isa (isaofdoom) wrote in crazyground,
isa
isaofdoom
crazyground

[tvxq!] skylight

TO: vhii1217

Title: Skylight
Fandom: TVXQ!
Prompt: Mantle
Character/Pairing(s): Yunho/Changmin
Summary: Changmin discovers that he has a stalker.
Beta: The lovely Flo! any mistakes are all mine, because i fiddled with it after she checked it. :D;;
Note: I wasn't sure what to do with your prompt so it may have gone off track, but I hope you enjoy it anyway! >_< Happy holidays! * v *



Changmin's home is located at the very edge of the university housing. The apartment complex is an old, run down building located in an almost unseemly area. The apartment in which he dwells is four floors up and cluttered with more books than it can comfortable fit, but Changmin is neat and orderly so it is never messy. This is why Changmin does not understand how the damned place seems constantly infested by winged pests. There aren’t any other signs, no ant trails or insect carcasses, but Changmin knows they are lurking around his house. There isn't any other explanation for the white specks and flashes of black he always catches in the corner of his eye.

It's a good thing it's winter break and Changmin honestly has nothing better to do but stomp around his room, canister of insecticide in hand. From his old, banged up couch, Kyuhyun watches him disinterestedly.

"If you keep this up," he says, lolling about for a better view of his best friend's strange cleaning attack, "you're going to fumigate yourself, you know that right?"

"The can says it's safe for humans," Changmin says distractedly, hefting another set of books out of the way so he can spray the cracks in his walls with pesticide. That's how they're sneaking in, right? Changmin's totally got it covered.

"But I bet they didn't take into account Shim-level OCD - ack!" Kyuhyun quickly raises a couch cushion to block the toxic cloud Changmin fires his way. "Okay, right, uhh, maybe it's snow," he suggests, "you know, what with it being winter at all."

Changmin looks out of the window at the grey sky and freezing rain, then he looks up at the ceiling, then he turns back to him, eyebrow raised sceptically.

"No," he says slowly, "No, I don't think so. Anyway, it's everywhere, I'm pretty sure it never snows indoors, winter or not."

"Ahhh, then perhaps," Kyuhyun pauses significantly, "you are out of your mind."

Changmin throws the can at his head.

*

The flashes occur outside his house now. On the bus to the library, there are streaks of white in the window's reflection that disappear when he turns to look closer, they appear again in the empty seat next to him like some phantom study partner, during lunch there are brief shadows cast on his table as he hunches over his food even though there isn't anyone near him. It's driving him a bit insane, and definitely paranoid. No one else notices anything, not even Kyuhyun, who'd stayed glued to his side until he left to visit his family for the holidays.

How disconcerting. Changmin, ever rational and not quite ready to admit being senile at such a young age, does the next logical thing. He gets his eyesight checked but the results don't reveal anything out of the ordinary (same old myopia). In a last ditch attempt at getting rid of those spots in his vision, Changmin exchanges his old nerdy (honestly nerdy, not hipster nerdy) frames for contact lenses. While the girl at the counter had certainly appreciated the change, and he gets more discounts now than ever before, nothing else changes. The flecks in his vision remain. In fact, they seem to multiply. Then they are accompanied by strange, noises without any conceivable source, and Changmin swears he'd heard laughter in his empty apartment that one time he'd woken up by getting tangled in his blanket and rolling right of the bed, flopping about like a fish on dry land.

Briefly, Changmin considers getting his head checked next. It's a pity scholarships do not cover bouts of hallucination-inducing hysteria.

Changmin sighs, entirely put out. Back to square one, to gas out whatever it is that's infesting his home. Squaring his shoulders, he wraps his scarf up to his chin and heads back to the convenience store. The nearest one is about a block away but it is guarded by a witch hell bent on mocking him and chewing up his dignity. For a moment he contemplates visiting another store but the snow picks up and buckets down on him. He sighs. Guess not.

Warm air rushes against his reddened face as he enters the store, and the doorbell chimes dully. Optimistically, Changmin hunches down and slinks towards the back shelves, making a beeline to the pesticides -

"SHIM CHANGMINNIE. Is that your tall ass sneaking around my shop?!" Well, fuck. Changmin sighs and detours to the counter. Heechul smirks at him. "Not even a hello for your favorite... what."

Changmin pauses, surprised. Normally it takes ages to get Heechul to shut up. He returns the baffled stare Heechul has him pinned under.

"What. What is that, what the hell do you think you're trying to be?" Heechul demands. Confused, Changmin arches an eyebrow at him but it only aggravates Heechul further. "Yes, that, your face."

Frowning, Changmin reaches out to pat his face. Although he forgets his lack of glasses and nearly pokes his own eyes out, nothing else stands out. His face doesn't seem to have changed.

Heechul cackles suddenly. Okay, I see it," he says to the space over Changmin's shoulder. Changmin turns around and there is a flash of white, but there is no one else is behind him, nor in the store for that matter. A shiver runs down his spine and his eyebrows knot together. As expected, Heechul ignores him entirely. "I see what you see in him, ya big creeper. Let hyung give you a hand!"

Before Changmin can question his sanity, Heechul disappears into the back room. When he returns, his arms are full with a big cardboard box, stained in places and barely holding together. Changmin eyes it with distaste and when Heechul catches him at it, he gets a smack upside his head.

"Yah, stop glaring your gift!!" Heechul snaps, "You’re not getting anything else from me so you better appreciate it!"

"Of course, hyung's generosity knows no bounds." Changmin sighs dramatically, and hefts the box up to clutch to his chest. "Ah, whatever shall I do, no gift is great enough for the mighty Kim Heechul." Here he pauses, chewing on his lower lip for just the right effect. "You sure you want to give it to me though...?"

It sounds sincere. Heechul preens. "Sure, take it, Little Shim. And don't worry about your present, just do your best, I already know nothing a peasant like you can get will satisfy me anyway!"

"Sweet, okay, holding you to that!" Changmin darts past the counter and towards the exit, just managing to edge Heechul's punch to the shoulder. "I hope my peasant gift will be enough for you, oh mighty Heenim!"

"I said to try your best!" Heechul screeches after him. "Your fucking best, hear me?!"

Changmin laughs as he flees.

When he's safe in his home once again, the first thing he does is to unpack the box. Its contents look just as disappointing. The contraption does indeed resemble a bug zapper with its tubes of glass suspended in a metal cage, but the damned thing is rusting beneath its peeling paint, and there’s a giant dent in one side of its shell. Changmin heaves it up to take a closer look, grunting at the weight. It’s got odd intricate symbols carved to the metal where large strips of army green has flecked off, and they appear to be either some sort of design or foreign language. Changmin isn’t sure but it only convinces him more that his hyung at the combini is a suspicious weirdo and completely no help whatsoever. There isn’t even a cable or a battery compartment on the damned thing, so it’s not like he knows how to start it up.

"You are useless," Changmin informs it regretfully. "You are useless and so is the idiot who gave you to me."

No amount of shaking and cursing gets the thing to – to do something so in the end Changmin gives up and leaves it on the mantle of his fake fireplace (little more than a wooden border sticking out of the brick wall, for ambience his landlord had tried to explain). It's a gigantic eyesore in the middle of his living room but his apartment is tiny so there isn’t anywhere else he can put it.

Nothing happens.

A week passes, and still nothing happens.

Somehow, Changmin isn’t surprised. There aren't even any dead bugs about when he checks every night, maybe a thin layer of dusting collecting. If he's absolutely honest, it seems as though the white flashes stop appearing when he's in the living room, but that's not useful when they increase everywhere else to compensate. Whenever he steps out of the house now, there is the strange impression of something leaning against his doorway waiting for him, and it’s honestly starting to freak Changmin the fuck out.

*

Suddenly there is a bang.

Changmin jerks awake at the loud sound, eyes snapping open just in time to catch a bright flare of white die down from the sliver between the door and his bedroom floor. The brightness makes him wince and he gropes around hurriedly for the light switch. Light floods the room and the muffled grumbling fills the air - Changmin freezes. He hasn't said a word.

Shit, fuck, a burglar? But what is there to steal from a poor college kid’s one room apartment? This time Changmin is the one who curses. Hurriedly he shoves the covers off and snatches up the heaviest object he can lay his hands on. Armed with a steel lamp, he flings open his bedroom door.

And gapes.

The figure floating in his living room turns around, eyes wide like he's that one that's fucking surprised. "Oh, hello there, can you see me?" asks the man, except Changmin can't be sure it's a man at all – sure, that's a muscular human form beneath his white mantle and long white slacks, and his face looks handsome even, but there are wings extending from the man's back and is that a fucking halo? Bloody hell. Changmin feels a headache coming on, and shuts his agape mouth with a click; wings, maybe they're strapped on to his back, halo magically glowing above his head, trick of light, floating an inch off the ground? Well, fuck. It's a bit too much to rationalise all at once, even for someone like Shim Changmin.

Oblivious to his internal strife, the angel – no, what, Changmin refuses to call him that, argh – the creature continues to speak. "Well, this is embarrassing, you're not supposed to appear like that, just what is this?" He turns – the back of his coat does not exist and wings are protruding out of his back, a smooth meld from of tanned skin – and eyes the bug zapper suspiciously. "You know, Heechul's not supposed to have something like this. Heck, something like this shouldn't even exist!"

Most of this flies over Changmin's head but one word snags. "Heechul," Changmin spits out. His situation suddenly makes a fraction more sense. "How, what, why – who the fuck are you?"

Yunho's expression shifts from surprised to sheepish. "Oh, that's right, I haven't introduced myself," he says, floating closer. He stops with a cringe when Changmin takes a conspicuous step back. "Don't worry, I won't hurt you, it's against my purpose!" He smiles, brighter than his halo. "My name is Yunho, and I am your guardian angel!"

There is a pause.

Changmin narrows his eyes. "No."

Taken aback, Yunho tilts his head left in confusion. "Sorry?" he asks, as though he's heard wrong.

"No," Changmin repeats with utter conviction. "No, what, no you are not."

"Yes, I am!"

No amount of otherworldly weirdness can weaken the potency of Shim Changmin's highly sceptical eye roll.

Put out, Yunho sighs and raises his hand. "Why won't you believe me, Changmin-ah?" He snaps his fingers and a teacup appears, perfectly balanced in the palm of his other hand. "Here, have a cup of tea! I know you like coffee more but tea is much more calming!"

As Changmin stares at the steam rising from the contents of the cup, these thoughts run through his head: where did that come from, where did you come from, why do you know my name, why do you know my hot beverage preferences, how did those wings fit through my doorway in the first place.

This comes out of Changmin's mouth instead: "Muaargh."

Yunho's eyebrows slant in concern. "I don't suppose tea is not quite enough for this," he muses. Completely unhelpfully, he vanquishes the tea and waves his hand at the sofa, which is suddenly clear of books. "Perhaps you'd like to sit down?

Changmin hunches down and buries his face into his hands. This, he can tell, will be more than just a long night.

*

The next morning, Changmin wakes up to his living room ceiling. There is a suspicious lack of ache in his shoulders that usually comes with cramming his long frame onto a too small couch, and a cup of coffee waits for him on the coffee table, precariously balanced on top of his textbooks. To the left, the lamp usually located on his bedside table beams down at it. Changmin narrows his eyes at them. His suspicion only intensifies when he realizes the coffee is exactly how he likes it, extra strong, extra sugar and only a hint of milk.

Cautiously, he takes a seat at the table, and takes another sip. Last night, he decides, was obviously a dream. School stress. That must be it. Plus all the annoying festive cheer Changmin doesn't care for combined with homesickness for the family that he's left behind in his dusty hometown. It's given him nightmares, that's all. When he looks up, he's facing the mantel and the bug zapper placed above it. With a growing sense of dread, he notices that white feathers are scattered around it, each giving off a faint glow.

He picks one up. It is the length of his hand, from the base of his palm to the tips of his fingers. He moves to inspect it more clearly under the lamp, and it glimmers faintly, then disappears. Changmin sucks in a breath, stunned, if he hadn't been looking right at it, he would have assumed -

A click echoes through Changmin's head. The world sharpens to clarity again.

"You!" he shouts at thin air. "You. You're the reason I thought I was going crazy!"

He waits. No reply.

With a frustrated yell, he swings the bug zapper in a giant arc. A pile of books topples over in the far corner, as though someone's run into them trying to get away. He catches glimpse of a tailcoat flapping for one split second, curling around the doorway. If he hadn't known better, Changmin would have suspected bugs or floaters in his vision, not goddamned angels shedding their feathers everywhere, what is his life.

"You fuck! Get out of my house!"

Nothing happens again - except for the hesitant speck of black (hair, Changmin realizes, he had black hair and white feathers) by the doorway. Changmin groans and sprawls across his couch, head buried in the cushions.

*

"Did you know," Kyuhyun enunciates slowly as though he's speaking to a child, "that when you scream vulgarities in public for no reason, it makes people think you're crazy?"

"I am not crazy," Changmin hisses, then proves himself wrong by shaking his fist like a mad person. "I have perfectly acceptable reasons. Like a stalker who won't fuck off! A mystical, invisible stalker! He broke into my house! He watches me while I sleep."

Kyuhyun makes a noise like he's desperately trying to swallow his laughter. "... What is this, Twilight?"

Ignoring the sarcasm dripping off Kyuhyun's tone, Changmin nods very seriously. "Except instead of sparkling, he drops these feathers everywhere that vanish halfway and makes me think I'm crazy, what the fuck, he claims to be my guardian angel but he's freaking me the fuck out, that stupid, perverted creeper - "

Heechul bursts into laughter and doesn't stop even though Changmin turns on him with an angry glare.

"Your face," Heechul sniggers. It's unnerving that he isn't talking to Kyuhyun or Changmin and the store is still empty except for them. "What'd you expect anyway? Creeping around him like that?? You're not exactly good at being subtle."

"Are you talking to him?" Changmin demands. "That Yunho? Why can you see him?!"

Heechul turns to him with this shit-eating grin spread across his face. "Because!" He smirks. "I am all powerful! I am ineffable."

"Are you trying to say you're God?" If Heechul weren't a hyung, Changmin suspects he would have throttled him by now. Instead, he groans helplessly. "Fuck, I knew it had something to do with you, you and that stupid bug zapper - it's not a bug zapper, is it? You have lousy taste in presents."

After that their conversation dissolves into childish bickering over Heechul's taste and lack thereof. Kyuhyun eyes the both of them and concludes that he is surrounded by delusional idiots.

His (yelling match!) conversation with Heechul is absolutely useless. Yunho is still a strange glimmer in at the periphery of his vision, following him down the street. He's given up shouting accusations in the middle of public locations but by the time he reaches the cafe, something snaps. Changmin's had enough.

"If you do not show yourself in the next three seconds -" Changmin ignores all the strange looks he's getting from the other customers. "- I am going to stab myself with this fork."

Nothing happens. The cafe titters around him.

Ahh. Well. Changmin clenched the fork in one hand and raises it high above his other, fingers splayed over the table. A man has to keep his word and all that; he grits his teeth and plunges down.

Silver prongs stop a hair's breath away from breaking skin and Yunho's hand is a vice around his wrist.

"You showed up, finally! What do you -" Changmin trails off at the fury splashed across Yunho's face.

"What do you think you're doing?" An angry jerk and Changmin drops the fork but Yunho does not let go of him. "Hurting yourself like that?!"

His grips tighten, the flesh around his fingers going red. Changmin winces and tries to pull away. "Ow, shit, you're hurting me now!" he hisses, "let go!"

Yunho lets out a sigh and releases him, sliding into an empty chair. His eyes glow briefly and then none of the other patrons are watching them anymore, going about their business as though nothing had happened. For a moment, neither says a word, regarding each other carefully. This public version of Yunho doesn't glow nor have wings or a halo, but his clothes are still all a pure, snow white, from the mantel around his shoulder to his shoes. Any other moment, Changmin would be mocking his sense of fashion. Now, however, he can only turn away with a world weary groan.

"Why couldn't you have been a burglar?" he demands, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I could have concussed you and turned you in and my life would have made sense by now."

Chuckling softly, Yunho offers him a cup of coffee which Changmin very carefully doesn't wonder where it came from, and takes gratefully. Then he remembers, "wait, don't give me coffee, get the hell out of my life."

"I can't do that." Yunho smiles. It's a perfectly angelic smile and Changmin kind of wants to hit him. "You're my charge, I can't just abandon you like that."

"... What." Changmin squints at him. Okay, angry demands later. Basics first. Changmin asks, "Who are you, and what do you want from me?"

"I already told you, I'm Yunho, your guardian angel," Yunho explains patiently. He pauses when his own coffee arrives, thanking the waiter with a polite smile and then depositing his complimentary cookie by Changmin's coffee cup. "I'm here to keep you safe, Changmin. To protect you."

"I don't need protecting! I've lived twenty one years without severely injuring myself, and I can probably keep it up pretty well, without you."

"When I say protect, I mean that I want to protect all of you, your soul as well. I want you to be happy, Changmin-ah."

There is something in Yunho's tone that makes Changmin cannot quite place. It can't be concern because they're strangers and it isn't really pity but Changmin takes it such anyway. Pity is easier to react to and Changmin is good at summoning indignation. He glowers. "I am happy! I was perfectly happy until - until..."

The gaze Yunho pins him under makes him fall silent. It's not the pity because there isn't any, but the matter of fact in his eyes that really pisses Changmin off. Cursing under his breath, he turns away sharply and drains his mug in one agitated pull. Calm, Yunho reaches over and presses his fingertips against the ceramic until hot brown liquid fills to the rim, steam rising in gentle curls.

"I can't force you to anything," Yunho tells him, choosing his words carefully, "but please, let me make you happy."

Changmin frowns. He empties his mug once again then pushes it over for another refill. Yunho complies with a smile.

*

A few days later, his home is festive. It'd started with a few strings of fairy lights over the windowsill which Changmin grumbled at but ignored easily enough, and then it had been garlands of seasonal red and green, and now his apartment looks like it came out of Christmas greeting card. His mantel is laden with useless Santa hats (there is even one a top the bug-zapper-that-isn't), and reindeer and little elves pose atop his stacks of textbooks. It's all very warm and cheesy and Changmin feels his right eye twitch.

"This," he declares with gusto, "does not make me happy."

A few droopy feathers appear around the magic bug zapper. Changmin pinches the bridge of his nose.

"Look, if you're going to hang around, at least be visible," he says, exasperated. "I feel dumb talking to an empty room."

There is a thoughtful pause and then the air splits and Yunho steps into view.

"Viola! Now you have someone to talk to!" Yunho beams smugly. In an amazing leap of logic, he adds, "Now you won't be lonely anymore!"

"Stop making that face, I was the one who told you to appear in the first place!"

Yunho nods approvingly. "Recognising your problems is the first step to recovery!"

"I'm not sick!" Contrary to his words, Changmin feels a headache coming on. "Okay, I give up. Can you just take the decorations down?"

"Yes, I can!" Yunho says brightly. "But no, I will not! They make the place more festive and you seem in dire need of some festive cheer!"

"No I don't. I'm Buddhist. I don't celebrate Christmas!"

"That's fine. Christmas isn't really Christ's birthday anyway." Yunho shrugs. "But this is the time of the year to be merry and grateful for everything and everyone you have!"

"I'm not really that type of person," Changmin deadpans.

"Maybe deep, deep deep deep, deep down inside, you are?" Yunho pointedly ignores Changmin's mutter of don't hold your breath. "Just think for a bit, what was your favorite part of Christmas?"

Ugh, fine. Changmin scrunches up his face thoughtfully. "... Christmas dinner with my family?" he guesses.

"Good! ... Hey Changmin, why aren't you home for the holidays?"

"You're my guardian angel, don't you already know?"

Yunho shakes his head. "I've only been guarding you for a few months," he admits.

Changmin thinks back. That's around the time his relationship with his parents had grown especially sour so it makes sense that he'd needed a guardian angel then. Well if Yunho doesn't know, Changmin certainly isn't going to tell him. "It's not a big deal," he says instead, "just some family and finance issues."

Yunho opens his mouth as if to protest, then he thinks better of it. "So." He bites down lightly on his lower lip. "Christmas dinner, huh?"

Now that's something Changmin can talk about. "Turkey, cranberry sauce, pumkin pie, ham!" He exclaims in a rush. And then because Christmas dinners had always been local at home, he adds enthusiastically, "kimchi fried rice! Seafood jiggae! Sangchu ssam!"

His excitement is infectious. Yunho grins widely. "Sounds delicious, he says, "come on, let's go get a head start!"

At last, Changmin beams, unabashed. "Yeah, sure. Think you can magic up a -"

Yunho holds up his hands. "Sorry, no magic. I can only do small miracles and the amount of food you devour? Huuuuge miracle." He pinwheels his hands in a wide arc to show exactly how much.

Changmin snorts at his dramatics. "Fine, what do you want to eat?"

"You choose, I've got no preference." He shrugs at Changmin's look of disbelief. "Really, I'm an angel, I don't actually need to eat so I don't often eat... what? Why are you looking at me like that?"

For a moment, Changmin stares at him with non-comprehension. Then his eyes widen and his jaw hangs slack. "You are a poor deprived creature," Changmin declares as he drags Yunho towards the door, "and tonight, we are going to eat everything."

*

Two weeks before Christmas, Changmin calls his father. Though he's been avoiding this since the beginning of holidays, there's no point putting it off any longer. The nearer Christmas it is, the more chances of Changmin ruining their celebrations. It's better this way, to disappoint them now and then let it fade off by Christmas. Right. With a sigh, Changmin dials the familiar number and presses his handphone to his cheek.

The moment he hears his father's voice, wary and distrustful, anger begins to simmer in the pit of his stomach. Right away he knows how this phone call will go, every phone call with his father goes, how disappointing, going to be a singer of all things, useless profession, useless son. He makes to put down his phone but Yunho catches his hand and forces it back against his ear. Then he flashes a small encouraging smile and takes Changmin's free hand in his. Changmin flushes as Yunho rubs calming circles into his palm, feeling the heat rise in his cheeks. His angel, however, doesn’t notice, intent on his fingers. Slowly, very slowly, frustration drains out of him.

"... Yeah, I'm listening." Changmin shifts his attention back to his father's voice, newly calm. "Dad, just, just let me explain, all right?'

And he does, fumbling at first then gaining momentum as his dreams spill out of him. Changmin tries his best to put them in words, his passion, the exhilaration that curls within him when he performs, his love of singing. It's the first time in a long while that he has admitted this to anyone, and it's the first time he's admitted this to his father. His father is a surprised as he is to hear this. "I am not going to give up my dreams," Changmin says, a little in awe of the passion he'd almost forgotten he had. A pause, and then his father sighs. It's resigned as always but this time it is followed by, "Changmin-ah, 'I only want you to be happy, you know that right?"

Changmin smiles, vibrant.

When he puts down the phone, it feels as though a weight's been displaced from his chest, and he can finally breathe easy again. Air rushes out of him in one relieved exhale as he sinks back down onto the couch. His arm presses against something warm and he turns - oh. He'd forgotten Yunho has been there the whole time. Sheepish, he ducks his head but it backfires because now he's staring at their entwined hands. Somewhere along the way he'd threaded their fingers together. Changmin relaxes his grip immediately; Yunho holds on even tighter.

"Nice going, Changmin!" His enthusiasm is loud. Changmin winces and sinks further in his seat. It can't be helped that this movement slides him closer to Yunho. "I didn't know you had such passion for singing."

And then Changmin is pulling away again. "You didn't? But you've been stalking me!" He ignores Yunho's protest, confusion pinching his eyebrows together. The realisation that his angel hadn't realised what was supposed to be an integral part of him is shocking. Changmin frowns and presses his lips together. Got to fix that, he decides, he hadn't come all this way just to lose sight of his goal.

"Well, there you have it, I left home to pursue a degree in music," Changmin says, suddenly embarrassed. "My parents didn't like it but I uhm, I want to sing? I know it's kind of farfetched but, you know, I thought maybe..."

Without warning, Yunho shifts towards him and pulls him into a suffocating hug. "Oh Changmin, I believe in you, of course I'd believe in your dreams as well."

"... Thanks."

It's warm and soft and okay, maybe they can stay like that a while longer.

*

The angel's ("Your angel," Kyuhyun cackles, entirely too like Heechul, until Changmin tries to strangle him with his own scarf) presence is a constant now. Although Changmin tries very hard to mind, he can't deny that Yunho's settled very unobtrusively, very comfortably into his life. He's settled into a human form as he accompanies Changmin, same handsome face but without the wings or the ethereal glowing.

His old routine: wake up, mope around playing wideo games, get smashed while listening to sad music/watching sad movies, sleep, inhaling any sort of food he comes across. On good days, he manages to out his pants on. In most days, he doesn't venture further than a ratty t-shirt and the boxers he slept in.

His routine now: wake up, have a magic breakfast, aim to reach the studios by noon, get dragged off the path to pursue whatever's caught Yunho's interest this time. Sometimes it's an interesting shop, or the buskers along the streets, the lake in the park that has frozen over. They do reach the studio eventually, because Changmin loves to sing as much as Yunho loves to listen. By the time they arrive, Yunho's hand tight around his, they are normally red faced from the cold, a healthy flush across their cheeks to the tips of their ears. It’s a lot different from how Changmin's used to spending his holidays.

"I am," Yunho announces when Changmin confesses this, "a healthy lifestyle choice!"

It's kind of worrying that Changmin can't really think of anything to rebuke that. Instead, he glares at the shorter man, looking for a distraction. With his feet on the ground, Yunho is actually a centimetre or two shorter than Changmin, and has cultivated a fondness for garish holiday patterns. That'll do, Changmin decides, why did he let him leave the apartment in such clothes anyway?

"I cannot take you seriously when you're wearing that. I can't even look at you!" Changmin declares. He squints to the left of Yunho's neon green sweater and its strange gold trimmings. "Take it off!"

The pout Yunho pulls and the flash of tummy revealed when he pulls the offending sweater over his head is quite distracting, and - and the flash of tummy never stops.

"Why aren't you wearing anything under that?!" With a wince, Changmin realises he sounds inappropriately scandalised. He groans and slaps a hand to his forehead, angling his fingers down so that they block his view and make his blatant staring less obvious.

"... I was supposed to?" Yunho tilts his head, puzzled. Then he brightens again. "But hey, now I can stop hiding my wings!"

Before Changmin can stop him, Yunho is lighting up, literally now. The pattern of wings begin to seep out of the skin of his back like ink, and then Yunho is unfurling them in the small space of the studio, wide and glorious. His feather are long and sleek, Changmin's seen them before individually but never like this, so clearly, a glimmer of white casting a soft glow unto Yunho's features. For a moment, all Changmin can do is gape, breath lost and eyes caught between Yunho's snow white wings and that bare expense of skin.

Then he coughs, awkward, and begins singing with more gusto than required for the sweet ballad he's practicing. Yunho laughs and reaches over to his ruffle his hair.

*

The studios close for Christmas eventually, two days before Christmas Eve, and won't open again until school starts in January. This leaves Changmin with nothing to do so he reverts back to square one: lounging about at home, doing absolutely nothing of use. Except mope. Despite Yunho's presence, no, because of Yunho presence and his strange ability to keep Changmin smiling, he mopes anyway. A lot of oddly happy, gleeful moping. Yunho makes his life very complicated.

Now Changmin has an angel staying with him. Now Changmin has an angel staying with him that he's inexplicably fallen in... like with and it is absolutely no fault of his. Yunho's an angel for god's sake, all perfect smiles and bright disposition. He's even going around the house with those beautiful wings of his out. Changmin hadn't stood a chance. The problem now is that Changmin can't tell if he has a shot, or if he's going to spend his Christmas not alone but still miserable as he'd once predicted, in that unsettling good food great company but company that will never reciprocate his feelings sort of way.

Normally, Changmin is surprisingly upfront about liking someone, the way he rarely lets himself be with any of those other pesky emotions, and he is more than capable of confessing with little fuss. With Yunho, however, his normal approach does not work. Are angels and humans even allowed to have non-platonic relationships? Can they? And would an angel like Yunho even be attracted to someone like Shim Changmin? There really isn't any way of telling. Yunho is affectionate with him now, all spontaneous hugs and waist grabs, but he'd been affectionate when they'd only just met too, when Changmin had been slapping his hands away with barely concealed irritation.

Changmin imagines the mix of holiday cheer and wistful despair that he will try to drown in eggnog. It's all very pathetic.

Against all odds, Christmas is going to be spent quietly at home, with home cooked food and movies lined up to last the entire day. That's it. Nothing over the top, maybe some of the movies are holiday feel-goods and Yunho's probably going to bully him into singing carols somewhere along the way but. That's it. They've bought all the ingredients so dinner will be made from scratch (by hand! Yunho enthuses. By magic! Changmin insists) but. That's it.

Changmin is absolutely baffled. Somewhere along the way, he'd braced himself for a ridiculous, frivolous Christmas celebration because he has an angel that is ridiculous and frivolous like that. He'd braced himself for bright lights and extravagant food at some posh venue he wouldn't be able to afford any other time of the year. He'd expected a very Christmas-y Christmas. The epitome of all Christmases. The picture perfect Christmas, for his picture perfect angel.

"Oh, Changmin," Yunho coos, ruffling his hair indulgently. "After all that's happened, how do you still miss the point of Christmas?"

Grumbling, Changmin swats his hand away and tangles their fingers together instead. "I have a guardian angel," Changmin stresses, waving Yunho's a lot of people have guardian angels, they just can't see them off. "My life is a fucking fairy tale right now. Where is my fairy tale Christmas?"

A pause. Yunho's smile wilts a bit and Changmin is struck suddenly that he is being an ass. He opens his mouth to apologise but Yunho beats him to it.

"I'm sorry, I didn't think you wanted one." Head dipped low and chewing on his bottom lip, Yunho spins soft strings of light between his fingers, gauging its potency. "If you want, I should be able to summon enough magic to bring you home."

"No!" That's not how he meant it at all; Changmin grimaces and puts his hand on Yunho's shoulder, rubbing through the thick fabric of his sweater. "I was just kidding, I do that a lot, right? It'd be weird to just show up at home anyway, my family would get suspicious."

"Are you sure?" Yunho asks doubtfully. "I'm sure you can still - "

"I'm sure!" Actually, Changmin's wondering why he's outright glaring at Yunho over this, but the man has no sense at all. "Why can't I want to stay here? We are staying here! Let's watch a movie! Right now."

Yunho's eyes widen with surprise, and then he laughs, satisfied. "Alright, let's!"

With his wings out, Yunho can't properly lean back against the couch, so he's pressed against Changmin's side, arm slung around his shoulder. Changmin tries very hard to fidget. This of course means that he fidgets even more. Yunho turns to him, bringing their faces very close together.

"… Changmin?" Yunho leans back for a better look and Changmin breathes a little easier. "Do you want to watch another movie or something?"

"No!"

"... Okay?" Yunho pokes at the knot between his brows, making Changmin squint to follow his finger. "You've been frowning a lot today, though. Are you sure you don't want to do anything else?"

"This is fine, really! Spending my Christmas with you makes me really happy - " whoops, too much, back up! Changmin flushes. "Moderately happy! Happy to an extent suitable of this situation! I'm not even that happy... stop look at me like that."

"Right!" Regardless, Yunho beams at him, in a way that has the corners of his eyes crinkling and his face is alight with joy.

Changmin makes this choking sound at the back of his throat and slumps over in defeat. When Yunho's frame begins to shake with laughter, Changmin presses his cheek against Yunho's shoulder, sulking. Without missing a beat, Yunho wraps his arms around Changmin's shoulder again, and Changmin is no more successful in his attempts not to fidget. Damn.

Halfway through the hero's dramatic love confession, Changmin's reached his limit. This is not how Shim Changmin does things, Shim Changmin is a manly man who bravely confesses his feelings! It's been hovering in his chest for ages, pushing against his throat, waiting to spill from his lips. Abruptly, he pushes off the sofa and onto his feet, dragging Yunho up with him.

"Eh? Changmin?"

They do not stop – Changmin doesn't stop and he has a vice grip around Yunho's wrist so he has no choice but to follow – until they're under Changmin's bedroom doorway. Above them hangs a mistletoe.

It's painfully clichéd and awkward and there are probably a million other ways Changmin could go about doing this but, fuck it. Heart in his throat, Changmin reaches out and pulls Yunho into a kiss.

When Yunho doesn't respond, Changmin jerks back, cheeks burning a bright, festive red. Okay, shit, Changmin swallows down the devastation that floods his chest, tries to escape but somewhere along the way, Yunho's wrapped his arms around his waist and won't let go.

He's in the middle of a panic attack when Yunho interrupts, "okay, my turn," and presses his lips against Changmin's. Changmin freezes, stunned. It's an awkward, heavenly three seconds and then Yunho is pulling back, confusion painted across his face. "Why aren't you kissing back?"

Flustered, Changmin twists his fingers into Yunho's sweater. "Why didn't you?!"

"I don't know how to," Yunho says simply. He crinkles his nose, cheeks flushed sheepishly. "Angels don't really go around kissing their charges, you know. Now I'm going to try again so this time please - "

With a laugh, Changmin pulls him in, cups the back of his neck and presses their lips solidly together. Yunho makes a muffled sound of indignation at being interrupted, and of course, Changmin can't resist taking the opportunity to lick into his mouth.

There are no more complaints after that.

*

"This is not the best Christmas ever." Changmin complains, frowning at his dinner. It's pretty good honestly, if a bit burnt around edges, but it's long grown cold, distracted as they were. Changmin gobbles it down anyway.

Yunho sighs but it comes out more content and exasperated than annoyed. With a snap of his fingers, the food grows hot again, even the spoonful that had been on its way to Changmin's mouth. He chuckles as Changmin hums appreciatively around his spoon. "I think we did pretty well though, considering what you were like before I showed up."

When Changmin looks up, the first thing that he sees is the red marks he left on Yunho's neck and the messy tousle of his hair. Even the feathers of his wings look rumpled. "I - I guess we did good," he admits. "b-but still! It's not the best Christmas ever," Changmin declares stubbornly. He swallows, then adds shyly, "we'll have to try again harder next year."

He looks at, sheepishly hopeful. Yunho laughs, his grin alight with adoration. "We will," he promises, and Changmin can't help but believe him.


Tags: fandom: tohoshinki, genre: alternate universe, pairing: yunho/changmin
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