Title: Love Doesn't Buy Plane Tickets
Pairing(s): Kyuhyun/Zhou Mi
Summary: Kyuhyun really, really wants to go on a trip. Zhou Mi is forced to agree. 4,280 words.
Notes: Dear recipient, I hope you'll like this, even though I might've run away with the prompt a little bit. (I'm sorry Sungmin doesn't have a larger role but hey, at least he's there!) Also huge thanks to my beta S. for her tremendous help! ♥
"You know what," Kyuhyun blurts out by way of greeting as he lets the door fall closed behind him and toes off his shoes. He doesn't even bother to get rid of his jacket, only opening the buttons as he quickly pads into the living room and crouches down in front of Zhou Mi, who is sitting on the couch with a magazine on his lap, even if he isn't paying attention to it any longer.
Smiling, Zhou Mi reaches out and unwraps the long scarf from around Kyuhyun's neck. "What? Are you going to tell me or just sit there grinning at me like a loon?"
Kyuhyun laughs. "Let's go on a holiday!" He sounds excited about it, his eyes sparkling. "Book a flight and run off somewhere, or rent a car and take a trip around the country!" The more he speaks the faster the words come, almost stumbling over one another. He is so adorably excited that Zhou Mi almost gives in instantly. Almost.
"Maybe we should–" Zhou Mi smiles apologetically as he cups Kyuhyun's cool cheek in his palm, "–go for something cheaper? We're supposed to be saving. Like, a new bed? And the space heater is so dead." They both know those things need to be repaired or replaced, but it's not the main reason they're saving.
"C'mon," Kyuhyun pleads, trying his best kicked puppy expression to sway Zhou Mi's decision. "We can make it cheap. Only grab a train ticket or something."
"No, Kyuhyun. Not now." Zhou Mi doesn't want to be a spoilsport, but he knows he has to. "Maybe when you… when we earn more."
When you go back to school. When you get to pursue the career you want to, instead of being stuck in a low paying tech support job. Someday, never right now.
Kyuhyun sighs, frowning as he straightens. "You owe me dinner, then. Go and do your magic."
"You mean, put a pizza in the oven or warm some instant noodles, right?" Zhou Mi laughs but sets his magazine aside as he gets up and heads for the kitchen. Mistakenly, he thinks the holiday-issue is off the table. Until he is proven wrong.
The next day, Sungmin takes Zhou Mi out for coffee. It's nothing out of the ordinary – they share many of their classes and eat lunch or have coffee breaks together more often than not. They both have their usual orders and Sungmin offers to get their drinks while Zhou Mi hunts for a free table.
Automatically they both dig out their books and notes as soon as they sat down, but neither is even sparing them another glance. Zhou Mi is sipping on his large milk coffee, watching Sungmin pick at a pastry he could not resist. "So," Sungmin drawls, a grin dancing on his lips as he glances up at his friend. "I am supposed to subtly start a conversation about holidays and travelling with you," he snickers, "and sneakily convince you that you really, really want to book a nice trip somewhere."
That makes Zhou Mi laugh out loud and he hides his grin in his coffee. "So Kyuhyun decided that you would be better at convincing me than he? He doesn't have much faith in himself."
"Well, I suppose he has some aces up his sleeves, still." Sungmin gives a small shrug. "But he's a gamer. He knows it's always better to have more than one plan."
Zhou Mi sighs a little, sets the cup on the table and looks up at his friend. "The thing is, we don't exactly have the money."
"It doesn't need to be a trip to Hawaii, you know?" Sungmin points out as he reaches to pat Zhou Mi's hand, giving it a small squeeze. "You could do something fun. Like a road trip! The best things in life come out of these little things and you would be spending tons of time together, out of the dusty apartment. Just think about it." He seems enthusiastic about it, almost as if he was the one going on the trip instead.
Zhou Mi isn't able to cover his amusement. "So that was the high and mighty speech to make me give in?"
"Yes," Sungmin laughs. "It was."
Whether he wants to or not, Zhou Mi ends up thinking about it. Thinking about it a lot.
During the next few days Kyuhyun keeps on dropping hints, implying how stressful it is at work ("I could so use a break.") and how badly he is deprived of travelling ("I don't even remember the last trip I took!"), amongst other things.
If he is trying to make Zhou Mi feel guilty, he is succeeding. If he is trying to make Zhou Mi give in, he is not succeeding.
Despite all that, Zhou Mi doesn't suspect anything when he comes home from an evening lecture to the smell of food lingering invitingly in the air. Kyuhyun pops his head out of the kitchen, flashing a bright smile. "I ordered us food!" He is an expert on cheap takeout places – notoriously bad at cooking and still passionate enough an eater to want some variety in their dinners.
It smells delicious. Zhou Mi doesn't waste time in getting rid of his coat and scarf, shucking his shoes without untying the laces. "I'm starving! What did you get?" He is already brimming with excitement over the prospect of food and one glance at Kyuhyun shows he's not much different. At least they have some things in common, right?
Turns out the food is from Zhou Mi's favourite Italian restaurant just around the corner, and Kyuhyun has even found and lit a candle on the table. "Did I forget an anniversary or something?" Zhou Mi jokes, although he is positive he hasn't forgotten anything important. Kyuhyun doesn't really respond, instead piling more food on Zhou Mi's plate and urging him to eat.
The dinner is followed by a nice movie (they settle on a comedy, since both of them are in dire need of some relaxing laughter), and somehow they end up watching shopping TV afterwards, laughing at the idiotic commercials. Neither of them knows when the moment evolves from them taking jabs at the rice cooker that prepares your rice better than any other or the machine for instant-abs to them being only focused on each other.
One kiss turns two turns three turns six and into a full-blown make out session. The commercials are still running when they abandon the couch and slam the bedroom door open, a woman with all-too-white teeth explaining how she gained back her life and self-confidence. Not that either of them hears it anymore, not when they stumble down on the mattress, all tangled limbs and feverish kisses.
They're almost completely rid of their clothes by the time Kyuhyun slides down Zhou Mi's body, nosing his belly. It instantly makes Zhou Mi's heart stop, before it begins pumping wildly. Kyuhyun doesn't do this often, but when he does he knows exactly what to do to reduce Zhou Mi to a whimpering mess. Which he does, again, in record speed, as he puts his mouth on him and takes him deep. Builds a steady rhythm. Drives Zhou Mi to his limits, way too easily.
Kyuhyun flattens his tongue against the underside of Zhou Mi's erection, making sure to moan deep in his throat as he hollows his cheeks. It's truly unfair and it makes Zhou Mi shudder, makes every rational thought fly from his mind as he grasps the rumpled sheets and bucks up, instinctively. At first he doesn't even register that Kyuhyun has pulled back and is kissing him, parting his lips with his tongue.
"Zhou Mi," Kyuhyun purrs, their lips touching, before he licks into Zhou Mi's mouth again. This time Zhou Mi can taste himself in the kiss, a clear shudder running down his spine at the thought of what that mouth was doing just a few seconds ago. "Zhou Mi," Kyuhyun breathes out again, his cheeks flushed but his voice surprisingly steady. "Will you go on a trip with me?"
Right at that moment Zhou Mi feels his walls crumble and he knows, in some distant still functioning part of his mind, he knows that he has no chances anymore. He nods, hastily, before tilting up his chin to steal another kiss. "Anything, Kuixian," he whispers as they part, "anything."
Crap. The oldest trick in the book and he fell for it.
He completely misses Kyuhyun's content smirk, but it doesn't matter. None of it matters when Kyuhyun is sliding down his body again, teasing him, wrenching breathless gasps from him. Even later, when he realizes what he promised, he can't bring himself to regret it.
The excitement is clear in Kyuhyun's whole posture as he shoulders his backpack, gazing up at the monitor informing him of the schedules. "We should pick at random," he says, obviously convinced that it's a masterful idea. He can't pick by reaching up and poking the screen though, it's too high, so instead he turns to Zhou Mi. "Close your eyes and say a number. Don't peek!" As if to make sure, he places his hands on the other man's eyes.
Resigned, Zhou Mi chuckles and throws in the first number he can think of. "Twenty-three." He dearly hopes that the train twenty-three isn't going to the North Pole or something, he isn't exactly prepared to spend all of their travel budget on the first day. When he opens his eyes, he spots the destination easily. "…I've never even heard of that place."
"It's good!" Kyuhyun decides, already marching off to buy them tickets. The train is scheduled to leave in half an hour, so there's plenty of time to find the right platform. Zhou Mi wraps his scarf around his neck tighter and pulls it up to cover the lower half of his face, up to his nose. In no time Kyuhyun is back, waving the tickets. "Here. Now get your butt moving."
The small town they end up in is just big enough to have a few shops and a small park, the traffic so slow it feels like they're in the middle of the countryside. The only motel they find is booked full though, the woman looking at them apologetically as she says she has nothing to offer. The other options are way too expensive for them to even consider, so for the first night of their adventure they end up on the park bench.
"I never would have thought we'd end up masquerading as homeless people," Zhou Mi snickers as he wraps his long coat tighter around himself, his legs pulled up close to his chest. Kyuhyun is sitting next to him, leaning a bit closer instinctively. "If the city was any bigger I'd be afraid for my life right now."
"Don't worry," Kyuhyun assures him, digging through his bag until he manages to pull out the small blanket he cleverly packed right at the bottom of it. "You're so scrawny they'd take one look at you and leave. ‘Why bother?'" He doesn't even mind that it earns him a jab on the ribs, only casually spreads the blanket over their laps and rests his head on Zhou Mi's shoulder.
"This is kind of nice, though," Zhou Mi admits a moment later through a mouthful of home made sandwich, as they go through the small amount of food they packed. "You can even see the stars!"
Kyuhyun snags the sandwich from his fingers, taking a huge bite before he places it back into his palm. "I told you it'd be cool. I only have brilliant ideas."
"Right. More?" Zhou Mi holds up the half-eaten sandwich and Kyuhyun takes another bite.
They can't spend another night on the bench though. The following day it seems like someone took a giant knife and ripped the sky apart, the rain beating down on them like it wants to drown them right there in the middle of the street. They manage to find a small hostel then, shaking from cold as they finally step inside in their soaking wet clothes. The receptionist takes one glance at them before, out of pity, offering them use of the shower even though it's technically too late in the evening for that.
Thankful for the offer, they take a quick hot shower together ("We need to save water," Kyuhyun insists) before they sneak under the covers in the small bunk bed in the room they rented. "Maybe we should've asked him to only give us one bed," Kyuhyun murmurs against Zhou Mi's neck in the darkness. "It might've been cheaper."
"Or he might've thrown us out," Zhou Mi points out, laughter dancing in his voice as he glances at the second bed, their bags thrown on it. This is all kinds of nice, in his opinion, and he slides his hands up Kyuhyun's back, the shirt bunching underneath his fingers. Kyuhyun is warm against his side, his hands turning restless before they find purchase on Zhou Mi's hips.
Yes. This is all kinds of nice.
A night in a real bed leaves them feeling refreshed in a way park benches never could. They sleep until there's a loud knock on the door, a voice sounding through the thick wood as it tells them they have half an hour to get themselves out, unless they want to pay for another night. Kyuhyun burrows his face into Zhou Mi's neck, whining something incomprehensible as he doesn't really want to move. Zhou Mi doesn't, either, but he knows they're short on cash so he blinks his sleepy eyes open and forces himself to get up.
An hour later they're walking down the street, Kyuhyun still half-asleep. It looks kind of adorable, Zhou Mi decides, the way his hair is sticking up in every possible direction and his eyes squint to keep the irritating sunlight at minimum. "So," Zhou Mi drawls, not even trying to hold back the sunny smile. "What about some window shopping?"
As if on command, Kyuhyun's stomach grumbles, loud.
Kyuhyun gives Zhou Mi an evaluating look, one eye considerably smaller than the other. "You feed me and we shop," he decides eventually, nodding to confirm his words. Enthusiastic, Zhou Mi grabs his hand and drags him into the first eatery he finds. They pick the cheapest cup noodles on the menu, huddling in a corner table together with their bags. Half of Zhou Mi's food ends up in Kyuhyun's stomach in the end, because he insists he's not all that hungry anyway.
Afterwards, Kyuhyun keeps his promise and they end up walking down a street lined with everything from multinational store chains to picturesque boutiques, from small stands to shops to suit the most expensive of tastes. Zhou Mi ends up both cooing over little hand-made figurines and staring at high fashion through thick glass with hope and a thousand wishes painted in his eyes.
Kyuhyun feels kind of bad they can't really afford to buy anything, so he grabs Zhou Mi's hand, twines their fingers and tugs him away from the displays. Later, he adjusts Zhou Mi's scarf better around his neck, faking nonchalance. "I'm not going to listen to you whine when you're cold." When his fingers brush over Zhou Mi's cheeks, he lets the touch linger.
Somehow, they end up hitch-hiking and after a two-hour ride in a truck singing along to latest pop hits with a tattooed, burly driver, they find themselves in another town. The streets are the same, lined with shops and filled with busy people minding their own business. It takes them a while to figure out where they are, but when they do recognition lights up Kyuhyun's face. "I know this place," he says.
Kyuhyun's aunt, who lives smack in the middle of the town, welcomes them in. "This is Zhou Mi," Kyuhyun gestures behind himself and Zhou Mi offers a smile, as charming as he can manage. "He's my roommate." He explains how they got lost, never batting an eyelash as he weaves details into his story and asks for her if they can stay the night.
The woman sits them in the kitchen and doesn't stop adding food to their plates until they're too full to even move. Distantly Zhou Mi thinks he feels like he's been thrown into a fairy tale and that he's soon going to be shoved into an oven, but he quickly shakes the thought off.
When the lights go out, Zhou Mi is staring at the ceiling. There is another mattress right next to his on the floor and he knows Kyuhyun isn't asleep yet, either. Softly, as silent as he can, he whispers into the darkness. "Kuixian?"
Momentarily, he thinks he was wrong, but then there's the slightest dip in the thin mattress, and an arm sliding around his waist. "You know what would be fun?" Kyuhyun breathes into his ear and he can feel the grin even if he doesn't see it.
Zhou Mi chuckles lowly. "What?"
As an answer, Kyuhyun leans in and captures Zhou Mi's lips. They're both smiling into it, trying hard not to giggle as a rush of emotion washes over them. It's like they're doing something forbidden, like they're hiding under the comforter in their own little world. Everything smells of laundry detergent and peach passion shampoo.
Zhou Mi is fairly certain Kyuhyun's aunt can hear their giggles even in the next room but he hopes she won't bother too much. Neither of them gets much sleep, but somewhere in the early morning hours they pass out, their limbs tangled together in one big mess.
In the morning they get even more to eat. For the next week they think back to it, while living on whatever scraps they can afford on the way. It still feels like an adventure.
Two weeks into their journey Zhou Mi carefully asks Kyuhyun if they'll ever go back home. It's not that he's not enjoying himself, but the practical side of him knows they can't go on like this forever. Kyuhyun simply hums, tugging the lapels of Zhou Mi's jacket up. Somewhere along the way Zhou Mi has managed to lose his scarf, and he still mourns the loss.
"We'll go home when we're ready," Kyuhyun tells him.
Zhou Mi tilts his head to look up at the stars, tracing the constellations Kyuhyun taught him during sleepless nights.
When we're ready.
He wonders when he started feeling like he doesn't even want this to end.
"I felt like I didn't even know myself anymore," Kyuhyun confesses into Zhou Mi's shoulder. The bench is cold but there aren't any comfier seats at the railway station and they still have over two hours to kill.
Zhou Mi nods, slowly. "Do you, now?" he whispers, almost scared to know the answer.
Kyuhyun hums. "Yes."
Smiling, Zhou Mi thinks that along the way he has learned a thing or two as well.
"Are you sure we can afford this?"
Zhou Mi fidgets a little on his seat. They have opted for an actual restaurant this time instead of fast food joints or loaves of bread from the supermarket. Actually seeing the prices on the menu makes Zhou Mi regret it though, he keeps counting how many packets of instant noodles they could buy for the price of one dish.
Kyuhyun groans theatrically and kicks his shin under the table. "Shut up." He knows Zhou Mi doesn't do it to be a killjoy but bringing up their lack of money in every given situation was kind of getting old. "Pick something."
"I don't know, this looks really good but it's so expensive," Zhou Mi begins but when he stops to inhale he's silenced by another kick aimed at his ankle. "Ouch! Kyuhyun! Stop that." He frowns and pulls his legs under his chair, away from reach. "We're in a classy restaurant, and even though we might look like tramps, we don't need to act like that!"
"Will you shut up already or do I have to make you?" Kyuhyun asks, smiling innocently as he leans over the table. Zhou Mi probably should know something is up, judging by that sparkle in Kyuhyun's eyes as he leans closer and closer. He doesn't realize what it is before it's too late though. Not before a pair of lips land on his own, a hand cupping his jaw.
Automatically he kisses back, but just when he's beginning to enjoy it Kyuhyun pulls away from him. Kyuhyun is grinning triumphantly. "I told you I can do it."
Zhou Mi growls. "Shut up."
Ten minutes later they find themselves walking down the street. Now they know it's kind of embarrassing to be kicked out of a restaurant. Kyuhyun even looks slightly apologetic as he reaches for Zhou Mi's hand to entwine their fingers. "Hey, remember that cool place from yesterday with the fatty burgers, wanna go there?"
Heartily, Zhou Mi agrees. Fatty burgers or not, right now they'd taste better than any classy cuisine they can imagine.
Finally, Zhou Mi absolutely refuses to get dressed in the same worn clothes they've been using and re-using for what feels like ages. He drags the protesting Kyuhyun into a laundromat, sitting him down on the single chair before dumping all of their clothing into the machine. He fumbles for change for a while, but soon enough the machine is running and he feels like the itching in his neck subsides already, just a bit.
There is only one chair, and Kyuhyun is occupying it, obviously. Zhou Mi flops down on the floor and leans against the machine, closing his eyes as the steady rumbles lull him asleep. He startles awake a moment later when Kyuhyun shifts against him, his head on his shoulder. "Oh, sorry," Kyuhyun whispers, as if he isn't sure if Zhou Mi is awake or not. "Did I wake you?"
Zhou Mi just mumbles sleepily, and blinks until his vision clears. He doesn't really want to wake up but he doesn't feel like sleeping, either. "What are you doing?" He asks when he notices Kyuhyun is focused on something. A book?
"Reading," Kyuhyun answers shortly, turning the book in his hands to present the title.
Zhou Mi blinks again. It takes a while until things click into place and he understands what it is. "A manual?" He rasps out. "For the machine?"
"Yes," Kyuhyun agrees, grinning. "A manual in seventy-five different languages. Just listen to me," he flips through a few pages and starts reading. Zhou Mi has absolutely no idea what the language is he is rattling off in, and he doesn't even know if the pronunciation is anywhere close to what it's supposed to be. He laughs.
They end up reading through the manual in thirty-eight languages and best parts in some others, before the machine beeps and signals that it's done. Kyuhyun heaves himself up and offers his hand to Zhou Mi.
While they fold the laundry, they quote their favourite bits in random languages. Zhou Mi can't believe this is really his life. He doesn't think he's ever been happier.
"Hey, Zhou Mi," Kyuhyun's voice is slightly hesitant and when Zhou Mi turns around, there is a small plastic bag handed to him. "I thought. Since, you know. It's cold."
Zhou Mi digs his hand into the bag, a brilliant smile spreading on his lips as he pulls out a soft scarf. It's a plain pearl grey and Zhou Mi knows it's one of those scarves one gets from the supermarket for a reduced price right now.
It's probably the best present he has ever gotten. At least one of the best.
Later, he whispers thank yous into Kyuhyun's collarbone, showing him exactly how much he appreciates having him in his life.
It feels like it's been years since they left. Being back home doesn't feel all that momentous. It's only an apartment, someplace to store their belongings. Zhou Mi groans as he flops down on the broken bedframe, the springs squeaking underneath his weight. It's nothing compared to the concert they get when Kyuhyun launches himself after him, landing face first right into a pillow.
"Man, I am starving," Kyuhyun slurs, his voice muffled. The sheets feel cool even through his shirt and he shifts closer, burrowing himself right against Zhou Mi's side. "And sleepy. Really sleepy."
Zhou Mi sneaks an arm around Kyuhyun, smiling into his hair. "Let's raid the kitchen cabinets in a moment." He barely gets the words out before Kyuhyun is fast asleep. It doesn't take much longer before he follows right after.
Neither of them notices the plan, ordinary letter lying on the floor in the midst of all the flyers and brightly coloured advertisements. Neither of them knows this is the last week they'll be spending in this apartment, but then again, neither of them really cares.
They know things will work out, somehow. Besides, the windows never closed properly, anyway, and the draft is a bitch.
"Kuixian!" Zhou Mi waves a pile of papers in his hand, grinning from ear to ear. "Guess what?"
Kyuhyun pauses where he's stuffing instant noodles in his mouth, blinking slowly, confused.
"I got us a summer job! Both of us!" Zhou Mi explains gleefully, practically bouncing near only to sit down on the couch. They sit thigh to thigh and Zhou Mi leans in, opening his mouth suggestively. Kyuhyun snorts, but wraps a generous amount of noodles around the chopsticks to bring it to Zhou Mi's lips.
Zhou Mi hums through a mouthful of food, barely swallowing most of it before speaking again. "We'll be instructors for a summer camp. Free accommodation, free food!"
Silently, Kyuhyun stares at him.
"You can't say no." Zhou Mi beams. "I already signed us up!"
Kyuhyun frowns. "Do they at least have wifi?" Zhou Mi shakes his head.
Well that's another summer wasted, then.
"Kuixian, it won't be that bad." Zhou Mi pokes at his cheek in an attempt to pull his frown into a smile. "Just think of all the places we can..." he leans in and whispers into Kyuhyun's ear.
When he pulls back, they're wearing identical grins.
Maybe it won't be such a bad summer after all.