Zhou Mi does not have nightmares. You would think that someone who has suffered as many horrible things as Zhou Mi has would have awful night terrors (as well as be clinically depressed), but Zhou Mi is a constant ray of sunshine and is somehow able to let all of the negativity roll off of him.
Kyuhyun doesn’t know how he does it. He’s convinced that Zhou Mi has some secret outlet for all of his anger. Maybe he’s a serial killer? Maybe he steals millions of dollars from corporations? Maybe he… Except that this is Zhou Mi and the most spiteful thing Zhou Mi has ever done is crinkle up some cookies at the supermarket. Which he later felt awful about doing so he went back to the supermarket and bought the cookies and then forced himself to eat them as punishment.
When good things happen, Zhou Mi’s dreams are filled with sunshine and rainbows and magic. He wakes up with stories of vivid colors and pictures that seem ridiculous but so real. Zhou Mi wishes he could paint so he could capture all of the magical scenes in his head. His verbal descriptions can’t even begin to do them justice.
But when not-so-good things happen, Zhou Mi doesn’t dream at all. He simply falls unconscious for a few hours and then wakes up. There are no clouds or storms or evil, just an eerie sense of nothingness. So when he wakes up in a cold sweat after a nightmare, he doesn’t know what to do.
Zhou Mi jolts awake and scrambles for the light, knocking over a few things in the process. Once the room is illuminated, he still isn’t convinced that there aren’t monsters lurking in the closet, under the bed, or behind the curtains, but he’s too terrified to check by himself. He runs for the kitchen to grab a particularly heavy pot to use as a weapon, just in case. His heart is pounding in his throat and he can’t quite bring himself to breathe. “Go away!” he yells to the demons in his head. “Go away!”
But there’s no one there.
Zhou Mi ventures back into his room and crawls back under the covers, but there is no way he can fall back asleep. Every little sound he hears sets off alarm bells in his head until he can’t take it anymore. Zhou Mi scrambles out of bed, shoves his feet into a pair of winter boots, and pulls a warm jacket over his pajamas. He somehow manages to grab his keys and his phone and calls the last number in his recent calls.
A voice that should be sounding sleepy answers. “Hello?”
“Kuixian I had a terrible nightmare and I can’t sleep in my apartment anymore I’m coming over please let me in,” Zhou Mi blurts out. Except that he’s so on edge that it comes out as one massive word blob.
“What?” he hears Kyuhyun rustling around on the other end of the line. “What’s wrong?”
“I had a nightmare and my apartment is scary and I can’t be by myself can I come over?” Zhou Mi rephrases his question.
“Hold on, I’m right by your apartment. If I grab a taxi, I can be there in five minutes,” Kyuhyun says. His voice sounds worried.
“Can you hurry?” Zhou Mi asks.
“I’ll try my best.”
“Please don’t hang up,” Zhou Mi pleads.
"I'm hurrying as fast as I can." Zhou Mi hears Kyuhyun hail a taxi and give the man the directions to Zhou Mi's apartment. "I'm almost there. Just a few minutes, okay?"
"Okay," Zhou Mi replies even though he is most certainly not okay. Kyuhyun stays on the line with him and gives him a detailed update of his route. "Okay I'm three blocks away... okay now two... okay now one... okay I'm here." He hears him pay the taxi driver. "I'm going to ring your apartment so buzz me into the building, okay?"
"Okay." The loud noise in Zhou Mi's apartment signaling Kyuhyun's arrival still catches him off guard.
"It's just me! It's just me, remember?" Kyuhyun says, trying to make his voice sound calm. Zhou Mi's freaking out is starting to freak him out but he can't let it show. "Okay I'm in the elevator."
Kyuhyun's knock at the door surprises Zhou Mi too but he somehow manages to open the door. Kyuhyun drops his bag onto the floor and pulls a very terrified looking Zhou Mi into his arms. Zhou Mi is shaking and Kyuhyun can feel his rapid heartbeat. Zhou Mi clings to him like a lifeline and finally starts to cry. "I'm so so scared," he whispers.
Kyuhyun maneuvers them into Zhou Mi's apartment and shuts the door behind him. Zhou Mi seems to have gotten thinner lately, and his body feels especially frail in Kyuhyun's arms. "You're okay, Mi, you're okay," he repeats soothingly.
"What if they come back?" Zhou Mi asks.
Kyuhyun doesn't know who "they" are but he thinks it's smart not to ask. "Then they'll have to go through me first. I'm here now. I'm here to protect you. No one can hurt you now." Kyuhyun remembers crawling into his parents' bed after having a bad dream as a child. His father would hold him close and murmur that over and over until Kyuhyun fell asleep. And now Kyuhyun is the one protecting someone else who seems so very small and helpless.
Zhou Mi finally starts to calm down once Kyuhyun's body heat overcomes his cold shivers. Kyuhyun helps him out of his boots and jacket and guides him back to bed. Without saying anything, Kyuhyun strips down to his undershirt and boxer shorts and crawls into bed next to Zhou Mi. He pulls Zhou Mi close and Zhou Mi can feel the warmth of Kyuhyun's chest against his back.
"Do you want me to sing you a lullaby?" Kyuhyun murmurs into his ear.
"Yes," Zhou Mi whispers.
" 그대 두 눈 나를 보고, 달콤하게 웃네요," Kyuhyun sings softly.
Zhou Mi finally relaxes against Kyuhyun and shuts his eyes. Kyuhyun's peaceful voice is somehow able to ward off all of the demons that tore him from his slumber before.
Kyuhyun doesn't stop singing until he feels Zhou Mi fall asleep.
When Zhou Mi wakes up, the sun glints through the curtains bringing the hope of a new day. He turns over to face the owner of the pale arms holding him safe. Kyuhyun is fast asleep and Zhou Mi knows nothing short of an atomic bomb will wake him up. He stares at Kyuhyun's peaceful face and thanks any powers of the universe for his existence. He brushes a stray hair off of Kyuhyun's cheek before settling back into the blankets to fall back asleep in his protector's arms.