Summary: If the earth and the constellation Virgo are 260 light years away, what then, Chanyeol wonders, is the distance between two human hearts?
He’d been born in a sea side town, his father a boat maker and his mum an ordinary housewife, passing each day mechanically, peppered with routine chores and school. Byun Baekhyun was, considered by other parents and peers, a plain, plain child. His already small eyes were hidden behind thick, bulky spectacles, his slightly chubby frame buried beneath layers of frumpy hand me down sweaters and shirts, and his shoes were never really quite the right size for him. Clumsy and quiet, he’d spent a good majority of his time running away from the relentless school bullies, never returning home after school, instead always hiding out in the library about three kilometers away from his home.
He’d first discovered the old piano in the library’s music room, buried under layers of dust, old and neglected, its once glossy finish now muted and chipped. The place was pretty much deserted most of the time, the folks in is town far too occupied with sustenance and survival to take time out to read. Occasionally he would bump into someone he knew, but they would usually pass each other wordlessly with only silent nods as greetings.
Baekhyun had headed straight for the music section and outwardly squealed at the entire shelf of books waiting for him, excitedly flipping through pages and chapters of trebleclefts and crescendos but he puts those aside, gingerly, searching for a book that he could actually understand. On good days he would grab a book or two and check them out, tucking them into his backpack before heading out closer to the shore, reading away his time on benches under clear blue skies. When the weather turned sour he would stay in the shelter of the library, sitting alone at the piano, trying to memorise chords, melodies and progressions.
The second born male in his family, Baekhyun had had much more freedom to entertain his whims and fancies, his older brother bearing the brunt of the responsibilities and expectations of inheriting the family business. His parents hardly blink when he slips through the door at dinnertime, never questioning him on his whereabouts, and he finds he appreciates the silence, occasionally doing additional chores to make up for the liberty that they give him.
For two years, the music room had become his solitary sanctuary - a place where he could sing at the top of his lungs, where he wasn’t just plain old mousy Byun Baekhyun, but the person that he thought he probably wanted to be.
He first meets Chanyeol when he’s recovering from a particularly bad encounter with the middle school bullies, hiding in the music room, sniffling as he painstakingly tapes back the torn pages of his note book, carefully mending his precious scores.
Chanyeol doesn’t say a thing, sitting wordlessly with him, picking up the scissors to help cut smaller pieces of cellotape, passing them to Baekhyun one by one as he stuck the ripped pieces of paper back together. When he finally stops sniffling and looks up to thank his new found friend, the blinding smile he receives kind of knocks him off his axis and he falters, dropping his newly mended book again.
The other had reached over quickly and picked up the book of scores, dusting it off gently with his shirt before handing it back to a rather stunned Baekhyun.
“I’m Chanyeol.” He grinned, right eye twitching. “What’s your name?”
Chanyeol was the lighthouse keeper’s son, and he liked looking up at the sky with his dad as he would point out to him the various constellations and tell him stories of gods and goddesses, life and death and forgiveness as he stayed up for endless nights, accompanying his father as they sat near the radio, alert at all times.
Chanyeol went to the same school as Baekhyun but they were in different classes, and sometimes during recesses and lunches Baekhyun would sneak over, wanting to just chat with his new found friend or, perhaps even eat with him but he would always find Chanyeol hunched over his desk, snoozing away. Baekhyun can hardly blame him since he knows his friend hardly gets any sleep at night so he hides in a corner while he waits for the rest of the class to leave before tiptoeing as nimbly as possible to Chanyeol’s desk, quickly scribbling out a note before tucking it carefully between two of the lanky boy’s fingers. Baekhyun all but runs back to his own empty classroom, afraid that someone would see and afraid that he had disturbed what little time of rest Chanyeol could get.
Later, he can’t help but grin irrationally excitedly when he hears a knock on the door to the music room, followed by a soft, cautious “Baekhyun?”
“Can I join you?” Chanyeol opens the door and sticks his head and arm through, waving a book a little too energetically, rows of pearly white teeth showing.
Baekhyun is pretty much useless without his glasses, and Chanyeol realizes just exactly how bad his eyesight is when he comes stumbling into his classroom one day, blinking madly, hands on the wall to guide him as he took small, shuffled steps, knees knocking into tables and chairs.
“Ch-Chan…yeol? A-are you…there?” Baekhyun’s voice is tiny and lost and Chanyeol is out of his seat immediately, walking with quick but steady strides to his side, trying not to scare the already petrified boy. He lets him know he’s there by holding on to his elbow, and he can feel Baekhyun relax as he helps to steady him, letting him regain his balance.
“They took my spectacles away and I can’t see and I didn’t know who else to go to and I’m so sorry for troubling you like this…but, erm, I don’t know what to do…” Baekhyun rambles on, looking around, confused now, trying to smile apologetically in the general direction of where he thought Chanyeol would be.
“Hey, it’s alright,” Chanyeol smiles kindly at his scared friend, patting his head and offering his left arm for Baekhyun to latch onto. “Come on, let’s go find your glasses.”
Chanyeol ignores the raised eyebrows and stares that he gets as he leads a squinting Baekhyun around the hallways and corridors, keeping him close, searching behind doors and corners and in drawers and cupboards until finally he spots Baekhyun’s thick black frames by a trash can out by the field behind the school’s main building. He had sat Baekhyun down on a bench before running over to retrieve it, but as he nears the trashcan his mouth falls open into an “Oh.”
“Did you find them?” Baekhyun asks hopefully, squinting again, trying to find Chanyeol amidst the blurry sunlight.
“I did…but they’re broken” Chanyeol mumbles, handing the spectacles that were split apart at the nose bridge to him.
“I think they can be, erm, sort of fixed though,” Chanyeol says hesitantly, digging through the first aid box that was hanging on the wall nearby for the medical tape, before taking the broken frames back and taping around the nose bridge neatly so that the two halves are secure. He cleans the lenses with the inside of his shirt, sliding the spectacles back onto Baekhyun’s face, the other blinking at him blankly.
“O-oooh oh I can see again,” Baekhyun says seriously, eyes widening, brows furrowing, and Chanyeol chuckles heartily at his silly expression. “Thank you, Chanyeol.”
“It’s fine! No trouble at all,” He smiles back, right eye doing its peculiar twitch, offering a hand to Baekhyun as he stands.
“I look really funny,” Baekhyun laughs as he catches his own reflection in the glass as they head back into the building.
“I think it’s actually quite cute,” Chanyeol says and Baekhyun blushes, looking down in embarrassment, watching his sneaker-ed feet, trying not to trip.
The next day at recess he finds Chanyeol waiting for him outside his classroom, hiding behind the door. He walks in once the classroom empties and he pulls out the chair next to Baekhyun’s desk, flopping down into the seat as he grins at Baekhyun, hand scratching the back of his neck.
He’s there again the day after - and the day after, and the day after, and the day after.
Chanyeol gets a job as a delivery boy when he turns sixteen, zipping around on his bicycle, and their daily routine is re-calibrated. Baekhyun is left to his own devises, usually studying or doing his homework until Chanyeol joins him later in the evenings, usually for an hour or two until dinner once he’s done with his route.
He had stayed with him til late one day, when Baekhyun had sprained his ankle while running away from the bullies, his clumsy still slightly chubby sixteen year old self rather useless when pit against the gradual incline of the bumpy green hills. Baekhyun had refused to go back to school to see the nurse, stubbornly insisting on hobbling and hopping all three kilometers to the library.
When the library had closed up for the day and they had packed up all of the books that they had checked out into Baekhyun’s bag, the shorter boy loses his balance and falls again, crying out as he accidentally puts too much pressure on his injured foot.
“You’ve gone and made it worse now,” Chanyeol sighs as he kneels down to have a better look at Baekhyun’s swollen ankle, frowning when his friend had winced in pain, moving to sit back down.
Baekhyun’s too busy looking away defiantly, too busy insisting that he could still walk on his own to notice that Chanyeol had shifted into a squatting position in front of him.
“Get on, I’ll carry you.” He had said calmly, waving his arm and motioning for Baekhyun to climb onto his back.
“But I’m heavy.”
“It’s fine, get on.”
“But what if I hurt your back?”
“I’m pretty strong you know, Baekhyun. Come on,”
Chanyeol waits for him at the gates every day after that, supporting him as he hopped on one foot to the library, and for a month or two Chanyeol would carry him home on his back as Baekhyun played with his ears, occasionally mumbling in irrational syntaxes as he dozed off, head resting comfortably against Chanyeol’s sturdy shoulders. Even after Baekhyun’s ankle had healed completely, Chanyeol had sometimes offered to carry him again, but Baekhyun would shake his head with a shy smile as he held the other’s hand, swinging their clasped palms cheerily.
“Lets walk together instead.”
Chanyeol was always reading about stars. Baekhyun recalls the countless afternoons when they would hide out in the library together and Baekhyun would write his essays and draw out his songs on sheets as Chanyeol would quietly peruse book after book on astronomy, afterimages of supernovas and constellations reflected in his clear brown eyes.
Curious, Baekhyun had tried to lean over discreetly to peek at the large photographs of galaxies and planets and dark expanses of sky peppered with a million brilliant tiny white lights.
“Do you like astronomy too, Baekhyun?” Chanyeol had asked him, eyes bright, as he scoots over to Baekhyun’s side so the other could have a better look, putting the book flat on the table so they can share.
“I don’t really know much about it, actually…” Baekhyun had admitted, looking down, smiling sheepishly.
Later that night as they lie on their backs on Chanyeol’s jacket out in the field behind the library the taller boy introduces Baekhyun to all the constellations that he knows, slipping in anecdotes that he’s picked up from the books that he’s read, sharing with Baekhyun the stories that his dad had shared with him.
“See that bright one up there? It’s a binary star.” Chanyeol stretches out his arm, pointing, and Baekhyun follows the guidelines of his outstretched arm and spots the brilliant light. “That one is my favourite. It’s actually two stars – the primary star, which is the brighter one, and the companion, but they orbit around their common center of gravity to form a singular whole.”
“What’s its name?” He asks gently, reaching across the grass to twine his fingers with Chanyeol’s, feeling a tingling warmth spread through his body when the other slides a little closer, turning his head so he can see Baekhyun clearly in the dark.
They were reading as usual one day when he hears Chanyeol gasp and drop the book he was holding, hand moving to cover his eyes as he blinked rapidly, tears forming, still wincing in pain.
“Chanyeol? Hey are you alright?” Baekhyun asked, clambering over to check on his companion, armed with a small bottle of eyedrops and a packet of tissues.
“I’m fine, it’s nothing! I think some dust just got into my eye, haha.” He blinks a couple of times more and smiles brightly at Baekhyun. “It’s all fine now.”
“You look really tired…maybe you should rest for a while,” Baekhyun frowns, worried, gently brushing Chanyeol’s messy brown bangs away, noticing the dark rings and puffy eyebags.
“Mm, I think I will.”
He falls asleep on Baekhyun’s lap, face turned away to the side so the shorter wouldn’t see his pained expression as he squeezes his eyes shut, the corners twitching, his jaw clenching as he bears with the pain silently, quietly, on his own.
Bakehyun had grown considerably taller in the past two years, sharp features no longer dulled by the excess babyfat on his cheeks, limbs elongating and thinning out as he spent an increasing amount of money on books and paper and ink, neglecting food in favour of drowning himself in his studies and his music. Chanyeol would ‘tsk’ at him and try to share half of his own food with Baekhyun, his own gastronomical alarm clock working unfailingly at dinnertime.
“I don’t need to grow any taller.” He would say with a grin and a twitch, handing his companion an apple and a spare pair of chopsticks before ruffling Baekhyun’s hair. “I can afford to share.” Baekhyun would always relent, only because it’s Chanyeol asking, and sit with his friend as they shared a single home made lunchbox in the comforting cold of the library.
He can’t exactly pinpoint when it was that he realized he was in love with Chanyeol. Maybe it had been somewhere in between the fifth and the two hundred and forty ninth time the other had wrapped a warm blanket around his shoulders whenever Baekhyun had shivered or sneezed. Or perhaps it was when Chanyeol had leaned over him when they were lying on the grass in their usual spot, blocking out the moon, his heart beating so deafeningly loud in his chest, blushing so violently red when Chanyeol had leaned over to whisper into his ears.
“You have such beautiful eyes.”
Chanyeol only kisses him when he can’t see.
He would sneak up on him while he was composing or singing, quietly slipping off Baekhyun’s thick glasses and leaving them on top of the piano, lips pressed against Baekhyun’s own before he has time to react, his world fading into blurs of lights and shadows. He’d forget about his notes and his essays and his melodies as Chanyeol would pull him onto his lap and baekhyun would feel blindly for his face, grasping jawlines and big ears and the long curve of his neck. It’s always a blur, like a camera out of focus and Baekhyun really, really can’t see but he finds he’s never felt more comfortable being that vulnerable, closing his eyes as he feels Chanyeol moving against him so tenderly, hands sliding slowly up his shirt, because Chanyeol is always warm, and Baekhyun trusts him more than anything else in the world - so he always smiles into his kisses, bumping foreheads and noses as he forgets everything that isn’t Chanyeol.
The next time Chanyeol had joined him at the library he had his own pair of big, oversized glasses perched on his nose, and the taller boy had scrunched up his face, still unaccustomed to the weight resting on his nose bridge. He laughs and waves as he walks up to Baekhyun who’s staring at him in surprise, eyebrows raised curiously at the new addition to Chanyeol’s facial features.
“Hehehe. Now I look as nerdy as you do.” He jokes fondly and Baekhyun hits him lightly on the back of his head, pouting and stomping away haughtily, mumbling something about how he’s not nerdy, not at all, only turning back to grab Chanyeol’s hand and pull him along when he realizes the other isn’t following.
But the taller hisses as Baekhyun’s fingers press into his wrist and he drops his arm like a scorching hot iron before reaching out again –gently, this time – holding Chanyeol’s wrist carefully as he folds up his boyfriend’s sleeve, revealing painful scrapes and bluish bruises along his forearm and up to his elbow. “You’re hurt!”
Baekhyun’s panicking now, his concerned expression morphing into one of horror when he sees even more scratch marks and wounds on Chanyeol’s other arm.
“I fell off my bike while on the way back from a delivery ” Chanyeol tries to explain, hurriedly rolling his sleeves back down as Baekhyun continues to flail at him, wide eyed and gaping. “But I’m alright! It’s just a small sprain and a couple of bruises and scratches.”
“You fell off your bike?!” Baekhyun gasps, horrified expression still on his face and Chanyeol tries to calm him down with a pinch to the cheeks and a pat on the head. “Don’t worry about it Baekhyunnie, I’ve already gone to the hospital in the next town with my dad. I’ll be fine!”
Baekhyun won’t let the subject drop and he frowns as he ignores all of Chanyeol’s valiant attempts to distract him, trying to check if he’s hurt anywhere else, hooking his fingers into the hem of Chanyeol’s loose-fitting hoodie, pulling it up quickly to check his back for bruising, running his fingers across his pale skin.
“But you take that route everyday Chanyeol, I don’t see how you would fall off only now, even with your clumsy tendencies,” Baekhyun sighs, tugging Chanyeol’s black hoodie back down once he’s satisfied, sliding his arms around his waist, giving the other a hug.
“My brakes were spoilt and I couldn’t slow down while going downhill,” Chanyeol answers quickly, steering Baekhyun round the corner and into the music room.
“But If it makes you feel any better, I won’t be doing deliveries anymore,” Chanyeol laughs reassuringly. “My dad banned me from riding bicycles.”
He grins at Baekhyun, and this time his left eye twitches.
“But anyway, your audition’s soon isn’t it?” He asks, squeezing Baekhyun gently, staring at the calendar on the wall.
“Mm, yeah. Yeah it is.”
Chanyeol loves it when Baekhyun sings – quietly, like a lullaby, hushed and gentle – whenever he thinks that there’s nobody watching, and nobody listening. The first time he hears Baekhyun sing, really sing had been when Chanyeol had dozed off while reading, his head resting on the table, face pressed to the pages. It’s drizzling outside and the rain falls against the windows in muted washes, and a quick peek tells Chanyeol that Baekhyun’s still sitting across the table from him, mumbling and singing softly to himself imaginary lines from unwritten songs as he looks through his notes and highlights words and sentences.
Chanyeol lies still and lets the sounds roll over him like waves embracing the shore – too afraid to move, and not courageous enough to breathe - and he wonders if Baekhyun knows he’s listening, wonders if he would stop if he knew. He has never really managed to entirely comprehend what the fragmented rise and falls meant, but as he drifts back into the darkness he thinks that maybe, just maybe, what he’s hearing is Baekhyun’s heart.
He gets his answer a couple of weeks later when he’s lying with his head on Baekhyun’s lap, pretending to be asleep again as he listens to Baekhyun’s hushed melodies.
“I know you’re awake Chanyeol,” He opens his eyes and Baekhyun’s staring him right in the eyes, appearing upside down in his vision, but he hears Baekhyun put down his pen and moments later he feels his soft hands thread through his hair, playing with the messy locks, occasionally fiddling with his ears. Baekhyun’s mumbling and humming again, spouting made up harmonies as he picks up his pen once more to continue with his essay, left hand resting comfortably on Chanyeol’s chest, fingers unconsciously drawing circles and star shapes in loops. Chanyeol stays still as he watches him from his lap, chewing on his lip as he furrows his brows while thinking of a good way to phrase his point - and Chanyeol’s mesmerized and before he knows it he’s lifted the back of his hand to brush slowly, fondly against Baekhyun’s cheek. Baekhyun’s expression softens as he feels Chanyeol’s warm hand against his own cold cheek and he closes his eyes as he holds his hand in place, leaning into his touch, giggling as Chanyeol grins goofily at him from below as Baekhyun kisses his knuckles one by one.
The words slip out of his mouth in a whisper and they hang in the air heavily, momentarily, until Baekhyun nods silently and leans down, brushing unkempt bangs aside as he presses his lips softly to Chanyeol’s forehead.
I love you.
On the day of his audition they taken the morning train together down to Seoul - Chanyeol pulling a surprise on him and turning up at the station, ticket in hand, hugging a very flustered and panicky Baekhyun who instantly calmed down in his arms. He had saved aside a portion of the money he had earned from his delivery job knowing he would need it some day, and he’s glad that he did, as he watches Baekhyun bury his face in his chest and wail dramatically, squeezing him gratefully.
When they pull apart he helps the other run over the list of things that he has to bring along with him, checking that they are all packed one by one, counting copies of application forms and compositions before boarding their train, hand in hand.
Their hands stay clasped as they navigate their way to the University, ignoring curious glances as Chanyeol queues patiently in the corridors with him, holding Baekhyun’s thinner fingers between his own big palms, keeping them warmed up - and until Baekhyun has to leave his side to step through the door, he never lets go.
“Chaaannyeooool I can’t open it I can’t open it!” Baekhyun’s screaming at him from across the field outside the library, waving the still sealed envelope madly in the air.
“I won’t talk to you til you do!” Chanyeol yells back, taking a few steps forward, arms crossed. He sticks out his tongue at Baekhyun childishly but he’s nervous as well, fidgeting and starting to worry when Baekhyun’s taking longer than he should to open and read the letter. He’s about to open his mouth again to check if Baekhyun’s alright when it registers in his mind that the other is running towards him, screaming incomprehensible words, and his feet are frozen to the spot, not yet quite sure how he should react.
“Seoul, Channie! I’m going to Seoul! They’re giving me a scholarship!” Baekhyun shrieks as he runs headlong into his arms, Chanyeol catching him easily and they jump and scream and squeal excitedly like children, running and spinning and hugging, even if just for a while, happy for a dream that’s one step less away from being fulfilled.
“Remember that star I told you about?” They’re sitting together, huddled close in the cold of the night.
“What was it called again?”
“Spica, one of the blue giants,”
“When you’re feeling lonely in Seoul just look for that star and think of me,” He grins and nudges Baekhyun in the ribs.
“I drew you a diagram just in case you forget.” Chanyeol chuckles and fishes around his back pocket for a folded piece of paper, showing it to Baekhyun before pressing it into his palm. “Don’t lose it, okay?”
Baekhyun nods weakly, sniffling a little, still rubbing at his eyes as Chanyeol had nudged him once more in a futile attempt to ease the sadness from his lungs.
“You’re going to go to Seoul, and you’re going to sing, Baekhyun.” Chanyeol smiles warmly as he brushes his hand along the back of the other’s neck, softly. “Like you’ve always wanted to. Play the piano and sing.”
And he remembers the way Chanyeol had gently slid off his spectacles one last time and tucked them safely into his front pocket, the familiar way his vision was rendered into dizzying patches of colour and fragments of light, and the way his lips, soft and warm and quivering had felt so natural against his own. Baekhyun clings helplessly to Chanyeol as he feels his arms curl instinctively around his own smaller frame, one arm protective, wrapped around his waist and the other cradling his head, trembling fingers threading through soft brown locks.
Remembers his own hands reaching out blindly, fingertips ghosting over his features, imprinting in his mind the curves and hollows of the face of the one he’s about to leave and Chanyeol kisses him slowly one, two, three, four times as Baekhyun tries so desperately to wipe away the tears of the person he loves the most.
Chanyeol writes to him thrice a week, faithfully for six months, sending him photographs and postcards overflowing with his elegant script punctuated with smiley faces and rough sketches of the changing scenery of his hometown.
Baekhyun keeps every single one, stashing them neatly in his drawer, writing back replies on the flipside of his scores, folding them into envelopes and mailing them every time he got the chance to escape from the commitments of school. Chanyeol’s letters always left a stupid grin on his face.
But then time passes and days bleed into weeks and weeks into months and the letters get progressively shorter, his handwriting morphing from its previous neatness into haphazardly scrawled letters and alphabets, climbing uneven lines crudely scratched onto the pages. Baekhyun admits that he’s disappointed, heart falling lower and lower, opening envelope after envelope only to greet singular sentences with sighs.
He receives the first blank sheet a month later and chucks it aside, far too disheartened to notice the neat row of small embossed dots pressed onto the smooth clean sheet and he stops bothering with opening the envelopes that keep coming, piling them in a corner of his room, unopened. It isn’t until his flat mate picks up the discarded sheet weeks later that he realizes just how blind he has been.
“Baekhyun hyung! I never knew you could read Braille.” Kyungsoo held the embossed paper up to the light, running his fingers over the dotted surface curiously.
“I…M…?” Kyungsoo scratches his head, trying to decipher the coded lettering, jumping in shock as Baekhyun snatches the paper back furiously, shoving his flat mate out the door and locking him out of the room before he flips open his laptop and types hurriedly into search engines, eyebrows furrowed.
He feels his stomache sinking the as the decodes the alphabets one by one, quickly writing their equivalents under the raised areas, eyes blurring as the sentences build, and he feels like dirt and he should have known, should have noticed because he has been by his side all this time – but he never did and Baekhyun is stunned into silence as his eyes run across the lines repeatedly, faltering as they go over those two particular words.
I miss you. I wish I could still see your face. I wish I could run to you right now. It’s probably really hard in Seoul but don’t cry, Baekhyunnie.
He flings books and pencils aside as he scrambles madly, rummaging through the stacks of postcards and letters to find the card which Chanyeol had written his home’s phone number on. He had avoided calling Chanyeol all this time, too afraid that the sound of his voice would only amplify the pangs of loneliness he had felt ever so often, sticking to writing carefully chosen words that never betrayed his homesick heart. When he finally finds the right card Baekhyun’s hands are shaking so badly he drops the phone twice and presses the wrong digits again and again and he’s close to hysterical by the time the call goes through and-
“Hello! This is Park Chanyeol speaking.” Deep, bright and cheery, just like always, just like he remembers, after all this time. There’s a long, heavy silence as Baekhyun fully registers the sound, and he can hear Chanyeol fiddling with the phone cable on the other end.
“Hello? Is anyone there?”
“Baekhyun? Are you alright? What’s wro-” He can hear the worry in his voice and he chokes, squeezing his eyes shut as the first sobs take over body, a high pitched whimper the only sound that manages to get past his closed up throat.
“Baekhyun? Are you crying oh no don’t - ”
“-You idiot! You stupid, fucking idiot!” Baekhyun all but screams into the receiver, kicking the pile of books near his bed, watching the column collapse and fall, hardly feeling the pain in his toes. “Why didn’t you tell me, Chanyeol? Why did you hide this…why, why didn’t I notice it?”
He curls up on the floor, the phone pressed to his ear, knuckles white as he gripped the device tightly, crying into his knees as he chants over and over and over again a thousand whispers of sorrys and I love yous and Chanyeol sits with him, listening silently, miles and miles away as he begs so helplessly for forgiveness.
They had stopped sending each other letters after that night. Baekhyun would call Chanyeol every evening during dinner, putting him on speaker mode and he would listen as the other rambled on and on about what he did that day while he ate his noodles, enjoying the sound of Chanyeol’s voice echoing around the room as he joked and questioned and laughed. They talk about all sorts of things, usually about how Chanyeol is adjusting, sometimes about Baekhyun’s work, and always, he would notice how Kyungsoo would slip out of the kitchen, bowl and chopsticks in hand, to give them some time to themselves.
Baekhyun waves him over one day when he spots Kyungsoo sneaking out again, patting the chair next to him, motioning for his flat mate to join him. Kyungsoo’s still blinking at him in confusion when he slides into the seat, setting his bowl of ramen down on the table.
“Chanyeol-ah,” Baekhyun calls out to Chanyeol on the line, and Kyungsoo stares at the phone blankly. “This is Kyungsoo, my flat mate. He’s a vocal major, and my junior.”
“Oooh, hello, Kyungsoo-ssi!” The phone blares happily, as an excited Chanyeol greets him overenthusiastically, and Baekhyun chuckles as his friend is stunned by the sudden burst of energy. Baekhyun nudges Kyungsoo and manages to get him to sing one of his pieces for Chanyeol through the phone, and at the end of it Chanyeol’s applauding loudly in amazement, overflowing with compliments. “You sing even better than Baekhyunnie!”
“He does, doesn’t he?” Baekhyun pats his junior on the head before picking up his and his friend’s empty bowls, and Kyungsoo blushes in embarrassment. “I need to go wash the dishes, I’ll call you again later, alright?”
Kyungsoo’s about to get up to go help Baekhyun with the dishes when he hears Chanyeol’s voice coming from the phone again, much softer than before, and he sits back down, listening.
“I might never get to meet you in person but I,” Kyungsoo can hear Chanyeol hesitating, his voice lowered to a hush so Baekhyun won't hear. “I just wanted to thank you for taking care of Baekhyun.”
“Thank you for being his friend.”
Kyungsoo can tell that he’s being genuine and he smiles as picks up the phone, turning off the speaker mode so he can move into another room where his flat mate won’t be able to hear him.
“Baekhyun-hyung doesn’t say it much,” Kyungsoo whispers, listening out for the sound of running water coming from the kitchen. “But he really, really loves you.”
Chanyeol falls quiet, and Kyungsoo continues.
“A lot. And he’s working really hard right now, so you have to trust him and take care of yourself as well.”
He’s wondering if he’s said something unnecessary when Chanyeol speaks up again, so low he almost misses it.
“Kyungsoo-ssi,” Chanyeol starts, and Kyungsoo is pretty sure he can hear the other laughing and sniffling, breathing irregularly as he tried to get the words out. “Thank you.”
“Thank you so, so much.”
Baekhyun spends the remaining one and a half years translating and translating, tirelessly, the language of a solitary star knocked out of its orbit, its other half lost. His heart’s sole cynosure eclipsed, plunged so savagely into darkness.
Translating desperately so his Chanyeol could see, through the notes and harmonies, his beloved galaxies and constellations again.
He had called him the night before - after his graduation ceremony, sitting on the floor, surrounded by boxes of packed books and scores and clothes, all sealed and labeled and ready to be moved, his bachelor’s certificate sticking out of his backpack, stuffed together with the stacks of letters Chanyeol had sent to him, resting by the foot of his bed. He had gotten job offers and name cards from potential employers and he’s kept all of them safely in his wallet, still not quite sure about how he’s going to respond - but Baekhyun knows the one thing he has to do, wants to do, and he grins fondly at Chanyeol’s peppy greeting when he picks up on the third dial.
“I’m coming home.”
He’d been born in a sea side town, and Byun Baekhyun watches nostalgicly through the train window as the scenery of his childhood flashed before him once again, recalling the years he had spent on those hills and shores, under the endless blue sky.
All he has with him is his backpack and a cap he had picked up for Chanyeol on his way back, dressed plainly in sneakers and jeans and his very own comfy black hoodie. He spots Chanyeol waiting for him on a bench outside the station, sitting patiently, fiddling with his white cane, his brown hair flying around messily in the breeze.
Baekhyun calls out his name and Chanyeol recognizes his voice immediately, jumping up in surprise, turning to face the direction Baekhyun was coming from, waving.
“You’re late!” He accuses jokingly, and Baekhyun laughs, walking towards him.
“You told me before didn’t you?” Baekhyun breathes as he slows to a stop in front of his old friend, his dearest, his primary star. “About your favourite star.”
“What about it?” Chanyeol asks curiously, the cloudless sky reflected so painfully clear in his sightless eyes.
Baekhyun reaches into his pocket and pulls out a folded sheet of paper, its crease lines prominent, torn at the edges from being folded and unfolded a countless number of times, worn out to the point where it’s close to disintegrating. He takes Chanyeol’s left hand and presses the paper into his palm, index finger drawing out the shape of the constellation Virgo on his forearm, ending with its brightest, Spica.
He hears Chanyeol take a deep, slow breath as the pieces click in his head, recalling the exact words he himself had spoken to Baekhyun when they were still teenagers : “-Two stars that orbit around their common center of gravity to form a singular whole.” And Chanyeol doesn't quite know how to react, standing there uselessly, unmoving as he gapes and blinks and tries to form coherent lines in his brain.
“I’ve missed you,” Baekhyun sighs as he takes a step forward, nuzzling into the space that has always been his, and his alone. “Chanyeol.”
“And I’m still too small to carry you,” He chuckles with his face pressed to familiar collarbones, eyes closed, basking in the warmth of Chanyeol’s homely hug, his hands having moved instinctively to curl around Baekhyun’s waist despite his temporary intellectual freeze. “But we can always walk together.”
“I-I’m scared Baekhyun” The wavering words slip out, and Baekhyun nods, closing his eyes as Chanyeol pulls away for a moment, calloused, familiar hands moving to trace over his face, lingering at his neck. “I am too, Chanyeol, and I don't know what to do either.”
“But we’ll be alright,” Baekhyun whispers reassuringly into his ear, running his hands up and down his back, trying to comfort Chanyeol as he choked and whimpered and clung to him, as if holding him any tighter would make up for lost time.
Chanyeol nods, still sniffling as Baekhyun smiles, easing the white cane out of Chanyeol’s firm grasp, replacing it with his own, smaller hand. He folds Chanyeol’s long fingers over his own and he tugs at his arm, laughing airily as a particularly cold breeze causes Chanyeol to sneeze – and they walk together, side by side, falling into step naturally, like they used to countless times, all those years before.
a/n: ＼(゜ロ＼)ココハドコ? (／ロ゜)／アタシハダアレ? ......i've always wanted to use this OTL Also, if you've made it through this entire thing, thank you so much for reading! ( ・ω・)/~
also this song and its lyrics are absolutely gorgeous haato haato ♥♥♥
edit: Thank you captainmarcus@tumblr for the lovely edit and rec! ;__;