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Baby Blue

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Sucker love I always find
Someone to use and leave behind

 

The first time Chanyeol sees Baekhyun he thinks he’s dangerous as the sea in a storm and as alluring as the chant of mermaids during a shipwreck. Well, not in these words, obviously. Chanyeol’s not that good with fancy words. He does think Baekhyun is probably a mess, someone it would be better to keep at a distance if one doesn’t want to get burnt. 

He’s had his own fair share of messes, and Baekhyun looks exactly like the kind of wild type that he shouldn’t get too involved with. Not now, anyway.

It’s a humid Friday night, a sign that Autumn is finally starting after four long months of unforgiving heat. The cold seeps through Chanyeol’s clothes making him feel like he’s walking in an aquarium— his clothes clinging unnaturally, heavy and uncomfortable. There’s a gathering in M*Gu, today. He doesn’t want to be there, but he’s very bad at making excuses.

It’s not that he doesn’t like the people, not really. They’re people he met at the Pride in Daegu, two summers ago. They got strangely close, despite living in completely different cities. Chanyeol had just come out back then, he knew no one ‘on this side’, as the people he met there called it. Someone even cried that day when they had to part. It even got him a little teary eyed, but it could’ve been all the alcohol he drank that day.

So no, it’s not the people, not really. 
It’s just one person.
Just one, just J. 
It’s different now.

Sehun had to drag him to the gathering this time, because Chanyeol’s been trying very hard for the past six months to avoid all the spaces J had filled back then, which means most of the spaces where Chanyeol had walked, breathed and existed for the past two years and a half. 

“You can’t keep avoiding people.”

“I haven’t been avoiding people, just, you know, places.” Chanyeol shoots back around the filter of his cigarette, as he throws an eye to the back door of the cafe.

“Liar. You’ve been avoiding me too, do you think I wouldn’t notice?” Sehun teases, a light kick to Chanyeol’s shin. He’s drinking something sweet with a lot of ice in it, but he’s shivering at the same time because it’s too cold for an ice drink today. He’s all buried in this huge blue hoodie, it’s kinda ridiculous. “Plus you started hanging out with those weird guys again. Like that guy who wanted to work with you but he wanted you to put the money upfront, what was his name?”

Chanyeol doesn’t reply, though he knows perfectly well who Sehun’s talking about. 

“What I’m saying is.. you’re a good guy. These people basically adopted you two years ago. J is not even here today, I don’t understand what you’re so queasy about.” Sehun takes one more sip from his ice drink, Chanyeol a drag from his cigarette— slow, just for the sake of spending time. They should go back soon, or Junmyeon Hyung will probably appear looking for them.

Chanyeol’s not even sure what’s wrong. It must be the fact that gatherings were things he went with J to. Must be that he lowkey expected people to ask him about J. Nobody really did. He was mentioned once, while they were talking about who couldn’t come today. But then that was it. It was almost disappointing, Chanyeol thought.

Maybe it is also that the new guy Sehun brought is getting most of the attention.

“I’m ok”, Chanyeol starts. “I just have to get a little drunk.”

Sehun snorts, throwing him a side glance and getting close enough to get some of Chanyeol’s body heat. “I’ve never seen you drunk, asshole. It’s unfair. You’ve seen all my ugly drunk habits.”

Chanyeol smiles, sly, as he feels his expression turn into something more relaxed. “And I can’t wait to use them to blackmail you.” 

“Trash.”

“Sonofabitch.”

Sehun chuckles, finally giving up on his iced drink and putting it on the floor. They hear a loud laugh from the inside of the cafe, as Chanyeol puts out his cigarette on the floor and throws the stub into an impromptu ashtray someone had left by the stairs. “That’s our cue to go back inside,” Chanyeol says, and they start walking in.

Sehun drapes an arm around his shoulder, weighing him down like he always does. “So, what do you think of Baekhyun hyung?”

He thinks danger. Baekhyun is a wildfire, Chanyeol doesn’t have a death wish, he wouldn’t willingly walk into that disaster.

“He’s fine,” he replies, flat.

Sehun’s breath is so close to Chanyeol’s ear that he makes him shudder. “I slept with him,” he says. He puts on one of the smiles he uses to get Junmyeon hyung’s attention, and he drags Chanyeol in.

 

There’s a weird churn in Chanyeol’s stomach every time his eyes fall on that mess of ocean blue hair, on the other side of the table. He doesn’t know what to do with the information Sehun gave him, he doesn’t understand why he was given that info. It’s none of his business, of course. It makes him weirdly uncomfortable, though. Just like Byun Baekhyun’s fleeting glances do.

When they start drinking, later at the barbecue restaurant — the usual gamjatang place was closed for renovation— Chanyeol thinks for the first time that maybe he’s drunk. Baekhyun laughs loudly, his whole face, ears, and neck included as red as sunset as he hides his face in Sehun’s hoodie. Chanyeol only sees blue for the rest of the night.

He doesn’t think of J once.

 

.



“Aren’t you and Blue Hair dating?” 

Chanyeol doesn’t know why he’s asking, but that’s the first thing that comes to mind when Sehun appears with a big glass of Americano and drops his phone and wallet on the table. Coffee Bean is crowded today. The weather is nice, enough for people to pretend it’s still summer and not mid-October. Sehun is one of those people, and he’s just wearing a white tee and a pair of slacks over all-stars. His hair drooping over his eyes — he’s let his fringe grow too long again. 

“Me? With Baekhyun hyung?”

“You said you slept together, so I assumed.” Chanyeol shrugs, takes a sip of his cold brew, and pretends asking wasn’t embarrassing. Blue Hair has been haunting him for a couple of days, for no particular reason. Blue Hair, Baekhyun as Sehun called him, is pretty in Chanyeol’s mind— ears flushed, laughing loudly while gripping on Sehun’s shoulder. He’d confused Sehun’s shoulder with Chanyeol’s at some point in the evening, but Chanyeol hadn’t remembered that detail until the day after, waking up between Junmyeon and Yixing on the floor of their apartment in the Happy House. 

Baekhyun had told him things, they’d talked. The fact per se, he recalls. What Baekhyun had talked about, he has no idea. When he tries to dig the memory from the back of his brain all he manages to get is a headache and a very detailed image of Baekhyun’s lips and the small dot on the side, like a drop of ink.

“Why, are you interested?” Sehun asks, his hair tilted slightly to the side with the usual air to him of when he wants to prod, but he knows Chanyeol will avoid his questions.

No. Chanyeol is not interested, not in the least. So he says that. He says “No,” but Sehun keeps staring and Chanyeol has to break eye contact. “You know it’s too soon. And the only one time I talked to him, I was drunk.”

Sehun hums, tapping the table lightly as he looks out. Chanyeol follows his gaze until he hears him talking again. “Well don’t be interested. It’s better if you’re not. After J, maybe hyung is not exactly the first person I would introduce to you.” He pauses, then smiles like the little shit he is. “Though he’s your type.”

Chanyeol doesn’t reply to that, but he takes a much bigger sip of his cold brew to make up for his silence. Sehun still snorts, then clicks his tongue looking out. “You need someone steady like...I don’t know. Minseok hyung is available.”

“Yeah,” Chanyeol agrees, but mentally draws a line over Minseok hyung’s name in his head. Steady, he guesses, but not his type. Intense Blue keeps peeking in his mind like small, very insistent fireworks.

“Hyung, buy me dinner,” Sehun says, and Chanyeol kicks him from under the table.

Brat.

 

.

 

 

Chanyeol sees Baekhyun again on a very rainy day, sitting at one of those plastic tables outside a 7Eleven near Chanyeol’s one-room apartment, in M*. He almost changes his route completely because he really doesn’t need more blue in his life right now, but Baekhyun meets his eyes and he’s forced to stop.

“Hello,” Baekhyun greets, his chopsticks mid-air with some spicy noodles still held between them. His lips are chili pepper red, and Chanyeol still sees them when he bows a little. “Park Chanyeol, Oh Sehun’s friend right?”

“Yes. And you’re Byun Baekhyun, right?” He greets too with the most polite smile he can muster. He doesn’t need more bluce in his life, but he’s a nice guy so he bows his head a little too. “I really wanted kimchi jeon, but I guess I’m stuck with convenience store noodles,” he says. A bit of a shitty attempt at small talk, but he tries at least.

Baekhyun gestures for him to enter the shop quickly, albeit a bit awkwardly, and they both say something useless Chanyeol doesn’t even remember. He can only see chili pepper sauce smeared over the ink dot on the side of Baekhyun’s lips. 

He buys a sausage and some noodles, and he spends those ten minutes inside the convenience store wondering if he should just go home. Since it rains, he’s literally wearing pajamas and he hasn’t shaved either. He’s decided to do that, but Byun Baekhyun tells him “You should stay,” when he exits the store. As if they’ve known each other for years— the way Baekhyun addresses him sure feels like they have— and Chanyeol once again can’t say no.

The plastic of his chair is slightly wet when he sits on it, and it’s still pouring on the street. The street lights reflect in weird distorted shapes on the asphalt, and there’s only a couple of drunk ahjusshis walking on the other side of the street, so when Chanyeol opens the ramyun box, the noise feels strangely loud.

“You should go fill that in,” Baekhyun adds with a furrow between his brows, as if it wasn’t obvious. Clearly, it wasn’t. Chanyeol stares at the box for a couple seconds before standing up again, in order to enter the store.

There’s a round-shaped wet stain on his right asscheek, he knows. And he also knows that the snort he hears from Baekhyun must be because of that. Baekhyun doesn’t mention it when he comes back, which for some reason makes Chanyeol strangely feel even more self-conscious about it.

“Sehunie said you do podcasts,” Baekhyun prompts, then lets the sentence fall for a second, as if waiting for Chanyeol to continue on his own. Chanyeol mentally curses Sehun for a second, then hesitates. If Baekhyun notices, he doesn’t react.

“I used to,” Chanyeol replies in the end. 

He did for a while, with Sehun and Jongin. It was before J cheated, and before he started avoiding everyone. No, not everyone. Just places. Though, in retrospect, he’s really just avoided everyone for the past few months. 

“I had some circumstances for a while, so I don’t anymore. We used to talk about the indie music scene. I make music, so…” He explains, then uses the noodles as an excuse to look away. I guess Jongin talked more about dancing, and we didn’t really have a fixed topic but...yeah. I did.”

Baekhyun hums, with a little smile at the corner of his lips Chanyeol only notices because he lifts his gaze slightly. “You should do it again, you know. If the thing that made you stop is gone.”

Chanyeol doesn’t reply to that. He doesn’t know if the thing is gone or not, he doesn’t want to think about it, so he concentrates on Baekhyun’s hair, so bright so blue. “What do you do instead?”

“I work in a CU. I know, I’m eating noodles in the enemy base, I know.”

Chanyeol snorts and Baekhyun follows his laugh. He steals the sausage Chanyeol bought, looking him in the eyes as if challenging him to stop him. Chanyeol doesn’t stop him though, both because the way Baekhyun is pretending to stealth is hilarious, but also because Baekhyun is attractive, he won’t lie about that.

They talk about everything and nothing while Chanyeol eats and Baekhyun scrapes at the bottom of his extra spicy ramyun carton.

Baekhyun looks a bit shy, despite the bright blue hair and the fact that Sehun implied he slept with him casually. Chanyeol guesses behind the funny mask he put up during the gathering, last time, he’s actually not that loud of a person.

It’s something in the way he avoids Chanyeol’s gaze when he’s slurping on his noodles, a certain degree of carefulness in the way he talks. His hands are pretty, though they’re partially covered by the sleeves of this really big black hoodie he’s wearing that makes him look even paler with the contrast of the blue in his hair. 

Baekhyun suddenly complains about his feet being cold and regretting only wearing flip flops when he headed out. Chanyeol then confesses not having washed his hair for a couple of days now.

“It probably stinks,” he adds, to which Baekhyun changes his expression in this very weirdly serious one. 

He leans in a little and he says “Should I check?” Suddenly speaking casually. 

Chanyeol’s taken aback for the shortest instant. This is not the type of conversation you’d have with someone you barely know, and he really can’t put his head around why Baekhyun acts as if he knows him this well. It puts him at ease, sure, but he doesn’t understand.

In the end, he blames it on the fact that Baekhyun knows Sehun, so he clicks his tongue and flops into his chair some more. “Nah, whatever. I’ll live.” 

Baekhyun chuckles to that with a stupid “hehe” laugh, then adds a quieter “Well, I tried.”

It must definitely be because of the extra spiciness of the noodles if Chanyeol’s ears and whole face feel a bit warmer than usual. Definitely, it must be that. 



.



The happy couple of the Happy House is not happy, today. Yixing and Junmyeon fight a lot. Chanyeol knows, Sehun and everyone else living in the Happy House building know. Today apparently it was because of something trivial again, like Yixing finding dirty dishes in the sink again and instinctively thinking they’re Junmyeon’s, because Junmyeon hyung is a walking dumpster, or Yixing forgetting to pay the bills when it was his turn once again because he was too busy with work. It’s usually trivial stuff, and they usually throw insults at each other in very different languages only to go back to sleep in the same bed a couple of hours later.

Today is one of those days, except everyone seems to be home and so the Happy Couple is pretending to be constipated, sitting on the floor on opposite sides of the room. Also, they’re both stubbornly drinking beer even though they very rarely get drunk. 

There are six people gathered in the living room to watch the last episode of this new Law drama that has been airing for a while. Sehun and Junmyeon are hardcore fans and they always watch it together. Yixing just joins so he can be with Junmyeon, and Jiho doesn’t care— Chanyeol doesn’t know why he’s even here and not going wild with J and their other friends as he usually does.

Baekhyun, Minseok, and Chanyeol don’t live in the Happy House building. Chanyeol used to, a few years back, before he moved to the one-room apartment he’s renting now. Jiho has only been living here for a couple of months, but apparently the relationship with his family is not the best of all, so he’s stuck here for a while. Sehun has been living here since Junmyeon and Yixing bought the building and created the Happy House, so that’s that.

But anyway, the Happy Couple is not happy and everyone is pretending they didn’t notice.

As for Chanyeol, he’s been glaring at Sehun for the past fifteen minutes after he purposely let Minseok hyung sit next to Chanyeol. Minseok hyung is not bad, not bad at all. He’s one of the nicest people Chanyeol knows, and his hair is just now growing back after he came back from the military. Minseok hyung is now getting a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, has a nice apartment and a cat. Aside from the cat part, Chanyeol’s pretty sure anyone would love to get a chance to be introduced to Minseok hyung. 

Except that Minseok hyung is not Chanyeol’s type.

Chanyeol’s type is sitting next to Sehun, with Woo Jiho’s arm around his waist and ocean deep blue hair a mess. 

With all honesty, Minseok hyung’s type definitely isn’t Chanyeol either. But Minseok hyung is nice and he doesn’t seem to mind pretending and having some fun for one evening while drinking beer altogether. 

“When do you think they’re gonna admit that they’ve fought?” Minseok asks, suspiciously eyeing Junmyeon as he gets up once again to take more beer from the fridge. Yixing has three cans next to his knee, and he keeps looking at the table as if it’s gonna grow another head. 

“I don’t know, but I hope soon. Junmyeon hyung’s smile is disturbingly fake. I’d rather he yells a little so we can get over it.” 

Chanyeol’s eyes automatically go the splotch of blue, leaning against the couch. Jiho keeps making a mess of Baekhyun’s hair, literally running his whole hands through it and then laughing with Byun Baekhyun at how silly he looks. Sehun joins them and laughs too, after fixing a couple of strands.

“Baekhyun looks like a blue, angry pomeranian right now,” Minseok chuckles.

Chanyeol can see it, but he can also start to see what Sehun meant, saying that Baekhyun is not the most ideal person for Chanyeol to be attracted to, right now. Baekhyun throws glances at him, but he’s mostly flirting with Jiho, that much Chanyeol can tell. It shouldn’t irritate him, it doesn’t really, but there’s this weird pull towards Baekhyun that he can’t help but feel and he’s mad at himself for not being able to fight it.

“He’s enjoying it too much to look like a pomeranian, hyung.” He says with half a smile. “Pomeranians are evil. Baekhyun doesn’t look like he’d bite off Jiho’s hand any time soon.” 

That seems to earn Baekhyun’s attention. He laughs, then he attempts to bite Jiho’s hand for real, closing his scary jaws on nothing but air. His hair is still a mess, but he’s smiling a bit more sweetly now, his eyes turn down like crescents as he meets Chanyeol’s eyes. It’s just a moment, but it’s enough for Chanyeol to mentally curse and thank Sehun for bringing Baekhyun into the group.

Junmyeon and Yixing are talking again, murmuring stuff to each other. Sehun boos them on his way to open the window, and Minseok hyung laughs some more at the happy couple smooching each other while looking directly at their favorite son, Oh Sehun. 

 

“Are you gonna sleep here?” Yixing asks him, as everyone starts to prepare for the night. They’re all kinda tipsy, but Yixing and Chanyeol rarely drink enough beer for the alcohol to have any kind of effect. 

“Yeah hyung, if it’s ok.”

“You’ve lived here once already, of course, you can come back whenever you want,” Yixing reassures, patting him on his back a couple of times before opening the door to the inner courtyard and sitting on the patio. “I’m always busy and Junmyeon stresses way too much for his own good, just like the old times. Nothing has changed, in case you really want to come back. We’re always ready to adopt another son, you know.” 

Yixing had called Junmyeon’s idea to buy a whole building crazy, at first. Then he’d called Junmyeon names because not only he wanted them to buy a whole building, but he wanted to turn it into a community for LGBT people who needed a place to stay. Yixing had never been much of a philanthropist— Junmyeon’s the good guy of the two, and his ideas are always kind, big, and expensive. In the end, they’d bought the building because, as Junmyeon had said during the inauguration of the happy house, it was the right thing to do. 

There’s ten people or so leaving in the complex, and only a couple actually pay full rent. Junmyeon and Yixing are understanding in that regard. For all Chanyeol knows, Sehun’s not paying full rent either, since he’s still going to university. 



.



The courtyard is deserted and dark since Yixing didn’t bother to turn on the lights before lighting his cigarette. The air is heavy with humidity, but the sky is clear. Chanyeol recognizes Sehun’s embarrassing red boxers and one of Suho’s t-shirts on the drying rack next to the big old succulent thatTaekwoon, one of the old tenants, had brought with him when he moved in.

“Was Junmyeonie hyung the guy you expected…? More like, the guy you wanted to date? You know, before everything.” 

Chanyeol doesn’t know why he’s asking. It just feels like the right moment to do so, as he stands next to a sitting Yixing, in the darkness of the courtyard. He can still hear the voices of the rest of the group from inside the house, Baekhyun being loud and Minseok hyung trying to hush him.

“No, not really. I thought I was going to marry some woman my mother introduced me to, and pretend to be straight my whole life,” Yixing replies with a shrug. “But then Junmyeon showed up, and to be honest I never thought ‘that’s the guy’, but I guess in the end he is. The guy.” There’s a long pause in which Yixing says nothing, and Chanyeol does nothing but hum in understanding. “Why? Have you found him? The guy.”

There’s a fleeting moment of absurdity in which Chanyeol thinks of shades of blue: light blue, ocean blue, Prussian blue. 

“Nah. I don’t know. I hope not.”

“If you hope not then you already thought you found him, I guess.”

“Ah, hyuuung…” He whines, and Yixing shamelessly laughs at him.

“Our first son is growing up,” he continues. Chanyeol pretends to kick him in the hip, but what he does is just nudge him gently. “No, but really. Consider it, even though there must be a reason why you hope not, always consider everything.”

Chanyeol does consider. He’s already accepted he finds Baekhyun attractive, so he considers whether he should ignore Sehun’s warning and his first impression. The first impression where Baekhyun was a beautiful mess, and perhaps just trust his gut that keeps telling him that yes, this is it. 

He considers, but his considerations wash away fast in the undertow.

He doesn’t want to see Jiho kissing Baekhyun— his hand on Baekhyun’s jaw, the tips of his fingers in Baekhyun’s hair, but he does. He doesn’t want to hear Baekhyun’s soft laughter breathed against Jiho’s lips, but he hears that too. 

Jiho closes the door to his room, one hand slipping under Baekhyun’s t-shirt.

Chanyeol feels the urge to leave the house, but what he does instead, is take two beers from the fridge in the kitchen and drink them one after the other. Junmyeon finds him staring at the wall half an hour later, and he finally convinces him to go to bed.

Chanyeol definitely shouldn’t have considered, because he feels that a wound that was not there before just ripped open.

 

 

.

 

 

It’s the middle of the night when Chanyeol wakes up, Sehun’s leg weighing on his abdomen and Sehun’s face squished against his shoulder. He felt like something was pulling him awake when he was still dreaming, and now he can see why given that Sehun was using him as a human pillow.

He untangles with some difficulty— Sehun unconsciously protests, but Chanyeol will hear nothing of his bullshit because he’s suddenly feeling like his tongue is as dry as salt and he needs water. 

He drags himself to the kitchen after throwing on his hoodie, half feeling the walls of the Happy House with the tips of his fingers, half going by memory until he’s in the kitchen and he can gulp down some water. It’s so cold it makes him shiver for a moment.

What happens next is a faint noise coming from the backyard, and for a moment Chanyeol wonders if it’s Yixing again, smoking his secret three am cigarette without Junmyeon knowing. It’s not, though. 

Baekhyun is giving him his back, partially curled up against the doorframe of the door jutting into the backyard. The sound Chanyeol had heard was Baekhyun coughing. He’s not sure whether Baekhyun was sleeping or not, but he lightly taps his shoulder, only once. 

“Byun Baekhyun,” he calls, quiet but a bit rough, and Baekhyun startles, turns around with his eyes still slightly closed. “Why are you sleeping here?”

“Mh..ah..-” Baekhyun seems to hesitate for a moment, mostly because he looks like he really fell asleep there, all balled up like a hamster. It must not be the most comfortable of sleeping positions, Chanyeol thinks, but he doesn’t say anything. He waits for Baekhyun to reply.

His lashes are short and he has a small mole on the tip of his nose too. Chanyeol hadn’t noticed it before— maybe he hadn’t been looking carefully enough.

Baekhyun stretches, long and slow but with zero grace. Then he yawns, and Chanyeol could actually see the bottom of his stomach if he got closer. “Jiho snores,” Baekhyun says around the fraying edges of his giant yawn. He munches on nothing a couple of times, and Chanyeol knows it shouldn’t be endearing at all, but maybe, maybe it’s a little cute.

“Ah, yeah. I knew,” he confesses, then falls to sit next to Baekhyun, his forearms on his knees. “How is your butt not extremely flat now?”

There’s a hint of a wrinkle between Baekhyun’s brows before he speaks with a voice that makes him sound not happy at all. “Don’t insult my beautiful butt,” he whines. “But it’s pretty flat now, yeah. Shit, stupid Jiho. I hate him.”

You didn’t hate his tongue down your throat I guess, but well.

Chanyeol doesn’t say that. He just offers a hum in return. “You should go to sleep with Sehun. He doesn’t snore but he’s the cuddly type if you’re not against that.”

Baekhyun looks up to Chanyeol’s face briefly, then seems to evaluate his words carefully. “I could. But where would you be sleeping then?” He asks as he plays with the hem of his huge, white t-shirt. It’s pretty cold, Chanyeol doesn’t know how Baekhyun is not shivering already.

“The sofa, the floor. I wouldn’t sleep...I don’t know. Three people won’t fit on Sehun’s bed.”

“We can kick off Sehun.”

“And have Junmyeon bitch at us for harming the baby? I think not.”

“Ah…right.” Baekhyun looks ahead for a while, at nothing in particular. Chanyeol knows because he’s peeping at Baekhyun’s face instead, from the corner of his eyes. “Can’t Sehun go with the Happy Couple?”

Admittedly, Chanyeol realizes a little late what Baekhyun’s been implying for a couple of sentences by now. He cards a hand through his own mess of reddish hair he hasn’t cut in months and frowns. “You...don’t want to sleep with Sehun?”

Baekhyun shakes his head once, twice, with this little shit of a grin on his lips and small wrinkles like secrets around his eyes. “No,” he adds at the very end like a casual post scriptum. His lips even stay parted for a while at the last vowel.  

Chanyeol doesn’t know if Baekhyun is intentionally flirting, or if he flirts with anyone, but he feels his ears go particularly warm, then his neck. Only when the warmth has reached his cheeks he decides it’s better if he looks away.

All that blue is messing with his head.

“I guess then you’re left with the sofa or the floor that is making your beautiful butt flat.” He tries, but his reply is quite flat, considering he’s trying not to make it obvious that he’s very flustered.

“You know, your voice is hot,” Baekhyun says out of the blue. He doesn’t sound suave nor flirty at this point, just very sincere. 

To be honest, a lot of people have told Chanyeol his voice is hot. Roughly 90% of the audience of his podcast did pretty regularly, and he has to admit he considers his voice one of the few good assets he got. Having Baekhyun says it so sincerely, though, makes him almost feel self-conscious. 

“Thanks, I guess?”

There’s a moment of silence, then Baekhyun clearly makes it so he’s not looking at Chanyeol before he speaks again, in the quiet of the house. And it’s definitely something didn’t expect to be hearing.

“What if I told you I liked you?”

Chanyeol is taken aback for a second, only a very brief second. Then he remembers about Jiho kissing Baekhyun, circling his waist. He slaps a hand on his thigh and it’s so loud that Baekhyun jumps a little. Then Chanyeol laughs. Not that loud, a low, airy laugh. “You’re kidding, right?”

Baekhyun stares back. It’s just a moment, but there’s something in his eyes Chanyeol has never seen before, so he can’t pinpoint what it means. It’s gone too soon, and Baekhyun is chortling too, albeit a bit weakly. “Yeah, of course.”

That’s where it ends because Baekhyun stands up abruptly. “C’mon, let’s sleep on the sofa,” he says without looking back. Chanyeol has the feeling he’s missing something, but he pushes the thoughts away. It doesn’t matter what Baekhyun says, he’s definitely not Chanyeol’s guy.

 

Somehow, Baekhyun goes from being curled up on a corner of the sofa to being splayed all over it— Chanyeol relegated to being squished against the backrest. Baekhyun has also somehow snatched Chanyeol’s hoodie in the night, and he’s using it as a blanket. Chanyeol’s a human furnace anyway, so he doesn’t feel the heat. What he feels though, is Baekhyun’s drool on his back when he wakes up.

Needless to say he doesn’t like it. Baekhyun’s comment on it was a simple “eheh”. He kept the hoodie, the thief.

It takes a while for a very glass-less Junmyeon to understand what’s going on on his sofa when he walks in the kitchen in the morning.

 

.



Jongin calls and invites himself over on a Sunday, and he doesn’t give Chanyeol any time to react like a sensible human being, that he’s already invading Chanyeol’s space, aka his gaming room. Once Chanyeol manages to put on some pants and finally join him, Jongin is already turning on his computer.

“So we’re starting the podcasts again, right?” Jongin asks, all enthusiasm and cute smiles.

“No? Who told you we’re starting again?”

“Nobody did, but hyung...come on. I finally convinced Taemin to join.” Jongin moves while still sitting on Chanyeol’s chair until he’s close enough to look at Chanyeol with this puppy eye look on his face that Chanyeol wants to both punch and at the same time can’t resist.

He thinks back to the conversation he had with Baekhyun, for some reason. That time at the convenience store he’d thought it would probably be alright to start again. The podcast had been something J had convinced him to do, but when it comes to possession it definitely belonged more to Sehun, Jongin, and him. J was just a random, behind the scene addition nobody except Chanyeol knew about. 

“People liked us hyung, and we’ve been in hiatus for way too long. Plus we still get comments asking when we’ll be back,” Jongin insists, already taking his phone out his pocket and opening one of the apps on the screen.

It’s the app they used to share their podcast, Chanyeol knows it. He also know their listeners leave comments because he gets the notifications for every single one. “I don’t know. I’ll have to think about-”

Jongin glares at him and Chanyeol has to stop himself midsentence because he can recognize an almost pissed off Jongin when he sees one. “Ok, I guess we can start again but… not right now. I really want to rethink our format, and adjust a few things.”

“But we can make an announcement on the channel, right?” Jongin is already tap tap tapping on his phone anyway, so Chanyeol just groans and goes to sit on one of the bean bags because there’s no stopping Jongin when he starts being over-enthusiastic about something. 

But it’s weird. Suspicious that Jongin showed up so out of the blue. He’d asked before, sure, but he’d never acted so straightforward before this, at least in regards to the podcast. “Wait, did Sehun tell you to do this? Because I always brush him off when he tries to convince me?” 

Jongin raises an eyebrow, stopping the tap tapping for a moment. “Nah. Sehun just said you’d say yes this time, so I decided to give it a try. Not sure how it worked but I’m glad it did. I’m telling Taemin this afternoon.” He ends the conversation with a smile and goes back to his phone. When he’s done, he goes back to Chanyeol’s gaming computer. “Can I play some Overwatch, hyung?” He asks, but he’s already doing the thing. 

“Whatever. I’m gonna go back to sleep. I have a shift at the company in the afternoon and I don’t feel like existing before that.”

Jongin hums, then puts on Chanyeol’s headset and he’s basically gone after a few seconds.

By the time Chanyeol goes back to his bedroom, it’s already ten. If he tries hard enough, he could maybe squeeze another hour of napping before he needs to prepare for lunch. Or maybe they could just order in if Jongin stays.

As he goes to lie down on his bed, his phone chimes once, twice, then so many times Chanyeol has to silence it. It’s comments from people who listen to their podcasts, dozens of them. All Jongin did was write a brief message on the channel board, saying they’ll be back soon, but people flooded in already. They’re not that famous, really. Their podcast got maybe a couple hundred listeners when they were doing well, but it feels nice to see the immediate response of their public to such a short message. The podcast name is “Good night Show”, which is the lamest name, but Jongin came up with it and Chanyeol felt too bad to change it. At least their listeners’ name is cute, the Nightowls. 

Chanyeol scrolls through some of the comments, and it’s mostly the usual Nightowls saying they can’t wait for them to be back. Someone asks specifically for Sehun, someone else for Chanyeol. Chanyeol recognizes a few usernames, which brings a smile to his lips.

He quickly sends a text to Jongin. 

[ Are you staying for lunch? ]

[ We got a lot of comments. ]

That’s when he notices a comment from one of their oldest listeners. It doesn’t say anything particular, just “Finally!!”, but it warms Chanyeol’s heart more than other comments because this guy has been commenting since their very first podcast, and has even sent them topics or stories of personal happenings to talk about. Chanyeol is pretty sure it’s a guy, but he can’t be sure. He stares at the small icon of a white dog with a blue collar and smiles to himself.



.



Baekhyun starts texting him on a Monday morning. Chanyeol has never given him his contact, but it’s pretty much obvious at this point who gave it to Baekhyun. Chanyeol wonders why Sehun kept insisting that Baekhyun wasn’t the best option for Chanyeol to consider, but now he acts the complete opposite way.

But nonetheless, the first message Baekhyun sends is a white, chubby emoji dancing. Chanyeol stares at it for a few seconds in confusion, then his eyes stop on Baekhyun’s profile picture. It’s a corgi dog, Baekhyun behind it with another guy that looks a lot like Baekhyun. His brother, probably. Baekhyun still has black hair in the picture— he looks young, too young for it to be a recent pic.

Chanyeol replies to the text with an emoji of his own, a brown bear with a question mark next to his head. He writes [Hey] and waits for Baekhyun to reply. He does almost immediately, but that seems to be an exception.

Baekhyun is not a fast texter at all. He leaves Chanyeol on read quite often or takes a while to write back but he does reply to every single message. At first, it is mostly the two of them parading dumb emojis and exchanging memes. After that, Chanyeol sends a song, for no particular reason. It’s just the song he’s listening to while he’s going to work.

It’s an English song, kinda sad. Chanyeol has a bright personality, but he likes his sad acoustic songs that were in trend when hipsters were a thing. So come on back where you belong is what the song says while Baekhyun replies. He says he’s listening to the song, that he likes it.

Chanyeol’s morning at work— a small import/export company his sister’s husband is running— is long, boring hours sitting at a desk. Chanyeol is creative, he likes to do things, to move around and build stuff. He’s not the kind of person anyone would want behind a desk. Every hour spent at the office is utter suffering. He hates it, but it pays well and the podcast is just a hobby anyway.

Since Baekhyun starts texting him, the hours become a little more bearable. He has something to wait for that isn’t for his sisters to give more papers to check. He sends lots of song recommendations for Baekhyun, and Baekhyun comments thoroughly on each and every one of them. His shifts at the convenience store where he works are apparently just as long and tedious as Chanyeol’s.

They bond on boredom. 

Chanyeol hasn’t forgotten the hues of blue of Baekhyun’s hair and the small kiss of kin on the corner of his lips. Baekhyun is just as much a calling as the first night Chanyeol saw him, with mermaid metaphors and all that jazz. However, he just can’t forget how easily Baekhyun started flirting with Jiho, how easily he fit in his arms and, only a couple hours later, was telling Chanyeol he liked him, asking him to sleep together. 

It doesn’t matter that Baekhyun sounded sincere, saying he liked Chanyeol. The fact that he looked hurt, when Chanyeol asked him if he was a joke has no meaning, given the timing of the confession.

For this reason, when Baekhyun tries to call him, which happens quite often, especially in the middle of the night, Chanyeol never picks up.



.



It’s particularly cold and humid when Chanyeol wakes up. It’s three am, and Chanyeol is not sure what exactly woke him up. Could’ve been an ambulance outside— sometimes he reacts to the smallest noise while he’s sleeping, and that’s especially annoying when he has to go to work the day after. Or maybe it was a nightmare, he’s not sure.

He’s cold enough that he has to put on his hoodie, stumbling still drowsy to the fridge to drink some water. The lights are still off in his one-room apartment, the fridge’s quiet hum and the traffic outside being the only source of noise. Then, all of a sudden, while Chanyeol’s still gulping down on water as if he hasn’t drunk anything in years, his phone vibrates.

It’s so loud and sudden that Chanyeol startles. The phone vibrates more, and it moves enough that it falls from the bed stand to the floor, where it keeps vibrating. 

Chanyeol just knows it’s Baekhyun. He often calls at the weirdest hours, making Chanyeol wonder why he is awake at all, and why he’s calling. When Chanyeol asks, the day after, Baekhyun always changes the topic. This time though, it must be because he’s drowsy, but the calling of all the blue that Baekhyun is, feels particularly enticing today.

“Hello?”

There’s silence on the other line, after a quiet gasp. Then some rustling sound, and only then Baekhyun’s voice comes through. “I didn’t expect you to pick up.”

There’s something in Baekhyun’s voice, in the background of it. It sounds frayed at the edges, different than usual. “What’s wrong?”

“Ah…well,” He hesitates. “Can you come to pick me up?”

“Pick you up?”

“There was...a situation I guess.” Baekhyun inhales, then exhales slowly and it’s there again, that something in his voice. It makes Chanyeol’s stomach churn slightly, gives him the same sensation he has when he’s too anxious or something bad is going to happen.

“Ok, send me the location.”

“It’s far, though. I’m in S-dong.”

It is far, but Chanyeol has a car and he wants to know what the hell is wrong with Baekhyun. “It’s okay, give me thirty minutes.” It’s the middle of the night, he’ll be the only one driving like a madman on the street along with taxi drivers.

The ride there is not the calmest. Baekhyun doesn’t call again, which Chanyeol is not sure whether is a good sign or not and whether he likes it or not. 

There are many case scenarios, and Chanyeol keeps revising each one of them in the back of his mind. Either Baekhyun is trying to get him there for...reasons. Probably personal reasons, or maybe to mess with him. Or he was with some random nightstand and he ended up being stood up. Chanyeol doesn’t know what to expect, but the something in Baekhyun’s voice over the phone makes him want to get there faster.

When he does arrive, he barely notices Baekhyun at all. The area is a residential one and is barely lit, with a few street lights forming intermittent, yellow circles on the asphalt. Baekhyun is sitting in front of a building that looks like some kind of run-down office, and at first, Chanyeol wonders if that’s where he was. Only after a second look, he guesses Baekhyun must’ve just sat there because it would be easy for Chanyeol to find him that way.

It’s dark, so Chanyeol can’t very well see him until he opens the door of his admittedly very old and not exactly fancy car. “Ohi, you coming?”

Baekhyun lifts his face completely only then, and Chanyeol feels his stomach drop completely. It’s a mess. His jacket is ripped near the collar, and there are dark marks on the T-shirt he’s wearing underneath that look like dried blood. There’s more dried blood on his chin, coming from the split on his lip, and a bit more under his nose. His right eye is swollen, it will probably bruise if he leaves it like that. The blue of Baekhyun’s hair makes him look like a corpse right now, casting a bluish hue on his face. He smiles a little bit, but it quickly turns into a grimace, probably because of...well, everything.

“What the hell? ‘Hyun what happened?” Chanyeol stumbles outside of his car before he can even start to think rationally, and he throws himself to kneel in front of Baekhyun. Baekhyun’s hand is chafed too, on the palm.

“You should see the other guy,” he says with what should be the tone of a joke, but there’s no energy in his voice. 

Chanyeol wants to ask it again, what the hell happened, but Baekhyun looks like the shadow of himself and Chanyeol doesn’t have the heart to pry more than necessary. “Come inside, let’s go home.”

Where home is, Chanyeol has no idea. Baekhyun just nods and doesn’t question his choice of words. Chanyeol starts the car and with it the heater, then hesitates for a moment whether to turn on the radio or not. Baekhyun is silent, so very quiet in contrast with his usual persona that Chanyeol opts for playing some music and just drives.

Baekhyun rests his head against the window with a soft thunk! and gathers one knee close to his chest. At least his lip and nose have stopped bleeding. It doesn’t mean that they’ve stopped hurting, Chanyeol thinks, and regrets not having wet wipes in the car to give Baekhyun the illusion to be a bit cleaner and a bit more himself.

By the time they got home— well, Chanyeol almost took Baekhyun to the Happy House. In afterthought, though, apprehensive people would appear. Especially, Junmyeon would appear, and he would probably play the role of the hyung that gets worried, followed suit by Yixing. Also, there’s still Sehun and Jiho living there, and Chanyeol doesn’t feel like exposing such a broken version of Baekhyun to them.

Or maybe he’s just selfish, and he doesn’t want to share him. He wants Baekhyun to rely on him this time. He’s not sure. This constant internal battle within himself, fighting between the attraction he feels for Baekhyun and the awareness that it would be better not to get attached to him is draining. It’s the middle of the night, Chanyeol is tired and Baekhyun is hurt. So Chanyeol turns off his brain and just softly taps Baekhyun’s shoulder once they’ve arrived. 

Baekhyun startles a little, and still a bit asleep he smiles at him. It’s a sweet smile. Barely there at all, because Baekhyun’s lower lip probably still hurts, but it’s there and it takes Chanyeol’s heart by surprise.

“We’re here,” he says, trying not to make it sound like Baekhyun affects him. Baekhyun hums, slowly getting out of the car and following him. “You ok?” Chanyeol asks just in case, as he’s putting in the code for the building. 

Baekhyun nods a couple of times, forcing a chortle that doesn’t reach his eyes. “Yeah, I’m ok. It’s nothing that hasn’t happened before anyway.”

What? Chanyeol doesn’t know what to do with the statement. He doesn't know whether it enrages him, or makes him feel particularly miserable. “Ok,” Chanyeol replies stiffly, but he can’t stop himself from resting his palm against Baekhyun’s back, between his shoulder blades. He’s too...well, he’s too himself to actually say it out loud, but it’s a silent I got you, and he hopes Baekhyun gets it.

 

Chanyeol’s one-room apartment is a small one. Like, not ridiculously small, because he’s very picky when it comes to renting rooms, but it’s definitely on the smaller size. The light turns on at the foyer when they get in— Baekhyun toes off his shoes first, but waits for Chanyeol to walk in before he does.

“Come on, let’s look at those wounds,” Chanyeol prompts, disappearing quickly in the bathroom. “Just sit wherever,” he shouts back, and that’s followed by a rustling sound, and then the sound of soft steps on the parquet.

Chanyeol doesn’t get cuts and bruises very often, and when he does, he’s the type to actually walk to the convenience store or the pharmacy with a bloody finger because he wasn’t smart enough to have everything ready. However, the very few times he did get cut, he stocked on bandaids and disinfectant. He’s not sure what to do about Baekhyun’s eye, but maybe an ice compress will do.

“Hyun-ah, do you want some water?” he asks while dumping all of the first aid stuff on the low table in front of the tv. “Sit by the table, I’ll get something to drink. Are you hungry?”

It’s so unnatural for Baekhyun— who gave Chanyeol the impression to be someone loud, at first, to be so quiet. At least he perks up a little at the mention of food, his eyes turning into crescents. “Yes. Can you make ramyun?”

Chanyeol hums in reply. He puts some water to boil, takes a few ice cubes from the refrigerator, and wraps them in a small kitchen towel, before going back to Baekhyun. “Put the ice compress on your eye, don’t press it too hard.” A little pause, as he cleans the dried blood on Baekhyun’s chin. “Is the other guy dead?”

Baekhyun snorts, his shoulders shaking a little with the sound. “No. He’s kinda big, I have a type.”

“Too bad,” Chanyeol mutters back. “I don’t have many of these butterfly bandaids, so be careful when you wash your teeth later.” He puts some ointment on the split on Baekhyun’s lip, then sticks the little bandaid on, trying very hard not to look at Baekhyun’s eyes, and concentrating as much as he can on the small kiss of ink on the corner of his lips.  

“I didn’t peg you like the drama male lead. You know, tending the wounds of the female lead and stuff.” He’s a little more lively, at least. Chanyeol’s glad he’s talking again, and he could swear there’s a vague hue of pink tinging his ears, but he tries not to think about it too much. It brings back memories from Baekhyun’s confession at the Happy House, which Chanyeol doesn’t need right now.

“I’m totally the drama male lead though. Tall, nice voice, handsome,” he’s teasing, but he’d prefer to see Baekhyun laugh than show him how mad he is about Baekhyun being beaten up by some random dude who knows who they were. “Hand.” 

Baekhyun is still trying very hard not to laugh with his mouth open too wide when he offers Chanyeol his chafed hand. Only when Chanyeol starts cleaning it from what looks like dirt from the street, Baekhyun talks again. “It’s an ex-boyfriend. He appears, sometimes. We broke up because he’s a bit violent when he’s drunk. Like today.” 

A brief silence follows, in which Chanyeol could swear he hears all the possible sounds in his house, from the creaking ceiling to the leaking bathroom tap. “Is he gone for good now?” More than a question, it sounds like a request. Please let him be gone for good now.

“I think..yes.”

“Good.” Chanyeol sticks the bandaid on Baekhyun’s palm with particular attention, then closes his fingers mimicking a punch. Baekhyun has very pretty fingers, Chanyeol knew it already but it’s always a nice rediscovery.  “Why didn’t you stay with Sehun? Or Jiho, or..you know, anyone.”

Baekhyun doesn’t reply for a few seconds, and Chanyeol is almost sure he won’t reply at all when finally Baekhyun opens his mouth again and hesitates. “I…” There’s the smallest, sad smile at the corner of his lips. “Dangerous things are always the ones that call to you the most, you know?”

Chanyeol doesn’t know if Baekhyun is talking about himself or not anymore. 

He’s not sure he wants to know.



Carve your name into my arm
Instead of stressed I lie here charmed
'Cause there's nothing else to do
Every me and every you



Baekhyun doesn’t leave. Chanyeol expects him to— every single day he wakes up thinking he’ll find Baekhyun’s futon empty and him gone forever, but it doesn’t happen. Chanyeol opens his eyes in the morning and Baekhyun is just there, all splayed on the blanket like a starfish or looking like a dead vampire—  a bit of drool on the corner of his lip. Chanyeol shouldn’t be feeling relieved but he does.

As much as he wants Baekhyun to leave, he’s terrified to actually ask him to. Baekhyun doesn’t mention a place where he lives or a family— though Chanyeol had seen that picture of him and someone who looked like a family member, and doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that he’s stealing all of Chanyeol’s clothes, even though they are obviously oversized on him.

The fact that the bigger the sweaters, the more Chanyeol finds him endearing is a small detail not worth mentioning at all.

They have breakfast together every morning before Baekhyun goes to the convenience store for his morning shift and Chanyeol leaves for work at his sister’s company. Chanyeol cooks most of the time because Baekhyun will just make do with whatever he brings from the convenience store and Chanyeol doesn’t think that’s healthy. 

Baekhyun seems to appreciate it a lot because he makes a lot of very graphic noises whenever he takes a spoonful of something— Chanyeol doesn’t necessarily love that, because Baekhyun knows how to sound dirty when he wants. Chanyeol also learns he chews loudly, that he likes to sing while he does the dishes and that he sings well. Chanyeol is kinda envious of that, but he’ll never say. 

Baekhyun also has a lot of random weird habits, like putting an extra lightweight blanket on his regular pillow cover before he sleeps, he does tiny dances when he washes his teeth and always— always yawns wide. Chanyeol kinda hates that as well, but he also ends up finding it kinda cute. 

The weirdest discovery, though, is that Baekhyun uses prescription glasses. He takes them out of a flat little case one day, two very round, dark-rimmed specs. He does this thing where he pushes them back with his middle finger, which has Chanyeol’s blood boil in his veins in a way that forces him to look away whenever Baekhyun does it.

There’s so much blue in Chanyeol’s life now, that it’s almost overwhelming.

It’s also a little worrying, how Chanyeol finds himself expecting Baekhyun to enter the one room apartment every single day. And how his heart skips a beat when he does. 

Baekhyun seems to have his own clique of friends. He often mentions someone named Jongdae, and for a moment Chanyeol wonders if it isn’t another violent lover. Turns out it isn’t, definitely isn’t given the way Baekhyun talks about him, but Chanyeol still has never seen the guy.

Until one night he appears on Chanyeol’s doorstep with a very drunk and very red Baekhyun hanging from his shoulders. Baekhyun is singing on top of his lungs, while the guy Chanyeol assumes to be Jongdae is trying to hush him down. 

“I’m sorry, he doesn’t handle alcohol well,” the guy says. He has a kittenish smile and a terrible haircut. “I’m Jongdae. I swear I didn’t make him drink, but it was a class reunion, you know how things can get…”

“Yeah..” Is all Chanyeol manages to mutter, before Jongdae unceremoniously dumps Baekhyun in Chanyeol’s arms— he’s heavy and smells like cheap soju. Chanyeol doesn’t like it, but he shifts to balance Baekhyun’s weight better against his body. Baekhyun chuckles on his shoulder— it’s short, a little like his usual ‘eheh’ laugh but more slurred. At least he stopped singing.

“So you’re the guy,” Jongdae comments, with a look on his face that says he knows a lot, though Chanyeol is not sure what exactly he knows. “Baekhyun talks about you. He says you cook well.”

Chanyeol is even less sure about what to do with this information. “I cook for him sometimes,”— every day. He cooks for Baekhyun every single day. “Thank you?” He sounds like an idiot, and Baekhyun’s cheek is so very warm against his shoulder.

“Treat him nicely, please. Baekhyun, I mean. He always acts like he’s unbreakable and bright but.. you know. Nobody’s unbreakable.” Jongdae sounds sincere, even too sincere. Chanyeol wonders if he’s drunk too, because who says stuff like that to a complete stranger?

Or maybe Jongdae is just a good friend. Chanyeol goes with that, in the end, despite how suspiciously sappy he sounded.

“Let’s get him in, he’s getting heavy,” is what Chanyeol replies. He turns around, managing more or less to help Baekhyun with a few words of encouragement. He’s a little wobbly, but he walks okay. “Do you want some water?” Chanyeol asks towards Jongdae at the entrance. 

“It’s ok, I’ll be going,” a small pause. “As long as I know he’s safe.”

Jongdae bows a little, then closes the door behind him. There’s a click, then a mechanical voice announcing that the door has closed. Baekhyun is hugging the table, his forehead on its surface. He’s wearing a white hoodie and that too is Chanyeol’s. Same as the pants, which he’s rolled up so that he doesn’t drag them on the floor. 

“Hyun come on, drink some water.” Chanyeol pours some for him, and after a lot of whining and laughing, Baekhyun does take a few sips. His face is so so red, like a fire lit up on his cheeks, that Chanyeol starts to get a bit worried. He hurries to run his hands under the faucet, then cups Baekhyun’s cheeks and his neck with his palm when Baekhyun sets down his glass. “Are you ok?”

Baekhyun smiles at him— his eyes half-closed, no thoughts in the world whatsoever. He looks a bit silly and a bit cute. “I’m ok,” he replies belatedly. “Did I tell you already that I like you a lot?”

Chanyeol’s brain goes numb for a moment. Yes, he wants to say, you said it already, but that’s irrelevant, after all. Baekhyun turns his face a little, then stamps a wet kiss on Chanyeol’s palm. Chanyeol startles, taking his hands back immediately as if he was burnt. He retreats, ending up moving away from Baekhyun a little. The area on his palm where Baekhyun’s lips were feels warmer— Chanyeol’s heart hammering in his chest, his eyes wide open.

“What the hell?!”

Baekhyun looks disoriented as if he couldn’t understand why Chanyeol’s hands were not touching his skin anymore. He’s there sitting on the floor, a little soft and a little cursed like he always looks, except that he’s rocking a black eye and a split lip today. Chanyeol swallows, his mouth suddenly so dry. “I’m sorry,” Baekhyun murmurs, and that’s when Chanyeol starts wondering if he wasn’t faking it a little bit.

“No, but-” Chanyeol starts, but he stops himself mid-sentence because Baekhyun suddenly moves. He shifts a little until he’s kneeling, then approaches Chanyeol until he’s the one cupping his face. He smiles again, that carefree, tipsy smile and he leaves a smooch on Chanyeol’s lips. It’s loud and the least sensual kiss Chanyeol has ever received, but it still freezes him completely and sets him on fire at the same time. Floods him with waves of hot, liquid blue so wild he could spill.

Then Baekhyun kisses him again, and this time it’s slower. He shifts until he’s straddling him, and Chanyeol could do a lot of things— he could move or push him away, and he does none of those. He kisses back, instead, reaching around Baekhyun’s waist with one hand and pulling him closer.

He wonders if Baekhyun would do this sober, as he follows the shape of Baekhyun’s lips with his own. He asks himself how drunk exactly is Baekhyun, and how far they’re going to go. Baekhyun’s neck is still a bit damp from where Chanyeol touched it with wet hands, as he reaches for it with his nose first, then with his lips, leaving an open-mouthed kiss on one of the smaller moles there. 

He could hear Baekhyun’s drumming heart if he got close enough. There’s no sound in the room or outside— the world is silent except for that wildly pounding heart and Baekhyun’s breathing. 

Chanyeol opens his eyes, as he leaves another kiss right under Baekhyun’s ear, and all he can see is endless blue.

 

.

 

 

Chanyeol wakes up the day after, Baekhyun’s breath is warming the center of his sternum. Baekhyun’s still dressed in the same clothes he’d stolen from Chanyeol the night before, and he still aggressively smells like cheap alcohol, but Chanyeol can’t stop staring at him. 

Chanyeol knows Baekhyun is not a side sleeper, and he wonders briefly how he ended up with his legs thrown over Chanyeol’s thighs and his face against Chanyeol’s chest. He also tries very hard not to move, but Baekhyun still wakes up not too much later, turning on his back— his forearm goes to cover his eyes as he squints and moans in disapproval of the light coming in.

It’s not something exactly new for Chanyeol. He’s seen Baekhyun waking up before, in the two weeks Baekhyun has stayed in his apartment. Today, it’s different, though. It must’ve been the aggressive making out, then Chanyeol falling asleep to Baekhyun carding his perfect fingers through his hair— still drunk, still laughing to himself.

They have breakfast like every other day, and they say goodbye like any other day. Nobody brings up the kiss, and Chanyeol convinces himself that Baekhyun must not remember anything about it after all. He’s still not interested in Baekhyun in that sense, he’s adamant about that with Sehun too— every time Sehun makes jokes about it, Chanyeol’s learned to avoid them like the plague.

Nonetheless, it still hurts a little that Baekhyun does not remember. 

Chanyeol guesses he’ll forget about it too, at some point.

Until they kiss again, a couple nights later. 

The tv is on in the room, the volume left down to a low, barely perceptible buzz. Chanyeol’s been staring at the screen for a while, half jotting down ideas for his podcast on his phone, half looking at some music show with girl rappers. Baekhyun has been napping for a while now. He disappeared in the other room at least two programs ago, and the apartment is so terribly quiet it’s eerie.

When Baekhyun finally appears, it’s been two music shows and a replica of some old horror movie. He comes in while Chanyeol is closing the window, eyes still basically shut, hair a ridiculous blue birdnest.

“You can sleep some more,” he prompts, walking towards Baekhyun in slow, lazy steps. Baekhyun scrunches his nose, then he yawns— mouth wide, eyes closed. “Someday you’re gonna swallow a fly,” Chanyeol comments with a chuckle.

The tv is still going. It’s a program about young people living in the countryside. Chanyeol only distractedly sees the green of the fields.

“What’s the time?” Baekhyun’s voice sounds so scratched and rough it does weird things to Chanyeol’s heart. It’s the briefest moment, he ignores it and it passes.

“Two,” he replies. 

It’s completely out of instinct that he reaches out to flatten Baekhyun’s hair on his head, card through the blue, rebel strands. Baekhyun leans into his touch a little, then his lips break into this small, happy, sleepy smile. “I could’ve really slept a little more,” he comments. 

He gets closer, close enough to bump his nose against Chanyeol’s shoulder. Then it’s not his nose anymore, but his cheek. He’s still incredibly warm from sleep and it takes Chanyeol everything not to hug him and bury his face in the crook of Baekhyun’s neck. He keeps running his hand through Baekhyun’s hair, his eyes barley seeing the images on the tv.

It’s Baekhyun who initiates the kiss. For some reason, it’s always him, but Chanyeol wonders if it isn’t his fault as well, since he doesn’t push Baekhyun away. 

He allows himself to reach the small of Baekhyun’s back and angle the kiss just a bit, as Baekhyun gets more comfortable too— one hand on Chanyeol’s hip, the other somewhere on one of Chanyeol’s arms.

Baekhyun’s lips are soft, warm, inviting. His kisses are never hurried, always sort of lazy, as if he was savoring every instant of it. There’s definitely desperation in there, some kind of urge boiling quietly in the background, and Chanyeol finds himself wanting to find out what is like, to have Baekhyun kiss him with that urgency, that fire.

For now, he enjoys the way Baekhyun bites his bottom lip and pulls at it a bit. Even that feels so slow, lazy. Then he can feel Baekhyun break in a small smile while still kissing him. “My breath stinks, doesn’t it?”

Chanyeol snorts, but in reply, he kisses him one more time. “A lot,” he replies in a whisper directly on Baekhyun’s lips.

On the tv, they’re some girl from Seoul who moved to the countryside with her dog. She’s making handmade noodles, and her white dog keeps staring at her. Chanyeol sees nothing of this, and probably neither does Baekhyun. 

Chanyeol has an idea that they won’t mention this kiss either. They end up kissing for a while longer, until Baekhyun finishes it all with a soft, brief kiss on Chanyeol’s cheek before vanishing into the bathroom. When he comes back, he just flops next to Chanyeol on the couch— several parts of his body way too much in contact with Chanyeol’s body. He doesn’t say anything else, and just as Chanyeol imagined, he doesn’t mention the kiss.

“Jongdae says you’re huge, by the way. Which is true,” Baekhyun starts randomly, as the girl on the tv is now proceeding to make kimchi. Only now Chanyeol realizes the program about old people in the countryside has transitioned into a movie.

“It’s you guys that are small. I’m normal,” he replies flatly. He finds it kind of amusing really, and Baekhyun must notice too because he snorts.

“Normal my ass,” he comments. “He liked you by the way. And he’s a nice guy, so please like him too so we can go for drinks together.” Talk about influencing other people’s opinions.

“He sounded a bit fake,” Chanyeol shrugs— Baekhyun’s head bumping on his shoulder. This whole thing, the conversation, the tv on, Baekhyun’s body draped on him like a warm blanket...it’s so terribly domestic that Chanyeol has to stop for a moment and look at it from a different perspective. They’re not dating, he’s not dating Baekhyun...what the hell is this?

“Nah, he’s just old inside. He’s also close to Junmyeon Hyung, I’ve recently found out. I thought there was something you know? That he wasn’t telling me but turns out that nope, Yixing Hyung got there first.” 

Baekhyun goes on rambling, and Chanyeol just quietly stares. He’s not sure what the hell they’re doing, but Baekhyun hasn’t been going out with random people since the accident with the ex-boyfriend. They’ve kissed twice and it has become incredibly difficult for Chanyeol to ignore that he likes Baekhyun. He really does. Baekhyun is likable, endearing. He’s a mess, or at least he was. But he isn’t a mess at all when he’s all smiles, and loud chewing and domestic cuddling on the couch. He’s so normal he could be boring.

“Are you listening?”

“You were talking about the fake dude and I got uninterested,” Chanyeol jokes, as he takes Baekhyun’s hand in his palm and distractedly plays with the tips of his fingers. His hands are pretty, like they were made to play the piano. “Do you play? Your fingers are long.”

“I used to before I got kicked out and all that shit.” 

Chanyeol goes rigid. He doesn’t say anything, instead, he waits for Baekhyun to keep talking. He has to look confused, though, because even Baekhyun laughs a little uncomfortably.

“It’s ok. It’s all in the past. My old man walked on me with some guy. It didn’t end well. My brother is chill about it though,” he shrugs.

It’s not something unusual. Chanyeol is one of the lucky few whose family was ok with his coming out, especially with Junmyeon’s intervention. However,, stories like Baekhyun’s are quite common for the people at the rainbow house. Chanyeol should be used to it by now, but it doesn’t make him any less sad.

“Is the brother the one on your profile picture?”

“Yeah, Baekbeom Hyung. He’s gotten a second son recently! His daughter loves me, I’m the best uncle.”

Maybe, at least, for the most part, it really is fine. 

“I wanna meet him, not the Jongdae dude.”

“Jongdae’s nice though. He’s useful for duets at noraebang,” Baekhyun explains as he slumps a little more on the couch. He lets Chanyeol play some more with his fingers, as he distractedly watches whatever the girl on tv is doing. 

“I wanna listen to you play the piano.” That’s all Chanyeol has to say, for Baekhyun to go a little pink on his cheeks. He probably thinks Chanyeol doesn’t notice, but he does. 

“One day, maybe.”

Yeah, Chanyeol thinks. One day.

 

.



“We’re not dating,” Chanyeol insists, as Sehun on the other end proceeds to mix the vegetable, sauce and meat in the large pan at the center of the table. They’re in a small restaurant in the back alley near the university where Junmyeon hyung teaches. They come often, and Junmyeon always complains they never drop by to his office to say hello. They’re brats though, so they didn’t go today either.

The takkalbi restaurant is filled with people chattering away as they eat, and the pleasant buzz of their conversations is only half covered by the kpop playing from the speakers and the occasional shout towards the kitchen from the old lady serving the tables. 

“No, yeah. Sure,” Sehun nods, putting away the spatula in an empty plate, then resting his cheek on the palm of his hand.

“No, I mean it. We are not dating. He never really asked,” Chanyeol says back with a frown, as he fishes some veggies and meat from the pan and drops it on his rice. 

“And Did you?”

“Well. No. But…” A pause, Chanyeol looks up. “I thought I wasn’t supposed to date him.”

Sehun shrugs back, as he eats a mouthful of rice. “Yeah,” he says around it. “You weren’t but it’s pretty obvious you like him now, so I don’t know what’s stopping you.” Chanyeol doesn’t reply immediately to that, which prompts Sehun to add more, after yelling to the restaurant owner to bring them some soju. “Plus he’s not really been sleeping around like he did before. You made him become domestic.”

Chanyeol raises an eyebrow. “Which is bad.”

 Sehun shakes his head slightly, his floofy black hair shadowing over his eyes. “No, no. It’s good. Baekhyun hyung has the secret aura of a couch potato.. you… should just talk to him. So that you guys can date and I can stop being here staring at you being an idiot.” 

“Mmh.. I don’t know.” It’s soon, too soon. “Am I even ready for this?”

It takes a while for Sehun to reply. Their soju bottle arrives, and Chanyeol’s the one to open and pour it for Sehun first, then for himself. Some people exit the restaurant, followed by a huge group entering instead.

Sehun gulps down his soju, then makes a short hissing sound, before leaning in the backrest of the chair. “I mean, you said you made out,” he comments. “Several times. And you actively participated in the making out. If that’s not a signal for the fact that you’re more than ready I don’t know what is.”

Sehun is right. Chanyeol hates it, but Sehun has a point. He decides not to say anything, avoiding Sehun’s eyes and taking another mouthful of the takkalbi. Baekhyun’s face pops up briefly inside his head— his stupid blue hair and the new mole that randomly appeared on his cheek. He whined about it for two days, which was at the same time very funny and very endearing.

“I think you should just give him a chance. He’s nice, you know you like him, and you know he likes you too. Give yourself a chance to be all mushy and happy for once.” Sehun cards his hand through his hair, then he breathes out— his eyes on Chanyeol’s face, his expression a mixture between ‘I don’t know what to do with you’ and ‘you’re such an idiot’. “You don’t have to be the sad gay who got dumped by his boyfriend for the rest of his life,” he concludes.

They end up talking about Sehun’s boring dating life as they eat. Sehun confesses Junmyeon hyung introduced him to a colleague of his, but that the guy doesn’t look like he’s into him that much. 

“It’s the first time in my life I see you this insecure about some guy,” Chanyeol points out as they exit the restaurant. Sehun just shrugs back, which Chanyeol interprets as him being seriously into this guy— which is a once in a lifetime event when it comes to Sehun. 

“Hyung,” Sehun calls all of a sudden as they stop for Chanyeol’s occasional cigarette in the back alley of the restaurant. 

“.. what do you want? You only call me hyung when you want money.”

Sehun snorts, covering his mouth and shaking his head slightly. “Not money, just coffee.”

“As if you couldn’t buy it for yourself.” Chanyeol takes a drag from his cigarette, then puffs out the smoke slowly. 

“No, I’m buying it for Junmyeon hyung so he loves me more. And you’re buying for me because you love me of course.”

Sehun, big grey hoodie, blue jeans and just the faintest trace of sun freckles on his cheekbones looks up with such a cheeky smile that Chanyeol wants to punch him, then ruffle his perfectly floofy hair until it becomes a birds nest. “Such a spoiled brat.”

“I just deserve all of my hyungs’ love.”

Chanyeol snorts. He’s pretty sure the guy Sehun’s in is gonna be just as fascinated by him as basically anyone else in Sehun’s life is. 



.



The smell of the laundry hanging to dry on the rooftop is overwhelming. It’s reminiscent of clean cotton and something like sea breeze, a mixture of the two. It smells of endless blue like the back of Baekhyun’s head as he hangs the last of the pillow covers on the drying rack.

“Hey,” Chanyeol calls as he slowly walks up to him. 

The sun is so strong it’s incandescent on Chanyeol’s face, despite the autumn cold breeze. Baekhyun in a big black hoodie, basketball shorts and slippers shouldn’t look as cute as he does. It must be the way his eyes shine under the sun, or the way his hair reflects the light. Maybe it’s also how his cheeks are slightly flushed from spending too much time under the sun.

“Can I get a kiss?” He asks, getting closer to Chanyeol and the ledge of the wall. He’s folding some boxer briefs now, which makes his invitation probably the lamest of them all. At the same time it’s so Baekhyun-like that it’s ridiculous.

“A what?” Chanyeol asks, though he’s heard it perfectly well. His question makes Baekhyun smile a bit wider, a bit flirtier. He leans against the low wall, his forearm resting on the brick surface and those black boxer briefs still in his hand. (Not) sexy. 

“A kiss,” he says with a shit eating grin. “I already told you I like you, you know. Have you forgotten?” The hand not holding the briefs vaguely reaches for Chanyeol’s t-shirt, but stops midway— Baekhyun’s perfect fingers stilling midair.

“Yeah. I remember that part.”

“So, I mean it’s only fair we kiss, isn’t it?” He insists, though he sounds more like he really doesn’t expect Chanyeol to comply with it. He sounds like he’s joking. “With tongue possibly, don’t be stin-“

Chanyeol kisses him after removing his glasses swiftly, but slow enough to notice the slight surprise on Baekhyun’s features when the glasses are suddenly gone and Chanyeol’s right there, a breath away from his lips, then pressing against them. 

It’s to shut him up mostly, because Baekhyun can be particularly obnoxious when he wants. But he doesn’t mind being the one to initiate a kiss once in a while. In retrospect, he realizes it’s the first time he’s ever actually initiated a kiss with Baekhyun, though also this time it’s technically Baekhyun who asked.

Baekhyun looks a little flushed when Chanyeol finally draws back, still just the faintest whisper away from his nose. His blue hair looks like it’s ablaze in the sun, and projects a faint hue of azure on his cheekbones. Chanyeol wonders what he’d look with his hair a different color. He’d fallen for the blue, of course, but he wouldn’t mind seeing Baekhyun with his natural hair color. His roots are just slightly poking from his scalp, dark brown.

“When are you gonna start the podcast again?” Baekhyun asks, nonchalantly resting his back against the ledge. “I thought you said you’d start soon.”

“In a couple weeks probably? I was thinking we could invite some other creators too, if Sehun and Jongin don’t mind? They probably won’t mind.” Chanyeol can still see a faint red on the tips of Baekhyun’s hair, but he doesn’t comment on it. He mirrors his pose, and throws a glance to the drying rack distractedly. 

“I think you just start impromptu, you know. Go with the flow for the first episode. It’s been a while since you guys went live anyway.”

“That’s true I guess.” He nods, then he turns around to face Baekhyun, a bit surprised. “I didn’t know you listened to our podcast.”

“There’s a lot of things you don’t know about me. Would you like to know?” He intentionally wiggles his eyebrows. Chanyeol has to make a physical effort to stay serious and not fold in half and hit his own knee laughing. 

“I know enough to decide I don’t like you”

Baekhyun’s hand goes to his heart, as if he was hit right there. He even makes a face, as if he was in pain. Then his expression changes into a challenging, amused one. “Sure. Sure. And yet…”

“Wanna go eat something?” Chanyeol replies, just to change the topic. He steals the briefs from Baekhyun’s hands— he can’t stand Baekhyun holding onto the piece of clothing anymore— and he moves away from the wall.

“I’m craving soba.” Baekhyun says.

“Let’s go get soba then.”

There’s something that catches in Chanyeol’s heart whenever Baekhyun smiles brightly like that, his eyes into crescents looking back at him. This time it takes him a lot of effort to convince himself that it’s too soon to be happy. This time it also takes a while for J to appear in the back of his brain.



.



J became Chanyeol’s first boyfriend after he came out. 

Chanyeol tried girls, several of them when he was in highschool, mainly because everyone was getting a girlfriend and he didn’t want to be the weird one. It never really clicked with them. There was something just different in the way he felt about girls. He couldn’t quite place it, but kissing girls felt for him very much like when his mom forced him to eat carrots, as a child. He just found himself more at ease with boys, but for the longest time he just assumed it must be him being shy.

Until university.

University was different for many reasons, one of them being J. He was the first guy Chanyeol consciously found pretty, the first Chanyeol wanted to hold hands with. Their first kiss after Pride, under the rain, probably was one of the best memories Chanyeol has from university. Until it became a sour one, of course.

It’s like everything else got stained as well, after J left. Slowly but inexorably turning everything grey. All the good memories, the neutral memories, even the bad ones. All memories even remotely connected to J, Chanyeol tried to bury as much as he could. It had been shocking to realize how much space J had taken into Chanyeol’s life, and how hard it actually was to get rid of things of him, memories of him. Every second of Chanyeol’s life had been J’s as well.

Maybe it was Chanyeol being selfish. After all, J had left him when he’d realized he didn’t love him anymore. A love story without love makes no sense, everyone knows that. It made sense. It really did. However it didn’t mean it didn’t hurt like a knife in Chanyeol’s heart when he was left alone in a half empty house.

It meant Chanyeol didn’t get to blame J. Because J had done the right thing. In retrospect, it had been the ‘it’s not you, it’s me formula’, just much more direct.

Chanyeol had spent the following 6 months trying to realize this, trying to forget J, his voice, the tan line of the back of his neck that Chanyeol used to stare at, in class, the warmth of his hands or the smell of his shampoo.

It has taken a little more than half a year for most of those memories to hurt less, some of them being replaced by waves and waves of endless blue and sun rays. Exactly eight months, three weeks and two days, for Chanyeol to finally meet J at one of the gatherings and not have his heart jump in his throat.

J is right there in a corner of the coffee shop when Chanyeol and Baekhyun arrives, and Chanyeol’s heart is eerily quiet. Chanyeol recognizes him immediately, of course, but he’s almost taken aback by his own lack of reaction.

“He’s here,” is all he manages, as Junmyeon hyung approaches him with an apologetic smile. “You said he wouldn’t come,” he adds. It’s coming out wrong, really. He’s not feeling anything, he’s just...confused.

“He ended up hearing about this from Minseok hyung and I didn’t know about it, sorry Yeol-ah.” Junmyeon squeezes his shoulder a little, forcing a smile on his face as he greets people standing behind Baekhyun and Chanyeol. “Just… I’ll try to make it so you guys don’t have to interact, if you want.”

“No,” Chanyeol replies before he can even realize he opened his mouth to speak. “I don’t mind. Actually,” he pauses, his eyes hesitating on J’s face. “I want to talk to him,” he confesses. That’s a bit of a surprise for himself too, but maybe that’s what he needs. Closure.

Baekhyun is a bright blue shadow in the corner of his eyes. He’s quiet, too quiet for his standards, and when Chanyeol looks back to him a little, Baekhyun just looks very disoriented. He doesn’t know about J, probably not in detail. Chanyeol does not like to talk about J, and Sehun probably never brought it up with Baekhyun.

“Your ex?” He asks, with a weird smoothness to his voice that makes Chanyeol think he’s faking it.

“My ex, yeah.” 

Baekhyun makes a face. It’s small, imperceptible. If Chanyeol hadn’t been staring at that face for a very long time for the past couple of months in which he got to know Baekhyun better, he wouldn’t have noticed at all. However he did stare a lot, and he can tell Baekhyun’s getting anxious.

I like you, Baekhyun had said it over and over.

Maybe it was time for Chanyeol to say it back. “Look, I need to talk to him for a moment. I’ll be back and I won’t see him again, alright?”

Baekhyun’s imperceptible frown becomes a little more visible. “Why do you need to talk to him?”

Chanyeol’s not sure. On one hand he’s still mad at J for leaving him, on the other he was such a big part of his life that was gone so suddenly, that he just needs a little more of it. He needs to put and end to things properly. It’s stupid, it’s selfish.

“I promise I’ll be right back.”

Baekhyun looks hesitant, but he nods. He looks around briefly, probably trying to locate Sehun in the crowded coffee shop, and when he finds him he gives Chanyeol his back. His shoulders are rigid.

I like you, did I say it already?

Chanyeol would talk to J and be back as fast as lightning to say those words back. Maybe he really wants to be mushy and happy with Baekhyun for the rest of his life.

Most of the people who came to the gathering today are new. They probably joined the gathering after Junmyeon’s appearance on the YouTube channel of quite the celebrity in the LGBT community. The person J is talking to, close to the big windows of the cafe, must be one of the new ones.

It takes a moment for J to notice Chanyeol in the crowd and meet his eyes. He doesn’t look surprised nor sad, nor...anything at all, really. He smiles, just a little. It’s a smile Chanyeol doesn’t recognize, when for the longest time he thought he knew everything about J. His smile was one of the things of him he liked the most, and yet it looks so unfamiliar now.

“Hey”, he greets, then bows for the person standing next to J. “I’m Park Chanyeol, nice to meet you.”

The guy briefly introduces himself, and for a moment Chanyeol wonders if he’s J’s new boyfriend after all. However it turns out he’s just an acquaintance of J, and he leaves soon after, probably after noticing the awkward atmosphere in the air.

They’re playing acoustic guitar music in the coffee shop, some western song Chanyeol doesn’t recognize. Only when he notices that J is holding a coffee, he realizes he didn’t even place his order. Then J meets his eyes again, and Chanyeol feels a bit stupid.

His heart is still quiet.

“How’ve you been?” J’s the one who asks first. He sounds different, more mature. Chanyeol doesn’t like it. It makes him feel uncomfortable right away, because J had never sounded like this before. He’d never sounded so distant. 

“I-” he’s the one to hesitate now. “I was alright, thank you.” I guess it took a while to get over you, but I survived. “I’m still working for my sister, but Sehun, Jongin and I are planning to start the podcasts again. Soon, possibly.”

He rocks the small talk, he’s almost proud of himself. In the back of his brain, though, he’s trying to figure out what is it that he found so attractive in J, back when they were together. His perm looks odd, and his clothes just look a little shabbier than Chanyeol remembers them.

“I saw, actually. I noticed the announcement on the channel, I’m glad.” There’s more silence. Chanyeol wonders if this wasn’t a bad idea after all, when J starts talking again. “You know, I… often think about what happened between us. I thought about going back a lot of times, I really did. But I thought you didn’t deserve it, and-”

“No, you’re right. I didn’t.” Chanyeol speaks up before he can stop himself. “It was the shittiest six months of my life, when you left because you were everywhere, J. Eradicating your fucking presence from my apartment was the hardest thing. And I couldn’t even blame you, because what could you do? You didn’t love me anymore.”

J frowns, the hand holding his coffee tightening just slightly, but he doesn’t say anything. Probably because there’s nothing to say.

“I don’t know what you’re trying to do, saying you thought about coming back but no, I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve a post it and an empty house after everything.”

Chanyeol looks outside the window, as the quiet, relaxing music keeps playing in the cafe. It’s accompanied by the pleasant buzz of conversation of all the guests, and if he listens hard enough he could hear Junmyeon’s hyung laughter. He’s not sure what he’s trying to do here, talking to J. It feels like talking to a stranger.

Maybe, as the six months went by, the J in Chanyeol’s memories became less and less like J, and more like a weird, distorted version of him that Chanyeol created to comfort himself. 

“I’m sorry,” J says. “I...I am not sure either, where I was going with that. Maybe I thought there was hope that…” he pauses for the briefest moment, followed by a sigh. “I guess I waited too long, huh?”

J reaches and squeezes Chanyeol’s forearm in a gesture that would look even tender, if Chanyeol wasn’t completely creeped out right now. He goes rigid, then gently pries the hand off. “I’m sorry, J. I have someone now.”

“Blue hair guy?” J asks, with a hint of amusement in his voice. “I see you have a type, huh?”

Click

It’s something within Chanyeol that reacts immediately when Baekhyun is mentioned. Something wild like a giant blue wave within him that wants to lock Baekhyun in the deep deep ocean and have J never find out about him, never even see him. “Please J. Just say you’re sorry, so I can say I got closure and I can forget about your ugly face.” Chanyeol’s tired now. J wasn’t even supposed to be here, and this conversation was supposed to be useful for him, not draining.

Things never go the way Chanyeol wants them to go, though.

“I’m sorry, Yeol.” J smiles again, that weird, alien smile Chanyeol doesn’t know anymore. “It was nice seeing you again.”

Nah, it really wasn’t.

When Chanyeol turns back to look for the familiar spot of blue in the crowd, his stomach makes a weird flip. He can’t see Baekhyun at all.



.



“What do you mean he left? We just got here? Did he take a cab?”

Sehun just looks pissed off, as they leave the coffee shop and head for the main road. The door closes behind them, and Chanyeol can barely see Junmyeon and Yixing watching at them, a little concerned, from the coffee shop window. 

“I don’t know, he said he wasn’t feeling well. What the hell did you tell him? I thought the goal was to be mushy and happy, you know?” Sehun stops in front of Junmyeon’s car, opens it with the little remote control and slides in immediately.

“You’re driving?!”

“Is this the moment to complain about this, hyung? You’re gonna go nuts any moment because you lost your puppy boyfriend.” 

Chanyeol can’t really say anything to that, so he quietly rides on the passenger seat of Junmyeon’s old, like, very old car. “And by the way I told him I was gonna talk to J for a moment, and that I’ll be back immediately.”

“And was it really necessary to talk to that piece of shit?”

Sehun starts the car, and Chanyeol immediately turns off the radio before the voice of the news anchor can actually reach his ears. “I know, I know it wasn’t. But I thought I wanted to get closure, you know? People always say closure is good!”

“You need a good fuck, not closure. And you need someone nice who cares about you, not closure with that asshole of a boyfriend you paraded in front of us for years.” Sehun can be brutally honest when he wants. Especially when he’s particularly pissed, and today’s one of those days. “If you hadn’t left the guy you actually like to talk to that idiot, now we wouldn’t be driving like madmen trying to reach Baekhyun hyung.”

“I didn’t think he’d get-“

Sehun hits the brake right in front of the traffic light. “He likes you, for god’s sake. Can you get it already? He really likes you. He wants to get you breakfast in bed and kiss you goodnight kinda like. He actually said these cringy things, and you were thinking about closure?”

Chanyeol doesn’t know what to say to that. Probably, somewhere inside himself he always just thought Baekhyun was the wild, blue haired guy who slept with Sehun for fun and flirted with Jiho just because he wanted to. Maybe he’d forced himself to think that despite everything, Baekhyun wasn’t going to change.

“You’re such an idiot.” Sehun says, and he turns the radio on out of spite.

The roads are almost empty and the car is so dark it makes Chanyeol feel like he could cry. The memory of finding that post it in a house stripped naked of anything J, that feeling of profound emptiness haunts him like a shadow creeping from the most hidden corners of his heart.

“Shut up and go faster.”

 

.

 

 

“You sure he’ll be here?”

“Unless he went to Jongdae’s back home is the only place I can think of, so I’m gonna check. I’ll tell you if he’s here,” Chanyeol announces as he jumps out of the car as fast as he can. His heart is drumming so loud in his chest he could feel it in his throat, and this weird knot clenches hard his stomach whenever he thinks Baekhyun could be just gone now.

The light to his one-room apartment is still off when he glances up at the building. That doesn’t reassure him at all, so he walks faster. He attempts once again to call Baekhyun, but his phone is just off.

“Stupid Hyun, I’m gonna kill him, I’m gonna kill-“

He runs into the elevator as fast as he can and presses the button for the right floor, his leg shaking as the elevator goes up way too slow for Chanyeol’s liking. Once it opens again with a ding! Chanyeol takes a long, deep breath. The hallway is dark at first, the lights only turning on as Chanyeol passes under them. 

When he finally gets to punch the code into the door lock and he hears the usual beep signaling the door opening, he could swear his ears are ringing. 

Preparing to go to the gathering with Baekhyun had been fun. Especially because stupid Baekhyun wanted to look particularly cute, and there is no clothes that could be defined cute in Chanyeol’s wardrobe. Not that would fit Baekhyun nicely anyway. Baekhyun still managed to pull off some jeans and a huge shirt, and did a small catwalk show thing which made them both crack out laughing.

The hell with closure, if Baekhyun is gone.

Except he isn’t.

When Chanyeol enters the room, Baekhyun’s sitting on the floor in front of the couch, his hands grabbing the edge of the low, round table right there. All of this, with not one single light on.

“Hyun, what the hell? Why did you leave? I told you-” He breathes out, turning on the lights. “I’m so sorry I didn’t think you’d be this upset, I-“

Baekhyun’s staring at his knuckles, his fingers still gripping at the table. When he looks up, he does it with such a fake smile Chanyeol’s taken aback. He looks like he’s really trying to keep it together, and failing miserably. “I know, you said to wait. I couldn’t wait, though. I’m sorry.”

There he goes again, with that awfully light tone that means he’s just sad or really mad, and that fake smile. 

“Hyun, look at me.” Chanyeol kneels, then flops to the floor right next to him. He cups his face, just like he’d done weeks earlier, when he’d found Baekhyun outside of his ex boyfriend house, all beaten up. This time he traces Baekhyun’s cheek with a thumb, and there’s no bruises or scratches. Only a couple of freckles and moles.

When Chanyeol’s eyes finally meet his, Baekhyun’s nonchalant façade breaks down. He frowns again, very visibly this time, then his eyes get a little red, then redder and watery. The first teardrop falls right on the tip of Chanyeol’s thumb.

“Hyun...what the hell...I said to wait for me, not to fuck off to Mars…”

“I cry when I’m mad and frustrated, ok?” He says, as he pulls his face away and angrily palms his tears away with the sleeves of Chanyeol’s huge button up shirt. “Because it’s fucking unfair.”

“I’m sorry, I …”

“And you won’t date me. We kiss, we do all that kissing and hugging and cuddling but you won’t ever initiate it. So I thought maybe you...didn’t want to date me?” 

Shit. There’s actual tears running down Baekhyun’s cheeks, and he’s still there angrily trying to remove every trace of them. “And I’ve been trying so damn hard to tell you, because I really like you a fucking lot and you went to talk to that trashy dude instead. I don’t like him. And now I’m acting like a girl, which is fucking embarrassing.” A pause. “Fuck.”

Silence. Then a small giggle, Baekhyun’s. “I’m such an idiot,” he adds, and he looks ready to stand up and leave, as he finally lets go of the table. Chanyeol’s having none of that.

“Hey.” He calls, taking Baekhyun’s hand before he can actually stand up. “I like you. Actually, I think I might love you.”

That freezes Baekhyun on the spot. His ears go slightly pink, and his eyes turn into small crescents. “Don’t fuck with me, come on.”

“I’m not joking. I like you a lot, I wanna be mushy happy with you, for the longest time. And prevent you from eating shitty convenience store food. And cooking you the best meals, and shit like that,” he pauses, realizing his face feels incredibly warm as well. “I’m sorry it took so long to say it, I guess...It was hard to admit I was in love with someone again.”

This time Baekhyun just stares back, as if weighing every single word Chanyeol says. “Mushy happy?” He asks, getting closer. “And you’ll make me breakfast in bed too?”

Chanyeol nods, and he reaches with his hand for Baekhyun’s hair. He cards his fingers through it, and Baekhyun’s eyes slightly close as he smiles. 

“So, can I kiss you know?” Chanyeol asks, but he’s already whispering it right on Baekhyun’s lips, before finally closing softly pressing against them. “Love you, Hyun,” he murmurs. He thumbs away what’s left of the dampness left by Baekhyun’s tears, then kisses him again closing his eyes.

He doesn’t really care about the blue of Baekhyun’s hair now. He cares about the softness of his lips, the fanning of his eyelashes against Chanyeol’s cheek, the warmth of his body against Chanyeol’s. 

When Chanyeol draws back, Baekhyun whispers it in Chanyeol’s ear. I love you, but it feels so secret and intimate that Chanyeol can hear his heart drumming all over again. He wonders if Baekhyun hears it too. Though he’s probably also deafened by his own. 



When they finally tell Sehun they’re both alive and well, Sehun honks the horn for five minutes outside the apartment, in protest. Brat.

 

.

 

Chanyeol likes smoking in the middle of the night. It calms him down, though it makes his one room apartment stink a little, if he’s not very careful. It’s actually cold tonight, though the sky is clear. A group of teenagers is being very loud outside, on the main street, calling each other names and disturbing the otherwise quiet neighbourhood.

He’s sitting by the window by himself, Baekhyun still sleeping in the other room. They’re officially together now, which makes Chanyeol’s heart particularly noisy when he thinks about it. As the guys outside the apartment start chasing each other on the street, yelling like oversized toddlers, Chanyeol sighs. 

He flicks the ash off the cigarette in a plastic bottle that has been cut down to size and filled with water, then he takes another drag. “Stupid teenagers,” he mutters to himself, before he hears a sound from his left and notices Baekhyun being up.

He’s walking blindly to the fridge, as he scratches his thigh distractedly. It’s endearing and somehow kinda funny. It’s also kinda sexy, since he’s sleeping with a t-shirt and his boxers only.

Chanyeol stands up, tossing his cigarette in the water bottle and slowly making his way towards Baekhyun. He’s drinking some water directly from the bottle, the fridge still open and Baekhyun’s eyes closed.

When Chanyeol circles his waist from the back, Baekhyun barely reacts. He puts the bottle down and he rests his head on Chanyeol’s shoulder. “You scared me.”

“You don’t look scared,” Chanyeol says. He presses his lips against Baekhyun’s neck, then a little lower near his clavicle. “Still sleepy?”

“Nah.”

It’s Baekhyun who guides Chanyeol’s hand beneath the t-shirt, and still Baekhyun who reaches for Chanyeol’s face to angle it so that they can kiss easier, deeper. 

Baekhyun’s skin is so warm as Chanyeol explores it with his fingertips. He even tries to tickle him, near his hips. That has Baekhyun snort a little directly in Chanyeol’s mouth, followed by a decided bite on Chanyeol’s tongue.

Baekhyun turns around, deepening the kiss and locking his arms around Chanyeol’s shoulders. Then he puts his weight on him, just slightly. Enough for Chanyeol to know he wants to be hoisted up, so he does it. It’s just natural like that.

They keep kissing, long, slow, a little wet to be honest. Chanyeol doesn’t complain, he loves every single detail of Baekhyun’s kisses. 

“Kiss me more,” Baekhyun pleads, as his grip on Chanyeol’s shoulders gets a little tighter, his breath a little ragged and his kisses a little desperate.

It takes a while to get rid of all the clothes, because Baekhyun just wants to keep kissing, and Chanyeol just wants to see instead. They compromise, so Chanyeol can kiss Baekhyun’s skin instead, and Baekhyun gets to just lay down there and get all the pampering.

Baekhyun’s blue hair sticks to his forehead as he frowns, when Chanyeol enters him as slow and careful as he can. Baekhyun giggles at that, though he sounds breathless and a little in pain. “I didn’t think I liked to be pampered,” he starts, saying it right to Chanyeol’s cheek as he pulls him closer with both his arms and legs. “And I didn’t think you’d be so sweet.”

He moans quietly, as Chanyeol moves. “I told you I’m the drama male lead type,” he says back. Baekhyun chortles again, and once again it dilutes into a quiet exhale. 

When Chanyeol first saw Baekhyun, he thought he was as dangerous as a storm and as alluring as the chant of mermaids during a shipwreck. Having him beneath him, so delicately strong and softly wild, Chanyeol can’t help but think back to his first impression. All that blue, deep blue that called to him is now replaced by something that warms him on the inside.

Chanyeol doesn’t know why he expected Baekhyun to be louder in bed, but he's just so surprised by how quietly intense he is as he thrashes beneath him and pulls him close, impossibly close as he shakes.

He whispers sweet nothings on his skin as Baekhyun’s fingertips leave imprints down his back; eyes closed shut, a kiss of ink on the corner of his lips and impossibly blue waves of hair fanning on the pillow.



-epilogue-

 

So in the end they go for drinks with Jongdae, and he turns out to be just as nice as Baekhyun had said. He even introduced them to his girlfriend, Yoobin, who pairs with Baekhyun for crazy hair, except that hers is flaming red. Chanyeol also learns when to stop Baekhyun from drinking, which is more or less when his whole face, neck, body, everything starts getting that scarily worrying hue of death red, more or less the same color of Yoobin’s hair.

Chanyeol also finds out that Baekhyun’s incredibly clingy in the mornings, but then has his tsundere moments when he’s upset about something. He’s also stupidly jealous, which is kinda cute, because he gets very shy about it and he will never admit it, but then he takes every occasion to lowkey insult J.

When that happens, Chanyeol never stops him.

He guesses J deserves it after all. 

After about a month, they move out into a bigger house. They joke a lot about the laundry room becoming Baekhyun’s room, but they get the comfiest mattress and the biggest sofa they can, so they can cuddle better on it. Chanyeol’s sister visits, at some point. She brings Chanyeol’s family dog Toben along with lots of food and complaints about how Chanyeol’s sense of interior design sucks.

He makes sure not to tell her everything was chosen by Baekhyun, because Baekhyun is already glaring at her from the other side of the table.

“I hate your sister,” he says as they’re all tangled up together in bed, after she leaves. “But your dog is cute.”

“He’s fucking crazy though.” Chanyeol sighs, as he thanks all the gods in heaven that Toben decided to pee on the floor and not on the sofa. “I don’t get him.”

Baekhyun chuckles to himself, then he sends pictures of the house, of the dog and of them all together to his mom, tap tapping on his phone screen. Oh right, that’s the big news. Baekhyun’s mom wrote to him a couple of weeks after him and Chanyeol started dating, and they’ve been talking ever since.

Baekhyun looks happy. He probably is genuinely happy, which causes Chanyeol to want to cover him with kisses when he least expects it. Whenever he smiles, he gets a peck on the cheek or whatever body part is available. Chanyeol loves it expecially when it starts with a peck and two seconds after they’re naked on the bed. He doesn’t know how it happens, but it certainly does.

The podcast gets delayed again. Jongin has found a job in a professional ballet company, and he’s on tour all the time so it’s hard to get him to join. Sehun whines about it for a while, but they decide to start something occasional when Jongin comes back from his first tour in Europe. Not a lot of people are into podcasts now anyway.

Baekhyun is way more sad about this than Chanyeol thought he would be.

One morning Baekhyun resigns from his convenience store job, and decides he will help Junmyeon and Yixing with the management of the Happy House. Because of this, he also decides he needs to get rid of the blue, in order to go back to his natural black hair. 

Of course, Chanyeol’s the one who helps. 

“You’re shitty at this.”

“I told you to go to a salon, now shut up and let me do my job.”

The black dye is nasty, and it has already gotten in two spots on Baekhyun’s neck and has bled on his ears too. 

“I should’ve asked Sehun, I swear.”

To which Chanyeol smears some black directly on Baekhyun’s nose. Baekhyun stares at him for exactly two seconds, outraged. “Just know that my head is very close to your balls right now, and no. I don’t mean it in the sexy way.” His words finish with a laugh, and Chanyeol follows suit. 

“Yeah, yeah. You’re pretty,” He leans in to press his lips against his. It’s supposed to be just a peck, but Baekhyun slides some tongue in it and...things kinda escalate.

Thankfully they realize leaving dye on for uneven amounts of time on the hair is bad. Chanyeol also realizes he has a thing for Baekhyun’s nape, now that his hair is so very black.

“Aren’t you going to miss the blue? You said you liked it.” Baekhyun asks, while Chanyeol runs his nose on Baekhyun’s freshly done undercut as they cuddle on the couch.

“Mmh, I did.  But you’re still my baby blue, you know.”

“Cringe.”

“But you love me.”

Baekhyun thinks about it for way too long, which prompts Chanyeol to squeeze him tighter and tighter. 

“Yeah, yeah I do.”