Pairing: MiMin (Zhou Mi/Sungmin)
Genre(s): romance, fluff, humor
Word Count: 2,607
Summary: Sungmin's worries about joining Super Junior M never involved falling for one tall and skinny band mate...
Sungmin had had mixed feelings about joining Super Junior M. It helped that Eunhyuk was in the same boat as he was, but it was still nerve-wracking.
It wasn't that he didn't want the opportunity to perform for their Chinese fans. It wasn't that he resented the extra work. It wasn't even that he didn't know very much Chinese...at all. It was the idea of going into a group that already existed without knowing quite how welcome he was. He suddenly had a lot more respect for Kyuhyun for entering into Super Junior after they'd already debuted.
Of course being in a group with Ryeowook, Kyuhyun, Donghae, and Siwon wouldn't be anything new. But the subgroup had bonded together as a separate unit without him, so his and Eunhyuk's sudden addition would no doubt change the dynamic of the current line-up a bit.
He was close with Henry already, naturally having taken the younger boy under his wing when the latter had first joined SM. Though he hadn't actually officially been part of the same group with him up until then.
And then there was Zhou Mi.
He was friendly with him, certainly. It would have been difficult to have been any but considering the other's sunny personality. But he would probably not have classified them as close friends by any means.
What would working closely with him bring?
He doubted that Zhou Mi would be any but encouraging and genial. But still. It was an unknown and Sungmin didn't like unknowns.
Unsurprisingly, Sungmin's predictions had been pretty much true. It took a week or so to settle in and for everyone to feel as though the configuration of members was normal. Working with his current group members was more or less the same, it was nice to be able to be in the same group as Henry for once, and Zhou Mi was welcoming and positive.
After two weeks of rehearsing with Super Junior M, Sungmin wasn't uneasy anymore. Rather, he began to get excited about their new song and the idea of getting to promote it. Though his menial Chinese was still a source of some anxiety, he and Eunhyuk were being given a crash course by tutors hired by SM as well as the other members.
Everything went as smoothly as could be expected until Sungmin found himself watching Zhou Mi. A lot.
I'm not used to working with him in this setting, Sungmin told himself. It was just different to look over and see Zhou Mi dancing in front of him or singing beside him. It was new. That was all it was.
Except that even when the newness wore off, he still caught himself staring- watching the other smile over dinner, watching the way the tendons in his throat strained while he sang a high note, watching his long legs as he danced. He couldn't stop. He just couldn't tear his eyes away. And he was having a harder and harder job making up excuses for himself- excuses that got weaker and weaker everyday. Currently, he was on Zhou Mi is a very striking individual, so it's normal to stare. But who was he fooling. Not himself, that was for certain. Though telling himself those lies was easier than admitting what was becoming painfully obvious: he had a crush on Zhou Mi.
“What's wrong with you?” Kyuhyun asked, coming into the kitchen of their dorm in China to grab a bottle of water.
Sungmin was at the kitchen table, staring at the wall across the room and trying to figure out what, exactly, he could do about his inappropriate feelings.
“Nothing,” Sungmin said, shaking his head and trying for a smile.
Kyuhyun looked at him like he was insulted that Sungmin had even tried to lie to him.
“It's not a big deal,” Sungmin assured him, making to get up from the table.
“Hyung,” Kyuhyun said patiently, “You have been acting weird ever since we got here. What's wrong? Do you not feel comfortable as a member of the sub-group?” Kyuhyun actually looked concerned, rather than just mocking, so Sungmin knew that he had to respond.
He sighed and relaxed back into his chair as Kyuhyun sat down opposite him.
“I was worried about being uncomfortable at first,” he admitted, “But it didn't take long to settle in.”
“So what's bothering you?”
Sungmin let out a breath.
“I should probably just get over it on my own,” he told Kyuhyun honestly, “It might get awkward if I tell you.”
“Why? Are you madly in love with me?” Kyuhyun teased, puffing up his chest.
Sungmin rolled his eyes.
“Obviously not,” he laughed, “But...”
“You're in love with someone?” Kyuhyun guessed, serious again.
“Not in love,” Sungmin corrected, “It's just a crush.”
“Who is it?” Kyuhyun pressed, leaning forward.
Sungmin bit his lip, glancing behind him to be sure that no one was nearby before leaned forward as well.
“Zhou Mi,” he whispered timidly, almost too quiet to be audible, but he was sure that Kyuhyun heard him because his mouth dropped open. Sungmin flushed, sitting back and crossing his arms over his chest defensively.
“Seriously?” Kyuhyun asked.
“I wouldn't joke about that!” Sungmin hissed, offended. Kyuhyun held his hands up.
“You're right. I'm sorry. I just...Zhou Mi?”
Sungmin nodded glumly.
“Well, it's not that big of a deal...” Kyuhyun tried.
“You should have seen your face just now!” Sungmin accused.
“I was just shocked,” Kyuhyun defended, “But really, it's not a huge deal. It's natural to develop feelings for someone that you work closely with.”
Sungmin nodded, relenting.
“But I'm surprised you didn't get a crush on me first. I mean come on,” he teased, gesturing at himself as if to demonstrate how easy it would be to fall for him.
Sungmin laughed, miming slapping the younger man.
“Shut up with that already!”
“Just see if it fades after a while,” Kyuhyun told him, “Crushes often do.”
“Alright,” Sungmin agreed, “Thanks, Kyu.”
Kyuhyun saluted before making his way back to his waiting laptop, leaving Sungmin to ponder his words- at least slightly relieved to have told someone.
Sungmin thought that Kyuhyun's advice was good- just wait it out. And it would have worked perfectly well had his feelings begun to diminish instead of increase with each day that he was in the presence of Zhou Mi.
He obviously wasn't getting any better at dealing with his feelings either as it seemed that everyone had noticed his strange mood. Siwon's eyebrows were constantly furrowed in concern when he looked at Sungmin and Ryeowook was continually tsking at him with concern, telling him to get more sleep or maybe eat more, or would he like some tea? Eunhyuk, Donghae, and Henry kept offering to watch his favorite movies with him while Kyuhyun just watched him with an increasingly worried gaze.
Even Zhou Mi seemed to smile at him more brightly than usual (a feat Sungmin once would have thought was impossible) and pay him more attention, offering to bring him back coffee from a great coffee shop or wondering if he needed help with his Mandarin.
Sungmin knew that it was a problem, but he didn't know what to do about it.
It was two weeks from his initial talk with Kyuhyun that the younger man cornered him again- this time when Sungmin was exiting the bathroom at two in the morning.
“Holy shit,” he gasped, hand over his heart as he opened the door to find Kyuhyun standing right there, staring at him, “Are you stalking me now?”
“I've been trying to find a time to talk to you,” Kyuhyun said seriously.
“So that's a yes?” Sungmin joked, a bit unnerved by the other's lack of sarcasm.
“Sungmin,” Kyuhyun started, ignoring his attempts at humor, “It's not fading, is it?”
“No,” Sungmin admitted, sighing and leaning against the wall outside the bathroom door.
“Everyone's noticed that something's bothering you.”
“I know,” he snapped, feeling bad for his harsh tone as soon as the words escaped his lips, “I know it's a problem. I just don't know what to do,” he explained more calmly.
“You should talk to him,” Kyuhyun said simply.
“What?” Sungmin exclaimed, an endless list of reasons why he couldn't, shouldn't do that forming in his head, ready to tumble out of his mouth.
“You can't go on like this,” Kyuhyun jumped in before he could protest further, “Everyone is worried and you're miserable.”
Sungmin deflated, his defensive stance melting into one of defeat.
“But don't worry too much. Because, even if Zhou Mi doesn't feel the same way, he's pretty much the nicest person...ever. He would be really understanding,” Kyuhyun assured him.
Sungmin could see his point- if he had to confess to someone, Zhou Mi was probably the best choice- but he still had his doubts.
“But...what if he's freaked out because...you know...I'm a guy...” Sungmin worried, his lower lip clamped down between his teeth.
Kyuhyun stared at him like he was a complete moron.
“Sungmin,” he said slowly like he was talking to someone who had just learned Korean in the past month, “Have you seen Zhou Mi's performance of Miss Chic? Have you seen the outfits he dresses his dog in? Have you ever met him?”
“Sungmin,” Kyuhyun let out a long-suffering sigh, “Zhou Mi likes men. How could you not know that?”
“Talk to him,” Kyuhyun interrupted, “Just be honest, okay?”
Sungmin nodded, accepting the out of character hug that Kyuhyun offered.
He had to talk to Zhou Mi. He had to.
Sungmin hadn't had much of a choice about when he talked to Zhou Mi. He was planning to wait a few days to think about what he was going to say, but the very next day, Kyuhyun had gone out “shopping” (like he ever shopped without being forced), knowing very well that Ryeowook, Henry, Donghae, Eunhyuk, and Siwon were going to be out at a filming all day. Leaving Sungmin and Zhou Mi in the dorm. Alone.
Sungmin wasn't sure whether he should thank Kyuhyun or wring his neck. He figured he had a couple of hours to decide.
But he also had to talk to Zhou Mi within those couple of hours. That was the more daunting task.
When he walked in the kitchen, Zhou Mi looked up from the newspaper he was reading at the table and gave him a cheerful smile.
“Good morning,” he greeted, “How are you feeling? Kyuhyun said that you were up pretty late last night.”
Sungmin bit back a snide remark about the younger man and forced out a smile instead.
“I'm feeling okay, thank you.”
Zhou Mi smiled back, though he seemed a bit unsure. Sungmin knew that he was acting like a freak, but how was he even supposed to bring something like his feelings up?
“Um...” Zhou Mi cleared his throat, “Kyuhyun said you wanted to talk to me about something?”
Sungmin nearly choked in surprise. Kyuhyun really hadn't given him a choice in the matter. He'd just have to deal with the meddling maknae later. But at least he didn't have to think of a smooth transition, like:
“Oh, I see you're drinking orange juice? Oranges seem like a happy fruit don't they? If oranges could smile, they'd probably have a really bright smile. Like you. I like your smile. Actually, I just like you, period. And not like a friend either. So...how about that economy, huh?”
“Look! A table! Speaking of which, I have been harboring secret feelings for you. I'd really like to kiss you. I hope that's cool?”
“Yeah...” he said, sitting down in the chair across from Zhou Mi rather ungracefully, “Um...I don't really know how to say this...”
Sungmin chanced a look up at Zhou Mi to see that the taller man was looking at him with that same concerned face that everyone had been looking at him with lately.
“I um...” Sungmin cleared him throat and then bit his lip, drumming his fingers against the polished surface of the tabletop, “Recently, I, uh...I've kind of developed feelings for you. Um...romantic feelings. But you don't need to worry; I won't bother you with them. They'll go away, or something. But Kyuhyun said I had to talk to you about it. So...so.”
He sucked in a lungful of air, too afraid to look up to see the other's reaction. Instead he focused on getting his hands to stay still, clasping them together in front of him on the table while taking deep, calming breaths. But his heart nearly jumped into his throat when a larger hand came out of nowhere and covered both of his hands. He couldn't even help that his widened eyes immediately went to the man across from him- the softly smiling man. Pity? Understanding? Amusement? He had no idea. But at least he wasn't frowning or gagging or something.
“Sungmin...I...I had no idea!” Zhou Mi said enthusiastically, squeezing Sungmin's still-clasped hands, “But why did you seem so sure that I'd reject you?”
Sungmin looked at him, puzzled.
“I...because...” he trailed off, unable to think of a concrete reason why, “I just...assumed.”
“I thought you must have figured out that I like you. I've never been very good at subtly,” he grinned sheepishly.
“You...you like me?” Sungmin gaped, his mind lagging too far behind to make any sense of what he was hearing.
Zhou Mi chuckled, his other arm reaching across the table as well to disentangle Sungmin's hands so that he could hold one in each of his hands.
“I thought it was pretty obvious,” Zhou Mi said, head cocking as he thought back over the past few weeks.
Sungmin thought back as well, suddenly realizing that Zhou Mi's acts of kindness weren't because he thought Sungmin was losing his mind like the rest of the group. They'd been because he liked him. That was something that Sungmin hadn't even considered.
“I'm sorry,” he apologized, embarrassed, “I guess I was too busy being worried about the fact that I had a crush on you to notice.”
Zhou Mi laughed good-naturedly, squeezing his hands tightly in his own.
“It's okay. I need to remember that not everyone thinks like I do,” he smiled, “So do you want to maybe go out some time? To a small restaurant or something where we won't get recognized?”
He was watching Sungmin, looking a little hopeful and a little unsure, and it made the shorter man want to hug him and maybe kiss him all over his face until he didn't have to doubt that Sungmin would want to go out with him.
“I would love to,” he grinned, looking from Zhou Mi's eyes to their hands and back again as his cheeks flushed in a last burst or shyness.
The returning smile he got from Zhou Mi was bright enough to light their apartment.
(“Ew,” Kyuhyun had said as soon as he'd walked in to find the two in a lip-lock in the front hallway, “Please do that somewhere else.”
“This is your fault,” Sungmin accused, holding Zhou Mi's hands where they were against his face.
“So unwanted public displays of affection is my reward for giving good advice? Super,” he grumbled, edging past them and, no doubt, heading for his computer.
Sungmin just giggled and stood on tiptoe to capture Zhou Mi's mouth again.)