[Fic] Forever - 1/3
Author: Coley Merrin
Pairings: Zhou Mi/Kyuhyun
Genre: AU, Romance, Angst
This is a follow up to my fic For Always
Summary: Celebrating the anniversary of their first date, a person from Zhou Mi's past threatens to drag them apart...
Chapter One ** Chapter Two
Zhou Mi was a grumpy sick person. Kyuhyun could commiserate, because he really was as well. Zhou Mi did tend to get a little whiny, though, when things got at their worst. In a year of being together, he’d not experienced it too many times. Twice, actually.
He’d nudged his sore and tired lover from the breakfast table to the couch, fluffing his pillows and giving him the most snuggly of blankets. A pitcher of juice on the table, crackers, and enough tissues to catch a waterfall. He had also armed Zhou Mi with the portal to all daytime delight, the television remote. And he’d left with promises that he would be back to check on him at lunchtime. Apparently he’d learned something from his mother. Zhou Mi had asked for a kiss and was roundly denied, having to settle for a peck on the top of his tousled head.
Zhou Mi had been soundly asleep when he had come back at lunchtime, the television droning softly. He had made soup and hot tea for them both, setting it carefully on the low table in the living room, and petting Zhou Mi’s hair to wake him. He had come to with a whimper, his throat dry and in agony as Kyuhyun passed him a cup of juice.
“Want to eat something?” he asked softly, and Zhou Mi nodded miserably, his face a little damp with fever. But he had eaten, drank his tea, taken his medicine.
He stayed longer than he meant to, as Zhou Mi laid his head in his lap and he gently pressed a cool cloth along Zhou Mi’s skin.
Nothing was sacred between them, as Kyuhyun had begun to get sick the very next day. But that feeling of caring for someone, of being cared for... When he was at the height of his misery and Zhou Mi had been there, they had been squished together on the couch purely out of choice. And it had been Zhou Mi wielding the cool cloth as Kyuhyun dozed against his chest. Zhou Mi was his, and he was Zhou Mi’s. They cared for each other.
“Love you, Kui Xian,” Zhou Mi had whispered.
“Love you too,” he whispered back, trying not to engage any vibrations in his throat at all.
But he knew Zhou Mi had heard him.
(The second illness had been a sniffly cold on Zhou Mi’s part, and not quite as physically sapping. He had escaped that one, and did not mind. Some things were better off that way.)
It was hard to miss the fact that the date was approaching. They kept one calendar in the apartment, a wall one full of nature scenes that Zhou Mi swore were calming and Kyuhyun just assumed that Zhou Mi liked. But birthdays and events on that calendar took on full affair, days liberally marked in whatever color marker was at hand. He had been there when the calendar year had rolled over, expecting that they would do whatever other normal people did when this year became that one, and was amused to see Zhou Mi hole himself up at the kitchen table with all his supplies.
Last year’s calendar, the calendar he’d gotten for Christmas at his request, markers, post it notes... He’d seen the things people used in scrap booking, had sold some of them in the bookstore, and Zhou Mi’s setup was just a small scale step beneath it. It was the slightest bit adorable.
There wasn’t any glitter at least.
So when he flipped the calendar from a mountain scape to a sunny meadow, he’d have all but had to have been blind to miss the thick red circle, surrounded by a blue heart. Inside it, “K + Z First date,” written in English. He grinned as he worked out the days of the week in his head. The day fell on a Saturday this year, whereas their actual first date the year before had been on a Thursday.
“Hey Mi,” he called, hoping that would be enough to get his attention.
It took a few seconds, and the squeak of computer chair wheels on the floor, but Zhou Mi emerged. He looked a little absent, his hair mussed in the way it usually was when he was deep in thought, either writing or grading. There was really only one surefire way of getting him out of Scholar Mode.
Which was how he got to realize Zhou Mi tasted like the green tea he had disappeared with, kissing generously until he felt Zhou Mi’s hands rise to settle at his waist.
Zhou Mi was just as focused as he was. If by focused, one could mean obsessed. It was one of the things that he thought made them so compatible. Zhou Mi was dedicated to the work of his students, to the writing of the book he had started organizing information for even before they had begun dating. So there were the occasional evenings when Zhou Mi would chain himself to his desk, reading student papers and chewing on the ends of pens, while Kyuhyun sat a few feet away at his own computer, well within poking distance if he saw Zhou Mi nodding off with a pen in his mouth. They were the sound of their breathing together, close enough for a whisper to be heard, sharing a joke or anecdote, leaning on the back of the other’s chair, or pressing a kiss to the top of a head as they passed by. More than once a make out session in one of the chairs had required a change in scenery. Yes, very compatible.
“Did you need something, Kui Xian?” Zhou Mi asked, nudging Kyuhyun’s cheek with his nose now that he was finally back in the present.
You, Kyuhyun was tempted to say, but that really wasn’t why he’d called Zhou Mi out.
“Apparently something important happened last year that you saw fit to write in every color of the rainbow.”
Zhou Mi blinked at him, staring at the calendar. Kyuhyun had to bite his lip as the joyful smile lit Zhou Mi’s face.
“Our first date!” Zhou Mi exclaimed, almost crushing Kyuhyun’s hand.
“Has it really been almost a year?”
“I can’t believe... It hasn’t seemed that long.”
“Good thing I don’t come with an expiration date,” Kyuhyun said coyly.
Zhou Mi pinched him, just to see him squirm. “Yep, still fresh.”
Of course, since Zhou Mi was upright and focused on him... He guided Zhou Mi’s mouth to his.
Still fresh indeed.
It had taken a couple of months into their relationship before they had really discussed what had been going through their heads as they got together. Helping Hankyung and Siwon with the new baby, dealing with the aftermath of everything that had happened... Between Zhou Mi’s job and Kyuhyun needing to find and train replacement help in the bookstore, the time they stole for each other was precious. Just falling asleep on Zhou Mi’s shoulder was precious.
So when Zhou Mi kissed him in their apartment after one of the dates they had long stopped counting, Kyuhyun was surprised when Zhou Mi held him still.
“I was so nervous on our first date,” Zhou Mi confessed.
Kyuhyun stared at Zhou Mi with wide eyes, his sense of humor tingling.
“You... You came in like you were ready to kidnap me to the Himalayas, you were so confident. The compliments...”
“The compliments were because I couldn’t think of anything more intelligent to say. Not that you didn’t deserve the compliments!” Zhou Mi insisted. “But I could have leaped over that table and kissed you when you asked me about my book, because it was something to talk about. I had to change my clothes four times. The green shirt I wore, it was the first one I put on, and then I threw it to the side and... I ended up wearing it anyway.”
“Hankyung made me change my clothes,” Kyuhyun admitted. “I didn’t want to do anything different, so you didn’t get some sort of idea that it was important to me. But it was important... I was ready to bury myself if something went wrong.”
“I’d waited for that chance for so long... It was magnified by like a thousand. I wouldn’t have been nearly as nervous if you’d agreed the first time.” Zhou Mi moaned a little in recollection. “You were so much more important to me by then, this amazing, unattainable person, that if I screwed something up on what might’ve been my only chance...”
“I think, short of being a completely insensitive clod, you would’ve gotten another chance. If you’d dumped your food into my lap, we’d have figured out a way to laugh at it?”
“I was a little obsessed,” Zhou Mi said, sounding a bit embarrassed. “You were like... I was crazy for you.”
“Crazy for you...” Kyuhyun smirked, pressing his lips to Zhou Mi’s. “That sounds about right.”
“If you had asked me in after smelling up my neck after, there would have been kissing,” Zhou Mi said, stroking Kyuhyun’s hand. “You pressed your mouth up against my neck and I just wanted to squeeze you up against the wall and... You were so tempting.”
“You had the restraint of a saint.” Kyuhyun’s lips quirked. “Did you mind...the way it happened?”
“You kissing me?” Zhou Mi asked, not understanding and waiting until Kyuhyun had confirmed that. A laugh shook Zhou Mi. “Oh, Kui Xian. You have no idea. I didn’t want to push you, and I wasn’t sure how fast to go, and suddenly you were just... I had to bury myself in the pillows while you were dressing so I didn’t howl out loud. You had just kissed me, and you were so sweet, so sexy about it. It was this amazing thing. I was so in love with you... I couldn’t contain it.”
“Yeah, you were a little smiley for a while after that.”
“When did you... When did you think you might be in love?”
“I knew before we kissed. I think... If I wasn’t there already, when Hankyung made up with Siwon, when you hugged me in the back room? If I wasn’t there yet, just feeling you hold me was enough that I realized I needed you. I needed you way before that. I mean, the fire, hearing you read to me... But it wasn’t something that was going to easily go away. It’s not like I had a bad life, I mean. I had my friends and the store... I was just so much happier with you.”
Zhou Mi sighed, pressing his lips to Kyuhyun’s cheek and looking a little thoughtful.
“I cried that morning, you know. After I kicked you out. Your words just kept replaying in my head... ‘You make me happy.’ And I... I cried all over your pillow. Did I really have a chance...I just couldn’t...”
Kyuhyun kissed him hard, all but squishing them both together in his haste to hold Zhou Mi.
“You shouldn’t tell me things like that,” he said, laughing a little shakily. “I was downstairs freaking out over how you might interpret it, or even figuring out what I meant by it, and you were sobbing upstairs? We’re quite a pair.”
Zhou Mi had laughed with him, and agreed.
They were quite a pair all these months later, he thought, turning to face Zhou Mi on their bed. It had long since been over a year since they first met, since the first time he had seen the smile he had come to love. In love before their first date, the event had not been so momentous in forming their relationship as much as cementing it. They had been “dating,” he realized, for quite a long time before. Stolen moments just for each other.
“We should get away for a few days in commemoration of our first date and have lots of sex,” Zhou Mi said, punctuating his sentences with kisses. “And food. And fun. And then we’ll come home and sleep for a week.”
“Sounds like a vacation I want to take,” Kyuhyun said, grinning.
“It’s not a vacation... It’s a celebration. A... Celebracation.”
“A celebracation, huh? Where do you want to go on our celebracation?”
“I don’t know, really... Where do you want to go?”
Kyuhyun propped himself up on an elbow. “You know what I haven’t done in a long time? Gone skiing.”
Zhou Mi was silent until Kyuhyun poked him.
“Skiing? Like with poles and wooden...things?”
Kyuhyun blinked. “Skis? I don’t think they’re made of wood any more? But yeah, I guess.”
“Oh. Okay. So let’s cross out sex and put traction instead.”
That wrangled a laugh from him. “Traction?”
“If you wanted to kill me,” Zhou Mi said primly, “you couldn’t choose a much better way.”
“Have you never been skiing before?”
“Once... I ran over my own hand. That takes coordination, you know.”
Kyuhyun fought the laugh, but failed. “I’ll teach you,” he promised. “We’ll go together, maybe just once or twice. Get a nice hotel room... Use it wisely. Make reservations for a nice dinner the night of the anniversary... Oh. You could bring your sexy cologne.” He dropped his voice to a husky whisper. “We can pretend I invited you inside that night and really celebrate.”
Zhou Mi traced Kyuhyun’s cheek with a finger. “You really want that.”
“Only if you do... Look, we could do anything...”
“No... I think we should. If I break something, I’ll just whine at you forever.”
“Oh, I don’t think so,” Kyuhyun said, looping his arm around Zhou Mi’s neck. “You’re not allowed to get hurt. These bones are mine.”
“I’ll trust you then,” Zhou Mi murmured, kissing him.
“Really?” he asked, trying to keep hope down.
“Really, Kui Xian.”
He cackled in glee against Zhou Mi’s neck and they rolled as Zhou Mi tickled him.
They had two weeks to plan it, getting the bookstore settled and working out their schedules. Zhou Mi’s students got one library day out of the deal to their delight, and it gave Kyuhyun time to assemble cold weather gear for them both. The only gloves they owned between them weren’t thick enough, and their clothes were possibly appropriate for sitting on a park bench for 15 minutes but not sitting in a snow bank.
Apparently he wasn’t supposed to laugh when he saw Zhou Mi in one of the fluffy coats they were trying on, but it gave him such an unbalanced look with his slender legs that he couldn’t help it.
“You look like a tree,” he gasped, starting to crack as Zhou Mi rested his hands huffily on his hips.
Zhou Mi had gotten him back for that later.
They drove, their suitcases and gear stowed in the trunk, Zhou Mi curled in the passenger seat and manning the radio. Kyuhyun had gotten his hand slapped the few times he’d tried to reach over and toggle.
“Who’s driving?” he complained.
“Hands on the wheel.”
He rolled his eyes, but the next song was better and they belted it out in unison, three minutes of their trip to the unknown.
“So the room is nice,” Kyuhyun ventured as they rode down the elevator.
There was a big bed, just one of them, and after the door had closed behind the bellman, it had been all he could do to drag Zhou Mi out of the door to get some food. The bed had been tempting, and he’d seen that reflected in Zhou Mi’s eyes when he had tugged him upright after they had tested the edge of the mattress for bounce.
He was hungry. And his stomach was saying something different than the bed could provide. And added to that, if they could get a corner table, feed each other and build the anticipation knowing their room was right upstairs...
Besides, they had all weekend.
Zhou Mi’s hand was light on his back as they moved through the hotel lobby. Not so much possessive as it was hurrying... He sent an amused grin at Zhou Mi, and got an innocent look in return. Innocent, his...
“Zhou Mi?” They paused at the soft male voice, startled to hear one of their names. “Zhou Mi honey, is that you? It is!”
The man seemed to come out of nowhere, Kyuhyun catching a glimpse of big dark eyes and a flurry of floppy brown hair. Also, octopus arms that knocked Zhou Mi’s arm from Kyuhyun as they wrapped tightly around Zhou Mi’s body. Zhou Mi stood like a wooden pole, not moving, not even breathing as far as Kyuhyun could tell, and staring helplessly down at the shorter man wrapped around him.
Kyuhyun felt his lips compress at the sight. And “honey”? What the hell was that?