keep a place for me
A panicked “Fuck!” is heard before a car door is being slammed shut.
It’s the second time this week that Chanyeol is late picking his son up from kindergarten - and it’s only Wednesday for crying out loud! He had been so immersed with the annual report for the gym that he had completely let time slip away. He was late by an hour and he knew how strict Iseul’s teachers were with punctuality when picking him up. He was surely the last parent to arrive which stressed him out even more.
He turned the keys into the ignition and made it quickly on to the main road leading to his son. After approximately twenty minutes, Chanyeol entered the preschool’s very vacant parking lot before halting the car in between two spots. He didn’t have the time to be conscientious over his parking technique.
“Iseul! Miss Choi!” he called out as soon as he had made it past the doors of the building. He was faced with a dark and quiet playroom, with only the light from a lamp, shaped in the form of a ladybug on the wall next to a sofa, to guide his eyes to where his son was, sleeping in the arms of his teacher. If Chanyeol didn’t hate himself before this, he surely did now. She lifted her eyes to the intruder and made sure to quickly throw a glance to the clock on the wall.
“I am so incredibly sorry for keeping you waiting!”
“Mr. Park, you’ve arrived,” a soft voice said.
Chanyeol made quick strides to where the pair were sitting and took his son into his arms. Iseul squirmed at being interrupted from his sleep, but made himself comfortable as soon as he recognized his dad’s familiar scent. He nuzzled into the crook of his neck which made Chanyeol coo internally. I’m sorry Iseul-ah. He felt like a failure of a father. Who forgets their kid?
“It is so late and you are still here Miss Choi,” Chanyeol stressed. “I got caught up in work and time completely slipped away from me.”
“It is alright, Mr. Park,” she gave him a warm smile. “I know that you’re in this all alone. Although it’s troubling to see Iseul staying near the window for so long, hoping that you’ll walk in to take him home, he still makes sure to not press on the matter too much. He is very considerate of his appa.” At the preschool teacher’s words Chanyeol rubbed his nose into his son’s soft curls, his way of showing appreciation for his son.
“He is, isn’t he Miss Choi.”
She only hummed in acknowledgement.
“Thank you for your kind words and for your patience with me. I will make sure to be on time from now on.” he bowed.
Miss Choi nodded and helped him gather his son’s belongings before she bid them goodbye.
Outside, the cold January winds nipped away at his skin. He tightened the scarf he had swept around Iseul’s sleeping body to keep him warm. As he walked through the gates of the pre-school’s enclosure he couldn’t help but feel his eyes stinging of something. Of shame? Of disappointment? Or maybe of exhaustion? Chanyeol was drained. Not only physically, but also emotionally. Life was catching up to him. No matter how hard he had tried to be a super-dad, he knew he couldn’t last for long. Something needed to be done, for the sake of his son.
When they arrived at the carelessly parked car, he made a beeline to the backseat so he could put his son into his car seat, away from the cold. To Chanyeol’s content, Iseul hadn’t woken up throughout the whole ordeal. He was still sound asleep with his hands folded under his chin and head crooked to the side. Chanyeol swept away a few curls hanging over his son’s eyes before he closed the door with a light sigh. He then made his way around the car and started the engine.
The traffic hadn’t died down that much, it still took him half an hour to get home to their downtown apartment. When the clock had struck quarter past 6, Chanyeol made it inside the apartment complex’s underground garage. He parked the car - properly this time - in their assigned lot. Iseul was starting to stir when he had gone to take him out of the carseat. His son wrinkled his nose whilst scratching under his left ear.
“We’re home now, baby.” Chanyeol delicately combed through his son’s jet-black locks in an attempt to wake him up.
The toddler fluttered his eyes open. His eyes landed on the familiar man in front of him.
“Appa.” he whined.
“Mm, Iseul-ah,” Chanyeol took his son into his arms. “Appa is here.”
“Appa, I’m hungry.”
“Appa will cook you something delicious to eat.”
At the promise of tasty food, Iseul wrapped his small arms around Chanyeol’s neck and let himself be carried up to the sixth floor where their apartment was. Before they made it out of the garage, Chanyeol handed the toddler his whale stuffy and swung the tiny boy’s backpack over his far-too-broad arm.
During their ride up the elevator, an old lady, better known as halmeoni Byun from three doors down, entered the lift. Her white hair was gathered in a low bun, making her pearl earrings stand out even more. She was wearing a burgundy coat with a black faux fur scarf around her neck. Her hands were covered by black leather gloves and clutched inside her right hand was a small black purse.
“Won’t you look at that,” she cooed. “Iseul-ah, have you arrived from kindergarten?” she singsonged whilst patting the boy’s back.
“Yes, halmeoni Byun.” Chanyeol answered with a polite smile. “Iseul has had a long day today, so he can’t be his usual bubbly self.”
“Oh I see, you’ve worked hard today Iseul-ah,” the old lady said to Iseul, although shooting a knowing look at Chanyeol. “Are you taking good care of yourself Chanyeol-ssi?” Why are old ladies so damn intuitive? he thought to himself.
“I’m trying to, halmeoni.” Chanyeol answered honestly. “It’s a bit hectic at the moment, but I’m doing fine.”
“Don’t wear yourself out too much, hmm?”
“I won’t.” the tall man said and bowed his head, a sign of gratitude at the old lady’s consideration. The elevator made a sound signaling to the trio that they have arrived at their floor.
“Good night, halmeoni.” Chanyeol bowed once again before he took a left and made his way to their door.
“So she wasn’t angry at you for being late?” Sehun asks later that evening as he sits on one of the tall bar stools in front of the L-shaped kitchen counter. His eyes are studying Chanyeol and his every move as he thoroughly washes the pans he had been using to cook dinner for his son and Sehun earlier. The ends of his long-sleeved gym shirt are pulled up to his elbows to keep them from getting wet.
Chanyeol avoids looking up to meet Sehun’s gaze, knowing the look his best friend is sporting. Worry, maybe pity as well. Chanyeol has come to detest it. Not only from Sehun, but from everyone around him, from his parents to Iseul’s teachers and even halmeoni Byun from a few doors down. It stresses him out knowing that he worries the people who care for him and his son. It feels as if no matter how hard he tries - and he does, goddamn it he does - it will never suffice.
Chanyeol is obligated to run his gym which a lot of people's livelihoods are dependent on and simultaneously make sure his son is clean, well-fed and safe. Knowing that so many people depend on him to do his job right, as a boss, as a business partner and as a father, scares the living daylight out of him. His knees feels like buckling at the thought of it. It feels as if something is clawing inside of him, desperately trying to get out. Something akin to a cry...for help?
“Yeol?” Sehun’s voice brings him back to reality. He tightens and slackens his jaw a few times to regain his focus on the conversation Sehun and him are currently having.
“Yeah.” He gives him a small nod. Chanyeol scrunches his nose so as to easily push up his glasses with his wet finger.
“You know you could’ve called me?”
“I know, Sehun-ah. But you have a demanding job. People need you to be present at work, not picking Iseul up from kindergarten just because I can’t remember to be a father.”
“Yeol, stop talking nonsense.”
“What nonsense? It’s all true.” he sighs. “I have one job, and that’s to make sure my son has a decent upbringing, with a present father. I’m the only one he has.”
“And you’re doing so great, Chanyeol.” Sehun insists. “You’re just overreacting because of all the stress you’re being put under.”
The taller of them sighs, knowing that part of what his friend is saying is true, but he doesn’t fully allow himself to see it from Sehun’s point of view.
“You’re only human, Chanyeol-ah. With real feelings.” Sehun reassures him. “You can only do so much.”
“I… know,” The frazzled man murmurs. “I just don’t know what to do or how to make it all work.”
“It’s so easy Yeol!” Chanyeol raises a questioning eyebrow to his friend. “You just have to find a babysitter!” Sehun proclaims.
“A babystitter…?” he whispers quietly to himself. A babysitter? For Iseul…?
“Just imagine what a relief it’d be to have someone pick Iseul up from kindergarten and watch over him while you hustle away at the gym!”
“I couldn’t possibly trust a stranger with my son, Sehun.”
“Please Chanyeol, get off your high horse. It’s not that big of a deal. That person could might as well have been me, right?”
The gears in Chanyeol's brain is going on full speed as he goes through all the logistics of hiring a babysitter. When he thinks about it, Sehun is right. If he could find a trustworthy person to take care of his son the nights he is working, a great weight would have been lifted off his shoulders.
“I see your brain doing that weird thing it does.” Sehun breaks him out of his reverie.
“You mean think? ” Chanyeol mocks at his friends remark. “Of course you’d find a sign of intellect weird.”
“I’ll ignore your false accusation of me lacking in the brains department and do what any good friend would do which is to not kick your ass for being such a brat.”
“Are you calling me, as in me, a brat, you brat?” the gym owner scoffs.
“I don’t understand why you sound so surprised?” the younger of them two feigning nonchalance as he starts to making his way out to the hallway.
“Oh Sehun, I’ll show you how to treat your hyung accordingly !” Chanyeol shouts as he makes a run to karate kick his best friend in the ass. Sehun loses balance in his try to escape the taller man’s wrath and tumbles down onto the shoe shelf. Chanyeol can’t help his snickers as he watches the younger boy curse inwardly.
“You’re such a dick.”
“Oh hush, Oh Sen.” Chanyeol grins as he extends Sehun a helping hand.
In a minute Sehun is dressed in his coat and boots, wrapping his scarf around his neck whilst taking a last glance of Chanyeol.
“So, will you consider the babysitting thing?
“Yeah, I guess I have no choice.”
“It’ll work out great Yeol, you’ll see.”
“Byun Baekhyun! Wait up!”
Said boy halts and turns to face the direction the call had come from.
“Oh, hi Dae.” Baekhyun greats his slightly winded friend. Jongdae had clearly been running to catch up with him and knowing the boy, he rarely finds anyone worthy enough for him to endure the torture that is physical exercise. It had Baekhyun wondering what the fuss was all about.
“Weren’t you meeting up with Minseok-hyung?” he asks.
“Yes,” he quickly replies. “But I saw you walking by and remembered that I had something important to tell you.”
“That I heard from Min that they are in need of extra staff at the aquarium he works at and that you should totally head over there and send in your resume.”
“Shit, really?!” Baekhyun exclaims. “That’s awesome, Dae!”
“I know Baek,” his friend grins. “I have to go now but I’ll text you the info later!” Jongdae had already started heading down the courtyard although his head was still turned to face Baekhyun.
“You’re the best Dae!” Baekhyun waves his best friend off.
Baekhyun’s phone shows it is already 7pm when he enters the lobby to his apartment complex. He had stayed back to study for his upcoming exams after his quick chat with Jongdae.
He greeted the lobby attendant on his way to the elevator before quickly slipping inside. As he pressed the button to his floor and leans on the railing, he felt his energy level plummet through the ground. Today had been a stressful day of running around campus to make it in time for his lectures and hours of cramming information into his brain. Baekhyun wasn’t one to complain about school though. He loved school and he was one of the lucky few who got to study something he was passionate about. That’s why he happily calls out for his grandmother when he finally enters his home.
“Halmeoni, I’m home!”
He can hear the sound of a sorrowful ballad playing from the TV in the living room. He finds his grandmother enchanted by what seems to be the main characters being torn apart from each other. Baekhyun rolls his eyes at the unnecessarily long close-ups of the actors tear-stricken faces.
“Halmeoni!” he calls once again.
The older woman finally acknowledges him. From this angle, he can see his grandmother’s glossy eyes and red nose. She had always been a sucker for dramas.
“Oh, Baekhyunnie, come over here!”
He sighs, but makes his way to sit next to the woman nonetheless. As he dips down onto the couch, her arms are quickly wrapped around his head.
“My Baekhyunnie,” she coos. “Never be with someone who can’t love you wholeheartedly!”
His grandmother’s love for dramas is fueled by the hopeless romantic that she is. This is not the first time she had poured out her worries and demands about Baekhyun’s love life.
“Don’t worry, halmeoni. You know, I’ll be successful enough that I won’t have time for a relationship.”
His grandmother pushed him out of her embrace and gave him a look of disbelief.
“How dare you say that, you selfish child!” she scolds him. “You will find someone and give me grandchildren to take care of!”
Baekhyun chuckles at his frantic grandmother. He finds it incredibly endearing how she is dead-set on him getting married and having children. To escape his grandmother’s scolding, he quickly stands and jogs to his room.
“You stupid child!” she yells after him. “Come back and let me teach one or two things about respect for your elders!”
Once he was inside his room, Baekhyun throws the school bag he had been carrying next to his desk and turns on the power switch for the fish tank sitting next to his desk. The room is illuminated by a mix of soft blues and white, giving it a tropical feel. He has two clownfishes courtesy of his younger self’s obsession with Finding Nemo.
The room is fairly big. Well, he thinks it is really big for an apartment. He managed to fit a king-sized bed, two tall wardrobes placed on both sides of the bed, a desk next to the door and a large aquarium. On the wall facing the bed is a TV. And even with more than the average amount of furniture, he has plenty of space to move around. There are pictures of sea animals and a world map situated over the walls above his bed. It would seem a tad bit weird for someone who doesn’t know Baekhyun personally, but for someone who does it fits his personality perfectly. A crazy fish man is what Jongdae calls him sometimes.
He is reminded by his and Jongdae’s conversation earlier and the fact that he has to prepare his resume for the opening at the aquarium. He has waited so long for it to happen but they never seemed to need staff. The reason Baekhyun is so eager to get this job, or a job in general, is because he is trying to save up enough money to make a trip to Bali. And before you judge him for it, hear him out.
As a marine biology major, Baekhyun has had this strong passion for anything related to the ocean and the life that happens under the waves his entire life. So, when he heard that his university offers a summer program in Bali where he will study its aquatic life, he knew he had to go. However, this kind of program isn’t free and the travel expenses are truthfully not the cheapest, so he started job-hunting in the hopes of saving up for his dream trip. Having a pretty well-off grandmother and generous one at that, could have been Baekhyun’s easy way out. Though, in respect of everything she does for him, it didn’t feel right to accept her money.
“I want to do this on my own, Halmeoni. This time, I want to provide for myself.”
And she respected that. This was much deeper than a school trip, for Baekhyun it was a journey of personal growth and self-discovery. He was becoming a real adult.
So he sat there, day in and day out, looking for openings at his local markets and restaurants. He would work here and there. Sometimes for some ajummas at the fish market, sometimes at an Italian restaurant down the street. He had worked all over the city the past year and earned himself more than half of what he needs for the trip. If he got the job at the aquarium, he might not need to work these random jobs anymore.
The following day was a Saturday. Baekhyun’s internal clock wakes him up at 9am, so he can quickly jump out of bed to get dressed. He wears his favorite ripped jeans and a red hoodie. Throwing a glance at the mirror hanging on the wardrobe, he finds his reflection looking decent enough to show his face in public. The only thing he has to do is style his hair and then he’d look presentable.
Half an hour later, Baekhyun bids goodbye to his grandmother, hair styled and resume in hand. With brisk steps, he makes his way down the corridor, all his attention focused on his phone as he checks the subway’s timetable. He was so invested in the device that he completely blocked out his surroundings. Baekhyun learns that this is an incredibly stupid thing to do as in the next second, he collides with something. Something sturdy. The phone and papers in his hands goes flying out and scatters all around him. He crashes down onto the tile floor, his bum being the part of him that takes the hit.
Dumbstruck, he searched for the object he bumped into. What he sees is not much of a something, more a someone. A tall someone with eyes as wide as saucers and mouth gaping. He too is on the ground.
Baekhyun can’t help but stare at the person in front of him. A man with big ears and rosy cheeks. The man’s sharp nose and strong jaw matched his overall manly outer appearance. Baekhyun was distracted, and he found the man interesting to look at. He had a strong build which didn’t come as a huge surprise for a man as, what was the right word… hunky as him? He was dressed in an all-black sports outfit, looking like someone straight out of a high-end sports magazine. But then the round glasses sitting delicately on his nose and the black mop of hair dangling over his forehead softened his edges. Baekhyun found him oddly bewitching.
Never did Chanyeol think he would find himself in such a situation. Sitting on the ground with his belongings scattered all around him, unable to move an inch from where he was. The gym’s computer system had been faced with some unexpected technical difficulties which led to Chanyeol, as the business owner, being called in to solve it.
The major stress he was faced with this morning, from getting Sehun to babysit Iseul, to finding the documents needed to restore whatever was down, had him rushing down the corridor and when he least expected it, crashing into someone. Needless to say, Chanyeol was one stressful moment away from losing his shit.
“Oh my god!” Someone gasped. “I’m so incredibly sorry for being so thoughtless and irresponsible!” He hears the person say.
As soon as the sound of the other’s voice reaches Chanyeol’s ear, his shocked expression directs its way to the culprit. The owner of the voice was a younger boy with the most beautiful face Chanyeol had ever seen. With eyes a rich hazel color almost glistening, fair skin with an underlying honey tone, and a mole was situated over the boy’s soft cranberry-colored lips. To many, a mole is a mere blemish, but on the boy, Chanyeol finds the dot inexplicably captivating.
Suddenly. the irritation in him died down and was exchanged with curiosity.
Who was the boy in front of him?
“Are you alright?” the boy asks him. Chanyeol watches him crouch down in front of him, staring into his eyes. Chanyeol finally comes to his senses as he quickly clears his throat to answer the boy.
“Yes, of course.”
“I’m so sorry for not looki-”
“Don’t worry about it.” Chanyeol interrupts him mid-sentence. “I wasn’t really that attentive of my surroundings either,” he offers him a small smile, not wanting to come off as crude as Sehun always claims he was.
“Are you sure?” the boy questions him once more with a look of remorse.
The boy shoots him a relieved smile, hand scratching his neck in a way to distract himself from the embarrassment he was feeling. Oh god, Chanyeol almost died there and then.
“Oh!” the younger boy gasps, dropping his embarrassed facade. “Let me help you gather your things.”
This reminds Chanyeol of what he was supposed to be doing and where he was supposed to be going. He too starts fishing for his belongings and organizing the papers in a pile. As he reaches for one of the papers, he notices that it is not one of his but what seem to be the boy’s. A resume with his name and picture is printed on the paper.
Byun Baekhyun, twenty years old, he reads.
“I think this one is yours,” Chanyeol voices out but stays where he is, not planning on giving it back. He scans the page and is impressed by the amount of experience a twenty year old boy could have.
“Ah, yes,” Baekhyun looks at him timidly, slowly getting on his two feet.
“Are you looking for a job,” Chanyeol hands him the paper after he stood up from where he had been crouching. “Baekhyun?”
At the mention of his name, Chanyeol notices the red tint coloring the younger boy’s cheeks.
Hmm. An idea suddenly enters Chanyeol’s thoughts.
“Have you ever babysat?”
At the question, Baekhyun’s timid eyes turns into confused ones.
“Uhmm, I have worked at a pet store where my job was to basically keep the animals alive, isn’t that the same?”
Chanyeol couldn’t help but let a small chuckle escape his lips. This boy, Baekhyun, is incredibly enticing.
“Well if you look at it from that perspective, then yes, it kind of is,” he smiles. “I’m asking because I’m in need of one.”
“Oh, is that so?” Baekhyun questions in interest.
“I suppose you live in the building?” Chanyeol scrunches his nose like always does when his glasses are falling down. “It would be amazing to have you so close.”
“I live here with my halmeoni.”
Could it perhaps be halmeoni Byun? The only old lady on their floor?
“Are you by chance halmeoni Byun’s grandson?”
How could Chanyeol never have seen the boy if he lives right down the hall? He is sure that he would have noticed his presence, because let’s be honest, the boy is stunning; an absolute beauty. And it makes him feel some kind of way.
“I am!” the boys beams. “Do you know her?”
“Yes, she’s a very kind lady.”
“She is, isn’t she,” Baekhyun praises his grandmother. “If you agree to it, I would love to babysit for you.”
Chanyeol looks at him, a small smile etching his lips but not fully blooming out to a grin.
“Give me your number and we’ll figure something out.”
It had been a week since Baekhyun’s first meeting with his neighbour which he learned was named Park Chanyeol. Chanyeol ran a gym somewhere in town, Baekhyun didn’t really pay attention to where exactly as he was too distracted by the male and his presence. The man was older too, twenty eight if he remembers correctly.
Twenty year old Baekhyun had never felt this way towards anyone before. It was almost like a spell had been cast over him, making Chanyeol his only focus. It was scary and a tiny bit embarrassing. He was supposed to babysit the man’s child for the love of god. How could these kinds of thoughts even be on his mind? Chanyeol probably even had a wife waiting for him at home. Which meant he did not have time for little boys like Baekhyun running after him.
It’s a shame though, Baekhyun thinks. At least he could watch the man from afar. It could be fun too.
Right before they parted that day, Chanyeol saved his number.
“I’ll get back to you,” was what he had said, but a week had gone by and Baekhyun hadn’t heard back anything from the older.
Despite his small crush on the man, he really needed a job. Lucky for him, he had been promised extra hours at the aquarium he frequents at. The manager told him he would be called in now and then when they were in need of manpower. It would fine for now, Baekhyun thought, at least he would be around the amazingly beautiful fishes.
A couple hours into his shift, the aquarium is filled with what seems to be kindergarteners and their frantic teachers guiding them through the entrance. Baekhyun snickers at the look of distress on their faces. They had all the kids wearing bright yellow vests. He wonders if his neighbour’s son is going to give him the same kind of stress.
“Baekhyun-ssi!” his colleague brings him out of his reverie.
“Uh- yes?” he answers.
“Could you go check if we have more t-shirts in children’s sizes? I think we won’t have enough for all the ones that just came in.”
“Sure!” he smiles and heads into the storage room.
The room was a mess, which had Baekhyun slightly annoyed, of course they tell the new kid to go into the chambers of chaos. As he walks past the shark tank, he notices a kid with one of those bright yellow vests standing alone admiring the creatures. He quickly walks up to the boy.
“Running away from our teachers, are we now?”
The little one immediately turns around, wearing a surprised look. Although he was still sporting twinkling eyes as one does when witnessing a live show of bloodthirsty sea creatures.
“No, hyung-nim! I got lost! Then I saw the big fishes and they are so cool!” he blabbers in defense.
“Hmm, is that so?” Baekhyun hums hesitatingly. “Well, you should have found an adult to help you. What if something bad happened, hmm?”
“Sorry hyung-nim.” the boy looks at his feet in guilt.
“It’s fine, little one.” Baekhyun squats down so he is at eye level with the boy. “You know that those fishes actually are sharks? You know those big scary fishes that eat tiny fishes?”
“WHAT? Hyung-nim, they eat the tiny fishes?”
“Uh-huh! They are very sly you know? They slowly and quietly approach their prey and when they least expect it, they attack !” At the last word, Baekhyun tickled the boy’s waist. It draws out a hearty laughter from the boy.
“Ahhh! Hyung-niiiiiiim!” Baekhyun can’t help but find the tiny one extremely adorable.
“Let’s go find your teacher, okay?” Baekhyun ruffles the boy’s hair.
“But hyung-nim, I want to watch the big scary fishes!”
“I have to go, tiny fish. Maybe you can watch them with your teachers if you behave nicely?”
“Tsk, fine!” the boy pouts and follows the older one.
Baekhyun picks up the t-shirts he was carrying and leads the way. They find his teachers at the exhibition next to the sharks. A woman with short black hair and panic-stricken eyes approaches them.
“Thank god!” she sighs in relief.
“I found him admiring the sharks,” he tries to calm the woman. “He promised not to stray away from his teachers again. Right, tiny fish?” Baekhyun pinches the boy’s cheek. The small boy fights off Baekhyun’s hand in an embarrassed yet joking manner.
“Thank you! And Iseul-ah,” she starts as she takes said boys tiny hand in hers. “You can never leave us like that!”
Baekhyun takes this as his cue to get back to work, but he doesn’t get so far as he is stopped in his tracks by the tiny boy’s voice.
“Bye, shark hyung-nim!” The boy is grinning with all his teeth on display whilst waving with his entire arm.
“Bye, tiny fish!” he grins back.
It’s Tuesday night, Chanyeol had just put his son to bed and was finally able to sit down and gather himself after a hectic day. Work has been a lot lately and it shows as he had forgot plenty of things; to do the laundry for example, thus resulting in them wearing mismatched socks and Iseul wearing his I <3 MY UNCLE t-shirt Sehun had gotten him for his 5th birthday this year. He felt, as the socially integrated man he is, very bad for his son’s get-up that day.
Another thing he had forgotten was texting Baekhyun, the neighbor boy. The one who was supposed to babysit his son so mishaps like these could be avoided. As he settles on the sofa inside his slightly-cluttered living room, the clutter being his son’s toys and clothes from his bath earlier, he doesn’t give it another thought. Now. How does he approach the boy who is supposed to look after his kid and is very, very cute and left him flustered and his heart skipping beats but is also his neighbor and very much younger than him?
Maybe he could start with... a hello?
to: Baekhyun the babysitter
Hello Baekhyun-ssi, it’s Park Chanyeol.
Sorry for getting back to you so late,
I hope you’re still available?
Okay, yeah. He thinks to himself. Nice, Chanyeol, very smooth. It’s slightly past the time when it’s socially acceptable to message someone about work but Chanyeol shakes off the embarrassment and focuses on the screen. He feels giddy and almost… nervous in a way.
A few moments later when Chanyeol is about to fall asleep in his position on the sofa, his phone startles him awake.
from: Baekhyun the babysitter
hi mr park! ^^ no worries at all,
and yes i’m still available!
His texts sound just as cute as he looks in real life.
to: Baekhyun the babysitter
That’s a relief. Thank you again
for wanting to help out, it means
a lot for a stressed out dad as myself.
And also you can call me Chanyeol.
from: Baekhyun the babysitter
i’m glad to help, chanyeol! ^^
you know i was wondering
when you’d contact me, i assume
you have a busy life?
to: Baekhyun the babysitter
Something like that! So my
thought was to invite you over
tomorrow maybe so Iseul could
get to know you a bit before?
Is that weird? Maybe but he doesn’t want just anyone in his home. Although he knows Baekhyun isn’t just anyone, he will tell himself it’s a routine.
from: Baekhyun the babysitter
sounds good :) when do you want
His text come in later and later which has Chanyeol suspecting the younger is getting too sleepy to answer. Hmm , he was a student he recalls.
to: Baekhyun the babysitter
At 6pm maybe? I was planning
on making us dinner, if you’d
like to join?
from: Baekhyun the babysitter
6pm it is! :D it’s getting
late though, you should go
to sleep mr park!
Chanyeol snorts to himself. Maybe you’re the one who should go to sleep, kid.
to: Baekhyun the babysitter
Alright, Baekhyun. See you
tomorrow. Sleep tight.
from: Baekhyun the babysitter
good night ^^
A few minutes past 6pm the following night, Baekhyun made his way down to the Park’s apartment. He was being honestly slightly anxious over the whole meeting. How was he supposed to act? Chanyeol is after all, his employer and he does want to give a good first impression although it wasn’t exactly the first but more of a half, so a good first and a half impression.
Yesterday, when he had seen the notification with Chanyeol’s name on it, he had quite literally fallen out of bed. Yes, his twenty year old ass had gotten so excited he had rolled over the edge of his bed. But that is not to be spoken about since no one but him witnessed it, and to be frank, and the only thing he could think about was that he was meeting the man and his son...AND HIS WIFE? How could he have forgotten that a child needed a woman, a MOTHER to be conceived?! If he doesn’t faint there and then, he doesn’t know when he will. Yet, there is no time for passing out as he had knocked on door 110, the one of Park Chanyeol, his son and, Baekhyun gulps, his wife .
In a second, he hears excited yelling from behind the door and a mumbling from a deeper, more mature voice.
“Baekhyun-ah! Welcome,” Chanyeol greets him as he opens the door. “This is, the very curious, Iseul.”
At his words, a tiny little human broke through the obstacle Chanyeol created with his tall form. And if Baekhyun’s incredulous look after seeing the son doesn’t give out his surprise, the small boy’s excited words sure does.
“Shark hyung-nim?” he yells out in elation.
“Tiny fish! We meet again I see,” he laughs as he squats so he can ruffle the boy’s hair. “I’m Baekhyun.”
Watching the whole ordeal play out was a very confused Chanyeol.
“Yes, appa!” Iseul jumps whilst grabbing Baekhyun’s hand in his.
“We met at the aquarium I work part-time at.” He is happy the boy remembered him and that Chanyeol’s son, out of all people, is the little rascal who escaped from his teachers to watch the sharks. “He had strayed away from his class so I helped him find them again. And taught him about sharks too.”
“So that was you? His teacher told me about what happened.”
“Yep.” Baekhyun looks sheepishly at Chanyeol and then down at the boy, still very much happy over their meeting. “Isn’t you wife at home?” he asks carefully.
“Wife? Oh no, I’m very much single.”
At those words, Baekhyun’s guilt over crushing on a married man and fear of meeting said wife lifts from his chest. All is good.
The night goes on. Iseul shows him his whole collection of toys, especially his shark plushies, and then all his books and movies that he loves. Without Chanyeol’s help, the duo get to know each other more than the man had thought, to his pleasant surprise.
An hour in, Chanyeol calls both of them to the kitchen where he had set up their dinner. For the first time, Baekhyun has time to take in the apartment. It has an open-kitchen concept, meaning there was no wall between the kitchen and living room. The apartment was modern and simply furnished. Except for the pops of color coming from Iseul’s toys and drawings, the only colors decorated with are black, grey and brass detailing. Baekhyun likes it. Especially the large sofa and TV next to the glass wall with a view looking over the bustling city.
The kitchen they enter is modern and space-y High-tech appliances and the rest of the kitchen in a sleek black theme, Baekhyun is impressed. In the middle of the room, there is a black marble-top kitchen island where Chanyeol had placed their food.
“Baekhyun-ah, please sit.” Chanyeol guides him to one of the barstools. “I bet you are exhausted from someone’s chatter,” he says as he jokingly points at his son.
“I had fun with the tiny fish here, Mr Park, don’t worry!” he smiles at the taller man.
“It makes me so happy to hear, really,” the man looks at him with soft eyes and head leaned to the side. “But I’ve told you to call me Chanyeol! Mr. Park is my dad!” he rolls his eyes in banter.
“Fine, Chanyeol….- ssi.”
“Good!” the older man snickers. “Now please eat, my very talented and much needed babysitter.”
At Chanyeol’s words, Baekhyun can’t help himself from almost imploding. How could the man be so effortlessly charming? This was not good for Baekhyun’s health.
Chanyeol places food on Iseul’s plate and lets the boy eat on his own.
“Baek-shark,” the smaller calls him by his new nickname. “I can eat by myself now.”
“Well, aren’t you a big fish,” Baekhyun coos.
“I am!” the smaller grins.
“Okay now, eat your food Mr. Humble.” His father ruffles the boys hair, ignoring his shriek. “So, Baekhyun as you seem to get along well I was thinking that Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays are the days that I’m the busiest at work and that those would be the days you babysit. If it works for you that is?”
“Sure does. Although, I will from time to time take shifts at the aquarium where I also work at.”
“That’s fine, I’m glad to get any help at all!” Chanyeol scrunches his nose to push up his glasses that were falling down. “Iseul ends kindergarten at 4pm and I come home late in the evening so you’d pick him up and take him home. I’ll give you the code to the front door so you have access to the apartment.”
“Works fine by me.”
Later that night, when Baekhyun is leaving, Iseul refuses to let his Baek-shark go and whines for a few moments until he agrees to let him go since they will be meeting again soon. Baekhyun leaves the Parks with a light feeling in his chest. The whole meeting had him feeling giddy; anxiety all forgotten… and scary wife as well.
Baekhyun is babysitting Iseul for the first time the following Friday. On his way to said boy, Baekhyun reads a text he had gotten from Chanyeol earlier that day.
from: chanyeol-ssi :’)
Good luck with the
little one today! 1:33pm
Baekhyun is a man of honor. A man that never lies. So when he tells you he almost squealed from reading the older man’s words, he was not lying.
to: chanyeol-ssi :’)
he’ll be great! :)
good luck at work,
After hopping on the bus at his university, he arrives at the boy’s kindergarten just in time before the clock strikes 4 pm. He enters an unfamiliar environment which makes him a bit uneasy. What if the teachers doesn’t let him take Iseul home and have to call Chanyeol? That would be humiliating, he thinks.
”Hello!” a chipper voice interrupts him in his thinking. ”Are you perhaps here for Iseul?” she asks politely.
Damn, Baekhyun thinks. Politeness and manners run through those preschool teachers’ blood.
”Hello. Yes, I am Baekhyun.” he bows and takes a few steps closer to the lady. ”I’m his new babysitter.”
”Mr. Park told us. And Iseul too, something about a Baek sh-”
”BAEK-SHARK!” he hears the voice of Iseul calling after him. In a second, the small boy is curled around his legs in a hug.
”Hi there, tiny fish!”
Almost immediately, the smaller starts blabbering about anything and everything that comes on his mind. He has missed Baekhyun for sure, which warms his heart. It is so unfamiliar all of this, taking care of a tiny human being. Making sure he is safe, clean and fed. But Iseul is different. He makes it so easy and they haven’t even gotten to the real parts yet.
They make their way to the bus station. Iseul is draped in warm, cold-resistant clothes. Typical Park Chanyeol he thinks. He cares a lot for his son which makes Baekhyun swoon even more.
He has one of the tiny man’s gloved hand in his, swinging back and forth. Next to him, Iseul is happily looking around and telling Baekhyun about all the new things he is experiencing.
”Tiny man, this is our bus,” Baekhyun says once they arrive at their stop. He points at the vehicle parked by the curb. ”Let’s hurry, yeah?”
On the bus, Iseul chooses a seat in the front where he has the same view as the driver.
”Do you want to listen to music with me, Iseul-ah?”
The smaller nods and soon Baekhyun is sharing earphones with an exhausted five year old. The ride home is much quieter. Sometimes they talk, mostly about sharks.
“Do you know that sharks can hear their prey from three thousand feet?”
“Is that far, hyung?” the smaller asks with pouty lips.
“Yes, kind of.” he smiles at the boy calling him hyung instead of his usual nickname.
When they arrive at the Parks’ apartment, Baekhyun made sure to follow the mental checklist he made of Chanyeol’s instructions. Iseul makes his way to his toys right away, so much from being tired, he thinks. Baekhyun starts cooking an easy dinner for the both of them. Spaghetti and meatballs works for any age, he thinks.
“Iseul-ah, let’s get you ready for bed, tiny man!” he calls after the boy when they have finished their meal.
“But Baek-shark hyung, I’m not sleepy!”
“We can watch a movie to fall asleep?” he bribed.
They end up watching Finding Nemo on the sofa in the living room. Half of the movie had gone by and the tiny boy is already snoring away, cocooned in a blanket to the right of him. Baekhyun himself is catching up on his course literature, not the most entertaining part of his studies, but he manages.
A few minutes past 9pm, Baekhyun heard the door open and closing. It’s Chanyeol. Baekhyun could see the tiredness in his eyes when he enters the room. He is still very handsome. His lips are forming a soft, tired smile. To Baekhyun, the most enchanting part about Chanyeol is the simplicity of his beauty. It’s natural and effortless. He is carved into perfection.
“Hi.” he greets softly.
“Hey,” Baekhyun greets back and puts down the book to pay attention to the man. “Had a tough day?”
“Sure did,” Chanyeol sighs as he places his belongings on the kitchen island. “My question, though, is how you have managed to stay awake whilst reading that thick- ass book?”
A tired Chanyeol seems to be a blunt Chanyeol. Baekhyun smiles to himself.
“School stuff; can’t run away from it no matter how much I want to.”
“What do you major in?”
“So we have a smarty-pants here?” Chanyeol raises his brows in interest.
“My friend calls it a fish obsession, but I prefer your way of thinking a lot more.”
Chanyeol grins at Baekhyun’s comment.
“I’ll get going, you’ve had a long day.” Baekhyun smiles softly at the man. “And the tiny man too.” he throws a glance at the sleeping boy.
“Thank you for today, Baekhyun.”
“No worries.” he shoots the man another grin. “Good night, Chanyeol.”
“You too, Baekhyun.”
“I like this song,” the boy points out as he nonchalantly looks out the bus window watching traffic go by.
“Me too, tiny,” he smiles as the words of Zion.T’s song ‘Eat’ fills their ears.
It’s the beginning of the week, Tuesday to be exact, and the duo are on their way home after a long day. When they arrived home, they were both cold and hungry. Baekhyun made it a mission to order in pizza while Iseul brought his favorite plushies to the sofa.
“Hyung, I wanna watch a movie,” the boy pouts which has Baekhyun’s heart melting.
“How about Finding Dory?” he suggests. “It’s about Nemo’s friend, remember?”
“Yes! Yes! Yes!” the small boy jumped on the grey sofa.
“Alright, alright!” Baekhyun laughed at his excitement.
The pizza arrived half and hour later, saving the duo from their starvation.
“I love cheese, hyung!”
The babysitter watches the boy happily munch on the cheese-coated piece of food. Not matter how much he tried to look after traits of Chanyeol in him, Baekhyun couldn’t seem to find anything reminding him of the stoic man. Maybe he got most of his looks from the mother? Baekhyun has avoided threading into those kind of questions, knowing he was just the babysitter at the end of the day.
Amidst their pizza party, the front door clicked open and soon the owner of the house entered the house. He finds the duo at the same place like last time, although this time, they aren’t sleeping but eating. Coming home early was a good idea.
“Appa you’re home!” Iseul squeals in his place. “Look, we’re eating pizza!
“Hey bud, I see that you are,” he smiled at his son as he made his way to kiss his messy cheek. “Hello Baekhyun.”
“Hi Chanyeol,” he greets the man. He didn’t expect him to be home by this time. “Had a good day?”
“I did, and you?” Chanyeol seemed to be in a good mood today. His shoulders and jaw looked less stiff and his brows weren’t in a frown. The man took off his glasses and put them on the coffee table. He combed through his hair with the finger of his right hand. Wow.
“G-good.” Baekhyun stammers. Seeing the man comfortable in such a domestic setting is making him giddy. “Have some pizza, you must be hungry.” He opts to save himself from his mishap.
“I’m the owner of a fitness establishment, Baekhyun.” Chanyeol shoots him a mischievous smile.
“So...?” Baekhyun ponders as he munches on the pizza crust.
“So, I try to practice what I preach.” Chanyeol sighs and makes himself comfortable next to his son..
“That’s boring,” Baekhyun points out. “Pizza is too delicious.”
Chanyeol grins at the younger boy. Baekhyun is not sure why but it makes his whole body heat up. His cheeks especially.
“Do you train people too?”
“Sometimes,” Chanyeol’s eyes trail over from Baekhyun to his son’s struggle with the stringy cheese. “But mostly I’m inside the office.”
“Wow, that’s b-”
“Boring?” Chanyeol interrupts him with a teasing smile.
“How did you know what I was going to say, Mr. Park?” Baekhyun feigns surprise.
“I live and breathe it, kid.”
When the food is devoured by the duo, Baekhyun feels it is only right to head back home.
“But hyung, I don’t want you to go!”
“Iseul-ah, Baekhyun has a halmeoni he has to see too. Just like you have an appa,” the father explains to the boy.
“But I want to see my hyung too!” he sports a frown and pouty lips to match his displeasure.
“Hey tiny man, I’ll see you tomorrow, alright?” Baekhyun crouched down to hug the boy. “Okay?”
“Okay,” the boy said in disappointment.
“Good night Baekhyun. Thanks for today.” Chanyeol gives him a pat on his arm. Pat. On. His. Arm. Trying to mask his inner chaos, Baekhyun smiles and nods at the man’s words.
“Of course, you too.”
“Bye Baek-shark HYUNG!” the smaller calls after Baekhyun had stepped outside to leave.
“Bye, tiny fish!”
When he enters the quiet of his home, his mood sinks a bit. It such a vast difference from where he just was, where everything is light and lively. As he walks pass the living room to get to his room, he finds his grandmother on the sofa watching her usual dramas. She smiles at him as he goes over to give her a kiss on the cheek. For so long, she has been the most important person in his life. He wonders if that will ever change.
Over a month has gone by of Baekhyun babysitting Iseul. They had become closer than ever and Baekhyun had found himself spending more time thinking about what to watch with or what to cook for the smaller. All these thoughts grew from the fondness he had for the tiny boy.
Sometimes, he had to work at the aquarium where he giggled a whole lot less and where he had to actually do watch. Iseul always showed his disappointment when Baekhyun had to skip a day with him. Chanyeol too, although not in a “now-he-has-to-do-the-work” kind of way, but still a form of disappointment as well. He always texted him encouraging words before or after his shifts. It made him smile.
from: chanyeol :’)
Good luck at work
today, fishboy :)
to: chanyeol :’)
thanks, sajangnim :D
Baekhyun appreciated the man’s texts at random hours. It was like he, even for a minute, had him in mind. Which was not really helping him with his unhealthy crush on the older.
On a late a Friday evening, Chanyeol manages to bring his old, tired body home to his son and babysitter. It’s unusually quiet inside their apartment as Baekhyun is usually chasing Iseul around the house to make him put on his pajamas.
What he doesn’t expect is the two sleeping bodies on his living room sofa. Baekhyun is lying with his head on a pillow and Iseul is lying with his head on the elder’s stomach. Adorable. They are tooth-achingly sweet and Chanyeol finds himself having an internal fit over how can they so cute?! Their faces are illuminated by the blue colors from the TV. Another fish movie playing as usual. This one is about sharks, but they are a mafia and Chanyeol’s tired brain is not questioning it.
He makes his way to his sleeping son and lifts him off of Baekhyun to bring him into his own room. On his way back to the living room, he brings a softer pillow and blanket to keep the young one on the sofa warm and comfortable. Watching the sleeping boy gives Chanyeol this unfamiliar feeling in his chest. It’s giddiness mixed with fondness. Baekhyun’s soft auburn locks fall over his closed lids. His lashes are really long, Chanyeol notices as he places the pillow he brought under the boy’s head. He places the blanket over the smaller’s body.
Since Baekhyun came in their life, Chanyeol has been experiencing a lot of his firsts again, or maybe bringing back a way of doing things that he had left behind a long time ago. For example, letting his twenty year old babysitter sleepover. He rarely let anyone get through the barrier of politeness and formality. But with Baekhyun, he had gotten very comfortable. It was alarming but an inviting feeling nonetheless. His protective nature had presented itself in the presence of the younger. All he knew was that he liked having him around, so did his son, which made it less of a problem.
At the thought of protectiveness, he is reminded of halmeoni Byun. The woman would be worried if her grandson never made it back home, therefore Chanyeol makes his way down the corridor and knocks on door 118. A few seconds go by and then the door opens up.
“Good evening, halmeoni,” Chanyeol greets with a small bow.
“Chanyeol-ssi, to what do I owe the pleasure?” her wrinkled smile-lines protruding even more at the sight of him. “Where is my grandson?” she then questions.
“Asleep on my sofa,” he snickers. “I wanted to let you know that he is okay. I assume they had a long day, I found them both decked out.”
The older lady chuckles at the imagination.
“Must have been a sight to see.”
“Sure was.” he smiles politely.
“Thank you for letting me know, Chanyeol.”
“Of course,” the taller man nods. “Good night, halmeoni.”
“Good night, Chanyeol-ssi.”
As Chanyeol turns around to make his way back home, he is stopped by the grandmother’s voice.
“Take care of him Chanyeol,” she says with a twinkle in her eyes.
He watches her for a few seconds, trying to decode the meaning of her words. Then he smiles at her and nods. A quick bow and he is walking back.
He will .
Baekhyun is startled awake by the sound of an alert five year old. The boy had straddled his stomach tickling his waist as Baekhyun usually does to him.
“Wake up hyung!” the smaller calls.
“I am! I am!” Baekhyun laughs and tickles back the boy who is especially ticklish this morning.
“Park Iseul!” the booming voice of his father is heard. “What did I tell you about letting your hyung rest?”
Chanyeol is wearing grey sweatpants and a black tank top. Baekhyun thinks he’s died a hundred times over. He knows he is supposed to find the man incredibly attractive with his muscles all out for the world to see, but he can’t seem to fight the urge to internally coo at the man’s messy mop of hair and round glasses resting on his beautifully-carved nose.
“It’s alright Chanyeol.” Baekhyun assures him. “I don’t mind being attacked by this little shark here,” he says and begins to tickle the boy once again.
“I’ll go make something for breakfast. You,” he points at his son. “show Baekhyun where I have my clothes. And you,” he points at Baekhyun this time. “put on something comfortable. There are spare toothbrushes under the sink.”
Both boys watch the tall man’s retreating back leaving Iseul excited to help and Baekhyun dumbstruck. What is happening? First thing he falls asleep on the sofa and next thing he knows, Chanyeol lends him his own clothes. Baekhyun isn’t sure of what is going on but he isn’t complaining. Sometimes, you just have to let whatever is playing out, play out for the sake of your own sanity.
Iseul brings him to Chanyeol’s bedroom. It is just like the rest of the house, modern and minimalistic. Grey walls and dark wooden flooring. A king-sized bed with black bedding is placed in the middle of the room. He has a door on wall of the room, Baekhyun suspects it’s a bathroom. There are numerous of little details that Baekhyun find so...Chanyeol. Like some of the artwork of green mysterious woods and the rustic brass lamps sitting on each sides of the bed.
“Hyung!” Iseul grabs Baekhyun’s sleeve and drags him to the tall and broad wardrobe in the corner of the room. It’s covered in mirrors, complementing the room’s modern theme. “Here!”
Baekhyun hesitates before sliding the door open. It feels like he is invading the man’s privacy even though he is only following the man’s orders. The wardrobe is filled with mostly black and grey clothing. Shocker, Baekhyun thinks to himself. The clothes are organized by color and type. He sees mostly sportswear but also some dress shirts and suits. He couldn’t help but imagine Chanyeol in a suit, oh wow.
He chooses a pair of black sweatpants and a white t-shirt that looks way oversized on him but it’ll do. He folds his yellow hoodie and jeans, leaving them on Chanyeol’s bed for now. Iseul had left his side so he made it his mission to make himself more presentable in the house of his employer but also crush and neighbor. What a weird combination.
“Baekhyun. Come, sit.” Chanyeol dictates as the younger boy enters the kitchen. Iseul was already munching on some pancakes. His hand automatically reaches out to tickle his neck. He mumbles something Baekhyun can’t seem to understand but he giggles at the cuteness of it all.
“Thank you for letting me borrow your clothes, and for letting me stay over and fo-”
“Food. Here,” Chanyeol interrupts him again and he seems to not want to hear it, so Baekhyun does as he’s told and starts digging in to the pancakes Chanyeol had placed on a plate for him.
“When did you come home last night?” he asks the older.
“Late enough to find you two sleepy-heads decked out on the sofa,” the man snickers. “It was cute.”
Baekhyun feels heat creeping up his face at the man’s words. Cute.
“You could’ve woken me up you know,” Baekhyun says rather timidly. “And my halmeoni must be really worried.”
“It’s fine, Baekhyun.” Chanyeol shoots him an assuring smile. “I told her you fell asleep and that you’d be staying over.”
Chanyeol talked to his halmeoni? It’s too early in the morning for Baekhyun to be hit with these surprises.
“Okay,” he tries to assure himself all the same. “I’ll head out after breakfast, I don’t want to disturb you on your day off.”
“Why?” Chanyeol’s eyebrows morph into a frown. “Are you going somewhere? Work?”
“Then, why go?”
Those words caught the attention of Iseul which triggered his clinginess and, nope- he would not have his hyung leave him today of all days!
“Hyung, you can’t gooo!”
“Yeah, hyung .” Chanyeol mocks him. “You can’t.”
“Well...” Baekhyun tries to stand his ground quickly but it breaks just as fast. “A-alright then. I’ll stay.”
“Yay! You’re the best hyung!” Iseul hollers in delight.
Chanyeol smirks in victory and Baekhyun sighs in defeat. His poor heart.
After breakfast, they camp in the living room. Baekhyun puts on The Little Mermaid to both of the Parks’ dismay but they don’t complain. Baekhyun has that power over them.
“This is my favorite movie,” he says as Iseul cuddles to his side. Chanyeol threw him a fuzzy blanket to keep the cold out.
“I never saw it,” the oldest of them points out. Baekhyun looks at the man with eyes wide as saucers and mouth forming into something akin to disgust.
“You have to be joking with me, Park Chanyeol!”
“Appa is weird, hyung,” Iseul adds clinging on to Baekhyun.
“He sure is, tiny man.” Baekhyun looks away, eyebrows raised in disbelief and head shaking in dismissal.
Chanyeol is left to recover from the huge amount of sass he was dealt with. It’s not easy being him.
Later, when they’ve watched a couple of movies, ate their McDonald’s delivery and Iseul and Baekhyun had teased Chanyeol for whatever his old man brain couldn’t keep up with, a calm has settled in the apartment. Iseul is fighting the urge to fall asleep, which he eventually does, leaving Chanyeol and Baekhyun the only ones awake.
“Thanks for today,” Chanyeol’s says in a low wistful voice.
Baekhyun looks over at him, tucked under a blanket and auburn hair a mess.
“Being a source of happiness for Iseul,” the man trails his eyes all over the boy’s face. “And me.”
Baekhyun doesn’t know what to say to that. How does he react? He is feeling all kinds of emotions right now. Joy, anxiety, confusion and most importantly fondness. He is warm from head to toe. He feels as they’ve entered another level in their relationship. A tough and scary one. But also one where if you come out alive it will all be worth it.
He looks over to the small boy sleeping with his head rested on his stomach. Then he gazes over the tall man beside him. He too is happy for them, because of them.
Before he voices his thoughts, Baekhyun clears his throat, as if he’s trying to prolong the time between his needed answer.
“I’m grateful too,” is what he says and looks at Chanyeol. Knowing the man understood the meaning behind his words and he himself knowing the meaning of Chanyeol’s.
They both look at each other in fondness. Not knowing exactly where they are heading but knowing that they will figure it out one way or another. Chanyeol ruffles his hair in the midst of everything.
“Hey!” Baekhyun protest. “Stupid!” he pouts as the man retreats his hand with a snicker.
An hour later, Baekhyun is making his way to the front door with Chanyeol trailing after him. He felt the sudden need to see his halmeoni. Feeling as if he stayed any longer, he’ll implode. Don’t get him wrong, he just needs a moment or two to cool down from everything that had taken place today.
“You could’ve just stayed,” Chanyeol tries once again to keep him a little while longer.
“I have overstayed, Chanyeol.” Baekhyun smiles. “Thanks for today, I had a great time with you both.”
Chanyeol watches him put on his shoes. He’s still wearing the taller man’s clothes, his own forgotten amidst the winter darkness in Chanyeol’s room, sitting lonely on top of his bed.
“I’ve thought about something,” Baekhyun starts as he stands just by the door. “I’ll be taking more shifts at the aquarium this spring, so I won’t accepting any pay from you.”
At those words Chanyeol frowns in disapproval.
“It’s my decision Chanyeol,” he stops him from going any further. “It doesn’t feel right.”
Chanyeol stays quiet. Baekhyun smiles at him.
“I’ll still be here when you need me though, of course.”
“Fine, but I’ll find another way to pay you back.”
“Shut up, kid.” Chanyeol chuckles and does something that surprises both of them. He embraces the smaller in a hug. Baekhyun freezes for a second but eventually brings his arms around the taller in a hug too.
In this very moment, Baekhyun is the happiest he had been in a very long time.
Goodnight, fishboy <3
It has been over two months since Baekhyun had came into the Parks’ lives. And after Baekhyun spent the night at their apartment a while ago their relationship had developed for the better. Baekhyun comes around, although not as frequently as he did before since he has another part-time job besides babysitting Chanyeol’s son.
It saddens the boys as they don’t get to see him as often, not often being only three to four times a week. Chanyeol makes sure to keep in touch with the boy, partly because Iseul keeps nagging him about wanting to video call his hyung but also because he himself misses the smaller’s presence.
He had taken the habit of texting the smaller at random hours of the day. Although for him they are not random but his real working hours, to Baekhyun though, they were weird.
You forgot your
book last night!
I’ll bring it tonight.
you’re a gem sajangnim<3
As spring is known for being a stressful time for students, Baekhyun had started bringing his course work when babysitting Iseul. He often forgot his stuff at their apartment. Chanyeol didn’t mind it though, it was nice seeing a part of Baekhyun starting to sneak into their everyday life.
Did you steal my blue
hoodie again rascal? >:)
you own a blue hoodie,
Why are you awake?
i feel sick :(
Where? Does it hurt?
I’ll bring you soup.
Stay at home today.
Chanyeol found himself wanting to look after the boy in ways he never would. Like making sure his studies are going well and that he is healthy. Baekhyun had gotten comfortable with Chanyeol too. He no longer felt the need to be polite, on the contrary, he took the liberty to steal Chanyeol’s clothes whenever he needed to. Mostly after bathing Iseul or dirtying his clothes while cooking. Baekhyun wasn’t the most graceful one in the lot but he did like no other. Sometimes, he even took his clothes because he felt like it.
Another thing that had developed with time was the nicknames. Baekhyun had a thing for calling people everything besides their given name. Chanyeol often times got the korean word for boss, in any mix Baekhyun could think of. Sometimes he’d give him credit for his creativity but mostly he’d get back to him by attacking his ticklish spot behind his ears.
Baekhyun liked to send him pictures of himself. He usually wrote a little message like “ i love my new sweater :D” when wearing one of Chanyeol’s stolen ones or “ i miss iseul :( send me a pic of him old man.”. He liked to share his day through pictures and Chanyeol loved to be on the receiving end. Sometimes he’d snap some photos as well. Right before bedtime with Iseul, first thing in the morning with his hair sticking out in weird angles and he even took some in the mirror at the gyms weightlifting area just to provoke the smaller.
hmmm, you should
tell your employees
to clean the mirrors.
His responses weren’t always in Chanyeol’s favor but he was entertained nonetheless.
Chanyeol and Baekhyun had gotten into the habit of not only constantly texting each other but for the younger one to stay back some time after Chanyeol had come home from work. They’d either make a late night snack or fall into a comfortable silence whilst watching some ocean documentary on Netflix. On night they both were exhausted they’d even fall asleep on the sofa.
Tonight, Chanyeol comes home after Iseul had gone to bed. Baekhyun doesn’t pay him much attention as he is immersed into the latest documentaries about killer whales. Chanyeol, aware of the younger’s fixation, doesn’t even try to bring him out of it. Instead, he walks around the kitchen to bring the utensils they need for the food he had brought home.
He sets the boy’s food in front of him on the coffee table and then he lightly pats his head. At the touch of his hand, Baekhyun turns his head to the now sitting man. He smiles shyly for a second.
Chanyeol smiles back. They stay like that, watching whatever Baekhyun puts on. Some time after their food is finished and Baekhyun is almost falling asleep, Chanyeol goes to check up on his son. When he gets back, Baekhyun is either decked out or getting ready to go home.
Tonight, Baekhyun is in the kitchen pouring himself a glass of water. Chanyeol walks up to him. They look at each other for a few moments. Baekhyun puts down the glass in his hold.
Influenced by the mood of the late evening, both of them moved themselves lazily. Baekhyun closes in on Chanyeol. He pokes his cheek in a teasing manner. It’s also a way to show his affection for the man.
“You’re tired,” he says softly. “Go to sleep.”
Then Chanyeol does what Baekhyun thinks is his favorite thing in the world. He caresses the younger’s cheek with his calloused fingers, then he takes him softly by the neck and guides his head to rest on his shoulder. He ruffles Baekhyun’s soft hair. Chanyeol is so tantalizing.
The late hours calms Baekhyun’s raging heart.
Everything feels so effortless,
S o natural .
Wanna come over
for movies and
hmm, convince me.
Iseul is sick
and misses you :(
oh my sweet baby :’(
i’m going to snuggle him!!!
of course! i miss my
tiny man too :(
my shift ends at 7.
See you soon<3
When Baekhyun enters the apartment complex, he runs directly to the elevator. He presses the button about a million times in the short time he stands there waiting for it to come down. When the elevator finally arrives at the main floor, he dashes inside and presses the button taking him up.
In a few minutes, the boy manages to quickly enter the password and the front door of the Park’s apartment clicks open. He is met by a soft light coming from the living room area. In less than 5 seconds, he hears the padding of a pair of feet and then a face he knows so well.
Chanyeol smiles at him. Baekhyun smiles back. They are standing a few feet apart yet it feels like a string of electricity is pulling them closer to each other. Chanyeol takes his hand and guides him to their usual spot on the sofa.
It’s interesting, Baekhyun thinks, how whatever they have transcend beyond words. They can feel each others content and relief only from being in the presence of the other.
In the corner of the L-shaped sofa Baekhyun spots a tiny figure.
“Iseul-ah,” he coos and goes over to the boy. “How’s my tiny little fish?” Baekhyun pulls the blanket off his body.
“Hyung,” the the small boy whines.
“I know, my tiny fish.” Baekhyun takes him in his arms and wraps the blanket around them both. He peppers the boy’s cheek with butterfly kisses in an attempt to lighten his mood.
“I missed you, Iseul-ah,” he murmurs as he swings his cheeks from side to side. And in response, the young boy tightens his grip on Baekhyun’s shirt.
Chanyeol lets them have their moment as he starts setting up plates and utensils for them to use when the pizza he ordered arrives. And it does, fifteen minutes later.
They have their dinner together. This time, Iseul got to choose the movie, Shark Tales it is, for the hundredth time. After they finish, Iseul cuddles Baekhyun again, wrapping his tiny arms around him. The older caresses his back until he falls asleep.
“I don’t know what you did or how you did it,” Chanyeol murmurs as he looks at Baekhyun. “But he has fallen absolutely and completely in love with you.”
The words trigger something in Baekhyun. A feeling of belonging. A feeling of being wanted and needed. He can’t control the tears behind his eyes. He sniffles once to hold back the drops threatening to escape. The past months he had let his life play out without trying to suppress any feelings, thoughts or actions. He had let it be. So when reality hits him, reality being the older man’s words, he can’t help but feel overwhelmed.
He sniffles once more time, not daring to look at Chanyeol knowing he’d breakdown for real.
“Baekhyunnie,” the man brings comfort to him just by voicing his name. Chanyeol reaches out to him, long fingers fiddling with the younger boy’s ear. “Did I make you sad?”
Baekhyun keeps his gaze focused on the the TV in front of them. Then he shakes his head.
He can feel Chanyeol’s worried eyes and tensed jaw observing his every move.
Then it clicks.
He nods. Baekhyun musters up the courage to look at Chanyeol. His glossy eyes locks with the man’s piercing ones.
He feels fear creeping up on him. It’s scary being vulnerable, putting yourself up for rejection not knowing the end result. It’s like willingly jumping out of a moving plane, not knowing if the parachute will go off or not. The adrenaline making you sick to your stomach but your heart is beating faster and stronger than it ever has before. Everything in your body is screaming to leap or end it all at once. The last moment before you jump is mind-numbing in a way you’ve never experienced before.
“Yo-you make m-me very happy.” he murmurs. “You both do.”
He wonders how the tiny man on his chest hasn’t woken up from the thunderstorm that is his heart right this moment. Chanyeol is smiling at him though. A smile he’s never seen the taller sport before. He looks so innocent.
“What?” Baekhyun asks timidly.
“Iseul’s mom was a very broken person,” he starts. Baekhyun’s breath hitches at the mention of the woman he often thought about. “I grew up with her, we were best friends.”
Chanyeol trails his hand down the younger’s arm and laces their fingers together.
“She suffered from depression and anxiety. Then she met Iseul’s dad, your typical rich boy. Your typical drug addict of a rich boy,” he sighs.
“They fell in love and almost became each other’s saving grace.” Baekhyun notices the nostalgic look in his eyes. “Then they heard they were expecting a baby boy. Life couldn’t get any better for them.”
Baekhyun feels Chanyeol’s grip tighten, it was a painful memory for him. Instead of the earlier nostalgia, his eyes are now reflecting grief and hurt.
“One month before Iseul was expected, his dad overdosed and no one knew why. Areum, his mom, went into premature labor and gave birth to Iseul on January 6th, five years ago.”
“Three months after,” he stalls. “She took her own life.”
Baekhyun couldn’t help but let out a quiet sob. He tightened his hold on the boy in his arms. Being left behind by the ones who were supposed to be there every step of the way could possibly be the worst feeling in the world.
His tears fall for the unfairness.
For Iseul’s heart.
For his parent’s fate.
And for Chanyeol.
Strong, wonderful and beautiful Chanyeol.
“Baekhyun-ah,” he feels Chanyeol trying to take Iseul from his embrace but he only tightens his hold in refusal. “Come on Baekhyun-ah, it’s okay.”
Baekhyun finally lets the boy go and shortly after he feels Chanyeol’s strong arms form a protective shield around him.
“Don’t cry,” he tries to console him. It makes Baekhyun feel bad, it’s Chanyeol who should get all the comfort. “Iseul is happy now.”
“But are you?” he blurts out. Chanyeol doesn’t answer for a while, but eventually as he dries Baekhyun’s tear-stained cheeks, fond smile gracing his lips, as he answers him.
“I’m very happy,” his hands caresses the boy’s cheekbones. “I have Iseul. And I have you.”
“Me too.” He clings onto the mans shirt. “And halmeoni. And Jongdae. And all the fishes.”
This makes Chanyeol laugh. Baekhyun too.
Then Baekhyun turns very serious again.
“My parents are dead too, Chanyeol.”
This has Chanyeol looking at the boy stunned at his bluntness but also at the meaning behind his words. Baekhyun was an orphan.
“My mom died of sickness when I was 5,” he sniffles.
“And my dad was a marine soldier. I know that he has passed, but not when and where. He was never present.”
Baekhyun’s smiles at him. A sad smile.
“My mom loved the sea that’s why I have this weird obsession with it.”
Ever since his mom had died, he always wanted to be around water. He felt as if he stayed near the sea, his mom would come see him and he’d finally be able to see her.
“It’s like I can feel her presence whenever I’m near it. I always thought she’d come back if I found it.”
They stay quiet for a while. Chanyeol is still holding Baekhyun in his arms.
“I’m sorry, that’s all I can say, is that I’m sorry,” Chanyeol starts. “But what I know is that as long as I have you in my life, as long as you allow me, I will let you pour all your pain and grief onto me.”
“You can’t be everyone’s punching bag, Chanyeol.” the smaller boy caresses his cheek. “You don’t have to be the one saving everyone all the time. Sometimes you have to be the one who gets saved.
And protected.” Baekhyun breathes.
Chanyeol is taken aback by the younger’s words. He had never had the opportunity to think about himself in the position of being in need of someone else’s protection. It’s mostly because he strives of protecting and it brings him inner peace knowing his loved ones are happy and satisfied.
“I can’t live in peace knowing you’re hurting.”
“But I am,” Baekhyun looks away for a quick few seconds until he locks eyes with the man again. “And I will for a long time. But being with you and your son, I feel as if maybe fate had a plan for me after all.”
“Hmm,” Chanyeol hums. “Maybe.”
Then, Chanyeol kisses his tear-stained cheeks. He goes over to his button nose leaving feathery-light kisses up his nose bridge. His closed eyes get the same treatment, eyelashes still wet from his tears but Chanyeol doesn’t stop. Then he finishes off with a soft, soft, soft caress of his lips on Baekhyun’s forehead.
“It’s been a lot tonight,” he ruffles the smaller’s hair. “Let’s go to bed.”
And they do. Chanyeol carries Iseul to his room, leaving Baekhyun to clean up after them. After a few moments, Chanyeol comes back to Baekhyun in the kitchen.
“I’ll sleep on the sofa, take the be-”
“Let’s sleep together.
Baekhyun is emotionally exhausted. He can’t remember the last time he had cried over his mother leaving him and tonight's event taking its toll on him. Although on the inside, Baekhyun was the happiest he’s ever been. And the most confused he’s ever been, too.
There is a lot left unsaid. A lot of questions that needs answers. But they ignore them, making it a future problem. Right now, the only thing Baekhyun wants to do is sleep with the warmth of Chanyeol near him.
Chanyeol shoves his shirt off, throwing it on the bench positioned at the bed’s end. He crawls down the bed turning to face Baekhyun.
Baekhyun stalls for whatever reason. He’s anxious tonight, but also very clingy so he takes Chanyeol’s abandoned shirt and puts it on, throwing his own where he had picked up the man’s. Then he takes off his jeans and socks too. It was unfamiliar having Chanyeol watch him as he got changed, not in a negative way, but it struck some feeling inside of him. The older man’s eyes trailed over every part of him.
When Baekhyun was done dressing he hesitantly walked over to the bed’s side. Chanyeol reached out a hand for him to take, and he did. The man held up the duvet guiding his head to touch the soft pillow so he later could cover Baekhyun’s body with it.
When they’re finally tucked in and ready to drift off Baekhyun dares himself to look up at Chanyeol. He was watching him already, which had him blushing. Chanyeol’s hand finds its way to Baekhyun’s cheek, his favorite place to be. Baekhyun puts his own hand on the older’s and smiles.
Baekhyun feels so safe in this moment, lying like this next to Chanyeol. He feels as if, as long as he holds on to the man, nothing could ever hurt him. And he’d never want to let go. Baekhyun knows he has fallen, face first, for the man. He is absolutely smitten. It makes him smile even wider.
“What?” Chanyeol asks, slightly amused.
Baekhyun only shakes his head. Let’s leave that for tomorrow .
Instead, his arms creep their way around Chanyeol’s waist. At the smaller’s courageous act, Chanyeol does the same, rolling over so he’s lying on his back with Baekhyun on his chest.
Chanyeol leaves a sleepy kiss on the boy’s head before they slowly doze off.
Chanyeol wakes up from the morning sun hitting his face. He seems to have forgotten to close the blinds last night. There is an airy feel to the room, something he can’t pinpoint. He’s lying on his side with Baekhyun still in his hold. They must have shifted in their sleep since the young boy has his back against his front, which to Chanyeol’s dismay hinders him from seeing his face.
Last night’s talk had stirred some hidden emotions on both sides. Never would Chanyeol have thought that he’d feel comfortable enough to share his and Iseul’s past. That he’d feel liberated doing it. Then he thinks about Baekhyun and what he had told him. It came as a surprise to Chanyeol knowing the boy’s backstory and then trying to make sense of how a bright boy as him could be bearing such pain and grief.
But then Chanyeol stopped himself in his tracks.
Baekhyun isn’t a lonely poor boy that can’t fend for himself. Baekhyun will not break at the slightest impact.
To Chanyeol, Baekhyun is radiating and strong. He is loving and caring. He is smart and witty. His ethereal beauty may make him appear as delicate and weak, but Chanyeol knows otherwise. He probably has the strength of Chanyeol times a million. How could he ever have thought of the boy as anything but.
Since the younger had entered their lives, he had managed to squeeze himself into every part of their everyday life. He had left a trail behind him in form of books on the coffee table, clothes in the hamper and light in their otherwise dim surroundings.
He had been a breath of fresh of air for them.
Iseul has become so attached to Baekhyun. He is somewhat of a brotherly figure and best friend to his son. Something Chanyeol could never be no matter how hard he tried. Then there is that nurturing and caring side of the younger, that of a mother.
Baekhyun hadn’t only put a spell on his son, but on Chanyeol as well. The man can’t remember when exactly but in the midst of late night talks and flirtatious text messages, something in him had started to grow. And Chanyeol could proudly say that it’s love he was feeling for Baekhyun.
Transparent and honest love.
He thinks of him first thing in the morning and is the last thing he thinks of at night. He wants to know where he is and what he is doing. He wants to know about his thoughts and opinions. And most importantly, he wants to keep him protected, to have him near and to make sure the boy is happy.
They’re lying here now. Legs tangled, chest pressed to his back and fingers loosely intertwined. Their breathing is soft and in-sync. Chanyeol presses his nose against the back of the younger’s head. He leaves soft caresses from his lips.
“You up?” he hears a small voice break the silence. He nods, to lazy to speak.
A few moments pass as they bask in the presence of whatever electricity is keeping them drawn to one another. Somewhere between soft kisses and Baekhyun playing with Chanyeol’s fingers, he turns around to face the taller. Chanyeol lets him position himself in a comfortable position until he takes in the smaller’s puffy eyes and red lips. His pale face and messy hair. Despite his sleep-ridden appearance, Chanyeol can’t help but caress his cheek in awe.
He is beautiful. So, so beautiful.
“How are you feeling?”
“I’m good.” the boy shoots him a delicate smile. “You’re here.”
Chanyeol nods, although not entirely convinced but he leaves it be, allowing Baekhyun to come to him on his own accord.
“Baekhyun,” he begins a little hesitantly. The smaller’s eyes piercing through his skin. “I… want to talk about us.”
“By now you have probably understood that I’m not planning on letting you go?”
The younger giggles. Chanyeol’s heart is banging inside his chest. It’s been a while since anyone had made him feel utterly and hopelessly infatuated.
“Let’s go slow, yeah? I still have to get used to you and this feeling...” he stalls. “It’s scary.”
“Anything that makes you comfortable.”
Chanyeol didn’t feel deterred by Baekhyun’s words. He knows for them to work, they had to go at a steady pace. They had been so focused on whatever was happening in their secluded bubble that everything outside it had been pushed to the side. Talking and acknowledging their feelings, for example. They had to work that out a lot out but most of it needed time. They had to slowly pave the way for their newfound relationship.
“APPA! Where is HYUNG?!” a screaming five year old interrupts their tranquility.
Both men jump in fright as Iseul storms in.
“Park Iseul!” Chanyeol scolds his son. “What have I told you about yelling this early in the morning?”
At the sight of his hyung lying so close to his father, the boy throws them a flabbergasted face.
“Hyung why are you hugging appa?!” he whines. “I want hugs too!”
“You can’t, hyung is mine now!” the taller sticks out his tongue to tease his son.
“Chanyeol!” Baekhyun laughs at the man’s blunt words.
“Come here, my tiny little fish. Your appa is being mean.”
The five year old makes himself comfortable between both men once he is on the bed. Baekhyun places a few kisses on his cheeks as they settle in the silence that follows. They fall into light slumber after that. Baekhyun with his arms around Iseul and head resting on older’s chest and Chanyeol with his strong arms wrapped around Baekhyun’s waist in a protective manner.
It’s been over two months since the duo had announced themselves as unofficially official. Baekhyun has found himself growing more and more used to the idea of being in a romantic relationship with the older. The fear that lingered in the beginning was long gone which left them free of any boundaries.
Chanyeol, to Baekhyun’s delight, turned out to be the clingier one of the duo. Constantly in need of physical contact and always wanting to know what the younger was up to on those days where they were too busy to see each other.
I miss you :(
Come home tonight?
? :( <3
pick me up from work?
We’ll be waiting outside
you’re the best baby
Baekhyun spent most of his nights at the Park’s apartment, saving some where he’d go home to spend time with his grandmother. She approved of their relationship, said she knew it was a long time coming. He called her a weird lady for that which had her throwing both her slippers at him in offense. When he told Chanyeol about it, he had laughed at the younger’s expense. Chanyeol regretted his actions quickly when Baekhyun managed to get Iseul to gang up on the father for mocking him.
Chanyeol is Baekhyun’s first real relationship and sometimes it really shows. Their first kiss was one of those moments where his lack of experience was shown. It was when Baekhyun had to leave for work the day of their confession (ish) .
“Bye tiny man.” Baekhyun singsonged as he walked down the hallway to where the front door was.
“Bye hyung!” the tiny boy called after him, too immersed in his world to feel the need to see him out.
Chanyeol trailed behind the boy though, wanting to see him off. They didn’t talk much as Baekhyun was busy gathering his belongings rather slowly in an attempt to prolong their parting.
“So you’ll come back tomorrow, yeah?” the older asks him before he opens the door.
“Yeah, after school.”
Chanyeol seems to be happy with his answer if the older’s satisfied smile is anything to go off. He takes a few steps closer to Baekhyun so he can lace their fingers together. The younger one swings their interlocked hands back and forth in a try to calm his nervous heart.
“You’re short.” Chanyeol points out.
It’s funny to Baekhyun, their height difference, so he giggles timidly at Chanyeol’s comment.
“My neck will hurt when I kiss you.”
The younger boy freezes in place. He never thought of kissing Chanyeol, well yes he had, but he never imagined it becoming a reality and it made him anxious. The taller noticed his wariness.
“If you let me.” he assures. “ Then my neck will hurt when I kiss you.”
Chanyeol never fails to make him feel safe.
“If I stand on my tiptoes like this?” Baekhyun grows a few inches at the action. “Will it help?”
“Not really shortie, but I like you anyways.”
They both chuckle in unison. Chanyeol gently places his hands on both sides of Baekhyun’s face, engulfing them in his hold. He brushes away the strands of hair hiding the boy’s eyes. The taller has to scrunch his nose in a try to make his glasses, that often threaten to fall off, stay put. Baekhyun spares him the annoyance as he takes them off and places them on Chanyeol’s head.
Chanyeol is so handsome. So very handsome and he will never get tired of saying it. Baekhyun slowly creeps his hands down the tall man’s strong arms and secures them snugly around his waist. The older closes his eyes in bliss. He guides their noses close to each other, bopping them against one another. Baekhyun feels Chanyeol’s lips ghosting over his a few seconds before they finally meet in a gentle caress.
Baekhyun feels as if his whole universe is spinning. Chanyeol’s tender touches almost makes him lose his balance. His kisses are so bewitching Baekhyun can’t find himself to pull away, but they eventually do. Baekhyun leaves a final peck on Chanyeol’s soft cheek as he now stands with his both feet on the ground.
“Yeah.” is the only coherent word dumbstruck Chanyeol manages to form.
Sometimes Chanyeol would be the one taking a step back with the fear of feeling as he is pressuring the younger. He’d also get conscious over the fact that their age gap is fairly big and would therefore be extra mindful of other people’s eyes on them.
It had become a habit for Chanyeol to pick Baekhyun up from his university on the days he could leave work earlier. He’d usually wait outside so the smaller easily could spot him amidst all students. After a few minutes of waiting he recognized a familiar mop of auburn locks walking down the stoney steps of the university’s entrance. Next to him was another boy in Baekhyun’s age, probably a friend Chanyeol thought to himself. He could see the younger looking for him in the crowd of people. Once Baekhyun spotted him in the mass of students he immediately shot him a grin. He said goodbye to his friend who in turn said something which had Baekhyun blushing. His friend left with an amused grin.
Baekhyun looked so young in their current setting. An uni student wearing a hoodie and sneakers whilst walking next to his friend both with backpacks probably filled with books. He never really reflected over their age gap and the fact that they are in very different stages in their life. When he was with Baekhyun everything outside their bubble lost its importance and interest, he never really paid any attention to it.
Baekhyun made it through the throng of students trying get to the man standing not far away from him. As soon as he was next to the man he shot open his arms to embrace him in a tight hug. Chanyeol chuckled at the smaller’s antics, but did the same as he’d never miss the opportunity to have the boy in his arms.
“Hi Chanyeollie.” the smaller greeted him.
Chanyeol soon noticed some curious eyes watching their interactions and it made him feel slightly weirded out, which Baekhyun surely noticed but didn’t comment on. Chanyeol removed his hands from the younger’s body rather quickly and started making his way around the vehicle.
“Let’s get going.”
Once inside the car, Chanyeol started the engine and left the campus area.
“So what happened before?” Baekhyun nonchalantly asked the driver as he followed the passing traffic.
“What?” Chanyeol tried acting aloof and unbothered but Baekhyun wouldn’t have none of it.
“You froze and then dropped me as if I burnt you.” he turned to look at the older this time.
Chanyeol wore a frown and had his eyes focused on the road not sparing a glance at Chanyeol. It made Baekhyun slightly worried as it’s a behaviour very unlike the older meaning something must be bothering him.
“Chanyeol-ah?” he tried once again this time placing his hand over the older’s on the gear shift. Chanyeol sighed at this, linking their fingers together.
“People were staring at us.”
Chanyeol looked at the younger with troubled eyes.
“It felt as if we were doing something wrong. It felt as if I wasn’t the one supposed to hug you.”
“Who was supposed to hug me?” the younger asks concerned still holding his hand.
Chanyeol stalls before he answers. “Someone you’re age. Who goes to uni and wears a backpack.”
He finds the taller man’s words slightly comical so he let’s a few giggles escape his lips. He didn’t know their age gap bothered the man.
“Does it bother you that we aren’t the same age?”
“No,” the man says quickly looking at the younger as if he took offense to his words. “Of course not.”
“Then why do you care about how other people view us?”
“It’s not easy for me to just brush it under the rug, love. I’m the older one here, and it’s me people frown at for being with you. I don’t want you to be put in a situation like that, where people get to do as they please just because we don’t look like your ordinary couple.”
Baekhyun is glad Chanyeol shared his thoughts on the matter or else he’d never known how he felt. Although he doesn’t completely agree on it, he most certainly will try to see it from the man’s perspective.
“It’s really thoughtful of you to worry about me Chanyeol-ah, but I chose to be with you and no one can ever tell me how to live my life. And I certainly won’t let anyone influence me into thinking otherwise. They don’t know that you’re the best thing that happened to me, so why should I care?”
It was quiet in the car for some moments. Baekhyun had shared his thoughts on the matter and he knows that Chanyeol’s agrees with him but it’s not always easy to break out of a way of thinking. And he allows him to figure his thoughts out without trying to pressure him into giving a response.
Chanyeol raises their intertwined fingers and kisses his hand. He leaves plenty of fleeting kisses on his knuckles as if he’s trying to show how much love he has for the younger boy and that he’ll never have enough time to show it to him.
“I’m hopelessly in love with you.” the older says.
Baekhyun felt as if he was having a heart attack. Suddenly everything about their relationship changed. It’s a cliché, oh Baekhyun knows, but the word love has the power to change so much within the matter of seconds. Never in his life would he have thought that he’d one day be this happy and that the day was going to come so soon. Screw going slow, they had been, and he knew Chanyeol was going to protect his heart for a long time ahead.
With the brightest grin he’d ever managed to form, Baekhyun tells him the same. “I love you, too.”
Following their confessions Chanyeol got over his consciousness over their age gap. He realized that it was a waste of time and energy to be worrying about such trivial things when he knew Baekhyun felt safe in their relationship. The younger’s comfort was his top priority.
Being a man in love, and being a man like Chanyeol is, didn’t always come easy. Seeing your now official partner get hit on by other men never sat right, regardless of age.
This certain time they had made it a mission to go grocery shopping. Baekhyun was pushing Iseul in one of the shopping carts while Chanyeol picked the groceries they needed. Life was great and nothing could come in his way except for, in Chanyeol’s opinion, a rather nosy baker. Their local grocery store offered freshly baked goods such as bread and pastries which his sweet tooth of a boyfriend loved. In the midst of choosing what kind of flavor he wanted on his cupcakes said baker walked over to the younger. Standing not far away picking bananas, Chanyeol could see and hear their conversation.
“How can I help this lovely man on this lovely day?”
Tragic, the older rolls his eyes at the bakers poor attempt to woo his boyfriend. He looked very young, almost Baekhyun’s age. As the socially competent person his boyfriend is, he laughs at the man’s lousy compliment.
“Oh gee, I’m just looking for your strawberry cupcakes, I can’t seem to find them?”
“The strawberry cupcakes are my favorite! The recipe is actually mine.” he boosts.
“Is that so?! They are the only ones I like here!” the smaller explaims in awe. “You’re very gifted.”
“I appreciate it.” the baker smiles bashfully. “I’ll bring some out just for you.”
Chanyeol tsks at the baker’s clearly conceited personality. Once the man comes back again with cupcakes in hand Chanyeol walks over to the duo, bananas long forgotten.
“Hi love ,” the taller interrupts. “I was thinking we could bake some cupcakes when we get home .”
“Baking?” the smaller asks in confusion. “Sure, but I was just about to get us some cupcakes. This nice man went to get us some in the back.” he addresses the baker.
Chanyeol gives a tight lipped smile to the baker and then turns back to Baekhyun.
“Alright, I’ll bake some for myself.”
The taller starts steering the shopping cart away from both men, not waiting on Baekhyun. He was tired of the baker’s stuck up personality.
“Chanyeol, wait.” he hears an annoyed call after him.
Chanyeol slowed down so the smaller could catch up.
“Care to explain what that was?”
“You being rude to that nice baker?” Baekhyun snorts.
“I wasn’t.” he argues back.
“Whatever.” the younger gives up and takes the shopping cart out of the man’s hold. “What kind of cereal do you want, tiny man?” he asks the small boy who’s been quietly sitting in the cart.
Chanyeol suffers Baekhyun’s cold shoulder the rest of the day. For being a couple who rarely argue and who chooses to talk it out instead, they didn’t exactly walk the talk that day. It takes them to go to bed to work it out.
“I was jealous, okay.” Chanyeol admits once they’re tucked into bed.
“I knew it, you child!”
“Hey!” the older pokes his boyfriend’s sides. “I’m not a child!”
“Ahh! Yeol, stop it!” Baekhyun giggles at the man’s ticklish poking.
Right before they succumb to slumber Chanyeol’s husky voice murmurs. “I’m going to learn how to bake, love.”
The younger could only sigh at his lovers childishness.
With great love came great passion. And out of great passion grew lust. Chanyeol knew that it was inevitable not to develop a sexual attraction towards the smaller. It had started with the beginning of their relationship. Chanyeol had began to take notice of the younger’s alluring shape, lewd thoughts immediately entering his brain. For a while he tried to shake it off, but soon it became almost impossible. His attraction towards the boy was far too great for him to be able not to act on it.
The taller’s longing stares and blushing cheeks when getting caught was enough for Baekhyun to understand what Chanyeol was thinking. And he wasn’t against the idea of exploring this side of their relationship.
It had started with Baekhyun letting his hands travel under the older’s shirt during one of their make out sessions on the sofa and letting needy moans purposely escape his lips. It had came as a shock for the taller, both because he’d never before seen Baekhyun show any signs of being interested in going further and because it was the smaller who made the move.
Soft and gentle kisses had been replaced with lip biting and teeth clashing. Tongues fighting for dominance and hands exploring places they’ve never been before. Chanyeol adored the younger’s thighs and ass- firm and thick, just like he liked it. And Baekhyun couldn’t resist his older boyfriend’s ripped abs and strong arms. He loved feeling small under the man.
With the help of his calloused hand, Chanyeol pressed the younger’s body closer to his in an impatient try to feel him even more. Baekhyun threw one of his thighs over Chanyeol’s hip so he could get even closer to the taller’s lean body. A needy moan managed to filter through the younger’s lips as Chanyeol started to nibble on Baekhyun’s throat.
A breathless “I’ll make you feel so good baby” was heard before Chanyeol picked up a giggling Baekhyun with both hand’s under the boy’s thighs. The younger locked his legs around the older’s waist as they made their way to the bedroom.
Luckily, Iseul was a heavy sleeper.
Mid June had arrived and it was time for Baekhyun to start packing for his one month trip to Bali. It had been a long time coming but he finally managed to earn the money he needed to pay all expenses. Although with the trip being so near, Baekhyun didn’t really feel as excited as he once was. Now he had Iseul and Chanyeol to be away from during a month. Before it was only his grandmother, who usually spends her summers on Jeju island.
As he sits with his laptop in his lap on Chanyeol’s bed scrolling through the information letter his school had sent out to the participants. He sighed at the never ending list of school supplies but also everyday necessities recommended for the trip. Sure, the trip surely was an advantage for him in his studies and he’d finally get to swim with the sea animals he’d so long wished for. But he’d still much rather stay home.
“Why so pouty?”
“I’m not pouty.” the younger pouted.
“Whatever you say, pouty.”
Baekhyun rolled his eyes at the older’s comment. He closed his laptop with an even heavier sigh than before.
“Are you going to keep sighing or tell me what’s bothering you?” the older asked as he hung up a few garments in his wardrobe.
“Baby, a month is too looong. I’ll miss you too much.”
At the younger’s words Chanyeol stopped what he was doing and went over to the boy on the bed. He laid beside him, engulfing him in a tight hug.
“No, it’ll be so much fun, love.” he kissed the smaller’s nose. “You’ll regret not going. We’ll talk everyday, okay? It will be as if you never left.”
“Promise?” Baekhyun looks up at the older with trusting eyes.
“Of course!” he smooches the small boy before he leaves him alone again.
Baekhyun hops off the bed and pads over to the tall man doing his laundry a few feet away. He walks behind him and winds his arms around Chanyeol’s waist. He presses his nose between the man’s shoulders.
“Love, I won’t disappear, you know?”
“Hush, I’ll be all alone for a month, you’ll have Iseul-ah.” he murmurs into the taller’s back.
“Oh my god! My baby! What am I going to do without him for a month?!” Baekhyun bursts out at the sudden realization. He let’s go of Chanyeol and runs out of the room yelling for the tiny boy.
“Iseul-ah! Where are you? Hyung wants to cuddle!”
Chanyeol only chuckles at the younger’s antics.
Two days later and they’re entering Incheon Airport. Chanyeol is pulling Baekhyun’s large suitcase whilst the smaller is holding Iseul tightly in his hand.
“Halmeoni has one of her monthly check up’s next week, promise to not forget.”
“Of course not, love. We’ll take her.” the older assures. “She’ll be fine, I’ll make sure of it, okay?”
Baekhyun gifts the man a soft smile.
“I’m sorry, it’s just that I’m very stressed and I’m sad because I’ll be away from you all for so long.”
“It’ll be one of the best trips of your life, love. Don’t waste it on worrying.” Chanyeol says as he ruffles the younger’s hair.
It surely calms Baekhyun down, knowing his boyfriend is so supporting.
“Hyungie, will you see Nemo and Doris?” little Iseul asks as he looks up at Baekhyun.
“Hmm, I’m not sure little man. But I promise to send you a lot of pictures of all the fishes I see.”
“Yay!! You’re the best hyung!”
On his 21st birthday last month, Chanyeol had gifted him a GoPro. He wanted Baekhyun to record his adventures so they could watch it when he came back. The smaller had definitely gotten a bit teary eyed at the older’s huge support. Chanyeol was his biggest source of comfort, he made all Baekhyun’s worries disappear just by being his usual happy self.
“Lovie, you have to leave for the security check soon.”
With a pout and a sigh the younger stopped in front of the line where he was supposed to go through. He started with kneeling down so he was on the same eye level as Iseul.
“Hey, tiny fish. Be good to your dad, okay? I’ll miss you so much.” Baekhyun said as he hugged the boy close to him.
“I’ll miss you too hyungie.” the younger pouted in the other’s arms.
“I’ll bring you many gifts!” Baekhyun promises. He leaves a couple of kisses on the little one’s head before he releases him from his hold.
Next up is Chanyeol, and if the smaller’s glossy eyes aren’t enough to go by, then Baekhyun’s wobbly voice sure is- he is on the verge of tears.
“I’m sorry but I’m just not used to leaving for so long and I’m going to miss you so, so much.”
The taller chuckles at Baekhyun’s words. The younger sure is sad to go and Chanyeol can’t help but wrap him securely in his arms.
“You’re going to be fine. Just call whenever you miss us, alright?” he pats the smaller’s back. “And have fun!” He brings his fingers under Baekhyun’s chin to guide the younger’s lips closer to his.
“I’ll miss you, my love.” the older murmurs before he leaves a chaste kiss on the younger’s lips. They had their real goodbye kiss last night, amongst other things.
A couple of more “I’ll miss you”s and kisses then Baekhyun is walking down the line to get checked by security.
“HYUNG!!!” the small boy yells out before he loses sight of his hyung. “I love you!”
Baekhyun watches the boy with glossy eyes and throws him a kiss before he waves goodbye.
One month later and Baekhyun is walking down the stoney path leading to the hotel they had been staying at. The last day had come and they were currently waiting for the bus to take them to the airport. He can’t believe a month went by so fast and that he’d finally be able to see his family again. He had texted Chanyeol a couple of times last night and this morning but the older hasn’t responded. Has he forgot that he’s coming home? Baekhyun thought to himself. He can’t have
As he was sitting on the bench outside the entrance he checked his phone numerous times for a reply. He had been so focused on his phone that he hadn’t noticed someone taking a seat beside him. He scooted over so the person could sit comfortably on the bench.
“I’ve never been to Bali, it sure is as beautiful as they say.” the voice shares.
Before he manages to form a polite response, he realizes that he recognizes that voice. His head shoots up facing the stranger and just like he thought, the person is far from unknown.
“Bastard!” he calls before laughter over takes him. He throws himself over his boyfriend whom so smoothly had sat next to him without Baekhyun even noticing. Chanyeol catches him and hugs back just as tightly.
“I think you were too busy pouting at your phone to even notice that I had sat next to you.”
“It’s your fault, why haven’t you texted me? And what are you doing here?”
“I missed my boyfriend, what do you mean?”
“I missed you to stupid.” the younger sighs as he melts into the other’s embrace. “So much.”
They stay like that for a few moments before Baekhyun comes back to reality.
“Where on earth is Iseul?” the younger bursts out.
“Hmm?” the taller looks at him. “Oh! He’s at the beach with halmeoni, they got bored waiting for you to come out.”
Baekhyun couldn’t believe his ears. Chanyeol had dragged his five year old son and his sixty-seven year old grandmother on a plane just to see him.
“Listen, I know what you’re thinking, but we all missed you too much.”
“So, now what?” the younger asks looking down at his luggage.
“We stay for a week. I’ve booked two room for us.”
“You’re crazy.” he chuckles in disbelief. “But I sure love you.”
“I love you too, baby.” Chanyeol grins and presses his lips against Baekhyun’s cheek.