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love so soft (so soft)

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Changbin throws a hissy fit over text the next morning about Jisung disappearing from the party without notice and getting him all worried, so much so that Jisung is collectively pressured by the group chat to go over to Changbin and Minho's apartment to atone for his sins. Pick up some milk on the way, Minho texts him separately. Jisung rolls his eyes so hard he actually earns a few concerned looks from people passing him on the street and takes a hard turn to head for the convenience store, only smiling a little bit when he passes his and Hyunjin's chairs from last night.

"Someone's in a good mood," Minho remarks as he opens the door, plucking the carton of milk out of Jisung's hand and disappearing into the kitchen.

"Good morning to you too," Jisung says, kicking the door shut with his heel.

Changbin appears from his bedroom, grumbling at Jisung. "Mistreat my apartment, why don't you. Like you mistreat me."

Jisung pulls two bags of the honey butter chips he knows Changbin likes out of his backpack and sets them on the kitchen table. "I'm sorry, hyung."

Changbin sighs and pushes at his shoulder to force him to sit down, but he takes the chips to store them away, which means he's accepted the apology. "Where did you even go?"

"I was tired so I went home."

"By yourself?"

Jisung picks at an imaginary loose thread on his sleeve. "Hyunjin came and picked me up," he tells the kitchen table.

"Who the fuck is Hyunjin," Changbin says at the same time as Minho whirls around from where he was already on his way to his room, clutching a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee in one hand. Very slowly, he raises both his eyebrows at Jisung. Jisung sighs. 

"Guys, it's not like that. He was close by, I texted him because I was bored at the party the same way I texted in the group chat."

Changbin furrows his brow. "So he was just hanging out in the area? Seems kinda sus."

"Oh my god. I don't know why he was there, I didn't wanna pry. Maybe he was leaving a friend's place or something."

"Uh huh. A friend ."

The implication of the statement doesn't escape him. In high school, Jisung was briefly convinced he was going to become a world star poker player, which led him to practice his actual poker face in the mirror every morning before going to school. Seungmin had called him a loser but Jisung secretly prides himself in his ability to keep a straight face when necessary. Which is totally what he's doing, keeping a straight face, at the thought of what Hyunjin might have been doing with a potential hookup. A real one, not a fake rumor one like Jisung.

"No slut-shaming in this house," Changbin says earnestly before turning to Jisung. He has that look on his face where the sincerity with which he is worried about Jisung is disarmingly clear. "Just make sure to not get hurt."

Jisung grits his teeth. He hates it when Changbin does that, it makes his chest ache. "I'm fine. This is an entirely hypothetical situation anyway."

"I kind of have to agree with Jisung," Minho chimes in from where he's eating his cereal standing in the hallway like some heathen. "I know this Hyunjin kid, he's a good egg. He wouldn't break Jisung's heart."

And after a pause: "Tell him I said that and I'll break your neck."

Changbin stares after him with a pinched expression while he tries and fails to connect the dots in his head. "Wait a minute, how does he know Hyunjin?"

"They both do dance," Jisung explains impatiently. "But speaking of, how the hell do you know Bang Chan? I saw him at the party last night and I was, like - "

He throws up his hands and widens his eyes at Changbin to convey the entire emotional range of his reaction to seeing one of his TAs cheer on his best bro as he was climbing various pieces of furniture. 

"Chan-hyung? Oh yeah, he was there. He was a music production double major with something else, like creative writing or something? He graduated last year so we never get to see him anymore, but he dropped by last night as a surprise."

Jisung stares at him, distantly annoyed at him for completely missing the point. "Dude. He's the TA that teaches the elective that causes me to only get a couple hours of sleep every Wednesday night. He's the reason I was so grumpy at the party in the first place!"

Changbin's mouth is stuck in an o-shape. "Ooooh."

"What."

"That's unfortunate."

"Why? Stop that, you look like a fish."

"Well, because he's a production genius, and I may have asked him to take a look at our track."

"You what? "

Changbin holds out his hands in defence. "I didn't know he was your instructor! And he's really good, like so good that he could totally help us with that part of the bridge we've been stuck on - "

Jisung slumps forward to rest his forehead against the table. "He's never gonna look at me or my essays the same way after he's heard my lyrics. Hyung, I still have four weeks of this seminar to get through!"

Changbin scoffs. "What are you talking about? Your lyrics are amazing."

"Not as good as yours," Jisung whines, pressing his forehead harder against the table top. It's probably not the cleanest, but this is all a bit much - there's Chan, the track, the gazillion points on his neverending to-do list for his classes...

"I hate this part of the semester," he says miserably, lifting his head. Changbin pats his hair consolingly and Jisung's phone goes off with the sound of a notification.

hyunjin (✿◠‿◠): [image attached] 

hyunjin (✿◠‿◠): good morning! i saw this and thought of you

The image is a picture of a squirrel on the arts quad, kind of blurry and shot against the light. It's not quite clear whether this is meant to be cute or to poke fun at Jisung, and he hates that he can feel his face go red regardless.

And Hyunjin. There is also Hyunjin.

Jisung drops his forehead back to the table and groans.

 

-

 

Embarrassingly enough, Jisung spends over half an hour on Saturday trying to subtly pick out an outfit for going to the movies with Hyunjin without alerting Seungmin to the fact.

Not that Seungmin would care all that much, he muses while staring at the (very small) selection of non-graphic shirts he owns, but better not to tell him if he doesn't want this to get back to the rest of his friends. Jeongin wouldn't let him live for days .

Besides, he wouldn't know what to say. That he's going on a date with a guy he likes? Except, it's not a date, it's a way to settle some score? And they're kind of friends now, anyway. Yeah, no.

"Wear the black shirt," Seungmin drones from his desk, not even taking off his headphones. Jisung curses under his breath. Seungmin is too perceptive, but he's also right, that black shirt does look good on him.

"Not a word of this to Jeongin," he says, pulling the shirt over his head. "Or Minho." He thinks of Changbin's worried face yesterday and grimaces. "Or Changbin."

Seungmin turns around in his swivel chair to look Jisung dead in the eye. "Am I allowed to tell Felix?"

Jisung is pretty sure he's taking the piss, but whatever. Felix is trustworthy because he sort of lives in his own head a lot of the time, and also because he's a sweetheart. "Fine. Yeah. If you want."

Seungmin nods and turns back around to whatever he's doing at his desk, not quite managing to hide his smile. 

Jisung is almost vibrating out of his skin when he arrives at the movie theater address Hyunjin texted him, in that annoying way that he only very recently realized is not what most other people mean when they say they're nervous. It kind of sucks, because he doesn't want to feel anxious around Hyunjin, not when he's so nice to him and when his smile looks like that. But as Jisung has come to understand about himself, this is not really something that he can control.

So he waits, stomach tied up in knots, for Hyunjin to show up.

And then Hyunjin does show up a couple of minutes later, hands stuffed in his pockets and long legs swiftly closing the distance between them, and Jisung forgets about the storm raging inside his head. 

"Since when is your hair black? "

Hyunjin comes to a stop in front of him, looking surprised at Jisung's words. Jisung's entire face goes red. 

"I mean, hello. Hi."

"Hey."

Hyunjin looks down like he's maybe hiding a smile and twists a strand of his hair around his fingers. "Does it look weird?"

Standing close like this, Jisung is acutely aware of their height difference, of how he wore his platform converse and Hyunjin is still noticeably taller than him. If they both took off their shoes, he could put his chin on Jisung's head if they hugged, probably. Like, if that was something they would do. He clears his throat.

"No, it looks nice, just really different. When did you dye it?"

"Last night. The blonde is pretty hard to maintain and I just, I don't know. I was feeling a change."

The black makes Hyunjin's face look softer, his angles less sharp. Jisung decides that he likes it. 

"It looks nice," he repeats, more firmly this time, grabbing onto Hyunjin's wrist before he can overthink it. "Now let's go inside, we have a movie to watch!"

He tries not to feel elated about the way Hyunjin lets himself be pulled inside, following Jisung's lead easily. He lets Jisung choose the flavour of the popcorn and only makes a little bit of a face when he goes with the absolutely ludicrous combination of chocolate and cheese. He laughs when Jisung cracks a dumb joke about the selection of movie posters lined along the walls of the theater, a high, tinkering thing that turns his eyes into crescent moons. Jisung did that, he made him look like that! He only stops feeling like he's floating an inch or two off the ground once they're settled next to each other in the dark theater.

Half an hour into the movie, he realizes precisely two things.

One, Hyunjin radiates warmth. He can feel his presence all along the side of his body, his breathing in the dark and his hand next to his in the popcorn bag. Their arms are touching and Jisung suddenly understands why people do this on dates.

Two, the movie is bad. Like, really bad.

He steals a glance at Hyunjin from out of the corner of his eye. His back is straight next to Jisung's ungraceful slouch, and his hand is stranded halfway to his mouth, holding the last of their popcorn while staring at the screen with wide eyes. Jisung snorts, only momentarily distracted by the way the lights from the big screen in front of them are bouncing off his skin.

The tension on screen culminates in an explosion of bad CGI. Hyunjin finally puts the popcorn into his mouth and meets Jisung's eyes. He looks vaguely pained, a sentiment Jisung agrees with. 

I'm sorry , Hyunjin mouths at him. Jisung drums his fingers on his thigh, the giddy feeling from earlier slowly creeping back into his chest. The popcorn is empty (he's checked, only the unpopped kernels are left). The movie is bad. Hyunjin is radiant. 

It's like his anxiety from earlier is offloading into the thrum of energy he feels now, one that makes him bolder than he usually is. Without wasting another look at the screen, Jisung laces his fingers through Hyunjin's and tugs him out of his seat.

"What was that for?" Hyunjin asks when they're back in the ticketing area, slightly out of breath from their ducked stealth-run out of the theater.

"Sorry," Jisung says, feeling not sorry at all. He plops down at one of the tables lining the area, pulling Hyunjin with him. There's no one there beside them, and the snack menu screens glow all around them. "That movie was just so bad ."

Hyunjin pulls a face. "It really was. Sorry for making you come with me."

"You said it was a raffle win, right? So it's not your fault, you didn't choose the movie."

"Yeah, no. I would have gone for something less…"

"Annoying? Cliché? Misogynistic?"

Hyunjin laughs a little. "Yes, sure. I like superhero movies though, so I feel like I can't really talk."

"Me either, I love Marvel movies, I can't even lie." Jisung shrugs, saying his next words with intent. They are technically on a date right now, but he still feels the need to clarify. They've never really had the chance to be direct. "I had a huge crush on Thor when I was younger, you know, the muscles, the hair, all that."

He lets out a tiny breath of relief when Hyunjin doesn't even blink. "I get that," he says pensively. "I worked at a movie theater when the last movie came out and it really brought in all the girls. And boys."

Jisung sits up. For some reason, it's never occurred to him that Hyunjin would do part-time jobs. "You used to work at a place like this?"

"Yeah. A while back."

"Why did you quit? It seems like such a cool place to work at - it smells good all the time, and you get to see movies for free, right?"

"That's a myth. We work shifts, there's no time to see movies in between."

Jisung deflates a little. "Aw."

"But it does smell good! Even if there's weirdos like you who order random combinations of popcorn flavours." He flicks a stray piece of popcorn at Jisung, left on the table by previous occupants. 

"Hey, there's a reason why they offer such a wide range. Did you know that they don't do that abroad? Apparently it's a Korean thing."

Hyunjin tugs a strand of hair behind his ear. He does this a lot, Jisung has noticed. Not that he's been actively looking or anything. "I've never been abroad before."

"Really? I used to live in Malaysia, have I told you that?"

"No," Hyunjin says, leaning forward. "What was it like?"

And Jisung finds himself talking about his home of two years, in a way that he doesn't really get to with his friends. About the food that he used to eat in the small restaurant across the street, about his friends at school. About the soundcloud links they used to send each other of underground artists making music in every language Jisung has ever encountered and more. About how he started writing his own lyrics, bit by bit, but didn't really think it was going anywhere until he was back in Korea for high school and met Changbin, who read the messy scribbles of Jisung's mind and said, hold up, I think we could really do something with this.

"That must have been nice," Hyunjin says after Jisung has stopped talking, suddenly feeling embarrassed about revealing so much about himself at once. But Hyunjin doesn't seem to notice. Instead he's looking at Jisung as if he's earnestly turning over each of his words in his head. "I mean having someone like your Changbin-hyung, to encourage you that you're good."

"What do you mean?"

Hyunjin shrugs. "I'm on the dance team, right? But that's it, that's all I do. I wanted to actually study dance when I graduated high school, go to an arts college and become a dancer. I didn't have anyone to tell me that I could do it though, that what I'm doing is something worthwhile. So, you know. I'm a business major now."

There's a certain resignation in Hyunjin's words. Jisung wants to ask if he's sad about the choices he made, but it's kind of clear that he is. It makes him swallow down his next question, about the reasons why he gave up on his dreams.

Instead, he asks: "What do you like about dance, then?"

Hyunjin is a lively speaker. He uses his hands and his face to talk, and his melancholy quickly dissipates as he talks about what he loves. Jisung thinks he could look at him for hours.

He doesn't, of course. Halfway through an animated retelling of the time he lost one of his shoes in the middle of a recital, Hyunjin complains that he got hungry looking at the snack menus, startling a laugh out of Jisung. They get slushies, Jisung red and Hyunjin blue, which Jisung pays for despite Hyunjin's protests.

They walk out of the movie theater, falling into easy steps with each other even though Hyunjin's legs are so much longer, their fingers intertwined. Hyunjin huffs at him around the straw stuck between his lips. "Okay, but I'm paying next time. I made you come here for a bad movie, so."

"Chill," Jisung tells him, bumping their shoulders together. One of his hands is cold (the slushie) and the other is warm (Hyunjin) and there's fireworks in his chest.

Next time , he thinks, smiling into the sweet cold flavour spreading everywhere in his mouth. 

 

-

 

Next time comes sooner than he thought. 

"Smile," he tells Seungmin, sticking his phone in his face without warning. Seungmin swats his hand away like it's an especially annoying fly, which, fair enough. But what else is there to do?

They're sitting on plastic chairs on campus a few steps off the main gate, the table in front of them stacked with two neat rows of flyers and a couple of clipboards and pens. The banner hanging from the table reads MELODICA - FREE COFFEE , because they're trying to promote both Seungmin's choir's winter concert and the survey he's conducting for a class project at the same time. Jisung personally thinks this approach is confusing as hell, but hey, he's only here because Seungmin's project partner is a shithead and left him to do all the hard work on his own. That too, is not working very well, judging from the way most students passing them barely spare them a glance on their way to the various buildings on campus. 

Jisung looks at Seungmin's grimace next to his own smiling face captured in his camera roll and grins.  Before Seungmin can realize what he's doing and stop him, he uploads the picture to his instagram story, captioning it with roomie activities 😱❄️🥶. He also adds a poll ( is it too mf cold for november, yes or no ) and pockets his phone, satisfied. Only 40 more minutes to go before Felix is showing up to trade places with him. 

Winter seems to have arrived overnight. The air feels crisp and sharp in Jisung's nose and lungs, numbing his fingers and the tip of his nose. This is in part due to the light jacket he's wearing over his hoodie, which would give Changbin an aneurysm with how little of the chilly breeze it keeps away from Jisung. Seungmin, of course, is wearing his padded winter coat, never one to take chances with the weather. After over an hour of sitting on his ass and twiddling his thumbs, Jisung is silently ready to admit that Seungmin's mindset is the better one.

"I can practically feel you shaking," Seungmin deadpans, his eyes following another group of students that just passed their little booth without taking note of them. Jisung forces himself to sit still, pursing his lips to keep in the whine he can feel building at the back of his throat. 

"I'm fine! It's not even that cold."

He's actually not quite sure he can feel his toes anymore, but no one needs to know that. Seungmin sighs, seeing right through him as always. "I guess you could go get us some coffee."

Jisung jumps to his feet. "Yes! Yeah, yep, great idea. Usual order?"

The defeated expression on Seungmin's face would be hilarious if Jisung didn't also feel a bit sorry for him. "Black, two sugars, no cream. Get one for Lix too while you're at it, he should be here soon."

"You got it!"

Seungmin waves him off and Jisung makes his way to the campus gate, jogging lightly to get some feeling back into his feet. Once he reaches the busy main street, there will be plenty of options to choose from - Jisung is a stoic defender of Paik's mostly because he's cheap as fuck, but Seungmin prefers Holly's. Everyone else he knows doesn't care enough to have a favourite coffee shop chain, even though he did have that argument with Minho once about where to get the best iced Americanos in the area.

He ends up at Starbucks, because he remembered that Felix likes pumpkin spice, so he might as well go somewhere that caters to all their tastes. Literally everyone's taste, apparently, because - well, because that's Hyunjin standing at the counter, order in hand. Locking eyes with Jisung.

"We gotta stop meeting like this," Jisung tries to joke. Hyunjin just looks confused.

"What?"

"I mean, hello. Fancy seeing you. Come here often?"

It's unfair, the way Hyunjin's face flits through several emotions that are clear as day (confusion, glee, embarrassment) and then settles on something Jisung can't quite read. His eyes are wide, which is cute, and his cheeks are dusted pink, which is even cuter, but his brows are also furrowed and his mouth is -

"No, actually. I don't," Hyunjin clears his throat. "I came to find you."

Jisung can only stare at him. "At Starbucks?"

"No! At your booth. I just stopped here first because I wanted coffee."

"You saw our booth?"

Hyunjin nods. "I saw your story on Jeongin's instagram when he was on his phone."

Jisung's order is ready, so he's momentarily distracted by making sure that everything - Seungmin's black coffee, Felix' pumpkin spice latte, his own Americano - is in place. Hyunjin follows him easily, watching him poke a straw in his own cup and dump two sugar packets into Seungmin's before registering what Hyunjin just said.

"Wait, Jeongin? My friend Yang Jeongin?"

Hyunjin takes a sip from his own coffee ( caramel frappuccino again, noted ) and nods again. "He's in the same class as one of my friends and we realized we actually went to the same high school. I ran into him earlier and I had some time to kill, so we hung out for a bit."

"Huh," Jisung says, turning to push his shoulder against the door without using his hands. "Well, I'm gonna be staying at the booth for a bit, I'm helping out my friend."

Hyunjin's arm shoots out to catch the door when it threatens to close into his face. "I don't mind. I could hang out with you there, if you want."

The air outside is fresh and less cold on Jisung's face now that he's had some time to warm up. An idea forms in his head.

"Wait, that's genius. If you're at the booth, more people will come and we can all leave faster. And you don't even have to do anything, except sitting there and looking pretty."

Hyunjin's smile falters a little, his face slipping into another one of those expressions that are hard to read. Jisung looks away and sincerely wishes he had been born with a working brain-to-mouth filter. 

"I mean, if you want," he adds on, shooting Hyunjin a worried glance over the three cups he's holding. 

"Sure, I can do that," he says, somewhat awkwardly. Jisung bites his lip to keep anything else from spilling out of his mouth. They walk the rest of the way to the booth in silence, Hyunjin with his hands in his coat pockets and Jisung staring at the curves of his ears, reddened from the cold. Pretty.

"I made you get coffee so you could warm up," Seungmin says upon their arrival at the booth, eyeing the ice cubes in Jisung's Americano. "This isn't really the weather for iced drinks."

"You're so ungrateful," Jisung replies easily, sliding Seungmin's cup over to him. A quick glance at the clipboards shows him that Seungmin has actually had some success in the time he was gone, several of the neat sheets of his survey filled out with writing.

"I got coffee and backup - this is Hyunjin."

Hyunjin smiles and gives a wave, which Seungmin regards unflinchingly. "Hello, I'm Seungmin," he says finally, accompanying his words with a curt bow. Hyunjin goes red in the face, which Jisung finds equal parts cute and hilarious.

"You don't have to be formal, we're the same age!" he rushes to clarify. "I know I kinda look older, but I was born only six months before Jisung."

Jisung grins, watching the exchange. It's funny to see Hyunjin so flustered for no reason. "Don't overthink it, he's just like this," he reassures him, tugging at his sleeve to get him to sit down next to him. 

"I am," Seungmin agrees easily, taking a sip from his coffee. "I was raised with manners, unlike this one."

"Hey," Jisung protests without real indignation. He can sense Hyunjin relax a little bit next to him and shoots Seungmin a look. It's not quite clear to Jisung whether he's connected the dots yet - that this is the person Jisung went on a non-date with, returning to their dorm with his tongue stained strawberry slushie red. From the looks of it, he hasn't, but it's always a bit hard to tell with Seungmin.

Right now, his focus seems to be elsewhere: he's bent over one of the clipboards, counting the rows of the contact table sheet with a pen, chewing on his lip. "I need at least twenty more participants for today," he says, shooting the flyers for the choir concert a mournful look. "And it would be cool if I could lose some of those as well."

"I can help with that," Hyunjin offers. "I know a lot of people who are interested in vocal performance so I could, like, circulate these. If you want."

Seungmin looks at him with wide eyes. "You'd do that? No offense, but you don't even know me."

Hyunjin's cheeks tinge pink again. Jisung watches him scuff the sole of his sneaker against the floor and tries to resist the urge to touch. "You're Jisung's friend, so."

Seungmin blinks at him, then looks over at Jisung, who's suddenly very interested in the ice cubes clinking against each other in his plastic cup. He can practically see the lightbulb appear over Seungmin's head.

"Well, in that case," he says, smiling at Hyunjin, "thank you so much. I really appreciate it."

Hyunjin smiles back happily and reaches out to grab some of the flyers and put them in his bag. Jisung watches him, chewing on the inside of his cheek. He's avoiding Seungmin's eyes, and there's nowhere else to look but Hyunjin. (Right.) The beanie he's wearing is a little too big for his head so he keeps adjusting it when it's riding up and the tips of his ears are still pink. Good god.

When he finally tears his eyes away, Seungmin's eyebrows have completely disappeared behind his bangs. Shut up , Jisung mouths at him, even though he didn't say anything. Thankfully, he's distracted by a couple with matching yellow sneakers coming up to their table. They're followed by a group of freshman girls, and then more and more people keep appearing. Maybe it's because of the time of day, maybe it's because Hyunjin keeps smiling at students walking by, but they're getting so busy that by the time Felix shows up, they don't even notice him. 

"What happened here? Did you even need my help?"

Jisung turns around and meets Felix's eyes, crinkled in amusement. "We did an hour ago," he says, pulling him into a half hug. "But then Hyunjin showed up."

Hyunjin turns his head at the mention of his name. "Hi! I'm Hyunjin."

Felix nods at him. "'Sup. My name's Felix." He grins when Hyunjin clearly stumbles over his name, looking confused. "I'm Australian."

The confusion on Hyunjin's face clears. "Ooh, that's cool! Did you always live here or did you come here for school?"

Felix launches into an explanation of how he came to Korea from Sydney when he was 17 while Hyunjin nods along. Jisung stares at the two of them, distantly remembering that his TA Chan is also from Australia while he takes in the sight in front of him. He hasn't actually thought about Hyunjin meeting his friends, and what that might mean. (Not that it does. Friends meet their friends' friends all the time.)

It surprisingly doesn't feel like a big deal either. Felix has an extremely agreeable personality and Seungmin likes anyone who's sincere. Hyunjin seems to have passed his test with flying colours.

With the four of them now here, they can relax a little. It's enough for one person to talk to the people approaching them, which is usually Seungmin. Hyunjin and Felix continue talking in low voices on the opposite side of Seungmin, which gives Jisung space to take a breath. He's not cold anymore despite the iced drink, and the ice cubes in his cup have melted down to clear little pebbles under the warmth of his palms. 

His phone dings with a new notification.

hyunjin (✿◠‿◠): hey

Jisung leans back and cranes his head to peer around Seungmin, who's still talking to someone about his survey. Felix is leaning onto the table with his eyes closed. Hyunjin looks up from his phone to smile directly at Jisung.

hyunjin (✿◠‿◠): how's it going over there?

hanji: why are you texting me im right here lol

hyunjin (✿◠‿◠): ur too far :/ don't wanna get up

hyunjin (✿◠‿◠): have u started on the lit essay for this week yet

hyunjin (✿◠‿◠): chan said this one is gonna be worth more since prof scrapped the final ㅠㅠ…

Jisung slumps forward. He has not, in fact, started on the essay for this week's seminar. He's been too busy with finishing assignments and helping Changbin tweak their vocal recordings, with the latter taking up a lot more of his mental space, if he's honest. He's had to make up for it by miserably grinding non-stop for the past couple of days - helping Seungmin today is really just an excuse to not be holed up in a library again. 

"Shit," he says, with feeling. He hears Hyunjin laugh. Seungmin kicks him under the table to reprimand him for the swearing without breaking eye contact with the person he's still talking to.

"I'm wounded," he tells Hyunjin after he's walked over to his side of the table and forced him to scoot over on his chair so he can sit down, too. "Seungmin can be so scary sometimes."

Hyunjin grins, his warmth bleeding through the side of Jisung's insufficient winter jacket. "He seems nice. Your friends are nice."

Jisung pouts at him, mostly because he's in the mood to be obnoxious. "To you, maybe, because they've only just met you."

Hyunjin presses his knee against Jisung's, burrowing his chin in his scarf. It's blue, like the slushie he got with Jisung at the movie theater. "Are you free tomorrow? We could work on the essay together."

The words float from Hyunjin's lips and settle somewhere above Jisung's stomach. Just the two of us? , he doesn't ask. He knows the answer. He wishes he too had a scarf to hide his face in. "Yeah, sure. I'd like that."

Instead of a verbal reaction, Hyunjin slides down to fit his head on Jisung's shoulder. His butt is halfway off the seat and his leg is bracing most of his weight, mirroring Jisung. It shouldn't be comfortable, and yet…

They stay like this, reveling in each other's warmth, until Seungmin decides it's time to pack up.

 

-

 

The first snow of the year arrives on a Thursday. This is significant only because it catches Jisung off guard as he trudges out of his seminar class, eyes half closed. Thursdays are always rough but he has an entire semester's worth of exhaustion weighing on him, now that finals are getting closer. He doesn't even register the snow until Hyunjin enters his line of vision, face raised to the sky.

A big, fluffy snowflake lands on Hyunjin's nose. He laughs, a quiet, happy laugh that hits Jisung right in the chest. Something spreads, like the light of a fire, an unnamed feeling warming him from the inside out. 

If he weren't so tired, he could maybe figure it out. But Hyunjin's focus is on him now, brushing snow out of his hair, and he's content with that for now.

"Go take a nap, you're falling asleep standing," Hyunjin tells him. "I'll catch you later, okay?"

"Okay," Jisung says, feeling reassured.

The warmth of Hyunjin's attention follows him all the way into his dreams.