made, which was already in the early beginning. They were the same age but polar opposites. They would argue about everything and nothing, but they stuck together like honey. They were matches, but they were also the fire striking each other and lighting up a spark both could not contain.

So, when Minghao started getting jealous just because Mingyu started hanging out with another guy more often, that lightbulb exploded in his head.

The guy in question, was Jeon Wonwoo. He was smart and studious, glasses framing his face nicely, with a sweet smile that he gave out rarely but was always there for Mingyu. He was about as tall as Minghao, but that was where the similarities end. While Minghao was almost always bouncing around the room, Wonwoo liked to stick to the walls. He was soft-spoken and reserved, never picking fights with anyone. Maybe that's what Mingyu likes, Minghao thought sourly.

He tried to play it down in the beginning, casually spending more time with Soonyoung and Seokmin when Mingyu was off to wherever with Wonwoo. But, then when the other started cancelling their plans and bailing on him more often than not, he started getting less jealous and more pissed off. Additionally, becoming Sonyoung and Seokmin's third wheel was not how Minghao wanted to spend his weekends.

Usually, he would not hesitate to call his best friend out on something, but when Minghao's own feelings also came into play, he found himself holding back.

However, the final straw came sooner than later. When Mingyu said that he had to leave in the middle of their monthly movie marathon, Minghao cracked.

"What could Wonwoo possibly want this time?!" Minghao questioned, making his best friend stop in his tracks.

"Huh?"

"Whatever," Minghao sighed, waving his hand dismissively. "Just go back to your boyfriend. He's probably more important than your best friend of two years."

"Is this what this is about?" Mingyu retorted, turning back to face Minghao and crossing his arms. "For your information, Wonwoo is not my boyfriend, and if he was, why do you care? You don't see me giving a shit about all the fucking guys you date."

"At least, I don't ditch you for them!"

"I'm not ditching you for Wonwoo!"

"That's literally what you're doing right now! This is the first time I get to hang out with you in weeks and now, you're just going off to go see Wonwoo. What the fuck, Mingyu?!"

"Look, I don't have time for this," Mingyu replied, grabbing his bag. "Let's just talk about this later."

"No." Minghao stomped forward to Mingyu, clutching his bag strap. "We're gonna talk about it now because I probably won't be able to talk to you again when you're too busy fucking Wonwoo."

Mingyu pulled back his strap, raising his voice. "For the last time, me and Wonwoo are just friends!"

"I don't believe you!"

"Then, fine, maybe he should be my best friend! Because clearly, he's a much better person than my current one, and he doesn't accuse me of dating someone who's already taken. At least, he doesn't pick a fight with me at every hour of the day. At least, he's not a stubborn son of a bitch who doesn't know when to give up. At least, he's not a stupid fucking philosophy major who is too scared of talking about his own feelings that he projects them out into meaningless arguments with everyone around him! Maybe, he should be my best friend instead of you, Xu Minghao!"

Minghao was seething at the end of Mingyu's rant, clenching his fist and speaking through gritted teeth. "Get out. Leave!"

Mingyu did not react at first. He stood there in Minghao's living room for a second longer, matching up Minghao's glare with his own before spinning around and leaving, slamming the door on his way out.

Minghao bored holes into where Mingyu was standing last before breaking down, getting his phone and dialing Soonyoung's number.

"Minghao?" His roommate's voice filtered through the line, but as he did not say anything else but "stay there, I'm coming home" when Minghao's sobs went through the call.

+

"Soonyoung, I hate him," Minghao said for the fiftieth time that night, his tone still wrecked.

The other had his mouth pressed in a thin line, rubbing circles onto the crying boy's back. He did not what to say to make the other feel better, so he resided to just giving Minghao physical comfort.

It was almost 2 am and Minghao still had not moved from the spot where he had fought with Mingyu. For the first time in their friendship, Minghao admitted that he needed Mingyu.

Minghao needed Mingyu there to hold him close and pat his head, letting Minghao bawl into his shoulder while he whispered soft words into his ears. Minghao needed Mingyu there to make him forget of all the stupid things he had done and to tell him that it was going to be alright. Minghao needed Mingyu there because Mingyu was the only one that could calm him down.

Thunder roared from a distance and Soonyoung pulled away from his friend briefly to close the window. As the light drizzle turned into a full on storm, he sucked in a breath, facing Minghao with a strange look.

"What?" Minghao asked.

"Not to alarm you or anything," his roommate began, opening the window wider instead of closing it. "But, Mingyu is standing outside in the rain, looking up at me."

"Close the curtain as well," Minghao answered without a hint of hesitation, eyes still puffy and red.

"Minghao..." Soonyoung said, but he was already locking the windows and pulling the curtains.

"I don't care about him."

It was true. Minghao did not care about Mingyu. He did not care that Mingyu was standing in front of Minghao's house in the pouring rain, like some main character of a fucking Korean drama. He did not care if Mingyu was freezing or catching a cold. He did not care about what the fuck Mingyu was actual doing there. He certainly did not care that maybe the reason Mingyu was drenched in the storm at 2 am was because of Minghao.

But, when pebbles were bouncing off their window simultaneously and screams of "Xu Minghao answer me!" were heard, Minghao finally stood up for the first time in hours and walked forwards to their balcony, before hurling the window open.

"FUCK OFF, MINGYU!" Minghao shouted out, voice cracking.

Minghao had always been a dreamer but never in his wildest dreams would he have thought Mingyu would be throwing stones at his window in the middle of night, soaked to the bone, screaming in the pouring rain, "I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU, SEO MYUNGHO!"

Minghao felt his breathing stopped.

"I'VE BEEN IN LOVE WITH YOU FOR A LONG TIME! I LOVE THE WAY YOU PICK A FIGHT WITH ME EVERY SECOND, EVERY DAY. I LOVE THE WAY YOU FIRMLY BELIEVE IN EVERY YOU STAND FOR AND WOULD NEVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE. I LOVE THE WAY YOU FIERCELY PROTECT YOUR FRIENDS. I LOVE THE WAY YOU WOULD NEVER BACK OUT OF AN ARGUMENT NO MATTER WHAT. I LOVE THE WAY YOU NEVER GIVE UP IN ANYTHING YOU DO. I LOVE HOW YOU'RE MY CLOSEST FRIEND IN THE ENTIRE GALAXY AND I LOVE FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU!"

Mingyu hollered out until his voice grew hoarse but he did not stop.

"But I also hate you. I hate you so much I feel like tearing my hair out when I talk to you. I hate the way I always have to think of shit to argue with you about. I hate how you're so adamant about everything that you risk your own health and safety. I hate how you would hold back your feelings so you don't need to burden the people around you. I hate how you never said you needed me when you clearly do. I hate how I'm only your best friend and nothing more and I hate falling in love with you."

Minghao felt his heart swell and burst.

"Xu Minghao, I'm sorry."

In under minute, Minghao had turned, pushing Soonyoung to the side as he stalked out the door. To the falling rain, to the buried feelings in his heart, to Mingyu's arms.

Even as a philosophy major, Minghao was always certain of everything but what he was most positive about was the fact that Mingyu is just a huge dumbass and he was undeniably, absolutely, unmistakably in love with him.

+

"I know this is a sweet moment and all, and I too have been waiting for this day to come," Soonyoung shouted out the window. "But you kids are going to fall sick if you keep kissing in the storm like this, just resume that inside please."