Minhyun sat on the floor of the empty training room, breathing heavily. If he was being entirely honest with himself, the last half-hour hadn't made any difference. He wasn't a good dancer, and practice wasn't going to fix his awkwardness. It would maybe mean that if he stuck to particular moves he could execute them reasonably cleanly, but freestyle dance was right up there on the list of things Minhyun couldn't do, along with facing his problems.Okay, so he may have thought he saw his ex in the hallway before he came to the training room, and he may have come here to run away from his problems, but he did legitimately need to work on dancing if he wanted to succeed in this thing — which brought him to problem number two: did he want to succeed? Did he want to be in yet another group, or did he just want to make sure people remembered they existed and get eliminated in one of the later stages of the competition? Minhyun wasn't a fan of introspection, and so he opted for the easy way out — ignoring his problems and focusing solely on one thing.pls excuse my bad start im out of practice
Minhyun looked up at Jinho, jokingly craning his neck as though the younger's face was so far up he had to search for it. "Only half an hour, worrywart." It didn't take a genius to guess why he'd asked — it wasn't as though Minhyun took much care of his body, and he had a tendency to overwork himself (though so did Jinho). He stood up, wrapping him in a hug, and smiled. Jinho always had the ability to cheer Minhyun up, just by existing. Even on really bad days, when nothing else could make him happy, just being in the same room as the younger could fix his mood.He wished, not for the first time, that being around Jinho could also make him forget certain things. Like the face he had glimpsed in the hallway earlier, either the same as or eerily similar to his ex. Minhyun hated that he couldn't get it out of his mind, because it ruined his mood, and he felt bad that these thoughts preoccupied him when he should be focusing on the present. "Have you eaten?" he asked, turning his attention from his thoughts and back to Jinho. "Because if you skipped breakfast again I'm dragging you to the cafeteria and force-feeding you."
"Oh shush, I was going to continue before you walked in." Minhyun shoved Jinho lightly. "If I fail the next mission because you interrupted me practicing, I'll make sure to mention that it was all your fault. And don't grin down at me, I'm not that short." For a (male) idol, he was short, but Minhyun refused to admit that.At Jinho's reply, Minhyun raises an eyebrow, but doesn't say anything. It's not uncommon for him to forget to eat and then forget that he hasn't eaten, but Minhyun can't always be around to make sure he's eaten. "Pay more attention to your health. How are you going to be able to sing properly on an empty stomach?"He rests his head on Jinho's shoulder. "It's nothing. Just..." He sighs, then continues. "I thought I saw him." His face twists into a grimace. "Dohyun. And I just– I can't face him. I can't even face the thought of him. And I really shouldn't be bothering you of all people with this." It spills out easily, once he starts, and but he catches himself before he burdens Jinho with all his problems. "Don't worry about it. I'll be fine."it's fine!
He pokes Jinho's arm as he pats him on the head. "Just because I'm short doesn't mean I can't kick you in the shins, Jinho-ah," Minhyun threatens, but it's an empty threat. He wouldn't ever actually do it, not to Jinho. "Besides, some of them are short."At his comment, Minhyun shoves him. "Rude. I care about you, and I know you forget when you have and haven't eaten. Anyway, there are cameras there too." There are cameras everywhere, he swears, and it's hard to tell if they're just security cameras or if they're there for other reasons. Minhyun has adopted a reasonably safe policy of only being affectionate when there's no cameras around. And preferably also no people, but that goes without saying. "Do those kinds of cameras have blind spots?" It wouldn't make a difference in a practice room, not with an entire mirrored wall. But in the other spaces, they might be safe.He shook his head. "He's not the sort of person to get guilty. I wouldn't be surprised if he expected me to still give a damn about him. He probably thinks it's funny to see me still falling to pieces because of him." Minhyun buried his face in Jinho's neck. "I'm not stronger than him. I'm scared." Scared that Dohyun would sweep in and ruin everything that Minhyun and Jinho had, scared that he would break down the walls that Minhyun had so carefully built over the last five years. Dohyun held more power over Minhyun than he cared to admit, and he could do absolutely nothing about it except avoid him and hope he didn't try anything.
Minhyun sighed. "It'd be nice if we got some privacy, though." One of the prices of being an idol, he supposed, but it didn't make it any less frustrating. Was it too much to ask for them to have even one place — aside from the bathroom, that didn't count — that they could kiss, or even just be sappy and romantic. Or just be themselves without worrying about it being televised. It could also be a good place to punch Dohyun's face in, he thought, but he didn't say that out loud.He smiles at Jinho's assertion, lifting his head slightly. He wants to bring up the way he says my friend, but he tells himself that he's worrying over nothing. It isn't as though either of them can let Dohyun find out that they're (Boyfriends? Dating? In a romantic relationship? He realises they haven't really discussed labels, but it's pretty much a given at this point that they're something) otherwise he could use that against them."Hey, something just occurred to me," he starts, trying to ignore the way his heart beats too fast and his brain tries to tell him that it's a bad idea — because what if he disagrees? Even though Minhyun knows Jinho well enough that he can confidently say that he wouldn't disagree, the doubt still sticks in the back of his mind — "We never officially figured out what we are. So... be my boyfriend?" He looks up at Jinho's face, trying to discern whether he's said something stupid or not. Without him realising it, the fear of being disagreed with and ruining what they have has taken over, the stupid worry that he hasn't quite learned to let go of since Dohyun.
Minhyun untangles himself from around Jinho and smiles. "I love you too, but that might have to wait until we find a place without cameras — that isn't the bathroom, because that's gross." He wonders if there is actually anywhere that has no cameras, and once again curses people for having no respect for idols' privacy. He knows they're not supposed to date on the show, especially not with other contestants, but just because the only things he can think of that people would do in camera-less spaces aren't things they're allowed to do, doesn't mean they can't have those spaces. Y'know, to relax and not have to worry about how they appear, for once.At Jinho's confirmation, Minhyun grins. "Now, shall we address pressing concern number two? While we're here, might as well see if we can't improve your dancing a bit. Don't worry, I won't judge you if you're bad." He pulls him into the centre of the room with no room for argument. Minhyun knows he needs to practice more, because it's still messy, and if he's going to suffer he might as well drag Jinho along as well. "Do you know any choreographed dances? Because I don't know about you, but I can't freestyle dance." He's reasonably competent — if he's just following steps. Minhyun has absolutely no idea how to come up with a dance, and he doesn't understand how people do it so easily.
Minhyun flushes bright red, slapping Jinho on the arm. "You're gross. That's gross. Don't say stuff like that." It's moments like these that he questions the wisdom of his decision to associate himself with Jinho. More specifically, his decision to ask him to be his boyfriend — because now he's dating this idiot."Yes I can." He grins mischievously. "It'll be fun. Just try." Minhyun knows full well that Jinho hates dancing because he's not good at it, but he has every intention of forcing him to join in. Upon hearing his answer, Minhyun huffs. "Seriously? Is that the only one you know?" It's not that there's anything wrong with knowing only that one, but Minhyun really doesn't like dancing to girl groups' songs. "Okay, you're off the hook for now. But you have to watch me and tell me when, where and how I stuff up, yeah?"He kind of regrets this, now, but he starts the music and begins again, doing his best to focus on the dance rather than Jinho. It feels weird, dancing on his own. Up until they were told they were auditioning for The Unit, he hadn't danced since 2013, and then he had to start again — but without another seven people around him to copy off. Hence why he's starting by learning other groups' dances, so when they have to do something that involves dancing he'll at least be decent at it. Minhyun knows that it might not make much of a difference, but at least he knows that he's done everything in his power to improve.
Minhyun nods. "Thanks," he says, repeating the part until he's sure it's right. "Sorry, this is probably really boring for you. Watching me practice and all. You don't have to stay." He feels guilty for not thinking about what Jinho might want and just assuming that he was okay with it. "I know this isn't really the kind of thing you like." He's spectacularly bad at reading people, and when he's confused everything he says sounds painfully awkward.Then he has an idea, and it's really not that funny, but his friend from primary school would approve. Minhyun grabs his phone, scrolling through his songs briefly before finding the one he was looking for. "I found your theme song." He turns up the volume and presses play. "Wait for the chorus."When it comes, he thinks of his old friend and knows that if they were here, they would very much approve. They'd also be insatiably smug, because they told him that 'I Don't Dance' was timelessly iconic and great for making your friends dance with you. Minhyun decides that he's very much grateful that they ended up going back to America, because Jinho is bad enough with his constant selfie-taking.
"Pay attention and you'll find out." Cue Jinho's moment of revelation. Minhyun rolls his eyes at the criticism of his logic. "Take away the context, then. And I'm not weird, you're the weird one. How many photos of yourself do you have on your phone, again?" It's a weak retort, and childish, but Jinho is insulting his genius idea, and Minhyun refuses to stand by idly and be criticised. (He's joking. It is kind of lame. It's just fun to pretend to be offended.)Minhyun could stay like this all day, just being around Jinho and talking. Though when it comes to Jinho, most things he can do all day without complaining. He supposes that this is what it's like to be in love — properly, not whatever he had with Dohyun (though it might have been like this, at the start, it didn't stay that way for very long). "Jinho, what would you say love feels like?" It's an abrupt change of topic, without any preamble or explanation, but he's curious.
“I don't appreciate the constant stream of notifications that I get when you send them to me,” Minhyun amends. He would never admit it to Jinho's face, but he actually doesn't hate it when he sends him photos — he's just a little jealous, because every photo he takes of himself looks awful. But the fans have gotten used to all the photos of him being taken by Jinho while he's not looking.He nods at Jinho's answer. It's deep, but he supposes he shouldn't have expected any less from Jinho. “That makes sense.” It does — he never felt safe with Dohyun, and he'd be reluctant to call it love. But what he and Jinho have is different. He feels at home, he feels like he has someone he can go to no matter what — and he supposes that's what safety feels like. Maybe it's sad that he's uncertain, or maybe it's a good thing that he's finally found someone he trusts. Whatever the case, he's happy right now and he'd really appreciate it if his brain could kindly stop overanalysing everything.
Minhyun hits him on the shoulder. "Hush, small child. It's not like my face isn't your home screen." (His own home screen is a plain gradient, because anything else makes the text on the screen hard to read. Unfortunately, romance comes second to Minhyun's already deteriorating eyesight.) (He's also in absolutely no position whatsoever to call Jinho a small child, given that he's significantly taller and only two years younger, but he does it anyway.)He thinks for a moment. "Love is... when you know someone's flaws back to front and inside out but you stick by them anyway, because you know — or think you know — that despite that, they're still worth caring about." It occurs to him, ever so briefly, that it's not just romantic love he's talking about. But it encompasses all the times he'd say he's felt love: with his family, with Dohyun (though it wasn't reciprocated, and he was deluding himself into thinking that Dohyun was a good person underneath), with Jinho. And with his cat, who leaves scratches all over his arms and refuses to let him make his bed when he stays at home, but is really just a big fluffball and loves sleeping on him.
Minhyun laughs. "Why should you be ashamed? Most people put aesthetic things as their backgrounds, and my face is pretty aesthetic." He knows he's pretty, he's not that lacking in self-esteem. He makes an attempt at shrugging off Jinho's arm, but it's half-hearted — he had it coming, for calling him a small child. Besides, it's nice to have Jinho close, even if he is belittling him (or should he say: belittleing).It's nice to know that Jinho agrees — that he's not saying something completely stupid, that it is somewhat an experience everyone can relate to. Minhyun wouldn't call himself insecure, as such, but it's always good to have your self-confidence boosted by people reassuring you that you're not barking up the wrong tree (or forest). He doesn't say anything. Minhyun's not good at conversation — he's made an attempt, and it worked for a bit, but eventually he always reaches that point where he doesn't know what to say. Doesn't know what to bring up next — if there is anything to bring up.
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