Kibum stands in front of the mirror and cuts a fairly straight line over his racing heartbeats. He dissects himself because he doesn’t know what’s wrong with him. He has no idea why it hurts so much.

"Hey," he says.

Minho shoots him a fleeting look, blinks once or twice in question, then turns back to the front of the class where the lecturer is drawing the solar system. It’s annoying, Kibum wants an answer; feels like he at least deserves an acknowledging smile. But when he doesn’t get one for another long minute, he’s only pissed off.

The anger keeps him awake, tossing and turning all night as he thinks of the way Minho’s thin fingers distractedly glide over his long neck. Or the way his lips are just a soft circle of the sweetest pink. Or the way he lets out a heavy sigh through his nose when he doesn’t understand something. The tinkle of a locket around his neck, hidden by his lousy dull-colored shirts. The stretch of pretty veins on his wrist as he urgently scribbles important notes. The marks of his bite on the rubber end of his pencils, which he chews on when distracted.

Kibum dreams of Minho outside his dreams. Because the sleepy insides are a lot more addictive and misleading and he wakes from them feeling utterly insane. Inside his dreams, there is the promise of Minho sitting down next to him by choice and not by roll call. There is surety that Minho will smile at Kibum’s shy touch, snicker at his murmured jokes.

The phone number was easy to procure. An unseen bribe to the guard outside their archives office lets him go in and xerox the file with everyone’s contact information. But now he types a message and erases it over and over because he knows. He already knows what the replies to each of his messages will be. He knows and understands that typing it out is pointless, that procuring the number was pointless, that setting his eyes on Minho was all fucking pointless.

Kibum pries open his chest, stares at it for a long time. As if looking under the hood of his car. But he finds nothing wrong in there. He sees no malfunctioning parts, everything is in order.

And yet when he sidles over to where Minho is seated on the couch, bobbing his head to the music while everyone else dances their feet sore… When Kibum closes the distance between them and holds out a glass for the other, he is declined.

"You don’t drink?" he sips from his own can.

"I’m scared of getting drugged," Minho answers quietly. Too quietly, under the heavy bass. Kibum doesn’t see any other way but backwards.

From the shadows he watches; guards and protects Minho. His skin is like milk, his eyes are like crystals. His actions are delicate, his reactions are quick. His hands move carefully, his feet maintain rigid angles. He is no mystery, but Kibum wants to solve him. Examine and research each look, every movement. Create a bracket with his own body to contain the investigation in himself; carry Minho inside the wrinkles of his eyelids.

"Maybe he has someone else," Kibum thinks as he sews himself shut. The mirror is splattered bloody with his doubts and his insecurities. "Maybe he’s looking somewhere else when I’m not looking at him. Maybe I am nothing to him."

Maybe he’s right.

But he vows to always keep a corner empty for that one possibility. That one chance when Minho will finally turn to him and see only him. When Minho will grin so wide and bright the sun will be blocked away for a few days. When Minho will tilt his head to a side and lean in to nudge their noses together whispering greetings that ring as loud as gongs in Kibum’s ears.

Maybe the problem isn’t in his heart, but his head.

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