a/n: This is the smallest a chapter will ever be. Let's get through this dry season •_• I'm almost done with my hiatus
Friday dragged itself along and, beyond his own power and will, Baekhyun arrived at school just in time for the last call for students boarding the large buses. He never paid any mind to the way the teacher scolded him for appearing so late and almost missing the trip, because he wouldn’t have cared so much anyways if he ended up watching the large transit prisons haul everyone in his year off to a retreat that resembled Hell.
After handing over his luggage, Baekhyun got on the bus, unsurprised by the lack of seats as everyone else had settled long before he stepped on school grounds. Sighing, he walked down the aisle, ignoring the looks and began looking for a vacant seat, silently praying that it wasn’t next to someone he wasn’t going to be able to stand. To his luck, he found himself a seat right next to Yixing, the Chinese exchange, who Baekhyun didn’t mind. Life, however, believed in the balance of Yin and Yang so Chanyeol was sitting right across the aisle in the aisle seat. And because of the fact that Yixing moved over to the window seat, Baekhyun got the aisle, making it seem as though he and Chanyeol sat right next to each other.
“You made it!” Chanyeol said as he let out a breath of relief when Baekhyun placed his backpack under his seat. “I was texting to see if you were here already because I didn’t see you in the crowd before they started letting us on, but you weren’t answering.”
Baekhyun shrugged before plopping in his seat and giving Yixing a small, friendly smile. Then he turned his attention to the inquiring giant to his right. “Sorry, my phone’s dead,” he replied. “I went to sleep late and I forgot to charge it.”
“Oh.” Chanyeol watched the brunet stuffed his hands in the front pocket of his light gray hoodie. He thought that Baekhyun looked a little bored and missing without his usual ear buds. Reaching over, the giant lightly tugged at his neighbor. “Hey, can I tell you something?”
Glancing around, Baekhyun gave Chanyeol a cautious look. “Is it so important that it’s going to tempt people to eavesdrop on us?”
Rolling his eyes, Chanyeol shrugged. “No one eavesdrops at this school but you,” he teased. “No, actually, I’m thinking about whether or not I have to apologize.”
Baekhyun blinked. “What for?”
Knowing that Chanyeol was referring to the incident after the basketball game the day before, Baekhyun held his breath for a moment. “There’s nothing to apologize for.”
“Are you sure?” Chanyeol continued to prod. Baekhyun studied his features for a while before he decided to look off and reach for the cellphone in his back pocket. “I don’t have to apologize for that...thing?”
“What’s wrong?” Baekhyun snorted, taking his ear buds from his hoodie’s pouch. “Are you repenting for invading my bubble of space?”
The giant smirked, shrugging casually. “Not really, but I don’t want us to be awkward.”
“How tragic would that be,” Baekhyun mumbled as he turned the device on, awaking it from its stand-by mode. “To have you feel as though it’s wrong to talk to me? Why, that’d be a nightmare.”
“Your sarcasm doesn’t scare me.”
“It used to.”
“I’ve learned a thing or two since the first time I met you.”
“Well, then you’d know when to leave me alone, right?” Baekhyun inserted the headphone jack into the cellular device. Chanyeol watched him as he did so, later catching the brunet’s attention and grinning. “What?”
“Forgot to charge, huh?”
Baekhyun’s lips curved upwards as he looked away. “Maybe I recalled some sort of false memory.”
“Right,” Chanyeol responded, clicking his tongue as he nestled in his chair and leaned back. “Anyways, do you want to hear my to-do list for this trip or are you already drowning me out with Three Day Grace or—”
“Great, that gives me about ten seconds before you get to your playlist,” Chanyeol said in a quick paced voice. “Basically, I thought that, maybe, hopefully, you and I can get closer and you’ll see that I’m not—”
Baekhyun closed his eyes and relaxed his shoulders, signaling to Chanyeol that he was no longer conscious of the words coming out of the giant’s mouth. Chanyeol, in turn, gave him a look before continuing to smile with a shrug. After the giant began to mind his own business, leaving his attention on the isolationist beside him, Baekhyun peeked open his eyes and glanced over before starting the playlist he had created the night before.
There were two things that surprised Baekhyun out of his skin when he woke up from a nap that he had never even intended on taking. The first was that he had fallen into a slumber on his seat mate’s shoulder, and the second surprise was that when he slid his phone off standby mode, his wallpaper had been changed to Chanyeol’s grinning face. He let out a soft groan before giving the giant his tired attention, catching the jock smiling to himself about nothing at all.
Registration tore twenty minutes out of Baekhyun’s life as he waited in line with Chanyeol beside him going on about the nature around him. Baekhyun, as usuall, pretended as though he wasn’t listening, but in truth, he listened to all the misinformed information Chanyeol had about the certain types of plants and dangers around them. He grinned to himself for a short while at the soft thought of the basketball star trying to impress him with higher knowledge in greens, but when he felt eyes on him, Baekhyun would drop his facial expression and opt for something rather bland and unamused.
As they neared the wooden building for registration, Chanyeol nudged the small brunet beside him and leaned down. Reflexively, Baekhyun swayed in the same direction to put space between the two of them. He side glanced at the boy next to him with a feigned look of annoyance in his eyes.
“Personal space and public appearance,” he said in a voice that was just loud enough for the giant to hear. “What did we talk about?”
“Hmmm,” Chanyeol hummed, glancing up towards the sky with a grin on his face. “What did we talk about? What did we talk about with our lips?”
Alert in where Chanyeol was heading the conversation, Baekhyun whipped his head to give Chanyeol a warning look. “Don’t you dare—”
“Lips like the ones we used to…” Chanyeol paused and Baekhyun stopped breathing while the giant leaned down to whisper in his ear, “kiss?”
Immediately, Baekhyun’s face turned as red as the beets at the store where his grandmother liked to frequently visit (even frequently more since the day she discovered who Chanyeol was to her grandson), and Chanyeol covered his mouth with the back of his hand, holding back a small laugh at Baekhyun’s flustered reaction.
As soon as he could, Baekhyun left Chanyeol behind, walking quickly in the registrar’s small office holding and giving them his name. He could feel Chanyeol watching him from behind as he picked up his name tag and shirt. As soon as he had his camp shirt and tag, he mumbled his excuses and squeezed past the door.
He walked for a while, away from the crowded line and towards a clear area. Unfolding the shirt, Baekhyun took a while to look at it, yet only needed a few seconds to decide that he didn’t like the color and design very much. Sighing, he put the shirt under his arm and looked at his name tag, flipping it over and seeing that what Kyungsoo had said about the room arrangement was true. He really was put into Forest Village Thirty. For a second, Baekhyun wondered if he could ask someone to trade with him, but the thought was interrupted when he felt a hand on his shoulder, jerking his attention away from his own inner thinking.
“What do you say we go get our things from the bus and I help you with yours?”
Baekhyun turned his head up and exhaled, refusing to reflect the happiness that the peering giant was showing him. “I can carry my own weight. Thanks for the offer,” he rejected quickly.
If Baekhyun was Russia, then Chanyeol was becoming more and more resilient against his winter. Every insult, every attempt to push away was becoming easier and easier to overcome and move around. “I know, but I just didn’t want you to carry anything too heavy.”
“I have a backpack and a duffle bag that I can sling over my shoulder.”
“If you change your mind, I’m right here.”
“I know you are. You’re blocking the sun.” Chanyeol smiled and Baekhyun looked away as he started to mobilize back to the bus.
"You're funny," the giant replied, playfully nudging Baekhyun as he walked past him. "I know I'm tall and all, but don't mistake me for the trees, okay? Trees don't have lips."
"No wonder I like them, then," Baekhyun said.
Chanyeol smiled even more. As time progressed forward, he found it much easier to interact with the stubborn brunette as opposed to the first time he had actually approached Baekhyun that day in the classroom. Dripped in internal happiness, he lowered his head and chuckled to himself, earning, for a split moment in time, Baekhyun's attention and focus.
"Is something funny?"
As quickly as he blessed Chanyeol with his time, Baekhyun carried it away as fast as it was given. There was a beauty in walking with silence surrounding them, and it was the feeling of complete serenity. Around them, there was nothing, but trees—scrawny and fat—inhabiting the area, engulfing them, and forcing every single individual to awe at its massive beauty. However difficult as it may be for a man to refute the ultimate wonders of nature, Chanyeol wanted to argue that the stubborn, introverted, yet kind-hearted puzzle that walked before him was far more beautiful than any landscape Mother Nature could concoct to offer.