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when the party's over

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A knock on the door makes him forget all about his phone, his heart jumps.


Two knocks and Baekhyun is now panicking. 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 she lets out a relieved sigh.


"Yoora?" Baekhyun askes a little unsure, hair 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 let's him know that it's 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 previous morning and told me that if I could 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 talking 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." he 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 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.

 
It's hard 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. 


"Please?"


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 who 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. 


"Yoora?"


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. He 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?" 


"I 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. 


Jongin 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. He 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.

 

///////

 

He goes back to uni. Disconnected from everything, 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. 


"Nothing..." 


It's enough for Jongin's body to go soft again. He strips of his dress shirt and joins him.


/////

 

"Kim Jongin!" 


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."


Baekhyun remembers 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 conservative 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?" 


"Y-yes?" 


"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-"


"You're not-"


"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. 


"Your nephew."


"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?"


"Yes." 


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.

Chapter Text

In his head, in his memories, Chanyeol is the best person in the world. This feels like an impostor, but he can't let go.


Byul quiets down, eventually, he gets to leave the house more.


"Baekhyun, what is this?" 

Jongin walks into his dorm room one day to find the younger spread out on his carpet, legs thrown around and eyes closed. Some sad song he doesn't know coming from his phone.

"Leave me alone," he mumbles, turning on his front when Jongin nudges him with his foot.

"Come to bed, Baek," 

"Carry me..." He says in a child's voice, stubbornly stomping his feet.

"It this about Yoora?"

His friend picks him up, groaning dramatically and almost drops him near the bed. 

Once he's on, he opens his arms, "Cuddles please," 

"Did something happen with Yoora?" 

"Not really...I don't know, I'm just tired of it," he curls on Jongin's chest, hands sneaking under his shirt to steal some warmth for his freezing fingers. 

Jongin hisses, "You look dead, honestly," 

He feels dead, and disappointed. One wrong word and he'll be a waterfall of tears.

"Baek, baby," the taller tries to get his attention with his fingers cradling his hair, "I like Yoora, I love Byul, but you don't have to do this forever." 

"And what am I supposed to do? Kick her out when she has a kid to take care of and no place to go? Or money?"

He rants, frustrated, Jongin sighs.He rants, frustrated, Jongin sighs.

"I know, but this is not your responsibility. Can't you contact her family or something?"

"Her father doesn't want her anymore and Chanyeol..." He trails of. Before this, he's never talked about Chanyeol with Jongin, or with anyone. 

He feels bad to talk bad about the man now, "I haven't tried yet, she asked me not to," 

"You're an idiot, Baekhyun," Jongin scolds him, but keeps lovingly stroking his back. 

He naps for some time until Jongin's roommates come back holding some alcohol and a lot of other people behind them. 

Jongin convinces him to stay for the party. Alcohol doesn't go well with his worries, turns out, he's more out of it at the end of the night, around 4 in the morning Jongin picks him up and moves them to one of his friend's empty room. 

"Use protection!" 

"Man, no, not on my bed!" 

"Can I join?"

These comments always make him uncomfortable. He's never had those kind of thoughts about his best friend, or other boy in general. But he always laughs them off. Baekhyun doesn't want to upset anyone, nor kill the mood.

Jongin doesn't hesitate to flip them off though.

The next day he goes home after going straight to uni from the dorms, Yoora comes running, worried sick.

"Baek, are you okay? Did I do something?" 

Her round eyes are filled with tears, face full of rejection. He wants to sit down and cry with her at how bad he feels for it.

"No, no, I'm sorry, I should have called." 

"Jongin told me you were with him..." 

"I'm sorry. Let's eat, I got you something," he says shaking the bags of takeaway behind his back.



/////



"Yoora, can I ask you something?" 

Her full cheeks rise, eyes looking curiously at him, "Sure," 

"Errr, I don't- want to make you uncomfortable I mean, it's okay if you don't answer because-"

"Just ask Baek,"

"Why don't you want Chanyeol to know?"

"The truth is, I've been the worst sister." She says with a sigh, dropping the chopsticks to fully concentrate on the one in front of her.

"He felt so bad when I had to stay with dad that he'll call every night. I hated him for it." 

Baekhyun furrows his eyebrows.

"Dad loathes him, he's always been harsh to Chanyeol, when growing up...I- I used to watch him get beat up thinking it's normal. Dad hated him because he used to be mama's boy."

Baekhyun's heart is doing weird flips, Chanyeol would come spend the night over at him sometimes, when the lights in his home used to be lit until early morning and the screams weren't dying until the police came.

He didn't understand then, he just thought his hyung wanted to spend time with him.

"When they moved, dad's hatred got worse, he made me believe it too. The things I used to tell Chanyeol when he would call..."  She hides her face in her hands, with an apologetic expression.

"When mom died he called crying because he didn't know what to do...and I told him to go fuck himself. He wanted to help me move with him but he never tried to contact me after it." 

"I didn't either because I'm too ashamed to face him after everything."

Baekhyun wants to cry, curse at Yoora too. His mind is producing images of Chanyeol, or how he remembers him at 21 when e last saw him. Alone in another country, in charge of his only family's funeral.  Yoora rejected him when he needed it the most.

He wishes him and Chanyeol were still talking at that time. He could have done something.

"Life hasn't been easy too him either, but I was young and selfish...I don't deserve to hold him back now." 

It's too complicated to give an answer. Usually, Baekhyun tells people exactly what they want to hear to make then feel good. But now he's out of words.

Looking at the small thing in front of him, she's a closed book full of secrets. 

He compares himself. His boring life. He's always been the good kid. The good backup friend. The good presence everyone needs when they feel down. Just waiting on the sidelines to be needed.
He ends up quietly nodding, to avoid confrontation.

 


About one week later, he receives a text. 

It's Chanyeol, asking for his address. His breath gets stuck in his throat. A million scenarios ravage his head. 

He gives it later, because he's still in class.

 

He almost forgets what's bothering him, only having a gloomy mood but nothing to associate it with. He's to tired to imagine scenarios anymore, he's hurt himself enough picturing Chanyeol showing up at this uni, at his door, Chanyeol running to embrace him after so long.

At home, it's quiet, he goes to check on Yoora in the bedroom and finds her sleeping soundly with Byul. He likes kids only when they're quiet, he thinks. The image is adorable.

He goes to study at the dinner table, gets absorbed in it until the bell rings some time after. 

It's a very needed distraction because one more minute and he'd be sleeping on his book.

He shout-whispers a "coming" when the ringing won't stop, fumbles sleepily with the keys.

All sleep, colour, and every coherent thought leaves him though, the second he opens the door to a giant man who's very familiar but so different at the same time. 

 

"C-chanyeol?" He only manages to whimper, voice gone. The Chanyeol he knew at 21 was still a kid compared to this. Lanky, tall, frail. 

The one standing tall in front of him has a hard expression on, eyes have lost the bright warmth they used to have when on Baekhyun. He's always been tall but now, he is big, big and intimidating.

His first instinct still tells him to jump into his hyung's arms. He realizes he missed him like crazy.

But Chanyeol's face isn't encouraging at all.

"I'm sorry if it's late," he says, "Can I come in?"

He imagined their reunion to be different. He can't help but feel hurt over how cold and distant Chanyeol feels.

No "have you been good,", no, "I missed you, it's been so long,", nothing. He straight up asks: "Where's Yoora?"

"Uhhh," Baekhyun feels like an intruder in his own house. "She's sleeping now but-" as if summoned, the bedroom door opens to a messy haired Yoora,

"Baek, who's ringing at this hour?" Her eyes grow big when they fall on the one next to him.

"Brother...?"

"Yoora." He says calmly, stepping in front of Baekhyun, ignoring his existence all together.

The girl's face fell, she exchanges a betrayed look with Baekhyun. He wants the ground to swallow him.

 

"What the fuck did you do, are you stupid?" Chanyeol asks. His new deep voice is scary even to him who isn't in his range of anger. 

"Chanyeol, what are you doing here?!" 

"Who's the father? Does he know that he fucked a minor? How could you be so careless?"

She can't hide the shocked expression anymore, "Chanyeol-" 

"Tell me, did Baekhyun do it?" 

Both him and Yoora gasp at the same time.

"No! What are you saying! Of course not!" 

Chanyeol snorts, "Then who's the fucking father, why is Baekhyun taking care of you?"

Baekhyun regrets every calling him. He feels too guilty to rise his eyes to them.

"I don't know..." 

It doesn't take long until they begin shouting.

"You don't fucking know who's the father?!" 

"DON'T SHOUT AT ME!" 

Like summoned, Byul begins showing how strong his lungs are from his bedroom. Baekhyun rushes to get him.

"HOW CAN I NOT WHEN YOU'RE THIS STUPID? WHY DID YOU KEEP THIS CHILD?" 

Baekhyun wants to cover Byul's ears, wants to cover his too. But mostly, he wants to drop down and cry, to accompany the baby. He's left pacing around the room, cradling the baby in his arms while the screams go on.


Yoora says something he doesn't get.

"You can't even take care of yourself, did you think you'd be a good mother?" 

"You have no right to judge me!"

Chanyeol is bitterly laughing, "This child will only suffer because of your stupid decisions, you should have done everyone a favour and abort it."

"I CAN DO IT! I CAN! I CAN BE A GOOD MOTHER!" 

"HOW THE FUCK WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER TO YOUR KID?"

Byul is crying nonstop. Baekhyun steps out of the room with him in his arms, trying to soothe him with lovely tunes. They get drowned out by his mother's cries. 

"What are we doing...we are just like our parents..."

Chanyeol growls at it. But his expression changes. Yoora's hit a sensitive chord,

"Don't ever fucking say this again."

Chanyeol looks at him and Byul. He doesn't have any reaction at the sight of his nephew. Just the same deep frown.

"I'll only help you because Baekhyun's done enough already." 

"I don't need your help."

"You are in no place to refuse, so you better shut up."

Baekhyun dreads the moment the door closes after Chanyeol. The silence that settles over them. Even Byul seems to get it.

He feels ashamed. Skin prickling with guilt. 

Yoora only sigh, "I'm sorry." 

He wanted to say sorry too, but now nothing seems good enough to be said.

Yoora takes Byul and goes back to his room, leaving him alone with his guilt that eats him up alive.

Baekhyun isn't thinking when he sends the last text to Chanyeol, he just wants some closure from all of this. Although he may seem desperate.

Chanyeol has made it clear that they're nothing more than strangers with something in common.

- do you have a place to stay? 

The reply comes fast.

- yeah.

He's still restless. He sends a quick text to Jongin to announce the boy that he's coming over. When he gets to the dorms, Jongin's room is surprisingly empty. Even the boy is missing. 

Baekhyun just strips himself of his clothes and jumps in bed, waits.


The door opens when he's left without fingernails on all fingers, from now much he's chewed on them. 

"Nini," he says, whiny, "you better come here and give me the biggest cuddle,"

Jongin chuckles. The boy seems slightly tipsy, he trips while trying to take his feet out his pants. 

"Where have you been?" Baekhyun asks, suddenly curious. 

Jongin is slurring too. Baekhyun makes room for him to embrace him.

"A senior moved in yesterday so we're kinda still celebrating,"

His hands sneak around Baekhyun torso to drag him closer. 

"Have you been crying?"

With a sigh, he tells Jongin everything that's happened from the last time they've been together. It's a lot, and he can't hold his tears in again.

"I don't want to go back there, I feel so bad..." 

Jongin tickles his ribs with imprecise movements, he's getting drowsy.

"You did the right thing Hyunie, this isn't your responsibility," 

"Then why am I feeling so bad?" He turns around in Jongin's arms, his eyes are incredibly red, even redder than his. 

"Because you're too good for your own good,"

Jongin pecks his forehead, laughing at his own wording. 

"You're so ugly when you cry, please stop it already."

"You're leaving your saliva on me, ew," he nudges the lips still attached on his forehead until they both start laughing at nothing.

"Hyunie, do you know where Chanyeol is staying?" 

"Uh, no? Why?"

Jongin bites his lips sheepishly, "The senior that moved in, he's also a Chanyeol, I was thinking maybe...you know," 

"What does he look like?" Baekhyun asks, intrigued.

"Tall? Brunet? Weird ears? Weird legs?"

Baekhyun chuckles, "I think it's him. Fuck, is his room near? I don't wanna see him after everything,"

Jongin holds him tighter in his arms, "It's okay, you won't,"

He succeeds in going to the dorms for another one week without seeing Chanyeol, although the man has his room just down the hall. He only texts him once to ask for Yoora's number. And that's all.

He doesn't know why he was still hoping.

A good thing, Chanyeol sends money, fast. Even drops by to leave some food but only during the day. Baekhyun mostly comes back after 9.

He's too busy and tired to feel bad about it.

- cme t the dorma we parth


 Comes a text from Jongin on Saturday. He ignores it at first.

But after a long silence between him and Yoora in the couch watching TV, he gets up and puts on his tightest jeans.

 

/////



- where are you? 

He quickly types when Jongin's room is dark and empty. 

- 1102

- fuck ni ibkeajt 102

Baekhyun rolls his eyes, laughing to himself as he takes a turn for the girl's room. 

There isn't loud music, more blended voices. He's a little shy when he opens the door but he gets over it when the smell of weed hits his nose and he has to grimace.

"Hyunie!!!!!"

All eyes turn on the newcomer, and how Jongin stubbles until he reaches him to smooch his cheeks. The boy is a clingy drunk. 

There are some new faces around the room. Some girls and about two boys.

When his eyes fall on the one he knows, his body goes stiff.

"Everyone, this is my little brother Baekhyun, you better not get him drunk or I'll fight you!" 

Jongin announces, Baekhyun reddens in an instant, "Get off me," he says, but doesn't push the wobbling boy away.

His eyes stay glued to the floor, Chanyeol is looking at him.

Jongin forgets about him not getting drunk soon, when he begins chatting with a girl he's been telling Baekhyun about. 

He's not really in the mood, but he takes some shots when the girls he's currently laughing with offer.

He can't help but steal glances at Chanyeol, every once in a while, fueled by the lack of attention he's getting from the other. He wishes he didn't, when he sees a girl on his lap, with his hand resting between her legs as if it's the most normal thing.
 getting tipsy.

The buzz from the alcohol sends warmth all over his body. He doesn't realize when he leans on Jongin. 

"So, are you med student?" Someone, he can't really remember the name, asks.

"Haha, yeah," 

"So do you like, cut dead people? My cousin also studies it and told me about it"

Baekhyun scrunches his nose, laughing with his mouth open, "We practice on corpses sometimes, yeah," 

"Corpses?" A younger girl adds, her eyes are clouded.

"Just... homeless people found dead, or babies dead at birth," 

That, turns out, is the wrong thing to say.

The girl's lip trembles, "B-babies?"

All the girls turn to him, waiting for an answer. His face turns into a comforting frown. 

The girl bursts into tears. 

"No, no, no, it's okay, don't cry, please don't cry," his arms reach out to embrace her, but her sobbing doesn't stop.

He doesn't know how, but they leave the room. He wanted to comfort her, but when they stand in the hallway, her tears are long gone. 

"T-thank you for comforting me," she looks up through her eyelashes, and suddenly Baekhyun gets an idea of what was really the problem. "Can you take me to my room? My head hurts..." 

"Uh, sure," he awkwardly nods, dreading where this is heading.

"Baekhyun, I think you're really nice," she says after she turns on the lights. The room feels warm, with pastel colours all around. He watches them to avoid the girl. 

"Thanks...you too, you seem like a good friend," he adds, playing dumb and hoping to get him out of this.

She tiptoes, fluttering her eyelashes in a cute way. She's really cute, but it only makes him uncomfortable. 

"I can be more than a friend, if you want...?"

She's asking for permission, and he's dumb enough to stay quiet. Baekhyun doesn't know how to turn her down without making her feel bad. He doesn't want anyone to feel bad because of him. 

His silence is misinterpreted, a pair of soft lips attack his.

It's so uncomfortable, he only feels wetness touching his lips and the feeling that it won't end. But she seems happy. Happy and hinting for more, with her hands searching in his pants. 

"N-no, wait, you're tired, and I'm too tired too. I should let you sleep."She giggles, "You're so caring!" 

He isn't at all. But she doesn't need to know that.


When he comes back to the room, everyone has that knowing expression on. He almost stumbles on his feet from all the eyes. Jongin throws an arm around him, chuckling. But he's suddenly not in the mood. Feeling like shit for what happened earlier. 

"Does anyone wanna go out for a smoke?" He asks, looking questioningly at everyone. 

Chanyeol raises his head, "I wanted to go too, let's go,"

It's the last person he expected. He's awkwardly trailing behind the taller to the balcony. What should he talk about? 

Chanyeol is as cold as ever, he lights up his cigarette slowly, lights Baekhyun's too.

"So, did you get some?" 

The smoke makes him choke.

"What? No."

"Ah, a shame, she's cute," 

He's looking with burning cheeks out the balcony, mutters a, "yeah..." 

He wants to talk something substantial. Wants Chanyeol to stop treating him like a stranger.

"Hyung, how have you been?"

"Why so sudden?" Chanyeol asks between the smoke he blows out. Baekhyun chews on his already finished cigarette, a habit he's picked up from staying focused while studying.
if you see me online tell me to go study

He feels a little foolish admitting this, "I just... missed you a lot," 

Chanyeol chuckles, "How do you still remember me, you were a baby back then?" 

Baekhyun gasps, offended, "I was 14!" 

"Your point?" 

Baekhyun lights up another stick, "Of course I'd remember you,"

Chanyeol keeps laughing at him, but it doesn't sound as nice as it used to. He still associates it with the bubbly feeling it used to bring though. 

"I haven't done anything interesting, I'm working as an web designer, and I'm still trying to finish uni. I had to redo this year when I transferred,"

Baekhyun nods, but this isn't what he's heard from Yoora. Chanyeol isn't trying to tell him anything at all.

It hits him, when silence overtakes them again, that, for Chanyeol, he's been just a kid that happened to live next door. And Baekhyun, he considered his hyung one of the most important people in his life.

He can't help but chuckle bitterly, regretting the "I missed you," that he let slip.

They don't exchange much after, Baekhyun is done smoking but he waits for Chanyeol, who has longer cigarettes. He keeps waiting though, stealing glances in his direction.

Because Chanyeol has changed a lot. He looks too good to be true here, in the dim lights. Baekhyun's nose is red, runny, but Chanyeol doesn't seem fazed by the mist covering them.

"You know I can see you staring, right?" 

He met his eyes a few time, but nothing changed. 

"You've changed," he says sheepishly, searching for his pack of cigs again out of nervousness.

"So did you." But he doesn't care enough to notice the changes, Baekhyun realizes. 

"How much do you smoke? Give me this," Chanyeol steals it from his mouth. 

Yes, he's different because the last time Chanyeol saw him he barely reached his hip and had yet to shed his baby fat. But in reality, only his body has grown a little, he still looks 14 with his naive, stupid face.

"So, are you staying here? I promised Minha to take her back to her room soon," he says with a suggestive grin, throwing all the used buds off the balcony. 

"You should come spend a little more time with Byul and Yoora when you can." Baekhyun adds, hopeful, but is only meet with a scoff before Chanyeol goes back in.

He takes Jongin back to sleep too when he returns, because the boy is wasted and talking rubbish already.

When he gets a "be careful not to choke on his dick" on their way back, he almost stops laughing to tell them to go to hell instead. Almost.

What if Chanyeol doesn't want to be his friend anymore because he believes their jokes? What if he's one of those who can't stand gays? 

Baekhyun is worrying in the bathroom when Jongin comes stumbling. 

"Baek...bed- I want you bed..." 

"Why did you get up?!"

"Missed you..." Then comes some nonsense he doesn't understand. 

Baekhyun laughs, brushing his hair one last time. 

"Why did you drink so much? You know you get hungover so easily..." 

Jongin laughs like a maniac, he doesn't know what's so funny. 

"Let's go to bed, come on."

 

/////

 

Chanyeol, he finds out through the next parties they're at together, really likes girls. 

And girls like him. 

He has a whole process of getting girls. Baekhyun had time to observe him when they moved to bigger parties where he could slip away from everyone and hide.

To girls, he's the nicest, just like the charming hyung he remembers. Until he gets what he wants, then he completely changes. 

Chanyeol likes girls and especially likes hurting girls.

Baekhyun wonders, how would it be if he were a girl. Would Chanyeol pay attention to him? Would he be another challenge to him? 
Or would he keep being nice to him, be his, /her/ friend.

He loses count of how many people he's seen Chanyeol with through the span of a week.



///////



Jongin gets a girlfriend, the one he's been chasing after for a while, and he's left alone more often. Jongin never ignores him, but he feels too bad to always trail between them, so he usually declines his offer to join them.

They're at someone's house, Jongin dragged him here when he complained about class earlier, and everyone is busy with something.He's standing next to the wall, phone in hand, seeming busy. He's got an empty cup in his left hand because if not everyone would be attacking him with alcohol, and he's too tired to drink.

His eyes are on the phone, but his attention is on Chanyeol, because the taller seems drunk for the first time. And he's alone, just standing on a chair with his head in his hands.

Ten more minutes pass with Chanyeol still unmoved when he steps in.

"Hyung?" He taps his shoulder lightly, for a moment he thinks the other is sleeping.

"Whatya want...?" The man mumbles, head still hanging down. 

"Do you want to go home?" 

Chanyeol laughs, "M-legs don't," 

Baekhyun laughs a little too, Chanyeol is worse from up close, "I'll help you, come on," 

He grabs one hand to put it away from his face, and Chanyeol finally looks up. His eyes unfocused, but he gasps. He didn't know who he was talking to before. Baekhyun is just a little bit hurt. 

"Baekhyun- I'm fine-" he slurs in an attempt to argue, but without the support from both hands his head falls. 

"Let me help you, hyung."

It takes a lot of them just standing there for Chanyeol to say anything. He's staring at Baekhyun, through Baekhyun, still holding on to his hand. 

"What is it?" He asks, irked by the taller's eyes.

"You...remind me...of a leather belt, haha,"

It doesn't make sense, Baekhyun blames it on the alcohol, but Chanyeol keeps grimacing. He tugs on his hand. 

"Come on!" 

"You're still so small, can you even lift me?" 

Baekhyun groans, lifts the heavy man with a sudden pull, but he doesn't stay up for long, Baekhyun falls with him too. 

"Haha, you still let people walk all over you...too..." 

Baekhyun frowns. Chanyeol is talking to himself, to him, combines them. He feels hurt by the comment coming especially from him.

He gets up quickly, massaging the knee he bumped into the chair. 

"Hyung, I don't understand what you're saying, let's go home," 

He says with a tired sigh, tugging on his hands some more. 

"I can't really feel my legs..." He says as he gives Baekhyun his other hand and pushes up. They fall back, Chanyeol is laughing, but Baekhyun wants to kill him.

"At least try a little!" He groans, hitting Chanyeol's chest. 

"Aight, aight..."

They make it out the door easily because all the bodies crowding the room keeping Chanyeol's one up, but once he's out and on his own, he barely keeps them from tumbling down on the ground.

"At least stay straight until we make it out of here," he grunts, trying the hardest to keep the heavy body up. 

"Hyung, please, are you even listening?" He's getting desperate from dragging the seemingly unconscious body all on his own, people are watching too.

"Yeah, give me a minute..." He grumbles again, lifts his tired face up to inhale deeply.

Baekhyun drags him a few blocks, but they fall down, eventually, his legs are shaking too much.

"Chanyeol!" 

He completely ignores him, it seems like he can't even talk anymore

"I have- this...voice...in my head," And he laughs, again and again, "and a... leather...belt,"

It's dark, they're splattered on the wet ground in front of someone's house and Chanyeol is laying on top of him talking like he's possessed. Baekhyun wants to cry, or just wake up because it seems like a very bad dream. It's like it won't end.

"Hyung...let's try to get up, alright?" 

"Up...yes, up...uf- legs- up-"

He only rolls off Baekhyun, but takes him along his body on the grass. A car drives by and almost hits them. 

"H-hyung, please,"

He wants to be as away as possible from this, and this Chanyeol, it's staring to scare him.

Like a miracle, Chanyeol seems to listen to him for once. His body feels lighter, enough to pull him up again and catch his arms to keep him up. 
The dorm is not far, about 4 blocks away.

Chanyeol takes the stairs on all fours, dragged up by Baekhyun who's close to tears. 

Jongin's been drunk, but he's never done this.

"Fucking animal..." Chanyeol grumbles something again, "Dad...like-" 

It feels like ages when Baekhyun shoves the man on his bed. He has a single room. He uses force on purpose, to take out all of his frustrations. 

Chanyeol's head hits the headboard, "F-uck,"

He instantly feels bad. 

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" 

Chanyeol isn't even hearing him anymore. He's rolled in bed on his front. 

"Wait, I'll bring you some water, yeah, water," he says, pacing around with his hand in his hair.

"Here, can you get up?"

No response. With a frustrated growl, he lifts Chanyeol's head enough to make him sip on some water. Then it loudly drops back. 

Baekhyun looks around for the first time. The room almost empty if not for the computer at the desk.

He doesn't know what to do now, he wants to leave and go sleep too, drained from everything. But he's too afraid to leave Chanyeol alone like this.

"Bahyun...soorry..." Comes after a lot of time where Baekhyun thought he's sleeping.

He feels guilty, he doesn't want Chanyeol to feel sorry and embarrassed because of him, so he dismisses it quickly. 

"It's okay hyung, it happens,"

"I'm just like...ngh, I even look like..." Baekhyun assumes he's talking to himself again. He goes to the bed, "Are you feeling okay?"

"-like shit," 

Understandable. Baekhyun chuckles. 

"I'm going to-" he begins, but then remembers that Jongin is already sleeping with his girlfriend on his tiny bed, he can't go sleep there. He gives up with a pout.

Chanyeol turns on his side, eyes surprisingly sober, "Don't go... anywhere, late..."

Baekhyun wants to scoff. Like he didn't lay on the ground at 5am with him earlier, now he's worried. 

"Come, I have- space," Chanyeol motions with his head, which drops on the bed from his palm after the last word.

"We're gonna get your bed dirty, I have mud on, you too," 

How foolish of him to try to reason, Chanyeol already pushed enough words out. He mumbles an "off", almost asleep, then he tries to raise his hips enough to push his pants down. But he barely has the balance for it.

Baekhyun watches him struggle, telling himself that he'd do this for every friend if he needed to.

"Wait, you're going to twist your hand like this..." He helps the man out his jeans, then rolls him on his back to strip his shirt and jacket, with much struggle.

He almost falls on his face, multiple times. Chanyeol is big as he is, but now, with his body unresponsive, it's even worse. 

The wasted man shivers, mumbling incoherent things to Baekhyun with his eyes closed. 

He grabs his shirt too before he rolls away on the bed.
i
"Off-' 

Baekhyun sighs, but then his eyes widen. The moment Chanyeol turns his back to him, he sees it. The pinkish-white streaks on his skin that stand out against the rest of his back.

Vaguely, when he goes to Chanyeol's closet to get clothes for himself, he remembers a leather belt too.

Chanyeol is snoring when he slips behind him. But he's a light sleeper, he groans and turns to him immediately. 

He feels strange, like he's taking advantage of this. Just because he's wanted this for so long. 

Chanyeol's burning up when his hands reach for him. What comes next makes Baekhyun's eyes water.

"Little bird..." It hits him the hardest, this nickname. He almost forgot about it, but his heart didn't. It's how Chanyeol would encourage him in everything.

How he would compare him to a little, gracious bird every time he would sing. Or how he would describe his actions. Or his scared eyes in front of his bullies that one time Chanyeol stepped in and scared them for good.

Chanyeol would always refer to him as his little bird.

The man opens his eyes slowly, painfully, at his sniffling, "Little bird, why are you crying? Don't cry," 

He sounds shockingly sober, even if his sloppy movements contradict him. 

"There's no reason to cry..."

Tell that to Baekhyun's eyes that seem to have an endless supply of tears. He doesn't want to, but he didn't realize how much he's missed his hyung's warm words until now.

"Please don't cry because- of me," Baekhyun hiccups harder at his assumption. He didn't do anything, why is he making Chanyeol feel bad? 

"C'mere..." Chanyeol's arms embrace him whole, he burries his nose on his cold chest. He's totally taking advantage of this, what an awful person he is.

Chanyeol searches for the duvet to cover them, whispering long, drawn out "shhhs" for Baekhyun.

 


///////

 

Yoora and Chanyeol are looking down at the table. Their daddy came home drunk again, and they can't look up because he's too angry now. 

Their mommy is pacing around in the kitchen to finish setting the table for dinner.

Daddy is breathing through his nose to let everyone know how angry he is. The silence is eerie. They might look like the perfect, collected family, but Chanyeol knows now. 

He's 10 and he knows a lot of things.

For example, he knows the way his mommy's hands are shaking with the bowls without even looking. Or how his daddy is following her close, waiting for a slip up. 

Yoora is still 3 and she doesn't know a lot of things. But she knows how to stay quiet.

They eat, not too slow, because daddy doesn't like it. But not too fast because daddy has to give them permission to leave. 

A fist hits the table, the soup feels colder.

"And how the fuck am I gonna eat this without salt?! Do you think I can magically make salt appear?" 

His mom's head snaps up from where it was crunching over the table, he knows what's coming. An exchanged look with little Chanyeol and he knows it too.

"Are you so stupid that you can't even set a table right, woman?" 

"ANSWER ME! YOU DID THIS ON PURPOSE, DIDN'T YOU?" 

All the cutlery falls around the room.  Chanyeol has soup on his lap.

Yoora is the quietest 3 year old ever.

"YOU HATE ME THAT MUCH?!" 

"Honey- no, please lower your voice, the neighbors-" 

"FUCK THE NEIGHBORS! FUCK YOU, STUPID CUNT!"

Yoora runs to their room at Chanyeol's sign. The boy doesn't get to leave because, after one glance at his father, he'd talked to, "What are you looking at, boy? What? Is this funny to you?" 

"LOOK AT YOU! YOU'RE A SHAME TO THIS FAMILY, WHY ARE YOU JUST STANDING THERE?"

"Say something, aren't you a man?" 

His daddy has a leather belt. 

"I'LL TEACH YOU HOW TO BE A MAN!" 

His daddy also has fists, feet, or almost everything he finds thrown around. But Chanyeol learns how to be a man.

Baekhyun is freshly 4 and curious about everything there is. 

He hears the screams his parents try to shield him from, but he doesn't understand. He doesn't understand many things. But he always hears the screams.



Baekhyun can't sleep tonight, even in his hyung's arms. 

A lot of memories he didn't know he had come back to him, in a clearer light. 

He squeezes Chanyeol the hardest he can, be it only for this night. They never address it, but still go on with a sense of comfort between them. Not close friends but, something between good enough to spend more time together in their time off.


////////

 


"Chanyeol, you home?" 

It's his free period, he only has 2 hours and it's not worth going all the way home. Jongin is still in class and that's why he's now knocking on Chanyeol's door. 

He doesn't get an answer so he just goes in. A thick wall of smoke is what he's meet with.

"You smoke inside? Gross," 

The man is hunched over his computer, clicking away in concentration. 

"Just close the door," he says, distracted. Baekhyun plops himself on the bed, peeking over Chanyeol's shoulder to see what he's working on so hard. He doesn't understand much.

A glass of something non colour that he's sure it's not water is raised up to him, "You want?" 

"I have a lab, I better stay focused,"
if you see me online tell me to go study

"If you say so," he shrugs, taking a sip. 

"You're hurting your back, straighten yourself," Baekhyun's palm pats his back, Chanyeol laughs. 

For him, the air around them is still held back, stiff. But Chanyeol seems to not notice. But he's still afraid to do sometimes too much.

Chanyeol turns around, after some time. Baekhyun is already splayed on the bed, backpack still held to his chest. 

He observes the taller's sunken eyes.

"What did you do last night?" 

He says as a joke, but Chanyeol takes it seriously. "Had Gina over...then Jonghye...then.. uh, I don't remember, I took some nasty shit,"

He doesn't want to hear more because he's heard the rest before. Baekhyun doesn't know why, but talking about this makes him uncomfortable. 

"I'm telling you man, girls are so dumb..." Chanyeol plops himself on his back. The chair is right next to the bed so he lands on it.

"You just have to give them the smallest compliment and a little attention and they turn into whores,"

Baekhyun throws his backpack on the floor and scurries away a little, "Do you think all girls are the same?" He asks, genuinely curious.

"Yes, fucking bitches,"

The smaller's eyes widen with disbelief, "Even your mother?" 

Something in Chanyeol's peaceful expression changes, "My mother is the dumbest bitch I'd ever seen." 

He doesn't know what to say to that. They both close their eyes. Wait for minute.


"What about you, got any girl you like?"

This is the hardest thing to explain for him. Baekhyun doesn't like anything. Or he likes girls, but from the distance. The moment they approach him it's over, he'll find something to not like her for in a second.

He likes the ideas of girls, and how they're pictured, the idea of the perfect relationship. But he doesn't want it.

"Come on, you can tell hyung, I can help you,"

"Uh...not really, I've been busy with school and...Yoora and all..." 

"Do you like my sister?" 

Baekhyun chokes, "No!" He sees her as an annoying little sister. Always had. But now with a child, equally as annoying. But he loves them both though. 

"Then do you perhaps..."

Chanyeol turns on his side, head resting on his palm, "want a boy? It's okay, you can tell me," he says suggestively, smirk pulling the corner of his lips up.

For a second, by instinct, a disapproving frown replaces his neutral face. He's never thought about liking boys, it seems unnatural.

He doesn't have any problem with it though, as long as it happens to others, but to him it sees like it can't. He doesn't see himself in a relationship with a man.

But then again, girls aren't very promising either. 

"No...I don't like men," he says calmly.

"Oh, fuck that, I never said anything about liking anyone," Chanyeol chuckles, "I'm talking about hooking up. You're young, you should try it," 

Baekhyun scrunches up his nose, "I have to...study,"

"Come to a party with me on Friday, you can't stay a virgin forever, we'll find you something,"

He tries to turn away. He doesn't want to say no, doesn't know how to. Especially to Chanyeol, who has his big eyes on him.

"Hyung...I don't know, I have practice on weekends-"

"Nice, so we're going!"

That's why, instead of holding a book in his hand on Friday, he's holding a cup.

Lately, he's been going to parties anyway, for Chanyeol. 
They go together, but the man usually gets lost until it's time to go home and Baekhyun has to collect him from wherever he's disappeared to

And usually, he finds him drunk. That's the only time they actually interact in said party, when Baekhyun has to drag Chanyeol home.

Tonight is no different, the man gets lost between people, and no matter how hard he looks for the man sticking out like a sore thumb, he can't find him.

Passing 2am, after he's talked with 6 different groups and drank with 4, he spots him. And he sees him with a guy for the first time. A small guy, they're very alike. One of the differences being though, that that boy has Chanyeol's attention.

So Chanyeol likes men too, he never mentioned it, but he should have known.

Baekhyun finds himself a girl, an older one, who offers to take care of him because she says he's very cute. 

But they don't go too far, Baekhyun can't even get hard despite her diligent sucking. He only thinks about his hyung, where he is now, how he's going to take him home.

In the end, he leaves with thousands of apologies, to finally take Chanyeol home.

He finds Chanyeol surprisingly sober, with the boy from earlier still by his side. Maybe he had been to busy to drink. He agrees on going home, and he parts from the boy with a kiss. 

Baekhyun turns away without thinking.

They walk in the cold air side by side. 

"Man, tight ass feels the best," Chanyeol adds conversationally, Baekhyun is in a sudden cranky mood. 

"A shame you don't wanna try it." 

Baekhyun interrupts him, "I'm tired, I'll go home from here,"

"Oh, come on, the dorms are closer, come spend the night," How can Baekhyun say no to his strong presence.

Baekhyun can't sleep. The bed is big enough, but he's still on Chanyeol's side, watching the way his eyebrows furrow and draw back continuously. He wishes he knew what goes on in his hyung's head.


- His mother is drunk again, clutching on her glass of wine as he does onto her cigarette. Chanyeol just came back from school, but he barely gets acknowledged. 

His mother doesn't look much at him these days, she says he looks too much like his father.

But then again, everything he does is like his father. Everything he does it wrong, because it's like his father.

She hates his father, and automatically there is hate for him too. 

"You home already?"

"Yeah, do we have any food?" 

"No." 

"Goodnight." 

His mother has all her life ruined because of him, because she had him at only 18, and now she can't do anything but take care of him. Cry for his dad. And drink. Again and again. 

Chanyeol tries to see her less and less.

-

Baekhyun truly has no idea of what happened, happens, or will happen to his hyung. He's not allowed to know more anyway. After all, he's just the little kid next door that Chanyeol happened to tutor.Now he's just the little kid trying to have a place in Chanyeol's eyes, as an equal.




He's left surprised days later. At night, when he shuts the door behind him, ready to drop to bed, it's not Yoora that welcomes him. He gets startled, almost knocking his head against the door. Chanyeol is inside his living room, rocking Byul against his chest.

The beast of a man makes the baby look even smaller, but he seems so afraid of the little peanut. He's handling the baby like he's gonna break. 

"H-hey, I didn't know you're coming," he says when the air comes back to him.

Chanyeol is smiling, almost timidly, down at the sleeping form in his arms, then he goes on in a whisper. It still sounds rough in his voice, "I dropped by to leave some food but Yoora wanted to sleep and..."

It's in moments like this, when Chanyeol is gentle like this, when Baekhyun misses their old days the most. Where everything was easier. Or it was the same, but not for him, because he was a kid who grew up shielded from everything, by Chanyeol most of the time.

He whishes he could have done the same for Chanyeol. But what can he do? Sober Chanyeol and drunk Chanyeol are different. While sober, Chanyeol is a naturally quiet person. You hardly get small talk out of him.

When he's like that, Baekhyun feels every one of the eighteen years he has in comparison to Chanyeol.

"Hyung..." Baekhyun bites his lip, finding something quickly, "Did you eat? Let's eat together," 

"I have to go back to the dorms soon, someone's coming over," 

"O-h, alright," he shrugs, dropping his back on the floor and his shoes next to it. 

"I'll go...eat, I guess."



Chapter Text

He sees less of Jongin, but they still talk. He doesn't want to third wheel, that's why he doesn't spend all his days in his room anymore. Things are going great, or so he says.

Until one day in class when Jongin calls him, he never calls. Then when Baekhyun can't answer he sends a simple text, "Can you come over please?" 

Baekhyun knows something is wrong.

Jongin is a very sensitive person, although he doesn't show it. But even though he is, he rarely cries out of nothing.

When Baekhyun finds him with bloodshot eyes he knows it's something serious.

"Nini! What happened?" He jumps on the bed to take his friend into he's arms. 

"We broke up..." 

"Oh no, baby, I'm sure you'll get back together, it's o-" 

"She's pregnant," 

"O-oh, Jongin-" 

"But it's not mine,"

"What-" 

"She wasn't even sure she is, but she still called to ask me to get her a plan B because the fucker didn't have the money," 

"Nini, that's just..." He doesn't know what words to use to explain how bad he wants to hurt everyone who's wronged Jongin.

So he holds him tighter, "Did you buy it?" 

Jongin sniffles, "Yeah..." 

"I can't believe you!"

"I couldn't leave her like this, Baekhyun, I know you understand me," 

It's a subtle stab at him. He sighs. 

"I'm okay, I just wanted you here, it wasn't even that serious between us..." 

Baekhyun pokes his ribs, "Are you forgetting who you're talking to, liar?"

Jongin throws himself on the bed, taking him in his arms along.

"I love you, Hyunie." 

"Me too babe..." 

The taller pushes his face out with his lips puckered. Baekhyun grimaces in jest, "Keep your snot out of my face!"

 


"You're sad too," Jongin accuses after a moment of silence. 

"No, I'm...tired," 

Jongin reproduces his words from earlier, calling him a liar. 

"This has something to do with Chanyeol hyung, I already know it,"

Baekhyun tries to shield his face from the accusing eyes, "What do you mean, what would Chanyeol do?" 

"I don't know Baek, but your strange obsession with him is concerning," 

Baekhyun gasps, offended, "What are you saying?"

"I don't know what goes on between you too, or if something happened, but you're very bad at hiding your stares,"

That's right, he still has to tell Jongin about their past together. He doesn't know what he should say, that's why he keeps silent.

But what stares? He doesn't stare. He has no reason to.

Jongin chuckles at him deep in thought. 

"Are you interested in men? You never said anything,"  He never talks about his love life, because there isn't anything to talk about. Him liking someone is a rare sight. Him liking someone for more than two days, that's impossible. 

"No, I don't think so," he can't picture himself with a random man. That doesn't attract him one bit.

Jongin begins with a light chuckle, that gets louder at Baekhyun's confused face until he's baring his teeth, with his head theown back, "Hyunie, you're so gay, you're the definition of gay, you're literally perfect for it!" Jongin mocks him, payback for all the times Baekhyun's laughed at him."What do you want me to do if I don't like any man?" He groans, hitting Jongin's chest in an attempt to push him off the bed. 

"Suck my dick," the other says with his eyebrows wriggling, body already going stiff to hide from the upcoming hit.

"No, you suck my dick, that's gross,"


///////

 



He's at another party with people he doesn't know, because Chanyeol found him studying in his room.

He should probably stop coming hoping that he'll get to spend some time with Chanyeol this way. He never does, until the end of the night, anyway.

"Baekhyun, come here!" A voice thunders above all others, his ears detected it right away.

He was bored and grinding with a girl he met here, but now he feels ashamed for being seen like that. 

"What is it?" He pats down his clothes when he goes, all a little to wrinkled now.

"We're playing a drinking game, join us!" Chanyeol suggests, around him are more familiar faces now, people from the dorms.
 
"You're interrupting his fun man!" Someone on his left says, Jongin's neighbor, smirking suggestively. Baekhyun smiles shyly when he sits down in the space Chanyeol's made for him.

"What are we playing?" 

"Never have I ever," Sana says, waving at him with this occasion. He waves with a big smile.

Chanyeol has his arm thrown around the person next to him. It's the same boy from before. It's a first, he never sees the girls Chanyeol's with again, but this boy is here, as close as the first time. 

He doesn't realize he's fallen in deep thought until he's handled a cup. 

"Where's Jongin?" Someone asks.

"Probably sleeping...he wasn't feeling too well,"

"Alright, since you're the last to come, you start," another voice speaks up, they're so many that Baekhyun doesn't know where to look first. 

"Uh...me?" A lot of nods.

"Never have I ever-" he bites his lip with a groan. Imagination has never been his forte.

"Went...to class drunk?"

Almost everyone drinks, he turns his head to Chanyeol to observe him gulping too. 

A senior of his pinches his cheeks, "Awwwww, little Baekhyunie, only 18 and so naive," Baekhyun laughs, embarrassed by all the eyes on him.

"We're using more... daring questions."

He realizes that he's the baby here. 

They're all Chanyeol's friends, or Jongin's, he can't do anything but smile awkwardly, that's what gets him out of everything.

The senior girl from earlier moves next to him gladly, to protect him who's apparently too innocent for this. 

He wants to roll his eyes. No one knows half the things on his mind. Just because he's smiling doesn't mean he's dumb.

"Never have I ever had sex on a friend's bed," one says and again, a lot of cups get up. Chanyeol too. 

Baekhyun thinks he'll be seen at this point. 

Everyone turns to Mingi when, after seconds of thought he's the last to drink. He's laughing, caught, "What? It was Jongin's bed. The lucky fuck has such a soft bed,"

Baekhyun throws him a disgusted look. He's slept on that bed so many times. 

Chanyeol's turn comes too.

"Never have I ever fucked more than 4 people in one night." Only one person drinks, then everyone's attention is on her to see all the other things she's done.

Baekhyun isn't having fun at all. He only drank for about 3 times, and he's hunching with the now warm liquid in his hand. It sucks to have drunk people around you when you're not. He's tired of all the questions.

Chanyeol's had sex with a teacher, Chanyeol had cheated, Chanyeol had a threesome, Chanyeol also got a girl pregnant. Chanyeol's been gone for 4 years but he's nothing like the one that left him in his room that last night. Still, no matter how cruel his discovering gets, he still can't see Chanyeol as anything but his caring hyung. He's hoping.

And hoping he does until it gets too much. He's frustrated, but doesn't know the reason why. 

He excuses himself some time after, when everyone is too happy when he's not and his senior is getting as handsy as Chanyeol is getting with that boy.

Baekhyun finds a lone spot in the garden, behind a big tree where there's no light hitting and no one coming and he slumps down, exhausted by nothing in particular but still everything around him.  Drink still with him, he gulps it down then thinks. Why is his life like this, when he's still so young and full of possibilities? Why is he letting everyone dragging him back? Why is he crying out of nothing right now?

He thinks of Chanyeol too, and how he's so affectionate to the nameless boy when he won't even look his direction, and he's known him all his life.

Baekhyun, deep down, has always envied the girls Chanyeol brought with him. He used to think that him being a boy is the reason. But now, when the elder has a boy attached to him, he realises that he might be the only problem.

It's him that doesn't have anything worth Chanyeol's attention.

It makes it worse for his aching chest. That no matter how hard he tries, how many friends he makes, how many smiles he offers and despite him never complaining about anything, or anyone, he's still not perfect for Chanyeol, or anyone else. Maybe if he wasn't so nice all the time, if he talked back every once in a while, Chanyeol would notice him. Acknowledge he has something to say too.

He wants to take the stranger's place in his arms, and it confuses him. He wants to be the one Chanyeol holds.

But Chanyeol doesn't hold anyone with love, he knows. He knows and still wants that place.

Leaves and twigs twist under heavy shoes, he holds his hiccups in, all his attention in that direction, but it doesn't stop until the person is standing in front of him.

"Are you drunk?" A deep voice, Chanyeol.
i
He wipes his silly tears away, confused, "No...?" 

"Then why are you crying?"

He gasps under his breath, how did he know so easily? 

He thinks of a quick lie, "I...I got a bad grade on a test," 

"And you're crying now?"

Baekhyun rises himself up helped by the tree. His pants are soiled from the wet ground, he shivers. 

"Do you wanna go home?" 

"Yes," he whispers, too weak.

"Let me get my coat," Chanyeol says and then he's gone, leaving a dumbfounded Baekhyun behind.

What just happened, why did Chanyeol agree to leave his friends, his lover, to go with a crying child instead. 

"Let's go." Chanyeol says when he comes back, reaching for his pocket to take out his pack of cigs. 

"Hyung, you don't have to..." But he wants to. He wants to be selfish enough to take him away, only once. His conscience is eating at him though.

So he shuts up and just takes it, his chance. Chanyeol is looking ahead while they walk in silence, just the blow of smoke as the sound between them. And Baekhyun's content heart.

"So why were you crying?" Baekhyun shrugs. He truly doesn't know.

A long silence follows. 

"Hyung, are you and that boy together?" 

"Pfft, who? Mackenyu? No, of course not," he laughs, like it won't happen in a million years. "We're... special friends," he grins, throwing the used bud on the ground. Baekhyun searches for his own pack with a sigh.

Chanyeol is too sober, he wants to ask more.

Without any warning, another sob escapes his lips, he feels betrayed.

"Hey, you kid...what's wrong?"

"I'm not a kid!" He almost shouts, frustrated, he stops to glare at Chanyeol.

"Calm down big boy," the man mocks, he cries harder. 

"Why are you- w-why- this is not...this is not you!" 

"What the fuck are you saying, Baekhyun?" The taller stops too, to properly look at him.


"This is not how you! How you really are!" 

Chanyeol grits a chuckle through his teeth, "What do you even know, kid? You don't know me," 

It hurts, because he does. This is the person he grew up with. He knows him hyung. But not this person.

"Come on, stop annoying me and walk,"

He admits defeat. Guilty that he got Chanyeol mad at him, he remains silent. 

"Come to the dorms, your house is far," 

He silently agrees, stepping closer to the other. He wants to go say hi to Jongin when they pass, but it's way too late and the boy stopped replying to his text long ago. Instead, he follows Chanyeol straight to his room.

"The clothes you use are in the first drawer," Chanyeol instructs quickly as he strips and leaves for the bathroom. 

He feels very bad. All his self-esteem gone, all the things he's ever done right gone too. He made Chanyeol talk in that way to him.

He changes without doubts and covers himself whole with the blanket. His hyung comes some time after, expression still as hard. When he finds Baekhyun in this state, he clicks his tongue.

"You still let everyone walk all over you,"

Baekhyun whimpers in annoyance, as a sign for the elder to just give up already.The bed dips next to him.

"Didn't I tell you before? Speak up, stand up for yourself. Do you think anyone cares you're being nice to them?" 

Baekhyun is close to standing up and leaving.

These are the things he already tells himself daily. But he can't, because this is a rare chance of spending time with Chanyeol. When he's sober and actually knows that Baekhyun is the one next to him.

"Hyung, can you hold me?" He says softly, ignoring everything in hopes that Chanyeol is done. 

The form he can see but feel lays down, "Why?" 

"Jongin does it all the time..." You used to do it too at our sleepovers. 

"Do I look like Jongin?" Chanyeol chuckles.

"Whatever, goodnight."

After his last words he doesn't expect any answer. He's in a mood bad enough to turn around and not care about being rude to his hyung.

And he doesn't get one, but after a lot of silence, just when he's begining to drift off, the bed creaks under Chanyeol's weight when he shifts closer and pulls him to his chest. 

His breath gets caught up in his throat. 

"Little bird, I really don't know what's going on in your mind..."

The feeling is mutual. Chanyeol pushes him away all day then acts like he cares at the end of it. 

"Me neither," he whispers, because what's he supposed to say? He's just going on, agreeing to everything. Baekhyun finds himself getting carried away and tangled in everything. Every day he tells himself that tomorrow would be different, that he'll change, but the next is just the same.

"If you've got something, you can tell me, alright?" He squeezes him, cheek dropping on top of his head. 

Fucking hypocrite. 

Baekhyun wants to say "sure, I'll just tell you that I want your attention and I want all the people you're fucking to disappear but I don't want you to treat me the same and I'm sure that I don't want you to sleep with me because I don't feel gay at all and the thought of it scares me, I just want you like you used to be and your love but that scares me too because I don't know how I am when I love,"

He really wants to. But it's still so confusing so he keeps quiet instead. He still has a lot to find out about this new Chanyeol.

"Are we friends?" Baekhyun exhales, exhausted. 

"If you want to, yeah," 

"No, I want to know what do you think, do you consider me your friend, hyung?" 

Chanyeol pauses too much for his liking. Yes, they don't have the clearest relationship. They talk, but too much and too little at the same time, about nothing at all. They spend time together, but Chanyeol never directly expresses his approval of him being here, and Baekhyun always feels like he's doing something wrong, being next to him when he's so quiet about it. Their relationship is held back, vague, Baekhyun is there when he's drunk and in need of a hand. Chanyeol is...there because Baekhyun keeps chasing after him.

But the elder never says if he truly wants him around. Or it could be anyone in his place.

When it comes to Baekhyun, no one could be in his hyung's place. It never has. 

"We are, something close to that," 

"I want to be your friend, hyung..." 

Chanyeol sighs, the weight on his head feels harder. 

"I'm not a good friend, little bird,"

"N-no, don't say that! Maybe you..." 

Chanyeol interrupts him with a laugh, "Don't try your pretty lies on me, I know myself well enough," 

"I'm sorry..." He's been caught. But he doesn't believe him at all. His head has a very clear image of Chanyeol already, one he won't let go so easily.

"You're shivering," Chanyeol points out, his head his hitting his chin. 

"It's a little cold..." 

The taller chuckles and brings him even closer. Baekhyun can smell the perfume he uses, his natural smell as well, it's warm. 

"You were never good with the cold," 

"I spent half of my life being sick," he adds, Chanyeol rushes to it too, 

"Yeah, I was there," 

"I know...you took care of me," And just like that, he wants to cry again.

"Hyung?" He asks, shakily. 

"Hm?" 

"How have you been?" Chanyeol's hold on him gets tighter by instinct, "Did Yoora tell you about mom?" 

"Yes, I'm sorry," he tries to turn around, but Chanyeol's palm on his tummy anchor him in place. 

"It's alright, I'm over it,"

"How did you handle it?" He's stubborn, tries to turn and see Chanyeol again.

The man's face looks different, sombre. 

He's been this close to Jongin, but Chanyeol's breath hitting his face gets him flustered for whatever reason. "I didn't," he laughs, "but I didn't have time to think about it, I had to go on if I wanted to live alone. My job took all my time,"

"Hyung...I wish I was there with you, or you here with me," Baekhyun affirms, clinging to his chest.


For a second, Chanyeol's eyes gain a more gentle form, "You're still so young and naive,"

"What's so wrong with it? Why is everyone so against it?" He argues back, bitting on his tongue at the harsh tone. 

"People will think that you're weak, little bird," 

"Agh!" He hits his chest, "You're not people, you know me! Why is it so wrong to be myself with you?!"

"You're trusting me too much," 

What's that supposed to mean? Of course he does, this is Chanyeol. Hell, deep down he trusts him more than Jongin, even though he knows it's wrong.


/////



After that night's discoveries, Baekhyun gets a little more... daring. 

He accepts to go out with a senior who's been refusing on different excuses for some time now. Because, maybe he wouldn't mind spending time getting to know boys. Of course, he accepts out of pressure, but with his heart lighter. It would've been the 6th time he had to study, so, he just accepts to go as friends. 

Friends. He keeps repeating.

And it goes well, because they've talked before, they know each other. Conversation flows easily every time for Baekhyun, although half of it is fake. His senior wants to pick him up from school, Baekhyun has class until late at night. So he accepts.

And the place they go to, it's a surprise. Baekhyun hopes it's a café or something related, because he had his last meal this morning. 

But it comes as a total suprise when his senior drives them on a hill. It's a place where you can see the whole city. But it's also known for a place where couples come for alone time.

It seems a little suspicious for Baekhyun. It becomes even more when they park and the doors lock, because the atmosphere shifts.

His senior opens his belt slowly, as they keep talking about the subject that's been giving hard days to Baekhyun. The older boy spread his legs in the seat, looking at him like he owns him something, "Do you know how to do it or do I have to teach you?"

"W-what?" He asks perplexed, backing away into the door when his senior completely frees himself of his underwear. 

"Come on, don't be a prude, I asked a simple question,"

"I'm sorry but I think you misunderstood me," he tries to say steadily, but it comes out a little trembling.

"You've been leading me on for months, come on, stop being a little bitch," the other grabs his hand to direct it down, Baekhyun pulls it back as if burned.

"Take me home!" He shouts, almost hiding himself under the seat. 

The other remains with his hand hanging in the air, relaxed face changing, "Why are you being so stubborn?" His erection has died down already, and Baekhyun feels relieved. He forces the door handle once more.

"I heard you're a real freak, is it me? You don't want me? What's your problem?" 

He remains shocked at the words, "Excuse me?" 

His senior laughs, face coming closer to him, "People talk, Baekhyun, you're not a saint, stop playing dumb,"

"W-what?" He feels like he's said this too many times tonight, but it's just too much to process.

The man rolls his eyes, annoyed already, "Rumor has it that you're a little slut, how many people have you been with?" 

His chest sends a strong stab to him, Baekhyun clutches on the handle, "I- I'm not- I don't know what you're talk-"

"Whatever." He's cut off. "So we're not gonna do it?"

Baekhyun shakes his head frantically.

"Get out." 

The doors click again.

"What?"

"Out, get out."


///////

"J-jongin!" He bangs on the door, in the middle of the night. He's sure that the whole dorm can hear him, but the door is locked and he wants in. 

"Nini, p-please..." 

He ran all the way here. Got lost about three times after his senior passed by him with a honk. The place they went to is one he didn't know too well, that's why it took him almost two hours to get here. He's shaking and crying, hitting Jongin's door with his fists. He doesn't know where else to go like this. Yoora can't see him in this state, he has to be the stronger one between them.

One door opens far away, he knows because music gets louder, then it closes. 

Jongin comes, he remains frozen in front of him, "Hyunie, what happened?" The boy opens his door, then locks it at the speed of light, Baekhyun throws himself at him with a pitiful sob.

"I h-h-hate m-men, I h-hate them!" 

"Baby, calm down a little, tell me what happened,"

He tries, but one look at Jongin and he's back at wailing. He cries so hard Jongin's neighbor bangs on the wall. 

"H-he never w-wanted to-" he hiccups out, "he j-just-" another string of cries erupts from him.

He trashes around in Jongin's hold, "All i- e-ever did was-"

"I've been n-nice to everyone- J-jongin," The neighbors keeps banging and Baekhyun cries harder. Jongin shouts a "fuck off," 

"He b-brought me t-there to have s-sex," 

His chest burns, and so does his throat. Jongin cradling his hand through his hair feels suffocating. "He said- w-why? Why Nini?" He stops to ask, and wipe his tears but in vain.

"Baek, I don't understand..."

"Why did he d-do this?" He whimpers, clutching Jongin's sweater between his fingers. Jongin clears his face with the hem of it. 

"H-he says everyone- k-knows I'm a-"  his burning chest forces out a new string of cries, "slut, I'm- I've n-never-" 

"I know, Baek,"

"Jongin..." His tears are endless, fueled by his disappointment, his betrayal. He never knew that something like that went around about him. He never did anything to receive it. "J-jinyoung said that- I don't even know who t-that person is- b-but he's telling e-everyone he f-fucked me," 

"T-this isn't fair! J-jongin!" 

All he ever did was say yes. Because he doesn't know how to turn people down. He's went on countless dates. But he called all of them friendly meetings. Baekhyun had lots of friends, but no one is really his friend.

Jongin rocks him back and forth, whispering little "shhhs" to him, but he keeps crying until his head hurts and his body is out of water. The sobs still remain in his throat. 

"I'm s-sorry..." 

"Stop, don't apologize," 

"I hate him so much..." He then tells him just how it went, from the second he got picked up to when he got kicked out. Jongin is fuming. He holds him protectively.

"It's decided, no men for you. We'll get you a puppy."  Baekhyun tries to laugh, covered in snot and tears.

Jongin grimaces playfully at him, and a new round of sobbing begins.

He sleeps for about half an hour, and when he wakes up Jongin is still cradling him, but he's awake. The room is still for them two. Jongin's roommates must be at the party down the hall.

"Nini, do you have some food?" His stomach won't let him go back to sleep peacefully. His voice is raspy and rough, it's painful. 

"I think I have something left, wait," 

The boy gets up and walks around the room, taking out everything for a perfect sandwich. He even makes some green salad magically appear. Usually all that he has is instant noodles. 

"Bon appetit, my little starving boy," Jongin kisses his still runny nose to annoy him, knowing a kick would follow, but Baekhyun is too tired, still too heartbroken.

"Thank you..." 

He chews in silence, until it comes. And he feels guilty to hide it from Jongin any longer. 

"Nini... I think I like Chanyeol," with this, he truly confirms it to himself too, it's the first time he admits it. While sleeping, he dreamed that the one in Jinyoung's place was Chanyeol. In his dream, he had no problem with it.

"I know Baek,"

"What?" He splutters, offended, by how easily Jongin accepts it.

"I know you, Hyunie, I knew from the first time,"  

"I don't know what to do..." Traces of his crying still remain, he's more whiny, on the verge of tears.

"Baek, he's not good for you. I'm telling you this because I love you, but he'll only hurt your, please don't do anything." 

"You don't know him! He's not like that..." 

"I know him enough...I know more than you. Please stay away from him."

 

 



Baekhyun dreams about Chanyeol again, without intending to. He dreams a memory. One that has a new whole new meaning now. 

He's 7, and Chanyeol is 14.

"Come back here, I'll kill you, you son of a bitch!" Chanyeol's dad shouts in front of the house, his mom is down on her knees, sobbing, grabbing her husband's staggering legs. 

"Honey, no, he didn't do anything!"

"You fucking made him like this! You can take your piece of shit and get out!" Baekhyun is watching through his curtains, searching for Chanyeol who ran out of the house a while ago. Police sirens are coming from far. Baekhyun doesn't understand much, his parents never do this. His dad is too busy to.

His mom is talking downstairs, he shuts the curtains when she approaches. She doesn't let him watch his neighbors, usually. His door opens to his mom and a pyjama clad Chanyeol. 

"Baekhyunie, you and your hyung are going to have a sleepover, would you like that?" 

"Yes mama!" He jumps from his bed, to hug his hyung who doesn't seem as happy as he usually does to see him. His eyes are flying in all directions.His mom kisses them both, but she rubs Chanyeol's back longer.

Baekhyun wakes up with a heavy feeling in his chest. A lot of guilt. He never realised. They're been next to each other almost all his life and he never realised. 

He has a sudden urge to go hug Chanyeol. But not this Chanyeol, his Chanyeol. The one hugging him is Jongin though, he does back to that.


//////

 

Baekhyun school life improves, a lot. He's sure now that he can keep his scholarship. Life at home also improves, because Byul is big enough to not cry the whole night. Things seem to fall in place. But he still can't be happy.
Every time he talks to someone at school, every time he smiles at them, he can't help but wonder if they know what's said about him too. It makes him distant. Jinyoung throwing remarks about him every time they meet isn't helping. He's tired of being called an uptight bitch. He's really not.

So Baekhyun gets more desperate. For attention and validation. He searches it with more determination now. It's easy, when Chanyeol finds a reason and a place to drink almost every night. 

He doesn't know how. Or maybe he does, because the first meal he had for today was a cup of beer followed by shots. But he's more than tipsy, sitting in a guy's lap.
He doesn't even know where the guy took him. One minute they were talking, the guy was telling him about a book he's read recently. Baekhyun was really pulled in. It seemed that they had a lot in common, he really enjoyed talking.
But turns out the other did not. He stopped mid sentence to embrace Baekhyun. That's how he ended up in his lap.

There's something magical about having someone to care for you when you're drunk. Baekhyun craves it, the warm feeling. Their conversation is forgotten, he realises the other never had much interest in it, he feels stupid again. Turns out, that no matter how much he tries, guys would only try to get into his pants in the end.
Maybe that's what he's good at. 

It's his first time making out with a man. Jongin pecked him once or twice, or maybe more, but Jongin is his brother. This is different, and it doesn't awaken something particular in Baekhyun, but it still feels nice to be held.

A door opens, their door. Baekhyun blinks his blurry eyes. His shirt is missing. 

"Baekhyun, let's go home," 

Jongin is already in the room, he has his shirt in his hand. 

"Man, what the fuck?! Can't you see we're busy?" From under him exclaims a foreign voice. He can't even make out his face now, but he's not sure he wants to get to know the stranger and his voice. 

"Be busy with someone else," 

"Don't be a cockblocker, Jongin," 

Jongin, that's right. Baekhyun searches for his hand to pull himself up. "Fuck. off."

Jongin dresses him up again, while the third person leaves. Baekhyun wants to die out of shame. 

"Nini..." 

"Let's go home," 

"But C-chanyeol-" 

"He's a big boy, he can handle it,"


Baekhyun falls face first on Jongin's pillow. He sensing what's coming already. "Baekhyun, don't do this," 

"Please stop..." 

"If you wanted to meet someone you should've told me, I could introduce you to some really nice guys, not this," Jongin lectures, his head is pounding and he's thinking of ways to stuff his ears.

"I- I didn't mean to...it just happened,"

"Please don't do this anymore. Do you even know how safe sex works between guys? What were you thinking of?!" 

"I wouldn't have done it!" He rises from the pillow, clutching on it angrily. 

"You had your hands down that dude's pants,"
Did he? It's the first time he hears about it. His mind was gone somewhere else.

"I'm sorry Nini, it just happened..." 

"What's happening to you?" A lot he can't explain. 

Chapter Text

He meets Chanyeol the next day, he's having the worst headache in his history of headaches and Jongin had class in the morning. So he's left with no option but to go down to the canteen to get something for his ragging stomach. He goes to Chanyeol's room with a plate for him too.

Jongin's room is full of his roommates and he doesn't want to be alone with them.


Chanyeol is also sleeping. Baekhyun feels like a creep when he spends the next minutes just watching.


"What are you doing here?" Chanyeol rasps out, they're face to face. 

Baekhyun jumps. 

"I- brought you coffee and something to drink, I was at Jongin's," 

Chanyeol nods, rubbing his eyes after he grabs the coffee cup. 

"How are you?" The man asks, studying him.


He stole some sunglasses from Jongin because his eyes won't listen.

"Saw you leave early last night, did something happen?" He says nonchalantly, he doesn't seem to care at all, actually.


Baekhyun munches on his late lunch, glasses perched up on his head. He forgot to look after Chanyeol. How much this the man saw. He's more ashamed than he's been with Jongin. 


"Nini wanted to go home..." 


"It was boring anyway," Chanyeol adds with some rough edges to it. 


He seems to be in a bad mood.


"Hyung, how about you, did something happen?" Chanyeol shakes his head. He completely ignores his food. 


"I'm thinking of buying an apartment for Yoora and Byul."


It's another moment where Chanyeol confuses him to no end. He never talks about his sister and his nephew. Never wants to visit without being told to.

Baekhyun thought he simply doesn't care. "B-but why so sudden?"


Chanyeol chuckles, "Do you want to raise a kid forever? It's your house and she can't afford a new one,"


"Oh," he realises. It hasn't been his house in a while. He forgot it was once his. It seems natural to have Yoora and Byul with him. 


"Would you visit soon?"


"I don't know,"


"You should,"


When he said it 3 days ago, he didn't expect Chanyeol to give it a completely different meaning. He didn't expect to come home to angry shouting. He hears it from downstairs, he's sure his neighbors do too.


"What did I do wrong, Yoora? Why did you turn out like this?!" Chanyeol's voice is very distinctive. But Yoora and her pitched one aren't far behind. 


"What you did? You never did anything!" With every step, the voices are scratching against his ear harder. 


"I've protected you from dad, from mom too. Where did I fucking go wrong?!" 


Baekhyun wants to kill them both for making Byul cry this way.


"MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE FUCKING LEFT!" 


"MOM NEEDED ME!"


Baekhyun runs into a neighbor in front of his door, he has to bow 10 times before he enters. 

"I needed you too! You were always her little boy! She only loved you! You two went away and left me here!" 


The first thing he notices, is the broken vase on the ground. Yoora's flowers are all scattered around. Another object is thrown on the ground by the girl. 


Byul is seated on the couch, they're so busy that his angry screeching is left unnoticed.


"Do you think I had it easy? Do you know how hard I had to work to fucking live?" Chanyeol's voice drops in a deep breath. 


He gathers himself, Baekhyun picks Byul up to rock him softly, "Do you even know what was it like living with mom like that? I tried, Yoora, I even got you a plane ticket! You didn't want my help, you never did!"


"I CAN HANDLE IT ALONE!" And with that, she storms off, almost ripping her hair out. 


Baekhyun remains glued in front of the couch, hands stopping for a second. Byul won't stop crying anyway, not in this madhouse. Chanyeol turns to him like he know he was there from the first time. Then he storms out on the balcony with a cigarette between his lips.

Baekhyun just wanted to eat, then maybe study a little. He's stuck with a crying baby, inside his house. Where he feels like a stranger.

 

Byul stops, after he sings him an old lullaby he labeled as forgotten. He's on the couch, and behind him a grave voice sighs, "You still chirp like a little bird, huh," 


If it wasn't for the baby in his arms, he would've jumped. "Sometimes, I haven't had time to sing lately..." 


Chanyeol nods, he opens his arms with a small, small smile, for Byul to come. Baekhyun carefully places the sleeping bundle in his arms. They sit side by side as the taller rocks Byul. 


"It's such a shame...he's so young and his life is already ruined by others," he speaks up slowly, Baekhyun is left confused. 


"What?"


"I don't understand why she chose to have him when she knew what kind of life she'll offer him," 


"Hyung, maybe you're judging too quickly..." 


Chanyeol barks out a short laugh, "What? Do you think she'll miraculously become a model to this society?"


"Not all people are made to be parents, she should've just put an end to this baby suffering and not force him to live like this," His words are too cruel for Baekhyun, who's still young, armed with a lot of hope and dreams of happy families.


"How can you know? Everyone deserves a chance! If you were to chose, would you chose to never be born?" Baekhyun knows it's not his place to refer to his life, or his parents. Chanyeol doesn't even know that he knows.


"Yes."  Comes the answer without a second of hesitation. "I hate selfish people. They just love the idea of having a kid, but never think ahead." 
He's half changing the subject, half just ending the argument with his final tone.


Baekhyun feels too young and inexperienced to be having this conversation. It's like Chanyeol's laughing at him, provoking him with these kind of words just to prove him he's stupid. But Chanyeol's saying he wishes he weren't born, and he takes it too seriously, no matter if the other really means it or not. 

He can't imagine his childhood without his hyung. 

Who would've been there when he was 4 and he got the first bruise he remembers? The others were at a age too young for him to remember the pain, but this, he recalls it still. How he fell from the swing because he wanted to reach his hand out to hold Yoora's, and his hyung kissed his bruised, bloody knees better a hundred times. Then carried him back.


Or who else would be staying after his math lesson with a little Baekhyun who just got moved in his new, single room. A little Baekhyun who was afraid of the dark and refused to sleep for 3 nights until Chanyeol found out and offered to sleep over almost every night.


Or who would be teaching him, at only 9, after he saw a couple kissing on TV that what they were doing is something you do with the one you love? Who would've put up with a chubby, giggly Baekhyun sneaking up on him and pecking him every time because his hyung was the one he loved the most? 
Who, if not Chanyeol?


"Hyung, I'm glad you were born." He mutters, and he really means it. Chanyeol sees it too in his eyes. That's why he holds back from snorting.


"Did you eat yet?" Chanyeol asks instead.


"No... I was planning to."


"Come with me to the dorms, I'll treat you," 


He should be staying here with Yoora, because he's already been absent for so long, but he still doesn't think twice when he nods. It's his chance to get closer to Chanyeol after all.


Chanyeol ordered 3 pizzas. It's too much if you ask him, but then he brought out one bottle of whiskey and two rolled up seeming cigarettes that have anything but tobacco in them by the smell of it. He understands that they're going to be very hungry after all. He really shouldn't, not alone with Chanyeol when he's holding back so many things. But the mood is just right. Baekhyun gets one joint to himself, which is a bad idea, because he also eats a large pizza by himself like it's nothing. 


Chanyeol keeps laughing at his munching, he's happy to see him so happy. He ends up laying in bed, next to Chanyeol, shirt pulled up to slowly rub his now growing stomach.


"Agh, I feel pregnant," he groans, trying to turn on his front but his limbs feel like jelly. 


"Please no more pregnancies, I've had enough," Chanyeol jokes, but he takes it too seriously.


"Hyung?" 


"Yeah?"  Baekhyun turns on his side, a little tipsy, a little drowsy, his head falls from his hand to Chanyeol's chest. "Uff," he groans, "you said... before..that you got a girl pregnant,"


"What about it?" Chanyeol looks down, and at the sight of his uncomfortable position he raises on the bed until he's angled enough for Baekhyun to look up comfortably too. 


"What happened to her?" He feels like crying suddenly. Pregnant women have that effect on him since Yoora.


"What do you mean? Shit like that happens, I helped her with the money for an abortion and then we went on with our lives," He makes it seem so simple, but Baekhyun likes to make everything complicated. He already has 10 scenarios ready.


Maybe he's a little drunk. High too. Chanyeol is doing better than him. 


"Hyung...?" 


"Hm?" 


"Nothing..." Chanyeol accepts the answer. There's no music but he taps lightly on Baekhyun's arms for minutes. 


"Why were you crying the other night?"


His head snaps up again. It feels so long since then. He's already made peace with it, made new mistakes to worry himself over. 


"A bad day, I guess..." 


"You were crying so hard you woke me up," 


"Sorry..."


His sniffles fill the room. He doesn't even realise it's coming from him, too busy to be swaying his head on Chanyeol's chest. He's floating but also crying. The latter, he didn't mean to.


"I'm just...sad...no reason to it," his slurred words come out so easily. He finds it simple to speak up his mind.


"Are you sure?" Chanyeol shifts until he's completely in his arms, side by side. His empty hand reaches out for the bottle. He takes a sip and Baekhyun gets one too.


"I just...don't know what to do anymore," 


Chanyeol nods, Baekhyun cries softly, not really hurt, but tears still flowing, "Why is that?" 


"I'm nice to everyone. I always am. I can't be any other way...but people still...don't give a fuck about me. I don't understand, what am I doing wrong?" 

Chanyeol is quiet for a while. "What do you expect them to do? Give you a honor medal? No one cares Baekhyun. If you give them the chance to take they will just take all they can, everyone cares only for himself."


"B-but...I never did anything to them! Why?" 


The man's face twist into a frown, "Little bird, are you getting bullied again?" 


That's when his sobs begin, "I- some boys are spreading rumours about m-me, I never did anything to them, I swear, what did I do to deserve this?"


Chanyeol clicks his tongue, reaches out his long fingers to collect his tears, "You have no reason to treat them like you do and you don't gain anything out of it, but you still do, that threatens people," 


"I want it to stop...''


"Then stop being a pushover,"  Chanyeol is horrible at advice. Baekhyun is a pro at telling people what they want to hear. He would've preferred his version now. The truth hurts too much.


"I am so sad..." He continues after a while. Cheek resting on Chanyeol's one.  The other sighs, "I think I am too,"


"Hyung?" He turns to him, with curious eyes, "Why are you sad?" 


"That's just how I am," 


"Have you always been sad?" 


"Yes," It makes him sad too. He doesn't want Chanyeol like that, so he cries harder. The rational side left of his brain knows he'll regret everything in the morning.


"N-no, hyung..." 


"Shh, calm down, it's okay,"


"But I want to make you happy!" He clings to the bigger man. 


"I'm okay like this," 


"No! Was it auntie? Uncle?" He swears he's ready to fight everyone for Chanyeol's happiness in this moment.


"Don't talk about them..." 


"I'm sorry I'm so- y-young, i couldn't do anything..." Chanyeol grabs his shoulders to keep him in place, "Are you feeling unwell?" He addresses his pale face. And yes, after he points it out, he feels like throwing up.


Chanyeol stays with him while he crouches over the toilet bowl where he empties his stomach, instantly regretting all the pizza he ate. The taller brushes his hair out of his face, pats his back. Silent, but the warm breath on his neck opposing his shivering cold is comforting. He feels like he's going to die. 


"You're alright little bird, take deep breaths."


It's disgusting to do with the toilet in front of his face, but he listens to the soothing voice. 


Chanyeol lets him have all the fluffy blanket to himself while he cleans around, throws used buds out the window and empty boxes and bottles under the bed.


"Hyung...I think I love you," He remembers saying, in his dreaming state, eyes closed, already so far away in different scenarios in his head. But he wasn't asleep yet.

 


Baekhyun wakes up with the worst headache of his life. The first thing he does after falling straight on his face off the bed, he finds his head resting on the toilet seat, empty stomach still trying to spit out more. His throat is burning, tears are running down his cheeks, his mouth feels like cotton. Last night, he didn't feel anything because of his drunken state. But now it hits him, he'd rather be dead.
Another thing that hits him is his last words last night. Baekhyun prays to die there, to choke on the toilet water or on his puke, anything but the reminder.
Chanyeol is sound asleep when he picks himself up. He gathers all his clothes and runs, like his life depends on it. 

Surprisingly, or not really, nothing changes between them. It's as if Baekhyun dreamed it. But he's sure he didn't. He's at another party, now in the dorms. It's a habit now. He comes to everything Chanyeol asks him to.


But he's cuddled up to Jongin, who's gently stroking his hair. His habit of smoking became even worse, in the span of a week, because prefinals have started.
Like this, he found himself smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, without even realising. Combined with the alcohol, Baekhyun is floating. And Jongin is there to keep him in reality. 


"Baby, tell me when you wanna go," Jongin whispers in his hair.  He nods absently. Takes another sip of the vodka that somehow ended up in his hand. His eyes are on Chanyeol, who's in bed with a new girl. They're covered up to their neck, but he can see the movement of Chanyeol's hands, or the girl's blissful face.


His mouth is bitter, his heart is too.


"Nini... I did something..." He whispers back, more sloppy, his lips wanting to touch his ears but they end up trailing a path from his chin to his temple.


"Let's get out of here?" Jongin suggests. He's way more sober than he is. He is a very responsible student this time of year. He clings to him, because words seem to much.


On their way out catcalls follow, the last to stick to Baekhyun is "maybe if I acted like his friend he'd let me tap that,"


He wants to turn around and prove how wrong they are, but he's completely clinging on Jongin. Chanyeol, however, never pays him the slightest of attention. He's on the top of the girl when he leaves. Baekhyun doesn't wanna see more.

 


He can make out the disapproving look the first second they're alone. Although it might not be accurate, the room and his vision as well are spinning. 
Baekhyun falls on the bed. "Nini, I told him I loved him,"  he says at the first sigh.


''What?''


"Last night...we got- drunk together and I..." He slurs, eyes closed. 


"Hyunie, what did you do?" Jongin is helping him get rid of his too tight jeans. 


"But n-now he's with that bitch, he doesn't even care...is it me? Am I not attractive at all?"


"Are you stupid?" Jongin deadpans, hitting his legs with the jeans in his hand. "Babe, you're more than attractive, he's just not right for you, I told you already," 


Baekhyun whines, sticks his tongue out, then he gets an idea, from the way his flushed face changes Jongin knows it's nothing good. 


"Do you really think I'm attractive?" He raises up, searching for Jongin's eyes with hope. 


"I remind you like, everyday?" The younger is still looking at him, despite his joke. Baekhyun grabs his hand, trying to pull him down,"Nini, do you think-" 


"No, Baekhyun."


"B-but, don't I attract-" 


"Baekhyun, with all sincerity, shut up, or I'll knock out your drunk ass," 


The boy bursts out in tears at the rejection, "Why doesn't anyone w-want me?"


Jongin groans, he crouches down and tries to be as gentle as possible, "Baekhyun! What the fuck is happening to you?" 


"I'm sorry..."


"You know what, fuck Chanyeol, fuck everyone that got you like this," 


"B-but-"


"It's my fault too, I sometimes forget how young you are, I should've taken better care of you,"


"I can take care of myself!" His temple explodes, just as he did. Baekhyun winces out the last word. 


"Yeah? Then prove it."

 

//////

 

He tries, really, he stays away from alcohol, as much as he can. He doesn't really have an option, prefinals are taking up all his time anyway. 
Byul is growing up and they're getting more rest. Chanyeol hasn't reached out to him yet, not even once. When Baekhyun isn't studying, he's tearing his head apart with worries and blames.

One day, he gives in. He throws his book in the other side of the room and almost runs to the dorms. Then hides to get to Chanyeol's room. Jongin doesn't know and he won't approve. Chanyeol is at his computer, working, like always, he has his headphones on and a cig between his lips. Baekhyun awkwardly stays in front of the closed door.
He takes the time to observe Chanyeol, and how much he's changed.
His stern expression looks too harsh, the computer doesn't deserve it. That combined with the posture and his demeanor, they all make him intimidating. A lot for Baekhyun.


"Are you coming in or not?" He jumps, Chanyeol isn't looking at him still.


"Uh, h-hey, sorry,"


Baekhyun brought food with him, because he knew Chanyeol only takes a break at night. They're eating silently. His hyung's indifference stings.


"So, how have you been?" He tries. But then when Chanyeol begins to tell him all about his latest lovers he wishes he didn't. Why is Chanyeol being so cruel? When he knows Baekhyun loves him, why would he tell him about his hookups with this much enthusiasm? 


He's too cruel and Baekhyun didn't do anything to deserve this, but he still stays if it means he gets to spend time with Chanyeol.


"Are you gonna stay?" Chanyeol asks, throwing away the leftovers of his plate. He's not looking back at him. 


"Yeah? I mean if you don't mind it, it's been a whi-"


"Yeah but don't stay too much, I have Mackenyu coming over later,"
He excuses himself and leaves earlier than planned. He's basically been told he's not welcomed anyway. What does the other have that Baekhyun can't offer? He doesn't understand. The tears are burning his eyes, threatening to spill, but he pushes them back. He doesn't go to Jongin like he wanted, he'd been warned about this but he never learns.
Never. He proves himself once again when Jongin takes him out to dance after many whines from Baekhyun.

He's done with exams and he just wants to forget it, Jongin gives in to his pouts after a while. But, even though Jongin is the one holding him, smiling so beautifully at him, his eyes still trail to Chanyeol who's ever so present. With one girl or another. In his mind, he prays that his hyung would dance with him too. It won't kill him, just one dance, just one ounce of attention.
It's never too much humiliation when it comes to Chanyeol.


"What's he got so special, Hyunie, I don't understand!"  Jongin asks one day, when he finds him crying between his books.  And truly, Baekhyun doesn't know. This Chanyeol, nothing. He's the type of person he hates with his all. But this is not his Chanyeol. Because his Chanyeol was his dream as a child, everything he'd wanted to become and have. 

And he'll try to bring it back. It's just a memory now but Baekhyun is in love with the memory of his old Chanyeol.


"Nini, you don't understand..." He sighs, they've been over this already. 


"I'm trying but I really don't babe,"

His following dates, friendly meeting, possible hookups, whatever you may call them, are all the same. Faceless people that hold no meaning to him. They don't get more than one date. 

Baekhyun likes to think he's a nice person. He wants to be recognised for all his efforts. But he knows that they don't see anything more than a pretty face in him. Deep inside, he knows he deserves better. He does, with anyone but Chanyeol.

 

/////

 


Baekhyun is home alone and curious. 


Jongin took Yoora and Byul out, but he refused to go. It's been so long since it was this silent.


It's also been so long since he's had the mood and time to get off. So, out of boredom, he does just that. He's lazily stroking himself while searching for a good porn video.


He finds something he didn't expect, and with it comes the idea. Baekhyun takes the hand cream he keeps next to the bed and raises his legs higher, heart in his throat at what he's about to do for the first time. His clumsy finger pushes in slowly, and it's okay at first, only at the tip. But when it gets deeper it feels horrible. It stings, burns, and it leaves Baekhyun itching. He tries a few times and then gives up. 
Baekhyun can't understand how people do this for pleasure.

Chapter Text

Jongin and Yoora come back to find him studying with his head upside down on the couch, with an itch where it shouldn't be itching, he's just staring at the messy pages when the door is shut.
Their voices are high and lively, Jongin's more. The third person is silent, that's why Baekhyun doesn't realise there's a third person until they step inside the living room. 

Chanyeol is holding Byul, behind the two.

"What are you doing? Your blood's gonna rush down to your head, are you trying to kill yourself?" Jongin laughs at the position he's twisted in. Baekhyun doesn't feel like laughing with the silent one present. He lets his body slide down the couch until he's sitting straight again, it amuses Jongin further. 

"Baek, we met Chanyeol on the way, I thought we could all have dinner together," Yoora explains after a short "Hi," from Chanyeol. His name is muttered with so much hostility.

"Sure," he picks himself up, with a cramp between his legs that makes him grimace. 

"Oh, no no, me and Yoora already planned the dinner, we'll make it," 

"But-" 

"No buts, the kitchen is too small for all of us anyway, you two wait here," the girl goes to check on a sleeping Byul one last time before they disappear, giggling. When did they become best friends and decided to ditch him?

He awkwardly glances at Chanyeol who's rocking the baby next to him on the couch. He seems peaceful like this, one of the rare times where a frown doesn't accompany his forehead. He feels bad to interrupt him with another question that won't get a sincere answer anyway. 

Chanyeol takes the lead though.

"What's going on between those two?" He asks, seeming not interested at all, small smile in the corner of his lips at the pink, warm bundle.

"Hm?" Baekhyun turns to the kitchen from where chatting comes, it's suspicious to him too. He never paid attention to their close interactions before.

"I don't know, Jongin didn't tell me anything," 

He kind of wants nothing to go on between them. Jongin is too soft and Yoora is damaged. Jongin wants to explore and live all the lovely clichés he likes to read about, Yoora's probably done them all already. Plus, the girl comes with a baby and a hidden past.

He knows he shouldn't be thinking like this about his friend.


It seems, that mutual dislike is what brings them together after all, Baekhyun finds out at the dinner table. Chanyeol never lets go of Byul, and Yoora lets him. He seems out of their every conversation. 
Yoora is subtly glaring, that's her general attitude towards her brother.
And Jongin has something changed too. 

There aren't enough chairs for the table, so Jongin pulls him to his lap, he has a protective grip on his waist every time the conversation turns to Chanyeol. 

Baekhyun slaps his hands off him plenty of times but he remains unbothered.

He's the one that feels all the embarrassment from both of his friends.

They continue with the small talk, mostly Jongin who's caressing his back as he begins to tell an uninterested Chanyeol and a surprisingly quiet Baekhyun about their walk, and the movie they went to, and the playground they took Byul to only for the baby to sleep through it.
Baekhyun excuses himself to go for a smoke when his twitching fingers raise to his lips by instinct. 

That's when he gets to be alone with Chanyeol again. This silence, accompanied by blows of smoke, feels more intimate.

"Hyung, sorry for Yoora," he comments, Jongin too, he doesn't add.

"Why? I didn't expect her to be different," he says nonchalantly, arms thrown over the railing to dangle his hands in the air.

"I'm still sorry," he lights his second cigarette, to stay more like this. 

"I didn't come for her, I'm here for you anyway,"

Baekhyun coughs, tapping his chest after, the smoke that got trapped in his lungs is stinging. 

"What do you mean?" 

"You kept asking me to come, after everything you've done for my sister, why not?" 

So he's not here for Yoora, but because of his often requests. It makes him feel better, that Chanyeol thought about him, somehow.


//////

 

"Hyunie, you're here," Jongin enters his dorm room looking a little red. Baekhyun raises one hand to greet him, he's facedown on the bed, legs dangling in the air. He came straight from class which he finished about one hour ago, too drained to go home where he was a crying machine. 

The door was open and the room was empty.

Wordlessly, Jongin sits down next to him and caresses all the way from his hair down to his butt, finishing with a pat to make him move.

"Baek?" 

"Eh?" 

"I know it's not true, but I heard something about you..." 

That gets him to turn around to his front, "What did I do this time?"

Jongin lays down next to him first, head over his chest and arms circling his torso to literally suffocate him with his embrace.

"Some guys downstairs...I don't know how you came into discussion but-" Jongin stops to sniff him, "did you use my cologne again, parasite?"

Baekhyun groans, "Come on, did you really stop for this?" 

"Hyunie, one of them was telling everyone how they need to get you drunk and you'll do anything. I got so mad-" 

So that's why he came her with a red face. Baekhyun chuckles lightly, a little bitter. "It was that stupid party..." 

Jongin seems angry again, because he's bruising his hips, "People just love to gossip..."

Baekhyun taps his shoulder without a certain rhythm, he begins as a light joke, he always makes a joke out of his feelings, "Ah, Nini, I'm so sad," 

With a displeased grunt, the taller pushes himself up until he's the one standing above, to reach and peck Baekhyun's forehead.

"I feel like no matter what, I never do the right thing," 

Everyone makes it seem so wrong of him to want to explore himself. Or do anything that involves not being the good kid everyone's used to.

Why can anyone else but him do it?

Baekhyun guesses this is what happens when you're nice enough to let them. But he can't force himself to be any other way.

Someone knocks on the door. And a beanie covered head peeks in, with large eyes. Bored eyes. They look straight at the bed like he knew what he'll find. The both of them tangled, a groggy Jongin from all the hair stroking. 

"Hyung?" Baekhyun asks, surprised.

Chanyeol only responds from his eyes, they communicate best. They grow bigger as a sign of acknowledgement.

"I was looking for you," he says simply.

"Why?" Jongin is the one who mutters this time.

"I wanted to go see the Christmas lights, they're getting switched on tonight," 

Baekhyun is left so shocked that he doesn't get to ask, but his mind is really full of, "And you choose to go with me?" 

He's suddenly not that sleepy. Jongin whines like a child at the first movement he makes. 

"Nini, come on, you should come too!"

Tell that to a half asleep Jongin who already warmed the bed. He lets go of him in the end. "Bye." 

Baekhyun rolls his eyes playfully, ready to raise his foot enough to kick his ass, but he remembers who's standing behind him. No matter what, he just can't find the courage to joke the same with Chanyeol. He feels the need to impress the older, but he just ends up being awkward. 

"Who else's coming?" He asks when they close the door and Chanyeol is still silent.

"Just us, why?" 

"Oh- no, nothing, I was just thinking- nothing, haha, just didn't expect it," Just shut up Baekhyun.

Their first stop is a coffee shop. Chanyeol buys hot chocolate for the both of them. The cups are Christmas themed and maybe he takes 5 pictures just of them. The air is crisp and bitting, but it smells and feels like winter. It's somehow peaceful.

Chanyeol gives him his gloves to hold his chocolate better.

Silence. Everything is silent. Even though there are other people around them, all focused on their own thing, he tunes it out. Because Chanyeol, the one he is with, is silent.He got used to it. It's not an intended silence, he understood. It's not done on purpose, or with any bad intention, this is just how Chanyeol is. Silent. Of few words. He still follows Baekhyun every time he points in another direction, to change it. 

All the streets are lit. They explore a few of them. Turns out they have the same peace, the same unrushed admiration. Chanyeol isn't walking too fast and Baekhyun isn't walking too slow.

After countless of unknown streets where they sip the hot chocolate in silence, they finally head towards the center, where the Christmas fair and all the big decorations should be. Baekhyun is beaming.
He forgot all about his early Christmas decorations hate speech. One hand is busy with his candy canes and santas cup, the other with his phone. 

He has about a dozen of pictures with Chanyeol staring blankly through his camera.

"Baekhyun, you already have enough pictures of the lights, they're the same," A voice sneaks up behind him when he's checking his latest. 

"No but- the light is different." 

"Delete that," he points of one of him he took when he wasn't looking.

"No, this is my favourite so far!" 

Chanyeol huffs, amused. "Do you want a picture here?" He points to a mini Christmas trees sanctuary, they're all covered in golden lights. He was eyeing it earlier. Baekhyun shyly bites his lip, "Let's take one together there," 

Surprisingly, Chanyeol complies to this too. It gets to a point where he doesn't know what happened to be treated like this. Is his hyung finally acknowledging his feelings? That gets his heart to hiccup in excitement.

"Why do I look so chubby?!" Baekhyun whines, the way he would usually do with Jongin. But instead of a joke about how fat he is, Chanyeol only shakes his head.

"It suits you, it's okay," 

Oh- he doesn't know what to add to this. He just smiles, full teeth. They walk too much, to the point where everyone else around them scatters, chased away by the cold. The Christmas music follows them everywhere, because it always stays on during holidays.

Maybe miracles really do happen for Christmas, because Baekhyun is the happiest he's been in months, dancing and twirling on the empty streets, ahead of Chanyeol.

"Can we stop for a smoke?" Chanyeol exclaims to get his attention. He almost forgot about his need to smoke, every time he wanted to the cold was too bitting to his fingers. He even has Chanyeol's gloves. He rushes back where the older was walking slowly, remembering how cold he must be. 

"Yes, please," he says in a jokingly painful voice. 

All the benches are empty.

After one look, an idea strikes him. Chanyeol is left-handed, he is right-handed. He takes the left glove off and handles it to him, laughing when he pulls the left hand of a confused Chanyeol from his pocket.
He gets the hint though. Baekhyun is faster in taking out his pack and lighter, so he lights one first for Chanyeol, then offers it to him. He only has to use his left hand this way. Baekhyun is restless, his legs are swinging without his will. Then he realises something. By taking his cigarette, Chanyeol and his lips just touched indirectly. It's so naive and foolish but it gets his legs swinging faster.

"Where is this energy coming from?" Chanyeol asks, he was shaking the whole bench. 

"Uh... Christmas lights, I guess?" 

"Didn't you have class until 8?" 

"I really love Christmas lights,"

Chanyeol laughs softly, "I remember they were your favourite when you were younger, that's why I wanted to take you see them,"

Will he stop. Baekhyun's heart is happy and confused. But his brain is mean. It somehow takes him back to what happened earlier, before he came.

"Hmmm... hyung, were you with Jongin earlier? Downstairs?" 

He has a way of taking everything that hurts him lightly. From the tone he uses to turn it into a joke to the way he responds to it. Baekhyun wishes he could stop being this weak.

Chanyeol turns to him, the smoke around him is covering his eyes, "Mhm," 

It's enough to redden his cheeks. And disappoint him a little. Is that why he suddenly came looking for him? And thought about taking him out?

"Oh." Chanyeol is still looking at him, but neither are too present.

"Do you wanna go for a drink?" 

This one question never ends well. But it's so cold and Chanyeol is looking at him. 

"I have class in the morning." 

"The dorms are close, I'll take you,"

Chanyeol fridge is half alcohol half energy drinks. He can't really judge, because his used to be mostly the same before Yoora came and brought all the vegetables with her. 

Baekhyun chooses wine, because he's already too full for beer and too tired for stronger drinks. He rolls around in bed to warm himself, it's amusing for Chanyeol because he keeps huffing. 

"I think I found a small apartment for Yoora," he speaks us out of the blue. Baekhyun thought he was too busy staring out the window.

"Will you move in with her?" 

Chanyeol huffs again, unamused, "No, I'm good here," 

"I want to arrange Byul his room for Christmas, will you go shopping with me?" 

Them two shopping for baby room articles, for Christmas. Baekhyun is very, very warm. Chanyeol doesn't seem like the type to do this. He's speaking such soft words but his face still remains hard and creased. "Would Yoora want to be there too?" He asks, dumbly. 

"Do you think she'll come anywhere with me?" 

No, she's too stubborn, too proud. Something else is bugging Baekhyun. Chanyeol sits down on the bed and goes on like nothing is wrong, like nothing happened. And tomorrow he could be treating him like a stranger again. Baekhyun told him he loves him, and he knows. He knows and he's acting like this. 

"You always think with your whole face, did you know that?" 

He chuckles sheepishly. His eyebrows have a thing for moving in their own, his nose is twitching too. He rolls his eyes, "Can you give me those shorts I sleep in?" 

Chanyeol does, "Already?" 

He wriggles out of his jeans, which is hard with the way they stuck to his skin from the cold. Baekhyun almost spills wine on the bed because he's too lazy to get up and properly change. The taller changes too. He's a bit tipsy.

"Yeah," already like he didn't get one bottle of wine for himself, "I left at 7 this morning," 

Chanyeol hums in affirmation, choosing to pour himself another glass while Baekhyun hides himself under the fluffy blanket. "I'm taking the wall side."

"Like always." Chanyeol mumbles. He turns on his side, and waits, and waits. But Chanyeol doesn't come to join him. When he turns to steal a glance he's on the chair, looking through him. 

"Hyung, can I ask you something? It's a bit...''


"Sure," 

"How did auntie die?" Chanyeol goes rigid, the grip he has on his glass tells Baekhyun that he's hit a sensitive topic. But he knew. Maybe Chanyeol is comfortable enough to talk to him, he's been waiting. "How do I explain it...she drank herself to death," Chanyeol says sarcastically, trying on a lively voice that's meant to be ironic.

Baekhyun furrows his eyebrows, perched up on his elbows to look at the taller who's shuffling around in the dark towards the bed after he goes to turn the lights off. The bed dips, but still nothing more comes. With a timid hand, Baekhyun reaches out to comfort one still stiff shoulder. Chanyeol turns to him, and he can see his eyes clearly. He's looking past him, at the wall.

"She locked herself in her room when I came home and the next day I had to break down the door because she wasn't answering," Baekhyun grips him lightly, with a disbelieving gasp. "I found her dead, she choked on her vomit in her sleep," Baekhyun thinks about how he would've reacted if he were the one to find his mom like that.  But it must've been worse for Chanyeol, he knows how much he loved his mom. Baekhyun slides closer to his hyung's warm body and without any resistance from the silent man, he wraps his arms around his waist.

"I'm sorry...it must've been horrible," he mutters in his smallest voice, trying to hide on his chest. Baekhyun feels like he's taking advantage of this moment, because he isn't stopped. 

"It's okay, she changed a lot after we moved," It has a lot of hidden meaning, the way Chanyeol dismisses it like this. Baekhyun's cold nose nudges his bare skin and suddenly, Chanyeol shivers, as if brought back. 

"Hyung, you know you can tell me anything, if you ever want to talk about it?"

Chanyeol studies him closely. His eyes jump from his face, to the wall, back to his face, mouth moving slightly, like he's searching for the right thing to say.

"What do you know, kid?"

It sends a long stab right to his heart. He is, after all, just a kid in Chanyeol's eyes. A kid that just happens to be wherever he is. But no, it isn't just that anymore. Chanyeol came looking for him today. For once, they weren't in the same place because it just happened. 

Everything is so confusing for Baekhyun's already confused heart. 

"I'm not a kid," he grumbles.

Finally, a hand comes up to wrap around his shoulders. 

"Then what are you?" 

Baekhyun thinks, of something witty, something smart to turn it around, but nothing comes.

"My head hurts..." He says instead to change the topic.

"Little baby couldn't handle the alcohol?" Chanyeol teases him, and it leaves him surprised. The first thought he has, is to bite the chest he's currently sitting on, then he remembers this isn't Jongin, and he might be here only for tonight. 

He sticks out his tongue. "Little baby woke up at 6 and it's past midnight..."

"Let's sleep then," 

Tonight feels too surreal, tomorrow is uncertain, "Not yet, let's talk," 

"What's there to talk about?"

Baekhyun shamelessly tangles his legs between longer ones. He can always blame it on the alcohol, although he's far from that point. "I just want to talk...while you still care about me," 

Chanyeol chuckles drily, "Do you think I have days when I do and days when I don't?"

"You act like it..." You still act like it right now, but you care enough to keep me here. With a bitter tongue, he remembers the day where he was basically kicked out for Chanyeol's next fuck to come over. "Is it because I'm a kid?" 

"What do you mean?" Baekhyun grips his waist when the man speaks up, he almost forgot this isn't just him and his thoughts.

"You don't want me because I'm a kid?"

He did it. He said it. He's about to choke on the beating of his heart. It's trying to escape through his throat. 

"This is so wrong..." The hand holding him goes soft, and Baekhyun is desperate enough to shove his shoulder under it, to not lose the touch.

"Why, hyung? Why not me? What don't I have that they do? I don't understand-" 

"Little bird, you don't know what you're talking about," 

"I do!" He raises on his elbows to glare at the one disregarding his feelings, "Why can't you look at me too?" He can't stay still in his arms anymore, not with this constant rejection. 

"I'd do anything, just tell me what you want...why not me...?" 

Chanyeol clicks his tongue, as if fueled by his comment, he raises a little too, until he's standing with his back against the headboard. "So you're saying you love me?" Baekhyun nods shyly. 

"Why? If you've never loved someone before, how can you know?" 

"I know it!" 

Chanyeol chuckles with a shake of his head, "You're young and confused, little bird. You don't want me for me."

Baekhyun raises up to cross his arms in front of his chest, suddenly feeling too exposed. He wants to cry out of frustration. Is Chanyeol really arguing with him about his feelings? The confrontation is enough for him. Not used to any of this, he gains a defensive tone fast. Aggressive. "Why can't you accept my feelings? Do I repulse you that much, hyung?" His lip is wobbling too much for his liking, this arguing is draining all his energy.

Chanyeol scoffs. 

"I'm trying to make you see the truth, Baekhyun, you can't fucking love me when there's nothing to love. Just fucking move on and find someone right for you!" He barks, and Baekhyun bursts into tears just from him raising his voice. Chanyeol looks pained, like he doesn't know how to approach a crying person. He looked completely in his element seconds prior when he made Baekhyun cry.

"Why are you crying?" 

Baekhyun tries to hide his ugly sobbing, hand clenching on his chest where his heart is doing twists.

"Because you're not like t-this, you're h-hurting me..." 

For a second, he thinks Chanyeol is going to hit him at the way he snaps up. He flinches, and the man softens his arms again. 

"Baekhyun." A pause, "What if I told you that hurting people gives me more satisfaction than anything else in the world?" 

He shakes his head, wishing for Chanyeol to stop being so cruel. 

"Believe me. This is who I am." He's about to shake his head again, but Chanyeol roughly grabs his arm to shake him. In that moment, he's scared he's going to get hit again. 

"Look at me." 

"No-" Chanyeol pushes him like he hates him, and Baekhyun just doesn't understand what he did so wrong in wanting to love him. "Stop giving me chances to hurt you, you deserve better." He can't find it in himself to argue back. Baekhyun curls in on himself on the bed, feeling too small. He's trying to crawl inside the wall, back turned to Chanyeol who remains silent after that.

He leaves early in the morning without a sound, heart shattered. Who would've thought it would be this hard to get just a little bit of love.

 


Christmas break is just around the corner. Meaning he'll have more time for himself. He hates it. Because free time means time spent thinking of what could've been if he wasn't so stupid one week ago.
For some days after leaving, he feels the need to get back at Chanyeol somehow. To prove he's not as undesirable as the man has made him feel. He wants to gain attention from everyone possible, to prove all of the rumours about him true.
But what's the use when he can't get the attention of the one he wants? Chanyeol never tries to contact him. He knows he's stupid for expecting an apology.

"Baekhyun, would you please talk to me?" 

"I am," 

"No like, really talk to me. Or get out of the house. Or take a shower?" 

He's trying to ignore Jongin who barged into his house and his room.

Right, his room. He finally has it back, but it doesn't feel better. Chanyeol finally got Yoora the apartment. He also went shopping for Byul's room without taking him like he promised. 

"What the fuck, I know you didn't fall asleep that fast, come on," Jongin peels off the blanket he's buried in, head included. The boy's been trying to get him to talk for some time now, but Baekhyun doesn't know how to talk about it. 

"I'm tired, let me enjoy my break," 

"Come eat," 

"I did already," 

"Tell me what happened." 

"Nothing, I'm just tired," 

"Bullshit."

"Leave me alone, I'm tired," Jongin groans. 

"Stop being so stubborn." 

"Stop bothering me." 

He doesn't tell Jongin, in the end, because he's too embarrassed. But it gets better with his help.

Jongin's neighbors happen to have a Christmas party one day he goes over to sleep when his house gets too lonely. That's when he sees Chanyeol again. From his reaction, Jongin understands. He feels how the boy wants to lecture him from the way his grip on his hand changes, so he tries to distract him. That's how they both get drunk. Jongin, when drunk, is a hundred times more clingy, he's like a giant octopus to wherever happens to be next to him. And tonight's Baekhyun, whom he doesn't let go off even drunk, like in the past where he would just leave him be. Baekhyun on the other hand is just sad.


The music doesn't help, the shouts around don't either, Jongin's lips sloppily touching his shoulder where he's resting really don't. But above all, seeing a girl prettier than he'll ever be in Chanyeol's lap isn't helping him at all. Although it's his best friend touching him, just like he did a million times before, he feels like suffocating. Like something bad's about to happen if Jongin doesn't move his hands from his lap. He can't breathe at the thought of it.

Briefly, he imagines them two in more intimate positions. Could he do it with Jongin? No, the thought stirs nothing in him. Then he goes over boys he's been with in the past, any boy that's ever given him attention. And just the same, nothing about them naked gets him excited. 

His eyes trail back to Chanyeol. At his large palms gripping exposed thighs. He's seen Chanyeol naked, but he never considered himself attracted to him that way. What he had for Chanyeol was something pure, child-like. 

But now, he dares cross it, at least in his mind. Rejection just makes him want to push more, because rejection is new to him. He wouldn't mind getting touched by those big hands. He wouldn't mind anything if it comes from Chanyeol. Actually, his dick loves the thought of Chanyeol having his way with him a little too much, because he has to stop his mind from racing when he realises where he's at. And who's holding him.

//////


He goes home for Christmas. It feels like forever since he's last seen his parents, and he missed feeling babied and cared for. 

But also, parting from Jongin is hard. Ever since the semester started and they got to finally meet, they haven't been without one another. The taller almost squeezes him to death. They make a scene in front of the dorms where Baekhyun is saying goodbye. Dressed in their matching Christmas sweaters, shivering from the fresh snow, Jongin still won't let go of Baekhyun. 

"Don't go," 

"Nini, I'm gonna miss my bus,"

"But stay here with me..." 

Jongin's parents are both abroad, he'll be spending his holidays in the dorms. Baekhyun has tried to get him home with him but he's too shy. 

"I'll be back, okay? We can video call,"

Jongin pecks his lips softly, and they both giggle, and furiously push their lips against one another again.
His friend bumps his nose against his to show his disapproval of his decision to leave.

It's been so long since they last kissed.
Somehow, Jongin always knows him best. He knew physical intimacy was what he's been craving. "Let me go now, I'm really going to miss my bus."

It's weird to be around your parents again after you've been living and getting by just fine on your own, Baekhyun finds out. 
 
It's only 4 days but he wants out. It gets too much, to be bossed around like he's 3 and doesn't know how to breathe on his own. He finds out that he can't turn back now, he's no longer a little boy to be guided by his parents. He must change. That's how he goes back with a new goal. To stop being a pushover.

 

Chapter Text

"Ahhhh, Nini, I'm about to die," Baekhyun sighs dramatically, thrown on his bed with a book on his chest. "Biophysics can suck my dick!" 


They're at his apartment for once, because Jongin likes silence when he's studying, and the dorms don't really provide that. He's so focused that he ends up ignoring Baekhyun all together.


"I'm serious, if we don't stop now I'll go fling myself off the balcony." 


"You won't get the chance if I throw you first,"


Baekhyun came back 2 days ago, and Jongin's been sleeping over since. They're wearing their matching Christmas sweaters, their gifts. Studying for finals. Or trying, on Baekhyun's part. His mind is somewhere else. His plan to change has been successful so far, he thinks. But only because the only person he's been in contact with is Jongin and the takeaway guy. Still, he feels proud for not contacting Chanyeol.


He really wants to. It's been too long and rejection doesn't seem to be in his vocabulary. 

Baekhyun is desperate for Chanyeol's attention at this point, who's only proving how little he cares. But he can't tell this to Jongin. He knows how much this will disappoint him.


"Okay, fine, let's take a small break," 


Baekhyun groans, already searching for his pack of cigarettes. He opens the window above his bed and just sticks his head out, keeping himself up on the bed on his knees. 


"We still have one more week to prepare anyway..."


Jongin chuckles in a strange way, and he asks quite confused, like he doesn't understand him, "You're always studying, what has gotten into you now?"


"Can't I take a break?" He says a little to sharply, Baekhyun feels bad after when he turns to the room to see a still confused Jongin closing his mouth. But he didn't mean to. He just feels like no one understands him. Baekhyun wants to be understood.


"Can you close the window already? It's cold..." Jongin says dejected. 


Baekhyun's heart squeezes in his chest, and he throws the half finished cigarette out the window in an instant. Jongin is the best friend he could ever ask for. Yet he is hiding stuff from him. Baekhyun throws himself on the bed again, with his head aiming for Jongin's lap. He hugs his middle tightly.  "Baby, if I did something... really stupid, would you still stay by my side?"


"Depends how stupid..." His eyes turn suspicious, "What did you you?" 


"I said if I did!" 


Because he's about to fuck it all and go after Chanyeol again. To prove him he's not the annoying kid he thinks he is. Just to get it out and be able to get over Chanyeol. "Is this about Chanyeol?" Jongin is smart, he's keeping his face into his palms so he won't escape his question.


"No, forget it. I was just asking."


"I mean- I would probably kick your ass first, but I'll always be by your side. Just- please don't kill anyone."


That, turns out, was the wrong thing to say. Because Baekhyun's conscience feels light. It works as a go sign for him. Jongin goes to visit Yoora and he goes to visit her brother. 

Chanyeol is the same, working at his desk. He looks surprised to see him here, at first. Then annoyed by his existence.


"Hyung, are you hungry?"


His heart is jumping the longer he looks at Chanyeol silently His heart is jumping the longer he looks at Chanyeol silently chewing, with his frown on. How can Baekhyun find a frown so attractive? 

Chanyeol raises his eyes to look at him once, twice, the third time: "What is it? 

Baekhyun bites his lips, fidgeting under the hard stare. "Hyung, I want you to sleep with me."


Chanyeol chews his food slowly, with a blank expression looking right through him. He's red and boiling from what he just said.  Then Chanyeol finishes, and he bursts out into laughing, "Why? Are you still scared of sleeping alone?" It hurts him too much, him making fun of the childhood fear he once reassured him about, and him making fun of his feelings.

"You know what I mean, Chanyeol." 

"I don't fuck kids," he says, looking at him with indifference. 


"I'm not a kid!" This sentence will haunt him forever, with how often he said it. Chanyeol studies him in silence, with one eyebrow raised, it makes him feel small.


"Baekhyun." He calls out slowly. "I don't know what you're trying to do with this, but just give up already, I'm not a nice guy."

He scolds his expression into a more serious one. "I'm not trying anything. You were right, I didn't really love you, so let's just do it. It doesn't really matter." He hasn't bullshitted this much even on the exams he had no idea what to write about. Truthfully, he believes that if he can crack this hard shell of Chanyeol he'll be able to change him.
He just needs to do this Chanyeol's way. What's a few lies compared to getting what he truly wants, Chanyeol's heart.

"I don't like virgins, go find someone else." 

Another hit. Seems like no matter what, he'll never be what Chanyeol wants. 

"I'm not a virgin," he chuckles, a little strained. Chanyeol scoffs. Then he gets angry. He slams his fist on the table when he gets up.

"Kid, I basically raised you up, what the fuck is going on through that thick head of yours?!"


Baekhyun flinches, his first instinct is to draw back. After Chanyeol observes this, he calms down. "Go to someone else Baekhyun, I'm not interested." 

Every word coming from Chanyeol is made to hurt him. His heart is slowly but surely ripping in more pieces. He's not interested in him. Not even his body. He's been confident in his body, so far, but now he just wants to hide, because he feels like he's disgusting Chanyeol with the way he looks. Jongin never finds out. If he knew, he'll never hear the end of it. But he's right.Too bad Baekhyun's heart doesn't know humiliation. What's a little more compared to everything he's been put through already?


He goes to join Jongin back at Yoora's apartment, they're chatting on the bed, glasses of wine with them. Yoora seems a little flustered, it's different from how he usually sees her. Jongin is smiling beautifully. Baekhyun gasps, "Byul! Look at you, what a big boy!" He exclaims, letting his presence known with it. He goes to take the chubby baby in his arms. He's wearing the Santa's helper costume he gifted him.


"You should've been here when we dressed him up, he wasn't really pleased to be Santa's helper," Jongin says, laughing with Yoora. 


Baekhyun pinches his nephew full cheeks, rolling his eyes down at the baby, "Don't listen to them Byullie, you're a good boy, right? Yes!" They talk, and laugh, and eat together, Yoora shows them what changes she did to the apartment.

But in reality, Baekhyun can't wait to get back home. The moment he does, he strips himself of his clothes and rushes to the mirror. What's so wrong with his body? What could be so wrong that Chanyeol doesn't even want it? He turns around, studying every part of him. His skin turned too white once the cold came, it makes his fat stand out. His fingers trail on his stomach, where his baby fat still is. He wants to lose weight. 


Looking down, his hips are too curvy and he's too short for it, it just makes him look chubbier. Baekhyun catches a sob in his throat. It isn't that visible with his clothes on, why did he let Chanyeol see him without them all those times in the past?  What if Chanyeol doesn't want chubby? All the people he's seen him with were looking better than he'll ever be.
Then, he turns around. His ass is rosy from the cold outside. With trembling fingers, he grabs his cheeks. His ass is too small. Baekhyun makes a mental note to start doing squats.
He can't look at himself anymore, he wants to hide.
He ends up crying because of his small ass. Then when he's done, he spends the rest of the day ashamed of the way he's acted.

 

///////

 


They find each other again. 

Or Baekhyun does.

It started as laying on Jongin's bed, then someone came in the room to get Jongin to drink with them. Then somehow, they moved to a bigger party, at someone's house. Their initial plan was to study. Jongin sticks to him, until he's pulled away for a round of beer pong.  He stays behind him to cheer him on. Jongin hugs him too much, every time he scores, and it reminds him, he wants to be held, but not by his friend.


So he disappears, when Jongin has his back turned to him again. 


Maybe he's had too much to drink. Everyone knows him here and he just has to walk past them for them to handle him their drink for a sip. His destination is clear, only if his legs worked properly. Too many hands touch him while he wobbles his way around the crowd.

Chanyeol is on the stairs with a group of people, laughing loudly.  "Hyung." Eyes turn to him, but he tries to stay focused. 


"Are you drunk?" Chanyeol asks, voice as cold as ever, everyone watches with interest, because no one has gotten a reaction like this from him before. Chanyeol is calm and silent, you have to read his reactions out of him because he never bothers to truly show what's going on. He could love you or hate you, he'd still stare through you like he doesn't care.
But now he's clenching his jaw when Baekhyun sits on his lap, and his irritation is visible.


"Can you take me home, hyung?" Baekhyun says, he's not that drunk but he slurs for the credibility. He can cling to Chanyeol like this. His heart is racing, it's the first time he does a bold move like this. He stays glued on Chanyeol's lap, pressing down to keep his attention on him. He doesn't even care about the eyes watching them with curiosity.


Chanyeol sits up abruptly, he thinks he'll strangle him there in front of everyone. But he pulls him along without even saying goodbye. He skips after Chanyeol without a sound, he's being dragged outside.

The cold air hits him and he has no time to register his surroundings, a hand on his neck slams him against the garage door. His eyes grow so big they're about to fall out. Out of air, his hands fly to his throat to feel it. He's choking, the crisp air makes his cough worse.  "H-hyung..." 


Chanyeol's eyes are hateful, it's like he's not even listening to him, one hand of his is in the air again. Baekhyun makes himself small, curled against the door with a whimper.  Chanyeol snaps out of it with a huff, "What's your problem?" 


"I-i- just wanted y-you to-" 


"Speak properly!" Chanyeol barks in his face. He'd be crying if he wasn't so shocked.


"J-jongin, please take m-me to-"


Chanyeol laughs, mocking him, "Thought you wanted to go home? Why didn't you stay with Jongin then?" 


Baekhyun begins crying silently. He never thought his hyung would hurt him, but here he is, his head is ringing from the hit. 


"Stop crying!" 


"I'm s-sorry,"


"What happened, aren't you going to ask me to fuck you?" 


Another whimper. 


"God, you're so stubborn." Chanyeol spits. He waits for Baekhyun to meet his eyes, but he's too scared. The man is towering over him.


"I just...wanna go home," 

"Baekhyun!" A third voice cuts through the heavy atmosphere around them. Chanyeol steps back. "Here you are, what-" Jongin stops after he comes running. His expression falls, eyes trailing from Baekhyun's wet face, to Chanyeol's murderous face. He then stops on Baekhyun's red neck. 


"What did you do to him?" Jongin rarely gets angry, but now he's straightening himself, voice dropping to a scratch. Baekhyun reacts before Jongin can touch Chanyeol, who's feigning indifference again.
He jumps in front of him, to take a hold of his hands. 


"Nini, no, let's go home."


Jongin softly tugs on his hands, still sending daggers Chanyeol's way. The man stays silent as if on purpose, his mission is to anger Jongin more. 

"Look at you, you look frightened! What the fuck did you do to him?!" He address Chanyeol again. 

"Nothing he didn't want to." He simply puts it, Jongin darts at him forcefully, Baekhyun tries hard to keep him back. 


"Please...let's just go..."


He's still shaking when they arrive at his apartment. Jongin hasn't said a word, but he hasn't let go of his hand either. This is how Jongin reacts to getting mad. He stays silent and distant until it passes, then he will talk it out with a clearer mind. 

"You're shivering, let's take a hot shower." He says, pulling along a wide-eyed Baekhyun. 


"Come in with me, you're cold too."


His clouded brain all sobered up from all that happened, he still clings to Jongin though, his limbs are failing him. Instead of a shower, they decided a bath would be better. So here they are, with Baekhyun held against Jongin's chest, sitting between his legs. "What happened?" Jongin cradles the strands of hair falling on his face back. 

"Nothing...we just fought," he doesn't want Jongin to know, because he feels he wouldn't understand. 

"And what did he do to you?" His hard chest his slowly going up and down, then Baekhyun feels the movement getting faster, with Jongin's anger. 


"Nothing, we were just talking," 


Jongin exhales loudly, he pulls him up a little because he keeps slipping in the water, "Bibi, you have bruises on your neck...what really happened?"


"I told him something and it upset him," 


"And that gives him the right to choke you? Fucking hell Baekhyun! Why aren't you over this asshole yet?"


"I..." He trails off, because he doesn't know either, at this point. All that he knows is that Chanyeol is the only one he wants.  But it hurts too much. His caring hyung, who gave all his bruises kisses in the past, is now the one who put them on his body.


But Chanyeol was raised in hate. It's normal that anger is all he has to give. Baekhyun was raised in love, and he's ready to share it with Chanyeol too. 

"I'm finally in love, why is it so hard? It shouldn't be so hard, right?" He turns around with a frown, water splashes all around. Baekhyun is basically sitting in his bare lap now and he's a little flustered. Jongin notices it too, how their members touch, but he goes on still serious.


"I was in love too, you know," he knows too well about his heartbreak, "but she cheated on me, she wasn't good for me so I had to let her go. This isn't an excuse to let people hurt us, babe..." But Chanyeol can be good. He can. Baekhyun knows it. His perseverance has helped him in anything. Getting straight A's and getting into med school. Getting school diplomas as well as art ones.  Anything used to be possible for him, all thanks to his determination. He doesn't say it out loud, Jongin wouldn't understand. He will tell him at the right time. 

"Thank you Nini..." He's very hot and bothered from their close proximity. Usually, they take showers together. Baekhyun feels like the worst human on earth for thinking of his best friend this way.

His forehead drops on Jongin's chest, "M'tired," he mutters, "can you kiss me goodnight?" Jongin takes the time to study him. He gives in to make Baekhyun feel better. Cupping his cheek lightly, he angles his head just a little until he reaches Baekhyun's lips. 

Baekhyun gets hard just from it. He groans, dropping his face on his chest again, "Fuck, I'm sorry."
It just feels good to be appreciated, after he's ripped himself apart in pieces in his head countless of times. Jongin accepting him, it makes him feel content. 

"It happens," Jongin chuckles, a little awkward, "Do you want me to help?" 

Baekhyun's head snaps up again. And, for some time, he's tempted. Enough to start grinding against Jongin's thigh, then he feels guilty.  Jongin is ready to reach out under the water. 
"Nini, no, w-wait, let's...go to bed."


The taller nods, a little surprised. This is all he will allow when it comes to sexual things between them. Jongin doesn't deserve to be used like this. He just gets his good night kiss, but not before Jongin makes him promise he'll stay away from Chanyeol.

 

////////


Finals are a pain in the ass.

 Baekhyun used to love studying, but now he's just left drained by it. By the 4th one, and the second day he haven't seen Jongin, he thinks he will go crazy. Not only that, but the stress is playing with his hormones too. Baekhyun is a promise breaker and a liar, turns out.


He can't get off no matter what. Baekhyun doesn't understand what's this hormonal crisis, he begins to think he's turning into a pervert when sex is the only thing on his mind all day.  Frustrated, he throws his books all around one day. This madness must end.


And it must end with the one that started it. The one playing with his mind, his heart, his hormones. All shame left behind, it couldn't be squeezed in the tight jeans he puts on anyway. Baekhyun hides from Jongin's door again, when conscience hits him. But it's too late. Chanyeol is already holding the door open. 


"Baekhyun." He simply says, even he seems a little surprised.


"Hyung," he lets out a relieved sigh. He's not as brave as before though, when he sees how soft Chanyeol's hair looks. 


"I- came to see how you've been..." He lies and follows Chanyeol around the room. 


He has a photo album on his bed, where they sit. The pages are full of his and his mom's pictures. Suddenly, he doesn't have the heart to ask what he came for. He smiles a little, at Chanyeol who catches him staring at one photo. He closes the album.


"Hyung, do you miss auntie?" He asks without thinking. And Chanyeol is silent. Another thing is on his mind, a memory.

"Chanyeol, why did you anger your father?" 
It's Chanyeol who just received a beating with the kitchen chair because he wasn't home in time to bring him another bottle of beer. The waiting line was too long.
"Go apologize immediately!" 
"But mom, I didn't-"
"If he's angry everyone would be upset! I don't care Chanyeol, you can go say sorry, it will make it better!" 
How would that make his bloody back better, he didn't know. 
"Do you want him to take it out on me again? Do you want your mother sad? You know how he is..." Baekhyun has a whole different reason for Chanyeol's silence in his mind. 

"I'm sure she loved you, Chanyeol..." 

His eyes snap up to his face, "Yeah, but she loved dad more." Baekhyun tilts his head. Chanyeol's dad.
The person that broke Chanyeol's, Yoora's and their mother's heart. It's crazy how one single person can ruin so many lives.


With a shaky, unsure hand, Baekhyun's reaches for Chanyeol's hand to squeeze it.  "I...don't know what to say, I'm sorry," 


"You don't have to say anything," Chanyeol squeezes his hand back, just a little. "I'm sorry- for attacking you, I got angry, and I didn't mean to." Chanyeol's never been allowed to be sad, or show any other feelings. Because it made his mother sad to hear he isn't feeling well. She would always tell him to stop being sad because it also made her feel bad and she didn't like it. So he often had to swallow it up.

For his dad, it just made him angry, because he offered him everything and he couldn't be ungrateful like that. To them, Chanyeol had no emotions, it was the best way. The only thing he's been around all his life was anger. Anger he knew the best. He lives in constant anger, and it sometimes gets too much until he can't hold it back anymore.
Baekhyun ends up being closer to Chanyeol's side. His heart is racing, it's like he's taking advantage of the man's momentary vulnerability.

"It's alright, hyung," 

"It's not Baekhyun. I know it and you should know it too." 


He doesn't like being scolded. His forehead drops until it's resting on Chanyeol's shoulder. Chanyeol is more indulgent than usually. 


"Baekhyun..." He sighs out, seeming tired. He's been caught. 


"Hyung-" 


"Why are you doing this? Why do you want this so bad? Can't you accept I'm not good for you?" The man turns to him fully, waiting for an answer. He really seems tired. So Baekhyun isn't the only one tired by being pushed away. 


"Please, just this once, I don't want anything else, I just-"


Chanyeol's eyes harden again. All the soft tones vanish from his voice, "Fine, take off your clothes."


He can't help the silly gasp, it shouldn't have been this easy. "N-now?" 

Chanyeol raises one eyebrow, already working his pants open. 

He's suddenly shy, but he throws his sweater off with trembling fingers. It's harder for his jeans, because he's being watched and it makes it hard to not be clumsy. Chanyeol grabs him by the hips and pulls him in front of him, tugging down his jeans along with his underwear. Baekhyun shivers from being exposed.


He thinks Chanyeol will kiss him, that would've been the first step in his mind. But he's just pushed on his tummy on the bed. Chanyeol manhandles him like he's a doll. Back to him however he likes. The silence is killing him. He's trembling in Chanyeol's hands, who doesn't seem to care.  And he's also naked and spread in front of him. Baekhyun prays for a response that would ease his worries.
"Hyung-"


Chanyeol pushes his head down on the bed, "Stop talking."


He can't muffle anything else, the grip on the back of his neck is hurting slightly. He feels sick with anticipation as he's listening to every noise Chanyeol makes. When a cold liquid touches him, he jumps, which makes Chanyeol push him down again.


Then one finger pokes inside of him, and he wants to squirm from the uncomfortable feeling. Would Chanyeol get mad if he asked to stop? This doesn't feel like he imagined it. 


If they kissed, it would be better. Only if Baekhyun could turn around. He turns his head around forcefully, looking at the one behind him with fearful eyes, "Hyung, maybe we c-could-" 


Chanyeol grips his hips to keep him in place, "Do you want this or not?" There's not emotion in his voice, while Baekhyun is on the verge of tears out of panic.


When Chanyeol wants to already enter him, he jumps in fear again, "W-wait, wait, can you-" 


Chanyeol groans and shoves him back down in his place, "Shut up," The head only presses in slightly, but enough to breach the tight ring of muscle, and a pain Baekhyun has never felt before spreads through him. 


"Stop!" He jumps, away from Chanyeol's grip, backing up on the bed until he hits the wall. "It h-hurts!" He cries, betrayed, accusing. Chanyeol never meant for it not to hurt. Baekhyun realises and that's how his wailing begins. He takes the pillow to cover himself, curled up in the corner, squeezing his legs hurts. 


"H-hyung, it hurts..." He cries harder.


But Chanyeol never says anything, he just watches, or he could he staring right through him, Baekhyun can't tell the difference.


"It h-hurts..." He keeps repeating, curling more around the pillow.


Chanyeol huffs, the meaning known only to him. He then picks up his underwear and his pack of cigarettes and goes to the balcony, leaving Baekhyun crying inside. Baekhyun doesn't know how much time passes, but he remains hidden on the bed, afraid to move, cries untill he runs out of tears, but Chanyeol still doesn't come back. In the end, he picks his clothes, his dignity, and the most important thing, his heart, up and just runs out the door. Afraid, this time, that Chanyeol would be coming back.

 


He doesn't get to think about it for a while. But his heart is there to remind him he's hurting. With the last finals approaching, he realises how stupid he's been to ignore them. So he panics, he pulls all nighters to finish everything. He doesn't fail.

Then, when it's over, he's left alone with his thoughts. And Jongin later, whom he can't escape anymore. He barely opens the door, when his arms get stuffed by Jongin, who makes himself small in his arms and squeezes the life out of him.


"Bibi, I missed you so much, God..." Baekhyun squeezes back, and just like that, he wants to cry, now that he's back in the comfort of his arms. The taller pulls back a little, to take his face into his palms, and he frowns. 

"What happened?" Baekhyun tries to hide. 


"Babe, have you been crying? Why are you so thin? Is this why you didn't reply to my messages? What-" He gets bombarded by questions but he can't answer any. Once he opens his mouth, only a sob rushes out.


"I'm stupid, I'm so stupid Nini..."  Wordlessly, Jongin walks them back inside. His room is a mess on clothes and books. "Tell me, what's wrong?" Jongin caresses his dirty hair, patiently looking at him. 


"I- slept with Chanyeol- no, I tried to-"


Jongin stops him, "Wait, when did this happen?" 


"Last week..." He sighs, dropping all of his weight in Jongin's arms in bed. "Actually, I've been asking him for a while, but I was afraid to tell you." 
Jongin clenches his jaw. He can see the way hurt crosses his face. 


"And he finally gave in but...it wasn't how I imagined it, he did everything to hurt me,"


Jongin snaps, "What the fuck? Is he a sadist?"


"It doesn't matter anymore...he doesn't care about me." 


Jongin studies his face, his hand comes up to wipe the last set of tears, "You promised..." He's still hurt. Baekhyun has no excuse. "I got what I deserved," he chuckles without humor. Deep down, everything is still aching. He wants to erase Chanyeol from his memory.
Jongin takes a hold of his cheeks again, to make Baekhyun face him, "This isn't true. You didn't deserve this, don't ever tell yourself this, Baekhyun. No one has the right to hurt you." 


Baekhyun sighs. He's been over this in his head already. He asked for it. He asked for it so many times, even if everyone, including Chanyeol warned him. 
He feels guilty now, because Chanyeol was opening up to him while he was pretending to listen only to get the man back to him. He forced his fantasy upon Chanyeol then got mad when he didn't love him the way he wanted. He has different scenarios, of what if, if he said this, if he didn't say that, if he didn't do that. But he's been too eager to be loved, and now he doesn't even want to face Chanyeol. "It doesn't matter anymore, I won't chase after him anymore," with a final sigh, he forces a tiny smile on, "How about you, how was the last exam?" 


Jongin pulls a disgusted face, and they laugh it off.


They watch a movie in bed, it takes a while to settle on something, but in the end they go back to rewatching Beauty and the Beast.  Baekhyun's mind isn't really in it though, he only sings with Jongin.
"I missed your voice," Jongin smooches his cheek, overly excitement in order to annoy him enough to get him to talk. 


"Stop-" Baekhyun whines, it's a success.


"Babe, I think I met someone," Jongin begins after a pause, turning from the TV.


"Hmmm?" Baekhyun's eyebrows rise in interest, he turns to him too. 


"He moved in some days ago...I helped him get all his stuff upstairs." 


"He?" 


"Yes, his name is Kyungsoo,"  Baekhyun grins, fluttering his eyelashes, asking for more. Jongin gets shy, he wants to pinch his cheeks,


"Don't look at me like that! That's all."


Baekhyun coos. "But he keeps smiling at me so I thought that maybe..." He trails off, and Baekhyun laughs at his rosy face. "I trust you to turn any guy gay Nini, you should go for it!"


"Actually- I got his number,"


"See!" Baekhyun exclaims. But then he pauses, something inside him changes. It's this easy for Jongin. He liked someone, he will get them. Why couldn't it be like this for him? He's envious.
And Jongin notices the chance in him, because he continues softer, "Not now, but when you're ready, maybe I could introduce you to someone? I have this friend that really likes you and..."


Baekhyun tunes it out. No one really likes him, or they like him enough to want to fuck him, but that's all. No matter how hard he tries, no one likes him without a motive behind it. For him. There is one person that didn't even want his body. But he doesn't want to think about that. Besides, he can't see himself next to someone. His dilemma still stands. If it's not Chanyeol, he can't imagine himself trying for someone else. He drops his head down on the pillow with a frustrated whine. He wants to ask who is it, but he's also afraid to know. In the end, he just says. "I'm done with boys."

 


////////

 


"Hey, Baekhyun!" He's just trying to make his way back home, but to get back he has to past through the campus, where the dorms also are. It's dark and he has the mind to pretend he's deaf and go on, but the person catches up with him. It's someone Jongin knows, so he knows him too, "How have you been? I haven't seen you in a while," 


Baekhyun chuckles awkwardly, "Well, you know, finals..." 


"Ah, yes, party in my room tonight? Everyone's coming,"


The first thing on his tongue is "yes!" because he always feels so grateful for people thinking of him, it shows him he's not as unimportant as he thought. But then he remembers that this boy has been next to him before, sticking to him and giving him more drinks to try.


"Uh...I'll pass, I have class in the morning," Baekhyun surprises himself. 


"Oh, come on, what are you, a nerd? Don't be a bore! It'll be fun!" 


It's physically tiring for Baekhyun. He wants it to be over. 


"Yes, I actually am."


He feels bad when he gets home. He thinks his reputation is ruined, the guy must be mad at him, everyone must hate him by now. Then, he tries to trace it back. 
In his conservative family, others came first, then came him. It's never been about what would he say, it was what would the neighbors say? What about his teachers, what about strangers in the street? He has to be the best version of himself, because he grew up well, he grew up with everything he could ask for. The others had to know that too. It's so hard to go against what he's been taught. But others never cared if he was miserable, why would they care so much when he was the best?


He starts tidying up his room just to have something to do, that's how he finds a big Christmas sweater and, with a bitter smile, he puts it on. It was supposed to be Chanyeol's, he got one for him too, but it never got to the man, because Baekhyun was too afraid it will get just laughed at.


He misses Chanyeol. He misses something they never had, but he doesn't want to see him at the same time. He's still hurting, but doesn't know what would bring him closure.

 

Chapter Text

A month goes by with them not seeing each other. Baekhyun gets used to the constant regret in his heart, but he still finds himself with the chat between him and Chanyeol open.

For Chanyeol, it takes longer to realise.

Because he's often busy, he likes keeping himself busy. He doesn't take the time to think about things. It's just something that's weighting down on his conscience, from time to time, but that's all he knows, because he doesn't dwell on feelings like he used to. There's someone, or something to keep him occupied almost every time.

But lately, he has one specific pair of shiny eyes in mind whenever he takes a break. Often, they're crying. Baekhyun's crying rings in his ears and he doesn't like it, because it makes it harder to stand himself.

The child he swore to protect like his own little brother in the past, he hurt him the most. He acted like the one he's tried to get away from all his life.

His mother was right.

But Baekhyun is young, young and curious, he can't be tied up to someone like Chanyeol like he keeps insisting. He doesn't know what he wants.  Chanyeol isn't one for relationships either, he'll find 10 reason to stay away before it even starts.

For him, romance brings no excitement, because he knows that no matter what, he'll never be what the other wants. It's just another burden.

Chanyeol loves hurting people. He loves hurting girls. Gaining their trust slowly, pretending to be the perfect dream, finding out everything that can be turned against them, then crushing them. He loves the thrill it gives him, how he has the power to play with feelings like that. And how they're stupid enough to let him.

But he never played with Baekhyun. He never pretended to be anything. He never intended to hurt him. And yes, he'd seen that scene before. But with Baekhyun, he can't get over his frail form shaking on his bed, begging to be listened to.

Baekhyun had tried to turn himself into another quick fuck, but Chanyeol can't accept that and move on.

A few days later, he realises that he can't get over this just with feeling bad about it. Baekhyun deserves more. He just hopes that the boy won't get the wrong idea, again.

 

//////

 

Baekhyun got introduced to Kyungsoo shortly after. Him being the best friend Jongin talked about so much, it was only normal that the new boy asked to be introduced to Baekhyun after the second date. Baekhyun likes Kyungsoo, although him and Jongin are nearly opposites. It took a while for the third member of their small circle to warm up to him, but although quiet, he never acted like he disliked Baekhyun. He just stood calmly, and Baekhyun waited until the boy came to him on his own.

They're smiling and teasing each other now. Cracking jokes together. Attacking poor Jongin together. Kyungsoo reminds Baekhyun of another quiet, calm person, somehow.

The three of them are watching a movie at Baekhyun's place, and he's just a little envious of how cuddly they are. It used to be Baekhyun in Jongin's arms, being cradled like he's something precious.

He could be doing that right now too, because both boys opene their arms to him, but it doesn't feel like he belongs there.

Baekhyun is lonely.

His phone vibrates in his hand, he's been ignoring messages for a while. But this, he can't ignore.  His eyes grow big with surprise, but he scolds himself before Jongin sees. It's not like he wants to hide, but his friend has become overly protective, he'll scold Baekhyun to the moon and back just for unblocking Chanyeol's number.

-How are you? Chanyeol asks him. It's so not like him, Baekhyun takes minutes to think of something to say.

At first, he doesn't want to reply. His hurt pride, but also his shame, are screaming at him to stop. Then he doesn't want to answer because Jongin is eyeing him. But in the end he still does. His heart has missed Chanyeol, it's racing painfully.

- Watching a movie with Jongin, hbu?  He feels lighter after this.

- Finished working. How did your finals go?

Finals happened a long time ago. But they haven't talked since. Chanyeol is trying, and it feels nice enough.

- I got to keep my scholarship (≧▽≦)

"Who's making you grin like this?" Kyungsoo nudges him.

"Eh.. Sehun," He lies without thinking. Sehun is the friend Jongin wanted to introduce him to, but although the boy is nice, and they laughed lots together, when Sehun wanted to kiss him goodnight he didn't see a future for them together.

They continue talking through texts, not daily, but something close to it. Mostly at night. Baekhyun knows how Chanyeol spends his nights, but the man still manages to text him.

Nothing important, small updates of what goes on through their day. Despite it, they don't see each other. So much time passes, Baekhyun wonders how it will happen. But he's also scared of the bubble he kept himself in popping.

It's spring break and Baekhyun finally goes to a party. Deep down he's excited for it, he got used to the loud music, wasted faces. He missed drinking with a purpose. Kyungsoo doesn't like dancing, he and Jongin do, so they dance together while Kyung pulls disgusted faces at the both of them.

He missed laughing like this, with the alcohol pumping in his veins. But the two lovebirds get too handsy with each other and that's Baekhyun signal for getting away. He doesn't want to stand between Jongin's long awaited sexual release. His friend has been complaining about how they still had to get to that point, because Kyungsoo is still shy and not sure that Jongin would stay with him after it.

As if. Nini is head over heels already.

At least it gave him comfort, that he wasn't the only one who wasn't getting any. But now, turns out, he will be. The two disappear before he gets back with another drink.

Baekhyun sighs, lonely again.

After some time, he misses being lonely.

Tonight, Baekhyun finally finds the one that started all the rumours about him. And it surprises him, because it's someone he turned down after one date. He finds the boy on the dancefloor, where he's talking to a classmate he found. Hands rest on his waist when he least expects it. But what hurts the most is his classmate's reaction. He just backs down, leaves without a word.

Like this is something normal and expected of Baekhyun, like this is what he does.

The hands grip his waist, and keep him in place at the same time, he wants to turn around and see who made him jump so hard.

"Want to get out of here?" Someone slurs in his ear.

Baekhyun covers the hands leaving bruises on his skin with his, gently, he gets the other to let go like this, so he can turn around.  "Here, I brought you a drink," just like that, a cup is being placed on his lips. Baekhyun steps back, wordless. He's trying to remember him.

He's tugged back, "Aw, come on, I've got a nice place to show you," with a suggestive grin, his hands travel down Baekhyun's back. Then it clicks. They went to the movies once. This guy tried to touch him in the dark, and Baekhyun told him how much he reminds him of his old best friend. He even asked him if they could be good friends, because he seemed like a nice guy. Such bullshit.

Baekhyun jumps back again, with a clearer mind, "Excuse me?"

"I will excuse you, if you do something for me in return," a wink is sent his way. The boy is trying to take him away, but Baekhyun is having none of it.

Jinyoung said this was the one who started it.

"What the fuck do you want?"

"No need to play stupid, you know what I want,"

Some heads turn their way.  Baekhyun wants to strangle him. Because of this guy, he still gets catcalled, in front of his teachers too. Because of him, he sometimes finds condoms under the desk he uses. Because of him everyone thinks they can get a turn with him after only one smile.

"Please leave me alone," Baekhyun begins, he wants to turn around and leave. The eyes on him are making him feel small. He hates confrontation.

"Come on, no need to be such a bitch, we both know what a good time we had last time,"

Some laugh. Baekhyun wants to run and cry, but he doesn't.

People think of him as some kind of bitch in heath anyway. He crosses his arms, and, getting over his first stutter, he says, "You call those 2 minutes a good time? It's clear you don't have anything else to compare it to." He even smirks. A tall person telling him to stop letting people walk all over him in his mind.

"What-"

"I call it a waste of time." People laugh louder at this. Baekhyun feels like he won.

"What? You know how to talk back?"  He wants to shrink on himself because he doesn't like being shouted at, but he doesn't. "You know what, you might be pretty but you're not worth it," the other scoffs, "Slut."

Baekhyun is on the verge of tears, thank God it's dark and he just seems pissed, "Insulting me won't make your dick grow bigger, stop wasting my time." He leaves for good this time. He had the last word in it.

The adrenaline is still pumping in his veins, he gets out with his head raised high. But something is nudging at him, deep inside, it's telling him that he should feel bad for making such a scene and turning all attention on him.

He takes his phone out, still in the parking lot, he stopped for a smoke.  No text from Chanyeol.  He doesn't know why, but it gives him comfort, the way they're talking now. Surprisingly, he doesn't want to push for more. His dignity won't let him anymore either. He kind of expected Chanyeol to be here too. He's where the party is, but he hasn't seen him so far.

He doesn't want to go back home yet, it feels too lonely, but he has nowhere else to go. It's still early, not even past midnight. Baekhyun gets an idea. He hopes Yoora won't mind him so late.

He knocks at the door a few times, but softly. He doesn't ring the bell because Byul doesn't like being woken up.  Yoora texted him that she's still up, so he takes out the spare key he's been given and enters like it's his home.

He goes all the way to the bedroom, from where soft voices are echoing. Yoora is on the bed, all attention on the TV.

Baekhyun can't help but gasp softly. On the bed, rocking Byul softly on his legs there's also Chanyeol. They're both watching Disney Channel. And they seem to be enjoying it. Enjoying each other's presence.

Baekhyun doesn't want to interrupt. He feels like an intruder again. Lately, everywhere he goes, it seems to be no place left for him too. He steps into the room almost shyly, Chanyeol is the first to rise his eyes.

A long pause follows. Baekhyun ceases his movement.  This is the first time they're seeing each other in what feels like forever.  Baekhyun's heart is trashing in his chest again.

Chanyeol gets over it first, he acknowledges Baekhyun with a head tilt, then goes back to Byul, to arrange the baby blue blanket covering him. It had nothing to fix, though, in Baekhyun's opinion.

Yoora finally forces her eyes off the tv screen. "You're here!" She whispers with a smile. Wordlessly, Baekhyun sheds his coat and his annoying, scratchy socks, and gets on the bed carefully, not to move Byul. Yoora makes space between her and Chanyeol, still wanting to put distance between her and her brother. They were perfectly fine minutes ago.

With a overhelming grip on his throat and eyes hiding, Baekhyun sits. He doesn't know what to say, Chanyeol feels like he's avoiding him too. He rises the sleeping baby from the pillow placed on his legs and holds him close, to his chest, placing smooches on both his cheeks while he rocks him.

Baekhyun melts. This is a side of Chanyeol he'll never get tired of seeing. Yoora rests her head on his shoulder with a sigh. No one talks much, but Disney is on and the atmosphere is homely. He feels like he belongs.

Baekhyun doesn't know, but the two siblings also get that feeling. It hits them harder, because that's all they've been searching for. Baekhyun gets a memory. Cuddled up like this, with Yoora almost sleeping on his chest and him slipping more and more into Chanyeol's side, he remembers them like this.

Or maybe, it's wasn't exactly like this. He was on Chanyeol's lap, 8 and clinging to him. Yoora was resting on Chanyeol's legs. They both had a mini fight for a place on Chanyeol, who had long hair and asked them to braid it for him. Baekhyun had won, of course, and he was proudly showing Yoora how good he could braid his side of hair. His hyung was the prettiest. They were also watching cartoons then.

Baekhyun is playing in Yoora's hair. He also wants to reach out and grab Chanyeol's hand, but he doesn't.

Vaguely, he remembers the day when he saw Chanyeol from his window. With a bruised cheek and unevenly cut hair. His pretty hair wasn't the same.

With tiny, tiny movements, his fingers stretch out first. His pinky touches rough skin, the hand not holding Byul. And he curls all his fingers around it, Chanyeol's pointer finger is enough for all of his. He holds tightly.

Yoora is the first to fall asleep, completely in his arms now. Then he slips into a peaceful state slowly, with Chanyeol playing with his hand.

He sleeps like a baby, isn't even bothered by Chanyeol moving around until late at night, he's left in care of Byul.  And, in the morning, he's the last to wake up too. He really missed feeling like this.

Chanyeol and Yoora are both in the kitchen already, each busy doing something else.

Byul seems to like Chanyeol more at this point, because the man does everything from changing him to putting him back to sleep. Or was it Chanyeol that's always loved kids more than Yoora? His added presence brings them together, the siblings weren't talking.

"Oh, morning, coffee?" Yoora asks, already with a cup in her hand.

Chanyeol also greets him. It's so awkward between them, Baekhyun can't meet his eyes still. But he wouldn't be in any other place right now.

Will they talk about what happened? Will they go on like it never happened?

Baekhyun can't, he's so ashamed of the way Chanyeol has seen him, or touched him. Long ago, he used to say that he'll only get intimate with the one he trusts, after they built something to assure him enough that the other will stay. But since Chanyeol came, he broke plenty of his rules already.

He wants to talk, but won't initiate it. He still feels like the worst person with the confrontation from last night in his mind again. Baekhyun can't do this again. He just wants to feel like the good boy again.

"What's got you thinking so hard?" Yoora pinches his scrunched forehead, she somehow appeared next to him and Chanyeol.

"Books." He says without thinking.

"Huh?"

"Books...a- I still need to buy some books for the new semester,"

"Oh, but you can already fill an entire room with the ones you have," The girl jokes.

"Med life...I was thinking, do you wanna come with me?"

The girl sighs, swirling the last bits of coffee remaining in her cup. One hand reaches to take Byul's tiny one in hers, the baby is so quiet, he seems to be enjoying his uncle's presence.

"I can't, Byul is a little sick and we can't leave the house yet," Baekhyun nods with an assuring smile. His mouth spoke ahead of him anyway

"I can go, if you want," He's startled by the deep, distinctive voice speaking up for the first time. To him, it looked like Chanyeol wasn't even listening. He wants. He wants the harmony they had through texting to materialize, for things to go back to normal. But around Chanyeol, he just can't seem to be himself, do it right.

"Sure," he says, a little unsure, half his mouth feels stuffed, "we need to go to my place first because I have to change and take the list of books." Because he came straight from a party, the outfit he came with isn't exactly fit for a Library. Too tight, his mesh top too revealing. He needs to wash his face too, he fell asleep with the little makeup he had on and it must be all smeared now. Good thing for him that he didn't get to look in the mirror. The Park siblings aren't that lucky.

"Mhm."

They eat, and spend a few hours just laying around, until it's finally time to leave. Outside, something thick clogges up both their throats, with it their ability to speak is gone.  Chanyeol gives him his light jacket to cover himself with, and that's how the ice breaks. Baekhyun is still afraid that they'll run out of things to talk about.

"How was the party?" Chanyeol fishes out his pack of cigarettes. Yoora doesn't have a balcony and they won't smoke around Byul.

"I got ditched by Jongin and his boyfriend," Baekhyun chuckles. God, he sounds awkward.

"Well, couldn't you find company?"

Baekhyun remains silent for a little while. Then, with the most solemn voice he could summon, "I don't want company."

Chanyeol nods, he's more focused on his face, pensive.

After Baekhyun closes the door, he remains silent for a while, just following after, then his feet stomp to a stop. "Little bird, we need to talk," he says slowly, for every word to echo in the empty apartment. He's scared to turn around and go to where Chanyeol stopped, but he doubts they can have a discussion with his head hidden between anatomy books.

He can do better than this, "Yeah..."

Chanyeol makes himself at home on his bed, spreads his legs comfortably, while he's still fidgeting , standing.  "Relax, I'm not planning to kill you," Although he's joking, his tone remains serious, because he goes straight to his point after, "I want to apologize,"

His heart is slamming against his chest, it's painful, because he doesn't know how to accept this.

"Not because I want you to forgive me and go on like nothing happened, but because I'm- really regretting it. I never meant to hurt you,"

Baekhyun nods, a little out of breath, he sits down next to him.

"You're like my little brother, I just wanted you to understand- that- things aren't always the way you see them," Chanyeol lists everything slowly, and he doesn't try to stop him. He's struggling in expressing himself, with pauses and cuts of words, Baekhyun wants to cut him off and assure him everything is fine just to spare him the trouble, but he doesn't.

"I know I've got a short temper, I'm really trying to hold it in but you..." He shakes his head, a little sardonic smile on his lips.

But him what? Baekhyun is still hurt over the little brother part. "Hyung," he calls out softly, to assure a Chanyeol who's picking at his fingers.

"Little bird, I can't offer you anything but a friendship, if you still want that, anything else, I'm not the right person for it, you should know it by now."

Oh, he knows. He knows that he gets the closest to being affectionate only when Byul is around. That's the only time his eyes go soft.

Unfortunately, Baekhyun is not a baby.

But he's a lonely boy, when everyone around him is getting their happy ending, he'll take the closest option to it if it means he gets to taste of what others have, just a little.

"Sure, didn't you promise we'll always be friends?" Baekhyun teases, in a childish voice. They've been friends before, he can do it now too.  Friends sounds good, it doesn't sound like he's the annoying little kid that won't let go of Chanyeol's leg, giving the other no choice.

 

 

/////

 

Early flowers are blooming and Baekhyun doesn't like flowers, because they give him the worst allergies. But Chanyeol laughs, and he rarely laughs, so it's good. They even take pictures together, with Baekhyun turned Rudolph.

Baekhyun teleports into another world as soon as he steps inside the library. He stops talking, with a more serious face now, he's ready. The boy loves books. He almost jumps around, picking even 5 books at a time to take them back to the spot Chanyeol took for them. This is a big library, Baekhyun always comes here because they have small armchairs hidden between shelves, he gets to hide and read anything they have for hours.

Chanyeol didn't know what he got himself into. But he finds out soon, when Baekhyun plops one long finger down the lines and follows it at the speed of light, turning page after page without lifting his head for a second to acknowledge him.

The man doesn't have anything to say anyway, so he turns to Baekhyun, a little comically on the too small armchair, crosses his arms in front of his chest and, with a  little head tilt, he finds the shelf behind his head and just look ahead, straight at a focused Baekhyun.

The boy moves his nose sometimes, in some parts, very much like a bunny would do. After it gets too much, Chanyeol chuckles shortly.  Baekhyun's head snaps up, "What?" He asks a little confused.

"Weren't we here to buy med books?"

"O-oh- yes but-" caught, he tries to give a reason good enough for Chanyeol to remain here with him.

"It's okay, just asking." Without another word, he gets up from the creaky seat and disappears for a while.

Baekhyun is scared that he left for good, with no reason to stay here anymore. But he comes back holding a book for himself.  Still wordless, he retakes his place and like that, they spend the day in one of Baekhyun's favourite places, doing what he used to love the most.

After Chanyeol drops him off, he squeaks so hard he's afraid that the man would hear him all the way back to the dorms. Baekhyun is happy, rolling around in bed, kicking his legs in the air because he can't contain his excitement. It wasn't much, but surprisingly, he doesn't find himself wanting more. As long as Chanyeol is by his side, it's good no matter what.

He whishes he could help the man though, he feels how hard Chanyeol is on himself, it feels like he'd do anything just to make himself feel bad.

But again, Baekhyun isn't far. He doesn't think he deserves it, he isn't trying to make himself miserable, but it turns out just the same.

Byul is growing up, and they spend more time together, taking care of him. It allows Baekhyun to see his favourite side of Chanyeol. He's a chubby boy for his age, and there's nothing more he enjoys than crawling around, squeaking when Chanyeol pretends to chase him.  So far, nothing withing his reach has remained in its place and, although Yoora is far from pleased and Baekhyun just wants the noise to stop,

Chanyeol looks at the little version of him like he's the best thing to ever happen in the world. At this point, Baekhyun doubts that the boy would go back to his mother willingly.

He's in charge of Byul's bedtime stories, or daytime, because like him, the young boy seems to like holding book's pages into his chubby hands. Sometimes, he'd bring or point to what he wants to hear himself. His mother gets more time for herself, she trusts Chanyeol with Byul.

And lately, the man has something changed in him. The little boy seems to clear away the rage in his eyes, the irritation between his brows. Watching Chanyeol smooch Byul's cheeks clean, he wonders if Chanyeol ever had his cheeks kissed this way.

In his mind, he plans to be the one to do it, if he ever gets the chance in the future.

////

They're having a small dinner in Chanyeol's dorm room. Yoora came to visit with Byul, Baekhyun was already in Jongin's room, and now, accompanied by Kyungsoo who came to contribute with food, they're all sitting around the small table. It was hard to convince Jongin to come, he still remembers the moment he found Chanyeol with his hands around Baekhyun's neck.

The first time Baekhyun confessed that the one he's been talking to wasn't Sehun, but Chanyeol, Jongin fell into silence, upset. But Yoora came to ask him too, Jongin could barely resist the sweet baby in her arms, then Kyungsoo happened to come by and, when he heard about Chanyeol he convinced Jongin to go with him, because Kyungsoo and the man both have the same major and the taller has helped him a few times in the past.

Baekhyun, having obtained Jongin's trust again, won't leave his side now, he's plopped on his lap, clinging to his neck. He still feels bad.

Baekhyun is very grateful for Kyungsoo and how understanding he is. If it were for anyone else, Baekhyun wouldn't even be able to tell Jongin how much he loves him normally. He remembers the boy's ex girlfriend, who's been so jealous of Baekhyun that she deleted his number from Jongin's phone and blocked him everywhere in secret.

Kyungsoo doesn't seem to mind. Even if he did at first, he never said anything.  He's busy playing with Byul now. Both him and Jongin love kids.

They have drinks too, this feels like a very, very late Christmas dinner, with the ones Baekhyun cherishes. He's happy, not so lonely anymore. Even Chanyeol, who's barely speaking has a pink, content flush to his cheeks.

"Do you remember when I had the biggest crush on you?" Yoora asks, laughing, when it's her turn to bring back a memory to the game they're playing. Chanyeol left to change Byul in the bathroom.

His eyebrows twitch in confusion, Jongin laughs in his ear, tickling him "You did?"

Yoora almost hits her forehead in disbelief, "You never noticed? Dude, I followed you around all the time!"

Baekhyun flushes under the attention, "I thought..." He trails off. No, he didn't know.

"How about you?" Kyungsoo asks, nudging a red Baekhyun with his stretched leg. Him and Jongin are really becoming one. Nini thought him well.

But Yoora responds for him, after one glance at the closed bathroom door, "It's always been my brother, right?"

"Can we not talk about that..." He says with crimson cheeks, suddenly feeling the need for a more stronger drink than the one they're having, or a cigarette.

He thinks about it a lot though. The thoughts bounce around in his head, back and fourth, his own heart is as confusing to him as to everyone else around him. Despite everything, he still wants Chanyeol, in any way he can, just to keep close to the man.  And he doesn't know why, when Chanyeol himself is against it. Baekhyun is against it, in his head, but his heart wants what it wants.

And really, it might only be because Chanyeol was present during the times when everything was easier. Back then, there wasn't a day that he remembers being sad, when now, sad is all that he knows. It's never ending. Forced to grow up and leave all the silly things behind now, Baekhyun wants to hold onto the person that takes him back in time.

It's quite simple, he doesn't want to let go of his childhood yet. He wants to run away from the present. Seeing Chanyeol takes him back to the time when he was 14 and his hyung protected him from the world.

But, who cares if he isn't willing to change and move on, no one waits for Baekhyun. Everything moves too fast and he's left feeling empty.

At the same time, he wants this Chanyeol too. Bad as he is, Baekhyun's mind is set on something and it won't move on. Baekhyun is realising too many things too late, even if he's just a kid in the man's eyes, he wants to make Chanyeol happy forever, to make up for all their younger years.

So, when the topic is brought up by Jongin again one night, he tries to balance everything in his head. "You still love him? After everything?"

Baekhyun's throat is blocked by something. Jongin has him in his arms in his room, they were just cuddling, when his roommates came back with around 5 more people, enough to stuff the room full, and turned some music on.

No one is really paying attention to them, so Jongin goes on with the discussion. Baekhyun finds it the worst place to do so. "Please don't get mad at me..." He whispers in his neck where he's hidden from everyone in the room, Jongin just squeezes him. Maybe it's easier to do this when they aren't looking into each other's eyes.

"I don't know why, Nini, I just want to make him happy..."

Jongin can't answer again, a voice comes closer to their bed, "Jong, is he sleeping?" It's his other roommate, the one he likes more than Mingi. Baekhyun raises his head to shake it.

A grin flashes in front of them, "Then get up and drink with us, it's still too early to sleep!"

Jongin rolls his eyes and takes the shot offered to him. He misses Kyungsoo who's away to visit his parents.

One shot never means one shot. And five people turn into so many, coming and going through the open door that Baekhyun can't count them anymore. He's a bit tipsy too, maybe that's why.

Baekhyun's out in the hallway, on the floor, smoking in a used beer can, with Hyejin who lives two doors down, that came out because she couldn't sleep because of the music. They're talking about everything and nothing at all. Then Baekhyun pauses, Chanyeol finally comes too. He comes straight from outside, in gym shorts, it looks like he came back from running.

The man stops to wave at him, Baekhyun's spirits all high again from it, then he steps into the room. Loud cheers enter Baekhyun's ears.

He doesn't know how to go inside faster without seeming too obvious. Hyejin comes with the idea and he's relieved. Back inside, Baekhyun skips to Jongin who's sitting on the ground with a group of people. Chanyeol is drinking with them too.

Baekhyun doesn't like beer pong. Holding a scalpel all the time, people would think that he'd be the first to shoot the damned ball in. But no, holding a knife is one and throwing with precision is another. He gets Jongin drunk like this, because the boy insists on playing with him. Two rounds and Nini is picking up his phone, running outside, or wobbling, to call Kyungsoo because he can't take the distance anymore.

Baekhyun is truly a disaster at this. But Chanyeol still pulls him next to him by the hand when it's time to form his team.

"Baekhyun!" Chanyeol groans when he misses his turn for the fourth time. He doesn't want to wear it, he's already flustered and warm from the embarrassment and all the drinks. "Where are those surgeon's hands?" The man teases, elbowing his side.

"I can't do this," He groans back.

"Wait a bit," Chanyeol says to their opponents, then moves behind Baekhyun to place one hand on his waist. Baekhyun jumps a little, his brain is a little slow with the processing. The hand straightens his posture, arranging him in place, then Chanyeol's other hand takes a hold of his arm to lift it, slipping down until his palm is covering Baekhyun's wrist.

"Relax your hand," Chanyeol instructs close to his ear. He's right handed and Chanyeol is not, the man has to tower over him a little more to reach comfortably.

Chanyeol is so close, he can smell his sweat, the outcome of his jogging, the smoke on his clothes, his natural smell. It's no use in it, Jongin's tried to teach him before. Plus, how can he can't relax like this.

"Your hand is too stiff, that's why you never get it right," Chanyeol continues.

He can't focus whenever it's his turn, he feels all the eyes on him, his brain is telling they're waiting for him to mess up. Now too. He feels judged by everyone around for being this close to Chanyeol.

"But everyone's looking at me and..."

Chanyeol chuckles, "Don't pay attention to anyone. It's just us two, alright? Think we're the only ones playing." The man waits for him to nod.

"Let me guide you," he adds, Baekhyun's wrist is loose, his hand covered by Chanyeol's.  The ball goes into the cup. And Baekhyun squeaks. Jumping to face Chanyeol, he clings to the taller's neck, feet swept off the ground, "I did it! I did it! Hyung! I did it!"

Chanyeol laughs loudly, pats his back, "Yes, yes,"

Of course, they lose. But Baekhyun's still proud of his small victory. Chanyeol is too. He's smiling a lot tonight.

He stops clinging to Chanyeol later, when he feels it's getting annoying for the man. They drank together, went for a smoke together, then it felt too much. Baekhyun is afraid Chanyeol would snap any moment now and they'll go back to the start.

Jongin is still missing, so he goes to the boy's friends, now his friends too.

Some time after, Chanyeol and Hyejin leave together. Baekhyun feels betrayed by both. And it's not that bad, until Chanyeol's friends make his heart burn with their catcalls and whistles after them.

They're way too drunk and loud, shouting after Hyejin in particular, telling her how Chanyeol's going to fuck her so hard she'll run away crying. Then they recall other girls Chanyeol has gotten crying, like it's the funniest thing. Baekhyun knows all of them.

Chanyeol is about to make Baekhyun cry too.

No, it's his own stupidity, actually. He's about to snap at anyone breathing too close to him, but he remembers he was the one to initiate the conversation. His mood changed though, he can't wait for his chance to slip away.

And when he gets it, he's determined to just go find Jongin and steal him away.  He doesn't get to the door when someone shouts over the music. Baekhyun figures it's him he's talking, slowly.

"Hey you! Hello, I'm talking to you! Shortie! Puppy! Bitch!" The last one gets his attention, he turns, with a wide smile, twitching. "Yes you, be a good boy and give me my phone, it's on the table in front of you,"

Baekhyun eyes the phone, the boy shouts at him to hurry. He wants he kill him right on the spot. Baekhyun swears he'd kill him if he could.

But he picks the phone up, still smiling so obvious when he approaches, the other has his hand stretched out. Baekhyun let's it fall from his palm for a second, the boy whose name he doesn't know curls his palm to catch it, then Baekhyun's grip on the mobile tightens right back and he throws it to the other side of the room.

He leaves with a grin, deep inside he wants to curl into a ball and cry. But Jongin first.

Too bad he can't find him anywhere. He goes back defeated, ready to go home. But he passes by Chanyeol's door and he stops. The door isn't fully closed.

That's not what makes him open it fully though, it's the light snoring inside. It's pitch black, Baekhyun turns on the desk light by memory, and there he finds Chanyeol. The man is passed out at the end of the bed, just his upper body on it, legs on the floor, in an uncomfortable position. He has his shorts pulled down past his knees, but they stop there, and his sneakers still on.

Baekhyun can't hold back his chuckle. A relieved one. All the anger inside him dissipates.

"Hyung..." He whispers to himself, kneeling to pull the tangled shorts all the way off. Chanyeol looks very vulnerable like this. He looks very human, someone Baekhyun can get.

Baekhyun doesn't know how to pull him up, so he remains at his feet, to sort that out first.  He works the laces open, holding his breath with every movement because Chanyeol keeps moving in his sleep.

When he pulls one of his shoes off, he speaks too, "Stop...no..."

Baekhyun almost gets a kick in the face, he’s quick to avoid it, just when Chanyeol begins to trash on the bed.  It gets the younger worried. He softly touches Chanyeol's shoulder, "Hyung, it's me..."

He patiently waits for Chanyeol's eyes to clear and focus on him, the man still wants to break free from his grip, but Baekhyun remains with his face above his head, blinking down. Chanyeol stops.

"Baekhyun...?"

"Yes, it's me," He smiles down at the confused male. Still clearly lost, he regains his composure quickly, crawling up on the bed, he makes room for Baekhyun too, "What are you- do you want to sleep here?" But Baekhyun's seen through him, he's still grinning, a little mischievously. "Wait, you still have one shoe on," He goes back to his foot, Chanyeol lets out a strangled, embarrassed noise.

"Hyung, why did you leave so suddenly?" He asks.

Chanyeol's breathing is heavy, the way he speaks too. He's wasted. ‘'Cause too drunk..." The man mumbles.

Baekhyun nods, for no one because Chanyeol is already with his eyes closed, clutching on the pillow.  He feels it's time to get his answers without being mocked for it.

"Why did you leave with Hyejin?" 

Chanyeol huffs, grunts, slurrs out long words, "She lives next... wanted to leave..." Baekhyun chuckles again. He's already in Jongin's clothes he used as pyjamas, he just gets in bed.

"Why didn't you ask me to take you if you were like this?" He turns on his side, head in his palm to catch the way Chanyeol's closed eyelids flutter.

"Didn't want...you to- I- see...like...an- animal,"

"What?" He whispers, confused,

Chanyeol's droopy eyes open, "M-head hurts... sleep?"

Baekhyun feels guilty for assuming the worst and agreeing with everyone. He feels like he hurt Chanyeol with this, even though the man doesn't know anything about it. His heart is squeezing. "Hyung, can you turn around?"

Chanyeol tries to study him, but his eyes keep closing. He tries his best to shuffle around, until he's with his back to Baekhyun. With a heavy sigh, Baekhyun let's go of all negative thoughts and slips closer, touching Chanyeol's back.

He embraces him from behind, with a little difficulty, Chanyeol's grown too much and Baekhyun's body is still stuck at 16. He clutches on to Chanyeol with his limbs like an octopus. No complaint comes, just a tired sigh. Then Chanyeol's body goes limp.

In the morning his arms feel cold, after getting used to someone warming them. Usually, he's the one being held by Jongin, but he finds being the one to embrace, and Chanyeol being the one in his arms, better. He pats around the bed, eyes still closed, only to grasp the empty bedsheets. This day came too soon.

But Chanyeol isn't far. He's at his computer, he must've already started work, and this must not be morning at all. It isn't, his phone says it's already 3pm. His movement catches Chanyeol's attention. "Morning," he says, and he's not particularly happy, not particularly annoyed either. Nothing's changed, but Baekhyun considers the man talking first a big step.

"Why didn't you wake me up?" His voice cracks, he rubs at his eyes, still tired.

"Did you have anything to do?"

Baekhyun tilts his head, not understanding the other's point in this, "No...?"

"Then why wake you up? You seemed tired."

Chanyeol, as he's learned, rarely gets hangover. He's not that lucky, he can't function properly if he had some drinks the next day.  "I went out this morning and got some food, look in the fridge for anything you like," Chanyeol's deep voice comes, back turned to him.

With silly thoughts clouding his mind, he giggles. He took care of Chanyeol last night and now the man is caring for him in return. But he doesn't want food right now.

"Ah...I think I'm gonna throw up-" Just one step out of bed and everything flips upside down, he runs to the bathroom.

Busy spitting his insides out and feeling like he might die any second, he doesn't register the steps taken inside the tiny bathroom. A warm hand covers his forehead and pushes all his hair back, then another rests on his back, to rub comforting circles into it.

Chanyeol silently sits on the floor behind him and waits for Baekhyun to finish gagging and coughing. Baekhyun is so disgusted by the whole picture he wants to puke again.

"You don't have to stay with me hyung..."

Chanyeol silences him, but his hand doesn't stop cradling his hair until his breath comes back to normal. "I'm so gross, I hate the morning after," Baekhyun complains in a whiny voice to add to the silence.

"You can take a shower if you want,"

"Yes, please."

Chanyeol brings him some big clothes to change into and closes the bathroom door. His own clothes are in Jongin's room, but the boy must be still sleeping.

 

///////

 

They fall into an unspoken routine, step by step. With the new semester starting, Baekhyun has to jog between the hospital and his classes. It leaves him with no will to go all the way back home. Not when Jongin's and Chanyeol's rooms are so close. He ends up spending a lot of nights here, to the point him and the doorman are friends now. The man waits for the next time he'll see Baekhyun greet him with a big smile.

Often, he falls asleep in Chanyeol's room. Often, they cuddle to sleep. No one says anything about it but it becomes a must before bed. With Chanyeol's back turned to him comes his sleep too.

Chanyeol's coffee table is a mess of medicine books, but the man never complains about it.  They get along well in silence. Chanyeol finishes his work and he finishes his studies.

"Baekhyun!" Chanyeol comes back from his cigarette break grinning, holding his phone close to his face. He raises his eyes from the page he was busy highlighting, the phone is pushed into his face, Yoora is crying, and laughing too, on the screen.

"What happened?" He asks. Chanyeol sits down next to him and brings the phone in front of them both, "Show him!"

He's never seen the man so excited. He resembles a big puppy, ready to burst. Yoora's camera switches on a Byul in his two little feet, walking around the room supported by anything he finds to cling on to.

"Look! We're big boys now!"

Baekhyun gasps, then squeaks out in high pitched excitement, his hand flies to Chanyeol's collar and his face burries in the material he's clutching on to without thinking.

"I can't believe..." He understands Yoora, because he cries a little too.

The girl coos, "Awwww, Byul! You got your uncle crying!" While she wipes her own face.  A big hand pats Baekhyun's head, he's refusing to let go and face them again, red faced like this.

"Like you're any better..." He grumbles, encouraged by Chanyeol stroking his hair, then sticks his tongue out at the girl who huffs, offended.

"Excuse me, but the watermelon I pushed out of me eleven months ago just started walking, of course I'd be shocked,"

His face twists with the memory of it, "Please don't remind me...I was there,"  They went through some tough times together, but it seems all good now.

"I called you too but you didn't answer, I didn't expect to find you here," Yoora continues.

"Uh, yeah, I left my phone with Chanyeol in case it distracts me from studying," He laughs sheepishly. The girl gives him a long, pointed look, his cheeks are heating up with the meaning of it. She's teasing his crush on her brother again.  If Chanyeol notices, he doesn't comment on it, he doesn't talk much  in general. He just listens to them carrying on.

The sun is about to set and Baekhyun has to go for a last class he has until 9pm, the room is so warm and cozy it's hard to part from it, and Chanyeol's presence, but the man promises to wait with dinner. He's inviting Baekhyun to spend the night over again, not like he had any other plans. But it's good to know what he isn't the only one waiting for their cuddles.

Sometimes, Chanyeol gets nightmares and it wakes up both of them. Baekhyun sits with him in the dark, talking softly about anything he can think about, until Chanyeol's ragged breath calms down. The man keeps quiet, he never tells him what the nightmares are about, but Baekhyun can guess.

"-and then he just left, I got so mad, but I couldn't do anything but do his work too. I wanted to strangle him-" he's whispering lively in the quiet night, about a partner he had for a project this week. The other picked Baekhyun because he's heard that he does all the work without complaining.

"-at the presentation I only signed in my name though, he almost gave me a a black eye after but it was worth it," he snickers, with Chanyeol heavy on his chest, the other huffs out a laugh too.

"Be careful, though," he adds.

"Honestly, fuck him, he thinks he's so popular but everyone's around him for his expensive car, he gives them free rides to show off- agh- I can't stand him!"  That and the fact that he cornered him once to ask Baekhyun to suck his dick because he's heard that he's gay and, being gay, of course he jumps on every dick his way. Baekhyun really can't stand him.

Chanyeol chuckles at his little outbursts, he's not as agitated as before, "Calm down little bird,"

"I am..."

"Did you get your driver's license?" Chanyeol asks after. Baekhyun raises up a little against the headboard, Chanyeol's sitting with his back to him, between his legs, his his head resting on his chest, and his big body keeps dragging Baekhyun down on the bed.

Baekhyun plops his chin on top of Chanyeol's head again and goes on softer, a little ashamed, "I'm scared to try it... I never had the chance to drive and I don't wanna go there without knowing anything, I'm afraid I'll mess something up. What if it isn't for me?"

"No one took you for a drive before?" Chanyeol asks, and he shakes his head.

Without Chanyeol there, Baekhyun lost the person guiding him. Maybe if he never left, they would've gone driving long ago.

They listen to the crickets outside. The dog barks in the distance. It's late, but some cars are still racing on the streets.

"Should we go back to sleep?" Chanyeol breaks the silence, he's already peeling himself off Baekhyun's front.

"Can you go back to sleep?" The younger asks, concerned. Chanyeol calmed down long ago.

 

/////

 

Baekhyun comes crying to the dorms one day. He didn't mean to, but the second he's away from everyone's eyes, in the dark corridor, he lets go. He's determined to go and hide in Jongin's arms, but he finds the door locked. He remembers too late, after some fists thrown at the door, that Jongin is still in class.

He can't keep his frustrated cries in anymore, he just sits in front of the door, hopeless. Until Chanyeol's door opens, he helds his breath then.

"Little bird? Why are you crying?" He flinches, caught in the act, hands flying to cover his face. Chanyeol comes to him, "Let's go inside,"

He's settled on Chanyeol's bed, sniffling quietly, the man doesn't say anything, just watches with a pack of wipes he has left from Byul in his hands. "I'm sorry, I didn't want you to see me like this," Baekhyun throws in between pitiful little sobs.

Chanyeol nods, understating, "Did something happen at school?"

"No,"

"..."

"I just- realised I don't know what I'm living for-"  Chanyeol remains silent again.

"Why am I trying so hard? For what? I-I don't enjoy anything anyway!" He's like a child throwing a fit, but the man doesn't stop him. "I just...want to be happy- I don't know what to d-do,"

The bed dips while he scrunches his face with more tears. "Hyung...do you ever feel like this?" A curious Baekhyun asks, with his eyes crinkling innocence. The feeling is so new and overwhelming he feels like he's the first person to go through something so horrible. How could others understand just how miserable it makes him?

Chanyeol doesn't say anything for a long time. "I got used to it, it's just how it is..." The man says it softly, giving him back eyes just as innocent.

Baekhyun wonders if Chanyeol ever had someone ask him something like this.

"I wish we could go back to when we were kids," Baekhyun whines under his shaky breath.

"I don't," comes a whisper. Baekhyun got his chance to be a kid, while Chanyeol never really did.

"Little bird, I wanted to take you somewhere,"

Baekhyun's eyes light up in hope, he blows his nose loudly, feeling self-conscious because of the eyes on him, "Where?"

"I borrowed a car, if you want to try driving."

A lump takes home inside his throat, "But- what if I do something wrong? Isn't it illegal? What if we-"

Chanyeol's laugh is clear, a little loud, "We're not driving inside the city, I'll be there with you,"

Baekhyun is afraid of cars, that's why he never wanted try before. "Okay, let's go!"

Chanyeol makes driving sees so easy. With the way he's so relaxed, only using one hand, throwing glances at Baekhyun every once in a while. They leave the city, drive for a while until they find an empty road, towards the countryside. When it's his turn to take Chanyeol's place though, it doesn't seem so easy. His legs are jelly and his hands are shaking.

It's just a car, he tells himself, but he's still afraid of it. Baekhyun learns, from a very calm Chanyeol, that there's a clutch, a brake and an accelerator. It seems simple. Until Chanyeol instructs him on how to start the engine.

Instead of the clutch, Baekhyun switches the pedals and presses confidently on the accelerator. The car roars, the smaller shrinks in on himself, afraid it'll blow up like in the movies any time.  Chanyeol laughs again, but not mocking, "Little bird, you don't have to be so stressed."

"I'm afraid, I can't do this-" A very panicked Baekhyun is ready to open the door and jump out, tears of frustration in his eyes because he can't do something so simple.

"Wait," Chanyeol begins, and he comes from his switched seat back to Baekhyun, who's already outside the car.

"Come, I'll drive first and you'll hold the steering wheel, is that alright?" Baekhyun panics for a whole different reason. Him, sitting on Chanyeol's lap?  The boy's ears are red, itching, he hopes it's dark enough to hide it.

Chanyeol sits down and arranges the car seat, to fit the both of them. Bitting his lips, Baekhyun glances shyly at the man. And Chanyeol pauses, "If you don't want to- that's alright, we can go back,"

That's not it. Does Chanyeol think that his crush disappeared just like that? He's being so carefree around Baekhyun, and the boy is afraid that he'll be disappointed when he feels his wild heartbeat once they get this close. And no, Baekhyun is sure he doesn't want anything sexual after what happened last, but the intimate position still feels like a big step. He's holding Chanyeol a lot, but the man never holds him, or places him in a lap, in a cramped place, in the dark.

Baekhyun shakes his head and sits down, the older drags him back against his chest because he's sitting on his legs and he can't use them, then closes the door. The boy tries to control his breath, the car is too silent and it feels like he's hyperventilating. "Relax, little bird, just put your hands on the wheel and keep them straight," Chanyeol mutters in his hair, craning his neck to see ahead, behind the mess of hair. Chanyeol starts the car, it feels easy again, Baekhyun watches everything curiously. Then it moves. He just has to keep the car straight. With the little speed they have, he still manages to shake his hands too much, Chanyeol covers his hands and keeps them in place whenever that happens with a laugh.

"See? It's not that hard," The man says when Baekhyun straightens his back with a little confidence.  It feels nice, it's another thing being behind the steering wheel than just watching the road. It gives a sense of pride.

"But you're doing everything..." Baekhyun mumbles. Chanyeol squeezes the waist he's holding, "You'll do it yourself next time, right?"

The words being anxiety back to Baekhyun, he shrinks back into Chanyeol's chest, "Not yet, please..."

Chanyeol's chuckling a lot tonight, "Are you really so scared of cars?"

Baekhyun elbows the one laughing at him, "It's just- I can see myself losing control and flying into the first ditch,"

"With this speed you won't fly anywhere,"

"Stop making fun of me!" This time, he throws his head back to hit the man with it, but softly, he barely grazes his lips and chin.

"Ouch, no need to be an angry little bird." They drive more. Chanyeol does and Baekhyun just keeps a straight line, good thing the road doesn't have any turns. They stop when they get to a river, but despite being spring, they still can't stay out in the cold air, so the car is the only option.

Baekhyun should go back to his seat, but he doesn't want to. The car is quiet, window rolled down a little to let the calm flow of the water in.

No one speaks as Baekhyun relaxes his tense body back on Chanyeol's chest. The man circles his middle with his arms.

"Do you want to go back home?" Chanyeol asks, deep into the silence, "It's been a while since you went to your apartment maybe I could drop you o-"

Baekhyun notices his heavy breathing and the drop in his tone, the way this turned into something more intimate. "Don't push me away."

Chanyeol doesn't add anything else.  They're both ignoring the elephant in the room. The way Chanyeol's holding his waist, way Baekhyun is arching his back to fit better into his arms, or how he has his head tilted back, resting on the man's warm neck.

"Hyung, I want to turn around..." Chanyeol grips his waist a little tighter. "Would you hate me for it?"

"I could never hate you, little bird." So he does, encouraged by the warm voice, with a little difficulty, there's not enough room, his legs are bended in a painful position, but they are chest to chest.  The air is scarce so close, they're both struggling for it.

Baekhyun looks at Chanyeol. The man in front of him, and he sees only the man, not his old hyung.  He got him so vulnerable, so close. The man Chanyeol transformed into is truly beautiful, stunning. He can't find one single thing not in place. One to ruin the symmetrical perfection in front of him.

Only his eyes have one flaw, they have no light.

"You're so beautiful." Chanyeol whispers ahead of him. Baekhyun was planning on saying the same thing.  Pinks dusts his cheekbones.

A kiss. That's all he wanted from Chanyeol, so many times. He never got his kiss, he only got his heart broken. But right now, Chanyeol looks in no position to break his heart. Fearful, Baekhyun brushes his lips against both his still furrowed brows, Chanyeol sighs out.

Suddenly, Baekhyun forgot how to kiss. He moves on to the apple of his cheeks, Chanyeol's eyes flutter closed.

One rough hand touches the side of his face, covering his jaw and cheek, he's shaking, boiling, with goosebumps all over. With noses touching and eyes closed, they're waiting, breathing in each other's air.

Then plush lips cover Baekhyun's.

Baekhyun cries, starved until now, it's muffled by the mouth pressing against his. Their kiss is long and slow, no pressing touches, no rushed tongue urging Baekhyun to get to the good part like he's gotten in the past. Chanyeol is only here for him. So Baekhyun gives all he has to give back.

"Little bird..." Comes a rasp against his hair. He buried his heated face inside Chanyeol's neck, too giddy, he had to calm down. "Little bird, this isn't right..." It feels right, so it must be wrong. Chanyeol lives by this.

"W-what?" Baekhyun's voice breaks.

"This shouldn't happen," Chanyeol continues, and his lips are still shining, rosy and moistened by Baekhyun's spit.

"What do you mean?" His heart stopped racing so fast, "You wanted to, hyung, I- don't understand?"

Chanyeol's thumb caresses his trembling lip, frees it from between the grip of his teeth. Something foreign is flashing in his eyes.

"You're still so young...there's a lot of things you haven't experienced, little bird. Even if y-you want me now, one day you'll realise I'm nothing like you think I am and go for someone better,"

Baekhyun is offended now, his face hardens. "You...don't want to try, because you're scared I'll leave you after?" He tries to understand Chanyeol's words, but it feels as if he's just making up excuses to turn him down gently. Is he that bad of a kisser? Did Chanyeol change his mind from this?

Chanyeol shakes his head, almost exasperated, "I'm not scared, I know you will. I'm the worst person for you, I- have nothing, little bird. I am nothing. You won't get anything out of me." The man is trying to put distance between them, pushing him away by the hips, he stubbornly locks his arms around his shoulders.

"Why do you want to waste your best years on me?"

Baekhyun wants to shout out in frustration. To dig his hands into Chanyeol's hair and shake the taller until he comes back to him. He'd like to have the strength to slap him out the car right now. "Hyung. I'm unsure of many things. Actually, everything is uncertain in my life right now, but trust me when I say you're the only one I've never doubted."

Maybe he's too harsh and too rushed, but he wants Chanyeol to understand. How can he see that bad part of him Chanyeol keeps talking about if he never lets him in? He wants to see and prove he's wrong.

Chanyeol's face has a certain twisted desperation, like he's hanging on Baekhyun's words like they're his last thread of hope. Maybe no one has assured him he matters this much before?

"Your words are so big," He attempts.

"You should see my love for you." Baekhyun whispers with the last bit of energy he has left for a fight in him. He never took the initiative before. Neither started conflict like this.

Chanyeol doesn't work well with feelings, because no one gets to his anymore. However, Baekhyun has tried hard. So hard, it seems like he's just found Chanyeol's weakness and he wants to use it against him. Chanyeol's always like this when it comes to feelings. They only seem to be there to be turned against him, to make him look like a fool in the end. Even if it feels real, he can't bring himself to believe it.

The man doesn't look like he'd answer, after he poured his heart out. "You know what, to hell with it, I feel like shit everyday and you do too. It feels even worse when you're not with me, those days are miserable, so why would you think that keeping my distance from you would be better? You're happier with me too, hyung..." He puts it in the simplest way possible, desperate.

Chanyeol's hard exterior breaks. He nods, then Baekhyun is crushed against his chest. He's panting like he just ran a marathon, trying to keep it in.

"Please say something..." Baekhyun barely breathes in the bone-breaking hug.

"Kiss me with that smart mouth of yours, little bird." Chanyeol whispers slowly, definitive.

Baekhyun does, gladly.

 

//////

 

He got it. Baekhyun got what he's been wishing for so bad. He has Chanyeol. Chanyeol who left him long ago, he's back and into his arms. But the young boy is still full of doubts.mIt didn't feel like it at first. They went back to Chanyeol room, with a silent but pliant Chanyeol. And he kissed Baekhyun plenty, got his insides melting, after so long. They feel asleep into each other's arms with another meaning to it, for the first time.

But the next day, nothing much changed.  Baekhyun doesn't know what he expected, really, this is his first relationship. Maybe, his head had already pictured a good morning kiss, or Chanyeol holding his hand for him to wake up, gently whispering in his ear to have a good morning. It doesn't happen, obviously. They remain as before, but a little close.

It gets Baekhyun frustrated that Chanyeol won't even kiss him. He keeps waiting, for the man to take the initiative, to show Baekhyun he wants it too. The boy won't try anything, not after he's hit with shame when he goes over everything he did, said. No, he'll just wait. And waiting he does. Chanyeol won't tell him how he feels, or what he feels, or what goes on through his head in general. It's just like before, only this time he didn't reject Baekhyun.

 

/////

 

"Nini, I swear I'm about to explode..." He grumbles into Jongin's side. He's really envious of him and Kyungsoo. He wanted the boy, he got him. Kyung loves him more than anything.

He's wanted Chanyeol for longer. Tried harder. Why is it that he never gets it right?

"I don't know what to do, you know my opinion about him," Baekhyun sighs dramatically.

"I don't want you to do anything, just listed to me,"

Jongin chuckles, feigning hurt, "Oh wow, okay, I mean so much to you,"

The shorter bites, or tries to bite, his ribs. "I don't know what to do anymore! I tried everything but- agh- I want to be kissed! Why can't he show me affection like a normal person?" Baekhyun begins his frustrated monologue, trashing his feet on the bed to show his distress.

"Have you talked to him about this? Like, to clarify? Or told him about how it makes you feel? I don't know, Bibi, Chanyeol's a strange person,"

Baekhyun raises his head to glare at him. "He's not! He just...I don't know, I don't know much about him, ah-" he whines loudly, and Jongin tickles him to take him out of his dramatic breakdown.

"I think you should tell him this, I don't know how to help you, babe."

He will. He's going to confront Chanyeol. But not today, he's afraid, doesn't know how to do it. It so easy to keep quiet and go along with everything, to wait.

He decides He decides to go the next day. And he does.

They've been apart for one day only and he already missed Chanyeol. Missed the comforting silence they fall in when they spend their time together. But he doesn't want silence today. No. After a full day of classes, and dealing with everyone, being the nice guy to everyone, he wants his answers.

"Hyung?" His head peeks inside the room, Chanyeol is doing his usual work, but he stops to smile at Baekhyun, then the boy skips around the room like so many times before, left on his own to do what he wants, because Chanyeol keeps quiet.

Baekhyun goes to sit on his lap, succeeding in grabbing his attention. Chanyeol embraces his middle, with neither pleasure or displeasure. He's looking more into his eyes though.

"How have you been?"

Chanyeol shrugs, lifts one hand to push his fingers through the hair falling on Baekhyun's forehead, "You? How was school?"

The younger pulls his best haunted face. "Actually, I wanted to ask something..." Baekhyun brings the topic.

He searches for a reaction on Chanyeol's face, but he doesn't make out anything. "Are you and Yoora good now? Did you two make up?"

Chanyeol's brows go up, contemplative, "Not really? But what's done is done, we decided to give Byul the best life we can, together. He has no fault in all of this after all..." Baekhyun nods. While talking, he can't help but watch the way the man's lips curl, sometimes pouting. Everything about Chanyeol pulls him in.

They're so close, Chanyeol notices the flicker of his eyes without much effort. With a quick, movement, he pecks Baekhyun. It's a short moment, but the fluttering inside his stomach remains. The boy closes his eyes.

"Do you want kids, hyung?" It's not what he came here for, but if he can get the chance to talk like this, he won't waste it. The clear light in Chanyeol's eyes gets stirred. Baekhyun feels the answer in the older's grip on him.

"I don't, I don't see myself being a good parent,"  Baekhyun thinks of the way his hyung was brought up, and how he treats Byul.

"I won't be a parent to my kids, just someone to discipline them, I don't have the patience for anything else..." Chanyeol continues, sounding very resigned as he does. Baekhyun nods, dumbfounded. Chanyeol doesn't seem as short of patience as he's saying.

"But hyung, you seem to have a lot of patience, with Byul and-"

"I don't," Chanyeol cuts him off, "I'm trying, for you, and for him."

Baekhyun's cheeks get shiny with their new rosy hue. His hands lower slowly, to entangle with Chanyeol's rougher ones gripping on his hips.  "How are you feeling right now?" Baekhyun wants to kiss him again, but he won't, not first.

Chanyeol shrugs, looking through him, eyes fixed on his though.

The younger sighs softly, he doesn't like this answer. Hands clasped tight into his, he raises Chanyeol's, until they get behind his neck, then drops them there.

"You can tell me..." Baekhyun whispers, up in his personal space and air.

Chanyeol stutters out a quiet sigh, and the boy can see the confusion in his eyes, "I don't know what to say," he tells Baekhyun. He is as confused as Baekhyun is about him.

"Tell me what you're feeling right now," Baekhyun whispers back. Chanyeol's hands clasp behind the back of his neck, pulling him in closer.

"I'm angry."

It hurts Baekhyun, he immediately assumes the man is angry at him. Making people angry is one of his biggest fears. His gut twists, waiting for Chanyeol to continue. "All these questions made me angry, you're very tiring for me, Baekhyun,"

He's close to crying now. He didn't mean to do this.

"Honestly, I want to throw you into the nearest wall every time you try to get something out of me, it gets my blood boiling," Chanyeol begins to list everything slowly, without any slip in his expression, something to show the anger he's talking about. Baekhyun can't keep his mouth shut tight enough to swallow his suprised sob. He just wanted to help.

"And I hate it when you cry because I don't know how to respond to that, it gets me even more angrier." Because you've found a weakness to use against me every time things don't go your way. He doesn't add.

Resigned, with his head bowed in shame, Baekhyun wants to climb down from his lap. He'll leave him alone, stop making him angry. "I didn't know I m-made you feel like this," he tries to keep the cry bubbling up in his chest locked down for Chanyeol. He doesn't get to even put distance between them, because Chanyeol drags him back against his chest.

"But that's just how I am, it's not your fault," Baekhyun has a big puppy in front of him. A vulnerable puppy, searching for acceptance in the one he decided to show part of himself to.

"Oh, hyung..."

He gives in, in front of the inviting closed eyelids of Chanyeol. The older's eyes shut after a short flutter, and Baekhyun just has so arch his back to reach his face. He kisses each eyelid, feels them tremble under his touch. His hands engulf Chanyeol's surprisingly small face, fingers gripping weakly on his jaw to turn his head around whichever way he wants, to kiss everything Chanyeol is offering. His temple, his nose, his cheeks, his chin, his warm ears. His mouth.

Chanyeol doesn't show disapproval to any of it. His fingers find shelter in the short hair at the base of Baekhyun's neck, tangle there, scratching his already sensible scalp. Baekhyun shivers.

"I have another question,"

Chanyeol still tries to chase his lips after the parting, "Hm?"

"Why are you avoiding me? Avoiding... touching me?"

As if reminded, Chanyeol let's go of his hair. He wants to groan in disappointment.

"I don't know,"

"You do,"

"It just doesn't feel right for me to get to touch you,"

Baekhyun tilts his head. His thighs are starting to send prickles down his legs from staying stiff in the small chair for too long. He moves around, slides down until he reaches Chanyeol's knees, to the point he almost slips, but the man brings him back against his chest. Baekhyun is patiently waiting for an answer.

"You're so...small?" Chanyeol mutters, confusing even to himself, "You're so small and... bright. I'm not. I want you to remain the same, it doesn't feel right to touch you,"

He won't get a kiss from Chanyeol because he's too small and bright for him? Baekhyun doesn't understand, what's Chanyeol's problem? Why is he so against it?  Should he change for him? Is Baekhyun not the way he wants?

Then he realises- No, Chanyeol is afraid of changing him.

Baekhyun's pride gives him a nudge. He's being seen as the kid Chanyeol has to take care of again. "Hyung, I might be younger, but I'm not a newborn you have to be careful with because its neck would snap. I can kick ass too, if I wanted to," He stares into the indecipherable orbs so close to him, "I will be a surgeon. I am not as fragile as you see me, I promise."