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Thank You, Stars

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Sungyeol has had many unpleasant mornings, but being rudely awakened by a fire alarm at three a.m. may arguably make this one the worst. Forced out of the warmth and comfort of his bed by the shrill beeping, he trudges to the door and pokes his head out to see many of his neighbors standing in the hallway looking equally tired and puzzled. Just then a man who seems to be some kind of fireman appears from the stairwell and starts directing everyone to exit the building. Sungyeol slides on a pair of slippers and follows the sleepy crowd out onto the street.

Outside there is a commotion of lights and sirens and people all crowded around the six-story building. There was a fire, Sungyeol had overheard, and although it was small the officials still wanted all of the tenants to evacuate until they decided it was safe. While he does appreciate the concern, he does not, however, appreciate having to stand out in the brisk night in a thin t-shirt. Sungyeol settles in with the crowd a few houses down the street, his arms folded against the crisp air and glances around at his equally-chilly neighbors. He turns to the right and finds himself standing particularly close to his next-door neighbor. His extremely cute next-door neighbor... who doesn't seem to be wearing a shirt... or pants.

His eyes roam over the shorter male's exposed body (out of concern for his health, he tells himself) for a long moment until he's sure he looks like a pervert. But he isn't alone in his ogling; many others, mainly middle-aged women, are also staring at the remarkably fit young man in the red polka dot boxers. And as far as Sungyeol can tell the guy doesn't seem embarrassed at all— just cold.

This would be the perfect time to finally talk to him, Sungyeol thinks. It is his best opportunity yet; even better than all those times they politely nodded at each other while getting their mail. Of course, it would help if he didn't get so incredibly nervous around the guy. He directs his gaze straight ahead and attempts to compose himself as he wracks his brain for something to say. He sees firefighters and police officers rushing in and out of the building several yards away and there is even a news van milling around; it is all rather chaotic for the normally calm neighborhood.

"I wonder when they'll let us back in," Sungyeol muses, mostly to himself.

"I hope it's soon," his neighbor replies, much to his surprise. "I'm totally not dressed for this weather."

"You're not dressed at all." The words are barely out of his mouth, but Sungyeol already regrets them; why can't he think before he speaks? He turns to apologize or take it back (or anything that will save him from further humiliation), but the delighted chuckle that bubbles out of the shorter boy's mouth makes his brain stumble to a halt.

"Hey, I was half-asleep when the fire alarm went off. Clothes didn't seem that important at the time." His auburn hair looks like an unruly mess, evidence of his previous slumber and his ridiculously adorable fuzzy pink bunny slippers make quite the statement. Offering a hand and a smile, he adds, "I'm Dongwoo, by the way."

"I'm Sungyeol," the tall boy replies, feeling heat rush to his cheeks. He still can't believe they are actually talking— and he hasn't embarrassed himself yet (at least not in the other's eyes). Dongwoo's hand is understandably cold in his own and Sungyeol can only stand his neighbor's intense gaze for so long before he has to look away. He finds himself staring once again at the scene in front of their apartment complex. With dozens of people still running around, it doesn't look like they will be going back in any time soon. Sungyeol glances back down at the man beside him, taking in his futile attempt at keeping warm by rubbing his arms, and he feels a pang of concern.

"We might be out here for a while; are you going to be alright?"

"I'll be fine, really. Don't worry about it," Dongwoo insists. He's smiling, but Sungyeol can see his teeth begin to chatter.

While it is undeniably cute, the weather is still much too cold for anyone to be standing outside practically naked. "I can give you my shirt, if you want," he offers purely out of the goodness of his heart. His shirt is quite thin and doing an extremely poor job of keeping him warm, but Dongwoo looks like he could use it more.

"Won't you be cold, though," the unclothed male points out, his smile affable. It is a very logical question and Sungyeol believes he has a very logical answer.

"I'm wearing pants."

His neighbor is laughing again and Sungyeol doesn't even pretend to be offended because almost everything that has come out of his mouth in the past few minutes has been utterly ridiculous. And it's not like he doesn't enjoy the sound. A biting breeze blows by at that moment that makes Dongwoo visibly shiver and Sungyeol is struck with a better idea. He asks him wait right there (not that he could go anywhere anyway) before dashing (politely) through the small crowd to the nearest fire truck.

The scene around the building is a lot less hectic now so the long-legged boy has no trouble finding someone to lend him a blanket. It's a drab gray color made of coarse fabric, but it's thick enough to protect against the chilly air. Wasting no time, he hurries back to his nearly-naked neighbor.

Dongwoo's eyes seem to brighten a bit, Sungyeol thinks, when he returns, though it might just be because of the object in his hands. Either way, he still blushes profusely as he presents the blanket to him. Sungyeol must admit the guy looks unbelievably adorable all snuggled up; he also finds himself more at ease now that his body is covered.
Although still in awe at the other's desire to talk to him, he somehow manages to maintain a conversation. He learns that Dongwoo is a year older, works at the local animal shelter, and he lives alone. Sungyeol tells him about himself as well, though he doesn't think life as a bank teller is very interesting.

Sometime later, as Sungyeol is recounting a rather anticlimactic robbery attempt from his early days on the job, a fireman announces that they can all go back inside. There are sighs of relief from many of the tenants, all of them more than ready to head back to their warm beds. Sungyeol is just as happy as everyone else to be getting out of the cold, but he was really enjoying his time with Dongwoo. He had been nervous thinking about talking to him, but it had turned out to be more fun than he had thought.

The pair follow the noisy crowd back into the building, a sudden silence falling between them. They are in front of their respective doors when Sungyeol finally finds his words. "I'll have to tell you the rest of that story sometime."

"How about you tell it to me over dinner?" Dongwoo suggests, a playful smirk on his lips. "Friday?"

Sungyeol can only nod in reply, rendered speechless in shock. Was this really happening? His extremely attractive next-door neighbor did not just ask him out.

Chuckling at the younger boy's expression, Dongwoo says, "It's a date, then."

Sungyeol finds it hard to sleep that night.