A knock on the door makes him forget all about his phone, his heart jumps.
Two knocks and Baekhyun is now panicking, because his district is not known for being the safest and there's no one that could be looking for him at 18 past midnight. No one that he knows of. After the third knock is heard, he rises trembling from his bed and goes all the way to the peeping hole with his heart in his throat. The last thing he expects to see though, is a pair of familiar eyes, and an overall familiar face worrying in front of his door.
He opens the door still a little bit perplexed, a million questions running through his mind at once, for he haven't seen this face for the longest time. What shocks him the most when the door is open is, the big bump that his old friend is carrying, sticking out like a sore thumb against the rest of the girl's body that could be blown away by the wind, wasn't it for the baby anchoring her. The girl's eyes light up with hope once their eyes meet and a relieved relieved sigh follows.
"Yoora?" Baekhyun askes a little unsure, hand still on the handle, not trusting.
"Baekhyun." She lets out through a shaky breath, "I-I'm sorry I know it's late and we haven't seen each other in a while and I wasn't even sure you remember me an-" She's rambling- hands that she doesn't know what to do with going in different directions probably to distract him and head facing the ground, so he stops her with what he hopes is a warm, understanding smile.
"Yoora, it's okay, really," he opens the door wider with his hip, making enough space for her to pass "please come in." Baekhyun makes sure not to look down at her belly while she enters his house, afraid that the curiosity and shock on his face will come across as rude. He doesn't know if he should ask, so he silently leads her to his previous seat on the couch, sporting a semi-awkward smile.
"So..." He trails, waiting for any word from her, anything that could explain why she is at his door after 4 years, looking the most heartbreaking he had ever seen her.
"I'm so sorry Baekhyun," the apologetic look on her face lets him know that this is nothing but the truth, "I don't even know how to ask this of you..." she starts picking at her nails, eyes never meeting his, "I need your help, I really do, I wouldn't do this if I wasn't desperate."
Baekhyun just nods, urging her to continue.
"I-" she takes an intake of breath, and Baekhyun wishes she could just meet his eyes. "As you can see, I'm pregnant," at the words the girl involuntary moves her hands to rest on her belly, "I'm due in about 2 months and m-my boss didn't think I could work like this anymore."
Baekhyun just furrows his eyebrows, still not getting the point but he doesn't voice his worries and just let's her continue. "He fired me, then the landlord came in the yesterday morning and told me that if I could not pay by the next day I would have to leave." Things suddenly start to make sense "I c-couldn't."
He nods. "I didn't know where else to go, believe me Baekhyun, I tried but no one would take a random pregnant girl in, even just for the night."
Confusion overtakes Baekhyun and it must show on his face, because the girl begins to talk again, slightly resigned, "It's...a long story. But if you still want to listen I-" she sighs, letting her sentence unfinished while peeking at him with a somehow hopeful look.
"Of course." Baekhyun shakes his head, as if woken from the trance that the sudden reunion put him in end remembers she's a guest in his home, and he might have been rude those first 10 minutes.
"Please, you can take your coat off and leave it on the table, make yourself comfortable!" The girl does just that, so he adds, "Do you need something to drink? Should I make some...err..." a look look on her makes him bite his tongue "Tea? Is that okay?"
Yoora shakes his head, smiling fondly, "No Baek," the old nickname slips, "you've done enough."
"You know, around the time we finished middle school, our parents split," he didn't know, but didn't say anything, "When we moved, we actually moved, me and Chanyeol, in different houses and away from each other." The name he haven't heard in so long brings a dull longing to his chest, one he chooses to ignore in favour of taking in the new information with sympathetic eyes.
"Mom got custody over Chanyeol, he's always been her little boy, they moved immediately after, to the Netherlands," Baekhyun can't help his shocked slip of expression at this, for many reasons than one. "I stayed with dad, but moved to another city because the house next to yours became too big for just the two of us." She lets out a deep sigh but continues, "I eventually lost touch with Chanyeol. Dad always told me how I shouldn't try to talk to them anymore, how they think they're better than us and how Chanyeol was better than me."
Baekhyun furrows his eyebrows.
"The last time I talked to him was 2 years ago when he called to say mother died, then he slowly stopped trying to reach me when he felt how much I actually hated them." Remorse is all over her face and she rubs at her temple, head still hanged low, "Dad remarried at some point after, she brought a daughter and I kind of... disappeared, slowly, to the point he wouldn't notice if I was or wasn't home anymore."
Baekhyun sighs, not knowing how else to respond to all this information being thrown on him at once. It seems surreal. His old best friend, in front of him after so many years he's spend fabricating scenarios in his head, is nothing like he'd imagined.
In his head, Yoora chased her dream of becoming a surgeon, just like him. They've set it together after all.I It'shard to see the resemblance in his 14 year old Yoora, and this pregnant girl in front of him, looking at least 30 with all the sorrow marring her beautiful face. He'd like to comfort her, but right now, in front of him it feels like more of a stranger than a friend.
"What about the dad? Where is he?"
She looks uncomfortable, he finds out why in a second, "I don't know..."
Baekhyun huffs out a "Huh?"
"Baekhyun, I haven't been the best these years..."
He nods, with what he hopes is a non judgemental look, although he'd like to ask why she kept it in the end. It's not his place to pry. He thinks.
The girl raises her eyes to him, round, pleading, they take him four years back, to better places, better times. "I-i really need a place to stay until I get back on my feet, you're the only one I could think of..."
Baekhyun furrows his eyebrows.
He has so many questions. So many doubts. But he has one big flaw, maybe it'll be his downfall one day: he doesn't know how to say no.
"Just stop, you're not doing it right and it hurts."
The other boy rolls his eyes, "You parasite come here to eat my food and get free massages and still complain about it?!"
Baekhyun slips his shirt back on, plopping down on the bed with his arms stretched, "Yes, now come here."
Baekhyun is a good person. Really good. Loves kids, animals, the elders, loves to help and volunteer, in his opinion.That's why he usually doesn't understand what he does wrong every time he's not the first chosen, for anything. He tries to be his best version. But it ends up in him being the invisible side friend, most of the time.
That's why he's often pushed aside. He's friends with everyone, yet no one really thinks about him the moment he leaves. Jongin is his bestfriend, and the only one truly knows him behind his nice high pitched voice and his crinkling eyes. His senior by two years, he and Baekhyun used to only be internet friends. They've been friends for years without meeting.
But this year, 2 months ago when he moved to this city for his university, Jongin's university, they finally met. They've been inseparable since. Jongin likes him despite his zero personality, despite him never having an opinion, the boy pulls him close even when he's left with his mouth gaping and brain empty after a whole day of being good.
Baekhyun doesn't know if Yoora would be comfortable with Jongin sleeping over, like he always does, so they only meet in the dorms.
Lately, Baekhyun's been spending more and more time there.
When he comes back home one night, he instantly regrets it. Yoora is crying quietly on his couch. In front of the TV, but it's turned off. Big belly bare, she's clutching to it while calm tears roll down her face. He wouldn't make out her crying if it wasn't for the sniffling. She looks hauntingly lonely.
The girl straightens up, covers her belly with his large shirt.
"Baekhyun- I didn't hear you, hey,"
He sits next to her with sympathetic eyes, "What happened?"
The first thing she does is shurg, but Baekhyun is looking at her expectantly, her expression slips with a frustrated hiccup, "It's the damn hormones..."
Baekhyun grimaces in disapproval, playfully to not offend the girl, "Sounds like lies to me,"
Yoora rolls her eyes, face red.
"Come on, what happened?"
She shrugs again, "I was just lonely...then my legs got swollen and it made my cry," she says with amusement, still battling tears, "Then he started kicking and it made me more lonely, I don't know why..."
Baekhyun looks surprised, "Kicking...?"
It seems to be the only thing to make her smile reach her eyes, "Yes,"
"Do you want to feel it?" She asks, hopefully. Maybe Baekhyun is not the only one who's been waiting for them to get closer.
He nods, and his hand is guided to her belly. Baekhyun waits patiently.
It brings them closer. Baekhyun doesn't want to admit it, but for the first time she sees Yoora as a person, a human as complex as he is. Someone he's not afraid to approach thinking he'll have nothing to talk about to. He hasn't been treating her like more than a pregnant girl, a little weirded out by the change from his friend to this. Baekhyun is only 18 and he's judgemental and confused by a lot he doesn't understand.
Yoora is just hard to open up, but once she does, he finds a lot of answers.
"Baekhyun, you know, you can do anything you want, this is your house. I've noticed you holding back around me," He has been acting very weird, he can't take change well, deep inside, but he nods.
When he isn't studying his ass off, Baekhyun is either sleeping, or lately, working. His weekends are full.
On Sunday, at the end of his shift when he wants nothing more than throw himself on the couch, he gets asked out by an older co-worker, who praises him for being so hardworking and always with a smile on his face. The man says he wants to give him a sweet reward for being such a polite child.
Baekhyun can never, never say no. He thinks of the other person feeling the slightest discomfort because of him and then his mouth forms the "yes" on its own.
They go for ice-cream. The man is pleasant, the way he talks, the way he treats Baekhyun. But his eyes tell a different story. They give him the creeps.
He finds out why when his co-worker insists on taking him home. Specifically when the car is parked and the man's palm somehow ends up on his thigh, reaching high enough to touch him through his pants. Daring and suggestive. He's looking at him with a smug smile, as if expecting.
Baekhyun freezes, he only summons a tiny voice to address it, "Excuse me?"
The man laughs, "Come on, don't be shy."
He's squirming, trying to shake the hand off, "I'm sorry but- I think you've g-got the wrong idea,"
His co-worker huffs in a questioning manner.
"I'm sorry, but I'm not gay, I'm sorry," he keeps repeating, feeling the worst because of the angry eyes on him.
"Then why did you let me pay for you? Why did you even agree to come with me?"
He tilts his head, confused, "I thought...you wanted to be friends?"
The man snorts, bitter, his hand finally retreating, "What a child."
He goes upstairs feeling like the biggest monster.
Every time someone tries to make a bold move on him, he ends up feeling like it. He's blaming himself every time. He must be doing something wrong to attract this kind of attention. He feels low and dirty. All Baekhyun wants are friends. People being nice to him as much as he is, without any hidden intention, just like he is.
"Tough day?"Yoora asks when he drops his keys on the counter rather loudly.
The air smells sweet, pancakes.
He shakes his head, laughing softly, "Ah, no...I was just thinking about the lab I have tomorrow."
The girl nods, still now convinced. She walks in a comically way, with her belly as big as her, coming his way.
"I told you to quit Hyun, I could do something too..."
He almost rolls his eyes, she can barely hold herself up. "No, no, you'll make up for it when Baekhyun junior is born,"
"Stop calling him that!" She snaps, hitting his shoulder playfully.
They eat together, it begins to feel like the old times.
"Hey," Yoora nudges him when he's scrolling on his phone, "Are you with someone? You never mention anything."
Baekhyun was dreading this question. He is too picky, never knowing what he's looking for. When she's tall, he wants her short, when she's brunette, he wants a blonde.
It's always something that doesn't click. It only takes them to talk one time, and Baekhyun looses interest, no matter what.
"Ah, I've been so stressed with college and studying, I don't have time for that." Truth is, every time he tries to figure out what his ideal type would be, only a faint silhouette comes to his mind. One that might not even look the same anymore. But his heart, it wants what it wants.
"Hyung, will I grow as tall as you?"
Little Baekhyun is swinging his legs on the big chair Chanyeol placed him on. They're currently doing Baekhyun's math homework, but the child is distracted by his hyung who's patiently trying to explain for the hundredth time.
The weather is too nice, Baekhyun is too talkative to bother with math. Chanyeol always wants to help him and leave. He wants more time with his hyung.
The boy ruffles his hair, "If you eat well, you'll grow even taller than I am,"
Baekhyun giggles. He's ten and chubby. Chanyeol Is 17 and still growing.
"Why do you suddenly want to be taller? You're so cute like this, Baekhyunnie,"
The kid pouts when Chanyeol pinches his cheeks.
"The other kids at school...they keep calling me a chubby girl," he mumbles, face shoved into his notebook, "I want to be big and handsome like hyung!"
Chanyeol laughs, his hyung's voice is changing too. "You'll become even more handsome than me, little Baekhyunnie, don't listen to them,"
"Do you promise?"
"Will you still be my hyung then?"
His hair is ruffled again, "I will always be, Byunnie."
Baekhyun jumps from his sleep with a gasp. He falls down the couch and it's enough to wake him up.
The clock shows 3:48am, but he can't go back to sleep for a while after.
Chanyeol. He's never dreamed of him before, and he doesn't understand why he did now. His days with Chanyeol have been his happiest.
He won't say it out loud, but being left without his hyung when they moved away without a world brought him more suffering than being without his bestfriend did. Chanyeol has basically been there to raise him up like the big brother he's always wanted. His dad was at work almost every day, usually coming back too late to spend any more time with Baekhyun. Chanyeol has taught him everything. Baekhyun used to idolise his hyung.
Jongin begins to come over more again, Yoora surprisingly opens up to him so easily.
His friend loves babies, he makes it his mission to keep track of Yoora's belly getting bigger and bigger every time. He also waits with his breath held every kick from the baby.
The two seem to share the same excitement.
Compared to him, Jongin doesn't hold any judgement at all, right from the start. Yoora cries more often, out of the blue though. She's complaining about swollen feet. Then she's fatigued.
The worst is when she's claiming she's out of breath. She scares both Baekhyun and Jongin once. None of them knowing what's happening. Only later do they Google it to find out it's only a normal symptom.
Baekhyun skips class a lot to be able to keep an eye on the girl and the baby.
Pregnancy, in its final stages, is horrible. Yoora is just a scared kid, Baekhyun is too. Jongin is like an anchor every time he comes to visit.
Baekhyun helps the girl with everything. They get past awkward slowly, they have to. Yoora's got leaking breasts and complains about things he didn't think possible before.
Pregnancy is horrible, but what he won't forget any time soon, is the moment after Yoora's water breaks, until he gets to hold the baby. He's never felt more his age in his life. The baby is so ugly, Baekhyun is scared to touch him at first, the ear splitting cries scare him more. But Yoora looks happy, exhausted, crying, proud, so he does it, holds the object of his worries these past months.
His name is Byul, after Baekhyun. Baekhyun almost rivals the baby in sobbing right then and there.
Baekhyun goes back to uni, disconnected from everything and it's like it's a new life he enters all over again. He gets called out in lab for a demonstration, but he barely had time to change after coming back from the hospital. It's the first time he's being lectured in front of the class.
For a moment, he hates Byul, Yoora, himself for being so easy to give in.
With Yoora still in the hospital, he has more time for himself. The first thing he does is drop by the dorms. Jongin in still sleeping, at 3pm. Baekhyun jumps on his bed with his arms spread, ready to sleep forever after the day he's had.
"Ow, what the fuck?" The body under him wriggles, it makes him fall next to him, in the space available between the wall and Jongin.
Baekhyun still throws his legs over his torso, he gets annoying when tired.
"Nini, I don't know what to do..." He mumbles, face buried in Jongin's side, he finds some skin on the boys ribs and he tries to munch on it, but the reaction he gets is a hand on his face, pushing him away.
"What do you mean?" He murmurs groggily, one arm still thrown over his eyes.
The door opens in that moment.
Jongin has 3 roommates. The one Baekhyun dislikes the most decides to come in. He studies them with a whistle. Jongin's state of undress, Baekhyun clinging to him.
"You fucking yet?"
Baekhyun can't do much but giggle, very pitched, very fake.
Jongin snorts, "Why, wanna watch?"
The other boy throws himself on the bed, "No, I wanna sleep, so you two better keep quiet,"
Jongin has no problem with it, he still has his eyes closed. Baekhyun was waiting for a right moment to talk.
"So, what were you saying Baek?"
He steals a glance at the other person in the room, decides against it.
It's enough for Jongin's body to go soft again. He strips of his dress shirt and joins him.
They don't get to sleep for long, someone barges in shaking the whole place with it.
Jongin's roommate is the first to wake up groaning, he starts throwing cursings at the girl.
"Get the fuck out!" Baekhyun rises slightly from his friend's chest, head pounding. It's the girl next door, they always eat together in here. She's in her underwear, hands searching in Jongin's pile of clothes on the floor.
"That piece of shit cheated on me again, I need your hoodie," Jongin doesn't even bother opening his eyes when he hums.
Baekhyun watches amused how the girl is grabbed by her hand and thrown on Mingi's bed while she was waving at him.
"I told you to leave that bastard and come to me instead... " He says jokingly.
Baekhyun doesn't get to reciprocate the greeting before she squeals, and Mingi is pushed off the bed by her feet. "Touch my nipple again and I'll kill you creep."
At this moment, Baekhyun rembers how awkward it has been the first time he visited Jonging at the dorms. Or the firsf time he slept over. He's never had much contact with people apart from school. It came as a shock when he moved from his conservatives parents house.
The first time Irene came over to get food from the boys fridge in her bra he's been a blushing mess, exchanging names. Or when Jongin told him to shower together because that's what him and the boys do for all of them to get some of the limited hot water.
Now he's used to it though, laughing at it all.
It helps him relax a little, life at home made him feel 10 years older, he missed this.
He misses it days later, when Yoora gets discharged from the hospital and he finds himself at home with a crying machine and a moody teenager going through postpartum depression.
Instead of going to his morning labs to practice, he stays at home and learns how to change a diaper. Baekhyun doesn't want a baby anymore, he knows now. The idea of a wife crying and breastfeeding at the same time doesn't appease him either.
The only time he gets some time to himself, it's when Yoora and Byul finally sleep. Instead of studying though, he gets to experience a breakdown episode out of tiredness on the bathroom floor.
He gets called out in class again for being absent. He even gets told to drop out if he can't keep up.
Baekhyun dreads going home.
It gets too much about one month after. It's the first time in his life when straigh A student Baekhyun fails an exam.
He was too busy cradling a crying Byul around the house while Yoora got some sleep to open his books anymore.
He doesn't want to go home. Baekhyun spends the rest of the day walking around town, moving from bench to bench and park to park. He feels lost, doesn't know what to do.
He doesn't want his life like this, but he can't abandon Yoora now either, the girl's gone through it almost all her life. It's dark outside when he finally pulls out his phone. Too many missed calls and texts he ignores.
The river he's sitting by is calm, the warmth from outside is calming.
He doesn't know what he's doing when he opens up his email and scrolls down until he gets to the first ones, from younger times.
He finds park.cy2711 there, the last thing between them was an attachment sent from the older, pictures from his 12th birthday, Baekhyun still remembers, but his heart is hurting too much to open it right now. Instead, he opens up a new mail tab.
Chanyeol might have deleted his account long ago, he doesn't expect anything from it, just a little relieve from all his frustrations.
- heyyy, is this Chanyeol?
He scolds himself to the moon and back later, when going home.
What are the chances of Chanyeol seeing this, what did he hope to do with it. What would Yoora say if she finds out. He doesn't want to upset anyone. It always leaves him feeling drained and useless.
He forgets about it, eventually. Doesn't check his mail, doesn't receive any notification either.
It's about one week later when he is locked into the bathroom to get some alone time he takes his phone out to truly check all his social media when he sees it.
He has a new email from park.cy2711.
He opens it with his heart drumming in his ears. Almost loses the grip on his phone.
- Baekhyun? It simply says. Baekhyun bursts out into a pitiful, throat scratching cry.
He's never had the courage to contact the other before, it was a part of his life he's tried hard to burry.
Yoora knocks on the bathroom door, his heart jumps again, "Baek?"
"I put Byul to sleep, come eat, I made something,"
"In a sec!"
He glances at his phone again, feeling a wave of guilt washing over him. He feels like he's betraying Yoora who's begged not to call her brother.
He shakes it off, washes his face and goes to eat, phone safely locked in his pocket, mail unanswered.
It doesn't get any better though. Byul has to be taken to the hospital and there goes all the money he's made for the month. He finds himself clutching on the phone only 3 days later.
Hidden from Yoora, he quickly types.
- Yes, it's me, I have something to tell you.
The reply comes faster this time.
- Did something happen?
- It's about your sister...can you give me your number, please? It's easier that way.
- I'm sorry but me and my sister aren't talking anymore.
Then he gets cut off, he feels it. Chanyeol isn't answering for one week. Baekhyun thinks he's going crazy, he thinks about dropping out to get a full-time job every day.
Then it happens. In the middle of the night, he receives a new mail. It's a simple one, just a number.
Under a minute, he picks up his coat, his keys, then he's out the door.
He's sitting on a swing when on the other end of the phone he hears a gruff voice answering, "Yes?"
His words get stuck. Chanyeol's voice isn't how he remembers it. His stomach is acting up in the worst way possible.
His voice changed too. He was 14 and still growing the last time he spoke to Chanyeol.
"H-hey, it's me, Baekhyun."
The man exhales, "It's been a while."
Baekhyun nods, a sense of melancholy embraces him.
"I'm sorry to bother you after so long-"
"I need your help, it's about Yoora."
He hears the little groan, "What about her?"
"She...has a baby, she's currently staying with me but-"
"What the fuck?" The other exclaims, "Did you fuck my sister?!"
Baekhyun chokes on the breath he was holding, "What? NO!"
"No, l-listen, she came to me pregnant because she had no place to stay and she's still staying with me now but I don't think I can do this alone anymore I have uni and I'm behind and I'm out of money and, and I don't know what to do- I need your help," he starts to rant, hyperventilating after, with red cheeks.
"If it's not your kid, why are you doing it?"
"What?" Baekhyun says outraged, "What was I supposed to do? She's my friend. She's your sister!"
Chanyeol snorts, "And what do you want me to do?"
"Help me take care of her and Byul, please..." Now that he says it out loud, it does sound stupid. Chanyeol isn't even in the country.
"Byul?" Chanyeol asks, but he is uninterested, voice flat.
"Byul?" Chanyeol scoffs, Baekhyun feels his heart squeezing. This is not the hyung he knew. "Are you sure you didn't fuck my sister?"
"No! I would never, she's my best friend!"
Chanyeol laughs, mockingly, "There is no friendship between a man and a woman,"
Baekhyun feels betrayed, hurt, "Whatever, I shouldn't have ca-"
"Why should I help her?"
The boy can't believe what he's hearing. "Because she's your sister? Your family!" Chanyeol laughs that ugly laugh again. "She's young and scared, you're her older brother, Chanyeol,"
"And how is it my fault that she was dumb enough to let someone fuck her without a condom?"
This is not his Chanyeol, his quiet, but caring hyung. Baekhyun wants to hang up and cry out of frustration.
"Nevermind, I'm sorry I bothered you. I'll handle it." He can't, he's done everything. A kid is just too expensive and time consuming for a 18 year old.
Chanyeol sighs, draws out a long pause. Baekhyun takes out his pack of cigarettes, not having the heart to end the call yet. "Do you live in the same place?" He finally asks, when Baekhyun is halfway done.
"No...I moved for uni,"
Chanyeol hums. "Med school?"
The man chuckles, "I always knew you were smart,"
Yes, Chanyeol's been his biggest supporter in everything. He's the only one who'd tell him how smart he is every day.
"I guess..." He's not so sure now, with how disconnected he is from everything that's not Byul.
"It's a little harder now." Is all he says.
Chanyeol only asks his university name before a thick silence falls over them again. Neither speaks up until Baekhyun, who's chewing on the bud of his second cig out of nervousness speaks up to say it's late.
He doesn't try to contact the other after, going around with a aching heart the whole week.