Baekhyun’s mother was a teacher and his father worked as a modest electrician. He had an older sister, Hyoyeon, who he rarely saw in person being that she was off on a scholarship program in the States. However, distance did not stop her from skyping him in the ungodly hours of the night just to ask about school and what kind of CDs he wanted her to buy overseas. Unlike what many people on the outside thought, his family was comforting and perfectly fine. It wasn’t as though his parents hated him for who he was or as if his sister was a narrow minded diva. In one household, Baekhyun often thought of them as five people under one roof that somewhat fit.
Of all the things that Baekhyun hated, it had to be physical education. Great metabolism and the occasional run around the block was all that he knew he needed to stay fit, finding no sense in complying with the ugly uniforms and taking orders from a teacher who was half the size that they should’ve been according to their godly chart of what was fit and what wasn’t.
However, not even the power of Zeus was able to permanently pull Baekhyun out of sports. On the verge of completely failing the class for the semester, the brunet had no other choice but to start attending classes rather than to just run off during its periods and come back when another class called for him, one that didn’t involve much or any physical activity at all.
Dressed in the black shorts and white tee uniform, Baekhyun stood on the side of the track near Kyungsoo as he waited for the male to finish smiling and giving encouraging bullshit advice to those who were going up for the five hundred meter sprint. As the crowd near them depleted one by one, Kyungsoo gradually moved the two of them away from the group of students, creating a moderate distance that was just enough for the two of them to talk without being overheard.
“You finally decided to come to class,” the president noted as he crossed his arms and turned his head to watch the five students at the starting point getting ready to run. “Good. Your attendance has been shit and if you fail another class, you’re going to have to do super great on the upcoming exams to graduate.”
Baekhyun let out a soft laugh as he slumped his shoulders at the reminder of how well his high school career was going. “It’s only p.e. It doesn’t constitute my future.”
“As sad as this shitty system is,” Kyungsoo said, sparing the brunet a glance, “it kind of does.”
“That’s a little unfair,” Baekhyun commented indifferently.
“Tell that to the people who make up the Board of Education.”
Minutes passed by as the conversation between them died. If they had been alone together, more thoughts on the topic of school, government, and politics would’ve been thrown around the two of them. However, Baekhyun had the image of an uninterested boy to keep, and Kyungsoo had to cling onto the image of a hopeful, mature, and loving leader.
When it was Baekhyun’s turn to run, the sun that had been beating at his skin had entirely dried him out of any effort that he had left. It was like a vacuum that sucked his energy and left his dry body out to fall in the orders of his gym teacher.
As he took his space on the fourth lane, he continued to stand up although his peers around him had already taken to position. With his hands covering his eyes from the sun, he casually told the teacher in charge, “I don’t want to run. It’s too hot.”
“Stop being a drama queen, Byun, and just run,” was the answer that he got.
Rolling his eyes, the brunet took his time getting to the ground. In no way did he mean to disrespect anyone when the teacher blew the whistle to run and he was barely off the ground again when the others had already taken off. It wasn’t an act of defiance. It was more as though Baekhyun was persistent in his will to not run at all.
If the saying “follow your heart” existed, then in Baekhyun’s mind, his policy of “listen to your body” was just as worth following as the cliché saying involving one’s heart. To him, there was no logical reason as to why the teacher was allowed to scream at him to quit being a smart ass when the teacher himself was a giant fat ass.
Fifteen feet into his “sprint”, the teacher grew tired of Baekhyun’s so-called attitude and pulled him off the track personally. Baekhyun was used to the drill, evident in the way that he held his hand out, waiting for the white slip straight to the principal’s office.
As he walked by the kids who were whispering amongst themselves, Baekhyun ignored them, opting that they, as usual, were not worth tuning into. When he passed by Kyungsoo, the president did nothing, but purse his lips and raise his eyebrows in amusement at the exiled male.
“Remember, the Principle is in office three fifty-one.”
Although the slip said to head to the principal’s office immediately, Baekhyun headed to the infirmary just because he didn’t feel like facing the regular lecture. Once he reached the door, he knocked, knowing full well that Mr. Kim Jongdae, the hired nurse, was already accustomed to smuggling him in during the classes he didn’t necessarily fancy all too well.
However, after waiting for an extended period of time and still receiving nothing in response, Baekhyun realized that Jongdae must’ve been out. Taping on the outdated lock on the door, Baekhyun manually pressed in the numbers three, five, and one before the door released itself from its lock.
Closing the door behind him, Baekhyun walked over to where the nurse had a tiny CD player and made sure that it was plugged in before he pulled open one of the desk drawers to take out a mixed CD that he had told the man to keep in case he didn’t have any of his music devices on him. Putting it in the CD player and shutting the lid shut, Baekhyun clicked play and proceeded to crawl on one of the beds and close his eyes.
A lot of people couldn’t understand his songs of choice. Sometimes, he would listen to the darker metal songs, lyrics sprouting with hate for society and the corrupted world, but other times, for the most part, he would listen to songs about being misunderstood. Not to pertain to anything personal, but Baekhyun just enjoyed the fact that he was able to scrape the top of the barrel and relate to the lyrics just enough.
The vocals of the songs were not the best, yet they were adequate. Baekhyun really liked the instrumentals and the activity of mouthing his lips to the songs as if it were his.
Baekhyun was able to garner approximately ten minutes alone in the quiet infirmary, quietly listening as his songs alternated from hardcore to mainstream punk and to classical music, which, oddly enough, he liked for its soothing effect on him. When he heard an intrusion in the room, the brunet’s eyes snapped open. If he had been a freshman, he would’ve panicked at the fact that he was about to get caught. But at his age, Baekhyun could not have cared any less anymore. He only sat upright.
When he turned his head towards the door, he expected a school advisor of some sort. Maybe even Mr. Kim Jongdae. But when Baekhyun saw who it was, he felt the room suddenly grow slightly more awkward than he would have liked, especially when he made eye contact with the tall athlete that had entered the infirmary with a bloody index finger on his right hand.
“Oh, uh…Hi,” the giant staggered to say. After a second of silence, he picked up his voice again and looked around. “Is Mr. Kim in here?”
Crossing his legs as he sat on the bed, Baekhyun only slanted his lips and shook his head. “No.” Then as he looked at the bloody finger, he felt compelled to ask, “Need a band aid?”
It was as though the jock had completely forgotten about his soaking finger when he looked back at his hand and slightly jolted. “Oh, right! Yeah. Alcohol, too.”
Tiredly nodding, Baekhyun combed through his hair, ruffling it up as he slowly got off the bed and shuffled to the wooden cabinets where he knew nurse kept all the basic first aid necessities. As he took out an alcohol pad package and a band aid, the brunet could feel a pair of eyes boring on him.
After closing the cabinet back up, he nodded towards the sink. “Wash it off first.”
Complying with the order, Chanyeol went ahead and stuck his finger under the gushing fall of water until all that was left to be seen was a small bloody gash. Once he wiped the majority of his hand dry with the paper towels nearby, he took a seat near the nurse’s desk where Baekhyun was waiting.
Wordlessly, Baekhyun held out his hand, silently demanding for the giant’s own. It was only when the brunet held the jock’s hand that he realized how large Chanyeol’s body part actually was. It was something to be admired, he supposed, especially for someone who had the passion to run about and pass balls around for four quarters.
Ripping open the package, Baekhyun took the alcohol pad and started rubbing it on the giant’s cut while his heavy music in the background was screaming about how parents were two pairs of an asshole in one.
As he tended the injury and finished using the pad, he glanced up and caught the tall male looking at him intently. A normal person would’ve been watching how their injury was being attended to, but not the man in front of him. Baekhyun only looked away as he began to open the band aid.
In the middle of a strong and sharp chorus, Park Chanyeol finally spoke up, but not before moving around in his seat. “So, this song…” he started.
Baekhyun caught himself before he would have instinctively stopped, sensing where the comment was going. If he was placing a bet on a horse named Park-Chanyeol-Insulting-My-Music, Baekhyun predicted that he would’ve been a millionaire all in one race. However, he predicted wrongly.
“I like it,” the giant said, smiling down at Baekhyun just as the brunet was starting to secure the band aid on the finger.
“Thanks,” the smaller male said quietly as he finished, grabbing the trash from the alcohol pad and band aid and throwing it in the waste bin before standing up. “You’re all done.”
Chanyeol didn’t move an inch as he watched Baekhyun crawl back on the bed and lie on his side. A few pieces of his hair swept across his face when he lied down, facing the basketball player’s direction, but Baekhyun didn’t care about appearances.
“You can go,” Baekhyun said, giving the giant a look and a glance to the door. “Don’t you have class?”
“Yeah. Biology,” Chanyeol replied. He paused for a second, watching the brunet look at him before he shrugged. “You’re in your gym clothes so I’m guessing you’re supposed to have that class right now. What’re you doing here?”
Baekhyun slowly blinked. “Why’re you always asking me what I’m doing?”
“Did you get hurt?” the giant asked anyways.
Chanyeol smiled partially due to the realization that Baekhyun was actually conversing with him this time although it was only their third time actually seeing one another face to face and one on one. “Skipping?”
Tilting his head, Chanyeol gave the brunet a confused expression as he quirked his brows. “I’m lost.”
“Then don’t ask,” Baekhyun said nonchalantly.
Scoffing lightly in a hearty manner, Chanyeol leaned back and slouched in his chair as he turned his eyes on his finger, feeling the texture of the band aid around it. “I think you’re interesting,” he said with a small grin on his face. “Weird, but in a good way. I don’t know. You just do things that I find funny. I don’t think your music’s weird, just so you know. I meant it when I said I liked whatever song that was on a minute ago.”
Baekhyun didn’t mean to snort, but he did so anyways. “Can I ask you something?”
The taller male’s eyes snapped upwards, surprised. “Anything.”
Baekhyun fixed the pillow beneath his head for a second before flopping back down and turning his attention back at the raven-haired guy who was giving his entire focus on him. “Who set you up for this?” he asked as if it was the most casual question in the world. “It’s okay. I won’t be offended if you tell me.”
The jock furrowed his brows together. “Who set me up to do what?”
“This,” Baekhyun said, pointing finger between the two of them back and forth. “You’re pretending to have an interest. You know, you could just spread around the lie that you succeeded in making me fall in love with you or whatever bullshit bet you and your friends decided to concoct.”
The male’s mouth hung over for a while as the male was unsure of what to say to the accusation. It was only when Baekhyun took a look at the clock and decided that he needed to go check in with the principle at last that Chanyeol found the words he was looking for.
“It’s not a bet,” Chanyeol quickly said as Baekhyun set his feet on the ground. “It’s not. I don’t need a stupid bet to have an excuse to come and talk to you. And for the record, I do like your music—well, okay, to be honest, maybe just one or two, but it’s because I play the guitar. I can’t help but like the guitar instruments incorporated in your songs.”
The explanation seemed genuine enough for Baekhyun to buy at the moment, but the skepticism never left him. Taking the white paper slip from the bed, Baekhyun gave a nod off to the player before turning to the door. “Later,” he said, failing to comment on Chanyeol’s long monologue with an honest input himself.
As if used to Baekhyun’s way of brushing things off all together, Chanyeol’s lips drew together as he pulled himself to smile, nodding back. “Okay.”
If the student body government was a ship, Kyungsoo was the bastard captain that everyone both hated and respected. He was the main reason why everything functioned, and at times, that was one factor that would be abused the most.
Finding himself toppled over by the responsibilities of others that were clearly neglected on an offensively obvious way, Kyungsoo was forced to pull aside the introvert ten minutes after the final bell of the day had rung to gain some assistance on a job that had to be done immediately.
“I need your help,” the president huffed as he closed the door behind them as soon as they walked into the student government room. “There’s about fifty of these posters that we need to tape in a spirited manner in the gym today for the game that will take place tomorrow.”
Baekhyun looked at the pile of unorganized posters near the closet door of the classroom. “I thought they’d already have these up.”
“Well, I kind of work with a bunch of fucking shits that think that just because I get things done they can slack off and fuck around while they leave me with all this bullshit,” the stone faced male growled as he rubbed his forehead. “Just grab as many as you can and head to the gym.”
Understanding Kyungsoo’s situation, the brunet went ahead and took half the posters in his arms, even offering to grab the plastic bag with all the tape, leaving nothing for Kyungsoo to carry but the rest of the posters. Without much surprise to either of them, they spent the entire way down and around school grounds commenting on the lack of sense in everyone around them. By the time they got to the gym, Kyungsoo’s smile was back on his face as he greeted the practicing basketball team, and Baekhyun’s sudden appearance caused a jump shot shooter to shoot and miss by ten feet short.