Games in order to build cooperation and team relations were suffocating, and the labor of attempting to keep up was a task Baekhyun had no enjoyment in doing. Everyone Baekhyun had spent his entire life trying to ignore and passively live with were crowded around him for the most part despite how many of the evening activities involved being separated into smaller groups. Luhan’s presence was not enough to save him from the damnation of the camp, and while they were at the rock climbing station taking turns attempting to conquer the structure, Baekhyun saw Jongin rejoin the group and immediately knew that Kyungsoo was gone.
There was a benefit in playing the games that they played and that was physical exertion. Acting out his frustration and anxiety, Baekhyun managed to hike up the steep hills faster than the rest of his companions when they went hiking. He took no notice of the others as he kept to himself with every stomp. At times, he was even ahead of the guide himself and to be told to fall back.
Hiking wore out his energy, and it released some anger with the amount of work that the brunet had to put into it. The bugs and scrapes from the forest, however, pissed him off, but it was at the top that he finally collapsed. While the others pulled out their cameras and cellular devices, Baekhyun strayed from the group, moving to a less congested area and sitting down. He pulled his knees up against his chest and lowered his head, taking large intakes of breath as he closed his eyes.
He hated the feeling churning inside of him; a feeling of bitter isolation. Kyungsoo had left, clear in the way Baekhyun could no longer feel his presence anywhere. Just a few feet where he sat, a ledge existed and a grand view of the camp could be seen. There was some hope that lived that perhaps he’d be able to spot Kyungsoo in the distance somehow despite knowing how impossible that event would be.
Luhan was nowhere near him as the boy was placed into a second group with a different hiking route, so there was no companion that he could confide in beside his own self. Picking up his head, Baekhyun looked off with hooded eyes and rubbed his forehead, aching from a growing headache. All he wanted in that moment was to go home where he knew he should have been in the first place rather than up on that elevated hill. In his room were books to be read and music to be indulged in. It was a haven, but realistically just a fantasy to him then.
When he licked his lips, he finally realized how needy his body was of water and almost cursed himself for not carrying a water bottle as it had been advised prior to the beginning of the hike. Just when he was about to force himself to quell his desire for a drink, he felt someone take a seat right next to him and heard the snapping of a plastic water bottle follow after.
Looking over, he saw Chanyeol watching him as he drank from the water bottle. Unconsciously, his eyes moved to the bottle itself which prompted the giant to stop for a moment and offer it in the brunet’s direction. “Want some?”
Snapping his eyes at the athlete, Baekhyun continued to frown in discontent. “No,” he rebelliously denied, looking away.
Sighing, Chanyeol took the latter’s hands and forced him to take it. “If it was still raining, I wouldn’t be too worried. You could always just open your mouth and catch rain drops from the sky, but since it stopped pouring hours ago, it’s a little more complicated now, so you can drink the rest of that. I don’t mind.”
“I mind,” Baekhyun replied, looking at object in his hand. “Ever heard of germs?”
“Ever heard of waterfalling?”
Rolling his eyes at the giant’s soft laughter, Baekhyun tilted his head back and closed his eyes before slowly pouring the water into his mouth. It was successful for the first few seconds until the water started to miss and begin to hit his nose. Coughing, he covered himself with his arm and held the water bottle back to its original owner who took it upon himself to pat the smaller one on his back.
After taking the bottle back into his possession, Chanyeol grinned. “You were walking really fast up on the hike. I didn’t think you’d be that enthusiastic about it since, you know, it involved a lot of work.”
“You seemed angry, though,” Chanyeol softly added as Baekhyun glanced his way. “I tried calling out to you a few times, but you ignored me and all. Why’re you upset?” When Baekhyun shook his head in response, the giant pursed his lips inward. “Is this about Kyungsoo? You’re mad about what happened to him? If that’s it, then—”
“I’m a little frustrated…” Baekhyun started, rubbing his fingers together. “I’m frustrated at Soo because he’s the reason why I came here, and then he gets a way out of this stupid trip and leaves me here with no one.”
Chanyeol blinked his eyes. “You have me,” he said gently.
Baekhyun’s eyes dragged to the dirt from under them as he shook his head. “No,” he said. “No, I don’t.”
Heaving his shoulders, the giant drew his brows together and frowned. “I know that we’re in a weird relationship right now,” he said, lowering his voice for only Baekhyun to hear, “but if you want me to be a friend during this trip, then I will.”
“I’ll hang out with you, I’ll eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with you, and I’ll participate as your partner for group activities.” The look in Chanyeol’s eyes was too sincere that Baekhyun couldn’t bring himself to look away. “I’ll never fill in Kyungsoo’s shoes, you know. We have different shoes sizes, first of all, but that’s not the point. The point is that we’re not the same person. I’ll never make you laugh the way he does, or make you happy however he does it, but it won’t be because I’m incapable. The way I’ll keep you happy and comfortable will be different from how he does, and the way I make you laugh will be different, too. So, I may not be Kyungsoo, but I’ll to keep you company like he would’ve if he was still here.”
Baekhyun scoffed, breaking eye contact as he looked off into the distance again. Silence was kept for minutes of end until he tilted his head at Chanyeol and grinned. “So, you’ll keep me company?”
Nodding, Chanyeol confirmed. “Yeah.”
“If I asked you to do something, would you do it?”
“There’s a steep slope just ahead of where we’re facing,” Baekhyun said. “If you really liked me, do you think you could push me off?”
“No!” The answer came immediately, startling the brunet who was surprised at how serious Chanyeol had taken the remark. “Why would I do that?”
“So, I can go home from injury,” the latter said, shrugging.
Flustered, Chanyeol shook his head maniacally and stood up. For a second, Baekhyun had the expectation that he would suddenly leave, but a moment later, he was hoisted up on his legs by the athlete.
“Let’s get one thing straight, Byun Baekhyun,” Chanyeol said, almost shaking the smaller male by both shoulders, “I would never throw you or anyone else off a steep hill. Not only is that morally wrong, but I, personally, would never want to have to see you be taken into an ambulance. Now, stop being so…so—”
“Negative,” the giant corrected. “This weekend is supposed to be fun.”
“Well, it’s not.” Glancing past Chanyeol, Baekhyun could see that they were garnering attention. Hastily, he shook the jock’s hands off of him and stepped back. “I don’t consider any of this fun.”
After quickly looking over his shoulder to see what made the smaller male react as he did, Chanyeol understood, but he didn’t care. Sighing, his shoulders slanted. “Then what is it that you consider fun?”
“Being alone,” Baekhyun answered promptly.
“I thought you said you didn’t like being alone—”
“With others,” the brunet explained. “I don’t like being alone when I’m with others. That seems like a gigantic social oxymoron to feel alone in a room with other people, but that’s how it is.”
“Alright,” Chanyeol said understandingly as he nodded. “You don’t like to be with other people.”
“They’re not a problem to me. I just prefer to do things by myself.”
“Okay.” Reaching forward, Chanyeol tried to touch him, but Baekhyun shook his head. Frowning, the giant only attempted to try harder, eventually grabbing a hold on the brunet’s wrist and pulling him in towards him. “I’ll think of something of fun. Trust me.”
“Trust you,” Baekhyun muttered against his chest. “You expect me to trust you.”
A danger was imminent in every corner of their relationship and the moment Chanyeol took him to the enclosed camp pool that was shut due to weather, Baekhyun began to heavily wonder whether his disregarding personality was rubbing off as bad influence on the athlete. Serious questions, however, were exempt during his thoughts as he constantly reminded himself that he allowed the giant to convince him to change into a pair of shorts that he wouldn’t be using at all. As he stood behind Chanyeol with his arms crossed to warm himself from the cool air the rain had left, Baekhyun almost laughed at their delinquent activity.
Climbing over the fence was no task. Chanyeol climbed over first and caught Baekhyun when the brunet stumbled back and lost his balance momentarily after landing. They set their towels near a few chairs and began walking along the edge until they were on the deeper end.
Baekhyun’s attention was on the dark blue water for a while, thinking about the calmness and serenity of the current environment. Although he wasn’t completely alone, he felt like he could finally breathe and be free. Then, without notice, he felt himself hoisted into Chanyeol’s arms and, immediately, his face blushed at the skinship between them.
When Chanyeol began swinging him, Baekhyun gasped. “No, no, Chanyeol! I—”
“Ready to go in? One...”
“Chanyeol! I can’t—”
As he was launched into the air, Baekhyun shrieked. “I can’t swim!”
He hit the water hard just after he got the last word out. Holding his breath, he opened his eyes and swam toward the bottom before changing direction and swimming to the shallower end. Underneath the water, he could hear Chanyeol jump in after him, which only encouraged the brunet to swim faster away from his original landing spot.
When his lungs began to burn for release, Baekhyun slowly surfaced and paddled to an edge where his feet touched the floor. He turned his head and watched the basketball player bob in and out of the water attempting to find him, and it was only when he accidentally laughed that Chanyeol spotted him.
“I thought you said you couldn’t swim!” he yelled.
Biting his lips, Baekhyun couldn’t help himself from grinning at the angry tone in the giant’s voice. As he watched Chanyeol swim his way closer, Baekhyun sank into the water until it was up to his chin. “Yeah, well who said you could throw me in?” he said rather teasingly.
Chanyeol’s angry expression was mixed with a clear sense of worry. After feeling the bottom of the pool floor right under his feet, he walked through the water to meet with the brunet who kept his back pressed against the wall. “Stop giggling. That wasn’t funny.”
“No, it was,” Baekhyun laughed. “It was perfect.”
“I seriously thought you drowned!” Chanyeol placed his hands on the edge of the pool wall, keeping Baekhyun trapped floating in between hard concrete and his body. “When we’re with other people, you’re quiet and subtle, but who knew you were this crazy and cruel...”
“My humor isn’t for everyone, Chanyeol.”
“Yeah, and I can see why.” Groaning, Chanyeol hung his head and closed his eyes for a moment, taking a few minutes to breathe. Then, when he raised his attention once again, he gave Baekhyun a hard look. “You know I’m a nice guy, right?”
“Well, sometimes, nice guys need a break,” Chanyeol muttered, meeting Baekhyun’s curious eyes.
“Okay…No more jokes, then.”
“That’s not what I want.” Baekhyun raised his brows and Chanyeol cocked his head. “I want a chance at payback with no penalty.”
“And what is it that you want?”
Dropping his eyes down low, Chanyeol made the indication and allowed time for the brunet to grasp onto his wish. When Baekhyun finally got it, he was taken aback, but he didn’t deny the giant of his compensation. “You want a kiss.”
“I want you to kiss me,” Chanyeol clarified. “I made a fool out of myself and now you will, too. Look, you’re already red from the thought of it.” He laughed and, in turn, Baekhyun slapped water in his face.
“Fine,” Baekhyun said, giving in as he straightened up and wrapped a single arm around Chanyeol’s neck to bring him in closer.
Startled by the gesture, Chanyeol froze. “Wait, what’re you doing?”
Blinking, Baekhyun drew his brows together. “You wanted me to kiss you.”
“A simple kiss will do, you know…”
Simple would have satisfied, but the thrill would’ve been nonexistent. Baekhyun’s taste and personality was beginning to become more and more clear and clean-cut like the two sides of a coin. Perhaps with the cloud and influential mood of others around him, he wouldn’t have touched Chanyeol in such an intimate way nor would the idea have ever emerged. But, for some reason, the atmosphere when being alone with the giant himself was beginning to change, and it was influencing things that Baekhyun, in the norm, would never have thought of doing.
Leading Chanyeol on was the last thing he needed to complicate his life. Attachment to one single person during their final year until graduation felt similar to signing his name along the dotted line of a death contract. Nothing—neither light nor happy ending—would be waiting at the end of their relationship if Baekhyun ever took the chance to embark on the opportunity to start it. To leave the giant alone and to prevent pain in the future was ideal, but Baekhyun was built with the same natural desires common to humans as every other person.
There was a slow hesitation before Baekhyun muttered, “I’m going to regret this.” Tilting his head, he closed his eyes and pulled Chanyeol down on him, slotting his soft, cold lips against the giant's. To no surprise, in the midst of his euphoria, Chanyeol hesitated for a split second, but immediately came back to life, accepting the kiss and pressing into it as he pleased.
For comfort sake, Baekhyun wrapped his legs around the athlete’s waist, wrapping both of his arms around the man’s neck. Taking his hands off the wall, Chanyeol moved them to slowly hold the brunet up by his inner thighs. No objection rose concerning his hand placement; both were too preoccupied.
Baekhyun’s tongue ran along the outer lips of the player’s trembling ones and he grinned with satisfaction at the effect of his tongue. His tactics were slow and sweet, but it was Chanyeol who hastened the act, taking control of the latter’s mouth, exploring every inch and space with unrestricted permission.
Despite the water’s cold temperature, Chanyeol felt like his body was on fire from the warmth of Baekhyun’s mouth and tongue to the heat rising from their joints. His lungs were ignited by their own case, desperate for more air than Chanyeol was willing to give at the moment. The adrenaline rush from the intimacy kept both of them warm against the frigid air.
Finally, Baekhyun pulled away, gasping as he took his arms back and rested his hands against Chanyeol’s shoulders. They met eyes together, and it was clear as day despite the cloudy evening sky that Baekhyun was far more embarrassed than his counterpart.
His chest was like an erratic drum, beating a ten thousand beats per minute by exaggeration. Fingers refused to stop shaking, and legs were too frozen by shock to untangle. Baekhyun’s swollen lips wobbled for a few seconds as the reality of his actions bore on him like a falling roof.
Their breathing was broken and distressed, but slowly, as the seconds passed by, clarity became a thing to grasp. With elongated ease, afraid of what he had fallen into, Baekhyun’s fingers began to pull away and his legs fidgeted—all of which Chanyeol could feel.
Baekhyun had his highs and his lows. Chanyeol knew. However, the minute the small brunet began to pull back into his protective shell, the player knew that he needed to stop the process. Progress, by fact, could not be made by taking one step forward, but ten steps back. With this in mind, Chanyeol played the cards in his hand and craned his head forward, kissing the smaller male’s soft neck.
By natural reaction, Baekhyun took in a sharp intake of breath, grabbing onto Chanyeol’s shoulders as to push him away. The efforts put into resisting slowly collapse with every wet kiss and murmur accompanied by the groping of the athlete’s large hands underneath the water.
“You do realize that—ngh…”
“What?” Chanyeol said softly, kissing higher and higher until he planted kiss on Baekhyun’s jawline.
“I’m going to kill you later.”
“Didn’t I say revenge without penalty?” Grinning, Chanyeol left a soft, quick kiss against the latter’s lips.
Baekhyun gave him a look before groaning. He wrapped his arms around the giant’s neck once again and rested his head on his shoulder. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope you know this doesn’t mean very much…I don’t want you thinking it means that I’ve accepted you, even though I will hand it to you that you do kiss very well.”
Despite the slight setback, Chanyeol made sure to enjoy the moment, storing the memory of Baekhyun’s arms and legs clinging onto him for later reminiscence. He smiled, holding the latter as comfortably as he could. “That’s alright. It was nice while it lasted.”
There was silence for a while until Baekhyun raised his head and looked down at the man holding him. “You should be mad at me.”
“How can I be mad at you when your crotch is so close and snug to mine?”
There was an immediate punishment following as Baekhyun pinched the jock’s arm. “Why don’t you just go bother with someone else?” he muttered. “There are a lot of people willing to be with you. You have a handful of admirers. There’s no hope with me, Chanyeol.”
Laughing, Chanyeol disagreed. “There is,” he argued. “There’s always a hope. I may be going off a limb here, but there was more than just your tongue involved when you kissed me. There was more.”