“He’s been glancing at you for the last ten minutes, Baek.” Jongdae whispers in his ear next to him and Baekhyun almost misses it. The room was too crowded, too stuffy and too hot. Why does it suddenly seem like everybody was in band practice?
“Hmm?” Baekhyun hums but he knows who Jongdae was talking about. He can feel the burning gaze from the pretty brunette stealing glances his way every time he hits the snare.
It’s unnerving, Baekhyun thinks, the way the pretty brunette doesn’t even try to pretend to be looking at him. They’ve made eye contact once, twice, three times and Baekhyun thinks the small smile gracing the latter’s face was because Baekhyun would bashfully hide his face every single time.
“Chanyeol. Park Chanyeol. The drummer?” Yes, Baekhyun knows Park Chanyeol, the drummer. He knows him from the whispers of the school hallways, from the quiet squeals of girls as they gossip about him.
The tall handsome drummer from some band or another, Baekhyun doesn’t really know. He doesn’t care about school activities that much, opting to drown himself in video games and textbooks and the occasional alcohol.
Baekhyun knows him the most, he thinks, from last weekend when Baekhyun drunkenly, stupidly, went out and got shit faced drunk. He doesn’t remember what the hell happened or how it happened but he knows the face Chanyeol makes when he’s in orgasm, knows what it feels when Chanyeol’s cock throbs inside him as he empties himself again, and again, and again.
Baekhyun doesn’t always party. But when he does, he goes all out. Face full of makeup, eyes painted beautifully, hair styled expertly, as if he ran his fingers through them and left only tendrils to frame his face.
Baekhyun doesn’t always bring guys home, either; opting to do one quick round in the back alley and leave once he’s tasted the tanginess as soon as it lands on his tongue and coats his lips.
Baekhyun thinks his little escapades should stop. It’s not the best coping mechanism to the impending stress of school work and other, more personal, problems. But he’s already started and he doesn’t know how to stop.
He likes the feeling, or lack thereof. Thoughts empty except for the fog in his head. He likes the numbness in his face when he’s on his third — or was it fourth? — drink; likes that all he can think about in that moment is the feeling of another body dancing against his, muscular arms wrapped around his waist in an attempt to guide his body to flow in the same rhythm. Baekhyun likes that his head is quiet.
He doesn’t remember ever meeting Chanyeol, if he was being honest. Baekhyun always frequents the bars and the clubs far away from the university, anyway. No one knows him in the outskirts of Gangnam, he thinks.
Baekhyun doesn’t remember how he and Chanyeol started talking that night but he already knows that Chanyeol was different. He was nice and kept directing Baekhyun’s hands away from his crotch and back to his knee. Baekhyun, drunk Baekhyun that is, thought Chanyeol’s eyes shone brighter than the strobe lights coloring the dimly lit room.
Baekhyun can recognize Park Chanyeol even through the haze of mixed drinks in his system. He can recognize the almond eyes and funny looking ears anywhere. Baekhyun remembers giggling every time Chanyeol’s lips would graze the tips of his ears as the latter leans closer to whisper something or other.
Drunk Baekhyun remembers thinking that the stretch of Chanyeol’s lips would look pretty as he moans his name again and again as Baekhyun sucks and bobs his head on Chanyeol’s thick cock to the rhythm of the music inside the club.
Drunk Baekhyun was so enamored that he didn’t think he would say yes when Chanyeol invited him to go to his place. Drunk Baekhyun doesn’t remember much from that night (what a shame, he tutts to himself) but he knows what ChanyeoI looks like blissed out from rounds upon rounds of amazing sex.
And so Baekhyun doesn’t think the younger student recognizes him outside of the club. Not when he’s all dressed down, hair disheveled from lack of sleep, thick rimmed glasses hiding the bags under his eyes, and clothes baggy to hide the curves he was determined to show off that night.
Baekhyun honestly doesn’t know why he’s in band practice either. He’s not even in the fucking band in the first place. He blames it on Jongdae. But really, Baekhyun thinks his friend is just a little too in love with the bassist with the cat-like eyes and the gummy smile.
And now, as Chanyeol stands up from behind the drum set with a determined look on his face, Baekhyun blames this on Jongdae too. It’s always Jongdae’s fault, anyway.
“Hello,” Chanyeol starts and Baekhyun thinks the way he fidgets is so uncharacteristic of him, of the Park Chanyeol the girls squeal talks about; of the swagger in his walk, the charming way his mouth tilts to the side when he smiles that Baekhyun thinks he’s seen, once, in his drunken haze back in the club.
Then again Baekhyun doesn’t know him. Not really. Only knows of his flesh and his skin and the taste of his cum.
Baekhyun swallows and averts his eyes to his left, determined to not make eye contact.
“May I speak with you?” May . How adorable, Baekhyun thinks and his heart may have stuttered at the absolute incredulity of the situation. Who fucking says may I nowadays anyway.
“Are you talking to me?” Baekhyun asks. The way Chanyeol tilts his head makes him look like a puppy and Baekhyun thinks he deserves a pat on the head.
“Who else would I be talking to?” The rest of Baekhyun’s table hoots and goddamnit Baekhyun is red. He’s not used to the attention when it’s unwarranted.
“Okay,” Baekhyun mumbles and both of them leave the room; ChanyeoI walking ahead of him but never forgetting to look back, as if he’s afraid that Baekhyun would run away at any given moment. They stop at the corner of the empty hallway.
“You left early that night.” ChanyeoI starts and Baekhyun feels his heart in his throat.
“I... beg your pardon?”
“Last weekend. At the party?” And his head tilts again and Baekhyun almost wants to continue his dumb blonde façade.
“I know you know what I’m talking about,” Chanyeol huffs and crosses his arms across his chest, shirt sleeves stretching to accommodate his bulging biceps. Baekhyun curses the way his fingers tingle at remembering how the muscles felt underneath his touch.
“I really don’t — ”
“Stop lying to yourself, Byun.” Baekhyun jolts at the name.
“I didn’t think you’d know my name.” Baekhyun mumbles, fingers playing with his own frayed sleeves.
“Kind of hard not to know you. After that night.” There was a teasing lilt to Chanyeol’s voice and Baekhyun stills at the unfamiliar feeling that grips his chest.
Baekhyun looks around the hallway, eyes wide like a deer caught in the headlights. The hallway is empty but Baekhyun whispers quietly anyway, “I didn’t think you’d recognize me.”
“You’re kind of hard to forget, Byun.” The hearty laugh that escaped Chanyeol echoes in the walls and in Baekhyun’s head.
Bαekhyun flushes at the compliment and hides behind his fringe.
“Besides, I’d recognize that boxy smile anywhere.” And oh, he is sure to be red now, and Bαekhyun feels his own cheeks heat in embarrassment.
Both of them have been in the hallway for more than five minutes now, the silence stretching into minutes and his friends are more than likely thinking about things they shouldn’t be thinking about.
Which, by the way, Baekhyun can’t dispute because he’s been there, done that.
“You’re different without the alcohol.” Chanyeol comments and Baekhyun thinks his nonchalance at finding out that the boy he bedded was a completely different person without the aid of alcohol is unnerving. “I kinda like it.”
Baekhyun swallows his nervousness and pulls his shoulders back, if only to pretend he’s drunk Baekhyun again and musters up the courage to say, “You don’t know me.”
Chanyeol’s lips pull into a wide, Cheshire cat smile, as if Baekhyun said the words he’s been waiting to hear.
“I’d like to get to know the real you then.” Chanyeol leans towards him and Baekhyun instinctively steps backward, afraid that he would get too close and see the absolute horror reflected in the latter’s eyes. Baekhyun only knows video games and textbooks and alcohol and —
Chanyeol, ever so stubborn, reaches a hand out and swipes Baekhyun’s fringe away from his face. The tips of his calloused fingers feathery light against Baekhyun’s forehead.
“Stop hiding behind your fringe, Byun.” Chanyeol leans closer and Baekhyun feels like his lungs are burning with how hard he’s been holding his breath. Chanyeol’s lips grazed the tips of Baekhyun's ears again, and just like that night, Baekhyun’s breath hitches at the searing heat he feels in his groin.
“You look beautiful when you walk with confidence, anyway,” Chanyeol says in finality before walking away. Baekhyun blinks once, twice, long lashes fluttering against his cheeks tinged pink.
“Text me!” Chanyeol waves and Baekhyun looks down at the paper left in his hands wondering how on earth Park Chanyeol had figured him out.
Baekhyun doesn’t text him. Not right away, anyway.
It takes him a while to muster up the courage to do so. He’s already input the numbers in his cell, the sequence of numbers saved as “The Little Drummer Yeol” and Baekhyun thinks he’s funny sometimes.
The number remains uncontacted for a number of days. Sometimes Baekhyun feels sorry for not texting but thinks he doesn’t owe him anything. It was supposed to be a one night stand anyway; neither of them were supposed to meet each other outside of the club.
Yet somehow, Baekhyun’s thumb hovers over the blue arrow. The cursor right after the drafted ‘hello’ blinking, as if mocking him for his cowardliness, that he is nothing without alcohol and makeup and the intoxicated haze of the midnight.
Baekhyun doesn’t text him. Not willingly. Not when he’s wide awake and sober.
“When I said text me this is not what I meant,” The gruff voice next to his ear is deep, but not unwelcome. Baekhyun thinks through the fog in his head. The voice sounds familiar, the low tenor reaches deep into his core, like a warm embrace calming the uncontrollable shivers of his cold body.
There’s a point in his drunken state where Baekhyun ends up really, fucking cold. His teeth audibly chatters and his hands and fingers visibly spasms at the sudden drop in body temperature.
“Byun,” There it is again. The voice deeper than the ocean and Baekhyun thinks he doesn’t mind drowning if it means being surrounded by him throughout his final breaths.
“Byun, get a hold of yourself,” Baekhyun thinks the large hand on his shoulder feels like an anchor tethering him to the ground. He knows he’s floating, he can feel it in the way his mind sways and his head lolls to the side. Baekhyun thinks he overdid himself this time. But it feels so fucking good to think about nothingnothingnothing.
“Let’s get you out of here,” The voice echoes in his head again, like the first time they spoke in that empty hallway. The deep tenor never left his head; not really. The gentleness in which he was picked up from his spot on the floor wakes him up, even if it’s just a bit, and Baekhyun opens his eyes.
The first thing he sees is the whiteness of the toilet bowl, a stark contrast against the kaleidoscope of his vomit everywhere. Baekhyun remembers someone saying he shouldn’t really mix his drinks but of course he didn’t listen. Not when he feels like he’s going to combust under the pressure. Not when all he needs is just one night to think about nothing, nothing at all.
The second thing he sees through the fog in his head are big doe eyes. Baekhyun remembers thinking how pretty they were under the strobe lights that night. They look prettier now with the way they’re glazed in obvious concern and Baekhyun thinks his eyes can rival a billion galaxies.
“You’re very pretty,” Baekhyun slurs and the eyes crinkle cutely at the side. Very pretty, indeed.
“Thank you. I think you’re very pretty too,” Baekhyun feels rather than hears the chuckles that leaves plump lips and Baekhyun definitely knows he’s willing to dive deeper into this man’s voice.
Baekhyun feels his feet lift the ground and goddamnit he really shouldn’t mix his drinks.
Bodies scrambling, the world tilting its axis, and hands plastered on the outer rim of the once pristine toilet bowl later and Baekhyun feels his back being gently caressed by large hands, bathroom echoing with the sound of his pathetic retching.
“Why did you text me, Byun? Are your friends not here?” Baekhyun hears him gently whisper in his ear and he thinks it’s Chanyeol. It must be Chanyeol. He’s the only other person who knows him outside of school. Probably the only other person Baekhyun trusts with his life even though they’ve fucked once, spoken sober once (or was it twice? he doesn't remember) only to meet again with Baekhyun drunk and out of his mind.
Baekhyun makes a noise in the back of his throat and hopes that Chanyeol understands.
“Where are they, Byun?” Baekhyun vigorously shakes his head, but the action only makes him grip the bowl tighter, knuckles white and the bile burns the back of his throat.
Baekhyun knows he should stop with how he uses alcohol as a way to cope but if it means having Chanyeol card his fingers through his already disheveled hair, then maybe it’s worth a second shot of tequila. Or ten.
“They — ” Baekhyun starts but his throat feels so dry, so parched, and he’s so dehydrated with how much he drank but still he can’t help the tears that well up in his eyes.
Chanyeol only shushes him; big calloused hands continuing to card through his hair. He must be greasy and sweaty and full of gunk but the way Chanyeol holds him tighter as he cards his fingers through his hair makes him feel a whole lot better.
“It’s okay. I got you,” The words whispered in his ears are warm and gentle and Baekhyun feels like he’s going to cry. “I’m here.”
Baekhyun hiccups as Chanyeol drives him home.
His friends don't know.
Baekhyun doesn’t want them to know that their friend occasionally frequents the hole in the wall bars situated in the shady streets of Seoul.
He doesn’t think it’s a problem that needs to be addressed anyway. He’s a college student for fuck’s sake, everyone does it! Fuck, Jongdae, Yixing and him have gone out more than once and partied their asses out after a grueling exam in systems programming.
Besides, Baekhyun doesn’t think it’s a problem, not even when he slides into their table, carrying a brown bag of hangover food and aspirin for his pounding headache.
“Jesus fuck, Baekhyun!” Jongdae, bless his heart, clutches his chest in surprise.
“I don’t think I want Jesus to fuck me, Dae.” Baekhyun would roll his eyes but his head really hurts and Jongdae is being too fucking loud. His hand blindly grabs for whatever he can eat inside the brown bag and feels something odd. He peers inside and sees a pink sticky note.
‘Take care of yourself. - C’ The note says and Baekhyun bites his lips to prevent a smile from blooming in his face.
“Are you okay, Baekhyun? We haven’t seen you in a while.” There is no doubt in Baekhyun’s mind that loves Yixing. He is gentle in every way that his own brother isn’t. His hands are caring and concern genuine and Baekhyun thinks he doesn’t mind being taken care of by his friends.
“Sorry, I’ve been busy freaking out over this project that we have.” It wasn’t a lie. Not really. It took him three full hours of going ham on his laptop before his insecurity started acting up, his hands trembling as he opened his fridge in a lame attempt to calm his nerves, hand hovering over the unopened bottle of beer.
“Fucking tell me about it,” Jongdae grunted in exasperation. Senior year is taking its toll on all of them and lord only knows how they cope. “Have you seen Sehun lately?”
“No, not really.” Baekhyun says around his sandwich. His head is still throbbing and he really wants to pop an aspirin but he’s not dumb enough to take it on an empty stomach.
“I think he’s with Junmyeon,” Yixing comments as he takes a sip of his soda. “Student council stuff, he says.”
Yerim scoffs to their right, the only girl in their group, “Student council stuff my ass. Bet you he’s getting pounded into next period.”
Yixing chokes on his soda, Baekhyun spits out his food, and Jongdae cackles so loud that half of the people turn to look in their direction.
“At least my ass is getting some unlike you virgin whores,” Sehun then slams a thick textbook on their table.
“Baekhyun won’t be a virgin long enough. Not with how Park was eating him up a couple of days ago in band practice.”
This time, Baekhyun couldn’t help but choke on his saliva. “Will you shut the fuck up please!” He says as he flails around trying to grab any form of liquid that would aid the food that was lodged in his throat.
“Such a filthy mouth you have there, Byun.” And the entire table freezes as Chanyeol, somehow, in the middle of him choking and gasping for air, hands him a bottle of cold water.
“Speak of the devil,” Yerim comments and Baekhyun thinks the smile on her face looked a little too evil for his taste.
Baekhyun is still gasping for air, however, and he could feel calloused fingers circle around his wrist and guide his hand to the offered bottle.
“Clumsy, too. Your friends really need to watch out over you more.” Baekhyun looks up and sees Chanyeol blink slowly, as if the words that came out of his mouth meant more.
Baekhyun feels the guilt settle in the pit of his stomach and he can only avert his eyes from the heat of Chanyeol’s gaze. None of his friends know. They don’t need to know his self-destructive ways of coping.
“Thanks, Chanyeol-ssi.” Baekhyun mutters and drinks, making sure to glance back up at Chanyeol who offered a smile in return.
“See you around!” Chanyeol wiggles his fingers in a cute way and Baekhyun thinks he heard the general population around them exhale softly in admiration.
The table was blissfully quiet for a couple of minutes and Baekhyun relished the rare silence, before Sehun erupted.
“Sehun, please shut the fuck up.”
“You fucked him didn’t you!”
“I — what?” Baekhyun’s face drops and Baekhyun thinks that’s the only confirmation his friends need.
“He was eyefucking you! Again!” Yerim joins this time and maybe, just maybe, Baekhyun’s friends are dumber than he thought.
“You are all dumb,” Baekhyun shakes his head and discreetly pops the aspirin in his mouth once he sees all his friends engaged in a heated argument on the size of Chanyeol’s dick and whether or not it will fit in his asshole.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Are you feeling better?
[Baekhyun:] Much. Thank you.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] No problem.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Take care of yourself, Byun.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Please.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Byun?
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Baekhyun?
Baekhyun isn’t sure if the pounding he hears was only in his head, but it was loud and the sound pierced straight into his brain.
“Byun!” God the voice was too fucking loud for it to be this screaming at this time of night. Baekhyun groans amidst the aches in his body and why the fuck does his asshole feel raw?
No matter. The banging on his door won’t stop and he’s sure the programming software in his computer was still open and did he save the recent changes? Fuck, he’s screwed if he didn’t save the file.
This sudden panic in his chest prompts him to leave his bed, stumbling through the bottles of cans on the floor and a… leg?
Horror floods through him as he traces the leg connected to a body and Baekhyun feels like vomiting at the sudden realization that he drank himself to the extent that he doesn’t remember ever going out and bringing someone home.
“Byun? Are you there?” Baekhyun can feel the scream bubbling in his chest. He wants his brain to be quiet and to stop and to shut the fuck up please he needs a moment to think!
The banging stops and Baekhyun thinks Chanyeol has already left. Baekhyun doesn’t dwell too much on the disappointment that washes over him.
He tiptoes slowly across the room, making sure to avoid making noise so as not to wake up the stranger passed out on his floor. That explains the rawness he feels in his ass. Baekhyun feels bile rise up in the back of his throat again.
Baekhyun checks his computer to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid, and once he’s confirmed that everything was good, saves his work and starts putting litter away.
His head is still throbbing, heart hurting, when he hears a soft thump on the door.
Baekhyun thinks he’s still drunk with the way he sluggishly dragged himself across the room just to open the door ever so slightly to make sure it wasn’t an intruder, or a thief, or a murderer. Baekhyun thinks it could be all three and he wouldn’t be bothered.
Baekhyun pulls, door weighed by a body leaning on it, and Baekhyun gasps softly, “Chanyeol?”
“Ow. Shit.” Chanyeol rubs the part of his head that hit the floor exceptionally hard with the way his body met the floor, an unfortunate effect of gravity. “Baekhyun? Baekhyun, oh my god.”
The force in which Chanyeol tackles him, added with the weight of the six foot two man sent Baekhyun to the floor, ass hitting the wooden floor boards sending a bolt of pain to shoot through his spine.
Baekhyun thinks he passed out for a good second with the pain but the hands cupping his cheeks brought him back to the present.
“‘M okay, ‘m okay,” Baekhyun slurs through the pain and the remnants of his intoxication from hours ago. The pain hurts and Baekhyun doesn’t think he’s able to walk straight any time soon but this, right now, with Chanyeol’s hands roaming his body to check for any further injuries feels better. “‘M ‘ere. Shh, I’m here.”
And Baekhyun thinks it’s ironic how Chanyeol came here to check on him yet it’s Baekhyun who ends up cradling the latter’s head in his arms, hand on his nape, thumb tracing circles in a quiet plea to calm him down.
Baekhyun doesn’t know how they got here in this situation. They barely spoke words to each other. Once, in their drunken state months ago, the one after that sober, third time the same, the fourth with his friends, and Baekhyun is starting to think it's a vicious cycle.
Now Baekhyun wishes that the next time they both see each other will be met with sober smiles and happier caresses. He doesn’t know why Chanyeol is attached to him. They had sex once. And Baekhyun feels extremely bad that he doesn’t remember that night. Chanyeol must’ve been gentle with him, even through the alcohol. He must’ve held him tight like he’s holding him right now, body curled and fingers clutching his shirt, afraid to let go in case he suddenly disappears.
Baekhyun doesn’t know why Chanyeol holds on to him like he’s his anchor, a heavy weight that grounds him, preventing him from being washed away and drowned by the tumultuous waves of the harsh sea.
Baekhyun thinks he’s still drunk because he shouldn’t feel emotional at the simplest form of concern directed his way.
“It’s 5 AM, Chanyeol.” Baekhyun whispers in Chanyeol’s ears, thumb still rubbing circles on the latter’s neck. “You should be sleeping.”
“You didn’t reply to my text.” Chanyeol mumbles, voice muffled by his head tucked in the crevice of Baekhyun’s shoulder. The huff of breath that leaves Chanyeol’s lips is warm, sending pleasurable shivers down Baekhyun’s spine and he almost forgets that they weren’t alone in the apartment.
Baekhyun jumps in his skin and almost pushes Chanyeol away from him, if only to address the other passed out body in the room, but the latter’s hold on him tightens.
Baekhyun sighs and gnaws on his lips in worry. He needs to shoo the stranger away, needs him to go before Chanyeol dotes on him more. But before he can deviate a plan to wake the stranger up, he feels the body in his arms go limp. Baekhyun panics for a second before realizing that Chanyeol, finally, fell asleep.
Baekhyun situates Chanyeol on the floor in a comfortable position and silently promises to come back to him later, so he can give him blankets and pillow to support his neck and spine.
Baekhyun stands up and feels a spot in his shoulder cling to his skin. He looks down and discovers a wet patch, as if Chanyeol buried his face and used his shirt to dry his own tears.
Chanyeol has only spoken to him twice sober. Once, to let him know that he knows who he is and that he wants to get to know him more, the second time to let him know — show him, rather — that he is there for him when no one isn’t, and Baekhyun thinks he doesn’t care to name the emotion flying around in his stomach at the realization that this man, right here, has shown him enough care in the little time they’ve shared to compensate for what he’s been afraid of all his life.
The sun filtering through his curtain wakes him up. It's Saturday, which made Baekhyun eternally grateful that he only goes out on Friday nights because goddamn his entire body hurts all the way to his soul.
The university never had classes on a weekend; thinks that a student's mental health is as important to their holistic formation as a person is to their education.
Which is a load of bull if you ask Baekhyun. He has enough stress on his back to power him through the next five minutes. And judging by the cans littering on the floor of his once pristine apartment, a very stressful project due in the next couple of days egged him on.
Baekhyun remembers last night. How he woke up at ass o'clock in the morning, a heavy weight on his chest at the idea that he never finished his project, or that he never started it in the first place.
He remembers the stranger that was lying on his floor, which, now that he's more lucid, is no longer in the apartment. Must've left then.
But what Baekhyun remembers most is Chanyeol. Beautiful, caring Chanyeol who came knocking at his door at half past five wondering if he was home because what? He didn't reply to his text message?
Baekhyun looks down at his side and licks his lips at the figure lying next to him. They were both fully clothed, thank god. Baekhyun doesn't think he can handle another sexcapade with the one good person that knows and, Baekhyun thinks, understands his need to let loose, even though it's done in a self-destructive way.
Baekhyun runs his fingers through the soft brown locks, feeling the thick mane of hair caress his skin in the most intimate of ways. Chanyeol moans softly in his sleep, arms tightening around Baekhyun's waist. This, right here, feels so much better than being driven into insanity by a stranger thrusting their toothpick cocks in his ass.
Although, Chanyeol was them once, the sex sure to be infinitely better if only he remembers. Sometimes Baekhyun thinks they should do it again. And again. A few more times just so Baekhyun never forgets.
But although they started that way, Baekhyun doesn't want to ruin this — whatever they have.
He stretches to pick up his phone on the bed and scrolls through their messages. Baekhyun's eyebrows shoot up the more he scrolls.
No wonder Chanyeol came running to his house.
Baekhyun never really opens their message thread. Nor does he scroll up to read their previous messages. He thought it to be useless. They don't talk much. Or at least he thought they didn't.
Scrolling up he could see a handful of messages, mostly from him, spewing nonsense almost every 3 AM on a friday night.
[Baekhyun:] This bar djtovkg suckkskskxccssss
[Baekhyun:] Woahah i yhnk rhe roomm ojs spinnkgn??@???
[Baekhyun:] Im mhome. yhakn yoj .
[Baekhyun:] Tbank you
[Baekhyun:] Thank ylu.
[Baekhyun:] THANK YOU.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] I'm glad you got home safe, Byun.
Baekhyun doesn't know how he's missed it. They've known each other for… what? All of seven weeks? Four of which they've interacted, two when they were sober?
Baekhyun feels his chest bubble and he runs towards his bathroom floor and retches, feeling the guilt wash over him. His entire body shakes and Baekhyun feels disgusting. He wants to take a shower and scrub his skin raw until all that's left are the layers untouched by the many men he so mistakenly allowed in.
It feels so fucking horrible.
But the hand circling his back and the soft shushing in his ears is here again and Baekhyun is no longer drunk, he thinks he's vomited out most of the alcohol in his system; the only thing that's left are the remnants of an impending headache throbbing in the base of his head.
Yet somehow, despite all this, Baekhyun feels intoxicated. Chanyeol's hands are big and warm on his back and Baekhyun feels like he's being engulfed in fire.
Baekhyun feels the same hands push his fringe back and he turns around to see Chanyeol millimeters away from his own face.
Baekhyun never thought that a sliver of space could equate to an infinity with how hard he's holding his breath in anticipation. For what, Baekhyun doesn't know.
"I told you to stop hiding behind your fringe, Byun."
Baekhyun exhales, his breath must smell really fucking bad because it shows in Chanyeol's scrunched nose. Baekhyun scoffs and weakly punches the latter in his shoulder.
"Your face." Baekhyun croaks out. He's about to stand up and grab for water when he feels a cold glass press against his forehead. The sudden chill feels welcoming.
"Well your breath stinks. Here, I have some aspirin too."
"Are you a med student or something?" Baekhyun half heartedly jests.
"No. My parents wanted me to be though." Chanyeol only shrugs and Baekhyun feels his cheeks burn in embarrassment.
His own father wanted him to be a businessman, to be the heir of their business of some sorts. But Baekhyun loves games too much, loves to tinker with computers and his father never saw the merit; thinking too much of the bright screen will rot his brain.
Baekhyun takes the offered medicine but a hand on his wrist stops him.
"Not before breakfast, come on."
Baekhyum protests at first, his head is still throbbing and there's no food in his cupboard, nor in his fridge. Only bread and butter and energy drinks. Oh and a dozen beers and a bottle or two of hard liquor. For when he has guests over, of course.
Baekhyun just allows himself to be pulled and thinks it's symbolic, how he's being pulled physically, metaphorically in all directions but all of them point towards Chanyeol.
Chanyeol drives his car.
Baekhyun has been in Chanyeol's car once, the first time he texted the latter. He doesn't remember much, only that Chanyeol had to hoist him up in the passenger seat and hold his hand as Baekhyun left his snot and drool as he cried and cried and cried.
The tips of Baekhyun's ears turn red at the sudden memory and he turns to his right to observe the scenery outside.
Baekhyun's apartment isn't close to the city. He chose to live away from the congestion in the streets and the noise pollution.
The apartment he lives in is nice. He is lucky enough to have a supportive mother who silently, distantly pumps him cash to power him through university. But Baekhyun is still human and he craves human touch so he takes and takes all that he can, when he can.
Overall, he's a meticulous person. A little high strung, definitely anal with his work and apartment, but he would need something to calm his brain once in a while. A little boost of liquid depression to slow his overthinking brain.
It's not healthy, sure. But it's not a problem. Not yet, anyway.
Baekhyun lives in one of more expensive buildings outside of the city. He's not poor. Far from it. What with his family and all. But money can't buy you peace. Baekhyun has tried. And failed.
Again, and again, and again.
"Where are you taking me? You're not selling my organs are you? My liver won't sell for shit." Baekhyun huffs but hears Chanyeol chuckle next to him. He turns his head to look at the latter and thinks that the world is cruel for having such a man exist.
The many times he's faced Chanyeol sober was with his head downcast, or eyes averted to the side, determined to never look the latter in the eyes. Which was easy considering the height difference between the two, always choosing to look at him through the fringe of his bleached hair.
Now though. Now Baekhyun is allowed to look, to stare, to marvel at Chanyeol's entirety.
It starts with his face. Chiselled jaw, defined brow bone, a nose so noble it could win against the queen of England. But Baekhyun's favorite thing is Chanyeol's eyes. Big and round and pinched at the side. Eyes always glistening with childlike wonder at the world, eyes bright and full of life.
Baekhyun remembers thinking how his eyes shone brighter than the strobe lights and thinks, yes. Yes, they do. And they shine brighter with the sun emphasizing the hazel in them, like a warm cup of coffee on a bright day.
He has a handsome face, a strong masculine outline softened by the crinkle in his eyes and the plumpness of his lips.
"Like what you see?" Baekhyun can hear the smirk in Chanyeol’s voice and sees the teasing in his eyes before he could see the slight lift of his lips.
Baekhyun blushes red in embarrassment, which seems like a natural occurrence to him every time he's in Chanyeol's presence, and berates himself for being caught.
The chuckle that graced his ears are soft, as well as the hands that lie on top of his own, "I think you're very handsome too, Byun."
"I — " Baekhyun stutters and the hand gripping his own tightens. Chanyeol's other hand is situated on the wheel and Baekhyun's brain and dick affirms that yes, Chanyeol is very, very handsome. Baekhyun huffs, "Keep driving, I'm hungry."
"Yes, your highness." Chanyeol chuckles and the remaining drive was silent, apart from the soft hum of the engine and the quiet love song playing on the radio.
It took Baekhyun fifteen minutes to shower, and get ready — his favorite baggy sweater, pair of khaki cargo pants, chunky shoes too comfortable to look like anything normal, and a black bucket hat in case they run into someone they know.
Chanyeol showered too, having a spare duffel bag of clothes in his car.
"Gym bag. Always helpful," He had said and Baekhyun only nodded, turning around as Chanyeol untucks the side of the towel to put on a pair of pants.
Nothing that Baekhyun has seen before, of course. But this feels different. They were different, in a way. Baekhyun never lets any of his one night stands know him once the sun rises, but Chanyeol was different.
He had recognized him through his layers of meticulously woven lies - that the Byun Baekhyun of Yonsei University, top student in Computer Programming doesn’t have his life together, not really, and that Chanyeol doesn’t mind.
They sit on one of the tables in the patio, a big umbrella shielding the two of them from the sun but Baekhyun doesn’t dare to remove his hat.
“We’re far from the university’s periphery,” Chanyeol says, lips drawn together as he takes a sip from his ice cold water. Baekhyun feels like the condensation trailing down the side of the glass, falling, falling straight down…
“I don’t think I ever thanked you for last night,” Baekhyun says and he pats himself in the back for having the courage to stare Chanyeol straight in the eyes. The latter smiles, blinding, and Baekhyun feels his chest constrict.
And no, he’s not going to name that feeling. Not when his emotions are too ripe and their interaction limited to the confines of Baekhyun’s inebriety.
“You’ve lost me for a second there, Byun.”
“Baekhyun.” Baekhyun says firmly, hoping that Chanyeol gets what he’s trying to say.
“Yes, that is your name, Byun. Byun Baekhyun. That’s you.” Chanyeol grins that grin where he shows you the majority of his teeth and girls would be weak on their knees. Baekhyun only balls the napkin on his right and aims it at Chanyeol's face.
“Watch it, Park, or I’m revoking first name privilege.” And god Baekhyun never thought he would melt under the rays of the sun yet here he is, muscles relaxing and heart completely captivated by the tenderness in Chanyeol’s gaze and the kindness in his smile.
"Okay, Baekhyun." Chanyeol says, lips twisting and tongue curling as if he's tasting how his name feels on his tongue. "Baekhyun. Baekhyun-hyung. Baekhyunnie-hyung? Baekhyunniehyunnie? Hyunnie-hyung?"
"Okay, you're getting too far ahead of yourself, Park." Baekhyun rolls in his eyes but rests his chin on top of the palm of his hand, boxy smile revealing the giddiness swelling in his chest.
Their food comes and Baekhyun is happy; a traditional american breakfast of waffles, eggs and bacon, a bowl of fresh fruit, assorted bread, jams, maple syrup, or honey, if he was feeling it, and one of Baekhyun's favorite: fried chicken.
The sound of cutlery occasionally hitting the plates is the only sound Baekhyun hears for a while. The ambient music playing the background serves to lift the mood and Baekhyun thinks that having breakfast with Chanyeol is nice.
Better than waking up in the wee hours of the morning confused and mouth dry with his own vomit.
"Thank you, Chanyeol," Baekhyun starts the conversation again and the sound of chewing stops. Chanyeol looks up from his food and tilts his head in confusion, still not sure as to what the hell he's talking about.
Chanyeol looks so much like a puppy with his brown hair flopping over his eyes and big pointed ears that Baekhyun reaches out and pats him on the top of his head.
A second of silence and a beat later and Chanyeol doubles over in laughter, hands clapping like a damn seal and Baekhyun is so perplexed at how this giant of a man can look so small even when his actions are so big, arms open wide enough to engulf the entirety of Baekhyun’s world.
Chanyeol exhales a big breath and says, with a smile on his face, “What for?”
“For checking on me last night. And sorry for… you know,” Baekhyun bites his lower lip and plays with the food on his plate, the piece of chicken already mixing with the maple syrup he poured on his waffle.
“You stopped texting so I thought…” Baekhyun sees Chanyeol shrug his shoulders from the corner of his eyes, shyness evident in the way the latter averts his gaze. Oh, how the tables have turned.
"I didn't even know I drunk text," Baekhyun shakes his head. He never had any ex boyfriends, only sticking to one night stands and he hardly texts his friends. He prefers to give them a good cussing over the phone anyway; feels more authentic.
Chanyeol's eyes glitter in amusement, "Oh you drunk text alright."
And back and forth they go with their conversation.
Park Chanyeol is known in their school as the friendly guy, the one who everyone clicks with because of his friendly smiles. He’s well known even in Baekhyun’s department, quite far away from Chanyeol’s building — social science, he thinks. He’s not sure. He only hears of Chanyeol the drummer, Chanyeol the charmer, Chanyeol with a big heart - too big, in fact, that he breaks the many hearts that trail after him.
Their banter is organic and Baekhyun is hooked on the natural way they go back and forth with each other; raising eyebrows and tone tiptoeing the line between teasing and flirty and Baekhyun can’t get enough. Like his body is naturally intoxicated with Chanyeol’s personality and voice and the heat of his body.
Baekhyun doesn’t feel like he has to pretend with Chanyeol. He’s seen the ugly side of him and yet chose to stay.
“Do you want to have sex?” Baekhyun asks, question unprompted and he almost feels bad for how Chanyeol turns red at how hard he’s choking on his spit.
“Is this a trick question? I feel like this is a trick question.” Chanyeol chokes out and Baekhyun thinks the tears wetting his lashes makes him look prettier.
“Just answer the question, Chanyeol.” Baekhyun huffs, toes curling in anticipation at the answer.
“Of course I want to have sex. I always want to have sex. I’m a healthy young man — "
“No, no. What I mean is do you want to have sex with me? ” Baekhyun is not sure why but he’s frustrated. He feels the need to scratch the nasty itch in his skin and he doesn’t understand why he feels ants crawling up and down his skin. Of course Chanyeol wants to have sex. Of course.
But maybe all Chanyeol needs is another round and then he’ll get over him. Maybe Chanyeol just needs to get it over with so he can leave Baekhyun. Just like everyone else.
The silence between them grows by the second and Chanyeol just stares at Baekhyun. His gaze is steely as if searching for something, anything that would signal that a single word would ruin the relationship — for lack of a better word.
“But we already had sex.” Chanyeol says sternly, eyebrows drawn together in consternation. That wasn’t exactly the answer Baekhyun was looking for, disappointment heavy in his chest but the sliver of hope peeking through the dreary cloud of Baekhyun’s fogged up head.
“So you don’t want to have sex with me?”
“Why exactly are we talking about this in the middle of the day again?”
The brunette in front of him sighs in defeat, shoulders sagging for a good second before he tilts his head back as if asking for the strength to respond, “Yes. Yes, I do. I really fucking do.”
Baekhyun’s Adam's apple bobs with how hard he swallows; thinks that the nails digging into his knees as he grip them tightly will bruise later.
“But I’m not about to force myself into you,” Baekhyun thinks Chanyeol’s lashes look pretty as they kiss his cheeks, and for a second thinks how Chanyeol’s cheeks would feel as he traces the constellation of moles with his lips.
Chanyeol continues to speak again, food on his plate half forgotten, “I think you deserve more than a pretty fuck.”
“And you think that’s you?” Baekhyun interrupts. He doesn’t understand the feeling settling in the pit of his stomach. It makes him want to regurgitate the food he just ate, but Baekhyun knows it’s not like retching out the nasty alcohol in his system. His entire body tingles and he thinks it’s because it’s the euphoria bubbling in the depth of his soul.
“Of course not,” The chuckle that leaves Chanyeol’s lips are watery, almost as if he himself is disappointed at the thought that even he’s not worthy. Baekhyun thinks he deserves the world. “You deserve everything and more.”
“Chanyeol — ”
Said brunette only bows his head in response, “I’m sorry for making you feel that I’m only after you because of… you know. ” Baekhyun thinks the way Chanyeol avoids the word is adorable. “But I meant what I said before — that I would like to get to know you.”
"But… don't you already know me? You've seen the me outside of university —"
"That's only a part of you, Baekhyun," Chanyeol says softly. "It doesn't define who you are either."
"But why ?"
"Why me? We only met because we messed around that night!" Baekhyun bursts out, chest heaving and god it felt so good to get it out, the ugly feeling in the pit of his stomach bubbling, waiting, itching to be scratched, clawed and ripped on.
Chanyeol looks around in panic, eyes comically wide.
"Do you want to have sex so you can get it out of your system?" Baekhyun's tone is cold but he doesn't mean to scare Chanyeol. He doesn't even mean for the conversation to turn this way. But the ugly monster in him is back and it's telling him again that he's not enough, that he's only good and beautiful and useful when he has alcohol in his system and he's limp and submissive and —
"You have no fucking clue do you?" Chanyeol's voice cuts through his thoughts. Baekhyun is stunned into silence at the contrast between his words and the look of genuine surprise and adoration in Chanyeol's face.
"Oh, Baekhyunnie," Chanyeol reaches out and tucks a strand of bleached hair in the back of his ears, fingertips grazing the tips as he pulls back. Baekhyun feels his cheeks heat as the back of Chanyeol's fingers caress his cheeks, ever so slightly, like he's a porcelain doll close to breaking.
Baekhyun is not broken. Not really. Not yet, anyway.
The gaze at which Chanyeol looks at him is fond and Baekhyun feels his heart lodge in his throat.
"Finish your food so we can go."
Baekhyun opens his mouth to protest but is only silenced by the strawberry that is popped in his mouth.
"Hurry before I leave you here."
So Baekhyun wolfs down his food, previous thought completely forgotten and head only filled with the way Chanyeol's eyes fondly looked at him as he tenderly caressed his cheek.
Baekhyun doesn't know how it happened but somehow, it became a routine.
Chanyeol comes over every Saturday, more often than not during the ass crack of dawn. Baekhyun doesn't remember ever giving him the passcode to his apartment, but it has come in handy when he's passed out on the bathroom floor and he needs an extra set of hands to ground him to the present.
Baekhyun must have given it to him during the many times he's drunk texted the fool. Must have told him to take care of him or something because Baekhyun would always wake up at half past five, with only an hour or two of sleep because that's what alcohol does to you, and Chanyeol hunched over his bed, head resting on the crook of his arm.
Baekhyun always passes out in the middle of his fingers feeling the soft brown locks and thinks, this must be what being cared for feels like.
It starts with his father.
Mr. Byun loves his family. He loves his wife, Mrs. Byun, and his two sons, Byun Baekbom and Byun Baekhyun.
The problem, Baekhyun thinks, is that his father loves his business more than he cares to admit.
Baekhyun was never beaten, never verbally abused by either of his parents. He’s grateful that he never had to feel the sting of the belt as it hits his skin, nor feel the emotional pain as abusive words are drilled into his skull.
Baekhyun thinks he should be grateful that his father never talked to him or that his mother never cared to take a second look. He should be grateful that neither of his parents cared to tuck their children in bed at night.
There’s a legal term for it. Alienation of affection. Baekhyun remembers Yixing ranting about it one time during lunch, about how cruel it is that such a phrase exists. Alienation of affection.
Yixing said he learned it in one of his law classes and Baekhyun remembers thinking quietly in his seat, how appropriate it is for his parents to be negligent of their own child? That their lack of care and attention could lead for someone to find solace in something else.
His father, however, tries.
In the way only he understands.
Mr. Byun tells little Baekhyun that he will do great things. He will be successful and rich and will be a household name for generations to come and come here little Baekhyun, watch daddy work because one day you’ll be sitting behind this mahogany desk too.
Little Baekhyun was enthralled at first. Thrilled at being brought to company meetings and being taught the ins and outs of business by the best of the best in his father’s company. Thinks that he will be successful and he will make his father proud.
That is until he told them he’s gay.
Baekhyun never thought his family would be so adverse. Never thought that the silence would hurt so much more than the expected screaming and crying. Never thought that being honest with himself would bring such negativity in his life.
Gone are the bring Baekhyun to work days, and gone are the pep talks from his father. Instead, his father chose to groom Baekbom instead.
Baekhyun is not jealous of his brother. Not really. He pities him more because his brother had to drop out of pre-med school just so he can switch his major to Business Management.
Baekhyun and his brother were never close but he can tell when his own flesh and blood resents him not because of what he is, but because of what he’s made their father do.
Baekhyun, the top student of Yonsei University Computer Programming department, works hard every day of the week to pretend that everything makes sense — that he will be successful and he will make money and he will be a household name for future generations to come.
The pressure was his own fault. He thinks of it as a form of atonement for his lack of… he wasn’t even sure anymore.
Baekhyun’s been so distracted by school and video games that he has not yet stopped to think — what in the actual fuck is he doing anymore?
"So… Park Chanyeol."
"Sorry, you got the wrong person — ow!" Baekhyun rubs his arm and gives Sehun the stink eye.
"I'll stitch your pretty lips for being smart with me, Byun Baekhyun.”
“Don’t you have a cock to suck, Oh Sehun?” Baekhyun murmurs under his breath, grateful that they’re in the secluded part of the library.
“That dick appointment was two hours ago. Now I’m here to bother my best friend.” Sehun not-so-gently closes his laptop and consequently ducks when Baekhyun swings his fist in his direction. “This is the library, Baekhyun, calm your tits!”
“I’ll show you angry tits! I was working on an essay!”
“And you type on a Microsoft Word that autosaves its progress. I know how you work, Mister. Now answer the damn question.” Sehun whispers and Baekhyun thinks that he has a spare disposable razor in his bag that he can use to maybe shave his damn eyebrows off. That’ll show him.
“You never asked a question, fool,” Baekhyun opens his laptop to check his progress, sighing in relief at seeing the cursor still blinking at the last few sentences that he wrote. Why does he have to take philosophy again?
“Why are you suddenly so aggressive? I missed the Byun Baekhyun who was too shy to meet new friends.” Sehun intertwines his hands together and says, in the highest pitch he can muster, “‘Hi I’m Baekhyun. Please take care of me’,”
Baekhyun’s eyes narrow. “Watch out or I’ll seriously shave your hair off in your sleep. I know where you live, Se.”
“Alright, alright. But seriously, what’s going on between the two of you?” The books in front of Baekhyun are shuffled by Sehun’s restless hands. He stacks one book on top of the other, flips through one, closes it, and puts it on top of the same stack.
“Nothing.” Baekhyun is getting dizzy at the sudden rise in temperature. Seriously, this library needs to fix their A/C. “What makes you think that?”
“A friend of a friend of a friend,” Sehun ticks his fingers. “Who knows a friend who’s a friend of Park Chanyeol — ”
“Sounds like they don’t know a Park Chanyeol at all with the way all these friends are connected — ” Baekhyun scoffs. This school is too small for the gossip
“ — says that he noticed Park Chanyeol’s been looking at your general direction a lot more than usual.”
Baekhyun opens and closes his mouth like a gaping fish out of water; which, quite honestly, is what he feels like whenever Chanyeol is around, or whenever he’s mentioned, or whenever his brain thinks of Chanyeol, Chanyeol, Chanyeol . Baekhyun can feel the air around him thicken like a thick fog slowly coming in and invading his lungs.
“Stop fucking with me, Sehun.”
“Well, maybe if you fuck Park Chanyeol — ”
“Why are you saying his name so damn loud?” Baekhyun hisses, entire face red from embarrassment.
“And why are you so affected?” Sehun’s eyebrows tilt and oh my god Baekhyun is going to jump off the nearest bridge at the not-so-implied thoughts running through Sehun’s brain. “You like him don’t you? Oh my god, you do! Aw, Baekhyun you’re so adorable .”
“Shut up! I don’t.” Baekhyun denies firmly. If anything, it’s Park Chanyeol that likes him, told him of his intentions months ago that fateful day during band class. Baekhyun knows Chanyeol likes him, but what he doesn’t understand is why.
“It’s okay, Baek. I just pray for your soul that’s all.” Sehun’s broad shoulders move up and for once, Baekhyun envies Sehun’s stature. He’s such an elegant man with such a dirty mouth. No pun intended.
Baekhyun scoffs, “What for?”
“More than half of the student population is sort-of, kind-of, maybe borderline obsessively in-love with him.”
He’s not really in trouble, Baekhyun thinks. Besides, no one will believe that gossip from a friend of a friend of a friend times infinity of Chanyeol’s anyway.
Byun Baekhyun is known around their department for beating even some of the more tenured professors.
He’s not a teacher’s pet. Not when he always second guesses the professor’s teaching methods, or provides a better alternative to a solution.
He’s not hated, but he’s not loved either. It doesn’t matter to him either way. He’s here to be educated and to gain as many experiences as possible so he can build his resume, apply to a good company, and be what his father always wanted him to be.
But somehow, the way his back hits the wall of the empty classroom as he’s cornered by three shorter women feels like something that needs to be reflected on later.
“I need to go to class – ”
“Is it true?” One of them says and Baekhyun thinks her perfume mixes really badly with her hairspray.
“I’m going to be late – ”
“Stay away from Park Chanyeol.” The other says, a threat full of empty words and wow her eyeliner is kind of off…
“We don’t really talk to each other at all, to be very honest with you.” Baekhyun sheepishly says, hoping that the acting classes he took in fourth grade is convincing them that he’s innocent.
“Good. And it better stay that way.” And as if the three rehearsed it several times before cornering him, they turn their heels and walk away, hips swaying, kitten heels clacking.
Baekhyun isn’t hated, nor is he loved. But he was never bullied for being the object of someone’s interest before either.
It is a Saturday, which means Chanyeol is once again slumped on Baekhyun’s bed as the rays of the sun filter through his venetian blinds. Baekhyun thinks for a second that maybe he should invest in black out curtains, if only so the two of them can grasp on several more hours of sleep.
Baekhyun continues to lay in bed, mind empty, taking reprieve in the sound of the birds chirping and the soft exhales coming from Chanyeol. Maybe Baekhyun needs to buy a bigger mattress. All that slouching isn’t good for Chanyeol’s back.
His fingers are once again playing with Chanyeol’s hair. It’s immediately one of Baekhyun’s favorite things about him. How his hair perfectly frames his handsome face, how it dances every time Chanyeol throws his head back and laughs his big belly laugh. Baekhyun now knows he’s a puppy because only puppies shake their head and Chanyeol shakes his head if only to put his hair back in place.
Baekhyun curls to his side and trails his fingers to Chanyeol’s hand laid flat on his sheet. It’s another one of his favorite things. Thick fingers calloused by years of hard work.
Baekhyun had learned that Chanyeol is a man of many talents. He’s the drummer in their band but he also plays the guitar, and the piano, and the violin. He helps his father out with woodwork, and reaches for the ceiling for when his mother needs the bulb to be fixed. His hands are hard because of the years of love he’s put in them.
The hand he’s been playing with twitches and Baekhyun holds his breath as Chanyeol entwines their fingers, slender fingers fitting perfectly well between Chanyeol’s thick ones.
Baekhyun’s thumb caresses Chanyeol’s before slowly pulling back, only for Chanyeol to grip his hand tighter.
“Don’t go,” Chanyeol mumbles and Baekhyun is sure what the butterflies in his stomach means but he’s afraid to name it, afraid to even acknowledge that they exist.
“Get on the bed, sleepy.” Baekhyun whispers and pulls Chanyeol next to him. The latter’s arms immediately circle his waist and his head is placed in the crook of Baekhyun’s shoulders. Baekhyun thinks he feels Chanyeol’s lips on his skin and blames it on his lack of sleep.
“Goodnight, Baekhyun.” Baekhyun feels the whisper in his ears before squeezing the arm around him in response.
They wake up three hours later when the sun is higher and the birds chirp louder.
It’s starting to feel domestic, this routine. And Baekhyun should be afraid; he’s waiting for the apprehension to settle in the pit of his stomach once he’s finally realized that what they’re doing isn’t normal for two friends.
Are they friends? Baekhyun doesn’t think so. The sudden appearances of butterflies in his belly does not feel like the two of them are friends at all.
So Baekhyun feels like there’s a need to apologize on his part. The ugly monster in him is screaming at how he’s being unfair to Chanyeol, there’s a metaphorical collar around Chanyeol’s neck and Baekhyun is holding on to its leash tightly, holding Chanyeol back.
A finger pokes him on the forehead, “Stop overthinking.”
“I’m sorry,” Baekhyun lips move around the lip of his mug, voice croaky from sleep. He’s sitting in his kitchen, hands clenching tightly against the mug that’s raised to his mouth.
“I’m here with you right now because I want to be.” Chanyeol stands in front of him, an apron wrapped around his waist and a spatula waving in one hand. Pancakes, he says he’s making. Chanyeol seems to love American food.
Baekhyun lets the silence envelop the both of them, the sound of a sizzling pan and Chanyeol pilfering around his kitchen the only thing reaching his ears. The smell of a freshly brewed coffee floats in the air and Baekhyun wraps his hands tightly around his mug.
Half an hour later and Baekhyun’s dining table is set.
They sit in silence together, exchanging smiles and may you pass the salt please? Baekhyun doesn’t miss the way Chanyeol serves him extra eggs and bacon, doesn’t miss the way his fingers touch his for a brief second before being pulled back. Baekhyun already misses the touch.
“Your fans visited me the other day,” Baekhyun says nonchalantly. Chanyeol looks up, cheeks full of food and Baekhyun leans forward to wipe the side of his mouth with his thumb, accidentally, maybe slightly purposely, grazing Chanyeol’s bottom lip in the process.
“Which ones?” Chanyeol says after swallowing. The answer makes Baekhyun’s eye twitch. Which ones. As if he has multitudes of girls screaming his name. And maybe he does, he is pretty popular…
“Hmm,” Baekhyun places his index finger on his lip, pretending to think very hard, but the way Chanyeol’s gaze seems to be fixed on the small gesture is distracting Baekhyun. “There were three of them. I don’t remember what they looked like but one of them wears a perfume — ”
“ — that clashes with the smell of her hair spray?”
“Yes! God, she stunk so bad,” Baekhyun fake gags, which brought out a boisterous laugh from Chanyeol.
Chanyeol shrugs, “She’s not too bad.”
“She’s okay. I thought the threat was cute,” Baekhyun lifts one shoulder. “What’s her problem though? An obsessive fan?”
“An ex-girlfriend.” Chanyeol sheepishly scratches his head and Baekhyun chokes so hard Chanyeol had to stand by his side to pat his back. “Sorry, didn’t mean to surprise you like that.”
“No, I just didn’t think — ”
“ — that I’m actually not strictly dickly?”
“Please,” Baekhyun coughs out. “Stop making it worse.”
Chanyeol laughs and Baekhyun thinks that he should be annoyed at how Chanyeol seems to be entertained at his expense, but Baekhyun can’t think properly. Not when Chanyeol is so close next to him that he can breathe in his musky scent and feel his laugh reverberate in his bones.
Chanyeol runs his fingers through Baekhyun’s hair as he says, “Don’t worry about her.”
“And why should I worry?” Baekhyun frowns. Why is it that everyone is reassuring him not to worry about anything? He’s not worried.
Chanyeol just hums.
They continue their breakfast in silence, Baekhyun’s mind still on the perfume-hairspray girl. It’s not that he thought Chanyeol only swings one way. He never really thought anything about Chanyeol’s preference.
Or maybe it’s because he thought Chanyeol would have a higher standard than some stuck up looking bitch who thinks she owns Chanyeol. She did look pretty nasty, from what Baekhyun remembers. Her friends were kind of nasty too, especially crooked-eyeliner girl. God, Baekhyun wears makeup better than the three of them, He styles his hair better too. What a waste of beauty products.
Baekhyun shakes his head free from unwanted thoughts.
“Are you doing anything tonight?” Chanyeol suddenly asks, chin perched on top of the palm of his hand, eyes glittering with mischief. Baekhyun’s eyes narrow.
Baekhyun runs the list of things he needs to do for this day.
A philosophy essay due mid of next week, some projects due by the end of the month but something he needs to start now if he wants to keep his sanity intact, and then some. Notes revision, meeting with the council, and maybe hang out with his friends if he has the time.
Baekhyun couldn’t count the list of things he needs to finish and the things he needs to start so he can get ahead of his class. But instead, he shrugs his shoulders, “Nothing. I’m pretty free tonight.”
Chanyeol flashes him a grin, “You’re a fucking liar, Byun.”
Baekhyun opens his mouth to retort.
“Nope,” Chanyeol stands up to clear his dishes. Baekhyun stands up to help him but is only pushed down by the hand on his shoulder. “Sit down. You suck at washing dishes.”
Baekhyun crosses his arms, “What is with all this slander in my own apartment?”
“I’m just telling the truth,” Chanyeol winks before turning his back to Baekhyun.
Baekhyun rolls his eyes and huffs, “You’re lucky you’re cute.”
“And you’re lucky I like you,” Chanyeol sing-songs. Baekhyun expects himself to stiffen at the words, expects himself to make an excuse that Chanyeol only meant to say he likes him as a friend, but Baekhyun’s body relaxes as if the words are an assurance.
“Anyway, we can just stay here and you can do all the stuff you need to do while I do the things I need to do and we can do the things we need to do together.” Chanyeol casually says and Baekhyun can’t help but be mesmerized at Chanyeol’s build as he watches the latter wash the dishes.
Broad shoulders that taper into a smaller waist. His hips aren’t as wide, and he doesn’t have the biggest ass, but his legs. Oh, god, his legs are long and bowed, giving him his characteristic walk that Baekhyun thinks is very Chanyeol.
“You know,” Baekhyun interjects. “I don’t really know what you're majoring in.”
That catches Chanyeol’s attention, who suddenly turns around and leans against the sink, hips cocked and hands covered in soap suds. Chanyeol blinks several times, before flashing him a grin and going back to wash the dishes.
“Wouldn’t you like to know.” Chanyeol comments and flinches when a rolled ball of napkin hits his back.
The hallway is busy. Tons of students pilfering through going from room to room, students trying not to pummel into another. Baekhyun is walking towards his philosophy class, which he seriously still doesn’t understand why a senior programming student is taking philosophy classes. Holistic formation his ass. He’s with Jongdae, the only other person in his friend group who has the same class as him.
“You okay, man?” Jongdae side eyes him and Baekhyun stills for a second. “You’re looking extra tired these days.”
Baekhyun exhales slowly and licks his lips “Yeah, I’m fine. No biggie.”
Jongdae doesn’t look convinced, his eyebrows furrowing and frown growing deeper. But Baekhyun only nudges him in the ribs and tells him not to worry.
“If you say so,” He sighs. Baekhyun feels bad somehow at having to keep everything to himself. But he doesn’t want to burden Jongdae.
“Anyway, are you busy this friday?” Jongdae asks beside him, pausing every now and then to high five some students that Baekhyun most definitely does not recognize.
“Uhh…” Baekhyun doesn’t think he’ll be very busy this Friday. Last Saturday with Chanyeol was very productive. He was able to kill some of the things on the list, start some of the projects he needed.
Chanyeol was, surprisingly, a very good study buddy. Baekhyun typically prefers to study by himself, and thinks the silence is conducive to his productivity, so he was initially worried when Chanyeol suggested that they work together. But Baekhyun sees Chanyeol start up his laptop, wear his headphones, and type for the next five hours.
They only stopped to eat lunch and dinner before Chanyeol bid him goodbye. Baekhyun can still feel the warmth of Chanyeol’s breath on the crook of his neck when Chanyeol leaned down to hug him.
“Uhh… I think I’m free? Why? Did you want to go check out if we can hack that game at the arcade?” Baekhyun’s grin widens. Jongdae and him had a weird habit of playing a game in the arcade, only to figure out how to hack it later on.
“Nah, Youngho invited us to a party.” Jongdae shrugs as if being invited by the football captain isn’t one of the biggest things that has ever happened in their social life.
Baekhyun stops walking, “Youngho invited us to a party.”
“Yeah, Youngho invited us to a party.”
“That’s — ”
“Yeah, tell me about it.” Jongdae shakes his head in incredulity. Baekhyun’s group of friends aren’t anti-social. They’re pretty okay in terms of having other... acquaintances outside of their circle.
Neither hated, neither loved.
But to be invited to a frat party?
Obviously, Baekhyun is no stranger to parties, having been there done that multiple times, albeit without his friend’s knowledge. But to be invited to a party where the majority of the people there will be from their university?
This would be a first not just for his friends but for Baekhyun as well.
On Thursday night, Baekhyun texts Chanyeol sober for the first time.
Baekhyun never texted first. It was like an unspoken rule between them ever since Baekhyun mistakenly texted him the first time. The only time Baekhyun texted Chanyeol was when he needed a friend to talk to while drunk and out of his mind. Granted, it was all mindless keyboard smashing, some heart emojis, and several attempts at a coherent thank you, i’m home, which would be the only time Chanyeol would reply.
Now that he thinks about it, has Chanyeol been awake the whole night every time he’s gone out? It seems like he replies the second Baekhyun tells him he’s home, only to later on be right next to him in his room, a cold glass of water and an aspirin right next to his nightstand for him to take when he wakes up.
Chanyeol seems to be always there next to him, always at the right time.
Does he lie in bed, staring at the ceiling wondering if Baekhyun was okay? Does he sleep and only wakes up at the time when Baekhyun is usually back from his nightly escapades?
Baekhyun texts Chanyeol sober for the first time and vows to stop; vows to stop his nightly escapades and maybe strive to be a better person. Somebody that Chanyeol would be proud of.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Baekhyunnie-hyungie!!!!!!!!!!! (っ◔◡◔)っ ❤ ❤ ❤
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Is everything okay? What’s wrong? You never usually text at this time.
Baekhyun winces. Way to make him sound like a dick.
[Baekhyun:] I was having trouble with one of my philosophy classes and I wondered if you took the same class.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Just say you miss me, Baekhyunnie. (✿◡‿◡)
[Baekhyun:] =__= I just need help with homework, Yeol.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] ….
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] ( ≖.≖) …..
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Not to make it weird but…
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] I would totally kiss you if you were here.
Baekhyun flushes and almost throws his phone across his room.
[Baekhyun:] Just say you didn’t do the homework, Chanyeol!
Suddenly, his phone rings, ‘The Little Drummer Yeol’ flashing on his screen. His thumb hovers over the red decline button, before inhaling and pressing ‘answer’.
“What?” Baekhyun spits out, hoping that the venom in his voice can be heard all the way from where Chanyeol is.
“I don’t know if you know, which I’m sure you do but you may have just forgotten,” Chanyeol starts, mirth clear in his voice. “But I’m a year below you.”
Baekhyun hangs up in distress.
Baekhyun is sure it was mentioned to him once. How can he miss the fact that Chanyeol was a whole fucking year younger than him! Baekhyun has been taking advantage of a junior . He’s been taking advantage of his kindness and Baekhyun is here just taking and taking while Chanyeol just keeps on giving and giving and giving –
His phone rings again and Baekhyun is almost afraid to answer.
“I get that you panicked and hung up,” Baekhyun can hear the disappointment in Chanyeol’s voice and oh god he feels horrible . “But that wasn’t nice, hyung.”
Baekhyun closes his eyes and prays to whatever god is listening to give him the strength. This isn’t what he envisioned today’s conversation to be.
“Sorry. I just — sorry. I’m. Wow.” Way to be coherent, Byun.
“Why are you so surprised? I’m only a couple of months younger than you anyway.”
Oh. That wasn’t so bad. But he said he was a junior?
“Anyway, hyung,” Chanyeol snickers and oh if Baekhyun could he would’ve punched Chanyeol through the mouthpiece of his phone if he could. “What’s up?”
Baekhyun’s mind blanks for a second before remembering what he called him for. Right. The party.
“I’ve been invited to a party,” Baekhyun falls back on his bed, the multiple pillows around him bouncing with the weight of his fall. Baekhyun puts the phone on speakers, curls on his side, hugging one of the pillows as he closes his eyes and listens to the deep voice coming from his phone.
“Aren’t you a popular boy.” Chanyeol teases and Baekhyun feels his toes curl at the tingling feeling in his chest. “Just you?”
“Jongdae is invited too, I think. Actually, Jongdae never told me if everyone in my friend group is invited.”
Chanyeol hums and there’s a brief moment of silence where Baekhyun thinks Chanyeol was about to say something, thinks he hears the lick of lips before saying, “I’m almost jealous, Baekhyunnie-hyung.”
Baekhyun swallows. If they were in the early 90s, Baekhyun would definitely be twirling the phone line between his fingers like a damn teenager. “What do you mean?”
“They get to see you all dolled up and pretty — ”
Baekhyun hangs up again in panic.
A ring, a press of his thumb on the ‘answer’ button.
“Sorry, I just — you can’t do that!” Baekhyun almost screams on his phone. He presses his palms on his cheeks and feels the heat.
Baekhyun can already imagine Chanyeol’s almond eyes twinkling as he says, “Do what?”
Baekhyun just hides his face in his pillow and groans.
It was several seconds before Chanyeol spoke again, the light mood instantly going down at Chanyeol’s sudden exhale of breath.
“Who invited you and Jongdae?” Chanyeol asks. If this was anyone else, Baekhyun would answer smartly and retort back a biting ‘None ya business’. But this was Chanyeol and Chanyeol only cares.
“Hmm, Youngho. From the football team.” Baekhyun says, voice laced with nonchalance. It takes too long for Chanyeol to respond, the seconds slowly ticking and Baekhyun checks his phone to make sure Chanyeol didn’t accidentally hang up. “Chanyeol?”
“Do you want me to come with you?” Chanyeol’s is firm, almost as if he needed Baekhyun to say yes, and Baekhyun has never heard him sound so serious.
“I’ll be with Jongdae the entire time,” Baekhyun waves his hands and stops once he realizes that Chanyeol isn’t there to see him. Suddenly, he misses Chanyeol’s body next to him.
“Be careful, Baek.” Baekhyun’s mouth dries at the way his name rolls off of Chanyeol’s tongue. Chanyeol has never called him Baek before. Always Baekhyun, Byun, Baekhyunnie. Never Baek. It seems different, like Chanyeol is trying to convey something that he can’t seem to name. “I — just keep your distance from him, okay?”
Baekhyun is suspicious but thinks it’s due to jealousy.
“I will, Yeol,” Baekhyun whispers in the mouthpiece. There’s a sudden pang in his chest, close to where his heart is and his vision blurs with the tears that suddenly wets his lashes. He doesn’t know why but he feels like something is about to change between them.
“I’ll tone down on the dolling up!” Baekhyun forces the cheer, forces the mood to lighten up. “I won’t wear my hair up, nor put on eyeshadow. No one will bother me. I’ll just be a wallflower.”
Baekhyun hears a sigh from the other side of the phone and thinks he messed up even more. But Chanyeol only chuckles and Baekhyun feels his shoulder sag in relief.
They talked for five more hours before they both decided they needed to go to bed for class.
[Baekhyun:] Jongdae forced me to do it.
[Baekhyun:] *sent a selfie*
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Cutie ~ ✿◕ ‿ ◕✿
[Baekhyun:] We’re finally fucking here. God, Jongdae took too long.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Stay safe, Baek. Text me once you’re home, okay?
[Baekhyun:] I will. Don’t worry.
[Baekhyun:] Oh, ohh it’s because Minseok is here. (¬‿¬)
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Ohhhh, is that so?
[Baekhyun:] Everyone here looks like a douchebag. Except Minseok and Jongdae, of course.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] I’m glad you think so!
[Baekhyun:] I look hella rude by texting you while I’m talking to Youngho but he’s just so boring. He actually kind of looks ugly up close…
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Please stay away from him, Baek.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Baekhyun?
*You have (1) missed call*
[Baekhyun:] I thnkg thre’s’ soemhing wrgnh.
MESSAGE NOT SENT.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Baek?
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Baekhyun?
*You have (7) missed calls*
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] Baekhyun this isn’t funny.
[The Little Drummer Yeol:] I’m coming to get you.
His body feels like it’s on fire.
But at the same time… it isn’t?
He feels hot and cold at the same time and he’s confused. So confused. Where’s Jongdae? And why does his body ache so fucking much .
He hears voices. Too many voices talking over each other to decipher who is who. Voices too low, voices too loud and the sound is everywhere — the squeaking of the bed, the sound of skin meeting skin and why does his body hurt so much .
“Fuck,” The voice above him groans out. He can’t make the voice. He tries opening his eyes but he feels so heavy and limp and he can’t move. Why can’t he move? “No wonder Park likes you.”
Park? Chanyeol? Chanyeol is here?
He couldn’t be here. That’s impossible.
Baekhyun feels his eyes sting. It feels like he’s crying, feels like the tears are rolling down his cheeks, and hears a voice comment at how fucking pretty he looks while he’s crying and maybe they should do that again.
Chanyeol. Where is Chanyeol? Does he know where he is right now?
Baekhyun always texts him when he’s out of it. But he only drank one drink. He was supposed to be good tonight. He wasn’t planning on getting shit face wasted. He promised himself. He promised.
The movement stops and the voice groans again. The grip in his waist tightens and Baekhyun can only think of how Chanyeol wouldn’t grip him like that. He would be gentle. He’s always gentle with him.
Baekhyun chokes out a sob. Chanyeol would be so mad at him. Chanyeol will be so, so, so mad. He promised. He promised Chanyeol.
A final grunt and a pair of feet shuffling. Baekhyun hears the door close shut somewhere, he’s not sure; softly, gently, as if the closing of the door would hide a thousand secrets in the confines of this room.
Baekhyun’s senses are all fucked up and he wants to curl up and cry.
He wishes Chanyeol was here.
Baekhyun is on cloud nine.
Or at least it feels like it.
His brain feels like it’s still fogged from whatever it is he took earlier. He hears movement, hears the rustling of sheets and feels a warm touch on his skin. Baekhyun instinctively flinches away, afraid that he ’s back and he’s going to do more. Oh, god. What if he brought more people?
Baekhyun isn’t a stranger to drunk sex. He’d be lying if he says he’s the spitting image of the virgin mary.
Baekhyun is familiar with the feeling of a cock sliding in and out of him, he’s familiar with the feeling of having a dry orgasm, familiar with hands roaming his body, touching every crevice of skin. But they’re always too drunk, too drugged out to even think about finishing Baekhyun off.
Baekhyun knows when he enters into something like that. He knows it the first time he tilts his back to down the jaegerbomb, the second time he’s offered a white russian, and the fifth time his knees give because holy shit the room is tilting.
He knows that things might happen and he doesn’t fault anybody, blames himself mostly for getting into those situations. He thinks it counts as consent the first time he makes eye contact with a stranger.
Baekhyun isn’t a stranger to feeling like he’s feeling now. Like a ragged doll ready to be tossed out as soon as they’re done.
One thing that Baekhyun found out is that he likes to please people. In every sense of the word. He finds out the moment he continues to work hard in school to be the best in class. For his father who will never give him the time.
Or maybe it was when he took that first sip the first time he visited that club somewhere in downtown nowhere? Must be when his eyes were so glazed that he couldn’t remember the very first person who took him home the first night he decided to let loose – the only time he allowed himself to let loose.
This isn't the first time this happened, but it's the first time it happened where it matters.
Baekhyun doesn’t remember anything from last night either. Only the disgusting feeling of being used like a limp doll, of thinking how Chanyeol will be so furious of him even after telling him to be careful.
Oh, god. Chanyeol.
Baekhyun feels his own body shake as he cries and cries; his uncontrollable sobs echoing in the walls of his room. Chanyeol is going to be so devastated. He’s going to be so disappointed in him and the idea weighs heavily on Baekhyun’s chest that he can’t help but gag violently.
Suddenly, arms are around him and Baekhyun’s fights.
“Go away! Go away goawaygoawaygoaway, pleaseplease please ,” Baekhyun has never begged his entire life but he feels like this an exception. He swings his arms and legs as best as his drug-induced body can, tries throwing his body left and right if only to use his weight to cause an imbalance.
“Baekhyun. Baekhyun, it’s me,” The voice gasps next to his ear and Baekhyun stops flailing. His entire body freezes at the familiar voice. “You’re okay. It’s just me.”
His body falls limp, like it finally realized that it’s safe and there’s no need to fight. His muscles relax and Baekhyun welcomes the suffocating embrace from Chanyeol, fully welcomes the hands that roam his body to check if anything is wrong, more so than usual, and the stiffening of Chanyeol’s body tells Baekhyun that he knows. He knows and he’s going to be mad at Baekhyun for not being careful like he said. He’s going to lash out and scream and he’s going to cut him off like his father cut him off when he realized how much of a disappointment , can’t even do such a simple thing —
“Oh, Baekhyun,” Chanyeol sounds devastated, voice breaking along with each crack of Baekhyun’s heart. It sounds horrible. Chanyeol should never sound like that. Baekhyun feels Chanyeol’s hands card through his hair and it feels wonderful. "Shh, I'm here now."
“Chanyeollie?” Baekhyun slurs and he feels his head being tilted up. His head is still foggy but he knows Chanyeol’s eyes when he sees them. Big and bright like a beacon of light in Baekhyun’s tiring night and… why are there tears? Why is he crying? Who made his Chanyeol cry?
Baekhyun can feel Chanyeol’s fingers trace his face lightly, as if afraid that he’ll break soon but Baekhyun is alive. He’s survived life so far, right?
The tender press of lips on his forehead, his temples, his eyelids, nose, cheeks are all welcome. Baekhyun melts with every press of lips and Baekhyun almost hopes that their lips soon meet.
Chanyeol chants his name like a prayer, holds him tighter in his arms and Baekhyun is sad but he’s never felt more at home.
Everything feels soft.
The pillow underneath his head, the clean linen sheets underneath him, the goose comforter, even the air around him feels soft and clean.
Baekhyun hears wind chimes twinkling, making beautiful sounds in the early morning. It feels almost relaxing.
But then Baekhyun remembers he doesn't have goose feather comforters and his house never smelled like fresh linen, and he never once had wind chimes in his house either.
He bolts up, only for his body to flop back down.
"Baek — shit! Are you okay? No, that's a stupid question you're obviously not okay." Jongdae. Is this Jongdae's house?
"Daedae?" Baekhyun whispers, throat parched and Jongdae is instantly at his side, bed dipping with his weight. Baekhyun feels the back of Jongdae's hand on his forehead.
This feels almost nostalgic, Baekhyun muses. Memories of when they were young, younger than they are now, and Jongdae had to nurse Baekhyun back to health during a pretty nasty fever. It wasn't bad then. He was just a kid with a really bad immune system. Baekhyun thinks he's gotten better.
"Hyunnie, I'm so sorry," Jongdae suddenly sobs somewhere to his left. Baekhyun musters up the strength to lift up a shoulder in an attempt to shrug, but his entire body hurts and he doesn’t know why.
He opens his eyes slowly and sees Jongdae looking like he hasn’t slept for days. His hair is sticking up in every direction and the bags under his eyes are more prominent under the daylight. Baekhyun almost wants to laugh at how ridiculous he looked but he knows that now is not that time.
Baekhyun feels a straw press against his lips and he opens his mouth in response, catching the straw with his tongue and pressing his mouth closed. He sips and feels the cold water travel down from his tongue to his throat. Baekhyun instantly feels better.
“Why are you saying sorry?” Baekhyun croaks out. The water did wonders for his parched throat but he will need something stronger for the gaping hole in his chest. Empty, he feels empty.
“Because the bastard ,” Jongdae spits out and Baekhyun can see tears welling up in his eyes. “He — the horrible fucking monster. He— ” Jongdae continues to sputter, as if afraid saying the words out loud will make them all the more real.
But Baekhyun only shrugs, a movement so tiny he wasn’t sure if Jongdae saw it. “S’okay. ‘M used to it,”
“Don’t say that!” Jongdae bursts out. Baekhyun doesn’t know why he’s mad. Baekhyun doesn’t mind. He’s had sex with so many people he’s lost count; majority of them were when he was passed out drunk too. So, really, what does it matter?
Baekhyun remembers Chanyeol’s face as the latter cradles his face in his arms that night and thinks that this incident matters very much.
“It’s not your fault, Dae,” Baekhyun murmurs as he puts his hand on top of Jongdae’s head, like a priest would absolve a penitent. And it really isn't Jongdae's fault. There’s no one to blame but him.
“Is this your house?” Baekhyun suddenly asks, hoping that this will distract Jongdae from wallowing even more. “I like the amount of sunlight coming in.”
Courtesy of the floor to ceiling windows decorated by thick curtains open wide enough to let sunlight in.
“No, it’s Chanyeol’s.” Jongdae says, effectively freezing Baekhyun in his spot. “We went straight here after we found you.”
Baekhyun’s mind is blank. Why didn’t they go to his house? Jongdae and Chanyeol knows where he lives, knows the passcode to get into his room. His house was big enough for all three of them. And how long has he been here?
“You should’ve seen him storm the place, Baek.” Jongdae’s voice is filled with awe and Baekhyun can’t help but listen to Jongdae’s account of that night. “He was so furious when he confronted Youngho — ” Jongdae stopped once he noticed him shift uncomfortably, “Sorry.”
“No, continue. I want to know what happened.” Baekhyun says, “From the beginning. If you can remember it.”
“Okay,” Jongdae clears his throat. “Tell me if you want me to stop, okay?”
Baekhyun nods in affirmation.
Baekhyun learns that he separated from Jongdae minutes after entering the house, the latter looking for the bar so he can get him some drinks to “loosen up”. Jongdae describes to him how he saw Youngho approach Baekhyun as soon as he was alone, and that the football captain offered him a drink, to which Baekhyun accepted.
Baekhyun mentally shakes his head. What an idiot.
Jongdae didn’t want to interrupt the two of them. He thought that the football captain was genuinely interested in Baekhyun, and he only wanted to get his number. Jongdae genuinely thought Baekhyun was getting hit on and he let it go because for a second he was proud of best friend — bagging both Park Chanyeol and Suh Youngho. Who would've thought.
Baekhyun huffs a laugh at that. Yeah, who would've thought.
And then the two of them were gone, Jongdae recounts. So he went back to finding his other friends, friends who he wanted to introduce to Baekhyun but failed because… he was gone.
Jongdae didn't think much about it. He says it was normal, parties and all, and Baekhyun nods at that. He understands.
"It wasn't until Kim Minseok," Jongdae's eyes widens at the memory and Baekhyun chuckles at the lovestruck look on his face. "Kim Minseok tapped me on the shoulder looking for you. And I thought, damn this bitch Byun got everybody wrapped around his pretty little fingers!"
Both of them laugh.
"But then he says it's important that we find you. That Chanyeol was on his way and it won't do anybody good if Youngho and Chanyeol get even within ten feet of each other."
Baekhyun frowns. Chanyeol never said anything about having an issue with Youngho.
"And then we saw Youngho walk back to the party with two other dudes," Jongdae mumbles. Baekhyun blinks at the memory that suddenly flashed in his head.
Jongdae continues his story.
About how Youngho walked back to the party like he just hit the jackpot, when suddenly Chanyeol, out of nowhere, shouts for everybody to leave the house.
"Imagine my surprise when they actually did. Youngho just… shooed everybody away —"
" — like the party was a bait for Chanyeol." Baekhyun mumbles, horrified at the realization. Jongdae nods.
There were no punches thrown, which surprised Jongdae considering how mad Chanyeol was and how Youngho was egging him on.
But Jongdae tells him how Youngho only pointed upstairs and Chanyeol ran up the stairs three steps at a time, with Minseok and Jongdae following him.
"It was crazy, Baek." Jongdae holds his hands. "He looked so devastated when he saw you."
Baekhyun swallows. He can imagine.
"Where is he now?" Baekhyun asks, apprehension clear in his voice. He almost doesn’t want to know where the other man is; afraid to see the disappointment etched in Chanyeol’s handsome face. Baekhyun feels his skin itch, feels the need to take a shower and scrub the dirt and grime that settled in his skin.
“He’s downstairs. He’s been on the phone with someone for about an hour now.” Baekhyun sees him reach out a hand but hesitates. “I’m really sorry, Baek.”
Baekhyun wraps his fingers tight around Jongdae’s wrist, looks at him straight in the eyes and says, with as much conviction that he has in his chest, “It is not your fault.”
“Baekhyu — ”
“No, listen. I’ve been here before, okay? I — ” Baekhyun swallows the lump in his throat. This is it. He will bare himself open to one of his oldest childhood friends. To Jongdae, who knows the good him, the innocent him, the him that works really hard and has his life together. He’s scared that Jongdae’s image of him will change — that he will no longer be the Byun Baekhyun he grew up with. But Baekhyun knows that Jongdae has the right to know. He has the right for his guilt to be lifted from him. So Baekhyun inhales a huge breath and spills.
“I go out,” Baekhyun lays his head down and stares at the ceiling, if only to avoid looking at Jongdae straight in the eyes as he bares his soul to one of the people that matters. “I go and drink my liver out. I go and I party and I drink and drink until I can’t remember anything anymore.”
“Baekhyun,” Jongdae whispers, voice heavy with emotions. Baekhyun stops him with the palm of his hands.
“I drink because I can’t handle things sometimes, you know? Alcohol helps me slow down, you see. It shuts my brain down and my head is quiet. It’s peaceful and it’s addicting because honestly, Jongdae? It gets tiring trying to be perfect for a family who doesn’t even acknowledge your existence.”
Baekhyun furrows his eyebrows as he feels a quiet tear slide down his cheeks and into the pillow.
“Most of the time it gets a little too… much,” He continues. “But I don’t remember anything since I black out most of the time. But I like it because it’s the only time my head is quiet, you see.”
Jongdae’s grip on his hand tightens. “And how does Chanyeol play into all of this exactly?”
“Funny enough, we met at one of those parties.” Baekhyun feels a smile ghost his face at the memory. “And we… uhh…”
“We fucking knew it!” Jongdae laughs and Baekhyun turns to see dry tear tracks staining his face, a contrast to the sly smile on Jongdae’s face. “Yixing owes me money!”
“You bet on my sex life?!” Baekhyun wants to feel offended, but his chest only balloons at the thought of his friends.
“Oh dear Baekhyunnie, if you could see how Chanyeol looks at you when you’re not looking, you would bet on it too.” Jongdae sends a wink that shuts Baekhyun up.
The silence that envelops them after is comforting and Baekhyun feels like a giant weight has been lifted off his chest. He doesn’t have to hide anymore. He doesn’t have to put makeup over the bruising marks all over his skin and neck.
But at the same time, Baekhyun knows he has to stop. Stress is no longer an excuse to pass out drunk and expect Chanyeol to pick up his broken pieces.
“Why didn’t you ever tell us?” Jongdae’s voice cracks and Baekhyun’s heart cracks along with it.
Baekhyun shrugs, “I didn’t want to trouble any of you. You have lives and your own problems and I didn’t want to add my own to yours — ow!”
“Serves you right!” Jongdae punches him in the arm again. ”We’re friends, Baekhyun. Best friends . You’re allowed to drown me with your problems and I deserve to drown you in mine. Same with Sehun and Yixing and Yerim, okay? We’re here for you.”
Baekhyun doubts it will be that easy but he nods anyway, grateful for the little family he’s found in his circle of friends.
Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door.
“That’s my cue to leave,” Jongdae pats him on his head before standing up. “I’ll talk to you later, okay?”
Baekhyun murmurs a quiet affirmation. He watches Jongdae open the door and leave, the feeling of apprehension back in his chest at the silhouette by the door. Baekhyun pulls his shoulders back, praying to the gods to give him the strength to not break down in front of Park Chanyeol.
He sees him and Baekhyun feels his breath knocked out of his body.
Chanyeol is standing by the door, arms crossed, and shoulders leaning against the door frame. It’s a handsome image and Baekhyun feels euphoric at the thought that this man is here for him.
“Baekhyun,” Chanyeol says. “Are you — ”
“I’m sorry,” Baekhyun blurts out, vision instantly blurring at the sudden onset of tears. “I promised that I’d stay safe and I didn’t so I would totally understand if you stopped talking to me.”
“And why exactly would I stop talking to you?” Baekhyun can hear the teasing in his tone and he wants to cry.
“Because!” He wails and feels his chest constrict. “I’m a disappointment!”
Chanyeol strides towards him, taking big steps and stands right next to the bed. Baekhyun expected arms to wrap around his body and suffocate him with his musky scent. But they never came. Baekhyun looks up at Chanyeol, a question at the tip of his tongue, but the hesitation on his face is clear as day. Baekhyun feels dejection wash over his body.
But then, Chanyeol asked the stupidest question in the universe.
“Repeat that again?” Baekhyun blinks.
“May I touch you?” Chanyeol fidgets and it reminds Baekhyun of the first time he approached him. May .
“And why are you not allowed to touch me?” Baekhyun snorts. Who fucking says ‘may’.
Chanyeol gnaws on his bottom lip, “I wasn’t sure if you’re comfortable with me touching you after… you know — “
Baekhyun grabs Chanyeol’s wrist and pulls him down for a tight hug. But Baekhyun overestimated Chanyeol’s weight so the latter fell, quite literally, on top of him.
“I’m not fragile, Chanyeol.” Baekhyun says amidst the tufts of brown hair in his mouth. His arms tighten around Chanyeol and he feels the latter snake his arms around his waist.
They stay like that for a while, Chanyeol’s body a comforting weight on top of his, the windchimes from somewhere singing a melody produced by the soft winds outside. For once, Baekhyun feels at peace.
“I was so scared,” Baekhyun hears Chanyeol mumble against the skin of his neck.
“I’m sorry,” Baekhyun starts but he feels Chanyeol furiously shake his head against the crook of his neck and shoulder.
“No, don’t be.” Chanyeol lifts his head to look at him and Baekhyun thinks the light coming through the curtains emphasized his features perfectly. His eyes roam his face, from his wavy hair to his almond shaped eyes that are staring back; the high bridge of his nose to the mole resting peacefully on it.
Baekhyun’s eyes stop at his lips.
They look chapped, like Chanyeol has a habit of peeling his lips with his teeth whenever he feels anxious; but plump and Baekhyun thinks they would feel like soft, pillowy clouds against his own lips.
Baekhyun cards his hands through Chanyeol’s hair and rests it right by the base of his head, thumb tracing circles in his scalp. He hears Chanyeol moan in the back of his throat and Baekhyun snaps.
Baekhyun tightens his hold on Chanyeol’s hair and presses their lips together.
Baekhyun had always imagined how their first kiss would go since the actual first one doesn’t count since Baekhyun doesn’t really remember any of it.
He always imagined their first kiss to be under the stars. Chanyeol seems like the romantic type to pull something cheesy. Or maybe while they’re cuddling while watching a movie, lips accidentally meeting as they lean into each other, whispering about the plot holes in the movie.
He never imagined it to be like this.
Raw and full of hunger, as if they’ve been deprived of each other’s taste for so long. Months and months of tension pulled taut until this very moment, snapped by Baekhyun’s very fingers. It’s wet and sloppy and their teeth clash but Baekhyun never expected any less from Chanyeol who knows only how to live passionately, knows only how to give and give like he knows Baekhyun will grab and claw and take whatever it is that Chanyeol will offer.
Chanyeol’s hand rests on his jaw, and the other by his waist, grip light enough so he doesn’t feel any pain, yet tight enough so he won’t go.
The kisses turn gentle; lips and tongues dancing to the rhythm of their own heartbeat. Baekhyun feels like his chest will explode with the rapid beating of his own heart. He feels his chest swell at the unnamed emotions building up in his chest.
Chanyeol’s kisses move from his lips to his cheeks, his nose, his eyelids. His lips kisses the moles littering his face, like he’s making new constellations with each reverent press of his lips. Chanyeol kisses his jaw, down to his neck, and Baekhyun arches his back as he lets out a moan, begging for more contact, more skin, more heat, more Chanyeol .
But then he stops and Baekhyun’s eyes fly wide open. “What — ”
Chanyeol leans backwards, eventually straddling Baekhyun underneath him. “We shouldn’t.”
“ — What do you mean we shouldn’t? We literally had sex before, Chanyeol — ”
“ — That’s not the point — ”
“ — Then fucking tell me the point!”
“I don’t want to take advantage of you!” Chanyeol doesn’t shout. Not really. His voice is just deep that it projects even when he’s not trying but Baekhyun is not the only one frustrated.
“You’re not taking advantage of me,” Baekhyun snorts.
Chanyeol only frowns at him, eyebrows furrowed and lower lip jutting out. Somehow, even when Baekhyun is underneath him, Chanyeol still looks like he’s on his knees begging to be heard.
“You don’t understand, Baekhyun.” Chanyeol sighs and Baekhyun is getting exasperated.
Baekhyun glares at Chanyeol. “Then fucking make me understand, Park.”
He sees Chanyeol’s Adam's apple bob up and down as he swallows his nervousness.
“I like you.” Chanyeol says, as if it’s the first time he said it.
Baekhyun frowns. “I think I got that the first time you gave me your number.” And the many times Chanyeol has been by his side.
“No, no,” Chanyeol’s eyes are downturned like he’s pleading for Baekhyun to understand him without actually saying the words. “I really, really fucking like you.”
Baekhyun blinks rapidly as if his brain isn’t connecting the words that spilled from Baekhyun’s mouth.
Baekhyun thinks he knows what Chanyeol is saying. But he doesn’t want to assume…
“Like… like-like? ” He sounds like he’s 6 years old and not 22.
Chanyeol licks his lips and smiles shyly, “More than like-like.”
Baekhyun feels like vomiting but he’s sure that if he opens his mouth, tons of butterflies would escape, leaving his stomach empty yet his heart full.
“You deserve so much more than this. Every inch of your skin, every crevice of your soul deserves to be worshipped. You deserve time to heal yourself whole so that when I kiss you it will be in reverence of your entire existence.” Chanyeol’s gaze on him is searing hot and Baekhyun can feel it in the depth of his soul. “I’ll treat you the way you deserve to be treated, Baekhyun.”
And Baekhyun doesn’t doubt that, not at all.
They slept together again that night, with Chanyeol’s arm around his waist and nose buried deep in the crevice of his neck, as if he’s memorizing the scent of his skin.
“Are you sure you’re okay to go back to school?” Chanyeol asks over breakfast, the Monday after.
Baekhyun only raises his eyebrows at him. “And why wouldn’t I be?”
Chanyeol closes his mouth shut and goes back to decimating his food.
Baekhyun places his chopsticks on his plate and sighs as he says, “It’s not really a big deal, Chanyeol. I’ve — I’ve been here before, remember?”
He sees Chanyeol bite his lower lip in thought, eyes downcast, and shoulder hunched. It hurts to see him like this.
“I know, but — ” Chanyeol sighs and slouches in his chair. “ — I’m just worried that’s all.”
Baekhyun raises his eyebrows at him. “And all the other times I’ve texted at ass o’clock about how drunk I am to the point where I don’t remember ever getting back to my room. Were you worried then too?”
Baekhyun is no longer mad at himself for putting himself in last Friday’s situation. He still blames himself, yes, but he’s past self-loathing. He’s slowly working his way towards accepting that he’ll always make mistakes and that there’s nothing he can do about it.
"That's not fair, Baek." Chanyeol huffs.
“You’re also an enabler, you know that, right?” Baekhyun continues and he knows he is being mean again. But for the life of him, he can’t figure Chanyeol out. “You know that what I’ve been doing is wrong yet you just stood back and watched.”
Chanyeol pauses and for a second, Baekhyun thought he sees his face contort in a sneer, “Are you blaming me — ”
“No, I’m not! It’s not your responsibility to tell me anything! You’re not my babysitter!” Baekhyun slams his fist on the table. Why are they fighting? Baekhyun just wants to curl up in bed and wake up with Chanyeol’s arms around him again.
“Then why are you mad — ”
“I just wish you told me about Youngho — ”
“Would you have listened to me if I told you? I don’t — I don’t own you. I can’t stop you from doing things, Baek.” Chanyeol’s knuckles are white with how tight he’s gripping his own hands. His jaw is clenched but Baekhyun can see he’s holding back.
“Maybe I wanted you to,” Baekhyun whispers. “Stop me, I mean.”
Chanyeol takes a deep inhale and groans loudly. “I can’t tell you what to do, Baek.”
“Why not?” Goddamn it this conversation is going nowhere but Baekhyun is frustrated because he wants something but he doesn’t know what it is.
Chanyeol rolls his eyes. “I’m not your parent, nor your boyfriend, Baek — ”
Baekhyun’s brain quiets. Chanyeol’s mouth is still moving, he’s saying words but his brain is not processing. He sees the latter make gestures with his hands, something that Baekhyun found adorable, but his brain isn’t processing any of it.
Baekhyun has had sex with multiple strangers, majority of which were under the influence of alcohol. So none of them mattered. Even Youngho didn’t matter. The entire fucking situation doesn’t matter to Baekhyun. Sex is sex is sex is sex .
Yet somehow he feels hurt about it. Not because he was… what? Assaulted? Baekhyun mentally shakes his head. But because he was thinking of Chanyeol, Chanyeol, Chanyeol , I promised to be good for you. Chanyeol-ah, where are you? Why aren’t you here? I broke my promise, I’m sorry.
His brain is quiet, yet somehow, everything seems clearer.
“Then maybe you should.” Baekhyun interjects, voice breathless with realization, cutting Chanyeol in the middle of his rant.
Chanyeol blinks. “Should what?”
Baekhyun musters up drunk Baekhyun, the Baekhyun that had the courage to walk up to Park Chanyeol the first time, the Baekhyun that insisted on inching up his hands higher and higher up Chanyeol’s thigh and says, “Be my boyfriend.”
Chanyeol snaps his jaw shut and wide doe almond eyes stare back at him.
And wai —
“Did you miss half of the things I said, Baek?” Chanyeol suddenly laughs, quite hysterical, Baekhyun thinks, eyes comically wide and the tips of his ears red.
“Right after you said boyfriend, no, not really.” Baekhyun shrugs and mentally pats himself on the back for the brave act of nonchalance.
“Even if I was — am — whatever, fuck tenses!” Chanyeol bites his lips to prevent his lips from stretching wide and Baekhyun thinks it’s contagious because he can feel it too. He can feel his fingers tingle, his toes curl and his mouth dry. “Even if I am your boyfriend, you shouldn’t let other people control your life.”
“Yeah, I know.” Baekhyun grins, mouth wide and boxy. Chanyeol looks torn between looking ecstatic and looking like he wants to scold Baekhyun.
“Okay and?” Chanyeol huffs, but Baekhyun can see him trying very hard not to burst out in a big smile.
“And I think you should be my boyfriend.” Baekhyun places his chin on the palm of hands and smiles at Chanyeol, eyes twinkling with mirth.
The way happiness spreads across Chanyeol’s face is fascinating to watch. His eyebrows lift slowly, eyes widening in response. Then his lips stretch into his signature megawatt smile, teeth perfectly straight. His smile then reaches his eyes, crinkling them into beautiful crescents, tiny crow’s feet showing. Baekhyun notices he has a dimple sitting right below his eye and thinks they look like whiskers.
Chanyeol is beautiful when he’s happy, and Baekhyun thinks he hasn’t seen Chanyeol this happy before.
“I think,” Chanyeol says after clearing his throat. “I think I should take you on a proper date first, though. I don’t want to jump the gun. I want to do this properly. If you allow me, that is."
“I guess the rumors are true then,” Baekhyun kicks Chanyeol’s feet under the table. He doesn’t know what time it is or how long they’ve been talking but it’s a Monday and Baekhyun doesn’t have class.
Chanyeol frowns. “What rumors?”
“That you’re one heck of a charmer,” Baekhyun comments.
Which is probably a bad thing to say, because now Chanyeol’s lip is tilted to one side in a smirk and says, “You have no idea, Byun.”
[Chanyoriyori:] Moorninggg~ (ɔ˘ ³(ˆ‿ˆc)
[Chanyoriyori:] I’m out for a jog today
[Chanyoriyori:] Care to join? ≧'◡'≦
[Baekhyun:] Sorry, I was asleep.
[Baekhyun:] Jongdae and I are in class now.
[Baekhyun:] Seems that something is happening.
[Chanyoriori:] Sorry! I had to wait for class to finish before I had to take a peek at my phone. Professor’s gonna whoop my ass if he sees me with my phone.
[Chanyoriyori:] What’s happening, Baekhyunnie-hyungie?
[Baekhyun:] I think we’re way past the hyung/dongsaeng relationship, Yeol.
[Chanyoriyori:] Anyway, what’s happening in the programming dep?
[Baekhyun:] There’s a rumor going around about Youngho.
[Baekhyun:] I guess he got suspended?
[Baekhyun:] You didn’t have anything to do with that, did you?
[Baekhyun:] Chanyeol… =___=
[Chanyoriyori:] HMM? Sorry, I got caught up! What’s up?
[Baekhyun:] ( ㆆ︹ㆆ)
Baekhyun frowns at his phone again.
“You’ve been glancing at your phone the entire day, Baek. Who are you texting, hmm?” Yerim nudges him at the side. Class was done for the day and he, Jongdae and Yerim are on their way to meet Sehun and Yixing at their usual spot in the garden.
Jongdae gives him a worried glance.
It’s been three weeks since ‘The Incident’, as Jongdae dubs it, which means it’s been a week since Chanyeol and he talked about taking that step forward.
Baekhyun was not going to lie, he was scared shitless the day he went back to school. He felt like he was going to be jumped at any second.
He’s had several instances where he had to excuse himself from class because he felt like he was suffocating, like the air in his lungs were suddenly siphoned out of his system. There’s been instances where he locked himself in the public bathroom, breathing heavily as he feels his chest tighten uncomfortably.
It would take him a few moments to compose himself again, fingers hovering over the call button right next to Chanyeol’s name.
It’s been three weeks since ‘The Incident’. Three weeks since he’s seen nor heard of Youngho. Three weeks since he’s had alcohol in his system.
He can do this. Baekhyun can do this.
He hasn’t told his other friends what happened yet. He needs to fix himself first, slowly, then he’ll tell them. But maybe he can tell them one thing…
“Oh, just Chanyeol.” Baekhyun shrugs as he sits next to Sehun and Yixing and Junmyeon. “Hey, Junmyeon-hyung.” He waves his hand in greeting.
“Hey, Baekhyun, Jongdae, Yerim,” Junmyeon nods at them. “What about Park Chanyeol?”
“Baekhyun is texting Park Chanyeol!” Yerim all but screams at their table. It was a Friday afternoon which means the rest of the student body are either in the library cramming for a paper, or preparing for another night out.
In any case, there were only a few people in the vicinity, none of which cares about what they were talking about.
“I like Chanyeol-ssi,” Yixing suddenly perks up. “His dad sometimes comes and lectures for one of my classes. Really a brilliant man, Mr. Park.”
Baekhyun freezes. “Which class is this?”
Yixing pauses to think and puts a finger on his chin in thought. “I think we’ve attended two of his special lectures this year so we would know which area we want to specialize in.”
“Get on with it, Xing. Baek is going to piss his pants,” Sehun jokes.
Yixing rolls his eyes, “I attended his criminal law lectures.”
Baekhyun is going to smack Chanyeol as soon as he sees him. Law. Chanyeol’s father is a fucking lawyer.
“Ah!” Junmyeon suddenly interjects. “He’s related to that Park?”
Yixing nods, and Baekhyun feels lost.
“Okay, let us in on the secret, ladies and gays.” Yerim says in frustration.
“All of you should really watch the news,” Sehun rolls his eyes. “Park & Kim LLC? Ring a bell?”
“Sehun,” Jongdae deadpans, “More than half of the Korean population is either Park or Kim. Get to the fucking point or I’ll stick something up your ass.”
Junmyeon laughs. “One of the biggest Law Firms in South Korea. Pretty big internationally too. If Park Sungjin is his father… ”
Yixing hums in agreement. “Chanyeol is pretty well known in our department too. Such a brilliant kid. Really takes after his father.”
Baekyun feels like the air was punched out of his system. Chanyeol is a fucking pre-law student whose father owns the largest legal firm in the entire fucking country. And Suh Youngho just got suspended right after ‘The Incident’. This can’t be a coincidence. Baekhyun feels like he’s going to pass out any minute.
“But not everyone knows. I think it’s because they don’t want people to think Chanyeol’s here because of his affiliation. A handful of us only found out because Mr. Park accidentally showed a photo of his family when he was exiting his presentation.” Yixing snickers. “And we respect him enough to not act like children, spreading private information like wildfire.”
Yerim raises her eyebrow, “Aren’t you doing the same thing though?”
Yixing shrugs, “I trust you guys. Plus, Baekhyun is dating Chanyeol, so.”
All heads turn to Baekhyun and for a moment he almost feels like hiding.
“Are you?” Baekhyun wants to punch Sehun’s face with how wide his smirk is. “Dating Park Chanyeol that is.”
Baekhyun pushes his glasses higher up his nose and cards his hands through his hair. “So what if I am?”
The table erupts in a cheer. Sehun and Yerim standing up in excitement, Junmyeon and Yixing clapping his back, and Jongdae busting out the biggest smile. People in the vicinity turn to look at them at the noise and Sehun, ever the rascal, screams, “Our best friend is getting laid!”
Baekhyun’s face turns beet red but surprisingly enough, the strangers whooped and shouted their congratulations, and Baekhyun waves at them in thanks.
[Chanyoriyori:] Uh-oh. Bad day?
[Chanyoriyori:] You’re not going to use my emoticons against me, Baek.
Baekhyun puts down his phone an hour after receiving no response from Chanyeol. He didn’t mean to be vague via texts, but he also didn’t know what to tell him.
They’re still in the dating stage. Getting to know each other. The proper way, at least. The first few times doesn’t really count, but it did help establish rapport between them.
Baekhyun snorts at himself.
He’s currently in his apartment, a stack of books laid on one side of the table, and his desktop computer in front, screen blinding with the brightness setting. He adjusts his glasses and goes back to his project.
An hour passes and his doorbell rings.
Must be a package. But Baekhyun doesn’t remember ever buying anything online these past few days. He’s received all the parts for his desktop…
He opens the door and sees Chanyeol holding a take out.
“Now why are you mad?” Chanyeol says as he pushes Baekhyun aside to go straight to the kitchen.
“Who says I’m mad?” Baekhyun says, rummaging through the white plastic take out bag. Thai food! Exactly what he’s been craving.
“Your emoticons say you’re mad.” Chanyeol sits down in front of him and starts setting the table.
Baekhyun pulls the entire container of pad thai in front of him and takes a big bite. He then sets his chopsticks as soon as he’s savored the flavor in his mouth and says, accusingly, “You’re a pre-law student.”
Chanyeol pauses halfway through taking a bite. Baekhyun thinks he looks hilarious with his wide eyes and mouth open wide, ready to take a bite.
“Yes, I am.” Chanyeol takes a bite and slowly chews, as if afraid that Baekhyun is going to attack any second.
“And your father is Park Sungjin.” Baekhyun steeples his fingers, unsure if his inquisitorial skills are going in the right direction. Chanyeol nods, slowly, and his eyes squint as if he knows what his next question will be. “And your father owns Park & Kim LLC.”
Chanyeol sighs dejectedly and places his chopsticks on the table. “Yixing told you, didn’t he?”
Baekhyun only hums.
“I’m not actually mad,” Baekhyun places a reassuring hand on his forearm and Chanyeol visibly relaxes under his touch. “More… surprised. You’re full of surprises, Chanyeol.”
Chanyeol grins at him as he presses his calf against his.
“That doesn’t have anything to do with Youngho getting expelled is it?” Baekhyun asks and Chanyeol chokes on his spit. Baekhyun watches him reach for his drink by his left, but Baekhyun is faster. He grabs the drink away from Chanyeol’s reach and he thinks he heard the latter whine.
“Baekhyun,” Chanyeol coughs as he makes grabby movements to him, almost like a five year old would to his mom. Baekhyun narrows his eyes before giving Chanyeol his drink.
“You’re not using the ‘i’m choking so i’ll drink water to avoid answering the question’ method are you?” Baekhyun raises an eyebrow and sees Chanyeol shake his head. “Good. Cause I don’t understand why your father had to come in and have Suh Youngho expelled.”
“Okay, first of all,” Chanyeol breathes as soon as he’s downed the entire glass. “That fucker deserved it.”
Baekhyun doesn’t know what to think, really. He feels desensitized to the entire situation already. It’s only been a few weeks but the thought of Youngho feels like a lifetime ago, only to come back full force every time someone whispers his name in the hallways. Only then does Baekhyun curl in on himself, shoulders hunched, as if he’s hiding from the said man himself.
“Also, his case is actually unrelated,” Chanyeol adds, mouth busy again as he chews his food meticulously. He’s adorable in the way his eyes unconsciously widen whenever he leans forward to catch food in his mouth. Chanyeol squints his eyes at him. “I really shouldn’t be telling you this…”
Baekhyun shrugs. “Up to you, Park.”
Chanyeol’s mouth twists into a pout and Baekhyun thinks it’s cruel how he feels like he has the upper hand. He shouldn’t be pulling Chanyeol along like this, thinks that he doesn’t deserve having this much care and attention towards him. But the way Chanyeol looks at him with his beautiful doe eyes shining with affection is addicting, more intoxicating than any drink Baekhyun has ever tasted.
“Don’t tell anybody, okay?” Chanyeol whispers, as if it’s not only the two of them in Baekhyun’s house. “And I think I’m allowed to tell you since you’re kind of the reason why this case got pushed in the first place.”
Chanyeol leans back in his chair and crosses his arms across his chest. He cards his hands through his hair and Baekhyun is left breathless at how handsome Chanyeol really is. “This is not the first time he’s been accused of sexual assault.”
Baekhyun feels his jaw drop.
“There’s… a couple of claims against him.” Baekhyun feels sick to his stomach, appetite gone at the thought that they’d let a monster like him in their school. Chanyeol places his hands on top of his. “Dad’s been investigating it for a while now. But nothing too concrete. He’s… not yet convicted. But dad convinced the Board of Directors to put a hold on his schooling until we’ve received the final verdict.”
“That’s… wow.” Baekhyun licks his lips. "And you didn't mention this to me because..?"
Chanyeol sighs. “Baekhyun, you have to understand. Innocent until proven guilty. We didn’t have any concrete evidence against him. So trust me, please trust me when I tell you it was hard. And I couldn’t tell you then because it wasn’t my case and my dad basically made me promise but I’m telling you this now and I'm so fucking sorry it had to be like this — ”
“Chanyeol, breathe.” The hand resting on top of Baekhyun tightens, knuckles turning white at the hard grip and Baekhyun feels his own chest sting at Chanyeol’s pleading look, begging him to understand there are things where he has little control over. “I’m trying to understand why he has to use me to get to you.”
Chanyeol chuckles, “Will you believe it’s because of Chaeyoung?”
“The… girl whose perfume clashes with the — ”
“— smell of her hairspray? Are you kidding me?” Baekhyun sputters, food completely forgotten at the sudden revelation of things. “Why? Did the perfume girl cheat on him with you or something?”
Chanyeol opens his mouth to respond but his jaw snaps immediately. “I — no, she just broke up with him and got with me right after. Really petty if you ask me.”
It was really fucking petty. And Baekhyun is slowly getting mad at the thought that all of this happened because Youngho wanted… what? Revenge? For something he already lost? Chanyeol and Chaeyoung aren’t even a thing anymore.
Granted, Chaeyoung is still obviously obsessed with Chanyeol, but that doesn’t change the fact that Chanyeol is over her and they’re never getting back together.
“I told you to stop overthinking, Baek.” Chanyeol rolls his eyes. And it truly is unnerving how Chanyeol can see straight at him. They’ve only known each other for several months, yet he can read him better than any of his closest friends. Or family.
Baekhyun mutters a soft apology, head tilting downward back to his food.
It’s been months since Chanyeol answered his text, picking him up from the dingy little bar somewhere in the outskirts of god-knows-where. Months since Baekhyun woke up with Chanyeol by his side, every Saturday morning, never failing to leave a glass of water and a tablet of aspirin by his bedside table.
It’s been months since Baekhyun has laid himself bare to the last person he ever thought to be close with.
Baekhyun feels calloused fingers brushing his fringe aside and he looks up to see Chanyeol looking at him with eyes twinkling with emotions. “I’m really sorry, Baek. I really am.” Chanyeol whispers as he moves his hands to cup Baekhyun’s cheeks. Baekhyun closes his eyes and leans into the touch, slender fingers circling Chanyeol’s strong wrist.
“I don’t regret anything though,” Baekhyun whispers, voice gently cutting through the thick silence that settled between them; silence that was oddly welcomed. “It is… unfortunate. But I’m glad it happened to me at that party and not to somebody else.”
Chanyeol pulls his hand back, as if shocked by what Baekhyun said. He opens his mouth, perhaps to make a retort but Baekhyun stands up from his seat, walks around the dining table, and kneels in front of Chanyeol, one hand placed on his nape, the other stroking the tension from his hands.
“I’m not fragile, Chanyeol,” Baekhyun reminds him. “I’ve experienced horrible things, yes, but this will not cripple me. Your Baekhyunnie is stronger than you think.” Baekhyun winks.
Chanyeol sighs as if he knows not to argue further.
“My Baekhyunnie, hmm?” Chanyeol whispers in the space between them and Baekhyun can feel his own body shiver as Chanyeol leans closer, closer, until there’s only a sliver of space between their lips.
Baekhyun hums as he pressed his lips softly against Chanyeol’s, kisses feathery light, almost teasing, and his hands crawl up Chanyeol’s thighs, inching higher and higher like the first night they met.
It’s been seven months since “The Incident”, which means it’s been seven months since Baekhyun has sworn off alcohol, to stop being dependent on an object whose only purpose is to ruin your life.
He’s been good so far.
He found ways to occupy himself whenever neither his friends nor Chanyeol are there to accompany him during the times he's felt the itch in his system. And it would hurt , to feel the need to have something just to quiet his brain, about how he's going to fail and his friends are going to leave him now that they know he's a mess, and that Chanyeol will leave him too because he's not beautiful enough, not perfect enough. That they're all going to leave him just like his family did.
The process of healing wasn’t easy.
He remembers when Yerim suggested they try hot yoga at one of the places near her dormitory. Baekhyun initially rolled his eyes because first of all, Byun Baekhyun doesn’t exercise; second, which hot senior was it did she see going in and out of the building for her to be completely interested in hot yoga of all things.
What started as a sheer curiosity to help a friend ended up being one of Baekhyun’s favorite things. The meditation helped clear his mind. Although he admittedly was concentrating more on not passing out due to the intensity of the workout, he eventually got his groove and started getting more and more into it.
Chanyeol thinks it’s cute. But then Chanyeol thinks whatever Baekhyun does is cute so it doesn’t really count.
Baekhyun also adopted a corgi, much to the excitement of all his friends, and named him Mongryong. They said that he’ll actually be less cooped up in his room and start going on walks in the park, meet new friends, et cetera et cetera.
The stress of school is still there, weighing on his tightly knotted muscles. His hands shake and he stares at his fridge for far too long, but then Mongryong, his puppy, would nuzzle his wet nose on his leg and they would end up playing on the floor. Baekhyun would occasionally snap selfies with Mongryong and send it to Chanyeol, who would flood his messages with thousands of hearts.
Baekhyun would always reply back with a rolling eyes emoticon, only to follow with his own heart emoji.
He would then place his phone screen down as he buries his flushed face in his pillow to muffle his high pitch screaming.
Baekhyun is still isn’t used to the attention given to him. He’s used to blending in with the crowd. Not entirely being hidden by the shadows, but just enough so that he goes unnoticed. But now…
Now with him walking down the hallways of Yonsei with Park Chanyeol’s arm around his shoulders, Baekhyun doesn’t think he’ll ever have a quiet life again.
And Chanyeol would be so sweet, walking him to his first class after they finish breakfast, only for the man himself to forget that he has his own lecture that’s due to start in five minutes. Regardless, he never forgets to lean down and give him a peck on the cheek or on the forehead, and sometimes even ruffle his hair.
Which he dyed red this time.
He thought it would be a nice change from the platinum white. Sehun said it made him look sexier, more ‘aggressive’, and that he would definitely get dicked as soon as Chanyeol sees him.
Baekhyun doesn’t know what to think about that.
But Chanyeol’s reaction to seeing him with red hair did actually not lead to Baekhyun getting dicked down.
There were lots of sputtering and staring, though. Chanyeol couldn’t believe his eyes the moment he opened Baekhyun’s door and saw a head full of fire red hair. Baekhyun almost wanted to laugh at Chanyeol’s stunned face — jaw slack, eyelashes blinking at a rate faster than usual. It was hilarious to see Chanyeol struggling to form words.
“Do you like it?” Baekhyun had asked sheepishly, slender fingers playing with a strand of red hair that was effortlessly styled to be parted in the middle. Baekhyun promised to make an effort outside of drinking and partying, which means he gets to make himself look pretty during school.
Not that he wasn’t pretty before. Baekhyun likes how he looks; he knows his looks are to die for, but the bouts of confidence would only come up after a round or five of liquid courage.
And he never looked sloppy at school, either. Rather, he just chooses to be comfortable in his baggy clothes.
As cheesy as it sounds, Baekhyun feels the support from his friends contributed to his self-appreciation. Yeah, the progress is slow but Baekhyun chooses to be optimistic. And that’s one fact that Baekhyun will always be proud of.
He wakes up everyday and chooses to be a better person, which is honestly more than what he can say for his family.
That part of his life still, admittedly, stings. No contact from family, aside from the occasional deposits from his mother’s bank account, just enough so he can live comfortably. The apartment he lives in is owned by his mother as well, which relieves him of any outstanding bills.
Baekhyun thinks his mother loves him enough to not evict him from the apartment; loves him enough to still send him money to live his life.
He knows he can’t be fully reliant on her for the rest of his life. He wants to be independent, free from any debt he has towards his own family. But Baekhyun knows that means he has to confront his own mother. And he doesn’t think he’s ready for that yet.
Perhaps this is her way of apologizing for all the pain they caused. Perhaps this is her showing her that she still cares about him, even though she never contacted him once throughout the entire debacle.
Perhaps one day they’ll make peace with each other.
But for now, Baekhyun thinks he’s doing great just by going through life one step at a time.
The first time Chanyeol took him out on a date was a little over two months after ‘The Incident’. It took them a while, what with Baekhyun being a senior and Chanyeol being constantly bombarded by the requirements of pre-law classes. But the wait was worth it.
It was a Wednesday night and Baekhyun was initially opposed to the idea of having a date in the middle of the week given that they have stuff to do. But Chanyeol was persistent and Baekhyun couldn’t say no when Chanyeol’s eyes sparkled a little too bright.
“Why are we in the middle of nowhere?” Baekhyun said, eyes searching the darkness of the area. All he can see is the darkness of the night lit only by the humongous full moon above. He hears leaves being rustled by the wind and Baekhyun only pulls the oversized jacket around him tighter.
“It’s a surprise. Come on!” Chanyeol reached for his hands and they walked together towards what seemed to be a blanket laid on the grass.
On top of the blanket were several items. A picnic basket filled to the brim with food, a bottle of something coupled with two wine glasses, and a large telescope pointed to the sky.
“Is this yours?” Baekhyun asks, the shock and awe evident in the tone of his voice. Chanyeol nodded his head as he guided Baekhyun down to the blanket.
“Yes. I used to study astrophysics before I came to Yonsei.” Chanyeol fiddled with the telescope before sitting down right next to Baekhyun. “I was a big fan of the universe and I wanted to delve deep into it. I got a scholarship to study in Japan and took it.”
Baekhyun didn’t think Chanyeol would look any more handsome but he did at that moment. “What happened?”
Chanyeol shrugged. “My grandmother got sick and I had to fly home after a year. I couldn’t go back because I wanted to be with her.” Baekhyun gave Chanyeol’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze.
“My dad wanted me to help out in the firm a little later, to keep me busy you know? Since I wasn’t in school for a while. And then… I don’t know.” Chanyeol added, stopping his ministrations to look at Baekhyun straight in the eyes before saying, “I guess I fell in love along the way.”
Baekhyun gulped but did not avert his eyes. “Life does that to you. Throwing you a curveball like that.” He managed to squeak out.
“Indeed,” Chanyeol only chuckled and sat back on his heels. “Here, let’s eat first. It’s not starting yet.”
“What’s starting?” Baekhyun asked, head tilted in curiosity. But Chanyeol only winked at him and opened the bottle, the popping noise startling Baekhyun from his seat. “That’s not alcohol is it?”
Chanyeol shook his head, brunette hair dancing with the wind. “Don’t worry, Baek. It’s just sparkling cider, 100% nonalcoholic.”
Baekhyun nodded, hand around the stem of the glass. It feels familiar, it looks familiar, and Baekhyun was almost afraid that he’ll relapse just from the weight of the glass on his hands. But he trusts Chanyeol and he knows Chanyeol cares for him. So he took a sip of the cider and hummed in pleasure.
“I’m not sure if you remember but months ago you asked why I liked you.” Chanyeol started, unprompted, and Baekhyun almost choked on his drink. “Sorry! I — sorry.” Chanyeol said sheepishly.
“Just don’t… startle me when I’m in the middle of doing something.” Baekhyun said as he wiped his mouth with the back of his throat. Chanyeol nodded, lower lips jutted out in further apology. “Go on.”
“Well,” And it was weird to see Chanyeol look so handsome with his beautiful eyes, nose, and lips, fidget around Baekhyun who feels like your everyday student struggling with college. “It was my first day in Yonsei — and I still can’t believe you don’t remember this — but you were running in the hallways, I think you were going to be late for class, and then you suddenly tripped on air.” Chanyeol chuckled at the memory.
“You tripped and your papers went flying everywhere . But no one stopped to help you,” There was a distant look in Chanyeol’s eyes, as if he was reliving that moment. “But you didn’t look up to check if anyone will help you out either.”
Baekhyun huffed. “People are too busy in this school, Yeol. No one has time to stop and help.”
“I did, though.” Chanyeol commented. Baekhyun furrowed his eyebrows in concentration. He’s trying to remember that moment, but he somehow can’t. “You won’t remember my face, I was a lot chubbier then.”
“But anyway,” Chanyeol continued. “I helped you out, just collected some papers that fell on the floor, but you had this look on your face. Like you were on the verge of falling apart at that moment.”
“I thought for a moment that you were going to burst into tears and I was ready to open my backpack to grab a tissue.” Chanyeol chuckled. He leaned back on his heads and tilted his head up to the night sky, slowly watching the clouds disperse, revealing the many bright stars above them. “But you didn’t. I saw you swallow your tears back and smiled your thanks. We talked for a bit, just a hi, hello, thank you for being kind, I have to go. But that moment stuck with me forever.”
Baekhyun was mesmerized. At the story, at Chanyeol, who looked even more beautiful illuminated by the moonlight.
“How so?” Baekhyun dared to ask, mouth dry despite just having drank some of the cider. The look Chanyeol was giving him was intense, yet fond; his smile full of adoration. Baekhyun had to lick his lips and the small action caused Chanyeol’s eyes to dart to his mouth.
“I could see you were struggling, yet you held it together so well.” Chanyeol whispered in the night. “I thought, wow, this person is really strong.”
Baekhyun didn’t even realize there were tears running down his cheeks until he felt Chanyeol cup his face with his thumbs swiping his tears away. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you cry.”
Baekhyun shook his head and wrapped his arms around Chanyeol’s waist. Chanyeol reciprocated the hug, with one arm around his body and the other caressing his hair. Baekhyun buried his face in the crook of Chanyeol’s neck, inhaling his warm and comfortable scent.
“Oh, sweetie, you’re one of the strongest people I know.” Chanyeol’s chest rumbled in laughter. “You’ve come so far.” The fingers playing with his hair are comforting, almost lulling him to sleep.
Baekhyum hummed, not quite believing Chanyeol, but also not quite disagreeing with what he said.
“Besides, even if you’re feeling like you’re so close to unravelling, just know you have me.” Chanyeol’s voice was bright, optimistic and full of hope that Baekhyun clings on. “And Jongdae, and Sehun, and Yixing, and Yerim too.”
Baekhyun snuggled deeper into Chanyeol’s embrace, feeling the warmth surround him deep in his soul. “Thank you, Chanyeol.”
Chanyeol showed him the stars that night, pointed to his favorite constellations and told stories of old and new. Baekhyun was all ears, listening to Chanyeol talk passionately about the things he loved about how the stars compliment the darkness of the night.
They watched the meteor shower hours later, but Baekhyun thought Chanyeol shone brighter than any of the stars.
They made love to each other for the first time that night and Baekhyun thinks it was infinitely better than the many times he’s laid with another man.
Chanyeol wasn’t the biggest he’s taken. Not at all.
But the way Chanyeol holds him as he rocks into his body, slowly, sensually, as if savoring each and every moment he slides in and out of makes Baekhyun feel much fuller and more alive than he’s ever been.
Chanyeol’s calloused fingers were feathery light over his skin, leaving traces of his touch everywhere and Baekhyun feels electrified with the way his skin feels like it’s on fire with every touch, every breath, and every kiss that’s placed on every inch of his skin.
Baekhyun felt worshipped; he felt loved in the way Chanyeol grips his hips, tight but secure, almost as if he’s pulling him apart only to stitch him back at the seams, slowly but sensually driving him insane in the most loving of ways.
Baekhyun is worshipped and he is loved and Chanyeol never failed to show it in all the ways possible.
“Hurry up, Baek!” Jongdae tugs him by the arm and Baekhyun almost, almost, smacks him in the head after a nasty pull.
It’s been a year and a half since ‘The Incident’. A year and a half since Baekhyun swore off alcohol.
A lot has happened in that year and a half. Baekhyun finally graduated university. Not the top of the class, much to everybody’s surprise. But something that he only shrugged off. He’s learned to be okay with being himself; learned to listen to his body and slow down when needed.
He was still second, 0.35 points off from first, but Baekhyun will take it.
Chanyeol was there to support him, bringing along the rest of his friends as they collectively cheered on his name when the university president called on his name. Baekhyun was embarrassed for a few seconds but gave them thumbs up nonetheless.
What was more surprising was his mother, who came on her own volition, arm full of congratulatory flowers. They stood awkwardly for a while, long enough to earn weird looks from everybody else but Chanyeol cleared his throat and offered his hand.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Byun. I’m Park Chanyeol — ”
“— my son’s boyfriend, I know.” Baekhyun flinched, expecting venom from her voice, but was left shocked at the gentle smile that graced her face. “Now don’t be surprised, Baekhyunnie. You must know I’ve been keeping an eye on you.”
“But you never — but father? Baekbom?” He incoherently sputtered, arms limp at his side at the incredulity of the situation.
His mother shook her head in disappointment. “They cannot come. But they wish you all the best.”
“They’re not — they’re not mad?” Baekhyun’s vision blurred and he felt his throat close up at the sudden lump that formed in the back of his throat. He felt the back of Chanyeol’s hands ghost over his in silent reassurance. His mother eyed the quick gesture, but the smile remained on her face.
“We’re sorry it took us so long, Baekhyunnie.” His mother murmured, taking a small step toward Baekhyun. He stood rooted on his spot, feeling extremely overwhelmed. “They just needed time to… understand. But you’re still our son and we’ll always be proud of you, no matter what.”
They exchanged hugs that were made awkward from years of almost no contact. It was only his mother who came to support him physically, but Baekhyun thinks that it’s enough to start mending the pieces back together.
Baekhyun also started working a month after graduation, something that Chanyeol was most ecstatic about.
“Games! Lots and lots of video games!” Chanyeol had jumped around the house after Baekhyun told him that he got hired by Nexon, one of the largest game developers in South Korea.
Both of them have celebrated many milestones together.
Baekhyun’s graduation; Baekhyun’s first job; Mongryong’s first birthday; Chanyeol almost being done with undergrad.
A lot has happened between now and then and Baekhyun can’t help but smile at life.
“What are you smiling at? You look like a complete idiot!” Jongdae screams in his ear and Baekhyun swears he’s so close to flicking him in the forehead.
They were standing near the pit where the VIPs are usually seated.
Chanyeol’s band was invited to perform at the year-end university festival, a tradition that Baekhyun and Jongdae most definitely skipped at their graduation party, opting to stay in and watch Netflix all night.
Chanyeol, of course, invited Baekhyun as his plus one, giving him and his friends the best seats in the house. Baekhyun accepted only if it meant shutting up Jongdae about seeing Minseok shred the guitar.
The lights dim and people around them start screaming their lungs out. Baekhyun flinched at the sudden noise but can’t help but be proud that Chanyeol’s band had this effect on people. He turned to look behind him at the audience and felt pride balloon in his chest.
The curtains are drawn, a singular spotlight aims at the drummer, and the crowd goes wild as Chanyeol starts hyping up the crowd.
Baekhyun couldn’t help but scream along with the crowd. He grabs Jongdae by the arm and starts furiously shaking him, feeling the euphoria bubble in his chest escape his lips. “THAT’S MY BOYFRIEND! THAT’S HIM! THAT’S MY CHANYEOLLIE!” Baekhyun jumps up and down enthusiastically.
Jongdae can’t help but smile at his best friend. “I know, Baekhyun! Now look! He can see us from here!”
Baekhyun turns his attention to the stage and sees Chanyeol grinning at him. Baekhyun, feeling the euphoria of the moment, sends him a flying kiss which Chanyeol caught at the right moment. This small exchange only serves to fuel Chanyeol, as he takes the mic closer to his lips and says, “Yonsei are you ready?”
The crowd goes wild but Baekhyun thinks his heart beats wilder for the man behind the drums.