Rain and Radios
The skies were cloudy and the wind blew as a medium-flow of rain came pouring down. Even though the ideal weather for beach living was supposed to be sunny and hot twenty-four hours a day all week, Baekhyun liked the view of the gray ocean crashing onto shore.
Kyungsoo was chopping up vegetables for the stew that night—something perfect for weather like the one they were having—while Chanyeol was keeping him occupied with a conversation. Sehun had brought up an old radio from the basement and was tinkering with it and trying to get it to work.
When Baekhyun finished with his shower, he left his room with a loose fitting shirt and pajama pants, though it was nowhere near sleeping time. Baekhyun just liked comfortable and pajama pants were comfortable...Just like cardigans.
“Good evening,” Baekhyun greeted as he came out of the hallway, ruffling his damp hair.
“Hi, Baek,” Kyungsoo said warmly. “Dinner will be ready in a while.”
“Alright,” Baekhyun said. As he passed the dining table where Chanyeol was sitting and judging him, Baekhyun cocked his head. “What’s your issue now, Chanyeol?”
“Baek. Your wardrobe choices,” Chanyeol replied, motioning to Baekhyun’s bottoms.
“It’s nice,” Baekhyun argued, stopping in his tracks to flap his loose pajama pants. “Anyways, fun conversation, but I’m gonna go in the living room.”
Deciding not to argue since Chanyeol knew he couldn’t change Baekhyun’s nonchalant attitude, he nodded. “Fine. Turn on the television, too.”
“Any news broadcasting channel’s fine.”
“Boring choice, Chanyeol,” Baekhyun commented as he walked away.
“It’s informative and educational,” Chanyeol threw back.
“Don’t talk to me about education, you college-depriving giant,” Baekhyun muttered under his breath. He hadn’t intended for Chanyeol to hear, but when Chanyeol responded, Baekhyun figured that it was because of those large ears that he had heard.
“What did you say, Baek?”
Baekhyun turned around for a second to give Chanyeol a shrug. “You must be hearing things.”
Before Chanyeol could refute, Baekhyun turned his back on an irked Chanyeol and an amused Kyungsoo. Sitting down on the couch, Baekhyun scooted next to Sehun and watched as the guy was trying to piece together the last bit of the mechanical puzzle on the old radio.
“So you’re a tinkerer?” Baekhyun asked.
“Uh, yeah…” Sehun shyly replied. “I’m kind of good with fixing things, too.”
From the back of them, Baekhyun could hear Chanyeol add to the conversation that didn’t involve him. “He’s pretty handy around here. He even helps me with my work sometimes.”
“Thanks for the info,” Baekhyun dismissively said before turning his attention back to Sehun. “What kind of work exactly?”
“Building working models of robot prototypes and things like that,” Sehun replied.
Baekhyun sighed. “Sehun, if you have a knack for things like this, you shouldn’t be watering plants for Chanyeol.”
“Actually, he mentors me when I’m done working so it’s really a give and take thing,” Sehun said.
After a second, Sehun seemed to be satisfied. He turned his head back at the dining table. “I think I got it!”
Getting up from his seat, Chanyeol smirked as he made his way over to the couch. He leaned over, casting his shadow over both Sehun and Baekhyun. Baekhyun threw his head back and looked up.
Chanyeol felt something staring at him and immediately looked down. “What?”
The response was curt and before Chanyeol knew it, Baekhyun leveled his head and leaned forward, placing his elbows on his knees, intent on watching to see if Sehun had fixed the radio up to a point where it could turn on and function.
Feeling all eyes on him—except for Kyungsoo’s—Sehun had his moment. His fingers found the turning knob that would turn the radio on if he had done everything right. But when the knob was turned and an audible click was heard, they heard nothing.
Sehun toyed with the knob to change the stations with for a moment, but nothing. The radio was dead silent. After a while of trying, Sehun slumped his shoulders and Chanyeol sighed.
“It’s alright, Sehun.”
Sehun was wordless at his failure. Baekhyun watched as a dark cloud found its way over Sehun’s head, and he frowned. Not liking the silence brought on by the failure, Baekhyun leaned over and dragged the radio across the coffee table so that it was closer to him.
Without asking for permission, Baekhyun took the tiny tools and screw drivers that Sehun was using and began to disassemble the machine, ripping bolts and pieces out. Baekhyun didn’t need to look at Sehun—not that he even could—to know that the kid was probably horrified at was happening right then.
“What are you doing!?” Sehun cried. “You’re just ripping it apart! I didn’t label the screws and bolts and where they went! It took a really long time to figure out where they belonged! Baekhyun!”
Ignoring him, Baekhyun continued to disassemble until the back of the radio was completely gone. By the time the only thing he could see were a few wires, Sehun was on the brink of frustration just by looking at all the pieces scattered on the table.
Chanyeol’s attention was caught the moment Sehun started freaking out, and he was immediately back at the seating area, looking over at what was happening. At first he was frowning over the fact that Baekhyun was making Sehun upset, but when he saw the stubborn male taking the old machine apart like an expert, he froze.
Chanyeol knew that the Baekhyun he had gotten to know those past few weeks was not the one sitting next to Sehun at the moment. The sarcastic and childish air around him was gone, and what was left was a Baekhyun who was fully focused on finding out where Sehun’s mistake was.
In other words, Byun Baekhyun was in play.
After looking around the internal components of the radio for a second, Baekhyun smirked. “Found it,” he sang. “Sehun, you connected the wrong wires…The one for surging power to the radio—the wire connected to the knob—you connected it to the other knob, the one for changing the station…”
At the realization, Sehun was silent for a second. “Oh…”
“It’s okay. Simple mistake,” Baekhyun assured. As he fixed the wiring carefully, he said, “But the simplest mistakes are sometimes the worst ones, so you have to be careful…”
As quickly as Baekhyun had disassembled the radio, he fixed it up just as fast. Given incredible memory, Baekhyun didn’t take long to put the bolts and screws back where he had torn them from. After making sure the battery was in place, Baekhyun closed the back of the radio and scooted it back in front of Sehun.
Sehun glanced at him before he reached over and touched the power knob. Then he twisted it and heard a click. Not a second too soon, there was the sound of white noise coming from the radio. Sehun’s eyes brightened as he quickly reached over to the other knob and tried different stations. It took a few tries, but eventually he found a channel that actually worked.
Sehun’s jaw dropped for a moment before he turned to Baekhyun. “I…How did you…”
Baekhyun just closed his eyes and shook his head before standing up. Ignoring Sehun’s questions, which Baekhyun knew he had, Baekhyun stood up from the couch. “Do me a favor, Sehun, and turn the television on to some news channel.” Moving away from the seating area, Baekhyun said, “I’m gonna go wash my hands. That radio’s old and oily on the inside. It’s gross…”
As Baekhyun left, Sehun was still baffled. He turned to Chanyeol who was still standing behind the seat. “You saw that right?”
Chanyeol was in the same state as Sehun, but he found himself nodding. “Yeah…”
Sehun laughed a bit as he turned his attention back to the working radio. “I mean, I was freaking out, but he just…Ah, I wanna know how he did it.”
Frowning, Chanyeol nodded absent mindedly to himself. “You know what? I do, too. Let me go ask him.”
Leaving Sehun’s side, Chanyeol went off after Baekhyun who went inside the bathroom in the main hallway. Inside, Chanyeol saw Baekhyun rubbing his hands quickly, forming bubbles with the soap. He wondered how long it would take for Baekhyun to notice him there, but when Baekhyun went on to try and blow the bubbles off his hands, Chanyeol knew that Baekhyun was far too distracted to notice anything.
Upon hearing the low voice, Baekhyun unpuffed his air-filled cheeks and turned his head to the door. “Excuse you. I could’ve been taking a piss.”
“The door was open and you said you were just going to wash your hands,” Chanyeol retorted.
Baekhyun shrugged. “Nicely played.”
Chanyeol crossed his arms. He wasn’t there to argue with Baekhyun about common bathroom-knocking courtesy. “You know, what you did back there was impressive.”
Turning on the faucet, Baekhyun began to rinse. “I guess.”
“How’d you do it?”
Baekhyun scoffed. “It was just a radio with a few screws. A child could’ve done that.”
“Sehun’s pretty good with figuring things out and fixing them,” Chanyeol said as he leaned on the frame. “There were like thirty unlabeled screws and bolts, Baekhyun.”
Rubbing his hands together, Baekhyun said, “So?”
Chanyeol took a pause. “I underestimated your skills, Baekhyun. Now why didn’t tell me you knew a thing or two about machines?”
Turning the water off, Baekhyun flicked his hands. “It was just a radio, Chanyeol.”
“An antique, old as fuck radio, Baek,” Chanyeol pointed out, watching Baekhyun carefully. “Sehun and I even had to go to the library to figure out the mechanics in that thing.”
Baekhyun raised his brows. “Well if you had just gone to Old Raisin, maybe you wouldn’t have had to go to the library.” Wiping his hands on a nearby hand towel, he added, “I just like old things so maybe I was familiar with it. I don’t know.”
Chanyeol pressed on. “Other than your impressive show, Baek, you also have a nice memory. Didn’t think someone like you was capable of something like that.”
Baekhyun laughed. “Didn’t think? What? Did you think I was stupid?”
Chanyeol heaved a shoulder. “You haven’t really said or done anything intelligent around here. All you really do is argue with me, laze around, talk with Kyungsoo and Sehun, and sleep.”
Baekhyun opened his mouth to refute, but he realized that Chanyeol was right. But, feeling the need to at least say something, Baekhyun refuted another point. “Whatever. But as a matter of fact, I don’t even remember what Kyungsoo made last night.”
“What’s that supposed to prove?”
Baekhyun grinned as he walked closer to Chanyeol. “It’s supposed to prove that my memory isn’t all that good,” Baekhyun replied. Standing nearly chest to chest with Chanyeol, Baekhyun tilted his head up. “Can you move?”
“Baekhyun,” Chanyeol warned. “You’re being really shady again.”
Rolling his eyes, Baekhyun scoffed. “Fixing one lousy radio and I’m automatically shady.” Baekhyun tried to side step Chanyeol, but Chanyeol blocked him. “Really?”
Holding his hands in front of him, Chanyeol justified himself. “I just want answers.”
“Not everything has answers!” Baekhyun frowned up at him, frustrated. “Why do you have pepperoni nipples? No one knows! Why are you depriving children of education? No one knows!”
Chanyeol was taken aback. “What the fuck are you going on about!?”
Huffing, Baekhyun shook his head. “Can I leave this bathroom? Like, please?” he asked, trying to go in the “please sir” route.
“I’m just asking you—”
“Baekhyun, I just—”
“Then go fucking eat!” Chanyeol cried as he stepped aside and held a hand in the direction of the kitchen. “You’re so—argh! Shady! Baekhyun, you’re shady!”
Exiting the bathroom, Baekhyun smirked at Chanyeol. “I’m just good with my hands,” he said before turning his back towards Chanyeol.
Chanyeol watched as Baekhyun left him in the hallway. It took a few moments, but it was then that Chanyeol decided he needed to up his game when it came to figuring out why Baekhyun was there exactly. Chanyeol didn’t know whether Baekhyun was there by accident or because he thought he could steal company ideas and designs right under Chanyeol’s nose, but Chanyeol was determined to find out.
After their short argument, Chanyeol realized that he couldn’t pry information out of Baekhyun that easily, so he needed a medium. Something he could use to get Baekhyun off his game and bring him down on his knees for interrogation. For a job like that, Chanyeol knew exactly what to use.