a/n: i have a train idea :D
Chanyeol, in his exquisite existence, was a secret delight to watch. Granted Baekhyun only peeked inside the gymnasium for a fleeting second using the back exit before walking back out, he was still in awe, partially from the ever growing realization that he was dating one of the sweaty players bound to get physically hurt from the ridiculous sport. After his short visit despite Chanyeol's insistence for him to sit and watch the spectacle of yet another practice in the bleachers, Baekhyun rejected the offer, opting to sit outside the building to wait quietly on the concrete bench.
The sun still had an appearance, but it was cool. Wrapped in his jacket, Baekhyun kept himself warm against the chilly wind by rocking back and forth, sometimes standing up to pace. His hand was gripping his cellphone, though unused and dead of contact.
Kyungsoo hadn't contacted him very much since the end of the retreat, and Baekhyun was given no direction on the topic of how to make amends with someone who was completely out of reach by epic choice. Biting his lip, Baekhyun turned back to take a gander of the gymnasium, unable to pull himself from the thought of Kyungsoo's cause. He could, for an entire lifetime, feign to be clueless, but the truth was too loud to ignore.
He had lost Kyungsoo the moment he chose Chanyeol.
Though, then, the question came, asking when did he begin choosing the giant over the boy he loved not too long before? Baekhyun couldn’t put his finger on the moment, exactly, but it was clear enough that he was past the point of return.
Looking down at his phone, Baekhyun thought on the idea of calling his friend, but shook it away, knowing Kyungsoo wouldn’t welcome it. Prior to that day, the brunet had tried to reach him a number of times, but the rejection was constant and blaring. School, ironically, had gotten worse without Kyungsoo by his side, and Baekhyun knew it was because he had lost the person he confided in the most.
Chanyeol was not an option. Baekhyun refused to subject him to words that would only anger him, destroying his whimsical view of the people around them. People whispered. They loved to whisper. The desire and temptation to gossip and lie was, as he knew, human nature. It was unavoidable, especially when jealousy and ignorance tangoed in the same dance, throwing individuals in a delusional loop. What he wanted to say was nothing Chanyeol needed to hear in the very least, but it would’ve been something Kyungsoo could’ve lessened.
Unlike the basketball jock, Kyungsoo’s way of lessening the blow of hurt brought on by the words of others was to spite them back with the same venom in his own speech. Chanyeol, on the other hand, seemed to be more physical and confrontal. The last thing Baekhyun wanted was for the giant to fight anyone or approach those who were talking out of mere anger, bitterness, and jealousy. He knew, despite the gentleness, Chanyeol was the type to stand up for those he cared for, and it was something Baekhyun had no desire to exploit.
Baekhyun’s eyes were growing more tired, though he couldn’t point as to why. He had done nothing significant that day, skipping gym and ditching to spend the afternoon in the infirmary with Mr. Kim, who had given up on the lectures. Thinking, he wondered if he should return home and apologize later for his sudden absence, but as he reached a conclusion to his thinking, he heard the gymnasium doors swing open followed by a cluster of voices.
Rising, Baekhyun rubbed his tired eyes and smiled as he caught view of Chanyeol looking left and right for him. He raised his hand, waving it slightly before dropping it once the giant had seen him and began his approach.
Chanyeol’s hair was still damp, clear that he hadn’t been thorough in drying it. The tips still dripped of water, but the light in his eyes couldn’t be put out by his condition. Opening his arms, Chanyeol took the short brunet into an embrace that took his tiny feet off the ground.
“You waited!” he exclaimed. After putting him back on the ground, Chanyeol grinned, planting a kiss just on the corner of Baekhyun’s shy lips. “I thought you wouldn’t come. Honestly, I got a little disappointed when you weren’t sitting in the bleachers.”
“The chances of me watching an entire team of guys running around for a ball, calling it practice are very slim to none,” Baekhyun replied. Reaching up, he moved strands of the giant’s hair and pushed it all back. “Do you have work to do? How did your Physics project go?”
“Well enough,” the other said optimistically. Changing the subject, he smoothly swayed his hand back and forth until catching the brunet’s. Then, he laced their fingers together. “Your house?”
“Unless you’re too tired.”
Cocking his head, Baekhyun gave a skeptical look. “Three hours of practice and you’re fine? Completely?”
“I’m always fine when I’m with you,” Chanyeol responded with a shrug. “Besides, I like your mom’s cooking, and I like going to your house, even though I’ve only been there two times… I wish you’d invite me over more often.”
“It’s only been a few weeks, Chanyeol,” Baekhyun told him. “There hasn’t exactly been many opportunities for me to call you over.”
“Really? I can think of a dozen.” Laughing, Chanyeol threw his head back, gazing up at the orange, darkening sky. “Isn’t it weird how quiet it is?”
There was nothing weird about the soundless evening, but Baekhyun gave the question a chance, asking, “How?”
“Because I still remember the concert last night. It was so loud...” Smiling, Chanyeol sighed. “I have to say, your love for them isn’t misplaced.”
“I’m glad you didn’t find it so terrible.”
“I’m not kidding!” Gently hitting the other with his shoulder, the giant looked at him softly. “I really liked it.”
“Not at much as I like you, of course,” Chanyeol added. “I hope you like me as much as you like the leader singer. I mean, I know I can’t sing and all, but I can always try.”
“I don’t need you to sing to me.”
“Well, then maybe, one day, I’ll sing to our kids.”
Baekhyun thanked the grace of the fading light that hid the scorching blush on his face regardless of the fact that he had turned his attention away from Chanyeol’s view. His hold on the other’s hand grew loose, but Chanyeol made up for his lack of grip.
Knowing how Baekhyun’s embarrassment skyrocketed out of the Earth’s atmosphere, Chanyeol opted for a new subject as they reached the school gates. “Have you heard from Kyungsoo?”
A bitter feeling encroached on him, and Baekhyun heaved his shoulders, unable to formulate a quick answer. To him, it was difficult to think about the boy, and though it was unhealthy to merely ignore issue, Baekhyun had to in order to avoid the feeling of emptiness he felt from the place Kyungsoo had once set for himself in.
“No. I haven’t. He’s been avoiding me.”
Frowning, Chanyeol felt guilt. He looked from left to right before carefully guiding them across the street. “Do you want me to talk to him? I have this feeling that he’s doing this because of me.”
Baekhyun dryly chuckled. “When is it never about you?” he jokingly asked.
“Then I promise to talk to him,” Chanyeol said seriously. As they walked on the sidewalk, he licked his lips, dry in the bearing silence. “I don’t mean to disrespect him or anything, Baek, but I don’t like how he’s treating you like this.”
The words were said so faintly, they were almost missed. Baekhyun raised his head up, curious. “And why’s that?”
“Because, even if it’s partially my fault, I don’t think it is entirely. I think, for the majority, it’s Kyungsoo's...” Inwardly sighing quietly to himself, Chanyeol gave him a tender look. “Have you ever thought that maybe--I don’t know… Maybe he’s still in love with you?”
Baekhyun ceased walking and stood frozen. “In love with me?”
“Yeah…” In its most apparent state, Chanyeol’s expression revealed discomfort, but he maintained their hands in a sure and gentle hold. “Ever given it a thought?”
Silence filled the emptiness as Baekhyun continued to look at him, eyes glassy, reflecting the beauty of dusk. “How can I when your stupid face has been the only thing on my mind since…” his voice trailed off before he could finish, and Baekhyun shook his head, resuming their walk to the bus stop. “Chanyeol, he matters to me, because we’ve been together for so long, and I miss him, but I don’t think it’s love at all. At least, not anymore.”
“Are you sure?” the giant asked quietly.
The answer slipped past Baekhyun’s lips. “No…”
They arrived at the stop just minutes before the bus arrived, early in its schedule. Baekhyun, despite Chanyeol’s protests, swiped his card for both of them and continued to walk down the aisle, using the poles to keep his balance as the vehicle began its venture. He found two empty seats near the back and motioned for Chanyeol to join him.
The light of the fading sun hit Baekhyun’s eyes as he sat in the window seat, forcing him to turn the other way and watch the other carefully set his sports bag at the foot of their seats. Helping him, the brunet reached over and dragged the bag nearer to him. After breathlessly thanking the brunet, Chanyeol sat down and their silence continued, but with no discomfort.
A few minutes after they settled, Baekhyun’s eyes glanced off to his side, watching in amusement and guilt as Chanyeol twiddled with his thumbs as a way to distract himself from their peace. Giving into his conscience, Baekhyun slipped his left hand in with Chanyeol’s own.
The action gave the giant a small jolt. Then he grinned and playfully said, “I think it’d be easier to hold hands if we used my right.”
“Who said I wanted to hold your hand?”
It seemed like a mystery as to what Baekhyun wanted, but when he positioned their fingers in such a way that left their thumbs in the open, his boyfriend caught on.
“One, two, three, four,” Baekhyun started.
“I declare a thumb a war.” Chanyeol finished.
The house had no life and it held Kyungsoo down like a cinderblock. He felt like he was drowning in his own self and found that concentration was nowhere to be had. He put his pen down, shutting his eyes tightly, succumbing to his tired body’s needs. With his head on his desk, he drifted in and out the temptations of sleep until his inner super ego grasped him back to the surface.
Raising his head and glancing at the mathematical equations that were yet to be done, he decided it was enough for the night. There was no one to talk to besides himself, and Kyungsoo wasn’t ready for the route of mental insanity. His father was downstairs, but furiously working on a case. To bother him wasn’t an option, but Kyungsoo needed to see a human being, someone alive, as if to remind himself of reality.
He took to his own resources and packed his things for the bathhouse. After announcing his leave without idly waiting for permission, Kyungsoo walked out the gates of his house and began walking down the steep road, headed for a bathhouse ten minutes in distance.
Most people would’ve been slightly paranoid of the dark. To their credit, it was nearing nine and the street lights emitted a feeling of movie-like terror, but Kyungsoo had no time worrying about frivolous fears. As he walked, he passed by seniors who had known him since his primary years. After smiling at them and making a short, brief comment about the night, he walked on.
Solidarity always brought him peace, but it was also darkness. But where he found comfort in the dark before, Kyungsoo found a loneliness he realized he feared.
The punching bags and the gym, it was all part of his suggested therapy. It was a physical outlet for all his mental suppression, and though useless in his nature (or so Kyungsoo deemed), Jongin had reached into the pit of darkness and shed light on matters the latter hadn’t thought of to think about.
Baekhyun had been the last to keep him company, and when he found Chanyeol, Kyungsoo no longer had another entity to share his misery with. Then, like a torn star, collapsing from its own size, Kyungsoo caved, mentally eating and destroying himself, but that was the only way he knew how to cope. To curl into a ball and to quietly self-destruct by himself was his only self-defense. But his coping mechanisms were beginning to irritate him.
People were terrible, and there was nothing Kyungsoo could do besides state the facts on the matter, but he was beginning to understand that he couldn’t do without others. Granted, he wanted nothing to do with them, but the night he went home after Jongin’s confrontation, Kyungsoo realized he couldn’t save himself.
To walk back towards the darkness would tear him apart, because in that abyss, there was no one but himself. Baekhyun was no longer by his side, his house was a cemetery, and the silence he had loved so much in the past was beginning to turn into a vicious monster, tearing up his mind and sanity so coldly, it'd force him to leave his isolation and seek out an escape for comfort.
After his walk through the night air, Kyungsoo arrived at the bathhouse, walking up the steps and entering with ease. It was a familiar feeling to be there, having deserted the bathhouse for the convenience of his own bathroom months ago. Slowly, he turned his head to the front counter and was surprised to see Jongin inattentively flipping through a magazine. Snorting at his incompetence, Kyungsoo approached him, setting his general entrance fee on the counter. They met eyes for a short while, but said nothing significant, except for Jongin who muttered, “Enjoy” as Kyungsoo nodded and went along, down the men’s hall.