fandom: super junior
pairing: kyuhyun/zhou mi
summary: kyuhyun can't figure out why he likes zhou mi. (in which there is too much smiling, heechul cameos for sj, pillow-stealing, spawn-camping and other nerdy gamer lingo, that infamous voice crack, and a very scary spider.)
warnings: there's enough fluff in this to smother a kitten.
notes: I'M SO GLAD TO FINALLY GET THIS FIC OUT OF MY LIFE. ;______;
Zhou Mi is not the kind of person Kyuhyun is generally drawn to. He’s really girly and he dances like an octopus and he smiles too much and Kyuhyun cannot, for the life of him, figure out why he likes him so much.
The excessive smiling was the first thing Kyuhyun noticed about him.
Kyuhyun was still in pain from the accident, frustrated with the limitations it imposed, when Zhou Mi barged into his life and wouldn’t stop smiling. Kyuhyun hated him for it. He got into the habit of making biting remarks around Zhou Mi to try and get him to frown (or at least get the corners of his mouth turn to down into a less exuberant grin), but nothing he said could dim Zhou Mi’s smile.
“You smile too much,” Kyuhyun snapped at him one day: the day they were supposed to be done learning the choreography for their next video and Kyuhyun couldn’t get his body to move the way it used to; the day he broke down and cried and asked the others if it wouldn’t be better if he just gave up and left.
They were both in the kitchen, Kyuhyun taking his medication and Zhou Mi making Heechul a sandwich. Zhou Mi was humming something annoyingly cheerful under his breath. He looked up from spreading mayonnaise on a slice of bread and thoughtfully said, “You don’t smile enough.”
“Yah! Seasoning, aren’t you done yet?” Heechul yelled from the living room.
“Coming, hyung!” Zhou Mi sing-songed.
Kyuhyun stood in place in the kitchen long after Zhou Mi left, wondering how a simple statement of the truth could unbalance him so.
A lot of people in the industry smiled as much as Zhou Mi, but their smiles were fake; plastered to their faces to hide exhaustion, bitterness, or even contempt. The only other person he’d ever known who smiled that much, and meant it, was Donghae.
No one knew he was the reason Kyuhyun started smiling again—they were just glad he had.
Kyuhyun went from hating Zhou Mi to sort of liking him the first time he heard him sing, as cheesy as that sounds.
It wasn’t a professional performance; there was no warmup or autotune or backing music— Zhou Mi just sang. He and Hankyung were playing cards on the floor in the living room and Kyuhyun was sitting on the couch reading, peering up at them over the top of his book whenever there was a particularly enthusiastic burst of Chinese. Kyuhyun understood only a few words here and there, most of them the Chinese swear words Hankyung had taught him over the years.
It was quiet for a while, comfortably so. And then Zhou Mi started to sing. It was a song Kyuhyun had never heard before. Even though he couldn’t understand the lyrics, something of it went straight to his heart and clung to it, hanging heavy in his chest. Zhou Mi seemed to not have even noticed he was singing until Hankyung interrupted their game to clap; Zhou Mi blushed. Kyuhyun heard something that sounded like the applause at a concert of millions in his mind, but when Zhou Mi smiled up at him all he could say was, “You have a nice voice.”
Zhou Mi met Kyuhyun’s eyes and said, “Thank you.” Then Hankyung said something in Chinese and Zhou Mi laughed and turned back to continue their game. Kyuhyun bit his lip to hold back a smile. When that didn’t work he hid it behind his book, pretending to read while Zhou Mi’s song echoed in his ears. It would be another entire week before he’d be able to get it out of his head.
So Zhou Mi smiled and he sang, and Kyuhyun liked him. It was a step forward.
They weren’t very close, though—more acquaintances than friends. Zhou Mi mostly hung around with Hankyung and Henry, not yet comfortable speaking a foreign tongue for more than just the necessary phrases or stilted small talk.
Naturally, Heechul was the exception to this rule. He had declared Zhou Mi Korean after a week and a half, just like Hankyung. Thanks to his belligerence, Zhou Mi gained confidence in the unfamiliar vowels. His Korean was still imperfect, accented in the same way as Hankyung’s, but he picked it up surprisingly quickly.
The members took turns, depending on their schedules, to help him and Henry (who was not picking up the language quite as quickly and seemed discouraged) with their pronunciation for performances. Kyuhyun had helped Henry a few times already, but not Zhou Mi.
Until one day, when all the other members were out or busy and Zhou Mi came knocking at his door.
“Kyuhyun?” Zhou Mi said after his knock received no answer. “Kyuhyun, could you help me with the lyrics of this song? Kangin-hyung told me to go bother you instead.”
“I’m a little busy, Zhou Mi,” Kyuhyun sighed.
Zhou Mi opened the door and peered in. “You are not,” he said when he eyed Kyuhyun sitting at his computer. He came all the way in, without Kyuhyun’s permission, and shut the door behind him. “No one else is free and I need to learn these lyrics by next week,” Zhou Mi said, waving a sheet of music in Kyuhyun’s face. When Kyuhyun didn’t say anything, he added a, “Please, Kyuhyun.”
Kyuhyun let out a frustrated breath, paused his game, and spun around in his chair to face Zhou Mi; he was actually pouting, for fuck’s sake. “Fine. But this better not take too long. I was busy saving the planet.”
“My hero,” Zhou Mi sighed, mockingly clutching at his heart.
“Shut up,” Kyuhyun said, but he was still smiling. Zhou Mi was turning out to be very sardonic under all that effortless cheer. Kyuhyun liked it. “Okay, where do we start?” Kyuhyun asked, taking the proffered sheet music.
Zhou Mi grinned and plopped down on the bed across from Kyuhyun.
Two hours later, Kangin came knocking.
“Hey Mi, are you in here? I can—” He paused when he spotted Kyuhyun sitting on the floor with his back against the bed frame between Zhou Mi’s knees; Zhou Mi was playing with his hair as he stared quizzically at the page being held up for him. “… Help you now,” Kangin finished, head cocked to the side.
Kyuhyun turned his head and Zhou Mi’s fingers followed it. “Don’t worry about it, hyung. I’ve got it covered.”
Kangin eyed Kyuhyun’s computer screen, which was displaying a generic screensaver instead of the pixelated starscape it by all rights should have been displaying, suspiciously. “You… don’t mind? It’s just that Leeteuk said that you guys didn’t— you really don’t mind?”
“Nope,” Kyuhyun replied. Zhou Mi smiled politely at Kangin.
“O… kay then. I’ll see you guys later, I guess,” Kangin said uncertainly. He left scratching his head.
“He sure was acting weird,” Kyuhyun said once Kangin was out of earshot. “Now, sing it again.”
Zhou Mi sang the Korean lyrics almost perfectly; what he lacked in pronunciation he made up for in sheer talent.
“Perfect,” Kyuhyun said.
Zhou Mi came back every day he could to practice with Kyuhyun. Some days they really did practice, but other days they just talked, or watched a movie (and then talked anyway because they both enjoyed supplying biting commentary). A few times they slept, Zhou Mi exhausted from his training and Kyuhyun—well, he’d never really stopped being tired since the day they debuted.
Even though there was nothing exciting about their time together, Kyuhyun found himself looking forward to seeing Zhou Mi all the same.
They were doing an interview one day, he and six of the others, and Donghae leaned over to ask him why he was smiling because Leeteuk was on the verge of crying about something or other up in the front row and he was supposed to be looking sympathetic.
“Zhou Mi’s coming over later,” Kyuhyun said without thinking.
“Oh,” Donghe said with a knowing smile, and then nudged Eunhyuk and told him to tell the interviewer about a prank they pulled on Shindong last week. It worked wonders—Leeteuk stopped being sad when he remembered the gigantic mess he’d had to clean up in the kitchen.
It was two weeks later when they were both laughing so hard they were tearing up and Kyuhyun’s ribs ached and his mouth hurt and he couldn’t remember why they’d even started laughing in the first place and Zhou Mi was gasping, “Kui Xian, Kui Xian, make it stop— it hurts,” between laughs that he realized he and Zhou Mi were friends.
When SM told them the new subgroup, Super Junior M, would be debuting in China in a week, Kyuhyun’s life tilted. Everything was goodbyes and packing and last-minute poring over of Chinese language handbooks.
Kyuhyun didn’t particularly like his life being in such an uproar.
Henry immediately called his parents and friends to tell them the good news. Or at least, that’s what Kyuhyun assumed he told them— he was speaking English, so it’s just as likely he was saying how glad he was to be getting away from Sungmin’s persistent flirting and leering. Kyuhyun would sympathize if he didn’t agree with Sungmin that it was absolutely hilarious to see Henry flail and, in broken Korean, politely inform everyone that he doesn’t swing that way.
“I give it a month,” Sungmin had laughed under his breath, smile positively devious. Kyuhyun promised to tell him if anything untoward happened in China and then bet him 20,000 won it’d be initiated by Ryeowook. (He’d been giving Yesung a run for his money in the sleaze department since Henry showed up, except he did it a lot cuter—if you were naïve, it almost seemed innocent. Yesung looked like he was ready to strangle someone most of the time.)
Heechul was grumpy. “I can’t believe you’re taking Siwon and not me.”
“But you don’t speak Chinese, hyung!” Hankyung said for the hundredth time, clearly upset. He looked like he was on the verge of tearing out his flawlessly-styled hair.
“Like that matters!”
Hankyung sighed. Kyuhyun didn’t understand how someone so sane could be with someone so… not. Heechul later dragged Siwon and Hankyung into his room for some, if the sounds through the wall were any indication, very enthusiastic “How dare you leave me behind, you little assholes (I’ll miss you)” sex.
Donghae called Kibum and Kyuhyun’s heart warmed at the way he just lit up.
Zhou Mi stayed close to Kyuhyun after he finished making all his phone calls, watching him pack up his books, his games, the few clothes he’d picked out for himself over the years. Zhou Mi didn’t talk much, which was out of the ordinary— every now and then he’d glance over at Kyuhyun and smile, his eyes shining like lights on stage, like the feeling of being on stage when everyone’s cheering their hearts out for you. Kyuhyun smiled back.
Maybe his life could use a little more uproar.
And that brings him to now, on a plane to Beijing with Zhou Mi asleep on his shoulder in the seat beside him. Zhou Mi smiles too much and talks too much and he sings beautifully, too beautifully to have to share the stage with fourteen others, and Kyuhyun still can’t figure out why he likes him so much.
It’s starting to annoy him.
Zhou Mi decides after the second day of their promotions in China that he is going to be Kyuhyun’s personal translator. Hankyung translates for Siwon, and Donghae and Ryeowook take turns with Henry (probably in more ways than one, Kyhyun thinks with a smirk), and now Kyuhyun has Zhou Mi.
He has also appointed himself Kyuhyun’s part-time Chinese tutor. If they’re not completely exhausted from their hectic schedule when they drag themselves up to their hotel rooms at night, Kyuhyun will spread all his textbooks and notebooks out on Zhou Mi’s bed and sprawl on the bed beside him, pen in hand, or sometimes tucked behind his ear. “Teach me,” he’ll say in Chinese. Zhou Mi will either praise his pronunciation or correct him if Kyuhyun is too tired to get the tone quite right.
Their study sessions last thirty minutes to an hour, on average; it depends on who passes out first and how much Kyuhyun hates the Chinese language at that point in time.
“Humans weren’t meant to make noises like this,” Kyuhyun groans one night when his mouth just will not cooperate.
“Are you saying I’m not human?”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t,” Kyuhyun says, and then yawns. “You’re closer to an octopus. Or, you know those giant inflatable human-shaped balloons they put outside festivals and car dealerships that dance when the wind blows? You dance like one of those. Maybe you’re one of those,” Kyuhyun mumbles, slurring his words a little.
Zhou Mi tries not to laugh. “I… have no idea how I should feel about that,” he says. He cranes his neck down to peer at Kyuhyun, who is using his open textbook as a pillow. Zhou Mi flicks his nose and Kyuhyun feebly bats his hand away.
“I think it’s about time you went to sleep,” Zhou Mi says.
“But, Miiiiii,” Kyuhyun whines, “my bed is so far awaaaaaay.”
“You’re cute when you’re delirious from exhaustion.”
“I’m just gonna fall asleep here, okay?” Kyuhyun shoves his textbook pillow off the bed in favor of a more suitable replacement.
“That’s my pillow!” Zhou Mi cries.
Kyuhyun says something, but Zhou Mi doesn’t understand it because it’s muffled by his pillow. Zhou Mi grumbles, but he can’t help but smile at this sleepy, silly Kyuhyun. He grabs the pillow he’d knocked off the bed that morning (he only sleeps on one, but housekeeping always leaves two), pushes all the books off his bed, turns off the lamp, and settles down next to Kyuhyun.
Kyuhyun’s bed is pretty far away.
That morning, Donghae comes in to wake them up. Kyuhyun has never jumped out of bed so quickly in his entire life.
The feeling of Zhou Mi’s arms around him, of his chin tucked into the crook of Kyuhyun's shoulder, lingers phantom-like on his skin for the rest of the morning. And on top of that, Donghae keeps winking at him whenever Zhou Mi's around, and Zhou Mi doesn't even seem to notice— it's all very unnerving.
Zhou Mi likes to hang out in Kyuhyun’s room while he plays his video games. Sometimes he talks (babbles, more like it), but sometimes he just sits and reads, or watches the action on the computer screen over Kyuhyun’s shoulder. Normally Kyuhyun would kick anyone who dared to encroach on his gaming time out (he didn’t have much in Korea, even less in China) but he just doesn’t have the heart to do that to Zhou Mi; normally Kyuhyun responds to the stupid questions people ask him about his games with sarcasm, because shit man, he doesn’t have time to explain things—he’s busy being legendary—, but he can’t bring himself to do that to Zhou Mi, either.
“What’s that?” Zhou Mi asks one day, pointing to a dot on Kyuhyun’s screen that his elven avatar is running after.
“It’s a snow leopard. I’m going to kill it and make gloves out of its hide.”
“Fur is murder,” Zhou Mi mock-gasps.
“What, do you work for fucking WOW PETA now?” Kyuhyun snorts.
“WOW. World of Warcraft?” Kyuhyun says slowly, staring incredulously at Zhou Mi’s clueless expression. “Oh my god, you’re hopeless.” He fires an arrow with perfect aim and laughs, maliciously triumphant, when the snow leopard falls to the ground. Pixelated blood seeps from its side.
“Kui Xian.” Zhou Mi frowns.
“It was trying to eat me earlier!” Kyuhyun says, and then feels ridiculous for defending his slaying of a virtual cat.
“What if it was a mother leopard? What if it had little baby leopards?”
Kyuhyun rolls his eyes. “I’ll find them and make them into a sweet jacket to match my gloves.”
Zhou Mi rolls up his magazine and throws it at Kyuhyun’s head.
A few days later, when Zhou Mi gets sick of trying to save the “poor” animals from Kyuhyun’s mad rampage for EXP, he asks Kyuhyun if he can play with him. Kyuhyun sighs in a very put-upon manner, but he can’t say no, not to that face. He pauses his computer game, chooses an FPS with easy enough controls, and pops it into the Playstation. He briefly explains to Zhou Mi which button shoots and which one launches grenades and so on, and then he presses start.
Zhou Mi dies 32 times in fifteen minutes: Kyuhyun kills him 27 of those times, 16 of which are headshots, and Zhou Mi blows himself up the other four times.
“Help meeeeee,” Zhou Mi pleads as he tries to get out of the crevice he’d walked into, yet again.
“Nope,” Kyuhyun quips and shoots Zhou Mi right between the eyes.
“Kui Xian!” Zhou Mi wails as, “KingKyu has killed you,” scrolls across Zhou Mi’s screen for the 28th time. Kyuhyun cackles. When Zhou Mi respawns, Kyuhyun throws a sticky grenade at him and blows him to pieces.
“Oh, so it’s okay when you do it but not when I do it?”
“You’re better at it than I am! Stop shooting me!”
When Kyuhyun doesn’t stop, Zhou Mi tackles him to the ground and sits on him until he stops laughing and promises not to shoot him anymore this round. Even with that agreement in place, Zhou Mi doesn’t kill Kyuhyun once; he kills himself three times and then gives up, burying his face in his arms. Kyuhyun laughs and hugs him, assuring him he doesn’t think any less of him just because he’s not as awesome as Kyuhyun is. Zhou Mi makes an outraged noise and shoves Kyuhyun off of him, vowing to make him pay this round.
He does not make him pay.
They play for an hour and a half and Zhou Mi doesn’t get any better, still getting stuck in corners and forgetting that he has to move the joystick up to move the crosshairs down— he’s terrible, and Kyuhyun has never had so much fun playing with anyone else before.
“It’s because the instructions are in Korean,” Zhou Mi pouts later as he watches Kyuhyun expertly snipe his enemies.
“Sure it is, Mi,” Kyuhyun says, blatantly humoring him.
Zhou Mi covers Kyuhyun’s eyes with both hands and doesn’t uncover them, despite all of Kyuhyun’s flailing and squirming, until someone shoots him dead. Kyuhyun glares up at him from under his mussed bangs and Zhou Mi smiles at him, innocent. Kyuhyun stands up to take his revenge on Zhou Mi’s flawless hair, but before he can make a move Zhou Mi jumps off the bed and runs out of the room, yelling for Hankyung and Siwon to protect him from the scary nerd.
Kyuhyun settles back down onto the floor and restarts his game. It’s hard not to smile.
When Zhou Mi comes back (Kyuhyun knew he would— he always does), Kyuhyun has him play in training mode until he knows all the controls.
“Are you ready?” Kyuhyun asks, thumb poised over the start button.
“I was born ready,” Zhou Mi growls, eyes narrowed.
Zhou Mi looks so serious Kyuhyun can’t help but laugh at him, and Zhou Mi’s so focused on the game starting that he doesn’t even notice. Kyuhyun lets Zhou Mi get the tactical advantage, doesn’t move too much when Zhou Mi shoots at him, walks right into the path of one of his grenades—effectively, he lets Zhou Mi win. "Babo has killed you", scrolls across his screen and Zhou Mi whoops. In his excitement he hugs Kyuhyun close, so close Kyuhyun breathes in the green tea scent of his moisturizer.
Well. One loss on his otherwise flawless gaming record isn’t so bad after all.
When they film the music video for “Super Girl”, Zhou Mi sticks to Kyuhyun like Velcro, fussing over his hair and reassuring him that yes, bow ties are still very cool.
“This shirt looks like it’s made of tin foil,” Kyuhyun complains, tugging at the shiny metallic fabric.
“Or that stuff space suits were made out of in old sci-fi movies,” Zhou Mi adds helpfully.
“Your clothes are normal. And they’re cool,” Kyuhyun whines, gesturing vaguely at the grey singlet, (very) tight blue jeans, and leather jacket Zhou Mi is wearing. “Why do they always have to put me in something weird?”
“At least you’re not wearing purple pants,” Zhou Mi says quietly. They both look over at Ryeowook, who is staring down at his lavender jeans forlornly. “Besides, you look nice.”
“Nice? I look like the packaging of a Pop Tart.” Kyuhyun pouts as he stares at his reflection in the long mirror. Zhou Mi comes to stand behind him and Kyuhyun can see his eyes in his reflection move up and down Kyuhyun’s body, settling first on his hips and then on the offending shirt.
“No, really! You look… good,” Zhou Mi says, and then his reflection blushes and looks away.
Kyuhyun smiles without really knowing why. “Whatever you say.”
Hangeng and Siwon are “mysteriously” ten minutes late, even though all their stylists swear they had them ready on time. Hangeng’s hair is leaning to one side and he’s walking kind of funny, and Siwon keeps looking at him and smirking.
“Why don’t you two just have sex in the middle of the set? That’d be a bit more subtle,” Kyuhyun says to them under his breath as they move into formation.
If Siwon was wearing pearls, he’d be clutching them in shock. Hangeng gives Kyuhyun a stern look while Siwon is watching, but when he turns away it changes to a smug grin, plus a thumbs up. Kyuhyun laughs.
The first scene where they’re wearing the suits goes well, but when they change into more casual clothes Henry seems distracted; Kyuhyun surmises Donghae’s skinny jeans are the mostly likely culprit. (He is definitely going to lose that bet to Sungmin. There goes a perfectly good $20,000 won, probably to be spent on something pink.) They have to do four takes, but on the fourth try it’s as close to perfect as it can get.
The party scene is Kyuhyun’s favorite because there’s a lot less dancing, although he doesn’t really like the hat they made him wear. Jessica is very amused by Hangeng’s nerdy transformation, as is everyone else.
Well, almost everyone else.
“You’re a freak,” Kyuhyun says when he catches Siwon staring at nerdy Geng with dark eyes.
Siwon smiles, but to himself. Then he snaps out of whatever daydream he was in and looks at Kyuhyun with a straight face. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Kyuhyun ignores Siwon’s self-righteous denial and walks over to Zhou Mi.
“Fancy seeing you here,” Zhou Mi says, smile charming.
“I think Siwon has a fetish for nerds.”
“You’d better look out, then!”
Kyuhyun glares at Zhou Mi as he laughs behind his hand.
Jessica and Hangeng need a few takes to get everything just right, so Kyuhyun gets a pretty sweat deal: he gets to hang out with Zhou Mi in the back by the balloons for twenty minutes “pretending to be having a great time”, as their director told him. Except he doesn’t have to pretend.
Which is good, because he’s never been that great of an actor.
Tian Tian Xiang Shang is the name of the show they’re going on next.
In the car on the way there, Zhou Mi and Hangeng have to patiently teach Donghae how to pronounce it; he’s not the best at pronunciation on a normal day and today he’s exhausted. They all are. But they put on their makeup and the outfits (with way too many unnecessary fastenings) that their stylists picked out for them and their happy Super Junior M faces, and they trudge onward.
“Do you want to get some more coffee?” Ryeowook asks, concerned when he sees Kyuhyun’s eyelids starting to droop.
“I’m fine,” Kyuhyun insists. And he is. He’s been more sleep-deprived than this before, but it’s different in a foreign country where you barely speak the language. It feels more like he’s going to snap under the pressure than pass out.
So, it’s no surprise that Hangeng slips when he’s dancing and Zhou Mi’s voice cracks during their last song. They’re all still human, after all, even if they have super human schedules. Kyuhyun manages to keep it together when they’re all helping Hangeng back to his feet, but Zhou Mi squeaking? No, that’s just too much. And Kyuhyun laughs when he’s overtired. A lot. Uncontrollably. And hey, he’s human, too.
He tries to hide it at first, turning away so he can get it under control before anyone notices, but he can’t get it under control; his shoulders start shaking and he has to hold the microphone away so it won’t pick up his laughter. Zhou Mi prods him to make him stop, but that just makes him laugh harder. By the time the last line of the song is up, his line, he’s on his knees crying with how hard he’s laughing. Ryeowook, bless him, sings it for him, but the damage is done.
The last note peters out and Zhou Mi starts apologizing at once. Kyuhyun’s still laughing, but he manages to stumble to his feet and wrap his arms around Zhou Mi from behind: an apology and an anchor to keep himself from collapsing to the floor. The girls in the crowd scream. Kyuhyun puts his chin in the crook of Zhou Mi’s shoulder and half whispers, half giggles, “I’m sorry,” in his ear.
Zhou Mi smiles weakly at him over his shoulder. “It’s okay, I forgive you. Now please hide me.”
Kyuhyun laughs and squeezes him tighter as the MCs chatter on with Hangeng, not comprehending a word they’re saying. Zhou Mi relaxes in his arms. Kyuhyun buries his face deeper into Zhou Mi’s neck, recognizes the scent of his moisturizer; shuts his eyes and breathes it in.
And that’s when he figures it out. He doesn’t like Zhou Mi— he loves him.
Donghae finds him during the break, hiding in the back of the dressing room with his head in his hands. Kyuhyun can’t lie to Donghae, so when he puts his arm around Kyuhyun’s shoulders and asks him what’s wrong, he has to tell him.
“I think I’m in love with Zhou Mi.”
“Oh. Is that it?” Donghae asks, clearly confused.
Kyuhyun snaps his head up and stares at Donghae, mouth agape. “What do you mean, ‘Is that it?’”
Donghae’s eyes go wide. “I—oh my god, Kyuhyun. We all thought you were dating already! For months now. Even Henry thought you were dating, and he won’t believe that Hankyung-hyung and Siwon-hyung are… together.”
“Of course he won’t. No one wants to think about their mom and dad fucking,” Kyuhyun snorts, amused by the blush on his hyung’s cheeks. “Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll walk in on them soon enough. They’re not exactly discreet.”
He and Donghae both shudder as they relive a particularly disturbing memory they share.
“Um, let’s focus on your love life instead,” Donghae says, shifting awkwardly.
“Yeah, let’s. You all thought we were dating? Seriously, everyone?”
“Well, yeah. You’re always in your room alone together and you never stop touching each other, and you’re always smiling whenever you’re around him, or talking about him. You seemed… pretty smitten.”
“I’m not always smiling,” Kyuhyun grumps.
“Sure you’re not.” There’s a pause, and then, “Are you going to tell him?”
“Why not?” Donghae asks. He sounds disappointed.
“Are you kidding? It could mess everything up. We’re doing really well here in China and I can’t ruin that just because I have some stupid crush. I mean, what if he… what if he doesn’t like me back?” Kyuhyun finishes quietly. He stares down at his clasped hands, adamantly pretending his eyes aren’t welling up at the very thought of Zhou Mi rejecting him.
Donghae sighs fondly and hugs him closer. “You can’t just keep it to yourself.”
“Yes I can. Very easily.”
“Well, you shouldn’t,” Donghae chides. “Listen to your hyung. Zhou Mi would be crazy not to like you back.”
Kyuhyun lets out a shaky breath. “Okay, hyung,” he says, just on the edge of mocking. His smile feels a bit fragile.
Donghae hugs him again and reminds him they’re off in ten minutes before he goes, leaving Kyuhyun alone with his thoughts.
Just tell him. Yeah, sure, that’ll be a piece of cake.
Kyuhyun sighs. Donghae always makes everything seem so much simpler than it is.
Naturally, instead of telling Zhou Mi he’s in love with him, Kyuhyun is a complete asshole to him.
That’s how he deals with his feelings— he lashes out. He makes fun of anything Chinese Zhou Mi expresses interest in (“Kui Xian! Here you are. Give me the remote, there’s this great show on that I think you’ll really—” “No. I’m reading. That’s why the TV is off. Go watch your stupid drama somewhere else. As if I’d be interested in it anyway.” “Oh. I—sorry. Okay.”), shrugs him off every time he tries to touch him (“Kui Xian, I was wondering if—” “Would you get your hand off my shoulder?” “Why?” “Because I don’t want your hand on my goddamn shoulder, that’s why.” “… Fine. Never mind.”), and barely talks to him unless it’s to say something insulting or cold (“Was… was that note I missed really noticeable?” “Yes.” “Kyuhyun! No, it wasn’t. Don’t stress over it, okay? I miss notes all the time when I’m tired.” “Thanks, Ryeowook. I’m going to… go to my room.” “Kyuhyun. Why did you say that? You know how upset he gets over these things!” “He’s apparently actively trying to make Zhou Mi spiral into a depression now.” “Fuck you, Siwon.”). It’s like rewinding back to when they first met, except this time he does manage to make Zhou Mi frown.
Hangeng tries to talk to him about it after the fourth day; Kyuhyun tells him to fuck off and mind his own business. Technically, problems with relations between band members is his business, but if Kyuhyun was being reasonable enough to accept that, there wouldn’t be a problem between him and Zhou Mi in the first place. After Kyuhyun bluntly rejects Hangeng’s mothering he looks hurt for the rest of the day. Of course, then Siwon is mad at Kyuhyun for upsetting Hangeng, and then Donghae tries to convince him that telling Zhou Mi is the best solution and Kyuhyun snaps at him, and then he’s hurt and Henry is mad at him, and on and on the vicious cycle of denial goes.
Until Zhou Mi breaks it.
On the eight day, Zhou Mi opens Kyuhyun’s door without knocking, grabs the back of his chair, and roughly spins Kyuhyun around to face him.
“Why are you being like this?” he asks. He’s standing with a hand on his hip, frowning.
He looks as upset as Kyuhyun’s seen him since the first time the Only13 chants made him cry. Kyuhyun remembers that day all too well. On stage Zhou Mi’s face was downturned and red, and in the car on the way home he was uncharacteristically quiet, eyes shiny and hands folded in his lap, but he didn’t shed a single tear until he was alone with Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun shut the door to their room and Zhou Mi crumpled onto the bed, hid his face in his arms and cried. When Kyuhyun sat down beside him to awkwardly put an arm around his shoulder, Zhou Mi grabbed onto him and wouldn’t let go.
“What am I doing wrong?” he sniffed into Kyuhyun’s shoulder, voice quietly breaking.
Kyuhyun hugged one arm tighter around him and reached out to grab a tissue with the other. “Nothing,” he said vehemently as he handed it to Zhou Mi. “Don’t let them get to you, okay? They don’t know what they’re missing out on. If they knew you like I knew you, they’d love you.”
Zhou Mi hiccupped and dabbed at his eyes. “Thank you, Kui Xian,” he said with a watery smile.
“You’re welcome. Stop crying.”
Kyuhyun halts the memory in its tracks lest he remember holding Zhou Mi a little bit longer than was absolutely necessary, or his heart flipping with joy when Zhou Mi smiled again, because of him. When he realizes that now it’s the other way around, that this time Zhou Mi is hurt because of him, he can hardly breathe through all the guilt closing in around him. If he cries, Kyuhyun will probably just throw himself off a cliff. And yet, somehow, death by cliff still sounds better to him than telling Zhou Mi the truth.
“What are you talking about?” Kyuhyun scoffs, as naturally as he can. He tries to turn back to his laptop, but Zhou Mi keeps a firm hold on the arm of his chair.
“Don’t play dumb. You’ve been a jerk to me lately! You hardly talk to me and whenever you do it’s to say something mean. What did I do to make you so mad at me?”
Zhou Mi’s hand is shaking where it’s gripping Kyuhyun’s chair; Kyuhyun notices the bags under his eyes and wonders if he’s imagining it, or if they really are more pronounced than usual.
“I still have no idea what you’re talking about, so… could you let go of me and let me go back to my game?”
Zhou Mi makes a frustrated sound and leans closer to Kyuhyun, anger sparking in the air around him. “No! Listen to me! Will you just tell me what I did so I can apologize and you can get the fuck over whatever it was and stop treating me like shit?”
Kyuhyun is surprised, although he doesn’t show it— Zhou Mi hardly ever swears. “You didn’t do anything. I’m not doing anything. Now get out of my face.”
“Obviously I did! Oh my god, how can you not realize you’re doing it? Everyone’s noticed!”
“What is wrong with you?” Zhou Mi shouts. “Do you even care about me? Either you act like I don’t exist or like I’m the worst thing that’s ever graced the planet, and although that treatment isn’t new to me, it hurts coming from you! I thought… I thought we were friends.” Zhou Mi’s voice cracks on the last word and Kyuhyun winces. “Weren’t we?” When he blinks, a tear slips from his eye.
Oh no, Kyuhyun thinks. It feels like someone just punched him in the heart.
Zhou Mi abruptly lets ago and turns away. His back facing Kyuhyun, he wipes at his eyes and crosses his arms over his chest.
“Mi, don’t—don’t cry,” Kyuhyun says helplessly.
“I’m not,” Zhou Mi says, indignant, though the waver in his words says different. “I’m also done trying. You can play your game now.”
Zhou Mi takes a step towards the door; Kyuhyun shoots up out of his chair, grabs Zhou Mi and forcibly turns him around before he even consciously makes the decision to move. His breath catches at the look on Zhou Mi’s face. Even though he won’t meet his gaze, Kyuhyun can plainly see unshed tears clinging to his eyelashes. He’s biting his lip.
“Don’t cry,” Kyuhyun says again, softly this time.
“I cry when I’m angry. I’m very angry with you.”
There is a tense silence in which Kyuhyun battles with himself. Then he says, “I was lying before.”
Zhou Mi looks up.
“I do know what you’re talking about,” he continues, trying his hardest not to fidget. “I know I’ve been an asshole to you, and… I’m sorry. If that means anything.”
“It doesn’t. Not unless you tell me why.”
Kyuhyun can feel himself starting to panic. “I can’t tell you.”
“If you don’t tell me, I’m not going to forgive you.”
“Don’t give me that! You tell me everything. If you told me you had a sex dream about Donghae and Ryeowook, why can’t you tell me this?”
“When did I tell you that?” Kyuhyun splutters.
“When we went to that club last week, on the night before our day off. You were drunk. Does it matter? Just tell me!”
“I… I don’t remember— okay. Okay, I must have been… really drunk. But— it’s worse than that! It’ll…,” Kyuhyun trails off, tries to swallow the lump in his throat. “It’ll ruin everything.”
“How could it be worse than that? Wait! Did… did you have a sex dream about me?” Zhou Mi asks, eyes wide.
Kyuhyun blushes. “No.”
“Oh my god, you did, didn’t you?”
“Mi, I didn’t—”
“But why would that make you so angry with me? That doesn’t make sense, Kui Xian.”
“Mi, would you just listen—”
“That’s so stupid! I can’t believe you, getting mad at me over something that I—!”
“Zhou Mi, shut up! I didn’t have a sex dream about you, idiot. I’m in love with you!”
Zhou Mi shuts up.
“I… I mean, I wouldn’t say I’m in love,” Kyuhyun puts air quotes around “in love”, “with you. Because that’s, um. Serious. And everything. But I like you, and Donghae-hyung said I smile a lot when I’m around you, or something? And I really like your hands, and your smile, even though it pissed me off when we first met, and you smell like green tea all the time and it’s nice and oh my god, pleasemakemestoptalking.” Kyuhyun blushes even redder and hides his face in his hands.
There is a very long silence.
“So,” Zhou Mi says slowly, tapping a finger against his bottom lip, “Let me get this straight: you were a jerk to me because… you love me?”
“Yes,” Kyuhyun moans pitifully. The word is muffled by his hands.
“And I’m an idiot?”
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“I kind of want to punch you in the face right now, and I’m a pacifist.”
“Go ahead. I deserve it.”
“Honestly, I should have expected the pulling-the-pigtails-on-the-playground approach from you. You’re incredibly emotionally stunted.”
Kyuhyun makes a noncommittal sound.
“You… you really love me?” Zhou Mi says, hesitantly.
Kyuhyun groans. “How many times are you going to make me say it?”
Zhou Mi gently pulls Kyuhyun’s hands away from his face, tips his head up with a gentle touch to his chin. Kyuhyun is met by Zhou Mi’s wide smile.
“Why are you smiling?” Kyuhyun asks, suspicious. He’s still waiting for a fist to the face.
“Because,” Zhou Mi says, and then he tugs Kyuhyun closer and kisses him. He pulls back after only a few seconds and looks at Kyuhyun uncertainly— as if Kyuhyun is going to reject him now. Kyuhyun puts a hand on Zhou Mi’s shoulder and, heart in his throat, leans in and kisses him back.
“I really am sorry,” Kyuhyun murmurs against Zhou Mi’s lips.
“You should be. You have no idea how long it’s going to take you to make this up to me.”
“Is the kissing helping?”
“A little bit.”
Zhou Mi’s hands come up to rest on Kyuhyun’s waist, the fingers of his right hand slipping just under the hem of Kyuyhyun’s t-shirt, brushing bare skin. Kyuhyun makes a small sound in the back of his throat and parts his lips when Zhou Mi pushes into Kyuhyun’s flesh with his fingertips; Zhou Mi presses flush against him, tilts his head and kisses him deeper.
When they finally break apart, Kyuhyun is smiling so big it hurts his cheeks.
“Donghae was right about this,” Zhou Mi says, touching his thumb to the corner of Kyuhyun’s smile.
“My face is going to get stuck like this thanks to you.”
“I don’t mind.”
Nothing much changes after Kyuhyun tells Zhou Mi how he feels.
Not in the earth-shattering, heartbreaking, career-ending way he thought it would, anyway. He gets kissed a lot more than he’s used to (not that he minds), has an exponentially greater amount of sex (doesn’t mind that, either), and Zhou Mi tends to whisper, “I love you,” in his ear when he gets bored with translating more often than the other inane things he usually says, like, “You should wear that shade of purple more often. It looks nice on you,” and, “You won’t believe what Heechul-hyung told me last night,” and, “So, did you win WOW yet?” Kyuhyun sent him a nasty glare after that last one and refused to speak to him until he learned something about WOW; Zhou Mi pouted for a few hours and then gave him a blowjob. All was forgiven.
After Henry catches them making out in the bathroom (Zhou Mi looks oddly sexy when brushing his teeth), Zhou Mi decides they should tell everyone to avoid any similar future embarrassments. Kyuhyun goes along with it, solely because he wants to see the look on Zhou Mi’s face when he realizes everyone already knows. It’s hard to keep from snickering while he listens to Zhou Mi very seriously plot his plan of attack.
Zhou Mi gathers all seven of them into the living room of their hotel suite that night with the help of Hangeng, who looks excited (or maybe the word Kyuhyun’s looking for is “exasperated”) at the opportunity to reign over his first official band meeting. “What’s this all about, Zhou Mi?” he asks.
“Alright,” Zhou Mi says seriously, his hands clasped in his lap. “Kui Xian and I have something to tell all of you.”
“Oh my god, is he pregnant?”
Kyuhyun is a little surprised to hear Heechul’s voice come out of nowhere.
“Shut up, hyung,” Hangeng sighs in the direction of his phone, which is lying on the table. So, not out of nowhere—he’s on speakerphone. “I was talking to him when Zhou Mi said we were having a meeting and he insisted on being included,” Hangeng explains, rolling his eyes.
“Did you just roll your eyes at me? I know that tone, Hankyung!”
“To answer your question,” Kyuhyun says, “Neither Zhou Mi nor I am pregnant.”
“We’re dating,” Zhou Mi announces before Heechul can get them any further off track.
“Wait, weren’t you already— haven’t you guys been dating for like… months?” Hangeng asks, furrowing his brows. Siwon’s expression mirrors Hangeng's, although his is infinitely more impressive.
“Hey, that’s what I said!” Donghae says.
“You— what?” Zhou Mi directs his confused look at Donghae instead of Hangeng. “What you said when?”
“When Kyuhyun told me! Well, I mean, he didn’t tell me you were guys were together because you weren’t back then, but he came to me when he was having his crisis of the heart.”
Kyuhyun makes a disgusted sound. “Can we get it on record that I have never had a ‘crisis of the heart’? And you talk too much,” he says, shooting Donhae a severe look.
“Donghae knew before I did?”
“To be fair Mi, I think we all knew before both of you,” Siwon says diplomatically. He gives Zhou Mi a consoling pat on the knee.
“It was sort of obvious,” Ryeowook agrees.
“Yep,” Henry concurs.
Zhou Mi opens his mouth to say something and then shuts it, bewildered.
“This is boring and expected. I’m hanging up now,” Heechul says, and then he does.
Henry puts his hand in the air. “I’m actually ahead of the rest of you on this development because I caught them making out in the bathroom this morning, so can I be excused?”
“Sure, Henry,” Hangeng says.
Henry bolts out of the room with a, “Thanks, ge.”
The five members left in the room stare expectantly at Zhou Mi.
“I… suppose we’re done here?” Zhou Mi says, uncertain and a little put out.
Everyone gets up and leaves at once, save himself and Zhou Mi, who says, “That did not go how I expected it to.”
“That went almost exactly how I expected it to.”
Zhou Mi whips his head around to stare at Kyuhyun. “You knew that they all knew? And you still helped me prepare a speech?!”
Kyuhyun doesn’t even try to hold back his laughter.
Zhou Mi elbows him hard in the ribs. “You’re such a jerk! Why do I like you again?”
“Because I’m devastatingly handsome?”
“Suave and debonair?”
Zhou Mi snorts. “Have you met you?”
“I did think I was kind of grasping at straws with that last one, but the first two were absolute truth. Admit it.”
Zhou Mi kisses him instead; Kyuhyun figures that’s as good an admission as any.
It’s about two and a half months later, when they’re back in Korea and everyone in Super Junior knows he and Zhou Mi are together (they had about the same reaction as the first six people they told, except there was a lot more cooing and teasing and all-around suggestiveness), on an altogether ordinary day that Kyuhyun finds out Zhou Mi is afraid of spiders. It’s also the day that he says, “I love you,” for the first (and second) time since the very first time.
“Kui Xian! KUI XIAN!”
Kyuhyun hears Zhou Mi’s shriek all the way from the kitchen. He was pouring himself a bowl of cereal, but he abandons the sugar-encrusted afternoon snack to reluctantly return to his room, hoping for Zhou Mi’s sake that he isn’t overreacting this time. His hopes are summarily crushed when he finds Zhou Mi huddled back against the pillows on the bed, hugging his gangly knees and frantically pointing to a spot on the floor.
Kyuhyun sighs. “What?”
“A spider. Was crawling. On my foot,” Zhou Mi says, shuddering at what Kyuhyun can only guess is the memory alone.
“SO IT WAS ON MY FOOT! Its creepy legs touched me.”
“You’re afraid of spiders? Jesus Christ.” Kyuhyun mourns his taste in men (women?), grabs the closest spider-killing implement he can find (one of Zhou Mi’s magazines, rolled up), and crouches down next to the bed to scan the carpet for any sign of the offending bug.
“Do you see it?” Zhou Mi whispers, peering curiously over the edge of the bed.
“Holy shit,” Kyuhyun shouts, backing up so fast he trips over his own feet and hits his head on the leg of his desk. He saw that mutant fucking spider, alright. It jumped at him.
“I told you it was scary!”
“Hand me that book on the night stand, will you?” Kyuhyun scrambles up on the bed next to Zhou Mi, careful to keep all his limbs and other appendages off the floor, and Zhou Mi hands him the heavy hard cover book. Kyuhyun leans over the side of the bed with it in hand, Zhou Mi’s arm wrapped securely around his waist to keep him from falling. Then he lifts up the edge of the comforter, winces at Zhou Mi’s shrill intake of breath when he spots the spider, aims, and drops the book before it can jump again. He steps on it after, just to be certain the creepy-crawler is crushed.
Zhou Mi gingerly peeks under the book. “Gross. Squishy spider guts.”
“Well. It’s dead.”
“My knight in shining armor,” Zhou Mi exclaims. Pretending to swoon earns him an eye roll, so instead he squeezes Kyuhyun close and plants a grateful kiss on his cheek.
Kyuhyun blushes and squirms out of Zhou Mi’s hold. “Yeah, yeah. You’re lucky I love you. Now I’m gonna go get my cereal before Henry eats it. You can dispose of the spider carcass.”
Kyuhyun doesn’t realize what he’s said until he’s out of the room and back in the kitchen, pouring the milk into his cereal. Suddenly Zhou Mi’s wide smile after Kyuhyun told him to touch a dead thing with eight legs makes a lot more sense. Kyuhyun pours a little too much milk into his bowl in a fleeting moment of commitaphobe panic, but being back in his room with Zhou Mi, sitting on the bed shoulder-to-shoulder and thigh-to-thigh watching cartoons while they both pointedly ignore that neither of them has yet to get rid of the spider, calms his nerves faster than any anti-anxiety med in their cupboard ever could.
Kyuhyun scoots closer to Zhou Mi, rests his head on his shoulder and says, “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Zhou Mi replies softly. His smile is so big Kyuhyun’s afraid he might rupture his gums. Kyuhyun puts his spoon down, carefully balances his bowl in his lap, and then leans in and kisses Zhou Mi, paying no heed to the fact that his remaining cereal is rapidly absorbing milk, turning to mush.
Soggy cereal and squishy spider guts aren’t nearly enough to ruin your day when you love Zhou Mi and he loves you back.
A/N: YAY, I FINALLY POSTED REAL QMI FIC! the two fics before this don't count, okay.
also, in case you were wondering, kyuhyun's gaming tactics are based on my brother's (who has been playing starcraft 2 nonstop since it came out and doesn't understand why i find it so funny) and zhou mi's are based on mine. whenever we play FPS's i run around the map like GUYS DID YOU SEE THIS POSTER ON THE WALL/SHINY MAGIC FOUNTAIN/GLOW-Y THING ON THE CEILING OH MY GOD WHAT DOES IT MEAN IT'S SO INTRIGUING and then my siblings screen peek and find me and blow me up. jerks. >:( i don't have the attention span to be a gamer.