pairing/s: baekhyun/chanyeol, slight!sehun/luhan, slight!baekhyun/kris
genre: romance. slice of
length: twoshot, 11,124wc
summary: baekhyun's tired of falling. He just wants his own Dopey.
an: written for my loveliest unnir airplanewishes for her birthday. i'm sorry this is like a gazillion light years late ;; and it's probably the worst i've written, im sorry you deserve better. but i love you ;;
an2: thanks so much to nighttimefalls who i disturbed from her peaceful existence. i owe you my left hand.and the title. /throws chanyeol
an3: the summary, as the rest of the fic does, sucks lol
"Oh, shit. Oh, shit. She's here."
Baekhyun looks up from his Geography notes and gives a puzzled glance at Chanyeol who seems to be trying his best to bond with Baekhyun's left armpit. "What the hell are you doing?"
"She's here. Baek, hurry! Hide me!"
The shorter boy looks at the direction his best friend is pointing at, ignoring the ticklish feeling of Chanyeol's nose basically buried to his side. His eyes find a petite girl marching down the library aisle, head turning this way and that, peeking through the shelves and obviously looking for something. Or someone.
"Have you forgotten that I'm 174cm of gorgeous while you're 185cm of dumb?" He mentally grimaces at the reminder of their height difference. "How can I possibly hide you?"
Not even a second after his question, he's hauled from his seat and he finds himself being dragged to the Literature section, ending up peeking over several copies of Les Miserables. Baekhyun vaguely thinks he can relate to the title as Chanyeol stoops behind him, breathing against his nape.
"Is she near? Has she seen us?"
It isn't the first time Chanyeol's been hunted by clingy girlfriends. Baekhyun's been a witness to some angry boyfriends, too. The numbers increased even more when they got into university. His friend has broken more hearts in their first term here than all of their high school years combined. It makes him wonder why Chanyeol even bothers to date them if he's going to dump them after a week anyway.
"Why am I here?" he asks his friend.
"Why do I need to hide with you?"
Chanyeol replies with a "Because, Baek," and nothing else. As if that's answer enough.
Why do I have to wear the same shirt as you?
Why do I have to join this club?
Why do I have to break up with your boyfriend?
A decade of friendship and all he gets is a Because, Baek as an explanation to everything. He should probably really learn not to ask for this from Chanyeol. He has yet to learn denying him anything.
Baekhyun's well on his way to being annoyed at how easy he is when he gets pulled away from his spot and twirled around. He's now facing a two-headed Chanyeol, jostled by the abrupt movement. He shakes his head and blinks to clear it. Baekhyun hasn't even recovered when his tall friend grabs him by the arms and draws him roughly against his chest.
"What the hell?" he asks, voice muffled by Chanyeol's shirt.
"I like you," the younger boy blurts out and Baekhyun suddenly feels dizzy all over again. It seems like someone pulled the rug from right under him.
Chanyeol steps back and there's now some space to breathe but Baekhyun still can't. His best friend's big brown eyes are staring straight at him and Baekhyun can almost see his dumbfounded reflection in them.
"It took me a long time to realize it but I like you. So much, Byun Baekhyun," Chanyeol says with his deep voice. His large hand cradles Baekhyun's cheek, making the shorter boy's heart leap and his insides spiral crazily.
"Will you go out with me?"
"I-I… What?" he asks again in disbelief.
His eyes round in shock. Baekhyun has never in his life imagined that he will be confessed to inside a library, surrounded by books he loves so much and especially by his dumb best friend whom he also loves so much…
Oh my god. No.
His brain self-combusts. Because really, what the hell? He can't possibly be in love with his best friend. That's like the saddest cliché in the world. No, no. Byun Baekhyun says no to Park Chanyeol.
But then the taller guy leans down and moves ever so closer and Baekhyun thinks, my god maybe he does. Maybe he is in love with Chanyeol. With his obnoxious laugh and his long awkward limbs and his twitchy smile and everything that's awful about him. Maybe Baekhyun's been in love with him for more than half of their lives, even before Chanyeol grew up to be what everyone wanted.
His (toasted) brain ignores the way Chanyeol's eyes dart left and right during his confession which normally would have sent the alarm bells ringing in his head. Instead it makes Baekhyun close the distance between them, helplessly pulled in by Chanyeol's pretty face. He doesn't notice that his hands are now tangled in the taller boy's hair drawing Chanyeol's head down to him—those lips close to his. He opens his parched mouth and he starts to say yes but to his horror—
"Is she gone?" Chanyeol whispers. "Is she still behind me?"
There's a moment of confusion when his mind scrambles to make sense of what Chanyeol had said. Then he remembers. The girl.
"She's... gone," Baekhyun answers faintly.
"Cool. Thanks, Baek." Chanyeol hops back and ruffles Baekhyun's short brown hair.
It feels like his best friend just broke his heart.
"I asked you to marry me, not to go out with an axe and chop people's heads off," Kris says with more than a hint of exasperation. He runs his hand through his perfect blonde hair and Baekhyun feels guilt twisting in his gut. "Why do you look so terrified?"
"I'm sorry," he answers his boyfriend.
"Baekhyun, we've been together for three years. We've been living together for two. The only difference this time is that we're making it legal. What's so scary about that?"
He remains seated on the couch and watches the tall man pace in frustration across their living room. He looks insanely attractive even with his brows meeting in disapproval. Kris Wu is the perfect guy and Baekhyun loves him. So he wants to hit his head because it's silly to say no but he just can't seem to say yes.
"I need a little more time," he pleads and he wants to wince at how small his voice sounded.
Kris stops in front of him, a look of hurt crossing his handsome features. "That again, huh? This is the third time I asked you to marry me. I don't think I can handle another rejection." Kris turns away. "We should end this."
That makes Baekhyun jump on his feet and grab on to his boyfriend's sleeve.
"What do you mean? We can't break up," he says anxiously. "I love you."
"Then why won't you say yes?" Kris asks. "It's just a yes, Baekhyun."
The brunette wants to say that it isn't just a yes. A yes means so much. It can mean a lifetime of happiness but more often than not, a yes can mean a shattered heart. "Please give me time. We don't need to break up.”
"You'll never be ready. I can see it in your eyes. It’s better for me to get out now than wait for something that won't happen. We can't go on like this."
Baekhyun's mouth trembles with another sort of fear. "Don't leave."
The taller man puts his arms around Baekhyun and rests his chin against his soft hair. "You know that I love you."
Baekhyun closes his eyes and returns the embrace, arms tight around Kris' waist. Yes. Baekhyun, say yes. The minutes pass but his lips won't move. Futile tears soak through his boyfriend's favorite shirt, the blue one Baekhyun gave Kris for his last birthday. Kris tenses for a second and then he's letting Baekhyun go. He drops a kiss on the smaller man's temple and walks towards their bedroom, leaving Baekhyun crying silently on the couch.
Sounds of drawers and closet doors, opening and closing, fill the gaps in between Baekhyun's sobs. An hour later, he hears footsteps echo down the hall and then the front door opens. There's a short pause before the door clicks shut. Silence and Baekhyun knows he's now alone inside the apartment.
He isn't sure how long he's been curled up on the couch. It's painful, so painful and he can't move. He doesn't move from there even as the skies lightened to a bleak shade of blue. He doesn't move even when the sun is already high up, so bright it hurts the eyes.
He flinches when he hears a knock on the door but Baekhyun's too exhausted from crying to stand up. He tries to ignore it but there goes the knocking again. Knock! Knock! Knock! Three knocks in three second intervals. He should have known. Lu Han.
Baekhyun lets out a weary sigh. He gets up and forces himself to open the door before leaning heavily against it. "There's a doorbell."
Lu Han doesn't answer and instead pushes him back inside. He closes the door behind him and studies Baekhyun's face with a worried frown. "You stink."
Baekhyun ignores his friend's comment and goes back to the couch.
"I saw Kris hailing a cab last night. He's carrying a suitcase. Business trip?" Lu Han asks as he sits beside him.
"Permanent trip out of my life more like," he answers and he hates that his eyes are going all blurry again.
"I knew it. Come here." His friend invites him to come closer and Baekhyun gratefully lays his head on the pretty boy's lap. The other male squeezes Baekhyun's shoulder comfortingly. "There, there."
"He gave me an ultimatum. Marry him or he's out," Baekhyun sniffed. "I wanted to."
"Then why didn't you?"
"I don't know. I love him and I wanted to say yes but I just—don't know." Baekhyun remembers Kris face when he asked him for more time. "I hurt him, Lu. I'm the worst."
"He left you, though, so I think you're both the worst. But you, as I've said, stink. Take a bath. Clean yourself up. I'll prepare food," Lu Han says. He gently shoves Baekhyun away from him but the brunette just slumps back against him.
"I don't want to. I just wanna sleep and never wake up." Baekhyun covers his face with his hands. "He's never coming back."
Lu Han allows him a minute of wallowing before he speaks. "What you need is a best friend. Someone to cry all over on."
Baekhyun straightens and looks at his friend's face. "That's why I'm crying all over you."
"Nope. I'm just your always-neighbor-slash-sometimes-friend-s
"You're just saying that because you don't want to deal with me," he mutters. Baekhyun attempts to deny it but realizes that Lu Han—even though they've been living on the same floor for close to four years now—isn't really his best friend. He hasn't had one for the past six years.
He has a number of close friends. There's also Sehun who works for him at the bookstore. Then there was Kris—he breaks the thought for the was part hurts. They've been with Baekhyun for a while now—through his ups, his downs and his crazy. He has met a lot of wonderful people yet they don't know Byun Baekhyun like a real best friend would. He loves them but they’re neither Saturday mornings at the park nor they are broken midnight curfews. They're not afternoon jam sessions and they're not—they’re not Park Chanyeol.
He feels an almost imperceptible pinch in his chest. He hasn't said or even thought of that name in a long, long time. He doesn't even know where the dumb guy is. He recalls the last time he's spoken with him and Baekhyun thinks that Lu Han is wrong. He doesn't need a best friend.
"I don't need a best friend."
"You do. Didn't you have one? The one with the big smiley face on that newspaper you showed me before," the blonde guy says. "The one who helped design the voting machine thing."
Baekhyun blanches. "I told you about Chanyeol?"
"Yup. On your house warming party. The one that only you and I and Mrs. Lee across the hall attended. She ran away scared when you got drunk and started dancing and taking your shirt off—"
"I don't strip when I'm drunk!"
"Oh, okay maybe that was me. Who cares? Anyway, you kept on waving the picture in front of my face and saying you're so proud of your best friend and may he burn in hell and so on and so forth," the older guy replies with a smirk.
He eyes his friend warily. "What else did I say?"
"Just some other stuff." Lu Han shrugs.
"Lu, what other stuff?"
"Just useless stuff, Baekhyun, forget about it. What's important is you're a mess right now and you need your best friend to help you recover."
"I told you I don't and even if I did, it has been six years. I don't even know if he's still alive or if he even remembers me."
"Huh. Byun Baekhyun there's this thing called the internet? You can find anyone there. You can practically find out the favorite color of the fifth cousin of your uncle's girlfriend's stepmother's father's daughter's neighbor."
Lu Han's exaggerating but he makes Baekhyun recall things that are best left forgotten. And even if he finds Chanyeol, he's sure that the taller boy won't want to talk to him.
"Just leave it be," Baekhyun answers. "I'll survive."
"I know you will, silly. I just want you to have your giant Band-Aid to make the healing faster."
"Fuck, Lu Han, what else did I tell you?" Baekhyun groans.
The other guy just chuckles and shoos him towards the bathroom. "I'll call Sehun and tell him you're going to be on sick leave."
Baekhyun's under the shower, drowning some of his heartache under the warm spray of water beating on his skin. He hears the loud crash of dropped kitchenware and he smiles unexpectedly. Lu Han isn't his best friend but he sure is close.
His breathing is ragged as he leans against the door to his room. He ran away as fast as he could when he saw Chanyeol making his way towards him. He hears something hit the door and it doesn't take long for him to know what—who it was.
"Baek, come on, open the door," Chanyeol begs from the other side. His palm hits the wood twice, thrice. "Baekhyun, I know you're in there."
He doesn't speak and it's stupid. Since that stupid moment in that stupid library when his stupid best friend pretended to confess to him, Baekhyun's been acting stupidly. But he can't help it. He fell in love—he's in love with Park Chanyeol and he doesn't know how to handle it. He suddenly doesn't know what to do when he sees him go out with everyone else except him. So he has been avoiding his friend because everything's stupidly fucked up.
"Baek, is this about the confession thing?"
"I'm sorry, okay? It's just she was already standing there and there was no time to warn you. I mean, we've always pulled stuff like that before, right?"
"It was just a joke. And wasn't it cool?"
It's a few moments more before Chanyeol speaks again and his voice sounds closer as if he also has his cheek pressed against the door just like Baekhyun's is.
"Baek, I really miss you. Please."
Baekhyun stands there for a long time, his stupid heart beating so fast and already halfway to forgiving Chanyeol for something that was his own doing. He admits to himself that it isn't Chanyeol's fault that he's dumb and Baekhyun's stupid enough to fall for him. He takes a deep breath and slowly opens the door.
Baekhyun looks like a homeless man wearing an old oversized shirt (that may or may not be Kris') and ancient gray sweat pants that has a hole the size of Mars right below his left butt. His hair is unkempt and his hands are greasy from dipping into a large bowl of stale popcorn as he watches Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
He realizes he hates Snow White and her voice and her puffed sleeves and her kissy lips because she gets to have her prince. He, on the other hand, likes Dopey because he's short like Baekhyun but he goes after what he wants, getting those extra kisses even though he knows Snow White will never choose him. Baekhyun decides he wants his own Dopey but preferably with a head full of hair.
He scoops a spoonful of melting strawberry ice cream and shoves it into his mouth. It tastes gross now, having been sitting on his lap for an hour. He gets that random urge to cry but after three days of moping around at home, his eyes remain dry.
He's not expecting anyone that afternoon so he's startled when he hears a knock on the door. He's early but it's probably Lu Han checking up on him. Not bothering to fix himself, Baekhyun trudges towards the door and opens it, an I'm okay ready on his lips. Except the man standing outside isn't his neighbor.
It's Park Chanyeol.
Oh my god. Baekhyun promptly slams the door at his face and turns all the locks.
What is he doing here? How did he find him? His heart is thundering as he tiptoes and looks through the peephole. His dark brown hair is shorter, he looks way taller and about six years older but it is indeed Chanyeol. The man looks up and Baekhyun crouches down, forgetting the other male can't possibly see him.
Baekhyun forces his racing heart to slow down. He can't do this. Chanyeol can't just appear outside his door. What should he do?
"Baekhyun, not again."
And the deep voice sounds so resigned that it makes Baekhyun annoyed at himself for being such a coward. It's been forever. He should be over everything.
Bracing himself, he undoes the locks. Chanyeol looks genuinely amazed that he actually opened the door. He's still handsome or if possible even more so, the years have been extremely kind to his boyish good looks. Chanyeol begins to speak and it's then that Baekhyun notices the taller man's red, puffy eyes and the dampness clinging to his thick eyelashes. Is Chanyeol crying?
The shorter male finds himself enveloped into tight hug—a hug he used to get every day from his childhood friend.
"We'll get through this, Baek. You and I," Chanyeol mumbles against Baekhyun's hair.
He feels unnerved by the embrace and the way his friend is sniffling—although, it has been six long years, isn't it kind of extreme in this situation?
"Chanyeol, what are you doing here?" Baekhyun trips nervously over the other's name but he hopes he didn't notice. "How did you even know where I am?"
Chanyeol loosens his hold and faces him. "Some Lu Han messaged me on Facebook the other day and told me what happened. I thought it was a prank but then he sent me a recent picture of you and so I dropped everything to get here."
Lu-fucking-Han. Of course it was him. He's going to kill that meddling piece of shit.
"Don't worry, Baekhyun. I'll be here until... Until—" Chanyeol takes a deep breath.
"We'll make your remaining days happy. I promise."
"What are you talking about?" Baekhyun frowns in bewilderment. He steps back to create much needed space. "Remaining days?"
"We'll make the last two weeks of your life special, Baek."
"What last two weeks? I'm not dying any time soon!" he exclaims, appalled.
Chanyeol shakes his head. "I know you're probably in denial right now—even I couldn't believe it when Lu Han told me—but everything will be alright."
"What exactly did that ass tell you?" he asks, eyes narrowed.
"He said you got diagnosed with Leukemia and you only got two weeks to live. He told me you're depressed and you’re locking yourself up in your apartment. He asked me to come. I took a leave from work and so here I am," the taller guy explains.
Baekhyun feels his temples throb. Although he is depressed and has been locking himself up, he's far from dying. "I'm not dying, Chanyeol."
His friend eyes him suspiciously. "But you look like you do."
Baekhyun sighs, becoming conscious of his shitty appearance. There's no point in fixing himself, though. "I'm sorry but you travelled all the way here for nothing. I'm okay."
"You're not okay." The other man tips Baekhyun's chin up and studies his face. The look in Chanyeol's eyes gets Baekhyun arrested for a few seconds before he jerks back. "You aren't."
"I just got dumped, Chanyeol, of course I'm not okay!" he fairly shouts. The taller male looks taken aback by his outburst but recovers quickly. "Just leave."
Baekhyun knows he's being a jerk. The guy went all this way, carrying a suitcase, leaving his own life for two weeks to be with a person he hasn't seen in six years. Still, Baekhyun can't do this right now.
But he underestimates the other man’s determination.
"Lu Han told me you needed your best friend." Chanyeol carefully holds out his arms and the action is so poignantly familiar it hurts. "I was that once."
He can't. He can't do this but Baekhyun's so tired. He's not ready for this so he can't quite explain why he takes the offer and buries his face against Chanyeol's warm chest.
It's their third trip to the kitchen and the mission gets more perilous with each one.
Baekhyun signals for Chanyeol to follow him quietly, both of them bending down so the enemy won't see them. They cross the distance between the doorway and the kitchen counter safely but they can't let their guard down. Their enemy is wily and there have been numerous failed missions as proof.
After peering overhead, Chanyeol scrunches his nose and winks twice at Baekhyun to tell him that the coast is clear. The smaller boy takes a deep breath and surges up, hands on the ready to grab the plate of sinful chocolate chip cookies, cooling on top of the counter.
"Kids?" comes the enemy's lilting voice. With a flurry of footsteps the two ten-year-olds hurry to escape the kitchen and reach the stairs. They only take their first easy breath when they are inside Baekhyun's bedroom.
Chanyeol fist pumps into the air and throws Baekhyun his super-duper wide smile which the shorter kid returns. "Mission accomplished, Captain!"
Baekhyun dumps the cookies on top of an already big pile of food upon a large platter in the middle of the floor. The two boys sit down on either side of it and marvel at their creation.
"Woah, that has got to be the biggest food mountain I've ever seen," Chanyeol says in awe, eyeing the assortment of cookies, candies, chips, and cornflakes with delight. "Awesome."
"You know what's awesomestestestest?" Baekhyun asks his friend. "This!"
The older boy produces a bottle of chocolate syrup from under the bed and waves it in front of Chanyeol's face. He then proceeds to take off the lid and pour the sticky syrup all over their food mountain while the other boy claps in glee. Done, Baekhyun shoots his partner a grin before saying, "Dig in!"
An hour later, they're leaning side by side against the side of the bed, both full and stomachs hurting from eating too much.
"I'm going to die right here," Baekhyun groans.
"Me, too." Chanyeol turns his head to look at him. "It was great working with you, Captain."
Baekhyun glances at his best friend. "Aside from your belly, do you feel better now?"
The taller boy closes his eyes. "I guess so."
He feels for his friend's hand between them and places his palm atop it. "You can cry. It's okay," he says quietly.
"I'll just really miss her so much," Chanyeol whispers tearfully.
"I know. I'll miss her, too."
"I wasn't able to tell her but out of all of them, she's my favorite."
Baekhyun feels sad watching his best friend hurt like this. "Fluffy is in a better place now," he assures him.
"Do ferrets have their own heaven?"
"I'm pretty sure they do."
They pause when they hear footsteps outside the door. "Baekhyun, if I see any food crumbs in your room you'll wash the dishes for a month!" his mom says before she continues down the stairs. Their eyes meet and both boys burst out laughing.
"Caught again," Baekhyun laments.
Chanyeol places his head on his shoulder and reclaims his hand. "Thanks though, Baek."
He gently bumps his head against the younger boy's. "Anytime, Yeol."
He pats his hair dry with a towel while he walks back into the living room. Chanyeol told him to freshen up before they talk. He admits he felt self-conscious when Chanyeol gave him a once over earlier. He supposes he should be thankful that he had time to take a bath, change into better clothes, and have it sink in that his former best friend—the other half of Baekhyun and Chanyeol—is there inside his house.
It's weird because they're practically strangers now when before Baekhyun can't even burp without Chanyeol knowing about it. When every second is loud snorts and shared laughter. When his every sentence starts with a cheery Hey, Yeol and the day ends with a tired Goodnight, Baek.
It doesn't seem to matter that much to Chanyeol, though. The dark-haired man quite patiently stood there by the doorway and let Baekhyun cry all over his shirt, talking incoherently. He held on to him until the older male was spent.
Baekhyun doesn't know what to expect when he comes out of the shower but it certainly wasn't a huge plate of food on top of his coffee table—a food mountain in the middle of his living room and Chanyeol grinning sheepishly at him. Baekhyun walks closer and studies the pile of cereals, bread and fruit slices.
"It isn't as impressive as what we were used to, um, it's more like a hill but there's nothing in the kitchen so," Chanyeol says with an apologetic shrug. "Uh, Dig in?"
Baekhyun gives him a small smile. He sits down on the floor and invites Chanyeol to sit, too. They eat quietly with Baekhyun half wondering how they ever did like this kind of stuff when they were kids and half thinking that it's probably the most delicious meal he has had in a while. They ate until they can't take in any more—the point of a food mountain according to a certain Park Chanyeol.
Their backs against the couch, Chanyeol's the first one to break the silence.
"How have you been?"
Baekhyun finds the question difficult to answer. What words can encompass all of what he had been and what he has become since they last spoke to each other? He opts for the safest and probably the most useless response. "Fine."
The other male frowns a bit but lets it go. "Heard you got your own bookstore."
"Yeah," he says, relieved to talk about something besides himself. "It's small but the income's steady."
"I'm glad." And Chanyeol looks like he really is. "I know you've always wanted to have one."
He nods. Baekhyun thinks that they've never been this awkward even when they started to drift apart—or more accurately when Baekhyun started to run away. It feels strange. There's that damned silence again.
"It will hurt badly before it gets better." Baekhyun turns to face Chanyeol and he sees the younger guy staring intently at him. He's speaking as if he knows exactly what it feels like.
Baekhyun hugs his knees to his chest. "I just wish that when I open my eyes tomorrow, it will all be over."
"You'll get there."
The brunette feels a calloused palm against his arm and it causes his stomach to fall. He pulls away abruptly and stands up, suddenly overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. Chanyeol also stands and he laughs lightly, to Baekhyun's confusion. The taller man just answers him with a slight shake of the head when he asks why.
"I guess this is it then," Chanyeol says. "It's nice—no, it's awesomestestest seeing you again, Baek." The man moves towards his luggage.
It doesn't feel right. He can't seem to do anything right. "You're leaving?"
He doesn't know why he's being attacked by tiny pinpricks in his chest when he thinks of Chanyeol walking out of his life. They aren't anything. There is nothing left so why?
"Yeah." Chanyeol looks at his watch the same time Baekhyun glances at the wall clock. "If I hurry, I can probably catch the last train."
"Stay," the elder blurts out, startling the both of them. "I mean, stay for the night at least. It's already late. You can go home tomorrow."
"Are you sure?" Chanyeol's still holding onto his suitcase, waiting for Baekhyun to change his mind.
The older male rubs his hand behind his neck. "I am."
"You can take the couch and—" he stops as he looks at Chanyeol's long legs then at the length of the said couch. The guy won't fit. Chanyeol appears to have come to the same conclusion and smiles wryly at him.
"I can just go home, Baekhyun."
"No. I'll think of something," he replies.
The something turns out to be the two of them sharing Baekhyun's queen-sized bed. It has got to be the mother of all stupid ideas but the only other option is to have Chanyeol sleep on the floor and that won't do. Baekhyun gave up his usual side of the bed and now lies on what used to be Kris'. It has just been three days and he doesn't think he's ready to see another person occupying that spot.
He has changed the sheets and aired the pillows so he can barely smell his ex-boyfriend's cologne on them. He's unsure if he's sad or relieved by that. Before he can think further on it, he feels the other side of the bed sag as Chanyeol settles himself beside him. He steals a glance at Chanyeol's profile as he stretches on his back. His nose still has that bump on the bridge, breaking its otherwise perfect shape. The taller man turns his head towards him and Baekhyun looks away.
"Thanks for letting me stay the night."
Baekhyun begins to find the cracks on the ceiling fascinating.
That crack looks like a scorpion. No, a crab. Oh, that one looks like a disgruntled Jongdae in a dress. The one beside it looks like… Like…
"Can we be friends?"
Baekhyun gives up and reluctantly returns his gaze to the man beside him.
"I'm not asking to be your best friend again. I just want to know that you'll answer when I dial your number and you'll open the door when I knock. Can we?"
The lamp on the bedside table casts Chanyeol's face in a soft peach glow, making his eyes shine and Baekhyun's chest aches because he only ever allows himself to miss him at that short second before he falls asleep every night. Now, Chanyeol's here.
"Of course, you dumb," he says softly. Chanyeol grins widely, his face rearranging itself and making Baekhyun chuckle. "That was scary."
"I'm happy you still think I'm dumb."
"Go to sleep, Yeol." The nickname sounds rusty on his lips yet it's comforting.
"Okay. Goodnight, Baek."
He grunts in reply and turns his back to his friend. Thank you.
He ponders when they'll be able to pull a prank and not get caught for once. They're serving detention again for the third time this semester and Baekhyun can definitely say that mopping the school’s entire third floor isn't fun. Shouldn't senior year be about fun?
He and Chanyeol were supposed to be enjoying the rides in the newly opened theme park downtown and not here slaving away because their homeroom adviser's too uptight to appreciate a good joke. Honestly, the frog was more scared of Mr. Kim than he was of the amphibian.
"Baek, come out here!" he hears Chanyeol call out. It's then that Baekhyun notices that he's alone in the classroom. He peeks outside the door and he sees the other boy at the end of the corridor. "Baek, look!"
Chanyeol sprints shoe-less down the corridor before he lets his socked feet slide and carry him the rest of the way, past Baekhyun, to crash into pail of dirty water. The boy stands up drenched and sputtering while the shorter boy raises a brow at him.
"This is not the roller coaster ride you promised me," Baekhyun comments.
Chanyeol wobbles toward him, careful not to slip, dripping and smelling like the floor. "Yeah but it's still fun!"
"You're the only one having fun," he says blandly, trying to keep himself from laughing at the ridiculous picture Chanyeol made.
The other boy pouts. "But didn't you say as long as there's Baekhyun and Chanyeol, it's fun?"
"You make us sound like a comedic duo."
Chanyeol suddenly grabs the shorter boy and plasters him against his wet uniform. Baekhyun struggles to get free but Chanyeol just laughs and tightens his hold, ensuring that he ends up as wet as him.
"Aren't we?" the younger boy says against his ear and it makes Baekhyun squirm even more. Chanyeol blows air against the side of his neck. Baekhyun pushes a little too hard and with flailing arms, they both go down. Chanyeol breaks their fall and Baekhyun ends up on top of him. He winces at the pained look on his best friend's face. The younger boy's butt has got to hurt.
"Are you okay?" he asks worriedly.
Chanyeol looks blankly at him for a second then he's laughing loudly. "L-O-L, Baek."
"Are you serious?"
"L-M-A-O." The other boy continues laughing.
"You're impossible, you know that?" He rolls his eyes at his friend.
"Will you stop?" He attempts to hit Chanyeol's chest but the taller male holds on to his wrists and leans up.
"P-M-S-L," Chanyeol says before he rolls them over.
"Ugh, Get off me!"
"R-O-F-L, literally." Another bout of laughter.
Baekhyun glares at his friend. He ignores the slight tingling in his stomach from Chanyeol's weight on him. "N-G-L, I-H-U!"
The younger male promptly lets go of a wrist and pinches Baekhyun's cheek. "C-U-T-E."
"That's not even—"
Baekhyun sighs. He has a bad a feeling this will go on all afternoon.
Baekhyun believes he has already screamed all he can scream in one lifetime. His ears are still ringing from his own shrill yells during the stomach-flipping rollercoaster ride. He glances at Chanyeol who looks torn between barfing and fainting and he grins, momentarily forgetting that he's dizzy himself.
The only one who appears unfazed by the four-minute ride is his store-assistant-slash-friend Oh Sehun to whom Lu Han is clinging on for dear life. It's the first time that the bookstore is closed on a weekend. Baekhyun figures the pale boy deserves a reward for manning the store alone for the past three days. He feels a bit guilty for letting Sehun do all the work alone yet he admits he feels better after the rest.
"I'm gonna be sick," Lu Han groans out while holding on to his stomach.
Sehun looks down at the blonde hanging on his arm and huffs in annoyance. "Come on," he says then proceeds to drag Lu Han towards the comfort rooms. "You owe me, you hear?"
Baekhyun shakes his head at the two. They can never seem to get along.
"I think I'm about to faint," Chanyeol says. He promptly slumps against the shorter male, resting his head on Baekhyun's shoulder. Baekhyun's arms protectively curls around Chanyeol's waist, his limbs seemingly having minds of their own.
"If you faint, I'll leave your ass behind," Baekhyun jokingly warns. The taller guy just moans in reply. Chanyeol's heavy but he doesn't move away. "To think that a full grown 26-year-old giant like you wouldn't collapse because of an old theme park ride." He snorts.
"I wasn't the one squealing like a girl and asking for my mommy," Chanyeol says weakly against his neck.
"I-I wasn't asking for my mom!" he retorts with a hit to his friend's arm.
"Still squealing," the other mutters.
Baekhyun lets it go. Not that he can deny it anyway. They wait for their companions in silence, Chanyeol still leaning against him. It's a pleasant Saturday afternoon and they've planned to stay in the theme park until nightfall but from how green Lu Han's face is and how Chanyeol's feeling, they'll likely leave the place soon. It's okay, he thinks. There are a lot of things that did not go according to plan anyway.
Chanyeol was supposed to be gone Thursday morning but by some twist of fate (or actually, it was just the slippery bathroom floor), the guy sprained his ankle on his way out of the shower. Baekhyun didn't let him leave after that and they both spent the past two days like two invalids trapped on the couch, alternately watching DVDs and talking--fumbling their way through getting to know each other again, consciously skipping the part where Baekhyun opened the door too late six years ago.
He told Chanyeol about Kris Wu and their failed romance, occasionally having to pause when he feels too depressed recalling what used to be. His new-old-friend sat there listening and offering comfort. He has forgotten how easy it is talking to Chanyeol. So easy that Baekhyun needn't have to think of the right words say. He has mixed up the rules of nouns and verbs and conjunctions. Did away with periods and commas and replaced them with sobs and broken hiccups yet Chanyeol was able to understand.
He didn't tire of wiping Baekhyun's tears with tissue, and when that ran out, his hand. He didn't ask Baekhyun why he couldn't say yes. He just nodded and pulled him into another hug that put the and back in between their names.
Chanyeol talked about himself, too, telling Baekhyun about his job at a small software company that he put up with a classmate from grad school. It's just two years old and half-funded by the commission he got from the voting machine he helped develop. He talked fondly of his business, and grinned embarrassedly when he noticed he lost Baekhyun the same time he started spouting technical terms.
It didn't escape Baekhyun's attention that there was no special someone in the retelling of Chanyeol's life and he said as much to his friend. The younger male just shrugged and told him there was simply no time—this from Park Chanyeol who had relationships left and right.
Baekhyun chose not to delve on it. It wasn't any of his business. He paid no heed to the feeling of relief that skittered along his skin and settled in his chest. He can’t afford to.
"My business partner, Minseok, called earlier. He said everything's fine in the office," Chanyeol says bringing him back to the present.
"That's good then." Something flickers in Chanyeol's dark brown eyes but it has been so long, Baekhyun's sure he misread it. Chanyeol can't want—things. Only Baekhyun ever did.
"Can I—Well, I still have until next Wednesday before I need to go back so." The younger man's looking everywhere but at him.
"Sure, Yeol." Baekhyun pokes him on the stomach. "But you have to earn your keep."
"Isn't it enough that I watch those girly movies with you and hold your hand when you cry?" his friend teases.
"You ate six slices of pizza last night," Baekhyun counters.
"You have a point."
"I always have a point," the elder says smugly. "I get lots of points."
"Can I at least pick the next one?" Chanyeol asks cajolingly.
Baekhyun groans. He knows how fond of animated films Chanyeol is. "You can choose anything except for Snow White."
"What have you got against her?"
"She has puffy sleeves and she sings funny. End of discussion."
His friend laughs, his face doing that rearranging thing again. "Okay, Captain."
Shortly after, Sehun returns with a pale-looking Lu Han. They're holding hands. Chanyeol and Baekhyun share a knowing look before they step away from each other. They push the two blondes into the backseat of Baekhyun's car and head for home.