Chanyeol and Baekhyun.
They were the kind of couple that would have fights and half of their belongings would be thrown out the window, more bruises shared than kisses.
Chanyeol would come home late, sometimes never at all, only to find his wardrobe strewn across the ground outside their third floor apartment. He knew it was a mistake to try and talk to him, but he liked to think that he loved Baekhyun enough to try to fix things.
It was always worse when he walked in, Baekhyun white hot and lethal. It was around then that he would start yelling, too, and the item closest to his tiny husband’s twitching fingers—white hot, lethal— would end up flying out the window to join Chanyeol’s things on the ground. This time it had been the toaster, and this time the tired-out lawyer didn’t wait around to hear the crash as it hit the ground. He hadn't waited enough to hear Baekhyun push over the couch and kick a chair into the wall.
The next time, the neighbors called the police, but Chanyeol was gone before they got there. They looked suspiciously at Baekhyun and the overturned apartment. There had been only one person there when they arrived, so they couldn’t file it under domestic abuse. They left suspecting the angry, silver-haired man was crazy or just really hated his furniture.
Chanyeol finally came back the next day, soaking wet from the rain and tired from another sleepless night and his husband was there, waiting for him. The couch was still on its side, chairs still toppled over, things still spilling out of cabinets and drawers, but Baekhyun was there, and he didn’t look as angry anymore.
Sad, maybe, but not angry.
His eyes had been dark when he reached for Chanyeol, pulling the willing man with him to the ground. They stay there, the taller one’s legs cramped and uncomfortable as he leaned against the wall, with Baekhyun cradled in his lap like a tired, wounded bird. It must have looked ridiculous and Chanyeol refused to look away from the exhausted piano teacher within his arms as Baekhyun looked anywhere other than his husband, because he promised he wouldn’t cry anymore, and Baekhyun liked to keep all his promises to his soulmate.
They always had the kind of make-up sex that suggested they were always breaking up, teetering on the edge of Love and Downfall. They didn’t speak, hardly made a noise, just fucked until they couldn’t think anymore.
This time, in the aftermath, Chanyeol didn’t move, lying completely still next to Baekhyun, memorizing the shape of his shoulders, the curve of his jaw, and the dip in his back until his mind turned back on.
He wondered how he could love him so much but still leave without hesitation.
Baekhyun didn’t have to think, because he already knew that love and happiness were rarely the same.
The first time Chanyeol hit Baekhyun it was nothing more than a sound, a frightening echo of skin on skin, bone on bone. The latter knew he deserved it, Chanyeol wished he hadn’t done it. He thought the smaller man would explode right then and there, walk away before he had the chance to.
The first time Baekhyun hit Chanyeol was right after, an instinct he hadn’t thought about until after he had done it, hand stinging.
Shit.. I shouldn’t have done that. Baekhyun stared right at him, stormy eyes wide and wild, and he wanted to yell but Chanyeol wasn’t looking at him. Not anymore.
The long limbed brunet had wanted to leave in that moment but he didn’t, because he promised Baekhyun that he would stay and try to work things out, so he just walked down the hall and to their room where he locked the door and stared at the window, debating whether he should make a run for it or not.
The silence and the view of the setting sun reminded him of calming things. It was almost too much, and eventually these things made the decision for him.
He ran, slipping out the window and through the fire escape, and he ran until it hurt to breath, hating himself for breaking promises so easily.
The night was eerily silent.
They both stared at the spot where the other should be—Baekhyun crumpled on the floor where he hadn’t moved since he noticed Chanyeol had walked away, eyes trained on the front door, waiting, hoping, praying that he will walk through, just like he always did, and Chanyeol wide awake in the couch of a stranger who looked just like Baekhyun and had been nice enough to let his drunken self crash at his place without the explicit payment of his body.
If he squinted his eyes enough he could almost believe it was really him, his Baekhyun… but he couldn’t fool his memory, and with every ticking second Chanyeol could trace every single one of his failures back to the memory of the notches in Baekhyun’s spine until it all got too much and the air stifled around him.
He bolted out the door as the first ray of sun pierced his chest like a dagger.
Baekhyun’s black eye was healing nicely, Chanyeol noticed, feeling terrible every time he glanced up at him, not able to believe that his husband was still able to be around him without screaming, without hitting.
Chanyeol didn’t look any different, Baekhyun noticed, feeling horrible for wishing it, but wanting his high-school sweetheart to at least show some scars, wondering as he scrubbed the dishes how the tall man was still able to be around him without breaking down, how Chanyeol was able to be so fucking beautiful all the time.
Maybe if they would both just look at each other they would see the apology hanging between them, but they remained oblivious, flinching when their hands brushed once the dishes were cleaned and tucked away in crooked cabinets.
Months later Chanyeol found himself wide-awake, Baekhyun asleep beside him. He couldn’t see the bruises anymore. His lips moved silently, forming three little words over and over, and he wasn’t sure why he couldn’t say them out loud.
Hours later when Baekhyun finally woke up it was like Chanyeol was seeing him for the first time in a long while.
His silver hair was mused from sleep and sweat, eyelids still heavy and lips bruised from kisses, blankets falling from his bare shoulders as he sat up ever so slowly.
Chanyeol couldn’t move, just watch in rapt fascination as his ethereal lover walked about the room, finding and putting on clothes with a cute little limp to his steps. He was choked up, a million thoughts running through his head, yet he couldn’t begin to process even one.
Baekhyun noticed, stopping in the process of him finding a proper outfit, sunlight filtering in through the blinds and forming in squares across his soft, unblemished face.
He looked amused, although a bit guarded, flattered by the extra attention but not sure what to think of it. He wrinkled his button nose, Chanyeol blinking rapidly in clear fascination.
“What?” Baekhyun asked softly, not wanting to break whatever trance the two of them had fallen in so early in the morning.
Chanyeol was almost embarrassed to say it, quickly gathering the blankets around him and burying his face in them. He was acting immature, like a four year old. Their therapist was certainly gonna have a field trip on their next appointment.
When he looked up, Baekhyun was staring at him and the once bashful man took that look and committed it to his memory. Byun Baekhyun’s smile was something real, it creased the corners of his eyes until they were something beautiful and wild—a testament to his existence.
Chanyeol came out from behind the blankets at last, holding his arms open, and Baekhyun fell into him—warm and close, and with something that sounded like a laugh floating out of him. He kissed the giggling man on the tip of his scrunching nose and that earned him another laugh.
It was something close to perfect, Park Chanyeol was positive.
Baekhyun and Chanyeol.
They were the kind of couple that still got shy about holding hands in public, would blush when they happened to catch the others’ gaze, sharing smiles where they couldn't see, but could feel.