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hot patootie!

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Mingyu really, truly despises Halloween.

Sure, dressing up is fun and he cannot deny the pleasure he’s revelled in when he’s gone all out on his costumes. Mario his freshman year, a vampire the next (a cute, nice one that only drank blood donations, he insisted to everyone he talked to at that year’s party), and a very detailed and impressive Edward Scissorhands last year. It was always fun to go all out, he enjoyed the creativity and shopping involved with the process.

But despite his love of costumes, Halloween always provides more things he hates than those he enjoys.

The marathon of horror films his roommates/friends put him through every year, the creepy decorations that always make him jump out of his skin on his walks home from his part-time job late at night, the stupid pranks and jump scares everyone seems to think are so hilarious to pull on him...

Halloween is in less than two weeks and he’s already ready for it to be over.

The bell attached to the door of the convenience store jingles and he all but leaps out of his skin at the sudden sound of it. Letting out a puff of air, he childishly glares at the giant tissue paper jack-o-lantern his boss hung from the ceiling earlier that day.

“Hello,” he greets to the unseeable customer, straightening himself up behind the counter. He glances at his phone and checks the time: 10:34. Just about 90 more minutes of his shift before he can head home.

He’s about to start restocking cigarettes when the customer comes into view, causing Mingyu to naturally smile.

Jun, one of his roommates, grins back at him, before unloading his arms onto the checkout counter. 3 bottles of milk tea, 2 Colas, and a couple bags of Turtle Chips. Mingyu sighs, because he knows this purchase can only mean one thing.

“Again? Didn’t you guys just have movie night on Monday?” he whines, ringing up all the items.

“Can you have too many movie nights?” Jun asks rhetorically, his head cutely cocked. Mingyu just lets out another whimper.

“Will you at least be finished by the time I get home? I still haven’t recovered from opening the door and seeing…” some guy’s internal organs spilling out of his stomach as his girlfriend screeches in horror at the sight. Mingyu visibly shivers as he pulls out a plastic bag.

Jun cracks open one of the milk teas and takes a long swig, slipping his card into the chip reader. “Don’t worry, no gore this time. Wonwoo wanted something more psychological.”

Mingyu groans, his head tilting back. That’s even worse.

He feels Jun pull the bag from his hand and begin to pack up his own items.

“Have you decided on your costume yet? Shua’s party is in a week.”

He hadn’t forgotten about it but Mingyu was still torn about what to wear this year. Wonwoo had already decided back in July that he was going as Steve from Stranger Things. Mingyu had gotten a sneak peek of his Scoops Ahoy sailor outfit and he had to admit that his hyung was pretty adorable. Jun was going at a giant Coke can, which seemed a bit boring, but he knew witnessing him trying to maneuver around at the party as a giant cylinder would be hysterical. Jun always did physical humor the best out of all of them.

And, truthfully, Mingyu was relieved they weren’t doing couple costumes this year either. He wasn’t secure enough to feel left out of their trio that much, as silly as it seemed.

“I got a few ideas. Just need to pick one.”

“You should do something scary,” Jun tells him. Mingyu pulls a face.

“Uh, yeah right.”

“What? Wonwoo is cute, my costume is funny… you can be spooky!”

“I don’t do spooky anything, hyung. You know that.”

“Okay, well… then do sexy,” Jun replies with a smirk. Mingyu feels his cheeks heat up quickly but he does his best to keep a straight expression.

“Maybe that’s what I was planning on,” he tells the other pointedly. It’s all faux confidence though because all of Mingyu’s costumes ideas had been cute or funny. He didn’t know where to begin with sexy costumes.

“I look forward to it then! Maybe a sexy costume will finally give you the confidence to talk to Mingh--”

Mingyu is shoving the plastic bag into Jun’s face before the other boy can finish his sentence. He knows where his hyung is going; he and Wonwoo have been grilling him over his silly crush for about a year now.

Thankfully, Jun shuts up and simply grins, obnoxiously waving goodbye before he scoops up the bag and bounces out of the store.

When Mingyu hears the bell on the top of the door jingle, he quickly grabs his phone and pulls up Naver, typing as quickly as his pudgy fingers will go:

SEXY HALLOWEEN COSTUME IDEAS

---

“Boo!”

Mingyu’s entire body convulses, limbs flailing and knocking over his large iced Americano.

Directly onto all of his class notes.

“Hyung!” he wails, frantically trying to dab up the spilled drink to save the hours of work he’s been slaving over. He can hear Wonwoo cackling behind him and he spares a moment to glare at the older boy.

“God, it’s hilarious every time,” Wonwoo manages to get out between wheezes, wiping at the tears that very well could be real considering how hard he was laughing.

Wonwoo is kind enough to eventually help clean up the mess, pointlessly shaking out Mingyu’s textbook that is now filled with pages very much stained a shade of coffee brown.

Once the mess is taken care of, Mingyu sulks at the sight of his now empty cup. He’s got a menacingly, looming amount of cramming to do and now he has nothing to caffeinate himself.

“So…” Wonwoo drawls out, evidently unaware of the crisis Mingyu is internally facing. “Thought of a costume yet?”

Mingyu tilts his head to look at the other, jaw slack. Wonwoo simply blinks back at him through his glasses, stone-faced as ever.

“Hyung, how can you be worrying about my costume when midterms start in two days?!”

Wonwoo rolls his eyes. “How many times have I told you that cramming isn’t effective? You’re wasting your time. If you don’t know the material by now, you won’t remember it anyway.”

“That’s not true! Last year I--” Wonwoo’s hand is suddenly pressed to his mouth.

“Mingyu. Costume.”

“No! Okay? I haven’t thought of one yet!”

“Tch,” Wonwoo tsks, adjusting his glasses for no reason because he moves them up and then back into the same position. “Sexy is so easy, you should have a plethora of ideas.”

“How on Earth is sexy easy? I never do sexy!” Mingyu gripes, pressing his pencil a bit too hard against his wet notebook pages, the tip shredding through the damp paper.

“There are so many options. Sexy nurse, sexy devil, sexy cowboy,” he rattles off with his fingers. The ease with which he names them causes Mingyu to grind his teeth.

“So what then? I should be a sexy cowboy?”

“No. You can’t use those now, they’re my ideas.”

What? You’re not the first person to think of sexy nurse as a costume!”

“True,” Wonwoo nods. “But I thought of it before you, so I officially have staked my claim.”

“You’re going as a Scoops Ahoy employee!” Mingyu cries out, pointing at the elder dramatically with his coffee-tipped pencil.

“Yeah, but there’s always next year. Can never start planning too early.”

With that, Wonwoo smiles at him and claps him on the shoulder before sauntering off to the living room. Mingyu overhears him ask Jun about continuing their ‘Scream’ marathon from the other night.

Mingyu checks his phone and groans at the sight of October 19th, collapsing on his desk with a thud.

Another 12 days of this absolute torture.

---

If Mingyu had to describe what an ethereal experience was to someone, the closest thing he could think to compare it to would be stepping out of a classroom after his final exam for the season.

He’s so caught up in holding in tears of pure joy that he jolts when Jun jumps at his back and all but koala-clings onto him.

“Hey!”

Mingyu’s too happy to shove his hyung off, so he instead grins at him. “What’s up?”

Beside Jun, another figure appears and Mingyu doesn’t think much of it until the face comes into focus. And when he realizes who it is, he feels his smile begin to falter. Not for lack of joy but for the sudden wave of nervousness that crashes down on him.

Xu Minghao seems oblivious to his reaction because his eyes are focused on Jun, whose nose is obnoxiously close to Mingyu’s ear.

“Gege, you’ll be there later?” Mingyu can hear Minghao ask, even though his ears feel like they are stuffed full of cotton. His mouth feels that way too.

“Yeah! Wonwoo and I will be there. Mingyu, do you wanna come?”

“Huh?” Mingyu replies dumbly, eyes never leaving Minghao.

“Minghao has been helping out with a production of Rocky Horror,” Jun tells him, breath annoyingly warm on Mingyu’s cheek.

“Tonight’s the one and only performance,” Minghao chimes in, a small smile twitching at his lips.

Mingyu realizes he should respond and the silence stretches just into slightly awkward; but he’s too distracted forcing himself to stop staring so openly at Minghao’s face. His cute ears, his adorable nose, his lovely eyes... Minghao? In Rocky Horror? His brain might explode--

“If you have other plans, it’s fine,” Minghao adds on, his expression shifting into not clear disappointment but something that is more... guarded.

“No!” Mingyu all but yells, causing Jun to lean his head back and away to protect his hearing. “I’ll be there.”

He grins probably a bit too much because Minghao’s eyebrows furrow before he giggles, which only causes Mingyu’s smile to stretch even more, cheeks nearly aching.

“Okay, cool. See you guys later!”

With that Minghao sets off into a jog ahead of them and Mingyu is so content watching him that he stumbles when Jun yanks him into a playful headlock.

“Why don’t you just ask him out already?”

Heat bursts beneath Mingyu’s cheeks and he wiggles free from his hyung, shoving him aside.

“Shut up,” he mutters, only to get laughter in response.

Chapter Text

As promised, Mingyu arrives to the performance as the consistent (but also always welcomed) third wheel alongside Jun and Wonwoo.

The production is being done in the basement of one of the campus’s buildings: a cramped room with too low ceilings and horrible sound acoustics, but it somehow makes it that much more charming to Mingyu.

Not to mention he’s about to see Minghao, the guy he’s been stupidly crushing on for over a year, about to perform in perhaps one of the sexiest, coolest musicals of all time.

He didn’t even know Minghao had an interest in such things like live performance.

Sure, with the limited personal information he knew about the Chinese boy, Mingyu was certain he was into artsy things. And he also had a very distinct style and aura, one that could potentially coincide with the manner of Rocky Horror Picture Show… which is why Mingyu is slightly surprised by the response he gets when he asks Jun which character Minghao would be playing.

“Minghao isn’t in it,” Jun snorted, scooting down on the wooden bench in the second row, so Mingyu could slide in beside him. Jun’s fingers are woven with Wonwoo, on his other side. “He was in charge of costumes and helped with set design.”

“Oh,” Mingyu replies flatly, admittedly a bit disappointed. Somehow he had worked himself up to the idea of seeing Minghao dressed up as Dr. Frank-N-Furter. It was a ridiculous thought, now that he really let himself ponder over it.

Minghao was a fashion student and as far as Mingyu knows (which isn’t saying much, considering he’s only had maybe… two and a half conversations with the Chinese student), he doesn’t sing or perform for an audience like this.

“Maybe you can ask for his assistance coming up with something sexy for the party tomorrow,” Wonwoo leans over to say, eyebrows bouncing up and down.

Mingyu simply juts out his lip in a pout and scoffs, ignoring how his face begins to burn slightly.

Despite his initial disappointment, Mingyu gets swept up in the fun of the musical once it begins. Between following the story and humming along to the songs he recognizes, he pays special attention to the costumes, admiring the way they are constructed and how they flatter each of the performers. Minghao really is talented, or so his biased mind insists.

It’s somewhere around ‘Hot Patootie’ that the distinct smell of smoke tickles Mingyu’s nostrils, followed swiftly by the screeches of someone behind the makeshift backstage curtain. He jumps in his seat when the curtain is suddenly ripped off its rings and falls to the ground, clouds of smoke sweeping towards the crowd of confused onlookers.

Everyone in the audience seems a bit confused, wondering if this is a part of the performance. But the fire alarm is soon ringing out shrilly and everyone, cast and audience alike, is shuffled outside into the cool autumn night.

A few fire trucks roll up to the building, all blinking lights and sirens. Everyone outside is huddled together, murmuring questions of what happened. Mingyu overhears a crew member mention one of the lights backstage blew out and was too close to an evidently extremely flamable rack of costume. Things like that aren’t unheard of when it’s a low-budget production like this but Mingyu feels saddened at the thought. All Minghao’s hard work, up in flames.

Mingyu feels particularly bad for the cast, a lot of which are rather scantily clad for the windy and cool weather they’re now stuck out in. He muses that Minghao hadn’t considered the need for wearing them outside and as if he summoned his crush with his mind, his eyes land on the fashion student chatting to a fully uniformed firefighter.

A younger, extremely handsome firefighter that cracks a grin when Minghao laughs at something he said. Mingyu narrows his eyes in an attempt to make out the uniformed male’s face and it’s then that he recognizes him: Choi Seungcheol.

The guy had gone to school with them but Mingyu hadn’t been terribly close to him. He had no idea that he and Minghao seemed to have some close rapport.

Mingyu isn’t the jealous type, he really isn’t. But he feels like he’s… missing out on something.

“Now’s your chance to get his advice on a costume,” Jun teases him with a nudge of his elbow, suddenly in his ear.

Mingyu ignores him at first, watching the two from afar exchange words and pleasant expressions.

Then, slowly, Mingyu smiles himself and glances over at his two hyungs.

“It’s okay. I think I finally figured it out for myself.”

---

The next day, Mingyu is the first in the apartment to wake up. He can’t recall that ever happening before.

There’s a lot to do and he’s filled with a surprising amount of vigor because the party is tonight and he has to be sexy. But at least he finally has a costume idea that he thinks his roommates will approve of, because he definitely thinks it’s sexy enough.

He needs to gather some last minute items though, jotting down a list on a post-it because it makes him feel more productive and serious when he has a literal list of what he needs to get done. First on the list is visiting Seokmin and asking to borrow a pair of yellow suspenders (that Mingyu has definitely poked fun of in the past).

When he eventually arrives back home around noon, his roommates are finally awake, though both are still clad in pajamas, cuddled up on the couch with some dimly-lit woods scene on the television, no doubt from a horror film. But Mingyu is in such a good mood, he barely even flinches when his mind screams at him to squeeze his eyes shut and cover his ears.

“What’s in the bag?” Wonwoo asks, his voice partly muffled due to the fact that his face is half buried into Jun’s arm.

Mingyu jostles the duffel bag in his hand. “You’ll see later.”

Jun seems to perk up. “Is it your costume? Give us a sneak peek!”

“No,” Mingyu tells them simply, ignoring the whines and protests as he saunters into his room and closes the door.

He’s still got a few hours before they plan to head out and pregame, so he gives into the exhaustion that has been bubbling beneath his excitement and crashes for an afternoon nap.

---

“Mingyu! Just come out already! We’re going to see it soon anyway!”

Mingyu knows this but that doesn’t stop him from shrugging on his long puffy winter coat (which is much too warm to be wearing in this weather) and zipping it up.

While he loves attention and is pretty sure Jun and Wonwoo will praise him for his costume, he can’t help but feel a little bit shy. He knows he’s a good looking kid but somehow being ogled and openly addressed as “sexy” is enough to make him feel very flustered.

“Back away from the door,” he instructs his hyungs. He hears a bit of huffing but after a moment, they call out that they’ve moved back.

When he cracks the door open, suddenly a red arm jams in through the opening and Mingyu screams out, trying to shove the intruder back out.

“Push, Jun!” he hears Wonwoo shriek.

“I’m trying! My can won’t fit!” Jun replies with labored breath.

It’s true; the inner structure of his Coke can costume makes it impossible for him to slip in a slim opening he’d otherwise have no trouble getting through.

“I see the coat, Mingyu! Take it off!” Jun yells against the door, fingers clutching onto Mingyu’s puffy sleeve.

The ridiculous exchange continues for a good few minutes, Wonwoo giving up two minutes in and lounging on the couch as he watches his boyfriend trying to weasel his way inside Mingyu’s room.

At the end of it, the door is closed and Jun is sitting on the floor in the hallway, leaned against the wall. Mingyu is sweating up a storm in his room to the point where he has to take the jacket off or else he thinks he might combust.

Finally, he emerges from his room, stepping over Jun’s red, rotund body. Sure, the fight might have been pointless considering how quickly he gave in, but Mingyu simply likes knowing that he won the battle. And they were right after all, they’d eventually see him anyway.

“Damn,” he hears Wonwoo say from the couch. Mingyu feels so shy that he covers his face with his hands and whines.

“Mingyu! How could you hide this from us?” Jun asks. He feels the Chinese boy give one of his biceps a firm squeeze and Mingyu hunches over in attempts to hide.

“Stop it,” he mutters, though he can’t hide his toothy grin at the indirect compliments.

Jun snaps one of the suspenders against his skin and he yelps in response.

Wonwoo imitates a siren and Jun obnoxiously joins in. It’s so loud that Mingyu tells them to shut up and he finally feels the embarrassment begin to wear off, revealing his face and letting them inspect his costume properly.

Beneath the yellow suspenders is a skintight white t-shirt (extremely tight, too tight maybe) tucked into a pair of wide-legged mustard colored pants with reflective tape wrapped around the legs (he had put it together himself, he was quite proud of the result). There’s a cheap plastic firefighter helmet perched on his head (definitely too small but it was necessary for the complete outfit) and he had smudged some make-up on his face to resemble ashes and soot.

If he was being honest, he knew it was simple but he also knew he looked good. Like… sexy good.

“It’s sexy enough, right?” he asks his roommates, looking for confirmation.

“Definitely,” they reply in unison.

Mingyu grins brightly in response.

---

Shua’s party is as bustling as any other year. Mingyu is a social butterfly if there ever was one but even he only knows about half the people there. Everyone being dressed in costumes and make-up and masks doesn’t make it any easier to identify anyone either.

He sticks to his roommates for a while but once Jun gets caught up in trying to see all the places he can squeeze into (between the couch and the wall, beneath the coffee table, into the narrow coat closet…) and Wonwoo is glued to the couch watching his boyfriend in never ceasing amusement, Mingyu gets a bit bored.

While trying not to be that obvious, he’s definitely had his eyes peeled for Minghao from the moment he walked through the front door. He leans in close to make-up covered faces, curiously attempts to peer behind masks, even the horrifyingly gross ones. But between friendly exchanges with acquaintances and trying to play off all the wolf whistles and muscle squeezes he receives, he hasn’t spotted the boy anywhere.

Mingyu wanders into the kitchen to grab another beer, eyes constantly scanning. He feels something cool and metal loop around one of his suspenders and when he looks down, he smiles at the fake pirate hook that he knows is attached to Seokmin’s arm.

“I better get these back after tonight!” he all but yells at Mingyu, expression serious before he breaks into a signature grin.

“Trust me, I have zero use for yellow suspenders after tonight,” Mingyu laughs, popping off the cap to his drink and taking a swig. He tries to seem casual. “Hey, um. You haven’t seen Minghao around, have you?”

“Minghao?” Seokmin pops his red plastic cup into the curve of his hook and takes a drink, as if he’s been doing that kind of thing his entire life. “No. But none of the cast from the show last night is here.”

Mingyu worries maybe there was a rescheduled performance that he missed, but if anyone would know about it, it would be Jun. And his roommate hadn’t said anything.

Mingyu hums in response and is about to ask his friend about the fake bird perched on his shoulder, but he’s pulled away by Soonyoung into a drinking game in the other room, his hook-held cup sloshing and spilling spiked punch all over the tiled floor.

With a sigh, Mingyu grabs the paper towels and bends down to clean up the mess. It’s the least he can do for his Shua hyung after always hosting everyone like this, even after he graduated last year.

“Oh,” Mingyu suddenly hears from above.

He swivels on the balls of his feet and his eyes land upon a pair of worn black leather boots. His eyes travel up the tight, ripped denim to a black leather vest with leopard print lapels. And staring down at him, lips parted and eyes almost comically wide, is Minghao.

“Minghao,” Mingyu says dumbly, not really in a greeting but more in surprise. He tries to turn fully towards the other and in the process, loses his balance and falls back onto his butt.

He’s embarrassed but manages a sheepish grin; and he’s relieved to see Minghao smile a bit too, reaching out a hand to him.

Mingyu knows he weighs about four times the other’s weight but he’s not about to pass up an opportunity to grab onto his hand. It’s endearing how much the other really tries to pull him up.

And once Mingyu is standing again, Minghao’s eyes seem to go even wider, flickering over Mingyu’s torso and down to his shiny reflective pants. Mingyu squirms under the intense attention, fingers flexing when Minghao sadly lets go of his hand.

“I like your costume,” Minghao tells him and Mingyu swears his stomach does at least a dozen backflips before he’s able to murmur a ‘thank you’.

“I thought maybe you weren’t coming,” Mingyu says without thinking. Did it sound too silly to admit such a thing?

“We had to clean up from the fire last night.”

Mingyu’s mouth forms an ‘o’ and he nods in understanding; that made sense, he should’ve considered that before.

“Ah, right. I’m sorry about that. Did you lose all of your work…?”

Minghao shakes his head. “Just a few chorus members outfits. And my Halloween costume.”

Mingyu’s expression much read as confused because Minghao giggles and it really is the best sound Mingyu thinks he’s ever heard.

“This isn’t my initial costume, it’s Eddie’s from the performance.” A flash of ‘Hot Patootie!’ enters Mingyu’s mind and he remembers the brief musical number before all hell broke loose. Minghao looks a thousand times better than the guy who had been rocking the outfit last night. “I was stupid enough to work on my costume during rehearsals and it was backstage when the fire started.”

“Oh!” Mingyu can’t think of much else to say besides ‘well, you look really hot like this’ and he doesn’t have the gall to admit it right now. “I like this. It… suits you.”

It seems to be the right thing because unless the kitchen lighting is fooling him, Minghao’s ears start to flush in the most adorable way.

“Thanks.”

“There you are!” Jun’s voice suddenly rings out, his Coke can self bouncing into the kitchen, red sides knocking into the countertops.

“Sorry,” Wonwoo apologizes as he hurries in behind him, fiddling with his red sailor tie. “I tried to stop him to give you guys a minute alone.”

Minghao’s eyes narrow in confusion and Mingyu wants to launch himself out the living room window. His friends really are relentless.

“Do you like Mingyu’s costume?” Jun asks, looping an arm around Minghao’s shoulders. “Pretty sure he did it because he saw you flirting with Seungcheol hyung last night.”

“No!” Mingyu all but cries out.

Minghao simultaneously shrugs off Jun’s arm, glaring at him. “I wasn’t flirting with Seungcheol hyung!”

Wonwoo sighs somewhere in the background and Mingyu looks over at him helplessly.

“Well, either way. He looks sexy, doesn’t he?” Jun asks, eyebrows waggling. Wonwoo lets out a chuckle at that and Mingyu’s look of help turns into a scowl.

“Um,” Minghao stalls, shifting on his feet.

Forget jumping out the window, Mingyu wishes the floor would part and swallow him whole.

“Yeah.” Mingyu opens his eyes, not even realizing he had closed them. “He’s sexy,” Minghao says.

I’m sexy, Mingyu thinks. Those words actually left Minghao’s mouth and based on the shy expression on his face, he’s not yanking Mingyu’s chain. He knows he needs to reply before his brain short circuits, he can’t let the moment slip.

“You’re sexy too,” he rushes out.

Wonwoo groans and visibly rolls his eyes before he turns around and swiftly leaves the kitchen. Jun on the other hand is cackling, leaning all his weight onto a red-faced Minghao who keeps trying to shove him off.

“Jun!” Wonwoo calls out and the Coke can says nothing more (not that he can speak with the amount of laughter erupting out of him) as he stumbles back out to the living room.

With the couple gone, it’s once again just the two of them and Mingyu feels the rush of too many things. Embarrassment, excitement, shock, nervousness…

“Did you really dress like a firefighter because of Seungcheol hyung?”

“Um.”

Mingyu doesn’t know how to answer that. No, it wasn’t because of Seungcheol; it was because in some warped, exaggerated part of Mingyu’s mind, Minghao seemed smittened with a uniformed firefighter… that just happened to be their Seungcheol hyung.

“I think you look better in uniform,” Minghao tells him, his face much too even for someone saying something like that.

“You’re a much better Eddie.”

Mingyu internally cringes at his inability to say anything besides the same exact thing back to Minghao. But the other laughs and it’s all okay for the moment because Minghao is looking at him fondly and smiling and giggling and being way too endearing.

The two exchange small talk before wandering back out to the living room and Mingyu is a second away from asking him if he wants to dance when he feels hands pull both of his suspenders back super far and let go, snapping against his chest.

The sting shoots through his torso and lingers, Wonwoo’s cackling and Jun’s giggles echoing off somewhere in the crowded room. All he sees is the glare of a strobe light off Wonwoo’s glasses and the silver curve of the can lip.

He hears Minghao yell out at them in Chinese and while Mingyu doesn’t know what he’s saying, the tone and sudden hand on his shoulder is comforting and oh so nice.

Maybe, finally, he has someone on his side, to defend him against his ruthless roommates.

And that someone being Minghao makes all the horror movie torture, sexy costume berating, and general terrorizing by his friends definitely worth it.