Minhyuk had just settled onto his bed with a brand new knitting project when his phone rang. He answered it on speaker so he could start rolling the yarn into a ball and set to work.
“Hyung, you owe me a favor,” Sanha said.
It was a Friday night. Minhyuk had survived a harrowing week of school and work. Midterms were coming, and as a dance major most of his midterms were performances, and he was exhausted from rehearsals. He also taught taekwondo at a dojang, but since he was a junior instructor, he taught the children’s class, so he spent most of the time trying to keep five- and six-year-olds in line long enough to learn basic punches and kicks.
“What kind of favor?”
“I just got invited to do a squad stream on Twitch with a couple of really popular streamers. You need to watch me stream to boost our stream count,” Sanha said.
Minhyuk stared at his phone. “I only understood half of that.”
“Hyung,” Sanha protested, sounding like a whiny kid. He was actually a very brilliant student, was majoring in Japanese so he could work as an interpreter and minoring in music because he could play the guitar and sing really well, and they’d met when they’d been paired on a project where dance majors had to dance to songs played by live musicians.
“You know I don’t care about video games,” Minhyuk said.
“Because you’re terrible at video games,” Sanha said.
“This is making me want to help you less, not more.” Minhyuk flicked his wrist expertly and smiled down at the growing ball of yarn. He’d picked a really pretty skein of green yarn, had enough to make a scarf and matching hat for the coming winter. He didn’t really need a scarf and hat, would either donate them or sell them on his Etsy store, though business was slow and he really only did it for a bit of extra cash here and there.
“You owe me,” Sanha said. “After that time you failed at Mortal Kombat, and that time you failed at Kart Rider, and that time you failed at PubG, and that time you failed at —”
“Yes, okay, fine,” Minhyuk said, because he knew he had a tendency to welch on bets but he also didn’t have the money to buy Sanha food every time he lost a video game bet (which was literally every time). “Send me a link or whatever.”
“Be sure to like and subscribe to me, if not the others in the squad,” Sanha said cheerily, and ended the call.
A moment later, his phone buzzed with a text message, which was a link to Sanha’s Twitch profile.
Dutifully he set aside his partially-formed yarn ball and went through the process of creating a Twitch account, and he subscribed to Sanha, and then he opened his laptop and opened up the Twitch website and waited for Sanha to start streaming.
Minhyuk liked rolling yarn into a ball, partially because he liked the ball better functionally, but also the act of rolling was meditative, and so he didn’t even notice when his laptop screen went dark.
But then he heard Sanha’s voice, and he was startled out of his meditative mien and almost dropped the ball of yarn, and he scrambled to catch it.
“Hello, everyone! This is CaptainDdana!”
“And I’m MJ.777!”
“And I’m Jinjinjara!”
Minhyuk blinked. Like the folk song that his grandma liked?
“And tonight we are going to be playing Apex Legends,” Sanha continued. “Thank you so much to MJ.777 and Jinjinjara for letting me join their squad. I really respect my sunbaes and I’ve watched their streams a lot and learned a lot of strategies from them to improve my game, so I’m excited to be here tonight.”
“Ddana-ssi is a very skilled gamer, so we know we’re going to totally kill it,” MJ.777 said. He had a light, sweet, pretty voice, much higher and sweeter than Minhyuk expected from a popular gamer.
“Yes we are,” Jinjinjara said. “So let’s arrange our characters and stats as much as we can before we enter the match. We stick together, we keep moving, we have each other’s backs, all right?”
Jinjinjara’s voice was deep. Sexy.
Minhyuk reached out and tapped at his laptop, woke the screen back up. He could see the stream divided into four spaces, showing mostly the game screen but also all three streamers in tiny corners. All of them had fancy gaming headsets on. Minhyuk recognized Sanha immediately.
MJ.777 was startlingly pretty, with a wide mouth and bright eyes, and when he laughed his entire face lit up.
Jinjinjara, with the deep sexy voice, was incredibly handsome, with a sharp jaw and a pretty mouth.
Minhyuk knew it was wrong to stereotype people, but most gamers were sort of...homely, weren’t they?
Although plenty of people played video games these days, including idols and celebrities, so of course there were handsome people who played video games.
But — wow. Jinjinara was wow.
And his voice was amazing. Minhyuk could listen to it all day.
Sanha, Minhyuk knew, had a decent following on Twitch, averaged a couple hundred followers each time he streamed. Jinjinjara and MJ.777 were exponentially more popular, had about a thousand followers apiece, and the stream chat was flooded with comments and hearts, plenty of which were about how handsome and dreamy Jinjinjara and MJ.777 were.
They called each other MJ and Jinjin, and they called Sanha Ddana, and plenty of viewers seemed to think Sanha was cute.
Minhyuk didn’t understand anything about the video game mechanics or really care about the gameplay at all, and his screen eventually went dark again, but he could still hear their voices while he rolled the yarn ball and then set to knitting.
Jinjin’s voice was calm, measured, and soothing. MJ talked very fast, punctuated by yelps and giggles of surprise. Sanha sounded like himself, and Minhyuk was sort of pleased with his friend, that he didn’t put on a pretense when he was streaming.
Even though Minhyuk was knitting, he kept reaching out to wake his laptop back up again, and eventually he had to plug his laptop in lest it run out of battery, because he was watching Jinjin. Minhyuk was a good enough knitter that he could make a hat and watch the livestream at the same time.
Was there some way to make Jinjin’s corner of the screen bigger? The gameplay was dominating the screen, and Minhyuk didn’t care about it at all. He did care about the line of Jinjin’s jaw, and the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled, and his cheekbones, and the pink cupid’s bow of his mouth, and the way his eyelashes looked on his cheeks when he blinked. Jinjin’s deep, slow voice was the icing on the cake, although Minhyuk found himself watching Jinjin’s hands and wrists while he played, one hand on the keyboard, the other hand on the mouse.
Jinjin’s headphones were black with a bright green logo, and the little microphone that extended from them was also green, and the cord on the headphones was green too. Was green Jinjin’s favorite color? His channel had a little green turtle with a pair of gaming headphones as the logo. Minhyuk looked down at the little knitted beanie he was making and thought it would look good on Jinjin. With the hat and matching scarf, Jinjin would be adorable, all warm and bundled up against the cold that was heading their way, as autumn marched toward winter.
When the gaming stream finally ended with MJ and Sanha cheering wildly and Jinjin laughing at their antics, Minhyuk looked at the clock in the corner of his laptop screen and realized he’d been sitting there, knitting and being dazed over Jinjin for three whole hours. That was an entire Marvel movie and then some.
What the hell?
The beanie was almost done. Only a couple rows and binding off were left.
Minhyuk stared down at it, shocked, and then —
“You, hey, you,” Jinjin said.
Minhyuk lifted his head sharply.
Jinjin was looking right at his camera and smiling. Minhyuk’s heart skipped a beat.
“Yes, you,” Jinjin said, and his eyes crinkled up in another of his adorable smiles. “Thanks for watching tonight. I hope you had a good time and learned a lot. I had a good time with you.”
Of course, Jinjin was talking to all of his viewers, not Minhyuk specifically. He didn’t even know Minhyuk existed.
MJ thanked his viewers too. Sanha thanked his viewers and subscribers and also MJ and Jinjin one more time, and then the broadcast ended, leaving Minhyuk staring at this laptop a little dazedly.
His cellphone rang.
He started violently and dropped his ball of yarn, swore. He grabbed his phone and swiped to answer, then leaned over the bed to grab the ball of yarn.
“How was it? I noticed you watched to the very end,” Sanha said.
“I was knitting,” Minhyuk said distractedly.
“You didn’t pay attention at all? I was adorable but also we kicked ass.” Sanha sounded pouty.
“This hat is almost done.” There was no way Minhyuk was going to tell Yoon Sanha, chatterbox and gremlin extraordinaire, that he’d thought one of Sanha’s fellow streamers was hot.
Sanha sighed. “Whatever. Thanks for not signing off. Next time leave an encouraging message in the chat at least, all right?”
“Next time?” Minhyuk echoed. “Why would there be a next time?”
“I stream every week. If Jinjin and MJ like me enough, I could stream with them more as well,” Sanha said.
“I was doing you a favor this one time.” Minhyuk kept his tone calm and measured. He set the ball of yarn on the bed, then reached for his laptop and subscribed to Jinjin’s channel.
“After I beat you at another round of video games, you’ll owe me again,” Sanha said airily.
Minhyuk glared at his phone. “Yah! Yoon Sanha!”
The little gremlin laughed and hung up.
Minhyuk rolled his eyes and set his phone aside. Then he poked around Jinjin’s Twitch profile and found the links to all his SNS accounts and his Discord server. Minhyuk didn’t really use SNS. As his friends pointed out, he always made the same face in selcas, and he didn’t see much point in posting random selcas on SNS for no one to care about. He appeared on SNS in other people’s accounts, usually Bin’s because they danced together, though Bin didn’t post all that often either. The only SNS account Minhyuk kept was photography of his knitted items that he sold on his Etsy store. Mostly he used SNS to follow other knitting accounts, get new patterns and learn new techniques. He had his own modest following on TikTok for his knitting technique clips, but mostly he had that channel for his own reference.
Jinjin’s SNS accounts were filled with adorable selcas, pictures of him showing off the gaming gear that he had sponsorships for, him going fishing when he wanted to unplug, him gloriously sweaty in a tank top after a hard run and sitting with a massive German shepherd that was apparently his family’s dog. Jinjin had exponentially more followers on SNS than he did on Twitch, a lot of them pretty girls, judging by their profile pictures in their replies. They all called him oppa.
Jinjin flirted back, though it was low-key and polite, like the second male lead in a drama. Even if Minhyuk did dare to leave a comment, Jinjin wouldn’t flirt back at him.
By the time Minhyuk managed to drag himself out of Jinjin’s SNS (and after he’d saved several very cute selcas featuring Jinjin’s crinkle-eyed smile and broad shoulders and some tantalizing glimpses of a chest tattoo) another hour had passed.
Minhyuk closed his laptop and set it aside, face hot. He cleaned up his knitting supplies. He forced himself to do some sit-ups and push-ups and pull-ups and squats and lunges and tricep dips before he flung himself into a cold shower, then crawled into bed.
He was never telling Sanha about this.
He was definitely watching Jinjin’s next stream.
There was no next stream. Minhyuk checked every night before bed even though he was subscribed to Jinjin’s channel and would receive an alert for a new one. That was okay, though, because Minhyuk could settle in with one of Jinjin’s old streams while he worked on the scarf to go with the hat and bask in Jinjin’s voice and virtual presence.
Jinjin was smart and funny and interesting, philosophical and measured. Minhyuk had figured most gamers would be like Sanha and MJ, energetic and hyped about gaming and obsessed with it. For Jinjin, gaming was a pleasurable pastime that he liked to share with others. Plenty of his gaming streams were collaborations with other streamers like MJ and someone named IAmDanny (though everyone just called him by his real name, Changkyun). Minhyuk watched a couple of those, but he preferred Jinjin’s solo streams, which typically ran about an hour long.
Sometimes Jinjin would teach people tips and tricks to navigate certain games. Other times he’d just talk about life — school, work, fishing, family, friends — while he played, and the footage of the video game was supposed to be some kind of pleasant scenery.
As far as Minhyuk was concerned, Jinjin was much better scenery. Even though Minhyuk wasn’t the greatest at drawing (MJ was apparently pretty good, sometimes did drawing streams on his channel instead of gaming streams), he was pretty sure he could recreate Jinjin’s face in perfect detail, because he had it memorized.
More than once, Minhyuk had seen pictures of Jinwoo that hinted he had a couple of tattoos on his chest, one high on the right side, the other on his left ribs, but Minhyuk had no idea what the tattoos were, and he really, really wanted to find out. While Minhyuk was too afraid of needles to get a tattoo himself (he’d cried all through getting his ears pierced when he was fourteen, and he’d never admit that either, except Bin had been right there crying with him), he thought tattoos were really sexy.
After a long day of dance rehearsals and classes and working, sprawling out on the bed with some knitting and listening to Jinjin’s voice and seeing his face was the best thing ever.
Not that Minhyuk would ever tell Sanha. Due to his newfound obsession with watching Jinjin’s old streams, Minhyuk hadn’t hung out with Sanha as much. Given that it was midterms, Sanha wasn’t much for hanging out either, so he didn’t seem to notice that something was up with Minhyuk.
Not that anything was up with Minhyuk. Minhyuk was just...working on his knitting. He was more productive if he was listening to something while he was knitting, right? He was learning new things, about fishing and video games.
Would Minhyuk get better at video games, just by listening to Jinjin? Probably not.
Thursday was the day of Minhyuk’s last recital for midterms, and he just wanted it to be over with.
“Are you ready?” Bin asked.
They were in the locker room backstage, changing into their costumes.
“To never have to do this choreo again, yes,” Minhyuk said.
Bin mock-pouted. “But we choreographed it together and it’s beautiful.”
“And thankfully only three minutes long.” Minhyuk finished tying on his shoes, then went to stretch.
Bin was putting finishing touches on his makeup. “You’re so flexible. It’s frightening.”
“My flexibility is entirely functional,” Minhyuk said. “Even though Yoon Sanha is a giant, I can kick him in the head.”
“It’s unfair is what it is,” Bin said.
“Well, if you’d stayed in contemporary and jazz and ballet with me —”
Bin tossed his head. “Whatever. I look great.”
“That you do. That’s why we’re partners.” Minhyuk finished warming up his limbs and went to check his own makeup one last time.
Bin pressed close to him and whipped out his phone. “Gotta take the obligatory backstage selca.”
Minhyuk started to raise his hand for a peace sign, but Bin slapped his wrist.
“For once will you have a different expression?”
“Hyung,” Minhyuk protested. “My face is my face.”
“You could stand to smile once in a while.”
“I look weird when I smile. My smile is crooked,” Minhyuk protested.
“Your crooked smirk is sexy. Own it.” Bin prodded Minhyuk in the cheek. “Now smile, dammit.”
“You’ve been around Dongmin too much. He’s always finding ways to say other people are good-looking even if they’re really not in hopes of deflecting attention off of himself.” But Minhyuk smiled obediently.
Bin’s smile was crinkle-eyed and sweet, kind of like Jinjin’s.
Bin snapped several pictures, then checked them. “Yeah, well, if people treated you like a zoo animal the way they do Dongmin, you’d probably be the same.”
“Dongmin is an innocent law student. You and I are performers. We want attention. Sometimes.” Minhyuk shook out his limbs one last time.
One of the tech theater students poked his head into the locker room. “Your professor wants to speak to you.”
Bin and Minhyuk went out into the backstage hallway between the locker rooms and gathered with the rest of their classmates. Professor Chae gave them her usual pep talk and told them to go perform freely and energetically. It was a ridiculous request, because this performance was a third of their grade, and they were all nervous about it, but Minhyuk and Bin had practiced so hard, and they knew the choreography inside out.
After a class cheer, everyone scattered back to the locker rooms till it was their turn to perform.
Bin took a few more selcas to post on SNS and send to his parents, since neither of them really used SNS. Minhyuk sent messages to his mother and grandmother and also the one picture Bin had taken of them, and then he just poked idly on his phone for new knitting patterns to keep himself calm till it was time to hit the stage. Sanha messaged Minhyuk and promised he was in the audience to cheer for Minhyuk, and Minhyuk sent back a selca with an okay sign.
If Minhyuk spent a while looking at his favorite picture of Jinjin, the one where he was holding his hand out to the camera like he was offering to hold hands with whoever was behind the camera, that was no one’s business but his own.
Minhyuk was awkward with people, having dedicated his youth to mastering dance and taekwondo. He was only friends with Bin because they’d come up dancing together, and he only knew Dongmin because Bin and Dongmin had dated briefly before deciding they were better as friends. Minhyuk had always thought that if wanted to catch a boy or girl’s eye, his dance moves were his best bet.
But it wasn’t like Jinjin would ever see him dance.
The tech theater student poked his head into the locker room again, but Minhyuk and Bin had already set aside their phones and were on their feet. Everyone had the set list memorized.
Bin and Minhyuk were in the wings as the previous act was taking their final bows. Then the lights blued out, and as the girls came off the stage, Minhyuk and Bin took their starting positions on it.
Minhyuk took a deep breath in, and out.
The lights came up.
The music started.
And Minhyuk moved.
Dancing had always felt right to Minhyuk in a way few things ever did. Minhuyk was in his body and could feel every inch of it, could feel his energy ebbing and flowing, shifting and grounding and lifting and flying. When he was dancing with someone else, especially Bin, he felt alive and connected. People and their minds and emotions were mysteries, but moving with someone was communication, was connection, was magic.
Minhyuk let the magic flow through him, and three minutes passed in a blur, and he was holding Bin’s hand and bowing and the audience was cheering, and for a moment Minhyuk didn’t care if he’d passed or failed, because he’d danced.
Back in the locker room, reality set in.
“My timing was off,” Bin said. “I’m so sorry.”
“No, I was a fraction of a beat behind, I’m sorry,” Minhyuk said.
Sanha poked his head into the locker room. “Hey, you did great.”
Bin turned to him. “Did we? I’m pretty sure I messed up. My lines weren’t as clean as they should have been.”
Sanha grabbed Bin’s shoulders and shook him. “Hyung. You looked amazing. For reals.”
Minhyuk drew in a shaky breath, still jittery with adrenaline. “I think my technique on one of my turns —”
Sanha grabbed Minhyuk’s shoulder and shook him too. “Hyung. Stop. No exam post-mortem, remember? You looked amazing, you really did. I’ll send you the video I got.”
“Thanks,” Bin said. “Want to go get some food?”
Neither Minhyuk nor Bin could ever eat before a performance, and now that it was over they were both ravenous.
“Sorry, can’t tonight. I came with some friends, and we’re going for food and drinks after.” Sanha squeezed Minhyuk’s shoulder and grinned. “I just wanted to say you both looked amazing, and also really hot, if you’re into that whole sexy dancer thing. Which I’m not. If you’re not girls.”
Minhyuk couldn’t help but huff in amusement. “Right. Thanks for being here, Sanha-ya.”
Sanha beamed and framed his face with his hands. “Any time. See you later!” And he sailed out the door.
Bin laughed. “He’s such a weird kid.”
“Good guitarist, though. You should have him accompany you sometime.” Minhyuk reached into his bag for some wipes to scrub off his stage makeup. “What shall we eat tonight?”
Bin grinned. “Beef. We’ve earned it.”
After a successful dance performance — Sanha had gotten good video, and Bin and Minhyuk had reviewed it carefully over dinner — and a delicious meal, Minhyuk was feeling pretty good about life, and he returned to his apartment with a spring in his step. While he was unpacking his dance bag and throwing his sweaty dance gear into the laundry basket, his phone buzzed with an incoming notification. A call from his mother? He’d forwarded her the video from Sanha.
Minhyuk dug his phone out of his pocket idly and checked it.
Alert: Jinjinjara just went live on Twitch.
Minhyuk dropped his bag and dashed into the bedroom to fire up his laptop and log onto Twitch.
There was Jinjin, looking soft and adorable in a dark green knitted sweater. His hair was hidden under a backwards baseball cap, and he had his headphones on only one ear so he could keep an ear out for his roommate.
Minhyuk reached for his knitting and settled back, laptop across his knees, and watched, enthralled, as Jinjin navigated his way through some kind of fancy underground digital dungeon. Jinjin was talking about his character, how he’d built the character’s stats carefully with a combination of level-up bonuses and armor and weapons. His voice was deep and slow and lulling for how fast the game went. His eyes were bright, and his smile was adorable, and Minhyuk even liked his little diamond earrings. Minhyuk really only wore earrings when he was performing, or a pair of discreet silver hoops (that he always took out for taekwondo).
If Minhyuk were to give Jinjin a pair of earrings, what kind would he like? What would look good on him?
Minhyuk was quite possibly still riding high on post-performance adrenaline and a delicious beef dinner, because he set aside his knitting long enough to reach out and type into the chatbox.
I really like your earrings. They look good on you. What kind of earrings do you usually like?
Then he picked his needles back up and kept on working.
A moment later, Jinjin said, “Hey, Rocky225, I noticed you’re new around here.”
Minhyuk almost dropped his needles.
“Thanks!” Jinjin continued. “I like these earrings a lot. They were a birthday present from MJ-hyung, actually. He’s got pretty good taste in jewelry. For everyday wear, I tend to prefer simpler earrings, but when I want to look swag or fancy, I’ll go for something flashy, maybe even something dangly.”
Minhyuk stared at his laptop in shock. Jinjin tilted his head, showing off his earring — and the line of his neck. Which Minhyuk, inexplicably, wanted to lick.
Jinjin had read his comment, and he’d answered it.
It was official. Minhyuk was in love.
He watched the rest of the stream with rapt attention and didn’t knit a single stitch more on his scarf, and when he climbed into bed two hours later, he didn’t regret a thing.
Minhyuk regretted spending so much time focused on just Jinjin and his beautiful face and his sexy deep voice, because he dreamed about Jinjin, and when he woke he was sweaty and his heart was thumping wildly and he had to take a blitz of a cold shower in order to get to classes on time.
Luckily, since it was just after midterms, professors were mostly reviewing exams to make sure everyone was where they needed to be before they moved onto the next modules of information, and Minhyuk had a couple of hours after that heart-racing dream to collect himself and buckle down and focus.
No way was he ever telling Sanha how hot he thought Jinjin was.
So when Minhyuk met up with Sanha at the student cafeteria, he planned to say exactly zero things about Twitch or gamer streams.
Instead he said, “Want to get tangsuyuk for lunch?”
“That does sound delicious, but actually I’m planning on eating with some other friends today,” Sanha said. “Sorry, hyung.”
He didn’t look that sorry.
Minhyuk followed him to the food line. “What friends? Bomin and Hyunjin and Daehwi?” He ordered some tangsuyuk.
“I have more friends than just those three,” Sanha said primly. He ordered jjajangmyeon.
And then Minhyuk heard a very familiar voice.
“Sanha-ya, we’re over here!”
Minhyuk turned and saw none other than MJ sitting at one of the tables, already with food in front of him. MJ was smiling and waving, and his smile was sun-bright. He was adorable, but Minhyuk didn’t care, because sitting beside him was Jinjin. In person, Minhyuk could see just how broad his shoulders were, as MJ was quite slender and built delicately in comparison.
Sanha beamed and waved at MJ. “Myungjun-hyung, Jinwoo-hyung, be right there.”
Myungjun. That was MJ. So Jinwoo was Jinjin.
Minhyuk shaped the name on his lips but didn’t give it sound, and then he squirreled it away for examination later. He knew Jinjin’s real name. Jinwoo. What did it mean? What hanja did he use for it? Did he use hanja at all?
“I’d invite you to eat with us, but I know you don’t really care about gaming,” Sanha said.
“Right,” Minhyuk said faintly. He couldn’t sit near Jinwoo, because not only was he uninterested in gaming, he was bad at gaming, and if looking at Jinwoo from this distance was making him tongue-tied, what would close proximity do?
Possibly kill him.
Sanha accepted the tray of food and paid for it. “Later, hyung,” he said, and wove through the tables to sit beside Myungjun.
“Later,” Minhyuk said, several beats too late, so Sanha didn’t even hear him. He picked up his order and paid for it without even really paying attention to what he was doing, and then he was standing on the edge of the dining area, tray in hand, unsure of what to do or where to sit.
Minhyuk was no stranger to sitting alone while he ate, even preferred it sometimes so he could concentrate while he was rewatching choreography rehearsal videos. Right then, he felt awkward and also a little bereft. He’d been counting on the normalcy of sitting with Sanha to help him get his head on straight, but then there Sanha was, sitting with the beautiful Jinwoo.
When Jinwoo turned to speak to Myungjun, Minhyuk was reminded of the night before, when Jinwoo had showed off his earrings, and once again Minhyuk was enthralled by the line of his throat.
“Are you lost?” Bin asked, startling Minhyuk, and he almost dropped his tray, and why was he nearly dropping things all the time lately?
He was a dancer and a martial artist. He knew his body, trusted it.
But he couldn’t trust his mind or his stupid hormones, which were also in his stupid body, because Jinwoo was involved.
Bin caught the edge of Minhyuk’s tray, steadied it. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you. Thinking hard?”
“Just — distracted.” Minhyuk shrugged. “Want to eat together?”
“Sure,” Bin said. “Dongmin was right behind me.”
Minhyuk didn’t mind eating with Dongmin as well as Bin. “All right. Let’s wait for him.”
Minhyuk knew the moment Dongmin appeared, because heads turned, the din of conversations dipped, and more than one girl ducked behind her hand to whisper to a friend or hide an embarrassed but pleased smile.
And then that familiar voice rang out. “Lee Dongmin, is that you? Long time no see!”
Heads turned again — to Myungjun, who was smiling and waving.
Dongmin’s face lit up in one of the crinkle-eyed smiles that girls took illicit pictures of and shared across campus. “Myungjun-hyung, I didn’t realize you were here.”
And he started through the tables toward where Myungjun, Sanha, and Jinwoo were sitting.
Bin followed Dongmin, because why wouldn’t he follow Dongmin? He probably had no idea who Jinwoo and Myungjun were, and nobody knew how Minhyuk was stupidly, viscerally attracted to Jinwoo, and no one was supposed to know.
If Minhyuk didn’t follow, that would look weird, and the others would question why.
So Minhyuk followed, slowly, feeling his face heat.
No matter. As long as he didn’t smile at Jinwoo the way all the girls at the nearby tables were smiling at Dongmin, no one would have any clue how Minhyuk felt about Jinwoo.
“You two know each other?” Jinwoo asked, and Minhyuk felt his face flush even more at Jinwoo’s voice.
In person it was even deeper and smoother.
“We grew up in the same neighborhood and took piano lessons at the same hagwon,” Myungjun said. “Of course, Dongminnie was better than me. He’s better than me at everything — sports, academics.”
“Not art or singing or video games,” Dongmin said.
Myungjun pulled out the chair on the other side of him. “Please, sit.”
Myungjun beamed at Bin. “Your friends can sit with us too. Sanha-ya, Jinwoo-ya, this is Lee Dongmin, one of my favorite dongsaengs.”
Dongmin inclined his head. “Nice to meet you both.”
“Dongmin, this is Yoon Sanha, also known as Captain Ddana, and Park Jinwoo, also known as Jinjinjara. We’re all members of the same Twitch squad,” Myungjun said.
Park Jinwoo. Minhyuk knew his whole name. Excitement thrummed through him, but he said nothing. He had a reputation for being expressionless and robotic unless he was performing. His fellow dance majors joked that he was a performing robot, soulless until someone hit his on switch and put him on a stage. Minhyuk thought he had plenty of personality and charm outside of performing, but today he was grateful for his reputation, because even if he said nothing and interacted with no one — especially Park Jinwoo — no one would think anything was amiss.
“Ah, I already know Dongmin-hyung, Bin-hyung, and Minhyukie-hyung,” Sanha said. “Bin and Minhyuk are both dance majors. Dongmin’s a law student.”
“No wonder you look familiar,” Myungjun said to Bin. “You danced in that recital we went to, right? That Sanha was filming.”
Sanha nodded. “That was the one.”
So Myungjun had seen Bin and Minhyuk dancing. Had Jinwoo been there too? Minhyuk sneaked a glance at him but said nothing.
“This is Moon Bin and Park Minhyuk,” Dongmin said. “They’re good friends of mine.”
Bin smiled. Minhyuk bobbed his head politely.
Myungjun and Dongmin chatted with each other, catching up on all that had happened after they’d drifted apart, mostly when Myungjun, who was three years older, had graduated from high school and done his service.
Minhyuk and Bin had both agreed to enlist together, so Bin had waited for the two years it took for Minhyuk to graduate and then they’d gone in at the same time, which was why Minhyuk was a university freshman like Sanha despite being a year older.
Myungjun recounted his memories of a young and studious Dongmin, who’d been rugged and tanned as a middle schooler due to all the sports he’d played — he’d been captain of both the basketball and soccer teams, class president starting in sixth grade, and student body president by his final year of middle school.
“You really are like someone out of a manhwa,” Bin said, and Dongmin shook his head, blushing.
“Did you two play soccer together?” Jinwoo asked. “Myungjun’s really good at soccer.”
“We did,” Dongmin said.
Myungjun nodded. “Yeah, we’d play in the park after school sometimes. My older brother would help us with tricks and techniques. It was a lot of fun. Jinwoo’s not bad at soccer, but he likes basketball.”
“Dongmin’s really good at basketball,” Bin said. “Sanha’s not bad either, especially since he got so tall.”
Sanha grinned. “I’m the tallest one here.”
Bin said, “I’m all right at soccer. Make a pretty good goalie. Sadly my height doesn’t make up for my lack of basketball skills.”
And then Jinwoo turned to Minhyuk. “What about you? Are you any good at basketball?”
Minhyuk shook his head and shoved a piece of pork into his mouth to avoid saying something stupid.
“Minhyukie-hyung is pretty decent at soccer. He makes a good goalie, too, because he’s so flexible and fast,” Sanha said.
“From being a dancer?” Myungjun asked.
“He also teaches taekwondo,” Sanha added.
Jinwoo nodded. Then he looked at Minhyuk, and was it just Minhyuk’s imagination, or did he look concerned? “Minhyuk can speak for himself, you know.”
“Ah, he’s just kind of quiet and shy and awkward around new people,” Sanha said easily.
Jinwoo smiled at Minhyuk, crinkle-eyed and puppy-sweet, and Minhyuk melted inside. He gripped his chopsticks tightly so he wouldn’t drop them.
Jinwoo said, “Well, I hope we can become close and comfortable soon.”
Minhyuk bobbed his head stiffly, not trusting himself with words at all.
Thankfully, for the rest of the meal, no one really paid him any attention, so as long as he nodded in all the right places, he could sneak glances at Jinwoo once in a while and renew the warm feeling that bloomed in his chest whenever he saw Jinwoo’s smile.
Minhyuk was pathetic, and he really didn’t care at all.
Minhyuk was pathetic enough that he ended up buying some merch from Jinwoo’s online store, just a little green turtle pin that he could put on the strap of his book bag. Whenever he looked down at it, he could think of Jinwoo and smile.
Every time Jinwoo streamed, Minhyuk tuned in and listened, and he even left a few comments in the livestream chat. At first it was just I like your earrings today and I’m not very good at gaming but I like the art style for that game and You have very quick reflexes (after a particularly impressive boss fight). Eventually Minhyuk was brave enough to add I like the sound of your voice and You’re very handsome.
Jinwoo had so many viewers every time he streamed that chances of him seeing Minhyuk’s one comment in the deluge was low, so of course the one he spotted was You’re very handsome.
One moment Jinwoo’s expression was blank, serious as he battled a bunch of monsters, the next he was grinning at the camera and winking and saying, “Thank you, Rocky225. My mother also thinks I’m very handsome. I’m sure you’re very attractive too,” and Minhyuk dropped his knitting once again.
Between watching Jinwoo’s live streams and his older streams, Minhyuk had managed to finish one hat-and-scarf set, just in time for the weather to turn. On a whim, he’d bought some yarn the same shade of green as Jinwoo’s channel color and made a second hat-and-scarf. As he’d had enough for another set in the same color, he made it and also embroidered a little turtle on one end of the scarf and, on a whim, put the set up for sale on his Etsy shop.
To his vast surprise, someone bought it, earning him a little extra spending money.
In order to hide the fact that Minhyuk was pretty much a solo stan for Jinwoo among his gaming squad (called Interstellar, which included MJ.777, Captain Ddana, IAmDanny, and someone named MinMoongi), Minhyuk also watched all of Sanha’s streams, though usually only as background noise while he was working out or doing chores or knitting.
“You knit stuff so quickly. You’re like a grandma,” Sanha said.
“Or a knitting machine,” Dongmin said, a little more gently.
“What I am is warm,” Minhyuk said firmly, while the three of them were walking across campus together.
“Your hat and scarf do look very warm,” Dongmin said.
He was tucked into a long wool coat, black and sleek, so he looked like he was modeling fancy coats, whereas Sanha was wearing a puffy coat and a beanie hat and looked like a kid from an American Christmas movie.
Minhyuk, by contrast, tended to layer, and was wearing a long-sleeved shirt under a t-shirt under a hoodie under a leather jacket, with his hat and scarf and some hand-warmers to keep him really comfortable.
“Want me to make you some?” Minhyuk asked. “They’re pretty quick to do, and I need to do something while I’m being a supportive hyung and watching Sanha’s Twitch streams.”
“Streaming is fun, and also if I get a nice sponsorship I won’t have to worry about my part-time job as much,” Sanha protested. “Besides, Minhyuk will charge you.”
Dongmin raised his eyebrows.
“I will not,” Minhyuk said. “I do sell some of my knitted stuff on Etsy, but that’s because I can’t keep it all. But if I make something for a friend, of course it’s free.”
“I’d really like that,” Dongmin said.
Minhyuk nodded. “All right. Let me know what color and style you want, and I’ll get started.”
Dongmin looked a little confused, so Minhyuk pulled out his phone and showed Dongmin several options. Dongmin settled on a black beanie and a wide, thick scarf made out of very soft yarn. Minhyuk liked working with soft yarn because it was, well, soft on his hands while he knitted.
After lunch, Minhyuk headed across campus for one of his technique classes. While he walked, he considered all the pattern options. A one-knit one-purl ribbing pattern would make the scarf even thicker and warmer. He could put tassels on the ends of the scarf as well. He’d have to make it long enough that Dongmin could knot it if he needed to, so it stayed on during a really windy day. Even if the hat was a different color, he could probably make it out of the same brand of yarn so it would also be very soft. Dongmin hadn’t said he wanted a pompom, and he was the kind of serious person who wouldn’t want to look too childish or cutesy, unlike Sanha, so a pompom was probably out.
Minhyuk was so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t notice when he walked right into someone.
“Oh, sorry!” He jumped back, then reached out and grabbed the other person to stop him from falling. His taekwondo reflexes were good for more than just kicking people in the head.
“No, sorry, I wasn’t watching where I was going,” Park Jinwoo said, and Minhyuk was looking right into his eyes.
His heart stopped for a second.
He managed to croak out, “I wasn’t looking either. I’m so sorry.”
Jinwoo smiled at him, and Minhyuk’s heart kicked into double-time. “I guess we both had a lot to think about, hm?”
“Yeah,” Minhyuk said faintly.
Jinwoo reached out, then hesitated. “You a fan?”
Minhyuk blinked. “Pardon?”
Jinwoo pointed to the turtle pin on the strap of Minhyuk’s bag.
“I — oh. Um. Sanha is always after me to be supportive of his side-career as a Twitch streamer,” Minhyuk said.
Jinwoo tilted his head. “That’s not the logo for Sanha’s channel.”
“Sometimes I like to give him a hard time because he always makes fun of me for being bad at video games even though I play with him when he has no one else to play with,” Minhyuk said. “Although I guess he has you and the others to play with now, so…”
Again with Jinwoo’s unfairly gorgeous smile. “You’re a good hyung for Sanha. Not everyone has to be good at video games. Besides, I’m sure to be as good at dancing as you are, you probably have to spend a lot of time practicing, so you don’t have a lot of time for video games.”
Minhyuk nodded dumbly.
“Well, I guess we should both be more careful where we’re going,” Jinwoo said, and Minhyuk nodded again.
“It was nice meeting you again, Park Minhyuk.” Jinwoo inclined his head politely and continued on his way. “I like your earrings, by the way.”
Minhyuk could only bow stiffly, his heart racing. Jinwoo remembered his name. Jinwoo had seen him dance. When? How? He couldn’t help but lift a hand to his earring. It was just a little dark blue stud, to go with his outfit, but he had chosen it carefully this morning.
He felt like he was walking on air all the way to the dance studio.
Two days later, Minhyuk felt like his shoes were filled with lead as he trudged back to his apartment after a long day of classes and work. The hideously cold weather was probably in his favor, as it was dulling the ache in his thighs and calves.
He kicked off his shoes just inside the door, hung up his hat and scarf and jacket and hoodie, then padded into the kitchen to make himself a nighttime snack and also some hot tea to warm up. While he was waiting for the tea to steep, he felt his phone buzz, so he checked it. If it was another sympathy message from Bin or Chanhee, he didn’t want to hear it. But it was an alert.
Jinjinara just went live on Twitch!
Minhyuk went and found his laptop, set it up on the little low dining table in the open den-kitchen space, and while he prepared his snack, he listened. Tonight Jinwoo was trying a demo of a new game that had cool graphics and interesting game mechanics. It was sort of a Metroid-type game, but it had no save function, and every time his character died, the game restarted with the levels in a random order, so the world was new every time he explored it.
Minhyuk had no idea what a Metroid-type game was, but Jinwoo sounded calm and reasonable as he talked about how he arranged his stats and the equipment he thought was most useful, but also how the equipment drops were random and he had to adjust to whatever he could get his hands on.
When Minhyuk’s food and tea were ready, he sat down at the table and looked at Jinwoo’s face and listened to his voice and felt better.
Jinwoo glanced at the camera and smiled. “Hey, you. How are you doing today?”
He talked to his viewers like this often, and they loved it, the girls especially, green heart emojis flooding the chat box.
Minhyuk’s mood lifted a little, but the throbbing in his ankle and thigh from where he’d messed up that dance move in class earlier and taken a messy tumble were an uncomfortable reminder of how embarrassing that had been.
He sighed and typed into the chat box, Seeing you is making me feel better after a lousy day. I embarrassed myself in front of my classmates by tripping really badly in front of all of them, and I feel stupid, and also still kind of sore.
Of course, lots of green-hearted comments were flooding the chat before and after his comment, and lots of other people were talking about how much seeing Jinwoo made them happy. Some others chimed in that they’d become frustrated with the game he was playing because they were never able to advance more than a few levels, and they appreciated his expertise and advice.
How Jinwoo could keep track of comments and also play his game well was a mystery to Minhyuk, but it was nice to see Jinwoo interacting with his viewers.
“Good luck with your next attempt at the game, JooHoneyBee,” Jinwoo said. “I’m glad I can help.”
Minhyuk finished eating and went to clear away his dishes and get his knitting, and he heard Jinwoo say, “Sorry you had a hard time in class, Rocky225. I’m sorry you feel embarrassed. We all make mistakes, and it’s natural to feel embarrassed, but don’t worry — making a mistake just means you’re still learning, and that’s okay. Also I hope you didn’t injure yourself too badly. Take care of yourself, all right?”
Minhyuk spun around, and Jinwoo was looking right at the camera, expression gentle. Minhyuk felt some of the weight on his shoulders lift.
“Thank you,” he said, even though Jinwoo couldn’t hear him. “Thank you very much.”
Instead of knitting or doing anything else productive, Minhyuk curled up on his bed with his laptop and watched Jinwoo play and dispense calm encouragement and friendly advice, and he poked around on Jinwoo’s SNS even though he checked those for updates religiously (and saved the best pictures of Jinwoo), and by the time he fell asleep, he felt better.
Perhaps Minhyuk had felt a little too good after spending some virtual time with Jinwoo the night before, because when he woke the next morning, his phone was flooded with notifications.
“What the hell?” he muttered to himself, scrubbing at his eyes and squinting at his phone. So far he was the only one of his friends who didn’t need glasses, but he didn’t think that would be true for much longer. Who was messaging him so much, and why?
Minhyuk stared at the little purple and white logo, confused, and then he remembered.
Last night, he’d joined Jinwoo’s Discord server.
And people had been busy chatting all night.
As Minhyuk watched, more alerts came in. People were chatting right now. It looked like Jinwoo wasn’t even one of them, but people on his server were also friends with each other.
How was Minhyuk supposed to get through classes if his phone was buzzing constantly? Should he just turn off his phone? But he needed to be able to receive messages from his classmates and the senior instructors at the dojang and —
Minhyuk dashed for the shower, dressed, and hurried for campus.
On the way, he called for help.
“Yoon Sanha, how do I stop alerts from coming in from Discord? Because they’re coming in all the time and my professors will kick me out of class if my phone is always buzzing,” he said, jogging toward the bus stop.
“Discord?” Sanha echoed. “What are you doing on Discord?”
“Will you just help me? Please?”
“Sure, but — since when are you on Discord?”
“Because I signed up for a server last night and now I have regrets but not enough to un-sign up,” Minhyuk said.
Sanha, the evil little gremlin, laughed. “Hyung, you’re such an ahjusshi when it comes to technology. Or should I be calling you eoreushin?”
“Sanha-ya,” Minhyuk protested.
“I’ll meet you by the student union on my way to music theory,” Sanha said.
“Thank you.” Minhyuk stuffed his still-buzzing phone into his pocket and hoped it wouldn’t bother the people on the bus.
Sanha was, as promised, standing just under the shelter of the main doors to the student union. Minhyuk hurried over to him, holding out his phone.
“There are over five hundred messages now,” he said, and unlocked it.
Sanha accepted it and thumbed to the Discord app with casual ease. “Heol, you joined Jinjin-hyung’s Discord server but not mine? I wondered if Rocky225 was you, because you use the same username for everything, but — at least join mine too.”
“Sure. Fine. Sign me up. But also please make the messages stop,” Minhyuk said.
Sanha held the phone out so Minhyuk could see how to mute a channel or even an entire server.
“Thank you,” Minhyuk breathed, the knot of tension in his chest easing.
Sanha tapped some more and said, “Here. Now you’re on my server. Come say hi once in a while.”
“I don’t know anything about video games,” Minhyuk muttered, but he accepted his phone back.
“And yet you joined Jinjin-hyung’s server.” Sanha looked amused.
Dammit. Minhyuk should have asked Bin or — no, not Bin, he wasn’t much better with SNS. He should have asked Dongmin. But when would he even see Dongmin today? Not till lunch.
“Don’t think I didn’t notice that you wear one of the Jinjinjara pins on your bag,” Sanha added. He reached into his pocket and drew out a little pin for his own channel, the logo for which was a little chick in a sailor’s cap riding on a cartoon boat. “Take this.”
Minhyuk pinned it to the strap of his bag obediently.
Sanha looked amused and a little too knowing for Minhyuk’s comfort as he waved and went to leave.
When Minhyuk checked his phone on his lunch break, there were hundreds of notifications from Jinwoo’s Discord server, and also a message from Sanha.
Come hang out at my place tonight. We haven’t hung out in a while.
That was true. Minhyuk texted back, Sure, after I get done teaching.
After chasing five-year-olds all over the dojang and constantly cajoling them to stand in neat rows and practice their kicks and punches, Minhyuk was exhausted, but he dragged himself back to his apartment to shower and change and throw a knitting project into his bag before he headed over to Sanha’s.
On the bus on the way to Sanha’s, he checked in on Sanha’s Discord server, which apparently included Bin (whose username was always Dalkong) and Dongmin (whose username always included EongDong), so Rocky said hello to them and introduced himself as a university student who was a dance major. As it turned out, all of the rest of Sanha’s squadmates were on his server — were they all on each other’s servers? — and it was MJ.777 who said an enthusiastic hello.
When Sanha checked Jinwoo’s server, it was full of messages from people he didn’t know. There were multiple conversation threads: for questions about specific types of games, about life in general, for people to chat about their own lives, and also some threads just for paid subscribers to Jinwoo’s channel. Minhyuk wondered what made those channels special, but he figured it was better for him if he couldn’t access those channels, because that meant he received fewer message alerts when he unmuted the server. Still, Minhyuk said a cautious hello, and people greeted him, and he greeted them back.
Most everyone on Jinwoo’s server was fellow university students, though some were high school students, and also some men still doing their service. Some of the people on the server knew Jinwoo in real life, but everyone referred to him as Jinjin, so Minhyuk did the same. He wondered if any of the people on the server were students at the same university, if he’d ever seen them before. Could Minhyuk make friends with them? He was awkward and bad at making friends. It was a good thing Bin and Chanhee had befriended him when they were all young and awkward, and that Dongmin and Sanha had been easily accepting of his awkwardness now. Most people weren’t, though.
Maybe Myungjun was? He seemed so bright and cheery, like he would be kind to everyone.
Minhyuk knew that despite what people who only saw him perform thought about him, he was a bit of a homebody. He liked the food he liked, and he liked the people he liked, and he liked the places he liked, and he didn’t feel the need to go out and constantly seek adventures and thrill. It had been a while since he’d just hung out with Sanha, knitting while Sanha gamed, and even though they weren’t doing the same thing, they were being together, and that was nice.
When Minhyuk knocked on Sanha’s door, he was unprepared for anyone other than Sanha to answer the door.
Of course the person who answered it was Park Jinwoo.
“Hello!” Jinwoo grinned at him, and Minhyuk’s mind went into a little frenzied spiral of, He smiled at me! He smiled at me! He smiled at me!
“Come on in. Party’s just getting started,” Jinwoo said.
“Party?” Minhyuk echoed stupidly, but Jinwoo stepped aside and gestured for Minhyuk to enter.
For a moment Minhyuk was afraid his body wouldn’t obey him, that he wouldn’t be able to move, but he’d been to Sanha’s apartment a hundred times, so it wasn’t too hard to step inside and kick off his shoes and even find a pair of slippers in his size.
Sanha was sitting on the couch with Myungjun. Bin and Dongmin were crammed onto the loveseat. IAmDanny-Changkyun was sitting on one of the bean bags. Jinwoo plopped down onto the couch on the other side of Myungjun, leaving Minhyuk the other bean bag chair, which he sank onto carefully.
“There’s another controller if you want one. This game can have up to eight players,” Jinwoo said.
“Minhyuk never plays. He’s terrible,” Sanha said easily.
“Ouch,” Myungjun said.
“It’s true.” Minhyuk shrugged.
“Will you be bored?” Jinwoo asked. “If we’re all gaming.”
“Bin’ll give up eventually. He’s not much better than I am,” Minhyuk said. “Dongmin, though. He’s surprisingly good.”
“By the way, Changkyun-hyung, this is my friend Park Minhyuk,” Sanha said.
Changkyun glanced at Minhyuk briefly. He was handsome in a sharp, intense sort of way, like a wolf. “Hello, Park Minhyuk. I have a friend named Minhyuk. Lee Minhyuk. He’s — loud.”
“Louder than M-hyung?” Sanha asked, and Myungjun protested.
“Having Myungjun-hyung and Minhyuk-hyung on the same squad can be...a lot, sometimes.” Changkyun shook his head.
“My Minhyuk isn’t loud,” Sanha said.
“I’m not yours,” Minhyuk muttered.
Jinwoo unpaused the game, and the chaos resumed. It was some kind of battle game, everyone running around and shooting things. There was radio chatter and flashing lights and explosions. Minhyuk didn’t know how they kept track of it all.
“There are some snacks in the fridge if you want some,” Bin said.
Minhyuk nodded. Did he want to get out his knitting? Sanha, Dongmin, and Bin all knew he knitted, but would it look weird to the others?
Myungjun did art and drawing. He probably wouldn’t care.
Minhyuk shucked his own hat, scarf, and handwarmers, then peeled off his outer layers so he was comfortable in his t-shirt, and set to work.
“Oh, is that for me?” Dongmin asked.
Minhyuk nodded. “Yes.”
Dongmin reached out. “Can I touch it?”
Minhyuk held out the beginnings of the scarf and let Dongmin pet it.
Dongmin smiled. “It’s so soft. I like it.”
“Soft wool is more comfortable to wear around your neck, especially if your neck is sensitive,” Minhyuk said.
“Like Bin’s.” Dongmin nodded knowingly. Then he eyed Minhyuk. “How do you know how sensitive Bin’s neck is?”
“We’ve been friends since elementary school. Poking him in the neck was always a sure way to win a wrestling match,” Minhyuk said.
“Why are we talking about Bin’s sensitive neck?” Changkyun asked.
“Knowing whether or not someone has a sensitive neck is important if you’re going to make them a scarf,” Minhyuk said, and set to knitting.
“You’re making Bin a scarf?” Myungjun asked. “Oooh, that looks pretty.”
“I made Bin a scarf years ago. This one is for Dongmin-hyung.”
Jinwoo cleared his throat. “Do you make scarves for all your friends?”
“Only if people want them. I knit a lot as a hobby, but I can’t keep everything I make. If someone doesn’t want what I make, I sell it,” Minhyuk said.
“Do you make things on commission?” Jinwoo asked.
“If people ask me, sure. Dongmin asked for this scarf.”
“He made me a hat,” Sanha said.
“The cute one with the pompom?” Myungjun asked.
“That’s cool,” Jinwoo said.
“Thanks,” Minhyuk said, feeling a bit awkward. Of course Jinwoo was being polite.
It was easy for Minhyuk to fall into silence and the rhythm of knitting, though occasionally he was jostled when Bin broke into cheers over a gaming victory. Eventually, he needed a break, so he went into the kitchen and grabbed snacks and drinks for the others.
By some improbable strength of will, Minhyuk managed not to drop the can of cider he was handing to Jinwoo when Jinwoo’s fingers brushed against his.
Jinwoo smiled up at him, sweet and sincere. “Thanks.”
Minhyuk just bobbed his head, distributed the rest of the snacks and drinks, and then retreated to his bean bag for the rest of the night.
By the time everyone else was done with the flashing lights and hyperstimulation of video games, Minhyuk was very drowsy. He’d made good progress on Dongmin’s scarf — he’d already finished the hat — before he’d put his knitting back in his project bag and curled up, watching the screen idly. It was like a chaotic action movie that had no script and a weirdly repetitive plot as player characters died and then respawned and started on their missions again.
Minhyuk must have dozed off, because one moment he was half-listening to Changkyun and Myungjun issue dire threats against Sanha and Dongmin, the next someone was shaking his shoulder.
“Wake up. You should go home.”
Minhyuk blinked, confused.
Jinwoo was kneeling beside the bean bag, brow furrowed with concern. “Park Minhyuk-ssi? Can you get home all right?”
Park Jinwoo was right in front of Minhyuk, so close Minhyuk could count his lashes, see the crease in his upper lip, see even more of his tattoo when he leaned in closer.
His tattoo was of a lion in the shape of a crown.
Oh hell. Minhyuk could see Jinwoo’s bare chest.
No. He had to stop, had to focus, had to —
“I can get home just fine on my own, sunbae,” he said, sitting up very quickly — and knocking his head right into Jinwoo’s.
Stars sparked in his vision as pain exploded through his skull.
Minhyuk jerked back, clutching his forehead, shocked, eyes squeezed shut against the pain. “Sunbae,” he stammered out. “I’m so sorry. I —”
He’d just head-butted Jinwoo.
When Minhyuk managed to open his eyes, he saw Jinwoo had fallen back on his haunches, one had pressed to his temple, squinting in pain.
“Omo! What happened?” Myungjun asked.
“Just an accident,” Jinwoo said.
“I’m so sorry, sunbae, I wasn’t thinking, I must not have been fully awake,” Minhyuk stammered, but he sure as hell was wide awake now. He’d just assaulted his number one crush. He could never look at Jinwoo again.
“It’s fine. I know you didn’t mean it.” Jinwoo took several deep breaths, then straightened up, shook himself out. “You all right, Minhyuk-ssi?”
“I’m fine,” Minhyuk said, and the room around him spun. He grabbed the edge of the table to steady himself. “I will be fine.”
“Is everything okay?” Sanha asked. “What happened?”
“We knocked heads,” Jinwoo said.
Up close, Minhyuk could sense his warmth, smell his cologne. He smelled so good. It was making Minhyuk dizzy. Or was that because of the knock on the head?
“Are you sure you can get home alone?” Jinwoo asked.
Minhyuk nodded, but that made his head spin even more. He forced himself to take several slow, deep breaths, and finally the dizziness stopped.
“Let me walk you home,” Jinwoo said.
“Sunbae, you’re just as hurt as I am,” Minhyuk protested, because he wasn’t sure he could handle being alone with Jinwoo.
“So you admit you’re hurt.” Jinwoo pushed himself to his feet, then offered Minhyuk a hand.
Minhyuk accepted Jinwoo’s hand, because not accepting it would be rude, and — oh. Jinwoo’s hand was warm, strong.
“Thanks,” Minhyuk said softly.
“You all right, hyung?” Sanha asked.
Minhyuk nodded. “I’m fine.” He snatched up his project bag. “I’ll just get going now.”
“I’ll make sure he makes it home safe,” Jinwoo said. He inclined his head at Minhyuk and ushered him toward the front door.
That was how Minhyuk found himself sitting on the bus beside Jinwoo, headed back to his apartment. His head still twinged a little, but he certainly wasn’t dizzy anymore, and he certainly didn’t need anyone walking him home like he was a drunk leading lady from a drama.
Also he wasn’t sure how he was supposed to cope with Jinwoo beside him, warm and firm and smelling really good and also looking really hip and stylish in his hoodie with his little black beanie and his baggy track pants and fancy sneakers.
Finally, for lack of anything better, Minhyuk said, “How are you feeling, sunbae?”
“I’m fine.” Jinwoo smiled at him.
Minhyuk’s heart beat a rapid tattoo in his chest. He swallowed hard. “I’m glad.”
Jinwoo angled toward him, speaking softly. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m really all right,” Minhyuk said. “You didn’t have to see me home.”
“But I wanted to,” Jinwoo said.
Minhyuk blinked. What did that mean? That Jinwoo wanted to spend time with him? No. That was the kind of thing a drama leading lady would be thinking, complete with a gushing voiceover and fake blushing. “I’m sorry you felt the need to put yourself out.”
“Doing the right thing isn’t putting myself out,” Jinwoo said. “I was just concerned about you.”
“I’m tough, sunbae, I promise. I’ve taken much worse blows to the head during taekwondo tournaments,” Minhyuk said. “One time when I was in middle school, I got kicked in the head so bad my nose bled and they had to call a time-out. I was fine, though. I mean, I was bleeding a lot so it looked really bad, but really I was fine. I won in the end, so obviously I was fine. I won the entire tournament, I mean. Not just that one match. I mean — I won all my matches, that time. Which was how I won the whole tournament. I —”
Minhyuk cut himself off. He was babbling. He wished a hole would open up and swallow him.
But Jinwoo didn’t look annoyed. Instead he said, gently, “Just because you’ve been hit really badly on the head before and soldiered on doesn’t mean you should now.”
“But I wasn’t hit really badly,” Minhyuk said. “Your head isn’t that heard.” He bit his lip. “I mean — I’m not saying you’re soft-headed. Or that I’m hard-headed. I just —”
Jinwoo laughed softly. “Minhyuk-ssi, I’m fine. I promise.”
Minhyuk nodded and very firmly kept his mouth shut. When his stop was close, he reached up and pressed the button to let the bus driver know to stop, and as the bus slowed, he rose and headed for the door.
Jinwoo rose with him.
“Oh, sunbae, you don’t have to. I live pretty close to the stop,” Minhyuk said.
But Jinwoo stood beside him till the doors hissed open, and then he followed Minhyuk up the hill toward his little apartment building.
At the front door to the building, Minhyuk hovered on the steps, just beyond the golden glow of the lobby lights.
“Thank you for walking me home,” he said finally.
Jinwoo nodded. “It makes me feel good, to know you’re safe, that I haven’t permanently injured your head.”
Had that comment come from Sanha or Bin or Dongmin, Minhyuk would have rolled his eyes, but instead, he nodded. Now what? Should he just bow and leave? Shake Jinwoo’s hand? Dongmin usually patted him on the shoulder. Bin or Chanhee would have hugged him. Sanha would wave goodbye to Minhyuk, but Sanha was younger, and Jinwoo was older and a sunbae.
Minhyuk’s brain spun in frantic hamster wheel circles while he stood gazing at Jinwoo’s handsome face, and then he said, “Your sneakers look very comfortable, with nice thin soles, light and flexible. They’d be good to dance in. I used to have a pair like that.”
Jinwoo blinked, then looked down at his shoes. “Ah, yes. I used to dance. Not like you and Bin-ssi, but I did.”
“I didn’t know that,” Minhyuk said, quiet but a little awed.
Jinwoo chuckled. “Well, we’ve only been around each other twice, and usually with Myungjun and Sanha around, and they’re both fast talkers compared to us, right?”
“Ah — I follow you on Twitch. I originally saw you that time Sanha did a squad stream with you, so I thought I would, you know, support Sanha. And his squad.” Minhyuk was definitely rambling, but at least he hadn’t fully admitted he had a crush on Jinwoo.
Which he totally did, he could admit to himself, but he would admit no such thing to anyone else.
Also now he probably had to subscribe to everyone else in the Interstellar Squad so as not to look like the only person he was interested in was Jinwoo.
Although would Jinwoo notice that Rocky225 was subscribed to everyone in the squad? Would he figure out who Minhyuk was? There were probably plenty of people who were subscribed to multiple people in the squad, if not all of them. As long as Minhyuk didn’t sign up for everyone’s Discord servers, he was probably safe, right?
Finally, Jinwoo said, “You better head inside before it gets too cold. Goodnight, Minhyuk-ssi.”
“Ah, right.” Minhyuk reached out and punched in the main door code. “Thanks, sunbae. And, um, if you like, you can speak comfortably to me.”
No. What the hell had he just done? He never said that to anyone so quickly. It had taken him a whole year to say that to Bin and a whole other year to speak that way to Chanhee. He’d loosened up over the years, though. He and Sanha and Dongmin spoke comfortably to each other, and it had taken — well, almost a year for them too.
But Jinwoo nodded and said, “All right. Good night, Minhyuk-ah.”
“Good night, sunbae.” Minhyuk hurried inside before he said anything else terribly stupid.
But as he was brushing his teeth and washing his face and combing his hair and climbing into bed and lying in his bed in the dark and staring up at the ceiling, he was replaying every single moment of being beside Jinwoo, feeling his warmth and smelling his cologne and the faint hint of his laundry detergent, glimpsing his chest tattoo and seeing his smile up close.
“Park Minhyuk,” he said to himself, “you’re an idiot, and you’re doomed.”
Minhyuk tried to avoid Jinwoo’s streams for the next few days, but it was futile, because Sanha ate lunch with the two of his new squadmates all the time, and Bin and Dongmin and Minhyuk somehow ended up at the same table as Sanha, Jinwoo, and Myungjun.
Even though the others complained that Myungjun was too loud and hyper, Minhyuk was grateful for his energy, because it meant everyone was paying attention to him and they weren’t paying attention to Minhyuk saying absolutely nothing and doing his best not to stare at Jinwoo and hang onto every word he said.
In the evenings, Minhyuk binged back episodes of a drama his mother had recommended instead of watching back episodes of Jinwoo’s Twitch streams, and he worked feverishly on Dongmin’s scarf.
Finally, after four days of frenzied evening knitting, the scarf was finished, so Minhyuk wrapped it and the hat in nice fabric and tied up the bundle with pretty satin ribbon, and he brought the little bundle to campus with him in his book bag so he could give it to Dongmin at lunch.
“Heol, what is this, a confession?” Sanha asked when Minhyuk opened his bag and drew the bundle out carefully.
Minhyuk rolled his eyes and very deliberately did not look at Jinwoo to see his reaction. “No, gremlin. I finished the scarf and hat for you, hyung.” He held the bundle out to Dongmin. “I hope they keep you nice and warm this winter.”
Dongmin set his tray down and accepted the bundle of fabric. “Already? Wow. Thank you. Can I open it?”
Minhyuk nodded. “Of course. It’s yours.”
Myungjun and Jinwoo crowded close to Dongmin to watch as he untied the ribbon and parted the fabric.
Dongmin scooped up the scarf and tried it on. “It’s so thick and warm and soft. Thank you so much, Minhyuk-ah.”
He closed his eyes and actually nuzzled the scarf a bit, and Minhyuk heard coos and sighs from girls at the tables near theirs.
“The hat is made from the same type of yarn, just in a different color,” Minhyuk said.
Myungjun reached out and petted the hat carefully, and his eyebrows went up. “Wow, that is super soft. You must feel so loved right now, Dongmin-ah.”
“Minhyukie is a kind friend,” Dongmin said primly. But he offered Minhyuk one of his crinkle-eyed smiles as he unwound the scarf and folded it and bundled it back up with the hat. “Really, thank you so much.”
“No problem, hyung,” Minhyuk said.
“I feel unloved,” Myungjun said. “None of my dongsaengs ever make such cute things for me. Right, Jinie?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jinwoo said. “I feel very loved.”
Myungjun raised his eyebrows, so Jinwoo unzipped his backpack and drew out a little cardboard box, which had been taped shut and had cute turtle stickers all over it.
“One of my subscribers sent me this very generous gift, so I will also be cozy and warm all winter long.” Jinwoo opened the box and drew out —
Minhyuk’s mouth fell open.
It was the hat and scarf he’d made and sold, the matching set with the turtle embroidered on the scarf.
Jinwoo wrapped the scarf around his neck and posed. “See? It has my logo on it and everything. Clearly it’s custom made just for me.”
Minhyuk shut his mouth so fast his teeth clicked. There was no way he could tell Jinwoo that he’d been the one to make the scarf, because if he’d made a scarf that matched Jinwoo’s fandom color with his logo on it, then he was obviously some kind of crazy fanboy, right? It was one thing to make a fannish gift like that specifically to give to someone like Jinwoo; it was another thing entirely to make a fannish item like that just to comfort his own crushing little heart, wasn’t it?
Sanha cast Minhyuk a look, and Minhyuk remembered that Sanha had seen him working on his own scarf in the same colors, but Minhyuk said nothing.
Myungjun pouted. Then he turned to Minhyuk and fluttered his eyelashes. “Will you make a cute hat and scarf for me?”
“Sure,” Minhyuk said, because he did need a new project now that Dongmin’s winter set was finished.
“You have like a thousand scarves,” Jinwoo said, packing away his scarf and hat. “You don’t need more.”
Minhyuk said, “Since you’re a gamer, I could make you a little lap blanket, if you like. Not huge and heavy like a full-sized blanket, so it’s not sliding off of your lap all the time. But a smaller one that covers just your lap so you can stay warm while you’re sitting.”
Myungjun nodded. “I’d like that.”
“Do you want it in your fandom colors or no?”
“Any colors are fine,” Myungjun said, “as long as it’s soft and warm.”
Minhyuk nodded. “All right. I can do that. It’ll take a couple of weeks, though.”
“Just in time for the first snow.” Myungjun looked pleased.
Was it Minhyuk’s imagination, or did Jinwoo look — displeased?
“Be careful,” Bin said. “You might end up knitting things for everyone on the Interstellar Squad.”
“If you make something for me, I’ll totally give your Etsy store a shout-out when I stream,” Sanha said.
“He already made you a hat,” Dongmin said primly.
“Handwarmers are good for gamers,” Sanha said. “Our hands are warm but our fingers are free for good gaming dexterity.”
“Me first, though,” Myungjun said with another pretty pout and then a big flirty wink, and Minhyuk couldn’t help but laugh and nod.
Just as Minhyuk was settling in to start on the lap blanket for Myungjun — he was planning on crocheting it, since that was faster than knitting, and he could do a more complicated and pretty design — he received an alert on his phone.
Jinjinjara just went live on Twitch!
It was almost reflexive for Minhyuk to open his laptop, plug it in, and head for the Twitch homepage.
Right as he heard Jinwoo’s voice saying, You, yes, you, welcome to today’s live stream, he remembered he was supposed to be avoiding Jinwoo and his sexy voice and his pretty bright eyes, because otherwise his crush would just get that much worse and then —
“Today’s stream is going to be a little different,” Jinwoo said.
Minhyuk blinked, hands on the skein of yarn stilling.
“The other day, I was talking to someone, and he mentioned that the shoes I wear are good for dancing in, and they are,” Jinwoo said. “I don’t know how many of you know this, but I used to be a dancer.”
Minhyuk started rolling the skein into a ball of yarn faster, heart racing. Was Jinwoo talking about him? They’d talked about his shoes and dancing on the bus back to Minhyuk’s apartment after the terribly embarrassing incident at Sanha’s apartment. Well, Minhyuk had babbled a lot, at any rate.
But no, Jinwoo couldn’t possibly be talking about the conversation he’d had with Minhyuk. After all, he had so many more friends.
“In fact, I graduated from a performing arts high school, and I entered as the top dancer in my class after my audition, and I also graduated as the top dancer in my class. I know, not what anyone would expect from a teaching major, but I used to really love dancing.” Jinwoo smiled at the camera and looked a little wistful.
Minhyuk couldn’t imagine giving up dancing. All growing up, he’d dreamed of being either a professional dancer or a taekwondo competitor, and he hadn’t given up either of those things, though he was making sure he had a solid teaching foundation as well, because a dancer’s career was very short, compared to a teacher’s.
Green hearts flooded the chat, along with many requests of, Jinjin-oppa, will you dance for us?
Jinwoo laughed. “Hmmm, I don’t know if I’m ready to perform for a live audience yet. It’s been a few years since I’ve done that, and I’d need to get back into the groove for it. But I thought we could revisit some of my old dance performances. What do you say?”
There were more green hearts in the chat, as well as enthusiastic encouragement.
Jinwoo smiled again, and Minhyuk felt stupidly warm and happy inside.
Then the screen changed, and where the box for gameplay would usually be, there was just the screen of Jinwoo’s fancy gaming laptop instead.
And then — a video.
Of Park Jinwoo, a few years younger, looking swag in a tank top and a pair of skinny jeans and a pair of sneakers just like the ones he’d been wearing the other night.
“Here goes! This was when I was a junior in high school. I trained at a dance hagwon as well as at school, and I was on one of the school’s dance teams,” Jinwoo said.
And the video began.
Minhyuk set aside the yarn and leaned in, rested his chin on his hands, and watched.
And was amazed.
It wasn’t that Jinwoo was handsome and had a nice body. As dancer and one of Moon Bin’s best friends, Minhyuk was around plenty of handsome men who had great physiques. No, Park Jinwoo could dance. He was so light on his feet, and quick with his turns.
Minhyuk didn’t even pay attention to the chat, just watched Jinwoo dance, the lines of his body, his strength and balance and precision, his power and energy.
When the video ended, Minhyuk sat back. He’d never trained in house dance. Yes, he was fast and light on his feet, and he could spin like nobody’s business with his foundation in ballet, but Jinwoo had a certain aggressiveness and swag and also sultriness that Minhyuk could never embody, and he looked good.
“So, what did you think?” Jinwoo asked. “I wasn’t a bad dancer, right?”
He was smiling and his voice was warm, but Minhyuk was sure he was apprehensive, sharing a part of himself he’d never shared before.
There was another flurry of green hearts and Oppa is so handsome! and You’re a great dancer! in the chat.
Minhyuk thought, then reached out and typed, You’re a really excellent house dancer. You’re very light on your feet without sacrificing your power or energy in your extensions, and also you have great musicality, hitting some of the more subtle bass notes in the music.
Jinwoo looked relieved. “Ah, thank you, SuperBee18, I’m glad you think I’m not a bad dancer.”
He was smiling again, and the tension in his shoulders was gone.
Then he blinked and tilted his head, and his smile brightened. “Thank you, Rocky225! When I choreographed that, I was doing my best not to just follow the line of the lyrics. I do love lyrical dancing, but sometimes the song has moments in the instrumental that beg for a more abstract approach, you know?”
Minhyuk’s heart raced. Jinwoo had seen his comment and answered him.
“I’m kind of worried that my sense of musicality has faded over time, since I haven’t danced in a while,” Jinwoo admitted.
Minhyuk reached out and typed. You can always dance again, by yourself if you want, just to get back to it. And you still listen to and enjoy music, so you probably still have more musicality than you realize. You really are a very talented and skilled dancer.
Jinwoo gazed at the camera, his expression almost solemn, and he said, “Thank you, Rocky225. That means a lot. I think maybe I will start dancing again.”
Minhyuk sat back, his heart thumping hard in his chest. He’d had a real conversation with Jinwoo, without stumbling or fumbling or babbling or accidentally bashing him in the head, without Sanha and Myungjun’s frenetic energy in the mix.
If only he could have a conversation like that with Jinwoo in person.
No. Jinwoo would never be interested in someone like Minhyuk. Minhyuk was awful at video games.
But he was good at dancing.
Still contemplative, Minhyuk picked up the skein of yarn and continued rolling it into a ball.
The conversation moved on, Jinwoo asking his viewers about their hobbies, responding to comments in the chat.
Minhyuk said nothing further and watched until the end, when Jinwoo looked right into the camera again and said, “You, hey, you. Yes, you. Thanks for watching tonight. I hope you had a good time. I had a good time with you.”
And then the stream ended.
“I had a good time with you,” Minhyuk said softly, feeling a little hollow and pathetic alone in his apartment.
But he kept on working, and then he set to crocheting, and maybe tomorrow he would be a little less alone.
Several days later, Minhyuk was headed across campus to meet Sanha and hand over a pair of knitted handwarmers he’d had in his stash that he’d embroidered Sanha’s channel logo on, the chick on the back of one hand, the boat on the back of the other, when he ran into Jinwoo.
“Hey, Minhyuk-ah,” Jinwoo said, smiling.
Minhyuk blinked at him, wide-eyed. “Hello, sunbae.”
Jinwoo was drinking some kind of hot beverage — coffee, probably, judging by the smell — and his breath steamed in the air. He raised his little to-go cup at Minhyuk in a salute. “We match today.”
Minhyuk blinked and looked down at himself, and he realized — he was wearing the other green hat-and-scarf set he’d made for himself, before he’d made that second set that he’d put up for sale on his Etsy shop, that someone had against all odds bought and given to Jinwoo.
“Ah, yes,” Minhyuk said. “We do. It’s a very nice shade of green. I like green.”
Jinwoo tilted his head and said, “We look kind of like a couple. What are the chances we’d be wearing the same shade of green?”
“Ah, well, pretty good — because it’s all from the same supply of yarn,” Minhyuk said.
Jinwoo blinked. “Pardon?”
“Your hat and scarf. I made them,” Minhyuk said.
Jinwoo lifted a hand to his scarf. “You — what?”
“I made them,” Minhyuk said. “I made my set first, and then I had a lot of leftover yarn, so I made a second set, and I put it up for sale on my Etsy store, and I guess someone bought it and gave it to you.”
Jinwoo stared at him. “Really?”
Minhyuk nodded. “Yeah. I recognized it when you showed us the other day. I embroidered the turtle on it and everything.” He reached out and turned the end of the scarf over and showed Jinwoo the little tag he’d stitched onto the hem, almost hidden by the tassels, that he sewed onto everything he sold.
Made with love by OtterPaws.
“Bin and Chanhee always say I look like an otter, so my Etsy shop is called OtterPaws,” Minhyuk said.
Jinwoo smoothed a fingertip over the tag, expression contemplative. Then he looked up at Minhyuk again.
Was this the first time Minhyuk had ever realized he was taller than Jinwoo? How was that possible? Jinwoo’s presence was warm and strong, filled the spaces he was in even when he said little.
“You even embroidered a turtle on it? Like the one for my channel logo.”
Oh, no. Minhyuk shouldn’t have admitted that. He should have said that the person who bought it customized it.
“Well, yes,” Minhyuk said. “I mean — I was thinking of you, and I watched your streams a lot while I knit, and the turtle reminds me of you, of course. So I just — made it.”
“You think of me? I like that,” Jinwoo said.
Minhyuk blurted out, “I like you.”
And then his mind started to spin. No. What the hell had he done? He ought to leave, run away, hide his face and never go near Jinwoo again.
Jinwoo said, “I like you too.”
Minhyuk stared at him. Surely he was imagining things.
Jinwoo smiled and stepped closer, lowered his voice. “I like you, Park Minhyuk. Will you go out with me?”
“Yes,” Minhyuk said, because could he really say anything else?
Jinwoo’s smile brightened, and he stepped a little closer, close enough that Minhyuk could feel heat radiating off of him, or maybe that was Minhyuk’s own body going into overdrive because Park Jinwoo liked him and wanted to date him and —
“Oh.” Jinwoo tilted his head back. “It’s snowing. It’s the first snow of the season.”
Minhyuk also looked up, and he saw that snow was indeed falling softly from the winter-pale sky. He looked at Jinwoo, at the snowflakes sparkling on his lashes, and his heart soared.
“Sunbae,” he whispered.
Jinwoo looked at him, his gaze bright and intense. “You can call me hyung, you know.”
“Hyung,” Minhyuk whispered, “can I kiss you?”
Jinwoo nodded, and Minhyuk didn’t even care that they were standing in the middle of one of the main thoroughfares on campus. He leaned in and kissed the snowflakes off of Jinwoo’s lips, and he felt Jinwoo’s hands settle onto his hips, and everything was warm and wonderful when Jinwoo kissed him back.
“Finally,” Myungjun said.
They sprang apart.
Myungjun held out a hand. “You owe me,” he said to Sanha, who stood beside him.
“For what?” Sanha demanded.
“I told you that buying that scarf and hat and giving them to Jinwoo would speed things up a bit.” Myungjun fluttered his fingers impatiently.
Sanha scowled but reached for his wallet.
“Wait, you —?” Jinwoo asked.
It was Bin who said, “Hey, pose for a picture. It’s your day one, and already you’re wearing cute couple items. It’s kind of nauseating, but I’m glad someone in this bunch is happy.” He held up his phone.
Minhyuk let Jinwoo reel him in close, and he posed.
“Park Minhyuk I swear if you flash a peace sign and give me one of your dead-faced expressions,” Bin said, and Dongmin was there, laughing too.
Minhyuk smiled obediently.
Dongmin frowned. “That smile looks awkward.”
“His smile is beautiful,” Jinwoo said firmly, looking at Minhyuk.
Minhyuk met his gaze and couldn’t help but blush and smile.
Bin ruined it by saying, “There, that’s better.”
“I can’t believe you set this up,” Jinwoo said. But he petted his scarf fondly. “I’m not giving this back, though.”
“Wouldn’t want you to, not since you got your love cooties all over it,” Myungjun said.
Minhyuk said, “The dimensions of these scarves are all wrong for bondage, but I could probably still make something both long and strong and still soft on bare skin.”
Dongmin spluttered, and Minhyuk just laughed.
“TMI,” Myungjun protested.
“Well, you said love cooties,” Minhyuk said.
“Just for that, you owe us a meal,” Dongmin said. “Since if it weren’t for us Minhyuk would continue mooning over Jinwoo’s streams and Jinwoo would continue mooning over Minhyuk’s dance videos.”
Minhyuk raised his eyebrows at Jinwoo, who blushed.
“It’s snowing and I’m cold. Let’s go inside and get some food,” Sanha said.
Minhyuk nodded. “Sure. I’ll buy.”
All Minhyuk had to do was complete three more squares, and then he could start connecting everything together for Myungjun’s lap blanket.
He really loved Jinwoo’s wide and comfy leather sofa, and he was snuggled down in the middle, his supplies on either side of him so he could work while he listened to Jinwoo do one of his streams.
The past two weeks had been amazing, and Minhyuk was still awed and a little overwhelmed whenever he saw Jinwoo’s face and remembered that’s my boyfriend.
For three hours, he listened to Jinwoo — and Sanha and Myungjun and Changkyun — collectively battling their way through some post-apocalyptic landscape.
And then he heard Jinwoo say, “You. Hey, you.”
So his stream was ending.
“You,” Jinwoo said again, and Minhyuk looked up — and Jinwoo was standing right over him.
“Me?” Minhyuk asked, playing coy.
“Yes, you.” Jinwoo carefully moved aside Minhyuk’s pile of already-completed squares and sank down on the couch beside him. “I love you. You’re sexy and talented and also very hot and flexible, and most importantly, you’re my boyfriend, and —”
Minhyuk leaned in and silenced him with a kiss. “Love you too,” he murmured.
“Now come on,” Jinwoo said. “Time for bed.”
Minhyuk followed willingly.