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Talk Sweet to Me

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The first time Sicheng meets Yuta, it’s on the soccer field at 7 a.m. in the middle of the rain. He’s on his way to the studio to thoroughly stretch before his first class and already he’s exhausted.

One of the many perks—insert aggressive air quotes here—of being a freshman is that his dorm is a literal hobbit’s trek from the rest of campus. So he’s forced to carry everything he needs for the day: his English Comp. textbook; his training diary for dance; two water bottles; extra clothes; jazz shoes; half soles; a towel; BioFreeze; KT tape; the list goes on.

And as such, it’s a miracle he stops short of the soccer ball that magically appears in front of his face, soaring into the goal to his right.

What the fuck, Sicheng mutters under his breath, ripping out his earbuds and whirling in the direction of the kick.

“Oh my gosh! I am so sorry!” The perpetrator yells, sprinting his way down the pitch. “Are you okay?” Mystery man asks, his voice silky and earnest. Sicheng mentally berates his stupid heart for flip-flopping at the sight of the boy’s brown eyes and lean, muscled figure.

“I spaced out for a second and definitely didn’t expect anyone to be out in this rain. I’m Yuta, by the way.” The boy explains as he skids to a stop in front of the dancer.

Sicheng regards the outstretched hand warily for a moment before bowing instead. “I’m Sicheng.”

Yuta takes it in stride, retracting his hand in favor of a handsome grin.

“Nice to meet you! Are you a freshman? I don’t think I’ve seen you before. But then again, SMU is pretty big, so who knows, you could’ve been here the whole time! I think I’d remember someone as pretty as you though.” He croons with a wink.

Sicheng feels his cheeks flush against his will. Wiping away a few raindrops, he clears his throat before replying, “Yes, I am a freshman.”

“Well welcome! Sorry I accidentally almost just decapitated you with a soccer ball. Usually I’m much more aware of my surroundings, I promise.” Despite the early hour and the chilly summer rain, Yuta’s brilliant smile is blinding.

“No problem.”

Sicheng continues promptly toward the Arts complex, staving off a shiver as he ignores the eyes on his back.

---

“So he kicked a soccer ball at your face and now you want to bone him?”

Sicheng squawks, partially indignant and entirely embarrassed. He glares at his barre partner. “Absolutely not.” Sinking into another grand plié, he breathes deeply and savors the burn in his quads. He tries to tune out the irritating voice beside him.

“That’s not what your eyes say. Your eyes say ‘hey, I’m thirsty as fuck and you look like a cool drink of water,’” Ten teases, wriggling his eyebrows suggestively. Sicheng sighs.

“I’m here to dance. And perfect my English. The last thing I need is some— uh, what’s that word? The insulting sports word??” The Chinese boy grapples, ruining his port de bras.

“Sports word…?”

“You know, from that movie Jaehyun made us watch. They called it… ugh. Oh! Basketball man! Uh... thunkhead basketball man?”

Lunkhead?”

“YES!” Sicheng screeches before shooting their instructor an apologetic look. “The last thing I need is the attention of a lunkhead soccer man. It doesn’t matter if he’s pretty or not,” The boy declares, “I don’t need any distractions.”

Ten scoffs.

“Sicheng, what’s so bad about a lil spice in your life? You’re a second-semester freshman and you’ve barely been to any frat parties or mixers. Hell, you haven’t even been to that many school-sponsored events. Not besides our volunteer day at SM elementary for dance. I mean, I’m half convinced that you live in the library and not with Sehun. Cause like, that dude has a more active social life than me! I didn’t even think that was possible. You know I’m the life the party.” The Thai boy lectures, incredulity ever present.

Sicheng doesn’t respond, but Ten’s words roll around in his head for the rest of class.

In truth, it’s not like he chose to live this way.

He just has really strict parents and a scholarship to maintain and sure, maybe social situations make him a little nervous. And can you blame him? His English is broken at minimum and awkward at best…

“Don’t run away from opportunities, Sicheng. If you run, you’ll never know where they could’ve gone and who they could’ve led you to.” Ten counsels as class comes to an end. Giving his friend one last pitying look, he disappears into the hall, leaving Sicheng to his own devices.

---

“He was beautiful, and his voice was surprisingly deep and warm, and—”

“You nearly gave him a concussion with a soccer ball.” Doyoung deadpans, not even looking up from his homework.

“It was an accident!” Yuta whines pathetically, flopping onto his bed. It’s 8:45 on a Saturday night and instead of partying, he’s moaning to his stick-in-the-mud roommate about a boy he’ll probably never see again; his heart clenches at the thought.

“What if we never meet again? What if that was my only chance and I fucked it up? What if our luck has run out? Our fate’s string has been cut? Our story is over before it even begins? Our—”

“Oh. My. God.” Doyoung groans, massaging his pounding temples. “Remind me again why you aren't majoring in drama??”

“You are so unsupportive.” The Japanese boy bitches back.

“You’re welcome.” Doyoung retorts primly. “Look. He’s a foreign exchange student too, if his name is anything to go by, so don’t even try to give me that fate bullshit. There aren’t that many on campus. He can’t be that hard to find.”

---

Behold, a rare instance in which Doyoung is actually wrong.